Thursday, December 17, 2009

Buon Natale!

This Christmas is going to be extra special for us. The arrival of Lucas and also his dad turning 30 on Boxing Day means we have plenty to celebrate about.
In the last 6 weeks our lives have been completely turned around and apart from the sleepless nights and some days of sheer exhaustion, it is completely wonderful.

The other day I decided to take Lucas out for the first time. Having a ceaserean means you can't drive for 6 weeks so I had to wait until now. Oh the stress of it! And if you are not a first time Mum I really understand how petty this sounds. I would have thought so too. Pre-baby I remember standing in front of 300 people presenting an award at my old job. I barely raised a sweat and quite looked forward to it. But the morning of my scheduled day out to meet a girlfriend for coffee at 10am turned into a sweating, anxious morning. Did I bring enough things, will I need more than one bottle of milk, will he overheat in our 44 degree summer, will I be able to strap him into his car seat and how do I work this pram again?
So after starting to get ready at 6.30am I made it on time for my 10am coffee date particularly proud of myself apart from wearing a dress that is not wind-proof. You try setting up a pram, getting a floppy kid out of a 4wd and trying to hold down your dress. However we made it.

After my coffee date, I went to do some grocery shopping (yes I have an angel that slept through it all) and passed a mirror. Somewhere beyond the stack of tomatoes was a woman pushing a pram. After I got over the bags under her eyes (are you tired lady?) I realised that mummy was me. It is still a shock sometimes to see myself as a mother. I used to look at other women in the shopping centre and think 'oh that's a nice dress she's wearing'. Now I look at the mothers with babies and we give each other that smile that only mothers can exchange. That one that says 'your baby is so cute and you are doing the hardest but most rewarding job in the world'.

I decided last week that I wasn't superwoman. Actually my tired, worn out, haven't slept more than 3 hours in one block body decided I was not superwoman. I decided to come to the realisation that a little dog hair on the floor was not going to mean the end of the world. Or that my husband would have to eat a sandwich for dinner from time to time. Husband looked at me one day and saw a youthful fresh motherly face...ok that's a lie, he saw a tired hormonal sleep deprived person. So, being the wonderful husband he is he hired a cleaner and a dog walker. (oh yeah along with all the mother guilt you inherit I also had dog guilt as she wasn't getting walked enough). If you think your husband won't get you a cleaner, can i recommend a ceaserean section and just watch what he does when the doctor tells him HE is the one that has to vacuum and mop for a few months...

Yesterday I was thinking back to this time last year. We were getting ready to spend Christmas in Austria, a short (short by Australian standards!) 6 hour drive from our home in Florence. We got there and experienced -20 degrees and for me, the first time I'd seen real snow. This year it is 44 degrees and we are on a cyclone watch.
It was in Austria that husband and I decided we would start trying for a baby (you know because EVERYONE says it will take us at least a year, hmmm ok one month later!). Who knew that all that talking (well that and something else!) would end up with a completely different Christmas this year with our beautiful son Lucas.
Merry Christmas everyone, hope you have had a blessed year. From Italy to Australia, and from singlehood to motherhood - it's certainly being an experience for us this year which ended in the biggest blessing of all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Introducing Mr. Page

Our long awaited arrival decided to come early on 5th November. And now, we can't imagine our lives without him. He is an absolute angel (apart from coming early on mummy's designated day spa day, but don't worry I'll remind him of that when he is older) and only cries when wanting to be fed. Is this the calm before the storm!?
So here is our little man, Lucas Justin Page. He was 3.48 kilo's and 51cm.

He is basically a mini version of his daddy including spiky black hair that I can't stop stroking. And he is a kicker and a mover - but he was like that when in my belly too so we are not surprised.

I never thought my life would be so fulfilled. All the cliches about 'best thing to ever happen' and 'your life will never be the same' and 'best thing we ever did' now make 100% complete and utter sense to me. Even at 2am in the morning through groggy sleepy eyes.

It is also amazing to see my husband as a father and the love and bond he has for his son. This is my favourite picture so far of them together.

