Wednesday, September 19, 2012


After Nathan got home from Scotland, he was given a four day weekend, so we took advantage and went on a mini vacation!! (I know, it seems like we're always on's one of the perks of living in Europe I suppose)  We went to the very southern tip of Italy...the toe of the boot.  The area is famous for it's red onions and for it's beautiful turquoise beaches. 

We are a road trip family!  I love the look on Miles' face in this pic.
One of the first things we did was hop in the pool.

We were supposed to wear these sexy bathing caps to help protect the pool's filters.  Nice huh?  Doesn't it make you want one?!

This kid provides us with SO much entertainment

That night our hotel had a huge buffet dinner and EVERYTHING was made with the cipola di Calabria (red onions of Calabria)

The buffet table

The entertainment
Here's a video I got of them playing...I seriously love Italy.

The next day we headed to Grotticelli beach in Capo was BEAUTIFUL...even with a storm rolling in and churning up the surf. 

Daddy and Miles playing on the beach

Miles has a new favorite thing...feeding other people. 

All the beach playing tuckered him out!  I love that he still sleeps like a starfish.
While Miles napped, Nathan and I went and climbed some rocks.  Don't worry, our friends Rebecca and Kelly watched him.  :)

feet...of course
The boys had fun jumping from the rocks into the foamy sea...they tried to get me to do it, but I was too chicken.  Not sure why...this would have been TOTALLY my thing a few years ago.  Motherhood has made me a chicken. 

Or maybe I didn't want to get back in the water because of this: 
(the blue thing is a snorkel tube)
It's a jellyfish...quite possibly the one that stung poor Nathan on his nipple while we were out swimming. 
Now this is heaven.  Sigh.

Me and my lover boy...on the beautiful shores of Southern Italy

The next day we went into Tropea to check out the town and the monastery. Tropea was felt so, quintessential Italian.  Quaint, charming, I could not get enough of it.  

Kelly & Rebecca...our traveling companions

Family of three in front of an old monastery. 
The shopping was fun...lots of chili peppers drying on strings.  Onions were also braided together, garlic as well.  I snagged a few of each...and I feel a little more authentically Italian now that I've got chili peppers, onions, and garlic all hanging in my kitchen. 

We stopped for lunch at a place called was underground.  But the building is up on a rock cliff overlooking the sea, so you had an AMAZING view.  
View from the window (see pic below)

The boys checking out the view. 
Lunch is served!

While in town we had THE. BEST. CANNOLI.  EVER.  Seriously...ever.  Oh my...I'd walk all the way back there just for the cannoli. Mmmmm  I told the woman it was delicious and she told me that it's so good because it is made from free-range sheep ricotta...imported every morning from Sicily.  I will have dreams about that cannoli for years.

Our cannoli being made right in front of us


finger lickin' good!

 And of course I had to get one last feet shot: 

It was a GREAT weekend...even with the storm ruining our plans for a boat trip to the volcanic islands north of Sicily.  We spent lots of time on beautiful beaches, with wonderful friends, eating amazing food...we'll definitely go back!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thoughts of the baby nature

I have no idea where this string of thoughts came from...but it's been occupying my mind for a while and it seems the only way to give my mind some solace is to get it on paper.  What follows is a cocktail of my religious beliefs, my personal beliefs, and the emotional thoughts of an infertile person contemplating life.  The Gospel according to Holly as it were.  

I wonder what Miles felt as he, waiting to come to earth,  watched his future mother and father excitedly prepare for twins that he knew he was not part of.  I wonder if he cried quiet tears for us, knowing the heartache that waited at the other end of the plane ride to Georgia.  I wonder in those quiet, tear-filled moments in the dark of night, when I felt all hope was lost; if he tried whispering in my ears "don't give up Mommy".  I wonder how many times he wanted to come NOW...not wait, because he could see the pain we were feeling.  It must have been hard for my stubborn little guy as he was told: it's not time, you have to wait.  I imagine the excitement he felt as the day of his birth inched closer.  I wonder if in those last few days he stayed close to us, imagining what it would be like to finally be in our physical presence.   The night we first held him, there were no tears.  Only peace.  Like the peace of three hearts who had waited so long to meet, and were finally at rest now that they were beating so close together.  Those first few days as we would stare into each others' eyes I sensed a deep bond that stretched eternities...rather than merely days.

