Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Favorite moments from 2013

It's time to say goodbye to 2013.  I've had such a wonderful year. Here are some of my highlights and favourite memories:

// Celebrating Sera's 2nd Birthday with friends // Thailand with mum, Sera, Eric, Jaqui, Taryn, Asher and Bailey //  Visiting Milla, Lidia and Mimmo in Grenoble // Agroturismo weekend with Mario, Lucrezia, Riccardo, Martina and Irene // Friuli with Momo, Marina and Jacopo // Grenoble 2.0 // Nonni visit // Massa // Making friends with Valentina // Surprise visit from Grandma // Cattolica with nonni // Family Ferragosto Picnic // Tuscany with Denis, Chiara, Gaia, Greta, Denise, Epi, Miki and Maria-Grazia // Nonni visit 2.0 // Zia Alessia visiting for Halloween // Milla Visiting // Setting up for Christmas // Holidays in Canada with Grandma // Visiting Max, Jack, Marty and Tam in Toronto // Christmas with the extended family in Taranto //

Have a wonderful time tonight with all the celebrating, whether it's at a party, with a few friends or just cuddled up on your own with a good book.  Goodbye 2013 and Welcome to 2014!!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Have a Wonderful last Weekend of 2013

Reading with Nonno // Le Stagioni Dell'anno - The Seasons // Contiamo Insieme - Let's Count // L'inventore Pasticcione - The Messy Inventor

I always get confused in the week between Christmas and New Years because Christmas feels so much like the end of the year to me but then New Years drags its heels and takes another week to arrive. 

This weekend is the limbo weekend between the two and we, like many other folk, are still on holiday and enjoying e company of friends and family... That is, until tomorrow when we get in the car for anywhere from 8 to 12 hours to drive back to Milan.  

My plan for the day is to enjoy watching Sera with her grandparents (whom she won't see again for at least some months, poor thing), finish reading my Christmas gifted book Six Years by Harlan Coben, and try to squeeze everything back into the suitcase.

Nonna Gilda climbed up on a ladder yesterday and pulled out some of Fabri's story books from when he was a child for Sera to enjoy. Aren't they wonderfully retro and kitch? We might just have to sneak some of those into the suitcase as well.

I hope you all enjoy the last weekend of 2013!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Happy Holidays 2013

Christmas Day 2013 and here's how we've spent the festivities so far:
Rolling around on the floor with Sera in front of the tree / admiring the twinkling lights and frosted ornamentnts / trying out new festive eye makeup / "look I fit inside Zio Giulio's Christmas gift!'

Here are a few things I want to try to remember for years to come:

-Recently when I ask Sera why she's so cute she replies "because I love you! And tackles me with the sweetest smiles and biggest hugs.
-though I'll never understand Pugliese dialect, Fabri's 93 year old grandmother Eleonora and I have the most satisfying and deep conversations at the holidays.
-Fabri fooled me into believing we weren't exchanging gifts again this year and then again proceeded to get me everything on my letter to Santa... Good thing I always also fool him!

I hope you have been having a wonderful, cozy, happy and fun filled Christmas.
Xx Jess

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Eve gift wrapping

We're getting very close to the big day and today I spent two hours wrapping presents and still don't have everything ready.  As you can see no ribbons have been tied yet and I still have a bag full of gifts unwrapped and no where near ready to go. I have scotch tape blisters.

Luckily we're in Taranto and I have had tones of help with Sera. In fact I haven't actually seen her for more than ten minutes at a time since we've arrived but then I suppose what's nice about the holidays is also that she gets to spend time with family that she doesn't see too often. And I get a break!

Here in Taranto Babbo Natale, or Santa, arrives tonight, on Christmas Eve after a quick dinner of panzerotti and other fried foods. It's quite fun to see the kids staring out the windows of the apartments trying to catch a glimpse of his sled with their sleepy, excited eyes.

There's still a lot to do before Babbo Natale makes his debut so I'm back to the gift wrap. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve with family and friends and loved ones!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Holiday Hair Week by THEWONDERFUL Emily M. Meyers

In the middle of this year I fell madly in love with Emily M. Meyers over at The Freckled Fox, a lifestyle blog I've since followed religiously.  Emily not only is gorgeous, but an amazing woman, blogging daily with wonderful inspirations despite having four kids under five years old (the newest of which born only a few short weeks ago!).

If you head over to her blog this week you're in for a treat! She's just finished compiling tutorials for fabulous hairstyles that you can soon your own for a bit of a glamorous holiday look.  I haven't yet decided if I'm going to do the fancy bun or the party bun... I guess we'll just have to see how I feel on the day. Or maybe one or Christmas and the other for New Years?

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Voices Choices

Words have so much power... Especially those well chosen.

I am not one of those calm, centred people who takes the time to choose their words well when in conversation. I try to, but often forget or speak too soon or don't get what I really mean to say across. I'm too quick for my own good. I don't have a window of a few seconds to consider, ponder, choose.  I also believe that when I get into this frenetic mode of non-choosing I end up not listening either. It's really something I should work on.

