— 1 —

This is Trevi Fountain:

When we went to Rome for Jack’s First Communion, we threw coins in, because when you actually ARE in Rome . . . well, you know.  Some folks think that means we’re destined to return.  Of course, we’re not superstitious, because that’s not allowed, but we do believe in some magic.  

Plus we’re got another First Communion to do, soooooo . . . 

— 2 —

I’m writing this to you from THE PAST, because if you’re reading this on Friday, right now I’m winging my way to Rome again with the husband, parents and (this time) six kids aged 1-10 in tow.  

At the Coliseum on our 2009 trip

Wondering why a sane person would board a plane, on purpose, with all those little occasions of disaster?  And what I figure on doing with them while we’re on it?

There’s a post (or two) for that:
A Survival Guide to Air Travel With Kids
A Survival Guide to Air Travel With Babies

— 3 —

On our 2009 trip, we toured Rome and took a day trip to Assisi. 

Train ride, check:

It is SPOOKY how much Gus looks like Frankie right now.

Pretty churches, check:

Santa Maria degli Angeli,
where St. Clare took her vows,
and St. Francis died.

Occasional rainstorm, check:

The Basilica di San Francesco,
home to the tomb of St. Francis
and an impressive collection of relics.

Crazy adventure story, check:

Our next stop was Eremo delle Carceri, a peacefully isolated church and monastery in the wooded slopes outside Assisi’s walls, this was the first monastic home of St. Francis and his followers.  On our tourist map, it looked like a pleasant walk from town.  

In reality it was four miles up a CRAZY steep and winding mountain road.  The husband had Gus in a baby carrier on his back and was pushing Betty and Bobby in the double stroller, while 7-months-pregnant me and 6-year-old mountaineer Jack trudged pleasantly-enough along beside him.  

We kept thinking we HAD to be almost to the top, but we never would have made it except that the only car to go by was a nun in a tiny hatch-back who pulled over and offered us a ride the rest of the way.  The views were lovely, but the monastery itself was under construction and mostly closed off.  Thankfully, the snack bar was open!  And we called for a cab to get back to town.

— 4 —

But the adventures didn’t end there.  We checked out of our apartment in Rome, left our things at the train station and headed off too see one last church, St. Paul Outside the Walls.  This basilica holds the bones of St. Paul and since it was the year of St. Paul, pilgrims could earn a plenary indulgence for visiting.

There was lots to see, and I should really have turned around to take a look at that clock because . . . we didn’t quite make it back in time to catch our train to Venice.

There it goes . . . 

Nana and Grandad and ALL the luggage were on the train, the husband and I and the kids and ALL the non-changeable train tickets purchased in the US were not.  It was a panicky moment.  But I had just finished reading Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality and that made all the difference.  Mother Angelica really convinced me that wherever I am at that moment, is where God wants me to be.  So how could I worry

And even though it was totally my fault that we were late and no one had any obligation to help us, they did.  They fed us some pizza and gave us a whole car to ourselves all the way to Venice on the train leaving two hours later.  And Nana and Grandad were waiting with the luggage:

The message that some Americans with no tickets and lots of
luggage were okay to go through was radioed to the engineer!

— 5 —

So this time we’re planning to do Rome, then Pietrelcina, Montecassino, Capri, and Pompei.

Any thoughts?  Or suggestions?  I’ll be checking the comments!

— 6 —

This:

is the only camera I’ve had for many years (and an older model of the same before that).  Before everything went digital I really loved photography.  I had my grandfather’s old SLR camera in high school and college and beyond, and loved taking pictures and working in the darkroom.  But shortly after my oldest son was born it seemed like I was the last one yet to hop aboard the digital camera train, so I did.

And I never really liked it as much.  I didn’t really know what I was doing (not that I did with the SLR camera either, beyond some 100-level photography courses), and I just ended up with something easy to stick in my pocket.

But with the advent of the blog, I felt like I should invest in a better camera.  So I decided that I would save all the money I make from the Amazon Associates program (you click on Amazon links from the blog and I get a small percentage of your purchases) to buy a new camera.

Since January, I have saved up . . . $34.66.

So, since you guys deserve better, and we had this trip coming up, the husband took pity on me and got me what I hope is a happy medium camera:

The Nikon 1 J1

Plus a depth of field lens that I’m hoping will take those blurry background photos that make you look like you know what you’re doing, but not be as complicated and bulky as “real” cameras.

I’ll keep you posted.

— 7 —
If you would please keep us in your prayers I would really appreciate it.  It would take a miracle to get Bobby in to have his First Communion from the Pope.  But we needed a miracle last time too, and we got one.  We have a lovely back-up plan, just in case.  And the important thing is to receive the sacrament, which he’ll get to do one way or another!

We would also be honored to pray for your requests on our pilgrimage.  We’ll be visiting various holy sites in Rome, and St. (Padre) Pio’s hometown of Pietrelcina, and along the southwest coast of Italy.
Please leave a comment on this post (anonymous is fine) or on the Catholic All Year Facebook page and we’ll light candles for your intentions all along our journey.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

And thanks to Kate from The Rhodes Log for 
linking this up for me!