Rome round up!

We absolutely loved Rome for a family vacation. When we were heading home my husband asked if we would do Rome again sometime. My initial answer was no. There were so many “tourist” sites and we loved them all, but not sure I would pay to see them again. But then I thought about the atmosphere and the food and for a minute changed my mind! Maybe I would go back just to enjoy the city a bit longer, play more of a visitor role instead of a tourist one. So we shall see.

I wanted to do a quick pro and con list for any of you with upcoming trips to Italy.

PROS

-The food is absolutely wonderful. There is not a real way to describe it but a few words are full, fresh, homemade, flavorful.

-The sites/tourists areas are easy to find and are reachable by public transport.

-The train station was SO easy. There are 2 main lines and you pretty much can’t get lost. So convenient and the hours are really good. A 100 minute ticket is 1.15 Euro and a day pass is 7 euros. Children are free.

-The wine selections are huge and the bottles are served and recommended everywhere. If you know me personally you know my love for wine, I was looking forward to Italian wine and it didn’t disappoint.

-Everyone talked about Italian coffee and you all that know me can also acknowledge my love for coffee, almost as much as wine. I didn’t think there was anything too special about the coffee as far as flavor, but the aroma was delightful and it was quite strong! The price was very affordable, even the nice coffee shops {I tried A LOT of shops}.

-The weather at this time was amazing. So I can say November in Rome is a great time to travel. It was cool but sunny the whole time. We even ate outside at the restaurants quite a bit. It was in the 60’s Fahrenheit.

CONS

-Both airports are outside of the city. We booked a private transfer which helped since it was pre paid and our first time going there. The taxi fares are between 35-50 euro to head into the city from both airports so that’s something to know ahead of time.

-There is a city tax they charge for every person, per night, children under 10 are free. We paid this at the hotel and it was 30 Euros. The longer you stay, the more it costs.

-The streets aren’t really stroller friendly. I put this as a con but honestly, most European cities aren’t. The cobblestone streets are rough and bumpy and also filled with people and narrow. It was a bit inconvenient even with our small stroller and in restaurants it was almost impossible.

-Rome isn’t the cleanest city. There were lots of piles of trash, quite a bit of graffiti everywhere, lots of smokers and cigarette butts and restaurants dump their trash on the curbs by the streets where we walked—-so it wasn’t the smell of flowers as we strolled through in the evenings. We felt safe the entire time and never had any issues, it was just something we noticed and might not have really noticed as much if we didn’t have our small child with us.

Anyways, if you ever have any questions please feel free to email me. We had a great time, met lots of fellow Americans traveling for the Thanksgiving holidays and we really enjoyed the break.

We are fortunate that Zo has a job that allows us to go and see so many amazing places around the world. This thanksgiving we were reminded that not only do we have each other but we have a wonderful opportunity to see things many people only dream of or see in movies. I’m forever thankful and we are ready to get back to our routine and back to basketball!

Ciao!

-Morgan

Ps—if you want to read all days of the trip you can find them here: Rome trip

Our trip to Rome, Italy—-Day 3

Another day in Rome, another fabulous time! The first 2 days are up here: Days 1 & 2

Today we visited the Colosseum and it was spectacular. The structure is huge and we once again got there by train. From the hotel to the Colosseum it took about 20 minutes and the train drops you off right in front of it. Our skip the line tickets came in handy again and we began our long trek through the structure.

The weather was amazing, sunny and cool. We took about 2 hours at the Colosseum to explore and that was plenty of time with our little one. After we left the Colosseum we were able to spend a little time on the grounds where there was some more neat sights, views, and areas for Logan to run around and play.

We stopped at a local place near the hotel for lunch and it was delicious…of course! We enjoyed bruschetta for the first time here in Italy because we love it at home. Italy has amazing bruschetta, that is all.

We headed for dessert at another great gelato place and OH MY! The Nutella gelato was so very good.

We of course went back to the hotel for naps 🙂 and then ventured out about 7pm to explore the Vatican City at night…beautiful.

St. Peter’s Basilica at night is gorgeous. The whole area is beautiful and lit up. It’s free to view in the evening and worth the walk. It’s the worlds largest Basilica of Christianity and one to remember. There were violins and beautiful music playing from an orchestra inside and it was really nice to hear.

