Seven Weeks

Ciao Bloggisti!

Yes, it’s been exactly 7 weeks since my last post. And 7 weeks since my water broke and we made a mad dash to the hospital. It was quite benevolent timing on the baby’s part. After our August holidays I was in major nesting mode and had a long list of things to tidy up, organize, re-organize and re-re-organize. A blog post was also on that long list and I couldn’t rest until that was done. And literally a few hours after I hit the “Publish” button I woke up in the middle of the night, rolled over and … whooosh.. Niagara Falls!!

As for the birth, it took longer than I expected. I thought, “Third baby. Piece of cake! I’ll sneeze this one out!!” Well the joke was on me. I had irregular contractions for 24 hours, shared my room with a Chinese woman and her extended family, then with a translator who happened to study at my school, I ate the most nauseating hospital food ever, and in the end, just like the last time, labour was induced. Those drugs sure packed a punch because I almost gave birth in the elevator on my way to the delivery room! But I held on and our adorable little girl was born safe and sound.

During the last seven weeks my mom was here to help and get mercilessly pinched by Diggy, Bellie discovered her inner earth mother and was giving me diapering advice, the hubster temporarily gave up playing the bass to take up a new pasttime: rocking a colicky baby, I became a full-time milk dispenser and tried to get used to life as a casalinga disperata. Not so easy with three little ‘uns in the house, what with all the laundry, cooking, organizing birthday parties, school runs etc. to fit in between feedings. Thank god Mom and I cooked up a storm while she was here and we froze lots of mini-meals, from cottage pie to pasta casseroles. I am also desperately trying to fit in time to exercise with help from my postpartum, “get your blobby belly back into shape” dvd. I only manage to fit in 10 minutes here and there but I’m starting to see some results.

But the most wonderful thing about the last month and a half is little Charlie. I don’t mean to gush but she really is the sweetest little baby. And wonder of wonders, she started sleeping through the night at only 3 1/2 weeks!! I guess she understood that Mommy and PapĂ  are just too old to haul their lazy butts out of bed for those night feedings. Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled to get a decent night’s sleep. Now she’s smiling more and starting to communicate with her little “oohs” and “aahs”. And despite all the stress and mayhem that has overtaken my life, corny as it sounds, Charlie’s gurgles and smiles have the power to make all those problems disappear.

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12 October 2010 at 12:22 am 3 comments

Waiting for Miss Panino

Ciao Bloggisti!

Hope you’ve been having a good summer. I got back a week ago from our holidays in Liguria. Lots of swimming, walking and, of course, eating! We went to quite a few sagre (village fairs featuring local gastronomical specialities, live music, etc.) and stuffed ourselves silly. And I discovered a heavenly ice cream parlour in the town where we stayed. It had the most decadent, delicious chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had. The shop also specializes in real Sicilian granita but I was too smitten with their ice cream to try one. Definitely next time!

So now I’m back at my unusually quiet home, organizing the last few things in the house while the kids are still at seaside with their nonni. My mom arrived from Canada this morning, laden with so many goodies that getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight will take a lot longer than expected. But how can I resist Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate-covered almonds, cheddar cheese, banana chips, jackfruit chips, fluorescent orange cheese puffs, Sweet Tarts and my beloved Ketchup chips? My mouth is watering at the very thought! But I guess it’s a good thing to be distracted since tomorrow is D-day.

Yep, I’m still lugging that panino around. I know I haven’t been keeping you up to speed with my pregnancy but I’m no Dooce. I worked full-time up until the end of my eighth month and went on holiday soon afterwards. In the evenings I was too, too tired to have the energy to turn the computer on so I spent most of my time watching 30 Rock or reading (books such as the Baby Whisperer, Kurt Cobain’s biography, The Help, The Scarlet Letter, etc.). And just between you and me, I couldn’t really sit down for long periods in front of my computer because, ahem, my keister would hurt like mad. Blame it on the belly. But the hubster recently got me a new laptop so I can write anywhere now.

