Archive | March, 2013

happy weekend!


Hello there, friends!  Do you have any plans for this Easter weekend?  We’ll be celebrating Christ’s resurrection with some friends on Sunday; I’m looking forward to that.

We’ve had a wonderful week here with Elliott’s parents visiting.  We spent Wednesday and Thursday of this week with them on the southern coast of Sicily, and one evening we watched the sunset on the Scala dei Turchi (the Turkish Steps), a massive white rock jutting out into the ocean.  Elliott’s dad took the photo above with his iPhone, but I’ll have more to share (from his camera and mine) next week.

Thank you for all your kind comments on my post about our family’s growing pains.  These past few days have been better with the help of Elliott’s wonderfully supportive parents, and I think Gil also is just… growing up.  He’s slowly starting to sleep longer, sleep more consistently, and sleep in his own bed (!).  He’s also cooing and smiling now, and that makes all the difference in the world.  He can respond!  He likes me!  He loves me?  I love him!  We can do this.

Happy Easter and happy weekend!

5 :: in family, Sicily, travel, weekend

lunchtime in Siracusa

becca-garber-siracusa-cheese Uncle Eric and Lena enjoy some figs. I love their matching expressions!

While my family was visiting Sicily, we spent most of our time enjoying quiet days in our villa.  At least one day, though, I wanted to get out and show them a little more of our lovely island home.  On Wednesday Elliott was at work and therefore we could all fit in one car, so we loaded up and drove to Siracusa.

Siracusa  — or really the old center, called Ortigia — is my favorite place to visit in Sicily because of the beautiful architecture, old ruins, quaint shops, and delicious food.  See other trips I’ve made to Ortigia here with friends and here with my sister-in-law Jess.

becca-garber-siracusa-cathedral becca-garber-siracusa-duomo

Above, Lena enjoys the beautiful central piazza in Ortigia.  The piazza is blindingly white in the summer sun but was still beautiful this gray March day.  On the right my dad admires ruins while I attempt to comfort a fussy little Gil.  Playing tour guide and being a mom of two was impossible without a lot of help from all members of my family!


She looks so sweet and pensive (and tired… it was nap time) in the photo above.  Below, we attempted to get a family photo while we waited for our pizza lunch to arrive at my favorite trattoria.

becca-garber-siracusa-family becca-garber-siracusa-wine

Sicily is known for its Grillo grapes, which make delicious white wine.  In the photos above and below Lena enjoys the music of a wonderful accordion player.   Usually when I visit Siracusa the accordion player in the piazza is a little boy… but this time maybe his grandfather was on duty to charm the tourists?  He certainly looked the part.


Come visit me… I’ll take you to Siracusa too!

7 :: in family, Italy, Sicily, travel

growing pains in this new life


One morning at the villa with my family (see photos from our week away here and here), my mom offered to watch the kids and sent me outside with a magazine.  Barely 15 minutes had gone by before she was sheepishly bringing me my crying baby… do you think he knew I left him or something? :)

Anyway, Gil and I stayed there for about an hour.  After eating, he eventually dozed off on my shoulder.  I asked my brother to take some photos of us.  Isn’t it such a beautiful setting?  But also, for me, these photos capture a beautiful memory of time with my son.



To be frank with you, these days have been hard.  Hard in ways I never anticipated. Gil is two months old today, and these past two months he has spent mostly needing me, fussing/crying/screaming, or tenuously asleep (often next to me).  Elliott and I have felt our reserves of patience and perspective draining away, and the result is that we’ve been short-tempered with everyone (each other, Lena, Gil, the cat…).

Basically, in two months Gil has taught us more about the difficulties of parenting than Lena did in two years.

Meanwhile, I have felt such a complete loss of self.  I am writing this while sitting on the living room rug surrounded by scattered toys and unfolded laundry.  Gil is next to me on a blanket, kicking away and touching my knee with his fist.  He is making little noises that tells me his brief happiness will not last much longer.  I am wearing my new uniform — yoga pants, nursing tank top, slippers, and whatever hair style I slept in — and I am struggling to find words in my fuzzy, sleep-deprived brain.

*pause to soothe Gil to sleep*

When I say “loss of self,” I mean two things.  First there is the natural loss of the person I was: someone who had one child, who could keep a relatively tidy house, who put on regular clothes every morning, who managed to leave the house without every trip turning into a “you aren’t going to believe this” story.

