(If you’d like to see Part 1 of this little series, click here. Just for fun — and for myself in the years to come — I’m documenting a day with my family in our home in Sicily. The day also happened to be my 27th birthday!)
When I left off yesterday, it was about 11am on November 14, and Gil was still napping. Lena and I moved out to the balcony to hang our bedroom sheets from the railing; they billowed and retracted with the breeze. I asked Lena to take the dry cloth diapers off the rack for me, and she stacked them while I “stuffed” the diapers with absorbent inserts. She’s a good helper!
She found a millipede, one of many in our house.
Diapers are stuffed and stacked… and ready to be snapped back onto Mr. Gil whenever he needs them. Lena reached through the balcony to touch the dark blue sheets as they dried.
Back into the kitchen. I gave Lena a snack of frozen berries mixed with organic vanilla yogurt. We can’t get very many berries locally here in Sicily (besides picking wild blackberries in season, that is!), so I try to feed Lena mixes of various berries. She ate her snack while I washed the dishes and put them up to dry in our over-the-sink drying cupboard (an Italian kitchen feature that I love). When she was almost done, she brought me her bowl. “Can you get one more bite for me, Mama?” I scraped her bowl and found three more bites.
It’s 12pm and someone’s awake! Lena runs to him first, saying, “Gil! Aww, Gil! You got up so early, Gil!” I love how she repeats whatever she hears me say… well, most of the time I like to hear her repeat it.
On the left, this is where Gil is whenever I come into the room after his nap: pressing his head into the mesh and waiting eagerly for us to come racing in, scoop him up, snuggle him. Right now Gil is sleeping in a pack ‘n’ play in the guest room while Lena still sleeps in her crib in her room. I thought we’d transition them to the same bedroom with Gil in the crib and Lena in a regular bed after Gil was a few months old. However, it’s made more sense to keep them separated because we usually have two bedrooms at our disposal and they sleep/nap much better apart. Also, Lena still can’t get out of her crib by herself… and I am not going to encourage any escapism around here!
I quickly dress my children and pack a picnic lunch, and then strap them into the back of our Honda Civic. Two kiddos are excited for “da playgroun’ an’ yunch wiff Daddy!”
In 10 minutes we’re parking, and I text Elliott to come meet us. I love to see him walking towards us, stretching his legs after a long morning in the vet clinic and so happy to see his family! It’s a beautiful day on base, and we let Lena run around for awhile before sitting down to eat. Unfortunately, I’m learning that Lena rarely eats a full meal when there’s a playground nearby, so I’ll probably have to feed her something else by the time we get home. Oh well, it’s worth it to see her joy… so much so that we’ve made this a weekly tradition.
After the meal, I had a few errands to run in the commissary (grocery store) and NEX (military version of Target). The kid are troopers, but they were tuckered out by the time I finished! (Lena is faking, Gil is not.) Time to head home for naps. I strapped them into the car, and by the time I parked in front of our house, Gil was fast asleep. I carried his car seat to his room, slipped him out, nursed him, and laid him down, and then Lena and I read a couple of stories together before I tucked her in with a song and a prayer.
On most days, I usually get an hour or hour-and-a-half to myself in the afternoon. Precious, precious time! Some days I use this whole time to blog, other days I curl up hungrily with a book or knitting project I’ve been itching to enjoy all day. Today I needed to get various things done around the house, so off I went…
I gathered my supplies for my knitting class that night. It was the last one in a series of four classes, and I was excited to help my students finish up the hat and handwarmers they had started. I teach classes through MWR (community activities organization) on base; this was the second class I’ve taught, and I’m teaching an advanced class in December. They’re a lot of fun!
I also folded and delivered some laundry…
… and put the clean, dry sheets on our bed. It won’t be long before I’ll need to change out the light blanket for our toasty-warm feather duvet for the winter months. Our house has no central air and electricity is prohibitively expensive in Italy, so it gets cold in the wintertime!
I walked back into the kitchen just as the sun lit up the valley below Mt Etna. I love this enormous kitchen window; it’s like having a painting on our wall that magically transforms with the changes in weather and seasons.
I frosted cupcakes for dessert that night… and might have treated myself to an extra one!
And finally I prepared dinner, because I wanted to have everything ready by 5pm so we could eat before I left for my knitting class at 6:15. I put the final touches on this delicious recipe, made baked potatoes according to this great tutorial…
… and made my favorite salad: greens with dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and goat cheese, and usually finished with a blush wine viniagrette.
And then the kids were up and Elliott was home! How did I only take two pictures of Elliott all day?! But there he is, handsome stranger.
We opened presents and cards before dinner, where there were many fun surprises. I was so excited to get this sweater from my parents, which I’ve been eyeing for awhile. There were other gifts and gift cards from sweet family members, including these books and immersion blender (thank you, Elliott… soups all winter!!!):
And then we feasted, and then we ate cupcakes! I couldn’t find a birthday candle for me (and Lena) to blow out, but my family did sing me “Happy Birthday,” Lena with a gigantic smile spreading across her face as she realized we were singing one of her favorite songs for a real birthday, not just for fun. I love them so.
And that is where I forgot to keep taking pictures… oh well. After dessert we dashed around in a flurry as Elliott bathed the kids and I put food away, and then I put Gil to bed and raced out the door. The knitting class was so much fun, as was coming home to find my hubby had once again cleaned the kitchen. Elliott and I spent a quiet evening together, reading and talking as we always do, thankful for this peaceful time at the end of the day.
I know I’ll look back on these days and probably be amazed by the simplicity of our lives. I will remember being bored at times, overwhelmed at others, and often numbed to the joys because of the endless needs of my young family. But I hope I also remember that I knew I was richly blessed, and that I was very happy, and that I was so well loved.