Happy Thanksgiving Eve

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Its Thanksgiving eve and normally by now I’ve baked 2 apple pies, an apple pie, made fruit salad and broccoli crunch. I’ve maybe made some bread and sweet potato crunch. All prep for roasting the turkey and the ham tomorrow.

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But this year its 6pm and I have yet to start cooking. Not because I am not going to. I’ve got 2 pies to make yet and I want to start an appetizer and a small lunch for us tomorrow. But I don’t feel like they need to be done so far before hand in order to get everything done.

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For our first thanksgiving in Italy, for some reason I wanted to keep it to just Nico, myself and Isabella. Its her second official Thanksgiving, but the first where she might actually eat some of the food!  I should/could try to accommodate Nico’s family’s eating schedule but I wanted to keep part of my Thanksgiving traditions on tact, so part of me just wanted to be a simple affair for just us. I am making turkey but not a whole bird, a few new sides I haven’t made before – something I’ve always wanted to do. We will be having traditional pumpkin pie, except this year from scratch, even pureed pumpkin!

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The holidays seem especially bittersweet for me. I don’t know if its just cause of the recent bout of homesickness or just cause it’s the first holidays away from home. But with the menu I have planned and enjoying an easy day downstairs I think that it might just be okay. And hopefully we will catch the family on Skype and see all there lovely food! (especially the stuff I cant find here, like collard greens and yellow sweet potatoes!) Here’s my menu (links provided when possible)

We have to go to the Farmer’s Market in the morning to pick up some produce, convenient that it falls on Thursday, everything will be nice and fresh. Photo0530

*Pictures from Thanksgiving 2009

If you celebrate it, what are your plans for Thanksgiving? Travelling to be with family? Hosting family at your home? Share your traditions in the comments, and have a Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.

Fallen

a letter that was written before I had the website ready.

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You slept in our bed last night. Its not the first time its happened, but normally its just for a few hours instead of the whole night. But you just did not want to sleep at all. That’s ok. You were all snuggly and warm. It was nice although I slept poorly and near the edge of the bed. By about 5am my shoulder hurt and my sleep had been so light that I wanted to cry. But you slept.

You fell twice today. You rolled off the bed and then later this evening you slid out of your chair. Both times I saw the look on your face. Both times I felt and still feel awful. How could I let you fall off the bed. You move so fast. And then slip out of your chair, how did I forget your weren’t buckled.

It’s painful to see something happen to you. And yet I know there is so much more to come IMG_1765and I don’t know how to keep you safe from everything. I just want to hold you close to me and keep you warm and safe. Lately at night when you are done nursing, you curl up in my lap, lay you head on my tummy or my breast and fall asleep. Or just lay peacefully. I love these moments. I wish I could have them forever.

I want so much for you. To want for nothing but to be fair-minded. To play and never worry. To never see mommy or daddy worry or fight. I haven’t done too well on that, but I can just hope you wont remember. Too much stress going on, it makes mommy sad and unsure.

I don’t know what our future looks like. Is this our home? I look around and its nothing like I pictured. Only one thing is. Me with you. Being home with you, I never really thought about otherwise. I don’t know. I think before I had you, like most people I just accepted the reality that we put babies in daycare. How wrong I was. I don’t think I could ever do it. I know daycare isn’t terrible. In fact there are many good things about it. If I were so inclined I would even consider running one. Except that I don’t really want to take care of other peoples kids anymore than I want other people taking care of you. IMG_2645

Make sense? I rarely do these days. Lack of sleep maybe. Lack of confidence perhaps.

I don’t want to write this here but I will. I didn’t like today when your grandmother took you and kept you, rocking you in the way that I wanted. I had been holding you, you were snuggled against me and I could feel your little belly moving. Such a comforting thing. But then your grandmother got in your face and got your attention. And I don’t know, maybe its me. But something about the way she was holding you, its like she was trying to protect you or comfort you. I felt like it was directed to me. Like “don’t worry, ive got you Isabella in a kind of way”. Your daddy would say that is crazy. Maybe it is. Its not the first time. But maybe its just me thinking I’m your mother its my job to take care of you.

My sweet girl, I want so much to take care of you the way you deserve. I don’t know if I am good enough to be your mother but I will try. I love you with all my heart.

