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I love Halloween! And this year, Giuseppe really got in the spirit, eating yummy Halloween treats and candy; he even carved a spoooooky pumpkin for our front door.
This year we had a Greek Halloween. We took Paolo trick-or-treating on Greek row. At Iowa State, all the fraternities and sororities decorate their houses, dress up, and pass out candy to the local the children. It was actually pretty fun. Here are few photos from our trick-or-treating this year. Note Paolo’s ‘stroller sleeping bag,’ which was a definite must in the chilly autumn weather.
Happy Halloween from la famiglia Dell’Anna!
Today Paolo turned one year old. It is really impossible to believe that my tiny baby is nearing toddlerhood.
We celebrated his birthday with a big festa italiana on Saturday. I rented a pavilion in a local park, adorned it with Italian-style garb, and served up Italian fare to our 50 or so guests It was a warm, gorgeous autumn day. Here are a few action shots:
And here we are helping Paolo blow out his birthday candle tonight at our little family celebration:
Paolo had a little surprise for me yesterday morning. During his morning nursing session, I quickly learned that he is starting to cut his first tooth.
I should have been tipped off by his crazy behavior on Friday night. We were at our favorite pizza place (Side bar: Ames has a FABULOUS napoletano-style pizzeria, Vesuvius. The wood-burning oven was imported from Italy and the cuisine is superb: simple, fresh, and delicious. We are positively addicted.) for dinner. We were enjoying our delicious meal of insalata caprese, pizza margherita, and a beautiful Italian chianti, while we were waiting for the live music to start.
Paolo had a whole different plan. He usually likes to go out with us. I mean, we go to kid-friendly places that are usually loud enough where he can make noise without disturbing anyone. And he entertains himself by trying to new food and then throwing most of it on the ground, drinking from grown-up cups, and just playing with whatever toys I bring along.
Well, not on Friday. He was not interested in eating, drinking, or playing. Only shouting and banging the table. So we lasted about 30 minutes before we called it a night and came home. Then, after a fitful night of sleeping, Paolo woke up hungry.
That’s when I discovered the new tooth! I tried to take a photo, but I quickly realized that would be impossible. It has barely cut the surface and is razor-sharp. I’ve spent the past two days training Paolo how to not bite me, and I think it’s working. I’m so excited for my little guy, his very first tooth! I just hope the discomfort of this tooth passes quickly: we leave for our trip to Italy in just a few days.
We have been trying very hard to teach Paolo to enjoy sleeping in his own crib. But it is just so difficult. Look how adorable my two boys are, all snuggled up. I mean, really, it is difficult to force our little one to stay in his crib. But we will stay strong tonight.
There is something so comforting about having a little snugglebutton.
We are on Night No. 3 of crazy thunderstorming weather. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great thunderstorm. In fact, I consider it one of the pluses of living in the Great Midwest.
Crazy thunderstorms do not, however, mix well with sleeping babies. Especially when we are trying to do some “sleep training” with Paolino.
Which means none of the Dell’Anna clan has gotten any sleep for three nights.
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)
As most of you have probably already read, last week I did a guest post exchange with one of my blogisphere friends, Liz, of a belle, a bean & a chicago dog. I thought I would re-post my article from her site today. I started this blog as a cyber scrap book of sorts and I think that this post definitely belongs in the book.
A big part of my life the past few years has been the state-hopping Craig and I have been doing. But believe it or not, I happen to have a bloggy friend, Brook, who is even MORE of a gypsy than me.
It is in the spirit of relocation that Brook and I are guest posting on each other’s blogs today! Brook also happens to be the first guest writer I’ve had the honor of hosting!
Please welcome the lovely Brook, and make sure to relocate over to her place to check out my guest post, A Baby For Every State!
Greeting, BB&CD readers! My name is Brook Dell’Anna and I write at baby&sofia. I “met” Liz a few months ago when I started to read her hilarious blog. We since have become blogisphere friends and have bonded over our shared experience of moving about the country.
My parents both hail from the Great Midwest. My mother was born and raised in Minnesota; my father is from Iowa. They met at a small Catholic university in Iowa. Not too much longer after that, they were married and I was born. Not too much longer after that, my parents made the decision that they were ready to leave the Great Midwest.
It was the mid-1980s and the economy was not doing so hot. After weighing all post-college opportunities, my dad decided to try out his sea legs and joined the Navy. We moved across the country to New England, where Dad completed Officer Candidate School while Mom and I learned our way around Newport, Rhode Island. It’s funny how I can still vividly remember the gorgeous trees that turned into the most brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red that autumn.
From Newport, we moved all over the country for my Dad’s career. We traveled up and down the East Coast, then hopped over to Hawaii, then back to the Mainland to live on the West Coast for awhile before returning back East. I ended up going to college in Maryland, and while I was in college, my family moved to Italy. Which was spectacular. (Did I mention that is where I met my amazing husband?) Joining the Navy ended up being one of the best things that my Dad ever did for our family.
When I was in college, I realized that I have gypsy blood. I think now that it must be genetic. My parents are still always looking for their next adventure; after Italy, they moved back to Hawaii, and are now planning the next chapter in their lives. They are usually on the move, looking for a new, exciting experience to add to the history of their lives.
As an adult, I have lead a “Navy” lifestyle without ever actually joining. During college, I spent as much time as I could in Europe, passing summer and winter vacations there and taking a semester to study in Rome. Ten days after graduation, with my Political Science degree in hand, I was back in southern Italy ready to take it all in. I loved every minute of the chaos that is Naples and fell deeply in love with my Italian soon-to-be-hubby.
Living in Naples provided a unique set of challenges for me. I am, by nature, very adaptable; but I am also very opinionated. So I was open to Italian culture; I sincerely love both the language and the culture, and dedicated myself to absorb as much as possible. Which I did; I speak Italian fluently and am pretty well-versed in the intricacies of Italian life. I mean, heck, I married a Neopolitan man. You don’t get much more traditional than that. I, however, also held onto my opinions. Which was tricky. I loved shopping at the local markets, teaching in an Italian school, and spending time with my in-laws. But I still held onto my personal belief system and sometimes projected it on those around me. It is funny, though, because while I was there, I felt so strongly about holding onto my American values. Now that I am back in the States, I realized that I really did adopt an European outlook, and have managed to blend both the American and Italian influences in my life. (As in I cook three fresh meals every day, but cannot make it to the market each day. Costo remains an important part of my life.)
After Naples, my husband and I moved to sunny southern California. Which we love love loved. The breezy, sun-shiny days that we spent strolling along the ocean were simply picturesque. While we worked longer hours, we still managed to enjoy every moment of the sun and the ocean.
After about two years of California bliss, we decided to move yet again. In March of this year, Giuseppe was offered a position at Iowa State University, so off we went. The movers came and went, and then our road trip began. Giuseppe, five-month-old Paolo, and I drove across the country to our new home. It was actually an amazing trip. We stopped in Arizona, at the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, Denver, and Omaha. It was the Great American Road Trip for Italian hub-a-lub. He loved it.
So, here we are, modern-day gypsies. I was raised a gypsy, but my husband definitely was not. We’ll call him the gypsy-convert. Most of his family live within 20 minutes of each other, and moving to say, a neighboring city, is a very big deal. (So you can imagine their surprise when we hopped over “the pond” and then over to the Pacific coast of America.) While I do one day envision myself setting down in one place and growing some serious roots, I enjoy every moment of our gypsy adventure. I guess I can thank my parents for that. Hopefully, Paolo will feel the same way one day.