Monday, November 10, 2008


Aiden opening up gifts with his friends

Brinlee (back to you) Chloe (facing camera)

Aiden with one of his many gifts :)

Aiden getting ready to blow out the candles
(I made the cakes and attempted to make them
look like a pig and a cow)

Chloe riding on the cow balloon (we also had a
dog and pig balloon that they all love "riding")

Aiden's Transportation Parade

Here are 2 pictures from Aiden's transportation parade he had at school. The Kindergarten classes were studying transportation and they had to make some type of transportation out of a cardboard box. Aiden chose to make a bus and we let him have at it, with a little help from his crafty daddy! I went and watched the parade and it was so cute! They sang a song and paraded around to show off their vehicles. It was so fun!
In the picture with the other boys, 2 of them are our neighbors/little buddies, Chris and Kaleb.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fun at the playground

Chloe top-Brinlee bottom

Jeff helping out at the seesaw

Our usual failed attempt at getting a group photo

These pictures were taken at a playgroung right by where we parked to see the pond and stream.

Hidden Beauty

The Stream

The Fish

The Pond-if you look really really hard, you can see the statue.

The Pond and Cave

We made a discovery one hot summer night after having dinner with our good friends Skye and Jason who were visiting from the states (thanks Aunt Marsha and Uncle B for watching the kids that night!!!). After eating a delicious dinner and drinking too much wine (ha ha), we were told by other restaurant patrons that we had to walk around the corner of our restaurant and "check out the spring". So we did and we proceeded to meander along the path of a small stream which was beautiful and then were stopped dead in our tracks when we came to a crystal clear, turquoise blue pond! It was absolutely amazing! At the bottom of the pond is a gleaming white state of Mary. We did not get the details of the statue but it is a breathtaking sight to say the least. Upon looking at the pond, we were pleasantly surprised to see approximately 18-20 inch trout, which periodically came to the surface in search of bread and other treats that people feed them. They were HUGE!! I do not think you are allowed to fish there, sorry fishermen, but they are worth visiting. Apparently there is an extensive underwater cave system (you can see the opening of the cave in the bottom picture) that people explore.

Around the area is a path you can take and walk up into the mountains or a bar you can go to and eat a light snack or meal and have a drink. It was so serene and almost magical. The pictures you see are actually from my second trip there, unfortunately we did not have a camera when we first discovered it. Jeff and I took the kids to feed the fish and get some fresh air. Aiden loved the fish and feeding them and there were also ducks and geese there hungrily snatching up the bread as well. The girls thought it was great too but we did not let them out of their stroller for fear of them doing cannonballs into the water. :) And I am not exaggerating!

Anyone coming to visit us, we will definitely take you there as it is one of our favorite places to go and it is only about 10 minutes from our house.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Under Construction

I realize I have not been keeping up with my blogging. I have many many pictures and fun stories to add but have yet to have time to sit and do it. So here is a preview of one of my future entries. Skye and Jason, you should recognize the scene. :) I will be back soon with entires. Just wanted to let you all know we are good and I will get to work on this soon!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bathing Beauties August 2008

Chloe with Aiden's shoes on
Brinlee waiting to attack
Got him!!
Aiden enjoying an Italian popsicle (there is a difference I have learned)
Chloe Brinlee

Brinlee and Chloe get their first haircut

Chloe woudn't sit by herself

Brin was a bit grumpy about the whole thing

The girls don't have much hair to cut but it was starting to resemble a wispy mullet and I was not going to cut it again myself bec they looked ridiculous when I did it, so we took them to get their first professional haircuts. Chloe screamed and Jeff had to hold her and Brinlee froze like a statue and had a horrible grumpy look on her face the entire time. Made for some great pictures!

Hamilton/Winter/McDermott Reunion May 2008

Uncle Randy, Aunt Julie, Clayton


Uncle Jerry, Aunt Darb, Lisa, Lyndi, Brad

The family reunion (although not totally complete as my mom and her new husband are coming later in October for their "honeymoon"-we missed you by the way) kicked off on a warm sunny day at the Venice airport. Thankfully the crew (all 9 of them) were sleep deprived from the flight over and didn't mind bein crammed into our 2 cars along with their luggage. We did rent a roof luggage rack by the way, and for those of you who get this joke-we totally looked like the McDermotts on one of their MT trips! (aka Grizwalds).

So we drove them to our house about an hour away and got them settled. They were troopers and stayed awake most of the day and played with the kids. Then night came and it was time for sleeping assignments. I think we did pretty well and most everyone was comfy although I am not sure about Clayton and Brad on the bunk beds!

