Saturday, December 31, 2011

Buon Anno

Happy New Year's to you all!
We have a lot to blog about after our little trip to Milan
- so-many-pictures!
But first, a little about New Year's in Italy. Each city has their own way of celebrating in a big way. Bologna likes to go big and apparently nothings fun without a little fire action. They light the Vecchione (this year it's that huge Scuba man) on fire at midnight in the Piazza Maggiore to represent the passing of the old year and bringing in the new. Pretty crazy fun! We're planning on taking turns to go see it while Taryn is asleep!
Buon Anno tutti!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

On Christmas Day it was bright and sunny but the snow still stuck to the ground in certain areas. We opened gifts, ate our Christmas Sausage Casserole (tradition!) and got ready for church. As we walked to the bus stop, the bells of the nearby church started to ring. It has been Tyson's wish ever since we moved here to her the bells on Christmas day. We loved the wonderful sounds and smiled during the whole walk to the bus (we also got to hear them on the way home!) We just barely made the bus to church...running down the street trying to beat the bus in high heeled shoes....I was sure I would break my neck. We were laughing and couldn't believe me made it! The ride to church was particularly beautiful because of the snow covered walk ways and drive ways of pretty homes and cobblestone. Church was wonderful and Tyson blessed the sacrament in Italian. I was very proud of him! I got teary eyed as we sang Silent Night in Italian. Having a baby this year has made Christmas more dear to my heart than ever before. The thought of a wonderful gift brought to the world as a little baby boy has been so powerful to me. I've thought more about Mary and what she could have thought or done. I've thought more about the simplicity of the season but also the great message as well.

We headed home and Taryn napped while we got things ready for Julie and Paolo's. They invited us to spend Christmas Day with their family and the Elders. On the menu- Mexican food. And I was so excited for it! We enjoyed eating, playing with kids, laughing and talking. Good friendship is so uplifting. We are very blessed to know Julie and Paolo and have been thankful for all they have done for us. We ended the night with a Skype conference call from Mackenzie with Texas, Utah (phone), California, Switzerland and Italy. It's amazing what we are capable of doing with technology!

The great Mexican food!

I really wanted a picture of Taryn with her first snow ever. Sometimes it's just better when Mom holds baby :)

The vineyard next door to Julie and Paolo's home

Buon Natale, Merry Christmas & AuguriI also attended Midnight Mass which was pretty cool. I'm glad we live less than 5 minutes away from a church because it was dark and cold outside!

Christmas Eve

In front one of the many biblioteca's of Bologna

On Christmas Eve we took a walk around the city with the intentions of going ice skating but because of the timing of naps etc... we missed the time slot. We were ok with it because it was FREEZING cold and actually started raining. Not a great combo for our two recovering sickies. Where's the baby?

Ice rink

We shared a Frittelle con Nutella, took some photos and tried to stay warm. We rode the bus back home (so glad we did) and spent a warm Christmas Eve in our apartment. In the afternoon just after lunch Tyson told me to look outside- and I was shocked to see snow! I posted that morning that there was a snow warning but I didn't think we would actually see it in Centro. There was a lot of jumping and squealing around here. The first snow of the season and we got to see it! I took a bunch of pictures, videos, and I even took a walk in the snow to the grocery store. I wanted so badly to see snow here. For this California/Arizona girl it's kinda a rare thing. We were all super happy with our White Christmas Eve (and Day- kinda!)

Look at those 3 1/2 teeth! Laughing on the bus ride home

We also got to skype with almost everyone in both of our families. Some for Christmas Eve breakfast tradition and others for the initial set up for Skyping with my sister Mackenzie who is serving a mission in Switzerland on Christmas Day. I loved everything about this day. Spending time with my family, talking with family, and the snow.

December 24th
Scripture Readings: Luke 2: 11
Activity: Enjoying the snow!!!!!!!!!!!!

Snow in Bologna!

Snow in Bologna

It snowed in Bologna on Christmas Eve! We were so excited and I had to catch it on photo, flipcamera, and in person! Here is a video of where we live (what a walk around for us looks like!) with a little snow involved

Saturday, December 24, 2011


The Bologna weather forecast says it will be 0 degrees celsius (32 degrees F) but it will feel like -2 degrees celsius (about 28 degrees F) with 80% humidity.

We woke up to clouds in the sky. And it says it will rain today.

It also has an advisory for SNOW!!

Likely? Maybe not

But it's pretty cool to think that it just MIGHT!

Friday, December 23, 2011

10 Months, Blue eyes, & an orange nose

A little of Taryn's dancing to Christmas music. I love that she sticks out her little bum.

Our little ten month old had turned into a huge cuddlier! Maybe it's the cold weather? Maybe she realizes how much we LOVE her kisses and hugs and snuggles? Whatever it is I hope it she stays this cuddly for a long time. If we're just standing or sitting she will come and hug our legs or if we kneel down she will walk up to us and put her arms out and once she's in our arms, makes a "ahh"sound. (Those are the best hugs ever- she's always smiling too!)

