Marc and Megan Logo

family photo family photo family photo family photo family photo family photo

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Benjamin Robert arrived 2 weeks early.

Born December 27th at 1:32am

7 Pounds 2 ounces

20 and 3/4 inches tall

First sleepless night:

Pure Joy. Heaven.

There are no words for how much we love Tracey and this gift of her son.

More to come soon.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Night Before

This morning, after a pancake and egg breakfast, Marc and I started the day with a visit to the cemetery. We left some poinsettia bunches at the twins' headstone. We paused for a bit in the warmth of the sun (it was 60 degrees here today), and couldn't help but feel warmth fill our hearts as well. I feel so grateful to have Marc. I feel so grateful for the gift of perspective that has come with the twins joining our family. I especially feel grateful for the role of that perfect Babe born so many thousands of nights ago.

With so much family in town, the day has been filled with last minute preparations for the big Christmas celebrations and traditions tonight and tomorrow. One of my favorite moments today was spent at the piano with my two sisters. We're planning a special (secret) musical number for our Christmas Eve program around the tree with everyone. Since I haven't been blessed with the same natural vocal skills as my sisters, I'll do my best to provide them with some accompaniment. Luckily their voices are beautiful enough to hide any of my fumblings.

While playing the piano for my sisters, I was struck by the beauty and truth of the lyrics of the latter part of the second verse.

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our Friend.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

In all our trials born to be our Friend. On this particular Christmas Eve, I feel especially grateful for this aspect of the birth and life of the Savior. For much of my life I haven't felt comfortable with calling Christ my friend... it has always felt too presumptuous or something. Like, this feeling that He is much too great and untouchable for me to call him that. But, after passing through this last year things have changed. As never before in my life I'm grateful to know from firsthand experience the special way that Christ is my friend.

There is something special about Christmas Eve. I can't help but wonder a little at what it might have been like the night that Christ was born. I love that we can pause long enough to imagine the feelings of beauty and wonder of such a perfect night.

On this similarly perfect night, wishing you all a Christmas celebration filled with love and wonder.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Must Haves

I have a long list of things I need to do today. We're getting all ready for family that's coming for Christmas. Both my sisters (and their families) will be here for the holidays... and I'm so excited to spend the next couple of weeks with them. It's going to be wonderful! I have to make the most of today, getting cleaning and general chores around the house done, so that I can just sit and relax once they're here.

We've also been busy preparing ourselves for Baby Boy. We have the bassinet and changing table set up. The clothes are washed and ready to be used and dirtied. I've been working on making a mobile that I hope turns out how my mind has already created it. As I've gone through boxes and tubs of baby stuff, I've been reminded of how much we've acquired over the last couple of years. I can hardly believe we will actually be able to use it all.

But, I need help. There are things we still need to get. This is where you all come in. I know there are things that mothers out there just cannot live without. What are your must haves? 

And, for adoptive mothers out there, any advice about the best bottles and formula? And, about health insurance... what did you do? Is it best to add the baby to your current plan or to get the baby his own health plan? When I called my insurance provider, the lady I talked to was very unhelpful and left me with more questions than answers. 

Oh, and have any of you tried cloth diapers? Pros? Cons?

Am I missing anything?!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Girl, Girl, Boy, ....

* Our January Baby Boy, picture taken Sept. 2nd, at 22 weeks

Since the beginning of September we've had more than a few moments of imagining what our life could look like a year from now with two babies. Since we knew Tracey was having a boy, we just made sure to daydream equally about him paired with a little brother and him paired with a little sister. Both visions would leave me smiling from ear to ear.

For the last few days my dreams and imaginations have turned more specific. On Monday we headed down to the same Perinatologist office we went to last year with the twins. It felt a little strange to be in the same office at the same point in pregnancy when we got our first glimpse of bad news with the twins. I tried not to relive those memories, but I was admittedly relieved when the ultrasound tech. led us to a different room where we could make new memories.

