Archive | January, 2014

bits and bobs

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It’s a blustery January day here in Sicily, and my laundry is snapping dangerously in the breeze outside. I might have to use a few more clothespins to make sure some pajamas and socks don’t blow away!

It’s been a quiet week, and there isn’t too much to share, so I thought I’d just give you a picture of the little sweater I’m knitting for Gil. After heaps of craft fairs during the holiday season, I am ready to stop making things to sell to other people and start making things for my own family! Right now I’m working on this little striped sweater for Gil. It’s made entirely from extra fine merino Italian yarn that I purchased here in Sicily, which knits up beautifully.

Besides knitting, I got this new book at the library yesterday, and now all I want to do is read it. Did you know Robert Galbraith is J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym? Elliott teasingly asked me if I was interested in the book before I found out that she wrote it. I’m not sure. But it does make it that much more intriguing!

And finally… today is our fourth wedding anniversary! Four years. It still somehow seems so short considering all we’ve packed into it: buying a house, a year-long deployment, a move to Italy, losing my sister, and welcoming two children. Our married years have been busy. We couldn’t have imagined all those things — some blessings, some challenges — when we wed on that snowy Saturday four years ago. Perhaps it was a good thing we didn’t know because we both might have thought twice about walking down the aisle! I’m grateful these things were hidden from us and that instead we were given each other — flawed but faithful — to walk into those challenges together.

You’re my best friend, Elliott, and I love you!

P.S. Some wedding photos here!

17 :: in home sweet home, husband, knitting business

guest post on Communicating Across Boundaries!

becca-garber-guest-post-egypt With two little kids who are changing every day, I spend most of my time on this blog writing about them, and I rarely dip into stories from my past. Those of you who don’t know me in person probably aren’t aware that I grew up overseas and was born in Egypt. And almost gave birth to Lena in Egypt, too! But that’s another story for another time.

Today I have the enormous privilege of sharing a little bit about my childhood and newlywed days on my friend Marilyn’s blog. Just like me, she has spent many years of her life overseas, and her blog reflects her love for other cultures and cross-cultural communication. I feel wiser and more thoughtful after reading her posts.

I enjoyed going deeper today to write about experiencing tear gas in Pakistan as a girl and the white-knuckle night Elliott finally got out of Egypt before the revolution in Tahrir Square. Head on over to Communicating Across Boundaries to read my reflections on being a TCK!

12 :: in guest post, thoughts

Gil’s 1st Birthday!

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Well, folks, we have a one-year-old! He might be the cutest little guy I’ve ever seen, too, but of course I’m biased, haha. We had a fun day celebrating off and on, mixed in with a hike with friends, delicious naps, and plenty of playtime. I followed Gil around with the camera for part of the day to capture that first bite of cake, the joy of play, and moments with each of the members of his family.

For full disclosure, the day wasn’t perfect, and actually began and ended with meals that looked like this:

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Yep. So I was glad to get some of the happier moments in between, like the ones that follow!

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They shared beaters covered in cream cheese frosting as I frosted his cake. I made two: one “smash cake” for him to enjoy on his own and one entirely massive snowman cake (his “real” birthday cake) that I am basically polishing off by myself now. Too. Much. Cake. Anyone want some cake?!

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We tried to get a picture of Mama and Son, but that mission failed. I like these two photos, though, because they show what I do most of the day: facilitate my children’s play/sense of adventure/lives and try to keep them from killing themselves! Ah, motherhood.

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For Gil’s birthday, he and Lena got absolutely adorable matching “jammies” from my parents, but, try as I might, I couldn’t get a good picture of them together. Can you imagine why? Always on the move around here.

And then I came around the corner and saw this in action… and that looked picture perfect to me!

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And finally, since I usually post portraits of my children every Monday, here is one of Lena I took this morning. The artist (and reader!) at work! She after she finished each marker or crayon, she lined them up. And then we read two huge stacks of books during Gil’s nap, a typical activity for us because I am lazy and would rather sit and read books than do craft or learning activities. Oh well!