She makes a kissing noise (think- "hummm") and pulls her lips in when we say "Kisses." The best is when she has a runny nose or food all over her mouth when she "kisses" us- I think she likes to share :) She has 3 1/2 teeth, the 4th one is just starting to poke through finally, and has bitten her upper and lower lips already making them bleed!

She's getting the whole "high -five" thing (at least- knowing to have her palm flat and facing us). She thinks it's pretty funny when we clap our hands against hers.

I think it's amazing when you can watch this little person make connections with the words we say to her. Mom, Dad, ball, water, tiger (her favorite stuffed animal) etc... I wouldn't be surprised if one of her first words (beside momma and dadda) is cheese. This girl loves her cheese. Tyson laughed when he couldn't keep up with her-cutting little pieces and putting them on her tray. She was inhaling them! He kept reminding her to "breathe!" She gets excited whenever she sees the big block of yummy cheese come out of the fridge! Haha!

I went to the grocery store without Taryn today- she was napping and Tyson was reading. One of my favorite grocery store clerks asked me, in Italian, where my daughter was. I told her she was at home. She then said, "Oh! She has the bluest eyes!" And I explained to her that Taryn has her father's eyes. The grocery store clerks are all so sweet to Taryn whenever we walk in and it's fun to see them and hear their warm greetings almost everyday.

This past month I've really noticed her Orange Nose!!! Can you tell who's been eating too many "orange" foods! (oops! I guess that's my fault!)

December 23rd
Scripture Readings: Luke 1: 28-33
Activity: Checking some movies off of our "Christmas List"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A little cleaning and a big break (kinda)

3rd Picture taken of the Piazza Maggiore Christmas tree. (3 different lightings!)

Thursday marked the first day of Tyson's winter break. We wish we could say he was done with finals and all his cares for school are put to rest until he returns, but no, because of the unique Bologna schedule, he won't take his finals until January (In D.C. he'll take them before break- yeah!) . So this break will be a break of sorts. He will take a couple of days off of studying while we travel and Taryn and I will get to see him more than normal! But there are readings and a project to work on (and don't let me forget my Italian homework!)

We cleaned the church on Thursday morning. In the midst of mopping, toilet scrubbing and sweeping Tyson peeked his head into the room I was cleaning and said, "Merry Christmas Jesus. We cleaned the church!" Although I did giggle at this comment I thought of how great it was that we were able to perform this little act of service for our Church building, His house of Worship. I credit Julie for putting this together while the boys are out of school (Anderson's cleaned too!). Many hands really does make light work!

We tried Kebab Indian sandwiches on Nan last night. It was a great break from our normal eats at home. I couldn't believe that there were more than 5 Kebab shops down San Vitale in a row- and I had to try to choose one based on the outer appearance! Harder than it sounds.  So much food for very little money. That's what we like! 
December 22nd
Scripture Readings: Luke 2: 19-20
Activity: Cleaning our Church Building with friends

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pandoro, Panettone, e La Befana

A poinsettia from our upstairs neighbor

What I've learned about the holidays in Italy

Panettone and Pandoro
These are special sweet breads that are made only for the holiday season.

Panettone is similar to a fruit cake in that it contains dried pieces of fruit inside. Even though I don't recall ever tasting Fruit Cake in the U.S.A, I'm pretty sure I like Panettone better.

Pandoro is a sweet light bread that contains no special filling and is sprinkled with Powdered Sugar.

When we first arrived in Bologna, we read about a wonderful Pasticceria named Anitca Bologna which has been making wonderful pastries, breads, & sandwiches since 1927. We also read that this pasticceria produces the best Holiday Bread in Bologna. Can you imagine my happiness when I located this store only minutes from SAIS Johns Hopkins center!!!! I pass it to and from school and made my way in today to buy my little holiday bread (panettone) for us to try. I bought one the size of a muffin for us to split. I didn't want to get a whole bread (they are HUGE!) and not end up liking it. This little muffin size was the perfect amount for us.

La Befana
While reseraching traditions and events when December first began, I came across La Befana (thanks to The tradition of Santa Claus is relativily new compared to the ancient city, so it's really La Befana that credited in bringing holiday presents to the children. La Befana is a kind witch (think Halloween witch) that comes on January 6th, Feast of the Epiphany, and brings the good children gifts. (I thought it was weird that they had witches and Santas next to each other in the Christmas markets- now I get it!)

Legend has it that La Befana was asked by the Three Wise Men for directions on their way to Bethlehem. They invited her to join them but she turned them down. She also refused to worship with a Shepherd, the new born Christ child.

La Befana wanted to join the Three Wise Men after all so she brought some toys that had belonged to her child, who had passed away, and went looking for the Three Wise Men and the Shepherd. La Befana couldn't find them or the stable. Each year she goes in search for the Christ child but because she can't find Him, she leaves toys for all the good children and coal for the bad children.

Carbone Dolce- before I knew about la Befana and her bringing "coal" to bad children, Tyson and I thought the coal in the Christmas market was funny! Now that I understand more behind the history of this tradition I knew I had to purchase some "coal" and show you what it looks like. It's basically rock candy that looks really similar to coal. How do they do that?

