Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thank you God!

My buddy Tony Polizzi preached a great message this morning and part of the message talked about thanking God for the little things in life. You know, when you see that car just in time to hit your brakes and miss it. You slowly press on the gas and say "Thank You God for making sure I didn't hit that guy." Today, after we went to the watering hole, I was driving with my window open and I heard a distinct sound coming from the rear of the car (from the tire). I thought, "I must have picked up a rock that's making some noise in the tread." After about 500 meters, I pulled over only to notice a big, fat screw lodged in my tire. Urrrggg! I thought to myself, we're going to the Venice Airport in two days and there are no "overnight" tire places to patch a tire. There's no way we'll fit all our stuff in the Mini. We drove and listened to the tire make that horrible sounds all the way home. When we got home, I cautiously twisted the screw out with a pair of plyers waiting for that awful "hissing" sound as the air comes rushing out of the tire, but "Thank God," it didn't. It was a big, fat screw, but fortunately very short. I immediately thought of Tony's sermon today and thanking God for the little things in life.
Thank You God!

"The Watering Hole"

Beautifully clear water

The Hike up

Bella, Bella...

Some flowers along the way!

Sarah taking lead

Hailey on her way up the hill

Tom & Bandit take a moment to chill

Michelle striking a pose

Almost there!

Finally reached the top!

The Girls on Top of the World! They wish they could jump in... Too cold just yet!

Sarah & Mom stop for a photo op

So do I

Making our way across the stream

Bandit coaching Sarah across the stream.

Wow! We all made it safe and sound!

Michelle & The Girls!


Bandit, "I can do it, I can do it"

Until Summer! When we'll be back again!

Hailey is the only one that ended up with wet shoes!

With such a beautiful Sunday, the girls and I were able to convince "Mom" to come to the watering hole with us and go exploring. If you remember stories from this summer, you remember many of us going to the watering hole daring each other to jump from the highest rocks into ice cold water. During the summer, it's full of people and everyone is making noise as they encourage one another to go higher than the next person to jump. Today was very quiet and somewhat surreal. Of course Michelle had her trusty camera so she didn't miss anything. It's hard to believe, but the place may have been more beautiful today than it usually is in the summer. The pictures turned out great and the girls had a blast (so did Bandit). Of course, Hailey had to fall on several occasions so she ended up looking as if she went for a swim. She couldn't wait to come home and soak her feet in warm water in our baday, we've finally found one good use for it.

Going to the watering hole today got me thinking about good friends and past memories. What a blessing Aviano has been and how quickly time flies by.... As I sat along the water I couldn't help but dream about this upcoming summer and sharing the waterhole with new friends as we encourage one other to go higher and higher.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturdays in Spillimbergo

Cheese, Cheese, Cheese

Oranges from Sicily are now in season

Fried Calamari- Yum, Yum, Yum... The Girls love it!

Our favorite spot at the local cafe

Hailey out front!

Inside the cafe which is always crowded

Hailey with her Orange Fanta- So typically Italian...

The Owner & Tom

Prosciutto, Prosciutto, Prosciutto

Nothing better than thick crusty bread & Prosciutto "The Typical Italian Sandwich"

I (Tom) really love going to Spillimbergo on Saturdays. Saturday in Spillimbergo is the market day. You can get everything from produce to ferrets at the market and anything in-between. We usually go to see what cool clothes are for sale. You get much better prices at the market than if you go to the mall or department store. So off we went to the and my girls, and of course, Michelle's new camera. We were able to pick up some sweaters for the girls and Michelle picked up a thing or two. The girls got their fill of fried calamari and a soda before we settled into our favorite little wine bar. We take everyone we know to this place for a glass of Tocai (local white wine) and some bread and prosciutto (best ham in the world). Yesterday was packed, but the owner, a great friend of ours after so many visits, quickly found us a table and took great care of us. When it was all said and done, we ate a bunch of prosciutto and had four glasses of Tocai for the low-low price of 10 Euro. Not bad huh? Just another beautiful day in Spillimbergo.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The "MANY" faces of Hailey

Hailey always keeps us with a smile on our faces.
She is so her father's child!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hip, Hip, Horay! It's the 100th day!

