Christmas in Rome

We kicked off our holiday celebration in early December with a beautiful “fake plastic tree” in Tenerife. I never thought a Radiohead song would feel so Christmassy. 

Soleil didn’t know the difference, plus she had a great time decorating it, but Tree and I really missed that pine tree scent. It didn’t quite feel like the holidays without it.

The palm trees out front and the balmy 70 degree weather didn’t help either. 

Shortly after, Tree took off to the States to do a 9day kayak trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon with his brother Adam. I could tell by the pictures that it was a soulful time for the both of them. 

Meanwhile Soleil and I had our own special girl-cation. We went to the science museum, Loro Parque, and our favorite, La Casa de Carnival.

And I celebrated my 42nd birthday. This year, more than any other year, I felt like I’m getting old. I guess because I am. I’ve been processing this realization–letting the feelings marinate a bit, teasing my thoughts out one by one and analyzing them. For instance, I caught myself equating aging with losing beauty, as if only youth is beautiful. Which is bullshit. I often see an older woman and think that she’s beautiful, but I haven’t made the same allowance for myself. So, anyway, I’m working on how I talk to myself about aging. I’ll share more thoughts down the road. I feel an essay coming on….. 🙂

Two days after Tree returned from his 2wk vacation in the States, we all headed back to the airport and caught a flight to Rome. 

For the first couple days we just walked around, ate food, and drank wine….you know, to acclimate.

When in Rome…..!!! 🙂

We decided to save the heavy sightseeing days (Colosseum, Vatican) for after Christmas.

Still, when roaming Rome, you can’t help but run into rad shit…

Like the Pantheon.

Behold the world’s oldest unreinforced concrete dome– and it’s nearly 2k years old!!! 

I told Soleil about the “amazing” dome and she made this face, but I’m pretty sure she was just humoring me. Smart girl 🙂

Tree, on the other hand, was very impressed by how skinny Jesus looked. “Take a picture!” he barked, when I started walking away. I never know what’s going to impress my husband. After all these years, he still surprises me. 

We kept walking and landed on the Spanish Steps

…and The Fountain of Trevi

And some random rad shit…

I heart Pope Francis. 

Then came Christmas Eve. One of the best parts of being a parent is the renewed joy in Christmas that comes with having a small child in the house. No, it’s a renewed joy for everything. 

Wordsworth explains it better in “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.”  

He begins the poem by recalling how glorious the world looked as a child….

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
But then he laments that in adulthood,
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day.
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
But later, he writes…
…Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy
Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.

Daddy brought her back a special necklace and bracelet from his trip…her first jewelry. 

That night we went to Barbara (chef) and Federica’s house to eat a gourmet meal and drink wine with 25 other strangers from around the world. It was an Eat With event, a first time for us and a total success. We had one couple from Moscow, a mother and daughter from Paris, a small family from the South of France, another one from the States, and a whole entire Mexican family–three generations–from Mexico City. 

As a gift to myself, I left the camera behind so I could just enjoy the moment, but in the morning, I found this selfie on the iPhone taken by Soleil and her new ‘novio,’ Matias. Priceless.

One thing I wish I’d captured was at the end of the night when, after many bottles of wine, the Mexicans started singing mariachi songs. No one sang louder than the viejitos. 

Later that night, despite a wicked wine buzz, Papa Noel came!!!!! 

Along with some homeschooling toys and new winter dresses, she got two special gifts— a rare edition of The Little Prince in Spanish with the best pop-ups ever!!!! 

…and a new baby who Soleil named Flower. 

But the really booty came from Papa Noel: Star Wars costumes for the whole family!!!! 

I got an R2D2 costume but I need a picture of me in it to share. Sometimes it’s hard to get pics of me since I’m the family photo taker. I’m going to have to take a selfie lesson from Soleil 🙂

The next day it was game on: The Colosseum 


Best thing ever: Rome Reconstructed book! Soleil loved finding ruins and then looking at how they looked thousands of years ago. 


How to do the Vatican with a 5 year old and a husband:

For 5 year old:

Look for statues with broken penises….

Look for statues with tails…..

Look for statues of dogs….

For husband…

Look for statues of women doing this….

To break up the sightseeing, we spent one afternoon walking through the green and expansive Parque Borghese. It was fresh and beautiful, and we found a bouncy house where Soleil made a friend from France. Tree and I had a “it’s working!” moment when Soleil started conversing with her without hesitation. We also stopped in at a kid’s museum called Explora. It was expensive but worth the diversion for a couple of hours on a rainy day or your kid just needs a break more at her level. It has a cafe with free wifi, too 🙂

Next up, Sicily. I’ll tell you this much: IT BLEW ME AWAY. I’m going through the photos now and hope to get a post up to you really soon. It was Best of Show, in my opinion. And I discovered my new favorite wine grape, and it’s not Nero D’Avola (though I like that one a lot too). 

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  1. So fun!

  2. Looks glorious!!!

  3. Awesome Powerful Pic.

  4. Looks perfect!!

  5. Happy New Year to all of you!!

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