A little piece of Italian History

December 21st
Scripture Readings: Luke 2 :16-18
Activity: Eating "Coal" and Pandoro

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Soup, sleep, and lots of Clementines

A Nativity we visited with the Anderson's Sunday night in the Piazza Maggiore

Freshly made Peppermint bark

Monday was a mellow day after waking up and finding out we had two sickies in the home. Tyson, despite his amazing efforts for the entire semester, has been a little under the weather and Taryn has a bad cold that came with a cough this time. I'm pretty sure we could call her "wheezy" now. Her cough and lack of normal breathing due to runny noses is heartbreaking.

So it was a home day. A much needed one. Taryn played, went down early for long naps, and stayed out of the cold air ( that keeps getting colder every day- it was so warm last week!) I caught up on my chores and luckily made it to the grocery store bright and early before Tyson left so I didn't have to take Taryn out with me in the (again) cold! Homemade creamy vegetable soup, crackers, and plenty of clementines were on the menu for the day.

We did manage to stop by our neighbors home and the girls had a good time playing for a few minutes before it was back to the home, dinner, bath, and bed time.

On Sunday we fufilled one of our Italy wishes. We heard an amazing Choir sing in a Catholic Church where the acoustics are unbelievable. The Christmas carols filled the room and our hearts. We were thankful to Jace, our SAIS friend who performed in the choir, for inviting the school to come listen and participate. After the some of the songs, Taryn let out little yelps. She really loves the echoes her voice produces. (everytime we step into our hall way on our way out the door, she tries to make louder and louder sounds. It's pretty funny!)Tyson and I were both touched my the rendition of "O Holy Night." Before the song began I told Tyson is was one of my favorite holiday songs. In the middle of the beautiful singing Tyson told he had "goosebumps!" The singing was phenomenal! Taryn clapped at the end too!

December 20th
Scripture Readings: Luke 2: 13-15
Activity: Reading "The Christmas Miracle" and eating toffee! (thanks Janette!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Babbo Natale e Renne

Our Ward Christmas party followed the Caroling in Piazza Maggoire so we jumped on a bus and made our way to the church building. There was a ton of great food and by the end of the night Tyson and I couldn't eat one more bite. The food arrived in waves so we had to try this lasagna, and that lasagna (and debate which was best- they all won) and then there was the little snacks of pizza, and mini omeletes, sandwhiches, baked quiches, panettone (traditional holiday bread- more on that to come!) etc....

It was late and Taryn was just about done with the whole holiday partying. So we started to make our way towards to door, you know, jackets, stroller, gloves...until they told us that they would have Babbo Natale come early if we stayed just 10 more minutes. So we stayed ( I didn't want Taryn to miss out on her first Italian Babbo Natale!!!!!)

Babbo Natale arriving with his reindeer (renne)

Taryn did better than I thought she would on Santa's lap. She just got a little scared- no crying or screaming which was awesome. Just a few whimpers and a scared face.

How did Santa know what Taryn wanted for Christmas!?! The girls had fun playing with their new toys. And I think it helped take their minds off the fact that they just wanted to be asleep.

Paige & Ada, Taryn & me

Taryn demonstrates that she has no idea what to do with a pacifier. It may be in her mouth- yes- but she's chewing on it. She prefers to bite it with her teeth- the front of it, the back of it, the side of it- which helps soothe this poor girls aching gums! I don't think it's ever been in her mouth for more than 10 seconds.

An attempt to get a mother daughter shot with Tyson behind the camera. We all ended up laughing and Taryn gave a big smile to Julie- our helper in the smile department!

These girls had their secret club "babies only" under the table. Maybe it had something to do with the hanging ornaments from the table...

When I said, "smile Taryn." This is what I got.

December 19th
Scripture Readings: Luke 2: 8-12
Activity: Spreading a little Christmas cheer!


Pictures of the choir and surroundings before we joined

Kirsten, a SAIS student, who came to sing!

Photos taken by Amy, another SAIS student who came to watch us sing.

We met some people from our Church in the Piazza Maggiore for Christmas caroling Saturday night. It was so fun to sing the Christmas hymns in Italian during the busy shopping hours. There was a kind old man who played peek-a-boo with Taryn, there were SAIS students invited by the Anderson's who came to listen and join in on singing, and there was a good turn out from our Church who came to sing. I love that when we sing, Taryn stares at us and enjoys the sounds and during church with the added piano, she dances right along with the hymns. This was a great experience and I'm happy our little family could be apart of it.

December 18th
Scripture Readings: Luke 2 :6-7
Candlelit Christmas Carols and Readings 2011 at the Holy Cross Anglican Church of Bologna
(our friends Jace sang in the Choir and invited SAIS students to come and hear!)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Love notes

While I was putting Taryn down for her morning nap, Tyson slipped out of the front door to go to school. When I made my way into the kitchen to start my projects, I found this lovely note on the table. He's got a creative mind and a loving heart.

(scrapes of paper, candy canes and colored pencils)

December 17th
Scripture Readings: Luke 2: 1-5
Activity: Caroling in the Piazza and the Ward Christmas Party