Happy Birthday my sweet Boy

You are five today. Five is pretty big.

You lost your first tooth on Sunday, and you finally, finally, managed to say goodbye to your nighttime binky. I know how hard it was, you cried a little and you kept kissing it goodbye, parting is always difficult, but it’s part of growing up. You were really worried that you would have to give up your luvvie Leo too, but no one is ever going to take that away from you. Hey, I still have my rabbit from when I was little, and I’m old! You were very impressed that the Tooth Fairy wrote you a letter, when she decided to take away your binkies with your tooth, to the binky mountain up in heaven (I’m not sure where this story comes from, maybe your Nonna).

After our last trip to Houston you’ve finally really started speaking to me in English, though your vocabulary is still somewhat limited, but your sentences have really come together and you’re starting to sound like a little Texan (with a hint of an Italian accent)!

In the last year, you’ve also gotten a bit rowdier, a bit less compliant, a little more headstrong, and though I’ll never admit it to you, this makes me if not happier at least a bit more relaxed. A little rebellion is ok, I want you to develop your own personality, just stop whacking your sister and you’ll spend much less time in time out!

You’re a perfectionist, which is both good and bad. It means you try really hard to do things right, but it also means that you get frustrated when the result isn’t perfect. You’ve been learning to write your letters (this was your decision, by the way, I was waiting for you to start doing it in school next year), so I write things down for you at the top of the page, whatever you want me to, and you copy it over and over underneath, but if a letter doesn’t come out exactly the way it’s supposed to, you get so mad! And then you stop, in frustration, because you “can’t do it”. But you can, you will, it takes a little time, a little patience, and a little practice. We’re working on it, though, because learning things should be more fun and less stressful for you.

You tied your shoelaces today, in a double knot, not a bow, but I was amazed because I only showed you once, a few days ago. How did you remember? You certainly didn’t get your memory from me! You got this from your Dad, he sees something once and can recreate it later, from memory, somehow.

You’re such a sweet boy. For your birthday you asked to be allowed to sleep with me, in the big bed. You’ve actually been asking for months, but we decided it can be a special occasion treat, since Daddy hardly ever travels. So Daddy will sleep in your room with your sister, and you get to sleep in the big bed, maybe we’ll even watch a movie… just don’t tell anyone!

So Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet, Boy, I love you miles and miles, your smile lights up my life, you make my heart sing. Mama

Monday Listicles – The little treasures edition

Hi all and Happy Monday!

This week our assignment for Stasha’s Listicles is 10 tiny (or secret) things that bring you joy, courtesy of Wendy (Stamping Rules). But before I dive into that I need to take a tangent (which surprises no one, I’m sure!).

This weekend The Husband took the kids with him to Milan to see his parents, it was the first weekend that I’ve ever spent apart from the kids, at home (I’ve left them twice already, but it was always me leaving them). And all I can say is that it was wonderful. Of course I missed them, and I was pretty nervous at home alone at night, but the freedom, the complete lack of responsibility, the incredible feeling of making decisions based exclusively on what I want to do… it took me back to a different time.

I’m pretty sure someone somewhere is going to want to comment something along the lines of how can you possibly be happy away from your children, they are a mother’s greatest joy, obviously there’s something wrong with you… but I know that most of you understand… and some of you are maybe a little jealous…

And honestly, when I think that apart from a half weekend last year and five days away last summer (because my grandma was ill so I had to go) I have never spent a night away from them in five years (because I wasn’t ready to), I can let go of the guilt of having enjoyed a weekend away from them.

The house was so quiet and so neat, I ate whenever (and most importantly, whatever) I wanted, I woke up when I wanted, I went to sleep when I wanted, I watched tv in the middle of the day and until late at night with the volume up… I went out at the drop of a hat and it took me no more than fifteen seconds to get out the door! It was pure bliss. And I was also so happy to have them back, distance, it really does make the heart grow fonder…

Anyway…. Back to the listcle, 10 things that make me happy

1. little hands on my cheeks

2. little bodies in my bed in the morning before school

3. when the Husband does the nightly rounds and puts the alarm on, unprompted, so we’re all safe.

