Sunday, December 27, 2015

Day IV in Rome

Today was our first completely random day.  Coco was not feeling well.  His stomach was bothering him.  This was something Demi and I had worried about for this trip.  Demi stayed behind him the hotel with him, while Caz and I went out and about.
     Caz and I hoofed it over to the Spanish Steps, only to find it under construction.  We took a few pictures by the fountain by Bernini.  Then we ascended the part of the Steps which were still open.  We took in the view from the top.  Then we made our way over to the Pantheon.  We had to wait around for a bit, as there was a mass going on.  You could peer in the open doors but we really wanted to get inside.  After mass, we got our turn.  It was really impressive.  The largest free standing dome in the world.  It is open in the center too.  With all the artwork by famous artist housed within, it is amazing that it is always open to the elements.
     Meanwhile, back at the Bat Cave, Demi took her opportunity during Coco's nap to see the Pope.  She quickly ran down to St. Peter's square to find a spot to take in the Pope's blessing.  She could make out enough of a conversation among Italian nuns to position herself in a prime spot.  We met up later and got some lunch.  Coco rallied and we went back out and about for a bit.
     Demi and I found a nice restaurant by the hotel.  We had a really great mean.    Service was excellent.  We brought back pizzas for the boys.  Caz was sleeping.  He didn't eat until midnight or later.  Still, it was a good day in Rome.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Day III in Rome

What does one do for fun the day after Christmas in Rome?  Well, you start by sleeping in a bit.  Then after breakfast, you hop a bus to the Colosseum.  I took a quick walk up to the square, where I was told I could by bus tickets.  I got 4 one way tickets.  The concierge told me which bus to take.  I couldn't read the stops, so I ended up taking us off a few stops early.  It ended up OK.  We got to start our day with a walk around the far side of the Roman Forum.  It was warms, so I was wandering around in a T-shirt.  I noticed a lot of the European tourist where in full winter parkas, many with fur lined hoods.  They probably thought I was nuts.
     We walked along the outside of the Colosseum to get the lay of the land.  We looked into getting tickets on our own.  The line was astoundingly long.  We chatted up a few tour agencies.  We finally selected one.  After a bit of delay from the promised start time, we started off.  The Skip The Line feature, which the Tourism Office of Rome has embraced, is genius.  They work with the tour companies to help promote sight seeing.  We got a 45 minute tour of the Colosseum.  They we had an hour to roam around on our own.  We got some great pictures in there, including our Ground hog's day spectacular.  I like that the boys got the history associated with the landmark.  It is something they will remember for years to come.  Once our free time was up, we proceeded outside to regroup for a tour of the Roman Forum.  We walked up Palatine Hill.  We got the whole history of the founding of Rome, the significance of the Roman Forum.  We got to see the sites of the Temple of Venus, the Roman Senate, and the palace.  We walked through the rest of that until it closed and we were kicked out.
     We ended up walking all the way back home.  The boys didn't complain once.  We tried to catch a bus, but is was brutal.  We got hit by a hustler hawking some Jamaican trinkets.  We spent a lot of time trying to dissuade him.  We saw more ruins on the way home.  That night we just ate by the hotel.   We being Demi and me.  The boys were really tired from the walking.  We found a nice little restaurant called Vito's.  We ate really well, as usual.  We ordered some pizza's for the boys.  Caz actually slept through until the wee hours of the morning, then ate his pizza.  A sure sign of a productive day.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Day II - Christmas Day in Rome

Our first Christmas away from home.  It was different for sure.  The boys were not rushing in with coffee, so we could head downstairs to the tree.  I had brought gift bags so that each of them had a present to open in Rome.  We had Christmas Morning cappuccinos.  We then rallied to go sight seeing.  There was a nice Christmas tree set up in the square, on the way to our first site.  We saw Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon.
     Trevi Fountain still amazes me.  Fed by the aqueduct system, the amount of water pouring out of that is astounding.  The carvings are awe inspiring.  Neptune with his trident presiding over the whole scene.  There were a lot of people seeing it with us.  The amount of selfies being taken was Kardashian-like.  I can't believe how much primping was going on.  The vanity was thick.
     We only got to see the Pantheon from the outside.  But you could peer in through the opening of the large front doors to see the entire dome.  Navona was a happening spot too.  Again, the sculptures were amazing.  The Fountain of the Four Rivers sits in the center.  We had read up about which four rivers were represented and why the statues were made they way they were.  We walked a lot that day.
     Dinner was amazing.  We had booked our favorite restaurant from our last trip.  They didn't disappoint.  The amount of food during the appetizer was overwhelming.  The boys could not believe how much food they brought.  My suckling pig came with the hoof on.  That didn't stop anyone from taking a taste.  I can't believe we got dessert down, along with Limoncello that was very much like Moonshine.  And to top it off, they had the restaurant car take us home.  A very nice touch.  A great way to spend a holiday.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Day I - Italy

