Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Lucas!

Our sweet, spunky, and daring little man turned TWO this week.  We were so glad to have Grammy and Granddad here to celebrate with us.  

I love this picture!  Lucas learned to whisper this week and all day long he would come up to us and whisper "cake" in our ears.  

Thank you Uncle Hayden, Aunt Michele, and Makari!

Oh, boy!

Thank you Aunt Hannah!

Lucas shows of his birthday booboos.  He took a nasty spill while we were hiking in to the beach in Zingaro. 

Probably not "pinterest worthy", but the kids sure did have fun decorating cupcakes for all of us.  

We love you, Lucas Emmanuel!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Visit from Grammy and Granddad. (Part 1)

At last, the moment arrived for my parents to come for a visit to Sicily.  We were all so excited to see them, host them, and share our little corner of the world with them.  Though I think we could have had them stay for weeks and weeks, our 8 days of adventures and cuddles were just perfect.  We got to drive across the island, share some of our favorite Italian treats, play Duplos, read books, bake cupcakes, visit ancient ruins, swim in the clearest blue water we'd ever seen, and more!  

Into Catania to visit the market, buy fresh pasta, enjoy a taste of granite, and see the sites.  
I love you Mom and Dad!
Bam Bar - Taormina: Best Granite in Sicily! 
Views from Taormina's Parco Communale - what a good looking duo.

This picture is still making me laugh.  I wish everyone could have seen Lucas sprint over and strike a "cool pose" when my dad and Caleb were taking cool guy pics in the piazza.  The fish face and finger point were spontaneous and hilarious!

Thursday Night out at Il Tocco - a great pizza place on the water in Aci Reale.  Santa was home with the kids so we got to treat my dad to his first real Sicilian pizza!  The lights in the background are from the mainland.  We're on the Ionian Sea.

Super Mom!

Super Josh!
We arrived at this little cove in Zingaro Nature Preserve in the late afternoon and soon had it all to ourselves.  We swam, explored, skipped rocks, and climbed in caves. 

You may recognize these goodies from my post back in September.  They were worth going back for!
I thought about discouraging Elise from having gelato for breakfast, but since we were all having fried pastries it didn't seem like I had a very strong argument...guess I could have gone with the it's cold and rainy reasoning...oh,well!
Since we found ourselves with a rainy day we headed towards Trapani to check out the salt pans.  The main "harvesting" season is in the summer, but it was still neat to be there again and share it with my mom and dad.  

Erice:  a fascinating medieval city just outside of Trapani.  It's especially specular because it's on the coast but nearly half a mile above sea level.  
View of the coastline as we wound our way up the mountain.  

Castellemare del Golfo at night.  
Dinner by the sea.  Seafood couscous for my mom and I.  Swordfish for my dad and seafood pasta for Josh.  Yum, yum, yum!

"Picnic" breakfast in Zingaro.

Lovely spot for a picnic. 
It may not have been very hot, but wow was that water inviting.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Weekend in Venice

We're zipping through our European bucket list as we're down to 10 months and counting until we head back to the States...Venice has been on the list for a while, but since the idea of taking three little kids to a place that's not stroller friendly and has water "hazards" at every turn, it took until now to gain the confidence to take on such a challenge.

Well, we ended up loving it and besides being the noisiest bunch of people around, the endless canals and bridges didn't end up being as daunting as we had feared.  We borrowed my friend Bethany's ergo so we always had the option to carry two thirds of our crowd.  Poor Elise had to walk a ton, but she was a great sport.  The kids LOVED the vaporetto water taxis that we got to take everywhere.  Lucas was so thrilled that "boat, boat, boat" was the first thing he said every morning (and most of the rest of the day for that matter!).  When we came home, Caleb - who usually prays every night of our trips that we can go back to our real house - asked if we could live in Venice forever!

The staircase from our apartment. 
Really.  Truly.  Venice. 
It's a little blurry - otherwise, it might have been our Christmas picture.  
First night in Venice - views from Rialto Bridge.
We crossed this bridge every morning on the way to "our" pastry shop.  By the second morning, Elise and Caleb could wind us through streets, down little alleys and over all the bridges to our morning cappuccino and cornetti.   

"Vacation Breakfast" at its finest.  

Elise was so "inspired" or impressed by our trip that she drew pictures and wrote stories in her sketch pad all weekend.

Day trip to the little island of Burano - known for it's handmade lace and...yup, you guessed's colorful houses.
Had a few wet sneakers, but no one went for a swim!
The cool kids.  

Just can't get enough.

Bought fresh shrimp and scallops at the fish market and made dinner in our apartment - ate it while watching the Eagles game.  (wished they had won.)
Bird's eye view.
And then we moved them away from the 50 foot drop off...things were going to get too silly - fast!
Yum-o lunch at a little sandwich shop near St. Mark's - had to go two days in a row!
Don't do this at home.
My girl. 
St. Mark's Square.