Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Eternal City

Here is our day trip to Rome, which was fast and furious! The swine flu scare hit our boat and the country of Italy nearly did not allow us into the country... however we ended up only being 30 minutes behind schedule. Caleb had researched and google-mapped and planned and micro-organized our day trip to Rome, with possible alternate routes of transportation and including every possible detail. Gotta love that engineering mind of leaving no stone unturned! We had a great day in Rome and it was just incredible to behold sights and artifacts nearly and beyond 2,000 years old. To think that Paul and so many other men and women from the Bible walked these roads, and saw some of the things we saw is just mind blowing. These pictures don't do it justice, so I guess you just have to imagine the enormity of the Colosseum and the Pantheon and the opulence of Vatican City. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Filth and Beauty, Round 2 of our Cruise

So here is round two of many when it comes to our trip... We have over 1,300 pics so narrowing it down to just these is SO HARD!! You will be seeing pictures of our first day on the boat, as well as our first port, Napoli. In Napoli, we took a private tour with strangers we met online and this really turned out to be the best day in my opinion. I loved other places we visited just as much, but the experience of having a private guide and being able to really pace ourselves to see everything we wanted without having to worry about making back to the boat before it leaves was not reproducible with the cruise tours and our do-it-yourself tours. So, here's what we did.
It was incredible to see something so old that was so well preserved despite being essentially destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. Something I must share is how we felt as we toured Pompeii. We were awestruck by how "modern" the city was considering it stood from approximately 6th/7th Century BC until 79 AD: we saw their plumbing systems, how they created "steam rooms" in their public bath houses and how they created their streets. Did you know that the sizes of our railroad ties date back to the days of Pompeii, as they created a standard size for carts to go through the streets of cities way back then??? Something else about Pompeii that was sad was seeing how it was such a filthy, sinful city that reminded us a lot of what we have read about Sodom and Gomorrah as we toured the public bath house outside the city walls of Pompeii. It made me (us) wonder if maybe the destruction of the city was God's wrath on the people and their lifestyle. Another thing I'll tell you about Pompeii (but I refuse to share pictures) is how sad it was to see the cavities of a few human and animal remains. Our guide Salvatore told us that as they were excavating and finding human remains, most people were found squatting and covering their faces or laying face down most likely to mask the fumes of the eruption or to avoid seeing their inevitable demise. I would say that visiting Pompeii was completely worth it and I would love to go back to really see it all. Pompeii is over 266 acres and we barely scratched the surface in our morning tour, and so much of it is still undergoing excavation.
Amalfi Coast (Sorrento, Positano):
Oh my, where do I begin?? It was breathtakingly beautiful!! As Caleb and I took in this beautiful scenery, taking pictures with our camera, we were in heaven, yet so sad to see how our photos just don't begin to capture the beauty we beheld. I hope you can look at these photos and just have a glimpse of the beauty, enough to whet your apetite to want to go there yourself. As we left Pompeii, we drove to a lookout point where we had a great view of Mt. Vesuvius. Something I want you to attempt to imagine that Mt. Vesuvius, which currently stands at about 1200 metres, stood at over 3000 metres prior to the eruption that destroyed much of the coast of Italy as it stood then, as well as the famous city of Pompeii. I digress... From the lookout point, we drove along the coast and to the top of Sorrento, which overlooks the beginning of the Amalfi Coast. We had lunch at a precious little family owned restaurant, and set off once again to the city center for a little street shopping, ahem, alley shopping. The alley street we shopped in was not much wider than the hallway in my house (not wide people!!), but was so fun! We got to taste the local limoncello, liquor created from the rind of lemons and bargain with the locals for souvenirs. From Sorrento, we took off for what I would consider to be one of my favorite stops on the entire trip, Positano. Oh Positano, how I love thee. It was just picturesque, the classic coastline of southern Italy with the colorful stacked houses and fishing boats anchored just moments from shore. We hiked to the beach of Positano in the short time we had there, just to take it all in. Of course, not after enjoying our daily dose of gelato!! Yes we ate it daily, sometimes twice daily. We took pictures galore, none of which capture the essence, then sweated back up the hill, to meet our group for the winding drive back to the reality that we could not stay in Amalfi forever. I hope you enjoy the picture tour...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mediterranean Trip Part 1: Barcelona

Alrighty folks, its been almost 1 month and here goes with our trip pictures... Since we visited so many places and have nearly 1,300 pictures, I am going to be posting in multiple blogs. This first is from the beginning of our trip, from our flight to Barcelona to the day we got on the boat. My only disclaimer is this: we both were ill at the beginning so if we look pathetic or sick, it is because we are!! I blame the excessive amount of cigarette smokers and Caleb blames everything he refuses to admit he is allergic to. I digress... Enjoy the pictures!
(**To see the captions on the pictures, hover your mouse over the picture**)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2 new posts!

Check them out...

Arizona or Bust!

