Sunday, August 24, 2014

The End of Summer: Ciao, Italia!

Well, the dreamy summer in Italy has come to an end.  Maria and I returned to Kyiv Friday night (her 21st and 22nd flights!).  Paolo and Gio are in the midst of a 3 day drive with Enzo and Pepper.  They just crossed the border into Ukraine and will arrive here tomorrow night. Tuesday morning Gio begins Kindergarten!
Below are the last images of our time in Italy.  I am counting the days until we return at Christmas!

Gio spent a great deal of the summer naked.  He really had a few months of complete freedom with friends in nearby houses that he could visit independently (no roads between the houses), no wake up times (11AM was a common time to emerge), very few baths and easy access to popsicles.  What more could a boy ask for in a summer?  He did learn, the hard way, that jumping naked on a trampoline is NOT a great idea.
Gio is still very much my first baby.  How I love his snuggles.
I will miss them when he becomes to "cool" to sit in my lap. 

Ready for tennis.  Just first need to figure out this walking thing.

Enzo sporting his new Dartmouth collar.   
A view from the hill.
Gio and his friends have a great time playing hide-and-seek around these hay bales.
After a 5 hour hike with Papa and Enzo.

My furry boys enjoying their last days of freedom before the return to apartment living.
Never one to miss a meal....
....or dessert! 

A rough day in Parma.  Maria needed her kidney function evaluated due to her urinary reflux condition.  The test involved injecting radioactive material into a vein.  Unfortunately it took 5 sticks (and two doctors) to finally find a vein.  Poor Maria collapsed once the torture was over and slept for much of the 3 hours we had to wait for the scans to take place.  
This shop would NOT go over well in the USA.  Yes, horse meat. 
Once recovered from her ordeal in Parma, Maria woke the next morning fully recovered.
Sadly, this was our final day in Italy.

Friday was a bit complicated.  I dropped Gio at Aunt Luisa's house then drove with Maria to Bologna.  Paolo met me there (he had flown in from Kyiv).  We exchanged the car keys and while Maria and I flew off to Kyiv (via Munich), Paolo drove back to get Gio and pack up the car for their departure on Saturday.  I am an obsessive list maker, and Paolo is a BIT forgetful, so I made a long one of all the things he needed to remember to pack.  Note #6.  Yes, he is that forgetful.   
The mole will be quite pleased that we have left.
She can now work away at destroying our lawn in peace.
Maria was in this state for most of our late flight from Munich to Kyiv, much to the delight of our fellow passengers (and yours truly). 22 flights completed in her first year.  She has quite a ways to go to catch up wtih Gio who has racked up 144!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 6: Leaving Sardinia, Swing Set & a Birthday!

It has been a busy week here!  We finished our week in Sardinia and came home to prepare for Maria's big FIRST birthday!
Maria meets a blueberry gelato cone in Sardinia.  It was a happy discovery!

We spent a few more days on the beach.  Maria wore more material on her body
than the rest of the outfits on the beach combined!

Gio was very rarely out of the water (snorkeling is a new passion).  Here is a rare moment on dry land. 
On the ferry ride back to Livorno.  Vacations are exhausting!
Maria was so hungry once we returned home that she insisted on having the entire bowl of pasta.  

Gio and Maria were very excited on Wednesday morning to see the big birthday surprise being installed....
A sandbox....
...and a swing set!
Time to drop Gio at camp.

Bath toys are not just for the bath, right?!

Birthday morning snuggling.
What a difference a year makes!
Her first ever birthday card!  Thanks, Grace & Family!

First cupcake ever....
...and the verdict...


...need another taste....
so so.  This is all she ate.  Clearly she did NOT inherit her momma's sweet tooth!
Birthday swinging.
She would happily do this for an hour (and has done so every day since!)
Enzo is a big fan of the sandbox.
We do try to keep Pepper away (there is a cover to keep it from becoming his litter box)!

Cupcake rejected but a popsicle?  Score!
These are helping Maria who has been cutting 4 molars for the last two weeks.  Poor thing!
Saturday afternoon and time for the big birthday party!
This entire cake is made of gelato!
Maria ate none of it but we all managed to finish it anyway.  Yum!

She drank it all!
This is Paolo's final week in Italy.  Maria and I will return to Kyiv on August 22.  Paolo will fly back here that day in order to start the drive with the boys.  It is sad that our time here is coming to an end.