Stella Wren’s Birth Story

Baby girl finally made it into the world!

Stella Wren Flammia was born on June 22, 2015 at 2:37am.  I can’t believe she is finally here and we are now a family of three.  I think it was difficult for me to imagine what having a baby would be like on a day to day basis and it has certainly been a fun adventure so far trying to figure out a routine, all the baby cues she tries to give us and our strengths and weaknesses as a family…. [Read More]

Getting Ready for Baby – 30 Weeks

"Well Nested" crib bedding

I have reached the 30 week point of my pregnancy (7.5 months for you non-baby speakers out there) and that means I’m officially 3/4 of the way there.  Or, at least theoretically. :)  30 weeks means that I’m now seeing my OB every two weeks, so I’m gearing up to leave Seattle and move back to Kentucky for the remainder of my pregnancy.  30 weeks also means that baby girl is almost 3 whole pounds and the size of a large cabbage.  She is routinely opening and closing her eyes, has distinct sleep and wake cycles and some scientists believe she can even dream at this point.  How awesome is that?  The baby’s lungs and digestive tract are almost completely developed, although her sight is still pretty rudimentary.  I can feel her punching and kicking, flipping and flopping every day, which is an amazing feeling…. [Read More]

O Canada! Venturing to Victoria…..

View of the Empress Hotel

I have been pretty bad about blogging lately, but I’m trying to catch up.  A couple weeks ago, my mom, dad and I drove from Seattle, around the Puget Sound and back up the Olympic Peninsula to Port Angeles, where we caught the ferry to Victoria, Canada.  I know this is going to be strange, especially considering our extensive travel in Europe, but this was my first time visiting our northerly neighbors.  So far, I can say that Canada did not disappoint and Victoria is absolutely beautiful.  Some people say it’s a sleepy town, with its quaint tea houses and the small bay based on sailing and sea-plane tourism, but I found it charming.  Granted, I’m not sure I would want to actually live there, considering you are rather isolated.  The only way off the island are ferries to mainland Washington or Canada or a small airstrip at the north end of Vancouver Island…. [Read More]

Springtime in Seattle

Downtown Seattle from Kerry Park

I feel fortunate to live in a place with such beauty.  Upon moving to Seattle in late winter, I was really eager to get out and begin exploring my adopted city, especially when the weather started changing for the better.  I started first in my neighborhood – West Seattle / Alki Beach – and then moved on to other famous landmarks and neighborhoods – Pike Place Market / Seattle waterfront, Kerry Park / Queen Anne, Green Lake and the U district to name a few.  Of course I chronicled my findings (although mostly with my iPhone, so the photos aren’t of highest quality) and I figured now is as good as time as ever to showcase my new home.  I feel like I’m finally getting my bearings straight and can navigate about 70% of the time without directions, so at least I’m heading in the right direction…. [Read More]

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

This was my favorite grouping of colors.

Two years ago, Bobby and I traveled to The Netherlands specifically to see the famed tulip festival.  Unfortunately, we were a little trigger happy and showed up a bit too early to see any blooms.  Today, we made up for our disappointment by visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival near Mount Vernon, Washington, about an hour and 20 minutes north of Seattle.  While I am sad that Bobby couldn’t join me, both of my parents are in town and we thoroughly enjoyed the tulips together…. [Read More]

Back to Blogging – A Four Month Recap!

Street view - yes, it even has a picket fence!

Since moving back to the States in late September, I’ve been taking a blogging hiatus.  It wasn’t really planned, but I think I was traveled out and just decided to spend time with family and friends for a while.  After three and a half years of living in Italy, we were really excited to be able to catch up with everyone – from Seattle, to Texas, to Kentucky, to Arizona and beyond.  It’s been a fun ride and while Bobby prepares to leave again (for Korea this time!), I figured I’d look back at our last few months in the motherland…. [Read More]

Southern Italy Road Trip

Hotel beach in Castellabate

Today marks our three month mark from leaving Italy.  I cannot believe it!  Last week, Bobby and I took our final road trip to southern Italy, where we visited Bobby’s sister Eva and caught some rays on the beach.  Okay, to be honest, it was several beaches.  :)  Even though the southern regions of Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, and Campania aren’t the most visited in Italy, they are certainly among our favorites.  The people are open, generous, and (generally) love getting to know us, a welcome change to some of the colder responses we’ve received in the north.

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Iberian Road Trip – Segovia and Valencia

The Alcázar from below

We made some ground through Spain on our last few days.  We traveled to Segovia, yet another UNESCO World Heritage site, which has a towering Roman aqueduct.  After a quick stop in Madrid to drop off the rental car, we took the train to our last stop, Valencia, home to Santiago Calatrava’s City of Art and Sciences complex.  Oh, and there was some paella in the mix, some really good paella.

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Iberian Road Trip – Salamanca and Ávila

Roman bridge, Salamanca

Back in 2002, while Bobby was studying at the USAFA, he was selected for a summer immersion language program (also through the Olmsted Foundation, the same foundation that has given us these three wonderful years in Europe).  It was his first visit to Europe and he quickly fell in love.  In fact, when we started the Olmsted Scholar application process a few years ago, Salamanca was on the top of his list for places to live.  Although we are extremely happy with the way things worked out here in Firenze, it is easy for me to see why he has always loved the Spanish culture and in particular, the city of Salamanca.  After a four hour drive in very wet and windy conditions, we arrived in the popular university town.

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Iberian Road Trip – Guimarães, Pontevedra and Santiago de Compostela

Beautiful sunset from our hotel

Our Iberian road trip continued north, first stopping in Guimarães, Portugal before heading into Spain, where we visited both Pontevedra and Santiago de Compostela.  With spring comes rain and it seems we couldn’t escape it on this trip.  Luckily, we did have a few sun breaks, so we tried to make the best of it.

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