Friday, September 17, 2010

Failure to plan

Have I mentioned I'm a procrastinator?

Tomorrow we're leaving on a one week trip to London and today, a mere 39 hours before departure, I decided it was time to try on the boys' pants to make sure they still fit.

They don't.  Not one pair. 

And unfortunately, due to a difference in body style, William doesn't fit into Lewis' pants from last year.


It looks like we're off to the Exchange for some last minute shopping!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thought for the day

"To learn and never be filled is wisdom, To teach and never be weary is love."

Along with this blogpost -

Have a great and blessed day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The end is near.....

I feel it and it makes me sad, summer is coming to an end.

Today was our last day of swim class and I noticed it's also the last full week of August, can you believe how fast time is ticking away?

I began the summer by putting our planned activities on a calendar including work trips, classes, vacations and visits from friends and I remember saying "by the time all of this passes we'll be getting ready to pack out and leave Italy".  At the time I remember feeling nothing but pure joy at this thought but now I'm not so sure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm ready to move somewhere else and ready for a new experience, but, this has been the best summer with some truly great friends and I don't want that to end.  What is it about your last months in a place that really make you start to fall in love?  I'm not sure, but I'll admit these past few months have found me the most content I've ever been here in Naples.  Maybe it's the knowledge that the end truly is near?  Or maybe it's an answered prayer?  I'm not sure, but I'm thankful for the peace that has settled on my heart lately.

Back to the last day of swim class, I'll add a little "bragging" here - both boys "graduated" out of their current level.  Now, this is not all that surprising for Lewis as he shot through the levels like a rocket, this was his year for swimming to "click".  The funny thing being he doesn't want to move up to level 4 since he's seen that class and thinks they swim waaaaay too many laps.  William on the other hand started the swim season rather hesitantly, as in "I'm NOT getting in the big pool!".  He bloomed in his preschool class with Miss Sarah and proudly moved up to level I with Miss Lauren.  He has made so much progress, he's jumping off the side, swimming away from the side on his own and he even went down the slide yesterday!  Today, much to my surprise, Miss Lauren recommended William move up to Level II, whoa.  His face beemed with pride, my sweet, swimming boy.

We've spent every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at swim class, we've enjoyed late afternoon swims followed by picnics in the park, we've had so much playground time with our friends.  Next week all the "normal" kids go back to school so our playdates will significantly decrease, the pool closes so we can't go there - it's going to get boring around here - don't go Summer, DON'T GO!!!!

At least we have our September guests and a trip to London to look forward to plus we can get on a more normal school schedule as we've been doing half in the morning before swim class and half in the afternoon.   Of course, by the time we get back on a schedule it will be time to move throwing everything out of whack again, such is life in the Navy.

Speaking of the Navy, we still haven't received our orders but praying they come soon.  Merely receiving them doesn't get us out of here any earlier, but it does allow us to get the ball rolling on the painful and slow process of checking out and it allows for the planning our trip home to the States, so the sooner the better.  Let's all get to praying and see if we can get this one answered!

Enjoy your last days of summer, I know we're going to make the most of every moment.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We survived

Today marks the end of Paul's "staycation" and his triumphant return to work.  I know it's been a bit quiet here on the blog but I've been hiding in strange places hoping Paul won't notice I'm doing nothing.  Just kidding, sort of.  I'm happy to say we all survived and I avoided participating in any painful "projects".  He was a busy, busy man during his two weeks off but luckily he decided that my part in all of the excitement was to keep the boys at bay during the hard work (which I sort of took seriously but they LOVE being with their Dad so I may have sent them to the garage once or twice just so I could have some peace and quiet).  He also did quite a bit of relaxing and hanging out with his little guys which they all really needed (and so did I).  We spent many afternoons in the pool and playing in our back yard and made a few trips to the big pool at Carney Park.  We also took advantage of the lovely weather and had the boys ride their bikes in the park which is something they don't get to do often enough for fear a crazy Italian driver will run them over.  Just kidding, sort of.

The highlight of the staycation was a girls only trip to the Island of Ischia for a day of relaxing!  My friend Jennifer and I left behind all our men (she too has two little boys) and grabbed a ferry over to the lovely island.  We made our way to Negombo Spa and spent the day testing the waters in the natural thermal pools, relaxing by the beach and enjoying a delicious lunch seaside.  OK, it was the highlight for me, I'm not sure Paul would agree but since he's not here we'll go with it.

We took a week off of school in order to allow the boys extra time with Dad but got back to work last week. OK, that's not exactly true.  I hadn't planned on taking the week off but apparently having Daddy around was a bit of a distraction and keeping them focused became impossible.  SO,  we're back to school and currently enjoying "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" as our book, a family favorite.  We kicked our school morning off with some fun-

You can't do that in public school!  The boys have been very interested in pretend play lately so why deny them their fun?  Buzz and Mr. Pirate are working on the letter "C" and handwriting.  

