You Prolific Bastids! I love you!

on Thursday, January 29, 2009

OK. I'm not telling you anything you haven't already figured out....we are not daily bloggers. The best I can do is feed and water my children and family daily. In fact, if you could see the way my scale keeps inching up...you'd be sooooo proud - I'm excelling in this department...but that's another story.

Anywho, we went away. We had good intentions about posting daily from La Bella Italia, but you know how that went. Then we came home. We HAVE SO MUCH MATERIAL. But do you see it? No. We have TONS of great pictures. Do you see them? No. We have two children who give us more daily material than you could possibly believe. Do you hear about it? Ummm..no. We should be posting every other minute...but we don't even post every other day. I'm on my knees confessing over here!

(deep breath)

OK...so we are basically blogging deadbeats. However, you prolific fabulous bloggers, aka Prolific Bastids, who give me so much daily pleasure in reading about your lives and viewpoints have gifted us with two awards. I should be thanking you and you guys gift us with awards!?!? Talk about rewarding bad behaviour! I LOVE IT!

Noah's Mommy, who does not have one, but TWO, fabulicious blogs gifted us with The Fabulous Blog Award!

If you haven't been over to Noah's Mommy's blog...make a bee line over there right now! She is one of the people that you wish lived next door so you could drop in regularly for a cup of tea and her funny take on life. Via blog...we can...so do! Thank you Noah's Mommy...you are a sweetie!

With this award comes responsibilities...I must pass it along to 5 other FABULOUS blogs, but I must list 5 addictions....and to that I say...ONLY 5????

Ok...here we go:

  1. The Him/ The Husband/ The Dad's Kisses! Killer good!
  2. The Him/The Husband/ The Dad's Hugs! He's tall. He has long arms. Do I have to say anything else. Talk about enveloping hugs! LOVE IT! Addicted!!!
  3. My daughters penchant for calling her big brother " My big Sister" Let me use it in a sentence for you: "Mama, don't talk to My big sister like that!" picture the hands on hips!
  4. Jane Austen MOVIES whenever possible add in a comfy chair, blanket and QUIET...ahhh...I need a 12 step program.
  5. A great romance novel or 5000! Ala Julie Garwood, Ala Julia Quinn.

Ok...did I make you sick!? LOL...good!

I now pass on The Fabulous Blog Award to the following FABU blogs and Prolific Bastids!

  1. Adlibby on the Loose! - smart and hilarious, deep and fabulous
  2. Jeff & Me + Three - sweet and funny, bubbly and heartfelt
  3. Pearls of Wisdom - Pearl's endearing humor will keep you coming back for more.
  4. Cucinario di Nonna Ivana - OK...it's in Italian. The pictures alone will keep you coming back for more but the recipes, are. to. die. for. She is an absolutely lovely lady and understands and writes English as well. Go over. It's killer.
  5. Decisionally Challenged - Georgie is DA BOMB (can you even believe I used that phrase) Her confessional alone is worth the price of admission...err..it's free!



Now go forth and frequent these blogs!




Ok...the second award comes from Rhaingel at Penpusher, a blogger who I suspect will become a great writer, screen writer and director. We will be seeing her life on film some day. She is poetic, lyrical, deep and very wise for one so young. I believe she is a wonderful find and a great read. Somehow, this young prolific bastid returns the lovely compliment of frequenting this fuddy duddy (can you believe I used that term on myself?) blog and gave us the Lemonade Award! How sweet is that?


Here are the rules:


1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

But I say do whatever you want :)

Here are 6 blogs that make Lemonade Beautifully!

  1. Two Redheads and a boy-le
  2. Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures
  3. The Wind in Your Vagina
  4. Food, Glorious, Food and life in general
  5. Blok Thoughts
  6. Blog Stalkers Unite

Thank you, thank you, thank you....and I hope these awards bring you the smile that they brought the whole crew on The Goo Goo Ga Ga!

Musical Monday: Sleeping Beauty - Once Upon A Dream

on Monday, January 26, 2009



Jori over at Jeff & Me +Three has been having Music Memory Monday for quite a while....but now, with a bloggy friend, has made it official! Musical Monday!

Wow...what a production! Congratulations to Jori and Diane!