4. when he fills up my tank just because he noticed it was running a little low.

5. when the air is so crisp and clear that I can see the mountains perfectly outlined against the blue, blue sky.

6. when the neighbor’s cat is waiting for me outside in the morning just to say meow.

7. nutella

8. hugs and kisses of a brother and a sister who miss each other when they don’t see one another for an hour.

9. when we all get in the car and roll call to make sure everyone in the family is there, including stuffed animals and iphones.

10. snow days, when we can’t go anywhere cause the roads are too terrible, so we have to sit inside, snug as bugs.

And on this wonderfully positive note, hope you have a fabulous week!

Random thoughts on Valentine’s Day, skiing, and how I need to work on my wifery so this post is all over the place.

I’m a horrible wife. Yesterday I completely forgot it was Valentine’s day. I got clued in by the wrapped present on my plate when I went down for breakfast. And I knew I was getting a present, because when a package arrived at home a few days ago the husband said “don’t open that, it’s your Valentine’s day present”. I forgot. Not only did I not get him anything, I also consulted with my friends and could come up with nothing even remotely original or interesting to get him, and I didn’t have time to get him anything all day anyway because it was one of those back to back days that happen rarely, yet at the most inconvenient times possible.

I now have all weekend to come up with something good, cause the Husband took the kids to his mother’s this weekend. He had a doctor’s appointment today in Milan so he decided to take the kids and let me rest, cause I really needed a break, and though a major control freak when it comes to my children I trust my MIL enough, though I don’t trust her not to give them candy… but hey, I’m not there to deal with the sugar induced insanity so totally not my problem. So it’s my first weekend at home sans children and it’s both weird and wonderful (and sad). I miss them, though I kind of like this complete lack of responsibility (I had a McDonald’s shake and fries for lunch…), but I miss them, but I’m enjoying myself, but I’m feeling guilty for enjoying myself. Motherhood makes women crazy.

On another note, the house renovations are on track and I’m soon going to quit just talking about it and start posting pictures so you get an idea what I keep going on about. The electricians and plumbers are starting to run all their tubes and stuff so I spent all morning yesterday (and this morning) on the construction site freezing my buns off. Yesterday afternoon I spent all afternoon freezing my buns off on the slopes taking pictures of the Boys skiing lesson. They had their first trial “race” and can I just say that skiing has got to be the most mind numbingly boring spectator sport there is. Also, it’s just plain uncomfortable, you’re wearing eight layers of clothes so you’re three times you’re normal size, and still your fingers get numb from the cold, you’re slipping and sliding on ice, or sinking to your knees in fresh snow, you’re clumsy, there’s no point cheering cause they can’t really hear you anyway, and it’s hard to get decent pictures. (I don’t have any to post cause the Husband took the camera with him before I could download them. Sorry!

Anyway, the Boy has fun (and truth be told, it is fun) I just hope he doesn’t decide to do it competitively because I don’t want to spend my Saturdays and Sundays with chattering teeth trying to unobtrusively play with my ipad while pretending to be fascinated by whatever is going on on the slopes. (And also, I imagine, freaking the hell out cause apparently as they get older, they get faster and faster, which is the point of the race… but they go 100-120km an hour. I don’t want to watch my kid barreling down a mountain with no protection at that speed after eight hours of labor, a c-section and countless sleepless nights!) So, he needs to choose soccer, or better yet basketball (so no torn ligaments), or some other team sport, because I want to sleep nights and not worry, and also, I want to be the annoying mother cheering on the sidelines with a cowbell.

I have a big girls’ night planned tonight, pizza, a movie, popcorn, sundaes and lots, and lots of alcohol! Updates tomorrow as soon as I shake off the hangover haze. So for now I can’t but wish you a wonderful weekend and if anyone has any tried and true hangover remedies hit me in the comments!

Also, sorry for this post being all over the place!