We enjoyed dinner at Davito & Dina and this was amazing. The food was delicious, the service was great, and it was really family oriented. The prices were really reasonable and they were very patient with our crazy 3 year old! {insert stressed mom face}.

Day 3 was a success and we are stuffed and happy! See you all tomorrow for our final day in Rome!

Ciao!

Morgan

Our trip to Rome, Italy—-Day 2

Our first day was incredible & if you missed the post about it you can find it here: Day 1 in Rome

Day 2 started off with an American buffet breakfast at the hotel. This is a must when we travel because we have a pretty picky eater and I actually prefer less meats, less carbs, and less “extras.” American breakfast always allows for fresh fruits, eggs, toast, and yogurt. My husband also gets to enjoy real bacon, eggs, waffles, and bread…Perfect. Anyways, we ate pretty early and then set out for the Vatican Museum. Our reserved tickets were for 9am {thank goodness we reserved, the line was sooooooo long to get in}.

We visited the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, and the gardens. WOW!! This place was absolutely amazing, full of beauty, full of history, and just gorgeous to look at!

Strollers were permitted but whoa there were a lot of stairs! So if you are going at this alone, don’t bring a stroller. Zo & I helped each other and it was manageable to navigate through pretty easily. It’s crowded, so there was a little shoving through folks, but it was okay.

They asked for no photos in the actual chapel so I didn’t get much of a look to share.

There’s no way I could capture all the beauty in this place but it was wonderful and I’m glad we visited. If you want to tour and see it all, I suggest the whole morning. We finished around lunch time, grabbed some pizza and coffee and headed back to the hotel for naps!

The Vatican is surrounded by a large wall and here were some street views of that. What is “hidden” behind/inside the walls are true gems.

After our 3 hour nap {for all 3 of us} we ventured out for dinner. We decided tonight would be a splurge night and we would do all the best Italian eats!! Oh gosh was I stuffed!

Okay, seriously this place was spectacular. The atmosphere, the service, the food, 5 stars for sure!!! We had an amazing dinner and it was just so nice! Highly recommend if you are in the Vatican area. Amazing.

We are full and happy and ready for the Colosseum in the morning!

Ciao!

Morgan

Our trip to Rome, Italy—-Day 1

Hello everyone! I wanted to blog about our trip to Rome & after we arrived I realized I have GOT to go day by day or I will just be too overwhelmed. So I will add to this each day & let you all in on our family trip. This is our first trip to Italy & we were really excited. I made sure {upon lots of advice} to book all of our tickets in advance. I booked the following…

1. Vatican tour tickets including the Sistine Chapel

2. Colosseum skip the line tour tickets

3. Private transfers to and from the airport including car seats in the vehicles

The lines are supposed to always be long so we decided to play it safe.

Today was our first day in Rome and we just planned for it to be an “explore the city” day, and it was worth it!

We explored the area of the Spanish Steps and it did not disappoint.

Highly recommend….

We took the train to the Spanish Steps area and it was very easy, our hotel suggested it instead of a cab {15 euros vs. 3 euros} .

We first visited the Spanish Steps which included 135 steps. This was a great tourist spot and there were lots of people in the square. The area included luxury shops, amazing gelato, and beautiful fountains.

We walked about 10 minutes to the famous Pantheon which used to be a temple and is now a church. They ask for silence which was a task with Logan but it’s free and open to the public. Well worth the 10 minute line.

We went to the well known children’s toy store “Citta del sole” and clearly that and gelato were Logan’s favorites of the day! The gelato was from the famous “Venchi” and it was delicious!

We spent the rest of the afternoon just wandering the streets and walking…a lot! 🙂

Day 1 was a great success and we can’t wait for the Vatican Museum tomorrow!

Ciao!

Morgan

Logans 3rd birthday party

Hi friends & happy Sunday!! I wanted to share Logan’s party with you all before we escape to Rome, Italy later this evening. I’m a crazy person when it comes to celebrations. I’m over the top, I like surprises, confetti, doing it big, and getting creative. I like to think that seeing someone I love smile is worth all the crazy planning!

