Sunday, February 7, 2010

I've been trying to figure out what to write about on my first blog in months- there's always the trips we've gone on, he newest things Parker is doing, or the struggles of raising a toddler and a puppy at the same time, but I've decided to write about what's been on my mind recently...Italy! Karl and I are getting down to the last few months of our Italian tour and every day that goes by, we think about all the things that we're going to miss here. This week I'll try to touch on all the amazing things here that are going to leave a hole in my heart when I leave (next week's blog will be the things I won't miss so much!) here goes it (in random order):
1. THE FOOD. Mozzarella, WINE, Peroni Beer, fresh pasta not to mention two aisles of pasta at the grocery stores, spices, bread, proscuitto, fresh seafood, PIZZA...the list goes on an on. The best food on earth is in Southern Italy!
2. OUR FRIENDS. Our friends have become our family; we celebrate holidays together, vacation with each other, and take care of one another when the hubby's are out of town. This is such a special group of people and we will miss them so very much!!!
3. OUR VIEW. Never again will we have the chance to live in a house with a view like this. Just looking out our kitchen window or having wine on the terrace seems like vacation.
4. THE LOVE FOR CHILDREN. The Italian's love babies...I mean LOVE babies. Never do you hear of a kidnapping/child stealing- I feel so safe with Parker! If he's fussy in a restaurant, they'll take them into the kitchen to give us a break and Italians constantly approach us to tell us how handsome Parker is and to ask us his name (they can't pronounce Parker, so we tell them his name is Carlo....seriously).
5. COLA. Cost of Living Allowance how I am going to miss you! Due to the high prices in Europe, the government pays us this special allowance when living's going to be sad to say goodbye to this perk!
6. HOUSEKEEPER. What am I going to do when I have to clean my own house again??? Rosa is our beloved housekeeper/babysitter/grandmother to Parker. She has become a part of our family and I think I'll have to ship her back with us! She is perfect and wonderful and she makes living here so very special...yesterday she brought me lunch/dinner because she knows I've been craving Broccoli Rabe with Sausage and she's the best cook ever!
7. CLOSE PROXIMITY. We love being able to drive to places like Germany and Austria or just take a quick weekend trip to Southern Italy. When we move back to Virginia, it will take about 3 hours to drive to Dad and Marianne's...we can get to Tuscany in 3 house while living here!
8. CRAP CARS. I love that the crappier your car, the more you fit in here in Naples. Whenever we see a really nice car on the road we always think the person is either crazy or just passing through town. I drive a beat-up 1996 Jeep Cherokee that is dinged all over (we call them 'Napoli Kisses') and Karl just upgraded from his 1997 Honda Civic to a BMW to bring home (we will have to get the dings out before we get back). I'm looking forward to my new Volvo, but it is fun for now not worrying about hitting stuff :)
9. VESUVIUS. I love that almost anywhere you drive around here, Vesuvius is always looming overhead. Each time I pull into the commissary, Vesuvius is right behind it reminding us of the history that surrounds us here. Around every corner in Naples is something historic and remarkable (there's even Roman ruins under the Navy Exchange!).
10. THE LITTLE THINGS. I will miss Italy for everything that I can't put into words (or that has slipped my mind at this moment). I will miss the place where my first child was born and took his first steps. I will miss the little pastry shop down the street. I will miss the open affection that Italians have for each other. I will miss driving up a volcano rim to our home. I will miss the things that I never even got the opportunity to see and that will bring me back for a visit in the future. Thank you Italy for everything and I look forward to my last few months with you!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Really going to try harder!

So my blog has been in need of some revamping recently- I've been in a total slump! Parker has gone down to one nap a day for about an hour, so my free time has been cut in half, hence the lack of blogging! This is my promise to Sunday night, I will have a post for all of you and I will do the same thing every week on Sundays. There is so much to catch everyone up on and so many great pics to share! So come back to my blog and I'll try not to disappoint!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bruges, Belgium

As many of you know, I went on a dream vacation last month to Bruges, Belgium with my great friend, Amanda. It was so easy to fall in love with the town and I would put it on a European Must See List if you're planning a trip here! By now, all of you should be familar with Amanda's blog and I once again point you in her direction to read all about our trip (she is an amazing writer and can paint a beautiful picture with her words- not to mention her wonderful photos!). Please visit her blog and let her know who you are in her comment section- I'm sure she'd love to hear from you!
(her blog address is on the side toolbar or on my previous post- ENJOY!)

Monday, November 2, 2009


So, I've been trying to update my posts and put up some slideshows, but I can't seem to get Picassa to cooperate (does anyone have an idea on an easy way to post a link to photo albums???). I am a self-proclaimed lazy blogger recently and am so sorry. Since August 1, Karl has only been here about 27 days and I just haven't had the free time to blog that I would like to. Luckily, I have an amazing friend, Amanda, who is an amazing writer and blogger and I will once again direct you to her awesome blog to read all about our day of making pesto with Rosa (just scroll down until you see the pesto post)
I have all the pics of Parker's bday, Venice, Northern Italy, making wine in our vineyard, Belgium, and Halloween- let me know if you want me to send them to you via Snapfish (I'll try to catch up with some blogs once Karl returns)!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Parker's First Haircut

I figured if I am ever going to post pictures from the summer (since we're already in October), I'm going to have to resort to Picassa web albums (my upload time is tooo long to do them individually!) until I'm all caught up! My housekeeper (who is like a grandmother to Parker) took me to a great barber out in town in our little town of Pozzuoli. Parker was very well behaved and looked so handsome afterwards :) Enjoy and sorry sooooo late!!! ...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Favorite Books