I also wonder a lot about the three babies we lost in miscarriage.  Were those Miles' attempts to join our family years ago that were thwarted by my faulty reproductive system?  Or are there three children waiting for us on the other side, patiently awaiting their turn to be held by mommy?

Then, naturally, my thought string falls to the twins, the Florida baby girl, the Ohio baby boy, and the Georgia baby girl...all of whom watched as we anxiously awaited their arrival.  I believe they knew we would not be their parents; that the plan we so desperately were counting on, would change.  I wonder what they thought...and I wonder if Miles knew them.  

I also wonder if there are any more children waiting to join our family.  I don't currently feel any sort of pressure, like I did before we got Miles, to work our way down the adoption path...or fertility path for that matter.  I feel content as our family of three.  I wonder if there is another child sitting and watching, patiently hoping for the time that I'll feel that "there's someone missing" feeling. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

With a little help from my friends

Ok...I'm a dunce.  Well, not all the time.  But apparently when we were telling the movers what to take and what to leave, I had a dunce moment and decided to leave my formal gowns back in Illinois.  Not sure my reasoning...but nonetheless, now they are sitting in a storage facility somewhere in the Land of Lincoln.  Which is a shame, because with my weight loss I'd look smokin' hot in my ombre skirt pleated gown.  Sigh.  

So now I'm faced with the task of selecting a gown for the Navy Ball...sight unseen.  Thank heavens for Pinterest...I've been pinning ideas like crazy.  It does make me nervous to buy a gown that I haven't tried on...especially because I won't have time to exchange it in the event it doesn't fit. 

I've narrowed my 100+ pins down to about 50.  And now I'm stuck.  I need some help from friends.  :)  Would you hop on over to my Pinterest Board called Navy Ball and take a gander?  Keep in mind, you're choosing a dress for me...and my style may be a bit different from a lot of people's...I'm not shy about sequins or color.  :)  I'm really looking for a dress that just screams HOLLY.  

I also found a beautiful satin shrug on Amazon (pinned on the board) that comes in black, white, silver, champagne, red, and that should cover me (literally) no matter which dress I choose.

After you have a look-see, swing on back and let me know which one you like.

Pretty please. :)  Thanks a bunch!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Checkin' in

In case you're curious about how our Isagenix journey is can hop on over HERE and see for yourself.  

Saturday, September 08, 2012

In der Schweiz

While Nathan was in Scotland, Miles and I went on a trip to Switzerland with a group of people from our church.  Our closest Temple is in Bern, Switzerland and our district rents a bus once a year and makes the trip.  I debated on and off about going...knowing that I'd be bringing Miles (I think he's too young to be left with someone else for a whole week) and for me to be able to go in the Temple someone else would have to stay out and watch him.  I hate feeling like a burden.  But a few of the women at church told me they'd help with him...and I decided that Nathan shouldn't get to have all the fun away from home.  So I packed up our entire house (because lets face it...traveling with kids requires your whole I'm still on my Isagenix diet so I had to haul all that stuff too!), downloaded apps and movies on the iPad, got a cat sitter and went!

It was so much fun...except for the heat.  It was a wicked hot summer in Naples and I was watching my weather app for Bern and looking forward to the upper 70's temps.  But a week before we left the forecast changed and it was just as hot as Naples...we must have brought the hot, humid weather with us from Italy!!  

We left Naples at 7pm on Sunday, August 19th.  The bus ride went ok...way better than I expected.  Miles didn't fuss much, and he seemed to enjoy being on the bus.  The first night he stayed awake until 11pm.  The only frustrating thing was the bus would stop every 2-3 hours and they would turn on all the lights and everyone would pile off...and be LOUD.  It was making me CRAZY.  Finally I told them all to "shush! baby is sleeping!" (in Italian...go me) and they were quieter.  

