Hold the Owl

Do you ever find yourself holding back a little because of your kids?  Sort of deferring to their enjoyment?

No, you get up there, I don’t need to press my nose to the glass at the aquarium.  No, you go on the ride, I’ll watch you.

Some of these things make sense because I don’t really want to do them.

Other times . . . I don’t know.  Maybe a part of me wants to, but I’ve convinced myself I don’t?  Maybe I just worry what other people will think?

Maybe my default is just not to do the things now.

Hmm.  I don’t love that.

I do get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing my kids do stuff.  Tons.  Seeing them figure it out.  Seeing their little faces light up with joy.  Seeing them experience stuff for the first time.  It’s pretty special.

We were in Malta last week.  This trip we visited the Malta Falconry Centre.  We saw the 11:00 AM show.

As a part of the show, they offered to let us put on the leather glove and hold an owl.  The boys were excited, and I was glad they were able to do it.  I was worried they would be too small.

Then they offered me the glove.

My first thought was to demur.  No, I shouldn’t hold up the show.  No, I already had my fun getting to see the kids.  Nonononono.

Then I looked around and thought, “There are 12 people here.  They are all holding the owl.  You aren’t holding up the show.  Just do it.”

So I put on the glove, and the owl perched on my hand.  And I giggled with joy.  The same sort of giggle that escaped my mouth during the barrel race in Montepulciano.  Just an excitement that things like this exist in the world.

So this is me recommitting myself.   Enjoy the kids, but get in the game.  Heck yes, I want to hold the owl!

(Owl pic on my Instagram.  I’ve tried embedding it here 5x, but I can’t get it to work.)

ICYMI: Never-ending August Edition

I wanted to steal this off the wall

I wanted to steal this off the wall

On the Blog:

I feel like we’ve been doing a lot lately.  No major trips, but plenty of little stuff.  Which has been good, but also contributing to August feeling weird.  (And hoping I didn’t make a mistake on our decision for school for the kiddos.)

I’ve taken my love of agriturismi to a whole new level.  Now instead of using them for overnight stays only, I’m treating them like destinations.  We did dinner at Agriturismo La Cerra outside of Tivoli before hitting the fountains at night at Villa d’Este.  HIGHLY recommend La Cerra.  We may hit up dinner again there some other night.  They have an awesome playground and animals to see with some darn tasty food from Cinta Senese pigs.  Molto affordable as well.

Meh on the Villa d’Este fountains at night.  We didn’t get home until midnight; it was a lot of hassle with the kids.  It could have been a romantical styles date night, but I think I like the fountains by day even more.  I think I expected colored lights, music, something.  Nope.

I also keep trying to make Abruzzo happen.  We enjoyed our weekend there, but the weather threw us.  Undeterred, we headed out for lunch at Il Timo, an agriturismo in Abruzzo, on a Saturday.  I thought the mountains would be cooler.  Nope.  Direct sun.  Very hot.  The grilled meats were pretty tasty though.  This place had pretty adorable cabins for anyone considering an overnight.

Last weekend we finally tried Podere Spedalone, a very highly recommend agriturismo outside of Pienza.  It is on the pricey side, but it did live up to the hype.   Picture sipping prosecco watching the Tuscan sunset before a fantastic four course dinner.  These guys have the creature comforts down.  Water bottles by the pool, soft towels, fancy wine gifted on departure.  They are also super friendly and helpful.  If it wasn’t more of a splurge, we’d be back there on the reg.

We picked that weekend to catch the Bravio delle Botti in Montepulciano.  Amazing.  We saw a bit of the medieval procession.  Then we got to see teams of two running barrels up the hill.  Incredible.  I couldn’t help but just laugh at the wonder that something like this exists.  (You can see a video on my Instagram.)

On the local front, we enjoyed the Banksy exhibit.  Highly recommend if you can squeeze it in before it closes September 4.  We squeezed in another lake day at Martignano.  Not too shabby.

The Cardinal of the Kremlin is dunskies!  Into Clear and Present DangerThe Summer of Clancy continues.  I’ve settled into a new routine on this.  I have to at least touch the Clancy book each day.  Maybe only for two pages.  But it is enough to keep me interested in the story and not forget what is happening.  I usually read a few books at once so this works for me.

The kids are still funny.  And talk about vino.