This is us leaving the hospital which was really more like a hotel and we did not want to leave. Or at least, we wanted to take all the midwives home with us (and the chef! My husband complained about putting on wieght in the hospital as he stayed everynight in our double bed and was served 5 meals a day - he knows he won't be getting that at home!).

I never imagined this now, with our dog Sophie in tow, our family feels complete. It's funny as it felt complete before and I didn't think life could get any better. But it just did.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Becoming a madre

It is really hard to believe that until a few months ago we were living in Florence. And now we live in the Australian outback - what a change. Even harder to believe is that our Italian made creation will be coming into life this Friday at 10am. Thanks everyone for the suggestions of names from Luigi to Fabio...I assure you it's not one of those!

This 9 months has really flown by and I can still remember walking through the streets of Florence holding my belly protectively in fear of an older Italian lady bumping into me (they never move out of the way for a straniera even if there are three of them and one of you!) or an American tourist busily rushing to language school or a bike rider on his way to work oblivious to the beautiful statue he is passing by that millions around the world dream to see one day.

Then once I started showing even slightly, everyone moved aside for me and gave me smiles and most of all advice on what to eat and how to avoid getting fat (hmmm if anyone works out that formula while pregnant, let me know!).

This is me two days ago...I can only imagine the reaction I would have gotten in Italy with THIS BELLY!

Now as I am two nights away from giving birth, it's still hard to believe I will be a mother. So much has happened in our lives this year but of course nothing can top this. I'm looking forward to holding our son in our arms this Friday. I'm looking forward to becoming a mother and seeing Jason becoming a father. And I'm looking forward to being able to eat proscuitto and tiramisu again too! Stay tuned for baby news.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Whales, crocs, Skippy and hotel check-outs.

I can't believe it's been a month since I've blogged.
So, what have I been doing all month? Okay here's some things on my list:

- Regular doctors visits to the hospital to be told we have a beautiful healthy bambino boy growing (high point)

- Getting kicked in the ribs to the point where I squeal in pain and wondering if I'll ever get into my skinny jeans again (low point)

- Booking our appointment for this long term resident to check out on 10th November (high and low point). High as we finally get to meet our creation but low as I am now thinking AM I READY TO BE A MOTHER IN JUST 4 WEEKS!!!!? YES THANK YOU, I KNOW MY NURSERY IS GORGEOUS BUT WHAT DID YOU SAY OUR CREDIT CARD BILL WAS THIS MONTH? AND WHAT IF HE PLANS TO CHECK OUT EARLY OR WHAT IF HE DECIDES HE'D LIKE TO BE BORN MID-FLIGHT OR WHAT IF WHAT IF WHAT. Ok deep breathing now, thinking of calm, sandy beaches, rowing a boat in crisp blue water. Paper bag.

- Training the new puppy who amazes us as just how smart she is and getting lots of cuddles from what is undoubtedly the most affectionate dog in the world (high point)

- Coming home and finding yet another massive land mine dug in our lovely lawn and my new thongs chewed through again (low point). By the way, US readers, thongs here are shoes, not what you are thinking. Strangely enough at this point in my life there is no underwear on the lawn.

Here is a pic of the destructor of our reticulation system and the spunk that repairs it every weekend. Do not be fooled by those puppy dog eyes .... he is a mean mean man. Ha ha.

- Sunbaking at 7am in the morning. It is 30 degrees plus every day here and I try to sound sympathetic and make sure the suntan lotion bottle doesn't make a noise when my friends ring from Perth and tell me that it's raining again.
JUST KIDDING!! Everyone keeps telling me you can hang your dignity up at the hospital entrance door when you go in for labour...but I still have it today and am hanging on to it for dear life.

- Going to the beach. A couple of weekends ago, we decided to take a trip to what used to be my favourite beach around Karratha. You might remember we lived here 2 years ago before Florence. Well this sign was not here then! Apparently the resident has been removed but it still makes me think 'where's his mamma?'. By the way, not many people heeded to the caution of not swimming as the beach was full of swimmers. I guess you pick your risks in life. Going down to a croc is not how I want to go so we didn't swim.

This is a friendly local at the park next to the beach.

