Friday, November 30, 2012


Pure joy.

Have a really good Friday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thor's Italian Holiday

In many ways, our friend is a big kid.  He loves swords and castles and Shrek, and he prefers to drink everything from a cup decorated with the superhero, Thor. Sometimes, he even likes to be called "Thor" rather than "Cor" (short for Cory).

So, for him, Italy was a natural playground full of things to explore.


We showed him Rome where he pretended to be a gladiator.



We took him to castles and palaces where he pretended to be a knight.

We took him hiking in Positano where he got to run and jump and play with Graham.



He also got to feast until his heart was content.

We took him to the undergrounds of Naples where he pretended to be Indiana Jones.

And, of course, we let him dine on as much Napoli pizza as he could stand.


It turns out that Italy is a perfect place for a big kid.

As Graham said, "Don't you love Italy, Cory? And never want to leave it?"


Thanks for coming, Thor.

And, arrivederci.

Monday, November 26, 2012

favorite phote


We have a lot of catching up to do...

For now, though, I hope you enjoy this phote as much as I do.

Make sure to notice all the elements. The kids. Our smiles. Trevi Fountain on Thanksgiving evening. And the couple making out next to us.


For now.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

crazy time

Back in our Oklahoma days, we made some really terrific friends. For awhile, we had a Sunday afternoon ritual. We'd go to Johnny Carino's for their dollar pints of beer and half off appetizers. I would take Graham with me and he'd be the only kid among our friends. He'd sit sweetly in his high chair for the first hour or so, but then our friend, Cory, would take him and "crazy time" would commence. Cory would let him play with all the sugar packets on the table, throw around the fake bread used for decoration, stir all the drinks until his heart was content, and sometimes even take him back to the kitchen where he'd receive cookies from the chefs. I wasn't allowed to intervene. It was crazy time. No rules. Everybody loved it.

Today, I am bracing myself. Tomorrow, Cory will arrive here in Naples for one whole week of crazy time with the Ramblin' Fam.

We're all excited, especially Graham.

He can't wait to reunite with his old pal.

And I can't wait for some crazy time at a real Italian restaurant.

Friday, November 16, 2012

then and now

This is what Graham looked like when he was around the age Alaina is right now.

This is what she looks like.

For me, it is fun to note the small similarities and the vast differences between our two kids.

I figured it might give you something to do if you're bored on a Friday afternoon.

Enjoy and have a good weekend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

8 months

Little A is turning out to be quite a delight to have around. She has her spats of crankiness, but they are becoming less and less as she gets more and more comfortable with her sleeping routine.

She's a great napper and an even better eater.

No crawling, yet, but a little bit of butt scooting.

She's incredibly curious. Once she sets her eyes on something, she gets very determined to grab a hold of it and figure it all out.

 She got the "early bird catches the worm" memo, because she goes right to bed at 7:30pm and usually wakes between the hour of 6 and 7am. This is so different from her big brother who can sleep in better than any kid on the planet, but I'm adjusting and learning to enjoy the mornings with my girl.

She's all bottle all the time, now. No more nursing. I probably could have pressed harder and made her keep it up, but it just didn't feel right, so I didn't. It was sooner than I was ready, but I have a feeling that's how it's going to be with her. When she's ready for something, she'll tell me, and that will be it.

A friend of ours is coming to visit next week. Last time I saw him was before I was pregnant with Alaina. We were sitting at a bar discussing the ins and outs and what-have-yous of life. I told him that Tony and I would maybe like to have another kid, but I was worried about all the discomforts and difficulties that are involved with pregnancy and newborns and toddlers and so on. He, a bachelor with no kids, looked at me and said, "Yes, but you can't think about all of that. Think about the happiness it will bring to you and Tony and Graham."

I'm really glad I had that talk with him and that we eventually decided to have another baby. My friend was right. I can say with ease that I am more happy and content right now than I've ever been in my entire 30 years of life.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

just waiting

Tony is supposed to get home today. This afternoon, I hope.

I'm just sitting around, playing with the kids, and waiting...

Graham, especially cannot wait for his best playmate to get home!

See, I need my backup! Stat!

Friday, November 9, 2012

an ordinary lunch

I should have taken my camera.


I didn't even think to take it.