As I was getting myself situated, her first question to us was, "so, is this your first?

"Um... let's say yes," was all I could think to say.

She caught on and asked if we had had a miscarriage. I gave her a very brief explanation. She responded with a genuine sympathy that made me immediately love her. As she moved the wand over the gooey mess on my belly, I was stunned by the miracle of life that is growing within me. We were chatting a bit while watching the screen at the same time, when all of a sudden her wand paused to take a picture and I stopped mid-sentence, totally shocked by what I was seeing...

"Is it a boy?!"

I swear her "Yes!" came out as more of a squeal than anything else. 

Oh my gosh, a boy. No, two boys. Brothers. Best friends.

So, yes, the daydreams now include all things boy. Visions of blue mixed with playing ball and never-ending energy and daredevil stunts. And, we couldn't be happier!

The little guy is growing and strong. All of his anatomy is perfect and healthy. Our Level 2 ultrasound even revealed both of his layers of teeth already formed. So amazing. The only downside to getting an ultrasound from a high risk office is that since they look for more, the chances are higher of finding something to be concerned about.

It turns out that the umbilical cord is a 2-vessel cord, rather than the preferred 3-vessel cord. That was when we heard unwelcomed words like echocardiogram, growth restriction, and "we'll be watching you more closely."

My heart sunk a little. I don't want another scary pregnancy. I just want it to be easy. No concerns, no complications. When the Doctor came in to double check everything, fortunately she eased many of the fears that had crept in. She did confirm the 2-vessel cord, but she also confirmed that the kidneys and the heart looked perfectly healthy, showing that the cord problem hasn't affected the baby or his growth and development (yet). She does want to see us again in a couple of months to make sure he is still growing right on track, but no need to be overly worried at this point. Plus, he's already measuring a week ahead of schedule, so that was definitely welcome news.

Our emotions are about to pop. January eleventh is quickly approaching and we are all ready for Baby Boy #1. We can't wait to meet him! I feel so grateful that we'll be able to give him a little brother so quickly. I don't know how or why we've been blessed with such abundance... but we are grateful beyond words for the mercy and kindness of a loving and provident Miracle Worker.

* Our May Baby Boy, picture taken Dec. 14th, at 18 weeks

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Some thoughts on being different

My favorite place these days is relaxing on the couch in our front room, surrounded by the soft glow of our Christmas tree. There is a warmth and a calm that comes with it. And since I know our time to enjoy it is temporary, I'm trying to soak it up as much as possible.

I took a quick Sunday afternoon nap in front of it today. Before shutting my eyes, they wandered around the tree to the different ornaments we bought or received last year in memory of our girls. Every ornament has an identical match - there are a couple of sets of crystal angels, a few different sets of birds, the crystal-like "Joy" ornaments, and two silver stars engraved with "Love". I love our tree and I love the love I feel for my little girls when I look at it. And I love dear loved ones who have added their love for our girls to our tree. (That's sure a lot of love!)

It's been interesting to share our news about adopting and being pregnant. As is maybe obvious, we are completely overwhelmed by the news ourselves. We recognize how much we're being blessed beyond belief. Even still among the welcomed joy of these approaching blessings, there is still a place in my heart that aches. As I've interacted with older women who have lost babies decades ago, and I witness how easily the tears flow when they've opened up their hearts to me about their loss, I get the feeling while watching them that the aching will always be there. Of course, until we meet our girls again. Then, maybe then, the holes will be completely healed and my joy will really be full.

I worry a little about some who might expect some dramatic retroactive change in my personality, now that we have these blessings to anticipate. It's true that I haven't been quite the same since losing my girls. Honestly, though, I don't expect to ever be the same person that I was before such a life-changing experience. Those moments in the hospital altered the core of who I am, who I want to be. And, really, isn't that a good thing? So maybe I'm not as happy-go-lucky or however you want to call it... but really I haven't been that way since maybe 8th grade basketball games when I was burning off the Mountain Dew caffeine high. And, that can probably be more classified as immaturity or the results of stimulating substances than anything else.

