Friday, July 25, 2008

The Wedding Part 1

A quick update between the wedding and the reception. Yes in Italy there is a 3-4 hour period between the wedding and the party. They have to, it lasts almost all night! Slight exaggeration but very close. The wedding was great and the girls almost made it all the way through. Not bad for almost two hours in the church. We arrived at 3:45 and took a seat in the last row so we could make a quick escape should it become too obvious that we are not Catholic, just kidding. In case the girls melted down. The non-Catholic part was very obvious. We stood out like jews in Mecca. The priest even avoided hitting us with the holy water. Kami was happy she had just straightened her hair. Salvatore looked very confident and Maria was beautiful. Agostino even got there on time. The wedding was all in Italian and Salvatore apologized for not having a program in English for us. We didn't mind it was fun to follow along and try to translate as you went. The wedding cerremony was actually very traditional and that made the translation much easier. Emma made it to the vows and then Dad had to take her out. She just couldn't sit any longer. Once outside she went through several stages of neediness. Mommy, water, walk, carry me, etc. Dad was very cool and calm despite the 85 degree weather and having to carry her around the downtown area for about an hour. We got water talked to some people and just waited for the ceremony to end. The pictures below show some of the pictures that big sister Kami took during and after the ceremony.
Maria in her flower girl dress, she was sweet The happy couple exiting the church Didn't you have hair when we started dating? I love you anyway! Run for it! A Chupa Chup to keep me quiet, how long is this thing going to last? The Church Signing the documents, the priest is telling Emma to be quiet. Meilynn loves Uncle (Zio) Pepino
Just a little note:  I had help with this entry.  In fact I did not write it at all.  Mike did.  No, the Priest did not tell Emma to be quiet.  This is just Mike's sense of humor!  vicki
Tired Babies! Our cousin Maria, wearing the dress we brought her The view from our "Hell Hotel" Enjoying a pastry in San Vito Lo Capo The famous Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice
Since I have last posted we have been to Ferrara, Venice, and now we are in Sicily.  The internet connections have been poor to non existent.  I had better luck posting in China.  I only have a few moments so I will put a few pictures up and hopefully have time to post tomorrow after the wedding.  The girls are doing fine.  There are a few more meltdowns now as we have been gone more than two weeks and they talk about home.  But for all the changes and things that we have been putting them through, I think they are doing great.  We had bad luck with my choice of "hotels" here in Sicily.  Our Hotel was maybe just a step up from camping.  I should have known when we moved in and saw the mop in the bathroom that there was something up.  I took a shower the first day and there was a flood!  The shower was smaller than our motorhome shower and there was no air conditioning.  The only thing it had going for it was a beautiful view of the ocean.  After one miserable night,  we made the choice that we would rather pay for 7 nights of (ok, I don't usually use this word but it is the only word that fits here) "Hell" than actually live it.  So we relocated to a brand new hotel in Buseto Palizzolo with air conditioning, towels, no mop, and a pool, oh and two bathrooms rather than one!  

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

We almost blow up the castle!

It has been really hard to get an internet connection here at our castle so I will update as much as possible and as fast as i can before I lose it again. We have been having a great time and Emma and Meilynn are doing great! That is not to say that there have been a few meltdowns, but that is normal and I am quite pleased with how well they are traveling. Usually the meltdown is from being overtired. We have had a few mishaps also. We are staying in this beautiful villa right next to a castle. It is three stories and has three bathrooms, three bedrooms a formal living area and two family rooms with a dining room and kitchen. We have been cooking breakfast and a few dinners. The second night that we were here Mike asked Meghan to put on a pot of water to boil pasta while he and Kami were at the Coop, which is the little local market. Meghan started the pot to boil and then I came in to start the sauce. (Only Mike had used the stove at this point and many things are different here, I tell you this so that we don't appear so stupid!) I cut up the garlic and basil and was ready to put it on the stove top. I called to Meghan who was now watching the girls and asked her how to use the stove. She started it for me. I couldn't tell where to put the pan. There were no circles showing where to put it. I asked her how you know where to put it and how do you know it is on since it did not light up. ( I thought it was an electric stove since it had a flat surface) She told me you just look under here and you see the flame so you know where to put it and that it was on. This is when I discovered that it was really a gas stove. I thought it was strange but then I also thought how cool to have a gas stove with a cover, so much easier to clean! ( Also, I have only cooked on a gas stove before) Meghan went back to watching the girls and I continued cutting up things for the sauce. All of a sudden there is this loud explosion!!!! The top of the stove blew up into a million little pieces. Glass flew everywhere. I was so lucky to not get hurt and especially lucky that the girls were in the other room with Meghan and not with me! I thought that the explosion would be heard all over the castle grounds and that someone would come knocking on our door at any minute. Meghan and I found out that the top was just a cover, not to cook on the hard way. Mike and Kami came back and I said we have a bit of a problem here. He could not believe that we had done that! We had to tell the people at reception and they were very nice about it but I am sure that our deposit will be paying for that stovetop.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Milan to Tuscany

