Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: A Book Review

I am a reader. Have been since birth. I used to bring a giant stack of books to my mom each night to read to me as a baby/toddler. Then I used to read as many books as possible during summer break as a kid. As an adult, I have managed to maintain reading a book per month at the minimum. While pregnant, I read two or three pregnancy books. Mainly to learn how sweet Adelaide was growing in my tummy but also to be prepared for a routine and the first few months of her life. Since she was born, I have had hardly anytime to read. Nor has it been high on my priority list.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was catching up on the Parenting magazines that had accumulated over the past three months. Intrigued by an article about different cultures raising children, I noted that two of the families had written books about parenting. They sounded interesting enough so I decided to order them from Barnes & Noble.

I decided to start with How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting because I liked the name most :) I wasn't sure what to expect or what I was hoping to gain aside from some sort of way to relax and rewind each evening. What I learned was value & understanding for parenting across the globe. From Argentina to Congo and Taiwan to Lebanon, we all face the same basic questions on how to provide for, feed, play with, and teach our children. But in some areas, our approaches could not be more different.

Mei-Ling Hopgood, author & mother, explores 11 lessons from around the globe that generally make Americans gawk in disgust. In my case, I felt right at home with how I am parenting AND making mistakes along the way.

The chapters are as follows (with my brief description/summary followed by my own parenting examples in regard to the subject at hand):

