Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Butterfly

What a great little girl she is turning out to be! And, beautiful, too!
Thanks Lorenzo for this photo, too.


Norah had her face painted last Sunday at a fair in our piazza and she was transformed into a beautiful butterfly! Lorenzo took this photo. Thanks, Lorenzo!

11 months old!

May 2013 006, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Wow! Susannah is already 11 months old!
This month: I got my 2 top teeth (they coincided with the massive cold!)
New skills: I am eating biscuits and puffs all by myself now, too (before, I would gag anytime anything dry went in my mouth!)
I can scoot around and I love to go to the entertainment center and pull on wires and open drawers.
I love: playing with my big brother and big sister! I like to sit outside and touch the grass, and, most of all, I love taking baths!

Neat idea

May 2013 002, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

There was also an area of the piazza that was surrounded by bags of colored sawdust. People could take handfuls of it and make any design they wanted, from the inside out. Norah and Luca had a blast adding to this beautiful cooperative picture!

I drew this!

May 2013 008, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Norah drew this little person...and lots of other stuff, too. We had to drag them away from this chalkboard.


May 2013 010, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

We took advantage of some nice weather the other day, and went to Monza. We stumbled upon a great little festival in one of the squares that had lots of activities for children, including a huge chalkboard for them to color on! What fun!

Why won't you hug me?

May 2013 001, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Susannah got a very bad cold after Barcelona...which turned into a sinus infection which turned into conjunctivitis (pink eye). She looked...well...terrible. Every time James saw her he would cringe! We finally took her to the doctor and she got some medicine, and now she is all better!

Physical Therapy

May 2013 002, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.
Susannah has been seeing a physical therapist who specializes in children here in Italy. We noticed around 5 months of age that she wasn't using her left hand as much as her right, and that it was always closed in the way a newborn infant keeps its fists closed. We took her to an osteopathic doctor who did some stretches on her neck, since she was always looking to the right, too. Then, we finally had her looked at by a children's 'neuropsichiatra' which I think is like a neurologist?? She assured us that Susannah's strong preference for the right was not permanent, or from any brain deficiency, but rather that she had only seen the right hand when her head was tilted, so she really didn't know the left hand was there. Then, when she didn't use it, she sort of 'forgot' about it. Now that her neck is turning both ways, she is starting to use it more, but still not as much as the right. So, we go to physical therapy to exercise her a little. This little wrap was for 1 day so her thumb would stay 'out' and not get folded 'in' so much. She has really improved a LOT in the last month. She is even moving around the room a lot more now, scooting on her bottom and getting into things she shouldn't get into!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Making ourselves comfortable

Norah and Luca were both under the weather on the way home--notice Norah's solution to her runny nose--so they slept for most of the plane ride back to Milano.

Rock on!

James looks like he's screaming at a rock concert, but really he wasn't--that would be weird!

Tickle time

How do you get Luke to not stick his tongue out during a photo? Tickle him! This photo is blurry, but I love it anyway.

Mommy and Norah

Just waiting for our plane to come...

Watching Planes

Well, our time in Barcelona eventually had to end. We definitely want to go back to see some of the other famous sites in good weather. It's a gorgeous, child-friendly city!
Barcelona airport is hands-down my favorite airport in the world (this is from the limited sampling of airports I have been in!). It is spotlessly clean, eerily quiet (no announcements every minute over the loudspeaker), bright, spacious, and convenient. They had a special area for families to go through security, complete with a play area for the kids while the parents disrobe (practically) and put everything through the scanner! Plus, we didn't have angry single people or childless couples behind us sighing for us to hurry up! It was the most pleasant (or should I say the least unpleasant?) security screen ever!


Barcelona is known for the strange and beautiful architecture of Antoni Gaudi. Here is one of the houses (Casa Batllo') he designed, which was inspired by the sea, or some say a dragon. The shingles on top look like scales, and there are mosaics (difficult to see in this pic) all over the facade that are reminiscent of being underwater.


Chiara's Aunt Claire, cousin Martin, and Uncle Luisma live in Madrid. Aunt Claire and Martin took a fast train to Barcelona and were able to spend Saturday and Sunday with all of us! Martin was really good with all of the kids--it was fun to see!
Unfortunately, it rained pretty much the whole time they were here. Aunt Claire, ever positive, said, "Well, we'll just have to make our own sunshine!" We tried really hard to do so, but in the end, the rain and the cold sapped all of our energy. We still had a good time with Claire and Martin, though!

