Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet Julie

This is Julie. She just moved back to Bologna with her Italian husband and 3 cute kids. She invited Taryn and me & Paige and Ada over to her home last week. Julie made pizza and taught us what to look for in the grocery store when we want to buy...
Vanilla Extract (they actually put it right in the baking soda here!)
Powdered Sugar (sold in tiny quantities)
and lots of other great stuff

She lives just outside the city walls and the views outside her front door are amazing. She has a small vineyard to the right of her home and you can see the rolling hills covered with red and yellow leafed trees. It's a little adventure for us traveling out there by bus and it's wonderful to see different parts of the city.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Just one of those weeks

This week has been a rough ride for all of us. I bet I can count how many hours of sleep we all got on two hands- for the whole week. Taryn has been sick and is now a lot worse than before after this week of sleep deprivation. Now she can't breathe through her nose very well because of all the mucus which makes feeding and sleeping a challenge. I broke down- emotionally and physically exhausted- this week. I worried about Taryn not getting the sleep she desperately needs, Tyson not getting enough sleep to function for all his hard classes, and my overall ability to function. In high school and college I used to pride myself on how well I could function off of very little sleep. The tables have turned and I can no longer jump and jive with 2 hours of sleep or less.

I am trying to focus on the good parts of this week and I would love to share them because they have touched me so dearly.

*After one of many rough nights of Taryn not sleeping, I was preparing breakfast and Tyson gave me a long hug and said, "I'm sorry." (for the long sleepless night I spent with Taryn) I needed that hug so badly and I didn't even know it. But Tyson did.

*I received emails from those I love with the ending remarks of "You're a good mom." I burst into tears after reading those words. After feeling so horrible because I didn't know how to comfort my own daughter and make her better, those words gave me hope.

*My amazing neighbor offered to watch Taryn so I could sleep. I ended up not taking her up on it because Taryn took a nap around that same time and so did I. But the offer was there and that made me grateful.

*We had planned a trip to Ravenna this weekend but after another night of no sleep we had to put Taryn's health and sleep first and cancel our trip. We knew it was more important for Taryn to get in good naps than it was for us to see a city that will be there- just the same- another weekend. And we both felt good about our decision.

*I was walking home from school with Taryn and spotted these Halloween cookies in the window of a Pastry shop. I bought some for Tyson and I to share. I thought it was silly how seeing something like this could make me happy- almost giddy- but then I realized it was because they reminded me of home.* Taryn amazes me with her new talents and I love being overjoyed with her developments. On Monday she learned how to clap (video posted yesterday). She can play peek-a boo by popping into view after hiding by our bed (or Cu-cu as they say in Italy). Taryn is becoming better at standing by herself when she wants to and walking better when I'm only holding one of her hands.

* Being up at 4am with Taryn meant that I was able to Skype with my oldest sister and her family for the first time since moving to Italy. It brought so much joy to my heart to see their faces and to talk with them even if it was only for a few short minutes (bummer that my camera wasn't working and they couldn't see me!)

I hope I can walk away from this week with more knowledge of how to be a mom, what to do next time, and how to remain patient. We may have just found the cure to her sleeping problem which is great but we will still be fighting her cold for a little bit.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Taryn started clapping on Monday and it makes her so happy. She has new sounds and loves to pucker her lips while "talking" to everyone. Taryn has a favorite stuffed Tiger that Grandma and Grandpa Smith bought her from the Thailand Tiger Zoo. Every time we have played with it, Tyson or I make a tiger "growl" noise and now when Taryn finds the tiger she crawls to it quickly and "growls" once she has it in her hands. She's learning quickly and her new little talents are amazing. You can also see her shake her head back and forth quickly in the video. She is perfecting that one!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Apple Crisp

Yesterday I took these beautiful apples and made my home smell like Fall. The delicious apple crisp was paired with Panna Gelato and I thought of home while I prepared and ate it. Maybe because it's my mom's recipe or the fact that this season always makes me think of family and traditions. We enjoyed this great Sunday treat with our friends and Taryn loved the little bites I fed to her.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Otto Mesi

At the library

Playing with her hair bows

All bundled up for a walk around the park

Ready for bed

Taryn is 8 months old and I failed at taking a day of picture so I took some of my favorite photos of her during her 8 month. She loves to play on the floor and now objects more vocally to us picking her up, removing things from her hands that aren't toys and trying to get her dresses. I sometimes wonder where she gets her strength from! Taryn is becoming more of a cuddle bug and I actually get to rock her to sleep sometimes. She responds to people on the street now that stop to talk to her with "Ra ra ra" or "ble ble ble" while moving her jaw and lips in a cute "pucker."