  • How Buenos Aires Children Go to Bed Late
    • Summary: Aside from being the most kid-friendly country, Argentina throws a pretty mean party that includes children and elders at all hours of the night. Falling asleep anywhere during an event is acceptable and highly welcome. Time with family is more important than sleep. 
    • Real Life: While routine and structure has been key to our lives since Adelaide arrived (mainly because I am a single parent most days/nights), we do make exceptions for special events or when we feel like it. We have since she was born. She already has a late bedtime according to most parents' standards...8:30pm. Family time is precious for us as we live in completely different states so we don't hesitate to let her stay up later when in KY or on vacation. 
  • How the French Teach Their Children to Love Healthy Food
    • Summary: Pre-schoolers in France dine on 5 course meals at school including beet salad, various cheeses, and roasted lamb. They have more extensive palates than most adults in the States. For the French, the art of making a meal is just as important in a child's learning process as the nutrients he/she receives so from an early age children are involved in the preparation of family meals. 
    • Real Life: For now, Adelaide eats fruits & vegetables. I buy mostly organic baby food or give her the "real" stuff that Ryan & I eat (now that she has teeth and my fear of her choking has subsided). I don't give her chocolate or sweets...although she often reaches for the whipped cream on my Starbucks and has been known to snatch the top off of my cupcake before. She will grab for just about anything, including wasabi as I learned the hard way, which is positive I think. As the days pass, I find myself becoming more comfortable with giving her more "table" food. But this chapter gave me more confidence in raising a great eater.
  • How Kenyans Live Without Strollers
    • Summary: Because the road conditions and lack of sidewalks in Africa do not really allow for smooth paths, strollers are basically non-existent. Actually many of the mothers interviewed had no idea what a stroller even was. Historically a stroller was a buggy designed for the royals of England to pose their children in; thus representing great wealth at one time. So Kenyans carry their babies. Everywhere. As they grow into toddlers and then children. On their backs. On their chests. On their hips. All while lugging buckets of water or groceries or whatever else they need to.
    • Real Life: I am a wimp. Undoubtedly. I use the Baby Bjorn when we travel because it frees up my hands. I carry Adelaide in & out of Target or Starbucks on my hip until we can reach a shopping cart. I complain as my back aches. Then I read this chapter and felt like a loser. In my defense I will say that the hassle of getting the stroller out makes me think twice about using it and so I have found myself carrying her more here & there. But I can't quite imagine life without one. 
  • How the Chinese Potty Train Early
    • Summary: Three to six months is the average age that parents in China begin potty training their children. The majority of them are fully trained by 12 months. Diapers are not exactly used, rather split pants which allows kids to freely do their business wherever they feel the need. Freedom of the body is welcomed everywhere.
    • Real Life: See previous post here.
  • How Aka Pygmies Are the Best Fathers in the World
    • Summary: In the small village near Congo, Aka Pygmies (one of the last true hunter-gather communities) fathers spend 49% of the time with their children and mothers spend 51%. A statistic that is nearly unheard of in any other country. The fathers go so far as to offer their nipples for soothing when mothers are out gathering and unable to breastfeed.
    • Real Life: I can assure you that Ryan will never be offering his nipple to any of our children. However I found this chapter to be the most intriguing on the basis that it is possible for men/fathers to spend a significant amount of time with their children. Something I think that decades ago was taboo in the US. As a mother, I have found myself saying to Ryan (or thinking) I can do it/need to do it/know how to do it (all better) because I am the mom. But then I remember some great advice that I received from Sara B just before Adelaide was born. She told me not to "cripple" Ryan by watching over his every move, complaining about how he does fatherly duties, and nagging him. In terms of co-parenting, it has been one of the best pieces of advice for me. I want to empower my husband to help in all facets of Adelaide's upbringing. Often this means I have to let him do it "the wrong way" or "his way" and ignore the perceptions that I think people might have when we are in a group setting that "oh the dad is taking over because the mom must not be a good parent" because who cares what they think anyway right? I now relish in the fact that when Ryan is around that he wants to take over and be as involved as I am the other 99% of the time.
  • How Lebanese Americans Keep Their Families Close
    • Summary: In the Lebanese culture, the household generally includes mother, father, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, & cousins. Outside friends are rare because the extensive family can be 50+ people. Decisions are made as a group. Everything from business to mealtime to child-rearing. In their eyes, family has your back no matter what and will do anything for you. This includes people married into the family (i.e. daughter-in-laws, son-in-laws).
    • Real Life: I don't think it is any secret that I desperately love my family and ache to be home in Kentucky. Ryan jokes that I would like to be neighbors with my parents. He isn't totally off base. I was fortunate enough to grow up with three amazing siblings and the two best parents around. We grew up four houses down from my grandparents (dad's parents) and my other grandma lived 1/8 of a mile away. The older I have gotten the less I care to see friends when we go back to KY; I'd much prefer to spend every single minute with my family. Now that we have a child, it is extremely important to me for Adelaide to grow up near her cousins (something I always longed for but never had the opportunity to have). Someday. Sooner rather than later.
  • How Tibetans Cherish Pregnancy
    • Summary: In Tibet, the mental & spiritual sanctity of pregnancy is just as important as the physical one. Pregnant women are prayed for daily and watched over by family and friends. Given the royal treatment during and after childbirth as well. Tibetans believe that recovery from delivery is just as important as maintaining a health pregnancy.
