Julia has officially been our favorite little peanut for two years now! It seems like just yesterday that we were having fun at her first birthday party in DC and only a blink before that when she first held my hand in the hospital delivery room. And now it was already time for another birthday!
Our birthday girl one year ago
What a difference a year makes!
Also, what a difference a country makes – birthday cake last year, tiramisu this year!
Jen’s parents and sister were happy they were here for the big day. We’d already had tons of fun together, which you can read about HERE. We had just gotten back from a trip to Abruzzo the day before (HERE) and we had to make quick work getting everything together for her party. It was going to be low key – just some family over for a few snacks and cake. If you know my wife and mother-in-law, you’ll know that “low key” was not easy for them. Dominic and I had to keep reminding them it was just a small gathering – no need for their always impressive party-planning skills to be put to the test.
The room is ready… Julia passes the time on momma’s phone. Nonno passes the time sneaking a snack
The table is set – just munchy things, Italian style
A little outdoor space for anyone who wished to take in the sun
Julia’s cake and some extra pastry that Dom picked up as a special surprise
Buon Compleanno – Happy Birthday! I bet they had to check the spelling twice; here it’s spelled Giulia
We hosted everyone on the Sunday before Julia’s birthday because it worked better than the actual date itself (a Tuesday). We strung balloons and decorations. We put out the food and we displayed the cake (which happened to be the most delicious torte I’ve ever had). The family all arrived and aperitivi where distributed. The party was fun and most importantly, Julia enjoyed it. She loved opening all her presents and had a great time playing with her cousins.
Julia sports her pretty party dress
“Oh yeah, I’m ready to party!”
Dominic (aka Mimmo, aka Nonno, aka Dom) gives a very nice toast
“Cin, Cin! I’ll drink to that!”
The cousins pose for a family photo
Julia with Jen’s Zio (uncle) Franco and Zia (aunt) Claudia
Julia wouldn’t give up her fake ice cream cone even though she had the real deal right in front of her
Zia Jess helps Julia with some of her new toys
Julia had a blast opening her presents
On the actual day of her birthday, the entire family went over to Agriturismo Cassinazza, a local agriturismo behind our home. An agriturismo is essentially an agriculturally-based operation that draws clientele in to view (or even participate in) their operations (which can be any combination of farming, livestock, etc.). Additionally, it can (and usually is) combined with lodging and/or dining. So, in most cases – you can stay in the agriturismo (like a bed and breakfast) as well as eat there (in their restaurant, which usually serves some of the freshest food you’ll find). We have found that these are some of the best restaurants and charming hotels as we have been navigating our way through Italy. So, to have such a nicely maintained one behind our home is a real treat. Their restaurant was simply amazing and we had a wonderful lunch.
The two prettiest girls this blogger has ever seen!
“Momma… cavalli (horses)”
Agriturismo Cassinazza has beautiful animals
Jess and Julia stop for a quick photo
Julia goes for a swing
But I think she found something more interesting to her left
Agriturismo Cassinazza is a wonderful place to stay or dine
Inside their courtyard, the tables were set for lunch
They even produce their own wine
Julia plays at lunch – being the center of attention is nothing new for her
“Now this is the kind of cake I can get into…”
“Yeah, I meant that literally!”
Everyone together after lunch
After lunch, we were poking around the grounds, showing Julia the animals when one of the workers saw us and guided us into a private area in the back. Within the little fenced area were chicks, ducks, turkeys and a few other little creatures that were all simply wonderful to play with.
She only wore her crown for a little while
Petting a baby duck
Julia was fascinated by the animals
She was tickled by how quick they were
Nonna coaxes Julia into kissing one of the baby ducks
I think she was in heaven herself!
We had two wonderful days celebrating our little girl, but we didn’t have much time before we would be back on the road… Diane’s ancestors in Scotland were calling (probably with a mouth full of haggis) and we were about to respond! Our plane to Scotland was departing in just a few days…