She waves to people when they come into sight (like on Skype with our family) and those around her at Tyson's school. When it comes time for me to go to class and I give Taryn to Tyson and she starts to wave bye bye to me as if to say, "Ok mom, go now. It's time for me to have daddy-daughter time. Bye!" I love that she gets to spend so much time with Tyson. She has a great mix of blonde, red, and some brunette in her hair and I am anxious to see if her hair stays that way!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Leaves and Colors

On Wednesday Taryn and I went for a walk around the park just before dinner. We saw some beautiful leaves and I picked some up off the ground and we took them home. Thursday was rainy all day so we spent the day inside with a coloring project to help pass the time. I told Taryn that leaves come from trees, that they are all different colors, and when we see leaves like this it means it's fall. I drew pictures of pumpkins and she let me trace her hand a few times. She grabbed the colored pencil while I stroked back and forth- it was a team effort. We put the pictures up on our walls to add some decorations. I am not the best artist but I had a lot of fun with Taryn. She took the leaves and crunched them in her hand, studied them, and only once did she actually put a piece in her mouth. she was loving it all and she sat so patiently in her high chair and sucked on colored pencils, listening to some fall-ish music and touching the leaves on her paper.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Her Blue Eyes

Can you believe how blue her eyes are? She definitely gets that from Tyson and I love that she has his eyes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mestre, Italy

Our adventure to Stake Conference!!!
We woke up at 5:30am to get ready and hop on a bus that would take us to the Bologna train station. It was FREEZING!!! We jumped on our train for a 2 hour ride that would take us to Mestre, a city only 10 min. outside of Venice. Taryn slept half the time and the other half she spent playing and making faces at the Russian ladies sitting next to us. She found their "People" magazine to be very interesting. Luckily, they didn't mind her grabbing the pages and pointing to everything brightly colored- actually, they were encouraging it while we were feeling bad and trying to stop it!
At the train station the Elders Quorum president picked us up and we drove about 5 min to the hotel where they had rented out a conference room because there isn't a building big enough in Italy to house all the members they expected. Without the Elders Quorum president and all his hard work and research, we wouldn't have been able to make it this far to conference! He even brought a car seat for Taryn (unlike Thailand, it's required that babies are in car seats)!
We enjoyed conference and then we ate lunch at this beautiful park just behind the hotel. It was awesome to see church members scattered all over the grass with blankets and food. We really enjoyed the day and we were completely exhausted!

Fun trivia- this park is the largest lagoon park in Europe.

Monday, October 17, 2011


The other day it rained after days of perfect blue skies and no clouds. We welcomed the rain and Taryn watched from the window as it fell. She had no idea where the thunder noise was coming from and would look all around her trying to find it. After a while she was having fun playing with the window and curtain and then trying to figure out the light fixture above her head. We read books and bundled up for the morning and later that day after the rain stopped Taryn and Ada enjoyed a stroll around town as Paige and I headed to the Flea Market.

This morning I was able to Skype with my Mom, Dad, and Brittany and then Tyson and Jen, and Janis, Tyson's mom. It's always so great to talk with family face to face via Internet! Anyone else want to skype? :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Majani Chocolate

When we first arrived in Italy, I noticed lots of women carrying a "Majani" bag. I had no idea what it was but I really wanted to find out because apparently it was all the rage and since I want to get the true Italian experience while we are living here, I told Tyson that I was determined to find out what this store was. On one of our walks around the city, Tyson spotted the "Majani" store. Antica Casa Majani is Italy's oldest sweet shop! I was so happy to find out it was a chocolate store! We are lovers of anything chocolate so we took a browse around the store. We decided to go with the very affordable and adorable tortellini shaped chocolate morsels and enjoyed them as they melted in our mouths.

