Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dress up

Her royal subjects, bowing at her feet

We were all home one morning last weekend and playing together when Tyson made Taryn the Queen of our Italian apartment. She wore her crown and cape around the house like it was the best thing ever. I have so many memories of little tea parties with my sisters and my mom. Sometimes my mom would pull out Grandma's China and make us delicious muffins and eggs while we dressed in old bridesmaids dresses and did our own make up. There is a certain picture somewhere in my parents home of us as little girls with bright red checks, heavy blue eye shadow, and bright pink lipstick....we looked good! :)
I have a little play tea set that I wrapped oh so carefully in tissue paper when I left for college. I remember packing it up again as we moved our stuff into storage before we came to Italy. I can't wait to pull out that little tea set and have tea parties with my little girl. We think she's pretty cute and hopefully she will love to play dress up for years to come.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Having so much fun

Her dirty face still looks so cute as she munches on crackers

She got her pants, shoes, shirt, face and hands dirty as she climbed up and down the statue in Piazza Galvani with her bff Ada. She followed Ada up, down , and around, and then branched off on her own, clapping and screaming, having so much fun. It was a beautiful windy 77 degrees today. Taryn wore her sun hat and a short sleeve shirt and I had on my summer dress I bought in Italy 2 years ago with my sister (she has the same one too!)
After our Italian class and some yummy pizza, we met up at the Fontana del Nettuno with Paige and Ada. We visited our favorite Asian Market that Julie had told us about where I pretty much only buy peanut butter. The kind store owner and her daughter always have fun when the babies come to visit. I smile as they say "Bye- Bye," one of the only phrases they know in English.

Then we stopped by the "Oratorio dei Celestini", or Santo Spirito (such a small chiesa but so detailed and beautiful. ) which Tyson and I had seen before but this time, I saw it with a little history floating in the back of my head thanks to my Italian teacher. She is an expert on any subject Italian and can recommend to you places to see all around Europe.

I made a bunch of Cinnamon Rolls last night in preparation for watching General Conference tonight. I kept thinking of all the times I helped my mom cut the cinnamon rolls as she prepared them for General Conferences growing up and how the pans were always overflowing with cinnamon and sugar goodness and the yummy glaze that brought everything together. I'm looking forward to this General Conference weekend with my little family!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An understanding heart

I am working on having an understanding heart. Because I hope and pray that people will have an understanding heart when I make a mistake, when my child cries, or when I unintentionally cause a lot of problems for others. I hope that my neighbor who knocks on our wall over and over again because Taryn cries can have an understanding heart as we try and try to soothe our sick baby who hyperventilates at night because she can't breathe well.

Maybe this situation is preparing me (and Tyson) for many sleepless night to come with noisy neighbors? Maybe I am learning patience even in the early morning hours when all I want to do is crawl back into bed but instead I sit in a chair in our kitchen trying to calm my daughter. Maybe I am learning even more about the needs of my daughter. Maybe I am learning how to approach difficult people in a calm and understanding manor.

I'm ready to grow. And it's taken me a long time to get to this point for this particular trial. I would love your advice on how to approach our neighbor in a kindly fashion.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Piadine & Crescentine

A few weeks ago, Tyson was talking to one of his friends, Manu, who is from a little city near Rome. Manu and Tyson were talking about the food of Bologna. Manu couldn't believe that we hadn't tried a Piadina yet. So we put it on our to-do list. All of a sudden Piadina was the most common word I could hear in conversations, even in my Italian class. It made me that much more excited to try it. And lucky for us, we pass a little Piadine shop on our way to and from school. We met up for a lunch date and enjoyed the "simple" piadina- one with proscuitto and one with mortadella.

Next time, we're going to have everything on it. They are delicious. It's something about the special bread and the wonderful Bologna meats. Then came the cresentina. I remember studying about Crescentine in my Italian class last semester and how it's a very common, traditional food. Tyson dubbed it an Italian "empanada" (a little different than a calzone). It was warm and had amazing flavor. When I took a bite, I literally said, "WOW!" out loud.

We arrived with enough time to enjoy our food just before the small hole in the wall establishment became packed with people ordering their piadine on their lunch breaks. That's always a good sign in my book.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Street Music

Dancing and running after dogs. This is all so Taryn.

Things Taryn was thinking and saying

"Wow, you guys are so cool. Keep playing!"

