9.28.2017

Nixon 19-20 Months

This little boy is growing up! He's definitely a handful these days and full of energy! Things about Nixon at this stage:
  • he can say lot's of words like: jump, water (wadie), trash, go, shoe, no, mine, nose, eye, out, walk, nap, toot, poo poo, baby... and many others
  • he can say lots of animal sounds
  • he is Mr. Independent! He wants to buckle part of his car seat buckle by himself, eat without help... or he'll refuse to eat if you've tried helping him, drink from a bottle of water... etc
  • he loves to snuggle under blankets and he likes to put a blanket around the back of this neck (like a scarf) when he sleeps
  • he likes to pick up his bowl and sip the milk from his ceral
  • wants whatever everyone else is getting. One night we were having root beer and he was not satisfied until he got a cup of root beer himself.
  • he loves to play outside! He likes to ride his scooter, jump on the tramp, and swing on the swings superman style
  • he takes one nap and if I get him down just a half an hour late he'll just refuse to sleep
  • he hits. You can see him wind back his arm before he striks
  • he's really into throwing toys in the trash and toilet. The other day he threw my keys in the toilet at the gas station!
  • he loves to pick grapes from our vines and help himself to a snack. 
  • sometimes when I'm holding him on my hip he gets excited and bounces up and down. I love it


9.27.2017

Italy Vacation- Day 8- Vatican, Toronto, and Home

On Wednesday we decided to get up early and go to the Vatican one last time. We had to be back to the train station at 10 am for our train to the airport so we left early. We took the subway there and were surprised by how full it was at 5:45 am. When we got to the Vatican it was still dark and already a line was forming to get in. The square was suppose to open at 7 am, so we thought, and we were hoping to climb the dome since we didn't have time to our first day to Italy. After we'd waited about 30 minutes in line we started talking to the lady in front of us. She was a Catholic American from Ohio and it turns out her husband is Mormon so we had a lot to talk about. While talking to her we found out that that morning was a special morning, hence the line so early in the morning, because it was actually the papal audience. The pope was going to come out and give the audience a blessing at 10 am. We decided we'd still wait to get in and then leave when we had to. It was interesting watching how frantic everyone was about getting in first and rushing to the front for a good spot. Once inside St. Peter's Square we couldn't stay long and the guards kept trying to push us along and wouldn't let me stand to take pictures.  So we left and headed back to our hotel for breakfast.
We checked out of our hotel and hopped on our train to the airport. We sat across from a couple from Norway and I could tell they were Norwegian because the language is similar to Swedish and I knew it wasn't Swedish or Danish. So when I asked them they were really surprised. It was fun, and a bit awkward, chatting with them for a bit.

At the airport it was a bit confusing, but we checked our suitcase and went through security. We grabbed a slice of pizza and tried to be some of the last passengers on the plane. It turned out that our seats were not next to each other, but across the isle from each other. But the seat next to me was empty so once everyone boarded Rob switched his seat to sit by me.

It was a long flight to Toronto. I worked on my laptop and watched a few movies. The only time I'd fallen asleep Rob happened to have to use the restroom so he woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep.

When we got to Toronto we had to go through customs which meant we had to stand in a lot of long lines. We didn't have much of a layover and had just enough time to go to the bathroom and buy a sandwich before they started boarding our next flight. This flight was a few hours long and partly though I couldn't keep my eye open and slept for an hour or so.

We got back to SLC at 9 pm and Rob's brother picked us up from the airport. We went home and slept. The next day Rob headed back to work and I drove up to Logan to pick up Nixon and the girls. We'd missed them!

We'd had quite the adventure on our trip to Italy. We packed a lot in and didn't have any regrets, but that meant we were exhausted by the time we got home. It took me a full week to adjust back to our time. Jet lag is real!