The truth is that, even while we feel deep joy and gratitude for the blessings that are approaching, there is still a plot at the cemetery that we visit. There are two stockings hanging next to ours that will never be held by the shaky, excited hands of our little girls on Christmas morning. With time we've learned to be okay with this part of our life. We accept the place our girls have in our family, and rejoice that they are eternally a part of us. And while most of those closest to us have accepted us as we are now, I hope that more will accept the ways we've changed because of our girls... rather than expecting us to be back to how we "used to be."  

We're different. And, we're okay with that.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blessings - Part 2

Ten days.

Ten days ago we couldn't keep the news for ourselves anymore. Even the thought alone of bringing a little boy home just days after Christmas has our hearts wrapped in the most joyful and reverenced feelings. I can only imagine how it will actually feel. After all these years, all the "almosts", to have a baby to bring home with us. And, then to think of the selfless love that will be involved, I think my heart just might burst. 

This little boy, destined for our home, was the initial opening of the windows of heaven. As if that alone wasn't big enough to be enough. We've been filled to overflowing with this unexpected, incredible news. But, for some inexplicable reason, we received an amazing second portion of blessings. The same amount of time you've now had to let the news of our adoption sink in, ten days, is the same amount of time we had before our discovery of "Blessings, part two."

Are you ready for this?

Ten days after we received our first email from Tracey, I woke up for the fourth morning in a row fully expecting the arrival of that dreaded monthly visitor. On that fourth morning when it still hadn't arrived, I finally gave in and took a test, fully expecting to already know its outcome, as it has been approximately 85 times out of 88. (The odds, clearly, not in our favor.)

Instead, the results sent us into shock. I calmly walked from the bathroom into our bedroom with the pregnancy test in hand. Marc was still sleeping, very soundly and peacefully, I might add. I gently nudged him until he stirred a bit and looked at me with his squinted eyes.

In a half-whisper I said, "so, I took a test this morning."

His simple reply, "And?" 

Me: "It's positive."

I said it just like that. Very matter-of-factly. No exclamation. No screaming. No jumping up and down. There weren't even any tears, of joy or of fear. There was, however, a slight hint of a smile trying to form around the corners of my lips. Marc reflected the same cautious hint of joy.

I soon realized there was a thick protective coating of numbness around our hearts. It didn't help that these sequence of events felt very uncomfortably like we were reliving an awful deja-vu from the spring of 2008. If you remember, we had been chosen to adopt a baby boy, which then followed with news that we were pregnant with our twins. Having things sort of fall into the same chain of events, honestly, made me very uncomfortable. The two main thoughts I had during that time when we were tentatively about to add three kids to our family in one year, were - "our blessing, finally, after waiting for so long" and "this is just too good to be true."

I've refrained from thinking either of those things this time around. Instead, I've just tried to enjoy each moment, hoping and praying for the strength to handle whatever the outcome might be (with both anticipated blessings). 

I called my doctor right away. That very day she sent in an order for blood tests, 48-hours apart, to check my hCG levels. The results would offer me some peace of mind for 12 more days, until my first ultrasound. That same peace of mind has been reapplied, almost as if it's melting away that layer of numbness, with every appointment, every ultrasound, every sign that new life is forming within the walls of my broken tabernacle.

Our first two pregnancies were five years apart. I thought maybe I was on the "five-year plan." Well, and actually, after certain complications following the birth of our twins, I was warned of the possibility of never being able to conceive again. Ever. Not that that news was any different than the fall of 2006 when the Reproductive Endocrinologist I was seeing flat out told me, "you'll never conceive naturally."

I've been tempted, now, a second time to call her and tell her that she was wrong. Twice.

Somehow we have conceived a baby.




I'm far enough along that my nearly inch-deep "innie" is not nearly so deep, though not yet considered an "outie." I've started to feel the early subtle movements of our little babe. The week after next we will find out if Baby Boy will have a little sister or a little brother.

