Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Becky's 27th birthday

Ok, maybe not my 27th birthday...would you believe 32nd?  No?  

we were going to have these cinnamon rolls
until Gemma woke up on my birthday party day
and promptly barfed all over the (carpeted) stairs...
so my party had to be postponed
(and we got the cin. rolls all to ourselves!)

so we had my party in conjunction with a dinner to celebrate
Uncle Tony's visit, at grammae and papa's

happy birthday to me!

great presents and lovely cards :o)

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Ok, I'm going a little out of order here, but it has been SOOOOO hard to find time to create and narrate my Italy posts that I thought I'd do some easy posts for your viewing pleasure.  Don't worry, I will still do my Italy posts.  But here are some pics in the mean time....

pumpkin carving

notice the sewing machine in the background...yes,
I was still working on costumes right up til the very end

2 handsome men on Halloween night

Ninjago characters

another great Halloweenie Roast
at Eliot & Emmett's house

Gemma liked the trick-or-treating...especially when
she thought she could just take candy straight from
the bowl at the house she was at, no walking door-
to-door required!

all tired out

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

R.I.P. Judy C.

Carter's mother, Judy, passed away earlier this week.  Although I had not had the pleasure of meeting Judy, I have heard great things about her.  She was very much loved.  Our thoughts and prayers go to Carter, Erica, and Carter's family.  If my loyal readers could please say a prayer for Carter's family, it would be appreciated, thank you.

Carter and his mom, Judy

a pretty picture of Judy

Judy's family (Judy and Dan celebrated 50 yrs of marriage)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Italy, Day 2, 2nd half of day

Wednesday, 2nd part of the day:  After climbing the mountain (!) and having Mass at the top, the bus drove us down into town.  (And just where was the bus when we were going UP??)  We came to the youth center of a local church where Fr. Peter's friends had brought all sorts of yummy Italian dishes for us to sample.
Youth Centers like this are very common in
association with parishes

Lasagna (duh) and we also had roast beef, bread with cheese
and ham, "pizza" quiche with zucchini, tuna loaf, lemon bread,
fig tart, chocolate loaf, Coca Cola, and more....

Two pilgrims, Sally and Kathy, passing a PLATTER of parmesan!
 Next we walked to a bar (Italian for cafe) for some coffee.
outside the bar "Italia Nuova"

Bunny got a hot chocolate, which was as thick as pudding!
 Next we walked the short distance to the church.  The church is "Madonna della Ghianda" which means "Our Lady of the Acorn".  I got a big kick out of that.  I had no idea there was such a name for Mary!  But the story is that in the 12th century a deaf/dumb girl sheep herder was healed when she saw an image of Mary in an oak tree.  In the local dialect, the Italian word for acorn is the same as for the whole oak tree, so it is really more like Our Lady of the Oak Tree.
This road up to the church (and the church itself, I believe)
was ordered by St. Charles Borremeo, when
he visited in the 1500s

The beautiful mosaic on the outside, above the door
(little did I know that this was the first of MANY mosaics)

The inside of the little church
(again, I was very impressed, but I soon found out that
many churches were so beautiful and old!)

If I remember correctly, there are relics in each of these busts.
Behind the altar is a little back room that is the original chapel
with the original very old fresco (see it thru the back window)

In the little old section, with the fresco
(I think this was pre-1500s)

This is what the main part of the fresco looked like
 We made our way to the bus, and we were supposed to go to Lake Como but the timing was off so we decided not to go.  Bunny was bummed, because she was really looking forward to going to the Planet Naboo (some of Star Wars was filmed at Lake Como) and I was hoping to run into George Clooney.  But, it turned out to be a good call because we had a very late night as it was.  We made our way to an amazing retreat house (Villa Sacro Cuore in Truiggio) that used to be a wealthy family's estate, then was donated to the Jesuits, then acquired by the archdiocese to be used as a retreat center.  
our room (yes we had a private bath too)