"Those shoes look nice in the window." (as she tries to open up the store's door)

"Maybe if I keep dancing, people will give me money "

"Mom!!! Look at me!!!!!" (as she screams towards the camera)

"I bet I can make up a really cool dance move to this song"

"Oh! Look! A dog! Gotta go pet it mommy!"

LOVED all the faces of the people passing by watching Taryn. Pretty sure we helped these gentlemen make a little extra money :)

Smelling the flowers

"smelling flowers"
sometimes she gets it, sometimes she tries to eat it.

After a day of being outside, we come home with dirty hands & clothes but we are loving the perfect weather here and the time we get to spend outside.

Making our errands fun

Taryn doesn't like to stay in her stroller for very long anymore and in a city where we walk everywhere this can be a little challenging. So to make errands easier, I've tried to find Piazza's, little parks, or strada's far away from cars that Taryn can walk through as we do our errands around the city.
We've found some great places and the weather has been perfect. A few extra hours outside have been the best. If I say we're going outside to Taryn, she runs to the front door and tries to open it. She wants nothing more than to roam around, chase after pigeons (picking up cigarette butts-ugh!) and to pick flowers. These are pictures from our latest adventure out to the In's Mercato, just outside the inner city wall. There was a park near the store and it had play equipment for Taryn. There were little Italian boys running everywhere with their swords, some of them thinking Taryn was a bad guy- good thing those swords were plastic and they were very "gentle" while playing with her. She made some new friends and I'm noticing more and more that she is becoming one brave little girl.
On our way home we stopped by the Collegio di Spagna because the doors were cracked open. I remember attending an art lecture when we first arrived from one of the professors at Johns Hopkins. She encouraged us to always peek our heads into places when the doors were open. Every time I do, I have seen something beautiful.
And a great sunset to end the day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A night out with my favorite guy, Mr.T

We had to stop and think for a long time. When was the last time we had a real date, just the two of us? I think we settled with California, last summer. That's too long ago.

Luckily, we have awesome neighbors that live upstairs who offered to watch Taryn for us. We've just now gotten around to taking them up on the offer. Taryn slept wonderfully for the two hours we were gone on our official date.

We took the recommendations of the ladies who watched Taryn, made reservations, and ate at San Silvestro. We loved the food and told ourselves that we couldn't eat that much for a long time. Tys and I both agreed that we ate the best prosciutto ever during that meal. We had only gotten to the Primi piatti when we both said we'd be happy and full to stop there, knowing that we still had the Secondi piatti and contorno coming. Besides one man who sat by himself, we were the only people in the restaurant for one hour. Restaurants here don't start to act alive until 8:30 or later. Even though there is never any rush to eat, we were done within 1 1/2 hours. We grabbed some of the best Gelato I've ever had, (how did I make room for it!!!) and walked home. It was a wonderful, much needed date for two and we're thankful to the girls upstairs who made it possible.

Cherry Blossoms and cannoli's

On Tuesday morning we woke up and headed down to the Piazza Maggorie where we found a little Pasticceria we've had our eyes on. We picked out our cannoli's and sat in the middle of the Piazza to enjoy them. They were good, but I really wanted to try the cannoli siciliani.
A few hours later in class, I asked my Italian teacher where to find the best cannoli. She pointed me in the direction of Santo Stefano but when we arrived they had no more. We sampled some from a nearby store instead. And that's when I discovered that they aren't as great as I thought they would be. Don't get me wrong. They're good, but not "Let's find the best one" good. So we've put to rest our search for cannoli's. Now onto somthing else!

Did you know Bologna has Cherry Blossoms?!!! I didn't until a friend mentioned that they will be covering the hills soon. As I walked around Centro I found a line of Cherry Blossoms in bloom. And I thought I was going to have to wait a year after we move to D.C. to see them. They are so beautiful. They're also all over Gardini Marghertia!

Monday, March 19, 2012

My musing of late

The rambles for a Tuesday afternoon

We spent some time at the Park on Sunday which always reminds me of taking family walks on Sundays growing up. The weather has gotten a little colder again but that hasn't stopped the birds from singing because they know it's really Spring time.

I painted my toes so the first time in months. It's the longest I've gone without polish since I can remember. And now I can't stop smiling when I see my toes pop out of the holes I have in my socks ( I know I know, I should get some new socks...)

Having a clean bathroom is one of the most glorious things in life. Really, I love spending the time to clean it only to enjoy my hard work later. In fact, I love a freshly cleaned kitchen, bedroom and....

