Friday, February 26, 2010


Oh boy, Oh boy, it's the weekend!

Friday's 3 things-
1.  I am thankful for Vick's Vapor Rub, Cough Medicine and Motrin (please let them help my kids sleep)
2.  I am thankful for Friday family movie night.
3.  I am thankful my husband listens to my desires, even when they change minute to minute.

Buona Venerdi!  Venerdi is the Italian word for Friday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


This morning, as I am getting dressed Lewis asks "Mommy, why don't you exercise?"  "Well Lewis, I should.  I'm lazy."  And in his never ending quest to be just like is father  helpful he continues "you know, you have that machine thingy in your bedroom you could use."  "Yes, thank you - I'll take that piece of advice under consideration." Not done with this exciting conversation, he continues "I learned on 'Sid the Science Kid' that you should exercise everyday".  To which I replied "No TV for you, two weeks!"  Just kidding.  That's what I get for letting my kids watch "educational" TV.  From now on, nothing but mindless fluff.  William (being a bit more like me and silently observing until now) says "Is it snacktime?"

Needless to say my "I'm giving up being lazy for Lent" isn't working out as planned.  I've exercised, once.  Pathetic.  I'm currently planning a trip to Greece to do nothing but lay by the pool or at the beach - something must be done!  But in other good news, I have kept to my no wine promise, my less complaining promise and one other thing I gave up as well.

Excellent day weather wise - beautiful, sunny and 61 degrees.  We went to our last art class and had lunch at the playground.  Which got  me to thinking about Spring/Summer clothes for the boys.  If you have boys you know that boy clothes are not cute.  Moms of girls are really lucky in this department.  If you have boys who have crossed out of toddler land you know these big boy clothes are really not cute.  What are they thinking?  Why does everything have to be an ugly graphic or camouflage?  And don't take this personally - but I despise shirts with cute (I use this word loosely) sayings like "He did it"  or "it wasn't me".  WHY?

Today's Italian lesson:  la lavastoviglie =  dishwasher.   Still broken, still not complaining.

Today's three things-
1.  I am thankful for seasoned homeschooling Moms who give good practical advice.
2.  I am thankful for my Nana.
3.  I am thankful my boys are concerned for my health.

Buona Notte!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spring is Springing!

Another lovely sunny day without rain.  A sure sign spring is coming and the rainy cold season is almost over is the rain only comes at night and the sun is out during the day.  Other signs are evident all around my yard.
I love this bush.

I love orange flowers.

My lemons
My oranges.
I have two types of lemon trees.  The larger lemon is a Sorrento lemon.
And my all time favorite sign of Spring - daffodils.
But these are my favorite wild things growing in my back yard.

Today we spent a lot of time outdoors, mainly due to the fact we had no electricity for 5 hours so absolutely nothing could get done inside.

Just in case you're wondering, the Italian word for Spring = Primavera.

Wednesday's 3 things
1.  I am thankful for fun days outside.
2.  I am thankful for my new camera lens.
3.  I am thankful for my soft fuzzy socks.

Buona notte!  Good night!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes

Today I hear "Mom, I'm done"  which means one of my boys has pooped and is ready for me to wipe his bum.  What a glamorous life I lead.  So I go to the bathroom and get the paper and wipe William's little bum - he reaches out with both arms and grabs hold of my leg, tightly.  I ask "why are you holding on so tight?" and he replied "well, I have to hold on to your big ole leg so I don't fall off the toilet.".  Seriously?  So I ask "do you think Mommy has big ole legs?" (yes I'm a glutton for punishment) to which he replied "yep.  and you got a big ole bahooty too".  Bahooty is the new word in our house for bum.  Good grief.

I wore my new boots today, fabulous!  Did I mention I have an addiction to boots?  Not an addiction where I buy every pair of boots I see and own 200 pairs - but an addiction that means I see a pair of boots that I love and I cannot rest until they are on my feet.  I am up to 4 pairs.

