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baby chuckles and happy Friday!


Nothing much to report around here on this peaceful spring day besides  a really cute baby laughing this afternoon.  He just started the chuckles and I’ll do all kinds of silly to get him to giggle!

I’m waiting for my kiddos to get up from their naps so we can walk into town to buy pasta and fresh bread.  My dinner plan is garlicky tortellini soup and bread dipped in olive oil.  The experts say we’re supposed to consume a 1/4 C of olive oil a day!  Do you??

What are you up to this weekend?  We have a couple of social events on the calendar — a birthday party tomorrow and my friend Becca’s baby shower on Sunday — but otherwise are looking forward to some downtime as a family.  Usually over the weekend Elliott and I watch a movie together.  We’ve been trying to rent Argo for weeks now but the movie rental box on base doesn’t seem to have it in stock.  Have you seen it? Any other recommendations?

4 :: in Gil, video, weekend

Lena reads her letters

Last week I was reading Lena a bedtime story and she started to name the letters on the page for me.  Just for fun, I took this little  video to send to our families.  I give the credit for Lena knowing these letters to the hundreds of times we have done her wooden alphabet puzzle in the last few months.

Do any of you know: if Lena knows her capital letters at this age (23 months, almost 2 years old), could she possibly learn to read by age three?

Of course now — with a little brother in the house and a mother with much less time on her hands — Lena’s progress may slow down…

11 :: in Lena, video

my last day as a mother of one {Part 1 of 2}


Two weeks ago today was my last day as a mother of just one child.  I didn’t know this then, of course, but I did know that it could be just a matter of hours before Lena would no longer be my only baby.  I decided to photograph our day so that I would have a record of everyday life with just me and Lena.

Even though these pictures are from just two weeks ago, I can’t believe how much Lena has changed, much less our whole lives!  One example: when she plays with her alphabet puzzle now, she knows about 75% of the letters by name and doesn’t need any help to put the pieces in place correctly.  Children grow up so, so quickly.

So, if you will, take a walk with me down memory lane!


That morning, while Elliott showered and shaved, I got the day started in the kitchen.  I served Lena a bowl of Raisin Bran (her favorite because she knows nothing else) and a cup of milk.  I started coffee brewing for Elliott and me.  And then I packed a lunch  for Elliott.  That day his lunch included leftover sweet potato and black bean enchiladas, carrots and dip, a pear, soft gingersnap cookies, olives from the market, and Triscuits.


These cold days, instead of serving cereal, I’ve been making oatmeal for Elliott and myself.  Lena is usually finished with her Raisin Bran by then and asks for a small bowl of oatmeal to eat with us.

Making Room BLOG

While Lena is eating, I like to do her hair.  It’s the only time she’ll sit still for me because she’s strapped into her high chair!

After this Elliott left for work and Lena and I ventured out into the cold for a short walk.

Making Room BLOG1 She’s pointing to Mt Etna for me, which is unfortunately invisible in this photo.  We then wandered through the old streets of our neighborhood and Lena tried out our key in different doors.  She was unsuccessful in opening any of them, to her chagrin.  I, meanwhile, was relieved that there was no one at home behind any of the doors she tried!


We headed back home to “pay!” (play) for a little while before her morning nap.  She loooooves this wooden alphabet puzzle; I think we have completed it at least three times a day together for a month.  It’s such a fun, easy way to learn the alphabet, though!

Below is a video I took of her working on the puzzle with me.  It’s not great quality and my voice annoys me (I’m learning — slowly — to cut down on the baby talk), but it does capture so well how we spend our days together.  Here it is:


After this it was time for her nap.  I read a few books to her before laying her in her crib, singing her a song, and murmuring, “Sleep well!  I love you, Lena!” as I shut the door.


While she slept I worked on this blog post.


She’s awake!  Time for a trip to the bathroom.  She was in the middle of potty training at this point, able to tell us when she needed to go but not to be trusted without a diaper on.


We taught her to empty the pot and clean it after she’s done.  Finally we found a use for that bidet!

Even just two weeks later, the routine is totally different.  She is sitting on the adult toilet now on a kid-sized seat and hasn’t had an accident in awhile.  She also doesn’t need a pacifier to get her through the drama of it anymore.  Growing up so quickly.


We moved outside to the balcony so that I could fold the laundry that had dried overnight.

Making Room BLOG2

Lena — wearing a pair of “big girl underwear” and no pants to help her remember that she doesn’t have a diaper on — played with my muddy boots from a hike we took last weekend.   She then asked to be lifted up to make the wind chime sing.  I held her up (cautiously, for we live on the edge of a cliff!) after taking this photo.


These are the last cloth diapers of Lena’s that I will wash for awhile, I think!  We’ve moved entirely to training pants and underwear.  The end of an era.


After that we moved inside to make and eat lunch together.  I’ll pick up at this point tomorrow to finish chronicling the day.

If you stuck with me this far, thank you!  If you don’t have kids, what surprised you the most about a day at home with a one-year-old?  If you do have kids, what looked the most familiar to your routine, no matter where you live in the world?

20 :: in a picture an hour, Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom Series, family, Lena, motherhood, video

customized board books for your baby

I’ve been eying these customized photo books from Pinhole Press for awhile.  Plug in photos of family and friends, press “order,” and in no time flat you’ll have a way to enjoy the faces of loved ones with your baby.   Especially since we live in Sicily and Lena’s entire extended family lives in Virginia, this seemed like a wonderful way to help her remember their names and faces.
However, as with most things in life that cost money, I just looked.  I did not do.
And then what should my mother-in-law get Lena for Christmas but a customized photo book!  It came from a company called Pint Size Productions.  After browsing around, I really like Pint Size because it’s much more customizable and they also offer many more book options.  I’ll be going to them with any future board book orders, I think.

Lena’s Marmee (which sounds like “Mommy” when she says it these days) put together a beautiful book with all Lena’s aunts and uncles from Elliott’s side of the family.  She loves it!  Below is a little video I took of Elliott and Lena reading it together on the night she received the book.  Makes me want to make one for my side of the family!

Have you ever made a customized photo book?  Or a board book?  What’s your favorite online resource/company to use?

P.S.  This is not a sponsored post.  I just like these board books and thought you might too!
8 :: in Lena, video, wishlist

searching for bugs

Elliott has a four-day weekend starting today (hip hip hooray!), and so we decided to kick it off with a hike down into the valley below our house.  Lena is lately obsessed with bugs, which you might remember from a recent post about our walk to the orange groves.  Here’s a little video that I took of her searching for bugs while Elliott and I relax on the picnic blanket with our books. 
And yes, it’s chilly here!  Clear and cold, a perfect day for blogging by the fire with some hot chocolate after a beautiful hike.  Of course I also have a huge pre-baby to-do list, so it won’t be all relaxing around here this weekend!
What are your plans for the weekend? 
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3 :: in hiking, Lena, Sicily, video

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