Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Week in Tuscany

A day trip to the lovely hill town of San Gimignano with our friends Bryan and Aida.

A view of Siena from the old fortress walls.

Piazza Michelangelo - the beautiful park overlooking all of Florence.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Family Updates

Thought I'd take a minute or two to update you on the latest adventures of Elise and Caleb!

ELISE recently went with me to see the Sigonella community theater's production of Annie. I think she's been singing show tunes and pretending to be on the stage ever since! We finally made her a cd of a selection of songs from Annie along with a few other favorites from Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music (Grant and Lydia's most recent H.S. musical) and an encore performance of "Born to Hand Jive" - a favorite from Grant's musical last year. She's currently listening to it about 5 times a day!
When she's not "on the stage" she loves to play school and house with her growing cast of stuffed animals - Caleb happily joins in most of the time as well. It's really funny to hear them having conversations like big people as they mimic many of the things that Josh and I do and say in their make believe play.

Now that the weather is nice we're spending lots of time outside. Josh very lovingly mowed the entire back yard (which was well over a foot high), so we finally have some outdoor space to explore. Of course the kids are busy looking for lizards, chasing bugs, and picking just about every little blossom they can find. (since most of them are just "pretty weeds" I don't mind!) Yes, it takes us about 3x longer to accomplish any task now that spring is upon us...not just because I always have 3 small children in tow, but mostly because Elise has to stoop down to examine, smell, and usually pick a handful of flowers wherever we go.

CALEB continues to be the jovial and silly character that he's always been. He's very proud to be two (although he's already telling people that he's going to be three - in 10 months, mind you!) and has recently learned the art of jumping with two feet at the same time. This has made for a lot of hopping and jumping around the house...and even a new form of movement which he's termed his "hop-skip." He is in love with Josh's guitar and frequently requests a pick and "my tar" so he can strum a little tune - most often "Deep and Wide" or "Lollipop" with his own version of "Edelweiss" (a.k.a. Edel-bise) sometimes thrown in. (another tribute to Grant and Lydia's recent H.S. musical production)

When he's not playing a song he's usually busy getting ready for his "rocket team practice" with his tennis "rocket" in hand. The game he plays looks very little like tennis and actually mostly just involves him carrying around the carrying case with the "rocket" inside, but we love his creativity and he sure seems to be having fun.

We feel very blessed that the kids get along with each other as well as they do. I can't quite believe how never-ending the task of teaching small children how to be kind, polite, obedient, selfless, and honest can be. I guess it shouldn't be that surprising since I'm still working on learning those same lessons myself...still "poco e' poco" as my neighbor always tells me...little by little...we're all learning and I guess I can't ask for much more than that. :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sweet Lucas - 6 months old

Yes, it's true...Lucas is already six months old! He has been a wonderful addition to our "non-stop party house" and we love him so much. Elise and Caleb take great joy in their ability to make him giddy with excitement. They are very quick to hand him a toy, do a dance for his entertainment or get in his face with an enthusiastic "gugga, gugga" or other made up word in their baby talk repertoire! They also call him "Luke" as their little nickname for him which I think is really sweet. Lucas loves to roll over and is very proud of his newest trick, sitting up like a big guy! He's pretty much a slobber machine these days - which either means that teeth are on their way, or that he totally neglects to swallow. He seems to love being a part of the craziness here at home and does a pretty good job of making his needs known (that's actually a euphemism for being a tad high maintenance!) Lucas has recently joined the super sleeper baby club and now sleeps about 11 hours at night without waking - hooray!We can't wait to see what the coming months will bring as we get to know our little man more and more each day!

Pineta Monti Rossi  

Spent a beautiful sunny Saturday outside enjoying the trails through the Pineta Monti Rossi pine forest on one of the volcanic cones in the foothills of Mt. Etna. The kids were a little bummed because we told them we were going to a park and they assumed that meant a playground. Luckily, after explaining that this was a nature park...which of course they also love...they quickly got to exploring, climbing, setting up gelato stands (which involved pretending that rocks were ice cream cones as well as money), and picking flowers. A good time was had by all!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beach Day - Take 2

We had such a nice time with our friends at Isole Bella beach that we decided to take an encore trip with Josh! You see, there's so much to see and do and enjoy here in Sicily, BUT even after six months of living here it's still a little bit of a challenge to find our way around. Thought it would be nice to enjoy a stress free outing since all the details had already been figured out on our previous excursion. We did add a few new adventures to the mix by taking the cable car up the mountain to Taoromina to explore the ruins of the Greek Ampitheater and of course, eat some gelato!