Sunday, September 3, 2017

Rome, Italy - 5/16/2001 & 5/17/2001

{This is a post from my travel journal that I kept while on our 3 week tour of Europe in 2001. I thought it would be fun to compare our 2017 trip to Italy with the one we took 16 years ago. In retrospect, I am SO glad I kept track of our trip - even though it may not be as thorough as it would be if I was writing it today!}

May 16, 2001

Today was another day of travel. We went from Nice to Rome. For most of the way, we sat with girls who had studied in Spain since January. The one girl made it a point to put a Spanish accent on everything she said. It was really ridiculous, especially when she said, "Fanta." Anyway, we finally got to Rome and we were approached by a man from the tourist office. We were skeptical at first, but then we realized he was from the office and he didn't want any money up front. So, he suggested a place and we went to look at it. It seemed a little odd, but we took it anyway and it turned out to be fine. After dinner, which took forever to find a place, we took a walk around the town. We were trying to find Piazza Navona, which is supposedly the place to be. We didn't find it, but saw some neat parts of the city anyway. It is really amazing how the ruins are just there in the middle of a big city like that. We also found some ruins that were turned into a cat sanctuary. And, there really were cats there.

May 17, 2001

We walked the city of Rome today. It is an amazing city and it is impossible  to see it all in one day. We first went to the Colosseum. We went in and walked around and climbed the horrible steps to the top. The floor is no longer there so you can see the old tunnels that are underneath. You can take a tour with an archaeologist for about $3 extra, but the next one didn't leave for a while so we didn't take it. We then walked to the Vatican and what a walk that was! It's so hot and muggy in Rome that it made the walk seem much worse I'm sure. But, once we got there, we realized it was so worth it. The place is truly amazing. There's really no way to describe the place and how beautiful it was. I'm sure our pictures won't do it justice either. It's something you really just have to see! We took a taxi to the train station because our feet were about to fall off. We checked the times for Venice and then shopped around for a while. We walked back to the hotel and took a nap because we were exhausted. When we woke up, we shopped for a while and then had dinner at an Irish pub. After that, we sat out at a cafe and Tommy had some wine and I had an espresso, which is what everyone drinks there as coffee, but it is as thick as oil- the sugar just sits at the top of the coffee. It was strong, but good. Although, I'm pretty sure it caused me to sleep horribly through the night!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Letter to Josie's Teacher

{Well, it's been a hot minute since I've touched this blog (Actually, it's been a hot year, but that doesn't sound as snappy.) I'm not bothering to recap the last year of life, but instead, patting myself on the back because one blog post is better than none.}

Josie started middle school this week. What in the what?!?!?! Wasn't she just in preschool?

Nope - that was 8 years ago. I'll stop the incredulousness now because it's definitely happened. She's definitely 11 1/2 and in 6th grade now.

Back when I was an overly optimistic new mom, I decided to write my kids a letter each year on their birthday. I would seal it up and then deliver them all at the high school graduation party so they could read and we could cry together. Or laugh and roll our eyes. That's probably more our style.

Guess how many letters I wrote? One. That's it. Josie's first birthday letter is tucked away somewhere in the basement. Sorry Tessa and Jack. Three kids in four years, moving three hours from "home," starting and running a business, and just keeping it all together was enough for this mom. I've got lots of memories to share though thanks to Timehop and this blog. I'm 100% OK with that.

I had a homework assignment this week for Josie's Social Studies class. The teacher wanted us to write a letter introducing our child. Time to redeem myself! What could I write in a letter that would summarize the last 11 1/2 years and represent my daughter's personality? When writing, I realized that really not much has changed since that first picture. She's still an enthusiastic learner, not shy in any way, shape, or form, and loves new experiences and meeting new people. She's a lot like her mother, but definitely has a better sense of humor, and penchant for fun, and other great features, that she earned from her father. 

For posterity sake, and for reference at her high school graduation party, here is my letter to her teacher...

Dear Mrs. _____________,

We are all excited for Josie’s first year of middle school! This is new territory for us as Josie is the oldest of our three kids. Her younger sister, Tessa, is in 5th grade and brother, Jack, is in 1st grade. My husband, Tom, and are both from Ohio and we moved here to Greenfield when Josie was about a year old. 

Josie has loved school from the very beginning. She has always enjoyed reading and learning about new things, both in the classroom and here at home. And, she’s not afraid to share what she knows with anyone who will listen! She is definitely not shy and usually will not hesitate to be in front of the class or a crowd. 

On the academic front, Josie is a good student and receives good grades. She probably enjoys the reading/language arts side more than math, but she seems to do well with both. She is a speedy reader and almost always has a book in her hand! That speediness can get in the way a little when doing school work, so I try to encourage her to take her time when working on school work as she does have a tendency to rush through things. 

Josie has always been the one in our family who is not afraid to try new things. She is almost always enthusiastic about trying things and usually has a very positive attitude. This follows through to school work but also in her interactions with friends and strangers. Her favorite place as a toddler was the McDonald’s Play Place because she could meet new friends!

We are looking forward to watching Josie continue to grow through 6th grade this year. Thank you for taking the time to get to know our kids a little better! This exercise was really nice for me as well. I don’t usually take the time to think about all of these things so it was nice to focus on Josie’s qualities and personality!