Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

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Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

Motivation for Moms

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One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mother Teresa

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Sunday, June 2, 2013
(Yes, we forgot it was Mother's Day yesterday until during supper, Reese said, "Hey, Happy Mother's Day!  I forgot!"  LOL  I'd forgotten too!)

In front of the Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy
The next day, we were up again and ready for one last day of adventure.  The Spanish Steps were about a block from our hotel so we went there first. 
The view from our hotel room.  The obelisk you see is the top of the "Steps"
The best thing about the Spanish Steps was the gelato we got from a stand there!!  LOL!  Neither of us had ever had it and we simply were hooked.  We got it 2 more times before the day was out.  ;o) 

There were as many gelato stands (gelatorias) as pizzarias!!  They were EVERYWHERE!!  ...That was not a problem, as far as we were concerned, though!  lol

From there we walked to the Trevi Fountain - I LOVED it!!  it was very crowded (like everywhere we went on this vacation!) but stunningly beautiful.  Rome is LOADED with absolutely gorgeous marble statues and friezes and gargoyles and everything everywhere you look.  It's just simply unbelievable. 

The Trevi Fountain.  I don't know the history of this place unfortunately, but I know that it is said that if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, someday you will return to the fountain with your lover.

Not sure, but it looks like this might be Zeus.  (Hubba, hubba!)

Hey, whatever works!!

Yes, I did it too...!

Some of the buildings are absolute jaw droppers.  Where did all of this marble COME from, and how the HECK did they work all of it like that??  Some of the columns we saw were MASSIVE.  It's just really mind-blowing.  The Trevi Fountain did not disappoint, and yes, Reese and I both tossed a coin in from behind, over the shoulder as instructed, and made a wish.  ;o)

From there we walked to the Metro subway and took ourselves to the Vatican.  (The Rome Metro is way better than the horrible DC Metro.  Just sayin'.) 

If you have ever studied Rome history, you'll know that the Romans were brillant.  So brilliant that they
out how to provide this enormous city with constant, fresh, clean flowing water, constantly.  They used
and I suppose other means, but they did it.  Well, everywhere you go around the city, there is STILL constant
flowing, clean, drinkable water!!  What people do is they carry around their water bottles and simply fill
up with
fresh water at all of these many fountains everywhere!  At first I was nervous about it making me sick (too
time spent in Russia, I suppose), but the British guy who I'll tell you about next told us it was absolutely
safe.  The water was not only delicious, but it was cool, too!!  not sure if you can see it in this photo, but this
fountain spews out of the statue's mouth.

The dome at the Vatican.
While walking to the Vatican, a young British man stopped us and wanted to know if we would like to skip the lines and buy a tour with a tour guide through the new Vatican museum (built in 2000) and Sistine Chapel.  We said yes.  Good thing, too!  I'll bet there were 5,000 people in line to get in!!  The line was 5 or 6 people wide and wrapped all the way down the Vatican Wall and around the corner.  Boy, were we glad we went with the tour!!  Worth every penny, and in fact, I got 30 Euros (~$50) back because Reese was disabled!  How cool was THAT?!

My ticket in.

The Vatican and museum were simply too amazing for words.  Marble busts, tapestries, coffins, celings... the whole thing was quite overwhelming!! 

Nope, don't know who this dude was (or hardly any of them which was a shame, but there was only so
time to show us stuff...) but the detail on his and some of the other busts was incredible.  I mean, look at the
hair - you can see STRANDS of this dude's hair!!
There were hundreds and hundreds of these lined up on the walls within the museums.  I was just dying to
know their history, who they were, etc!!

Just one of the many incredible ceilings.  Every ceiling was similarly adorned.  Mind-boggling...

Again with the hair...!

