State of the Situation

We’ve been here almost seven weeks.  W00t!  It’s true what they say: time flies when you’re trying to figure things out in a foreign country.  For fun, here are some stats and updates on previously discussed topics.

Cappuccinos enjoyed (Melissa)3

Cappuccinos enjoyed (James): eleventy billion   Ok, it just feels that way.  But I think he gets 2/day at work.

Restaurants sat in as a family2  We did go to one 2x.  We’ll try to increase this number, but tough because most places don’t open until 1900 or 1930.  We have done pizza and panini take out.

Date Nights:  2  This should be four, but we’ve have had babysitter cancellation.  We’re currently trying to find more sitters.

Exotic Takeout Delivered:  1!  After I mentioned a lack of options, I discovered  For you law-firmians, this is very similar to seamless.  They have plenty of Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Thai places listed.  The knock is that most places don’t open until late which means delivery is pretty late.  I don’t think it could be here in time for a family dinner, but we may use it as an at-home date night after the kids are in bed.

Days of whole30:  9ish  After declaring my plans, I was going strong with only one accidental goof.  (I put some premade pesto on veggies before remembering, duh, parmesan.)  I was proud that I made it through a weekend.  But then last night we ordered sushi and I went a little crazy with some off-plan rice and soy sauce.  This is definitely not the way the program is supposed to work.  If you give it a try, I encourage you to really stick with it for 30 days.  I think I had a different mindset knowing that I might allow myself to wrap up early.  It has been a really helpful reset, and I’ve made it through the feel-crappy-early-days.  I’m sticking with it again for now, but might stop based on any weekend travel plans.  For example, it just would seem all kinds of wrong to go to Tuscany and not have a little wine.

Markets visited: 2  One vegetable and one antique.

Parks visited: 3  We’ve made it to Villa Borghese, Villa Ada, and Villa Torlonia.

Playgrounds visited:  5  We’ve been to two in Borghese, one in Ada, and two in our neighborhood.  If there is a playground, Henry will find it.  And immediately head to the swings.

Trips outside Rome:  0  😦  But we just booked our trip to Germany for this December!  We’re going to see the Christmas markets in Munich and Nuremberg.  Excited to cross something off the travel wish list.  We may see about something close by this holiday weekend as well.  The rest of our stuff gets here Friday (holla!), so there will definitely be plenty of unpacking to keep us busy.

Runs:  1  I’m embarrassed to say just the one at this point.  I resolved here to do more exercise, and this still needs work.  I did pilates two mornings, but Mac has been uncooperative with his sleeping.  This means I might be dealing with him in the morning or just more tired from being up.  I am trying to be more deliberate about going for walks.  Which has the added strength training benefit of pushing a large stroller or carrying an 18 pounder.

Suckers given to Henry:  2  He added another to his count of freebies.

Visitors:  0  But we have people coming in December and April!

Gelato eaten:  too much to count



Another reason I need to learn Italian

Besides needing to stop trying to shoplift produce and to stop talking about multiple anuses, I have another reason to learn Italian.  I have a very beautiful child.  This isn’t just biased mom speak here, although I certainly am that.  I know that he is beautiful because the Italians keep telling me.

Irresistible to Italians since 2014

Irresistible to Italians since 2014

Typical scenario:  picture me huffing away pushing the double stroller.  Usually elderly Italian walks up and coos at the kids.  Sometimes they just flip me a “Complimenti” and walk on.  Other times they want more of a chat.  I just smile and nod while my brain is going a hundred miles per hour to try to keep up.  I once told the little old lady “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian.”  She nodded and just kept talking.  In Italian.  I usually try to throw in a few “Henry, say ciao” or similar to hopefully signify that I do not speak the Italian and I am not purposely trying to anger everyone here over the age of 60.

Enjoying said free sucker

People give Henry things.  Our first time in a restaurant, the waiter rolls up with a ball of dough on a plate and sets it in front of Henry.  And then sat back just to watch what happened.  (Henry licked it and then set it down.)  We walked past a flower stall and the man pulled out a rose for Henry.  He got a free sucker at the panini place.  The kid is racking up freebies.

Henry currently draws more attention, but Mac also has a devoted following.  He had a pretty resounding cheek squishing at the pizza place and then the lady stalked him down the street for additional squishing when we paused to chat with a neighbor.  I can’t really blame her.

You can't resist the squish

You can’t resist the squish

A surprising number of people have asked if they are twins.  Mac is big, but not that big . . .

Adorable?  Who, us?

Adorable? Who, us?

So here is my blanket apology to all the Italians I am not properly responding to as you compliment my children.  Learn Italian.  I’m on it.  In the meantime, I am flattered, and I hope my smile and heartfelt “grazie” do the trick.


Paleo Fail-io

Once upon a time, James and I read It Starts with Food and did a Whole30.  Basically you cut out all gluten, added sugar, dairy, booze, legumes, and corn for 30 days, and then gradually reintroduce foods to your healed body to see how it does.  Even though it was strict, I found it worked better for me than trying to be reasonable.  I am definitely an abstainer and not a moderator.  At the end of the program, we had both lost about 5% of our body weight.  We did feel great.  James and I couldn’t shut up about it and annoyingly preached the Whole30 gospel for quite some time.  I think almost everyone in my family has done one.

We do try to do more paleo cooking, but we’ve definitely fallen off the wagon.  Italy has not helped that.  Gelato!  Cheese!  Pizza!  Wine!  I can’t figure out what to make for lunch so Henry and I frequently have yogurt.

I feel less healthy in other ways, but this has to do more with stay-at-homing than with being-in-Italying.  I don’t walk as much.  Not because I’m driving, but because we don’t venture out as far.  There is a playground steps from our door.  The grocery store is only two blocks away.  I used to walk to public transportation, walk around the building, walk for lunch.  I’m trying to say yes to more dance parties and head out for longer walks.

Our schedule makes big walks hard though.  I love our schedule.  But with Mac’s morning nap, we are never really more than an hour away from someone’s nap or meal.  Also, Henry will tolerate some stroller time, but he also likes to walk.  If he’s walking, we cover less ground.  And it is easy to release the kraken, but will he go back in the stroller?

But the other day, I decided to grab hold and seize it.  We would head back to Villa Borghese and explore some other area of the park.  We live 10 minutes from Rome’s Central Park.  We owe it to ourselves to enjoy everything it has to offer, darnit!

This was probably too ambitious.  First off, we all have colds right now.  Second, instead of a low-to-mid 80s kind of day, it was more of an upper 80s kind of day.  But it was too late.  I had loaded up more than 50 lbs (not an exaggeration) of children and gear, and we were off.

By the time we got to a previously unvisited portion, I was sniffly, hot, and tired.  And it was time to go back for lunch and Mac was not pleased.  And Henry definitely did not want to go back in the stroller.

But we got to see a few new things before we turned back.  While Henry was chasing pigeons or other such, I noticed this guy in a tree.  He was so exotic looking that I thought he must have been someone’s escaped pet.  But I saw three of them in the tree.  Turns out my first instinct may not have been too far off.

9.16_green bird

We also saw this little guy.  He stayed remarkably patient with the toddler who wanted to embrace him.


And then after bargaining, bribery, and threats got everyone (read  Henry) loaded back in the stroller, I’m pretty sure I saw two people having sex in the park.  Sorry–no pics!  They were a little far off, and I didn’t want to stare.  So there’s Rome for ya.  Start off talking about paleo, end up with sex in the public park.