Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Taryn in a week

Taryn wore this dress to church on Sunday. It is a dress my mom kept since we were little girls . There was something absolutely wonderful about dressing my little girl in a dress that my sister's and I grew up wearing.

Blast from the past. (not to far back) I don't know what it is about this picture that I love so much. It's fun. And I want to tell you all that Taryn did not eat that whole cake. She made it through the equivalent of the first layer. (think-cupcake)

The weather is warming up and we are getting rid of our bundled layers. Just light jackets (for the time being) for us. Colder weather expected to return next week

Taryn pushes this large box around the room saying "Choo Choo, Choo Choo. " And of course if Taryn is the conductor she chooses who gets to go for the special ride. This time, it was her favorite yellow beach ball and Emi. I was jealous. She learned this from the nursery boys who love their "trains"- the little chairs we have in the room. (Every other week Taryn is in nursery with me so Tyson can teach his Sunday school lesson.) We now take Taryn for rides in our wicker chair saying "Choo Choo" and she thinks it's the best.

Good Customer Service

It's been 10 days since our stroller we bought here in Italy broke. Our good friend let us borrow her stroller while I was in contact with the stroller company. I didn't know if I would have to pay for new wheels or if they would even bother to contact me.

I am a firm believer that every company should have excellent customer service. Let me tell you what the wonders of AMAZING customer service are. I received a prompt response from customer service asking for pictures and a description of the stroller . I promptly emailed them with pictures. Then I received a phone call telling me they didn't have replacement wheels for the stroller but before I could get upset & sad, the very nice lady told me that they would be sending me a whole new stroller. And then she emailed me a picture of what it would look like because it was going to be a different model. I was so stoked. And I didn't have to pay for anything.

The stroller arrived 2 DAYS LATER. And it was decked out with everything!
I almost wish I had broken the stroller earlier :)
Extra Bonus Features we didn't have before:
Rain shield
Wind Breaker
Bumper Bar

Updated Features:
Reclining seat and footrest
Canopy with storage pouch and "window" so I can see Taryn
Storage basket
Padded handle bars for me
Better one-step breaking system
Can you tell how super excited we are? We assembled it immediately and Taryn kept trying to climb in even before we had the wheels on. Once she was in, she sat back, kicked her little feet, and relaxed, ready for the ride home.

All we ask it that it lasts us for another 3 months.That's really all we need. We would be delighted to have it last even longer than that though!

P.S. Today (Wednesday) was the complete opposite of yesterday (Tuesday). Yesterday was a crazy busy stressful day for both Tyson and me. I wasn't even "there" in my Italian class (and was called out on it) because of some things I really needed to take care of (and have been stressed about) Taryn didn't sleep much for Tyson who was feeling deeply drained of all energy. Etc....
But today has been a wonderful sunny 70 degrees day. Taryn and I took our second LONG LONG walk around the city, calmly strolling through the perfect weather and people watching. Tyson will be watching the U.S.A vs. Italy soccer game. He's been looking forward to this for a long time. And he may have asked for a sweet U.S.A jersey for a future birthday. The new designs are so amazingly awesome. We were both drooling over this one and this one last night.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


We went to Imola on Sunday to visit with Raffaella as a part of Visiting Teaching. Visiting teaching is a church organized program where you have a companion and a couple of ladies to which you teach, talk with, help, and reach out to within the Relief Society. I have loved having visiting teachers and have also learned so much from visiting teaching others.
Imola is 30 km away from Bologna and we had set up a time to visit on a Sunday which would allow us to work around school and work schedules. Raffaella thought it would be fun to have a big Italian lunch as well as a visit.

Raffaella has a wonderful home in the country side where you can see apricot trees, vineyards and miles and miles of farmland. She also a section of her home that is a Bed and Breakfast and Raffaella is a wonderful cook. I told Tyson that I want my dream kitchen to look just like hers. A true classic Italian cucina through and through, down to the tiles that lined the walls and the beautiful antique ovens. She bakes her own bread and makes the most amazing meatballs and sausages.

Sarah is Raffaella's 11 year old daughter and she taught me so much about the Italian countryside. Tyson said he was told that the best way to learn a new language is by listening to the children. It was the best Italian lesson I have ever had. I loved walking through their backyard as Sarah pointed out herbs, fruit trees, and explained the house set up and picked a beautiful Marghertia flower for Taryn. Taryn and I loved the time we had outside with Sarah gazing that the vinyards, their little bamboo forest, and pear trees after the brief thunder and lightening storm.

