Wednesday, May 29, 2013

let's just do it

Last weekend, we ventured into the Abruzzo Mountains to take advantage of a special deal at a tiny bed and breakfast nestled in the middle of nowhere.

After a chilled hike up to a little church, we asked Graham, "Do you want to keep hiking and make it to the lake?"

"Sure. Let's just do it."

The next day, we said, "Hey Graham, do you want to try to hike up to some snow and have a snowball fight?"

"Yes. Let's just do it."

Then we asked him if we should have a picnic next to another lake or just hit the road and go home.

"Let's just do a picnic!"

Finally, we asked, "Graham do you want to get in the freezing cold lake water?"


Even though it is starting to rain/sleet and we are going to freeze?

"Let's just do it."



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

for your viewing pleasure

I've got some small travel adventures to write about and share with you when I get the chance. 

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this little gem.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

let's talk about my kids for a quick minute

We'll start with Alaina-Shablaina-Sis-Princepessa, because she would have it no other way.

She's around 14.5 months old and she still chooses to crawl. Sometimes, she'll get up on her feet and stand and look at you with an expression that says, "Look at me! I am so wonderful," then she'll take a few steps into your arms and make you feel like you are the greatest thing on the planet.

She's still got some sas and takes things seriously, but I've noticed a change since Lauren has been here. She's been goofing off a lot more and trying hard to laugh. I don't think it comes easily to her, because her laugh sounds a little forced at times.

Probably the best thing about her right now is the way she reacts when Tony walks in the door. I'll have to try to video it, because no words can make you understand the excitement that pours out of her when she sees him and exclaims,"Dada Dada Dada Dada!" And then, you she see the look on Dada's face. Heart melting.

Now we'll talk about Graham Man - Grahmbo - G Unit - BROTHER. I feel like you know him, because his personality has not changed since he was tiny. He is sweet, caring, and pretty laid back about most everything. Some things get him riled up, though. Like not winning a race, or when you don't say the lines he's given you during pretend play exactly right. Or, when he has to walk and walk and walk really far and up hill. That inducing a little whining, but nothing that can't be overcome.

He is starting to be more polite and considerate, which makes our hearts swell and makes all our efforts at reminding him to say "please" well worth it.

One thing that concerns me a little with him at the moment is his lack of motivation. He likes to play. Just play, play, play, and play. I suppose this is typical? But I really have to coax him along to get him to read or write or get dressed or anything that doesn't involve play. He spends a lot of time in his own world talking with imaginary people. He really gets into it, which is why I think it is hard to pull him out of it to make him do something mundane like brushing his teeth. I feel like I've mentioned this before.

It is fun being able to talk with him about things that are a little more grown up. His reactions are always interesting and he's always okay with a little grey area. He doesn't mind saying "Sometimes people do this, and sometimes they do that." I hope he can continue to be so accepting and understanding.

Oh, and he's tall. And skinny. And tall. Very tall.

And I love him.

I love him very much.

Thank you for listening.

Means the world.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oklahoma on my mind

I dreaded the day we had to move to Oklahoma almost six years ago. I mostly dreaded it because of the wind and the weather.

I was happy to leave the wind and tornado warnings, but for the past three years, even while basking in Italian sunshine, I have found myself missing Oklahoma like crazy.  For me, Oklahoma is all about the people and the friendships. I had some of the most fun, made some of the best friends, and learned about "zoinking" during our time there. I cherish those memories. They are the reason, I think, God made Oklahoma.

It breaks my heart to think about such wonderful people suffering...

Today, I am trying hard to send positive and helping vibes and maybe a little of this Italian sunshine to all my pals over there.

Hang in there. You will get by. You will survive.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ischia beckons

It's no secret that I spend hours upon hours gazing out my window at Ischia. There are times when it even beckons me and I consider slipping into my suit and swimming across the sea until I reach its shores. It feels close enough to touch.

In reality, the logistics of getting to Ischia involve driving to the port, finding a parking space, boarding a ferry boat (on foot), trying to avoid seasickness on said boat, waiting for buses, finding room on the bus, walking up hill and down hill and across hill, and sometimes an unplanned taxi ride, all the while coaxing along my children and then doing it all over again in order to get home. All adding up to a cost that usually leaves me saying, "Oh well. I'll just sit on my couch and imagine being on the sands of Ischia."

But, sometimes her beckon is so strong that even those logistics and costs can't stop me from visiting. This past weekend was one such time.

