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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Lake Garda (Lago di Garda): Where Parents can take a REAL Vacation

7.26_garda coverYou’ve seen this, right?  Is it a vacation or a trip?  Hilarious.  And true.

For the most part, I take a lot of trips.  I’m OK with that.  I’ve got a lot I’d like to see.  In the little kid years, I figured I’d be looking at trips instead of relaxing vacations anyway.

But what if I told you about a magical place where you could have an actual vacation?  A vacation where you could linger over your breakfast coffee admiring the beautiful view.  A vacation where you kept forgetting what day it is because you felt fully disconnected.  A vacation where you could finish a sentence talking to your spouse over a delicious dinner.

You’d say it was all too good to be true, right?

Well, harried friend, let me tell you about Lake Garda.

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A Great Babysitting Option in Rome: Ludoteche Amelie

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A friend emailed me and asked if I had encountered a toy library, or ludoteca, in Rome?  I hadn’t.  I did some frantic googling, because this sounded awesome, but nothing quite fit the bill.

Time passed.  Later, friends mentioned a birthday party they attended at Ludoteche Amelie.  Hmm.  This sounded familiar.  Could it be the missing ludoteca?

I decided to find out.

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ICYMI: SO HOT Edition

Yup.  A link post on a Monday.  It feels so wrong that it feels right.

In Rome news, it is officially summer.  90s erry day, but it somehow feels even worse.  Muggy.  Gross.  The direct sun is merciless.  It gives no quarter.  We’ve been staying up late because summer and because it is actually kind of pleasant after 7:00 pm.   Water is my happy place.  Other than a recent bout of the flu, I’ve actually been enjoying summer a lot.  I just haven’t been getting much done.  Schedule is out of whack and the heat is just wiping me out.  I know.  #firstworldproblems

Gearing up for our road trip to Bologna, Modena, Ravenna, and Lake Garda.  If anyone has any recommendations, would love to hear ’em!

On the Blog:

If you told me a year ago that I would have done this, I would have said you were absolutely crazy.

If you are in Rome or coming to Rome, check out these tickets to score in advance.

Now with two chuckleheads on the loose.  Hoot.

I’ve been all about habits lately.  (More on my latest love soon.)  This is my take on how you can build on foundational habits.  (This graphic made James giggle.)

My cousins are here.  Guess what I asked them?  (Seriously, no one is safe.)

And because this is occasionally still a travel-related blog, here is why you need a sense of humor to travel in Italy, here is about that time I met the President of Italy, and here is why I loved our trip to Marrakesh.

On the Internets:

You guys!  Land Before Time is on Netflix!  (My kids were not as into it as I thought.  I was like, yes, DINOSAURS, but I think it was a little slower moving than what they are used to.  And they seemed to get really focused on the Mom’s death so that was fun to explain over and over.)  For the adults, Sixteen Candles is also added.  This is a movie I definitely thought I’d seen, but realized I hadn’t actually.  Let’s just say it’s a classic for a reason.

Looking for your next vacation read?  Modern Mrs. Darcy’s summer reading guide is out.  Grab it here.  Also did you know that Anne publishes daily Kindle deals?  I’ve been using her curated lists to snap up great books at hefty discounts.

I quite enjoyed this article on Quitting Being a Secret of Success.  (You know I enjoy a good quitters story.)

Would you try cricket powder protein bars?  I haven’t done it yet, but I’m seriously considering.  I’ve been looking for a good paleo on-the-go option and been coming up short.  I really really wanted to like Epic Bars, but they just aren’t my thing.  (Mac loves them though.)  I’ve also tried some Beef Sticks from Grass Run Farms, but not my jam.  Just too vinegary maybe?  (Both kids love them.)  I make Melissa Joulwan’s meat muffins and use things like boiled eggs, but it would be nice to have an already prepared emergency option.And I don’t remember what I was searching on Amazon, but I stumbled across this.  You know, in case your life doesn’t have enough pee in it and you need to put a urinal, that looks like a frog, IN YOUR HOME.  No thank you please.

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Things to book BEFORE you come to Rome

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Getting ready for Rome?  Fine tuning your itinerary so that it runs smoother than a brand new Ferrari?

Of course you are.  Don’t forget that there are things you can book in advance to make your life even easier.

Keep reading for where to book and how.  Yes, you may spend a few euro in booking fees, but your time in Rome is too precious to spend extra minutes waiting in line if you don’t have to!

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