Tag Archives: hottie hubby

World Cup

The 2006 World Cup was amazing.  I had lived in Napoli for awhile and was really starting to have a deeper understanding of Italian culture. And, let me tell you, there is nothing like a World Cup to teach an American girl a thing (or ten) about the epic Italian love affair with soccer.

Soccer is a sacred sport in Italy. When I was teaching six-year-old first-graders, their skill level far exceeded any American middle school-aged soccer team. It is incredible watching the soccer match develop during first-grade recess.  The choosing of the captains, the teams, the strategy… And then to watch them play: it was like watching miniature men.  Nothing like the soccer fields across America, where most little league soccer games are basically a crowd of adorable little kids chasing the ball around for an hour.

So, the World Cup was a major, life-changing event.  I learned that Italians go crazy for it.  And Fabio Cannavaro, their national team captain is from Napoli, so you can imagine what the streets of Napoli were like during the games: Empty. That is right, the crazy chaos of the Neapolitan streets would disappear whenever Italy played.  So you can imagine the craziness that erupted when Italy WON the 2006 World Cup. It was madness.  The entire city poured on the streets, singing, dancing, shouting, lighting fireworks, and, obviously, lighting some cars on fire.  Giuseppe and I were downtown at a friend’s home watching the game that evening. The drive home was CRAZY. I was just glad we made it home in one piece.  Giuseppe loved that Italy won; I loved the pure excitement of it all.

So, here we are again in World Cup season. Italy’s performance was incredibly disappointing. Giuseppe, in disgust, basically disowned them and started rooting for USA.   Which is actually hilarious, given the American history of popular disinterest in soccer.  But the American soccer team actually showed some promise. So Giuseppe was pumped.  We went to a bar with some friends from the vet hospital to watch the USA v. Ghana game:

That game only got exciting in the end. And then Ghana beat us, again. Same as the last World Cup. I think Giuseppe was heart-broken for the whole next week.  But then he got the fabulous idea that we should definitely go to some games at the 2014 World Cup, to be held in Brazil.  That cheered us all right up.  (It’s never too early to start planning, right? Here’s to hoping!)

Lesson learned: Italians love soccer and I love the idea of trip to Brazil…

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Terzo anniversario

Today, June 29th, 2010 is our third anniversary of wedded bliss.  I thought I would commemorate with a photo montage of sorts.  I don’t get carried away, ever… And just think, these are a fraction of the photos that I wanted to post!

(These photos of us and our 200 and some guests were snapped by our “paparazzi” at my parent’s home in Naples, at the church where we were married AND Giuseppe was baptized as a baby {La Chiesa dell’Annunziata: a church where I agreed to married before I had even seen it, lucky for me, all churches in Italy are GORGEOUS!}, and at the beach club in Lago Patria where our reception was.  We have hundreds (thousands?) of photos; I just grabbed a few fun ones!)


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“This just won’t work. He’s walking on his tips!” Giuseppe stated, a bit exasperated.

We had Paolo test driving baby walkers at the store yesterday.  (Yes, we had to leave the MINI Cooper in Hawaii. Even disassembled, it wouldn’t fit into a luggage and it would cost $120 (!) to ship it to Iowa.  I cried when I learned that the beloved walker was staying in the Land of Aloha.)  These baby walkers are assaultingly ugly, but I am really left with no choice. I cannot find a decent-looking baby walker in the entire city.


After having stayed with my family for most of the month, Paolo has had a taste of the sweet life and now expects a full audience every minute, all day long.  He is used to five of us doting on him constantly, and, frankly, it’s a tough act to keep up on my own.  So, I was desperately in need of any and all baby entertainment on the market.  Let me just say, thank heavens for Baby Einstein videos and their blue sock puppets.

Hence the baby walker test driving.  I wanted to buy the collapsible walker, but as Giuseppe so aptly put, Paolo could only walk on his “tips.”  Tips being, his tip toes…obviously.  (I speak three languages: Italian, English, and Giuseppe.) So instead of the ugly collapsible walker, we purchased what is possibly the absolute ugliest baby walker ever to be put on the market.

Aesthetics aside, the baby walker is a-mazing.  Paolo loves it. And it gives me enough time to wash the breakfast dishes before dinner time.  Hopefully  now I can unpack our luggage sometime in the next week.


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Romance languages

English speakers pride themselves with their brevity of language. Or they at least strive to.  I know that, while I am not always successful, I sure do try to make my point succinctly and effectively.

Italian speakers, on the other hand, do just the opposite.  The best descriptions are ornate, flowery, and, shall we say, dramatic?  But always beautiful and always expressive.

Case in point: my darling husband expressing (in Italian, of course) how happy he is that we are back home from Hawaii: “When you are gone, it is like I am living my life in black and white, but when you are here, life comes back to being in bright color.”

There is a reason why Italian belongs to the Romance Language family.

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Today Paolo turned seven months old. My little newborn is closer to being one year old than to when he was born.  I feel so lucky to be a mother.  Having a sweet cuddly baby around is a constant delight and true gift.  Even with the cranky days and the poop explosions.  (Don’t even get me started there, what with the solids he’s been gobbling down lately.)

