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September 5, 2012 / Francesca

First day back at Montessori

With apologies first for all the things I haven’t blogged about yet (in no particular order, dance recital, Little League World Series, Beaver Island, Jack and Jeff’s trip to Harvard, Maggie’s new adventures on a mini company line, Ella’s Bruce Workshop, middle school baseball, and Lincoln Middle School itself – phew!), here is a quick photo of the girls on our way out of the house this morning. I heard Ella’s alarm go off at 6 AM and she and Maggie were up and running! Outfits had been previously picked out, but there was much fuss over hair. Maggie then decided to go back to bed until 7 AM! Everyone was happy and cheerful the whole morning and I am now sitting in the parking lot with the dogs and surprised about how out of sorts I feel!


June 10, 2012 / Francesca

New haircuts!




June 6, 2012 / Francesca

Ella is turning 10

And this is what she wants…..


June 3, 2012 / Francesca

Another win for the u11 Edwarsville Tigers

Jack’s team won their tournament over Memorial Day weekend, in pool play with 12 teams total, and most of them u12, a year older than Jack’s team. Jack played the entire tourney at first place, and enjoyed every single tag out he made. 🙂 He also hit well the whole tournament, as did the rest of his team. I think the reason they are such a good team this year is that they are great in the fields, they are all hitting well lately, and the pitching, although we don’t have a “star” pitcher, is solid, because just about half the team or more can pitch well.

Two weeks ago in Jacksonville the boys also took first place! I will attach two photos, even though it will be hard to tell them apart – they wore orange jerseys to both tournaments!





May 10, 2012 / Francesca

Nonna’s Nashville Birthday Bonanaza


Thanks to Auntie Bee, the girls and I are just finishing up a few days in the wonderful city of Nashville, TN! Gabriela suggested we take Nonna here to celebrate her birthday by doing a Story Corps interview. Since Ella is (almost) 10, she was old enough to participate as well.

We stayed at the very hip and swanky, but still incredibly friendly Hutton Hotel. This place is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. Ever. Staff is ridiculously kind and helpful, environmental concerns are at the forefront of everything they do, and the food – yes, even room service – is a foodie’s dream. Absolutely delicious. Best fries I’ve ever had, and the girls agree!

We slept in this morning, enjoyed a delicious late breakfast in the lobby, then headed to the Nashville Farmers’ Market, where Storycorps has set up a refurbished Airstream. Very cool. Part office, part recording studio. Nonna and Ella interviewed each other, with the help of a facilitator, while Bee and I took the girls across the street to Nashville’s own “mall” (think Washington DC, not Oak Brook or West County), complete with war memorials, lots of open grass to run on, and lots of hills to climb. Chamber of Commerce weather only made it all the more wonderful.

After the interview, we headed to The Hermitage Hotel for a fancy lunch. Food not great but the service and ambiance more than made up for it. One of Gabriela’s college friends from Wellesley joined us; they had not seen each other once since college!! After lunch we walked to get some delicious ice cream at Mike’s Ice Cream on famous Broadway Street; it was well worth the walk! Ironically enough, after our ice cream, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to catch up with my own friend from college, Rachel Roberts Stearns, who has been living here for at least 10 years, I think. Loved that!

A trip through Vanderbilt’s campus and into their (Barnes and Noble) bookstore completed the day, and the girls selected lots of art supplies for the evening and the car ride home tomorrow. After seeing Nonna and Auntie Bee off to the airport, girls and I settled in for American Idol (I love Phillip Phillips), arts and crafts, and, yes, more room service. I sense the need for a detox cleanse when I get back to Edwardsville!

Girls asleep now and I am reflecting on the day. So happy to spend some time with my mom and sister, and glad the interview was such a wonderful experience for my mom and Ella. But perhaps what made the trip even more worth it was the following conversation I had with Ella, immediately after the interview when just she and I had gone to the rest room.

F: ” So, how was it?”
E: “Great!”
F: “So what did you talk about?”
E: “Oh, I don’t know. Lots of stuff. Some stuff about you.”
F (surprised): “Really?”
E: “Yep. About how much I love you.”

And THAT made it an absolutely WONDERFUL day.













May 9, 2012 / Francesca

Ella and Maggie being rock stars

Ella and maggie are eating breakfast in Nashville TN with rockstar stickers on there head!!!!!!!


May 6, 2012 / Francesca

ShowStoppers Dance Competition

Ella and I are spending the weekend at the St Charles Convention Center for a dance competition. Ella’s group took first place last night for their dance, Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friends. They looked great; all the cleanings and rehearsals are really paying off. Plus, the girls look less nervous on stage, so their smiles are more genuine. That’s most of her group in the photo above with their first place trophy!

The other group from Studio E that danced yesterday also took first place, so it was a good day all around. Today is a slow day because she won’t dance again until 7 o’clock this evening. That dance is their company production piece, called Ladies of the 80s. After they dance, we won’t hear about results until 9:30, so it will be quite a late night for us!


Ella with her friend Lillie.


Ella with (from left) a younger sister, her friend Hanna, and her friend Allie.


The woman in the middle of the scrub is Miss Debbi, the studio director. She’s great.


Here’s a shot of the whole studio just after they finished their production.