Over 4th of July weekend, we had the wonderful opportunity of going to Prescott, Arizona for my cousin Samantha's wedding. We had an absolute blast and Arizona was so much more beautiful than we ever expected. We were just hoping we wouldn't be stuck in the scorching desert for 5 days!! Of course, with all of the wedding festivities I hardly got any pictures in, but there are two for you to enjoy. Maybe I can go "borrow" some pictures off her Facebook so you can see the blushing bride! Enjoy the pictures, there's a lot!
The floral arrangements for the reception... It was our virgin experience with floral arranging and we think we may have missed our calling!

The brides bouquet.. All my handiwork. (PS... Never use blue roses, they STAIN!)
A beautiful mountain on our drive to Flagstaff and Sedona...
Do I look sick?? I felt miserable because we were on what I called the "swirling, twirling road of death", or more lightly called "the scenic route." I could have lived without so much scenery!
Our group... my mom, dad, me, Caleb and cousin Anna Grace. We had so much fun and by the end of it all, Caleb got my uber-shy cousin AG to yell. First he asked her if she ever went above 2 decibals, if that gives you any idea of how soft-spoken she was!
Beautiful, beautiful Sedona from the Airport lookout point!
My hubby and I dangerously close to the edge, that will make your stomach drop!
Mom and Dad, so fit and with-it!
Anna Grace... Her arms are almost as big as the mountain!
Another view, even closer to the edge. My precious husband insisted on being closer to the edge to take one for the team in case of emergency- how romantic!
The rocks as we left Prescott, incredible!
The Grand Canyon in all her glory! This is my first real view of the canyon.. I tell you, if someone doesn't believe there is a higher power who created all of this, they are nutso! It was such a powerful, awe-inspiring experience to inhale the beauty of our creator in his handiwork.
A long shot of the Canyon. Did you know the GC is over 270 miles long and 18 miles at it's widest point?? That's big, folks!
Part of our crew with us down below. We hiked part of the South Kaibab Trail. Let me just tell you folks that this is no cake walk, either. Experts tell you to take.5 L of water for every 30 minutes you hike as well as sweet and salty snacks for every time you stop... and you need every bit of that and then some! On top of all that, they tell you to plan on it taking twice the amount of time to "hike out" of the canyon than it takes you to "hike in" and they are spot on. It was a grueling and invigorating hike! We plan to go back in cooler weather and hike to the bottom! Anyone wanna come??
More amazing.
Us, about 1 mile or so in the canyon on Bright Angel Trail.
A view from the lookout... it's like the Grand Canyon never ends!
Our group hiking up... we went down about a half to three-quarters of a mile further than them, and on our way up we hollered to them. Canyons echo well!
The GC from Hopi Point.
The GC and a piece of the Colorado River from Pima Point.
A view of the Bright Angel Trail... do you see all the switchbacks?? Those things are butt-busters! This is what we want to hike when we return!
Another beautiful view... I just can't get enough of God's creation! It is truly incredible!
A view of the switchbacks we hiked on South Kaibab Trail.
On the edge..Freaky!!
Him too!... Ok, gotta be honest, it really isn't the edge. But did it make your heart skip just a beat or two???
The river really does run through it!
Us again, this time sporting the doo-rags! It was so hot that we soaked those in water and put them on our heads, how resourceful and sexy!
The ladies! We are champs!
Our entire crew... My Uncle Mark, Aunt Corinne, cousins Catherine, Daniel, Stephen and Philip, cousin Anna Grace, my 'rents, my hubs and me!
Dad and the girls!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Livi and Ben

We have had such a fun summer and have been so blessed to have my sister, Erin, and her kids up in Dallas for most of June and July! Erin and her family live in Kingwood where my bro-in-law is the head youth pastor at Second Baptist Church North Campus, however with the *lovely* economy, they were homeless for a month, so Erin brought the kids to play here while Brian was a nomad in Kingwood. Here are some pictures of those precious little turkeys I played with!

Livi having fun at the mall, ready to go to the Carousel!

Ben waiting anxiously too..

Prince Charming and the Princess playing at Mimi and Papa's house!

Ben checking out the planes at Airport Park!

Livi enjoying her Capri Sun with Uncle Cabo!

Roomie Reunion!

Soo.. the weekend that my school district let out for the summer, all of my roommates from college made the trek (near or far) to Dallas for a weekend of fun! It was totally different this time around, with all of our hubbies, boyfriends, "special friends", don't know what kind of "friend" you are joined us at our house for the weekend! It was an absolute blast! Brandy got here first on Thursday night, followed by Becca and Jeff and Julie and Warren on Friday night. We kept it low key on Friday, just relaxing at our house and playing Apples to Apples. Saturday, we made the trek over to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens to explore, then went to Joe T. Garcia's for dinner, YUM!! By Sunday, we all had to get back to "reality" and all the fun was over! The weekend was a short but fun one! I miss all these girls, and wish I could see all of them more than I do! Let's do it again, ladies!! Love y'all!!