Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pilgrimage to San Gabriele

Another stop of ours while in Abruzzo is the Sanctuary of San Gabriele, patron saint of Abruzzo and of Catholic youth. Not a far drive, a little over an hour from Anthony's family, but a very scenic route even on the autostrade passing by small towns high on the hills and with the Gran Sasso always in view.

Our trip usually includes a stop into the original sanctuary, lighting a candle and saying a prayer. Then we walk over to the modern building next door which is the new sanctuary built in the early 1970s that can accommodate about 10,000 visitors. The original church has always been more appealing to both Anthony and I with its high ceilings, gorgeous frescoes and marble fixtures. We hope to continue with our annual pilgrimage to San Gabriele and that it is something Sofia looks forward to as well.

Anthony and Sofia outside the sanctuary

The gorgeous paintings above the altar

Sofia and I outside the original sanctuary of San Gabriele

Teetering around on the cobblestone

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy 18 month birthday Sofia!

Our little girl is a year and a half already!

How did we go from this:

to this?

Other than the fact that Sofia has a bad cold right now, she is doing well. Playing well, wanting to be read to all the time and aside from the occasional food boycott, eating like a true Italian. She talks a ton, runs around like crazy and loves going to her weekly library story hour.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Organizing Coupons

Every weekend we sit with our Sunday paper and clip coupons. It's pretty much a family event with Anthony and I trading between the fliers to see if the other missed anything and Sofia running around us throwing the paper everywhere.

When it comes to the clipping part, we tend to only clip coupons of things we currently use, but we will throw in one or two coupons of products we either heard or read about and are interested in trying out for ourselves. I store our coupons in an old bill filer that I had thrown in the closet in our office to be tossed at a later date. Well, it's serving this new function very well since it's ideal for sorting the coupons AND it's small enough to fit in my purse. I have the coupons sorted into a few different categories (baby stuff, BJs, health, home, etc.) which makes it easier to locate what I have when I'm making my grocery list. There's an empty slot in the front of the filer that I use to store both my grocery list and the coupons I intend to use for that particular shopping trip which helps on time when out grocery shopping.

If you coupon clip, how do you stay organized?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mail for Sofia

Sofia received a package today from Nonno Nick, Nonna Lisa and Zio Antonio and she couldn't wait to open it. I missed my photo op at her running around the living room with the sealed package shrieking...it was adorable! I was able to pry the gift away for 2 seconds to open one end for her to see what was inside.

Reading the card first

What could be in here?

"Niiiiice!" Halloween pants

Ooooh, there's still more to come...

A Halloween shirt and Halloween stickers too!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Nonno

Sofia has her Nonno Nick and her Nonno Mario wrapped around her fingers and I am sure the both of them love it. Whenever she sees either of them, she gets excited and starts running around the room shouting "Nonno!" She already associates both nonnos with going outside and heads over to the door and points until they heed her wishes...which they usually do in under 5 seconds.

Being silly with Nonno Nick

Silly smile for Nonno Mario

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Yesterday morning we went to Linvilla Orchards and met up with some other moms and their little ones for some apple picking. Unfortunately, we were looking for baking apples (Cortland, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala and Honey Crisp just to name a few) and the ones that are out this time of year have all been picked through already. I guess we'll have to just wait for the later fall apples to arrive before making those homemade pies and cakes!

The kids did have a good time running up and down the orchards and so they were able to burn some energy off, which is always a nice thing for parents.

We did find a handful of raspberries still around and although Sofia is not much of a fan of berries, she did pick some for me. Always looking out for her mommy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spaghetti is fun to eat!

She is a true Italian and totally one of us...she loves her pasta and has fun eating it too!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fun in Frederick

Saturday evening and well into Sunday morning we were in Frederick, Maryland spending time with good friends of ours. Katie and I met in the 2nd grade when my family moved to the United States and she was one of my very first friends here. Now we're both married, there are children in the picture with nap times and bed times to fit into the equation, not to mention a 3 hour car drive in between our homes and so any time spent together is well spent and most of all, treasured.

Making s'mores after dinner Saturday night

Sofia was not too fond of the marshmallow...more for mommy!

