Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Day of school 2013

No first day of school would be complete here without a neighborhood photo.  It was during this photo that we began to realize that we had two different levels of enthusiasm for the first day of school.

The fifth grader struggled to contain the enthusiasm.  
 Proudly showing off her new backpack choice (get it?  California Bear...)

The third grader was feeling just a little more hesitant.  This was a new teacher and her BFF was in a different class.  She was pretty stressed out.
Luckily she could still walk together to school and after a plan to meet at recess was hatched we were off.  Look out 2013 -- here we go!

Sunday, August 18, 2013


 Paris decided to have a little rain for us when we arrived.  This might have been an issue given one of our major plans was a bike tour but alas we decided garbage bag raincoats would solve the problem (and add that nice fashion detail to really set off the American tennis shoe look).
The girls taking a moment to reflect the history and beauty of their location (or plot for snacks..)
 Jacqueline was not thrilled to be riding the jump bike with her dad (although she was not at all stressed about the fact they tipped over).  She wanted to ride her own bike.  That said, mom and dad were a lot happier to not worry about her trying to cope with the crowds and the traffic and the photo ops were good.

 She was pleased to have worn her Paris shirt as well.

and the jump bike could be used in multiple ways to add back that element of danger.

 Some silliness when asked to pose.

 and of course, ice cream after the bike ride was necessary (if crazy expensive).

 Day 2 making up with mom for being bratty kids in the hotel..

 doing some shopping for a purse for Jaq near Sacre Coeur 

 Dad wasn't feeling too well so mom and the girls went to visit the Notre Dame alone
 as you can see the weather improved dramatically.
girls enjoyed the posh room dad got for us in Paris and took advantage of the robes.

Friday, August 16, 2013


 The last day of our cruise was the pirate party.  The girls had planned ahead and brought a few small items to show their pirate spirit.
 They both were happy to get their photos with Pirate Minnie as well.

At the end of our dinner there was a dance party on the deck and fireworks.  Everyone had a great time and was not at all enthusiastic about packing for departure.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


On the last day I let Jacqueline skip breakfast and get in line for the princess photo op.  This proved to be a bit tricky as I was also planning to do some laundry and one of the rooms was out of service leaving a huge line.  The net result was that Jaq spent some of the time in line by herself while mom went to change the laundry.


Snow White
 lunch made up for the lost breakfast
 of course, the spoon on her nose trick never gets old.
 Can't remember -- I'm told this was a cobra

and Jacqueline was thrilled to get her Minnie Mouse.


Mom's favorite trip was to Pompeii.  The opportunity to feel the full experience of a place so old is one of my favorite parts of travel.  The family humored me on this last trip, mostly because it promised to be only a half day if still an early start.

 The main part of the Disney ship -- finally remembered to catch a photo of the girls here.

 Again on a bus with a group number. 
 Jacqueline looks totally at home in the ruins, she is now an experienced tour group member.
 in case you wanted to know how big the pillars were, they were about this big..

 mom is a handy person to have around when you need someone to hold your power aid.
 Ashton kindly offered to put on a show in the theater.
 Bob and Jaq watched the show from the shade.
 My favorite part of the city were the streets.  Still amazing after so many years and even having sidewalks.
 Jacqueline listening to the tour while considering sitting on the fence...

 When we would lose sight of Jaq we would always find her right next to the tour guide.  She took her moms instructions to not get lost seriously and she hated the ear part of the speakers so she preferred to stand close enough to hear directly.  Pretty sure she only tripped one of the tour guides with her strategy.

 Even cooler than the streets and sidewalks were the crosswalks.  They were raised to keep your feet from touching the filth that was thrown in the streets and the gaps were to allow for the chariot wheels to go between.  Such cool engineering.
Another amazing thing was the art.  While only a small amount remained you could easily see how it would have been everywhere.  Raised fresco pained on the walls in vivid colors and showing dimensionality.  Really beautiful.

Today's animal was a monkey.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rome and Vatican

 Another early morning getting ready for our day.  Today we went to the Vatican and therefore had to be covered up both shoulders and knees.
 The Swiss guard was doing that guarding thing...
 We had bought an umbrella to try to get some shade on this day as we knew it was going to be hot.  Jacqueline was nice enough to carry it but I'm pretty sure none of the other tourists were that thrilled about that given that she was holding it at adult eye level.
 We found the inside of the church very elaborate
 Jacqueline trying to impersonate an angel...
 and posing for a photo at Mom's request
 and another
 Bob often took photos of me taking photos.
 and of course my backpack acquired drinks and sundries from all three girls as the day progressed.
 Thankfully we got to the front of the line to get into the Coliseum due to our Disney tour.  This was important as everyone on the planet chose this very hot day to come to Rome.
 We learned to stop for photos in the shade when we could.
 and to take naps on the bus.
 back on the ship we found Tatiana for a photo op.
and a bull to give us chocolate