4 years ago I made a baby and he was the chubbiest sweetest thing in the world. Now he’s a big boy who still wishes he could wear nappies, who loves food and cars and pink. He’s quick to scare (Santi the cupboard!!!) and also quick to console. He loves his big brother probably more than anything else, and also to twirl his fingers around my hair, especially at 3 in the morning.
Since next year we’ll be in England, who knows if we will have time for a party, and since he’s seen Damiano’s party, a bash of his own was mandatory.
The invitation was a trace for a paper plane, of course.
The cake was a whipped cream cake base from the usual book, layered with strawberries and strawberry compote and frosted with 7 minute frosting. It’s a slight variation on the one cake my grandmother used to bake when I was little. For the lettering, I piped his name with melted chocolate on a piece of parchment, froze it for a few minutes and carefully placed it on top of the cake.
We had around 18 kids so we sealed our parking lot with construction tape.
And tattoos. (I don’t think I’ll ever throw a kid’s party without them)
Besides folding around a hundred paper planes, mostly taking inspiration from this kit, I folded tiny ones to put in the favor bags. Very relaxing. My favourite pen (White ink!!!)
tic-tacs in the favor bags=happy kids.
For the bags I used my tracing paper and I sewed them into pyramids, which was very satisfying.
I don’t have many photos of the actual party because I was too busy taking kids to pee, making sure nobody threw themselves in front of a car, and keeping the wind from blowing all our cheese-puffs away, but my friend Chrissy did so I’m waiting…
On Saturday we woke up at dawn (if you think they look tired you should’ve seen me), hopped on a train and went to Bologna.
We got our bibs and tried some cheap neuroscience to boost our confidence.
And we ran.
Until the finish line!
The boys got medals, as did every other kid in the race. (funny story: Damiano, upon realizing that everyone got medals told me: “mommy that was a fake race”, clever boy). We had a lovely lunch, a lovely ice cream and we plodded through Bologna in a very hot afternoon. My feet were sore, and on the following day…
My friend Claudia and I were all clad in pink…
and with bibs of our own.
It was really fun, and it was a bit like childbirth because running 10.5 km in the heat and humidity with no water really sucked balls but now I don’t remember that, I only think that it was really fun and I can’t wait to do it again. I’m nuts.
Today I went on a little field trip to a very cool Museum of Modern Art that opened 10 years ago in the small city of Rovereto. For their 10th anniversary they’ve put up an exhibition combining objects and artworks from their collection, as well as objects they’ve shown over the years in different exhibitions. It is great because it’s a combination of very famous pieces (or rather, pieces by very famous artists) and other less prominent, almost apocryphal artworks and artifacts. Anyway, the whole thing is a little typography feast so you’re welcome.
It is no secret that I love My University, and how could I not? This time it took me to meet one of the most important graphistes of the past century (may I also say philosopher?) and I got to spend the whole day learning from him and his philosophy. It was one of the best experiences in my career so far.
Sooner than I had anticipated I managed to take my boys to Paris. Fed by an obsession with dubious pixar films and high speed trains I got them all excited and it totally paid off.
The TGV does go really fast.
The Eiffel Tower was explored, on foot, somebody’s acrophobia notwithstanding.
Le Jardin d’acclimatation. A lovely trap once the kids discover the rides and bumper cars.
The metropolitain was explored intensively, more than any landmark. We also got around by bus a lot, so the kids could grasp how big a city can be.
On our way to the Citè des Enfants, inside the Citè des Sciences.
After a few hours there the kids were so whacked that we even managed to make them sleep in the late afternoon and go out for dinner together. Thumbs up!
We stayed at someones apartment via airbnb and it was a great experience: not expensive, very flexible, and with a child’s bedroom full of toys.
The kids ate: Sushi, Thai, Lebanese and uncountable pains-au-chocolat. As did we.
See you soon, Paris!
Soooo…. I’ve got a ton of things to do and surprisingly a ton of enthusiasm, too.
The new semester started and it’s called SUMMER SEMESTER. That means winter will eventually end and the sun will shine on us. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, especially since I discovered my favorite thing in the world which is cross country skiing. But I’m still a depressive piece of work, so summer is very welcome. Also, this semester is awesome because I pretty much adore all the courses that I’m taking. It’s very hard work and very hard fun.
I wanted to be prepared to hustle like a real nerd, so on the train ride this morning I whipped out a little weekly planner in inDesign. I printed it when I arrived at the uni, and I bound it just now. It’s pretty banal, but it does the trick of having a lot of space to write ideas and stuff, and it’s so simple and cheap that I don’t have to worry too much about my awful handwriting, which makes me sad on those posh moleskines.
The design is pretty simple: It comprises the 19 weeks from next Monday until the end of the exam session. I used one of my favorite typefaces which is Caecilia, by Peter Noordzi. The signatures of the book are made of a single A3 sheet of paper, printed on one side. On every A5 quarter there is one week and the coptic stitch binding is done on the inside only, so the paper can be unfolded revealing a whole A3 blank space to work on.
I had never tried to bind a book using the coptic stitch method entirely by hand, so I tried and it worked pretty well.
It’s one of those things that give instant gratification.
If you want to try your hand at this lovely book-binding method I found this tutorial extremely good.
Finished 4 exams with decent results and survived. Enjoyed 12 days of vacation doing mostly cross country skiing and lolling around at home, playing with the boys and having a ball. Tomorrow it all starts over, my hopefully final semester and it’s going to be a tough one. I have a big project and 4 big exams, as well as a race in May for which I’d better start training soon. Thank gawd I have these two things here to keep me focused:
It’s that time of the year: time to dress up!