With Auntie Lauren in tow, we made our way across land and sea to the island. This time, we were smart and decided to spend the night so we didn't have to rush to catch ferries home. The combination of having Lauren along and a nice hotel room made all the walking and busing seem smooth and easy.


Plus, the kids were amazing. They enjoyed the natural thermal pools, the sweet treats, the long walks, the world class botanical gardens, and the beaches as much as I did.


The weekend couldn't have gone better. Just as we were approaching our car to hop in and drive home on Sunday afternoon, I made this remark to Lauren. I commented on how smoothly everything went and how the kids were simply amazing and how I want to go to Ischia every single day, now. Of course, reality did what it always does and crept its way into our perfect weekend. I opened the car door to put Alaina in her car seat only to find that it wasn't where we'd left it. And neither were all the left-over snacks we'd bought for Graham's tee ball team... Someone nabbed our car seat and juice pouches!

But you know what? I find myself saying "thank you" to the thieves and crowded buses. They remind me that my life is, in fact, real, and not some crazy fairytale.

Friday, May 17, 2013

when we're not out gallivanting

When we're not out dipping our toes in the salt water and our tongues in pasta sauces, we are here at home, working hard.

For those that don't know, Lauren works in Sudan with Catholic Relief Services. She was able to make this trip to our house because she is not able to get back into Sudan at the moment. The country requires an exit and re-entry visa every time she leaves the country. She is waiting for her re-entry visa to be processed, which, not surprisingly, is taking some time. She was in Seattle for her little brother's wedding and she was supposed to begin working remotely while she was there. That wasn't working so well due to the major time zone differences, so she suggested coming to Italy to work.

Awesome for me!

But, it has been a challenge.

She has to be on her computer most of the day. I try not to bother her with Alaina's antics, Graham's questions, and my mopping, diapering, and cooking (I had a total desperate housewife moment yesterday. I was scrubbing toilets when Tony called and asked if I could make a cheesecake for his boss's retirement party. Yes, that really happened). Meanwhile, Lauren tries to remain focused on her job so they will allow her to stay here and work until her visa is complete.

Fortunately, we know for certain that will not happen over the weekend, so we get a whole nother weekend with Lauren!

Ischia, here we come!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

for my mother's day

I asked for a cookie and a beach.

I got both.

Alaina seems to have already conquered her fear of the ocean and sand. For me, that is a perfect gift.


And, I didn't have to change one single diaper.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

catching up

I'm so far behind.

So much fun has been had. 

Here's a quick recap on our adventures from last weekend.

 Lauren got here on the 5th of May, and she is still here!


Last weekend, Tony's cousin and her family spent one night with us.


We showed them Naples.

We showed them how to cook food in Naples.


We showed them how to enjoy good music and green shoes in Naples. 


We showed them Alaina. They loved Alaina.

We showed them the Amalfi Coast and Positano. Our favorite.


And we showed them how to eat. A lot.


There really is something magical about a family bond. This is Tony's mom's cousin and her family. She met Tony when he was a kid and they hadn't seen each other again until last year when we visited them in the Netherlands. Amazingly, it feels as though we've known each other forever. We talk with ease and get along just great. We're so glad they made it down for a visit!

 I'll end there.

For now.

Stay tuned for more of my catching up!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

happy mother's day

We're having a wonderful time over here with Lauren.

Details will come.

For now, I just wanted to wish all you mammas out there a very happy happy happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 3, 2013

looking foward

This weekend is gonna be great.

Tonight, we are going to dine on our patio.

Tomorrow, we are going to watch Graham attempt to play some tee ball (t-ball?) and go to his buddy's birthday party.

Sunday, we are going to feast on some Mexican/American/Italian cuisine to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with friends, because that is always a fun thing to do. Who knows? Maybe we'll even get a little crazy and catch some of the Kentucky Derby. What time does that thing start in the US?

But, before we do that, we are going to pick up Lauren from the train station!

Surprise! Auntie Lauren is coming to town! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

may day

Don't worry.

We're not in distress.

Quite the opposite, actually.

Today, the First of May, Italians celebrate "May Day," which is somewhat equivalent to "Labor Day" in the US. Everyone closes up shop, takes a day off school, and finds a way to relax.

We found our way to the beach with some friends today.

I love the beach.

Unfortunately, I was busy keeping Alaina calm and happy, because she didn't dig the whole sand and cold waves thing.

It continues to baffle me that I have such a particular child. Graham has never been all that particular about anything. Eventually, she came around and enjoyed herself, but it took a good amount of coaxing and hugging.

And pear eating.

The girl loves her pears.

Happy May Day.