Henry is 4!

So this is over a month late.  This is insanely late.  In some way it feels appropriate because it seemed like we celebrated Henry’s birthday for all of September.  A month of birthday.  Poor kid was so confused.

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In case your Friday needs more “babies”

Dear Mac,

You are now 18 months old.  Instead of months, I can just say you are a year and a half.  This is actually easier for me in Italian because numbers 16 – 19 trip me up occasionally.  (Unrelated, “quindici” or 15 is one of my favorite words in Italian.  I don’t claim to know why.  But I love it.)

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ICYMI: Where did 2015 go, ya’ll?

Have you started to feel like every day for the whole rest of the year is planned?  Seriously, where did it all go??  And how do I already feel behind on Christmas shopping???

Chase pigeons every day

Chase pigeons every day

On the Blog:

I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that we are having adventures faster than I can write about them.  I’ve been updating Travel Resources with more info to give you travel ideas, even if there aren’t links to full posts.  Looking for your next day trip or weekend getaway?  Check it out here.

One adventure I did cover was our jam-packed day trip to Turin.  If you have a chance, I’d spend more than a day here.

I also talked about my love/hate relationship with crowds and our trips to Nemi and Orte.

As well as gettin’ deep about last meals at Castel Sant’ Angelo.

And 3 tips to make your travel awesome.

Huh, I guess there are still some travel posts going up around here.  I feel like things have definitely gone off the rails lately.  #sorrynotsorry

Fall is here!  I still haven’t ordered my OTK boots, but I’m sure everyone here would like me to just do it or shut up about it.  What’s on your fall fashion wish list?

Heh, million dollar baby.  LITERALLY.  And then my other recent attempt at humor where I talk resumes and giving booze to horses.

The one where I get kind of preachy about judging other people.  I swear, I’ve put the soap box away.  For now at least.

My baby is 3!!  Still says hilarious things.  (And like my kid, I’m very food-oriented.   Treat yo self.)

On the Internets:

For my hipster peeps, have you tried switchel?  I really want to try this apple cider vinegar drink, but I’m having a hard time on the ginger juice.  I can’t find it in juice form, and I don’t have the capability to juice fresh ginger.

This video had me cry laughing.  If you want to kill your morning, delve into Break Womb’s other stuff.  Ah, it’s funny because it’s true.

How not to say the wrong thing

If you looking for some fall pieces of your own, Ann Taylor is 50% off through Sunday.

I’m very intrigued by this stroller.  Any urbanites tried this one?

That’s all I got.  Happy weekend everyone!

Family traditions

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Modern Mrs. Darcy posted recently(ish) about family traditions.  I really like traditions.  Growing up we always had waffles on Christmas and always opened stockings first.  I want to try ALL the new things, but I like having some steady standbys to return to.

Since the kids are young, we are still in the process of building our own family traditions.  This was for Henry’s recent third (!!!) birthday.  Maybe he didn’t remember last year, but I did, and I liked deepening the grooves on our past practices.

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Happy birthday to Mac!

Guess who still refuses to crawl and is now one year old??

THIS GUY

THIS GUY

Mac had a pretty swell birthday.  I mean, he didn’t tell me he enjoyed it or anything, but I think he had a good time.  Recap on birthday numero uno below.  Or just watch this video.  It covers just about everything.  Thanks Google+!

Mac woke up early so I didn’t get to run in and terrorize him with the birthday song, as per tradition.  (For his recent birthday, James delighted in being awoken from a peaceful slumber with my phone pressed to his head blaring the birthday song.  What can I say?  We make birthdays special ’round here.)  I did get to play Mac the song while he was sitting on the kitchen floor.  At first, he was all “why are you guys just staring at me” but then he started his signature Mac dance bob.

Mac was fortunate to be able to celebrate with his grandparents.  We took pics with the birthday banner.

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Not our best family photo

Not our best family photo

Mac opened presents from thoughtful relatives, godparents, and friends.  Henry “helped.”

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We went on a birthday adventure.  We took the subway for the first time to St. Paul Outside the Walls.  Stunning and huge.  More on this one later.

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And the main event:  cake!  James made a chocolate cake with homemade frosting and a separate smash cake for the birthday boy.