Taryn woke up screaming last night and after I failed at comforting her, Tyson tried a shot at it. Within seconds she was quite. He gently patted her back and then Taryn put her arm around Tyson's neck and patted his shoulder. He had the biggest smile on his face when he told me.

I love that Taryn talks all the time. It's complete jibber jabber but it's so cute. I know she knows exactly what she is saying and I smile when she gets on a subject she really wants to go on and on about.

Tyson always has the best ideas. Today, it was to sample cannoli's from a nearby bakery early this morning. Now that we've found the best gelato, we moved on to the search for the best cannoli's!

It's amazing how someone can make you feel so happy when they say they are just calling to check in- to see how you are doing.

The Charm of the City

There are a few streets off of the Piazza Maggiore that are filled with flowers, fruits and vegetables, meats, pastas, and little restaurants and cafes. On Saturday, Taryn and I wandered around Centro, checking out the Children's Book Fair near Fontana Nettuno, searching for flowers, listening to music in the Piazza, people watching and taking pictures.
A nice lady packaged up a beautiful bouquet of ranunculus that have now found a nice home on our counter. I love how fresh flowers can brighten up our apartment.

Taryn walked down a few streets in town and stopped right in front of a Cafe when she spotted balloons behind the glass. She was so excited as she pointed to the pretty balloons, jabbering on and on about them. We were only there for just a few seconds before the Cafe worker spotted Taryn looking at the balloons. He came outside with a nice pink one and handed it to her. That little balloon made her day!

Tyson and Taryn went to the park later that day while I went to the Relief Society's 170th birthday celebration. I stepped out of my comfort zone and spoke in Italian about the item I had brought symbolizing what I had learned while in Relief Society. It wasn't easy, but I am so glad I did it. Everyone was so supportive of me after I had finished speaking, clapping and saying "Brava!" It was the little confidence boost I needed. Speaking Italian has been hard for me and I still have a lot to learn. Practice, practice, practice!

When I got home that night, Taryn showed me another balloon that she got at the Park with Daddy. She has loved it so much!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Photos from the week

Ya, I love them!

Thanks for taking the photo Paige!

Playing at the park on a beautiful sunny day. I get so many funny looks for wearing sandals while everyone else is still in parkas. I think it's really funny. Someone once asked me, "Hai freddo? (Are you cold?) To which I responded, "Sono sempre caldo!" (I am always hot!) We've been soaking up all the sun we can. And really, it's been almost 70 degrees here people! Aren't you hot in that big coat?!

Chewing on her strawberry, her new favorite fruit

A little playdate with our friend Ada while her parents spoke at a Forum at JHU.

Outside at Julie's, another beautiful day.
It's taken weeks for Taryn to work up the courage to go through this play tunnel. I did a little happy dance when she finally went through on Thursday!

Spinach, everywhere! On the walls, on me, on Taryn's face etc.. She thinks that feeding her self is super fun, which leads to hands moving up and down in excitement which flings the food on her hands everywhere! Oh, funny messy girl!

All ready for Saint Patrick's Day! Is it really the middle of March already?!?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Park Jugglers and tight rope walkers

Saturday was a full of sunshine. We were able to play in the sun at the park while Tyson played basketball and Taryn met a special friend. She was enthralled with the juggler and tight rope walker, as you can see in the video, she would not move an inch! He was kind enough to let Taryn play with his juggling balls while he performed for her and a lady that had just walked by. I was amazed by how skilled he was as he managed to go from a standing position to a "I'm just relaxing on my hammock" position ,when I was really thinking- how comfortable can a thin piece of rope be when you are laying on it?!?)- sorry I didn't catch that part on video, I had to run after Taryn!

Watching him and many others practice their unique talents made me think of my brother's family who live in Oregon as they have spotted all sorts of interesting hobbies at the park as well. It reminds me of all the fun street performers we have seen and the varied instruments they play, Banjo, harp, flute, guitar, violin, accordion, one man band, keyboard, trumpet and the list goes on and on....

As you will see in the video, Taryn loves to pick up cigarette butts (what I thought was dirt at first!) So we keep the hand sanitizer handy! Gross- it makes me wish that no one in this world would smoke. Also- sorry the video is a little bumpy. I was pushing the stroller over the grass and filming. Not a great combo.
Taking a run around before her next bite of gelato in the Piazza Cavour

We met up with Bill and Andrea for some gelato at one of our favorite places too. Taryn took advantage of having two parents with gelato, going between the both of us to get in a good taste before walking around more. Tys lifted her over the tiny gate -the sign says "No Dogs" not "No babies" - so why not :) and Taryn went straight to the pigeons and then to the pond. Luckily Tyson jumped over fast enough to catch her before she jumped in .

