We want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. We've had quite an exciting 2007! After 2 fabulous years in Ramstein, Germany, Blake received a promotion within the Terex Corporation. With that promotion came a move to Italy in August to an area 45 minutes north of Venice working for Terex Comedil in the cranes division. We are still trying to get settled in but we are loving the experiences we are having. Just a rundown on what we’ve been up to this year...
Caleb (6 1/2) is attending an Italian Elementary school and progressing fast in the Italian language. He had a great year playing soccer in Germany and taking swimming lessons. He’s also excelling in piano and making his family laugh!
Sydney (9) is in 3rd grade on the U.S. Air Force Base nearby and having a great year. She starred in her class play last month. This year she also was quite the dancer in ballet and jazz and was on a German swim team. Her coach was amazed at her “beautiful” strokes! She also gets herself up at 5:55am every morning to practice piano before she leaves for school! She's a great alarm clock for the rest of us!
Cameron (10) is in 4th grade on the air base as well. He’s had quite a busy year as well with the German swim team (he’s a super fast swimmer), cub scouts and piano. He also made the all A honor roll and was elected to the student council at school! He also is doing well in piano! He just started playing on an Italian basketball team and loving it!...hmm, I wonder whose genes he has!
Carrie has had a busy year being a mom, chauffeur, travel guide, working in stake young womens, teaching piano, getting settled in a foreign country, etc. She's set a goal to run a 1/2 marathon - stay tuned...
Blake keeps busy with work, family, church and basketball. He's been doing some traveling with work this year to the states, Romania, France and will soon be traveling to Dubai. He's found another basketball group to play with on Saturday mornings here in Italy.
We are especially grateful at this time of year for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and the joy that that brings into our lives. We hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas season!
The Smiths, Blake ~ Carrie ~ Cameron ~ Sydney ~ Caleb
p.s. The pictures above are from our various travels this year on this side of the world.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 9:58 AM
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 3:17 PM
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 11:21 PM
Monday, November 19, 2007
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 9:03 AM
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 8:55 AM
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Saturday, November 17, 2007
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 7:59 PM
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Hands down, cruises are our favorite way to travel!!! You get to see so many places without packing and unpacking over and over. We love it also because there is nothing but family time - however you want to spend it. We went on the cruise with our friends the Lousbergs and both their sets of parents as well as the Bradleys. The top picture shows Caleb at the Kids Club on pirate night. The second picture shows our family with the Bradleys at the life boat drill. Cameron and Sydney are in the picture below at one of our dinners. The bottom picture shows me singing with a man named JP. He was fun to listen to and plays by ear. We did a few duets over the course of the cruise and helped me relive my performing days :-)
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 10:25 PM
Egypt was absolutely amazing - to say the least!!!! We had an amazing tour guide named Ashraf. He is an Egyptologist and holds 4 degrees....2 bachelors, 1 masters and 1 doctorate. He does lectures at the Cairo University and works on excavating in his spare time. To say that he is passionate about his work is an understatement. As you can see the top picture is at the Sphinx. The next picture down is of Cameron on the donkey.
Another quite interesting part of our trip to Cairo was that it coincided with Ramadan - the holy month. They fast from sun up to sundown - no food or water. As we travelled back to the ship that night after the tour all the mosques were lit up like it was Christmas or New Years. After sundown, they feast! As the sun went down, we mentioned to our driver that he could stop and eat the food that he'd brought from his igloo, which he did.
The next picture is of 2 men praying. They pray 5 times a day where ever they may be. The bottom picture is our guides favorite picture of the pyramids. While in Cairo, we also visitied Saqqara and the Step pyramids. We were also able to visit a store where they make papyrus. We got to watch a fascinating demonstration of how they make it.
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 9:37 PM
Egypt was by far our most favorite and last stop on the cruise. After traveling these past couple of years through most of Europe as well as northern Africa, we've finally found the common denominator that links the world together - McDonalds (top picture) and Coke (bottom picture). They are in EVERY country we've been in
Anyway, the middle 2 pictures are at the Giza pyramids.
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 9:25 PM
Here we are in Cyprus....to be honest, it was our least favorite stop of the whole cruise. For us, there wasn't a lot real exciting to see. The top picture is of the kids at an olive press. The next two pictures are of the ocean and then the last is of one of many mosaics we saw while there. Cyprus is an independent country with a high standard of living. Their pound is almost worth as much as the British pound.
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 9:20 PM
Here we are in Rhodes, Greece on our 6th stop. We docked right outside of the Old Town. The first picture shows the outside walls. The next picture down shows the boys' favorite part....the street of knights. The third picture down shows us inside the palace of the knights. The last picture is overlooking the ocean. Once again we're in awe of the beauty of the ocean. It was a great day!
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 9:13 PM
Friday, October 19, 2007
OK, I am in love with Turkey. I'd heard that Turkey had beautiful beaches, and now I'm a believer. The water was one of the most beautiful colors of blue I've ever seen....ok, now that that's done, our next stop was in Ephesus, Turkey. We took a tour that included seeing the house of Mary in which John the Beloved had taken Mary to live. The top picture is a picture of the baptismal font near Mary's home where they performed baptisms by immersion.
The next pictures are pictures of the ruins of Ephesus where Paul preached.
Our tour guide mentioned to us that a few years ago that they discovered through DNA that the American Indians are descendents of that area.....very interesting.....can we say Book of Mormon?
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 1:28 PM
The 4th stop of our adventure on the Black Sea was to Sevastopol, Ukraine. The boys went on their own adventure and saw the submarines of Balaklava. Sydney and I took a tour to the Crimean Riviera. We went to the Palace in Alupka. The 3rd picture down is inside that palace. That piano is a piano that Rachmaninoff (sp?) used to play on. The most fascinating part of this tour for me was at the Livadia Palace. (The bottom picture shows the outside of it). This was the summer home of the Romanovs (sp?). It is even more famous for the Yalta Conference towards the end of WWII where Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill came to sign the peace agreement. The second picture shows the table they sat at to sign it.
I was so fascinated with the beauty of Yalta and the Crimean Riviera. The mountains and the ocean next to each other were one of the highlights of this stop in the Ukraine.
Posted by Blake and Carrie Smith at 9:53 AM