Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Weekend

We had a great Easter weekend. Saturday morning, Fiona and I visited with a few of my high school friends, and Fiona got to play with a other kids, including Isla who is 10 months old. In the afternoon, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and all of us (Chris, Fiona, Greta and I) went for a 5 mile run around Lake Harriet. This morning, we went to early service at church. The church we've been attending for over a year just moved out of a temporary facility in an elementary school to a newly renovated church building, and this was only the third service in the new building. Then we went out to lunch with my parents at Salut in Edina. I didn't get a picture of Fiona in her beautiful Easter dress because she had an unfortunate incident while jumping in her Jenny Jump-Up. Luckily, we had a really cute back-up thanks to her Aunt Bonny. (In the first picture, Fiona is wearing an outfit from her Aunt Allison, too. What a lucky little girl!)

Fiona and Isla
 After the run - needless to say, Greta got a bath.

Easter family time

Here are a couple pictures from last weekend when Chris' parents, Bobbi and Chris' Uncle Steve were in Minnesota. We celebrated Bobbi's birthday at our house with cake.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fiona - 8 Months

In the last two months since I posted about Fiona, she seems to have matured a lot. We've packed away her swing, rock-n-play (titled lounger) and Bumbo. She sits upright by herself and is making strides towards crawling by pushing up on her arms and legs to rock back and forth. She still isn't hot on solid foods, but is eating more of them, especially if Chris and I break off little pieces of our own meals and feed them to her (tiny pieces of bread, fruit, well-cooked pasta, etc.). Fiona had her first ear infection last week, likely catching it from her friends at daycare where colds are circulating. I'm giving her two doses of amoxicillin daily, and the smell of that thick, pink medicine takes me back to my own childhood. She still loves, loves, loves Greta. If Fiona is fussy, I can call Greta over to her and almost every time, Fiona will stop mid-cry and start laughing. When I bring Fiona out of her room in the morning, Greta is usually sprawled on the landing on the stairs, and before Fiona can see Greta, I say to her, "Where's Greta? Do you see Greta?" Fiona will start kicking her legs, craning her neck and making excited sounds. We've set up a pack-n-play in our living room, and Fiona loves to sit in it surrounded by her toys, at least long enough for us to make dinner.

Here are a few recent pictures:

Fiona and the Bullfighter
Pushing up
Happy with her toys

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Italy & Spain

Chris and I tacked a week in Spain onto a March work trip to Rome. Chris' parents and younger sister Katie met us in Madrid for the Spain portion of the trip. We've flown with Fiona three times now (once to Indiana and twice to Massachusetts), but flying overseas with a time change was new territory for us in this post-baby landscape. We flew from MSP to Rome via Amsterdam and were able to obtain bulkhead seats with a wall bassinet for the night flight from MSP to Amsterdam. Fiona traveled very well, even though she hated the bassinet and instead slept a few hours in a vacant seat next to us (we lucked out with a half-full flight so we had all four seats across the bulkhead open to us). I bought a couple new toys for Fiona, but she relied heavily upon her recent obsession with pacifiers to self-soothe. We also stuffed a full-size pillow into one of our backpacks which allowed her to sleep easier in our arms or on the seat. Fiona stayed up really late our first night in Rome due to the time change, and Chris bore the brunt of hanging out with her since I had to be at work the next morning.
While I worked at a hospital in Rome for two days, Chris pushed Fiona in the stroller or carried her in a front-pack through the city streets and toured the Vatican Museum (Sistine Chapel was closed for the pending papal conclave). After work on Thursday, we walked to the Parthenon and then Friday, we dashed over to the Colesseum. Chris and I visited Rome on our honeymoon almost nine years ago, and the food and people were just as wonderful as we remembered. When we would push Fiona in her stroller on the cobblestone or rough brick, she would exclaim, "aaahhhhhhh" repeatedly to hear her voice change on the bumpiness. The Italians LOVED Fiona. Men and women would stop and coo, calling her, "Montebella" and other endearments. Chris told me that when he walked around with Fiona while I was at work, beautiful women would exclaim over Fiona and ask where her mother was. Chris told me he would smile sadly and reply, "She's dead."

Sleeping on the flight

Jet lag

Fiona at the Vatican


Looking for a view


Saturday morning, we flew from Rome to Madrid where Chris' parents and sister Katie had already arrived a couple hours prior from Indiana. We stayed in a hotel close to the main city square, Puerta del Sol. First order of business was to get some jamon, manchego cheese and red wine. We walked around a bit then crashed early. Over the next couple days, we walked all over the city, did a little shopping and toured the Prado museum and Reina Sofia (modern art with Picasso's Guernica)


One day we took a 45 minute high speed train ride from Madrid to Toledo. We only had a couple hours in the city, but the narrow city streets tucked between high brick buildings were beautiful to wander along. We finally found a city view from a church.


We rented a van in Madrid and stopped in Valencia to break up the long drive to Barcelona. Both Chris and his dad had obtained international driver's licenses before we left. The roads led along the coast in some areas. I think the landscape reminded me most of the hilly ocean views in California with vineyards here and there planted in reddish soil. The weather was chilly, but we still stopped at the beach for Fiona to stick her toes in the sand and water for the first time.

We broke apart our afternoon in Valencia. It so happened that our hotel was the staging area for bullfighters participating in the arena that afternoon. Mike has a picture of a bullfighter holding Fiona, which I need to get off his camera. Chris decided to attend the bull fight while the rest of shopped. He came back from the fight very disturbed and said he couldn't believe a civilized country still allowed such a barbaric show because the poor bull is tortured and then suffers a violent, painful death. I don't want to write about it anymore because it makes me upset.

Tapas: Like father, like daughter
Street lights hung for a local celebration

I've posted about visiting Barcelona in the past (click here for more picture of architecture and of our trip three years ago). This trip we again stayed in the Gothic quarter, close to shopping and within walking distance of most of the sites. We visited Sagrada Familia again but didn't go inside or into the spires. We also walked past the Gaudi house again, strolled through Park Guell and viewed the city from a peak. I added a picture below of Chris carrying Fiona in her stroller. I am lucky to be married to such a strong man because Chris was able to lift the stroller with Fiona inside (she weighs over 18 pounds) and carry her up and down stairs at all of the stops on the trip. It would have made touring the cities so much for difficult if Chris wasn't able to carry the stroller because few elevators are available. Chris says he "practices" lifting weights at the gym for these situations. 

We had an incredible time on the trip and were so thankful for Mike, Rhonda and Katie's presence. Fiona certainly added a level of difficulty to traveling, but it was more than cancelled out by the joy she brings us.