    • Real Life: While I was pregnant, I did a great job of being active. I worked out and played tennis five days a week. I ate as healthy as I could but allowed myself treats. I got massages monthly and pampered myself often. As for my mental & spiritual journey, I prayed for the health of our child and our marriage. I enjoyed pregnancy and was happy to adjust my body for the gift of life. Post-delivery is a different story. I felt a lot of pressure to be this perfect mother who eased through the tired nights and kept up the house. Pregnancy had been such a breeze that I was expecting my body to bounce right back. In some aspects, my body is still healing nearly 10 months later. I find myself advising other new moms to rest and accept help. To sit and sleep in the early days. When you are in the hospital, I think letting the nurses handle your baby at night is key. It doesn't make you cold or not motherly. It makes you smart. Your body, whether easy or hard, has spent 9 months changing and growing then giving birth to a precious bundle. And the best thing you can do for your bundle is be at your best: physically, mentally, & spiritually.
  • How the Japanese Let Their Children Fight
    • Summary: In Japanese schools, you will not find teachers jumping in to solve conflict amongst students. You won't find kids tattle tailing on others. Appalling to most other cultures, you will find the Japanese letting children work out conflicts themselves. You will see them learn to problem solve. On their own. 
    • Real Life: When Adelaide is petting/poking someone's face at Gymboree, I am quick to interject. Mainly because I think it is offending the other parent. When someone is getting rough with my own daughter, I sit back and watch. She will either remove herself from the situation by crawling away or she will start crying which signals for the other kid to stop. In KY, Bishop (4) and Collins (2) play with Adelaide. Sometimes they are rough because they forget she is a tad smaller. I don't mind at all. Half the time, she is following them around and asking for them to play with her. I want her to be able to problem solve and work things out on her own. And mostly I believe that children are incredibly smart therefore will quickly (without the feelings and drama of adults...watch the Real Housewives of NJ to see how adults are idiots) reconcile the issue.
  • How Polynesians Play without Parents
    • Summary: The children in the Polynesians are taught to play with siblings or friends. Parents are there to provide for them and care for them; not play with them. Older siblings are put in charge of small tasks for babies (supervised) and playtime is led by the more experienced children. 
    • Real Life: If I spent every minute that I was with Adelaide playing with her, our house would be a disaster, she would never get to eat because I would have no time to make or clean bottles, we would have no clean clothes, and this blog post would be non-existent. As I am writing this, she is happily playing on the floor in our office with Beaumont and her three toys that have been laid out for her. Don't get me wrong, I play with her. I read to her. I make bath time fun. I talk and giggle with her. I just don't do it 24/7. I want her to learn to entertain herself. I want her to play with other children. I think it is important. It was one of my favorite things growing up. Gathering the neighborhood kids to play games during summer nights. Playing school or house or dress up with my sisters & brother. 
  • How Mayan Villages Put Their Kids to Work
    • Summary: From an early age, children in the Mayan villages have chores. Young boys learn to operate knives at three years old. Young girls clean dishes & fold laundry. Children are not begged to partake nor do they receive "rewards" or an "allowance." They simply do it to be a part of their families and communities. And to feel a sense of accomplishment.
    • Real Life: I have seen and pinned countless "chore charts" recently. Not because I plan to give Adelaide chores but because I want to be prepared when the time comes. I have always enjoyed the pride and contribution aspect of working. In sports, you don't work for the money. You work for the love of the game. I hope that Adelaide will naturally have those same feelings and I also hope that I am able to instill the traits of a strong work ethic.
  • How Asians Learn to Excel in School
    • Summary: Excelling in school for Asian children not only exemplifies how hard the child works but also reflects upon his family and community. Asian parents do not make excuses for their children's failures. They don't blame the teacher, the school, or the system. They hold their child responsible for his/her academic achievements. In turn, Asian children rank among the highest test scores across the board. Seven of the last twelve National Spelling Bee competitions in the US have been won by children of Asian descent. This is not a coincidence. 
    • Real Life: I am not a genius. Neither is my husband (despite what he says). I don't believe that Adelaide (or any other children we might have) will be a genius. And quite frankly I am just fine with that. Actually it really annoys me when people try to compare babies to other babies, their parents at that age, their cousins, their siblings, etc. For me, I enjoyed school as a way to learn and educate myself on subjects. I can count on one hand the days of school I missed for being sick growing up. In college, I hated missing class and rarely did. If I did (other than for tennis matches), I would always notify the professor. I have an affinity for learning. THAT trait is something that I hope my children will inherit. The yearning to learn and excel in school. My parents always pushed me to do the best I could in school. They didn't make excuses for any poor grades or projects completed. They held me accountable (something they still do and something that I wish a few parents I know would have figured out...you do your kid a real dis-service when you make them think they are perfect because no one is perfect and mistakes are how you learn. I could soapbox on this all day). I truly hope I am able to hold Adelaide accountable for her academic success, how ever great or small.
I am by no means a parenting expert. I have one child who is not even 10 months yet. I make mistakes all day, every day. I often do things based of self-convenience and/or outside perceptions (I feel like there is too much judgement of parents these days, especially from people who are supposed to be supportive). This is something I will probably always struggle with in my parenting. But I am open minded and want to learn from other parents, near & far. I want to share my mistakes with the other parents. Most importantly, I want to be the best parent for MY family