Excellent day homeschooling, though I admit I am not cut out for Preschool/Kindergarten level homeschooling.  At first I thought it would be so easy, so basic, no challenge.  Now I realize I would much rather teach calculus because at least my mind would be stimulated too - we could all learn or relearn together.  But today when I almost lost my composure as I tried to explain to William that b,b,b flower does not start with B I realized this is going to be hard (imagine a 4 year old sounding out names - b, b, b boat - b, b, b, flower - ugghhh).  It's difficult to understand when they don't get the most basic concepts.  Lewis is currently learning to add money.  Nickels and pennies.  Easy, right?  NO.  After explaining and explaining that nickels are 5 cents and pennies are 1 cent and you count by fives and ones (which he can do no problem) and then add up the numbers - he looks at me and asks "why can't we just do 15 + 3 instead of this silly money?"  I have no answer.

Here's a picture of  "art time".  The boys were using their imaginations to play "Indiana Jones" and decided they needed maps to find the treasure.

Here are my three things I'm thankful for today-

1.  I am thankful my children want to learn new things everday.
2.  I am thankful for the time I spent living in Germany.
3.  I am thankful for pizza.

Good night!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday's 3 things

1.  I am thankful for my new boots!
2.  I am thankful my children chose to use half of their Christmas money to help needy children.
3.  I am thankful for daffodils.

I hope you all had a great Monday!


I just read about this company who gives away a pair of shoes for every pair purchased.  I LOVE to support companies who make a difference so I'm sharing this with you. 
The shoes aren't what you would call "fashion forward", but they look comfy - maybe a nice pair to wear around the house?  or to the beach?  Anyhoo,
here is the link.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Ok, I skipped writing my three things yesterday but I have an excuse!  Last night was Bunco night and it was my turn to host.  I spent most of the day preparing food for 11 lovely ladies and getting the house ready to be "seen by the public".  After a long night of fun and excitement (I won $25) I was waaaaaaaay too tired to write anything last night.  So I'll have to double down on the thankfulness tonight.

A quick update - Paul had a visit to the Orthopedic Dr. on Friday and had a brief moment where he thought they would remove the cast and give him a walking boot.  But a brief moment it was.  They first x-rayed the foot with the cast still on and the Dr. couldn't see the break.  After talking with Paul for a bit about what the Drs in Sicily had said he decided to cut the cast off and do another x-ray just to be sure.  And wouldn't ya know it? he saw the break- so Paul got a brand new cast.  He'll be wearing this one for 4.5 weeks and he's not thrilled to be on crutches, but what are ya gonna do?

The boys are doing great.  The weather is warming up a bit and the rain seems to be tapering off.  We've been outside playing the past few days and it has been so nice.  I hope to get outside and do some yard work this week, the neglect is starting to show.

On Friday I went with a group of girls for a tour of a local glove factory- fun, fun!  It was so interesting to see the process start to finish.   The best part being the finish where they let you buy gloves direct.  Some of them are slightly imperfect, some overstock, but all very nice.  I bought the most beautiful pair of red gloves!  I'll try to get a picture of them up so you can all ooooo and ahhhhhh.

I don't usually pass out advice on marriage but I have a little tidbit I would like to share.  If you're interested in keeping the peace - DO NOT wash your husband's passport!  Even if your intentions are pure (clean clothes) the end result will not produce a pleasing effect.  Trust me on this one.  In my defense, I have a long standing rule that once your clothes hit the laundry basket they should be ready to go - apparently no one is listening to me or following my rules.

Earlier today I posted a link to a blog - read some of it if you have time.  It amazes me to read stories of people doing extraordinary things.  Her blog reinforced my need to stop complaining over ridiculous things.

Sorry this is all a bit random and choppy but I'm still feeling the after effects of trying to stay up late and party like a Bunco rockstar.  I hope you all had a great weekend full of blessings.

Saturday's 3
1.  I am thankful to have the opportunity to be a host to great ladies.
2.  I am thankful for "Biscuit" books, my son loves to read them!
3.  I am thankful for my camera.

Sunday's 3
1.  I am thankful for my church.
2.  I am thankful for my neighbor Nora and her lasagna.
3.  I am thankful for missionaries out there showing the world what it really means to follow Christ.

New blog to read

An interesting read.

Friday, February 19, 2010


1.  I am thankful for cultural experiences with fun ladies.
2.  I am thankful for Beth Moore.
3.  I am thankful for Cecile and Blecile (my babysitters).