10/26/2010

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Journaling vs. Blogging?

kdk_0896When I was younger, I used to have a habit I wish I had kept up with. Every night before I went to sleep I would take 15, sometimes 30 minutes to write half a page or more before I went to bed. Sometimes it was about whatever went on during the day. Other times it was whatever thought happened to be rolling around in my high-school brain at the time. I’m not sure why I got out of the habit but I wish I had kept up with it. I always keep a journal/diary but don’t write in it as often as I would’ve liked. I have some of my old journals with me and they span from sophomore year of high school until well now.

I always wanted to have blank journals, I’m not sure why. I guess I didn’t want to be restricted by the lines or I wanted the book to feel more sacred than a simple lined book. I also preferred covers that were well pretty. My current journal has a fabric cover with beautiful embroidered flowers and leafy green swirls.

I’ve also had other blog incarnations. Pitas, Live Journal, even myspace all which have bit digital dust. There was even a blog on my other personal site that I abandoned but may get resurrected. My brain is a flurry of activity that my body cant possibly keep up with.

kdk_0986I wish I could get back in that old habit. Maybe not writing everyday, but definitely more often than I do. Currently my last entry in my journal was a probably a couple of months ago. And I don’t write here as I would in my journal but sometimes I think I would/should. I guess it all really depends on the direction I want to go with this site. But that’s the problem isn’t it? I want a direction I’m just not sure what it is yet. I already decided to separate most cooking from this space (only because I think it would take over if I let it!).

For now I’ll just write. Let time figure it out for me. I have a few ideas in mind but I don’t have the, well I guess it’s the confidence to start them. That and I haven’t gotten into good habit of writing for this space.

What’s to come? I’ve given up on trying to figure that out. I’m a planner without a plan at the moment. And I guess that will have to be alright.

Not Momma Today

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I haven’t really felt like being a momma lately. It’s a horrible thing. To write it, to even think it honestly. I love being your momma, don’t ever think otherwise. But lately Ive allowed myself to be so stressed and so angry at everything. For the most part it doesn’t really affect how I am with you. Mainly because I don’t want it to. But there have been a couple times where I had your daddy come and rock you for your evening nap because I just couldn’t fight with you to sleep.

Although if you cried I couldn’t stay away. Right now he trying to get you back to sleep and you just don’t want to be put back down I bet. I haven’t gone in to see yet. I wanted/needed to write you a letter. Ever since I published that first letter I haven’t really had any thoughts come to mind.

A couple of things maybe, but nothing that made me think ‘Dear Isabella, I have to tell you what’s going on today!’. But like I said I haven’t really felt like myself lately.

You are amazing though. Talking, you say hi when you want to be picked up. I can ask you where you belly button is and you will lift you shirt and look for it. Its really adorable. We had to take you for one shot today, although you were supposed to get two. The doctor who was there this time was much better. Last time was awful. The doc then was more concerned about the documents and then when it was time for your shot you were really upset and he wouldn’t give me the time to calm you down. By the time it was all done we were both in tears. Looking back I feel like he was that way because I don’t speak the language, came with a translator (Sylvia and not your daddy) and was just in general a jerk. But today the doctor was better. Gentler and you were such a brave girl. A little bit of tears when you got poked but soon after it was forgotten.

I gotta help your Papa, I’m sure he’s about to melt down. I love you more than words can say,

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Remembering 31 Days

hallooooween 023In October I struggled with finding peace in our old house. I and it are still trying to get to know one another but I did manage to let go of some of the stress. Here is a recap of some of my favorites. You can also check out the whole series here.

I started off by sharing the spiral park that is outside my door. It is the first thing that is in my memory when I think of meeting Nico and appropriate for the beginning of this series. Our citrus trees came next and they are full of lemons and the oranges are ripening and will be ready soon.

I talked a lot about food. From pizza, ice cream, fruit and of course pasta. Then we came to day 10.

But despite that lapse October days kept going by and I kept trying to find things to appreciate. There were hidden treasure and life lessons, ingenuity and patience (still working on that one). Desserts, wine and the Farmers’ Market . (I love Thursdays!).

There were also potential in this old house, views steeped in history and local specialties.

But the best part of the 31 Days series were the most important reminders as to why we are here. Regardless of where I live my family and the times I get to spend with Isabella is the most important reason for being anywhere.

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.

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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

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First Birthday

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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

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Family–31 Days to a Happier Home

The End.

