Monthly Archives: July 2013

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wild Croatia: a snapshot from the road

27There’s a lot that I like about Croatia.

Croatia is: clear sea, islands, mountains, and so, so much history. But when I’m asked to describe Croatia, what comes to mind is that it’s WILD and RAW. The beauty of Croatia is in its nature which feels completely untamed.

During our summer over there  we took quite a few road trips. It’s a shame that I can’t bottle up that experience because some of the most beautiful sights were from my passenger seat window. I wish I could share THAT, but it’s not so easy (and the photos are never quite as beautiful) when you use your camera on the expressway. ya know?

And really, even when I have my camera ready, it usually goes something like “WHOA, look at that!” (Zooom, zoom), and all the magic is in the rear view already. For example: all the cool ancient fortresses or churches I saw way up on hills.

Even still, I thought I’d share my attempts. Some of you have bugged me that I haven’t really backed up enough to give you a real impression of Croatia, and it’s true. Over the next however-long-it-takes-me, I want to remedy that.

I took these photos (from the car) on our first road trip to Dubrovnik at the end of May. We almost didn’t take this trip because the forecast looked dark and RAINY. SO glad we took a chance. We hit some light rain at the beginning but the sun was SHINING before long.1 European road trip 3 4 road trip through Croatia 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Croatian road trip with toddler 19 21 22 23 24 25mussel traps croatia26 28 3029 31 32 33 34 35 36 384239 40 41

Of course the whole point was to get to Dubrovnik, which I’ll share in time. Dubrovnik is a lovely, lovely city. Really. And the road to get there isn’t half bad either!

We’ve been getting lots of questions about Croatia as well as requests for recommendations on places to visit. I’m hoping to work on a post just for you guys, but until then please join our FACEBOOK page if you want chat. I’m there! :)

napping baby series: day two

sleeping-baby: toddler jet lagWhat’s going on here? NO, this isn’t going to become a sleeping baby journal. YES, I am posting a photo of Mateo napping for a second day in a row. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I mean…it’s cute stuff, right? I think this blog can handle another nap.

Yesterday when Mateo fell asleep IN THE MIDDLE OF EATING LUNCH, that “nap” lasted fifteen hours. Yeah. Whoa baby. Looks as though we’ve got a jet lagged boy on our hands.

Today he fell asleep in my bed watching Dumbo (his new obsession). And we’ll just see. Maybe today his little body knows that this is just a nap — and that we’re supposed to go downtown to visit a friend we’ve missed very much while we were traveling. I donno, we’ll see! Exciting stuff around here, huh. ;)

Alright, that’s all I have for you today. Just another (adorable) jet lag baby. OH, if you are wondering about the white (dreamy) haze above little Mateo in this photo…that is just a piece of white paper I held in front of the camera. Pretty cool, right?


jet lag much, Mateo?

We’re HOME. Back in Chicago, that is! :)

Last night we slept in our own  bed. Well, Aki and I did. Mateo managed to negotiate out of his crib and into our bed. We meant  to transfer him back to his room when he fell asleep. Instead we were woken up at around 4 am to someone  laughing and jumping around while yelling “ready, set, GO!!” (rye-yyy, thet, GO!!) and then proceeding to (not so gently) crash and land on whichever unsuspecting parent was closest. Good morning!

As you can see, that same little man seems to have expended all that energy. THIS is what happened during lunch today. hahahaha. I couldn’t believe it. He just started nodding off mid chew and then he was O-U-T. I was a little worried about getting him to nap today but he solved that.

And of course, you know me. I had to take some photos. Just too funny.toddler jet lag: toddler asleep at the tableIf you’re wondering what was served up for the midday meal, the kiddo gobbled down a peanut butter and fig jam sandwich along with a couple spinach pierogis. (AKA, what we had in the fridge/freezer).


UPDATE: that NAP lasted for 15 hours. Oh my, that boy was tired. I actually tried to wake him up at dinner time so that he could eat and play a little (hoping to offset some of that jet lag). Nope. I changed his clothes, moved him twice, even yelled out that I saw a BIG TRUCK. Nothing.

Chicago bound! We’ll miss you Croatia! xo

munich-layoverTHOSE GUYS! ^^ I dashed to grab the camera when I saw these two, haha.

Five hours to kill in Munich, Germany — next plane we board will take us HOME!

Yep, it’s that time already. We’re homeward bound. One flight down, one more to go.

Truth be told, we’re all very ready to get back to “life as usual,” but it’s bittersweet. We’ll miss you Croatia!

Where did the time go?! 71 days living out of suitcases, stays in 3 countries, and 9 cities. Next stop: CHICAGO!

