Justin at 9 Months

At exactly 9 months, during one of his nightly wake-ups (which 8-9 months also apparently brings…), we looked at the monitor to see that Justin can now pull himself to standing in his crib. Just one more thing to keep him from sleeping!

His sleep might be a little challenging these days, but it’s because he has so much going on! He has seven teeth and is eating pretty much everything now. He gets frustrated with purees sometimes because he likes feeding himself so much. Bamba and puffs are still his favorites though. His 9 month wellness visit revealed that he’s only gained about a pound in the last three months, putting him at about 18 pounds, and the doctor said that it can happen around this age because he’s doing so much moving now. And he is! He’s almost crawling, getting around by scooting and sitting and reaching. He’s an excellent clapper and tries to blow kisses sometimes.

He loves to play! Nick’s toys are just great, unfortunately for Nick. He is also obsessed with the cat whenever she comes into the room. But overall, Justin is still a happy baby, adjusting well to daycare and saying the sounds for “mama” and “dada” without really referring to us, as far as we can tell. I am not going to miss the clingy phase that he’s going through.

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First Week of School

What a crazy week! Well, not Monday. That was Labor Day. But on Tuesday, I started work, and Justin had his first day of daycare. I had to hurry to work, and it’s better not to linger anyway, so the whole goodbye was kind of a blur. But we both survived the day, and he was in good spirits when I picked him up.

On Wednesday, Nick had his first “day” of Pre-K. I say “day” because it was really just an hour and a half with the parents as well. More like an orientation. But Jon went with Nick and said that he did well. Two of Nick’s friends from Happy Caterpillar, David and Alessia, are also in his class. (And David’s mom is the owner of Happy Caterpillar, so we know her well!) Their teacher is Ms. Pirrello, and I hope I can actually meet her soon!

Thursday was a half day (also with parents), so Nick was at Happy Caterpillar the second half of the day. Then Friday was a normal school day. Nick’s been going to full day school for a couple of years, so he’s a pro! And by Friday, Justin was becoming a pro as well… they said he’s eating better and better, and they swear to me that he’s taking naps.

So I officially have a kid in the NYC Public Schools!!!

Pancakes!!

We visited Justin’s teachers and classroom to prepare for next week’s daycare drop-off. The teachers asked about Justin’s eating and if he’s had any solids like pancakes. I’ve been keeping him to purées and a few dissolvable things like puffs, but they had me thinking… maybe it’s time to add more solids. And Justin couldn’t be happier.

He eats pancakes like he’s the Tasmanian Devil.

Getting Home

Getting home was slightly trickier than getting there because it was daytime. So we did have a fussy baby some of the time and did whatever we could to appease him. But the kids were not the biggest challenge on this day.

We had an hour layover in London that turned into 40 minutes due to a delay. Um, Heathrow is serious about their security, which is good, but it led to a very slow, thorough bag check that had me running…with baby attached… to the absolute furthest gate in the airport. Jon had gone ahead with Nick to use the bathroom, so I was just a frantic looking mother. There was even a tram involved in this journey. When I got to the gate, Jon & Nick we’re there and they were holding the plane. We were quickly ushered toward the plane (and also the longest walkway ever) to be met with a woman who told us it was too late. She turned us around and sent us back to the desk. The desk lady yelled at her and said that no, we were getting on that plane. We were ushered back to the plane and found ourselves met with a huge flight completely packed and waiting for us. We’re pretty sure they all took pity on us when they saw the children.

Then, finally at JFK, as we were waiting in line at customs, an announcement came on saying that “Passengers J. Ferrara, G. Ferris and N. Ferrara should locate a British Airways representative near the baggage carousel.”

Why? Because every piece of our checked luggage, including Justin’s car seat, was on another flight. We just laughed and left our information. We would not be waiting around. I broke the law and sat in the backseat with Justin strapped to me. Just this once. And we went home to a very needy cat.

(Don’t worry…all luggage was delivered the next day!)

The Grand Finale

This morning was off to a cute start.

We met everyone downstairs for breakfast and used our hop-on, hop-off (ho ho) bus one more time to get to the Colosseum. We’d waited too long to get advanced tickets, so we got in line and waited until we just couldn’t take it anymore…and we were in!

I took my breastfeeding even one step further… nursing in the Colosseum!

After a couple of hours, we headed to lunch and decided to walk through the Forum to get there. I would’ve loved to explore the Forum and even have a tour, but that is for another trip.

We had one last meal as a full group.

The kids were all tired and just wanted to go to the hotel, but I was determined to see a little more. So the grandparents agreed to take Nick back with them, and I strapped Justin back on. Did he love our extra adventure? Not all of the time, but he did sleep a good bit. Jon, Chris and I found Circus Maximus….

And we had our own Roman Holiday moment in Santa Maria in Cosmedin…

…where we found the Bocca Della Verita. Check off another famous movie location!

When we got back to the hotel, it was Eric & Nicky’s turn for a night out, so Jon, Chris and I had the kids.

They wanted McDonalds, so that’s what they did. I held out…later I was able to make a quick trip out for a recommended bite. I realized that it was the first time I was out by myself in two weeks. And while I was out, it looked like this.

I’m sure I will get even more nostalgic tomorrow, but here is one more magical photo…

Vacationing, With Kids and Without

Jon and I got up bright and early to leave Italy for a while. We left the kids behind for this one.

Here is Jon outside of Vatican City!

We did a tour for early time inside the Sistine Chapel, so our tour guide was very informative but rushed us through the galleries to get as much quiet time as possible inside the chapel before the throngs entered.

There are three galleries along the way: the first with marble statues…

The second with tapestries and an ornate 2D painted ceiling that looks like 3D…

The final long hallway with paintings of the countries and busts of the leaders…

And finally, down a simple staircase that looks (and smells) like you are heading down into any church basement…

And you are in the Sistine Chapel. Photos are forbidden, but Jon and I felt like rebels.

I will say, the chapel had SO much going on that it is a bit busy. Add on the fact that you have to look up the whole time, and I would dare say the place could make you motion sick. Or at the very least, dizzy. But still incredible…I actually found myself more intrigued by Michelangelo’s Last Judgement than by the ceiling panels. And my favorite commentary from the experience was an explanation about Michelangelo’s Jonah panel, in which the whale looks more like a giant tuna or something; Michelangelo had never seen a whale! So this was his interpretation.

We were a little early for St. Peter’s, so we went through the galleries and into the chapel one more time. Then we headed out into the square.

I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by St. Peter’s Basilica quite as much as I was. But it helped that the very first thing that I saw inside was the Pietà, which I didn’t even know was there. It was so unexpected that I actually got a little emotional, and of course, Jon was there to photograph it.

Once we got back to the hotel and got our boys back (thanks to Babci and Papa Vinnie for watching them… we couldn’t have done this otherwise!), we decided to meet up with everyone at Villa Borghese, Rome’s version of Central Park. Nick wanted to play on some games in a little arcade, and we found a playground!

That night, Jon and I got to celebrate our anniversary! We left the kids and took a cab to the Spanish Steps.

Then we walked around until we found a restaurant that looked good. And we picked a good one! We were eating so early (6:30!) that the rest of the restaurant was empty for over half of our meal. I had some amazing 4 cheese gnocchi and chicken alla Romana, a chicken leg/ thigh cooked in tomato sauce with peppers. Plus wine and some tiramisu for dessert. It was spot on!

While we were gone, Nick spent time with his cousins…and Aunt Nicky promised him that she would take him to a store to buy a present for his birthday. So we came home to our son and his gladiator costume!

As you can see, it was a jam-packed day. But here’s one more silly photo.