Monday, April 30, 2012

Abi gets married!

This past weekend I had the great privilege of being a bridesmaid in my dear friend Abi's wedding.  She and I were roommates back at UVA.  We loved living together our fourth year of college:

We've stayed very close friends ever since!  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding.  She's the third on the left:

And she came to meet Lena when that baby girl was just a few days old!  She also brought me Nutella cookies, which makes her one of my favorite people ever.  She already was, of course, but this sealed the deal.

On Saturday my beloved friend Abi married the boy of her dreams, a man who had wooed her slowly and patiently over the last couple of years.  Their wedding was gorgeous, filled with a million personal details from Abi's love of France (she's a French teacher) and Jorge's Mexican heritage.  Here are a few photos from my phone of this weekend:

Photos from a lovely bridesmaid's luncheon.  From L to R: Johanna, Abi, me.

My mom came to help with Lena, and she had a wonderful time with her Grammie!  Do you love her new jeggings? :-)  So stylin'!

Morning of the wedding: Abi steams her gorgeous dress and Lauren (another dear friend who lived with us at UVA) preps to be a beautiful bridesmaid.

All the bridesmaids from UVA!  Six of us (out of Abi's ten bridesmaids) had been friends at Mr. Jefferson's University.

Abi is veiled for the ceremony!

Trolley ride to the wedding... such fun!  Maggie and I pose for a blurry shot on the ride over.

Final moments before Abi walks down the aisle to Jorge.  Stay hydrated, Abi!  She made all our beautiful hair pieces.

And they are married!!!  We rode the trolley again to take some photos and then arrived at the wedding venue, where Abi had made lovely papel picado and strung the cutouts over the dance floor.  Every detail of this wedding was hand-crafted and designed by Abi and Jorge.

Lena came to the party, where many of my friends were excited to meet her for the first time!  We had fun on the dance floor just the two of us (we missed Elliott :-/) and posed with an old friend, Johanna.

At the end of the night we even got a picture with the bride!  Lovely Abi and her Jorge headed off soon after this among the ringing of wedding bells.  I'm so glad for you, sweet Abi, and rejoice for you and Jorge.  Can't wait to see you again soon so we can chit-chat about married life!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

at home and abroad

Here you go: a few photos from my iPhone of our journey from Sicily to D.C. mixed in with a few happy shots around home in Virginia.  We're loving this gorgeous spring in VA!

From the Paris airport, enjoying special seating (even if she doesn't qualify) and checking out our plane.

Ciao bella!  Welcome to the U.S. of A!

A trip to B&N (excellent literary choice, right all You've Got Mail fans?) 
& a early morning walk in the crisp spring air.

Snuggles with her Grammie and cool toys at Grampa and Marmee's house!

"Please, Grampa, may I have some more?"  She loved the freshwater trout her grandparents served for dinner last night.

Today Lena and I walked to the college bookstore where I used to work from 2005-2006.  I don't think I've been back since I worked there, and now my daughter and I are sharing my favorite smoothie.  Life moves fast!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Hello from Virginia!  Lena and I arrived on Saturday night, exhausted and thankful.  We had journeyed from Sicily to Milan, Milan to Paris, and Paris to D.C.  Those 18 hours were rough, as Lena did not want to sleep and we had a pretty miserable time for much of the journey.  I remember with fondness the trip Lena and I made to visit Elliott in Israel when Lena was 2 months old.  She slept for seven hours of the 8-hour flight, and I slept for about 6 hours myself.  Incredible!  Those days are long, long gone, I realized woefully as I balanced a baby on my lap while attempting to eat dinner off my tray and feed her at the same time and keep her hands out of the sauces, juices, and vanilla eclair.  

"What would you like to drink, madam?" the flight attendant asked me.
"White wine, please," I replied.

She handed me a miniature bottle of wine.  I was supposed to pour it into a pretty little cup on my tray, but I realized I'd lose most of the wine if I did this, thanks to Lena's deft little grabs.  I unscrewed the bottle cap and furtively gulped it down between bites, hoping I didn't look like some kind of alcoholic!  Usually I try not to drink before breastfeeding because the diluted alcohol can seep into breastmilk... but this time this was exactly what I wanted to happen. I'll attribute the wine (and God's mercy) to the fact that Lena eventually did sleep for about 3 hours of that flight.

