One year on

A year ago today we took a cab to the hospital at around 8am to have an induction and get labour started. I don’t remember vividly that morning; the only thing I knew for sure was that I thought we had waited long enough (too long!) and that I wanted you out as soon as possible. I was feeling a bit frustrated as all my pregnant friends had given birth already and I was the only one left still with a huge belly. You were 10 days overdue and were not giving any signs to wanting to meet us. It was hot, everyone had already left town to go on holiday and the streets were empty. We checked into A&E and waited together with other 6 couples. It was a very long wait and only one topic to talk about: babies! Around midday we finally got our room and at 2pm we headed to the delivery room to get induced. We stayed there for two hours but nothing happened if not just us taking pictures, looking at the beautiful views across Rome from the window, complaining about the heat and wondering what would be happening next. We got sent back to our room and spent the rest of the afternoon chit chatting with our room mates who were expecting twins and booked for a c-section the next day. I was due for another induction shot at 8pm, but at 7.30 while talking with our friends my water broke. We waited about 15 minutes before calling the midwife and by the time she arrived contractions had started. I remember leaning against the bed frame trying to remember what I had learned at yoga classes, the bee breath, the golden thread exercise, and so many other things I didn’t know I’d be able to remember. All the delivery rooms were full and we were assigned to the emergency one. I remember being able to walk out the door of our room and all of a sudden contractions getting too painful I needed a wheelchair. I took my time to get off the chair and climb to the bed, I wanted to stand, but they made me lay down. There were about 10 people in that tiny room and so much light I could hardly find Gianluca’s face. I was conscious the whole time, I remember exactly what I was going through; the pushing, the pain, me saying: “I don’t want this baby anymore..”, and just like that you were born at 8.50pm on August 1st. They put you on my chest, I looked at you and said to your dad you were absolutely beautiful! It was a strange feeling, different from what I experienced the first time around; it was love at first sight. So here you are, one year later, walking, talking, laughing and making our lives full. Happy first birthday my sweet little one!
With love, mama.

Creating with kids

 
I never had a fixed routine for making art at home; and since it was (still is!) just a hobby I used  to squeeze in some time only when I felt like it. Of course things have changed tremendously since having kids, and funnily enough, my desire to paint has increased as much as my spare time has become almost not existent.
Recently, I have been browsing the internet trying to find out how people with kids manage to find some time to dedicate to their hobbies or interests, without neglecting their children. I asked some artist mums for advice and they told me the key is to either work while they are asleep or involve them too (or call a sitter!). 
Working in the evening has become more difficult as the only thing I’m able to do after the never ending and exhausting afternoon is to just sit and watch some tv or go to sleep.  Early morning rise is not really an option…waking up even earlier than 6.30am is just cruel. So what I have been left with is my littlest’s nap times while my eldest is at school. This worked out great until the school holidays! Now that they are both at home, using that time has necessarily meant involving my daughter in the process too.

Unfortunately this option doesn’t always work; kids get distracted easily or sometimes they are just not interest. But it’s always worth a try, so more often than not I give it a go.

On a regular day, as soon as her brother is down for a nap, I ask Olivia if she wants to do dome painting with me. Most of the time she gets excited enough to say yes with no hesitation. I normally set us up on the big table in our dining room where we spend a good half hour painting, drawing and colouring. She usually works on her own piece, while I work on mine, and although I have to deal with few interruptions, most of the time I manage to get something done. Of course this is not always the case; sometimes she asks me to do stuff together, either me colouring on her book or her using my tools. But that’s ok too, it gives me that peace of mind to recharge doing something I like.
There are other times when her brother wants to join in, but that’s a different story which I still have to figure out how to tackle!
A few tips I want to share with you that I learned along the way:
1. prepare your own stuff first and then your kids’s otherwise by the time you are ready to start, they are already bored and want to move onto something else! 
2. Create an area in your house where they can keep all their painting stuff ready so that they can create whenever they fill like. We use a small coffee table in a corner of our living room where she keeps an easel, her colouring books, pencils, paints, etc.
3. Let them use your tools once in a while. I found that my daughter loves to copy what I do and that of course means using the exact same materials. That doesn’t include my expensive brushes or watercolours or paper, but I have a few sketchbooks, old brushes and paper scraps that she’s allowed to use when we paint together.
4. Let them explore different mediums and techniques. They get more engaged if they are trying something new and might stay focused for longer.
Hope you’ll find this useful!

What works for you? Do you have any useful tips you’d like to share? 
 Happy creating!

July: Around here

This year summer caught us by surprise. We headed up to the mountains for a long weekend, but the epic heat wave forced us to make our stay a little longer.
Ten days on and, apart from having the kids with me all day long, we are enjoying this early and unexpected summer holiday. 
Hope the season is being kind to you! How are you escaping the heat this summer?