As for my B90 challenge I'm right on schedule, yea!  We're currently reading in Psalms which is positively refreshing after the previous 3 or 4 books.  After I finish tomorrow's chapters I'll be half-way finished, day 45, yippeee! 

Did I mention we're having the best weather ever?  This is my third summer in Naples, Italy and this is by far the best August I've experienced.  It's so nice we may just decide to stay another few years.  Just kidding.

Buona Notte!  Good Night!   

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another milestone for Lewis

Yesterday marked another accomplishment for Lewis, one he has longed for the entire summer.

As you may recall both boys have been taking swimming lessons all summer and both boys have improved so much that I still stand amazed watching them in the pool.  It seems something has "clicked" and they're both so much more comfortable in the water than when we started.

Lewis moved up through the levels of swim class rather quickly, entirely skipping level 2 and going straight to level 3.  In this class, as a special treat at the end the participants are allowed to go off of the diving board.  Lewis had absolutely no problem going off, he bravely accepted the challenge and had a lot of fun being a big boy.   At the end of their last session, he was able to go down the big slides too.  This wasn't nearly as much of a challenge as we took him to the local water park and he had already conquered the slides, but he still enjoyed the fun.

And here's the dilemma.  While he's able to go off of the diving board and slides during swim class he's not able to during regular swim.  Why?  Because you have to pass a swim test to show the lifeguards you're ready for deep end swimming.  The test consists of swimming one lap across the pool using a stroke (no doggie-pedaling) and treading water for one minute.  This may not sound so complicated but let me tell you, it's a wide pool!  Several of Lewis' friends have passed the test this year and dare I say he's been a bit envious.  Passing this test gives you access to all of the areas of the pool including free access to the diving board and all of the slides- a real "big kid" rite of passage.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the pool and had a picnic in the park afterwards with several families.  We came home exhausted and the boys went straight to bed.  Here's a picture of Lewis on his way to dreamland - please notice the new accessory on his left wrist.  And the proud, but tired look on his face.

Yesterday our little big boy passed his swim test and he proudly wore this wristband for all to see that he too could swim in the deep end.  Another bonus to passing the swim test is wearing the blue wristband as a beacon for all to admire and he made sure everyone saw that he too had one.

And he swam, and swam, and jumped and slid and dove and swam and swam.

He's not actually wearing the wristband in this photo because this one is from swim class.
Yesterday I forgot my camera, ugghh.

I wonder how long he'll want to wear the wristband before finally cutting if off? 

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Rite of Passage

Tonight as I was getting dinner on the table, Lewis came in the kitchen and took his carrot off of his plate.  He smiled and said "I'm starving, I can't wait".  OK, fair enough.

Then I turned around as he said "whoa, what was that?"  So I looked closer trying to see what on earth he was talking about and notice a small amount of blood on his lip.  "Did you bite your lip?"  "No" he replied and I thought to myself "why is there a gaping hole in his mouth?"

My baby- B.A.B.Y - lost his first tooth!  HIS FIRST TOOTH!!!

It was barely loose and now it's gone.

He actually ripped the thing out eating a carrot!

After locating the tooth on the floor I ran upstairs to get the camera to take pictures which I'll now share with you. I present to you Lewis the big proud snaggletooth.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Apple Pie and school?

I thought I would take an opportunity to share with you a bit more about how we do school.

We are currently using as our base curriculum a program called Five In A Row.  The concept of the program being you take one really good children's book and read it - you guessed it - five days in a row!

Each day you choose a topic to discuss or a project to do together.  Subjects fall into categories such as Geography, Language, Math, Art and Science.

Last week's book was "How to Make an  Apple Pie and see the world" by Marjorie Priceman.

Our week looked a bit like this
Monday - we read the book and mapped out all of the places she went to get the ingredients to make an apple pie.
Tuesday - we read the book and used flags from each country to play a memory a game - in which order did she visit each country? and what product did she need from each?   We also talked about flags.
Wednesday- we read the book and discussed new vocabulary words and their meanings and different techniques the author used to tell the story.
Thursday -we read the book and colored apples while talking about the different varieties of apples and also how the artwork in the book helps tell the story.
Friday- we read the book and then used real world math by baking an apple pie.
Saturday - this should have been our science experiment day but we were so tired and had a birthday party so we'll tie it in with next week's book.

As we go through the week we place our projects in a folder so we can look back on all we've learned.  I use Homeschool Share for our go-along activities and also for other subject ideas.

This folder isn't complete yet, but you get the idea.

In addition to this, both boys are working through a phonics program called Explode The Code at their respective levels.

Lewis is close to finishing his Horizons K program and will start Math U See  soon.  I didn't really care for Horizons math, though it is a solid program it's also a bit dry and too workbook focused for our tastes.

William is slowly working through a Kindergarten level math workbook from Spectrum.  I originally bought this book to compare to Lewis'  Horizons K math which is, in my opinion, at 1st grade level.  It's a nice easy introduction to Math and William enjoys having his own special workbook. He's doing surprisingly well for a 4 yr. old.  After our move we'll start him in the entry level Math U See.