Monday, June 24, 2013

Music Mondays: Miami's Thrift Shop

In honor of being in south Flo-rida and recalling the days of cruisin' with the top down, screamin' out money ain't thing (as well as other various rap lyrics)...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Here Comes the Boom: A Movie Review

On the way home from Italy, I needed a little pick me up as our romantic vacation was coming to an end. Here Comes the Boom was the perfect choice to lift my spirits. Kevin James is the epitome of good, clean humor in my humble opinion. I have yet to see a film or show with him as a character that I did not find funny. He is pure genius. And he can make a wacky story-line into a great comedy.

A worn out and unmotivated teacher, Scott Voss (James), hates his job more than most. The principal (Germann) is a real pain the arse and does nothing but cut, cut, cut budgets. But when the music teacher, Marty (Winkler), reveals that his wife is expecting and the school is cutting his job, Voss cannot bear to stand by and watch. So he pledges to raise $50,000 before the end of the school year to save Marty's job. Unfortunately his tutoring gig isn't contributing much extra dough so he sets out to become an MMA fighter. A loss gets him a few thousand bucks so he figures getting knocked out is better than teaching English to immigrants. As the story unfolds, Voss restores a sense of pride and respect into his students, the school, and his crush Bella (Salma Hayek).

Here Comes the Boom is a reminder to us all that we can make a difference, big or small, in the lives of others. We simply need to give ourselves and others a chance.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Adventures in Parenthood: A Little Potty

So the other day, this happened...

Now before you go wagging your parenting finger at me, let me explain. I have been reading this very interesting book about parenting around the globe (book review to come soon), and I was intrigued by the chapter about the Chinese & potty training. They do it early with a capital E. As in three months to six months to twelve months. Yea I know what you are thinking and it is probably something along the lines of these people are crazy. I will admit I was a bit skeptical with the chapter title, but as I read on, I felt like they were on to something. So I decided to get a mini potty for Adelaide.

I am by no means "potty training" her in the sense you are thinking. But I am trying to make her aware of her body when it is pee-pee time and poo-poo time. Adelaide teethes very hard which unfortunately includes breaking out in a rash on her bottom and her little private part. The best way to soothe this is to let her skin breathe (thank God we have hardwood floors in most areas of the house!) so it sort of makes sense to make her aware while she is bare bottomed. Thats how the Chinese do it any how. They literally let their babies run around naked or with split-pants and allow them to do their business anywhere. Like in sinks or trash cans or fields or restaurants. Or anywhere else you could imagine.

I figure the worst that can happen is I clean up mounds of pee and poop off the hardwood floors that I already mop daily due to mealtime spillage so really what is the difference. And if she can slowly become aware during the daytime of her body then that is great. But at the very least, her teething rash will feel better and that makes me feel better.

Plus the little potty looks so cute next to the big potty!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ryan's First Father's Day

We did it up BIG for Ryan's first official Father's Day. As a theme person, I decided to go with "ties & travel" for this year. Partly because he has been obsessing over this Tumi luggage that he needs when he goes on business trips and partly because I found some cute tie racks on Pinterest.

Saturday night we let Ryan open his gifts because he was packing for a European work trip that he was heading to Sunday evening. Adelaide was trying desperately to pack herself in his new toy.

Sunday, in keeping with the travel theme, I made French toast for breakfast accompanied by fresh fruit. We attended the 10am mass at our church where I was the lector/reader making Adelaide & her daddy front and center. Then we grabbed coffee at Moonbeam...Ryan's favorite.

After a mid-morning snack, we scooped our friends Liz & Winston from the train station and made our way to Muscoot Farms. They have a farmer's market & petting zoo on Sundays. It is an adorable place with a cluster of barns and animals to boot. We saw chickens, turkeys, lambs, goats, donkeys, & horses. Adelaide couldn't get enough of these new creatures. She had a stand-off with the baby goat. We, adults, sampled honey, fruit, jam, & gluten-free desserts from the various vendors. Delicious!

Working up an appetite, we lunched on sushi at Neo Bistro & Sushi Bar. With amazing roll names such as light of the world, kindness, and self control, we filled our tummies with yummies.

