Monday, November 25, 2013

Italy Birthdaycation Part 5: Naples

We spent 3 days in Naples. The first day we hired a driver and went to a little village outside of Naples called Petramelara. Derek's great grandmother was born in that village, and moved to the U.S. With some translating help from our driver and Derek's dad's willingness to talk to complete strangers, we ended up tracking down and meeting one of Derek's grandmother's first cousins who still lives in the village. Here are some pictures from that day.

Derek's dad meeting the locals as we were trying to find relatives.

Luccio is the man on the left and is Derek's grandmothers first cousin.

We loved our driver that took us to Pietramelara so much that we hired him the next day to take us to the Amalfi Coast. Narrowing down pictures from this day was super hard, but it was so beautiful!

With our driver Mikael.

On our third day in Naples we went to Pompeii. It was way bigger than I thought it would be, and we probably didn't even see a quarter of it. Actually, there is still a lot that hasn't even been excavated. It was very fascinating and sobering.

These are plaster molds of people who were buried in the volcanic ash.
Supposedly this was a "fast food joint"
The theatre

After Pompeii we actually hung out in Naples, so here are a few pictures of our final evening there. Congrats if you've made it this far!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Italy Birthdaycation Part 4: Florence

Florence was our 4th stop on our Italy trip, and was totally different from the other cities we had been to. There were lots of beautiful views so I will just let the pictures share the story.

We stayed in a little apartment in the city. We went to the Piaza di' Michalangelo, the Ponte Vecchio bridge, the Academia, where we saw the David, the Duomo, which we climbed to the top of the dome, and we ate and shopped and had a lovely time in a beautiful city.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What I've Been Doing The Past Few Months

1.  I had a an awesome 30th birthday. You've had 3 months to read about that, so I won't go into it any more, rather than just to say that I felt so loved. And it didn't end with my surprise party, but instead with a joint birthday party with my mother in law in the beginning of September when we got together with Derek's whole family for the day at his parents house and we made pasta, and drank wine from Italy and played baseball in the front yard and generally just had a fantastic time.

2.  I got another birthday surprise over Labor Day weekend. We went on a church retreat where one of my bestest friends, Sarah, surprised me and came all the way from Chicago to spend the weekend with me, even though it was at a crappy camp on a church retreat for a church she doesn't go to. The retreat itself was awesome, as we got to spend time with our church family and grow new relationships, act ridiculously at a 90's dance party, play euchre, go swimming and just generally enjoy ourselves, but it was 10 times better because Sarah was there and we got to hang too.

3.  But then there was the aftermath of the retreat...bed bugs. That's right. A family found bed bugs the last night we stayed there. So when we got home I made sure to wash all of our bedding and clothes well, except that I put my unwashed duffle bag  under my bed, and woke up a week later with hundreds of tiny red bumps. I felt terrible, especially since Kevin, Kayla and Connor were living with us. Luckily no one ever got bit besides me. Even more luckily, a mom from our soccer team told me that I could forgo the $1000 fumigation and instead if I put diatomaceous earth (a safe, non-toxic, organic substance) around our room, it would dehydrate any bugs that remained and kill them.  It did the trick and we have yet to see another bed bug, and feel super thankful for that.

4.  Speaking of our soccer team, we coached our sweet 2nd and 3rd grade girls team this fall.  Their skills have improved so much as they've gotten older. Our team was undefeated, which the girls were so proud of.

5. Our good friend Charissa and Steven had their sweet little baby boy Lincoln. (I actually hosted a shower for Charissa and definitely need to do a post on that too!)

6. We took a sweet little trip to the apple orchard / pumpkin patch with friends (including little Lincoln).

7. Halloween came and went and Derek and I dressed up as zombie football players for a zombie Halloween party. I'm usually not that into scary costumes, but doing the zombie make up was lots of fun and I loved how it turned out.

8. Our church had a fall festival and we decorated our car for trunk or treat.

9. We got to go to the UK vs. Alabama football game, where we tailgated with friends and had ahhhhmazing seats.

10. Lots of general hanging out with friends, playing with our pup, visiting family, and just enjoying life and this beautiful time of year. Here are some random phone pics from the last few months.