Slightly alarming news on all fronts

So the Pope announced he’s stepping down from his office because he can’t deal with the pressure of being the leader of the Catholic Church. Considering he’s 85, and the present state of the Catholic Church, I can’t say I blame him. In fact, I commend him, because seriously, I’m pretty tired of seeing men, enfeebled by their age, health, and general constitution hanging on dentured tooth and brittle nail to their position of power despite the fact that they are unable to face the responsibilities and duties thereof. (See 90% of Italian politicians, parliamentarians, and CEOs for examples of this)

So, hats off Benedict XVI, because for once a man in power put his office first, and in this case, his church and his congregation first, rather than his pride. I wasn’t a huge fan of this Pope, but with his actions he has really made an impression on me, and has, frankly, changed my opinion of his character and his motivations completely. Not that he gives a poop about my opinion, I’m just putting it out there.

Also, with this completely out of the blue announcement he’s given the Italian, and world, press something to talk about other than the Italian elections and Berlusconi’s imminent (or not) comeback because oh my god the tedium! So hopefully for the next two weeks we won’t be bombarded with wholly uninteresting and mostly gross images of our main party candidates in various compromising positions or looking all out moronic in the eyes of the world, no, we get to read about a bunch of cardinals duking it out over who gets to be supreme ruler of the world (or so they think). Church politics in lieu of actual politics, just as heated, slightly less tawdry, so I for one, am popping the pop corn and uncorking the wine (hey, Jesus would totally approve), and waiting for the white smoke to tell me how my life is not going to be even remotely affected by what the conclave decides.

And, in other disturbing thoughts: Want to know how I found out the Pope was resigning? Facebook. Yes. Facebook. In fact, 90% of the world news I hear of I’ve gleaned off of either facebook or twitter (5% from the radio, but this is rare as I only listen to my own playlists now, and the remaining 5% from the Husband’s weekly news recap – which he instituted to prevent me from sounding like a complete dimwit when talking to other adults, because I don’t ever read a newspaper). Actually, not just world news, but also gossip, entertainment news, and what my friends are up to, all that comes from facebook and twitter.

It’s equal parts scary and sad. I would tell you that right now, right this minute as I’m writing this I’m all resolved to get better at keeping myself informed on current events, but if history is any indication (and frankly I’m more familiar with history than the present) I will be no more and no better informed tomorrow than I am today. And I’m strangely ok with that.

Monday Listicle – The Crappy Present Edition

Let me start straight away with a disclaimer: this isn’t a proper listicle. I’m sorry, I’m not a huge fan of people linking up to the listicle and then not actually doing one, so, Stasha, forgive me. The reason why this isn’t a real listicle is because I rarely get bad presents, be it because I convey my desires through every communication device at my disposal, short of smoke signals, or because the husband is very good at both divining what I would like and passing it on to others. There have even been times when I’ve received presents from
him that I didn’t know I wanted but that I ended up loving, like these glasses:

Etched Baccarat crystal liquor glasses. Worth like a decent piece of jewelry, and yet I don't regret them not being jewelry.

Etched Baccarat crystal liquor glasses. Worth like a decent piece of jewelry, and yet I don’t regret them not being jewelry.

Or the year he got me a bread maker for my birthday, despite the ban on household appliances as gifts, and I made bread every day for two months straight (though predictably, the bread maker is now in the basement gathering dust). But there is one exception, which still baffles me to this day:

20130211-175049.jpg

Yes, it’s a ceramic mini cooper painted to look like it’s wet and muddy. Apparently, it was part of a limited series made by serious artists but I can’t be sure cause I wasn’t
listening when he was explaining it to me as I was busy shrieking “Oh no he didn’t!!!!!” in my head. Just to be clear, and so this makes a little more sense, I used to drive a mini cooper at the time. Still. Terrible present, am I right?? So it’s not a listicle,
because I don’t have ten items, but it is pertinent to the subject, so I say it counts. Also, please don’t hate me cause I don’t get bad presents, I may actually get bad presents by anyone else’s standards, I just like getting presents so much that they all look good to me. Except for that stupid ceramic car, and really, who could blame me?!

p.s. for pictures of whom I believe will become a new, sought after, character on this blog: hot ski instructor see Saturday’s post p.p.s tomorrow my thoughts on the Pope’s resignation. Yes, the Pope is resigning. He can do that. We think… though it hasn’t been done since the 1200′s, or something like that.

