Tag Archives: italy

On raising a bilingual baby: Our Mommyhood


Yesterday Our Mommyhood published my post on our little Italian-American family culture; hear my take on raising a bilingual baby.


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Yesterday Giuseppe announced that he does actually miss Italy, well Europe in general, and would like to someday return.

“Well, obviously,” you say.  Hah. If only. We moved to California just over two years ago and ever since Giuseppe has been proclaiming his eternal love for the United States.  When we were married three and a half years ago, I never thought that we would be moving away from Italy.  (I mean, I would never choose to leave. You know I’m obsessed with l’Italia!) Anyway, Giuseppe’s been pretty constant in his adoration for the U.S.  Which left me without hope of ever returning to Europe to live.  I had come to accept that I would have to quench my European nostalgia with annual vacations.

So, you can imagine my joy when Giuseppe stated that he would someday consider returning.  Who knows when, but at least the option is open, right? In the meantime, we will be enjoying this gorgeous Midwestern autumn.


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On Italian Grannies: Our Mommyhood

Ciao tutti! Today I’ve published on article on Our Mommyhood. Please drop by to read it and share your thoughts…

And! I’m now a ‘Staff Writer’ at Our Mommyhood!  So excited! Stay tuned for more fun articles.


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We are back in IOWA

Yesterday afternoon we returned home from our glorious month in Italia.

Italia was filled with amazing meals, breathtaking panoramas, great friends, spectacular parties, and was so incredible that it felt like we there for about two whole days.  I can’t believe the trip is already over.  I’m still working on a travel journal; I’ve not yet decided if I will publish it here, but I will certainly be posting some photos in the near future.

When we walked out of the Des Moines airport yesterday, I was greeted by the most beautiful day I have ever experience in Iowa.  The sky was crystal-clear blue, the air crisp and cool.  Autumn arrived to Iowa while we were in Italy.  The past two days have been just absolutely beautiful.  Paolo and I have been busy trying to unpack our loads of luggage, getting the house back in order, and making some real meals for the hubs.  (Giuseppe actually did a fantastic job of keeping the house clean; but the refrigerator was barren, with only two beers and no food.) But we have been taking breaks to for walks outside. After such a scorchingly hot summer, any time outside at a comfortable temperature is absolutely heaven!  The gorgeousness of the weather is a definite plus.

We are still fighting jet-lag, which is a pain, but a small price for such a fabulous trip.  This week will be busy with party preparation: Paolo’s First Birthday Party “La Festa Italiana” is Saturday!  I’ll have to try to squeeze some time in for my blogging addiction, which I wholly neglected while I was traveling!

A presto!


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Some of the small reasons why I love Europe

As soon as our Air France flight took off from Canada, I was quickly reminded why I am so in love with Europe.

All of the French airline attendants were so kind, classy, and gorgeously groomed.  One flight attendant, Natalie, took us under her wing, playing with Paolo and being extra sweet to me.  By the end of the flight she was Paolo’s new girlfriend. (This was a God-send after all of the terrible, terrible events in the Toronto airport. I would elaborate, but I don’t even know if I want to go there.)  The airplane meal was actually good and as we eased into our overnight flight, I enjoyed a delicious glass of red wine, which is standard for Air France.  The entire flight was comfortable and the Air France employees were so much more personable and easy to deal with than anyone I have ever encountered on any domestic airlines.

When we arrived to Paris for our layover, the French airport employees were actually helpful and kind.  (And everyone was gorgeous.  Everyone.  All the women have beautifully applied make-up and perfectly coiffed hair.) One official whisked me into a shorter passport line that was actually only for EU citizens, but they helped me through anyway to make sure we made our connecting flight.  A random Air France pilot helped me take the escalator with Paolo and our belongings to shorten our trek to the next gate.  Once at the gate, the handsome attendant had us board before all the other passengers so that I could install the car seat before the passengers arrived.  He simply brought us through check-in before pre-boarding had even begun. No silly questions about the car seat, just very helpful to us. And the airline attendants helped me with our bags before I even asked.

Once we arrived to Napoli, one of the attendants helped us onto the shuttle bus, where he put us right next to the driver. Once we arrived to terminal, the driver helped us down and smiled at Paolo.  When I went to the fetch our luggage from the conveyor belt, an airport employee brought me a luggage cart free of charge and offered to help me load it and carry it outside. I accepted the cart gratefully, but managed the luggage alone.

