Today we got to visit the towns of Siena and San Gimignano. Then more wine tasting and dinner at Verrazzano Castle. We are not used to all of this constant rushing about. It is interesting and fun, but also very exhausting. Tomorrow we get to see Florence and taste more great food.
Today we did a lot of traveling. We left Lucca by bus and got on a boat in La Spezia and saw the coastal area of Cinque Terre. There were several small coastal towns that had vineyards and olive groves planted on the steep mountain cliffs right on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It was quite the site to see. I was glad to get out of the choppy waters and put my un-seaworthy legs on solid ground again. We landed in Monterosso and had a quick lunch and then boarded a train to Rapallo. Our bus picked us up in Rapallo and brought us back to explore inside the city walls of Lucca. More gelato and espresso was the perfect way to end the busy afternoon.
Tonight we enjoyed supper with our tour group at the Grand Hotel Guinigi. Another great meal; we have been pleasantly surprised that even though Ben and I usually have very different tastes in food, we have both enjoyed the food very much – especially the large supper meals.
Tomorrow we head to Florence to discover more of Tuscany!
(That last one is Ben spying on me in the ladies room!)
I love food! And tonight we had a wonderful 5 course meal. Antipasta, 2 different pasta dishes, pork and potatoes, lettuce salad, and blackberry gelato for dessert. Along with wine, coffee and live music. What a treat! And the perfect way to start our Italy adventure.
Tomorrow we have a full day of seeing the sights in Rome – not nearly enough time, I know. But we are ready to make the most of it, and hopefully not get too tired.
We just arrived at the Dubuque Regional Airport. Yes, Dubuque has an airport – who knew! I’m sure the very small plane will provide an interesting flight to Chicago, but for now I am enjoying the quaintness of the airport. No mad hussle and bustle yet.
We dropped the kids off with grandma and grandpa – they are so brave and kind to take our kiddos so we can make this trip. And thanks to my mom for dropping us off at the airport. And for our friends who are watching our house for us while we are away. We are so grateful to all of you for helping make this trip possible.
I still can’t really believe that we’re on our way to Italy! It has always been by dream vacation destination. Can’t wait to see Rome, Tuscany, and Venice. Somebody pinch me; I must be dreaming!
Ouch! Ben just pinched me. Thanks Honey. And thank you Ben for taking me on this trip and for all the planning that you put into it.
And I thank God for this wonderful blessing. I pray for safe travels for us and our family. That we may meet people and experience things on this trip that will allow us to experience God and bring Him glory.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The other night I went out to eat with a group of adults, which was great considering I’m always with my girls. But before I left the house, my oldest daughter insisted that I take one of her Pollies in my purse “to remember her by.” Maybe she was afraid I wouldn’t come back. Too cute!
We have two very girly girls. They love all to do with princesses, fairies, barbies, and pollies. The last few days they have been listening to the same Barbie movie soundtrack over and over again. They now know most of the songs by heart and have been singing them constantly. Unfortunately, now both Ben and I have the songs stuck in our heads too. Is it cruel to want to hide the CD?
My girls must be learning some things in Sunday school, but all week my three year old Samantha has been singing “Hosanna, blessed be the king of Ariel!” We got right away that she should be saying “Israel,” but with her three year old vocabulary, it came out as “Ariel” (a favorite princess mermaid that she likes). Still, it’s pretty awesome that Samantha and Hannah are running around singing Hosanna even if they are confusing an important word or two.
Speaking of Samantha’s vocabulary: it is awesome! She turned three in February and is speaking in full sentences already. I am constantly amazed. This morning she was telling her favorite story time teacher, Miss Judy, all about her Easter weekend. She told her that she had more than one egg hunt and that she went to Grandma Barb’s house. That she fell on the rocks and that her cousin Jossalyn got bigger. I can’t do it justice, but I wished that I could have had a tape recorder.
Today I got two whole hours to myself – all alone! No kids, no phone, and no pressing tasks to complete. I went to the local coffee shop and enjoyed lunch, tried my first chai latte, and spent some time alone with God. I’m so glad that my husband encouraged me to do it, when I was considering doing something more stressful with the time by myself.
I love being able to stay home with my children everyday, but a day or even a few hours away from my children every once and awhile is essential and very refreshing.
This fall is going to be busy busy in the Flessner house. Hannah has started her second year of preschool and is going four days a week in the afternoons. And the one day that she doesn’t go to school she will have a dance class. This is her very first dance class and she is so excited for it to start. Hannah is definitely our little ballerina!! This week we got her ballet slippers and she wears them every chance that she gets.
I don’t know if this busy schedule is harder on the two youngest who try to nap in the afternoons or on mom who has already had to wake them up a few times in order to pick up big sister from school. Late afternoons are always the hard part of the day for all of us for some reason anyway and now it is even longer. Gone are the naps until 4pm, since Hannah needs to be picked up by 3pm. It’s so tempting to just let them sit in front of the television all afternoon. I guess this is just another change that we all have to adapt to.
I have made an effort to visit one of the nursing homes in our town several times in the last month. I was a little apprehensive at first because going to talk to people you don’t know, no matter how sweet they are, is a little disconcerting for me. It requires me to step out of my comfort zone, but I know that the experience is helping me to grow. And I love that my girls get to join me on these adventures. My oldest two girls love talking to the elderly. Although sometimes I think they come just to see the residents’ pet cat and the big cage of birds. Already we are getting to know just a few of the residents and although they don’t necessarily remember us from one visit to the next I feel like we are making a difference.
I thank God that He led me to share just a little bit of my time with the elderly. Now if I could just figure out the best way to spend the rest of my time…