I’m pretty proud of Damien so far today because he was very good at following directions. For those who don’t know, Damien loves to run off. So Damien must hold our hands, be carried, or be in a cart/stroller if we’re in public. Damien has also decided that he LOVES television. The only problem with that is he doesn’t get to use up all his energy. So I had to turn off the TV this morning and take him on a walk, only this time I brought down his toy lawn mower to push. The mower is actually one of the things Grandma bought for him when she was visiting. Anyways, it worked out great. By him pushing his mower around, it kept him from gaining enough speed to get too far away and he also listened to me when I pointed to which direction he should go. We went on a nice walk up to the park and back and he walked nicely along side me. The short video is him just walking behind our apartments.

The first pic below isn’t from today, but Damien’s wearing the cute shirt Grandma bought for him when we were in Venice, Italy.

After the walk…I think he’s finally tired 🙂

Damien’s Second Haircut

Right before Grandma and I went to Italy, we took Damien to get his haircut. Scott and I cut his hair the first time back in December. We decided to try a professional this time. Damien was actually very well behaved and I think he looks cute…well cuter, anyways. I know my Mom is getting anxious to see some photos so here they are! Of course the only pictures I can seem to get of Damien that aren’t blurry are when he’s eating since it’s the only time he’s somewhat still…

Italy Trip – Day 6

Day 6 was our final day in Italy and our return to Germany. We stopped by to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and ate lunch. I didn’t know this before getting there, but you can actually go inside of it. They only allow about 20 people inside at a time for obvious reasons.

Leading into the Field of Miracles

There were TONS of people. Our tour guide said in her 28 years as a guide that she’s never seen it so busy.

I couldn’t resist…

Grandma is front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Grandma and I

Another view of the Field of Miracles

After Pisa we endured the long path back through Switzerland to Germany. We arrived just after midnight. At least the tour guide played movies for us on the bus to make the time go by a little faster.

Some other pieces I forgot to mention from the Italy trip–almost all of the public restrooms in Italy didn’t have toilet seats. Also, Italian drivers are insane. I even got to witness some ANGRY Italian drivers. I am 100% happy that I was stationed in Germany over Italy. Italy was actually number one on my list and Germany was second.

By the time this is getting posted, my Grandma is already back safe and sound in the States. Thank you so much to my Grandma for making the trip out here, for helping me with the move, for my gifts and meals, and for the memories. Awesome trip. And a special thank you to Scott who stayed home and took great care of my sweet, lil’ baby Damien while my Grandma and I experienced Italy. Much appreciated.

Italy Trip – Day 5

On Day 5, we left Rome for Florence which I believe was a 5-6 hour bus ride. Grandma and I were rather exhausted by this point in the trip and ended up doing some shopping while looking around the sights in Florence.

El Duomo– this was Grandma’s favorite looking church

The front of El Duomo

Street view in Florence

Another street view in Florence

Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza Signoria

Close up of the fountain

Replica of David. There was a large line to see the real one from Michelangelo.

Perseus holding Medusa’s head in the Piazza

We just saw this while walking. It looked awesome.

After sightseeing and shopping, we went to a Tuscan dinner with our tour group. It was definitely the best meal and we had a lot of fun…it was also all you can drink wine. The strawberry wine was DELICIOUS!

Pre-dinner drink. It was peach flavored.

Grandma and I at the Tuscan dinner with our strawberry wine.

Not a very good photo. The meat was on fire, but it didn’t really translate.

Italy Trip – Day 4

Day 4 contained both my favorite and at least activities of the whole trip. First, we took the bus about 4 hours down to Pompeii. Pompeii was hands down my FAVORITE part. It was just so interesting to hear about how they lived 2,000 years ago and how similar things are today. Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Our tour guide for Pompeii was Francesco. If I could create a person who embodied all Italian stereotypes from appearance to speech, it was Francesco. Grandma thought he was funny, I thought he was rather annoying. Still, he gave us great information.

View of the unburied city of Pompeii

The amphitheater. That is Francesco with the sunflower umbrella.

This was on a wall. It’s stating that a certain politician funded the construction of a roof. Basically, a way to remind people of his importance and to give him credit. Has much changed?

The city is very grid-like and uses the north/south/east/west for its roads. It has a street for the chariots and sidewalks for pedestrians. You’ll notice large blocks going across the street. That’s a cross walk so pedestrians can walk without getting wet if there’s water in the street. The stones are measured for chariots to drive through.

A home, I believe

The name on the home is original.

Inside a home of a wealthy person. I guess it’s like their entryway. I noticed most of their walls used to be red.

Wealthy homes had a garden in the middle.

These buildings were stores for shopping much like what you see today.

This was a bakery.


I don’t think you can see it very well in this picture, but there’s a shape on the street in a specific shape which lets men know where the brothels are…

This is inside a brothel. There are pictures on the wall to show the various “options”. Pictures were used in case the person couldn’t read.

A stone bed inside the brothel.

A real person preserved from the eruption.

This is inside a bath house. They LOVED their baths. The cubbies on the walls are storage lockers.

In the bath houses, they had heated floors.

This is in their main square area outside.

Main square again

Me, again

Grandma in the main square.

After a great tour of Pompeii, we jumped on the bus over to Sorrento. It’s a very cute place and they’re known for their lemons in this area. The lemons though are very sour so they use them for an alcoholic beverage known as limoncello. I bought some for Scott 🙂

Scenic view from the bus to Sorrento.