He went for it.  Instantly.  No hesitation.  Fistfuls of cake straight into his mouth.  Like to the point I almost worried about needing to take it because he was eating so much cake.  As if taking cake from a chocolate-covered cake demon would ever be advisable.

Before:

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During:

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After:

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They were some of the happiest moments of his young life.  Sadly, the high was followed by a definite low, as cleanup was inevitable.  Mac howled while he took a shower, but I think he’d tell you it was worth it.

P.S.  Want to relive the epic Mac saga? Mac at 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 8 months, 9 months, 10 months, and 11 months.

Wut up

You can't resist the squish

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You should probably just start walking already

Dear Mac,

You are 11 months old.  WHOA.  That’s all I have to say about that.  Moving on.

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Moving is actually the name of the game for you these days.  You want to be on your feet!  You want to be walking!  You have places to go and people to see and things to put in your mouth!  You still can’t do any of this unassisted, but it doesn’t stop you.  You just reach out your hands and expect your entourage to enable you.  (They frequently do.)

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You have zero interest in crawling.  You will flop all the way forward, rotate 360 degrees, or “walk” a few steps and plop before you will even think about making a crawling motion.  Instead, you have cultivated some pretty aggressive pointing.  That.  That, woman.  Bring me THAT.  I try not to cave, but . . .

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You have also become a lot more demanding.  What happened to my easygoing baby??  Now, you generally cry if I try to leave the room.  Whether this is because you miss me or because I can’t hold your hands to help you walk when I’m gone, I am unsure.  But we are talking piercing shrieks that turn your face red.  Screams the likes of which you have NEVER before uttered.  This turnabout is a little shocking.

I get it.  You’re frustrated.  I’m frustrated too.  I know you can’t move how you want to, and it is driving you bonkers.  I feel bad that I’m frustrated.  You were low key for months; who am I to complain now?  You’ve just thrown a curve ball.  I’m still trying to catch up.  I never thought I’d encourage having a mobile baby, but you should probably just start walking.  Or crawling.  Or SOMETHING already.  I think we’ll all be happier.

I'll keep you in the carrier until I fall over though

I’ll keep you in the carrier until I fall over though

I doubt walking would help on bathtime though.  Here, you have just flipped a switch and decided you hate it.  You scream throughout your entire bath.  Whether sitting up or sitting in your chair, sitting with your brother or alone, being offered toys or not.  Everything is awful.  I’m hoping we can come to some kind of understanding on this.  Bathing is not optional.  I promise, we’re not even doing it every day!  (The usual routine is Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.)

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Big doings though on the sleep front.  Something has clicked this month, and you are generally sleeping through the night.  w00t!  (Furiously knocks on wood.)  Sometimes you have a nighttime, uh, movement that awakens you, but I don’t think there is anything we can do about that.  Sometimes you wake up early and sing to yourself.  It is pretty adorable.

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This is not new, but I’m not sure I’ve covered your usual sleep positioning here.  We call your sleep “move,” kissing the bicep.  You curl one arm up to your head and turn your head towards it.  But not until you’ve done the pacifier shuffle.  You sleep with four pacifiers, and I have no idea why, but the first thing you do after being laid down is to spit your current pacifier, grope for new ones and replace.  Weirdo.

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I’ll be curious to see your new stats at your upcoming doctor’s appointment.  You’ve slowed down a little on your food adventuresomeness, but you are still huge.  I tend not to fully credit your hugeness because I see you next to a two year old every day, but you’re a chunk.  Your favorite food is probably banana.  It makes your eyes light up in a way that is endearing and also a little disturbing.  (It’s just a banana, kid.)  You’ve also gotten on the noodle bandwagon, and you can slurp with the best of them.  You have this “charming” habit of working your food over in your mouth and then just letting it fall.  I’ve seen you “eat” an entire piece of pizza this way.  But, overall, not too shabby for someone with four teeth.

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You may have noticed a distinct Alfalfa look on your recent pictures.  Don’t worry, you don’t have a cowlick, and we aren’t gunking your hair with product.  This phenomenon happens because of your hooded bath towel, and I must confess that I do my best to encourage it.  It just looks so right.  Like you have a crest.  I love it.