Weekly recap

Tuesday was my grandmother’s one hundred and third birthday. 103. Amazing.

My grandmother was kind of a hardass, and not always in a good way. My mom gets mad at me cause I tell her she needs to be softer, more loving with my kids than her mother was with us, because when I was a kid my grandma was kind of a bitch. Disrespectful? Certainly. But true nonetheless. Despite all that I have some wonderful memories with my grandmother and I’m sad I didn’t make it to Brazil this year for her birthday.

On Tuesday I also went skiing for the first time ever. Practically. Well, we lived in Canada for a year, and that year I took some skiing lessons, but I was thirteen, it’s been, like, 24 years, so basically first time skiing ever. I went with my bestest, favorite girlfriends and while they skied at quasi professional level (most of them) I took a lesson with what I thought was supposed to be an average looking, middle-aged, ski instructor but was actually a young, very hot, ski instructor, who kept telling me not to look at my feet, to look at him, and I was like, well, do you want me to fall on my ass? Anyway, very distracting.  I’ll be seeing him again next week, I figure that if I can learn to ski with him around I will then be able to ski under any and all circumstances.

Wednesday I wanted to kill myself.

That’s how badly my legs hurt. Despite that, and against my better judgement, I went to the gym. My very hot, tan, blonde, blue-eyed, trainer (pattern, anyone?), who sent me to the very hot, tan, dark haired, brown-eyed, ski instructor, decided that since my legs were in crippling pain my upper body needed to be in crippling pain as well. So…

Thursday I had a three hour long coffee with the girls.

I literally could not get up from the chair, in fact, I could barely lift my coffee cup.

Oh, but wait, back to Wednesday, three separate but related facts. On Wednesday the kids have baby basketball in the afternoon. It’s Carnival time, Carnival is a big kid holiday here, they dress up, they have parties at school, they get sweets, and usually on the Sunday before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday, last day of Carnival before Lent starts – condensed mini lesson on Catholicism, you’re welcome) there’s a parade, with floats and costumes. I have the worst memory of any mother anywhere, ever.

They were supposed to go to basketball in their costumes, for once in my life I got them to their lesson early, we ran into one of their friends, I realized they were supposed to be wearing costumes and clearly weren’t. I had a mini panic attack induced by extreme feelings of guilt and the memory of all the times I was the only kid not in costume cause my mom forgot. I left them with their friend’s dad, raced home, got two Spiderman costumes (cause the girl made it very clear that she was not playing basketball in a princess costume. Did I mention she’s three? I definitely will not survive the teenage years.), and raced back.

And when I say race, I actually mean hobble.

Anyway, they had their costumes and were happy, and I felt like slightly less of a horrible mother.

On Friday, I went to see the seven seater Prius.

I have a Prius now, the old model, I love it but am ready to upgrade to something a little roomier. I’ve gotta say, I’m not thrilled. If I don’t find anything better, I’ll get that one, but it’s a little pricey, not enough bang for the buck. Although with the price of gas here it may be the smartest option out there.

We were also supposed to go down to the beach house, as the kids are on holiday until Wednesday, but we didn’t make it today… it’s like we’re constantly swimming upstream. But tomorrow we’re definitely going. Probably.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of our skiing expedition and my warmest wishes for a wonderful weekend (holy alliteration batman, look at that!):

J, Y, F

One of the girls, me, hot ski instructor.

 

girls

The Girls (two of them are holding me cause I was having balance problems due to having to look at hot ski instructor – that’s his name.)

lunch 1

A carb and sugary drinks laden, well deserved, lunch.

