Roman Staycation

As in, we stayed and they went.

Ciao, friends of Testosterhome!

Rachel asked me to post and let everyone know that she and Paul are still alive and yes- they DO plan on returning home!

As Mom and Dad Testosterhome have been in Italy the last 10 days exploring Rome, the Vatican, Assisi and various other historical and religious sites, my husband and I were given the honor of managing the Testosterhome kids in their absence. I’m glad to report that all 6 are accounted for – no lost limbs or trips to the ER – yet!

It has been a precious time with the little Balducci clan and I am already so sad about turning them back over to Mom and Dad (though I am excited to see Mom and Dad…they have been missed and my phone has been eerily silent with Rach being gone!).

Isabel and Henry are packed to the brim with Fruit Loops (And I surely qualified for the “Aunt of the Year” award when I discovered that they now sell Fruit Loops with marshmallows!! Who knew?!), strawberries, and juice boxes (of which Hen keeps telling me that his mom “never buys”…whoops!). They have watched the Lion King numerous times in one sitting (hey- isn’t that what being an Aunt is all about!), but I made sure that they sat far enough away from the TV that my sister wouldn’t send me the bill for future glasses that might be needed.

Augie has been able to have lots of quality one on one time with the Wii and with his cousins, both of which he has thoroughly enjoyed.  I loved watching his face light up every time we got in the car after the big boys had left- realizing that he didn’t have to call dibs for the front seat! It only lasted about a day (ok…maybe two) and he was already asking when the brothers would be back.

We got the oldest three boys out the door to Scout Camp and watched as they climbed the bus for a week in the wilderness. This is Ethan’s third year at Scout Camp – he was old pro at packing and wasn’t the slightest bit worried about the week to come. Elliott won the award for “Most Prepared.” I didn’t know it was possible to fit that many Ziplock bags into a backpack. And Charlie… well, let’s just say we’ll be lucky if he makes it through the week with a clean pair of underwear. We tried to help him pack, but he values his independence!

I know that Paul and Rach had an amazing time. I had to keep reminding Rach (via text) to rest her eyes and enjoy her time…that soon it would all be just a beautiful memory and she would be up to her knees in “Looooops!”.

I made sure to remind myself of the same thing- to enjoy this beautiful memory- it was such a gift.

You see, this may have been my sister’s view for the last 10 days:

But this was my view:



I’d say my view wins…hands down.


  1. Wow! What a blessing you are to her family and hers to you. This is just beautiful! I could only hope my siblings would say such kind things if asked to step in for us for 10 days. Love!

  2. Aunt Catherine says:

    Sweet, Jo!

  3. Sure isn’t that just lovely!

  4. I laughed about the Froot Loops – I just kept my best friend’s 3-year old for 6 days and introduced him to Froot Loops. He’s now an addict. And she hasn’t stopped blaming me for his insane addiction…!

  5. Adrian G says:

    Well done for your generosity in looking after them and keeping everyone informed! It’s all very thoughtful!

  6. Ginny Routhier says:

    JoJo, I remember the joy I had when I had just short opportunities staying with you and the fam for a week-end retreat. It was always such a gift. I still relish all those sweet memories.Also the joy of you all being in our Wedding 26 yrs. ago. Memories that last forever. You are a great Aunt! I love you and pray for you often.

  7. Your writing is as witty, pithy and entertaining as your sister’s. What a pleasure to check in and see such a fun post.