Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A few weeks ago I found a replacement for the yellow bomber.  It is quite a story of God's blessing.  The owners of the bomber were back in town and wanted it back for 2 weeks.  They own it so who was I to say no.  The owner then said they needed to put it in the shop for some repairs and it should be ready in a week or so (standard Italian work pace).  We juggled the schedule for a while and went with just one car.  I was starting to give up hope for a good van and settle for some small cheap fiat or alpha romeo, just as a European spec "van" appeared on the local classified ads.  It was in my price range.  I quickly called and didn't hesitate to look at it the next day.  A quick test drive around the base that would make Mario Andretti proud and I was happy to buy.  Did we mention things aren't like our last base where they worry about "speed limits." 

That same day...I was called by the repair shop saying the loaner was ready for pickup.  I also talked to the the guy who originally loaned me the bomber and he said he needed it back for a few days since once one of his cars was on the fritz (not the owner, they departed back to wherever they live).  So in God's timing it all seemed to work out.  The other twist is that in the registration process, I discovered the owner previous to the guy I bought it from, was the guy who lived in this house before us.  It is way to creepy to think about.  I emailed him and asked him who he sold his riding lawn mower to so I could just call him now and get it over with :)

The kids love being in Dad's car.  It seats 7, but there's not much room to spare between rows or seats.
It's like a funny little mini-me version of our "mini" van.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Someone got annoyed with her pesky little brother, and found a place to get away from him...

This tree has also been the site of a picnic lunch (when he wasn't being so pesky, I suppose)...
I imagine there will be a lot of time spent in this tree, but it probably won't be as easy to spot them after the leaves come out.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


We've mentioned before that Lucy is a bit of a dress-up queen.  Here are some samplings of the outfits she creates.  It will be good to document this, because when she's a famous fashion designer we'll be able to say we knew her when...

 Sometimes the clothes match better than others.

And sometimes the accessories are a HOOT!

I think one of the things that we find the funniest, is that nearly every night she will lay out the clothes she plans to wear for the next day--to include any and all accessories.  The arm of her dress will be through the purse strap, the tights will be tucked into the shoes or boots, her hair bows, barrettes and bands will be placed above the outfit, or next to the hat if there's a hat planned...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Kids

Just a few pictures of the kids for the grandparents to get their fix.  :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Review: Izzy's Pop Star Plan

Izzy's Pop Star Plan, a book by Alex Marestaing that describes itself as a daily devo that reads like a novel, takes the reader through 90 days of Izzy's steps and missteps on her road to becoming, well, a pop star.  It's set up as though the reader is accessing her blog, which she updates daily.  You meet her family (her mom died when she was younger, and she lives in an apartment in California with her brother and dad), her friends (best friend Maddie and Izzy have a note passing system between their houses that they call Bird Mail), her neighbors (Ms. Adelina, an Argentinian opera star),and  her church and youth group (Pastor Ryan and his wife Stephanie).  You also watch her learn how to make tough choices and navigate many ups and downs in her effort to become a pop star, sometimes more gracefully than others.

I appreciated the excellent use of scripture to support Izzy's problems and decisions.  Every piece of scripture used should be a memory verse for each of us.  It was also apparent that when Izzy was out of the Word and not heeding wise counsel, her life was taking turns for the worse.  Additionally, Izzy ends almost every blog post with 'That's my prayer, what's yours?' which gives the reader a perfect opportunity to reflect and meditate on the scripture and encourages her to pray what's on her heart.

I initially thought this would be a great devotional to read with my eleven year old daughter, but after reading it, I would definitely wait until she's a little older.  The subject matter ranging from the desire to compete in the International Pop Star Challenge (we're not American Idol fans) to dating and first loves is a little too mature for her.  However, I see this as being a must read for us together in the very near future. 

Unfortunatley, I don't think we'll be able to stretch it out for the 90 days the devotional takes!  Even I had a hard time putting the book down after a single entry, wanting to know what will happen next.  It was easy to get wrapped up in Izzy's character and want the best for her.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Requires Three Adults in Good Physical Condition

The above was written in the set of instructions for the trampoline we bought for the kids to play on.  To which Ted replied:


While the two big girls and I set off to see The Importance of Being Earnest (a play that the Aviano Community Theater was doing), Ted set out to put the trampoline together with the help of Cory and Lucy. They're not exactly helpers, though...