Here is my little man sitting on the floor, playing with some toys that, no matter how hard I try, are constantly contaminated with black dog hair.  At least Paolo will have a strong immune system, right?

Notice that is an action shot. Paolo thinks that my cell phone (as that is still my only camera) is the most amazing toy in the world. Whenever he sees me take it out or hears it ringing, he gets super excited. I mean his little arms start shaking and he tries to take it out of my hands.  And if he does manage to get ahold of it, it goes straight in his mouth.  And he often likes to lick the touchscreen, which is really nice.  And all of this happens really quickly, so I am surprised that he hasn’t actually done any damage yet. I suppose I should be more careful, but it’s so funny to watch him. He just loves it.  So you can imagine me trying to sneak a photo of him before he realizes that I’ve whipped out my cell phone.


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Speaking of thunder

It is weird when the weather has such an impact on your daily life.  For quite some time now, I have not really had to think about inclement weather and its possible effect on how I carry about my day.  In Naples, the weather was generally really nice. Sometimes it became cold in the winter and it was definitely really hot in the summer, but nothing that really affected my life.  And in California, the weather was always beautiful. Sometimes it rained.  (Okay, like four times all year.) And sometimes it was chilly.  But really, who am I kidding? The weather was basically perfect.

Well, there were the earthquakes. But they were harmless, and kind of exciting. At least they weren’t hurricanes or scary tornadoes.

Here weather is everything. Before we even arrived to Iowa, there were tornado watches going on when we stayed in Omaha.  We were worried about those, but were told, ‘Oh, don’t worry. You’ll hear the sirens and then you can just go hang out in the basement.” (This was when our Sofia was kenneled in the garage. You can imagine Giuseppe’s panic.) You know, no big deal.

I can’t complain about the spring weather here in Iowa. It’s actually been really beautiful. Usually it’s very sunny and warm.  And really windy.  But then, out of the blue, it will start to thunderstorm.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE thunderstorms. I always have. There is something about the dark sky, lightening, and heavy rain that reminds me of curling up on the sofa with a hot cocoa to watch a good movie. I love it. But here it is weird how dramatically and quickly the weather can change. Take today, for example. We drove down to Des Moines to meet my aunt, uncle, and grandparents for brunch. (Which was really nice, by the way.  We are going to try to make it a Sunday habit, or at least a couple times a month.)  After brunch, we stopped by the Apple store.  We were there for maybe 30 minutes.  (After we took care of business, we played on the iPad a little.  We found a super cool car racing game on it.) Anyway, when we went in the store, it was a gorgeous, sunny day.  When we came out of the store, there was a full on thunderstorm brewing. It was night and day in 30 minutes.  Thundering, lightening, raining, winding, everything. It was crazy.  That is when we decided to go home. It’s no fun being out in the ‘elements’ with an infant and without an umbrella.

So now our lives are bit more affected by weather. It is a bit of an adjustment, but I have to admit that it’s kind of nice. It’s a novelty, I guess, to have all this variation. We’re not exactly used to it. At least not yet.


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“That lady is really, how do you say it, street raging,” announced Giuseppe today while we were driving in Des Moines.


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Dolce per la domenica

Giuseppe and I truly disagree about consists of a healthy breakfast, as I explained here.  I think that breakfast should be a healthy meal, while he thinks that it should really just be desert at 8am.  Lucky for him, Paolo is still a baby (and can’t request cookies for breakfast) and I love to cook.  And Giuseppe begins his clinical rotations on Monday morning; I decided I could spoil him a little before he starts. So last night I whipped up these yummy cake brownies for Giuseppe.  Again, easy and delicious:

Cake Brownies

1. Grease a 15x10x1 inch pain with olive oil; set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, heat 3/4 cups butter in the microwave until completely melted. Stir in 1 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder until combined.  Add in 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  (I usually substitute vanilla with maple syrup.)  Beat combination slightly with a wooden spoon.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.  Measure 1 cup milk.

4. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to the chocolate combination, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition.

5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the brownies.  Sprinkle powdered sugar until completely covered.  Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

Buon appetito!

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Day Six: Dell’Anna Family Road Trip Adventure

We opted to stay in Omaha for one more day.  We spent the day at the Omaha Zoo, which was amazing.  While it is more compact than the San Diego Zoo, there is an incredible amount of animals there.  Because of the Midwest weather, the majority of the animals are kept in indoor, man-made environments. Which were awesome. The Desert Dome and Lied Jungle were amazing, especially the Jungle.  Right as we walked in, there were these itty-bitty little orange monkeys that had come down from the trees to greet their “guests.” I’m sure they were just looking for food, but it was incredible: they were playing only mere inches from us humans.  We also visited the gorillas, bears, big cats, aquarium, and aviary.  Giuseppe visited the Creatures of the Night exhibit, but Paolo and I skipped that one. For obvious reasons. Who wants to see snakes and bats?

And since our camera is broken, we only took video today.  Maybe I should post some of it to YouTube.

It’s been a great day. And it’s IOWA for sure tomorrow!  Here we come.