We landed on time at Da Vinci Airport.  Customs was not bad.  The van was there to meet us.  It was raining a bit, and we had to get the luggage quite a ways over to the van.  The hotel had our rooms ready, which was a nice surprise.  We all slept for a bit. We talked about powering through, but that was short lived.  I finally rallied the troops.  We went for a walk towards Castel St. Angelo.  Along the way we stopped along the way at a newsstand for cappuccinos.  The boys got them too.  They seemed to like them.  Right there, will sipping away, there was a man in chair reading A Christmas Carol, out English.  He then launched into T'was the night before Christmas.  It was a great way to start our family adventure.
     We saw that Castel St. Angelo was open for tours, so we decided to go in.   We had seen in Angels & Demons a few days before, so we were extra excited to see it in person.  The Courtyard of Angels, the statute of Archangel Michael, and the turret, were just amazing.  The artwork in there was amazing as well.  Some of it was like a smaller version of the Vatican or St. Peter's.  It was just getting towards dusk.  We got some great photos of sunset over some landmarks.  The full moon had risen as well.  Taking photos with the backdrop of the Colosseum & Vatican was truly a boon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lift Off

Our direct flight to Rome, on Alitalia, left Boston at 5:30.  We got a good meal at Durgin Park in the airport before boarding.  Our last American meal before Italy.  I was a little worried about the boys on a 7 and a half hour flight.  But Alitalia really does a nice job.  It's a big plan.  The overheads are not directly above you, so you don't feel cramped.  There is plenty of leg room.  Each seat has a personal monitor.  There are tons of movies, tv shows, music and games on those monitors.  The controllers go into the armrest and control everything.  The light, air, tv, ....everything.   They feed your well.  The beef dinner on the way over was very good.  They give you a pillow, blanket, and headset.  It is so different from domestic flights.  The boys did just fine.  On to Rome....

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Shopping

Another milestone moment.  Caz went Christmas shopping.  All on his own.  He drove himself to the store, by himself.  He did his shopping all by himself.  Then he drove home.  He ran into the basement.  He wrapped all his presents.  Then he placed them under the tree.  He was the first one with presents under the tree this year.  He couldn't wait to exchange gifts.  It was really a site to behold.

Friday, December 18, 2015


....And he rose.  Caz got to school on time.  It may have not been his finest morning performance every, but he made it to school on time.

The Force Awakens...

...but it remains to be seen if Caz does.  He and his buddies went to see the new Star Wars movie last night.  He got home very late.  He was warned that he would still need to get up and get to school on time.  He was not looking very lively when I left.  He knows that there will be consequences if he does not live up to his word.  Time will tell.  I have faith in him though.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect

The family took me out to dinner for my birthday.  And this year, they really "took me out."  Caz drove.  Relunctantly, yes, but he drove.  He insisted he can drive on the highway.  He insisted he drive at night.  But he needs practice.  He is certainly not comfortable doing it.  It was good for him.  He did well.  One nervous moment, coming up to a busy stop light.  But overall, he did really well.  Of course, I drove home though....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Birthday Card

Sometimes, it all just comes together.  Caz can really out do himself at times.  He will just crush one out of the part.  Tonight was that night.  He spent quite a bit of time putting a birthday gift together for me.  He did his arts and crafts thing.  He wrapped up his present.  That in and of itself would have been impressive.  But his birthday card was the topper.  He really wrote a heartfelt, eloquent note.  It meant a lot.  I was astounded.  He clearly wrote it all on his own.  It is one of those times that it feels like we, Demi and me, are doing things right.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Driving to Babysit

Caz is babysitting for his cousins tonight.  It will be a late night.  Late enough that he won't be able to drive home.  It is a big test for Caz to be able to get himself there on time though.  He is relieving the other babysitter.  Demi and I are taking my brother and sister in-law out for the night.  The show we are seeing is a late show.  It doesn't start until midnight.  I haven't been out that late in a long time.  This should be an eventful night for all of us.
     Caz did get himself to the house on time.  He was prepared to stay the night.  He was able to deal with his youngest cousin when he got up in the middle of the night.  He did call to ask a question or two.  But his instincts are good.  We ended up taking him home.  He was miserable with allergies.  He is afflicted like his old man.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Track 2015-16

And we are off.  Ok.  Caz is off.  Winter track practice has commenced.  The weeks of having too much free time are over.  He needs to be running.   He needs to be active.  For all of our sakes.  He is able to focus better.  He is too tired to complain.  His disposition is just all around better.  I can't wait to watch him compete.  I want to see his hard work pay off for him.