Duccio, three, getting all sandy
Aside from falling shamefully behind on my Google Reading,
Lavinia and Leonardo, two-and-a-half and four, enjoying breakfast and the morning paper
I've had the immense pleasure
Marta, two months, having a laugh
of spending the last few days with all five members of my family's newest generation.
Leonardo and Lavinia building something
Let me explain. My dad has five brothers and sisters. The six of them had fifteen kids, myself, my brother, and all my cousins ranging from age seventeen to forty. And we've always reunited here at the beach house.
Marco, with Caterina and Duccio, building a sandcastle
I've spent every July of my life in Santa Marinella, and seeing as I'm only twenty-five now, at least half of the time that I spent here was as a child.
Marta is always laughing!
So for years I played with all the toys, swinging on the swings, riding bicycles, playing in the tree house, climbing ropes, learning to swim, and everything else there is to do here.
Unless she's feeling perplexed,
But for the last twelve to fifteen years I've been growing out of all that stuff, as have all my younger cousins. And in the last five years hardly any of those old playthings have been touched by us original cousins.
or even a little frustrated
For a while it was sort of sad and lonely, even when the house was full of people. A house full of grown ups just isn't the same.
Lavinia and Leonardo are dressed for bed, but not at all sleepy!
Finally, in the fall of 2003 my cousin Marco (the second oldest) and his wife had a little baby girl, who is now almost seven!
Caterina, six-and-a-half, posing prettily
And thus started the fourth generation of Santa Marinella (the first being my grandparents who bought the house here, even though technically I could go back another two generations since my grandmother had been coming here in the summer since her grandparents had a house here!).
In the last seven years four more kids have joined the new generation - Marco had another baby, a little boy,
Duccio flies high on the rope swing!
His sister Cecilia (the oldest of the cousins) had a boy and a girl,
Leonardo is fishing for crabs with his foam fishing pole
Lavinia is looking spiffy in new sunglasses!
and our other cousin Valeria just had a little girl this spring).
My mother holding sleepy baby Marta
For the past two weeks, Valeria has been here with Marta, Paolo (my cousin Cecilia's husband) has been here with his two little rascals, and over the weekend, when Paolo and the kids went to the country for a couple of days, Marco and his wife Camilla came with their two little munchkins.
Lavinia locking everyone out of the house!
So the last two weeks - the last five days in particular - have been a whirlwind of swings and tree houses and bicycles and water wings and inflatable toys and learning how to swim and taking naps and having snacks and all the other fun stuff that my little cousins are all doing for the first time.
Duccio is finally done swinging!
And I've been there along for the wonderful ride with them!
p.s. Somehow I also found the time to sew up a new baby dress for Marta! It's a modification of the same Itty Bitty Baby Dress I made last time, but a little bigger, and with some fancy additions (a belt and a ruffle and some buttons).
I want one for me! :)