Vacation In Italy: Day Two In Rome

Each day my grandmother rotated between putting my sister and I in charge for the day. Day two was my turn to be in charge and we had to hail a taxi to take us to the meeting point for our tour of the Vatican at 8:30a. (Notice how I have dropped the m in am. This seemed like the European thing to do).

That morning I put on my Red Roman Dress and practiced my Italian to speak to the driver of the hailed taxi. I even wrote out the so called conversation in my iPhone notes in case I became flustered. I am so type A personality and not at all go-with-the-flow.

Continental breakfasts in Italy are fabulous. Mainly because they consist of fresh cheeses, pastries, fabulous juices, capicola and my grandma was so pleased to find prune pie like my Italian Great-Grandpa Seese used to bake. Oh, and how could I forget that espresso. I had two that morning.

We found the cab after breakfast.

Ciao, vorrei andare a calle vaticano. (I really did make note of that just in case).

We arrived outside of the cutest cafe and I failed as a director for the day because we waited there at the cafe instead of heading down the steps to check in for our tour.


I finally figured it out and we checked in for our City Wonders Tour of The Vatican. I had heard that you were not allowed to show shoulders or wear shorts inside the high holy places of The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica so I wore a dress. However,while we were in line I learned that the exposure of my thigh two inches above my knee made my dress too inappropriate for the high holy places. I had to buy a scarf. And I felt shame. The pastor’s wife dressed inappropriately for the high holy places.


(When I called my husband later he said he was not surprised.)

The tour of The Vatican was lovely. This is a place you could see a million times and still discover something new with each visit. There is so much to see.


Our favorite, I believe were two things.

First, hearing that there was an advisor to The Pope at the time of Michelangelo’s painting of the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel who had complained to Michelangelo about his frescoes.


The next day this big wig advisor found himself painted in “The Last Judgment” in hell with a snake around his unmentionable places.

We also found it interesting once you enter the Sistine Chapel it is made very clear you are to bare no shoulders or thighs, take no photos and be silent.

We took this seriously. I wore a mismatched scarf around my legs for heaven sakes. BUT everyone else was snapping photos of the frecoes and chatting about them anyway. every few minutes the guards would come on the microphone and say…

“SILENCE (because all the people talking were silly Americans), SILENCIO.”

Also, the guards are very strict about congregating near and exit or main entrance. This is forbidden and you will be strictly shooed and also mean mugged.

After The Vatican Tour I headed to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica which costs an extra ten euros but so worth it. Also pay the extra for the elevator when you go. The close to three hundred stairs are exhausting after a three hour tour. (Gosh, I feel like the theme song from Gilligan’s Island.)


We took a taxi to our next spot. We were meeting a City Wonders tour outside of the Colosseum for another three hour tour of Ancient Rome after lunch.


We ate lunch at a spot called Squist Cook, right outside the Colosseum with great views, good food and fun service. I had the most delicious calzone there and I was given my first free shot in maybe a decade. No one ever gives me free anything and I haven’t taken a shot since my twenty first birthday. This was absolutely a “When in Rome” moment.


We went on another three hour tour of Ancient Rome after lunch. It was hot. And we were tired. I also fell down the steps in front of the Colosseum. (Maybe it was that shot but also I was walking and searching for my Chapstick in my purse and anyone who knows me knows I am not the kind of person who should try to conquer a gross motor and a fine motor skill at the same time.)


So I had bruises. And another shameful moment for the day. My day in charge wasn’t panning out as I had hoped. (Inappropriately dressed, public intoxication, ect.)


The tour of the Roman ruins was a tad boring BUT the Colosseum part was spectacular. It is amazing to be in the Colosseum. So much history and thinking about all the life stories that have walked through the arenas of the Colosseum just makes you feel small, which is a good thing.


We had dinner at the Squisit Cook again and received more free shots. And good food. Then we hailed a cab home, found some desserts, wine and gelato and curled up in our jammies in front of “Under The Tuscan Sun” to prepare for our adventure to Florence the next day.

This was such a fun day. As women we had so much fun laughing, seeing, eating and drinking. However if I went again I would not do these tours in the same day. We were laughing together but also hurting. So much walking.


Don’t forget to check back for my favorite, Florence.


Traveling With Tots

We take two trips a year both over twelve hours long.

I have four kids- all five and under. My husband tends to the driving while I tend to our little herd. I’d love to share the bag of tricks I’ve developed over the years with you. There is nothing fancy or new here. Some ideas are from and some are ideas that friends have passed on to me.

I hope this will be something useful to you and something you’d be willing to share with others.

This will be my third year using a visual schedule. My oldest especially likes to know what is coming next and I have found the schedule cuts down on the “are we there yets”.

Traveling with kids

This year I am using words and clocks for the first time. In the past I have used a picture schedule.

I pack all our food. We will have fresh fruit and donut holes for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch and dinner. When we don’t have to stop to eat it saves us so much time. I have noticed we save at least 30 minutes a meal when we pack our food.

I will have four scheduled movie times. My baby is not old enough to care what’s on the DVD player so i have narrowed the movie times down to a choice for each child and mommy’s choice. Mommy’s choice is last because then I get to pick something I can stand listening to for the last minutes of the trip.

Music time is pretty easy. We listen to our favorite CDs. We love Veggie Tales, Jamie Soles and the Curious George Movie Soundtrack. For Easter the boys are getting new CDs in their baskets including


Rain For Roots

Veggie Tales 25 Sunday School Songs

DJ Shuffle from Disney Channel

Now for the good stuff. The Treasure Chest.


Everything fits nicely in this Thirty One Tote which I place between the two Captian’s chairs in out minivan.

We love Lauri Toys Puzzles and Linking Discs



Finger puppets



Lacing Cards


Pipe Cleaners


Books with sounds and lift the flap books




Magna Doodles, Dry erase workbooks and Stickers with notebooks





Magnetic Tins – these are awesome but also messy and tempting to put in a little one’s mouth. Make sure you open the tin before hand – it does require some pre punching out for the magnets.


This is a newbie to the treasure chest and I am most proud of this one. “Tattoo Parlor” which is a kitchen timer, some baby wipes and loads of tattoos leftover from birthdays and valentines.


For the critical spelling police, it does seem I left a t off of the word “tattoo” that is a word I hardly ever write with four small children. Lucky for them it looks like I left enough room to squeeze that extra t in and hopefully no one will be emotionally harmed for this minor mistake.

For electronics time we have Leap Pads, iPads and a 3DS. These are screenshots of my iPad so you can see our favorite apps.



Finally, there are two miscellaneous items I can’t travel without. My DustBuster and gallon sized ziplocks. image

I hope this makes traveling with your tots a little more fun!

Happy trails.