Do check out our beautiful water though and the whale that we spotted. Oh hang on, that's me at 33 weeks pregnant. (We do get whales in the water so it was an easy mistake).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The reason I have not slept for three nights....

When I became pregnant, everyone's big tip was 'get as much sleep as you can now'.

But oh, not me. See I thought I would prepare nice and early for cleaning up poops, getting up at 2am then 4am to the sounds of crying and generally getting in the mood for having no free time at all anymore!

And this is the reason for it! Isn't she the sweetest reason you've ever seen!

In just 3 days, Sophie has just about mastered toilet training which usually takes weeks in puppies and she already knows how to sit on command. Good girl Sophie. Life is sweeter golden :) Or it will be once I can get a full night sleep again!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Being back down under

Well it has been well over a month since I posted and so much has happened.
I guess the blog should be re-named from Ciao to G'day Mate now as we have finally arrived back in Australia! Mate!

We left Florence on the 12th July and had three weeks holiday in Perth and then headed back up to the small-town-in-the-outback Karratha to start our new life here.
When we left I would still call this town a country town. However with the amount of construction and industry that has developed in the last few years this is just a booming booming town which is literally bursting at the seams with people coming here to work from all parts of the world. Single women note: there are about 8 guys to every one girl here! When we left two years ago there was about 4 flights a day and that was it. When I was there last week it was resembling more like London Heathrow ;)

Here are a couple of pictures taken from our car of the typical landscape of the Pilbara - the region where Karratha is located in Australia. The cows are very much to be avoided as you can easily kill yourself when one of these strolls onto the road and collides with the car. And we saw a lot of dead ones on the side of the road along with loads of dead kangaroo's. They seem to be attracted to the sides of the road. Not good for them and not good for drivers.

Husband started his new role (an extension of his job in Florence) and I laugh when I think of him wearing his best collared shirts to work as now he is back to his bright orange and blue uniform (safety colours on the construction site). One thing I don't laugh at is his waking up every day at 4.30am, the time usually when Italians have only been asleep a couple of hours from the previous nights' late dinner or apperitivo's.

We are lucky enough to have a brand spanking new house provided with Jason's job. (Hey there has to be some perks living in one of Australia's remotest towns). Admittedly I can't walk three metres to get a cappuccino or walk five minutes to see the Statue of David. But the house is so beautiful, BIG and the backyard is amazing. We foresee lots of Aussie bbq's ahead and yes, there will be shrimps on the barbie even though we call them prawns here. By the way, so far we have not had one urge for pasta!

After living in this house for just two weeks so far, we have realised just how much we missed having space when we were in Italy. I know it's such a luxury to have so many bedrooms and bathrooms and space for just the two of us, but it's a luxury we REALLY appreciate now having lived in Europe where space is at a premium.

The first time we moved to Karratha back in 2003, I cried for a month. I had no friends, I knew no-one, Jason was at work all day long and I just felt so remote. Although of course we are still so remote (the nearest town is Port Hedland 260 km's away) and still in the heart of the outback. But all our friends are still here and it really feels like we have returned home. I have not had one day yet where I haven't lunched or coffee'd with old friends and it is an amazing feeling to reconnect with people.

Onto baby news now! Bambino is growing steady and he is a kicker. Like I mean A KICKER and PUNCHER and a BOXER. It is so strange to see my stomach bulging out when he is having a good old dance in there. We have 13 weeks to go until our new arrival so it is going to be exciting times ahead and a journey we can't wait to start.

When I was in Perth I had my baby shower. I don't think I've ever been that spoilt in my life. The guys wisely left for the day while 18 girls streamed in with massive presents in their arms. I was shocked as I have never been to a baby shower and I honestly expected a couple of socks and bibs here and there and that is it. When I piled all the presents in the car, it looked like I had just robbed a luxury baby store. I was very touched at how much effort my friends had gone to spoil me that day. Here is a picture of the cupcakes my very talented sister-in-law made for the day:

And here is a belly pic of me at 6 months. This photo is with my best friend Gina who is Italian...Gina, along with my mother in law put on my baby shower. What do you get when you combine an Italian and a Filipino? LOTS of food.