We finished the day by sending Ryan/daddy off to Europe with loves of hugs & kisses. We hope you had a fun-filled Father's Day as well!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Music Mondays: Don't Ya

Totally loving this summer, country tune...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Snapshots on a Saturday

Since picking Ms. Adelaide Jane up from Kentucky post-Italy, we have had non-stop mommy & daughter time. And daddy has been in on the mix too!

We have enjoyed time at the park swinging...

Hit up Gymboree a time or two three...

Gotten our 9 month check-up...

Had a raving glow stick time in the bath...

Gone on a play date with Caileigh...

Tried watermelon on a hot summer day...

Munched on pancakes for breakfast and swam in the baby pool all in one day...

Hung out in the basement with Ali & Beau...

Played dress up...

But mostly smiled at one another...

Here's hoping you are having as much fun this summer as we are :) 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Playing for Keeps: A Movie Review

A major perk of flying internationally is the ability to catch up on movies that I haven't gotten around to seeing...either in the theater or at home. Imagine that, someone with a baby doesn't get to watch movies as much anymore?!

On the way to Italy, I decided to watch Playing for Keeps as opposed to get sleep on this 8 hour trek. A romantic-comedy starring Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel Mrs. Timberlake about a washed up ex-pro soccer player who relives his glory days on the field coaching his son's team. Known as a ladies man, George (Butler) encounters a few yellow cards along the way to winning the mother of his child's, Stacie (Biel), heart back. Filled with wit and charm plus a taste of competitive nature, Playing for Keeps is a sweet story that makes you realize it is never too late for love.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June Date: Drinks at Proletariat & Harbor Cruise around NYC

Taking advantage of the city being just a train ride away, I planned an "adult" night in New York City for our June date. We headed into the city via train then caught the subway over to the East Village, a bustling neighborhood filled with bars & restaurants galore.

Ryan has been itching for a good IPA beer for what seems like months so I did a little researched and found the best beer bar in town. Proletariat is hidden on St. Marks Place and is truly a gem. Tiny in size but big in reward. The bar is in what seems to have been an old diner minus the booths...think high counter top with bar stools and milkshakes made to order. The room is dark and mysterious though. Fit for the best beer bar in NYC of course. A bronzed menu hangs above the bar with catchy names and descriptions of beers that you have never heard of. A true sign that you are in the presence of great spirits right? Our bartender, Greg, was beyond knowledgable and extremely friendly. Ryan opted for a Zoe from Maine which came in a wine-looking mini-bottle and quenched all of his thirsts. I enjoyed a crisp beer (name is escaping me) which tasted like Kendall-Jackson chardonnay (my fave wine). It was delicious. We also grabbed a quick, scrumptious bite. The reuben burger for him. The gourmet grilled cheese for me. Both came as two mini-pieces coupled with seasoned pickles and fresh coleslaw. The food was just as good as the beer. We will most definitely be back here.

Part two of the date was a sunset harbor cruise on the Hudson River to see the sights of the city via boat. With the art of the sun & clouds in the sky and the beautiful skyline as well as our tour guide pointing out the history of each monument, the mood was beyond romantic. And moving. To see much of how this country came to be through our national symbols was touching. From the Statue of Liberty to the new World Trade Center to the Brooklyn Bridge, I felt an immense pride for being an American. I felt pride for what this country was founded on, what it stands for, and what it means to those who call it home.

If you live in NY or get a chance to visit, I highly recommend both activities for your trip. A chance to see what the world sees in New York City as well as a local experience.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Music Mondays: Adelaide's Favorite Jam

Heard this tune & saw the video at a cafe in Italy...currently Adelaide's favorite jam to shake it to!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Italy 2013: Museo Ferrari

Before we left for Italy, my dad mentioned that it was a must for us to go to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello. I casually dropped a hint to Ryan on our way to the airport...but sneaky him had already planned for us to go there on our last day. Now most people girls aren't interested in cars. But growing up in the car business AND with a dad who has a certain affection for sports cars, I was super pumped to see the life-line of Ferraris. Ryan, of course, was beyond thrilled to get a little man-time in on our trip.

We worked up such an appetite viewing salivating over the Ferraris that we headed into Florence one last time to grab an early dinner. Pizza in the center of town nonetheless.