But there is also the loss of self because there is very little room for self anymore in this new life.  My baby needs me, my toddler needs me, my husband needs me (and needs not just the leftovers).  There’s almost no time to read a book, to work on a knitting project, to read a friend’s blog, to write a long email.  The natural response to this — selfishness — predictably and frustratingly just sets us all back instead of moving us forward.  And yet selfishness rears its ugly head more than ever when self is continually denied.

I don’t have any well-thought-out, clean way to conclude here, especially as Gil is crying again already.  Let me simply say… these pictures give me perspective.  Gil, for all his anxious tears these days, is still a handsome, healthy little boy, and more than likely he’ll outgrow this stage.  And so will we!

I am so grateful to be a mother.  To be his mother.  I love him so.


38 :: in Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom Series, family, Gil, motherhood, thoughts

life in an Italian villa {Part 2 of 2}

For so many reasons, this week away with my family (read Part 1 here) was peaceful, joyful, and in every way the perfect Sicilian vacation.  In others, it was somber and tainted with grief.  As many of you know, my youngest sister, Julia, died in a car accident this summer.  This was our first real family vacation without her and we felt her absence at every turn.  Although we have every confidence that Booie (our nickname for her) is in Heaven experiencing fullness of joy and rest, and although we have so much to be thankful for, we will be missing her the rest of our lives.  I would be leaving the biggest thing out if I tried to write about this week and didn’t mention the thing that was most on our minds.

We continue to ask for your prayers as the weeks and months go by.  We’d especially appreciate them tomorrow, March 23, which would have been Julia’s 20th birthday.

Here are some more photos from this week. Thank you, family, for coming so far and living life with us… newborn and all!
becca-garber-villa-sisters-beach becca-garber-villa-love-beach We took another walk on the beach mid-week and snapped some of these photos. Below are a couple of attempts at a family portrait… easier said than done!

becca-garber-villa-family-portrait-fail becca-garber-villa-family-portrait becca-garber-villa-dad becca-garber-villa-reading Above, we enjoy some reading outside as a family. Below, some photos from our last lunch together as a family, which we ate at a little restaurant built into the seawall in the tiny town of Brucoli.

becca-garber-villa-brucoli becca-garber-villa-steamed-octopus   becca-garber-villa-steamed-octopus-2 Em wasn’t so sure about the steamed octopus, but Lena enjoyed it. Her attempt to say “octopus” sounded more like “apple-de-guts.”

becca-garber-villa-eating-octopus becca-garber-villa-family-restaurant becca-garber-villa-grandpa-sitting becca-garber-villa-aunt-baby I love this photo of Emily and Gil! Below, a photo of how we spent many evenings: watching Downton Abbey (some of us for the first time, others of us for the second or third…).


8 :: in family, grief, holiday, Julia, memories, Sicily

life in an Italian villa {Part 1 of 2}


Because our house was too small to host my family (six adults and two kids), we decided to rent a house while they were visiting last week.  Of course, in Italy “a house” is called “a villa,” and by just calling something “a villa” you have upped your rental experience by about 50%! Wouldn’t you agree?

Our villa was located about an hour from our home in Sicily, on the coast near the tiny town of Brucoli.  We spent almost the entire week in the villa except for one lunch in Brucoli and one daytrip to nearby Syracuse (or Siracusa, as the Italians call it).  I’ll share photos of these experiences soon, but in the meantime, here are a few photos from around the villa.

becca-garber-villa-pool becca-garber-villa-girl-beach

The beach was within walking distance of our house, so of course we went every day!

becca-garber-villa-father-beach becca-garber-villa-baia-dei-turchi

Elliott found the biggest worm we’d ever seen.  Lena was amazed, and then I was amazed when she held it! becca-garber-villa-worm becca-garber-villa-martha-stewart-blocks

Gil and Lena were usually both up around 6am (yikes) and so I spent a lot of my mornings playing games with Lena and soothing Gil. becca-garber-villa-puzzles-blogging becca-garber-villa-sisters-cat

That brown streak is Siena, the cat, escaping from Lena’s prison.  The pretty girl on the right is my dear sister Emily!


Enjoying a spot of good weather with Eric and Em.  Below, the crazy cat that we decided to bring with us… and thankfully she added a lot of joy and cuddles to the week away.

becca-garber-villa-cat becca-garber-villa-early-baby

Photos from early mornings with my Gil.


We squeezed the swing into our little Honda Civic (along with groceries and supplies for a week, our family of four, and the cat… on my lap).  We were so grateful for the swing that week!

Below Gil relaxes with my dear dad, Gil’s namesake.


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9 :: in family, Gil, holiday, pretty places, Sicily

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