Monthly Archives: September 2010

The traditional gift for a second anniversay is a castle, right?

It was our anniversary and Paul surprised me (and Phoebe) with a weekend in the country, in a castle.

The. Dream.

In the car we went, zipping along country roads until we wound up, a little lost.

GPS, bless its heart, is sometimes misguided. Or maybe it’s our lack of geographical expertise, combined with our sometimes sudden mistrust of the thing. When we’re not sure that the GPS really knows the best way, we’re likely to suddenly veer off  “nah, it can’t be this way, let’s just turn…” It’s not ideal. So, after a 30-minute delay due to winding roads and multiple map consultations, we arrived  at the Castello di Semivicoli. This delay by the way, is an improvement on our usual 60-minutes of driving around and around the location we’re expecting to find. Usually within 10 kilometers yet as they say, so far away.

This castle however, was totally worth it. Old and charming from the outside, it was as sleek and gorgeous as can be on the inside with sweeping views of the entire region.

And a humongous jacuzzi tub. A girl could get used to this. And I’m not the only one. On Saturday Paul would have a private wine tasting with the manager of the hotel. Every morning the cook prepared a full breakfast for us: scrambled eggs, coffee, juice, freshly baked breads and all the fruit Phoebe could eat. Which is a lot.

Speaking of luxury, one of the nicest things about our weekend was a private dining room for dinner. Just the three of us, and several courses of Italian food and wine (though only one of us enjoyed that part). Not only was it a beautiful space, but how nice to not worry about Phoebe running around in her jammies.

The next day, I got a manicure and pedicure in the penthouse while Paul and Phoebe took a walk around the grounds. Not bad. However things went downhill when we switched rooms (there was a wedding at the castle on Saturday and other guests had already booked the suite.) It seems that Phoebe had simply gotten used to a certain level of luxury and she wasn’t having any of this junior suite business. No napping, no sleeping. Instead there was screaming. At 4am the only thing that could console our teething toddler was a combination of raisins and music. Thank heavens we had both. Otherwise she might still be yelling.

But back to the luxe life. There were two delicious meals on Saturday. For lunch we had a great time sitting outside at a nearby restaurant; cheese ravioli for Phoebe but not just any cheese. This was made from burrata, one of the richest, creamiest cheeses in the world, literally. She just about cleared the entire plate, naturally. For dinner, we went to another great recommendation where the posh services continued. We quickly asked for some pasta per la bambina who was already dangerously close to a sleepy meltdown when we arrived at 8pm, an hour past her bedtime. It came in a twelve inch bowl, on a porcelain charger with a giant silver spoon. This however was nothing compared to what came next. A bottle full of milk was the only thing that would keep us at the table long enough to finish the single course we’d both ordered. And out it came, on a silver platter.

Teething troubles notwithstanding, this was basically the theme of the whole weekend. With two cases of wine loaded into the car, home we went. Still a little sleepy and definitely satisfied.

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It’s a…

GIRL!

We were thrilled to find out yesterday that Phoebe will soon be a big sister, to a little sister. Hopefully there are fun filled days of dress-up ahead. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and well wishes because I’m even more delighted to report that all looks well with Little Miss Mathews II, who seems to be as healthy as can be.

Now it feels much more real, as it did with Phoebe at this stage–and February seems a lifetime away. In a sense, I guess it is. Til then, we’ll be getting organized and decorating both girls’ rooms; Phoebe is moving into “the big room” after Christmas. There’s so much space in the current guest room that we’ll make it a nice playroom as well. Plus, she gets to have her own big girl bed. But not for a while. Right now, she’s our baby.

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Foodlets: an idea, a website, a start

Penne, tomatoes, basil and cheese

I’m trying something new. It’s a dream really. For a few years now I’ve wanted to start a website about food for kids. I’m just getting started with the site and Phoebe is just getting started with real food, so bear with us…and wish us luck.

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Pineto to Albano, again

Fresh from our trip to the US, we visited Pineto, a little seaside town on the east coast of Italy. The occasion was this: Dante, Paul’s friend of many years, and his family were visiting his extended family…and they all live here.

So, the unofficial American Ex-Pat Group of Rome (Eric and Melissa, Dan and Amy and us) met up with them, plus our friends Dave and Karin from Amsterdam. It was four days of jet lag on the beach. There were also tons of dinners, all outside, all with space for kids to play. On one occasion (left) there was even a band, prompting dozens of senior citizens to dance until dawn…or what felt like it to us weary travelers.

Then back to Rome for more water works. Dan, Dante, David Bowen (of a semi-famous olive grove)  and Paul set out to cross the lake before summer’s end.

Fun was had by all.

Almost.


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Then Washington for Ben & Mary’s Wedding

The weather was gorgeous – a record setting day with sunshine and 93 degrees. We loved it, especially because the wedding took place at Ben & Mary’s riverside cabin, making an after wedding swim even more refreshing. But first…

They wrote their vows themselves.

And my grandma sang their first dance song, Your Song by Elton John.

There was a big Mexican dinner and mini cupcakes in five flavors.

They’d set up a rowboat full of drinks and ice at the beginning of the day. Unfortunately Phoebe wanted desperately to get in the boat at the end of the day, when there wasn’t much left but icy cold water.

There was even a beautiful bonfire. Unfortunately, the evening didn’t end well for Phoebe. Don’t worry, she fell asleep before we left the parking lot. Sometimes weddings are really tiring!

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Paul’s pictures of Florida

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New article! 40 Splurges & Saves on Baby Gear

Lately I’ve been working on a lot of articles for Babyzone.com and just this week they’ve published my most recent piece: When to Splurge and When to Save. It turned out to be a really fun article, in part because interviewing other new moms is such a nice way to reach out to like-minded ladies. Especially when the subjects are old friends, thanks Facebook!

Next up I’ll have a 6-article series about Christmas gift ideas for babies, toddlers and moms-to-be. But until then, maybe I’ll re-read the money saving piece. With a new member of the family expected this winter, I may need to take some of this advice to heart!

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Finally, a Florida recap

It’s taken a long time — let’s blame jet lag, several mini trips since then and a busier than ever work schedule, oh! And it’s tiring to grow a new person–but now that that’s out of the way… Florida was so fun!

We had a great time with Paul’s family, especially the cousins.

Most of the time.

Went to the beach every day.

There was even a cat.

And ate over-sized meals and drinks. Sometimes more than one!

It was a really nice time with everyone.

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A picnic in the park

We’d been meaning to pack up dinner and head to the park for weeks. On this sunny weeknight, we finally did it. And Molly joined us with little Sabina.

Dinner was delicious with lemon chicken and peanut dipping sauce plus Molly’s rice salad and good ol’ chocolate chip bar cookies.  The girls played together, sort of.

Separately, Phoebe does her impression of Cindy Lou Who. Quite good I think.

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The great lake

If it’s summertime in Rome, we must be at Lago di Martignano.

It’s a favorite for our group of friends and on this particular weekend in July we spent the day with Dan, Amy, Zoe and Max.

We always have a nice lunch at the restaurant. After that, only nap time (or dinner time) could persuade us to part with the cool water for home.

Alas, it happens every time. Oh well, there will be more sunny Saturdays, this is one thing you can count on in Rome.

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