10 Years Ago

This photograph was taken almost 10 years ago in Nabeul, one of Tunis’s major ceramic centers. I was 32 years old.

April 22, 2005

April 22, 2005

Todd and I were visiting my parents, who lived in Tunisia at the time. My father was the elementary principal and my mother taught third grade at the American international school.

They played great hosts by taking us to see some beautiful places near their home. Looking through the photos from our trip, I am also reminded of our visit to El-Jem, known for it’s ancient Colosseum, sheep blocking roads (no trip to Africa would be complete without it) and our stay at the gorgeous African Jade hotel in Korba. The indoor/outdoor lobby was covered in vines. One of my favorite photos of me and father was taken in that lobby.

April , 2005

April 23, 2005

I also received one of the best massages I’ve ever had at the hotel spa.

Although our visit was memorable, I left unsettled. My parents seemed unhappy and stressed. They seemed happy that we were there, but preoccupied. The director my father was working for and with at the time was difficult and dropping the ball, leaving him to pick up the pieces. As I recall, it was his last year at the school and things did get better the following year.

When this photo was taken, Todd and I never thought we would return to Tunis two years later to remove the contents of my parents house or attend a memorial service given in their honor at the school.

When this photo was taken, Todd and I were two years from getting married and four from becoming parents.

A lot can happen in a year, but a lifetime can occur in 10 years!

My parents are no longer with us and my life looks much different today, so much loss and yet so much gain.

This is me today.

You can’t see it, but I’m wearing the same necklace I was wearing 10 years ago, a Raphael angel that I cling to in times of worry or unease.

My children have my father’s eyes.


November 29, 2014

This post was written for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, Prompt 1. Find a photo of yourself taken 10 years ago and display it on your blog along with a current photo. How have you changed since the day that photo was taken?

Related Posts:

The City By The Bay: Thanksgiving 2014

At least six months ago we started talking about our Thanksgiving plans. Typically we take a big trip. A week long somewhere far from home, somewhere that requires jackets and gloves, hats and boots and reservations for our Thanksgiving meal.

Lucas spent his first Thanksgiving in Florence, Italy! Two years ago we went to Vancouver.

Last year we moved the week of Thanksgiving so this year felt like a “make-up” of sorts. We renewed Lucas’s passport, applied for one for Lola and started daydreaming.

I don’t if we got too busy or couldn’t quite agree on a destination, but we dragged our feet until the week before and then with what felt like out of our budget and limited options we decided to stay local-ish. We drove to San Francsico!

Todd grew up and went to college in the Bay Area and knows the city well  and I fell in love with San Francisco on my first visit some 18 years ago and it continues to dazzle us both.

We had no agenda and had the greatest time. Wednesday was my favorite day; we left our hotel at 10:00 AM, headed for Ghirardelli Square. Along the way we stopped to play at two parks, wandered through Chinatown, window shopped, found a darling card and gift store called Lola, where we had to pose for photos, watched Lucas & Lola devour a croissant, found a man and his son catching and releasing Dungeness crabs, gazed at the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, enjoyed ice cream and took a sunset cable car ride back to our hotel nearly seven hours later.



IMG_7672But then again, Thursday was pretty spectacular too! I took Lucas ice skating for the first time at Union Square and he was amazing. My sister-in-law and two nieces, who live in the East Bay joined us. Apprehensive at first myself, as I hadn’t been on skates in a very long time, I was most worried about Lucas. He fell a lot but he was so determined and never once whined or utter the words, “I can’t do it.”. I am so proud of him and he, of course can’t wait to do it again! We both had permagrins for the 90 minutes we were on the ice and as long as we stopped to say hello before circling the rink again, Lola and Daddy enjoyed watching us from the sidelines.
IMG_7711 IMG_7720
IMG_7713Friday, we walked half-way across the Golden Gate Bridge, as little legs couldn’t make it the entire (1.7 miles one way) way and there were no parks or croissants along the route. After that, my in-laws, who also live in the East Bay came into the city for lunch and we watched the Christmas decorations go up in our hotel lobby.


IMG_7920There was more exploring, a shopping spree at NikeTown, some not so great restaurant recommendations and I’ll spare you the details and frustrations of our horrific road trip there and home with a certain rear-facing little person who hates being in the car.