Picasso Museum

In the afternoon, we visited the Picasso Museum. Pablo Picasso spent much of his career in and around Barcelona. This museum houses much of his early work, which was surprisingly traditional! The museum itself is housed in 5 old houses (built in the 13th to 15th centuries) in a row. There are some beautiful courtyards in the interior of the houses...this was one of the only places we could take photos. It was worth visiting just to see these really cool old buildings. The kids could have taken or left the art itself.

By Norah

Mommy and Susannah standing under the Arc


We walked a lot, and so we took a rest near the Arc de Triomf...then it started to rain on us so we high-tailed it back home!

Arc de triomf

Norah and Luca by the Arc de Triomf, built for the 1888 world's exposition which was held in Barcelona.

Woolly Mammoth

Don't know why, but there's a huge woolly mammoth sculpture in the park, too. You don't see these every day!

Fountain again!

I had to try again to get a good pic of the kids by the fountain--they actually cooperated! Susannah was here, too, but sleeping in her stroller!


The Parc de la Ciutadella (where the awesome fountain is) also has this cool building in it. It has an enclosed conservatorry on each side and this big covered walkway through the middle. It was really beautiful! Can you see Norah in this pic?

Chocolate Museum

The next day was also rainy in the morning, so we decided to go to the Chocolate Museum. The kids liked seeing all the sculptures made of chocolate. We also learned a lot about chocolate's introduction to Europe. Here's Norah standing by a display of lots of different chocolate molds.

What is it?

A high five to the first person who can name this really strange was HUGE and very rigid-looking. Its name is right on the tip of my tongue, but I am too lazy to Google it, so I will let my faithful reader(s?) tell me what it is!

The Luca fish

Do you see the Luca fish in this picture? It's the one that can often be found sticking out its tongue!
This day threatened rain so we hiked to the Barcelona Aquarium for some indoor fun. The kids liked it, but I think that the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and the Monterrey Bay Aquarium in California are leagues and leagues ahead! One cool thing was that they had this really long moving walkway that was a tunnel...and the fish and sharks and turtles swam all around us.

The dirtiest kids on the block

We found this little play park near the coold fountain. The kids could just roam around in here and dig in the sand/dust/dirt to their hearts' content! They had a blast, but when we left, they were FILTHY! We had to have a bath after this excursion!
Barcelona had GREAT parks and play structures for kids all over the place. What a change from Italy, where play parks seem to be an afterthought much of the time.

Just because!

They really went all out on this fountain. I could have sat here all day and found more and more things to look at. You can also go halfway up and look at it up close, but we couldn't because of the stroller...

Most beautiful fountain

Barcelona is home to this beautiful fountain. It has a chariot drawn by 4 golden horses at the top, and then below are some golden birds, and below those are some granite horses and birds. The best things about the fountain are that it is on many levels, and there is lots of greenery incorporated in the fountain itself. It is really really beautiful. Here are me and the 3 kiddos...this is the best we could do!

Sister time!

Norah loves to make Susannah laugh and giggle!

Hungry Hippos

We spent a long time watching the hippos at the zoo. In most every other zoo I have visited, the hippos were usually wallowing in a muddy hole, sleeping the day away. Not these two hippos. They were swimming everywhere, and then this one struggled its way up onto the bank so we could all see how big it was! Those things are HUGE! Their heads alone seemed bigger than my kids. Did you know that hippos don't actually swim, but they walk on the bottom of whatever body of water they are in? They are good at holding their breath, too.

Barcelona 2013

The Family Band recently accompanied James to Barcelona for 6 days of fun in the sun! Well, we had 2 days of fun in the sun and 4 days of massive downpours and cold temperatures! :-(
Anyway, we took advantage of one of our sunny days by visiting the Barcelona Zoo, which was a lot of fun!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

You know it

You know I am cute, don't you? I dare you not to smile! Come on, just try not to smile!

Hey! I am 10 months old!

Susannah turned 10 months old a while back, and here's her picture, finally!

Name: Susannah
A.K.A. Suzy Q, Zoozy Coo Coo Coo, Susannah Banana
I can: scoot pretty well on my bottom, hold things with both hands (not just my right hand!)
This month: I got my second tooth on the bottom!
I like: Bathtime (a LOT!), playing, being outside
I don't like: having things taken away from me!