Monthly Archives: October 2011

Happy Halloween

We’re behind. So. Far. Behind. But it’s Halloween and I couldn’t resist skipping ahead to our latest adventures. And by that I mean, we had 15 kids plus parents and 1 million mini candy bars in our house this weekend.

It all started with a chicken costume. Last year I begged/coerced Paul’s mom into making it for us. Naturally Phoebe refused to wear it. Ever. Not that it mattered because we didn’t have anywhere to go. No Halloween festivities that we knew of, so… Cut to this year when our two-year old “big girl” is all about dressing up. She even put on last year’s outfit for the invitation.

Then it was one garden gnome and one flower, ordered online in the US and delivered by Ben and Mary during their fall visit.

The party was fun, full of food, candy and of course, the Monster Mash. You can see more pictures on the new and improved Foodlets now!


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It’s taken us three years to get to Pompeii, something Paul has been meaning to remedy for just as long. There’s nothing like guests to inspire you to see the sights so off we went. It was a hot day and we knew ahead of time that the ruins of an ancient city were not stroller friendly. Lucky for us, we had two extra baby carriers on board.

The site is famous of course for its amazingly preserved architecture, nearly a whole town still in place after Mount Vesuvius covered it in ash in 79 AD. What a window into another world.

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After a week in Sardegna, the site seeing continued. Back to Rome then off for a day trip to Orvieto, a walled city a couple of hours away. We also stopped at Civita di Bagnoregio, a dead city founded 2,500 years ago. Now it’s just coffee and postcards…and gorgeous views.

And on to Orvieto where we headed for the Duomo, one of the best in Italy. It was a second trip for Paul, Phoebe and me. We visited and loved a great restaurant the first time, so we wrangled a table again for our group of 8. Things didn’t go nearly as well as they did on our first visit. Service was spotty, slow and grumpy. Uncle Mike took Estelle out for a walk while we waited and waited and waited for the bill. We thought about the famed underground tour but didn’t have time after all. Maybe on our third trip…

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A giant’s tomb

Besides beach going, there were plenty of sites to see in Sardinia. I’m pretty sure that Mike and Julie saw them all but on this day, we all joined them on a trip to a nearby village. Shopping and lunch, followed by gelato (of course) and the ruins of an oversize tomb, called Giant’s Tombs and found throughout Sardinia. The size and scale are said to have been divinely created but the truth is they were built by the Nuraghic tribes who were of average size. But they did it in 1500 B.C. How about that?


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On the boat in Sardegna

Giuseppe suggested going out on a boat to explore the caves, not to mention the bluest water any of us had ever seen. But it was Mike and Julie’s seafaring confidence that led the charge. Effortlessly, they rented and captained our boat all afternoon, searching for key sights and inviting swimming areas. Our thanks for an amazing day.

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Arriving in Sardegna

We rented a villa from friends Molly and Giuseppe, expecting a pretty vacation getaway that Giuseppe and his family enjoyed for many years growing up. What we got was a luxury villa with an unstoppable view. What a place to spend a week.

Amazing housing almost made up for a glitch with the rental car. Instead of the four-door sedan seating five adults, we got a Fiat 500. It’s cute but it ain’t comfy…

We even had a pool though, so on the days when the crew just didn’t want to climb into the mini rig, they cooled off in the comforts of home.

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The big family visit

As is the new custom, this post is terribly slow in coming but not for lack of pep. Lack of sleep and spare time, yes, but no lack of enthusiasm. To celebrate the tail end of summer, Ben, Mary, Mom, Mike and Julie all came to Italy. Phoebe, who had been talking about their arrival for weeks, was so excited to finally put her new phrases “Uncle Ben!”, “Aunt Jewie!” to use.

On their first day we did a little sight seeing by walking down to the Trevi fountain; later Ben, Mary and my mom made their way to the Pantheon.

On our second night, once everyone had gotten their bearings and a bit of sleep more or less, Mike, Julie and Mom went with us to a great little restaurant in our neighborhood. Piccolo Abruzzo doesn’t have menus but once you sit down, the food comes in waves…and doesn’t stop for about two hours. Neither does the wine and maybe that’s why we had such a great time. Well, it was probably the company but wine doesn’t hurt!

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