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6 :: in 52 project, Baby Numero Due, Gil

he turns one tomorrow…

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… and I’m just not sure I can handle that!

You know what they say: “The moments are long, but the years are short.” We’ve had some looooong moments this year with mischievous little Gil; he came into our lives like an 8lb hurricane and really shook things up for awhile. But as the months have gone by, his blond curls and heart-stopping belly laugh have completely undone us time and time again, and we love him more than we could have ever imagined.

Like I mentioned here, this past week was a hard one for me. Elliott was asked to speak at a veterinary conference in the States, so I was holding down the fort with two rather small children. Lena got a stomach virus the morning that he left, and then on Tuesday both kids developed an impressive cold. I have never mopped up so much snot or said, “Cover your mouth, Lena. Cover! Cover… your… oh, never mind…” so many times in an hour. Gil in particular was severely congested, and I spent several of his nap times rocking him back to sleep every 20 minutes, something I’ve haven’t done since he was a couple months old.

But even when the going got tough, both kids continued to be loveable this week, and we toughed it out together. Also, Gil developed this adorable habit that makes everything completely ok with the world again. Before every nap, after he’s done nursing, he has started turning over onto his stomach and wedging his little head into my armpit. He murmurs and giggles while he does it, burrowing until he can’t burrow anymore and then lying there in complete contentment as I rub his back and murmur nonsense to him. Then he often climbs onto my stomach and snuggles some more, gently tapping my shoulder with his fist, cooing and giggling.

Finally, I scoop him up and kiss him, just like always, and breathe deeply of his baby curls, and lay him down in his bed, and rub his back, and slip out of the room whispering, “Goodnight, Gil-baby. I love you. I love you so much!”

P.S. Photos are all from this morning, a sweet and everyday one with just the three of us. Here are some posts from last year at this time: my last day as mother of one, Gil’s birth announcement, and Gil’s birth story.

17 :: in Baby Numero Due, Gil, motherhood, thoughts

a weekend in the Madonie Mountains of Sicily

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We took this trip over a month ago, but somehow in the rush of Christmas and the new year, I haven’t had a chance to post the photos yet! Our weekend trip to the mountains was so beautiful, though, and we had a wonderful time with my mom, who was visiting for 10 days. I literally found my new favorite place in Sicily and really hope we get a chance to go back!

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The Madonie Mountains are in north-central Sicily, and they are particularly famous for the beautiful hilltop mountain towns (like the one in the first photo). I was reading The Stone Boudoir, a memoir about Sicily’s mountain towns including several in the Madonie Mountains. The hills literally were alive for me that weekend as I absorbed vistas, streets, and foods in real life and through the pages of my book.

We stayed in an agriturismo (farm stay) because we wanted to enjoy the fruits of the region. The Slow Food movement originated nearby, and our host proudly told us that all but a few of the things we ate were from “kilometer zero,” or were harvested/gathered 0 kilometers away. We loved that agriturismo, and so if you visit, be sure to check out Casale Magherita.

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A little fall foliage in December!

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We also visited one of the five most famous mountain towns in the region. This one was called Castelbuono and is the largest of the five. We explored the castle, wandered through the streets, and ate an amazing lunch at Ristorante Palazzaccio.

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View of Castelbuono from its castle.

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Lena and my mom admiring a huge presepe (Nativity scene).

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I really liked all the clean laundry, I guess…

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We sampled traditional Christmas sweet bread (panetonne) with a spread made fromΒ manna, the dried sap of the ash tree for which the region is also famous.

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Salute! Cheers!

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Even more wonderful (and challenging) than visiting a mountain town with two small children was an incredible and verrrrry long hike we took during our visit with an Italian outdoors group. Photos from the hike coming soon!

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7 :: in agriturismo, family, Italy, pretty places, Sicily, travel

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