Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Appreciate everything in your sight. Focus on what you love but be able to find beauty in the blur. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sunrise with my girls

We recently took a family trip with my husband's family to the Caribbean Island of the Dominican Republic. We've gone in the past and have enjoyed the islanders, the resort, the beaches and of course the sunrises. I'm an early riser and give me the opportunity to watch the sun rise and I'm ready, armed with my camera. This trip was no different for me but rather than taking in the sunrise alone, I recruited my two favorite girls on separate visits to the beach nice and early to watch the complete transformation of the sky. It was perfect.

First up was Olivia and as soon as I called her name to wake up that morning, she jumped awake and was ready to go. A short walk to the beach and then we just had to wait. The sky takes on so many different costume changes in such a relatively short period and each is unique and beautiful. I love that we caught the moon out still on both visits.

Sofia woke up earlier than needed to because she said she was so excited. We dressed, grabbed an early morning snack and set off for the same spot I was at just a couple days prior with Olivia. The same spot but the sky took on a completely different look but still took my breath away.

Such a special moment of my day shared with these two incredible little ladies oi mine. An experience I will carry with me and a memory I will cherish of my girls.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Island in the sun

Time away from the day to day on a beautiful island in the Caribbean. Fortunate. Fortunate for the sun, the warmth, the blue skies and early morning walks. Soaking up the sand and sun and enjoying watching my little people enjoy themselves. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

seek the light

San Cosimo, Puglia, Italia

Whenever we visit San Cosimo, I enjoy walking over to this little alcove of the sanctuary. There are rarely people milling about this space and I guess looking at it, why would there be? There's no paintings on the old stone walls, no statues to pay respect to and only one very small and not so comfortable bench. The planter doesn't even have a plant in it most of the time I've visited. Nothing to draw guests to this space of the grounds.

Except me. Personally I like that no one is rarely in my viewfinder when I visit yearly and snap the same picture I did on my previous trip. I like being able to catch the sun's rays bounce off the columns and produce the most magnificent hue on the stone walls. It's quiet in this space as compared to the rest of San Cosimo that's bustling with visitors on the weekends. For a few minutes I stand in this space and just take in the calm, the quiet, the peace of what the sanctuary means to me. Not the crowds trying to get into the church to pay their respects to Saints Cosimo and Damiano, or those trying to find a place to sit on the quasi-stadium seating stone pews at the outdoor church or the open air market nearby that I've always found odd. No, this nearly always secluded narrow alcove where the light beckons me is my spot.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

a photo becomes her

I quite honestly have thousands upon thousands of pictures taken while in Italy.  To be in all that rich surrounding how could I not just want to soak it up, be a part of it as much as I can and hold onto the feeling by simply one little click. Or in my case, thousands of little clicks. 

A picture can bring me back to where I was, what wrapped me up and how it felt on my body and in my mind. What drew me in and allowed me to get lost for that moment however simple or complex it was for me.

In taking many pictures of absolutely anything and everything, I wholeheartedly fall in love with many of them. I see, I feel and I need. I see an image and allow my eyes to bask in its splendor, allow it to captivate me, to lure me in. The need to capture it precisely how it made me feel is urgent. I want to feel that over and over again. I want to throw myself into the moment again and again. It's not just a picture to me, it's an extension of me. It's part of me forever and forever will I be a part of it.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

bath time with Mario

I took it upon myself to cut my son's hair last week and I think it came out pretty decent. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be seeing how I just wanted it all over short...and that's what he got. After finishing up, he was amazed at the amount of hair in the bathroom sink.

A fun bath followed and my boy was squeaky clean and ready to play. But first some pictures in his adorable frog towel made by my friend. I love having a friend both generous AND crafty.

Those lashes, that smile...those feet!

