It’s official. I’ve given up on the front terrace. I used to have a fantasy of a vine covered oasis brimming with red flowers and juicy raspberries. Now, I just don’t really go out there. But everyone else does. It’s the spot for popsicle eating, mini-pool splashes and on the back terrace, laundry. Even though I’ve thrown in the towel, it’s still a pretty cool space to see Rome. One that I’ll actually miss.
Shortly after Phoebe started going to the new school down the street (where Estelle also spends her mornings), she started singing a little ditty from time to time, absentmindedly as she played with dolls. “Coccodrillo, come fa…” Fast forward to earlier this week when I was looking for something on YouTube and found the video! Now, it’s a SUPER HIT at Via Nizza, 46. As an after-breakfast treat, Phoebe and Estelle curl up to watch it on my phone, repeating as many times as our schedule (and patience) allows before we leave for cappuccini at 8.
Me: Phoebe, what’s today?
Phoebe: Mmm, Cornetto Friday!
*A cornetto is a flaky breakfast treat, like a croissant but sweeter and less buttery. P gets to have a miniature version on Fridays.
Even though we’re not citizens, not even the girls who were born here, we all have to get new Italian ID cards. Like a passport, this requires a photo and not just any photo. Eyes have to be open, no hands, feet, arms or other body parts can make an appearance, neutral expressions are mandatory, no shadows; the background must be white and strangely, the photo must be in digital format so it’s not possible to just go to one of the millions of photo booths scattered around town and hand over the automatically sized prints. This year, as usual, it took a couple of sessions to capture everyone’s essence. Or at least their mug. Here’s what I’m talking about…
Phoebe got to ride her first horse this fall, a couple of weeks ago. Amy and Dan suggested a pumpkin patch plus country lunch and as usual no one had to ask us twice! What did take some convincing though, was that Phoebe would be able to ride. I’d heard about the miniature ponies at the restaurant (set on a tiny farm outside of Rome with chickens, bunnies, and the two tiny horses) so I asked Phoebe if she’d like to ride when we got there? She’s only seen horses in the park and they’re always full grown police horses, so naturally her response was less than enthusiastic,” No Mommy, I’m not big enough.” Just wait…a Phoebe-sized steed awaits.
But first pumpkins.
Then lunch. Playtime. And finally ponies.
Our summer 2011 soundtrack sounds something like this…
No words. Except I’m so happy we have AC now.
We had a sweet surprise waiting for him at home…with a secret ingredient.
Peanut butter chocolate chip bacon cookies.
We cooked, we sang, we ate…we celebrated. Hope it’s a great day PM.
Also involved in today’s birthday celebration: a finger painted masterpiece.
Let’s backtrack. Things have been very busy, hectic and otherwise hurried around here lately but that’s partially due to the fun we’ve been having (the other part involves crying). We packed up the girls for two lovely weekends in the last month and this was one of them. Paul booked us a family suite at the Abbazia San Pietro in Valle, an old abbey turned hotel, in the hills of Umbria. Actually, it’s one of the neatest places I’ve been to yet.
The grounds are amazing, nestled among hills, trees and flowers, all with a long history. It’s been around since the eighth century. Eight. A duke was first attributed to its inception, and over the years the abbey fell into the hands of other noble families and even the government. At one point during World War II, it became a refuge for people of the nearby villages, seeking shelter as German troops retreated, right into their homes.
Attached is a trattoria called Hora Media, which was not only wonderfully hospitable toward Phoebe and Estelle, it was delicious. More on this, plus hiking and more meals out, coming soon. For now, a tour… (Shaky camera alert. Anyone with a history of motion sickness should probably pop a Dramamine first.)
And there were animals too.