Tuesday, August 30, 2016
La bicicletta or you could just say 'bici' which I think is kind of fun to say too. You could arrive at whatever destination with Mesagne on just your bike and not need your car at all. Naturally, doing many errands would be easier in a car, but the parking can be a little tricky sometimes. My favorite mode of transportation within Mesagne is on foot though. No need to worry about which streets are senso unico (one way) and you meet many more people on the street that way too.
Monday, August 29, 2016
Great neighbors in Mesagne own a beautiful farm just on the outskirts of town and the kids and I were invited to visit it this past trip. Give them some land to run around on, fruit and vegetables to be hand-picked and a gorgeous evening in a favorite place of mine and that makes for happy kids and a click-happy mama. Just some photos from our evening on the farm.
Thankfully I'm raising fruit and vegetable eaters. Truthfully they don't have much say in the matter when it comes to me because it's part of our daily diet end.of.story. All three eat fruit really well, it's the vegetables I have to coerce and sometimes bribe into finishing. But having them see the farm where most produce came from while in Mesagne I hope helps them to understand the process a bit more and not just that we go to a supermarket and get our fruit and vegetables.
They helped pick plums, peaches, tomatoes, pears and peppers for Nonna Lisa.
Mario enjoyed picking the pomodorini the best.
The colors of the farm are a favorite of mine and something I could get lost in photographing quite easily. Uccio was great to show me each tree and plant, a farmer truly proud of his work. He gets to his farm very early each morning to tend to his land and is so generous and what he gives our family. It was a very special treat (pun intended) for me to walk around his land and take pictures that evening.
That purple plant is an artichoke plant and one of the prettiest flowering vegetables in my opinion. Also one of the tastiest...artichokes in pasta, on pizza, chopped on bruschetta with olive oil, stuffed and baked or just straight of the jar. Delizioso!
Mario is the perfect age for roaming around a farm and got dirt under his nails, plum juice on his clothes and smelled of the sun when we returned home. Olivia followed Uccio and an outsider looking in would show an aspiring farmer as she hung onto each word. Sofia had her little camera and snapped up pictures right behind me and took fruit willingly to taste. Uccio and his wife Cetta were so great with my kids, showing them everything and happy to see them enjoying it all.
A farmer - the very definition of dedication, persevering, and resourcefulness. Wakes with the sun to care for his crops, work with his hands to tend to his piece of this earth and feed his family and friends. A man proud of his land and generous enough to share in his wealth.
The simple act of buying direct from the farms could result in so much less waste and preservation of our lands. America included of course. The ease with which to visit supermarkets and buy all in one swoop, convenient trip unfortunately outweighs the importance of supporting these very lands. I'm guilty of it and am reminded of this need to support local, eat fresh and avoid the big chains whenever I speak with a shop owner, take the kids to one of many local farms or visit Italy. It needs to become something more consistent for me and pass onto my children this importance as well.
Fortunate to know these people my entire life, since I was 4 months old. They have watched me play in the street in front of our homes, they have welcomed me to town each summer I visited after moving to America, they share with me in the abundance their farm has to offer and now proudly take my children and I to visit their home away from home. Their campagna.
So very grateful to have had that experience.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Not just the beginning lines of a catchy little song by Blondie, but a great simple mantra worth repeating daily. Hourly even if need be. One way or another life happens. Life happens and one way or another you deal. You deal with it one way or another the best way you can. You can.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Sad news out of Italy this week as this beautiful country was hit by Mother Nature with a massive earthquake that destroyed towns, lives were lost and hopes crumbled. Incredibly heartbreaking to see the news, read the stories and see what once was of these towns and lives devastated. The after effects of Mother Nature will never leave these towns and lives the same, they are forever marked by this catastrophic event.
Hope comes in many forms and allows many to come to the aid of these towns and people in the form of donations, disaster units literally pulling bodies from the rubble and future plans to rebuild what was lost. Prayers to all involved, a helping hand and donation however possible and always hope for the future.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
The girls absolutely love this tradition each year in Mesagne, making orecchiette with Nonna. A simple little recipe, a tricky little flip of the thumb with a knife and VOILA! you have your little ear shaped pasta made famous from our region of Puglia.
Mario got in on the action this year as well. Getting his hands messy is a specialty of his so he thoroughly enjoyed this very much.
My girls are little perfectionists when it comes to making orecchiette but also love when they're later eating the pasta to pick out the specific ones they made based on little indentations or marks they made on them.