And no trip to Italy anywhere would be complete without a bit of retail therapy if you will. On our second to last day, we had a "free" day to wander around so I hit up The Mall where all Italian designers are 30-70% off...yes I'm talking Gucci, Prada, Valentino. You might spy a Gucci bag...I treated myself to a pair of black riding boots as well as a Furla handbag. 

We had an amazing trip. A week of rest & relaxation as well as adventure & culture, food & wine, love & romance. I highly recommend Italy to any travelers out there who are looking for the perfect vacation with a variety of activities. There is something for everyone in Italy ;)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Italy 2013: Cinque Terre

Sunday we had another early rise as we ventured down to Florence to hop on our bus and headed to the Cinque Terre, the Italian Riviera. You have most likely seen photos of this glorious place on Pinterest. It is made up of five villages: Monterossa al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, & Riomaggiore. Each village is unique and beautiful all of its own. 

We were dropped in Manarola to walk around the town with picturesque views from the start. Then we boarded the train to Corniglia where we enjoyed lunch (after hiking up 350 stairs). The intimate restaurant overlooked the sea and was complete with a delicious assortment of Italian seafood.

After lunch, we hiked from Corniglia to Vernazza. The terrain was slightly muddy due to the rain from the previous day, but it was great to work up a sweat and burn some calories in the sunshine. Once we arrived in Vernazza, I decided to take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea to cool off. And yes it was cool!

Next we trained it to Monterossa and downed a glass of vino to refresh from the hike & swim. In a rush to get to Riomaggiore, we sprinted back to the train station and hopped aboard. With all of the walking we could handle for the day complete, our entire group parked it at a bar overlooking the Mediterranean and enjoyed a few glasses of vino & antipasta. It was the perfect ending to a fabulous day.

The Cinque Terre is a must see in Italy. You could theoretically stay there for a week and hop from town to town. But at the very least, for a day, go see the beauty of "the five lands."

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Italy 2013: Tour of Tuscany

Saturday we awoke bright & early to get into Florence by 8am. We had an all day tour of Tuscany which included three gorgeous cities: Siena, San Gimignano, & Pisa. The weather was not too cooperative, but we managed to lift our spirits with lots of cappuccino, vino, & chocolate croissants. 

We started out in Siena where they host a version of the Kentucky Derby circa 1930's. Apparently it is mayhem there in July & August. Our guide kept explaining that she knows it is crazy for people to get so excited about a horse race...I didn't think it was crazy at all ;) We also enjoyed solace in the Duomo while it poured rain for basically the entire time we were walking the city. Beautiful inside from the ornate flooring to the crafted doors. The beauty of the churches in Italy amaze me.

Next up we visited a local farm just a few steps from San Gimignano. We had a brief tour of the property before sitting down to an organic lunch with new friends. The vino was flowing to keep everyone warm and conversation was sweet amongst our fellow travelers. 

After lunch we headed into the medieval-walled down where hail made for an exciting adventure as well as an excuse to shop! The entire town is surrounded by walls, much like the country San Marino on the eastern coast of Italy. They also have a gelateria which serves the best gelato in the world. Just ask Ryan.

Lastly we ventured to Pisa...you know the city with the leaning tower. There are three main attractions at the tourist square: the tour, the duomo, & the baptisery. We opted for a few snapshots of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (it really does lean) and to hear a demonstration at the Baptisery. It was incredibly neat to hear a whisper turn into a musical song. 

Despite the weather, we had a great time seeing beautiful cities with such bright character & rich history. If you are ever in Tuscany, be sure to check out these little gems along the way!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Italy 2013: Florence

**Disclaimer: nothing I write, nor pictures I post will do justice the much needed, perfection of a trip to Italy that we had; however I will do my best to capture some of our favorite moments here for your enjoyment!

For my 30th birthday celebration, Ryan surprised me with a trip to Italy. I was given a card back in February (the 18th to be exact) with a little riddle leading me to the conclusion that we were headed to Tuscany. Those were all of the details I was given.