As we were driving by the house on our way home the girls were quick to notice that the trampoline was up and that both Cory and Lucy were jumping. We couldn't get parked fast enough for them, and they bolted out of the van as soon as I came to some semblance of a stop.

Happy Kids

Ted 's some kind of man to equal "3 adults in good physical condition" -- but we already knew that. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Carnavale in Venice

Venice, during the weeks of Carnavale, is a sight to behold.  We went on what turned out to be a crazy busy day--and I hear the weekends are even worse.  Little did we know that the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (ending on Ash Wednesday) are holiday days for the Italian school children, and probably much of Italy.  On the bright side (literally), there were tons of costumes to behold throughout the town.  In gondolas, in the squares, down alleyways...

It seemed everyone was dressed in costume...even the statues!

I (Kristi) went alone and unafraid with the four kids.  I guess I wasn't totally alone--several from the homeschool group went together. But we all had our own children to wrangle, so I was wrangling mine solo. (and perhaps it's a stretch to say I was unafraid)  It was so crowded that I held Lucy through the entire city...and my biceps and forearms are sore today!!

Of course, we needed some masks, too... Cory started with this jester's cap, which was awesome, because his jingling helped me keep track of him as we navigated our way through the busy side streets and alleyways

And a stop at a restaurant for, what else, PIZZA!

I don't know how Riley managed to get this beautiful shot of a single gondola in the Grand Canal with the lovely buildings behind it...Really, there were boats and people everywhere.  I think it's a lovely picture, though...might have to have someone paint it for me.
It was a beautiful day with beautiful people.  I'm so glad I got to share this with my kids.  Next year, though, I'm not doing it alone!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


We've spent the past 6 weeks juggling two kids' basketball practice and game schedules.  It's all good, though.  They have such fun!

Here's some pictures of Cory--he's on Team Awesome this year:
Above:  Coach getting him ready to pass.  Cory has really done a great job this year of looking for the pass and getting the ball to his teammates.
Here Cory plays a little defense.  He had some great plays this last game, stealing the ball from the other team. 

Mary is playing for the Ballers (she thinks it's a silly name--her suggestion, the Blizzards, was for some reason dismissed).  Her coaches have been fantastic in teaching her team how to work together and play as a team.  They went from losing their first three games, to winning the last two decisively. 

 Above we have Mary Beth showing some tough defense.  Below she's protecting the ball and looking for a good pass.
She has gotten more aggessive as the season has seems to me it would be hard to play with all those boys, but she seems to LOVE it.  I, being the not-so-very-much-athletic type, just marvel at how my girl is so happy when she's competing in sports.  When she's on the court, there is pure joy on her face and she looks forward to practices as much as games. 

Next up is America's favorite pasttime--Cory is signed up for baseball.  We're glad that his practices will be outside near a park.  FUN!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sacile Parade

 Today we enjoyed a local Carnivale Parade.  In the US most people know of this time as Mardi Gras, but here it is titled Carnivale.  Some friends of ours invited us down to Sacile, a small town just a few minutes from our house, to enjoy the fun. 

Our kids were not sure what to expect.  But we convinced them to trust us on this one.  Like most holiday parades, it had kids on floats

Some dancing troupes (note the ever present boots on the women - seems like every Italian female wears boots - of course it works well with the Cowboy theme here).

 There were large floats with animated characters

And local tractors to pull John Deere in Italia...

There were marching bands (I liked this one band made up of adults, riding on a trailer in costume)

 We noticed a surprising number of American themed floats...Alice in Wonderland

A jazz float with American Flags and Betty Boop

Cory called this the "hippy" float

 Many kids dress in costume for the parade so we came prepared with Lucy's Cinderella gown

Mostly the kids enjoyed throwing confetti at the parade participants

 The kids were in turn showered with Confetti - which they picked up and threw at the adults...

And in the end it was just a giant confetti throwing party

Afterwards we enjoyed some fresh pizza and wine with our friends.  It was a great day!