Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good bye 2011, Hello 2012!

Wow! What a way to end the year. This was the few at sunset tonight. I think we have a pretty good view of the Bay of Naples. This is perfect for the fireworks that have already started.

Lots of things happened to us in 2011.
We celebrated our oldest's 13th Birthday in NC with Family.
The hubs and I celebrated our 16th Wedding Anniversary in Gatlinburg Tennesse with the kids. It was great family time and we were able to see lots of wildlife in Cades Cove.
Shipped the hubs off to Fort Leonard Wood Mo just a few short days later.
Celebrated Anniversary with family.
Dropped our Van off in Portsmouth VA to shipped to Naples, kids in tow.
The middle ones 12th birthday was celebrated with family at a Chinese buffet! If you know him you understand this :D
A few days later we drove to VA to pick the hubs up from his school. And spend our final stateside days stuck in the Navy Lodge Fort Story/ Little Creek base.
Enjoyed one last meal at Red Lobster just to leave my purse there (see why I never carry them lol) and have all of the cash stolen. Reported the credit cards just in case they wrote all of that info down. Put fraud alerts on the SS #s.
We flew to Naples on the AMC flight in early April. Said good bye to my mom and mother in law, along with the hubs aunt at the airport.
Arrived in Naples exhausted cause I was too excited to sleep. And got checked into TLA.
Spent a week in Area Orientation, boring but things you need to know.
Did a lot of house hunting.
Bought a Naples Beater!
We found a place with a few of the Med. We have a pool for just our duplex. The house is smaller than most we looked at, which at this point is a good thing, they don't hold heat nor AC well. We picked this place for the view :D. That photo was taken from our roof top terrace.
Finally moved out of TLA after 58 days and into our house on June 3.
Movers came the same day. We had no power. Gotta love Italy lol.
Did lots of unpacking, but thankful we left a lot of stuff in the states.
The kids and I spent a day at Magic World with NOSC. Had fun but learned that the Italian safety standards are no match for the USA ones. I am an adrenaline junkie all the way but there were rides there that really bothered me. haha.
The catalytic converters on our van caught on fire less than two weeks after we moved in. Italians don't work on American cars much and most wanted nothing to do with it.
Made a few friends and a few enemies along the way.
Spent my Birthday in Northern Tuscany! Stayed in a little mountain town and visited the leaning tower of Pisa and lots of little towns.
Bought some real Italian Marble.
Ordered the youngest a Gelato cake for her 11th birthday in August. Oh and we had spaghetti tacos per her request. That was a new one for me too.
The hubs had shoulder surgery in September.
I drove us all the way to Sigonella Sicily in the Naples beater :D
Met a long time internet friend Shakyra! Ate some great food with her.
We got to see Mt Etna errupt. That was awesome!
Finally got our van back!
We went to Normandy France in October. The place is absoltely beautiful. I want to go back. It is a very humbling place too. The kids learned a lot and did the hubs and I.
Ate sea snails!
We went to France for Halloween! Been there done that, it was nice but have no reason to go back. lol
Got felt up by a very rude screener at Orly airport. Had we been in the states we would probably have both been in jail as I would have knocked her ass out. I didn't want to sit in a French Jail though. I did make a scene though :)
Celebrated Thanksgiving with the hubs working so we had a turkey dinner instead of lunch.
Kept trying to decide if we were decorating for Christmas or not.
Wound up borrowing a 4ft tree and that was it.
We spent the week of Christmas in Rome.
Christmas day was spent with a friend Annette and her 2 daughters.
And now here we are celebrating a new year.
Oh yeah tried lots of wines and foods I thought I would never in my life eat lol.
No worries though the wine won't get hot tonight. Celebrating the new year over the fire pit with rosted weenies and roasted marshmellows (maybe a few smores), lots of junk food, wine, hot chocolate and sparkling grape juice for the kids.

I don't want to say I have New Years Resolutions but I do have goals. I plan to get some relief for my fibromyalgia (includes my back pain).
Post more often here.
Make lots more photographs of Italy.
Spend as much time with my husband and kids as I can.
Hopefully have a girls week/weekend some where.
See Ireland, more of London, lots of Germany, Switzerland and of course more of Italy for sure.
Hoping to see more than that but those are definites.
Hold photography classes and more portrait sessions. But most of all I will take more landscape and nature photographs.
And of course loose this weight. I will be working out weekly. Not sure how often, it will depend on how bad the fibro is that day.
All in All I expect 2012 to be great!
Buon Anno!!! Happy New Year!