Another book I’ve been reading lately is the Canadian Medical Association’s book of Mother and Baby Care. Since I’m almost at Week 40, let’s see what they have to tell me:

By this stage, you will feel very ungainly, and will be bumping into objects. (Yes and yes)

Your skin will feel stretched and taut across your abdomen and may be itchy (oh yeah!)

Your belly will be so large that you have difficulty getting comfortable in bed (ok, I get it – I’m a freakin’ whale!)

But seriously, since I know that in max. 10 days my girl will be making her appearance, I’m enjoying my last days with the bump. It may be a pain sometimes but it’s by far the easiest way to carry a little ‘un. And there’s no way to describe the sensation of a baby moving around inside of you. I will miss it. For now, she seems to be in no hurry to move out. My mom, who used to be a maternity nurse, checked my belly today and said the baby’s head still hasn’t engaged. But tomorrow there will be a full moon and anything could happen.

Since I’m not sure if I’ll be able to write more in the next few days, here’s a very overdue and brief overview of my pregnancy.

FIRST TRIMESTER

Found out the big news on Xmas day. Was more nauseous than in the previous pregnancies. So much so it was hard to hide my condition at work. Started cleaning up the house to make room for baby. She’s going to take over the old kitchen. Had a bad stomach flu, which always happens when I’m expecting. I was also DOG-TIRED, all the time! But I did have enough energy to go on a trip to Liguria, Nice and Piedmont, where Bellie had her first skiing lesson.

SECOND TRIMESTER

Felt much better. No more nausea and my energy levels (and my appetite) went up. Could start to feel baby kicking! And found out we were expecting a little girl!! The search for a name began. Started explaining to Diggy that he was going to be a big brother. Was not immediately impressed. Asked if he could punch and pinch her. Must keep an eye on him. Major cleaning and renovation work at home.

Went on a lovely Easter vacation to Tuscany and Rome. Hubby turned 40 and we threw a big party for the old guy. Started doing yoga and prenatal exercises at home. Bump started to show and I was at that awkward stage: I could barely fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes but I wasn’t big enough for maternity wear.

THIRD TRIMESTER

Felt really good during most of this trimester except for one thing: my swollen feet! But it’s normal with the heat and humidity of Milan. I would get massages and do reflexology but it was only when I was in Liguria that my feet miraculously recovered. We finished up renovations and prepared the baby’s room. I forgot how annoying it is to wash and hang onesies, tiny socks and bibs. Bellie went away to summer camp for the first time and we travelled to Carnia to visit the site.

The still nameless baby was kicking up a storm, which would provoke cramps and other fun things but nothing serious. I still had enough strength to do some major spring cleaning all over the house. Doctor confirmed that baby was going to be a big girl! It was really busy at work in this period but I managed to wrap everything up before starting mat leave at the end of July. Little bro came to visit. And finally… the panino and me went on holiday!

Now we’re in the home stretch. I thought that with all the activity and travelling that went on over the last nine months, she’d make an early appearance. But it looks like she’s a late bloomer, just like her brother and sister before her. That’s ok. I don’t mind waiting a little bit longer.

Will keep you posted!

23 August 2010 at 10:51 pm 4 comments

Too Upset to Write!

So I’ll just post this link to Cathal Kelly’s article published in today’s Toronto Star which says it all.

And there won’t be a sexy ugly list right now. Just two pictures of the man who we should have seen more of on the pitch (and not because he’s easy on the eyes): Fabio Quagliarella

24 June 2010 at 11:56 pm 2 comments

Work in progress…

Ciao Bloggisti!

Just a quick post to see how you’re all doing and so they don’t shut down my account ;).
Lots of things have happened over the last few months and I don’t know where to begin.

But thanks to the panino, I’ve been having problems sitting down for long stretches in front of the computer. So instead of writing, I’ve been sprawled on my sofa like a walrus, catching up on episodes of 30 Rock and Modern Family. And of course, now I’m busy with the World Cup and I’m loving it! And it’s all people are talking about over here. It’s football, football, football all the time. “Constant, dizzying, 24-hour, year-long, endless football!”