Musical Monday

So...musically speaking...here is what is currently moving me on many levels! ;)


This is a song that was not on my radar as a child. I don't remember it at all. It is a song that has become a beautiful part of my children's lives. Until LG (little girl) came along LM (little man) ruled the roost along with the movie and music selections. We all enjoyed the CARS soundtrack, I promise. Little girl cheered him on with every song played. We went through the MULAN soundtrack, most recently the WALL-E soundtrack and with that...HELLO DOLLY. As soon as Little Girl saw Sleeping Beauty she became mesmerized by "Once Upon A Dream" and was immediately transformed into a Princess! She sings the song from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to bed and in recent days has even suggested that I sing the Prince part of the song because she's the Princess part. She IS the Princess part. I love it!

The lyrics of the song are very simple and seem to, every day, become more fitting for what I feel for my two little little ones. Carrying them each around in my belly, knowing them so well...loving them so well....before we met.

I know you
I walked with you once upon a dream.
I know you
The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
Yes, I know it's true
that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you'll do
You'll love me at once
the way you did once upon a dream



Go check out Jori and Diane and experience your own Musical Monday!

Why do 30 Minute Meals take me 1 hour and a 1/2?

on Friday, January 23, 2009

Dear Rachael Ray,

I really like you. In all honestly, I kinda liked you better before you had your own talk show and I didn't have to listen to you.... ummm...well....talk so much...but all in all...I really enjoy your goofy little stories about your family and walking with your dog Boo. I enjoy your quirky, sentimental good-naturedness...and I adore the way you are making cooking for your family seems like a joyous adventure and symbol of familial adoration rather than a tedious, looming everyday annoyance. In addition, the meals that I have made from your book, TV show or Food Network program (all the 30 minute meal brand) are usually very delicious. However, they do NOT and I repeat, DO NOT take 30 minutes to make.

This whole 30 minutes meal fabrication has got to stop! The myth that you are perpetuating is making me feel...well...inadequate. I know that your show is filmed in 30 minutes, but either you are bringing in a team of helpers during the commercials or you are lying. Now I'm not saying that ALL of your recipes aren't standing up to YOUR test of time, but most of the recipes I've tried are at least double the time.

So, just to prove the point, I challenge you to come to my home and prepare one of your recipes...I'll choose. Then I will blend into the background and watch you preform. Here's the catch...you must prepare this meal with the same joy and challenges the rest of face when preparing one of your so called 30 minute meals from home. You have to juggle at least one child around the age of 5 and hmmm..let's say, another child around the age of 2. You'll need to be fielding phone calls from your land line as well as your cell phone. A nice added touch would be having your 2 year old have a breakdown of some kind (maybe low blood sugar) and have your 5 year old keep asking when the meal will be ready. They should probably be playing a game in the room and of course, occasionally squabbling.

Keep in mind you will need to continually reference the recipe to keep the experiment and challenge authentic.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

So, c'mon...just between us...you know these recipes require a bit more than 30 minutes. Truth in advertising would dictate that you title your show and books "30 minute Test Kitchen Meals /90 Minute Real Home Meals", but I'd settle for you coming over once a month and cooking the meal. :)

Your Friend and Fan,
The Me

Pompeii...the circus clowns would be proud :)

on Monday, January 19, 2009

I titled it this way because it felt like a circus when we left Pompeii. You see we had a non US sized minivan that we were about to fit 7 people, 3 large suitcases, 3 small suitcases and 8 pieces of various sized carryon items (ie...audio visual bag...diaper backpack...etc...). Circus clowns could not do a better job of packing than my new found Italian cousin. I'm including pics along the way with this story so pay attention ;)



It was after we met my wife's cousins that the fear started to set in. My wife, I could tell, was wondering how in the world we could fit one more body and luggage into our car. We didn't have the heart to tell the cousin with the small travel bag that we didn't have room. After all, she was hosting us at a hotel on the Amalfi coast for 2 days. We couldn't....You just don't do that to family!! What were we to do?


Well...this feeling persisted the rest of the afternoon. It was after lunch (check out that antipasto dish!) that we had the bright idea of trying to find an auto parts store that sold luggage racks for the tops of cars. We did find such a place but to no avail....they didn't have one. One of my wifes cousins..the one helping us with directions around on our walking tour of the ruins....told my wife not to worry.... that she was an expert in packing cars....it would get done!! On the rest of our tour of Pompeii , we had to be safe in the words of my wifes cousin. Ya see she is very happy that Obama is the new US president and she took every opportunity to recite the Obama slogan of...."YES WE CAN!!"