After our delicious chocolates we walked around the city some more and enjoyed a great day of people watching. Tyson took some great shots as we roamed and we walked into some Medieval Palaces that are now used as private residences and business offices. Saturday was a busy day and it seemed as if the whole city was walking about. I think it was the cooler weather that brought everyone out personally. And made the activities in the Piazza.
(P.S.-Above is a picture of Tyson's hair before the hair cut! So long!)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Books for babies

Picking books to take home from the library can be really fun for me. I usually take some that Taryn plays with and then I pick out a few that I think would be fun. This one brought a lot of good laughs. Taryn loved it when I put my face in the circles and when Tyson did too. She didn't really understand why we held it up to her. I didn't get any pictures with Tyson....I was laughing too hard. The joys of education and play time!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More of the place I call home

Tyson and I have streets that we call our favorites. These are the ones we turn down and the beauty makes us grateful we are here. In my book, it's all about the details. The endless amounts of bikes with baskets for those grocery runs, the small resturants that have the same 3 men in front talking and yelling just like they do everyday, and the endless italian grandma's who just love to smile and talk to Taryn as we pass by. The buildings are colored in shades of red, orange and yellow and I have yet to see shutters any color other than green.
I am trying my hand at walking the cobble stone streets with heels (on Sunday). Please, italian women, please tell me how you do it everyday. I nearly sprain my ankle when I am walking in sandals! Slowly, I will get there. They do make it look so easy.

My Italian class started and I am so excited for it. I sat in class and for the most part understood what was being said and the rest I tried to piece together with the little spanish I retained in high school. But why oh why do I freeze when it's my turn? I understood the questions she asked the other students. I even knew the answers and would say them to myself before the other students would answer! I guess it doesn't help that I turn bright red when all attention is on me, waiting to hear my response. I have never done well with all eyes on me.. maybe that's why I received the name "Cherry" in middle school. I shared tid-bits of what I learned with Tyson and I am very excited to continue learning Italian. I also love the Taryn gets to be with Tyson for those 90 minutes. I come out of class and she is so relaxed, enjoying the classmates that love to talk with her.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cutting Hair

When we arrived in Italy, Tyson had gone 4 weeks without a haircut. It was starting to get LONG and really bother him. So on our outings in the city we checked into MANY barber shops only to find that the going price for a hair cut was anywhere between 17-25 Euros!!!! Insane! No way are we going to spend that kinda money on a hair cut! Our neighbors said that they had clippers we could use and Paige was willing to teach me a couple of ticks.

So Paige showed me how she cuts Mike's hair. I watched closely because I know if I made a mistake on Tyson, he will have to wear that mistake on his head- bicking it was not an option for him.Paige was shocked at the thickness of Tyson's hair and how long it was. "There is like 4 inches of hair here!!"

That's a lot of hair on his shoulders, and we weren't even making real progress yet! Now it was my turn to take over and try my luck. But I think my hands must be cursed because I only got a little ways into it and the clippers died. Yup- we all blame the converter. Tyson's hair was only half done. What to do!?!?!


Yes, dull scissors is what we had to resort to. And it was a very painful experience for Tyson. I was feeling very bad but we couldn't just leave him looking like he had just lost a fight with the hair clippers. So Paige pulled out her art scissors and it made the job doable. Can you see his wincing face above?

The end results! I do have to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out. Tyson's eyes were glued on the areas that were uneven so he was a little unsure about it (Can you blame me- I was using scissors!!!!!!) After returning to school his friends said they liked his hair cut (YEAH!) and asked where he got it done and how much he paid for it. When he told the guys that I did it they all asked if I would be willing to cut their hair as well. The guys were shocked that I used scissors and they said they couldn't even tell. (Sweet!) I think that gave Tyson confidence in his new hair cut and as long as we get a new pair of clippers, he is ok with me cutting his hair from now on.