Hello, Florence: Dexter drops his carousel fear but develops Vespa-phobia in Florence, Italy

Now that Matt is all British, he’s incorporated a new phrase into his vocabulary: giving stick. It’s means good-natured picking on someone, which, if you know Matt, you know is 90% of his interactions with other humans.

I tell you this because I will be giving Matt some stick this post. You’ll notice a running theme. Matt is terrible at taking vacation photos. Yeah, he can do a decent landscape, but when it comes to photos of his fellow beloved family members? Usually, he forgets to take them altogether and if he remembers (or I remind him), they look like this:

Dexter and I had been gazing thoughtfully and adorably at art, and as I asked Matt to take a photo, I imagined an image from behind, a lovely mother+son cultural moment. Instead, we got Dexter messing with the thing that controls the temperature for the priceless paintings and me hitching up my maternity pants as I chase after him to stop him from accidentally melting priceless paintings.

This is sort of better?

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Hello, Florence: From pizza surfboards to perfect turkey, our first few days of Italian Thanksgiving

When we were leaving Florida, during our final garage sale, a few Orlando pals stopped by to buy to some stuff, and mentioned they’d be spending Thanksgiving 2017 in Florence, Italy. They had a big apartment, and would we like to meet up?

Yes. Yes, we would.

We left on a Tuesday afternoon and returned on a Sunday. On the flight there, Dexter blessed us with a rare airplane nap. Matt joined in.

Our family ended up renting our own flat for reasons of Toddler and Pregnant Belly and Sleep. It was teeny but charming. Dexter LOVED it, and would run back and forth with unbridled glee every time we returned “home.” I think the hobbit hole-like layout felt his size, to him.

The night we arrived, it was already past Dex’s bedtime, so we pretty much put him straight down (he had his own area with a door for once, no cowering in the hall for us, woo hoo!) and then Matt went scouting for some pizza. He was successful at Toscania Pizzeria, and brought home a pizza the size of a surfboard. 

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Dexter is president of the Teletubbies fan club

I could count on one hand, the number of episodes of Teletubbies Dexter has seen, and of those limited viewings, he saw most of them when we were stuck in the hotel, nearly four months ago. But he remembers them. He points out Teletubbies in stores and magazines. The theme song gets stuck in my head and I catch myself singing it daily, so that probably helps reinforce the power of the Teletubbies.

The other day, we were in the library. I was browsing books in an adult section – honestly, I was keeping Dex away from the children’s part because I was trying to be relatively quick. Didn’t want to take him out of his stroller, then deal with putting him back in. 

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Current events as we head into the holidays

Incubating: You know how they say every pregnancy is different? Well… Cricket has been pretty similar to how it was with Dexter. Really, the only big differences are outside factors created by us, such as the move and my time not working and a brand-new medical system and having a toddler leap onto my belly with unbridled abandon. I didn’t have a preventive medical procedure this time around I had last time, which so far has been great – less pain and discomfort. Still no morning sickness, still trying to eat about 59 pounds of food every night. Even belly is about the same. I’d say the only difference is Cricket seems to be even more of a kicker than Dex was – he pretty much kickboxes my insides every night and day. But my memory of Dexter’s movements may be merely faulty, and even their movements are similar.

You know what would be great? If all these similarities were just Cricket’s way of biding his time to show me the biggest difference of all, when I go into labor. As in, my labor and delivery with Dexter were TERRIBLE, and it would be awesome if this time around that was different and the delivery would be EASY and PAINLESS and RAPID.  Let’s go with that theory. What a nice surprise you’re planning, Cricket! Already angling to be my favorite.

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A Brentering check-in

Team Awesome is enjoying some upswings.

Most importantly, our stuff finally came!


It arrived a couple of weeks ago. I was terrified it would be completely overwhelming, that we’d be drowning in boxes, but it’s not been so bad. We are only chipping away, though – it’s a huge job, it required some shopping (after all, we got rid of all the furniture in which people generally put stuff) and it’s impossible to do when Dexter is awake, so it’s slow going. The house is starting to feel more like a home, though.

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Halloween 2016: In like a lion (sort of)

London BROUGHT IT for Halloween.


Gorgeous weather, cool and sunny, perfect for trick or treating. I tried to find a low-key toddler-aimed activity for Dexter but didn’t really have any luck, so I hatched what I thought was a perfect plan for a perfect day: We’d put him in his costume and camp out in our driveway, greeting trick-or-treaters so we wouldn’t have to run up and down the stairs every time the doorbell rang. Maybe, if Dex saw the other kids and it looked like houses on our street were participating, we’d take him to ring a few doorbells himself.

Turns out, toddlers don’t give a damn about perfect plans. 

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Throwback: Partin Ranch Corn Maze

My friend Stephanie always wanted to go to a corn maze, and I like adventures. So last year, we grabbed breakfast, dressed Dexter up like a pumpkin (naturally) and drove to St. Cloud to check out the Partin Ranch Corn Maze.


First, we checked out what seemed to be the little kid area, and let Dexter try a sandbox filled with dried corn kernels. HE DID NOT CARE FOR IT. Once we mercifully removed him, he was still so angry I had to pry corn kernels out from between his tense little toes.

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