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday's 3

Sorry about the lack of information or updates.  This has been a busy week.  And I'm discovering (though I already "knew") that my job, without Paul's help, takes a lot more time .  My husband is awesome!  Don't tell anyone, but I think he may be a better housewife than I am.

I should have something good to tell you about tomorrow.  I'm going with a group of girls on a tour of a glove factory.  Handmade Italian leather gloves, yum.

1.  I am thankful for spring-like days after weeks of rain.
2.  I am thankful Paul will be home tonight.
3.  I am thankful for the laughter of two little boys, and for their bedtime.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Only 3

Nothing to report today.
Here are my 3-

1.  I am thankful for my elliptical machine.
2.  I am thankful to Pastor Mark Driscoll for sharing his wonderful sermons.
3.  I am thankful for friends who invite me to dinner when my husband is out of town so I won't feel lonely.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras

This time last year I had just returned from a wonderful weekend getaway to Venice for Carnivale with my friend Theresa.  We had an amazing trip, just us two girls.  I think we were both surprised by Carnivale.  I think we were both expecting Mardi Gras - like New Orleans style (I know I was).  But, it's nothing like that.  In fact, I would call Carnivale a family event except for the crowds making it difficult for small children.  Carnivale is all about the costumes, elaborate beautiful costumes and about fun.  Not a puking frat boy in sight!  It was fantastic and I'm so glad to have experienced the celebration Italian style and with Theresa.

Of course we all know this grand celebration leads up to the season of Lent - Fat Tuesday is about feasting and partying - one last hoorah before the fasting begins.  As I mentioned, this year I'm giving up complaining for Lent.  I've realized lately how much I complain about little things and I want to change that.  Each day I'll be writing three things I'm grateful for to remind myself just how blessed I am and how little I have to complain about.  I'll be sharing these things with you so that you know I'm actually doing what I said I would.  But here's a disclaimer - some of the things I write may sound a bit sarcastic, as if I really want to complain but I'm spinning it in a positive light.  And this will be true - this is my goal - to take a situation I would normally complain about and see it in a new light.  So please know I am not being sarcastic, I am truly trying to change my outlook on things.

I'm also giving up wine.  Whoa, I can't believe I just wrote that in public.  I love my wine.  I look forward to my wine.  I live in Italy where wine is cheaper than water and soda!  And this year, for 40+ days, I'm giving it up.  I feel a bit weak kneed just thinking about it (does this mean I have a problem?).  I knew if I didn't put it out there for some accountability I would never stick to it so here it is.  Heaven help me.

I'm also giving up being lazy.  Exercise begins tomorrow, no excuses.  I haven't worked out in the two years I've lived in Italy.  Did I tell you I had to go and buy a new pair of jeans because I can't button any of my pants?  Embarrassing.  By Easter I'm going to be out of those "fat girl" jeans.  And no I'm not using Lent as a diet plan - I overindulge and I don't take care of my temple and it's time to stop.  Plain and simple.

So let's talk about something positive, all this change that's going to happen tomorrow is making me a bit nervous.

Today was a great school day for Lewis!  He's getting more comfortable with reading and he's doing most of his math at a 1st grade level.  And William actually wants to participate now so I'll need to come up with Preschool level activities for him.  Things are looking up!  We're inheriting a phonics program from a fellow homeschooling family and I can't wait to get started on that.  Today was one of those days I get why people homeschool - I hope to have more of these.  I go back and forth between feeling it's absolutely the right thing and thinking I'm going to screw up my kids.  Only time will tell.

Paul is off to Belgium today for a meeting, he'll be back on Thursday and he'll be bringing Neuhaus chocolates.  I am not a chocolate fan.  I have never really liked chocolate - until Belgium.  I drove from Germany to Belgium to visit my friend Jennifer and she was kind enough to take us to Brussells for a tour and some chocolate tasting.  We stopped at the Neuhaus store and she went in first for a small bag.  She came out and took a taste of the "house specialty" and promplty said "I have to go back and buy more".  When it was my turn, I bought a box of the same chocolates and almost wept right there on the sidewalk.  I think the Hershey company should be sued for using the word chocolate to describe that junk they're peddling.  Don't waste your calories people - that's not chocolate!  I asked Paul to bring only a small box back since I'm not indulging - the hard part will be sharing with the kids.  They too love these chocolates and to tell the truth I'm not so sure their taste buds are mature enough to appreciate these divine little morsels.  These kids love cheetos for heaven's sake!  How can they really appreciate these treasures?  I also asked him to bring a box back for my friend Jennifer, maybe she'll share with the kids.