William is also enjoying his Letter of the Week curriculum  I got at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  The games are fun and entertaining and help keep him busy while I teach Lewis.

For Lewis' handwriting practice I've adapted our own plan by combining ideas from different programs.  The first idea came from A Reason for Handwriting which has the child practice writing Scripture.  Then, I use the verses from Letter of the Week so both boys are learning the same verse each week.

After our move to Bahrain we'll be adding History using The Mystery of History volume I and possibly adding a language.  I'm trying to keep it fairly simple in the early years, not adding too much seat work or busy work.  

All in all it's going well and I think the boys are learning a lot and enjoying school.

Here are some more photos of our pie making day-
The bakers

 Learning math through cooking
Our ingredients- do not make fun of the pre-packaged pie crust - I don't get along well with flour.
Paul came home just in time to help grate the cinammon.  Notice the look of pure joy on his face??
And in the oven it goes.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief look into our little homeschool.  You can click on the highlighted curriculum names to learn more about our choices if  you wish.

Now I'm off to read, I'm one day behind in my B90 challenge and I'm determined to catch up today and stay on schedule.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


"aiuto" is the Italian word for "help". 

This morning I realized I'm going to need it, soon.

As I sat drinking my coffee in an "I stayed up way too late last night playing bunco" haze, I noticed my husband's behavior.

I noticed his shifty eyes.  Probing.  Assessing.  Planning.

I noticed the way he moved from one area of the house to another.  Probing.  Assessing.  Planning.

I suddenly had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

He's planning on making me work during his two weeks off!!!!!!  I see it,  I know it, I dread it. 

I quickly reminded him that I had previously declared that if we were to stay home we were NOT going to spend all of our time on projects such as "purge all of Sabrina's extra shoes" and "do we really need so many Christmas decorations".

He smiled his evil smile and laughed his evil laugh in a way that only means one thing- he's tricked me.  We're staying home and he has projects planned. 



I suggested a better use of his time would be a vasectomy followed by a long restful period of recovery.  Needless to say that is not part of his evil plan.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday is my favorite day!

TGIF!  I love a good Friday!  Normally it brings an end to all the business and gives us rest, but not this week.  We have been so crazy busy lately!  It's been a fun summer of activities, playdates, social gatherings - I think I'm trying to keep busy to pass the time and to really enjoy our last months in Italy.

This weeks' schedule included - school every morning, swim lessons M,T,W - playdate and grocery shopping on Tue followed by a cooking lesson at a friend's house Tue night.  Wednesday brought another lunch/playdate, followed by a work function to say goodbye to Paul's boss followed by a girls' night out to say goodbye to my dear friend Jodi.  Thur was another playdate so my friend Rebecca could get her teeth cleaned but a quiet night at home.  Today, Friday, is quiet but I'm going out for Bunco tonight.  Tomorrow a birthday party for a 3 yr old and Sunday I'm playing tour guide and spending the day in Positano.   WOW!!!  Monday you can find me curled up in a fetal position hiding under my covers hoping for some peace and quiet - after school and swim lessons of course.

Speaking of swim lessons, our boys are doin' us proud!  Lewis is thriving in Level III and wants to do it again next session.  I haven't spoken with his teacher but I'm pretty sure he needs to repeat this level - they're learning new strokes and practicing form and this is where he should be in my opinion.  Now prepare yourselves for a little shock - Miss Sarah says William is ready to move up to Level One!  He's so excited and proud!  He's found his swimming groove and is no longer afraid to let go of her and swim around the big pool.  He's come a long way, baby!  So, we'll start the third session the second week of August and at the end of that session summer will almost be over.  Time flies when you're having fun.

Paul has opted to take off the first two weeks of August, opted meaning he had leave he needed to "use or lose" so beginning Tuesday August 3rd so we'll have a little "staycation" and hang around here.  I've warned him that I will not spend two weeks with him organizing and cleaning out stuff he thinks we need to get rid of - we'll see if he listened.  I need to come up with a small list of places to go and see to keep him busy, maybe some of the lesser known local sites.  Or maybe we'll just hang out in the backyard and swim in our pool.  We have a new bigger pool that I found on sale - 36 inches deep and 15 ft. around - yowza it's big!  and cold.  We set it up on the shady side of our house because we put it on the concrete pavers to keep it level - the boys insist we need to pump some warm water in it or they can't swim.  Truth be told, it is ridiculously cold.  You may remember we were trying to plan a trip to LegoLand in Germany but after evaluating the specifics we realized 4 days in a car for 2 days of LegoLand was not worth it.  So, we ordered some legos online that arrived this week and the boys are happy and we're happy so all is well.  We've decided to save that trip for when we need to get out of Bahrain's heat as we can get direct flights to Frankfurt.

Speaking of Bahrain, we're still working on exact dates but should know something soon.  Originally they had Paul penciled in for his training class in Rhode Island in January.  Paul, not wanting to stay here an extra month, requested that they move him to the November class so we're waiting to see if that works out.  The only part of our plan that seems to be definite is being in the States for the month of December.