Hailey celebrated with her Daddy the 100th day of school. She was so excited to have him come and share in all the fun and activities. I sadly had to miss it due to PWOC, but he looks as though he filled in perfectly.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bassano del Grappa

We also visited Bassano del Grappa on our day trip. It sits in a stunning location by the River Brenta with Monte Grappa in the background. It is about 35 kilometers north east of Vicenza. The town's symbols are said to be the Palladian bridge, white asparagus, ceramics and the Grappa liqueur. We also found a great little Lebonese take-out restaurant there. The owner Henre gave us a sampling of all his best dishes. He was born in Lebanon, but studied in the states, and then married an Italian and moved to Italy. So if you looking for some good Lebonese food, smooth grappa, and a picturesque bridge then Bassano del Grappa is the ideal place to visit. We enjoyed every bit of it.


Yesterday we took a day trip to Cittadella, pronounced Chit-ta-della. About 2 hours down the road toward Vincenza. The city was built in the 13th century, and this medieval walled city was once a fortress town. Brick walls, four gates, and many towers and turrets surround this charming little city. Thanks to the careful restoration there is a parapet walkway around the perimeter of the city in which you can see the whole city and multiple vineyards in the distance. Within the walls you'll find a Duomo-Cathedral, with frescoes & fabulous altarpieces. Next door to the cathedral is a small museum with a good collection of religious shrines and furnishings. Just outside the walls is the oldest church in Cittadella called the Chiesa di San Donato. We also found a great little park right outside the city walls where the girls got a chance explore and play a little.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Bug

Hope all of you had a nice President's Day weekend. As for us I came down with a 24 hour bug on Sunday that kept me in and out of the bathroom for a day or two. I know, I know, way to much TMI. I just hope none of you get it because it comes on very quickly and it's pretty nasty while it lasts. Tom was a real champ this time and really came to my rescue. He was very thoughtful and took great care of me!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Michelle and International Relations

Michelle & "Momma" Lidia

The Ladies "40 and above" oops not you Heather.

Michelle in the Middle of "YMCA" - Look at those arms

The "Wedding Singer"

Gosh, Michelle and I had a blast on Valentine's Day. We went to this very exquisite restaurant in Maniago called Antica Taverna (Antique Tavern). The restaurant was doing a special San Valentino night for couples and they really rolled out the red carpet to include a "wedding singer" singing a plethora of 80s music. Just to give you some insight into the evening, we arrived at 7:00 and didn't leave until 12:45 AM. The wine and food was great but the company was better. Michelle talked to an old Italian couple all night that didn't speak a lick on English (that's always fun). Around 11:00, Michelle proceeded to get the "whole" restaurant out of their chairs to dance to the 80s music. What a blast! The only American girl cajoling all the Italians into dancing in the middle of the restaurant. At one point, she had all of them doing "the train" through the place. Oh, by the way, most of the people in the restaurant were over 50 years old. Again, my girl has gone Italian! As I close, I must tell you one more thing. The owner's mother,Lidia, actually invited Michelle to her beach-house in Bibioni this summer. Boy, this girl knows how to make contacts! Hope everyone else had just as much fun!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Maniago Carnevale 2008

We had such a great time at Maniago's Carnevale parade this year. After going to it for the past two years I do believe it's the best carnevale parade in this area. The parade was scheduled to start at 2:00 pm, but this year we decided to arrive a little later. Last year the parade really didn't get started until around 3:30 or 4:00. Every year they decorate the Town square and fountain. This years theme was "Under the Ocean" so they turned the fountain into a huge Lighthouse. It was so cool! They also had a big sea dragon the children could climb through. The square was decorated with fish, starfish, and jellyfish hanging from the town square lights. Our favorite float was the big treasure chest. We also thought the jellyfish and turtle costumes were pretty ingenious You could tell there was lots of time and effort put into all of the decorations and coordination. The girls also had a blast shooting silly string at each other and throwing confetti at the floats. My favorite part was when Tom brought me and a friend a friulan in a To-Go cup... Now that's a first for me in Italy!

Maniago's fountain transformed into a lighthouse.

Hailey getting ready to spray some silly string