Tag Archives: snow

Botany project: Week one

We are can’t wait for Spring out here in Iowa. Mid-February, it really warmed up, melting all of the snow.  It was really just a big tease, though, because now there is snow on the ground again. I’ll reluctantly admit that it’s kind of pretty, but not as pretty as spring would be.

To hurry things along, I decided that Paolo would have his first Botany Project.  Last week I purchased a little mini terrarium, and in it we planted tomato, sweet pepper, cucumber, eggplant, and, of course, basil.   This took place exactly one week ago, and I can’t believe how quickly our little plants are growing. Pretty soon, we’re going to have to transplant them all into a larger pot.  (Which will require G’s assistance. He’s the one with the green thumb.)  Notice how four of the nine of the cucumber plants are cut in half? I accidentally decapitated them yesterday when I dropped the terrarium lid, crushing their skinny little stems. I was quite upset with myself. But it looks like they are making a come back.


Botany project: Week one





Filed under Uncategorized

Snow walk

It’s stopped blizzarding and is now crisp and sunny. An absolutely gorgeous afternoon.  So we decided to go out for a walk around the neighborhood.  We quickly realized that despite the beauty of the fresh air, it was much to cold for a stroll. (Even in our snowsuits.) After about 10 minutes, we rushed back to the warmth of our apartment.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Holidays 2010/2011: A review

Today Paolo turned 15 months.  And he is sooo a 15-month-old.  As in, he is very, very busy and expects me to entertain him every minute that he is awake. So I try, but he lets me know when he’s not entertained to his satisfaction. Loudly.

So, most of my normal chores and activities have fallen to the wayside. Including this blog.  Since I did not send out a Christmas card this year either, I thought I’d post some fun pictures of what our holiday was like this year.

We planned to drive up to Rochester, Minnesota to visit my aunt’s family and my grandma for Christmas. So we had our little family Christmas here on December 23rd.  We had a Neopolitan Christmas dinner (meaning all seafood) and opened our presents.  Paolo mostly liked playing with the wrapping paper, ribbons, and discarded boxes. Except the miniature armchair that we bought for him. He love love loves having a mini big-boy chair; especially for reading books and watching videos.

Pre-Christmas eve dinner

Pre-Christmas eve presents

Paolo's fave present

Our plans were tarnished, though, when we woke up on Christmas eve.  A big snowstorm had clobbered the Midwest, and there was no way to drive safely from Iowa up to Minnesota. So we ended up having to stay home and celebrated Christmas Eve again, without our relatives.  It was still a fun, snowed-in day.  And that evening, we video chatted with my family while opening the presents we had all exchanged. Which was really awesome, almost like we were able to spend the holiday together.  (Since then we’ve started video chatting through our Xbox Kinect, which is way better, because you can basically talk through the TV.  I wish we had set it up over Christmas!)

Christmas eve snowstorm

Christmas eve nap

Christmas eve

Then, on Christmas Day, Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) stopped by.  A little later, when the roads were drivable, we went down to Des Moines to have Christmas dinner with my Aunt Jackie and her family.  She already has such a big family of her own; it was so nice of her to have us down, especially at the last minute.  Even though our plans to go to Minnesota for the holiday didn’t work out, we still had a fun and festive Christmas.

Babbo Natale stopped by

Babbo Natale stopped by (2)

Babbo Natale stopped by (3)


I don't know about all this snow

Christmas Day 2010

The day after Christmas, I picked up my dad and brother Zack from the Des Moines airport. As excited as we were to have them come for a visit, it was for a sad reason. My Grandma Main passed away three days before Christmas this year.  At 90 years old, she had lived a good life, with nine children, dozens of grandchildren, and even more great-grandchildren.  It was especially hard watching my 94-year-old grandfather, aunties, and of course, my father, mourn her passing.  The funeral was held the Tuesday after Christmas, in my father’s hometown of Storm Lake. The mass was said at his childhood church and the reception was held at the local Knights of Colombus hall.  I didn’t snap as many photos as I would have liked, but I did take this quick picture of my dad and grandpa at lunch, just after the burial. (What you can’t see in this photo is that Paolo is sitting across from my Grandpa here, doing his best to make him laugh.  Paolo just loves his great-grandpa; when we go to visit, Paolo just follows him around and laughs.)

Granpa & Dad

Dad and Zack stayed with us through the New Year. We had a good time. On New Years Eve, we picked up a few groceries and had lunch at the local co-op.  Then, they took Paolo with them down to Des Moines to visit Grandpa, leaving Giuseppe and I on our own for the afternoon.

Which was glorious. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves!  In a small town, in the middle of winter, there is not too much to do on a whim. But we managed to have a great time. We first stopped for coffee in a little diner downtown. (Just the two of us! No baby food fights or mess to clean up!) Then we went to see the third movie of the “Focker” triology, “Little Fockers.” It was hilarious.  After, we went to a quick cafe` for mid-afternoon treat.  We had a such a lovely afternoon, it was so nice to know that Paolo was off with his Gramps and Uncle Zack, having fun, while Giuseppe and I were able to have a little quality time alone.

Then, for New Year’s Eve, Giuseppe was on call, so we planned a night in.  After putting Paolo to bed, we started a championship, winner-take-all, five-hour-long game of Monopoly.  (I know, the exciting life we live! So glamourous.)  But it was really fun! Twice, though, during the game, the electricity went out due to, yes, yet another holiday snow storm.  It became so cold in 40 minutes without electricity, that we were getting ready to go find a hotel. Luckily, we didn’t have to.  Long story short, a couple hours after our midnight toast to the New Year, I WON the championship.  I was very pleased with myself.

