This year we had friends from Amsterdam join us for the festivities, Dave and his 3-year-old daughter Annika. Phoebe loved having a “big” friend to play with (most of the time!) and often they ended up with matching outfits. Guess who lives in Europe and shops at H&M…?
On Christmas Eve, we went to the candlelight service at Rome Baptist Church, where we (try to) regularly attend during the rest of the year. Goldfish crackers, raisins and even chocolates couldn’t sustain the under-four crew though. Paul ended up in the foyer with all three of them while Dave and I enjoyed the second half of the service.
Christmas Day was smoother–just breakfast, presents and eventually…
A trip to Villa Borghese.
THANK YOU GRANDMA & GRANDPA MATHEWS, GRANDMA & GRANDPA OLSEN AND MARY JANE FOR YOUR LOVELY GIFTS!
This year–after a nap, after attending her second sunrise Easter service— Phoebe got to enjoy her first Easter egg hunt. Together with friends we hid dozens of eggs in Villa Borghese and the little guys found them.
Estelle was there too.
In the end Phoebe kept saying one thing: “More eggs?”
It was a very cute Christmas. This year Phoebe really got into the spirit of things–meaning she knows how to open presents now. Plus our friends Jill and Drew came to Rome from Boston and Barbra joined from Paris. We started Christmas the same way everyone with kids does — drinking coffee and opening stockings.
But the sweetest part was Phoebe’s reaction when she saw the little kitchen next to the tree, “Ooooh!”
Grandma and Grandpa Mathews also sent her a grocery cart full of food and kitchen supplies, so she’s quite well stocked. This is a good thing because she spent nearly every waking minute of the next two days cooking up a storm. There was broccoli, lemon and potato stew and more tea than anyone (or any group) could ever drink. It’s really the best imaginary food you’ll ever have.
Thanks so much to Mom and Wade for sending so many goodies too (the puppets and pink books were an especially big hit!) Barbra, the hat is hilariously chic and the penguin beloved. Jill and Drew, your adorable pink water bottle is used each and every day.
After opening all of the great gifts from everyone everywhere (thank you Bob and Charlene for the flag and monogrammed pillow cases!) we had a big breakfast…then a big walk.
Can’t wait to do it again next year…with one more stocking on the mantel.
Sabina came over to help decorate Christmas cookies a few days before the festivities got into full swing. First Phoebe and I rolled out the low-sugar, whole wheat dough then cut out our trees, hearts, balls and more.
Best of all, Phoebe got to wear her new apron…it says Phoebe. Paul’s mom made it. Sabina got to wear one too. Hers didn’t say Phoebe.
Then the decorating began. Many sprinkles made it onto the cookies–one in particular.
Many more did not.
Just when Phoebe started losing steam, Sabina helped out…
It all started with an invite…a little early but we couldn’t be stopped!
And an empty tree.
That morning we got to work, decorating the apartment and the tree.
But leaving out a couple dozen indestructible ornaments for the kids to put up later on.
We made lots of food: pulled chicken BBQ sandwiches, mulled wine, polenta with cranberries, pumpkin muffins, cheese and crackers, chocolates and more.
Including mint-chocolate brownies with fudgy ganache on top.
Friends came over for food, Christmas music and of course, tree trimming.
The little guys decorated whole-wheat “sugar” cookies.
And ate them.
It was so fun…but a little tiring for super preggie ladies who have no choice but to take to the iPhone while nice husbands clean up.
Here’s to a festive season ahead!
It’s hard to believe but we’ve been in Rome for three Thanksgivings now. And Italians still don’t celebrate. But that’s okay because we do.
Armed with an apple crisp and Parmesan Smashed Potatoes a la Barefoot Contessa, we reunited with our original group of ex-pats again, as we did on the first year — the first week that we arrived. (When I was also pregnant. Maybe this is my thing.)
Dan and Amy are the best hosts with plenty of space and above all…toys.
Dan prepared the bird.
The kiddies enjoyed an early meal.
And I guess, football?
Plus there were hats to try on. So, plenty to be thankful for.
Started at dawn again this year. In fact, we actually had to wake Phoebe up in order to be a the sunrise service at 7am. Which reminds me, I’m thrilled to report that Phoebe is now sleeping until 6:30am, sometimes 7am. Daylight savings saved the day (or the night as it were) but I digress.
Villa Borghese was beautiful, if deserted, at dawn.
Then it was home to prepare brunch for friends.
To eat (and eat and eat…) fresh strawberries, eggs with cheese, basil and mushrooms, mustard-roasted potatoes, sticky buns and bread pudding (thanks Ana Maria and Jonathan!)
And to check out a new chick.