Friday, January 13, 2017

simply studiously

my olivia maria, my second born, my second daughter, my sweet. almost always equally ready for play, work or relax. she's a true kid at heart, innocent, prudent but playful and willing to lend a hand be it with housework, her little brother or grocery shopping.

school she has thrown herself into 110%. she enjoys going, has loved her teachers and schoolmates and although no kid really loves homework, she takes hers seriously and done with pride. these days she's loving math, figuring things out and learning about history. she is and always has been my artsy one and will color, paint, draw, build, construct and develop to her heart's content, any day, all day.

she is my little ray of sunshine. how is it possible that this year she turns 8?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

playing is fun when you're with mario luca

this guy is amazing. i know, i know, as his mother you wouldn't expect me to say he's not amazing or fun to hang out with. yes, he just turned 3 and i'm going to be completely honest...3 is tough. he's wiser, more independent, more aware, knows what he's doing but he's still little, still innocent, still my baby.

he's playful, sweet, demanding, becoming more and more articulate by the hour. of course, as his mother i understand just about everything since i spend the most time with him and to others it still sometimes comes out as toddler gibber-gabber. without asking he'll give hugs and kisses, his smiles lights up the room if you offer him sliced apples, avocado or chocolate. 

and man oh man does he love to play. he's doing great playing on his own too and you can often hear him talking to his toys about whatever adventure they're enlisted in at the moment. he fights fires, fixes cars, cooks dinner (his favorite thing to make me is ice cream), and he even fixes various furniture and doors around the house with his tool set. he's very handy like that. 

solo play is so important for this age and i completely understand why. he needs to learn to play on his own, entertain himself and learn to need anyone else to have fun. it's hard when he's having an extra special sweet moment of throwing himself into his toys (sometimes literally) to not join in the fun. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What I'm Reading Now

I'm thankful each day for the ability and the love I have for reading. Give me time in a library or book store and you will witness a happy person. It's a passion I'm thrilled to have passed along to my three children whom all love to be read to or enjoy reading on their own. Tell them we're going to the book store and they are ready to go. Give them their own library card in their stocking at Christmas and they are all smiles...

Dr. Seuss and Mo Willems are still up on the list of what I'm reading because my toddler climbs into my lap still for me to read to him. The girls are moving on their own now and I enjoy seeing what they check out from their school library. I enjoy adding to their collection at home and regularly add to it when I see something they would like or something I loved as a child. Classics will never go out of style and adding "The Wizard of Oz," "Charlotte's Web," and "The Little Prince" to their shelves makes me feel like I'm doing something right for them.

For me, I'll read anything and everything. There has rarely been a time where I'll begin a book only to find I'm not interested enough to complete. I guess I hold out for something to get interesting in the end, but I have to finish it for peace of mind, that I gave it a chance. Goodreads is a great site for cataloging your books and keeps me organized with what I've read, what I'm reading now and what I'd like to read in the future. Finding the time to read is the tricky part. As a mom to three, carving out my time that doesn't involved kids, house work or side work I'm taking on at the moment, is difficult. Making the time to do something I really want to do, like reading, is necessary and important. It feeds my brain and heart and allows me to escape for awhile.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

when temps keep you in

Give me a snowy, freezing temperature day where I don't have to be out of the house and I'd cuddle up with books and be the happiest. Give me the same wintery scenario but ADD a toddler, a very active toddler, and that changes the story line a bit.

My little man loves being outside but even he couldn't last more than 30 minutes in the freezing temps we have had lately. So he and I make the best of it indoors without going too crazy. A little crazy is totally acceptable. And expected.

He's very attached to his cars and will spend time lining them all up and talking to them while he's "Oganizin" - his word but mama's love. He dumps the car bin out and is beyond happy. Lines them up on the floor, on the furniture, on the window bench. Takes time and energy. Win-win.

He just really begun getting into puzzles which thank goodness because the girls loved (and still love) them and hence, he already has plenty to choose from. We are starting with the cool wooden ones with few pieces and the large floor puzzles. Check out the firetruck one he recently received as a gift! He is also going through a mad firetruck phase and I'm enjoying that. He gets all his trucks together, talks about the equipment, makes the wi-hoo sounds all throughout the house. It's incredible. And don't get me started when we're in the car and he spots one. It's better than Disney World at this point.