Yes, sometimes it’s a bit much but I have to argue that there are some intellectually, spiritually and culturally-valid aspects to the game. And that’s just what I’ll talk about in my 2010 World Cup Sexy Ugly list… coming soon….

I also have to update you on the panino’s progress in my next post. What I can tell you now is that the little bun is now turning into a giant loaf of Altamura and is a SHE 🙂 Here’s a sneak preview:

22 weeks - April 2010

To be continued….

18 June 2010 at 12:48 am 3 comments

Little Panino and Lapo’s Big Fail

Ciao Bloggisti!

Just wanted to update you on what’s been going on this week. First of all, I have a cat problem. I’m not sure if I already shared but I have two lady cats, Beppa and Sausage (don’t ask) who are 11 years old. Still sprightly despite reaching cougar age, they were living a peaceful life until some neighbourhood cats decided to invade their kitty home. They eat their food and sleep in their little cat hideaway under the stairs. But the worst part is that one of them, who I’ve dubbed Mel, is a male and is, ahem, marking his territory in their room. Which means my girls and their room now stink of Eau de Smelly Mel. What to do? Spray him back with Eau de Silvio? Befriend him? Send him to Vicenza? Any advice would be welcome.

And speaking of cats, there’s one that I have to let out of the proverbial bag. The big project I mentioned in the last post, the one that’s sucking all of my energy is actually a baking project. Yes, my friends, there’s a little panino in the oven! Four months along but he/she is rising nicely. So this, hopefully, explains my paltry posting activity over the last few months. Of course, the first trimester was exhausting. I spent most of my evenings passed out on the sofa. And boy was I ever nauseous! More than in the first two pregnancies combined. But on the whole, things seem to be progressing well. I even did a 3D ultrasound last week, which was pretty amazing. And since I’m a veteran, I’ve been feeling the baby kick for a while now. I have absolutely no idea how we’re going to handle everything with three kids but I’ll think about it when the time comes. So that’s big news number two.

Other interesting news this week comes courtesy of the NBA. I’m not sure if you’ve heard but the L.A. Lakers have a new star player: Lapo Elkann! Lapo is the late Gianni Agnelli’s grandson and is an “industrialist”, “international playboy”, “best-dressed bon vivant” and other things which I probably shouldn’t mention here. Let’s just say he’s not the brightest light in the Agnelli family.

So why is Lapo such a basketball superstar? Well, during a recent Lakers game against the Toronto Raptors, he actually tipped a loose ball away before Toronto guard Jose Calderon could make an out-of-bounds save. You have to see it to believe it:

Of course, our international-man-of-misery Lapo was mortified, as his Italian pals Bargnani and Belinelli actually play for the Raptors. But he just had to do something to protect his sunglasses. Or maybe he thought he was playing dodgeball. Anyway, I apologize to my fellow Toronto fans on his behalf. Scusate!!

Of course after this, there’s no way Lapo will ever become a member of the Handsome Men’s Club. I’m sure Matt Damon has something cruel and unusual in store for him. Mwah ha ha ha haaaa!!!

May you have a handsome weekend!!

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12 March 2010 at 1:12 am 4 comments

Sorry, eh!

Ciao Bloggisti,

Yeah, it’s been a while. But I have a really good excuse. I’m working on a certain project which has temporarily diverted all my creativity into another worthy outlet. I can’t go into details right now but I’ll let you know soon enough ;).

But can I let something off my chest right now? WOOO HOOOO!!!! Here’s to my home and native land that did a SUPER job hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics!!