9.26.2017

Italy Vacation- Day 7- Ostia Antica

On Tuesday we checked out of our hotel, walked with our big suitcase to the train station and took a train back to Rome. The only tickets left on the train were first class. They were a bit pricy, but it was really nice sitting in first class. I worked on my laptop the whole ride. (I was hoping to have all my photos downloaded and edited by the time we got home (which I did, but it also took a long plane ride!) so that I wouldn't have soooo much work to do. But just writing these blog posts is a lot of work and is talking me forever!)
When we arrived in Rome we took our suitcase to our hotel (Hotel Agora) which was across the street from the main train station Roma Termini (the same place we used as a bag bnb a few days earlier). From there we picked up some pizza for lunch and took the subway out to Ostia Antica. We had to transfer subway cars half way there in what seemed like the most ghetto area in Rome (Porta S. Paolo) ... I'm sure it's not but it was covered in graffiti and dirty. Coming out of the train station in Ostia Antica and crossing over the overpass was pretty yucky too as you can see from the picture of Rob below.
Ostia Antica was amazing! It's an ancient archeological town that used to be a seaport. It thrived in it's time, but when Rome fell it was sacked by pirates multiple times and slowly fell into decay. Rob and I had no idea how big it was! Plus there were few tourist and we could walk all over and on most of the ruins. We spent about 3.5 hours there and didn't even see it all! We would have stayed longer if wasn't closing time.
The little arches below (and the arches a few pictures up of Rob) held urns.
There were several of these mosaic tiled floors.
Below was the shopping area where merchants used picture mosaics to show what they sold in their shops because not everyone could read.
This restaurant, the Thermopolium, was still in really great condition! You can even see the picture on the wall of what they served here. (Food, drink, and music).
These are ancient toilets that had flowing water running underneath.
This is me at the theater.
We stayed till closing and literally walked out of the site at exactly 7pm. We took the train and subway back to Rome and ate at the train station. I ate at McDonalds because I needed food other that what we'd been eating... and it was delicious. Rob found a cafeteria and got a plate Risotto and a roll. There were enough choices there that I probably would have enjoyed eating there had I known about it before I pick McDonalds. After we topped the night off with gelato and headed back to our hotel.

9.25.2017

Italy Vacation- Day 6- Pisa

On Monday, after our hotel breakfast of croissants, fruit, and sandwiches we headed to the train station and took a train to Pisa. We got started a little later than we wanted to so we didn't get there till about 11:30am. And then it was a 20 minute walk to the leaning tower. 
At the leaning tower, we walked around the cathedral and the baptistry and took a few photos before we got in line to purchase tickets to climb the tower. When we purchased the tickets, the next available time to climb the tower was at 2 pm and that was a lot later that we'd planned to, but Rob really wanted to so we agreed. (This meant our plan to go to Cinque Terre this day would probably not happen.)
We went into the Basilica and it was pretty impressive. After we walked down the street where Rob got a sandwich for lunch and I decided I'd rather skip lunch than eat another sandwich. So I had a couple snacks and picked up a two Pinocchio pens for the girls. 
We returned to the Leaning Tower and stood in line for the restrooms and then in another line to drop off our back pack before we could get in the line for the tower.
It was really cool to climb the tower. You could totally feel the lean! 
There were two places to come out and view the city from above.
The pictures below were from the lower view.
Then we went up a few more stairs to the upper view.
On our way down the tower, on the very last step my shoe slipped and I fell... right in front of a big line of onlookers. Only my pride was hurt!

We'd decided not to go to Cinque Terre. There were only a few trains there and even fewer back to Florence. Plus to get back to Florence on a late train was super expensive so we decided to head back to Florence and spend the evening there.

On our walk back to the train station, as we were crossing a crosswalk a man was walking by with a guitar up on his shoulder. He was holding the neck of the guitar with his hand/forearm and the base was resting on his shoulder I'm not sure if he did it on purpose or if it was an accident, but as he pasted me he turned away from me and his guitar swung out smacked me hard in the head. I was kind of stunned, and I grabbed my head and looked back at him and just looked at me. No concern, no apology. Rob was ready to pick a fight, but I just wanted to get out of there. Plus we were rushing to catch a certain train back to Florence. I was on the brink of tears and needed to keep walking to quail my emotions. I could totally understand Sophie when she starts to cry about something and then tells me, "I'm not trying to cry!" It seemed like Pisa had something against me with slipping at the tower and a smack to the head. Ha!

When we got back to Florence we headed to the heart of the town. We walked to a little nicer restaurant only to find out they weren't opening till 7 pm and it was only 5 and we were hungry. So we decided we really wanted more Gelato at Vivoli's and we'd find a good place to eat near it. But if you remember Vivoli's is closed on Monday's and it was Monday... we found that out when we got there. It was so disappointing. We'd been thinking about it all day. So we just picked up some shawarma and got some gelato at a nearby place. It was probably the worst gelato we'd had in Italy.

After dinner and dessert we headed back to the hotel for the rest of the evening and hung out watching shows on Netflix while I downloaded and edited photos the rest of the night. It was nice to have a chill night.