* August 16 marked our one-year-in-Italy anniversary! That was also the day we brought Seanin home from the hospital! If you had told us we'd add another family member a year after we walked off the plane, I wonder what we would have thought then?!
* One funny thing about it being summer and people having windows open...we get a real taste of Italian family life vicariously! Wow, they are loud! Makes me feel better about my boys shouting and thumping and our littles screaming or crying!
* Speaking of loud neighbors, karaoke parties seem to be very popular here. You know they are finally winding down when you hear the fireworks.
* We have recently learned about the dreaded tiger mosquito, determining that these are in fact what we have called "mutant mosquitoes," which are the bane of our existence here in Napoli. Mosquitoes in general are horrific here. Unfortunately, our landlord has only arranged for our yard to be landscaped ONCE in the 11 months we have lived in this house (it was done in April), so the jungle-like quality of our yard has undoubtedly contributed to the problem. We are working with the housing office to get this taken care of, but there are also other house issues that need to be taken care of; I feel bad complaining about a junky-looking yard, but it HAS been frustrating to not feel like we are able to enjoy the beautiful area outside the house. The kids don't want to play outside because of the mosquitoes, and we have kids who wouldn't be able to see over the weeds!!
* While it has been a very hot and humid summer, more noticeable because of the lack of central air in our house (we do have units on the main floor, in our bedroom, and on the third floor--the latter of which is very inefficient because of the large space and tremendous amount of heat up there), we were so relieved and thankful to have the heat break a bit in August. Opening the house up in the early mornings has helped us be able to not use the A/C units much at all during the day, though Ted and I still turn ours on in the evenings to cool our room down so we can sleep comfortably.
* When I'm not too pressed for time, I generally try to hang our laundry out to dry. I love the smell of clothes dried in the sunshine! I figure since we're paying extra for using air conditioning, the least I can do to offset the cost is try not to use the dryer--PLUS it really heats up the 3rd floor even more!
* They weren't kidding when they told us life pretty much stops around here during the month of August. Most Italians take their vacation then. Stores/shops are completely closed. One of our fruit stands closed up shop for at least 2 weeks. Things are dead...unless you're on a road that leads to a beach. Then you get to sit in traffic for upwards of an hour or more. We had just started to figure out better times and routes for our own activities when September arrived and brought about more normalcy!
* An Italian cleaning lady really is a must. I was desperate for Stella to return from her August vacation! I just can't keep up with these tile floors! Of course, having a baby in the middle of the month didn't help, LOL. We were so excited to hear from Stella, not only to learn that we are getting back to our regular cleaning schedule (which involves having her grandson Salvatore over to play and work on English), but also because she told us the news that her daughter, Salvatore's mom, is pregnant with twins!! This was delightful news, as we knew she had been trying to have another child for years. We had actually joined with them in prayer about this...now we need to pray for a healthy pregnancy and healthy babies! So fun!