Life in Italy,  Traveling with Children

Summer in Sight

It was a balmy blistering 83 degrees here in Rome yesterday, and we celebrated by cranking the AC for the first time and bathing naked on the terrace. Well, half of us did. Buns and bubbles everywhere. Good thing we have zero across-the-balcony neighbors home during the day, and are sufficiently shielded from the multitude of passersby below.

Also featured: clear, 100% natural lemonade popsicles (I love you, Italy) and dozens of still-parka-clad natives streaming by on the side walk. (I will never understand you, Italy.)

I get that it gets really, really hot here. And that, therefore, 83 degrees and 95% humidity is nothing in the face of the looming spectre of Ferre Augosto and the days of 100 + on both thermometer and barometer. But for the love of modern cooling systems, a fur-hooded parka? When the mercury has crossed the 80 degree mark. That’s stupid crazy.

It’s cognitive dissonance at its finest, here, because as the tourists begin stripping down, (and I include myself in this illustrious subgroup) the Romans keep their parkas on, their stockings up, and their cardigans knotted firmly about the shoulders, just in case a bracing breeze should stir the languid springtime air. And I begin to wonder, am I drunk? Is it actually much cooler than I feel? Are my kids going to get sick at the park in shorts and polos, if from nothing else than the icy stares of disapproving Nonas?

Unrelated photo of a baby with a mustache.

83 degrees. And I’m wondering if I should have thrown a couple sweat shirts in the diaper bag. Italy, you’re getting under my skin.

Here are a couple things I am looking forward to, despite the hellish temperatures that loom:

A trip home to the good ‘ol US of A in June/July. Weee! A week in Colorado, an long wedding weekend in Florida, A long diplomatic layover in the Italian consulate in Chicago (plus a side of South Bend, Indiana, just for good measure) and a nice little Independence Day fete in our nation’s capitol. So yeah…that’s 2 international flights and 3 domestic crammed into 3 weeks. Should be…something.

Welcome to our row, gentlemen. Can we buy you a drink or 5 to dull the sound of shrieking? (We really do this, when necessary. It’s part of making sure people don’t decide never to have children of their own after meeting yours.)

A few days on the Amalfi Coast. A friend from Denver is taking a belated honeymoon to Italy and wanted to house swap with us while they come into Rome and do piligrim-y things and we flit down to Amalfi and hang out on the beach. Um, yes please.

Dave’s little sister coming to spend part of July with us! Dave’s sister Claire is a brilliant and talented doctor who is currently working in Cambodia where she specializes in tropical diseases. (My in-laws are very understanding parents.) She’s also worked as an ER doc in Detroit and NYC, so if that isn’t a diverse resume, I don’t know what is. She has like 3 Master’s Degrees, too, and is completely adorable. So if you know of any single Catholic dudes who are semi-outdoorsy and multilingual with IQ’s pushing 160 and a love for Third World living…(I am not positive Cambodia is Third World, but it’s hot as hell there, and that’s sufficient to qualify in my book.)

Dave’s best friend (and best man) coming for a long weekend in May just weeks after his ordination to the priesthood. It really doesn’t get any cooler than this. Keeping our finger’s crossed for a private mass in St. Peter’s. Or maybe an invitation from Papa to join his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta? Hey, a girl can dream.

World Youth Day. Dave was going to go, on the Papal flight no less, but he is sending one of his writers on assignment instead. And I am so, so glad.

Independent and semi-adventurous that I am, single parenting in the heat of Roman summer sans swimming pool does not strike my maternal fancy. And it will be super fun to watch it all on tv, anyway. Promise.

Hey guys.

Sandals. Ladies, I need help! Shana posted some of her picks for flats on ANMJ this morning, and a couple of them look like they could be sufficient for high-mileage trekking, but I think I’d sooner die than own a pair of Birkenstocks. I just…no.

So does anyone recommend a cute, comfortable, and durable walking sandal that doesn’t scream aging feminist or spunky/outdoorsy sophomore? Also, TOMS…talk to me about TOMS. Can you walk in them for miles and miles? Do they hold up like Sperry’s do? Or are they just too insubstantial? I have a lot of shopping planned for our USA visit…

What about you all? What are your summer plans? Is it even ever going to be summer where you live? I know my temperature bemoaning is probably offensive to your frostbitten ears (I’m looking at you, Denver and Canada) and so I offer my condolences. But know that I would trade temps with you in a heartbeat. Love, the sweatiest woman in all the world.


  • Grace Marie

    I have a pair of saltwaters and love them — SUPER comfy — but my treks include trips to Costco — so.

    And I totally bought a pair of Birkenstocks in Austria and wore them with a skirt WITH SOCKS — oh, how I wish I were joking.

  • Deb

    Chacos. Sole of a hiker but breathability (and cuteness) of a sandal. Definitely granola but a lifetime guarantee of support and new soles when the old ones wear through. Too sophomore?

  • Charlotte (WaltzingM)

    Oh, yes, we have summer here in Texas. Your plans sound amazing and terrifying all at the same time. I am so not as adventurous as you. Regarding single Catholic dudes… ask Fr. Jerabek about his good friend Gavin (my husband’s brother). I already snatched up the cutest boy in the family, but Gavin’s definitely the more outdoorsy one and available!

  • Dwija {House Unseen}

    There is so much incredible packed into this one post that I literally do not know where to begin.

    So I will just skip it all and tell you that I have some “mush” flip flops from Teva that are the bombdiggity. I’m sure their ugly sandals are super comfy, too.

  • Amelia

    I also have a pair of those “mush” flip flops from Teva absolutely love them…so comfortable and I think they are cute (but I’m not stylish, so what do I know?)

  • Sarah Hahn

    TOMS are adorable and do not hold up. They work decently for my girly toddlers but nothing else. My sisters will all attest to this as well. Sperrys hold up significantly longer. Have you seen their latest style out with the netting on the side for extra/cooler breathing room? I was given a pair for my birthday as they are awesome. As for sandals- they hold up really well as I’ve had pairs since I was a kiddo, but thy have no tread (no hiking at all), and they do make your feet look wider then normal I feel

  • Julie

    First, I love that you buy drinks for fellow airline passengers. Love! I might just have to resort to that on our next flight to frosty Minnesota with my own two toddler boys.

    Second, check out Clarks for sandals. Clarks can be expensive, but they are soooo comfortable and so very well made. After a walking-intensive job followed by swollen pregnancy feet and wider post-partum feet, I’ve hardly bought anything but Clarks for several years now. Many of their styles approach the “aging feminist”, but if you look hard enough, you can find some really cute ones too.

  • Unknown

    I prefer Teva in a leather strappy sandal. I’ve had mine for nearly five years and two pregnancies now and they’re still holding strong. There’s not quite enough cushion in them for walking long distances when you’re preggo but for all other occasions, they’re soft, lightweight, and easy on the knees.

  • Liz

    i wore a pair of Merrell’s all around Europe and a pair of Sperry’s. I wore TOMs to Africa and was super comfortable, I even wore them on a light hike through the jungle.

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