And in other good news, it looks like someone has requested to fill Paul's job here in Naples when it comes open in October.  This certainly makes it easier on us and we can reasonably expect to be out of here on time.  Where are we going?  Who knows.  We likely won't know for a while, this process is painfully slow.  I think Paul will contact the detailer next week with two jobs he's interested in and see what response we receive.

Now I'm off to bed - I get the whole bed to myself!  (which is really only fun for one night and then it gets lonely)

Here are today's 3 things-
1.  I'm thankful to have a very generous husband.
2.  I'm thankful to have too much food and the ability to buy new pants when I overindulge.
3.  I'm thankful to have such wonderful friends.

Buona Notte!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday and toilets

Today is the first day after my big declaration of "No more complaining"!  Lent hasn't offcially started soooo....  Just kidding.  No complaints.  But I have to admit that I think it's going to be challenging.  I spent most of the day cleaning my house.  I do not like to clean house.  I tried being thankful that I have a house to clean.  No luck.  I tried being grateful that I'm blessed with such a nice house when many are homeless.  No luck.  The truth is I am thankful but I still hate to clean house.  So doing it without complaining or grumbling will be difficult.

Today was also a typical Monday.  I don't know about you, but for me Monday just has a "feel" to it.  It somehow seems heavier than all the other days, more difficult.  Why is this?  I don't have an answer.  It should have been a holiday for Paul but he had to go to work, poor guy.  He's getting better at hopping around on his crutches but he's frustrated too - very difficult for him to be physically limited. 

Not much else to report, but here's my list of 3-

1.  I'm thankful that I can go in my back yard and pick fresh lemons for my recipes.
2.  I'm thankful my boys are such good friends and can entertain themselves for hours with just each other and good imaginations.
3.  I'm thankful for Skype - it allows me to keep in touch with and see many faces I love.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Freddo, Freddo, Freddo. and Blessed.

Freddo means cold in Italian.  I am cold.  I cannot shake this feeling of cold no matter how many layers I put on or how close I stand to the heater.  I realize complaining about this when there are people in the world truly cold and who don't have or can't afford heat is ridiculous and for that I feel a bit guilty.  Lately I've noticed how much complaining I do about little things, how much complaining we all do about little things (check out the status updates on FB).  I recently read an article about a family complaining that they had no word on their son who was in Haiti on the day of the earthquake.  They demanded answers, they're Americans and they want answers!  How ridiculous.  I know they're suffering and I truly feel for them to have lost a son and not be able to get answers.  But I don't give a darn what country you're from or who you are, you don't demand answers when an entire country is still in total chaos.  Hundreds of thousands of people died and will never be identified - no answers.  Hundreds if not thousands of bodies will never be found in the rubble - no answers.  And to think this one family thinks their suffering is any greater than anyone else's?  Wow.
The world is full of suffering, real suffering, and complaining about little things is so self-centered.  I don't like this about me and I'm going to change it.  I'm officially giving up complaining for Lent (along with a few other things I don't want to share in case I cave).  And I'm going to start now by being grateful to have extra layers to put on, money to buy gas to heat my house, heck I'm grateful to have a house to heat!  Everyday I'm going to write down at least 3 things I'm truly thankful for - 3 new things each day.  Can you imagine how blessed I'll feel by Easter?
Buona Domenica!  Have a good Sunday!

PS-   uggghh, I just realized I'll have to give up complaining about my dishwasher!  This may be harder than I thought.

Friday, February 12, 2010

What the....?

So, I'm walking by the window and suddenly stop to look out because something strange caught my eye- and what do I see?  SNOW!  In Naples?  Strange things are going on folks.  I realize it's not nearly the amount of snow the east coast (U.S.) is currently enjoying but it's something.  Of course exactly one hour after it started it was all gone and the sun was shining again.