We saw that the Queen of England was out and about again in Bologna in her Smart car. Smiling, no less. ( I laugh every time I see it, and then as I watch others who are seeing it for the first time)

We did a little shopping and grabbed a bite to eat before going back home. On Sunday we took a walk in the park and met the Andersons there. I love that the park is so close and I know our days will be filled with park outings from here on out. I walked into my Italian class today and my teacher said, "Ahh, prezzo il sole!" Yup- I got a lot of sun this past weekend. And it was wonderful. We've pulled out Taryn's sun hat again and we're thinking about buying some sunscreen soon too!

Friday, March 9, 2012

I'll walk beside you forever

On our walk home today, Taryn and I passed this lovely couple out for a walk and doing their errands together. The women had a couple of bags that I presume were full of groceries and the man carried a bag full of oranges. I watched as they held on to one another with every step they took, acting as each others helper. We stopped at the cross walk and they stood next to us as we waited for the light to turn. He spoke gently to her, barely above a whisper. My mind wandered as I began to make up their background story. They've been married for years and have grown together as they have faced many trials and triumphs. They've learned more about each other than they know about themselves. With just a simple look, they speak 1,000 words. Love has tied them close together. The children they've had have tied them even closer. They understand how precious life is and that living in those wonderful moments is what makes life so special.

I thought about how many times Tyson and I have painted pictures of what we want to be like when we are older, and wiser too. We talk about being able to play tennis together, well past the age of 60. We talk about what our children will be doing, and how we want to be able play with our grandchildren. We talk about what is most important to teach our children and how we can be good examples to them. We talk about keeping that spark between us alive, and how it takes work to make a marriage successful. We talk about being one of those couples who sit next to one another and can't help but touch- an arm to an arm, a knee to a knee, a hand to a hand.

We are not perfect. We haven't been married for years & years and we can't give the best marital advice because we just haven't experienced everything yet. But what we do know is that marriage is about a special team made up of two people and just like any other team, we need to practice to make it better and better.

We recently read this article about Marriage called "What Happily Married Couples Do" and thought that it offered some wonderful advice that we have tried to apply to our marriage.

I'm so glad that I get to walk beside Tyson, forever.

Mothering & My Girls

This week has been a long one with being at home so Taryn can recover from a fever which thankfully subsided but then turned into a rash. There are a few things I try to focus on when I see her little body covered in red splotches. They are: how the rash doesn't hurt her, she's starting to be happy again, we've been able to rest a lot this week, and how she has been especially snuggley. Taryn has a very kind heart. I see it in her eyes as she smiles at me, when she hugs us unexpectedly, and how she lights up when Tyson or I walk through the door (or even out of the bathroom).

Maybe it's a new mom thing but I cried a few times this week because Taryn was so very very hot to the touch and her fever wasn't going down. She had a couple of bad falls that made me cry too. I know I can't prevent the falls or make the fever disappear in a snap, but it's just the fact that she's suffering. It's the hardest thing for me to watch. The love I feel for Taryn as her mother is something I cannot describe. I am understanding more of how our Father in Heaven feels for each and every one of us as His children.

"Siamo andati in giro per la città"
I got to start my weekend off right with a little Girls Outing as we went around Bologna. I love all 5 of my girls. Julie & Isabel, Paige & Ada, Taryn & me. We walked around Centro, went into a few stores, ate Gelato- sponsored by Paige (grazie mille!) and talked talked talked. We all had been stuck inside all week long with sick babes so this outing was much needed! These girls are my lifeline, part of my family and I am grateful that I have them in my life.

Lots of resting up will continue this weekend but this time Tyson will be resting too!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Giornata internazionale della donna

I was wondering why there were women and men carrying around little bouquets of mimosa flowers. There were street vendors selling them to those who walked by. And I even saw a couple of little girls holding mimosas too! It wasn't until later that I read it on Google and got a text from my friend saying "Happy Women's Day!" that I finally understood. I had no idea! Here in Italy it's tradition for men to give women yellow mimosas. What a perfect time of year to bring out such a wonderful color to brighten someone's day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The little things that make up our Italian apartment

After being at home trying to get better, I started to think about all the things that make up our little apartment. There are some things I love, some things I could do without, and some things that are just quirky. Our apartment came fully furnished including sheets, pillows, towels (which we replaced), pots & pans, plates, bowls, cups, utensils, iron & ironing board, mop & bucket, broom, and left over SAIS books. I thought it was hilarious how eclectic everything was. Random serving bowls, two different cereal bowls, silver ware in all shapes, sizes and colors, 4 glass cups- all different (we only have one that has survived to date) There were no hot pads or dish towels and no oven pans (wha???) So to date, we have purchased (economically- mostly from the euro store-) 4 big plastic cups, a cake pan to bake with, two hot pads, some kitchen towels & drying rags, a whisk and a small cutting board. We were really happy that we were able to move into a furnished apartment and we have really learned what we can do without. Here are some of the highlights of the apartment.

