Welcome

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our family blog. This may be your first visit here, or you may be a friend from across the globe, or family that we have just seen. Who ever you may be, thanks for taking the time to read about our little family, and all we are learning on this adventure the Lord has called us to live! Here you will find, the random thoughts, funny stories, prayer requests, and the journey our family and Jack is on with his battle with Leukemia.

Rome...

The last night on the boat, we had to have our bags packed and outside our room by 10:30 pm, for the porters to pick up . We ate our last dinner in the "Posh Dinning Room "(which was so yummy every night, and would surely be missed) with my aunt and uncle and cousins. We said our good-byes and headed off to bed.

Bright and early at 6:30 am, the cruise director started announcing over the loud speaker in all of our rooms which group numbers were to get off the boat first. They have each guest put into a group, according to the travel plans they had next (for example, my cousin and aunt and uncle had a 9 am flight, so they had to be ready to leave the boat at 5:30 am) Each group was assigned a number, so from 6:30 on, we would hear another group number being announced... This was not my favorite way to wake up! We were planning on staying in Rome for two days, so we had the last group number to leave the boat... which means that we COULD have slept until 8 or so, if it had not been for the announcements... oh no, not the way this trip was designed for us!

By Gods grace, Tyler slept through most of these loud announcements, and for Jordan and I, it was kind of like hitting a very loud snooze button every 20 minutes or so...

When we got off the boat, we boarded a bus, that drove us 2 hours to Rome. We got our bags to the hotel, and headed out for a bite to eat! Nothing like a prosciutto sandwich for lunch! We got our bearings, and began to enjoy some of the sights of Rome!

We got all day bus passes and began to see all there was in Rome to see. We drove past the ancient city walls (below) which date to time before Christ... amazing to see something that old!

The top deck of the bus, was open air, and had head-phone jacks, so we could get a description of what we were seeing as we drove past. Tyler really liked the bus.


Between my sister and Wes, Mom and Dad, we had plenty of entertainment for Tyler (as if the bus wasn't enough)!

So, here is where I have to pause and tell a humorous story, that had me laughing so hard, I had to sit down. My sister, her hubby and us decided to hop off the bus and walk around the ancient city ruins and see the Colosseum. My sister, being the only one who thought to bring a map, and had gotten herself familiar with it, was the directions lady!

So, we were taking in some of the sites, taking pictures here and there (the one below was taken minutes before the following incident)....Man, I am laughing even as I type this... So, Lotte was a few paces behind us, looking at the map, when I turned around to ask her a question, she was literally, an inch away from a stroller with a child in it, whose mother was taking a picture of the dad a dew paces off... I shouted to her to stop, tried to grab her arm, but she was caught in the momentum, and fell right onto the stroller...

To say the mom was unhappy, would be very true. The child was a bit startled, but unharmed, as the canopy/umbrella thing covering the child caught her... Lotte was profusely apologetic, and felt terrible for the rest of the day... but man, I could not stop laughing. It was like I watched it happen in slow motion. I don't know why I found it so funny, but I did!


After I composed myself, and stopped laughing, and Lotte told me to shut up about it for the hundredth time, we continued on to the ruins. All of a sudden, you are walking down this modern street, when you come around the bend and see the Colosseum, in the middle of it all...

We detoured into the ruins, and walked around, a bit clueless of all we were seeing.. but still amazed at the size, the longevity, and the beauty of the structures that were so ancient!

Remains of the Temple of Saturn built in 17 BC


An ancient Temple...

Sisters...

On our way to the Colosseum...

Amazing...

OK, so there is another funny story about these columns... we walked by these, we were struck how white they were in comparison to the other ruins around us. We guessed that they were fake, or empty, or restored... but we just didn't know... They kept catching our eye as we walked around... so we asked our tour guide at the Colosseum, and he said that they were indeed plastic, and used for a Versace fashion show! That would never have been our guess!




So these are the steps that the spectators would climb to get to their seats... they were VERY steep. It turns out, that the Colosseum would fill with about 60, 000 people in about 10 minutes! Seems impossible right?? Well, all along these steps, were guards, who would whip, and stab at the spectators to get them in quicker... Crazy!

There is so much to say about what we learned about the Colosseum... its history is very interesting... I don't think you want to read it all here, but if you want to learn more, I would suggest any search online... this is one I found.



We didn't realize how much time had elapsed as we walked around the Roman Forum... so all of a sudden we were starving and running out of day light! We ate at a nice restaurant, had some great wine, and headed back to the bus... We were able to catch the sun set all along the city. It was really nice.

