Yesterday was a long and wonderful day. Finally, after months and months of waiting, Maria Regina joined our family. The daughter of my brother John and his wife Jaci, Maria was born at 7 lbs. 10 oz. and 21 in. long. I haven’t met her in person yet. (Antonio, papa’, and I just arrived in Florida last night and spent two hours driving around trying to find the hospital only to keep ending up back at the airport. We cursed like sailors at each other until we just went to our home in Kissimmee and gave up. We’ll meet Maria in just a little while.) I did, however, speak with my new niece on the phone last night, and she yelled at me, too. Apparently, she was hoping we would get to the hospital, but she proved that she already fits right into the family. Seriously, she’s a bundle of joy — and she’ll be a great addition to our crew. To see more pictures, visit, “Maria Regina” photo album.
The heat wave in New York had me itching for summers gone by. I decided to relive some of my childhood — and share it with my husband Antonio — and one of my first stops was the Bronx Zoo. (Visit the “Bronx Zoo” photo album.) It was a magical day when the gophers were communicating with us in the Children’s Zoo (see the photo above), the baboons raced each other, the lion awoke just so we could photograph him, and the giraffes frolicked for us. Although $27 for the total experience is more than I remember paying as a kid, it was well worth it. The only downside was my sunburned face, which is still looking a bit tomato-ish.
With the exception of my mom being away in Florida with my brother, his wife, who is expecting a baby (who is now seven days late and doesn’t seem to want out) and my sister, Easter 2010 was perfect. It was the first holiday, besides Thanksgiving (which I don’t count because my Italian husband never celebrated it until he met me in 2004), that my husband and I have spent together in the six years we’ve known each other. Crazy, right? You can join in on the fun — including our lobster dinner and egg game antics — by visiting the “Easter 2010” photo album.
Animals have been capturing my attention lately. Maybe spring is in the air. Maybe it is the nurturer in me, who has been longing to have a little creature on which I can dote. Maybe it’s my sister — the zookeeper — rubbing off on me. Whatever it is, animals have been winning my heart. A couple of weeks ago, Antonio and I brought a friend from Italy to Point Pleasant, N.J., where we spent part of the day at Jenkinson’s Aquarium with the fishies and their amphibian friends. (For photos, visit the “Jenkinson’s Aquarium” photo album.)
Over the weekend, my sister Rosaria adopted herself a beagle (yes, another beagle) named Shilo. I’m already in love with the little bugger, and I haven’t even met him yet. The photos are that adorable. Last night, Antonio and I watched March of the Penguins for the first time. (I know I’m a little behind the times.) Doggone it, that was a good flick. Those penguins are so disciplined and they make such sacrifices. I was blown away and humbled. The little baby penguins were friggin adorable. That’s why I was not at all surprised at myself when I chose a photo of a mama lamb and her babies for today’s Wordless Wednesday entry on About.com’s Newlywed site. Check it out, leave a comment (or better yet share your own baby story), and drown in the cuteness of these animals.
A fine mist of pink food coloring spray is all around me, and I just scraped the last of the vomit green icing off my plastic dining room table cover. That’s how I know Easter is upon us. Every year, we invite over the gang of kids in my family for an Easter bash that defeats all others. We decorate cookies, dye eggs, hunt for plastic eggs filled with treasure, and get downright giddy. This year, we all wore bunny ears and never stopped hoppin’. You can join in the fun by visiting the “Easter Bash 2010” photo album.
It was the first Easter party that I hosted without my mom (who is still in Florida and still awaiting the arrival of her first granddaughter there). Mamma’s cookies (she usually makes them from scratch, while I used a tube of sugar cookie dough) were missed, as was her smile. But I think we pulled off a good time nonetheless. No one seemed to eat much (or I cooked too much, depends on who you talk to), and my husband got the adults started with cocktails and finished with Bailey’s and ice cream, so it definitely was a partttttaayyy.
My cousin Fran and my hubby Antonio graciously cleaned and put all the food away while I helped the kids with their projects and snapped photos of them. Miesha graciously cleared the kid’s table between projects, so they could get down to business with a clean slate. I can’t thank everyone enough for coming. I really needed a little break from the everyday and a little fun with the gang.
Our friend Agostino d’Ambra recently traveled from Ischia, Italy to spend three weeks with us while he studied English at Berlitz in New York. (Check out the photo album “Agostino in America“.) When Agostino called to say he arrived in Ischia, he said now that he was gone, I would be getting a break. After all, I would brown bag lunch for Agostino and my husband Antonio, wash their clothes, clean the bathrooms (and the rest of the house), make all the beds — oh and work full time and cook us all dinner. Alas, however, there is no rest for weary me. My mom took off for Florida, where she is awaiting the arrival of her first granddaughter. And I’m here continuing my free cleaning service for my hubby, my father (in mamma’s absence), and myself.
