Friday, April 3

Florence - Our first walk about

There's so much to write about and pictures to sort through from our Italy trip that I've been putting it off. In fact, rather than tackle this daunting task, I moved furniture around! I've been wanting to swap me and Ryan's room with the playroom because I want the brightest room in the house fully utilized. I was basking in this stroke of genius today as I fed Morgan in my rocking chair enveloped by warm sunlight as the boys played happily with their cars at my feet. It was truly one of those fleeting, precious moments of sheer joy being a mother. I had many of these moments on our Italy trip which I will always cherish and felt keenly aware of my many blessings. So here I go, attempting to begin the first of what may be a couple installments of trip highlights.

As Ryan turned out the lights Tuesday night, he inadvertently flipped the hot water switch off which meant our apartment was FREEZING when we woke up! Ohhhh so cold were we but the breakfast Ryan whipped up after he'd run to the market had us ready to embark on our adventure. We finally got out the door at 11:15 and started our trek into central Florence along the Arno River and across it on the Ponte Vechhio. Ryan wanted to take lots of pics on this initial walk while I was more interested in keeping the kids moving while it was early since I had no idea what lay in store for us.

Our first stop was the big open Piazza della Signoria where the boys laughed and ran themselves silly chasing pigeons before and after we made them eat their lunch. There are many cute enclosed seating areas for the little restaurants, but we parked our tails on the curb in front of the Chanel shop. Because I don't get out much and can sadly say I still wear some of my college clothes of a decade ago, all this people watching and fashion had me feeling a bit like I should be featured on the TLC "What Not to Wear" show. Someday . . .

After living these wintry months in Germany, I was always surprised by the friendly locals and random tourists who stopped to chat and snap shots of the kids. I'm not kidding, tourists were taking pictures of our kids right and left! Wish I'd learned some Italian conversation phrases about our family we were stopped so often! I don't really recall seeing any other young tourist families so we were quite the anomaly. I could have enjoyed all the attention if I wasn't keeping an eagle eye on the boys darting in and out of foot traffic to chase those silly birds. At one point, there was a guy and his camera man with some Turkish news station catching a shot of the Piazza. Easton was teasing/feeding a bird right in his shot, totally distracting the anchor and camera man. Finally, the anchor guy just scooped Easton up into the shot and we all had a good laugh together, even Easton.

Once we began walking again, we came to another piazza which had a carousel in it. The boys have never ridden on one and were . . . hmm, can you guess how Easton feels about this? Can you see the dirt streaks around the tears?

We walked on down to the Duomo (cathedral) and Ryan and Easton climbed to the very top of the dome and got amazing views of Brunelleschi's dome frescoes and the overlooking view of Florence outside. The view is looking toward the side of the Arno River we stayed on and the big church is Santa Croce where all the famous Florentines are entombed like Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo - pretty cool!

Meanwhile, McKay clandestinely ate M&Ms while I fed Morgan and enjoyed people watching. The bench where I sat attracted many old Italians who stopped to fuss over the baby. I loved my bench spot as the sun shone in on my directly through one of the high circular windows - it was as if angels should be singing about this little scene of me and my happy babies.
After all that, we enjoyed the nicest bathrooms Florence has to offer for 80 euro cents a piece. Ryan got a big laugh out of a life size cartoon image showing boys how to go and I'd post the picture but I'm not sure it's appropriate :) Then we headed to some open market shopping where I bought a cute hat that may or may not be me. Ryan decided against some nice casual shoes even though he gets teased for his American sneakers - a dead giveaway. I still can't decide if I should have gotten this adorable pair of low heeled tan pumps. I'm too cheap for my own good sometimes! Hmm, oh well.

We eventually had to decide on dinner and ended up back in the Piazza della Signoria where Ryan loved his pepper steak. I had an okay pizza with the boys, and we all loved dessert! Gelato for the boys and a shared tirumisu for me and Ryan. What a wonderful leisure day as a family. We got home happy and energized, not even sore from walking or carrying little ones at 11pm!