There were some weather issues, technical problems and tragedies. But Canada managed to overcome it all with characteristic hard work, spirit and sense of humour (did you see those inflatable beavers?). And we Owned the Gold, including the top spot in the hockey firmament! Because of Sid Crosby, Obama now owes Prime Minister Harper a case of beer. Hee hee! But our neighbours to the south did very well for themselves despite yesterday’s loss, earning 37 medals. The Russians, on the other hand, were still smarting from their less than stellar results when they bid Vancouver a “classy” farewell in this Pravda article: “Doesn’t it feel great to slam the door behind you as you walk out, stick up the middle finger using the palm of the left hand on the upper right forearm for extra leverage and blow a giant raspberry? That is exactly how it feels as Russia leaves Vancouver after disappointing Games with a question, was the Canadian ice hockey team on drugs?” Um, no, but perhaps the Editorial Staff of Pravda was.

But enough about them. What’s more tragic is the fact I missed my date with Clive Owen!! Well, I didn’t actually have a “date” date but he was in Milan over the weekend for Fashion Week and I had no idea till a few minutes ago when I read this! Does that man know how to wear a suit or what? And just look at those EYES! And where was I? Lying on the sofa watching the Canada vs. US hockey game in German. It was worth it in the end but “scheiĂźe”!

What else is new in my corner of the world? It’s been a pretty busy year so far but we took a much-needed break over the Carnival period. We travelled to Liguria, the south of France and the mountains of Limone Piemonte where Bellie had her first skiing lessons. She was reluctant at first but was speeding down the slopes like a pro in no time. And here’s Diggy climbing his own personal Everest.

Limone Piemonte

So that’s what’s been going around here and in my mind. And what about you? I’d love to find out how your year has been so far and what you thought of the Olympics (or Clive Owen in a suit!).

Ciao ciao

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1 March 2010 at 10:50 pm 1 comment

Sant’Ambrogio Winterlude

Ciao Bloggisti!

Back from my self-imposed hiatus. I’ve been busy with the usual but I’ve also decided to relax more in the evenings and do things to help me wind down after a long day. So instead of blogging I’ve been obsessively watching  episodes of 30 Rock and reading books. Just finished The Namesake. Great up until the first half but the ending was a slight disappointment. Not that I didn’t feel guilty about not writing. Every evening I thought about it but you know, I decided not to get stressed about something that is essentially a hobby. I knew that when the moment was right, I’d start posting again.

So, it’s a good thing I got sick and am at home today. It means I can finally write! So without further ado, let me tell you about my recent mini holiday in Lombard Alps.

While the Milan area may not be as romantic and exciting as living in Rome or the Amalfi Coast, we do have one perk that makes us the “envy” of the Bel Paese: il ponte di Sant’Ambrogio, or the long weekend in commemoration of the St. Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan. What makes this holiday extra-special is that not only do we get St. Ambrose Day off (on December 7, also the traditional opening of the season at La Scala), the next day is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, which just so happens to be a national holiday in Italy. And this year we were extra lucky because December 7 and 8 fell on a Monday and Tuesday. So we basically had a four-day weekend!!

We decided to make the most of it and take the kids to the mountains, in the Valsassina and Valchiavenna valleys, to be precise. The little ‘uns were thrilled because the day before we left it had snowed in the area. Us big ‘uns were thrilled because we slept lots and ate even more! Here’s the photographic evidence:

Mountains in Valsassina

A December afternoon in the lovely town of Chiavenna

A selection of local coldmeats, including Valtellina's world-famous bresaola

Two different types of pizzoccheri, a "light" pasta dish made cooked with different types of cheeses, potatoes, swiss chard or cabbage, garlic, sage and butter. The pizzoccheri on the left are made with traditional buckwheat tagliatelle while the ones on the right are made with a type of gnocchi from the Chiavenna area.

Lombards on ice! A skating rink in Chiavenna.

After our lovely holiday we were still hungry for more, so I baked cupcakes. First time ever!

So that’s how we spent our first long weekend of the season. Now I’m desperately trying to book a hotel in Val d’Aosta for New Year’s but it’s not looking promising. So if we don’t get lucky, it means that I’ll be ringing in 2010 with the in-laws. Can someone please help me? Anyone?!?

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16 December 2009 at 11:59 pm 4 comments

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