This summer has actually been pretty eventful considering I rarely left the house! We were still getting used to baby Clara and working out a remote semblance of a routine with three kids age four and under.
Marcello and I were extremely fortunate to have a lot of help from our parents when Clara was a newborn. We were so grateful because this is what we were working with:
Ok, our room still pretty much looks like that, but we’re making progress. Kind of. Some days.
Marcello’s parents from Italy stayed with us the month of June. His dad worked his tail off to get our Amazon jungle of a yard back under control, and his mom helped me take care of the kids. I’ve never seen a woman so happy to see pink. She had two boys. Then I had two boys, and I think she thought all hope was lost for a baby girl!
This trip reminded me of how far we’ve come since I first met them. They speak not a word of English (aside from good morning, good night, and John Wayne), and my Italian has gotten better, but Google translate still gets a workout. And by the way, ninja is still ninja in quite a few languages — you know, in case that ever comes in handy.
We’ve had a slow-evolving relationship because for years I would speak in slow motion, as I tried to summon Italian words from the deep recesses of my mind. I can only imagine how painful that has been for them! And then they would repeat the same thing over and over, only louder and closer to my face. Then we have the issue that they often speak in Neapolitan dialect. Occasionally his dad will teach me a word in dialect, unbeknownst to me. Then Marcello’s friends will roll in laughter as I attempt to use it in everyday conversation with my thick American accent.
I freak them out with dinners like Asian lettuce wraps and crockpot recipes made from a bunch of cans, and they freak me out by frying a five-course lunch. It’s what we do. In the end we all sit down, nod our heads, and say “buono” in unison.
But all in all, after a decade, we’re finding our stride, seeing our true characters behind cultural boundaries, and are becoming a bonded family.
When everyone was gone, I decided to venture out with all three kids to the grocery store by myself as an experiment. We made it! Of course we only got one thing and Clara cried the whole way home, but we made it. I’m still figuring all this out. Tips welcome.
My mom said it looked like I had my bodyguards with me, so she didn’t understand what was so hard about that. Also, I’m not sure why Luca is doing his Jack Black face here.
When Marcello told me he had a week-long conference in Chicago, the first thing I did was book plane tickets to my parents’ house in Indiana! It’s not easy traveling with three littles, but it was worth it. We had so much fun!
This is what most of our family pictures look like. Adriano would NOT stop doing that super weird face and Luca needed a nap. One day I’ll compile our best awful ones and do a post. Anyway, we celebrated my dad and Adriano’s birthdays. We didn’t have a party day planned, but I woke up Sunday morning with a bee in my bonnet (as my friend Ashby would say) and decided to do it that afternoon!
The nearest Target or Walmart, or anything really, is about half an hour away there, so after church (in which my brother gave his first sermon!) I raided Dollar General for party supplies and most of his presents.
I bought cake mix and icing at the grocery store. I saw sprinkles and it said vanilla, but I didn’t realize the icing was smack-you-in-the-face orange! Haha! A cake to remember. Anyway, he was so happy and we had zero stress planning a party.
Yep, that’s my brother with hair! (Makes more sense if you read this post.)
Clara girl met two of her great-grandparents.
The boys learned to shuck corn from my dad, an appropriate Indiana thing to do.
My aunt even paid a visit for a few days.
My parents live in the countryside, so the boys always love running all around in what I call “real grass,” not the crabgrass we have in Florida! Here, Luca is a lion. Or a bear. I can’t remember.
And a couple afternoons at the lake made this mama very happy. Oh, how I miss lakes without alligators! But you can keep your winters, Indiana.
My mom, above, spoiled the kids rotten, teaching them to bake, taking them to the zoo, and arranging bug hunts.
Now we’re back home and starting a new chapter — school. This is Luca’s first week of preschool! (It was Mr. Cool’s idea to lean casually against the tree in the photo. Haha!) I confess I was not sad or even all that nostalgic. Is that odd? He was excited to go and Marcello and I were excited for him.
How was your summer? What was your experience on your child’s first day of school?