And onto our last bit of news. Before bambino arrives, we are also expecting the stork to bring another addition to our family next week - but this time a furry four legged fur-baby. We can't wait to have a puppy running around again and I have 13 weeks to train it military style so it's a good doggy for when the baby comes!

Now that I'm finally settled, I am looking forward to reading all my blogs that I used to read every week - I need to catch up!
So from Australia - g'day and it feels great to be blogging again! I've missed all my blogger friends!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Arrivederci Italia!

I've been very slack in blogging lately. Well that's if you call moving apartments, organising things to be sent back to Australia, signing a million customs and tax forms and buying a car over the internet! Not to mention the little bambino doctors appointments.
And if I'm being honest, I've tried to sit down and write but I honestly don't know what to write for what will be my last blog written in Italy as we leave this Saturday morning. So here are a few of my random musings and thoughts as we countdown our move back to Australia:

i) Everyone keeps asking me, no actually make that everyone keeps TELLING me, that I will miss Italy and how sad I must be to be going back to Australia. I have to be honest and say that we are SO excited to be going back home. I know that living in Italy is a lot of people's dreams and we were blessed enough to experience living it. But it wasn't MY dream and really was a job assignment for my husband that brought us here. What I'm trying to say is that while we are SO grateful for this opportunity and seeing what we have seen, lived what he have lived through and ATE WHAT WE ATE (!), living overseas has made us appreciate our own country even more. Big family homes being the norm, backyards, organised streets, little bureacracy and the cleanliness of my country. Italy will ALWAYS be dear in our hearts, after all we are even bringing back a living Italian souvenir, but it was never a permanent stay for us and we are so happy to be going home sweet home.

ii) I have been so touched by the people I've met in the last two years of living abroad. Random people in coffee shops, people that I've met from online blogs, people I met at Italian school and especially the couple of dear friends that I have become so close to. Having friends overseas is a hard situation. You know you are leaving, they know you are leaving. Sometimes it's hard for both you and them to make an effort to be friends as it really is just a temporary friendship. If I'm being honest, some of my friends here that I had coffee with will maybe write and email occassionally or I'll facebook them. But realistically they were just a friend for a season. That is awful to write and probably sounds awful to read. In saying that, I have made one dear friend in Florence that I know will be a friend for life. We met in January but I feel like I've known her all my life and I know we will be friends for years to come. I'm grateful for all my friendships here in Florence. I love meeting people from all walks of life and even if we met once and didn't become 'best friends' I still valued this time meeting new people and finding out what brought them to Florence or where they were heading to next.

iii) Italy has taught me a lot of things. Don't necessarily stop at a stop sign. Never order a cappucino after mid morning. Do not expect an Italian to eat by 8pm. But on a serious note, Italians really have it right when I look at how much they enjoy life. They don't pride themselves on having a big house (with a big mortgage) and flash cars. They pride themselves on living life. Enjoying food with their families on a Sunday. They love children. They don't put their jobs before everything else.

We leave Florence on Saturday morning to head back home. It is both with happiness and sadness that I leave the place that has been home to us for nearly 18 months. Even though we have both loved and disliked different things about living here, the most important thing is that we have learnt so much from this experience. For that we will always be grateful. One day we will return to this beautiful city with our son (yes we found out it's a boy!) and show him this amazing chapter in our lives. We'll walk past the apartment where we lived, the pizzeria that treated us like family when we went there each week, our favourite landmarks and favourite gelateria. Years down the track, Italy will all be a distant memory so I am so grateful for having kept this blog to look back on all our experiences. And I'm so grateful to my readers for some of the wonderful friends I've made this year have been online friends that I've never actually met in person.

I'm still planning to keep this blog up when we move back to our small town of Karratha. Although I'm yet to see what I will write about being that nothing much ever happens there and it certainly doesn't hold the same allure as Florence. We'll see if I continue to have readers I guess!
I'll be on holidays for about a month while we holiday in Perth so I won't be blogging. But I'll see you all very soon. Except I won't be strutting the latest fashion in stiletto's just to get some milk at the shop Italian style. I'll be back to flip-flops and 4wd's and fishing in the country. Hope you can join me.