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Day Two: Dell’Anna Family Road Trip Adventure

Today started off to a leisurely pace, which was lovely.  We enjoyed (well, we ate) the hotel breakfast before heading off to the Grand Canyon.  The scenery was gorgeous, but it was cold outside!  I never associated Arizona with cold weather, but it is rather chilly here.  By the time we got to the Grand Canyon, it was in the 40s!  Paolo prefers to be nakie, so you can imagine how he felt about being all bundled up.  But we got a smile out of him. I think he was just so happy to be outside and not in the car.

We stopped for lunch at a little town just south of the Grand Canyon National Park.  Giuseppe wanted a steak since we are in the Far West.  (Which can only be said if it is followed with a little Western-sounding theme song; you know the one when the bad guys face the good guys in a crowded parlor.)  There were a few a funny things at this restaurant:

No firearms allowed in by order of the Sheriff! Really? People have to be told where they can and cannot bring their personal firearms?  And if that wasn’t strange enough, the first thing I saw on the menu was an appetizer of RATTLESNAKE meat? People eat that?  I suggested we order it just to see what it looks like, but Giuseppe wasn’t up to spend the extra money for that.  And no, I am not brave enough to try snake meat. I draw the line at escargot.

The Grand Canyon was more beautiful than I remembered.  It wasn’t sunny, which was a bummer, but it was breathtaking.

Oh, and we saw elk! I thought Giuseppe was going to pee his pants, he was so excited.

Again, I never really associate Arizona with cold weather, but the drive to Flagstaff was beautiful and snowy.  Snowy Arizona.  We had to stop and get out warmer clothes.  From our backpack on top of the SUV. It was totally worth the hassle. My Uggs have never felt so great.

So, once we got to Flagstaff, we stayed in and ordered room service. I mean, there is snow outside. Reason enough to stay in and snuggle with my chub-a-lub. Tomorrow: Santa Fe.


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Day One: Dell’Anna Family Road Trip Adventure

I am happy to report that Day One of our cross-country adventure was a complete success.  We left Orange County all packed and ready with our baby, dog, suitcase, stroller, diaper bag, car seat, baby bag, dog kennel, dog food container, nav system, ipod, camera, video camera, the list goes on… Did I mention we have a ‘backpack’ for our SUV? That is where we put the suitcase… We left after stopping for, of course, a scrumptious little lunch at In-N-Out.   (We are leaving the West Coast; we have to up on our In-N-Out intake while we can.)  Lucky for us, Paolo also fell asleep pretty much the same minute that we turned on the car.  He slept pretty soundly for the first half of the trip, which made the driving very easy.

We made our first pit stop not too far from the Arizona border at a gas station/Dairy Queen.  We were excited about the Dairy Queen part.  This ad made us laugh. It was actually an anti-advertisement, really:

I mean how gross is that? A giant close-up of fried food.  Really?  (Notice the three lighting fixtures to illuminate this mural by night.) Nice.  Although it didn’t stop us from going in to order some ice cream.   (We were totally on a roll today. In-N-Out and ice cream.   Delicious ways to hold on to my baby weight a little longer.  The good news is that we already have a gym membership in Iowa.)

I had forgotten how gorgeous the drive east really is.  As we left the Los Angeles area, the desert scenery grew increasingly beautiful.  We only scheduled about six hours of road time today, but it went by quite quickly!  Giuseppe loved the scenery; he has wanted to make this drive since we moved to California.  He was so excited to be on the Mojave Highway, and even more excited to see signs for the ‘Historic Route 66.’  I took a million photographs, but taking them from the car didn’t really help my already mediocre photography skills.  I wish the photos really showed the amazing beauty of this place.

Now we are all snuggled in our king size bed at our dog friendly hotel resting up for tomorrow’s trip to the Grand Canyon.


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Today is our last day in California. When we made the move here from Italy, I had not really planned on moving away, especially this quickly. And especially to the Midwest.   This move has been incredibly sudden, which has made it a bit more stressful that I had hoped it would be.  The past week has been a whirlwind of frantic activity, with ending my job, moving our household goods, and just basically taking care of business and tying up loose ends. Giuseppe has been great, running endless errands to get everything squared away.

After the movers came and went on Monday, we drove out to Huntington Beach to stay until Thursday.  I have had a few “California” days, strolling through Huntington with friends and family, going out on the pier, taking a quick shopping trip/visit to the Easter Bunny at South Coast Plaza.   It feels surreal to be leaving; I can’t really wrap my head around how quickly it is happening.

It has been very nice staying here, and I do not feel totally ready to leave. But tomorrow it is.  We are first driving down to San Diego to visit Zack and have brunch.  Then we will drive out to Arizona, where we will visit the Grand Canyon. Giuseppe is pretty excited to see it, and I am very glad to be revisiting. I think it  has been about 15 years since I was out there as a child.  The next stop will be Santa Fe, then Denver, Omaha, and finally Ames.   This road trip should actually be very beautiful and great time for us as a family.  We don’t really plan to drive more than 7 or so hours per day, and do plan to take longish breaks to let the baby stretch out and play.

Here’s to our new adventure.


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