Friday, April 29, 2011

Ann-Marie is 8!

Ann-Marie's birthday was on Wednesday, April 27th. We had a playdate on Monday at a park for her friends.....the sun even came out for us, which was a treat! Pap stopped by earlier in the day to wish her a happy birthday.

She wanted her cake to be a Build-A-Bear cake so we compromised on trying to replicate her Build-A-Bear. She was happy with it.

The morning of her birthday, she chose chocolate chip pancakes and bacon. Lunch was hotdogs and corn. She opened presents throughout the day....highlights were Calico Critters and Littlest Pet Shop. She is my little collector.Dinner was spaghetti with shrimp and green beans. We all went out for ice cream after.

And even Lily received a birthday present....purple glasses like Ann-Marie!

Happy Birthday to my daughter....I am so thankful to have a joyful eight year old. She is a blessing to our family every day.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Scenes from Easter 2011

Letting Alec use glitter on the Easter eggs means that we will be finding glitter throughout the house for the next six months!

Critiquing the eggs....

Alec's basket was hidden a little too well....Darrell had to retrieve it for him!

Happy basket finders!

Kindereggs....smuggled in from Italy.

All dressed up.....

and Comet gets in on the actions too!
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fast and Furious, but Fun

With barely under two weeks at home from our last trip, we headed east back to Maryland. Crazy? Maybe, but my youngest sister, who lives in Colorado Springs, was going to be there with her family. Maryland is a lot closer to Pennsylvania than Colorado Springs! We combined a visit with the Shullenbarger family in Knoxville, MD, so Ann-Marie could celebrate her birthday a little early with her friend, Rebekah. We left Friday morning, picked up Rebekah at 2 p.m., drove to Columbia, Md (the closest Build-a-Bear store), and were back by 6 p.m. for game night at their house. The lady at Build-a-Bear made Ann-Marie's early birthday so much fun, it was well worth the effort. Best friends picked out matching twin bears.

On Saturday, we drove to the National Harbor, as my Brother-in-Law was able to get us a room at the Gaylord Hotel. It was beautiful! Our room was on the 17th floor and our balcony looked over the lobby and out the glass windows you can see across the Potomac into Alexandria, VA and D.C.

The best part was spending time with my sister, brother-in-law and their three children (one more on the way!!!)
Little Abigail chilling (because she hadn't taken a nap!)
Kurt and boys enjoy (COLD) swimming pool.
Darrell having a moment with Evan (who had just found out Maryland state law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 to go into the hot tub. He was not happy!)
Our kids with their cousins.
The younger boys - Alec and Nathan. My little guy isn't so little in comparison to his cousin!
The older boys - Evan and Silas.
The girls - my sister Sheila, Abigail and Ann-Marie.
Enjoying the harbor and the sights.
And the light and water show inside the hotel.

We were only in Maryland just over 48 hours, but it was time well spent to see friends and family!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thank you.....

I am doing these posts backwards...I do realize this, but I don't want too much time to get away from me and lose precious memories. So now that I've posted the Italy pictures, I have some huge thank-yous to make.

First of all, thank you to our Father God because He guided us, protected us and allowed this trip to happen. I know that His timing is perfect!

Next, the Shullenbarger family, for providing us with a friendly place to stay while we were waiting to see if we would be able to get enough seats on the plane. You are always home away from home for us!

Thank you to the U.S. military for allowing retirees to use extra seats on their contracted flights. These flights are primarily for the troops, but it is a really nice perk to be able to use the extra seats if you are retired. Also, a huge thank-you to all troops deployed right now....we traveled with some of them during this trip.

To Tanya, Kurt, Riley and Chase McCormick - without you, we would not have been able to do as much as we did in Italy! They provided us with a place to stay, a car to drive, and wonderful hospitality. They made this trip affordable to our family!

To the Blietz family - thank you for being flexible last minute and letting us stay with your wonderful family overnight. We were unsure of when our flight landed in the U.S. and needed a place to sleep before completing the trip to Pennsylvania.

To our nephew, Nicholas - thank you so much for staying in our home while we were gone and putting up with our incredible naughty dog. We so appreciate you!

And to all of our friends and family who prayed for us and have asked about our trip - thank you, we truly feel loved!

So if you're still reading this, here is an itinerary of our trip, so the pictures make a little more sense -

We drove to Maryland on Saturday, March 19th, so that we could participate in a friend's birthday party. We were in Maryland until Wednesday, March 23rd, when our flight took off from BWI (Baltimore Washington International Airport). (Fun in Maryland pictures to come). The plane actually took off at 1:10 a.m. Friday....but that we didn't know until we got to the airport. We arrived in Italy around 6 p.m. Friday (Italian time). The following is the order of our travels:
  • Saturday, March 26: Venice
  • Sunday, March 27: Drive into the Alps - Lake Barcis and Longarone
  • Monday, March 28: Aviano Air Base Day - gave the kids a break, also most things closed in this area of Italy on Mondays. We enjoyed some new parks, the bowling center and driving around seeing how much things have changed.
  • Tuesday, March 29: Trieste
  • Wednesday, March 30: Piancovallo
  • Thursday, March 31: Flight home
It was a quick trip, but very well worth it. We hope to do it again.