Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Wind in the Willows

Antonio was with us for a few days this week for his Spring Break and we all loved having him here. Sofia and Olivia especially. Yesterday we had some cold, rainy weather but we braved the outdoors anyway and went into Philadelphia to meet up with Anthony for lunch. Then we came home and stayed inside the rest of the day. It was that gross out.

Today was a different story almost completely. It was windy and not nearly as chilly, but most importantly, the sun was out and shining. And we didn't want to waste a moment of this gorgeous day. So this morning we took a drive through some estates not far from our town and to The Willows, a beautiful estate that is open to the public. Gorgeous grounds and a small lake is really all you need on a day like today.

We took a short walk down to the lake, which thanks to all the rain we've had lately, is pretty high. We didn't see any fish in the water, but there were plenty of ducks and geese about.

I came prepared with crackers for the ducks, but seeing how I didn't want us to get in trouble, we kept them for ourselves.

Sofia had a great time outside watching the water flow down from the lake into the stream that runs through the property. I think she was determined to spot a fish.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Buon Compleanno Sofia!

My little girl is 3! We had a really great day despite the rainy weather. I tried to make the day extra special for her even though we weren't going to really be able to go out anywhere. We did go by the bank and she got a lollipop. I'm beginning to think that's the only thing she thinks we do at the bank!

After the bank, we went to the dollar store and picked up 2 birthday balloons for her. She picked out a Mickey Mouse one and one that read 'Happy 3rd Birthday.' Once we got home (and dried ourselves off because it really started coming down outside), she carried the balloons around with her and enjoyed her lollipop until there was nothing left.

My mom brought my brother Antonio up so he could spend a few days with us during his Spring Break and you would have thought that this was Sofia's birthday present. She LOVES Zio Antonio and is having a great time with him around. Of course, she now has to share him with Olivia too!

I took our traditional milestone picture with her doggy...

She absolutely loved her cake. I can't wait to watch the video back to hear her little voice again when she realized that it really was a Peep, Chirp and Quack birthday cake.

Olivia clapped along with everyone else after Sofia blew out the candle...

Sofia enjoyed her cake that she picked out at the grocery store herself - Red Velvet!

Olivia watches as her big sister opens up the gift she "bought" for her. Look at those eyes, they really are so beautiful!

2 Peep and the Big Wide World books with stickers - does Olivia know her big sister or what?!

Sofia also received her Easter basket from Uncle Danny, Zia Paola and Baby Simon which she dug right into and had fun with a couple days early.

Sofia with Nonno Mario and Nonna Maria

The ball pit was a big hit even with Simon and Olivia. $1 pool from the dollar store and 200 crush-free colorful balls makes for an excellent birthday gift for a toddler. I see many happy smiles around this toy. And many misplaced red, green and yellow balls around our house.

Family picture - Sofia and Olivia were too preoccupied to look at the camera

My tired little girl "swimming" in her birthday present

Monday, March 29, 2010

Peep, Chirp & Quack Birthday Cake

About a month ago I began asking Sofia what kind of cake she wanted for me to make her for her birthday. She said chocolate. I asked her what kind of design she would want, want shape or pictures on the cake itself she would like. Better questions to ask an almost 3-year-old. She said she wanted a Peep cake. She has been watching the internet show for a long time now and still loves it. They're only about an 8-minute episode, but she can not get enough of the little chick (Peep), tiny red bird (Chirp) and funny duck (Quack).

Anthony and I were ready to decorate the cake the night before her birthday. Yes, that's right. I had to bring on help for this one as my artistic abilities are slightly limited. Anthony was more than happy to decorate the cake and did a really good job. He had one of her books open for help, but really didn't need it at all. What I thought was really adorable was how he was kind of nervous when it came to the decorating. He wanted to make sure he got it just right and that Sofia would love it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

on the eve of my baby's 3rd birthday

Sofia turns three tomorrow, officially at 8:11pm and I can not believe it. For 3 years now I have been saying "it's going too fast" as she reaches each milestone...first time she smiled at us, her first word, the first tooth to pop through, and her first steps. There were so many more milestones that we reached and with each one we couldn't believe that we had gotten to that point already. It was going all too fast.