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You and Henry are still the Odd Couple.  You guys will be face-meltingly sweet to each other and then one of you is trying to pummel the other with tiny fists.  You are able to play more and more together, which I love.  If I’d like to “steer” you on your walkabouts, I only need to ask your brother to go ahead.  Sometimes your route veers just to copy something your brother did.

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And now you are almost the big 0-1.  What a year, baby.  What a year.

Love, Mom

P.S.  More Mac at 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 8 months, 9 months, and 10 months.

Halfway to 3

Dear Henry,

Not too long ago, some Facebook peeps commented that 2.5 was their absolute favorite age.  I was like, say what?  But now we have reached 2.5, and I totally get it.  You are still wild and you have your meltdowns, but you are so sweet and fun.  You say the craziest things sometimes.  I’m always impressed by how much we can talk about how many things.  I need to up my explanation game.  I feel the “why” questions coming soon.

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You have a mind like an elephant.  I’m shocked at the things you remember, even after a few months!  You knew where things were at the zoo A FEW MONTHS AFTER YOUR VISIT.  We went to a certain market ONE TIME and we bought bread.  When we returned a few months later, you asked “where’s my bread?”  After you saw a Spiderman outside a museum ONE TIME you ask about Spiderman every time we walk by.  I actually opened your shades the other day and you immediately asked “where are the pinwheels?”  Our neighbors had pinwheels in their planters AT CHRISTMAS.

You are getting more manipulative.  Mommy is your favorite unless Mommy is there and you are stalling for bed and then you need Daddy.  You also need more water, more blankets, a kiss from the parent who is not there, and anything else you can think of to extend your time of awakeness.  It’s usually not very bad, but having you put up any fight is a change for us.  Once you are in bed, you are usually a top notch sleeper.  Unless you’ve lost your chupito (pacifier).  I’ve started to talk up the fact that pacifiers leave at 3.  We’ll see how that goes.  I think you have high sleep needs.  You usually nap at least two hours each afternoon, often much longer.  You are particularly wiped out after a morning at school.

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That’s right.  You are a bona fide bambino, attending 4-6 hours of day care each week.  You started in February.  It has mostly gone well.  At first, getting you out the door in the morning was the absolute worst.  Now it is no walk in the park, but you look forward to school.  (I need to brush up on my car make and models; this is your favorite thing to discuss on the walk to school.)  Sometimes you ask about going when we’re at home.  Valentina is your primary teacher.  Your bestie is Isabella.  I’m not entirely sure what you do at school because you refuse to provide details, and I am suspicious of the tales you relate.  It feels strange to me that you have your own things you do and your own secrets after we spent all of our time together, but I’m happy that you are happy.  And I know you will have many many more of your own things as you get older, and I need to get used to it.  Baby steps for both of us.

You still terrorize your brother, but you can be very sweet with him as well.  I am trying to persuade you to stop taking his toys.  He gets turns too.  Sometimes you offer him a trade so you can steal the toy you want.  I eye all of these things suspiciously.  It makes me remember when I convinced my younger sister to pay me for doing stupid things.  I’m on to you, kid.

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But particularly lately, you have had some awesome moments with Mac.  You really want to play with him.  Even though you are still about 150% too rough, you are starting to take his desires and needs into your play.  Sometimes you bring him toys, just because.  He fell over while you were playing, and you grabbed his hands and helped him back up.  I melted a little.  You ask frequently “What is Mac doing?” and “What is Mac talking about?”  This is all very good because that kid worships you.  I’m really excited to watch the epic Henry-Mac friendship unfold.  Let’s just try to keep the broken bone count to a minimum.

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How could I not love this age?  You just unpromptedly came up and said “I love you so much.”  After a timeout where you threw something at me, you came over and said you were sorry.  We have inside jokes, such as me pretending to not know that you want to take your pants off at nap time.  You dance with abandon.  You have a zeal for life.  Sometimes I wish your head wasn’t so hard and you would save your wrestling for Daddy, but I love that you love me and want to spend your time with me.