They will be approximately four months apart. Almost like twins. One coming through an angel named Tracey and one coming through my healed womb.

Both miracles.

Both gifts.

Both blessings.

Both dreams that have cost us too many tears to count.

Both worth every ounce of pain and heartache of the last almost seven-and-a-half years of waiting.

If ever there was a time that I've felt first-hand the reality of the Law of Compensation at work, it's now. As beautifully stated by Elder Wirthlin, just before his death,

"The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude."

The feelings of gratitude we now feel, as we shed tears of rejoicing, cannot be contained in words.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Getting the "phone call"

At some point during the darkness of the night, when you're not sure whether you're dreaming or you're awake, my phone rang. It was our caseworker letting us know that Tracey was on her way to the hospital. Her little boy would be joining us six weeks early! My heart raced... almost as fast as my thoughts.

The car seat... it's still sitting in its box downstairs. All the baby clothes still need to be washed. I should have put up the bassinet this weekend, like I had planned to. Okay, okay... don't worry about any of that stuff... just get yourself in the car and on your way down to meet her.

So, that's what we did. While Marc warmed up the car, I was getting together a bag of snacks for the trip. Apples, oranges, almonds, carrots, pretzels, bagels. I knew we were in a hurry, but I swear I was going at the slowest possible rate. My hands were fumbling everything and I was making a huge mess. My thoughts still racing. 

In my mind's eye I saw her. I couldn't tell if the look on her face reflected pain or nervousness or doubt, or some combination of those feelings. Was she having second thoughts? Is she going to be okay? Are we really ready for this? Can we take care of her baby like we've promised? My heart offered a silent prayer for Tracey. Please, God, give her comfort and strength, bless her for her faith and for this sacrifice.

It wasn't until I got in the car and all of these really strange things started happening that I realized I was actually dreaming. 


But, I woke up still in a bit of a panic. My heart still racing just a bit. There is so much still to do. And, my subconscious revealed a lot more fears and concerns than what I would admit to having. There is a certain aspect of adoption that appears very simple and easy, but when thrust into the middle of a real-life situation with real-life emotions of real-life people on both sides... my heart teeters between wanting to burst with joy and break with pain. 

I worry about obstacles that might interfere with placement. I worry about Tracey and how she'll handle the grief that follows placement. I worry about my abilities to measure up to the responsibilities of motherhood.

At the end of the day (or in the case of today, at the start of the day), what it finally comes down to is making a choice to lay all of my worries on the Lord. I have a plethora of experiences from which to draw confidence that in His perfect love and omniscience He knows how to take care of me and He knows how to take care of Tracey. In many ways I feel like He has walked with me through the last year of my life. When life felt its loneliest and its darkest, I always felt this abiding assurance that He was there. And, as long as I continue to seek Him out, I know He will always be there.

As crazy as my dream was last night, I'm glad to now have a list of things to get done. Hopefully when that real phone call comes we'll be a little more prepared.

Is there anything else I should add to my list?

**Oh, and by the way, thanks for all the love. I was overwhelmed to tears, again and again, reading all of your emails and comments and listening to your phone messages. I was reminded of the proverb - a shared joy is a double joy and a shared sorrow is half a sorrow. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blessings - Part 1

After writing that last post, I intended on writing a follow-up the very next day. I thought I would finally find the right words to share what happened next. But, I'm still struggling.

Have you ever experienced something that feels so special that, while your heart shouts for joy, shouting it from the rooftops seems inappropriate? Instead, you want to whisper it quietly into the ears of those who are closest to you, hoping that they'll feel the sacredness of what you're sharing.

Over the last couple of months, we've felt completely overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for the healing we've found in the last year. Choosing to go through every grueling part of the grieving process has turned out to bring a new beauty to life. And, in seeking to know and understand my role and purpose in this season of my life, I've found answers come in the form of blessings that I never expected, that I never could have dreamed of.