Hope you're all enjoying the summer!  I'll try to post some pictures soon, I've been very bad about leaving my camera at home.

Monday, July 26, 2010

B90 Update-Beginning Week 4

First let me start by saying we have a break in the heat wave and I'm so thankful!  This morning my computer gave me the Naples weather and it was a shocking 64 degrees!  A lovely cool, fresh (no burning!) morning, ahhhhhh.  We've had highs in the upper 90s the past few weeks and on Saturday some clouds rolled in and it's continued to cool off since then- I think it was only in the mid 80s yesterday which is quite nice for July.  I would be rather pleased if it remained like this right through August but I know in my heart that is absolute wishful thinking.

After a little extra reading last night I am on schedule with the B90 plan - actually, I'm 5 verses ahead!  Yea!  I ran about a half day behind last week starting on Wednesday so catching up was nice.  Reading through Ruth was like a breath of fresh air, I so love that story and let's be honest, after reading the preceeding books it was good to have a break.

The one downside to reading so much at one time is lack of retention, a fact I noticed last night when my husband asked me a question about reading Numbers and I truly had to think and remember if I had read it?   In all fairness it was late and I was tired but after doing a quick line-up of the books I realized I had in fact read Numbers- how can one forget the census?

I take refuge in the fact that this isn't a Bible study but a chance to read attentively each word of the Bible.  I am learning new things and ultimately I realize that as difficult as the OT can be it leads us to Jesus and that thought alone keeps me going.

It hit me after reading Leviticus, or should I say plodded through Leviticus, how beautiful the book really is.  I suddenly felt a little leap in my heart, all of this was because of God's love for us.  All of the rules, all of the sacrifices were to keep the Israelites clean in the presence of God because to not be clean meant certain death.  God in His holiness and perfect state could not allow the Israelites to approach Him with sin and uncleanliness lest they die, and He loved them too much for that.  The alternative for not making the proper offering was removal from their people, God's chosen people, or death.  It is a beautiful realization that because of the final sacrifice we are all perfectly clean in the eyes of God - washed white as snow and because of this blood offering we can approach our God and have a relationship with Him.  This fact is not new, but knowing what the Israelites had to do for salvation and knowing what we have to do for salvation makes me even more thankful for Jesus and the loving God I serve.

I'm glad I've switched to my study Bible, I take a bit of extra time to read the introduction to each book before my actual reading which I find helps my brain understand why this is important.  It's extra reading, but I think it's worth it in the long run.

I hope you all have a great week! I'll write again soon with more family updates.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Raising swimmers

Today was an excellent day for the Reinhart boys in swim class.  Well, it actually started yesterday, the first day of Session II.

Lewis was the only kid in his class yesterday so he had a lot of one on one time with his teacher Miss Sierra.  After class they both came walking over to me and she said "I did some testing with him today and I think he needs to move up to Level 3".  What?  OK.  Wow.  Lewis' face showed his pride and he was so excited.  As soon as we got home he had to call Paul to tell him the news.  They decided that by summer's end Lewis would be going off the diving board - a lofty goal for sure.

So today we go to class and Lewis happily joins his classmates in Level 3 and had no problem whatsoever doing what his teacher asked of him.  At the end of the class I see they're all walking to the deep end?  They line up at the diving board?  And for the first time ever Lewis went off the diving board!  It was great!  I was so nervous for him - I thought he may not want to do it and would be embarrassed but he went right to the end and straight off with absolutely no hesitation.  What a big boy!  He did it twice and the second time he actually ran and jumped off - so brave.

Still basking in parental pride I see William walking over so I get his towel and wrap him up.  He said "Mom, I swam in the big pool".  I say "yes baby, you sure did"  thinking he had a typical day with Miss Sarah.  But then Miss Sarah came over and asked him "William, do you want to show your Mom?"  He said "Yes" so she got in the pool, he sat on the edge, eased in and SWAM TO MISS SARAH!!!  Sorry for shouting but wow!  And then she turned him around and he swam back to the side!  Amazing.  For William the hurdle has been getting over his fear of the size and depth of the big pool and today he conquered his fears and swam.  Also a big brave boy. 

Needless to say we had to call Paul right away and tell him the big news, we're all so happy with the rate of advancement we've seen in the boys - we're definitely getting our money's worth.  Did I say that already?

The weather here is still really, really hot so we spend the worst part of the day inside doing school.  William is having fun with his preschool progam I downloaded from another homeschooling mom and Lewis is enjoying a new challenge in Math.  I found a great program called Math U See that he really seems to connect with.  It's a visual/manipulative based program that keeps him interested.  We're still waiting on the blocks to arrive to use it full force but I think it's going to be a keeper.