All along the way from Paris to Napoli, people were kind and personable and helpful.  Which is not something I can say as a generalization when traveling domestically. Yes, it happens, but is certainly not the norm.  It was such a great way to start our trip to Italia. I arrived to Napoli feeling so happy and welcome; I am so excited for our month-long stay here.


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Festa italiana

A little over a week ago, my brother Zack called me with the great news that he purchased tickets to fly out here to IOWA for Paolo’s first birthday.  Which is super exciting.

This also brought to my attention how quickly Paolo’s first birthday is actually approaching.  We leave for Italia in three weeks, where we will stay for a month.  (I am not sure I can aptly communicate just how excited I am for this trip; I miss Napoli every single day.)  Then, on our way back home, we are stopping in Baltimore for about five days.  When we land back in Iowa, Zack arrives that week to celebrate Paolo’s birthday.  So, I have to order all of my supplies, send out invitations, and plan menus and playlists before we leave for Italia.

Luckily, I came up with a fitting theme: una festa italiana.  I have reserved a giant pavilion, started designing the invites, ordered some supplies, and I have planned the menu.  (And I will be able to purchase food and wine in Italy to ship here for the event! It’s perfect timing, really.) We have also set aside soccer/rugby/bocce balls to provide activities other than drinking wine for our guests. I love a great party, and my baby’s first birthday is an incredibly momentous occasion that I cannot wait to celebrate.  And we really couldn’t be luckier to be in a place where we have so many relatives living near by. I really hope everyone will be able to attend.

(Dear Mains in Iowa: I will have the invites out in the mail in the next few weeks! I look forward to receiving your RSVP! xo)


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Summertime/Winter anxiety

What is it with summertime that is goes by so quickly?  Tomorrow is August 1st. How is that even possible?  It’s been a super busy summer, with all of the traveling and guests that we’ve had, but it still doesn’t feel like August yet.  Which means I really have only one month of real summer left here in IOWA.  We’ll spend September in Italy (which will be absolutely glorious) but then we will be back and it will be the autumn.  (And then… the dreaded WINTER.  Oh gosh.  There will be snow and ice and a deficiency of sunshine.)

AND, the week we arrive home from Italy, it will be Paolo’s first birthday! Yikes!  Doesn’t seem possible. I can’t really wrap my mind around that one.

I have to start thinking about his first birthday party.  Maybe a sailboat/nautical theme….But I am open to ideas, so please send me some!


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My sister-in-law, Cristiana, snapped these photos of Paolino while she was in London and we were here, in the heartland of the USA.  Isn’t Skype amazing?

Our family is pretty much spread out all over the globe. My parents live in Hawaii, which is exactly 12 time zones away from Giuseppe’s parents, who live in Naples, Italy.  My baby brother still lives with my parents (he’s 14) and so does Giuseppe’s (he’s 17).  My other brother lives in the glorious city of San Diego, and Giuseppe’s sister lives in the gorgeous city of London.  Then, there are all of the extended relatives.  (My parents both come from families with 9 children each; Giuseppe’s parents have 7 siblings total.)  So you can imagine the chaos when trying to organize family reunions…or even telephone calls.

Oh the glory of videochat. We are absolutely addicted to it. Paolo even loves it. How many 6-month-olds do you know who recognize the ringing sound that Skype makes? Mine sure does. He starts to wave his arms and legs around when he hears it.  Then the drooling and giggling starts when he hears one of his grandparents’ voices.

Having this kind of technology at our fingertips has been a true blessing.  While our families are all spread out, we can still retain the close relationships similar to those  families who live in close proximity to one another.  Granted, it is different from actually being with that family member; but it is amazing to be able to virtually talk to them in person.

This all makes me think back to my experience, being the daughter of a naval officer and always living far from our relatives.  It was hard to be away, but at the same time, it made me appreciate the time that I spent with my relatives on special occasions.  When I compare this to the experience of my child, it is incredible.  I know that he will value beyond measure the time that he will pass with his relatives, but being able to keep those relationships fresh via videochat is simply amazing.  I know that our parents love being able to watch him grow, even when they live across the planet.  Technology today is truly amazing.  (Should I say ‘amazing’ one more time…? I really think Skype is AMAZING.)


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