September 28, 2009


The Trevi Training Camp

yeah, I've got serious guns.

the zip line

love the cheeks...not sure what was going on there

quiet hilltop town

September 27, 2009


Umbria. Beautiful hilltop towns, rolling fields, and the Cottage of the Olive, our home away from home. Due to our lack of planning we ended up with only one option for lodging in Umbria, the Olive Cottage. This place is slightly bigger than we needed (lets just say we each have our own bedroom and bathroom, and there are still empty rooms) but it is amazing. And after our one room + curtain = 2 rooms in the Cinque Terre, it is nice to have a little more space.

Today we went to church in Terni, in a branch where Ryan spent a part of his mission. Even though we didn't understand a word you could tell that the talks were good and the people were very kind. The branch has grown since Ryan's time--there is a new building and more members. From there we went to Spoletto, a beautiful hilltop town (I think this may become a theme). Jamie had what was perhaps her favorite meal of the trip: a spinich ravioli with a sage and tomato cream sauce and for dessert: panna cotta and berry gelato. Yum.

Tonight the Packers showed the Wrides how to rock Scopa. Taylor is still reeling. Better luck tomorrow.

**Special thanks to the grandmas taking care of Ella. Knowing she is in such good hands makes this trip a million times easier**

September 26, 2009


{yes, Jamie, I realize this is out of focus. Sorry.}

On our way out of the Cinque Terre we stopped in Lucca. Lucca is a nothern Tuscan village surrounded by a wall that wraps 2.5 k around the city. We rented bicycles and rode atop the wall and within the city. It was wonderful. There are very few cars, so we wandered through the streets and window shopped, took pictures, and marveled at how much ground you can cover on a bike.

I don't know when I've had so much fun. Ryan and I may move there. There are plenty of locals and I'm sure they need a pediatrician and, whatever it is that Ryan does.

Cinque Terre

I don't think I'm going to get pictures for a while, but I decided to do our travel log while it's still fresh in my memory. So check back around October 5th for the pictures (and they are going to be good--between Jamie and Ryan we've taken about 1000 already).

The Cinque Terre was both fantastic and a little disappointing. The Cinque Terre consists of 5 villages connected by trails (although these days you can get around via train, bus or boat). We stayed in Vernazza, a picturesque little village on the harbor. Before 10 am and after about 7 pm we loved our little town. But during the day hoards of tourists overtook the winding streets and it lost much of its charm. 10 years ago it would have been an amazing place. Darn you, Rick Steves!

But still, the trails were spectacular. 7 miles of sometimes paved but mostly rugged cliff-side trail. We also enjoyed the most rich, thick hot chocolate you can imagine. It was literally thicker than a melted chocolate bar. I could only drink about 1/4th of mine, which is saying something because we all know how I feel about sweets.

CT summary: there were parts that we loved, loved, loved, but we could do without the crowds.


We made it. No major problems on the flight over. Read, slept, woke up in Pisa. We took a quick jaunt to the leaning tower, and then off to the Cinque Terre. I will post some pictures later, when I have better internet access (and a non-international keyboard that I can work a little easier...). Hope Ella is having fun with Grandma! We miss her but are having a great time.

September 20, 2009


If you don't have a place to stay for your upcoming Italy trip (and you leave in 3 days) does that mean you are adventurous or just foolish?

September 17, 2009

Peach Days

Ella's got Brigham City in her blood.

Grandma Sue {Harman} and Grandpa Doug {Packer} are both from the BC, so it's only right that she celebrate Peach Days. And celebrate we did. We hit Maddox, a late night carnival, the Fireman's Breakfast, the parade, Peach City Drive Inn, Idle Isle, and of course, brought home some peaches to can and jam. Can't wait til next year.

made entirely of fruit's and vegetables. how can you beat that?

riding on fire trucks

Brigham City's finest

germs? what germs?

*thanks to Brad Packer for the pics

September 5, 2009

12 at 12

  1. After going through a phase where she hated hats, she now loves them.
  2. She has turned cuddly. She gives hugs and kisses all the time. Especially to her toys and books.
  3. Unfortunately for her, she inherited her mom's super fine hair. I have already seen a split end.
  4. Going outside to "see the birds" will stop any amount of crying or fussing. If there happens to be a dog outside...heaven.
  5. Favorite foods: pasta, tomatoes, milk. She goes through fruit phases. Used to be blueberries. Now peaches. Just tried pickles and got a big mmmmmm.
  6. We are attempting a little experiment: potty training. { "very European," my pediatrician said. was that a dig or a compliment? beth--you might know.} Yesterday she woke up, went in the potty, stood up and proceeded to go on the floor. Progress?
  7. She needs 2 naps a day but only wants 1.
  8. She got her 12 month vaccines last week. Even though I give my "shots do not cause autism" speech on a daily basis, and I truly believe that shots do not cause autism, I did pause and think, "What if Jenny McCarthy is right?" It is different when it's your own kid. (I still gave her all her shots, plus the flu vaccine.)
  9. 80% for length, 33% for weight, 90% for head.
  10. If I need to get anything done online, I open one window for me and one window for her. I've watched Maggie the counting dog wow Oprah more than once.
  11. She has loads of teeth. Three on top, three on bottom, upper and lower molars on the right, working on the lower left. There is a night and day difference in her happiness level when she is teething. Heaven help us through these last two molars.
  12. She starts to boogie whenever she hears music.


See the new button on my sidebar? With zero html skills {but an advanced degree in Google} I made that button! It's not fancy, but it works. My friend started an organizational blog that has some really great info. Want a clean, clutterless home? Organize with Jane.

September 2, 2009


Does anyone have a good cupcake recipe?