Another fun indoor favorite for him are his trains. He inherited many from when Olivia was really into trains as a toddler and more here and there from gifts. He can set up the tracks on his own with little help and "choo-choos" his engines for a good bit of time. Usually the amount of time it takes me to prep lunch or dinner. Yay! 

Staying in with an active toddler takes work, don't get me wrong. I do turn on the TV when I need to get in the shower or after exhausting other activities. But he's plenty engaged with his own toys and some encouragement on my part. And if all that fails, go out for a few minutes in the freezing temps for a change of scenery (and temperature) suiting up alone takes up time and they'll be happy to see their toys when you come back in.

Friday, January 6, 2017

childlike admiration

nothing quite like an act of mother nature to capture us so intently. a few inches of snow on a january morning and it's as if christmas has come again. although this type of celebration doesn't come with wrapped gifts, sugar cookies or carols. this is better. wrapped in a cocoon of awe and enchantment, listening to the wind brush the new fallen snow off the roof and rushing outside to catch a snowflake on your tongue.

and that was just from me at 7am while the kids were still asleep.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

clean eating...start them young!

Thankfully at almost 10, almost 8 and just turned 3, all three of my children are pretty good eaters. Yes, they definitely went through a picky-eating stage, sometimes I think it still rears it's crazy head but overall I shouldn't complain. Fruit and vegetables are a staple for me when grocery shopping, just like cookies and chocolate.

I'm a big believer that what you put in, is what you get out when it comes to many areas of life, food included. I encourage the healthy options before overly sugary or junk food and water, water, water. Juice is grape juice (to help prevent the stomach virus) and orange juice (they rarely ask for it) and then lemonade on occasion in the warmer months. At parties they will ask for a juice box but most of the time they're not even finishing it all. 

This guy is amazing when it comes to eating. He'll snack on an avocado with me and strawberries, blueberries and apples are favorites for him. I did nurse him for longer than the girls and of course I believe that he got what I was putting into my body so I was careful with what I ate and drank. But even once he began with table foods and self-feeding, he opted for whatever I was eating most of the time too. Sometimes that meant having apples and peanut butter or celery sticks and hummus or homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

as sweet as chocolate

That's what this little man is to me. He is sugar all wrapped up in my arms, dancing across the kitchen floor, nestled in my lap while reading and lounging on the floor playing with toys. He is a barrage of questions, comments, observations, insights and love. Always going, little mind racing and eyes always seeing.

And then he stops for a moment, spots a piece of chocolate and sweetly asks me "Mama can I have a piece of chawclat?" How do you say no to that?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

a true talent

We visited our family friend that lives in Teramo while in Abruzzo this past summer. We visit him nearly every summer and love going by his studio in the heart of Teramo. He is a famous Abruzzese painter, having painted for many dignitaries all throughout Europe. He is known for his scenery pictures depicting the Abruzzo countryside as well as the sea. We are fortunate to have several of his pieces.

I've always been taken with paintings, I really appreciate the art form and could stroll museums, churches, cities lined with murals and just about any other place as well with this decor. I love how each painting could speak differently to every observer. Maybe the artist had a specific intention or maybe they leave it up to us to decide. Either way, it's a most impressive talent.

My newest one given to me this past summer, above he is signing and dating it. I love it and can't wait to frame it and hang it in Italy.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

greetings and salutations

i used to like the idea of making new year's resolutions. i'd never come up with anything really profound but it passed the time on new year's eve to go through a small list of things i'd like to accomplish beginning at the stroke of midnight. it was fun to go around the room and talk about it with fellow new year's eve party-goers. i wish i had written them down to go back through now and see the ridiculous things i wanted. all the obvious things i'm sure like eat better, read more, spend less. pretty typical.

this tradition stopped when i realized that i didn't need it to be a new year to come up with a new list. each day is a new day to begin fresh regardless of where it falls on the calendar. it's great to have goals, to set expectations for yourself, to hold yourself accountable. you don't need the date to have any hold on you though. you do it because you want to and because it feels right, right then. yes, it's a new year and many think to start fresh, but every second, minute, hour and day is also a time to begin anew.

i welcome the new year. i look forward to what i will bring to it, not what it will bring to me.
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