We arrived on Monday after a (thankfully) non-eventful travel day. We were able to fly right to Paris and then onto Rome which was pretty great. We were first looking at flights through NYC and are SO glad we could bypass the weather mess on the East Coast. The kids did quite well on the very long trip and two of our fellow passengers commented an how good they were. By the second night here they slept through the night, but the first night Jane was up from about 1am-5am, it was great.

Our flat for our month in Rome is just up the street from St. Peters so I have walked there everyday this week except today. We went more into Central Rome tonight since Brian had the night off. He had last night off too and since Brian had yet to go to the Vatican on this trip, we headed over last night.

We put the kids in jammies for a sleepy walk. Wish we had done it tonight, it is after 11pm and they are still chatting and playing in their beds. It is New Years so maybe they would wake up from the fireworks anyway.

We love that it is still Christmas here and are getting ready for Befana on January 6! Our little market sells Befana stocking, we should maybe get a couple.

This is what I look like walking around Rome with my beloved stroller and two kids. I think I was out with the stroller and kids for about 5 hours yesterday. And today we took the metro into Rome but just walked home several miles.

And below, one more time to talk about my stroller (I'll try and save some of it for a phil&teds blog in the future). This is a shot if the street we live on. A side by side stroller would not even fit on the sidewalk to get to our flat, and it can be a busy road. Take that any side by side stroller! The fat air tires are great for jumping curbs, cobblestone, and getting out of cars' way. Drivers do not seem to like to stop for pedestrians, we will try to stay safe.

Hard to believe Christmas has come and gone already. It was a crazy month with Brian gone about 10 days and lots of visa drama. (He was told on December 17th that he would need a visa which prompted an emergency trip so San Fransisco on Dec. 19th and then a fight between the opera and the Consulate and Brian without a passport only days before we were to travel. Hmm. . . if we had known he needed one when we heard the job came through this all could have been done by mail but it all finally did work out. Kind of funny, Brian also needed a visa for Japan but that process was totally organized and drama free.)

So hello from Italy, but first, Christmas.
Fun with the Christmas Crackers.

Colin as Joseph and Mallory as Mary.

Things went slightly better than last year.

Christmas morning our kids would have been totally happy just with their stocking goodies (not a ton of candy but fun things like cans of root beer and an entire box of Wheat Thins. Our kids love Wheat Thins, and they have stocking big enough to accomidate! But they also love over sized lollipops.)

The Christmas carnage. We had such a pretty tree this year.

My mom got us a new fire pit so we had a Christmas outside fire. We only had mini marshmallows that do not roast so well. Brian also brought out the guitar to sing some carols.

Jane is still pretty scary with an open flame.

Santa Beards

A couple days before Christmas, Brian got some bath photos of kids playing Santa.

Ho ho ho.
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Last week we had some very pretty snow so we had to make some new friends. Jane has been very into Frosty the Snowman so it was great to make our own.
It was a very pretty afternoon.
Colin got a talking to since I caught his tackling his sister on film. Things are not always so peaceful with these sweet little siblings.

Here Jane was also being a snowman.
There were some technical difficulties with #2 with the mid-section falling apart.

Some out takes of Colin trying to pretend to hold a candy cane (from previous post). I don't know what happens at this age that makes them so hard to photograph! He was complaining that I was taking way too many photos.
I think I maybe should have used a gloved hand one as I feel bad as I feel bad cutting on the photo of his wrist and hand.
And below, totally classic!
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Very much not my idea (think I first saw it from Jeanette) but Colin's little Christmas token for fellow pre-schoolers turned out pretty cute. I should post the out takes of his photos, he is very hard to photograph right now!

Also below (can I keep the kids from seeing this? If I try hard, yes but they love to look at the blog.) Brian has been building a stage for the vintage Little People I have been obsessively collecting. Our kids play with them everyday and we thought they would have fun with a stage. I got the idea from a craft book Kristy Roser Nuttall gave me (who just had her 4th baby in India, yay for Nuttall boys!!!)
Anyway, we have printed a few photos from our travels to serve as backdrops and the Little People will have a system of magnets to control them without touching them. There will also be bright red velvet curtains! Yes, we feel most crafty.

Now just to deal with Brian leaving again for 6 days tomorrow, getting home about 3 days before Christmas and leaving for a month the day after Christmas. I have the capacity to get myself very worked up over the current situation but it will all be good.
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For the phil&teds blog recently, Brian and I did a little fireball explanation. Here is a link to the video. I still need to have Amberly explain the science, I am mainly just in for the party/circus tricks. I am nervous about kids playing with matches but seems Colin is scared enough to not try for now. (I will keep a close eye on that).

AND we found out on Monday we are heading to Rome, Italy for a month starting December 26th. Kind of crazy but kind of fun. Brian is gone a lot this month and I am not too worried about getting ready but am a little overwhelmed with Christmas/lack of being home. But a month in Rome? Sort of great! We found an apartment about a 5 minute walk from St. Peter's. Guess what two little kids are soon going to be running around St. Peter's

It was chilly (represented by the icicle), but we headed out to see the lights downtown the other night. We kind of go and take similar photos each year, but it is part of Christmas. We have some very intense travel things coming up that had me in tears on the way over and I hope things are resolved soon. It is exciting and fun possibilities but very stressful too!

Temple Square is worth it.

We loved these pink lights.

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The Holy Family needed a little snow removal.

We liked how whoever cleaned off the sheppard and sheep did it carefully so it looks like they were walking in the snow.

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I was showing Colin how this nativity came from Japan but that was too much for him to think about. He said that was not possible because Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Checking out some lights.

Since Colin's face was totally covered in the first photo, we tried for a second one.
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