Monday, June 25, 2012

Bella is turning 10

Two things have become apparent in the past couple of days: there are more of you than I thought still checking back here for regular updates and well, I have been too busy to update you since early May. I apologize. I have been thinking about writing about all the fun things we have been up to in recent weeks but I think the most important news at this point is the short email from Isabella's neurologist a couple of days ago "all stable since the last MRI" This is great news and gives us the green light to proceed with our summer plans at home and abroad.

We are all off to Italy very soon to enjoy some good food, spend time with family and friends and generally switch off. Each night we all say " non vedo l'ora di...." I can't wait until...." the rest of the sentence is finished in various ways from seeing various people, eating nonna's stuffed tomatoes but the best is Gregorio's "...until, I close the door on the taxi and you say have you got your passport and wallet?" We have a few things on the itinerary (inevitably) including a day trip to Pompeii (Isabella's longstanding request), couple of days with friends at a quintessential Tuscan villa, onto the Adriatic coast to see more dear friends and finally on to the alps to breathe the fresh mountain air and enjoy some lovely walks with British and Italian family. Gregorio will then return to Washington to supervise our bathroom remodeling project (the house is upside down as a result) while the girls and I will continue to England via Mallorca. It's hard having family all over the place, but it does bring certain benefits. The other great thing is the flexibility of my job. Have laptop and childcare (in the form of grandparents and friends) will travel! The challenge is not packing for our extended trip but the fact that the girls and I need clothes for hiking, beaching and then whatever England will throw at us! Oh and I will have some work related meetings too.

The past month has seen us, like many of you, celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. We sat down and watched all  parts of the wonderful celebration, eating English food. My mother's chicken coronation recipe is still a classic. Made me very proud to be British - great show chaps! The girls enjoyed it too, though Matilde is still confused by who all the royals are, other than the elegant Kate. The school also had a jubilee big picnic party. Take a look and see if you can spot this patriotic gal featured on the local news!

During the half term break we had a good couple of days in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, where the girls caught fish, crab and tortoises. Squeals of excitement and joy could be heard for miles around. Matilde had a fun 8th birthday party about a month ago that included a visit to the nail salon with all the girls from her class. She danced proudly in the end of year spring ballet performance and they both got great reports from their end of year Italian classes. Meanwhile Isabella has graduated to the next choir group, gained her grade 1 piano exam (despite the rather crusty old English examiner who was not particularly welcoming) and we are awaiting her grade 2 theory result. On Wednesday she will be graduating to a red belt in tae kwon do. Watch out! And the extra curricular activity they have most enjoyed in the past couple of months: mandarin! They dance around the house singing songs and counting to 10 in mandarin. It is lovely to listen to, of course Gregorio and I haven't got a clue what they are saying. Last Friday Isabella had a joint birthday party with a friend. They splashed about at the pool and had lots of fun and then we had the most dramatic drive home in a spectacular thunderstorm. She's taking in tiramisu to school tomorrow to continue the celebrations, a week long celebration. And Thursday is her actual birthday, our baby will be 10. Astounding.

On Thursday we will be at Children's to get the official report from the doctors following last week's MRI. Isabella is pleased to see them and we can relax having already received the good news that all is still stable. We live for another three months.

And to round off all these happy events and good news, today we received an enormous box of Isabella's book "A Weed in My Head" After two years, the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation has invested in publishing the book. We hope that it will be read and enjoyed by families going through a similar journey to Isabella. The books will be available at the foundation's upcoming family retreat day. Sadly we shall miss it, but this evening Isabella and I had fun signing a load of copies.

Hope you are all well and look forward to catching up with some of you soon.
Lots of Love,
Emma and family xxx

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