As I was braiding her hair for bed tonight, I thought to myself that this time last year her hair wasn't long enough for a braid. Now it's grown half-way down her back. Sofia was an early talker so from about 12 months she was saying new words everyday, but this time last year she didn't speak as clearly as she does now. She knows her numbers to twenty (in English and Italian), the ABCs, she'll spell her name out loud for you and she's potty-trained. All things she didn't do this time last year.

All these milestones have come and gone and it feels like they happened in the blink of an eye.

Birthdays are an important occasion for me. It's not just another day. Even if it's something low-key, it's a day to be celebrated. Whether you invite 100 people to be with you or it's just close family, or order in your favorite take-out or go out to a fancy restaurant. It's a day that I feel should be made special. Special because it's the day you were brought into this world and made it a better place. In Sofia's case, most definitely a better place for Anthony and I.

Just feeling sentimental and wanted to show some early pictures of Sofia...1 real early from when Anthony and I were in Rome (4 months pregnant) on our last trip to Italy together. The others from our stay in the hospital when Sofia was born.

It's a GIRL!

Our first picture as a family of 3

The first time I held my girl

Sleepy from all the hugs & kisses...little did she know that those were just the beginning. We have never stopped hugging & kissing her and telling her how much we love her.

olivia wants to join in too

Friday, March 26, 2010


It's here! My new camera bag and I LOVE it! First of all, it's red! Who doesn't love a new RED bag?!? Especially one that I can safely carry around my big girl camera in. Super functional as well with great compartments inside for my camera, an extra lens or two, a flash and my wallet.

I adore the little cream and red bag that comes attached to it for my cleaning cloths, extra battery or lip gloss.

Isn't it so pretty? Can't wait to organize it today while the girls are napping.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Decisive Moment

I love looking through other people's photography. I like to see the moments they captured and sometimes I know why they were important to them and other times it's fun to also not know and think of the story that goes with the shot. All the images I see are incredible, an inspiration. I have to think that the photographer was shooting for hours or over the course of days to get that particular shot.

So, a very cool thing about the photography class I am taking, is that we get to learn about some very famous and talented photographers and their stories. The class instructors are very big fans of Henri Cartier-Bresson and already in the two weeks I've been, we've seen a lot of his work. One of the biggest contributions he has to the world of photography was the "decisive moment" concept.

"Photography is not like painting," Henri Cartier-Bresson told the Washington Post in 1957. "There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative," he said.

Our assignment for tonight was to capture an image that fell under this notion. I completely agonized over this because in my opinion, almost everything could be labeled as a decisive moment. Any picture I have ever seen, for that matter, embodies this idea that it is the perfect moment. Whether it's a picture of your children, your friends, a favorite meal, a trip, etc. Why else would someone have taken a picture?

Granted, I understand that this moment also has to be something that can not be copied. Of course, you can copy it but the feeling isn't going to be there. Sure, you can set your kids up for a family picture and it comes out all pretty. But isn't it even a more fun shot if one of the kids has their tongue stinking out? Or better yet, someone in the picture has their shoes on the wrong feet? I'm speaking from experience here.

This is a good link highlighting some of Cartier-Bresson's work with a video slide of some of his images. Scott and Antonio, you should definitely check it out, I'm sure it would be of interest to you.

Story Time with Sofia and Olivia

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Simple Asparagus

Have some extra fresh asparagus on hand? Then I suggest cooking up this simple little recipe for a perfect appetizer or snack.


Fresh asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
cooking spray
2 Tbsp olive oil
Grated parmigiano cheese
2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat over to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

2. Clean asparagus and arrange on cookie sheet.

3. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Bake for about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and garlic. Bake for another 6 minutes. Enjoy!

Note: Depending on the size of the asparagus you could need more or less time in the oven.

Monday, March 22, 2010

yellow hat

I bought the girls matching yellow hats at the end of the summer and just pulled them out this weekend. Sofia didn't want to wear hers yet, but I didn't get any complaints from Olivia when I put it on.

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