Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Pool Party

Today we made it to the annual Memorial Day party at the Dugan's house.

Hailey was so excited to get in the pool. She's such a little fishy.

Thanks for watching her in the pool, Clarice!

Neither of us are really big on swimming so it was nice that someone would swim with Hailey.

And, of course, Hailey wanted her very own cupcake...

... just to lick off the frosting.

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Party with Rapunzel

We got to see Greg and Annie and the kids at Bri's Tangled birthday party this morning.  Mom made the cake into Rapunzel's tower.

Hailey liked seeing her cousins and jumping in the bounce house but she also wanted to run around the park and play on the playground.

Even Rapunzel was there to sing and tell stories and paint the girls' faces.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day Jeni! We hope you love your flowers.

It's a good Sunday when we come home from Church and Hailey goes down for a nap.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tour of Tuscany

Today we went spent our last day on a tour of Tuscany.

Our first stop was in Siena.

The big thing in Siena is the Palio, a horse race between the 17 districts of the city.

The districts are so small that we would walk into a new one just walking down a street or two.

The famous striped Cathedral.

The stripes used to be green but, because the stone is porous, it has absorbed all the smoke and incense over the years turning the stripes black.

The grand ceiling in the library.

These 16th century frescos have never been restored but, because no candles or outside light have ever been allowed in the library, they look as vivid and perfect as the day they were painted.

The walls are lined with entire books of gorgeously-illustrated manuscripts.

Next we went to a local farm and vineyard for lunch.

All of their cows are milked by hand every day.

There was a wine tasting. We were the most coherent people when all was said and done. While everyone swirled their wine glasses we swirled our water glasses. An exceptional glass of water definitely smells better than wine.

Overlooking the vineyard.

Next stop: a little medieval town called San Gimignano.

Our view from the vineyard/farm.

We could see all sorts of beautiful pottery.

But all we really wanted was some world-famous gelato.

Today was Jeni's birthday so we had gelato instead of cake.

Can't pass up a photo of some cool vines climbing the walls.

What a nice, relaxing day in the Tuscany countryside.

Next stop: Pisa in all its glory.

It's so neat to see all the different styles of the churches around Italy.

It's so pretty with the white stone and all the pillars and arches.

Rather than baptising inside the church this seperate baptistry was built because only the baptized could then enter the cathedral.

Ah, the leaning tower.

We didn't get a chance to go inside any of the buildings; we were too busy taking all our pictures from the outside.

Now that we have seen everything we came to see, we are all walked out, and have spent all our money we are ready to fly home tomorrow. It's been a great trip!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Florence Day 3

This morning we went to the Mercato Centrale, the huge indoor food market in Florence.

Inside were butcheries with all kinds of different cuts of meat, an abundance of cheeses, fruits, vegetables, pastries, pastas, and so on.

We saw pastas being made for the day.

Here we stopped to pick up some cream-filled pastries. The were so good we went back again for 2 more. Actually, we stopped by a third time later in the day for some bread and pastries after our lunch didn't turn out so well.

Steve said it was too early for treats.

He didn't say anything about new shoes.

We got to Santa Croce and watched a bunch of high school performers before we went inside the church.

Inside the church there was lots of pretty stained glass.

The tomb of Galileo.

Michelangelo's tomb.

The tomb of Niccolo Machiavelli.

Today we visited several small churches where we were not allowed to take pictures inside. We would leave one church and find another one just a block or two away. One of them was even built in the 8th century. While they may have similar characteristics they each have something different to offer those willing to visit.

It has been raining off and on the last few days but today has been nice and sunny.

The art in these churches is important because when the churches were built most people did not know how to read and relied on the art to learn the stories of the scriptures.

 We're not entirely sure, but it looks like a family tree for Jesus.

Santa Maria Novella has several 13th century frescoes that revolve around Mary, mother or Jesus. She was obviously favored here over other Saints and biblical figures.

Time for a snack... how about a fried rice ball?