I’m madly in love with my husband Antonio and totally devoted to him, and I love Agostino and our male friends who have stayed in our home. (There have been quite a few of them; my family, in fact, has been jokingly referring to our house as a hotel with all the guests we’ve recently hosted from Ischia.) And my father is the greatest man I know. But man boys — especially those with lots of sisters, who used to clean up after them — are messy. If we all lived by a few simple rules, our lives would be much easier. (Let me add that this blog is also a clever way of introducing you to the various articles I’ve recently written for the About.com Newlyweds site about spring cleaning and isn’t necessarily a reflection of anyone in particular although the guilty know who they are.) If I ever have sons (or daughters for that matter), I’m going to teach them these rules, have them write them on the blackboard 100 times, and etch them into their brain matter.
Rules for Boys (and Messy Girls)
2. If there’s still olive oil in your dish, it is not clean. You need soap and water (preferably hot) to clean a dish.
3. Always put the milk back in the fridge when you’re done with it. Don’t put back an empty milk carton. Put that in the garbage or recyclables (if you’re responsible and it is possible in your community).
4. Follow directions, as in listen when I tell you how to divide the garbage for recycling.
5. Flush the toilet. Clean the bowl, at least a bit if you leave behind anything yucky.
6. This reminds me of when my cousin was a newlywed and gave a glorious, passionate speech at Sunday lunch about tire tracks on underwear and how men should, “Wipe and look, wipe and look, wipe and look — and you’re not done until the paper comes out clean.” Sage advice indeed.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – My husband Antonio is a fanatic about using a bidet and never ever has broken any of these bathroom rules and is in fact probably cleaner than me when it comes to his throne. I’d be remiss if I led you to believe otherwise. But this is another story for another blog.)
7. More sage advice – pee in the bowl and only in the bowl, not on the floor and certainly not on the wall. Ever.
8. A couch or chair is not a closet. Pick up those clothes and put them away.
9. Odor eaters and bleach are our dear, dear friends.
Boys, even though I know you’ll never follow any of these rules, I still love you all. Just be sure to thank me when I’m done cleaning up. (My husband and his friends and my father always do.) Now, I’m off to spend my lunch hour ironing and preparing dough for tonight’s pizza dinner before returning to my desk to continue reporting my latest stories and updating my Web sites. Maybe I’ll find time to eat, too. It never ends. Never. Ever. Never.
What a week we have had. It was full of disaster and drama. On Saturday night, we were ordering Chinese take out and waiting for my friends to arrive. The next thing we know, there’s a leak streaming down the wall in our hallway. And moments later, the lights went out. My friends called to tell us the police turned them away from the highway, and they were forced to return home.
We were without electricity from Saturday until Tuesday. The house felt like a giant ice cube. We had to take turns dragging buckets of water out of the basement. We were lucky to have very little damage to the floor in the basement. The water was turned off for two days, too. Needless to say, we have a new appreciation for the little things – brushing your teeth with water, a hot shower, and a light for reading. Of course, I’m ever more grateful for television. Oh how I love you fair TV! If you’d like to check out all the damage from the last two storms New Jersey has faced, visit the photo albums “Blizzard of 2010” and “Noreaster of 2010“. The blizzard with its heavy snow paved the way for all these trees to come crashing down during the noreaster. Now, I feel as though it was all a terrible nightmare.
I must apologize for having been M.I.A. lately. The Business Schools team, of which I’m apart, at Bloomberg BusinessWeek was finishing up the annual undergraduate business program rankings. And Antonio and I have yet another visitor from Italy. This time our friend Agostino, the chef at his family’s restaurant Focolare in Ischia (see “Dinner at Focolare“), is staying with us and attending Berlitz courses with Antonio, who is still practicing his English.
Now that my work has calmed a bit — just a bit — I managed to finally post photos from Ludovica’s last days in the States, just before she returned to Ischia after her three-month American adventure. Check out those photos here –
One of the highlights of our weekend was going to lunch with cousins Fran, William, Little William, and Phillip for sushi at Robongi in Hoboken. Antonio and I never eat sushi, but Little William loves this place, so we couldn’t say no. We’re glad we went. Antonio devoured the sushi and sashimi and everything else that arrived at the table. I stuck with the chicken teriyaki and dumplings, which are my favorite and were divine. The best part was hanging out with the kids, however. William and Phillip were cuter than ever (To see pictures of their adorableness, you can visit the “Sushi Fun” photo album.)
We can’t thank Fran, William, Little William, and Phillip enough for offering us lunch and introducing us to a new restaurant that I’m sure we’ll visit again.
My husband’s romantic gesture in the snow yesterday inspired today’s blog on the About.com Newlyweds site. Check out the Newlyweds blog and leave a comment about what you plan to do to lift the spirits of someone you love today. You can learn how to write a love letter to boot. Make sure to express your love in a meaningful way as often as possible. I know I’m grateful that Antonio makes me feel loved all the time — even when the snow isn’t falling.