We went straight down to dinner, risotto, bread, proscuitto (sp?),
potatoes, salad, veal, wine, and an orange marmalade tart

Sedric using the bidet:
bedtime cleaning after a long day in airplanes and
a long day climbing a mountain!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Italy, Day 2, first half of day

On Wednesday morning 10/17 we landed in Milan, Italy!  It was about 7am local time.  We were wide awake thanks to a shot of adrenaline; we kept looking at each other and saying, "We're in Italy!"

in the airport waiting to get our passports stamped
 Father Peter was waiting for us in the lobby.  We all grabbed our luggage and boarded the bus.  (I had packed one medium-large suitcase for the 3 of us, plus a backpack each).
Father Peter gave commentary along the ride
 We were on our way to Sacro Monte, or "Sacred Mountain", where people years ago would do their own sort of pilgrimage before cars/trains/planes etc.  
this is the mountain we were going to...see the large buildings in the upper right
 We, just like pilgrims for the last 400 or so years, climbed the mountain, stopping at 14 chapels along the way.  Each chapel was different from the outside, and inside were life-sized statues of the stations of the cross.  We could not go in the chapels but instead we peered inside to see the beautiful statues and paintings.
starting up the mountain

and more walking, uphill of course

the interior of one of the chapels, from the 1600s if I remember correctly

It wasn't all walking, sometimes we climbed stairs too
 It was a really really long "walk" for just coming off an international flight.  I am not in shape by any means, and I had my little "15 pound penalty" on my hip, so it was quite hard for me.  Some older members of our trip had trouble, too.  But we all made it!!!!!!!  With more than a little prayer, of course.
The view from the top with friends Kelly and Kathy
 At the top was a beautiful church, small but completely covered with carvings, artwork, and intricacies.  I don't remember all the great history behind the different parts of the church; maybe I will look it up someday.  We had some time to look around and then have our first Mass of our trip, and we were surprised to find that Father Peter's friends have joined us too!
 That rounds out the first HALF of our first day in Italy (whew!).

Italy, Day 1

   Almost 3 weeks ago (!) on Tuesday October 16th, Bunny, Sedric, and I left for the great country of Italy.  Our church, St. Matthew in Hillsboro, put together a pilgrimage as a replacement fundraiser for our Fall Festival, which did not happen this year because of anticipated construction.  Father Peter was to lead the group, which was a GREAT draw since he has lived in Italy, speaks Italian, and is very familiar with the different sites, history, artwork, and architecture.  
    From the day this pilgrimage was first presented, I knew I wanted Bunny to go.  This would be the ultimate homeschool field trip!  So I talked with Marcus about it, assuming he would be the one to take her given that I would have a little baby in the coming October.  But...with his job change and new company, it turned out that he could not take the time off needed.  I was not about to give up on my goal, so after lots of consideration and prayer, we decided to make it work by having me and Sedric be Bunny's chaperones.
    We left Portland on 10/16 after waking up EARLY (3am!) and meeting at the St. Matthew parking lot to pick up a few pilgrims.  Then on our way to the airport. 
Bunny playing with the iPad in the Portland airport, around 5am
The first flight was to Newark, New Jersey, and if I remember correctly it took about 5 hours.  We were not "supposed" to sleep during that flight since it was Italian daytime, but luckily Sedric did not get the memo.  He was a good little boy and took 2 nice naps, even with a lot of turbulence on the way.
    In Newark, we had a few hours for a layover.  We had lunch and used the restroom, etc.
showing our passports for the 2nd time (we were keeping track)

our first gelato of the trip, in Newark
waiting to board the plane to Milan
 The flight to Milan was 8 hours, I think.  Finally we could sleep!  But with dinner service, more turbulence, people socializing behind us, and poopie diapers, we didn't actually get a lot of shut-eye.  Finally Bunny fell asleep at about 10am her time which was...right before we were about to land.  :o)
we were happy to get a bassinet for Sed

it was a long flight