And in the "saw that one coming from a mile away" category, my stupid dishwasher is broken again.  I've only used it once since it was "repaired" and not one drop of water infiltrated the electronics.
Lo ho detto così.  I told you so.

Buona notte!  Good night!

Volcano to Volcano

Yesterday as we neared Naples Lewis exclaimed from the backseat "We're almost home!"  and I asked "How do you know?"  to which he replied "Well, that's our volcano so we must be close".  Interesting.  Our trip took us round trip from our volcano Vesuvio to Etna and back - 8 hours of driving each way.  I want to give a great big thank you to my boys who are so good in the car it's almost unbelievable.  I'm truly blessed to have kids who travel well.

I wish I could say we had the best trip ever, but we didn't.  It started out OK.  Saturday we went to Syracusa to see the Greek ruins.  I'm still amazed at the amount of Greek ruins on Sicily, it never occured to me that it would have been such a large Greek settlement but that's what I get for not paying attention in History class.  We saw a wonderfully preserved Greek theater overlooking the sea and the boys had fun climbing and exploring.

Sunday we decided to go play in the snow on Mt. Etna.  We couldn't make it up the mountain to the ski areas because the roads had not been plowed or salted and had become impassible even with chains.  So we parked our car and played in a small hilly valley for a while.  And this is where the trip took a turn for the worse.  Paul vs. the Volcano!  Paul had a little sledding accident that resulted in a broken left ankle.  He wasn't doing anything crazy or dangerous, merely sledding down a little hill.  The snow was very compact and icy so picking up speed on our red disc sleds wasn't difficult.  Paul came down the first time and bumped into a tree, no big deal.  It was a small brush pine that has grown up out of the lava field.  The next time he took the same course, started from a bit higher up and bumped into the same tree but quite a bit harder this time (please note I advised him to change his course but he didn't listen).  He was riding the disc with his feet out in front of him so they made contact with the tree first. When he didn't get up immediately I knew something was wrong.  The look on his face wasn't pretty, I asked "if you were a girl would you be crying right now?"  and he said "yes".  Uh-oh.  He got up, hobbled over to an area out of the way and sat in the snow catching the boys as they came down the hill.  About ten minutes later he took off his boot for a look and there was already a black bruised area just above the ankle bone-not a good sign.  I said "I think you need to go to the Dr." and he didn't protest a single bit - now I know we have trouble.  He hobbled down the hill to the car (I offered to push him down the hill on the sled but no way was his pride going to allow that) and we returned to the Navy base and I took him to the Hospital.  A few hours later he has a new cast and a pair of crutches the boys find very interesting.  Paul's quite a trooper, he never even had his prescription for pain pills filled - he says he's not in pain.  Luckily his car isn't a stick so he can still drive it to work and I don't have to play taxi for 4-6 weeks.
Volcano 1   Paul 0

Needless to say a man on crutches is not fun to go sightseeing with so our trip to Sicily was very uneventful after that.  Paul was actually there to work so he still went in but my plans of afternoon sightseeing were cancelled.  Oh well, you've seen one Greek theater you've seen them all.

Now we're home and I'm freezing!  One week without heat makes my Italian villa molto freddo - very cold.  You know it's bad when the Prosecco is a nice temperature for drinking and it's not even in the refrigerator.  I opted for toast for breakfast just so I could huddle over the toaster oven for a bit of extra heat - sad.  I suppose I could warm up by cleaning the house or doing some exercise - but that just sounds painful so I think I'll make some hot tea and curl up with a blanket and read (between loads of laundry, of course).

Oh, I want to share my new favorite with you.  It's winter and my skin is dry, miserable, itchy and I need help.  I've used this lotion before but it's really working for me now. 

I hope you all have a nice weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We're home.

We've returned from our long trip to Sicily.  I'm much too exhausted to write cohesive thoughts tonight, I'll take time tomorrow.
I hope you all had a great week,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ciao tutti!

Tomorrow we are off to Sicily!  We'll be taking along a very old laptop which does not have Wi-Fi capabilities so if we can plug it in we'll be in touch.  If not, I'll write when we get back.