New year's eve 2010

New year's eve 2010

On New Year’s Day, Dad and Zack were supposed to leave, but due to – surprise surprise – weather conditions/mechanical plane problems, they were delayed for another few days. So we had a few more days of holiday fun before they flew out that Monday.

New years day 2011

Then, on the Feast of the Epiphany, there is the Italian tradition of La Befana, a scary old witch that leaves chocolate in the stockings of good children.  (See my article on La Befana at Our Mommyhood.)  Paolo had fun digging through the Befana stocking, even if Giuseppe is really the one who was excited about the chocolate.

La calza della Befana

La Befana came!

The next day, January 7th, marked the official end of our holiday season. I took down all of our Christmas decorations and tree. Our house looks so empty (and orderly!) now.

Paolo just woke up, so it’s lunch time.  Maybe during his nap tomorrow I will be able to tackle thank-you notes and answer email…

Happy 2011 everyone!


Filed under Uncategorized

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!


Filed under Uncategorized

Winter anxiety in July

The summer time here is gorgeous. It’s been warm and sunny; everything is lush and green.  I have started Paolo in mommy & me swim lessons, so we go to the pool every morning.  We have been spending a lot of time outside and it has been quite nice.

I, however, cannot stop worrying about the winter.  How obnoxious is that?  I try not to think about it, but the thought of snow on the ground from October to March makes me very nervous.  I know it will be pretty to have snow around, and it will be fun for Paolo to play in….I do see the positive side of having a true winter.

But oh my goodness. I am worried about all the coming months that we will be spending freezing our patooties off.  I envision Paolo and I becoming housebound instead of scraping ice off the windshield of my SUV.  (I know, I know, I can’t hardly believe it either that I chose to sign a lease on a place without a garage.  I mean, really. What was I thinking? I think all of that California sunshine had gone to my head.)

In the meantime, I am going to try to quiet my winter anxiety and continue to enjoy the gorgeous summer.


Filed under Uncategorized

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.


Filed under Uncategorized

Airplane rides and kind strangers

On Wednesday afternoon, I caught a flight with the baby from Orange County, California to Des Moines, Iowa.  The trip is a “house-hunting” adventure, as Giuseppe’s post-doctoral licensing program begins in Ames next month at Iowa State University.  Let me say that again: We are moving to Iowa. Where it’s cold, it snows, and there is no ocean. Did I mention it snows?

But I digress. I left the OC feeling relaxed and confident. I have an easy baby: he likes to snuggle, rarely cries, and generally smiles a lot.  I boarded the plane prepared. I had my awesome diaper bag packed with the essentials: Paolo’s favorite Giraffe, some teething rings and toys, change of clothes, diapers, and a box of wipes.  I was wearing yoga clothes and had Paolo dressed equally comfortably.  He’s happy as can be, sitting in his front carrier, looking around. I find our seats on the super-packed airplane.  (Not a spare seat to be found.)  I am sandwiched in between two grown men, with Paolo, my giant baby, sitting on my lap.

Then it began.  It started as a fussy whimper.  It quickly erupted to a full blown temper tantrum/meltdown.  Paolo turned bright red, opened his mouth and commenced to SCREAM at the TOP OF HIS LUNGS.  He arched out of my arms and stiffened his entire body.  And stayed like that. For a full hour.  So my five-month-old is basically standing on my lap pitching the largest fit of his life. On a crowded airplane. Between two men. Before the plane even took off.

I tried nursing. I tried massaging his gums. I tried laying him down in my arms. I tried singing. I checked his diaper.  And then I started crying. I mean crying; tears streaming down my face and getting my shirt all wet.  All while Paolo SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER.  This was nothing like our trip to Hawaii when he was six weeks old. Then he just nursed and slept.  This was completely different.

So there I was crying, with a screaming infant in my lap, on a crowded airplane.  The man sitting to my right patted my arm and whispered, “It’s okay, just breathe.  He’ll calm down.”  And that random act of kindness almost made me cry more, I was so touched.  I was sure everyone was ready to kick us right off that plane, and this nice man was being so sweet.

After about five minutes of my tears, I calmed myself and pulled it together.  But Paolo did not. He kept right on screaming, through my rotations of soothing attempts. Nursing, gum massage, belly rub, change positions, repeat. Nothing. Finally, the same man leaned over and asked if he could hold the baby for a few minutes.  I, of course, was very grateful.  He took the baby and laid Paolo on his back, on his lap, and rubbed his belly.  Paolo continued to scream for five minutes, and then MAGICALLY dozed off to sleep.

I am sure the entire plane was grateful. It was a miracle.  I felt like the luckiest woman in the world to have this kind stranger sitting next to me on that overcrowded plane.

The entire event flabbergasted me.  What in the world happened?  Looking back, I think the meltdown was a direct result of Paolo wanting to take a nap, but was unable to get comfortable.  And I have been spoiled by a child who does not really scream; I was distraught that I could not calm him down. It was the most awful feeling as a mother.  For the second leg of the trip, he returned to his happy self, and smiled until he dozed off in my arms, only to wake as we landed in Des Moines.

I know the airlines allow passengers to take a child under two years of age to travel on their lap for all domestic flights, but I am beginning to seriously doubt this policy.  Paolo is getting too big at five months to sleep comfortably in my arms; I can’t imagine an 18-month old trying to do so.  I fly back to the OC tomorrow afternoon, and I am praying that it goes well.  Lesson learned: spend the extra money to buy the baby a seat and bring the car seat for naps.

Let’s hope the airplane ride home does not involve screaming babies and crying mothers. If it does, I pray for a kind stranger to sit next me.



Filed under Uncategorized