Yesterday I volunteered at the boys’ preschool for the 4ht year in a row to do the carnival face painting. It was fun and the boys were so proud that I was there. It made my heart melt. They both chose to be blue spidermen, don’t ask me why.
Today it was fancy dress day instead. Feeding their current fascination with all things outer space, they went as astronauts. I tried to make the costumes myself using tyvek coveralls but then I found ready made astronaut costumes in Berlin for a steal. So much better!
the new thing: Vine. Seriously. Instawhat?? VINE kids. VINE.
This morning it snowed and snowed and in the early afternoon the sun came out and it was just gorgeous. We went to slide in the snow and catch some vitamin D.
snowy day yesterday, so after indulging in a sushi lunch we got back home and Michele had some nap credits to use up so I was left to entertain the kids all by myself. Damiano said he wanted to sew, and I thought: why not. We did a little bit of stitching, he made a wee blanket for his stuffed bunny, seen here: (or here if the Vine embedding doesn’t work for some reason: http://vine.co/v/b1XWvP1P7MT )
Then, since I needed to involve Santi more, I told them to draw a pattern for their pillow. They did, and then we sewed and stuffed them together. Santi’s is the one with eyes, and Mano’s the one with numbers. The boy is obsessed with numbers (clearly not something that comes from my share of genes). The tiny one is also bunny’s.
Look what came in the mail! What a great way to start the year: The lovely and super-talented Kristel from Vlijtig (warning: her blog is addictive) and I agreed on a New Year’s swap, and I got mine in the mail yesterday! Here’s what I got:
This gorgeous crocheted cowl in my favorite color.
Three hand-carved stamps, one of which says UAUAGÈ! Kristel, you are a star. It’s like Christmas and my birthday together, but better.
Dutch clogs and buttons and a pretty card.
This quilted pouch, with delft blue print and the perfect size for my new iPad mini (which I have yet to get but hey)
These super cool notebooks made with maps of Holland! And yummy dutch things to eat and calendula seeds.
It was the nicest swap I’ve ever received, hands down. Thank you Kristel!
My little baby, my teeny tiny 30 oz. baby is now 6 years old. Sometimes he says things and has expressions that make him seem like
a real person an adult and it fills me with awe and joy an terror all at once. One thing needs to be said: I wouldn’t change a hair on his head nor a single moment of his life.
He requested a pirate party. I designed the invitations, which were ready in 6 minutes. (excuse the font abuse)
I cleaned the house, blew some balloons, put on the bunting and hid the valuables.
With tricky candles that kept taking fire.
A ton of presents. (because Christmas was only two weeks ago)
Confusion reigned until I whipped out these temporary tattoos. The
little shits kids suddenly queued for one. From now on, a must at parties!
These winter holidays have been lovely, and I’ve found myself enjoying each moment almost effortlessly: this is a good thing. (I credit all the exercise I’ve been having: skiing cross country and running, mostly. Moving is my antidepressant, and it has no side effects! Well maybe some sore muscles here and there but hey).
I’ve also been quite tired and I think that’s not because of all that exercise but rather due to all that cooking, starting on the 24th, with the traditional Christmas’ Eve dinner at our house, when I decided that making antipasti, spaghetti with scampi, a yule log AND cleaning out the fridge all at once was a good idea. The yule log was delicious and a big hit, and all the rest was great, too. And the fridge? Spic and span!
(Black forest yule log with chocolate swiss roll, black cherries and chocolate frosting: here showing that the thing DID indeed roll without cracking, big success)
For Christmas we got a new, bigger bed because the standard “french” size one that we have is one that I bought 12 years ago when I was convinced that I’d never marry or have children, especially children that would sleepwalk to my bed at night, every night, and things get kind of crowded now.
The kids got very lucky, since Michele feared they would be disappointed and ran to the store at the last minute to get them more
plastic crap presents.
They loved their fleecy new jammies. I bought them in London in August, and they’re already on the small side, so I’ll have to modify them already. sigh.
Sleeping bags! Also a great present. The kids slept in them for a few nights in a row and now they can’t wait to go camping. (and I can’t wait to have the house all to myself)
After Christmas Michele and I threw a party, partly to celebrate his birthday and partly just for the fun of it, and it was really great. I made sushi, falafel, pigs-in-a-blanket and tons of other stuff and there was plenty of booze to go around. Unfortunately we were all too busy having fun, no one took photos. I foresee more of these parties in the future.
Skiing cross country: my favorite thing.
And Santi’s first winter on skis. He seems to
like it be oK with it.
New year’s Eve: we tried. We tried to stay awake until midnight, but we just couldn’t.
I made paella and we invited friends over, who like us, had no babysitters.
We even tried to have a sleepover, but they were all like: yeah right. In the end everyone went home before midnight and Michele and I said goodnight at 11.55 and crashed so fast I barely heard any fireworks.
Anyway, happy new year! Who knows what this 2013 will bring!!
My resolutions this year are very simple:
2.Finish all my exams
3.Win the lottery.
What are yours?
The lengthy celebration of Jesus’s birthday at our house starts traditionally on the second Sunday of December with the waste of otherwise perfectly good ingredients in the shape of a too-hard-to-chew cookie house.
This year I went to town and tried to replicate our actual house in gingerbread. Of course, the key word here is simplification.
With the remaining dough I made also some regular houses,
and invited some friends to help decorate and help eat the candy.
My aunt and godmother invited us again to her lovely Acapulco villa, where we spent the most relaxing 5 days of the last 6 years.
and we got to see the most beautiful sunsets.
The boys grew gills.
And we all got ridiculously tanned.
And now, back to the heart of winter!
The main reason for our trip was to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. It included delicious food, tamarind margaritas, and around 100 relatives.
And this is the whole lot of descendants:
Dancing and thinking of Acapulco…