Playing in Lily's dress-up clothes bin

Our little princess fairy

Lily handing me a gorgeous bouquet of fallen leaves

Katie and Sofia talking about the lavender stems

Love this picture of Sofia taking in the lavender smell

JR and Lily having a tea party

First signs of true love? I think so!

Kisses for Sofia!

Having fun in the Maclaren!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Enjoying the moments

Here I am at the end of another incredible weekend. I am thinking back through all the particular moments and how they made me smile, laugh out loud or just allowed me to sit back and soak up the genuine feeling of bliss and happiness. Times like these are heartwarming, comforting and above all else, really enforce how appreciative we are of the love and friendship around us.

The past days were spent with friends and family all interested in one common goal ...to have as much fun as possible and really live in the moment and enjoy life. Even thinking back to past birthdays, weddings or just hanging out at someone's house puts into perspective that I must always strive for this feeling and try not to let anything else come in the way. Truly living in our day-to-day events however big or small they may be and making the most of each moment together should have been at the top of my New Year's resolutions...if I ever decided to make one of those lists that is. But here it is, now in writing, I'm setting out to make this my priority so this feeling of contentment is a constant in my life.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

An Ocean of fun!

Yesterday we met up with Trish and Ocean at Ocean 'n Motion where the girls could run and play to their hearts content. A great layout with a huge room filled to the brim with one fun and safe toy after another. A ball pit, slides galore and plenty of books for my little reader to flip through. The toys, wall painting and even the decor in the restrooms had an ocean theme which was very cute and playful. Also, it was very appropriate for Sofia's friend Ocean who celebrates her 1st birthday today! Happy Birthday Ocean!

Ocean on the merry-go-round

Our little daredevil standing at the top of the slide

Crawling through the playgym

Peek-a-boo Mommy

The girls having fun in the ball pit

Happy Birthday Miss Ocean!

The ball is bigger then she is

Some light reading on the drive home

Friday, September 19, 2008

A sign and some silliness

We've only taught Sofia one sign since infancy and in this picture she was signing 'more' - touch together your closed fingertips with both hands. Anthony asked her if she wanted more milk after completing her first bottle and she responded with "more" in sign language. And then she said "peace" to him too...you don't turn down a toddler that signs "more" and then asks "please" too. I hope she always has good manners!

Silly Sofia

Little Miss Manners with her tongue sticking out

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A walk through Campli

Campli is a small medieval town in the province of Teramo and another favorite stop of ours when in Abruzzo. Situated high on a hill and overlooking the valleys below, the town exudes quaintness with it's narrow streets, red geraniums lining the window boxes and a small cobblestone piazza flanked by a tall stone church. But for its size and simplicity, Campli is home of La Scala Santa, "The Holy Stairs," similar to the original marble staircase located in Rome . Dating back to the 1700's, the staircase is made up of 28 wooden steps and beautiful artwork surrounds you on the walls and ceiling. By papal decree, once you climb the steps by knee you will be absolved of yours sins.

On the outskirts of the town

Taking a walk around town

Homes, shops and churches overlook Abruzzo's beautiful land

La Scala Santa

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fun in the Playroom

Sofia loves her playroom and anytime the basement door is opened even for a minute, she will run over and have us go downstairs with her to play. We received a bunch of great toys for her from the baby showers to her first birthday and rotate through them to give all some equal playing time. She loves books and the last time I was visiting my family I brought home 25 books that used to be Antonio's, who was storing them for Sofia. One of the many benefits of having younger brothers, especially one that is 17 years younger! In addition to the ones we already have from gifts or consignment shops, she has a nice little library in her playroom that she will sit and flip through one at a time or come sit on our laps to be read to. Her chalkboard wall is full of fun "art" and she always says "bye guys" to the few stuffed animals we have seated around the room.

We've definitely learned that kids do not need much to be entertained (while I'm cooking she grabs for the Tupperware and wooden spoons), but it is nice to have a special place all her own and do with as she pleases.

A gift from Nonna Lisa and Nonno Nick when Sofia was starting to crawl...and she's still having fun with it!

Her little toy and book section of the playroom

What an imagination - she was making wrrrring sounds like a vacuum!

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