I planned way ahead for Logan’s party since we were back in the same city as last season and I knew the ins and outs. I chose to have his party at our favorite indoor play arena and that was a good decision with the cold and gloomy weather.

The theme was Thomas the Train which is Logan’s favorite and everything went with that. I ordered his t-shirt from my favorite print shop for custom kids things. Party decor and Moore has created some masterpiece party items for Logan since he was 6 months old & she did not disappoint this time.

We ordered cupcake toppers and adult straws from a couple small shops we love too. The straws were from Puppy Cat Crafts and the toppers from The Topper Shoppe . We love shopping small, I’m a small business owner myself and know how much love goes into creating special things and how much work goes into trying to sell them! If you can find small shops you love, support them!

The banner pictured above was something I made because I just didn’t find exactly the color mix I wanted online. It was easy enough and I would make it again for another event.

We had the party at Vora Bokstas and it really is a fun place for kids ages 1-10. There’s areas for all ages & that was really nice. We rented the biggest room they had and enjoyed refreshments, pizza, lounging, cake, and 2.5 hours of play.

I made deviled eggs—because I’m not cooking thanksgiving dinner, i figured why not 🙂 . I did cheese and grapes, nuts, chocolate, chips, and pretzels for the adults. We also had pizza for both the adults and kids.

Logan’s cake was ordered through the venue and wow it was delicious. I did a chocolate cake and then vanilla cupcakes. I would say they did a great job on our American classic character. 🙂

Logan’s decorations came from Party Inbox . This was a company I found in Lithuania that had a wide variety of items & I’ve found quite a bit of Christmas and holiday items there too. The table decorations were fun and the utensils, plates, and cups went together nicely.

Mother of the year because I didn’t get a picture of all the children together OR a family picture {sigh} . But Logan had a blast and that’s what counts. I’m really grateful for everyone who took the time to love on our little guy and celebrate his life.

I probably will be throwing over the top parties for my son forever. To see his face light up and to listen to him talking about his party for hours after it was over was all this mamas heart needed to keep me planning away! So cheers to many more celebrations with the peeps I love, in countries all over the world, and with a heart as big as it can get.

Ciao!

Morgan

Logan is 3!!!

((Funfetti cake from the USA, yes, it’s that good! ))

Oh guys, how did the time pass so quickly? I cannot believe our sweet baby boy will be 3 years old tomorrow. Wow! Daddy will be on a road trip to Israel early in the morning so we decided to celebrate a day early with our little guy. Tomorrow for Logan’s birthday, Logan & I️ will head to Vilnius, the capital, to spend the day with some of our sweet friends & we are excited about that.

<<<<<<<<
ds & family back home truly are the best. You guys always ask us what you can do & get for Logan and we are just blessed to have you in our lives. Some of our sweet friends & family gifted Logan trains, his favorite! And also a new puzzle and car. We went ahead and opened these, read cards, and told Logan who everything was from. We are saving some gifts for Saturday which is when his party will be!! He's been talking about it for weeks & we are really happy for him.

<<<<<<<<
nia, it is uncommon to have a birthday party at a young age with anyone but your family. But the Williams fam is in town & we are doing it big! We invited all the kids from the team & also all the kids in his class. This was so funny for the parents & teachers to hear because this is incredibly odd for them. But we are excited & hope to spark a touch of unity & inclusion for them. Logan's friends with all the kids he sees, he really is friendly. He loves to give hugs, share, and include everyone. We do too. So cheers to a huge party & the Williams family spicing things up around here.

<<<<<<<<
super busy prepping for this big train party & I will be sharing next week how it went.

<<<<<<<<
Dad enjoyed a wonderful night out for daddy's birthday last week & we can't wait to head to Italy!

Next week we will be in Rome, Italy & we are super excited. We've got lots of things planned & I can't wait to share all we did when we get back. We will be in Italy for Thanksgiving so there will be no stuffing or turkey, I'll be living through the posts from you all with your families! I'm giving up Thanksgiving for wine & gelato…and I'm not even sad about it one bit! (My husband…maybe! Hehe)

So cheers to busy season! Cheers to the next 2 weeks full of fun, celebrations, basketball games, travel, and the Colosseum!!