As we waited for the bus, Tyler sang the whole time... it was really cute.


Sunset...
Our bus ride... he loved to watching things pass us by...

A kiss of sorts...

The Vatican at night...

Our second day in Rome, we scheduled to go on a tour of the Vatican. We were picked up at 7:30 am, and off we went. Because we scheduled a group tour early in the morning, we didn't have to wait in the public line, which wraps around the Vatican Wall for a mile or so... we were able to get in after a short 20 minute wait!

Tyler, all of a sudden started to put his foot in his mouth... it was so weird. We told him it was yucky, and he just got more and more excited to do it... he is such a boy!


The tour guides are not allowed to talk in the Sistine Chapel, so they take all the groups out to the gardens, where they talk about the work Michelangelo did on its ceiling and walls, and show what the paintings are about on poster prints of the works. The history is truly amazing. Again, I don't think I have the time or want to bore you with all the details, but it is worth reading about if you like, you can go here or here.


That giant ball in the middle of the garden rotates, and was a gift to the Pope.

Entrance to the museums.

We weren't allowed to take any photos of the Sistine Chapel... but it really was amazing.

As we walked through the museums, and halls, we were told of the history of all the artwork and frescoes, the tapestries... they all are amazing, and the entire place was covered in them. From floor to celling was art. Notice the length of this hall... covered in artwork.... It was stunning and overwhelming at the same time.




The stairs coming down. We, fortunately, took the elevator!

After the Vatican tour was over, we walked over to St. Peters Square. The Pope addresses the public in this square. In the middle is St. Peters Church, where they say they have the tomb/body of the Apostle Peter. We weren't able to go in with the stroller, but my sister said it was pretty cool inside.


Along the walls of St. Peters Square.

"The Fountain of the Old Boat" This water is said to run from the Vatican, and thus is "holy" water. People drink it all the time. This was at the base of the Spanish Steps. While we were standing here, we saw a commercial being filmed. That was interesting...

The Spanish Steps... A sea of humanity...

We ate dinner with my parents at this great little cafe.

And then headed to Trevi Fountain...


After taking it all in, we headed back to the hotel, and soaked in Rome at night! It was so romantic!


They next day, we were to head home! We ate breakfast, and loaded our bags into a cab. We were about 45 minutes from the airport. When we arrived at the airport, we were in for an adventure of a trip home!

As we checked in, we found out that there was only 1 seat in the bulkhead available, and that if we wanted to sit together, we would have to ask the other passenger to swap seats with us. Yikes... OK, so we had faith at that point that God would give us grace....

So we get through security, and to our gate... to wait a little over an hour to board the plane, as it was delayed. Once on board, I sat in the bulkhead seat with Tyler no my lap, and Jordan waited to implore the other passenger to make the swap... my seat was the center one of the middle three seats on the plane. Needless to say, neither passenger on either side of me wanted to swap... So Jordan sat two rows behind us...

Tyler eventually fell asleep in my arms, as we waited to take off. We waited over 3 hours on the plane to take off... we waited for other passengers to arrive from other flights, and then as we were about to leave, a lady had a panic attack and we had to go back, and search for her bags... so by the time we took off, Tyler had finished his nap and was ready to play.

So, during our 9 hour flight, the two men on either side of me stretched out their legs, and Tyler and I struggled.... every time he cried, it was "Daddy....da-da..." Needless to say, it was a long, miserable 9 hours... that I struggled with anger pretty much every moment. When we finally landed, we had missed our connecting flight to DC, and had to still get through customs, and secuirty... before finding out that the next flight to DC was already overbooked and several hours away. SO... we decided rather than stay in another hotel room for one more night, to rent two cars and drive home!!!

We got home at 3:30 AM, after no sleep for over 27 hours... Tyler slept the whole drive, and for an additional 3 hours once we got home... but then my day began after only a few hours of sleep!! What was weird about that, was that I was wide awake! It was the middle of the day for me on Italy time! Glad to say, we are now back on American Time, and sleeping as we should!


So we came back, to normal life, found out we are having another little boy... and slipped back into a routine! We still cannot believe that we were in Italy a month ago! What an amazing trip it was. We made many memories, and experienced so much Grace from God. It is so humbling to know that no matter where you go on this green Earth, our God is with us, sustaining us every step. He has been so good to us!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and stories from our trip. Now onto the everyday stories from the Kauflin Family!

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