Well it was getting alittle late in the afternoon. The sun was down. It was my job to tend to the job of packing that 7th person's luggage into the car while still making room for her :) My partner in crime on this mission was non other than my new YES WE CAN cousin. Let's just state beforehand that I know very little Italian and she knows not much more than "YES WE CAN" I say this all with loving terms because by the end of this trip I learned to love these new cousins of mine as my wife has for many years. They are beautiful people! That being said....we proceeded to after taking all the luggage out....piece it all back together. Hand signals were a must...pointing was imparitive....smiles and gestures included. I had my doubts. We barely got 6 people and all our luggage in the minivan...how were we to stuff a 7th. Here we are in a dimly lit parking lot next to the ruins...all the luggage out...and amazingly we were able...with a very strong shoulder press on the hatch....to close the car up. It was at this moment the high fives of "YES WE CAN" rang out and we had mission accomplished.

The workers on the side of the parking lot were probably getting a big chuckle out of our circus. But in the end, this tall blond American man and that short gray haired, bigger than life, Italian woman were able to do the unthinkable. Next would come the piecing all the bodies into the car..it was like a car version of Twister but in the end...all were belted in and all were secure. It was now on to the Amalfi coastline for us all!! Ciao Pompeii!!

Our First Day In Rome

on Thursday, January 15, 2009


It was a beautiful day to be in Rome...of course anyday is a beautiful day to be in Rome. We ventured via train to the center of town. (Our son loved the train ride!) We then made our way towards the Colosseum via The Trevi Fountain and lunch. Lunch was great! We found a little place right next to the Trevi Fountain that served great pasta dishes and more importantly they made up some "chicken cutlet" for the kids which they loved along with their many bread sticks :). Didn't have the heart to tell the kids that their cutlet was veal and not chicken :) Shhhhh!

After lunch it was off to the Colossium. The Colossium is just one of those places that just makes you pinch yourself. Here is something that the residents probably don't even pay attention to on a regular basis...but if you just stop and look at it ... the history behind it...it just makes your jaw drop.

We met my wife's cousin for espresso and sweets at a cafe... need I say... Right across the street from the Colossium! It was right behind my daughter who was enjoying a delightful Italian sweet. This was a fun first day to be sure. I will have a post on this same structure when it comes to the last night of our trip in Rome... One of my favorite nights of the trip.

After our reunion we were off by bus to try and find the Hertz car agency. It was quite an adventure! One that took us by the Spanish Steps even ... Funny how you can be looking around a town for a car rental place and right around the corner is the Spanish Steps...well ..that is Rome!

As you can see it is getting a little late for the little ones. The wife and I are busy with paperwork and car seats at this time. It is not too much longer till we are packed up and ready to hit the streets of Rome with our self named navigator Penelope ... Miss Neverlost from Hertz!

Well... We weren't more than 500 feet up the tunnel from Hertz when I discovered that Penelope was looking at the stars in sky instead of finding us a route. She could not find us!! It was then that I pulled over and the slightest amount of fear crept in. It was dark by this time. I knew if I ventured onto the upcoming roundabout that we might be in roundabout hell for the foreseeable future. I also knew there was no way to drive back into the tunnel that was Hertz. Well...after what seemed like an eternity...Penelope did finally acquire us and we were off onto the streets of Rome....WOW! I can safely say that we and Penelope did make it to the hotel. We turned a half hour ride into close to an hour one...but we did make it. Penelope only had to "recalculate route" a few times :)

Day one is ended! It is off to Pompeii domani!!

How I Lost My Mother in London's Heathrow - Part of a Series

on Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We are back from our holiday in Italy!!!! It was a fabulous trip! We laughed! We cried! We hugged! We walked! We were in awe! We took photos! We climbed! We drove (and drove and drove) We spent all of our time with the family of our hearts! We figured out that we all have the same smile! We realized that we all have the same heart! We basked in the glory of Italy...AND....We ATE!!!! (and ate and ate and ate).

I wanted to post from the road. (insert maniacal laughter here) Since I couldn't find a way to tear myself from the joys of the moment...some posts will be from my road diary...some will be from my memory and some will be just totally made up from photo reminders.

A great big Thank you! to all of you who sent along Christmas and Vacation good wishes! We missed all of you and your blogs and are looking forward to reading everything you've been up to in our absence!

OK....here's what I remember (Day 1)!