Fast forward to last week and we were off for 9 days of adults-only adventure in Europe. We trekked to Florence via trains (home to Grand Central), planes (Alitalia to Rome), and automobiles (Ford Kuga to Montegufoni). We arrived at our beautiful Castello di Montegufoni with breath-taking views of the countryside almost a day after leaving the U.S.A. Our first day was spent relaxing, unpacking, and catching up on some much needed sleep.

The next morning we awoke refreshed and ready to take on Italy. We zipped down to Florence and wandered the cobblestone streets before landing at a pizzeria for lunch. After lunch we made our way past the Duomo and over to the Piazzo Vecchio. We may have stopped to have a look at the map where I was so delicately tapped in the back with a mini-Fiat. Typical Italian driver tourist mishap I guess!

Then we spent the afternoon riding Vespas through Florence, up to the Piazza dei Pitti, and through the countryside. Gorgeous views of the entire city as well as the back roads of the petite Italian neighborhoods. Not to mention a thrilling experience of driving like a local. We enjoyed antipasta & wine in a tucked away spot thanks to our guide Julian to complete our day.

Friday we decided to get our history on by spending the morning at the Gallerie dell' Accademia which features the Statue of David by Michaelangelo as well as some other amazing statues and pieces of art. After a long lunch of salade caprese, pizza, and cappuccino, we learned more history of Florence from our tour guide at the Galleria degli Uffizi. Featuring several pieces by artists in the Renaissance period including Botticelli's The Birth of Venus which was my favorite. The story of the Medici family who came to rule Florence for many centuries was intriguing and enhanced the experience of the arts.

The Birth of Venus

We concluded the evening with a very romantic dinner at La Giostra. Recommended by our friends Elizabeth & Barry, we made a reservation for early evening. Greeted by rustic decor and mood-lighting, we shared an intimate dinner for two lost in our own little world. The food was beyond delicious as was the wine. The setting allowed for great conversation and dreaming for our future adventures which was something that we desperately needed. Definitely a must do if you are ever in Firenze (Florence to the locals ;) ) especially to rekindle the love flame in your relationship!

Next up: Tour of Tuscany!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Adelaide Jane: 9 Months

Dearest Adelaide,

Without a doubt, this month has flown by the fastest of any other. Perhaps that is because we were out of town for the greater part or perhaps it is because life as we know it is evolving rapidly. Either way, I have watched my "baby" girl venture into toddler-like turf with the blink of an eye.

You weigh 21 lbs 9 oz (in the 90th percentile) and are 28.5 inches (75th percentile). What can I say...you are well fed and growing like a weed. You have two teeth finally! The two bottom front. And you love to run your tongue over them. It is super cute!

You are quick with your crawl as you chase me around the house. You can crawl up the two little stairs we have in the family room successfully. You grab and stand on anything you can get your hands on. This results in lots of time playing in your pack-n-play ;) 

You have this lovely trick of throwing your bottle on the ground for fun. Usually at night as I suspect you are so tired from the day's play that you are falling asleep at the bottle. You have mastered the art of several new foods including scrambled eggs, cantaloupe, and an assortment of breads/crackers.

We celebrated mommy's first mother's day in Boston with a wonderful two day family trip. You were such a good sport with all of the historical tours, seafood treats (don't worry you had Puffs!), and buzzing tourists.

as you can see...getting you to sit still for pics is not easy!

You had a weeklong sleepover at Mimi & Papa's while daddy & I went to Italy. I cried tears as I said goodbye to you in Kentucky. You, on the other hand, smiled. You will understand once you are a mom, but leaving you smiling made the trip much easier for me. Selfishly I could have been upset because you were not upset to see me go. But I felt 100% positive in our decision to go knowing that you were in great hands and that you were happy. Plus Mimi, Aunt Kendahl, Aunt Tay, Aunt Amanda, Aunt Kara, & Nana sent lots & lots of pictures of you to us so we could see all that you were doing on your vacation!

Everyone says it, "It goes by so fast." And to an extent, before you arrived, I knew what they meant. Now that you are here, I really get it. 3/4 of your first year have been filled with tears, laughter, joy, memories, and more love than I could ever imagine. I am ok with it going quickly so long as we live in the moment daily and enjoy every second together.

I love you!