On the Internets:

Could ride-on suitcases by the answer to travel with young kids?  I’m skeptical with the two yahoos, but I’m definitely curious.

So much for a link post.  I’ll get on this.  What have you been up to in August?

When you realize you don’t want a vacation from your life

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I’ve been out of sorts lately.  Our schedule is in flux.  Henry has stopped school for the year (more on that decision here), but he’d be on summer break right now anyway.

We’ve been hitting the pool and any other water-related outing we can think of.  I feel like I’m constantly in a wet bathing suit.  I’m not complaining.  It’s just different.

We’ve been trying to beat the heat.  I consider it a success if gelato consumption is no more than once a day.  And it hasn’t been every day.  It just feels like it sometimes.

We are seeing friends, but a lot of people are on the road.  Kids are out of school.  It’s just different.

Turns out, I’m having some problems with it.

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A weekend in Abruzzo

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Last weekend we ended up doing a last minute trip to Abruzzo.  (Like Tuscany and Puglia, Abruzzo is another state/region in Italy.)

Even though it offers dramatic mountains and beaches and you can reach it in two hours, we’d never made it over.

Until now.

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What we decided on school for the fall

Contemplating their futures no doubt

Contemplating their educational futures no doubt

So remember how I was obsessing about what to do with Henry for school next year?

We picked Option #4.  Henry’s last day of school was this past Friday.  The plan is for me to have the boys to myself for our last year.  Here’s why this made sense for us and why I’m excited about it.

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ICYMI: Local Tourist Edition

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I think there may be more link posts here.  Or something where I just share.  I want to include evergreen content, but I feel like if I don’t cover things in real time, then I forget a lot.  You’ve been warned.

This past weekend we picked off two on our To Do in Rome List.  On Saturday we toured the Savoia bunker at Villa Ada.  It was pretty neat to see and to learn more about a park where I spend a lot of time.  New #housegoals to have a Travertine spiral escape staircase in my bunker.

On Sunday we hit the Domus Aurea tour.  This one was with the kids.  That was . . . interesting.  On the plus side, you can actually roll your stroller through the whole thing.  (One staircase to exit.)  On the other side, the tour was billed as being an hour and 15 minutes.  It was definitely more like an hour and forty.  We got hard hats.  (With hair nets.)  Yay!  But the kids wanted those off after about two minutes.  The guide was really hard to hear, and she kept insisting on talking while walking.  No one could hear that.  But she didn’t say anything when the kids ditched their hard hats or when we busted out lollipops.  It was a very cool space to see–literally felt like AC in there–but maybe without the kids would be better.  Oh, well.

This weekend we are heading to Abruzzo.   I think Sulmona and Pescara are on the list.  Would love any recommendations!

For future travel plans, I’m now gung ho about planning a Slovenia/Croatia road trip for this fall.  I’m thinking drive there and ferry back.  Possibly hitting this on the way because it just looks too cool.

Things have been fairly quiet around here.  Rome is definitely clearing out.  And hot.  Henry’s last day of school was last Friday.  We’re slowly getting used to our new schedule.

On the Blog:

I finished The Hunt for Red October.  Diving into The Cardinal of the KremlinThe Summer of Clancy continues.

You should go to Lake Garda.  One of my favorite things in Italy yet.

It’s hot.  We haven’t made it back to Ludoteche Amelie yet, but I’m sure it will happen soon.  (Maybe with a side trip to the Make-Your-Own-Magnum store??)

On the Internets:

I’ve been drinking bulletproof coffee for a bit.  Bulletproof intermittent fasting could be next?

We’ve all heard of Myers Briggs, but I finally got around to taking my Enneagram.  What’s your number?

I’m still using PicMonkey for photo editing, but playing around with Be Funky these days.  Anyone tried it?  It seems to have different features, but I found it to be a lot slower than PicMonkey.


7800 pages of Clancy . . . in one summer?

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I like making resolutions . I’m pretty bad about looking back at them though.

Maybe it is guilt.  Knowing I’m not doing something I wanted to be.  Although I’m DEFINITELY not going to be doing it if I can’t remember what it was.  It makes no sense.  It doesn’t hurt to reread things every now and then.

So I made myself look back at my 2016 Goals.  With some deep breathing.

It actually wasn’t that scary.  I’m doing better than I thought.

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