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Botos Family Album - 2007

The year unfolded, not always the way we expected. Here is a brief pictorial replay of some key events.

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note: Each of the photographs is a thumbnail image of the original. Just click on the thumbnail to view a larger version of the picture.

Holidays - 2006

Usually the Christmas holidays get missed in the yearly family album -- since I put the album together in late November. So here are a couple of scenes from the holiday season at the end of 2006.

We spent Christmas eve and part of Christmas day with Nick, Angela, and Nina.

prepared Christmas eve/Nina birthday table

Nick & Angela's table all decked out for the Christmas eve and Nina's birthday celebration.

catherine and her cute grandpa

Catherine and her 'cute' grandpa.

nina and candle blowing helpers

Nina getting some help blowing out her birthday candles.

between courses

Taking a break between courses.

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We spent a lot of time together as a family this year, traveling occasionally, but always having a good time!

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Carole, Sonia's Peace Corp roommate visited us in February. Along with some catching up on our lives, we also visited the local Aquarium.

Carole and Sonia at aquarium

Why do they look so cold? This picture was taken outdoors on a cold February day while Carole and Sonia watched the penguin feeding.

Liliana and Sonia planning hawaii trip

In preparation for our trip to Hawaii, Liliana & Sonia plan activities for our visit.

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Air and Space museum

While Liliana was here, we also visited the Air & Space museum, as well as several other highlights on a day trip to Washington, D.C.

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snacking before Thanksgiving dinner

All of our kids were home for Thanksgiving. Snacking, while waiting for dinner.

Catherine insisted on having mashed potatoes. So we assigned her the task of mashing them.

Catherine mashing potatoes

After dinner, it was time for relaxing with more picture taking and a game of Trivial Pursuits.

Trivial Pursuits players spacing pixel spacing pixel Boggle players

We also got in several rounds of Boggle.


turkey/tofurky dinner

We were all ready to sit down to our turkey/tofurky dinner.

4 kids #1

Four 'kids' #1 and #2.

4 kids #2


We usually don't take posed pictures, but since we had the family together, decided to take a few.

all of us

All of us.

catherine and her boys

Catherine & her 'boys'.

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Odd looking creatures off the coast of Belize.

Some quick highlights:
  • Sonia, Liliana, Catherine, & Michael in Hawaii
  • Sonia, Nick, Angela, & Nina in Italy
  • Michael & Matthew in Belize
  • Sonia & Michael in Palm Beach
Michael and Matthew scuba diving in Belize

This summer, Sonia, Michael, Catherine, and Liliana [Sonia's cousin from Italy] spent a few weeks snorkeling and sightseeing on the islands of Maui and Kauai. This was Liliana's first visit to Hawaii. For the rest of us, it was an opportunity to explore parts of the island we hadn't seen before.

dinner at momma's fish house

Dinner at Mamma's Fish House, a fantastic setting for a great meal.


catherine got lei'd

Catherine got lei'd before leaving the airport in Kahalui!

Sonia and Liliana taking a break at the scenic Maui Ocean Center. The center is a combination of formal aquarium, learning center, and outdoor exhibits. And of course, the location is great.

maui ocean center rest stop

Sunset ocean view from our condo on Maui. Our back lanai was only about 50 feet from the ocean.

maui condo sunset ocean view

Apple snails greeted us each morning on Maui, leaving their trails in the dew covered grass.

morning snails on maui
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After about an hour of driving on the road to Hana [not counting the time you spendblack sand beach near hana getting in and out of the car to taken scenic pictures], you arrive at a special beach.

Black sand beach near Hana.

postcard shot of road to hana

Postcard shot of the winding road to Hana



This plant blooms only once every 100 years. It provides a stark contrast to the dark lava rock and cinder landscapes as we climbed [mostly with the car} up the 10,023 feet of Haleakala.

sunset on haleakala

The sunset on Haleakala is just a beautiful as the sunrise, but without the bitter cold temperatures. Although it was still windy and cold for our sunset picnic of wine, cheese, and fruit.

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Having Michael's laptop along on the trip set up on lanai [with a beer, of course] made it much easier to review the pictures from the day. We got into a routine... Power up the laptop, get a beer, upload pictures from three cameras and then enjoy reliving the events of the day.

advacados and limes on kauailaptop and beer on the lanai

Avocados & limes courtesy of the trees on the property. We had seen the fruits in the trees from our lanai, then went out to pick up some of the fallen fruit. The resulting guacamole was delicious!

cereus flower

Cereus flower.
We saw a lot of these on our last trip to the Big Island and were glad to see them again. They are a member of the cactus family, with very large blooms.

friendly box fish

Friendly box fish peering out from its rocky home.


Snorkeling was a daily activity. Usually our first activity after breakfast. Most of the beaches were only a short drive from the condo. The fish were plentiful and colorful. Thanks to Catherine, we were able to get some great snorkeling pictures, using a special camera 'bag' to encase her older digital camera.

humuhumunukunuku'apua'a - state fish

Humuhumunukunuku'apua'a -- the beautiful state fish of Hawaii.

unicorn fish

Unicorn fish.

red pencil urchins

Red pencil urchins seemed to be plentiful at most of the snorkel sites.

honu - green sea turtle

Honu - green sea turtle, a pleasure to watch as they leisurely swam and grazed on seaweed.