11pm on the bus ride up...still wide awake.  Silly kid.
On the way up we passed Lake Como...I thought about hopping off the bus and trying to find George Clooney's house.  Then I remembered he sold it to Tom Cruise...and I wasn't in the mood to deal with that brand of crazy. 
Lake Como, Italy.
Miles was loved by always.  I swear, living in Italy is going to give this kid a huge ego. 
Miles being adored by his new Italian friends
The church runs a hostel just next to the Temple, which is so nice.  It was clean and basic...but that's really all you need anyway! 
The hostel at the Temple
We arrived at the Temple Hostel at around noon on Monday, got checked in, settled and then headed out to find a grocery store.  I didn't NEED anything...but I wanted to check out the chocolate situation.  I was not disappointed.  :)
The ROW of chocolate at the grocery store. 

The first night we were there we had a devotional on the steps of the Temple.  It was definitely good practice for my Italian...there were only 6 English speakers in this whole group.

The Bern, Switzerland LDS Temple...pic by yours, eh?
Behind the Temple was a beautiful forest with walking paths.  Since I was only able to go to the Temple once in the mornings (which I was more than happy with...I was happy to be able to go at all!) I had a lot of time to explore.  Miles and I took quite a few walks in that forest.  

Feet in the forest in Bern, Switzerland

Enjoying a strupwafel...the YUMMIEST cookies.  Two soft waffle cookies with butter caramel filling in the middle. mmmmmmm

OK more pictures
One evening the English speakers and two Italians went in search of some yummy Swiss food...we found it.  I had THE. YUMMIEST. steak.  It was probably super yummy to me because I'd been on my diet for six weeks and this was the first 'cheat' meal I'd eaten.  But man alive, that was one yummy steak!

On the walk back to the hostel from the restaurant I snapped this gem...
A Mormon Christmas Tree  lol

Me and Miles in front of the Swiss Temple

That night we played UNO with some of the Italians from Naples.  Trying to teach a game to people who speak another language is tough...and VERY good practice!  I think my language skills doubled on this trip.
Playing UNO
Miles also had his first sucker in Switzerland (thank you to whichever friend suggested suckers to me...he LOVES them and they keep him occupied!!)
Sticky sucker face.
My last full day in Switzerland (Thursday), Jolene and I decided to head into Bern and do some sight seeing.  Bern is adorable...and so clean!!  It is this quaint, little picturesque town in the Swiss Alps...nestled in the crook of a river.  It's like something out of a storybook.  

While in Bern I took the opportunity to eat some not-Italian food...SUSHI!!!!
yummy sushi lunch

The architecture in Bern is very interesting.  All the sidewalks are covered (like pic below).  Einstein commented that the people of Bern had figured it could walk the whole city in pouring rain and not get wet.  It sure made for cool pics. 

Speaking of Einstein...we saw the house where he lived when he lived in Bern.  He lived there while working on his Theory of Relativity.  
The house where Albert Einstein lived. 

Bern is named for the bear.  It was the first animal killed by the city's founder.  Nowadays the bears are conveniently kept in a fenced in park at the edge of the city. 
The Bear Park on the river in Bern.  The poor bears were all sleeping in the was HOT!

At the Bear Park

I thought he'd like this carousel more than he did...I think he was probably just VERY tired.
This fountain wins the award for CREEPIEST THING EVER.  It is a man eating a baby with a bag full of other babies slung from his shoulder, presumably to be eaten as well. 
Baby Eater Fountain

Being a world traveler really takes it out of you!
Friday I had the opportunity to go to the Temple one last time before the bus left for the long ride back home.   As we were waiting to board the bus, Miles was snacking on some sweet chili Quaker Rice snacks...which he LOVES (he loves all things spicy) and the Italians couldn't believe a baby was feeding himself spicy things.

The Italians got the biggest kick out of Miles eating spicy chips.
Our bus full of crazy Italians, a few crazy Americans, and one crazy Ghanian
It was a WONDERFUL experience and I am SO glad I went.  I can't wait to go again next year...hopefully Nathan can go with me!