Taryn was a real trooper. Sunday's are so hard for a baby who needs her two naps in the day. 9 am church doesn't allow for them so it always proves to be the most exhausting day. She took a short nap in the car to and from Imola but by the end she was far spent.

We shared a message about having Positive attitudes and enjoying this life, our journey that we have. I have to constantly remind myself to find joy in the moment, or focus on the good of the day and not the bad. Because all to often, I find it's easiest to be negative and only want to focus on what went wrong that day/week etc..

We shared some scriptures together and spoke honestly about our hardships in life. These wonderful women always have such a bright continence, you would never think that they were struggling as well. But everyone has their personal struggles. It's just what you choose to make of the hardships on a daily basis that can help you enjoy life more. I have to remind myself of this constantly.

The beautiful images of this past Sunday will always be apart of my sweet memory of Italy.
I love all the friendships that we cultivate throughout life.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Our Happy Girl

Taryn's personality has really blossomed.
We went out for a walk around the city to do some errands last week. The sun was shining and all the streets were full of people taking in the rays of the sun. I saw a man stop under the porticos where the sun shone through and let the sun hit his face. During Taryn's stroller ride she was pointing at kids, dancing, kicking, yelling, and talking. It was a beautiful day.
She makes tons of silly faces with her tongue and can make some great facial expressions to get us to laugh.
She is trying so hard to put words together. Her two favorite are cheese (sounds like esss..esss..), outside ( sounds like ahsie ...ahsie,) Sometimes she will try to repeat the sounds from words we say to her. I know she's trying hard but it will probably be a little while before she is saying words (when do toddler's start saying more words beyond mama & dadda?)
She loves to give pats on the back, legs, head. Last week she opened our washer mid cycle and water poured everywhere in our kitchen. I was frantically tried to close the door again and stop the water from pouring out the cracks. As I cleaned up the water, Taryn came over and patted me on the back. She made me smile & laugh.
Tyson's toes hang out from the bedspread so in the morning if Taryn sees his toes, she grabs them and says "tickle tickle tickle" (it really does sound like that- I guess it shows how much we say that word to her!)
We can see the grass now but Taryn will not move if she is on it. Don't worry because by the start of Spring she will be running through it (hopefully!)
She likes to yell when she wants something. This is bad and we are trying to stop it
She's starting to use a fork and really really likes the idea of putting things into her own mouth. I loved the advice we read about how to keep frustration down during meal time while teaching your toddler how to use utensils. Mom or Dad should put the food on the fork/spoon and then give it to the toddler to put it in their own mouth. We practice picking food up with a fork and spoon but it will be a while until Taryn has mastered that one. For her, I think it's just fun to hold on to the utensils and try.

We are going to start doing family flash cards so Taryn knows her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins better when we go home.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I'm never allowed to cut his hair again.

This was the second time I attempted to cut Tyson's hair. Since being here, he has had one professional haircut because it was what he wanted to Christmas. The other two have been done by me with Paige helping the first time and today, I tried my hand at it again. Tyson didn't like the first time I cut it so I was shocked when he agreed to let me cut it again.

I failed. BIG TIME. It took 1 1/2 hours to cut Tyson's hair. I was so nervous about making a mistake and I knew Tyson was going to have to wear this hair cut around Italy. Tyson was nervous, I was nervous, and we both had no idea what to do. I was trying to piece together what Tyson was telling me and also trying to not give him a big ol' bald spot. I was trying to go slow to prevent a major catastrophe. But in the end, we just gave him a buzz cut. The ultimate sign of failure. He doesn't look like himself anymore and I feel really bad. Not that he isn't still handsome, but I realized how much I love Tyson's thicker than a redwood tree hair.

As I finished up, we were both laughing at his Mr. T style phase of hair before I completed the buzz. I'm really glad he started laughing because I would've started crying. I'm not one of those amazingly talented wives that can cut their husbands hair, or their boys hair. I will never do it again. I've tried twice and each time it was super super stressful. Oh boy...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Taryn's First Birthday, Tanti Auguri

As an extended birthday celebration, Taryn and I went to a mommy & me "Musica" class in Italian at the library today. It was a lot of fun for us even though Taryn would go through bouts of disinterest. But when they brought out the drum and then the individual rattles and clappers she was very attentive. We danced a bit, she clapped her hands a lot, and loved when we did a mommy & baby dance together. I love seeing her smile.

