Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Our family vacation finally starts today. Hawaii! We're only going to Kaua'i as we were wanting a more relaxed pace and everyone says it's magically laidback there. (Californians go to Hawaii the way Floridians go to...I don't know, the Caribbean?)

I'm ridiculously excited about it and except for offhandedly calling a few bike and kayak rental shops, we have nothing planned. Mostly I want to introduce Wugs to the joys of a warm beach to turn into her own personal playground. How fun it is to splash in the shallow water. Building sand castles. Feeling your heels sink into the wet sand as the water pools around them. Sitting on your Mama's shoulders as she walks deeper into the water. The joy of napping after a hard day of playing beneath the sun. Slurping on a shaved ice while the car bounces home after a long day, gloriously itchy from too much sand but too tired to care. Vacation, we're ready for you!

Those photos were taken last week on the flight home from Arizona. Still to come, Arizona pictures. When we come back!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Mila's Baptism Day, Part 2

Sorry for "tomorrow" turning into five days later. We took a wonderful little family trip to Arizona which, while too short, was so much fun for all of us. More on that later! For now, here's the rest of May 22nd, 2011. Mila's Baptism.

After the baptism we headed to an agriturismo outside town, on the road towards the beach. Agriturismos are popular in Italy, they're family-run establishments that cook elaborate multi-course meals that take hours to enjoy. Slow food. This one was just down the road from the sea, set back from the dusty dirt road in an olive grove with fruit trees dotting all around. It was beautiful.

We changed Mila into her party dress for the luncheon (a very bridal thing to do, no?) and everyone sat at a long table. Food was served family-style. Unfortunately for the life of me I can't remember many menu details! It was of course a happy blur, but I do remember some very delicious empanadas of which I wanted to hog the whole plateful. That's all I've got--of the several rounds of appetizers, then different pasta dishes, followed by a myriad of seafood platters, then meat (suckling pig?), and then the cake we brought for dessert followed by the usual limoncello and mirto shots until the final hurrah of every Italian celebration, espresso. Besides the cake I only remember the empanadas. Steve is no help because he's only remembering the wine, and "there was a lot of fish." (Duh, we're on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean.) That's not to say that everything wasn't delicious and eye-rolling amazing--but between canoodling with my girl or making sure she was being canoodled by others, trying to talk to and thank everyone, and nursing Mila throughout the meal-- well, I guess those food memories just fell out of my brain. Really as long as Mila was happy, I was happy. And she was. Nibbling on a little bread, a lot of Mama milk, and scarfing down every last drop of attention that came her way.

 And all that attention must have been exhausting, since halfway through Mila just rested her head against her Nonna's shoulder and took herself a little nap. 

Mila's cake read Dio Benedica Mila. God Bless Mila. It had a zabaglione filling inside (I do remember that much!).
When she did get restless there was no shortage of people to take her on walks around the property. Here's Steve and my Uncle Franco.

 There were a few other extended families there celebrating their childrens' First Communions (May is First Communion season!) and the little girls absolutely fawned over Mila, swarming around her like bees whenever we went outside (where they were playing in between food courses). It was the sweetest site, sweeter still because unfazed Mila seemed to fancy herself as one of the girls :)

After everyone had eaten we trickled out and relaxed a little outside, taking pictures and unbuttoning our top buttons in order to breathe after our eating marathon. Until I tripped while holding Mila and announced it was time to leave. Tired mama.

 And that was Mila's baptism day. I still can't believe it was an entire year ago. Would you just look at my chubby baby with the then-gummy smile? My heart hurts. I think I'll go wake her up and give her kisses now.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Mila's Baptism

A year ago today marks Mila's baptism. We did it while in Italy; it was such a sweet day surrounded by my family there. I would love to finally share some pictures.

Mila wore the same baptismal gown I did nearly 33 years ago. That is, gowns. Underneath she wore my father's baptismal gown, made by Nonna Mari. On top was Marmousch's, made by Nonna. That gown is 52 years old and Mila is the 8th person to wear it on her baptism day (Marmousch plus my aunt and three uncles, Lamb, and myself). Can you imagine? The talent in this family. If I could make something like that I'd be shouting it from the rooftops.

While we were dressing the child-bride our family started arriving so we could all walk over to church together. We were running late (of course) but that didn't stop everyone from coming in and presenting Mila with beautiful gifts. This girl already has quite the jewelry collection. Some of my favorites: an engraved crucifix pendant from her godparents-to-be, a guardian angel pendant from Simona and Nonna, and Marmousch gave Mila something from her childhood--a baby bracelet and with Mila's name added to the back so it reads Luisa on one side and Mila on the other. Gorgeous gorgeous heirlooms.

When we were finally ready we walked together to the church. Did I mention this was the first time we had all been reunited since Lamb's wedding? Mila was baptized in the same church Lamb and Adam were married in. It's the church Marmousch grew up going to, where Zio presided over, and you can see its bell tower from my grandparents' kitchen window, it is that close.

First we met with the priest to enter Mila's name into the ledger.

Then we went onto the altar for the baptism. It was private, just very close family present. Steve and I, holding Mila, stood at the foot of the altar with Lamb and Adam, whom we had asked to be godparents. Mila, who typically is was fine in church for short periods, was just not having it. I alternated between trying to distract her with my necklace and trying to dutifully read the baptismal rites from the book.

Getting baptismal water poured didn't help matters :)

And as the priest struggled to put her baptismal vest on I held my breath, since Wugs didn't enjoy getting clothes put on under even the best of circumstances. Sure enough, she howled. At the end of her rant, she said a crystal-clear MA-MA that echoed through the church. Both Lamb and the priest asked if that was the first time she said Mama (it wasn't, but still music to my ears anyway!).

After lighting the baptismal candle, the ceremony was over soon afterwards. Mila was now baptized! My treasured girl, so full of love to give. She really is nothing but joy, then and now. 

Tomorrow I'll try to post some pictures of the family lunch we had in celebration afterwards. I love seeing past photos of her, sombering to realize how much she's changed but yet wonderful to think of the amazing person she's become!

Half the people are talking. This is how all our Italy group shots come out. Note Steve's face.