Perfect little orecchiette. Unfortunately, no after picture when they're cooked and served with fresh tomato sauce. They are eaten much too quickly to bother grabbing the camera.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Amazing friends like her are hard to come by and should be told often how much their friendship means to you. Be real with your amazing friends - show them your awkward, crazy, sad, happy, scared and loving side and you'll be happy you did. A friend you can be yourself with, is someone worth holding onto and never letting go no matter what distance separates you.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Not just Olympians breaking records these days, I was in 3 pictures with my kids in a span of just a week. That rarely happens around here since I'm always the one taking the pictures. I document just about everything from baking and crafting to our vacations and day adventures. I rarely make the pictures. Unless I spot someone nearby to allow to use my camera and snap a quick pic of the kids and I, it's not happening. I don't like how I look in selfies, I do have long arms but not selfie-stick long to get a good vantage point. But sometimes you have to do things you don't prefer to just to capture a moment.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Great day celebrating turning 38. Began the night before with ice cream with a good friend and then my 6am barre class which was awesome. Might sound like an oxymoron - 6am class, but I love it and it makes me very happy. So an hour of working out immediately followed by cake for breakfast with the kids. It's all about balance.
Then it was off for the kids and I on a little adventure to the Brandywine River Museum of Art which the kids and I love to frequent. They had a great children's illustrations exhibit going on that I had read about and knew the girls especially would really enjoy. And they did.
At the end of the short but wonderful exhibit, there were books! Thank goodness I have kids that are interested in books. I hope it remains as such too.
Off to visit the "animals" by the river.
And then I found this...I love finding hearts out and about.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Arrivederci 37 and Buon Giorno 38
Another year. Another candle to add to the cake. And most possibly, another grey hair and wrinkle to add to the bunch.
That went quick. I just celebrated my 20th year high school reunion this past weekend and that was a shock to the system. 20 years since graduating high school and it feels like it was almost yesterday. But that's what happens with everything, you can't stop time, can't make it stand still because you're having a moment. It just keeps on, keeping on.
Honestly, celebrating my birthday and getting older doesn't bother me. I love birthdays. Everyday is a reason to celebrate, but your birthday is your very own day to celebrate life. Life in general, but most appropriately, your life. Celebrate what you've created, what you're doing and the things you have yet to accomplish.
This meme I saw on Pinterest awhile back "choose a job you love and you won't ever have to work a day in your life" comes to my mind. I technically don't have a job, not one paid by Uncle Sam anyway. Oh, I've worked. Babysitting since the age of 10 and then "real" jobs starting at 14 all the way up until March 28, 2007, the day before Sofia was born. My good friend once yelled at me for saying "I'm just a mom now" and regularly chastises me when it comes up. He's right to do so though since "just" being a mom can be purpose enough for our life. It is purpose enough for life because it is life.
I may not leave the house in work clothes each morning, get called into meetings or have to go on business trips but I do work. I am constantly in competition with myself to work harder. I played that game at comparing myself to others way back when and that doesn't work for me. They are not me, I am not them, there is no comparison. I can only compete with myself. I can work harder to be a better person...to myself. To not judge myself too harshly. To not give myself an impossible mountain to climb or a pedestal that is way too high for me to ever reach. No official annual review for me, but that doesn't mean I'm not assessing and reassessing often though.
I don't make New Year's resolutions but rather give myself goals to work towards or items I'd like to check off on my list. This is on an as-needed basis not just December 31st. It's simple to get caught up in the daily grind and forget about our dreams and wishes, but I'd like to work harder to see them come to fruition. Regardless of their magnitude, they are important and need to remain a constant in our lives. Whether it's to read more, do something with my photography or to play more with my kids. All important to me and something I need to work on for myself. Sounds a little selfish, but I think sometimes it's ok to be selfish. You have to think of yourself first and make yourself happy first, before you can make anyone else happy.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
I may have posted previously on my home away from home in Puglia. But it holds such a dear place in my heart that it begs for more screen time. So, I oblige and give you more of my second home.
The home that my mom was raised in and lived in up until she married by father at the age of 18. The home that I ate many home-cooked meals, celebrated birthdays, holidays, nights spent sleeping on the floor because there were too many of us and not enough beds, nights lying on the roof stargazing, the sidewalk around it where I jumped around countless times, the steps at the front door that I sat on while listening to the ladies gossiping. The number of footsteps taken walking to and from this special place, the numerous sighs of contentment breathed just for being in this home, the echo of laughter and even shouting bouncing around the walls and the tears shed upon having to leave it.
I love this home.
I love the old floor tiles, they were a pain to clean and were so marked up with wear over the years, but I adored them anyway. Not hard to imagine why since they were of my favorite flower.
The walls covered in pictures, both old and new and bring a smile to my face recalling their stories. A kitchen that is always overflowing with food, most of which is given to us by the sweetest of family and neighbors.
The steps with the crazy number of potted plants lining your way to the roof, a special place for all to escape to...
...or just to hang the clothes.
The little attic that is home to such personal items that will always remain in our hearts regardless of the wear and tear coming to them through the years.