Emi, Taryn's Birthday Doll

After this, we knew Taryn was going to get a doll for her birthday.
When we walked into the store there were a couple of choices
and we let Taryn pick which one she liked the most.
It was love at first sight.
She didn't want to let go of her doll and she cried and cried when the store clerk put "Emi"
(named for the Emilia Romagna region we live in)
in the store bag for us to take home.
That just confirmed to us that we (she) had made the right decision.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Her First Birthday

She must have known it was her birthday because at 5:30am she was up & happy, ready to start the party. We sang "Tanti Auguri" to our sweet girl and she couldn't wait to get her hands on her special cake. Her birthday breakfast was full of tradition with canned peaches & pears, birthday cake, and presents. This really is the best way to start off a birthday. I was so happy and excited for Taryn. For a moment, Tyson and I stopped and stared at each other when he said, "She's One Year Old" in a -can- you- believe-it- voice.
We love our sweet girl and all that she has added to our family already.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


For Valentine's Day, Taryn received some cute heart stickers from her cousins (Thank you Nataliegh, Ethan, Jacob & Oliver!) We put them on the fridge at eye level for Taryn and she has loved them. She proudly trotted around the house showing off the sticker I had put on her blouse too. It made me excited to purchase those magnet Alphabet letters so she can play even more some day. Aren't they a staple in every household? I've been baking a cake and making frosting for my baby's 1st birthday tomorrow. And my house is completely covered in decorations for her big day. The grocery store clerk said "Auguri!!" when I told them her birthday was tomorrow and Taryn made funny faces at her making us all laugh. And, in honor of National Pancake week in the U.S., I made Puff Pancakes (dutch babies, Hawaiian Pancakes etc..) for dinner.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The story of our strollers

My workshop, fixin' Taryn's wheels

I keep coming to the conclusion that this is just the pits. No way around it. And quite frankly, I am really frustrated about it.

To think that we have a barely used & perfect stroller sitting in our storage unit in Arizona is killing me. I literally dream about it and kick myself for opting not to take it with us to Italy.

I thought with all that we were taking ( 8 big suitcases plus a baby) there was no way we could handle bringing a huge, heavy stroller. So we bought a cheap umbrella stroller in CA before we made the long trip to Thailand and Italy. And it was great. Until we got to Italy (remember this and this?) We broke that one (AGH! romantic cobblestone!) and yup, you guessed it, we broke our new Italy stroller too (AGH! the snow did it this time!)

We came home from church on Sunday with the stroller like this. Tyson was trying to get it to move. Now you may look at this picture and say, "Silly girl. Just pop the rubber back on!" But the rubber is stretched out now and won't stay on. The first picture was when I tried to stuff something inbetween the plastic & the rubber to get the tension tight enough to work. By the time we had walked 3 ft., it was moving off again. Both wheels look like this on each side. Why aren't all the wheels solid plastic like the other 6? I have no clue.

In the beginning, we were really happy we chose to have a light weight stroller because it was so easy to get on and off the bus, put it on the trains, and travel in other peoples cars & in a taxi. On the buses with the poles in the middle of the door way, our stroller could just barely make it by. I kept thinking "What if we had brought the bigger stroller?!" But now, I wish we had.

We have 3 1/2 months left in Bologna and everything we do is by foot. While I try to figure out how to get replacement wheels (if even possible) Julie is letting us borrow her umbrella stroller. We are very grateful for that!

Our neighbors have convinced us that this stroller is the way to go. Why didn't I think of that before we bought our travel system. Hello!?! Girl who loves to run not buying an all-purpose stroller!? Still kicking myself.

A party for two little girls at Julie's

Julie planned a birthday party for Taryn & Ada and we celebrated this past Saturday. The house was decorated with tissue paper streamers that Paige made, Julie made amazing filled cupcakes and a butterfly cake all from scratch, Paige made delicious bread (I want the recipe!) and a yummy fruit salad, and I brought Creamy Tortellini Soup. We took turns using the high chair for each girl to have their cupcake eating experience. We sang to both of the girls in English & Italian and blew out candles twice. I'm glad we had Jordan & Aaron to help the girls blow out the candles because even though we have been practicing her blowing skills, Taryn didn't know what to do.
She was very "dainty", Mike Anderson said, as she started to eat her chocolate cupcake

Then, after only one cupcake, came the sugar coma.
Julie made the cutest bags for the girls as their presents. She has a real talent for sewing and I think it's so great what she can do! (Picture to come!)