A day at the beach

Last weekend we made the most of the beautiful weather; we loaded the car and headed to the beach. It was a bit windy and the water a little chilly for a dive, but surely the kids enjoyed playing with the sand on the endless and almost empty beach. We ended the day with a pizza over a spectacular sunset dreaming about the summer to come.  Here’s to a beautiful day!

Documenting 2015: 4/12

Brother & Sister: Chasing each other and laughing like crazy. 
There’s never a dull moment with these two around
Olivia: Sunbathing on the grass after endless hours of playing and running around looking for flowers to pick
Vale: His first pic nic, followed by a very long afternoon nap.
April is, and always will be, my favourite month of the year (and also my birthday month!). We spent a lot of time outdoor enjoying the glorious weather, playing at the park, eating ice cream and picking wild flowers. Loving the longer days and making up excuses for going to bed a little late.

I will be documenting 2015 through monthly portraits of my little ones. You can check the previous months here.

April: around here

Cutting down on coffee to make space for tea
Playing with the alphabet and my watercolours
Cutting hair like it’s her job!
There are more kisses and puzzled faces than anything else these days
Enjoying the weather, the blue skies, the smell of flowers
Making time for just the two of use gets harder by the day, but when it happens it’s magic
Looking for something special everywhere I go. It’s the little things than brings a smile on my face
Discovering new places around our neighbourhood
Changing our weekly menu to make the most of the fresh spring produces

Documenting 2015: 3/12

 Brother & Sister: Playing together looks more like a wrestling match than anything else
 Olivia: Celebrating spring at the park; chasing bubbles, wearing a flowery dress and no coat, because you know…it’s spring!
Vale: making the most funniest faces and sounds. Crawling like a pro and learning to stand by pulling himself up in his crib

We have been literally counting the days ’till spring this month. We had strawberries, fresh flowers and enjoyed our daily strolls around the neighbourhood. Ice cream shops are back in business and we are making sure we visit one almost every day!

I will be documenting 2015 through monthly portraits of my little ones. You can check the previous months here.

The way forward

 

After months of thinking, and talking, and even more thinking I came to realise that I need this space to be something different. My life has changed drastically since June last year; new routines, new expectations, not to mention a new baby and life in a different country. And so has the time I have available to care for myself and to do what I love. Time is never enough these days, and trying to fit in everything I would like is becoming an impossible, and at times stressful, task. The need to streamline and simplify the way my free time is spent has become a pure necessity, a way to keep me sane without losing my favourite distractions from daily life. And I want all this to be reflected here. So over the next few months you’ll see some small changes on this blog, starting from a long overdue new look. I want to create a cleaner and simpler place, without all the frills and all the things superfluous. I’m still planning to keep this blog as both a creative and personal space, to be a reflection of the two main aspects of my daily living. But I want it to be a bit more about my art and my creative journey. I’m still working on how I want things to look like and what direction I should take, but it’s slowly growing on me and little by little I’ll try to make this place better. So stay tuned if you are curious to see. 

Documenting 2015: 2/12

Brother & Sister: Playing and reading books together. It doesn’t usually last very long, but it’s a joy when it happens
Olivia: Recovering from a long period of colds and flu, but always up for a family trip to the playground
Vale: so loud and cheerful
February was short and bitter. We spent most of our days inside, playing games and getting bored at times. We made fresh orange juice daily, we watched tv, we fell asleep on the couch, we got dressed up for carnival. But mostly we laughed together.

I will be documenting 2015 through monthly portraits of my little ones. You can check last month’s pictures here.

Documenting 2015: 1/12

Brother & Sister: watching tv while mama cooks dinner has become one of their favourite things to do together. And so far they have not been fighting over what to watch. 

 Over the past two years I have been joining the 52 project, documenting the life of my little lady through weekly portraits. At the end of the year I ended up with 52 pictures and some funny facts about her life (you can check the past weekly photos here), and all of it was printed into a mini book that we also used as a present for our families (you check the one for 2013 here). I love those so much and once in a while my not-so-little-anymore likes to go through the books and likes to ask about all the stories behind each picture. Since my handsome boy joined our family last August, I had the intention of carrying out as the previous years, by taking a weekly picture of both my kids. And then I realised life gets a little bit more complicated with two little people around. I still tend to take tons of photos of them each week with my phone, but the quantity doesn’t always mean quality and also sharing part has proven to be much more difficult than expected. So this year I will just be showing monthly portraits of my littles and, whenever possible, I will be trying to add a portrait of them together; it will be fun to see how their relationship and the way they interact with each other will change in a year. Let’s start with January.


Olivia: Having the time of her life at the playground. She had been asking to go for days and had been not so patiently waiting for the weekend to come.

Vale: Getting accustomed to the high chair a few days before starting to eat solid.