It was wonderful to get away, especially to a favorite city and as a family. I hope you and yours had a lovely holiday too.

Related Posts:

Seeing Chicago Through A Child’s Eyes

It’s been a month since our mother/son trip to Chicago. What an amazing five days! I have always known Lucas was an extraordinary child but this trip proved it ten times over.

Since his very first airplane ride at only two months old, my son has been a great traveler provided I have his favorite snacks and activities and a full battery on the iPad. This I knew going in to this trip together, but what surprised me was the amount of patience he exhibited as we waited. We spent a lot of time waiting, from a two hour delay at the airport and long lines to enter most attractions to Uber cars and taxis, we waded through throngs of people at the breakfast buffet each morning at our hotel and waited for our names to be called at restaurants, we waited for it to stop raining so we could go back outside and have fun, we waited and waited and waited. I have decided my five-year-old has more patience in his entire body than I do in my big toe.

momsontriptochicagoLucas also behaved well throughout our trip and when other children around us were falling apart, kicking, screaming and carrying on and getting reprimanded, he kept it together. He also asked pointed questions about our surroundings, wanted to know everything he could about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (it wasn’t because a cow knocked over a lantern, by the way) and the meaning behind the different colors that lit up the skyscrapers at night. Lucas also let me take as many photos as I wanted of both him and the sights.

Chicago is perfect for children and it was a lot of fun seeing my little guy in such a big city. We didn’t walk as much as I would have liked but only because little legs can’t walk very far. We took our time getting from here to there and stopped a lot along the way to shop or eat or meander through a park.

There is so much to do in Chicago and we tackled a lot! From meeting Sue, the best-preserved T. rex on display at the Field Museum, eating stuffed pizza at the famed Giordano’s, running through the water pads at Millennium Park, taking goofy photos at “the Bean”, enjoying incredible views of the city from the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower (now known as Willis Tower), spending hours at the awesome Children’s Museum at Navy Pier and having a lot of down time in our hotel room. We shopped a little (I kind of went nuts at the Nike store) watched very little TV, and talked a lot, mostly about the upcoming school year and how much we missed home and our precious little Lola.

momsontriptochicagoLucas may have dragged me to the Lego store at the beautiful Water Tower Place more than once but I’d buy him all the Lego in the world if I could. I’m grateful for the bonding time I had with my son this summer and look forward to taking an annual summer trip with him. 

Where to next year?

Related Posts:

Just The Two Of Us

I began daydreaming about a mother/son trip when I first saw the Expedia Find Your Storybook advertisement on TV. The one where the mother is reading her son a bedtime story and simultaneously on an awesome adventure with him.

…where villages floated on water and castles were houses, dragons lurked and giants stood tall and the good queen showed the boy it could all be real.

And then Lucas and I started butting heads.


He’s five, so not listening, pushing my buttons and being defiant come with the territory. But I know that there’s more to it than that because when it’s just the two of us, he’s super.

Lucas has been very patient and understanding of my now divided time between him and his six-month-old sister but he doesn’t quite understand how much his Lola truly needs me right now.

I get it.

He misses me and being the center of my attention and this has been demonstrated by him asking more than once, “Can’t we leave Lola at home and go do something, just you and me?”.


I miss him too.

It has been particularly challenging now that it’s summer and he is not in school for a large portion of the day. We play a game of Uno or Connect Four in between diaper changes and bottle feedings. I’m constantly running back in the house to listen for cries while I should be focused on our game of Ring Toss in the backyard.

We’ve had some awesome mother/son dates, which for some reason are growing increasingly harder to schedule and since it’s summer, I really want to make an impact, leave an impression, do something grand with my son. And yes, put the mommy guilt at bay for a while.

So, with only two more weeks of vacation, what better time to get away, just the two of us? I’m hoping our mother/son trip becomes an annual tradition. This year we are tackling Chicago and leave Thursday. Lucas and I are both bursting with excitement over getting away and creating our own adventure, one that will include Navy Pier, Millennium Park, The Shedd Aquarium and deep dish pizza all without his little sister.

The idea of visiting the Windy City came from my desire to go there and all that it offers children. I’ve been to Chicago several times and I’m looking forward to seeing it through the eyes of my son.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts