Thursday, October 30, 2008

Highlight of the Day

Dylan swallowed a penny.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


1. Italians sure know how to live. They drink lots of wine, walk lots of places, and take lots of siestas. Oh! How we should follow their lead, don't-ya-think?
2. We stayed here one night. Central Tuscany. Amazing.
3. We went to a traditional Catholic Italian wedding and celebration. It was fabulous. After the ceremony, there was a huge celebration (just like our wedding receptions, only bigger and better!) There was a long table with mounds and mounds of meats, cheeses, crackers, breads, and various forms of Italian antipasti. We were totally full before we were forced to partake in a traditional 7 course sit down Italian wedding dinner! That was followed by an evening of lots and lots of dancing and lots and lots of grappa.
4. We learned about an Italian tradition of the friends and family members making "rhymes" for the bride and groom. This was in place of our traditional toasts. Very fun.
5. The music played by the DJ was almost ALL american classics! We heard: "I Will Survive", "Space Cowboy", "Dancing Queen", "Summer Loving" (from Grease), "Surfin' USA", etc. It was a kick, and so many of the Italians who didn't even speak English could sing a long every stinkin' word!
6. One of my favorite part of the trips is that we re-met someone that provided us with a special memory on our wedding day, 10 years ago. I have told the story a million times about a woman who was at our ceremony who had brought a little baggie of rice and threw it at us as we were walking out of the church. This was so refreshing to us because it is such an American tradition, and there we were thousands of miles away without any family, much less American traditions to speak of. Anyway, we were in the middle of telling this story when Jonathan looked at the woman across from us and said, "wait a minute, were you at our wedding?". And sure enough - it was her. Wow! I had always longed to meet her again and tell her just how special her small gesture had meant to us. Needless to say, after all the wine and grappa consumption, I think I probably told her time and time again over the course of the evening!
7. We went to this wonderful, amazing, incredible medieval Italian village nestled deep in the rolling hills of Tuscany. What a treasure it was.
8. We met this photographer in a little shop and bought a couple of photographs. (I didn't have any luck getting into his actual website, I'm not sure what's up with that).
9. We also bought a piece of art from this artist. The piece we bought isn't on this site, but it is a long vertical painting of a Tuscan hillside with a winding path and villa. It is sooooo cool.
10. Lastly, for those of you who know about the Dylan saga - I just want to report that she is all better now. Feisty as ever. She had a rough time while we were away with a terrible stomach virus and a double ear infection. She was inconsolable for hours and hours at a time and would not eat or sleep. I ended up trying to come home a day early, but it took me 40 long, long hours to get home. Quite a journey, I should say. When I got home, I got the cold shoulder for at least an hour! She would not look at me and would avert her gaze and bury her head away from me every time I tried to talk to her. It took me hours and hours to get any sort of smile or giggle. She's a feisty one, that girl! All is well now, though (except that Holland now has the terrible stomach virus).


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Our Own Private Italy

Jonathan and I had quite an experience with our photographer and our private photo shoot. We had decided to go to the Superga which is where we took all of our wedding photographs without film in the camera, but then we changed our minds and just had some shots taken in a couple of nearby Italian villages. The challenge was that our photographers (a husband/wife team) didn't speak one word of English, and of course, Jonathan and I didn't speak one word of Italian. I threw out a few Spanglish/Italiano phrases and hoped they could decipher the message, but we pretty much were resigned ourselves to using gestures, hand signals, and illustrations! Nonetheless, we had a fun afternoon being in front of the camera which never happens, and we ended up with a few shots that we will always treasure!

At one point during the photo shoot, we were able to decipher that our photographer wanted to take us to one more place. He said some Italian jibberish that ended with emphasis on "castelo". "CASTELO".

OH!, I thought. He wants to take us to one more town. One more village. One more castelo - that must be the name for these little provinces. Castelo, of course!

And then we drove up this long dirt drive way lined in tall cypress trees, an olive orchard, and a private vineyard. And there in the distance was a "CASTLE".


Something happens to your brain when your thrown into a situation like this one - you just loose all intelligence and common sense. How could I not have derived the word "castle" from "castelo" ??

Too much wine in the afternoon, perhaps.

La Dolce Vita

Here is the first round of Italy pictures. We had a wonderful trip, and are already looking forward to our return, although it may be a while. I don't have the energy to write in detail about the trip, so for now here are some pictures for your enjoyment!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I am off very soon to catch a flight to meet my husband in Italy for a little week long get away!

Don't expect a post while I'm there......



Monday, October 13, 2008

Notes for Grandma and Grandpa (i.e: Distractions for Dylan)

As our trip to Italy is fast approaching (in exactly 56 hours from now), I am starting to get more and more worried about being away from the girls for so long. Jonathan and I have only spent two nights together away from Holland (and she's about to turn 5). The two nights away from her was this summer when she went to Fishtrap Lake with Grandma and Grandpa - a whoppin' 25 minutes away! I have spent 4 nights away from her when I have been away at a conference, and I think Jonathan has spent about the same amount away, too, but never both of us away at the same time. I have only spent one night away from Dylan.

So, as you can imagine I am starting to worry. I know everything will be fine, but I want to make sure Grandma and Grandpa are well prepared. Dylan is mainly who I am concerned about. Holland can go into movie marathon mode with some microwave popcorn or papa john breadstix and be just fine. Dylan, on the other hand, may need a few tricks, you know, some song and dance. Some hype. Some hoopla.

So I made a list of sure fire distractions for Dylan in case she is totally upset and inconsolable. These are things that we have discovered will redirect her. They will distract her. Console her. Comfort her. Possibly even trick her into believing she's having a fun time and isn't actually missing her mommy and daddy.

Here goes.....

1. Running water - turn it on and let her splash and splash and splash!
2. Anything with a lid - she will repeatedly take it off and put back on again, and she is so proud of herself for this one.
3. Bodie.
4. Microwave popcorn.
5. Holland's jewelry box.
6. Pushing buttons on the dashboard in the front seat of the car.
7. Basket of diapers - she will take them out and chuck them one by one across the room.
8. Baby Annabelle.
9. Sing Old MacDonald.
10. Let her open up the drawer of bath tub toys.
11. A "Dream ride" in the car.
12. Holland's burps.
13. Read her a book or two. Or three.
14. Kitchen drawers.
15. Grandpa's wallet.
16. Cell phones.
17. Go for a walk outside.
18. Purple puppy.
19. Playing piano.
20. Coins and Holland's bank.

These things pretty much should do the trick. Either by themselves or in conjunction with others. If those things don't work then you may just be in trouble. You may need to call her mommy and daddy in Italy and have them board the next plane! Hopefully, it won't come to that!

Good Luck, you guys. (I really do think she's gonna be fine!)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dieci. (Ten.)

1. I am leaving for Italy on a long flight all by myself in less than 10 days. and I am in shock! Jonathan and I are traveling separate because he was giving frequent flyer miles to use, and he also needs to be there for "best man duties". We also thought it would be best for me to be gone a few days less because of the girls-left-at-home factor, and lastly, it's really not a bad idea for parents to fly separately when going away without kids. That's not something I really like to think about, but God forbid if something were to happen - I would hate for my girls to be without both of us. Not a happy thought, I know, but it is something I have occasionally (and quickly) pondered.

2. Still on the Italy subject - I have tons of stuff to do before the trip. I need to load up my video Ipod with some tv shows and movies, buy a charger that will work on the airplane, buy some jewelry for my "little black dress" for the wedding, buy a wedding present, wash and pack my cutest, hippest clothes, make notes for grandma and grandpa, edit some photo shoots, shoot a couple more photo shoots, go to costco for some groceries, thoroughly clean our house, write a couple of reports for work, and that's just my list for today!

3. Since Italy is fresh on my mind, I might make this a whole post about Italy. We'll see how far I get!

4. I can't remember if I mentioned in an earlier post or not that Jonathan and I have lined up a photo shoot for ourselves in Italy! How wonderfully cool and amazing is that? When we were married there ten years ago, we were in Italy without a photographer and without family members. His friend, Ron, who arranged our wedding and who is now getting married himself, took us up to this gorgeous, old stone basilica and took some b&w (film) photos of us in our wedding attire on our wedding day. Jonathan was swirling and twirling me around, picking me up, and whispering sweet nothings into my ear all while being captured on what I thought was film in our camera. Yep, that's right - what I thought was film! Two days later, I discovered the camera was empty. No film. No negatives. No images. Nada. Needless to say, I was LIVID. And, I haven't ever gotten over it. So I have insisted on 10th anniversary pictures in the same old, stone basilica sans wedding attire, but hopefully the same swirling and twirling! A few sweet nothings wouldn't be too bad either!

5. The first few days of our trip will be in northern Italy, near Taurino or Turin. This is close to where we were married. Then the rest of our trip will be in Florence and Tuscany. We absolutely adored Florence when we were there before so we decided to go back. We are renting a car this time so we can go rolling through the hills of Tuscany. Windows down. Hair blowing. Breathing in the fresh air. Taking in all the sights and sounds.

6. Since Jonathan's parents are staying at our house for a week, it has pushed us to do some long, long overdue projects. Our bedroom has been in terrible need of de-cluttering and re-organizing so we have been chipping away at that. We have also needed a new toilet in our upstairs bathroom which is in our bedroom, and Jonathan replaced it this last weekend. The pantry has been reorganized and the refrigerator cleaned out. We have even been working in the basement to get our play area back together as well as getting the rest of the basement in order. We had some seepage problems earlier this year and we haven't ever fully recovered from that chaos. And before that there was already chaos and before that chaos there was even more chaos, so you can imagine the state of our basement! Anyway, the point of all that is I think we should have his parents stay here more often!

7. We got out our Italian language book "Italian in 10 minutes a day" and have been thumbing through it. I think all I really need to know is: vino rossa, proscuitto i melone, grazie, and ciao!

8. When we were there on our honeymoon, we averaged two bottles of wine a day! Every time we had lunch, we had a bottle or a carafe of white wine and then when we had dinner we had a bottle or carafe of red wine. This is what all the locals were doing. When in Rome....... right?

9. I hope we don't spend as much money on our phone calls home as we would have spent on airline tickets for the girls!!

10. *sigh* La Dolce Vita


Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Birthday Message from Holland

Holland and I went to one of her girlfriend's birthday parties today. As we were wrapping her present and signing her card, I asked Holland what she wanted her message to say.

She responded with this:

Dear Sophie,

Have a polka-dotted birthday, and slide down a twisty slide if you ever feel unhappy.

I *heart* you,


Wow! What a fun message! I want a polka-dotted birthday when my birthday rolls around, and I seriously hope to remember to slide down a twisty slide the next time I am feeling unhappy! I have no idea where she came up with this, but I'm so glad she did!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Evolution of a Photo Shoot

Here, Mommy! Take a picture of me backwards!

Okay, I'll turn around, but I'm NOT going to look at you! Hmmpff!

Oh! Alright! How about some silly faces!

Here's a quick, 1/2 of a smile - you better hurry!

Wow! This *is* fun, mommy!