For the entire time it was cozy but still somehow comfy with everyone in the house (14 people in all). We had a blast cooking yummy Italian dinners together (thanks so much to my assistant chef Lyndi and our sampler person, aka "drunk Uncle randy"), playing outside with the kids, and traveling to Venice via train and Verona via cars. We also took in local sights and the winery down the road and even got soaked in the rain at the local weekly market. I have to mention it poured rain quite a few of the days but we had a great time anyway-must of been the wine that helped!

We had so many hysterical moments that it is hard to name them all, but I fondly will remember offering to pay people a Euro if they would do things for me, so that they could use the bathroom, driving around and around and around in Verona looking for a parking spot and pointing out all the "really old things" along the way, learning how to cook for 14 people, and playing I Spy with my trusty co-pilot Lisa.

Sadly the time for them all to leave came and it was off again to the Venice airport. I was going to see everyone again in a few months so I told myself it was no big deal to send them off, but boy was I wrong. I cried and cried and didn't want to let them go. When I got back into our car to drive home, Aiden told me to dry my tears. Think he has been told that a few too many times?

We had so much fun and thank you all for coming to see us! Can't wait for the next trip!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Verona (aka "Where the old things are...") part 1

Uncle Randy braving the Verona streets pushing the girls and all the gear! I think our stroller is bigger than most Italian cars!

Me and Jeff at the Colosseum

Castello (castle) Vecchio

The drawbridge leading into Castello Vecchio

The moat around the castle

Verona (aka "Where the old things are...") part 2

The Colosseum-they currently hold concerts and operas there still!

More of the Colosseum-most of the original stones are still intact!

Where the gladiators, lions, etc came into the area at.

My Grandpa

Performers by the Colosseum

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Verona (aka "Where the old things are...") part 3

Juliet's Balcony

Driving around and around trying to find a parking spot. Jeff, Uncle Randy, and my kids are in the car on the right, leading the pack.

A random, beautiful home

View of Verona from a castle we visited

Gladiator at the Colosseum

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My family takes Venice!

Front of St. Mark's Cathedral

The McDermott Clan (Uncle Jerry, Aunt Darb, Lisa, Lyndi, and Brad)

Masks that Venice is famous for

More of the front of St. Mark's Cathedral

Riding in the vaporetto (aka water bus) to Murano island

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fun In The Sun

A and his good buddies aka Zoe and Haley

B with a nice bruise on her forehead

C and her cheesy grin

A showing off for the camera with a coffee filter on his head

Thursday, April 17, 2008

CA' BRUZZO part uno (one)

I had the amazing opportunity to go on an outing (without kids yahoo!!) with the club I belong to-ACES (Aviano Community Enlisted Spouses). It was to a quaint, beautiful vineyard about 2 hours away to the Vicenza area.

It is an organic vineyard, owned and operated by Aldo and his wife Sarah and their children. We were treated to a tour by Aldo and his canine companion (see picture below) through the muddy, green fields. It was very interesting and I learned a great deal about wine, which most of you know, I love!

After the quick tour we were shown the new wine cellar (beautiful) and then treated to wine tasting from some young wines in french oak barrels. I have never been on a wine tasting trip before so this was a special treat! Then we were sent inside their home for a delicious, authentic 7 course Italian meal, complete with wines paired with each course. Everything was DELICIOUS and I had the pleasure of sitting across the table from Aldo and had a wonderful time getting to know each other. He is quite the character and wine drinker! A man after my own heart! His dear wife cooked the meal mostly herself I believe and was working so hard on serving us with help from their friends visiting from Alaska and Aldo was sitting with us freely pouring his wines and singing us songs accompanied by his neighbor and playing his guitar. It was a true Italian experience! And I must add that Aldo is a true Italian, although he speaks fluent English with a French accent. He spent many years in France, Spain, Canada, and the states before buying his vineyard.

The meal ended with a sparkling champagne he also had made, which was named after his mother who had in total had 9 children that she escaped to France with during the war, and carried grenades in her apron to keep her children safe, and went across the borders to smuggle food back to feed the children. Sounds to me like she deserved her own champagne! Although Aldo mentioned she was very angry when he told her he named it after her. That's an Italian woman for ya!

After our fabulous meal we had the opportunity to purchase wines, which of course I did and I put it away and told J not to let me open it until my family comes to visit in May. We will see how I do!

Then we loaded back up onto our little bus (thank goodness for having a bus driver) and headed home.

I had an amazing time and loved getting to know Italy a little bit more. I hope to take an visitors we have there as they were such a welcoming and wonderful family.