I'm entering into week 3 of my Bible in 90 Days challenge and so far I'm right on schedule.  The OT is difficult, I'm not going to lie.  After reading a book I look back and think - what was the purpose of that?  The good stories seem to be lost in many, many details making reading slow going.  I know God had a purpose for putting all of that in there, I'm certainly not questioning his reasoning behind all of this and I know there's something to be learned from it all.

Paul is going on a trip to Germany on Wednesday, returning on Friday.  We still have nothing concrete on Bahrain and probably won't until October.  We're hoping for orders in September but I won't hold my breath.  When it all happens it will be fast and furious - as usual.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weekly wrap up

It's Friday!  Wow, this week has gone by so fast!  Tuesday was our last day of swim lessons for Session I and I can't believe the difference in both boys.  Lewis will be moving up to Level II next time, his teacher said he could have been in that level this session but his confidence wasn't up to speed with his skills.  He's thrilled to be moving up.  William has made great progress with Miss Sarah and will remain in her class next session.  He wasn't happy about not moving up a level so I told him all the things he would have to do in Level I and he quickly decided that he will be happy in the Preschool class again.

After class on Tuesday we played at the pool when it opened for regular swim and Lewis learned some new tricks!  His friend was doing flips in the pool and he decided he wanted to do them too.  I helped him the first few times by flipping his legs over in a back flip, then he figured out how to do it all by himself - and a front flip too!  He really wants to go off the diving board, he sees some of his friends down there having fun and it's just killing him not to be able to do it.  I wonder if he'll work up his confidence and do it by summer's end?

We've been planning on taking the boys to LegoLand in Germany the first week in August - a special treat for them and a way to escape the heat for us.  Yesterday Lewis said "Mom, we don't need to drive all the way up there, just buy us some Legos online and we'll be happy."   huh?  I'm not sure what to do with that.  Maybe they are a bit young for amusement parks?  Shifting gears trying to think of something fun to do as Paul has already taken off two weeks in August.  Maybe I'll finally get him on a cruise?  Or maybe northern Italy in the mountains where it will be cooler?

Here's something I want to share about living in Italy.  Judy, you'll appreciate this.  On the road leading to my house a big pothole formed - BIG!  Knowing it would take forever to repair it some industrious person put a stack of tires in the hole to warn people since you couldn't actually see it until it was too late.  That's right, a stack of tires - does that tell you how big the hole was?  So, one day I'm walking with Judy (Oma, my MIL) to the market and we pass the pothole.  Looking closer we discover that not only is there a big hole but there's absolutely no foundation to the road!!  None!  For as far as you could see into the hole and all around there was nothing but air!  No wonder the hole was so big, no support whatsoever.  Anyhoo, weeks passed and they finally repaired the hole, yippeeee!  But, in true Italian road fixing fashion the hole came back just a week or so later.  Why?  They didn't fill it in!!  They just scraped a bit of asphalt over the hole and left it at that, no filling in no support no foundation - basically a bandaid.
You can see the dark spot is the "patch" -and  notice to the right at the top of the patch there is another small hole forming in the light gray area?  It's much bigger now, the whole area is collapsing.  What you can't tell by this photo is that on the other side of the manhole cover it's started to collapse as well.  So what do they do to warn you of this hole?  It's not big enough for tires yet so-
That's right, just pull a garbage can over there and stick the wheel in.
Perfect.  Heaven knows they don't use the trash cans for anything else.

This is how it looks while driving.

So now it's July 16th, August is quickly approaching and absolutely NO work gets done around here in August so I'm betting they won't get this fixed until the end of September. and even then it will only be another pathetic patch.  Viva Italia!

This is a picture of a bag full of bottles thrown onto the sidewalk next to the potholes.  Less than 10 ft. from a trash can and less than 50 ft from a glass recycling bin.  Seriously?

Just to let you know - it's hot, I'm sweaty and I smell like a camel.  And yes I've been close enough to a camel to comfortably make this comparison.  It's not pretty.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, Monday-otherwise known as day 8

I woke up early, refreshed, feeling great!  I go to my windows, throw them open for some fresh cool morning air and I'm greeted with thick smoky hazy air - the Italians burn everything!!  I guess a field near my house needed clearing?  A pile of garbage got too big?  Who knows, but it's one of the many little quirky things I won't miss when I leave.  cough, cough.

Anyhoo, we had a great weekend!  On Saturday we went on a mini-cruise around the Amalfi coast, swam in a bay at the Isle of Capri, had lunch seaside in Positano - all without the boys.  We went with two other couples, leaving 6 kids in the very capable hands of Blescille and set out for adventure.  It was fantastically relaxing and fun,seeing the area from the sea was a new and beautiful perspective.

Today we get back into our summer routine, swimming lessons-playground-lunch-school.  We're going light on school since it is summer after all - a bit of writing and math so we don't get out of practice and lots of reading.