Another scenic view from the bus.

In Sorrento

Street view of Sorrento

In Sorrento, waiting for the boat.

After Sorrento, we took a boat ride to Naples. This was the worst part of the entire trip. Our boat had mechanical issues so we had to take a different boat which lengthened our time on the boat by about an hour. I’m sure the view of the Mediterranean Sea would have been lovely, only Grandma and I couldn’t enjoy it because the boat was rocking way too much and we would have been sick. The whole journey we spent inside sleeping through the misery. Once we arrived in Naples, all we did was jump on the bus for a 4 hour drive back to the hotel in Rome. Not too fun. Oh, and something interesting about Naples, don’t ever go there! lol. The city is full of unemployed and the crime rate is outrageous. It wasn’t too pretty either.  

Pic of Naples from the bus

City of Naples from the bus. Couldn’t Naples leave fast enough 🙂

Italy Trip – Day 3

Day 3 was definitely the most tiring day. We spent the whole day in Rome. The city of Rome is covered in more graffiti than I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It was too hard to get pictures from the bus though. I did take tons of pictures, but most weren’t worth posting. There was so much information about art and our tour guide for the day spoke with a thick Italian accent. We had to use an earpiece/radio device so we could hear what the tour guide was saying because it was so loud where we were going. The Vatican museum was probably the most unexciting thing on the trip. While everything was visually interesting, it was a little bit overwhelming and I couldn’t hear most of what was being said about it. We also went inside the Sistine Chapel, but photos aren’t allowed so I don’t have any.

Outside the Vatican. Can you guess who’s hat that is? lol

St. Peter’s Square

Different view of outside

You can see St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome.

Some courtyard area

Courtyard area from a different view.

The Egyptian things seemed interesting.


More Sculptures

Ceiling in one of the rooms

Close up view of same ceiling

A room with tapestries on the walls. Grandma stands out 🙂

A close up of one of the tapestries

Another room in the museum with maps painted on the walls

Close up of what was painted beside one of the maps

Ceiling in the map room

Close up of the ceiling

The eyes were gems…which have since been removed. Maybe stolen?

Close up of more art

Painted on a ceiling. This is more what I expect from the Catholics lol

Holy door-opened once every 25 years

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica

Mary holding Jesus in this sculpture. I remember the tour guide saying how there were complaints when it was done that Mary looked too young. I think this was done by Michelangelo

More inside St. Peter’s Basilica

Pope John XXIII, I think

If you look closely, you’ll see people on a balcony underneath the windows. Notice the size of the people compared to the size of the letters.

Grandma in St. Peter’s Basilica

Colosseum. Fun fact, the holes that look like spots all over the Colosseum are because of a metal storage at one point in time, so they just stole it from here.


Grandma in front of a Roman gate at the Colosseum

Going inside the Colosseum

Great view of the inside arena

Grandma and I!

Trevi Fountain

Another view of the Trevi Fountain

Grandma throwing a coin in the fountain. It’s tradition to throw the coin with your right arm over your left shoulder while standing backwards.

The Pantheon

Inside the Pantheon

The ceiling in the Pantheon. It’s completely open at the top. There are holes in the floor below in case of rain.

Grandma outside the Pantheon

Street view of Rome

Grandma and I resting after a long day. She’s people-watching.

After a full day of sightseeing in Rome, we went to a family style Roman dinner. They had Opera singers for entertainment and I witnessed Grandma enthusiastically singing along to the songs after drinking some wine.

Italy Trip – Day 2

Day 2 Grandma and I spent in Venice, Italy.

Boat we took to get to Venice

Glass-blowing demonstration

Final product…created in about 10 min. This skill takes 15-20 years to master, they said.

Notice the amount of people…Can you spot Grandma?


St. Marc’s Square, aka Piazza San Marco

Another view of St. Marc’s Square

Yet another view of St. Marc’s Square

View from the water. Don’t remember name of the building.

St. Marc’s Basilica

Grandma in front of St. Marc’s Basilica

Gondola ride, anyone?

It was hard to take photos of ourselves in the gondola, but you get the idea.

Street view from the gondola


Going under another bridge…

Notice a tower is leaning??

Venice, a strange and beautiful place

Me with my newly purchased jacket–go Italia!

After sightseeing in Venice, we then took a 6 hour bus ride to Rome, Italy.

Italy Trip – Day 1

For all those wondering, Grandma and I returned from our Italy trip late last night. Overall, it was AMAZING, but definitely exhausting. With over 2,000 miles traveled and 741 photos taken in 6 days/5 nights, we are satisfied that we saw everything there was to see in Italy. Our driver and tour guide were the best you could ask for.

Below is a snapshot of the events from Day 1. We got on our bus at about 0530 and didn’t arrive to our hotel in Venice until around 2300 (11pm). It was a brand new bus so it was very nice.

Border between Germany and Switzerland

Grandma bought us wine to celebrate the transition into Switzerland

Grandma on the bus going into Switzerland

Swiss landscape

Swiss Alps

Scenery from our rest stop in Switzerland

We made a two hour dinner stop at Lake Garda in Italy.  Very pretty place.

Our first taste of TRUE Italian pizza–Hawaiian style

First taste of real Italian gelato. Don’t be fooled by Grandma’s expression, she likes gelato.

Lake Garda

Lake Garda

At Lake Garda

 Day 1 was long, but we made it to Venice! More pictures to come over the next few days.