Monday, November 14, 2011

When in France, do as the French!

We did the best we could with our non English speaking waitress and our non French speaking selves lol. We knew what this was before ordering, but Sommer said bring it on.
Then when it came out this is the look she gave lol.
Still debating on it. Do you know what it is?

OK I might as well give it a shot she said.

OK that wasnt too bad. I will try the whole thing now.

Back Off! She said to Austin lol

And incase you hadn't guessed, it is sea snails lol. All of those were an appetizer.

She finally let Austin try one.

He wasn't too sure about it, but in the end he said he liked it.

This is what the little boogers look like out of their shells.

Hey mom try one she said! I was very skeptical, can't you tell haha.

OK better just get it over with or I won't do it.

It wasn't too bad, not as bad as I had expected that is for sure.

And Gary tried it, he put a little of the mayo mixture on his though.

He liked it too.

Sommer asked to take the rest of them home with her and the waitress thought she was crazy or something. Her and Gary both agreed they were better hot than they were cold. And yes Codey refused to try them at all.
Any way this was a cute little place on the river in a little village between Juno and Sword beach I think. I will know specifics when I look for the papers that we brought back. There was a fresh fish market right beside of it. Pictures to come soon from that too.
Sorry mom hope it didn't make you sick. Sommer just said we had to share them with ya'll. HAHA.

Friday, November 11, 2011

On this Veterans Day

Our family would like to thank all verterans today.
Here are 3 photos from our trip to Normandy, France earlier this month.
My husband and 3 kids were honored to be able to raise the 2 American flags that fly over the NORMANDY AMERICAN CEMETERY.We were there early to capture the fog which you can see in the distance and we were asked if we would like to help.
The last image was taken at the La Cambe German Cemetery also in Normandy. I love the colors in this one.
To all Veterans of the past and present we thank you!
MA1 Cranford we are proud of you and thank you for everything you have done for our family and our Nation!

Sunday, November 06, 2011


These are as we watched night time fall.

This one is my favorite I think.
We went to France on the 25th of October. Spent 5 days in Normandy and then headed back to Paris for an additional 4 days. Here are a few night images of the Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) that I took on our last evening there. I love the beautiful sky in these. Most had nothing done to them at all but cropping. I did boost the colors just a tad on the first but the majority are straight out of camera.
Hope you enjoy and I will post more about the trip soon.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Decided to play with this photo today while on break from my creativelive class and while waiting to hear back from a client about some birth announcements.
I took this image while in Sicily. We had just entered NAS Sigonella when it started storming. The light was bright and no rain yet so I jumped out of the car and started tracking the lightening. I was fortunate enough to catch one strike. Unfortunately within about 2 minutes of getting out of the car the bottom fell out. So it is nothing spectacular but I am happy that I finally captured some lightening. I have tried off and on for years. I hope with the rainy season upon us here in Naples that I can practice this even more.
So tell me what you think!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mt. Etna

Man I can't believe it has been just over a month since I have posted anything. There has been lots going on though. G had surgery, the market playces oh and yeah our week long trip to Sicily. Here are just a couple of teasers from Mt Etna. We got to see her burp on the 28th of Sept. It was really a great thing to witness. I only wish I had gotten more shots. Unfortunately she started while we were having dinner in Catania apparently. As we were heading to our room, my middle ones said the mountain was on fire. And sure enough she was burping. By the time we got back to our room, which was a "perfect" few she was almost finished. But that was the one thing I had hoped out of the trip, and I got it so all in all even with the bad weather it was a pretty good trip. I will post more soon.

This was the view of her the morning she errupted. It had been raining and cloudy up until then so we weren't able to see her peaks until that morning.

And this was the only shot I got of the actual erruption. The rest are of the lava flow. These were taken from the balcony of the apartment we rented.

