Friday, March 26, 2010

Mixed Marriage in Big Ten Style

We have a mixed marriage. My alma mater is Michigan State University (the Spartans) & hubby earned his doctorate at The Ohio State University (the Buckeyes). Both compete this weekend in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen Basketball Championships. We are both excited! It just may come down to these two teams playing this weekend~we hope! Let's go Big Ten! We love college hoops, especially when our teams have made it to the "Sweet Sixteen". Hope you have a great weekend, unless of course you are a Tennessee or Northern Iowa fan!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Beach~Italian Style

I love going to the beach. Or to be honest, anywhere I have a view of water. However, I don't think I will ever live on the beach. Maybe a 2 mile bike ride away. That way I can walk or ride my bike & stay in shape. Also, I wouldn't have to worry about the salt air turning everything rusty-that would drive me crazy. Yep, 2 miles away sounds good to me (and hubby, too).  He wants to blow glass when he retires. So we have a few things on our list. 

A few years ago we went on a vacation to France & Italy. In planning the trip, I did a lot of research. Can you say TripAdvisor? There were some bumps in the road, but it was an incredible trip. As we were traveling in the July, I wanted to make sure that we visited some beaches. In my Italian Riviera travel guide, it had great info on all of the towns & which one had beaches. This gave me a general guideline to what cities we would try to visit. Did you know that in many places you have to pay to go to the beach? The rates are per person & you can rent an umbrella, as well. Also, if there is a pool, it is extra to use the pool. Below is a picture of a beach & pool just a few blocks from our hotel. It also had a diving board into the ocean, which the kids enjoyed! This was taken in Rapallo, Italy across the bay from Portofino.

Here is  a view looking at the beach & toward our hotel, Hotel Italia e Lido Rapallo. The hotel had its own private "beach" as well. You had to go through a bar & a narrow dark hallway to get to the beach. There were a few chairs that rested upon rocks that jutted out into the ocean. With 3 young kids in tow, we opted for the beach down the road. Our hotel is the yellow building with green shutters & awnings. 

This is a closer view of our hotel. Our room overlooked a small beach & the castle. Also, we looked out onto the bay toward Portofino. It was incredible! 

One of my favorite memories of this trip was watching my kids play ball with the Italian children on the small beach outside our hotel room. I didn't get a picture of it (bummer!). Hope you enjoyed dreaming with me today. I'll be back soon with more "beach" photos:)

**My good camera with the zoom lens wasn't working on this trip. I was so happy to have my 2nd camera with me, just an inexpensive Kodak. Be sure to have a backup camera on important trips!**

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Music in My Life

I have tried to make music a part of my kids' life since they were rather young. It started by taking them to music classes. To be honest, I think I enjoyed the classes more than they did at the time! Their classes involved music & movement. They played with shakers & drums, held hands with the other kids, sang & danced. I have very fond memories & realize that many friendships developed from those classes. We usually went on Friday mornings & I always felt as if it were a reward for making it through the week! My children now are too old for those types of classes & it makes me a bit sad to think that this is true. 

This is a picture of Mr. F & Miss Boo from about 5 years ago @ music class:

Now we have voice lessons for Miss A and piano for Miss A, Mr. F & Miss Boo. Miss A has also played the violin & the cello. Mr. F. played the cello for a year, too. He also plays the electric guitar. And the trumpet. He is becoming quite talented at the trumpet. He has good musical genes as his uncle, grandfather & great-grandfather were trumpet players & his dad was a trombone player. I am looking forward to the outdoor practice sessions. Perhaps the neighbors will notice the sound that has been cooped up inside my home all winter. Since he won't be in school this summer, maybe he can practice when I am already awake, instead of the pre-7:00 am timeframe!

Mr. F  a few weeks ago, in an early morning practice session:

Miss A on the left with friend Miss I. They sang the national anthem (Miss A was 10 years old!) in  front of about 1,000 people prior to a swim meet. Then both girls swam in the meet, too. It was awesome!

Miss A a few years ago with the electric guitar:

The cello was a beautiful sound in our home. Although now it rests quietly in the music room. Isn't it funny how when you move into a new home, you have all these grand ideas of what you will do with the rooms & then over time it changes & develops into a use you hadn't thought of? So our dining room is now a music room. I love it and it makes me happy to know that I can plop down & listen in.

The piano was a hand me down & at the time, I wondered if we would ever use it. A few years back as we embarked upon a move, I wondered where we would put it in our "new" home. I am glad it made the move & that the kids have taken a few years of piano lessons. They have their first recital next month. I  think we are all a bit nervous about the performance.

From the archives circa 2004, this is a pic of my friend's daughter, Miss S along with Miss Boo & Mr. F. Funny how they love the piano when a friend comes over!:

These days we listen to the radio & the ipods & tune in every chance we get to American Idol. Times change & I know one day in the future I will miss the musical notes now being played out in my home. I am thinking about taking cello lessons.