Carpe like crazy the Diem!

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine and her husband and godson were visiting Florence from the US.

I took Lulu out of school for the day and we rode the train up to meet them.  We joined their scheduled walking tour of Dante’s home and museum, the Duomo, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistry with its magnificent golden doors, and the iconic Palazzo Vecchio.

We tipped and toyed with the “living statues” that line the Uffizi Palace.

We strolled along the River Arno and I stood in the same spot near its banks holding Lulu for a photo where almost five years ago, Scotty had snapped a photo of me six months pregnant.

We lunched on pasta fatto a mano, or hand-made, in a lovely trattoria near the Ponte Vecchio.

During our lunch, my friend Robin’s husband Ken described this day as a “once in a lifetime experience.”

I agreed and it gave me pause.  Lulu and I (and Scotty too, but he had to work so he couldn’t join us) live just an hour away from Florence.  We are so fortunate for this time here in Italy.  Right now, every day is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I want to Carpe the heck out of each Diem and appreciate every day to the fullest.

And I want to make a pledge to try to do that no matter where I may be.  Italy, Florence, Arezzo, or somewhere back in America where we’re from.


P.S.  While we’re living here in Italy, if you are ever coming to visit, let me know and I’ll try like “heck” to come and see you!  Thanks Robin and Ken and Caleb, for a great day!

Baci, Gina


It’s Not a Class Field Trip Until Someone Gets Hurt

Last week was Lulu‘s first school field trip.  Imagine two huge shiny tour buses filled with 100 three, four and five-year olds driving nearly two hours to an amusement park.  Now imagine those same 100 preschoolers screaming the entire time in anticipation.

Whew.  Okay. Now you get the picture.

We were off to Oltremare-which in Italian means “overseas” and apparently is the name of a modern ballet that debuted a while back in New York — This one, however, is a water theme-park  near the town of Rimini on the coast of the Adriatic Sea.

Lulu done screaming for a moment before the Dolphin Show

There were leaping dolphins (delfini) at the dolphin show.  Luminescent jellyfish (meduse) floating in the aquarium.  And there was a hilarious ride where you aimed your water cannon at spectators while they aimed theirs right back at you.  We got soaked.

The whole time Lulu ran around with her friend David.  And when I say “ran” I mean as in the two kids literally ran everywhere.  David’s mom, Pavlina, and I vainly cautioned, “Stop!  Walk! Slow down!”  But they didn’t and Lulu was the first casualty.

Lulu and David before incidents!

One moment she was tearing off toward the “Happy Farm” and the next instant she stumbled onto the sidewalk – hard.  She is screaming again, but from pain, not anticipation.  She scraped her knee. I scooped her up and said, “Lulu, honey, I think if you would just walk, you would have more fun.”

“But Mama,” Lulu countered in between sobs, “I was havin’ fun runnin’.”

She recovered quickly and they ran off again.  This time to the “beach” playground area.  Lulu and David were spinning around on the fastest merry-go-round I have ever seen.  Suddenly, for reasons we will never know, David let go.  He went flying off the merry-go-round like an arrow landing with a loud smack on the ground.  Now, he too, began to scream.  Pavlina comforted him and we resumed our water adventures.

On the bus back home, other parents shared tales of their own children’s scrapes, tumbles and bruises.  Seems almost every kid left Oltremare with a personal souvenir. We parents were all exhausted.  But the kids?

Their painful setbacks hadn’t broken their strides or their spirits a bit.  They were all screaming again.  In anticipation of next time.

“Just keep running. Just keep running…”

P.S.  I thought, what a great example.  Don’t let a little bump or bruise along your path stop you.  Keep on running!

Ciao Tutti!

Baci, Gina

Lesson learned

In which I glimpse into the future and the past

Babbo Natale, aka Santa Claus, brought Lulu a scooter (mani pattino) for Christmas. It’s pink with a little yellow flag and Lulu loves it. She loves it so much that she has been pestering me for the last several weeks since the weather has become nice, to take the scooter out “into the country.” That’s Lulu-speak for taking it into town – evidently phrased that way because we have to walk along so many country roads until we finally reach Arezzo’s historic center.

Of course, I keep saying no because I know exactly how this trek will go.

Lulu will happily scooter along for maybe a third of the way and then she’ll get bored, get tired, who knows, and will hand the scooter over to me to carry the rest of the way. So, I keep saying no.

This Saturday morning was the same thing.

“Pleeeeeeze!” Lulu began. “Can I take the scooter out in the country today?”

“No, Lulu,” I said.

“But why? What else are we going to do today?”

All right, I thought against my better judgment, we don’t have anything else to do today. It’s a national holiday (the Festa della Repubblica to commemorate when Italy finally got rid of its monarchy) and so nothing is open anyway. Why not put this to a test?

“Okay, we’re going to try it,” I tell Lulu, “But here are the rules: Mommy is NOT going to touch the scooter. It is your responsibility one-hundred percent of the way.”

“That’s fine,” Lulu said, “I gonna go all the way scooterin’.”

Well, we made it about past our gravel road and to the little cluster of neighbor houses, which is about a seventh of the way, and Lulu began to whine. She didn’t want to scooter any more and she didn’t want to push and walk it either. I said, “Let’s turn around then, this experiment is over.” She cried that she wanted me to take the scooter in my hands and just “carry it into the country.” I politely, but firmly, refuse.

“You need to take care of it, Lulu,” I said, “Remember, it’s your responsibility.”

She whined. She yelled. I sat on a stone wall holding her while she cried about her predicament. But eventually, she dragged, pushed and scootered that darn thing back the whole way. As I promised, I didn’t touch it once.

When we finally made it home, Lulu carefully “parked” her scooter, got a glass of cool juice, and then proclaimed, “I only want to go in the stroller into the country the next time from now on forever.”

I gave her a hug.

P.S. How many times did my own mom caution me, warn me, maybe even threaten or beg me not to make a choice I was set on making? How many times have I ignored her, thinking I knew better, only to realize afterward, what a bad choice I had made? How about you? How have your kids learned painful lessons? How have you?

Ciao for now!
Love, Gina