One of my friends whom I admire very very much is a master at choosing her words. She speaks slowly and clearly and it seems as if every sentence that passes her lips is the best possible option for that moment in time. Sometimes there is even a palpable delay in conversation with her, but then what follows is always pleasant and thought through.  By result she is one of the kindest, most compassionate and wisest women I know. She is also a fantastic listener.

I'm better on paper, obviously due to the time it takes to write and the possibility of editing what I say.  On paper I also don't have to listen to anyone at all and my opinions can hang in the air, unedited and unaltered. Gee, writers can be egotists can't they?  That said, Most of the important relationships I have had have been created or cemented through written correspondence. There's a beauty in having all that time to choose my words.

The past two weeks have been an interesting experience in choosing words in my everyday life.  As a side effect of the flu I had in Canada I have been almost completely without a voice and therefore have been mostly living my life on mute.  Laryngitis is an inflammation of the vocal chords that prevents them from vibrating properly and the only cure is rest. Every time you speak you are prolonging your recovery, so choosing not to speak is the best medical decision.

Sometimes not speaking isn't an option though. right?

"Sera don't jump on the couch!" "Sera finish your peas!" "Sera get upstairs to bed now!" 

Wait a minute! I'm a nag! 

These weeks have taught me that indeed I do nag too much and don't choose my words with my daughter properly but also that I have other options when parenting... I don't have to talk all so much as I do at all! Instead of asking her not to jump on the couch I can simply go over an propose some other activity... Not eating her peas? Well, I can just take them away. It's not really an issue (and how would I feel if someone was nagging me to eat something on my plate anyhow?). Not going upstairs to bed? I can give her my hand and lead her up instead.... All this nagging was hurting more than my vocal chords.

And not being able to talk has also let me choose the things that really ARE important to say. 

"You did a good job." "Thank you." "I love you."

Aren't those the things worth saying every day? Laryngitis or not? Just in case someday I'm not able to say them anymore?

I'm going to take a lesson from this temporary lack of a voice, and from my friend with her slow talk and from my own internal author to be a bit more careful in he future with what I say... Maybe I'll talk less and listen more. And I'll certainly try to say much more of what's important for the people I love to hear.

All this of course, provided my voice ever decides to return!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Lovely DIY Christmas Gift Ideas for your Girlfriends

If you're craftsy like me you always have this instinct right before Christmas to forego the typical store-bought gifts in favor of something a little more personal and from the heart.  Nothing says giving more than a hand-made gift that keeps the recipient in mind. 

Here are some ideas I collected online for great gift ideas for your girlfriends...

For the one who needs a bit of Good Luck

For the one who needs to get organised

For the one that always shares a great pot of tea 

For the one who makes all the clothes

Glasses Case into Sewing Kit from TeaRoseHome

By the way, sorry for ruining the surprise if you open one of these from me on Christmas day!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Winter in Canada

We just got back from our holiday in Canada.

Before we went I had all these wonderful intentions about swimming everyday in my mom's pool, meditating for extended periods and building snowmen in the garden... along with continuing my blog and keeping you all up to date.

Unfortunately, destiny had other plans for me this trip and despite my fantastic form leading up to the trip, Sera and I promptly caught the flu on day three of being in Montreal. We were still ok for the first day and a half at Mont Tremblant where we took advantage of an indoor swimming pool and I had a soak in the outdoor hot tub.

Of course, soaking in a hot tub in -4°c isn't the best thing for the flu (which I still didn't know I had yet) and it then promptly turned into pneumonia.  105°f fever and chills along with a crazy cough and running nose. Aches and pains... you name it! Lucky me!  Spent a fortune at a walk-in clinic in Toronto only to be told I was super-contagious and needed anti-biotics. The doctor also said that if it was 105 the thermometer was broken... well, that's a relief!  We fled Toronto the next day for fear of getting my little nephews sick, that would be the worst! Spent more time driving there and back than actually in Ontario, but I guess even 20 minutes with family is better than nothing.

The rest of the trip in Montreal was a marathon of chicken soup, onesies pyjamas and Sherlock on Netflicks. I can't say it was all bad, cause aside from the cough and laryngitis when else would I get to spend 5 days in pyjamas straight while someone else plays with Sera and keeps her entertained?

We're back home now and preparing for our next trip.  Heading off to Puglia on Saturday to spend time with the Italian family. I hope that at least this time I'll be on my feet and be able to enjoy things a little bit.

Getting healthy is a priority and as soon as I do I promise I'll be back at blogging regularly!

Highlights from the trip:

  • playing in the snow
  • the hottub, despite its consequences
  • spending time with grandma
  • watching my nephew Max teach Sera how to make tea
  • impromptu dinner at my best friends' house
  • Tommy Hilfiger outlet shopping
  • Seeing Frozen in English in theatres
  • Watching Sera eat sticky maple syrup on snow