 

Very proud of myself (also, hot ski instructor)

Very proud of myself (also, hot ski instructor)

 

Monday Listicles – The Purse Edition

It’s been one of those weeks… We’re finally back to normal, I started going to the gym again, the Boy is taking off with his skiing lessons, the Girl is settling into her routine again, and the Husband is back at the office. He shouldn’t be, but he is…

And we are still so happy to be home. It’s crazy, I always get so depressed when I get back to Italy, I bitch and moan about how I wish I was back in the US, I hate on Italy for a few months and then I get back to normal, but I guess there’s nothing like spending your holidays in the hospital to make you appreciate your boring every day life, right?!

Today we took the kids to the mountains, we live at the foot of some of the most beautiful mountains in Italy, it takes us less than thirty minutes to get to some pretty awesome skiing locations, so before I get to the Listicle, I wanted to share some pictures from our day, because it’s important to remember how awesome our boring every day life is.

The Boy, The Girl, and me

The Boy, The Girl, and me

The Husband and me

The Husband and me

There's just something about rolling around in the snow...

There’s just something about rolling around in the snow…

The best thing about the day? Hot chocolate with whipped cream at the end of it!

The best thing about the day? Hot chocolate with whipped cream at the end of it!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming… this week Stasha picked Ducky’s (batcrapcrazyblog.com) suggestion for ten things in our purse. Ha! I wish I only had ten things in my purse!

Anyway, here goes, and with pictures this time… I know, shock and awe!

My purse and ten things therein:

bag

I have many purses (or handbags, as my British friends never tire of correcting me), I’m a shopaholic, in case you didn’t know, or I was (before kids). This isn’t one of my nicest bags, but it’s the one I turn to consistently over and over, no matter the season, it matches most of what I own, it’s the perfect size, and the butterflies make me happy, what more can one ask of a purse?!

1. a bag within a bag:

pink bag

I love this little bag, it has all the crap that for some inexplicable reason I have to constantly switch from bag to bag because I simply CANNOT leave the house without it, but that I never use, like a needle and thread, and band aids, and mints (that have been in there for at least a year).

2. a wallet

wallet

I bought this wallet in 1993 and though I have, occasionally, cheated on it, it has been a long and enduring love affair.

3.  a phone – although, truth be told, the phone is generally in my hand, in fact… it’s in my hand right now, taking pictures of my purse. Eight cameras in this house, I swear to god, and countless thousands of dollars spent on photographic equipment, gigantic lenses and whatnot, and we always just end up taking pictures with our iphones.

4. A fantastic colored lip balm and hand cream by living libations (check them out, it’s worth it!)

lipgloss

5. gum (for me) and candy (for emergency child management situations)

candy

6. another bag within a bag

other bag

This bag contains the stuff that I don’t want randomly falling out in front of strangers. Like lady products, and meds, and deodorant, and more lipgloss because one can never have enough lipgloss.inside the bag

7. a little chocolate from the Husband, waiting to be eaten on a really bad day.

bacio

8. keys

the keychain is from the Boy's christening.

the keychain is from the Boy’s christening. the broken thingy on it beeped if I lost my keys… it was genius, and I forgot to get another one when I was in Houston last. I lose my keys a LOT!

9. Kleenex, a happy, colorful pen, and a hair thingy.

I have all of these items in my bag within a bag but I guess I need backups. Because I'm anal. In case you hadn't noticed already...

I have all of these items in my bag within a bag but I guess I need backups. Because I’m anal. In case you hadn’t noticed already…

10. a Ziploc bag with the children’s old binky’s, hanging on to my everyday for dear life for some reason, hiding away in the deepest recesses of my purse…

these make me a little sad and longing-y

these make me a little sad and longing-y

so there you have it, some of the crap in my purse, I spared you the dirty tissues, the old receipts, the gum wrappers, the crushed crackers and other varied and sundry trash being lugged around with me daily. You’re welcome.

Have a lovely Monday!