Friday, September 02, 2011

I had 2 photos picked in a contest for Italy

Just wanted to share for any of you who missed my share on Facebook yesterday. I entered a contest (was able to keep all rights to my photos etc...) never enter when you give up the copyright to your photos.
I had 2 of my 3 images submitted picked as a finalist in thecontest on Walks of Italy Blog. Unfortunately I didn't win the grand prize but that is ok. I won a discount code to use towards any of their tours. How cool is that? I am sure we will be able to take a couple of tours in our time left here and a discount makes it even better.
You can view all of the winning images along with my 2 here:
This was the 3rd images I submitted. This is the view from Sorrento, Italy. Hope you enjoy.
Oh yes, yesterday at NSA Naples we had a Market Playce. Lots of vendors came out, I believe there were 16 of us and only in the second month! I think it is great that we can all represent our hobbies and businesses. I had great feed back about my photography, style and quality. Looking forward to working with some great people here in Naples!
So all in all yesterday was a great day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Market finds

Some ladies had talked on Facebook about going to a Market that isn't too far from where we live. Gary and I got up at a decent time considering he is still on nights. We headed over and got there about 930am. We parked on the side of the road as we weren't sure exactly where it was but we knew we were there because of all the cars haha. Will have to post pics of the parking next time. Any way we made our way through, strolling along, at a fast leisurely pace cause it was HOT! If something jumped out at me I looked but for the most part we just wanted to see if it was worth going back to another time. Gary looked for a small shovel to use in the BBQ to get the ashes out. No luck there. I didn't know what I was looking for but I told him when I saw it I would know haha. Don't think he liked that too well. Any way we came upon this one vendor that had canning jars, so I asked how much in Italian. He wanted over 5E's a jar and that didn't include the lids. said no thanks. At the corner of his table on the ground in a bin I saw some glass bottles, again asked how much. He wanted 3E each or 3 for 5E. And so here are my 3 limoncello jars. On our last swipe through the fruit and veggie vendors were ready to pack up. I saw a crate of zucchinis left and asked how much again. I got an entire crate, 2 plastic grocery bags crammed full for 4E. and he tossed in 2 bananas also. So all in all I think it was a good day. We decided if we are just going to "look" we go early. If we are there to "bargain" shop we will go late morning, when they are ready to go home. Can't wait to venture out to another market soon.

1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila, Floor....

The Navy paid for Darius Rucker to come out some of the Naval bases and put on a free concert. The kids and I got to go. Unfortunately, just like every other event, Gary had to work.

Darius put on a great show and we are thankful he took time out to come and play for us.
Thought I would share a few pics from the show.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Family pics

So family members have been asking to see some photos of us. I decided to put a few up.

Yes they have grown a lot just since April. The boys are now taller than me, not that that is saying much lol. Sommer is right on their heels. She may catch them before it is over.

So here they are, a few from the trip to Pisa.

The kids in front of the leaning tower.
 The kids and Gary on the top of the tower.
 Gary and I on the top of the tower.
 The kids inside the Grotta Del Vento.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Must say, great minds think alike. Here is my version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Or as it is known as in Pisa, the bell tower, or campanile.  If you haven't seen my son Codey's version, look in the July section on this blog. I posted his version there. Two different photos but we both invisioned it pretty much the same. Especially considering I didn't know he even took that one until we got home and I loaded them on the computer. He definitely has an eye for photography. That is MY Boy lol.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Snoopy goes to Pisa!

Gonna post a photo tonight of our 2 girls. The boys were in the Baptistry looking around while us girls waited outside. Since obviously Snoopy couldn't go in. The 2 were playing around and I decided to take a few shots. And as I snapped this one the wind picked up. Maybe we should call her Super Snoopy? lol.
Hope you enjoy.

One of the views

From our roof top terrace.
The mountains in the distance at sunset.
Yes that is smoggy fog at the base of the mountains. This was actually a good day!
I have more to come soon. Hoping to get them posted more frequently.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Codey took this one of the leaning tower of Pisa from the Baptistry.
Luni is assumed to be a 1st century Roman amphitheater ruin.
Again sorry for the different posts, it is taking forever literally to get them loaded.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sorry it is taking forever to get these photos up on here.
Marble mountain top.
Another view from the town we stayed in