Today is also day 8 of my Bible in 90 days challenge.  I hate to admit I'm 1/2 of a day behind due to the long fun Saturday, but I'll make it up and be on schedule by tomorrow.  I've read through Genesis and most of Exodus and today we head into Leviticus.  Thoughts so far?  Well, I love Genesis - it's interesting to read all the way through and though I should have known, it really registered this time just how much information is in this one book.  It shows God's amazing plan, everything in place as it needs to be.  What I've learned from Exodus so far- God is persistant and very thorough when it comes to getting His point across.  I particularly like Exodus 6:2-8 - I like how God "introduces" himself to Moses, explaining that though he had appeared to them He had not made himself completely known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  But now Moses was to know all of God - I Am, Yahweh.  Don't you find it amazing that even though Abraham, Isaac and Jacob didn't fully know the essence of God, they followed and loved Him anyway?  Just a bit of Him is good enough, but to know Him and all of Him? wow.  It makes you wanna give the Israelites a little whack on the back of the head to wake them up!  Golden calf?  How quickly they became distracted.  I think I need that little whack every now and then - not that I'm worshipping a false god but I do let other things become too important.  I'm taking this opportunity to fast from a few things in my life that seem to take over my time, focusing in on reading and learning from God's word.  I'm also switching Bibles, I've been using my small Bible I take to church and I need something bigger so I'll be using my ESV study Bible from now on.

I hope you're all enjoying summer, it's pretty hot here.  I keep reminding myself that a person moving to Bahrain should not complain about this heat (mind over matter).

Happy Monday!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Things my kids say.....

Every morning Lewis and William come snuggle in our bed with us - what a great way to wake up.  Now if you know me I am not, N.O.T a morning person. Communication above grunting and nodding is not possible within the first hour of my waking and intelligent communication does not happen without coffee.  I like to wake up slowly and quietly.

Sunday morning Lewis came in as usual but fell back to sleep, yay.  When he woke up again I was stirring, rolled over to see his sweet little face and his eyes opened and he looked right at me and said "Mom, I'm going to stop eating boogers.  I'm not going to stop picking my nose, but I'm not gonna eat 'em anymore."

Certainly good news, but is this really the first thing I need to hear?

Then later as I got out of the shower William came in the bathroom to ask for some juice - really?  Where is your Dad?  Which is what I said "go ask your Dad, he's downstairs AND ridiculously close to the juice"  But before he left the bathroom he said "Mom, your belly is reeeeeaaaaallllllly fat."  Great. 

Can I not find one room of sanctuary in my house?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Home Sweet Home

There's nothing like a good American holiday or a family event to really make you miss home.  As you all know Sunday was July 4th, the day we Americans celebrate our Nation's independence.  This was my 4th 4th in a row off of US soil (sorry if that's confusing) and with each passing year away I realize how blessed I am to be an American.  Say what you want about the current condition of our country, it's still the best darn place on Earth.

We had a great group of friends over on Sunday - a mix of old and new friends, a fact of military life as people are always on the move.  I looked around and thought about each family represented, each person at my home missing someone somewhere else - and being missed in return.  Military life sure has its' perks, but one of the obvious downsides is being away from extended family.

I started thinking of all the places I've spent the 4th of July, all of the fun I've had, but mostly it makes me sad to be away.  You see, the 4th of July is also the birthday of someone very special, someone I love very much - my Nana - Norice Osteen.  As a child I would soooo look forward to family gatherings to celebrate her birthday, wondering what crazy red-white-and-blue outfit she would have purchased to wear.  She would put on lots of red lipstick and kiss everybody leaving her mark behind.  I miss her terribly, especially on her birthday.  I was able to talk to her on the phone yesterday so that was a blessing, but she sounds old and frail, she almost cries when she tells me how much she loves me and my boys and how much she misses us.  I pray I'll make it home to spend some quality time with her - hang on Nana, I'm coming!

The boys were asleep when I called home last night so this morning I told them about talking to Ya-Ya and Nana and Uncle Ron- and Lewis said "Mom, when we move home to the States, I can't wait to live next to Ya-Ya and Oma and see them everyday."  Poor kid, he doesn't quite understand how seeing both of his grandmas everyday would be impossible- one lives in TN and the other in WA - not exactly neighbors.  Which got me to thinking (yes, this 4th caused a LOT of thinking)  Where is home?  Home sweet Home.  Geographically speaking I just don't know the answer to that question.  We own a house in MD, but that's not home.  We have family in TN and WA and while it's certainly our home States of record, they're not home for this family of four.  I've seen plaques in Navy family houses that say "Home is where the Navy sends us", so-

1.  Annapolis, MD
2.  Bremerton, WA
3.  San Diego, CA
4.  Yigo, GU (Guam)
5.  Lexington Park, MD
6.  Boeblingen, Germany
7.  Naples, Italy
8.  Bahrain?

But none of these feel like a permanent home, all temporary in our adventure.  Where will we land?  Where will we settle down?  I guess we'll just have to wait and see what God has in store for our future.  For now we'll have to say "Home is where the heart is" -  I never understood this saying fully until now, or at least this is my understanding of the phrase.

