Thursday, November 29, 2012


All year we have been collecting items to send to our families in their Christmas packages.  Last week at the market I grabbed a large bag of chocolate truffles to send in a few of the boxes.  Then evening before last, after Miles went to bed, we pulled out everything we'd been collecting all year to sort into piles and see what we still needed to pick up so we can get our Christmas packages in the mail.  I took the truffles and put them in the appropriate boxes and went to bed.  The following morning Miles wanted to investigate the pile of boxes.  He saw the brightly colored, shiny truffles and picked one up in his chubby little hand.  He brought it over to me and pointed to my hand, which is what he does when he wants me to open something.  I thought "what the heck" and opened the truffle and gave it to him.  He took a tentative sniff, then a lick (you can tell his brothers are cats), and decided it was safe to eat.  After one, he tried for another.  I told him no, tears ensued, I tried distraction, which worked for about 2.3 minutes.  He ran back into the room, straight for the truffles, grabbed another, came to me and handed it to me.  I caved.  I am powerless to resist the chocolate-eyed adorableness.  

Fast forward to the evening.  Daddy comes home from work, we have dinner, and are playing together when Miles suddenly leaves the room.  We wait a few seconds, then hear a crinkling sound that I recognize as the chubby handed fishing of truffles out of a box.  We wait for him to return to us to have mommy open the delicious treat.  Only the sound of crinkling isn't followed by the sound of heavy footed toddler steps back in our direction.  It is followed by silence.  Which is not golden when you have a toddler.  We make a break for the other room.  

We find him, kneeling on the floor next to Grandma & Grandpa's box.  Wrapper discarded on the floor, chubby fingers wrapped around a ball of chocolate.  "CHEEEEESE" he says, accompanied by a big grin to show of his teeth, and then he pops the truffle in his mouth.  Now he looks like a chipmunk smuggling enough nuts for a family of 8 for the whole winter.  We move towards him, but those deep chocolate brown eyes glisten and another "CHEEESE" freeze us in our tracks.  With a loud giggle he jumps up and runs out of the room.  I don't chase after him to scold him...I can't...he's just too cute.  And after all I am proud of him for figuring out how to open the wrapper all by himself. 

He will never be able to do anything wrong. 

We are in trouble.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Living in Italy is great - I'm not going to lie - 
but there are some days I just miss being in the US.  

Knowing that if we needed milk/diapers/medicine at 11pm we had a number of places to go grab there are no 24 hour Walgreens or Targets. 
And the comfort of knowing if Miles ever needed to go to the ER (or any of us for that matter) that we could go and not have to worry about a language barrier (most people in southern Italy, outside of tourist destinations, do NOT speak English...and the base's ER is 45 mins away).  
And being able to pick up the phone at any time of day and be able to call mom, dad, brothers, friends...and not have to calculate the time difference in my head. 
And having parks to go to where Miles can play and run and climb and go down slides and swing...we have one.  Seriously...ONE within a two hour driving distance...and it has no swings.  (but I'm grateful to even have one)
 And the variety of foods available back in the states...Thai, Japanese, Mexican, Steakhouses, Italian, Burgers, Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, Fried Chicken, Sushi.  Here it is pizza, pasta, and gelato, which are all AMAZING...but sometimes I just want something different.
And Michael's, Joann's, and Hobby Lobby...oh do I miss those.  I'm not sure how I'll make it through the holidays without them.  
And Dollar Stores.
Not paying the equivalent of $5/gallon for gas...and that's AFTER our 50% discount that the government negotiated for us.  (Gas is almost $10/gal here in Italy) 
And especially now, around the holidays, being able to see/eat/do familiar things...

Today is one of those days I'm just missing home. 
 The feeling will pass.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In the mood

I believe nothing...NOTHING...can set a mood quicker than music.  At church, in a movie, for a holiday...pretty much everywhere.  I love to have Christmas music going in the background starting the beginning of November (shhhh...don't tell Nathan, he thinks I wait until Thanksgiving) until New Years.  I have many Christmas albums, but after listening to Christmas music non-stop for eight weeks by the time December 25th comes around I need something new.  So I'm always on the search for a good album...or even better, FREE or CHEAP albums.  I happened to find a few and thought I'd share.  Aren't I nice?   Santa, take note. 

(oh...just fyi: if you are an overseas friend or family, you'll have to turn on your VPN blocker to download the albums as Amazon says they are for US customers only.  We use Strong VPN, a year's membership is like $50)

Green Hill ChristmasFREE.  It's sort of like Mannheim Steamroller and soft jazz had a baby album.  It will be nice to have in the background during a dinner party. 

 Truly Tribal ChristmasFREE.  Ok this one is admittedly a little hokey, but Miles loves it...and it was free, so we'll keep it.  It's like Christmas in Jamaica with lot of steel drums and bongos...which is probably why Miles is such a fan, he LOVES drums.

100% Christmas $5.99 This one is for all those Rat Pack fans.   It is all the classics...sung by all the classics.  Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Elvis, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Louis Armstrong, Gene Autry, The Andrews Sisters.  100 sings, no repeats.  I was pretty happy when I found this one!   This album also has Dominick The Donkey (Italian Christmas Donkey) song...which Miles also loves.  So do I. 

Colbie Caillat, Christmas in the Sand.  $3.99.  I got this as a baby shower prize and I love it.  It is traditional Christmas tunes, sung by Colbie Caillat.  I love her voice and the feel of the songs.  Well worth the $3.99.

Christmas AnthemFREE. This is just a single song not an album.  It is so catchy.  Two male voices in a cool harmony. 