You are still a pretty good little eater.  You make it easy for me to have a take it or leave it policy.  If I were worried that you weren’t getting enough, I’m not sure I could take such a hard stance.  You still like zucchini.  Strawberry season has started here, and you are singlehandedly putting a dent in Rome’s strawberry supply.  You are definitely taking advantage of the Italian goodies; pasta, pizza, salumi, and cheese are all your jam.  Not to mention the gelato.  First you liked all pink gelati, but now you are branching out into pistachio, biscotto, and many others.

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With all of your eating, I shouldn’t be surprised that you are growing.  And how.  I haven’t measured you lately, but I can tell.  You can reach more elevator buttons.  When we first got here, I cuffed your pants up twice.  Now I don’t roll them at all.  We just moved you up to your size 7 shoes.  I need to doublecheck and see if you actually have anything that fits for this summer.

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We still read a lot.  Which I love.  Your just went through an obsession with the Lego catalog.  Not the free Lego magazine which you also enjoy, but the straight up catalog.  You called it your “Ninja book.”  You also like all things vehicular and all things Richard Scarry.  Mac is still more into destroying the books than reading them, but I’m hoping we can have even more story time with the three of us soon.

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I had no idea you would be capable of so much at age two.  What is next year?  Defending your thesis on best molding practices for play doh?  I’ll be excited to see.  Just try not to lose your cheeks just yet!

Love, Mom

P.S.  Henry at two and two and a quarter.

33 Things I’ve Learned in 33 Years

Well, I had a birthday round these parts.  I used to make fun of my mom because she could never remember her age.  Once, in her 30s, she “lost” a year because she had been saying the wrong age all year.

Now, I (gulp) have become my mom on this one.  I usually can’t remember how old I am.  To help me remember my new milestone, I’ve put together 33 things I’ve learned in my 33 years on Earth.  Get ready to have some knowledge dropped on ya!

  1. If something is off about your contact and you can’t fix it after a few tries with saline, just get a new contact.  It will bother you all day and isn’t worth it.
  2. You can believe something that you think is an absolute, immutable truth and you will find 100 people with 100 different opinions about it.
  3. Nobody is looking at you as much as you think they are looking at you.
  4. Don’t save the nice bath stuff, wine, or chocolate for some day.  Use it and enjoy it now.
  5. Try not to make decisions when you are really tired or really hungry.
  6. Don’t say you are going out for “just one drink” unless you want to end up closing down the bar and catching the wrong metro line home.
  7. No one knows or cares if you wash your hair every day.
  8. Kids help you to be a better version of yourself.  A more tired version, but more aspirational.  If you want your kid to eat vegetables and volunteer, you probably have to eat vegetables and volunteer yourself.
  9. Everything takes longer than you think it will.  Everything.  Always.
  10. You probably do regret most the things you didn’t do.  Unless the thing you didn’t do is a tequila shot.  Tequila shots are never a good idea.
  11. Measuring cups make excellent bath toys.
  12. Thinking of a list of 33 things is hard.
  13. And kind of pretentious.
  14. Oh, well, can’t quit now.
  15. No one is looking at you as much as you think they are.  I said this already?  Well, it is still REALLY true.
  16. When in doubt, it usually never hurts to err on the side of politeness.
  17. Marry your best friend.
  18. Or at least someone you really like to spend lots of time with.
  19. (Am I there yet?  NO??  This is making me feel old.  Old and yet without wisdom.)
  20. Better to keep doing lots of little gestures rather than worry about one grand gesture that never gets done.
  21. Work hard.
  22. You may not be able to do something, but you definitely won’t be able to do it if you never try.
  23. I rarely regret spending time with a book.
  24. No one notices if you wear the same thing all the time.  Or they are just too polite to comment.
  25. Sometimes you just need to have a dance party.
  26. Shake it off.
  27. Phones are not more interesting than people.  And if they are, you should probably find new people.
  28. Haters gonna hate.

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    Pretend I’m wearing real shoes. And that I occasionally clean my mirror.

  29. It is always easier to consume than create.
  30. Nobody is ever pissed about getting a handwritten note.
  31. Try not to judge other parents.  You could be catching them at their worst 5% of the day.
  32. Just don’t judge other people really.
  33. Do you.

Whew, hard work is done.  I only need to figure out one thing this year to add on to my sweet list.  I got this.