NaPali coast

napali coast

NaPali coast -- Hawaii, like it used to be.

Waimea Canyon

waimea canyon

Waimea canyon, not as big as the Grand Canyon, but certainly very colorful. Definitely one of the highlights on Kauai.

Waimea canyon waterfalls come and go on Hawaii. Obviously best after a rainfall, which in the mountains is a daily occurrence. We did more hiking around than on previous trips.

waimea canyon waterfall

When he waves work their way under a lava shelf, they often create blow holes. This is the Nakalele Blowhole on the northwest side of Maui.

maui blow hole

Unfortunately, the Hawaiian sun eventually set on our vacation and it was time to return to the real world and the thousands of emails messages at work.

hawaiian sunset

Just one of many beautiful sunsets. It was a great vacation.

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On their way to Italy, Sonia, Nick, Angela, and Nina spent a few days touring London.

Nick and Nina taking a break near a fountain in London

Nick and Nina taking a break near a fountain in London. .


Once in Italy, they combined sightseeing, visits with family members, and stops at various shrines.

Some of the 'next generation' of Italians.

Giulia, Sofia, Andrea, Paola, and Antonio

Front left to right: Giulia, Sofia, Andrea, Paola, and Antonio .

Pope at mass in Vatican

Mass with the Pope in Vatican Square.

Angela's clan in Pistoia.

Angela's clan in Pistoia
Lina, Sonia, and Nick

Lina with Sonia & Nick -- the 'little ones' she helped take care of when they were a lot younger.

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Peaks in the Dolomites.

Peaks in the Dolomites Rialto bridge in Venice

Rialto bridge in Venice.

There were also plenty of sites to see including Sicily, Padua, Lake Cuomo, the Dolomites, Assisi, Venice, and other stops along the way.
Sonia is alreay talking about what she wants to see on her next trip to Italy. There is nothing like a gelato on a hot day in Rome. It's also great when the gelateria proprietor knows you by name!
Sonia and Michele in gelateria

Sonia with Michele, the owner of the Gelateria de Millenium, near the Vatican.

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Il Prato della Valle featuring some of Padua's illustrious former citizens.

Il Prato della Valle
These are only a few of the thousands [literally] of pictures Sonia took while in Italy. If you are considering a trip to Italy or just want more details of her adventures in Italy, be sure to give her a call.

Papal mass in Assisicelebrating the 800th anniversary of the conversion of St. Francis - 6/17/2007.

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Matthew and Michael both posted photos albums of their trip to Belize on the Internet. Matthew's also include a number of blog entries.

Ambergris Caye beach scene

Ambergris Caye beach scene.

Typical reef dive scene.

typical reef dive scene

This barrier island was only a few miles out from the Belizean mainland. The Barrier Reef we dove on extends the entire 25 mile length of the island and was only a half mile off shore.

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To get from place to place we used a combination of air, local bus [complete with nursing babies and a few chickens], and taxi.

landing strip at Corozal

Air travel was an adventure. One lane landing strip at Corozal.

As with most Mayan temples, at Lamani the steps are a lot steeper up close than when viewed from the distance.

main temple at Lamani
Michael on top of Mayan temple at Lamani

The Mayan ruins at Lamani took Michael to new heights. It was a steep climb, but definitely worth it.

three varieties of dragon flies

The insects must have heard I was coming. Above [if you look closely] are three varieties of dragon flies.

colony of leaf cutter ants

One of my favorite discoveries was a colony of leaf cutter ants. This is the entrance to their home.

In additional to the photogenic insects there were also plenty of annoying insects. As the picture on left indicates, there were plenty of mosquitoes, particularly up country. On the hikes we took at La Milpa, as soon as you stopped to take a picture you had a swarm of mosquitoes surrounding. During Mayan times there was much less jungle, so the mosquitoes were not as much of a problem. The Mayans did have a number of plant remedies for warding off and soothing insect bites.

Were there any mosquitos, you ask. Matthew's arm & leg should answer your mosquito question.

mosquito bites on Matthew's arm & leg
red eyed, green tree frog

On a night safari, our guide, Vladamir found this red eyed, green tree frog. He was able to find it in the dark, based on its distinctive sound.

Matthew in a hammock at La Milpa

The vacation also afforded Matthew and Michael plenty of time to just relax. Matthew in a hammock at La Milpa.

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Palm Beach Shores

pelican skimming a wave

We enjoys seeing all of the pelicans. They liked to skim the waves looking for a meal.

Palm Beach Shores sunrise

The sunrises were wonderful, and we didn't even have to get out of bed to see them!

Sonia liked driving around 'topless'.

Sonia posing topless

We enjoyed the amenities of the resort, with dips in the pool and walks along the ocean enjoying the beauty of nature. We also took several drives in the area to see how the 'rich' folks live.