The human heart has the ability to be everywhere, loving lots of people in many different places.  With each "home" city, each group of friends, each family member- the heart is there.  Home can be anywhere you love and feel loved.  Because let's be honest, no home here on Earth compares to our heavenly home, it's all temporary and imperfect leaving us with a longing for more.  But the more we live and the more we love the more we feel at home here.
We leave a little piece of our heart with the people and places we love - Home is where the heart is.
Home Sweet Home.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We're gettin' our money's worth on this one.

Miss Sarah is William's swimming teacher.  She is fabulous with preschoolers - so patient, so kind. 

For two days she's been asking William if he'll get in the pool with her.  NO!.  Always No.

Today she asked-
William said "No" and let his turn pass.

She asked again and again he said "NO,
 with physical movement away from her.
She asked again
whoa, where did he go?

 Sooooo, she asks again
with hands and...

She doesn't take "NO" for an answer this time.

Not so sure.....

Oh my goodness!!!  What's that?  A SMILE?

We love Miss Sarah.

And here's Lewis, happy as a clam.  He learned to swim to the bottom today.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another way to help

I've been following this blog for a few months, watching their adoption progress and truly enjoying her insights on life.  I've wanted to help for a while, but never found the right opportunity - until today.  If you read this post (and you should)  you'll find a link at the bottom to a wonderful company selling coffee to help orphans.  I like coffee, I like helping others - win,win.   You'll see the details, for every bag purchased $5 goes towards their adoption fund - what a great way to help a family with a heart for adoption.  Make sure you click on the link in her article so they get credit.  And if you're not particularly interested in this cause, purchasing directly from the company helps orphans waiting for homes.  Take a few minutes and read about the company, you'll be inspired.  Another great aspect of this being the coffee is all "fair trade".  If you're not familiar with this term it's high time you become acquainted.  Coffee is most often grown in regions where workers are at an extreme disadvantage - they are exploited for their efforts and live in horrible conditions while the coffee companies thrive.  Fair trade coffee guarantees that those growing and harvesting the coffee are adequately compensated and treated fairly.

The Bible in 90 Days

I've signed up to be a part of this group "The Bible in 90 Days".  I've heard so much about this program, it seems everyone is doing it (not that that's good reason to join. but...) and I've really wanted a good Bible reading plan.  It's been on my heart lately that teaching the Bible to my kids would be a lot easier if I knew more about it- can I get a witness? So in order to have some accountability I'm sharing with you all that I'm in this group and I'm going to do it!  Wanna join me?

You can go to this site   and sign up.
There is a specific Bible associated with this program but there's no way I could get it in the mail before we start - and I already own a slew of Bibles - so I've added this link that gives you the reading list and you can use your own Bible.  Join me, it will be fun and rewarding!

Monday, June 28, 2010

You call this a diary?

OK, sorry.  I know this is supposed to be a way to keep you all up to date on daily life- but if I only write once a week I'm not doing what I set out to do.  I promise to write more often.

So, we've been busy lately with playdates and birthday parties and summer fun.  This weekend I played tour guide to a gal I met on Facebook who currently lives in Bahrain.  I "friended" her to try and get some information on living there and suddenly she shows up here in Naples for some meetings.  It was great to get out and have some girl time, we went to downtown Naples on Saturday and then I took her to Positano on the Amalfi coast on Sunday.  I think she enjoyed seeing a taste of Italy - she says I won't have any trouble driving in Bahrain - I wonder what she meant?  She gave me some great information about life in Bahrain, I think it's going to be very interesting - in a good way.  She's never travelled or lived outside of the US and she loves it there - very positive.

While I was away Paul and the boys played a lot of soccer and other games, some much needed Daddy time since he was away last week.  Paul took the boys to church on Sunday and as they drove into the parking lot one of them must have unbuckled and stood up with their head out of the window - Marcia, our pastor's wife, told Paul "I thought we had a new Italian family joining us this morning."  Great. 

Sorry I missed your phone calls Mom and Dad!  I hope Paul was able to answer all your questions.  I'm assuming of course that both of you are reading this now?  I guess my plan worked?  Still no comments from either of you guys but I think you would have to sign in for that.  Not to poke fun, but I'm not sure you're up to that task, yes that's another challenge.  Love ya!

Still nothing concrete on moving to Bahrain, though the detailer said he would try to get us orders early if he can so we can start the painful process of moving away from here.  It looks like Paul will have to complete some training before we go and that class is in Rhode Island - so we're hoping to have an extended stay in the States before going to Bahrain but we'll have to wait and see.  I can't believe it's been so long since we've been home to the US.  Paul was figuring up time last night, we've lived longer in this house in Italy than any other.  Our children have lived longer outside of the US than in.  Can you believe William wasn't even two when we got here and he'll be almost 5 when we leave?  Wow, it's just strange.  Someone posed this question to me, "If someone asked, would you recommend they move here?"  That's a loaded question.  It got me to thinking about all the things I love about being here, which also brings up all the things I loathe about being here.  It's the ultimate love/hate relationship.  More on that later.

