Thursday, October 24, 2013

6 months old

Little Martina is not so little anymore and turned 6 months old yesterday!

Almost sitting up unaided she is a very active girl let me tell you. Our nanny is brilliant and I am really relaxed when Martina is with her. Though I leave very early in the morning, Mike tells me that she is arriving always a few minutes early, and when I go back home in the afternoon I get a full report of the day. She is sleeping quite well during the day and for the last three nights we have seen an improvement too! She is eating all that's given to her and she is still very happy to breast feed a few times a day/night.
Tomorrow is friday already and my first week in work has literally flown by. At this rate I'm afraid that if I close my eyes for two minutes I'll miss Christmas! One week down and 5 to go, I think the major difficulty I have is that my brain is not fully in gear yet (or I'm having early onset of dementia!) so I have to dedicate a little longer to review lecture material before going into a class and given that I teach 3 classes at different levels in different days and with complete different curriculum, I appreciate the quiet time in the morning before anyone comes into work.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Back to work

I'm in my office. It was still dark when I left the house, raining miserably, children both asleep. I have been awake since 3.30am, Martina woke for her feed and took one hour and fifteen minutes to get her back to sleep. Meanwhile, Oliver also woke and paid us a visit. He had not had enough to eat at dinner (ahh the muffins at 5pm weren't a great idea) and so was hungry. Mike looked after him and relocated to his bedroom at about 5.30. I was still awake though feeling the sleepiness slowly taking over...about 30 minutes before the alarm was due to go off. And then I was up. And everyone still asleep. It's hard thinking I'm not there and Martina will definitely have woken up by now and no morning cuddle with mamma.
I know many of my American friends and working moms would have gone back months ago, I didn't find it this hard with Oliver, but Martina is so much younger.
I will be home by 4pm. Not long.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hometown favorites, a tale of two cities

I have been approached by Kendra to write a piece together about our two hometowns, Chicago and Bologna. I amazingly found some time to do it, so I hope you enjoy reading it!


While I have always loved to travel, there is no question what city has the number one place in my heart: Chicago. My hometown, Chicago, is known for being one of the best cities in the country. With a plethora of shopping centers, history, restaurants, sports teams, and more, Chicago certainly has something to offer everyone. As you read this article, you'll learn more about Chicago and what makes it so attractive.

While big chains like Macy’s and Nordstrom are great, I love the independent shops in Chicago as well. One of my favorites is the Cerato Boutique. On Southport Avenue, it boasts being the original Chicago Boutique, and not just a boutique in Chicago. I come here when I am looking for the perfect outfit, and there is something for women of every style in this amazing store.

The Navy Pier
One of Chicago's most famous landmarks is the Navy Pier. This pier runs over 3,000 feet long and dates back to the early 20th-century. Navy Pier is one of my favorite weekend spots, and my kids love to enjoy rides on the 150-foot tall Ferris wheel. Regardless of your age, the Navy Pier offers something for everyone, including scenic parks, souvenir shops, restaurants, and more. The miniature golf course here is one of my kids’ favorites as well!

The big city lights have always put a twinkle in my eye, as the skyline in Chicago is truly remarkable. Whether I am admiring it when leaving a fun pizza dinner with my family or driving into the city early in the morning as the sun is rising, it is really beautiful. If you are ever visiting Chicago, use a site like gogobot to find a great list of hotels in the city. Do yourself a favor and check out where the hotel is located, so you can really enjoy the city.

Fine Dining
One of my favorite places to eat in Chicago is Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! Famous for their Spanish tapas and paella, this is a fun place to come with the whole family, or a group of friends. With tapas dining, you can all order a few small plates and pass them around, trying a little bit of everything! Located in Lincoln Park, it is a beautiful area to enjoy a meal in. Tapas dining is always so much fun, as you always end up enjoying something new and different.

There's no denying how appealing Chicago is. Whether you go to shop, sightsee, or eat, you'll certainly enjoy a memorable vacation.


Even though for the last 12 years I lived in Dublin, I am originally from Bologna, a town in the north of Italy, with hills to the south and flat land in all other directions. As you land in Bologna in the summer, the haze typical of a hot place will surround you and the smell of my hometown hugs me as I step down onto the tarmac. It makes my heart smile. While I grew up in the suburbs, my parent relocate to the city centre and now when I visit I have absolutely everything at my doorstep.

The city center
Almost unique to Bologna are the porticoes that allow for comfortable shopping no matter the weather. The streets radiate from the main square (Piazza Maggiore) in all directions and the typical red bricks of the ancient building, the medieval towers and monuments could be out of a history book. Then of course many shops of all kind bring you back to the modern era…

The two towers
There are two towers in the city center, Asinelli and Garisenda both leaning and one almost twice the eighth of the other, a memento of two rival families of the XII century who challenged each other in building the tallest tower. You can climb up 498 steps to the top of the Asinelli (the tallest) to enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the city and its red roofs.

The University
Bologna is famous around the World for hosting the most ancient university still in existence. Unlike many modern universities, with a proper perimeter which defines a campus, here the various departments are part of the city center. Picturesque buildings hosts the faculties of Law and Arts as well as Science. Bologna is kept young by the students that every year arrive here to study.

The food
How not to mention the fine food you can enjoy here. Bologna is strangely known for “Spaghetti Bolognese” which I actually never had in my life and I do not know any one but tourists who claim this is in fact a traditional dish. It is not, no one would eat spaghetti with mince meat sauce, and you won’t have to search to hard to find a traditional trattoria in the city, there are so many and for all kind of pockets, and you cannot be wrong if you enter somewhere that doesn’t show a menu in English!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Normality? ...what was that again?

Another week gone. A lot happening. Like I got my period as predicted. This adds headaches from hell to exhaustion and I'm not a pretty sight let me tell you. Remember that routine I thought I had and posted last week. Forget it. I won't even bother writing down where we are at, let me just tell you it doesn't look I'll be having a night of uninterrupted sleep anytime soon. But look, she is healthy, growing well and a very happy baby, I know it's a phase and it will eventually pass, I am so blessed I would not want to go back to sleeping with no baby, so bring it on. I'm hooked on coffee and try my best to function during the day to do all I have to do work-related for deadlines which are happening before I even go back but that's just the way it is.
I have to submit exam questions, reports and budgets. Martina's sleeping times are like time-bombs for which you don't see the timer so next week I'm actually going to ask the nanny to come over for a few hours and see if I can get some of those things finished. It sucks I have to pay her even before my maternity leave ends but she has to get to know Martina anyway so instead of having her over the following week when my parents are also visiting, we'll do it a little sooner.

In other news, this Sunday we are christening Martina, friends are going to stay with us and we go a cake specially decorated with one of Oliver's favourite characters for the occasion, here's a sneaky preview!

The lady that did it for us is an amazing artist and while our cake is pretty simple, the details are perfect, down to the eye-shadow on the little princess and the teddy! Just look at the image of the real character from Tony Ross:

Also both the cake and the icing are delicious (not always the case) so I'm looking forward to eating it tomorrow! Martina will be wearing a family gown which is I think about 2 generations old and belonged to Mike's mam, so that will be nice. Will post some pics of course.

Oh, I want to invest on a nanny cam which I can look at remotely on my phone for example, unfortunately I fell back in a bit of anxiety about SIDS so our monitor is back in function. I was so proud of myself for not having had the need use it, but than a bad news from a cyber friend threw me back in the loop...what can I do, just have to keep telling me I'm doing all I can to keep her safe and I feel a wireless cam will prevent me from going up and down the stairs every 10 minutes (and check on her when I'm in work). Spam me with suggestions if you have any!

Love to all