Well almost. The final day of this series and my final reason. Family. Its essentially why we moved here. I wanted to be able to stay home with Isabella and have a more family orientated atmosphere. Before we came to Italy I worked part time from 11-6 but my commute added an hour to each end of that day. By the time I would get home I’d see my baby for a couple of hours and then she would be off to bed. Having the morning was okay but with her not sleeping through the night or when she would sleep in late (which she doesn’t do anymore) we just didn’t have that much time together. It made me miserable.

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Added that I wanted our family to have more time together, not just after work time. The average American family spends after 6 and weekends together. I didn’t want to be an after 6 and weekends family. 

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So I quit my job and we moved here. It’s been fun, frustrating, hot, exciting and interesting. But most of all its been the best way I want to be with my daughter.

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No matter if we stay in Italy forever, move back to the US or move to Timbuktu, no matter what I know that I want to be able to devote the majority of my time to her – not to anything else. Do I miss work? Actually not really. There are so many other things that are more important. Listening to her say ducky or buk at the chicken.

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Whenever my frustration hits boiling point it helps to remember what I am here for. To be home with her. Would I have been able to do it in the US, probably eventually but everyday I went to work I felt like I was missing something. Not the moments, even though of course I was afraid to miss those. I felt I was missing a part of me. It sounds corny and cliché but being Isabella’s mom is who I am supposed to be. Yes I am more than that but this is my dream job.

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I also love that I can be home for Nico. When we were in the US at first he wasn’t able to work and then we made the hard decision that until we decided where we would go after Isabella was born that he would stay home with her instead of putting her in daycare. Daycare was something I just didn’t want to do plus it was ridiculously expensive in the area we lived in. You needed a second income just to be able to afford it. He worked hard taking care of her and helping around the house. While I am not great at being a housewife I try.

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Making a home for Nico and Isabella is all I really want. I want us to be able to live comfortably, happily and to be with each other as much as possible. Life shouldn’t be about making a living, it should be about living!  So for me reason #31 and the number 1 reason for my everyday is my family.

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Happy Halloween! October is over and so is this project. I will do a follow-up post in a couple of days but I hope you enjoyed seeing so many different things! What is your family life like? How has it’s importance affected your decision making? Please share in the comments.

Cheese!–31 Days to a Happier Home

I cant believe I’ve gone through all of October without once mentioning cheese! Italy is known for its glorious parmigiano reggiano, grana padano – Italy knows its cheese. Sardinia is no exception and makes some of the best cheeses of all of Italy. In particular are their sheep’s milk cheeses.

We already talked a little bit about Pecorino Sardo when I showed you my favorite desert, Sebadas, but that is just the tip of the cheese wedge. There are so many different types of Sardinian cheese. Soft, hard, strong and mild, these cheeses cover a wide gamut.

We have a lovely wedge of Pecorino Originale – which means its an artisanal cheese, handmade. And it was cheap. It tastes a little like cheddar but is unique on its own. And of course we have fresh grated parmesan. We do eat a lot of pasta after all.

One more day, I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad! I’ve shared a lot this month about what I love about living in Italy. What is your favorite cheese? Does your area offer any kind of specialty? Please share in the comments.

**images courtesy Wikimedia Commons**

History–31 Days to a Happier Home

When I was in high school I hated American History but thrived in European History. I don’t know why but American History was just so … boring. And yet  European History with its Romanticism and age and the trials and tribulations, I could study it all. I even was a history major for a brief time and sometime I wish…

But that’s the past (ha!). Here in Capoterra we are surrounded by history. Like most European cities you can see the history still in each building. Sardinia is rich with history. In fact Sardinia is home to its own ancient civilization and some of the artifacts still remain today.

These are Nuraghe and the were built by Nuragic Civilization. We never studied these in any of my history classes but Nico told me about them when we first met. We haven’t been out to see one in person yet, but there is one nearby.

Nuraghe are beehive in shape and their true purpose is unknown. Scholars speculate that they could have been religious, simply dwellings, strongholds – but no one really knows. There are some 8,000 Nuraghes left in Sardinia but there may have been as many as 30,000!

The Nuragic people existed from 18-15th century BC until about 2nd century BC when Rome came to Sardinia. The Phoenicians also came in 1st century BC. The Nuragic people existed in tribes, developed vast monuments, giants graves and truly not much is known about them. For me this is all fascinating and deserving of a much longer post to come.

The End is near! All October I have been sharing something I love about my home. What history does your region contain? I grew up in Virginia, near some pretty nice colonial sites and now this! Please share your histories in the comments.

***all images and information courtesy of Wikipedia***