The inside of the dome looked eerily like the inside of the Capital dome in D.C.!  Reese was very
quick to
point that out, as well as other similarities.  It was very obvious that the Framers used Roman art to
many of the buildings in Washington.
(Imagine these were US Presidents and again, you'd be back in Washington!!)
Check out the floor - that is all MOSAIC!!!  Where is our artistry in society today??  It's all computer generated - are
there no more TRUE artists or artisans left in today's world...?  :o(
Kind of funny to see a statue of the goddess Artemis in the Vatican... with all of her very many breasts...  lol
I TOLD you about the celings...!!  (tapestries on the walls)
I think to see the Vatican properly, one needs one of those auto mechanic things that you lie on with wheels. 
You could just roll yourself around on your back up and down the looooong halls and admire the ceilings...
The climax of the tour was at the end when we entered the Sistine Chapel.  I expected the ceiling to be quite difficult to see but no! Michelangelo brilliantly painted his figures large enough to easily be seen from someone standing on the floor.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!  The colors were so rich and alive!!  The only problem was that my neck got really sore from craning it and I got a little dizzy from looking straight up for 10 min!  LOL!  The best thing would have been to lie on a blanket on the floor and look up.  But we were wall-to-wall packed people in there, so no dice.  Plus, they were very strict about how we were dressed, and there was no talking or any photos - even without a flash.  :o(  You know, though, the ceilings in all of the hallways and buildings were indescribable, too; it wasn't just the Sistine Chapel.  The whole place has earned its reputation for being one of the most magnificent places of art and history in the world. 

I took the opportunity to mail a couple of postcards to my Gram and to Joe from inside Vatican City.  I thought that was fun.  I would have sent more, but didn't have anyone else's address on me!!  Those two I knew by heart.  ;o)

We were dead tired by the time we were through and took the Metro back to the hotel (we're getting pretty good at it by this time!).  Reese took a long, hard nap and I read a book.  Our hotel room has 150+ channels on the TV, but not ONE is in English, so we read a lot.  LOL.  Also, we had the a/c cranked as high as we could get it but it never got below 80 degrees, I'm convinced.  Can't imagine what it's like in the summertime here...

The British guy who sold us the Vatican tour told us about a neighborhood on the other side of town that has all-you-can-eat buffets for 5 Euros (~$7.50) and Reese was so obsessed with finding it that we set off on a journey to hunt it down. 

We left around 630pm.  took the Metro to a certain spot and walked past the Roman Forum (along the wall where Nero had his residence) and by the Circo Massimo where they had chariot races as in the movie Ben Hur.  We crossed a river bridge and walked, and walked, and walked, and walked and walked... 

Lots of these old bridges over the river separating the "new" part of Rome from the "old".  To an American, it was ALL very, very old!!

It was dark by now and I was seriously tired.  Walking on cobblestones is NOT like walking on concrete sidewalks, and we'd walked on cobblestone on our excursions for the past 9 days, over miles and miles and my poor old 40-something soft American body just had had about enough.  We tried and tried to find this particular "bar" that the Brit recommended and just when I was ready to either collapse or start crying, we found it.  ...and the food didn't look too good.  UUUUUGGGHHH!!!!!  At that point, we decided to just go to the first pizzaria that we saw (pizzarias and gelatorias are literally on EVERY street corner in Rome) and we had pizza again.  Delicioso!  We also had garlic bread, which was somewhat unique to American garlic bread, but wonderful!  The manager told us that a bus would take us right close to our hotel, and we couldn't beleive it.  You mean, we walked all that way for nothing?!  *sigh*  We found the bus stsop, about a mile from the pizzaria and sure enough, it dropped us neatly off almost @ our hotel front door.  Can I describe to you how tired I was at this point?  LOL

We both collapsed into bed and rose very early to meet our shuttle to the airport.  As I write this, we are flying just out of France's airspace, over the water, on our way HOME.

This vacation was one of the very best I've ever had.  Mom was totally instrumental in planning all of the travel details, ensuring that we hit almost NO snags.  If anyone needs a fantastic travel agent - GET HER!!!!  (Jane Smith, Travel by Jane 425-221-9468) 

Traveling across the world with Reese is an experience that I value more than words can say.  We had such a great time and will always have this experience together.  Thanks for hanging out with me, Reese!  I love you!  Happy Graduation!!


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If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
- Chinese proverb
It is not the will of your Father that any one of these little ones should perish. Matt. 18:14

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matt. 18:5

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9





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