Happy Birthday, Carter!

Florence, Italy at the Ponte Vecchio

Of course, the birthday boy is on the far right! LOL

Happy 3rd birthday to Carter! He is such a joy and a blessing from God.

Carter, I love you so much as well as the whole family. Your
Daddy H

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Pope Benedict XVI Blessings

St. Peter's Basilica Sunday October 23, 2011

On Sunday October 23, 2011, Ammon, Carter, and I got to see
Pope Benedict XVI. He was giving Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Square at the
Vatican. We are not Roman Catholic, but we share Christianity as a common bond,
and our Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ. It was a special moment to get to see
him and think of the 1,600 year old traditions of the Catholic Church. It will also be cool to share this with Carter and Ammon when they understand the Pope and what he represents to the world.

Pope Benedict XVI on the "Pope-Tron"

Hard Rock: Rome & Florence

Hard Rock: Rome, Italy

If we are in a big, cosmopolitan, international city and we’re
not too sure about what food we want to eat for an evening meal, we usually
make our way to the Hard Rock Café. From experience in foreign countries, we
know we will get a good, satisfying meal. We truly enjoy experiencing native/regional
dishes, but evening meals can be SO expensive, and why pay $30 a person or more
for a meal that you might not enjoy when you KNOW you will enjoy a meal at the
Hard Rock Café even though it can be expensive as well?

Hard Rock Cafe: Florence, Italy

In Italy, we ate at the Hard Rock Café Rome multiple times
this trip, and we ate at the Hard Rock Café Florence twice during our stay
there. We were never dissatisfied, and we always left those restaurants full
and satisfied. We also bought our city tee-shirts! The music is always good,
and Carter and Ammon have a good time with the music and the food as well.

During this quick visit, Venice’s Hard Rock was only entered to buy t-shirts and to use the toilet facilities. ;o)

My family and I have a penchant for Hard Rock Cafes and other European destinations.

Some of my Parenting with Pride (please cruise and peruse!) favorites include Stunning SantoriniOslo, NorwayDollywood (Country Music Singer’s Theme Park) in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Marriage Equality in Tennessee .

Give me a “Google” with “Haven Caylor”. Blessings! -Haven

Ammon, Nana, & Carter: Hard Rock Venice, Italy

Carter & Ammon’s Halloween Party

Ammon and Carter had a great Halloween Party at school on Thursday. They had a parade in their costumes then a party. Jeanne Ann Hartzog (Jillian’s mother) and I were the co-hosts of the party. It went well: They had snacks and made their own masks with Halloween stickers.

Noah Cate, Jillian Hartzog, Shefaan Dhanani, Sofia Melendez, & Sophia Volz

Ammon, Carter, & Mrs. Paula

Floreat Roma (Let Rome Flourish)

Trevi Fountain Tuesday October 4, 2011

RomePyramidCestius

Cestius Pyramid & San Paulo’s Gate (Ostiense Gate)

I don’t know exactly what to say about Rome except for the
fact that it is overwhelming. I know there are cities which are older, but its
history is amazing. The area of the Palatine hill, of course, had
settlements way before 753 B. C. (Rome’s official “settling” year), but Rome has seen growths, fires, triumphs, tragedies, desolations, and flourishings. Last Saturday, I stood between theCestius Pyramid and the San Paulo Gate which the Ostrogoths marched through to make the final “Gothic” plunder of Rome, and imagined the  Eternal City’s gates locked and the city desolate. However, a 21st century motorcycle interrupted my image.LOL

I’ll write more about Rome near the
end of the “Fall 2011 Caylor-Brown Travels” blog compilation. By the way, it’s
great to be home! Hope everyone is well, and Happy Tuesday.

Inside the Sistine Chapel Halls (October 5, 2011)

One of Sean and Haven’s few “alone” times (October 4, 2011)

Catching up 10-7-2011 (Florence/Firenze)

Sunday-Monday

Good plane trip. Carter and Ammon slept well. Good nap at
the Hotel Raffaelo in Rome. It is near the Train Station Termini (McDonald’s
food, gelatos, all sorts of souvenirs).

Tuesday

The Roman Forum. We got to see a “discovery” from 2009. It
appears that the Emperor Nero may have had a rotating dining room. It sits up
on the Palatine Hill. They are excavating and studying quite slowly. The Roman
tour guide, Vivian, we had in October 2010 was not there, but her excavation
site is. Her dig is right across from the Temple of Romulus. After Nana,
Carter, and Ammon returned to the hotel for lunch and rest, Sean and I made a
trip back to the Colloseum. This time we were able to take our time and enjoy
the site. It was interesting “stealing” some tour guide information from the
other English speaking tours. Dinner at the Hard Rock Rome.

Wednesday

Up fairly early for the Vatican. Guess what? We missed
seeing the Pope by 15 minutes. He spoke at St. Peter’s Square at 10:30 a.m. ;
however, we headed to the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel at 10:15. The Sistine
Chapel was magnificent! If it wasn’t for the crowd, I could have stayed in
there for hours. For years, I thought Michelangelo’s “Final Judgment” was in
another “chapel” but it is right there (many of you already know that…LOL) on
the wall under the ceiling! Dinner was at an Italian restaurant around the
corner from the hotel. I had lasagna, but I can make better lasagna that they.
I think our American taste buds have a “mind of their own”. I have been in
Italy several times and eaten quite a few Italian meals, and I still think our
Italian food in the U.S. is just as good if not better than here.

Thursday

Eurostar Italia to Firenze (Florence). We are staying near
the Piazza de la Repubblica, and it has a carousel. Because we did not see it
last October, we put our bags down and headed straight to the Arno River with
the Ponte Vecchio. It was so cool! I could just imagine ol’ Dante Alighieri running
over and over the bridge trying to catch a glimpse of his Beatrice….so close
and yet so unobtainable. As we headed back into Firenze, we stopped for some
delicious gelati (strawberry, hazelnut, pistachio…yum, yum, yum!). We strolled
around the Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower and listened to an accordion
player. We ate dinner at the Hard Rock Florence then Carter and Ammon rode on
the carousel at the Piazza de la Repubblica.

Friday

After breakfast, we went straight to San Lorenzo’s chapel
(Medici Chapel). It took me 25 years to see Michelngelo’s “Day, Night, Dawn
& Dusk”, but I finally saw them! Woo hoo! Around noon, Carter, Ammon, Sean,
and I went to the Mc Donald’s at the train station. It was a great stroll. This
afternoon we have tickets to go to the Galleria dell’ Accademia to see “David”.

“Night & Day”

“Dawn & Dusk”