Warning: This is super long -surprisingly- because our apartment is so very tiny. But I guess because I have waited to tell you about our place, I have lots of stories to go along with it too

I think our small entry way is kinda cool. I love the coat rack that appears to be an old headboard. I might even take this idea and use it in a future home. There were lots of books left behind by SAIS students, mainly Italy travel guides which we have flipped through. Tyson also found a book or two for class which meant we didn't have to purchase them! Always a plus. For the past couple of months our little rug was a catch all for snowy & muddy shoes.

Our little kitchen table. This is were Tyson and I share space at night while doing our language homeworks. Just imagine this space crowded with two laptops, papers & books. This table also acts as our home theater system. It's where we squish together on one side of the table to watch something on Hulu (Once Upon A Time, Person of Interest -before CBS they took it off line, Modern Family and a couple random shows.) One of the three chairs has been used a total of maybe 3 times. There's just no room for it in our kitchen so it just sits in between the stove and table, totally rejected.
Our drying rack. I am very embarrassed to admit that I had no idea what this was when I saw it. It wasn't used until our neighbors pointed out how cool it was. It's completely awesome and the whole drip- right- into -the- sink idea is genius.

Our little washer. Taryn has opened it twice now. Once, flooding our kitchen with water. I was lucky that the second time no water poured out. It's a really old machine so the water doesn't drain all the way out at the end of each cycle. So I scoop out the water each time because if I don't, it smells like moldy rags. The system and temperatures are unique to Italy so much so that the Landlord gave us a "How to Use It" paper. Tyson and I were so scared the first time we did laundry that we called over our SAIS neighbor who speaks Italian to tell us if we did it right.

In this picture I am standing on a little ledge that Taryn loves to sit on. A random step in our kitchen that leads to a window pictured below. There is only two feet between the sink and the refridgerator. Actually, our entire kitchen is only a few feet wide. It's a good thing Tyson and I don't have space issues otherwise this small kitchen would be bad news. From time to time we run into each other, mostly on purpose. I actually don't mind it at all. I can turn around from cooking at the stove and chop on my counter. I feel like I have a good amount of space to work with (except on Thanksgiving...I needed every inch I could get!)

This window is why Taryn learned the word "outside" (ahsie...ahsie) so fast. She climbs the little step and stands below the window with her arms up and she will stay there until I come and pick her up, place her on the wooden counter, and let her look out into our cement courtyard (filled with old bikes, tiles, tools etc...) She loves it and that window has been a great way to cool off our small kitchen after we've had something in the oven. One time I dripped butter in my oven while removing something I had baked. I had forgotten to clean it up when the oven was cold so the next time I turned the oven on, our apartment filled with smoke. I opened this window and my landlord who was fixing a washer upstairs saw all the smoke and ran down to our apartment, buzzed my apartment 3 long times (which woke up Taryn) and said,

Him"Lei cucinato?"
Me; "Si, si"
Him:" Ho visto fumo, penso FIRE!"
Me: "no, no" and I opened up the door enough for him to see for himself.
Him: "Va bene. Buongiorno!"

The above conversation makes me laugh every time. He tries so hard to speak slowly and simply in Italian for the SAIS students and only knows a few English words which doesn't bother me- I need the practice! He is a very nice, very old man. And he always smiles at Taryn.

My stove/ oven. The cover pops up to reveal 4 gas burners (LOVE!!!!) I have had electric in my past couple of apartments and HATED it! I love being able to control my flame visually. I grew up with gas stoves, cooked in Culinary with gas stoves, and I hope to continue to cook with gas in our future home (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that our neighborhood will already have a gas line running through it!) The oven has no rack, just a broiler pan. We've had a big love/ hate relationship up until the past couple of months where I have finally been able to guesstimate temperatures and adjust accordingly. I also followed my SIL suggestion of adding aluminium foil crinkled up so as to prevent more burning. And it's worked for the most part. The heat isn't distributed throughout the oven evenly. The heat comes from an open flame at the base of the oven. There are no temperature markings on my knobs and whatever the pictures were on the oven knob are almost completely rubbed off.