Somehow I’ll sort through all of our photos. Blogging on the road didn’t go quite as smoothly as I planned…OH, I have lots more to share — and we’ll get there. We will.

a beautiful day in Italia

toddler wedding outfit: toddler suspendersWe’re in Italy! Specifically we’re in the Lazio region just outside of Umbria. It’s beautiful. Today we attended the most beautiful wedding…ever. Really, absolutely beautiful. Congrats to my cousin Justin and to his gorgeous Italian bride Irene! xoxoxo.

So much family, so much delicious food and wine and incredible scenery. I have so many more photos, and so many more little details to share, but right now I’m exhausted!italian-wedding-garden

Mateo’s highlights: For sure playing in the aftermath of all the rice thrown at the bride and groom after they exited the church. :) Mateo got pretty excited and demanded “me throw rice too.” :) He also approved of the jazz band at the garden reception. :) And the pasta of course. Good times.

italian-wedding---riceitalian-weddingWe have so many photos but it’s rare to catch all three of us in the same shot! This is definitely a day I want to remember — so glad we snuck in a few family portraits. :)family portrait with a toddler: Italian wedding(thank you SO much to my sister, Elizabeth for taking these).

cuz and cuz

cousins in summer croatiaTwo American boys hanging out in their fathers’ homeland. :) These two cousins (Tristan, 3 on the verge of turning 4) and Mateo (1 on the verge of turning two) are living it up in Croatia with their Croatian cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents this summer.

Tristan has always called Mateo “cuz” and just today, Mateo started calling Tristan “cuz” right back.

In any given moment, you’ll usually  find these two running, screaming, kicking something, pushing each other, looking for bugs, fighting over cars or LAUGHING…but I caught this ^^ still moment and I can’t help but smile. :) Love it.

Seriously though, how handsome are these two?! (About as handsome as they are trouble). ;)cuz-runningcuz-running-2

If you follow HENNA BLOSSOM on facebook, you’ve already seen those two in action. Remember this photo? :) And if you aren’t already part of our facebook page, GO ON. Join us of course.

lazy island morning // Korčula

lazy morning KorčulaOH MAN, we had a ROUGH boat ride yesterday (2 & 1/2 hours on an especially bumpy speedboat). At one point I had a stranger fanning me (yeah, for real) and Mateo soiled his entire outfit and Aki’s. (I won’t go into further detail). :/ Poor kid, poor Aki. BUT, as soon as we set foot on Korčula (a Croatian island I’ve been wanting to visit for years) it was ALL worth it. (note to self: do not sit at the very front of the boat in the future).

Korčula is said to be founded by a Trojan hero in 1200 BC, and claims to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. In any case it’s BEAUTIFUL and steeped in history!

We just had the loveliest of lovely LAZY mornings on our garden terrace (eek, we totally lucked out with this place) and now to find a beach! (Mateo is currently yelling “mama, mama, coming beach! mama beach! mama coming?).

Missed all the fireworks and BBQs in the US of A yesterday! Made us miss our friends and family. (It was Independence day over in the States, or as we call it back home, just “the 4th.”). Hope everyone at home had fun celebrating! xo :)

We’ve been getting lots of questions about Croatia as well as requests for recommendations on places to visit. I’m hoping to work on a post just for you guys, but until then please join our FACEBOOK page if you want chat. I’m there! :)

baby clogs A.K.A. Mateo’s dancing shoes

So here goes a post about nothing too substantial, really. And yet, pretty sure it’s important that I share THIS with the world. Well, at least with you guys. ‘Cause I’m pretty sure  this is the kinda stuff that you want to be in-the-know about. ;)dancing-shoesThese little wooden clogs have become a part of Mateo’s daily routine around here. We found them on a shelf, along with some other knick-knacks when we arrived. Maybe someone’s souvenir from a trip to Holland? I doubt anyone ever meant for them to be worn (they were actually clipped together), but Mateo begged to differ. He figured out they are JUST HIS SIZE, ha! He now calls them “Teo’s shoes” and keeps them safe in a cupboard.

A least once a day he opens up the cupboard and breaks these bad boys out. Cracks us up. Every’s gotten pretty good at “clogging” over the past month. He used to just stand in them and laugh, holding onto the bed for balance. Lately he’s been dancing in them (a sort of a jig)—he turns, taps, shuffles himself around, and sometimes does a version of skating (between crashes to the floor). :)baby-clogs-and-suspendersHe’s happy when he’s wearing his clogs. Everyone needs a good pair of dancing shoes. ;)