Sunday, October 4, 2009


Norris and I just returned from a great trip to the Grand Canyon. We were able to take Sophia and Vanessa with us, which was a rare treat for us and them. We went with our dear friends Larry & Diana Bingham, Casey and Carly Bingham and made some wonderful new friends Mark & Shellie Reeve. We hiked down to the Havasupai Indian Reservation and saw some of the most beautiful waterfalls I have experienced. Wonderful friends, family and scenery! We will remember this trip as one of our favorites.

We are just starting out on our 8 mile hike to the village.

Vanessa & Sophia

Norris and his beautiful daughters!

Now, just the girls!

Brave Sophia holding up the rock.

"GQ here I come"

It took us about 3 hours to arrive in the village.

Not quite The Montage, but it will do!

Our first sight of the most breathtaking water on earth.
I have never seen such turquoise water. This picture
does not do it justice!

After a swim we relaxed on Casey's rock!

The next day we set out for Mooney Falls & Havasu Falls.
The girls showing their strength!

Norris is feeling like the king of hill
(or at least king of that rock)

Over looking Havasu falls & pond! Gorgeous!!

Havasu Falls

To get to Mooney Falls we had to crawl through caves,
scale a 200 foot cliff . . . no problem, just don't look down.

We all made it down without injury! Totally worth it!
Here is our group from left to right:
Vanessa, Sophia, Norris, Tori, Shellie, Mark, Diana,
Casey (in back), Carly & Larry!

On our way out we met this darling Indian lady selling earrings
that she makes so us three girls each got a pair and
wore them on our hike out.

Vanessa & Sophie made a friend. No, they did not ride him out of the canyon.

Just about done!

Proud Tori is the first one out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


We just returned from a great trip to Italy with our
friends Fred & Janet Allen.  Janet's sister, Carla and
her husband John also joined us.  Janet has family
in southern Italy and we were so fortunate to spend
half of our trip with them. They treated us like royalty.
They had activities planned for us everyday and fed
us every meal. Their hospitality and generosity was
so amazing and our time in Melfi & Torre Canne was
the highlight of our trip. We felt like adopted members
of their family and will always treasure the time we
got to spend with them.

Our first night in Melfi with "the girls" Janet Allen's family.

This is taken outside the castle in Melfi with the town behind 

This was the draw bridge going into the castle.

The moat outside surrounding the castle!

We are over these twin lakes just outside of a Monastery.
From left to right: John & Carla, Mariada (Italian cousin),
Norris & Tori, Fred & Janet, Amalinda & Annibele 
(Italian cousin)

After two days in Melfi we left for Torre Canne to 
meet more family and enjoy the sea. This is my new 
friend Aurelia. She is 24 and currently in Medical School. 
She is so sweet and treated us with so much kindness 
and love. We miss her already.

One of the highlights of our trip was staying in this 
1000 year old Masseria, which is a renovated old farm 
house that sits on a working olive tree orchard. It was 
a magical place with a warm & friendly staff and 
wonderful accommodations.

This is where they served us breakfast every morning! Wow!

Right outside of where we ate breakfast is a working
pizza oven . . . more ideas for our next home, right!

On the property of our Masseria is the oldest olive
tree in the world. Have you ever seen an olive tree
this HUGE?

The Italians took us to this awesome little town called
Alberobello, the city of the "Trulli". The town is filled
with these beautiful structures that are completely
built of stone, using no mortar or timber. We felt like we
had entered a fairytail.

So romantic!

This was to be our lunch the next day! Yikes!

Another charming city, Ostino, the white city. From
the bottom row left to right: Carla, Janet, Fred & us.
Next row: Gabriella, Adriano, Giovanni, Mariada & Nino.
Top row: Niko & Annibele.

Another magical evening!
From left: Francesco (he did alot of 
the cooking and yes, in his speedo 
with an apron,it was AWESOME!)
Nino, Annibele, Giovanni & Pina.

This beautiful young woman with her son was selling
pareos and jewelry right on the beach. Norris bought
me a bracelet and a pareo.

Off to Sorrento:

We took a boat from Naples to Sorrento. This is
taken as we are approaching this beautiful city.

Great view from a nearby bridge.

This is the view from our balcony of our hotel room, 
not bad, right?

Positano - wished we had more time here. We only took a day
trip to this wonderful city. It is just like you see in movies.

Off to Rome

The colosseum.

The Trevi Fountain.

This picture is taken outside of Castel Sant'Angelo.

So far on this post I have failed to mention that this trip would
have been perfect had it not been for the miserable heat and
high humidity. We are atop the Castel here and my expression
says it all. The Vatican in the the background though is quite

Janet wants to take accordion lessons so when we return to
Italy she can earn a few extra bucks to help pay for the trip.
She got a few pointers from this local artist.

Our last night at Campo di Fiore having yet another 
meal. To console our irritation with the heat we just 
ate our way through Italy.