Escape to Austria

After two exhausting weeks of 12-hour shifts *every* day, I took the family last night and fled to the mountains. This is the view from our bedroom. The sweet older lady who prepared our beds said she was surprised when all six of us and Patches der Hund climbed out of our car. She offered to bring us fresh eggs and homemade bread, too. Continue reading


Last night was Martin’s first Michelin-star dining experience, so we couldn’t take things too seriously!

The West House in Kent is run by a former musician who played for a bunch of ’80s bands. Now he prepares delicious foie gras tacos and haddock and egg yolk tarts! Continue reading

Traveling Pair

Apparently, there’s fog in London. Can you imagine that?! 

Martin and I escaped to the United Kingdom for a New Years vacation, just the two of us. It got off to a hectic start. We sat out on the flightline in Germany for more than 90 minutes due to a weather delay. Usually I prefer the window seat, but he switched with me so I could stand in the aisle awhile. Continue reading

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Almost exactly 13 years ago, Martin and I stepped out of that door back there into a whole new world with our newborn daughter. The Italian hospital has the area blocked off to public vehicles, so Miss C and I walked around the barriers to get this quick picture of the two of us there.

Soooo many sweet memories here.

We then drove to our old neighborhood to see our old house, and while trying to discreetly photograph the place, this gorgeous young lady called out to us. This is Manuela, who was one of Miss C’s very first friends. Manuela was 12 years old when we moved away. She used to patiently play with Miss C, reading books, coloring, setting up her tea set. Manuela is now a kindergarten teacher. She was shocked her little baby neighbor is all grown up, too!

This is Antoinetta, who was our immediate neighbor to the left. She was an English teacher and very helpful to us during our years in Italy. She also made us so much food! We are so fortunate to have had such a great row of neighbors.

As it turned out, we were the last family to live in the townhouse 11 years ago. For a variety of reasons, the lady who owns it stopped renting it out. While she made a few updates over the years, much remains as it did when we left. We were able to go inside and look around. It was like a time capsule. The ceiling fans we installed are there, and we can see where we hung up our decor. This is Miss C in her nursery, in the corner where we rocked her to sleep. You can see the cords Martin attached to the ceiling fan for me because the chains were just beyond my reach.

Also, you can just barely see the glow-in-the-dark moon and stars in the window. They are on the screen we installed there to keep the bugs out.

You Look Great

We had an early start this morning, so I skipped the make-up and threw on my sunglasses. When I took ’em off later, my oldest [brat] exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, Mom! You look TIRED!” This one, though, said, “Mom? You look really great today.” This one is getting extra ice cream. Continue reading

On the Road Again

Thank goodness for headphones and technology! This road trip would have been very different without ’em.

Belly-scratchin’ in the sunset.

We found a park where these two could burn some serious energy.

Our next stop is near the village of Polverigi, in the middle of Italy’s calf along the Adriatic Sea. There are rolling hills and many sunflower fields like this one across the street from where we are staying.


Go Here. Eat This.

Pic of L and J in front of the restaurant where we stuffed ourselves silly in Alberobello

If you haven’t been to the Itria Valley in Italy, we highly recommend. We wish we scheduled extra days here. There is so much to explore, drink, and taste, for both kids and grown-ups.

For our fellow ex-pat friends, check out the discount flights to Bari or Brindisi. There are roundtrip flights for less than 100€ throughout the year.


This was her reaction when her Dad said she’s giving her Grandpa Larry some competition as the family’s food disposal system. Before this, she cleared four veggie courses, her main course of roast beef, part of her Dad’s meat rolls, and the rest of her sister’s pasta and cheese. We have no idea where it goes. Ahhhh, the metabolism of the young!


We visited the only two-story trullo house, Trullo Sovrano, in Alberobello. It is a museum showing how life looked in there in the 18th-century. Today’s “tiny house movement” clearly came from here centuries ago.

There’s a theory that people were skipping the mortar to avoid higher taxes. This appeals to Martin’s quest for a discount.

Another theory says people went without mortar so when the taxman came to inspect the property, the roof and walls could be quickly dismantled.

Property? What property? There’s no property here.