Our condo in Palm Beach Shores had views of both the ocean and the courtyard pool.

our condo in Palm Beach
spikey dune plant

Spikey dune plant.

unique spider

Interesting spider near the nature center.

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Special Events

Birthday # 21

catherine celebrating #21

Catherine celebrating #21! And yes, that glass was as big as it looks. No PhotoShop enlarging.

We celebrated 2 special birthdays this year. Catherine reached her 21st birthday and Dad attained his 90th. Milestones for both of them.

catherine checking cookie equipment

Catherine getting ready to make special birthday cookies using Grandma's unpatented cookie press and discovering her thumb needs to be bigger.

Birthday # 90

dad with birthday flowers

Dad with his birthday flowers.

birthday meal #1

Birthday meal #1

finished cookies

The finished cookies.

birthday meal #2

Birthday meal #2

birthday meal #3

Birthday meal #3

Dad sharing his wisdom

Catherine reacting to some of Dad's wisdom.

birthday meal #4

Birthday meal #4

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catherine assembling enchiladas

Catherine assembling enchiladas

Matthew softening tortilla shells

Matthew softening tortilla shells.

Father's Day - Special meal

Michael's request for Father's Day was a nice home made Mexican meal. Catherine and Matthew took up the challenge, making not one but two family favorites. Chicken and spinach [a.k.a. greenies] enchiladas. Michael's only tasks were taking pictures and offering fatherly advise on the cooking techniques.

Two trays of delicious enchiladas

Two trays of delicious enchiladas

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Random Shots

There were plenty of cold days this winter, including the catch all 'wintery mix' the weather people are so fond of.

The option to WFH [work from home] came in handy a number of times during the winter, particularly when the Mazda was covered in ice.

mazda covered in ice
fire in fireplace

We enjoyed our fireplace all during the cold winter.

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Ice thickly coating pine needles

Snow doesn't stop Catherine's train trip back to Rutgers. It was nice not having to drive all the way. Whenever Dad stayed with us, he always wanted to go along to the station to have more time with Catherine.

snowy train station

The birds welcomed the arrival of spring.

birds on feeder

Along with the coming of spring, came the annual spring cleaning of the porch. Catherine got very involved, helping to paint, encouraging Michael to replace some screens, and her favorite, using the power washer.

swiffer computer

You've heard of the 'Swiffer duster' but have you seen my invention -- the 'swiffer computer'?

Catherine and power washer

Catherine felt empowered with Matthew's power washer and wanted to power wash everything. Tom Sawyer would be proud!

spacing pixel Fortunately Catherine didn't use the power washer on our old computer. After only a year, it seems to have collected quite a bit of dust.

felled pine tree

Michael's contribution to yard clean-up this spring was downing one of our dying pine trees.

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Michael and Sonia dancing at Lange family wedding
Michael & Sonia dancing at the Lange family wedding.

iconography: choking

It was time to buy a new computer this year. Dell didn't score any additional points in the unboxing ceremony. They need some help with their Iconography: Choking may result if you swallow your laptop.

Dad's 'claw'

Dad has a habit of eating with one hand raise as if to protect his meal from anyone who would want to take it away. Catherine refers to it as 'Grandpa's 'claw'. She loves to joke with him about it.

Catherine and her 'cute' Grandpa

Catherine and her 'cute' Grandpa.
But, despite their 69 year difference, Catherine and Dad enjoy each others company.

Informal pose in the back yard. My how they have grown.....

Matthew, David, and Catherine outside

Matthew, David, & Catherine outside.

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Bits and bytes - digital cameras

Matthew and his new digital SLR camera

Matthew getting practice with his new digital SLR camera.

We all made good use of our digital cameras this year. I don't have a total count of pictures, but it was well over 15,000 between Sonia, Catherine, and Michael. With snorkeling pictures from Hawaii and scuba diving pictures from Belize, I learned more about using photo editors to correct for under water color loss. We all seem to use Picasa for one function or another. I still like the challenge of taking close-up pictures.

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symetrical buds

Plant bud designs.

The following pictures are the result of a little more planning, adjusting, and in some cases just being in the right place at the right time with your eyes open!

For additional views of these subjects and others, be sure to check out Michael's weekly archive page of 'best of the week' photographs. Matthew also has an extensive gallery of favorites that is worth a look.

ants ringing around peony bud

Ants ringing around peony bud.

plant bud symmetry

Plant bud symmetry.

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A Mother's Day special:

mother aphid and her offspring

Mother aphid and her offspring.


I love my 'bugs'!

love bugs making more bugs

It was an excellent year for my 'bug photography'! Making more 'love bugs'. I've gotten a lot of email from lady bug viewers.

dandelion seed suspended in air

Dandelion seed suspended by
spider web threads.

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Poppy blossom.

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praying mantis

Praying mantis.

onion grass

Onion grass.

mosquito biting me

Asian tiger mosquito biting me. This photo was published in a medical journal!

easter lily

Easter lily.

maple tree buds

Maple tree buds.

lilac buds

Lilac buds.

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Copyright © 2007-2015 Michael Botos. revised: 6/09/2015

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