I was just going over to my friend's house for lunch. Just an ordinary day and an ordinary thing to do, right? No need for a camera.

It hit me as I shoveled the last strand of linguine into my mouth and watched my "bimba" being bounced from one loving Italian woman to another that to my blog readers and to myself before living in Itlay, it was not just an ordinary lunch.

I imagined telling someone in an office in middle America about my day. I'd tell her I drove through orchards and vineyards and gardens and castles to my friend's house where her mother and father live downstairs and her sister and family live upstairs. I'd talk about how I laughed as I took in the garlic scent while Rosalinda greeted me from the window and shouted, "I'm cooking!"

I'd have to tell her how everyone doted over my little baby daughter as if she were royal, and how they so perfectly Italianey (I think I just coined that word) argued over who cooked the better sauce and whether I put salt in my pasta water or not (for the record, I do, ever since learning about it in one of my many cooking classes over here). I'd tell her about how I sat at a table of powerful, Italian women. The mom, her two daughters, her granddaughter, and, of course her niece who brought along a delicious caprese cake (my favorite) that she'd spent all morning cooking. Yum.

Out of nowhere, Papa appeared with a paper sack full of fresh bread baked by his friend around the corner. He threw it down on the table, proclaiming, "Pane!" I devoured it and then discussed how to cook it with the niece. Yum, again.

I couldn't complete my story without saying that they all so perfectly Italianey shoved food in my face and made me take a bigger piece of cake to eat right there and then take an even bigger one home with me. "Mangia Katherine! Mangia!"

See? I should have taken my camera.

Looking back on it now, it sounds more like a very Italianey, romantically extraordinary lunch.

Yesterday's sunset. It never gets old, people.

Hope your weekend is extraordinary!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

mornings like this

I don't want to forget mornings like this.

Waking to the sound of a content baby.

Laying with her for awhile before her big brother gets up and has to get ready for school, but not before he watches the US election victory and concession speeches and talks about how he might like to be a president someday.

Dropping him off at a small, private school run by loving Italian women and chatting with the teachers who are working tirelessly to make good changes at the school.

Putting my baby in the stroller and jogging in the mild November air past ancient Roman ruins on a lake made famous by the great Italian poet and philosopher, Dante.

The smiles on the faces of Italians when they see me and then my precious baby. The way the professional men runners, decked out in the most stylish running clothes, beam at me and exclaim "Brava, Brava!"  The women in their matching sweatsuits waving and saying, "Bambina vuole correre!" (The baby wants to run!). 

The man driving with his car packed full of demijohns and Italian sonnets blaring from the speakers on a path meant only for pedestrians, and the way he pulls over to wave me past with my car-sized stroller. 

Arriving to a quiet home and having time to contemplate my day and my life while drinking tea, staring at Ischia, and listening to my baby experiment with her voice. 

Summer will come too soon and this will all be over before I know it. We'll be moving on to something different, and I'll most likely be more busy. I'm so glad I'll always have mornings like this  to remember and cherish.

Monday, November 5, 2012

what, exactly, my husband does for a living

I can't tell you everything involved with 007's job, or I'd have to kill you.

But, I can tell you a little, because many of you wonder what in the world he's doing over here. We like to tell Graham that when he goes on "work trips," Tony is out fighting pirates. Which is true. Essentially true. I think Graham imagines something more like the above photo when we tell him this, but, in reality Tony's job looks a bit more like this:


He spends a great deal of time organizing conferences with people from all over the world. He books the conference rooms and hotel rooms. He ensures that everyone's flights are paid for and correct and that they get in on time and that their embassies will take care of whatever they need to take care of and that there's enough coffee for everyone. The purpose of the conferences is to plan exercises for and build partnerships with Navies from African countries. So, along with all the logistical organizing, 007 also has to present information and ideas at these conferences. Then, after a few planning conferences, he has to lead and organize the execution of these exercises, which is what he is currently doing in Tanzania. An exercise, for those who are wondering, is like a practice event where the US and other European Navies help teach the African Navies good Naval tactics so that the African Navies can protect their seas from fishing poachers and, yep, you guessed it, pirates.

So, yes, from behind a computer screen and inside a conference room, my husband does, in fact, fight pirates for a living.