Sorry we've been so behind in blogging...yesterday (Sunday) there was a storm here and it knocked out the internet. So starting where we left off...Milan! Our one full day in Milan was spent playing in the park and touring. In the morning, we went to a bakery and ordered a little bit of everything so that we could try it all. Then we went exploring through the castle and in the park. In the park there was a miniature train for the girls and a playground. Meilynn,Emma, Kami and Meghan went on the train...Meilynn loved it, Emma was a little bit scared of the Smurf and Disney figurines that were planted throughout the ride...but hey! What's new??? Then we went over to the playground and went on the teeter-totter, swings, and slides. The girls loved it and Dad took some time to sleep on the bench...again...what's new??? As for the tour, we went on what was supposed to be a "3 hour tour" (Debbie and catch my drift :) ) but it turned into a 4 and a half hour tour...LONG but very informative! We went to see Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" and then off to the castle. We had already explored the castle that morning, but our guide took us in the castle's museum and we saw a fresco painted by da Vinci. After the castle, we walked over to the gothic Duomo, which was beautiful. After the Duomo, our guide took us to one of the most famous gelaterias in Milan, where the flavors are constantly changing, depending on what's fresh or in season. We found the key to the tours for the girls is to give them Chupa Chup suckers, which occupy them for long periods of time and they love, so we will be buying more of those! That night, we went to a little local restaurant that was SO GOOD. The sauce was definitely homemade and the waiter was so nice. The next day, Saturday, we woke up and Kami and Dad went to go get the rental car...or bus I should say. We are driving a Ford Transit, a 9 passenger van with plenty of room. We packed up and drove south 4 hours to the Tuscany region, where we are staying for a week. Our "villa" is amazing! There is a castle here and we are staying in the 3 story villa next door. Our actual villa is 4-5 centuries old and the castle is just 1 century old. We are in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by grape vineyards and olive groves, with many towns, such as Siena, Florence, and Arezzo in driving distance. Saturday night we ate out at a nice restaurant where apparently all of the locals were eating at as well...the food was good, the service not so much. Yesterday, Sunday, we had a relaxing day. Meilynn slept for 14 hours and only woke up because Mom decided that that was enough! Dad, Meghan, and Kami went to the grocery store in the next town. When we got back, Dad made us lunch and we ate at the villa. We went swimming in the morning, but that was cut short due to the thunder, rain, and lightning storm that was rolling through. We had so much fun watching the storm pass. After the rain, we went on a walk around the property and then decided to go exploring in the car. Well our exploring led us to dinner in the middle of Siena! The plaza there is gorgeous. After dinner, we stopped for gelato and then drove back to Lupinari (our villa). Today is Monday and the internet is back up and running. Now we are going to head out and explore some other little Tuscan city. As of now we don't know where, but tomorrow we'll let you know where we ended up! Ciao e baci a tutti p.s we'll add more photos later Playing Chess at our Castle The planter outside our room Looking at the grapes in our vineyard The center of  Beautiful Grapes Exploring an old scale on the property of the castle Our Dog at the castle On a walk Fixing Mommies hair during the storm A view from our room I The entrance to our villa Our Castle is so big Really, really, big