Friday, November 22, 2013

I'll just put myself away

One of Susannah's favorite things to do is to clear out the shelf of books, and then climb in herself! It's as if she's putting herself away! It keeps her busy for a long time, so we let her do it!
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Festival of the Grape

We went to San Colombano al Lambro for their annual wine festival. There was an old-timey tractor exhibit, plus some fun things for the kids to do. The day ended with a parade of floats. It was pretty crowded, but the floats were really intricate and cool...moving parts, music, everything.

James was eager to taste the local wine, which was really good!

There's an old castle in this town (like so many towns in Italy). The festival was in a field next to the castle.

Norah had tons of fun on this contraption!

Do you think we tired them out?

We bought some wine from a local vineyard. This was their courtyard, which I thought was nice. Luke entertained himself by picking up stones.
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Thursday, November 21, 2013

The big sock

Just some more shots of Susannah and her big sock. Luckily, she only had a slight fracture, so she only had to wear it for 11 days!

When can I take this thing off?

Oh, well, I guess I will just make do and crawl around anyway!
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Norah's first day

First day of "la prima elementare" (1st grade).  True to Italian style, she is in her track suit because they had gym class the first day! Soon, I will get a picture of her in her "grembiule", which is her school smock that she wears over her clothes on all other non-gym days.
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Luke's first day of school

He almost looks angelic, doesn't he?  Luke started "asilo" this year, which is like preschool, except that it's all day M-F.  He started out going 2 hours a day for a week, then 4 hours a day for a week, then the whole day.  We had lots of tears in the first few weeks.  Really though, I understand: we are dropping him off with a bunch of people who don't speak any English! He'll thank us for it when he's older, we think...
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Back in Italy, and....a little excitement

Well, about 3 days after arriving back in Italy, Susannah landed wrong when getting off the couch and we found ourselves in the emergency room, on a Sunday, getting a cast for a broken leg! Of course, this happened about 10 minutes after James walked out the door for a business trip!  What a mess!  Our friends Luca and Raffaella were so helpful; Luca took us to the hospital, and Raffaella watched the other kids while we were there. The staff at the hospital were great, very good with Susannah!

It's NO FUN when your kids break their legs (trust us, 2 out of 3) but they sure are cute with their little casts on!!!
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Last day in Michigan

Our last day in Michigan, we had a picnic and enjoyed some time together.

Norah and Bree, best buddies forever!

5 cousins in a wagon! 3 out of 5 look worried!

Norah and Ethan...they are so alike in so many ways!

The grandparents with their ever-growing brood of grandchildren. We just found out that Nicholas and Sunny will be adding another one to the bunch in March 2014! What are they all laughing at? James, of course! All that time he spent as a child making faces in the mirror sure comes in handy when it's time for a group shot involving kids.

Freida prefers to eat her cake "gargoyle style"

Susannah prefers to eat her cake "Hitler style"
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Saint Joseph

Norah's friend Elena from Chicago and her family came to meet us in St. Joseph for a day.  We rode the carousel near the beach; the kids had a blast!  We also drove around trying to find a beach to play on, and finally found a great one.  It was a fun day, and great to see some friends, too.

She went right for this sparkly horse!

Luca BEAR!!!!
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Pool days

They would be happy to play on the pool deck  However, we usually enforced a rule that if you are on the pool deck, you have to go swimming, which Lucia did NOT like one bit!

Luke showing us his daring jumps into the water!  This boy would live in the water if we would let him!
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Some random summer shots

Luke has a unique run, and this photo captures it as well as a photo can.  He and Lucia spent a lot of time throwing the frisbee (they are both pretty good at it!) and then running after it.

Sharing a laugh while they get sand all over themselves.

Modeling their new school shoes, girl version and boy version!
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Weekend in Chicago

James had to do some work in Chicago, and Chiara's mom watched the kids, so Chiara got to go, too!!! It was nice to be able to spend some time together (alone), and yes, we missed the kids, but we also had a great time: staying out late, going to museums, shopping with no children, and, Chiara's favorite: sleeping in!!!

Sunflowers in the city

Chicago is a beautiful city!

Thanks mom, for watching our kids!!!
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Family is a wonderful thing

Susannah and her "Super Grandma" Joan

The family band with Super Grandpa and Super Grandma (the great-grandparents!)

James' cousin John and his wife Gracie and their new baby Asher came to visit, too!
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Suzy cute

Susannah became more mobile and more independent while we were in Michigan.  She scooted herself over to these curtains and entertained herself for a good 30 minutes!
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Best shot

Chiara's brother Nicholas captured this beautiful shot at just the right angle with the sun. Thanks, Nicholas!
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