Xo

Morgan

Williams Family Updates

Here we are into a new month and the days just seem to get away from me. There isn’t much time to write lately and lots of reasons why. I hope November is treating you all well, we are starting the month off with 35-40 degree weather and no snow which is a plus!! I am not ready for that yet!

Logan: Logan is aboslutely loving school. He is doing really well with the adjustment away from mom and dad and its been really refreshing (and relaxing) for us as parents. And seriously, I am just happy to make it to the grocery store alone for the first time in a while! Logan is growing like a weed! He’s still our picky little eater but he is growing tall and loving his few favorite foods. He still won’t eat any European food or their favorite dish…soups. He at least tries them but thinks ALL of it is terrible, oh well! Logan had a pretty big boo-boo a few weeks ago when he busted his lip. In a combo between the shelf, the TV, trying to dunk a pretend basketball and prove a point, he lost! His lip was pretty messed up for 2 weeks and ended up with several other lip issues because the bacteria that formed from him not letting us touch and clean like we needed. Needless to say, next time his lip gets cut, the kid is getting stitches. Logan will celebrate his birthday November 14 and we are super excited. Our theme is trains and he’s in love with them, as well as paw patrol, Cars, and puzzles galore! He will have a big party on November 18 with his friends from school and kids on the team. We can’t wait to share photos from this special day and we are excited he’s got some playmates this season to share the day with.

Lorenzo: Zo had a little bit of a setback the past couple of weeks due to a nerve issue. Fortunately, all the tests have cleared him and recovery is just about rest and time. He’s been getting lots of massages and treatments and this weekend will be back in the gym and we are all excited. This sport isn’t easy and injury and trauma will occur, we are just super thankful and blessed it was nothing serious and that he’s returning soon. Zo will also celebrate his 33rd birthday next Wednesday!!! YEA!!! We are super excited to have the day off and head into the city with Logan and enjoy dinner as a couple. Of course, Zo will have his annual funfetti cake that I have made him since he was 27. Every year I buy that $1 box of cake and $1 can of icing and we enjoy that special tradition. We have also started it with Logan and I make it for him as well.

Morgan: It’s holiday season and that means my fitness eBook is coming out soon. I’ve been hard at work on that and enjoy producing that each year. Speaking of fitness, I have loved working out at the gym again now that Logan is in school and it really gives my day a boost. I have also been busy here in our city. I am volunteering with high school students with the American English School and teaching them English a few hours a week. It has been fun getting to know the young Lithuanian generation and the kids are just the sweetest. I also tutor English to several adults each week and thats been very nice too. We still enjoy our time with the friends we have here and now that this seasons date nights are on a roll, we’ve gotten to enjoy some great nights out. I was plagued by some Lithuanian flu last week and literally felt like death. Moms are superheroes…seriously. Holding down the household and dealing with being sick put me over the edge. I survived 3 days but on the 4th, Zo had to take over. I hope this was it for the season, because it was awful. Strep throat and the flu might be the worst combination. Also, for the record I will mention that Lithuania does not have Lysol, i repeat….they don’t disinfect!!!! The gym yoga mats—don’t disinfect. The door handles, locker rooms, saunas—don’t disinfect. People rarely use the disinfecting hand alcohol and there is ZERO form of lysol or disinfectant sold in a bottle for the home or room. Our house smelled like bleach for a week, mixed with essential oils and detergent. It was the best we could come up with! Anyways, glad thats over.

Williams family: As for our family, we are headed on vacation in 2.5 weeks!!!! Where to? ROME ITALY. We have never been and really cannot wait to experience this incredible city. Zo will not have a Christmas break because they play back to back games and will travel outside of the country so they are getting this Thanksgiving break and we are so grateful to the coach for this time. We haven’t taken a family vacation since Logan was really small (London, England) and we are so very excited. I think we’ve got it mapped out but if you have ever been and have “must haves’ for Rome, please shoot me a message or comment. Anyways, we are looking forward to this experience together and I for sure will be blogging about the trip.

So that’s all for now. Hopefully I will get a post in before our trip, but if not, Ciao and chat soon!

xo

Morgan