December 17, 2008
LAX - Heathrow, London
London - Rome

We are here! 22 hours door to door and everyone is present, accounted for and happy! The kids are smiling and still carrying their individual backpacks! We are all still talking to each other!

Success!!!

The kids were phenomenal on the plane. They took to their seats and proceeded to become familiar with their environment. All buttons were checked and cross checked. Press button 1 - light comes on. Press button number 2 - light goes off. On/off. On/off. On/off. Everything seems to be in working order. Press button number 3 - smiling air person runs to my attention....they ask me if I would like something. Then they ask me to push button 4. They run away. Button 3 - people react. Button 4 - they go away! Hmmm... Little Man immediately made note that we should have these buttons installed in his bedroom. Little Man and Little Girl both made it a point of checking and cross checking the control panel throughout the flight.

We flew British Air. I've flown British Air without kids and enjoyed the experience greatly. With kids....OMG....I LOVE THEM! The personal TV with a variety of movies and shows was wonderful....add in the plethora of items the flight attendants brought the kids for drawing, coloring and reading...I could have packed at least a third lighter!

Upon arriving in London, the flight attendants approached us about wheel chair assistance for my Mom. The wheelchair was waiting for her, but since we were being disembarked on the tarmac, they would be escorting the people who needed assistance first. Since there were so many who needed wheelchair assistance, they asked if we, her family, could please meet her at the gate where the little bus would be dropping us off. OK....no problem.....UNLESS you have a history of losing your mother! So, off she goes...my little Mom...before I lost sight of her....I questioned the flight attendant again about our reunion point. She assured me that Mom would be waiting for us at the gate where the bus will drop us off.

I believed her. We exchanged smiles. Things were going great!

Mom wasn't there.

There we were at the gate...with 8 carry on bags, 2 kids, one who needed a bathroom and one who needed a diaper change. My bladder was crying for help...and... No Sicilian Mama. We asked, we looked around, we made our way down the endless corridor...no little Sicilian Mama. The kids started asking. "Where's my Nonna?" I started asking. "Where's my Mom?"

OK...we weren't in a hurry to catch our flight. We had a 4 hour layover. HOWEVER, Heathrow Airport is HUGE and even though they speak English there, it seemed that there was a language barrier every time we asked someone where they might have taken someone who was escorted off of the plane via wheelchair assistance. To add to the drama (and at the time it felt like drama) I was holding Mom's plane ticket and passport. So....here we are....in an endless hallway, holding more bags than we should have been allowed to carry on the plane, with a 4 year old and a 2 year old not knowing were to go....but walking QUICKLY. I guess it seemed if we walked fast enough...we'd find her quicker. We reached a set of chairs and the kids made a decision for us. They climbed up on the chairs and sad down...both proclaiming that they needed a rest. My good Guy decided to go back and find her. It was like a scene from Last of the Mohican's. "I will find her!" he proclaimed before running down the hall. Ten minutes later, My Guy came running back. He'd found her! But they wouldn't release her to him without her passport and airplane ticket. All tolled...she was gone for 45 minutes. We had a beautiful reunion and all had a victory pee at the nearest bathroom. We also had 3 hours to review and laugh about the experience!

It was a great 1st day!

We are back!!

on Friday, January 9, 2009

Yes we are back on the Goo Goo Ga Ga from our Italian Holiday Adventure!!


As of now we are struggling a bit with jet lag and are in desperate need of naps :) Without them we are dead by 4:00 and struggle just to get the kids in bed and ourselves shortly after.

We did get all of your well wishes along the way. We just were moving at such a quick pace that it was hard to sit down and say "hey" Heck we were moving so quick that we didn't really have an opportunity to pick up any gifts for the peeps back home...sorry to all.

We did have a wonderful time traversing the Italian countryside! Our stops included our start off point of Rome, then to Pompeii, Amalfi, Lecce, Paola, Santa Ninfa (in Sicily), Paola, Bologna and then finishing off back in Rome. We drove 2500 miles in our quest to see all of my wife's family that we had set off to see on this trip. They were all enchanted by our kids! We have left the family with the Donald Duck saying of "what's the big idea!!" We have because our 2 year old daughter said it every 2 minutes we were with them :)

The wife will post later with more details. We took 8gig of pictures so we have a lot to do to weed it down so as not to bore the folks back home when we start our viewings :) In the meantime we are still exhausted. We have lots to tell later.

Buon Natale and Buon Anno to you all!!

We had a great time but it's good to be home.

Ciao for now!