Here's me whispering in your ear...

On the last day of August, we received the first bit of unexpected and joyful news. Even though we hadn't officially gotten back into adoption, we received an email from Tracey, a birth mother, letting us know she had chosen us to adopt her baby boy. The experiences that led her to find us have felt so clearly Divinely guided. From our first contact with Tracey, we have felt the Lord's hand in this blessing, this miracle. And, I can't help but wonder what role certain angels have played in helping this all to happen.

It is difficult to express the love and admiration we feel for Tracey. I have struggled a bit with the contrast of emotions that come with this approaching adoption. While we feel joy at the blessing this little boy will be in our family, we know the choice for Tracey is not an easy one. It pains me to think of the grieving process she faces. We know something of pain and heartache from losing a child and it hurts to think that she might be experiencing some of that. That's why I'm so relieved with our mutual feelings about having a very open adoption. I hope that through the years we can somehow find a way to adequately express our love and gratitude to Tracey.

As expressed in this article about adoption, our greatest hope for Tracey is that she will find "that from the ashes of [her] deepest pain, [God] has made something beautiful."

I find great comfort in my firm assurance that she and I share the same loving and merciful Father who sees the full picture of our lives and knows the details of every feeling, every unspoken yearning, every hurt and every fear. Because of His perfect love, He knows how and when to send the right joys and pains that will teach us lessons of life that will help us become who He intends for us to become. He clearly works in mysterious ways... and I'm constantly amazed at how perfectly those mysteries are resolved.

Baby Boy is expected to arrive January 11th.

(That's only seven weeks away!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The process takes time

Within weeks of losing our twins, we were bombarded with all kinds of well-intended advice, some from perfect strangers.

Jump back into adoption.

Become foster parents.

Go back to school.

Find a new fertility specialist.

We weighed all of these options and then some more. Ultimately we knew we just needed time. Time to grieve. Time to heal. Our broken hearts wouldn't heal properly by simply rushing into the next phase. We knew that. And, we felt confident that the right answer would come at the right time.

Plus, to be completely honest, for the first time I was questioning the one possibility I had always been too afraid to consider.

Maybe I wasn't meant to be a mother (in this life). 

That was around the time when my prayers changed. My pleadings became drastically different.


In the early springtime, I started reading the biography of Ardeth G. Kapp, an amazing woman who has lived a life of joy and satisfaction while still yearning for the blessing of motherhood. 

I've been struck by her faith, encouraged by her perspective, and inspired by her example. This part especially sunk deep into my heart, and swirled around for days and days of quiet pondering:

"One night, as my husband and I were reaching for that 'kindly light' to lead us 'amid the encircling gloom,' we read a statement from President David O. McKay: 'The noblest aim in life is to strive... to make other lives... happier.' "

"Peace of mind comes from keeping an eternal perspective. Motherhood, I believe, is a foreordained mission. For some, this glorious blessing may be delayed, but it will not be denied. Motherhood is an eternal reality for all women who live righteously and accept the teachings of the gospel."


Sometime in May we went to see this awesome movie. It hit so close to home, especially those first ten minutes. I felt like we were watching our-animated-selves on screen. As we walked home from the theater afterward, we made silent promises to ourselves and each other that we wouldn't put off our fulfilling our dreams and living our adventures (with or without kids in tow). 

Within weeks we bought our tickets to Italy, our own Paradise Falls, a dream that had been put on hold for far too long already.


One evening in mid-August, after returning home from a particularly powerful Church meeting, with messages that seemed to come directly from heaven straight to my heart, I voiced some feelings to Marc that I never imagined I'd ever experience.

If this is it... if this is the way our life is meant to be lived - just the two of us - I'm really okay with that. We have a happy marriage, we enjoy life together, we really have it pretty good... how can I be disappointed with what I've already been given?


