Happy Birthday to My Baby

I started a new site dedicated to my daughter Isabella. Since having her I am constantly composing letters to her in my head. All the things I want to say to her will go there with hopes that she will read it one day. For today I thought I would share the first letter here as well. The site is still a work in progress.


Yesterday you turned a year old. Today I am going start start regularly posting letters to you here.

SDC11065 My sweet girl your birthday was really bittersweet for me. On the one hand it was a happy day celebrating a year since your arrival and transforming our lives for the better. On the other hand I felt quite sad at times that my mother and sisters were not able to be physically there. We were able to stream them in via Skype and Kelly said everything was great but I still felt sad.

And then dealing with the conversation in the corner about how I don’t speak Italian yet…we’ve been here for 4 months, what do they really expect. At least I can understand some, being conversant just isn’t there, not that I really expect it to be after a short time. So in combination with that and feeling a little blue, I did have some down moments. I don’t think you noticed but these letters are to show you just how human your momma is.

SDC11056You were so cute in your outfit. And the little bow in your hair was the perfect addition. Your grandmother and aunties did a good job decorating. I liked what they did. And the food was really good too, we just made too much. But I guess better to have too much than not enough, as your Papa says.

Its too bad you didn’t like the frosting on your cake. I really wanted to see you go for it. I wasn’t sure if you would like it though. You don’t like the cream cheese/mascarpone frosting I make. But I bet you would probably like butter cream. Maybe next time.

For your next birthday I really want to be in the US. I don’t want to do another birthday like this one. But I guess we always will be streaming in one family versus the other. If we are in the US we would have to stream in your Papa’s family. Here we had to stream in mine.  I don’t know. I guess I will have to wait to see what next year brings. You seemed to have fun regardless of who was there though.

Photo0262One year ago I was sitting in a hospital bed holding you, my tiny little 7lb and some baby in my arms in awe of how such a sweet person could grow in me. You’ve grown so much over this year, turned into quite the little person. You love Goodnight Moon and just reciting the first few lines (because I have the book mostly memorized by now) makes you come running into the room, a handy tactic when you’ve wandered down the hallway.

Tinker Bell and Jack’s Big Music Show are your favorite to watch. Especially Tinker Bell, you light up IMG_2865when that movie is on, interact with the scenes, meow at the mouse..its so cute. You still like Moose from Nick Jr; I made you a Moose doll for your birthday and you do seem to recognize it.

We’ve come a long way from those first few days, struggling to nurse – now you nurse like a piggy and smack your lips at everyone who is eating anything in your eyesight – you insist that they “share”. Although you are very opinionated about what you don’t like also!

Well my baby doll, I have so much more I want to write and say to you. I write these letters to you because I am always composing in my head. I think of everything I want to tell you and what I want you to know. I talk a lot with you now, but I want you to be able to read and see my words when you are older. I love you my sweet girl


Finding a Path

Going through life we travel many different paths. For me this is especially true. When I was in 4th grade I wanted to be an archeologist. A favorite teacher brought me hieroglyphics stamps to play with and I loved creating messages or decoding the messages in the little book that came along with them. For a long time I really thought that was what I would do. Sure there were other ideas in between, a teacher, a night club jazz singer, a writer. But archeologist stuck around. I even declared history as my major once I went to college. But somewhere along the line that changed. I think it was because I had no desire to take any more American History that was required of me. Funny how one class can change a mindset. So I switched gears. I was going to be a lawyer. I changed my major to Legal Studies, since I thought that would help me fast track into law school. In a way it did and in a way it didnt. I enjoyed learning about the law, excelled at Constitutional studies, but still something was missing.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

So I added on an additional major. This extended my college stay by another year, but I was in love with what I was learning. International Relations was such a fascinating field to me. I had visions of being an international lawyer, then one day a Supreme Court Justice. Or an ambassador. Or the next great democracy theorist. But still my path included law school. That road was bumpy indeed.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

Getting into law school was challenging. Not that I didnt expect it to be. But the LSAT was the bane of my existence. I even took a prep course and it was just enough to help me get over the logic games, barely. I eventually did get into law school, not a great one but that was okay! My plan was to do well in my first year and then transfer. I had been working as a bartender, another path I enjoyed throughly and had I not gotten into law school, I honestly cant say for sure if I would still be doing that. I can say probably not, because I was stuck in the mindset that I went to college I must do something with my degree other than hang it on the wall. So I packed my bags, got some new all weather tires on my old car and went to Michigan.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