This vanity reminds me of Beauty and the Beast. It's used to hold blankets and Taryn's baby bag but not much else. This is one of two mirrors we have and they are both almost always covered with Taryn's finger prints.

The wicker chair that has become Taryn's train. She tries to push it through the bedroom door into the kitchen. I really like this chair but only sit in it when we have visitors.

This chair has no bottom so you sink in when you sit. This is Taryn's favorite chair and it's where she brings all her animals, books and toys when she's reading or playing. She also bounces balls off the chair. It's like her own little corner (in her own little room- haha!)
Our amour. I love the mirror. The door creaks open and shut and can be kinda creepy at night. It has a very musty smell on the inside and sometimes we can't shut the door because the hangers inside are too wide. It's a very beautiful piece of furniture and matches our dresser. Taryn pokes her head inside whenever it's left cracked open and pulls out mommy's jewelry bag, daddy's travel bag etc...

Our bed. It is a good size and it doesn't hurt my back like our other one in AZ. The only problem? It's two twin mattresses pushed together. So if the pieces drift apart and I roll over at night, I hit the metal frame below. The frame is a lot larger than the mattresses (hello!) so we had to stuff pillows between the headboard and the mattresses so we would stop hitting our shins on the frame (and Taryn could stop hitting her head on it when she was crawling)

Oh the bathroom. I vaguely remember seeing the bathroom on our housing tour.
When we moved in we laughed at the tiny space they called the bathroom. We call it the forgotten room in our apartment. We feel as if they had completed the apartment and said, "oh wait....we forgot the bathroom...let's just throw one together, hanging over the courtyard, supported by 4 metal beams." The bathroom was a serious after thought. I stood in the shower and turned around to gauge the space. Tyson and I couldn't stop laughing. It's just a little corner with a curtain and water happens to come out. If you bend over in the shower you hit the sink with your bum, and if you bend the other way, you hit the toilet. I've learned to be very creative in order to shave my legs. The curtain always gets stuck to us and we often feel claustrophobic. We've never used the bidet because we're kinda scared of it.

I am an expert mold remover. I have never had to deal with mold growing up in California and living in Arizona for the past few years. But it is humid here and my eyes were opened to this gross thing called mold. I clean my bathroom, yes, but mold is a whole different ball game. I remember spending all of Taryn's nap time (almost 3 hours) scrubbing and cleaning because I was so scared of the mold. It became a regular routine to clean for mold and we've been able to keep it at bay which is awesome!
The drying rack, or one of Taryn's toys. She likes to walk under it while I'm putting clothes on it so that the wet clothes brush against her head. Her hair is always messy and sticking up in random places when I'm done. When we first arrived in the dead of summer, laundry took 12 hours to dry. It was great! But as soon as the temperature dropped, 12 hours turned into almost 72 hours. We learned to utilize our radiators, constantly rotating clothes, which made everything in our apartment muggy but at least we were able to have quickly dried, clean clothes. We have a clothes line in the courtyard downstairs that we've used for our bed spread and sheets but in the winter there is no point so we got creative with hanging and drying sheets inside.

I love these windows and how they are delicately covered with thin drapes. I wish we could leave them open more but they peer right into our neighbors (SAIS students) kitchen. I love that in the middle of the day I can open the windows and let the light shine through because no one is ever home in our building. During those hot summer nights, we left our windows open and we could hear the Italian conversations from the family across the courtyard from us. We were eaten alive by mosquitos (except Taryn- thankfully) but when you don't have air conditioning, it's the only way you can survive at night. Those summer nights reminded us of the night our air conditioner broke in Arizona during August and I was pregnant. We took freezing cold showers and then jumped into bed hoping that the cold water would have lasting effects.
I've gotten the hang of these radiators which is great because they are used all over the East coast too.

Our apartment has giving us many experiences, both good and bad. Living next to students can be really convenient and it can also mean late night parties. The girls in our building (Tyson is now the only boy) have been very nice and it's fun to run into faces you know as you walk up and down the stairs. We've done a lot of growing in this apartment. My Grandma Scott recently sent me a birthday card. She wrote,

"I have learned from many years of living abroad that - living abroad strengthens families and grows love" I believe that this quote from my Grandmother completely captures my feelings of this (almost) year we have spent in Italy.