Anyway, now that I have admitted I was trying to get both my daughter and myself slightly tipsy, we can move onto some pictures.  These are some from the past month or so from home in Sicily.  I'll have more tomorrow from our trip to the States and a couple adventures we've had since arriving here!

1. "pajamas are too big, Mama"
2. visiting Daddy's office and checking out the operating room 
3. quiet evenings with Eden, Mom, and Dad in Sicily
4. a new sweater from Grampa
5. making friends in the Malta airport
6. stylish little jet setter in her plum-colored corduroy skirt and striped leggings!
7. pistachio gelato with Aunt Eden
8. buying mussels for dinner in the Catania fish market
9. "See me stand!"
10. apparently shoes and socks are not required at the weekly market in our town
11. checking out her "Abi doll" that her Aunt Abi (and bride-to-be this weekend!) made her
12. our cozy room at home in Sicily

Thursday, April 19, 2012

under the weather

Lena and I tried to take a smiling picture to send to her daddy this morning, but it was kind of difficult for her to perk up into a grin.  She's had a low-grade fever for over 24 hours now, a fever which first came to my attention yesterday when she took a five hour nap.  Epic.  This morning she also threw up all her breakfast and medicine all over both of us.  Anyway, now that her mama is aware what her hot forehead and general droopiness indicate, we're learning that grape-flavored infant Tylenol is kinda yummy and have been reading stacks of books, snuggling in bed (unusual for this typically non-snuggling baby), and taking it easy for a few days. 

Elliott and I are hoping little L can kick this thing, because she and I leave on Saturday morning for the States.  (Elliott has a mandatory work conference and so can't come with us.)  We'll be home for my dear friend Abi's wedding... such a cause for celebration!  However, I've already been dreading the solo plane flight with an active 12-month-old who doesn't like to sleep.  What will I do with a sick 12-month-old?

Prayers and advice would be appreciated right now.  Also, friends, if you'll be around the D.C. area these next couple weeks, let me know.  Lena and I would love to see you!


Monday, April 16, 2012

a birthday party for Lena

What fun I had planning and executing this little party!  I love an excuse to bake and craft, and this was the best excuse most mothers ever get: their baby girl's first birthday.  My favorite things to make were the invitations and the cake.

For the invitations (and later for the pennant banners around the house), I used some fabric I purchased at Purl Soho in NYC when I was pregnant with Lena.  I wanted to make her something special, and finally I had just the right occasion.  I also used fabric from the dress my mom and I sewed for Lena and which, of course, she wore for the party.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law (Eden) were a huge help getting ready for the day.  Even my father-in-law helped with nailing banners to the wall, and Elliott came home with a huge bouquet of wildflowers after I sent him out just to get the balloons blown up. 

(In the midst of all this prettiness, all was not as perfect as it seems.  Elliott was trying to get our car repaired as everyone at home prepared for the party.  [We are constantly, constantly having issues with this little car of ours.]  Unfortunately the car did not get fixed in time, leaving him stranded at the mechanic's before the party.  He had to catch a ride with some of our guests to his own daughter's birthday.  When he caught a ride back to the mechanic's after the party he discovered that the mechanic had broken his tools trying to get the last bolt off!  Our car had to be put back together, unfixed.  The car is still not repaired, despite Elliott's sacrifices that day.  Oh, for a car that runs without complaining!)

Eden went out before the party to buy some traditional Sicilian Easter lambs at a local bakery.  They were made of almond marzipan and are astonishing delicious.  (I'm cutting slices off one of them and nibbling on it now!)  They were sweet decoration, too, for an Easter-themed birthday party.

Here's my pride and joy: the lamb cake.  My mom had a lamb-shaped cake tin and made us cakes like this for years and years when we were growing up.  I asked her if I could use it for Lena's birthday, and she got me one of my own!  I see many lamb-shaped birthday cakes in the future.

At 1pm, the guests began to arrive!  We kept it small with just a few children around Lena's age from families that have become very dear to us over the last few months.


We catch our baby randomly looking through her books, a sweet habit that we love.  (We'll teach her to read them the right way up one day.)

"Hey Mom, look what I found!"  We had a chocolate Easter egg hunt for the kids that were old enough to understand.  Meanwhile, Lena finds a hat and decides she loves it (literally) while I clap like I am 12 months old. 

 Time for cake!

The frosting is the best part!

"Forget the cake, I just need to get this frosting..."

"... soooo good...."

"... ahhhh!  I love frosting!"

"That was ah-may-zing.  Let's do it again!"

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