Happy Birthday Ezra!

imagesEzra, a HUGE happy birthday to you from everyone in Italy, including Papa, Eli, Maggi, Molly, Lorenzo, Zoe, and your friends who keep asking about you, and all ofthe grandparents in California, and also Kevin and JD. (JD is also known as “Just Dog.” After becoming good friends with Eli this year , JD said he really wants to meet you!)

Some very good presents are on their way to you. We we are all looking forward to seeing you very very soonlego_star_wars_wallpaper_by_artifypics-d5fwtn6.

A big hug and happy kisses and hopes that you have a wonderful birthday and great party!

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Basketball on the far side

All the family and friends in Florence and California wish Sam has a great birthday this year!

It is incredible to think that just 17 years ago a little guy named Sam came into the world in 168th Street in Manhattan, just north of Harlem. Yet he is now going to school and playing basketball in Israel. Everyone is very proud!

In fact, it’s possible that Sam’s sports career began in Israel. When he was not yet 3 years old, he and his brother were in Tel Aviv with their parents, visiting some friends. One day they all went to a shopping center, where Sam saw a little two-wheeled scooter with a telescoping neck and handlebars.

Although these scooters quickly became very popular, neither Sam nor his parents had ever one like this before. Sam could not take his eyes off of it, so Papa bought it for him and carried it back to Florence on the airplane.

Sam rode his scooter in the house, on Calvin bikethe terrace, and especially at Campo di Marte playground, at every opportunity. And he developed such an incredible balance that just after his third birthday, he asked Papa to take the training wheels off his back… and he never put them back on.

And from there, Sam never looked back.  At night, he used to go to bed making up stories of flying his bike like an airplane all around town, above the Duomo, often landing at the Campo di Marte playground or back on the terrace outside his bedroom.

By the time he was five, Sam was so good that he always insisted on coming along on his bike when Papa went running, up the hills of San Domenico. He was not as comfortable going down the hill, however, especially down one part of via Camerata, which was very steep. So he always asked Papa to change places on that part.

They were quite a site, with Papa riding downhill on Sam’s little yellow bike, and Sam unning quickly after him. People would give them strange looks. “Is that little boy chasing a man who stole his bike?” they might have asked.  It was very funny.

From being such a good bike rider, Sam also became a strong runner, and then a good soccer player, and later basketball, with never any fear of trying something new.

So now that Sam is playing basketball in Israel, the question might be asked: Did it all start with a small scooter that Sam got on a vacation to Israel over 14 years ago?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAM!! We all miss you and hope to see you soon, and in the meantime are very proud of you.

coming at us

Happy Birthday Sara!


Dear Sara,

You always organize the best birthday parties! With school out and friends away from the city, you know how to find the perfect way to celebrate your special day: the perfect menu, the decorations, and all the details that makes celebrating Sara’s Birthday the big summer holiday for everyone.

The family misses you very much and hopes to see you and hug you soon, when we can shower you with so many presents that you won’t know what to do with them, and so much candy that you will run out of place to hide it that only you will know how to find.

And Papa remembers how the two of you would sit and in the kitchen together telling stories that often ended up in both of you giggling so hard that neither of you could stop and you would just laugh harder and drive everyone crazy (which just made you laugh more). It is so much fun to have a Sara Birthday to celebrate!

We are all so proud of you – and we love you very much.


Happy Birthday Ezra!!! From Zoe

Zoe at treehouseLetter from Zoe (Ezra’s cousin… age 4)

Dear Ezra,

Happy Birthday!

I went to your house in Florence and played in the treehouse.  It was fun.  I wish you were here to play, too!

For lunch we had hamburgers. And cannoli for dessert.

And then I played with your Hot Wheels garage.  And also air hockey.

We sang happy birthday, Ezra. We have real good presents for you.

I can sing “44 gatti”, the song that Sara taught me. I like to draw pictures.

I miss you.

Hot wheels garage




Happy Birthday Eli!

A typical Eli birthday feast from a few years ago

A typical Eli feast from a few years ago. Since that really is Eli scuba diving, many of his friends asked, “is that also you diving off the cliff?”


On a warm winter evening, just 14 years ago, Elliot snuck into the world in a corner of piazza Indipendenza, in Florence, Italy.

Actually, he didn’t quite sneak in. He arrived with an earth-shaking roar.

Shortly after, Sam and Papa went out to celebrate with a pizza together.

On the occasion of Eli’s big 14th birthday, his family and friends send a big hug and happy birthday wishes to Eli!  Everyone misses him a lot, and hopes that they will be able to see him and/or speak soon. Kevin has a whole bunch of new jokes he’s been holding back just for Eli.


The family also has some cool presents  they would love to give him, and are  looking for ways to deliver them . Grandpa and Roro also wanted to give Eli  some “walking around money” so he can, presumably, walk around until he finds what he would like.

And we are all sure that, no matter where Eli celebrates his birthday this year, he’ll have plenty of good stories to tell.

Farside bears

Happy Birthday Sam!!!

Basketball Jones

Today is Sam’s birthday!
Happy birthday Sam, from all the family! Everyone sends their love, hugs, and kisses, and the family has all put together presents that we think you will like very much. Hopefully you will be able to receive them.

We know that you are working hard to do well in school, that you are a developing talent in basketball and are still a formidable goalie in soccer. And that you will always have an incredible ear for music.

Electric guitar image

We all miss you very much, and look forward to being able to catch up and have fun like we once did. Really miss you, Sam.

Everyone wishes you a great birthday, with too much cake and ice cream, and a lot of laughing, being silly, and just having a great time.

A big hug from Papa, Grandpa & Roro, Molly, Lorenzo, Zoe, Kevin, and Ina.


Happy Birthday Sara!!

On July 22, Sara turned a whopping 11!  Her father and all the family all send the biggest wishes possible, and all hope that they will be able to see her soon and deliver presents and kisses.  On her birthday, the family did attempt to deliver a message to Sara, although we do not know if it got through.

And a super-special happy birthday from Sara’s cousin Zoe, who sends a huge hug and wants Sara to know that she still talks to her all the time in her imagination, often when she goes to bed, even if she cannot talk to her for real, and that she sang “Happy Birthday to You” for Sara on her birthday.

And from Papa, a hope that Sara will know that “as long as one and one is two…”  well, the song says it all.  And here is another version, just in case the link with the lyrics doesn’t work.

One of Sara's favorite candies, the devilish Hot Tamales

The devilish Hot Tamales, even the spiciest are never too hot for Sara!