I don't know if it was necessary for me to get to this point of acceptance - not that acceptance means losing the desire to have children - but, taking the time to go through this process has been good for me. In daring to ask some hard questions, I've found a new measure of peace and healing. I'm learning to completely entrust my desires and my dreams into the hands of God, seeking to know and accept His plan for my life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Day in Rome

Our last day in Italy was spent in Rome.

Knowing it would be impossible to see everything we wanted to see in Rome, we decided on a walking route that took us to just a few of the highlights of Rome. It ended up being a long loop, but it was nice to enjoy walking through some of the side streets of Rome that weren't completely bombarded with tourists.

While in Rome, I decided that I hate being a tourist. In general, they can be a rather annoying group of people. 

La Piazza Spagna

La Fontana Trevi

Throwing our coins in, ensuring a return to Italy.

Marc caught this guy taking a photo from his hotel window of the Trevi Fountain. I think he had a much better view than us.

Just another random photo.

The Pantheon

Pantheon column detail.

Back-side of the Pantheon

We stopped to enjoy some gelato on the steps of an old building, and captured some Italians going about their daily activities.

Some young artists, sketching a tower in front of the building.

A guy on his bike.

 A conversation that looks very interesting.

A stylish Italian woman.

A large Museum - I think.

The ruins of Rome.

The Colosseum.

And, a chalk artist on a sidewalk in Rome. Pretty amazing stuff.

And, that is a re-cap of our trip to Italy. There are a few stories that I haven't recounted yet... still deciding how much I want to embarrass myself. 

Food, Food, and More Food

We ate so good while we were in Italy! I'm still trying to figure out how I came home having lost weight... not that I would have cared if I had gained, because it would have all been worth it! That is my one rule while in Italy - Eat Everything Without Regrets. Actually, that's pretty much my motto for any kind of eating in any place. I love good food, I love eating good food, I love running so that I can eat all I want of good food. And, we had far more than our share of REALLY good food in our two weeks in Italy. Below are just a few pictures of some of the things we ate.

At the wedding, we started off taking pictures of the first few courses, but we got distracted by eating so much that we didn't get photos of every course.

This is the second course of appetizers. And eggplant something, prosciutto crudo, and a few other little things.

This was the first round of the primo piatto, which was a risotto with chicken. I love risotto!

This was the second round of the primo piatto - Ravioli.

The bottled water - natural and frizzante - and the wine.

This was one of the two or three meat dishes, with some sauteed vegetables on top. 



Lunch Feast out in the country

So, the day after the wedding, Debora's family all gathered out at their country home to celebrate with a huge lunch together. I took some serious notes while learning from Debora's mom how to make her version of Italian pizza crust and Scaccia (which is Sicily's way of saying Foccaccia). I haven't tried either recipe yet, but I'm so excited to.

Salvatore (Debora's dad) and cousin Simone working the BBQ and the huge wood-burning oven.

The final outcome... is your mouth watering?

The Wedding

We quickly discovered that there are some different traditions that come with an Italian wedding that were really fun (and crazy!) to be a part of. 

"Fare il letto" - Making the bed - This tradition is done a week before the wedding and involves all the women in the family and girlfriends meeting at the soon-to-be-home of the bride and groom, and they all participate in helping to make the bed. With incredibly meticulous detail, they put on the nicest sheets, pinning them to make the most perfect folds and corners, and then use a fancy cover that is often hand-sewn or an heirloom in the family. The bride and groom won't actually ever sleep in the bed when it's made in this way... this tradition is purely for show for the following tradition. (As a side note, the scripture written on the wall above the bed was hand-painted by Marc, when the girl who was supposed to do it flaked out at the last minute.)

As soon as the bed has been made, guests start arriving every day up until the day before the wedding. They come with their gifts for the couple, which are then opened and displayed for everyone to see. Besides leaving their gifts, the guests take a tour of the home, admire the beautiful bed, look at what other gifts have been given, and have some light refreshments provided by the bride and groom. 

This is Vincenzo, sitting in his new chair, relaxing in between greeting guests.

The day before the wedding the bride and groom are not allowed to see each other, so they each spend the day with their families and making last minute preparations for the big day.

On the morning of the wedding many of Debora's family and close friends gathered at her parents' home, to get the first glimpse of her in her wedding dress. This is me, anxiously watching for her descent. (Strangely enough we didn't get a photo of Debora coming down the stairs.)

Then, we all made our way to the beautiful old building in central Noto where Debora and Vincenzo were married. Since I was one of six bridesmaids,

I was chauffeured with two other bridesmaids in the car directly behind the bride. Luckily we were in our places just in time for her arrival.

Here we have Debora and Vincenzo (post bubbles and rice-throwing), as very new newlyweds.

Following the ceremony, the wedding party and guests all traveled to Ispica to the Prince's villa for a huge lunch. There was so much food! I think there were 9 courses. I kept thinking we had reached the end and then they would bring something else out. It was amazing. The lunch went from 1:30-5:30pm. It was delicious food, but not nearly as good as Debora's mom's cooking.

They had a live singer at the wedding, doing all the music during the lunch. At one point he walked around the entire room of 150 guests and played his saxophone. I'm normally not a big fan of the saxophone, but I was definitely enamored by this particular song.  

Right before serving the final course of the afternoon (evening), the Head Chef came out along with all the waiters. It was quite the spectacular moment with the platters on fire and the saxophone serenade still going on in the background. 

Debora's father, Salvatore, dedicated this song to her - Ridera' (She will Laugh). Tears were streaming down my face while watching them dance, as I remembered my own transition from daddy's little girl to Marc's lucky wife. (I think there's part of me that will always be daddy's little girl, though.) It was such a sweet exchange between father and daughter. 

And, one last photo of the bride with her bridesmaids.

And, to top off the night, for part of the drive home Marc got to drive an Alfa Romeo. It was clearly his elevated excitement that made the car stall. The couple we drove home with, Genaro and Laura, stayed in the family's country house with us that night. We played some games and had fun hanging out with them that night.

An incredible sunset at the end of a very long day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sicily at its Best - outside Noto

A week before the wedding, Debora and Vincenzo had to make some final preparations for the wedding party/lunch that would follow the actual ceremony. We didn't want to miss the chance to see the Prince's villa, where they'd be having their celebration, in advance. This little jewel of a place is found in a little town called Ispica. Apparently the Prince lives here during the summer and then rents it out for weddings and other big events during the rest of the year. 

Marc and I wandered around the outer courtyard while the bride and groom went about their official business inside. As you can see, it was a beautiful evening in a beautiful setting.

On another day, we took a day trip down to the very southern tip of Sicily, where apparently on a clear day you can see the northern tip of Africa, namely Tunisia. The following photos are from a little town called Portopalo. 

They told us that this little lookout is a popular place for teen lovers to come make-out... catching them in the act seemed fitting.

Proof that I got in the Mediterranean Sea. The water, for mid-October, was surprisingly warm. The sand was so soft and loose... my feet just naturally sunk right in. It wasn't hard and compacted like our sand in Northern California.

The following photos are taken on the same day we were in Portopalo, but these are from another little town along the southern coast called Marzamemi. We were totally mesmerized by the pure ancientness that still stands in this historic little fishing town.

On our last full day in Sicily, we made a day trip to Syracuse, which is famous for it's Greek architecture that dates back hundreds and hundreds of years. This particular Duomo was once a Greek Temple that was bought by the Catholic Church at some point and re-constructed to look more like a duomo. Along the side of the outer walls, you can see where the columns are and how they just filled in walls in between the columns. Really, quite amazing. I love that they didn't tear down the original structure and start over, but that they just added to what was already there. 

Stopping for a little chat, before heading to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. I was surprised at how much they loved Chinese food. I wasn't such a big fan, especially after daily meals for two weeks made by a real Italian Mama cook.