Straight No Chaser, Christmas Cheers $5.00.   I love this group.  It's an acapella men's group.  And their arrangements are pretty amazing.

Christmas Pickins.  $1.29.  This will definitely not be everyone's cup of tea...but my dad would love it.  It's all banjo music.  Really. 

How would you like NINETY-NINE songs for $3.99.  Seriously...99.  As in 99 red  balloons, or 99 bottles of beer on the wall.  99 Musy Have Christmas Classics $3.99.  It is a bit of a variety.  Some Vienna Boys Choir, some choral pieces, some traditional pieces.  You may not like all 99 songs, but for $3.99 I bet you can find a few you like. 

Ok, and if you thought 99 songs for $3.99 was good, my next find will knock your socks off.  Two hundred and eighty songs...yes, 280, for $0.99.  Legally.  Crazy yes?  Big Christmas Box $0.99.  This one is is THIRTEEN hours of Christmas music.  It is mostly softer, instrumental get the full nutcracker ballet performed by the Utah Symphony Orchestra, and the FULL Messiah. 

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


About a month ago I went to Perugia with three girlfriends for the sole purpose of eating chocolate.  Seriously.  Best idea ever, right?!  Girlfriends + chocolate - kids & hubbies = amazing 36 hours.  One of the largest chocolate festivals in Europe is held in Perugia each year...and man alive it was WORTH the four and a half hour drive!!  The city of Perugia is set up on a steep hill and they excavated under some of the ruins and built escalators from the bottom to the top of the city.  So smart...and convenient for us visitors! 

The stay started well with complimentary chocolate in our rooms...and it was perfect because I like dark and Davina (my roomie) likes milk!

After we checked in we headed up to the festival to get our chocolate tasting/buying going!  You picked up this card and went around the festival getting free samples.  

The first stop was a hot chocolate booth...and the hot chocolate was AMAZING!  It was super thick that our spoons stood up straight.  


We saw some chocoKebab:

A picture of the girls: Me, Davina, Christy, and Jessica.

Here's a pic to get your salivary glands going:

Here's a shot of one of the streets where the festival was held.  

This Pinocchio statue was in one of the shops...the sign says I don't like chocolate.  

Self group arm is just not quite long enough

We didn't see and taste just chocolate.  We also found some awesome regional cheeses:

While in Perugia, we found the ever-elusive GROM.  GROM is pretty much the. best. gelato. ever.   They make it with all natural it tastes exactly like what it should, no artificial berry flavors or over sweetened chocolate...just pure, natural goodness.  The closest one to us in in Rome...3.5 hours away.  Sad face. 

  Feet and gelato in Perugia.

Of course since we couldn't possibly stay only one we stayed overnight and went back again the next day.   The hotel's breakfast was YUMMY...yummy...YUMMY!!!

Feet in Perugia:

And here's some more pics to make you jealous :)

After tasting a bit more chocolate we decided to head to GROM one more time. 

Here's an upclose shot of my gelato...pear and no-sugar added dark chocolate.  

After gelato Davina and I found a red suited us:

While Davina and I were letting our inner diva's out, Christy and Jessica were stretching hip flexors.  

This is the dungeon where they put all the non-chocolate lovers:

After seeing our last little bit of chocolate we decided to head to Assisi to check out the cute town on the hill and the Cathedral of St Francis.   The St Franciscan order of monks began here...pretty cool. 

Here's a view of Assisi...sitting up on the hill. 

We had to park down the hill and hoof it up the the city center...definitely helped work off some of the chocolate we'd eaten. 

The St Francis Cathedral:

Us out front of the cathedral.

After the cathedral we made our way back home.  We laughed a lot, had a gas-finding adventure, discovered that gas stations in Italy serve wine, and made a vow to go back again next year!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Small, small world

About a week ago I got an email from Denise, who I worked with at the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.  She and her husband were going to be in Italy for a couple weeks touring the country and wanted to see if it was possible to try and meet up.  I of course JUMPED at the chance to see a friend...(especially seeing as how NO ONE has come visit us yet *cough*fayedawn*cough*)...and we found a day/time/location that would work.  

Nathan got home from work on Monday and we drove an hour to Vietri to meet for dinner.  

It was SO great to see them again...they haven't aged a day!!

I finally got a pic of something that happens ALL. THE. TIME. here in Italy.  Everyone loves Miles ( in gives kisses, grabs out of my arms, walks off to show their family, loves) and wherever we go new people are welcomed into the fan club.  Usually at restaurants he is taken back into the kitchen and shown off like a prize puppy...and we hear "bellissimo" about a thousand times (it means beautiful in Italian).  So at dinner, this elderly woman grabbed Miles' on his chair and pulled him over to her table and proceeded to "play" cards with him.  Then one of the cooks came out and joined in on the fun.  

Poor Miles is going to have quite the adjustment when we move back to the US and he isn't mauled by throngs of adoring fans everywhere we go.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

It's that time again!!

The month where I fill my blog full of 30 Days of Thankful and National Adoption Month posts...

If you want to get in on the 30 Days of Thankful're welcome to join this FB group that created just for that purpose!  I will be posting my 30 Days of Thankful on the group as well as on the tab at the top of my page. 

And as for National Adoption Month, I will post some things on here...but I would ask one thing of you, my faithful blogland friends.  Find one chance this month to help spread the POSITIVE word of adoption.  

Whether you share a video:

Or Miles' adoption story: Found HERE.  

Or use any one of THESE fantastic posts.  

Or find your own way to spread positivity.  

There is so much negative stuff out there, let's work together and swing the pendulum to the positive side!