Sorry for the lack of posting, it's not because I have nothing to write about, I guess I'm just in a blogging slump. There's so many blogs I am planning to do...Parker's first haircut, his big birthday party, and our 16 trip to Northern Italy...and one day I will! I thought I'd take a moment to share with all the other mommies out there, and also with people who are always looking for great baby gifts, these fantastic baby books! The ones I'm listing are Parker's favorites and I don't know what we'd do without them!
Tails by Matthew Van Fleet is an amazing book (great find Cathy!) with great illustrations and touchy-feely tails on each page. It's a beautiful book with rhyming words, pull tabs (that are actually made of board book material), pages that open and close, and different textures/materials throughout.
My next door neighbor, Lisa, got us hooked on Usborne touchy-feely books and I am in turn hooking other babies on them. These are Parker's favorites and we own (to name a few) That's not my monster (his ultimate fav), That's not my dinosaur, That's not my teddy, That's not my dragon, and That's not my doggie. I think every parent should invest in these books. Usborne also makes books for as they get older (we already have Night, Night Stories and love it).
Another fun book that can spark play between parent and baby is this series of "Faces" books. There are eye cutouts that mommy and baby can take turns looking through. Parker thinks it's soooo funny when mommy looks like a pig, zebra, and other fun animals! We have Farm Faces and Zoo Faces and I'm sure I'll collect others. My sister, Erin, found this book for Parker's birthday. It is one of the most beautifully illustrated books I've ever seen (remind me a lot of Eric Carle books) and also teaches about dinosaurs (this would suit younger children as well as kindergarten age). Parker is not allowed to play with this one, but I let him look as I read. The name is Dinosaurs Roar, Butterflies Soar by Bob Barner.
One last recommendation is Bee & Me by Elle J. McGuiness. Parker got this from my sister, Cathy, for his birthday and is fasinated by it. It's about a friendship between a little boy and a bee and also teaches the importance of bees and what we can do to help them. It has these neat hologram-like pictures that move on almost every page. Once again, this would even be appropriate for older kids since it teaches a great lesson.
I'd love to hear if any of you have great book suggestions (I already know about the classics- and have them all, but I'm interested in the lesser known ones). I believe that books are the best toys children can have and will continue to share my finds as they come along!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Greece, Turkey, and Sicily!

Get ready for a VERY long blog! I figured it was about time to finish up blogging about our Med. cruise in June since we are leaving on Saturday for 16 days to Venice and Vicenza! I already wrote about Croatia, so I'll just take up from after that when we headed to Greece.
The second stop on our vacation was to Corfu, Greece- a beautiful island full of history, perfect views, and magnificent beaches. This pic is from a monestary we visited high up in the mountains of Corfu.
The view from the monestary...breathtaking! Thought this was so funny! One authentic Greek bar and Starbucks.
We found the most adorable playground in Corfu and stopped to let Parker play :)
On to our third stop- Olympia, Greece! This is where the original Olympics were held and where they got their name (most people think the Olympics were named after Mount you know!).
. This is the entrance to the original Olympic Stadium.
This is the exact spot where the Olympic torch is lit every two years!
Behind Karl and Parker is the Temple of Zeus- one of the seven wonders of the ancient world!
Parker ordering room service
Our fourth stop (and our absolute favorite!) was Santorini, Greece- everyone should visit here at some point in their lives! Santorini is the island that is photographed most often in Greece with it's white buildings and blue roofs.
The buildings are so perfectly white that they just blend together in the background.
Views from the winery we visited on the island.
To get to the top of the town, you have to walk from the port up this winding staircase...or take a donkey!
I took a donkey! This was a terrifying experience and I won't do it again...once the little old man let me go with the donkey the dumb animal kept slamming me into the walls and cutting off the other donkeys...not to mention I didn't smell too great when we were done!
Our next stop was to Kusadasi, Turkey. We spend a lot of our time in the Bazaar and rug far the best shopping day of our vacation was here!
We went to a carpet demonstration at Turkmen Rugs and actually bought a beautiful silk carpet with the tree of life design on it...I plan to hang it on our wall soon!
This is a pic of how they get the silk from the worms and then spin it into thread for the rugs.
A perfect view. I didn't expect Turkey to look this way!
We also went to the house of the Virgin Mary. This is believed to be the location that Mary lived and died at.
Parker was helping us pick out a carpet!
After Turkey, we headed back to Greece to visit Athens! It was great to see the Acropolis and something everyone should do, but in general I didn't like the city much and was my least favorite of all the places we visited.
The Schlegel's at the Acropolis and Parthenon!
Parker and I at the Olympic Stadium with the Acropolis Hill behind us...see the Parthenon?!?!
On the hill with the Ampitheater behind me.
Karl and a sleeping baby at the Acropolis.
Another family shot...Parker slept through most of this trip.
After a day at sea, our final stop was in Messina, Sicily. We went on a "In the Steps of the Godfather" tour and visited all the towns that they filmed the Godfather series. I've never seen the movies, but Karl was very excited throughout the day :)
This is the view from the church where someone married some girl in the movie...Karl knows all the details.
This is the bar/restaurant where the guy asked the dad to marry his daughter...once again sorry for my lack of details!
The Sicilian Coastline
We took over 300 pics and I have them all on Snapfish, so let me know if you want me to email them your way! I'll have so much to post about when we get back in August...tomorrow is Parker's big first birthday and party at the pool, then we leave on Sat. for the next trip! Thanks for putting up with my tardiness on the blog!