After we left, Tyson and I talked about how fun the party was and how we loved that everyone had a part in it. Thanks Julie for hosting us and going above and beyond!

More birthday fun to come later this week!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Icicles and curls

The view of the snow from my Italian class after days of melting.

On my walk to school I thought about how the first snow was so beautiful and how I loved the sound of crunching snow under my feet. But now, it's all dirty and really gross, especially the piles on the side of the road before you go into a shop. They are always filled with a billion cigarette butts. Disgusting. The rain is supposed to come and wash it all away tomorrow. (followed by more snow maybe)

We had the most amazing icicles everywhere around the city. The ones outside of our bathroom window were the coolest ever and for whatever reason, the man above us made it his job to hit the icicles off this roof everyday with a broom. And he was always very angry about it. Caution tape surrounded lots of buildings and at first I thought this was very silly until I heard my first crashing icicle. I no longer think it's silly. Those icicles could kill. I worried about the poor cars that were snowed in, parked under roofs. Seeing how much damage the tennis ball sized hail did to my (sister's) Jeep I could only imagine what damage they were capable of. Let alone, us walking under buildings.

Deadly, no?

And on a different ...this little girl has curls! I know that I've said I was excited before but now that they have grown more and I am still so happy! I kinda don't like putting bows in her hair anymore because I want them to be seen, not covered.

no- she doesn't have a bald spot- it's just a bad flash from the camera

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Building with Blocks

The Travis & Amy Smith family ( Tyson's brother) sent Taryn these squeezable blocks for Christmas as part of the siblings name drawing and Taryn loves them. Don't be fooled by the tall tower, even though I would love to say Taryn is very advanced for her age and can stack blocks like that and make them balance, I did the stacking. Taryn prefers to tip them over so when Tyson tries over and over again to build a hightower, Taryn makes sure it comes down. For me, I love to see her knock it down and say "Nowwhh" every time. She likes to collect all the blocks in one area by taking them one by one to the chair, bed, or suitcase toy bag. With each one she places down, she runs to get another one. We tote these blocks around with us and they've provided lots of entertainment in places that aren't always baby friendly.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A night with the girls

When I shut the door to our apartment, Taryn was still crying in her crib but Tyson told me it was ok and to go anyway. Leaving the house was stressful. I was trying to wrap up dinner for Taryn, get her in the bath, into her pj's and out the door myself. Tyson had gotten home in the midst of it all and I felt bad that Taryn didn't go down as smoothly as usual. But, I knew Tyson was there to watch her so my heart was at ease. Going to Manuela's seemed easy enough even though we ended up having quite the little adventure. I'm grateful to the kind man who let us use his cell phone when we didn't know which way to go and for Julie who found us!

I had so much fun with these 8 great ladies. Laughing and talking and trying so hard to catch what they were saying in Italian. Many of them know how to speak English which was helpful for parts of the stories I just couldn't understand. We ate Hot Dogs, peanuts, pretzels, oreos, ricotta chesse & coconut bites, brownies, and chips & dip. They wanted to make American food and I was happy to supply the chips and dip. I've promised to teach one of the girls how to make Guacamole too. I also discovered this amazing Cipolla paste- sounds weird but it tastes just like Onion rings. I had two, yes, two hotdogs with the Cipolla paste. But don't worry, I put lettuce on the second one :)

Tyson was all for my girls night and thought it was a great idea which is reason #284 why I'm really lucky to have Tyson as my husband. When I got back he had done the dishes (which he hates doing so it REALLY meant a lot to me), fed Taryn her night bottle and put her back to sleep. I felt like I didn't follow through enough for him though. Isn't it apart of some mommy code that if the mommy goes out to play, it means the rest of the family gets a big yummy feast ( burgers, pizza, take-out)? Tyson's dinner was lame but he didn't complain. I came home to him reading for school at the kitchen table. It was a really great night out. Maybe next time I'll get my act together and have everything ready for my family :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A walk through the snowy park

Taryn and I took a long walk through the beautiful snow covered park on Monday. I wanted to be one of those kids sledding down the hill with Taryn in my arms. We watched the ducks and pigeons cover themselves in snow for their "bath." I nearly jumped out of my skin when a dog came barking up behind me out of no where. Taryn loved the quacking ducks and how the pigeons would flap away when we came close. It was a workout to get to the park because some of the sidewalks are still covered with lots of snow but it was 100% worth it.