We're off to swimming lessons today.  William has told everyone "I'm going to take swimming lessons.  But I'm NOT getting in the big pool."  I'm not sure how this is going to work.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the Go...Crete

It's only been a few days since we've returned from Crete and it's still fresh on my mind.  The island was so lovely, the people so warm, the food so good and the sun so hot!  I've been raving to all my friends here in Naples telling them they must go- and soon.

I know I promised a summary of our trip, but here's the deal.  We did nothing.  Nothing.  Our entire trip was spent in the pool, or playing Uno, or going out to eat at yummy seaside restaurants, or a little shopping or just plain relaxing.  Well, except for Paul who actually had to work 2.5 days but someone has to keep us in this lifestyle, right?

The one thing we did do was take the boys on a snorkeling tour.  We went on a 2 hour cruise around some islands off the coast and then stopped at one to play.  You should have seen William!  This child will not swim in the "big" pool - WILL NOT!!!  But the bouyant little guy snorkeled around these rocks swimming and floating and having the time of his life.  And he wasn't even wearing a life jacket (both parents within 1ft).  Lewis loved it too and was really good at the snorkelling but, being Lewis, he decided to wear his lifejacket.

Oh, and Mom, you really should have come to Crete with us.

Dad, you reading this yet?

Paul is currently in Turkey on another business trip so when he gets back and checks his work email I hope we'll have some new information on our future.  There are lots of things floating around - trying to work the timing of everyone moving into and out of jobs, training, packing, moving, etc. - it all just needs to start hitting the calendar and giving us something concrete.  We'll keep you up to date.

So, instead of a detailed summary, here are some photos.  Enjoy.  (Note:  I wanted to add more photos but it's taking a LONG time. I'll try to add more later, or there's a few more on my Facebook page)


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Home again, home again....

We're home from Crete and a great time was had by all!  I'll write more about it tomorrow and post some photos.

Dad, if you're reading this (and you should be) Happy Father's Day!  I love you very much and I hope you have a great day!

And to any other fathers reading this -Happy Father's Day to you too!

A funny story I'll share - this morning we were saying the blessing over breakfast and we thanked God for Paul and I told the boys how lucky they are to have the best father in the whole world.  And Lewis replied "Mom, he's not the best father in the whole world."  huh?  "He can't be, God is."  

Paul says he's OK being in 2nd place.

Have a great day!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Deja Vu?

After another day of laundry and packing I'm starting to believe I may be stuck in a Deja Vu loop!  I'm not complaining, just observing.  We may have been a bit overzealous planning three trips in three months but time in Italy is running out so we have to get it all done!

I am looking forward to our time in Greece on the island of Crete.  The boys prefer these types of vacations- no big cities, very little sightseeing - this trip is all about relaxation (for us, poor Paul has to work a few days).  We've rented a villa with a pool so that will be the focus of our days and we're near a lovely seaside town with great restaurants and shops for our nighttime adventures.
This is a view of the pool as advertised, we'll see if it's as magnificent in person.

A quick update on "the future".  After several email swaps it seems we are a go for Bahrain. Now, keep in mind we won't get orders until October and with the military anything could happen between now and then- but I don't forsee it changing and I'm actually excited! 

Dad? You reading this?

Love to you all, we'll be out of touch for the week.  Here's hoping we can make it through a vacation without Paul getting hurt.

Dad, are you there?

A few days ago I gave my Dad a hard time about not reading this blog, after all the main reason for starting this was to help our families feel more involved in our daily lives.  Now, if the family isn't reading what's the point?  Right?
So begins the harrassment of my Dad - and it will continue until he leaves a comment confirming his participation.
And then I'll move on to my Mom, another non-participant!  Hello parents!!!!

Thank you Judy and Doug for reading, it's nice to feel love somewhere in your family!
And thanks to everyone else reading (all two of you)!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Feeding birds.... and prayer.

My boys are currently outside trying to feed leftover bread to the birds.  Their current plan includes waving the bread wildly in the air while shouting "come here bird, get your breakfast!"  I wonder how long they'll last before they figure this one out.  Maybe I should go help?  Nah... it's more fun this way.

On another note, we're still in the process of negotiating our future with the Navy.  Some of you may know we've been talking to the detailer (the person in charge of Navy jobs) about Bahrain - not optimal but of the choices he gave us it's the one that keeps our family together.  Just a few days ago a man Paul knows who works in Northern Italy called to say there was a job opening there and would he be interested?  Apparently Paul is really interested so we'll see where that trail leads.  It's not likely they'll give him that job unless some "power that be" asks for him - you never know!  And today a new list of jobs was posted so we'll be looking over those - so much information. 

All of this to say, please pray that we would be aware of what God wants for us.  We would be happy living most anywhere, some places would be easier and have better opportunities for us as a family - but ultimately we want to go where God wants us to reap His benefits.

Have a great day!  We're off to do a bit of shopping in preperation for our next adventure. I can't wait to get to Greece!