Law school was a lot like college, only there were no tests or papers just one exam at the end of the semester that determined everything. I still had dreams of international relations, but I began to realize that law school was not meant for me. Why – to this day I am not sure. But I just did not see myself being a lawyer. And I certainly wasnt gonna spend 3 years and countless dollars to not be a lawyer. I decided grad school was a better option. So I returned home. I went back to waitressing and bartending. Even considered going into restaurant Management. I had done some of it before. It wasnt where my heart was but by now I felt like I had to do something other than chase classes. Instead I got into a paid internship program with the Cato Institute. It was a good reminder that no matter what I didnt have to give in just to get by. Working at Cato was intellectually stimulating. The people I was surrounded with were an amazing mix of people that I enjoyed being around. After Cato I was lucky to not return to waitressing and instead went to work at the National Democratic Institute. The job was initially part-time and I was a receptionist/go-to girl. In other words I answered phones and did the stuff no one else wanted to do (like sort old folders from 10-20 years ago). But the pay was good and it was my dream organization. Democracy, international – now if only I could get past answering phones and filing folders. While I was working at Cato and NDI, I was applying and reapplying to graduate programs. I took a graduate certificate course in conflict resolution in hopes it would bolster my qualifications. Eventually it did and I got accepted into a grad program near home town but out of the Washington DC area.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Meanwhile my twin sister had a baby and while my intellectual needs were being met, my heart was still restless. I watched my sister and my new nephew and I can only describe the feeling I had as jealousy. I told her outright, the night I stayed with her at the hospital that I wanted this for me too. She said it would come. At the time I felt it was something too far away. That summer I went and stayed with her to help with the baby, her home and basically I needed a summer to reflect. Grad School was going fine. I was doing well in my classes and most of the time I enjoyed them. But I struggled sometimes. To find the motivation to do the work, to write the papers, to go to class. One of my outlets was playing an online game with my sister. A time sink yes, but with her being 600 miles away when I started it was a nice way for us to spend time together. I continued to play in the summer, we were just able to really communicate and play together. One morning I decided to call in sick to work (another restaurant, just for the summer). Feeling lazy I signed onto the game and went to just fight things. Its what I enjoyed most in the game. And that is where I met my husband. He asked me to marry him that day too. Not that I said yes, but it definitely sparked our conversation and we could say it was love at first byte. Six months later I was flying to Italy. Three months after that he came home with me to America. We married a month later and 6 months after we were married we welcomed our beautiful girl into our family. Seven months after her birth we moved to Italy.

The purpose of this long but short little history is that like the poem, our paths diverge and often we have many choices. Whenever choosing one path we leave behind what could have been but we cannot mourn its loss. For the path we do choose has wonderful things in store. Sometimes they can be sad. Hopefully much of it is happy. But no matter what the path we choose makes the difference.

How has your life changed, your paths diverged? Has life taken you on an unexpected direction?

*The Road not Taken by Robert Frost

A Comparison – Bella Giorno

At Christmastime my sister gave us a BebePOD she had for her son. I have some pictures of her in it at christmas and now and well…

Mommy is crazy putting me in the chair! I'm too little!

This one is from christmas. She was almost 2 months old. This one….

Rawr! Gigantor baby !!

is from today. That Gigantor baby is my 6 month old! She’s gotten so big. Her last checkup she was 16lbs 4oz and 25 inches long! My sweet girl is growing so fast. I’m just glad she is healthy and growing well 🙂

One year ago

I was getting married :). Today is my wedding anniversary. Nico and I are going to celebrate together later this evening (still at work for the moment – leaving in about an hour). So much has happened this year from that tiny put together in a week ceremony.

Since we have been married, Nico has become a permanent resident – waiting for the interview for that was so stressful, we had Isabella, I finished my master’s program, although we are still waiting for results and now we are preparing to go to Italy in June. This year has been so busy. Isabella is almost 6 months old (another week or so)

I know Nico and I will have many many more years of marriage – with ups and downs like this year. Hopefully more ups than downs as we watch Isabella grow, have more (yikes – eventually!) kids and settle into a life in Capoterra.

Babies arent just coos and smiles…

My beautiful baby has some rather endearing qualities. She takes a lot after her father. She has my eyes and nose but her face, if you see pictures of the two of them, especially when he was little there is a lot of similarities. They also have something else in common….

Lovely noises in the morning

And that was one of the milder ones. My baby farts like a grown man

Isabella vs. the Avocado

The Avocado won…

Isabella hit the 4 month mark at the beginning of the month so we started her on rice cereal. Next week she will start on some fruits and veggies but here and there she has been getting “tastes” of the foods that she can eat at this age (and some snippets of sauces and other things). Well I had read that babies can eat pureed avocado and we had made Cobb Salads for dinner the other night. She took a couple small pieces of the avocado okay, this however was a much larger piece for her to work with. As you can see I dont think she liked it!

That is her daddy laughing his head off in the background ….