Great day today!  The boys had fun with a bean/glue project.  They wrote their names in glue on construction paper and placed beans in the glue.  I decided to multi-task and teach poetry and art at the same time - you guessed it - the boys now know the "beans, beans, the magical fruit" poem.  Needless to say that got a lot of laughs!  It's times like these I can't help but wonder if they wouldn't be better off in public school.  On the plus side, Lewis did all of his +1 flash cards using the Italian names for the numbers.  All is not lost.

Must run, still a lot of packing to do.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good news and Secrets

Good news!  William's tooth is only bruised, not dead.  I took him to the dentist today and he not only examined but x-rayed the tooth and it looks good.  I'm so glad he'll be able to keep it, two years of snaggle tooth ain't pretty.

And here's a little bit of information I would like to share - your package of aluminum foil has tabs on the end that, when pushed in, stop the roll from falling out!  I did not know this until today and I am still flabbergasted by this bit of information.  I just assumed that the unfortunate "roll falling out" event was a necessary evil to using this product.  I excitedly waited for Paul to come home so I could share this little treasure, and do you want to know what he said?  "Yeah, I know.  Saran Wrap has the same thing."  WHAT???  How have I known this man for 10 years, been married to him for 7, birthed two of his children and he didn't bother to share this with me?  I can't help but wonder what other deep dark secrets he's hiding from me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Where did the time go?

First, let's all say a little thank you that today's post isn't "day titled".  Unfortunately today's title comes from the amazing fact I just haven't had the time or brain power to sit down and write.  When I first began this blog I thought I would sit down at night after tucking the boys into bed and write.  But wow, brain damage sets in around 7:30 and I'm too tired.  So I thought I would write in the morning, but by the time I consume two cups of coffee to reverse the previous night's brain damage I've got too much to do to take time to write.  This is harder than I thought.

In my last entry I stated we were off to the Commissary, but that was delayed due to weather.  Strange, I know.  It started to really rain just as we were walking out the door and knowing that we had to leave the house the next day for art class I decided to cancel our outing and do it Thursday.  The boys were much happier with this decision and we all settled in to game of Monopoly Jr..  Thursday's art class was interesting.  The project was to paint a flower using finger paints and your feet.  Both of my boys apparently have texture issues and refused to take off their shoes and have their feet covered in paint.  Such weird kids.  They'll cover themselves head to toe with mud or sand, but paint? NO.  They opted to use their hands instead -still cute.

On Saturday we did a bit of local exploring.  We hopped in the family mini-van and just drove around to see what we could find.  It's nice to do this on the weekends because the traffic isn't so bad.  I'm always amazed at the ancient ruins "just around the corner".  We're driving along and boom - a Roman Amphitheater I didn't even know was here.  That night we watched a video rented from the library about Sicily.  I was surprised to see all the Greek ruins still intact on Sicily.  We're looking forward to our trip and seeing a few of these.  The boys are looking forward to playing in the snow on Mt. Etna.

Thankfully my dishwasher was repaired today.  And you want to know the kicker?  The repairman told me the circuit board was shorting out due to - wait for it- water infiltration.  huh?  Now, I hate to be the voice of reason here, but a dishwasher by its' very nature has to get wet!!!  He told me I needed to make sure that water from the draining board of my sink didn't leak down into the top control panel.  I looked, taking in the layout of my kitchen and said "Impossible!"  put an accent on the last "e" and it's Italian for- impossible.  The sink and the dish drain area are directly above the dishwasher.  His suggestion?  Put a dishtowel on the edge to soak up any run away water.  Good grief.  Needless to say Paul heard this explanation and said "We'll put a bead of caulk around the exposed areas and no more water".  Smart man I married, I think I'll keep him.  I'm 100% positive that water infiltration is not the problem but I'll wait until it stops working again to learn how to say "I told you so" in Italian.

And now I'm off to do some reading and go to bed.  I'm currently reading "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom and I love it!

I made this  two weeks ago and it is fantastic - I suggest you try it.  We ate it as sandwiches on fresh bakery rolls with sweet potato fries - yummmy!