Archive | weekend

a little update from Virginia

photo 3

Friends, I’m sorry.  We’ve been in the States for almost a week now and I haven’t managed a single post.  Here’s a quick attempt at an update, and then later in the week I’ll hopefully have more news, photos, and… the most amazing giveaway this blog has ever seen.  (I’m especially excited about that one!)  In the meantime, here are some fun photos from this past weekend and a little update on life.

Anyway… we’re in Virginia!  We left Sicily on Thursday after a whirlwind, last-minute decision to fly commercial instead of taking our chances with free military flights.  After Elliott spent hours on the phone calling military terminals, he could tell that it would be unlikely that we would be able to fly all the way home on Space A/military flights.  With the chance of being stranded in Spain or Maine with two lusty-lunged, jet lagged children, we opted for the last-minute bargain on Delta flights.  This mama is so glad we did!  It’s good to be “home.”

We were especially keen to get home because of Reunions this past weekend at the University of Virginia.  Elliott graduated in 2003 and I graduated in 2008, meaning that this year is his 10-year and my 5-year reunion.  How could we not go back for that?!

We had a fabulous weekend visiting with so many old friends, some of whom we haven’t seen since we “walked the Lawn” at our own graduations years ago.  More wonderful friends of ours — Will and Johanna — offered their house as our home away from home, and that’s just what we needed with two little children and jet lag.  We spent the weekend visiting our favorite old haunts in Charlottesville, reuniting with some of our favorite people, and dreaming about moving back there one day….

If you were there this past weekend, it was wonderful to see you… and let’s not let too much time go by before we meet again!


Waving at the pilot as we boarded in Sicily &
he slept on my lap like this all the way from Rome to Paris


Charlottesville City Market early on a Saturday morning!


A photo that I stole (hi, Kim!) from a lunch with some dear friends.  Kelly (far left), Tara (next to her), and I were all in nursing school together at UVA… and now we’re all grown up, married, and have kids!


Lena and Gil met and loved our friends’ children: Sasha on the left and Cornelius on the right.


Hanging out in the Center for Christian Study with Cornelius… which we all hope they will be doing again as students in about 18 years!


My dear friend/roommate Abi and her new baby Lucie (Gil was born on Lucie’s due date!) &
Auntie Jess (now a nurse in Charlottesville) snuggling with her nephew for the first time

13 :: in DC, family, friends, Instagram, life lately, travel, University of Virginia, Virginia, weekend

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

Enchanted April in Sicily


Have you ever seen “Enchanted April“?  It has become one of my favorite movies over the years for the sweetness and depth of the story.  Four worn-down English women (housewives, socialites, misfits) decide to rent a villa in Italy during the month of April.  Lulled by the beauty and peace of their location, they are able to heal and bloom.  As a reviewer said, “It is impossible not to be swayed by the promise of restoration for these burdened characters — or for anyone alive.”

That line is also an apt way to describe my feelings this April as Sicily has burst into bloom.  The island’s winters are not long or particularly dreary, but oh! a Sicilian spring!  The air is perfumed with orange blooms, the wisteria covers stone walls, the poppies sway in the breeze, the bees hum from flower to flower.

This past Saturday we packed a picnic lunch and took a hike down into the valley below our house.  (In the photo above, our home is the yellow one below the castle on the far right side of the cliff.)  We wandered through the green grasses slowly before choosing the perfect spot for our picnic blanket.

becca-garber-enchanted-april-poppy becca-garber-enchanted-april-seeds becca-garber-enchanted-april-bugs

^^^ Love bugs.




That’s Mt Etna, the largest volcano in Europe, behind us.



^^^ Pears, proscuitto, crackers, and local cheese.

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I love this photo of Gil on the right!




^^^ Right before we got home, Elliott found one of the biggest grasshoppers we’d ever seen.  I tried to get a picture of Lena holding it, but he bounded away in a flash!

Are you enjoying spring in your corner of the world?  What’s your favorite part about it?

19 :: in family, hiking, Sicily, weekend

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

girls’ getaway to Taormina

Welcome back from MLK Day weekend, everyone!  Hope you kicked back, relaxed, and enjoyed the weekend wherever you are.  We laid very low here at home other than a couple of hikes into the valley and some evenings with friends.  And we twiddled our thumbs and waited for this baby to come, but… he’s staying put for now.  Oh well!


I’ve been wanting to share these photos with you from now two weekends ago.  It all started when I woke up on Saturday morning and saw an email from my friend Emily, who was on her way to Florence with her family and wanted advice about flying with a runny-nosed toddler.


I turned to Elliott and sighed, “We don’t travel anymore!   We used to go somewhere every few weeks but now we just stay at home.  Which is fine with a baby due any day, but… I miss it.”


“Well,” replied my husband, with a twinkle in his eye, “what if I told you that you were going on a trip today?  That your friends are whisking you away for a girls’ weekend in Taormina?  That you are going to spend the whole day shopping and eating in nice restaurants and getting a massage at a spa… and that you’re staying overnight in a hotel there, too?”


Umm… whaaaat?!


But he wasn’t kidding!  My friend Bethany had secretly arranged to take her two pregnant friends–me and Becca Arthur–to Taormina for a little last getaway before both our babies are born.  (Becca is due in May with her fourth child, a girl!)  Bethany had arranged the whole agenda herself and would be picking me up in about 2 hours.  Time to pack my bags!



We spent the whole day just as Elliott had promised: wandering around the beautiful Sicilian town of Taormina (which I have blogged about before here and here), eating delicious food, and browsing through stores that we would never enter with our rambunctious toddlers!  It was a beautiful gift of a day with two dear friends.


We shopped for pottery in our favorite artist’s studio.


Fruit made entirely out of marzipan!  Better to look than to eat.
Mini cannolo with pistachio cream.
Cool design idea: display your wine bottles on old roof tiles.


Sicilian ceramics.


Becca and me at lunch in a lovely little restaurant overlooking the water.



 Later we ate granite at our favorite little shop.  We chose mandarin and raspberry.  So fresh and fruity!


The photos ceased after this as we left Taormina to drive to our hotel, where we relaxed that evening and all got amazing massages.  Later we went out for dinner, but unfortunately at this point I was starting to feel ill.  I had no idea why, but then around 1am I woke up and made a beeline for the bathroom to upchuck.  Sadly for me, the stomach virus (which has been ravaging our whole community these past few weeks) appeared to have struck at the worst possible time!  I took this photo from bed in our hotel room the next morning as I tried to keep a cup of tea down and read a book while Bethany and Becca enjoyed breakfast downstairs.


Bethany got a call from her husband that morning and learned that her own two boys were also losing their breakfast from the same bug!  Oh well… it was home and into survival mode for our two houses for the next couple of days.  An adventurous end to a relaxing weekend!  Thankfully it didn’t dampen the spirits or mar the memories for me.

Thank you so much, Bethany, for arranging such a fun weekend for us!

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11 :: in friends, pretty places, Taormina, travel, weekend

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