Saturday, July 25, 2009

Homecoming, Texas Edition

We thought we'd share these pictures of our Texas homecoming from Italy. For those of you in Italy, you can see where we've landed!

The Farm. This is where John and I will be living. It's spacious and rustic, with plenty of parking. In the foreground is my trustworthy (and sporty) chariot.


Here are just a few shots from inside the farm, to give you an idea of the decor. :-)

The bedroom.


The living room. Over the mantle is a portrait of John's grandfather, affectionately known as 'Pop' by his grandchildren and 'Goober' by his wife and friends.


The kitchen.


The outbuildings. Clearly, we won't lack for storage!


Here's a picture of Tom and Kay's (John's parents) new house. We'll eventually get more pictures of it inside, but you can get an idea of the type of land it's sitting on, at least. This house is literally down the driveway from the farm.


Watermelon Festival in Hempstead. Take that, Ivrea!


Party at Kevin and Susan's house. John's friend from high school, Kevin (in the hat), turned 31 this year so we had a barbeque at his house with his other friend from olden days, Chris, and his family.


Unfortunately, the weather wasn't as cooperative as it could be, so the birthday boy had to grill in the rain.


Kevin, Chris, and John, preparing for the celebrated BlueBell Homemade Vanilla ice cream, with brownies.


After staying in Hempstead/Houston for a while, we journeyed north to Dallas to spend a night with John's cousin, Kathy, and family.

John and li'l Andrew wheeling around the grocery store.


John and Kathy in front of Kathy and Aaron's new house.


Jake showing off his new bedroom's huge closet.


Andrew, courtesy of his big brother Jake (the photographer)


John and I trying to take a heart-warming picture with Andrew, who, you can tell, was more interested in looking through his binoculars. Note the Superman pajamas.


Allrighty! We're in Missouri now; John's leaving tomorrow for his fly-fishing trip. Next post will be the Missouri homecoming, but since John's taking the camera on his trip, it might be a little while.

Ciao and love you!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Belated Fourth of July!

Well, it's taken a while, but we're finally putting up pictures from our Italian Fourth of July extravaganza! We went over to the house of our American friends, Matt and Courtney, and even condescended to invite some British people. See how open-minded we are?

Courtney made a wonderful, multi-purpose cake for the occasion. Ignore the hole in the middle; it's a long story.


Nolan, after having carefully placed the finishing touches on the masterpiece.


Sian and Lloyd enjoying some ribs.


Fun times on the slip 'n' slide!






Even those of you who haven't had the privilege to know little Nolan personally should watch these videos of his first attempts on a slip 'n' slide. They're very entertaining!
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Some beautiful, juicy watermelon. . .Note also the diplomatic shirt I'm wearing.


Although you can't see them in this picture, Matt had brought sparklers back from the U.S.A. Both kids and adults loved them.


Thanks to the cooperation of John's family (who were in Torino the week before), Texas flags were also in abundance. Not quite the good ol' red, white, and blue, but close.




And, of course, some rousing games of volleyball! Enjoy these action shots.






So there you go. Thanks for sharing the Fourth with us!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Balloons!

Last Sunday we had a crazy day. It was our last Sunday with the youth, so we all went out to Parco Valentino for a picnic, some games, and a dash of Bible Study. I think it was one of our largest youth meetings ever! (Which, looking at the number of people in the picture below, means we have a small but committed crew.) John led the Bible Study and since not everybody there spoke English, Giorgio--in the green shirt--translated for us.



Afterwards, John and I trooped out to Chieri for the Chieri Street Festival. It was different than any festival we've seen in the States. The first act we went to was pretty simple: they gave out hundreds of big red balloons, played some music, and then released even bigger red balloons out into the crowd. Entertainment doesn't have to be complicated.


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And not everybody gets a chance to have their portrait taken with a big red balloon! Here are John and me. . .




Lloyd, in the process of trying to hit me with his balloon.


Giorgio, whose parents were on a business trip to Sardinia that weekend; they could have come back earlier but they wanted to spend some time at the beach. So they left Giorgio to pine away with the Williams family. Poor kid.


Sian with her beater balloon.


At one point the guy in charge told us all to hold up our balloons and wave them back and forth. Obedience was mandatory.


We also learned a lesson about what happens when you blow up your balloon to a larger size than it can handle. A sound like a gun shot echoes off the surrounding buildings and somebody is left without a balloon. . .


We stayed the night in Chieri and the next morning decided to go out for a bike ride (to cool down from all the street festival excitement). It was a nice little ride outside of the city; here are some views. . .






And yours truly the photographer.


That's all for now, folks! Have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!