Saturday, June 26, 2010

Roman Holiday, Part 3

Visiting Vatican City was one of the highlights of the trip. It's so impressive, you can't help but feel awed by the architecture and history.

St. Peter's Bascialla was built on top of the tomb of St. Peter, and it's magnificent.

The courtyard is surrounded by statues of 140 Catholic Saints.

On top of the entrance to the Basilica, you find Christ himself, flanked on one side by John the Baptist and Andrew on the other.

In front of the Basilica are two giant statues of St. Peter and St. Paul. Peter holds the keys to the kingdom, while Paul, here, holds a sword and a book with the inscription, "I can do all things in him who strengthens me."

Inside the Basilica are hundreds of paintings and sculptures...this one, the Pieta, by Michaelanglo is particularly moving.

I fell in love with the stain glass in the Vatican. The dove features prominently in much of the art work, and this beautiful window in the main alcove of the Basilica is just incredible.

We were able to tour the Vatican museums and see the Sistine Chapel as well. The Sistine Chapel itself was the only place that we were unable to take photos, but you get the idea of the detailed ceiling work in this hallway.

The paintings are masterful. This photo does not do this justice....

And everywhere you go, the floors are covered in the most amazing mosaics.

Of all the things we were able to see in our Vatican visit, I was most inspired by the devotion of the believers. There were nuns, priests, monks, etc. from all over the world. I saw one priest from Texas wearing his not only his priestly garb, but also cowboy boots and a ten gallon hat.

There were many who stopped to offer prayer, dip a finger in the holy water, or even rub the feet of the bronze statue of St. Peter. It was faith affirming to see so many devoted doing what they believe.

And...of course...I couldn't end without a comment about the dress code.

You cannot enter the Basilica if you are sleeveless or in shorts. Fortunately for me, I was able to bring a wrap and cover up in order to go inside...and for those who had forgotten, you could always purchase paper wraps to cover yourself.

Um...yeah. I did say they were paper, right. : O

I felt badly for the poor fellows at the entrances who had to be the clothing police and turn away those who were not dressed properly. That cannot be a fun job.

Rome was wonderful. I can't wait to go back!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Roman Holiday, Part 2

The Italians are very stylish people. Really. They are. do you honestly walk down cobblestone roads in three inch heels and not break your leg?

I know I couldn't do it.

Troy was amused at my photos of all the crazy shoes people would wear sightseeing. But...I just couldn't help it.

I think my favorite part of Rome were the ruins. It's just fascinating to think about walking in places that are thousands of years old...places around since the time of Christ...and longer.

The Forum and Colosseum were wonderful. Rome is a city built on top of a city and the ruins are everywhere. The Italians have done a good job of unearthing them and restoring some as well.

This is what remains of the Temple of Saturn. It was originally built in the 4th Century BC and rebuilt in the 200s AD.

This is the sacred way...the main street of ancient Rome. It starts at Capitoline Hill and ends at the Colosseum.

At the end of the sacred way...just as you leave the forum and reach the Colosseum is the Arch of Titus, built in 82 AD. This arch inspired many others, including the Arc de Triomphe.

And of course, the most iconic Roman site, for me, is the Colosseum. Since our hotel was very near here, we were able to see it at many different times of the day. My favorite was just before dusk.

From inside the Colosseum.

The Arch of Constantine...built in 312 AD...marks his victory over Maxentius...and inscribed with the words instinctu divinitatis, inspired by the divine...and an indication of his acceptance of Christianity. He was the first Christian emperor of Rome.

This beautiful church is situated on the Eastern side of the Forum. It was built in the 800s AD. It is the Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana. Don't you just love the Madonna and child up there?

I loved Rome. I really hope to return one day, and see not only Rome, but all the cities of Italy.

In addition to all we saw, I cannot begin to even describe how wonderful the food was. I have a new found love for pasta and don't even get me started on the gelato.

Thanks to Shannon for the recommendations...San Crispino's gelato was to die for.

My only regret is that I always feel like such a geek taking photos of my food, so I don't have any to show you. I need to get over that and just do it.

One more post tomorrow about the Vatican.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Roman Holiday, Part 1

Rome was wonderful. I mean, every building, every fountain, every detail was fantastic.

It's so crazy to think about how long this city has stood, and how many lifetimes have been lived here.

Even with all we crammed in, there was still so much to do and see. I look forward to coming back one day.

Are you ready for photo overload?

One of my favorites sites in Rome was the Trevi Fountain. If you have ever seen a movie about Rome, this fountain always makes an appearance and it doesn't disappoint. It has been recently restored, and it looks fantastic.

And of course, we had to throw in a coin to ensure our return to Rome one day.

The pantheon was undergoing renovations and so much of the building was under scaffolding. It was still beautiful.

Another iconic Roman site was the Spanish Steps. Since our trip coincided with the start of tourist season, it was hard to take a photo anywhere that didn't involve massive amounts of people.

There were churches on pretty much every corner, and most were gracious enough to allow visitors and photos.

And the architecture of the city was so eclectic and fun. New buildings butting up against old buildings, next to ruins, next to a church. I was in heaven.

And of course, everything is new again at night...

I'll stop there for now.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


My baby is three.


Seriously, I suppose it's time to stop calling her the baby, but I think she will always feel like she is.

We celebrated a day early since tomorrow is a little nuts...and we had a great time. Every kid needs to have a birthday party at chuck e cheese at least once in their life, and this time was Katie's turn.

She had a great time and just kept jumping from ride to ride and every few minutes I would hear her say, "Mommy, I need more money."

LOL! I guess that probably won't change either.

Katie is such a great little girl. I get a charge out of just about everything she does. She is hilarious and is constantly saying funny things.

And she is just so certain about everything.

Three things I really love about Katie:

1. She is so sweet and happy and when she says sorry she just has to touch your face first.
2. She thinks she is big...and knows way too many things for a girl of only three -- like all the words to a bunch of Taylor Swift songs.
3. She has the best laugh. It's loud and cute and makes you want to laugh right along with her.

I'm so glad she's mine.

Happy Birthday Katie!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Class of 2010

I know you thought I had given up blogging...but I have been trying to get my life together enough to actually blog again.

And I was feeling so dang sentimental tonight...I just had to post.

Joe and Emma graduated from elementary school today. I am so proud of all they have accomplished. They are wonderful students, but more importantly, they are wonderful people.

They both were chosen to speak at graduation (just a sentence each - but we'll take it) and both received a presidential academic award as well.

I feel so blessed that they are my children and I know that they will continue to have success in all that they do.

I guess my only wish is that they would do it all a little slower -- because it just seems like yesterday they were starting school and now they are off to middle school.

Congratulations Joe and Emma on a job well done.
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