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!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Paris, the summary

I just realized it's been a while since I wrote and I forgot to summarize our trip to Paris, sorry.  I have a little bit of an excuse - want to hear it?  good.  The day after we returned from Paris Paul left for Bahrain and doesn't return until today.  Needless to say that left me with a mountain of laundry, two very tired boys and a lot of housework to do so my brain hasn't had the ability to write.

I've spent the last few days doing laundry including all of the sheets and blankets, battling another mold infestation, switching all our clothes from winter to summer and sorting through to accumulate two trash bags full of donations and cleaning up the house from 3 weeks of neglect.  whew.  This weekend we will tackle the yard which currently resembles an overgrown jungle.

But let's talk about fun stuff for a while, shall we?  Paris, ahhhhh Paris.  We had a great trip.  I did a bit of research before going trying to find "kid friendly" things to do in the City of Lights and while I found lots of articles stating "Paris can be fun for kids" I truly had my doubts.  You see, if you've been to Paris as an adult and kid free you experience Paris a totally different way and I wasn't completely sure I was willing to give up my ideal version of Paris.  It turns out the articles were right, you can enjoy Paris with kids!  It's a completely different experience but one I'm so glad I had the opportunity to enjoy.

I decided at the last minute to take a stroller and boy am I glad I did!  We must have walked for miles each day and poor William is not able to keep up, we would have been absolutely miserable if both boys had tried to walk those distances.  We chose not to use the Metro system as it is so easy to stroll from place to place.  Our apartment was in the 15th arrondisement, just south of the Eiffel Tower.  It was the perfect location, close enough to the action but far enough out of the center to give us a feel for real life in the city.  We had a playground just across the street from our apartment and we played there quite a bit.  It was such a lovely scene, a variety of children playing together across language barriers and cultures.  I thought this would be our life here in Italy, multi-cultural experiences where my boys were able to play with children from all over the world; but alas, that was not to be.

Our first day we took the boys to the top of the Eiffel Tower, they thought it was so cool!  We had lunch at one of the restaurants on the Tower, yes I know that's a touristy thing to do but it was actually good food at a reasonable price and the view can't be beat!  We sat overlooking the Seine watching boats go by, sipping wine, eating salmon and finishing with a most divine chocolate dessert.  The next day we took the BatoBus, a shuttle boat that goes from stop to stop along the Seine river, and we went to Notre Dame.  The boys also liked seeing this as they had learned about the gargoyles on the church from Scooby Doo.  Yes, I'm a bit embarrassed I can't say they learned about it from an educational film during a homeschooling lesson, but it is what it is.  After Notre Dame we walked over to the Jardin de Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens) and found a playground for the boys to run around.  This playground was fantastic!  Of course you had to pay a small fee to get in this one but it was worth it - the boys left covered head to toe in dirt and completely exhausted.  We walked back to the BatoBus stop and before the boat pulled away from the dock William was asleep in his stroller and Lewis had found two seats where he could lay down.

I've already written a summary of our Tuesday, it turned out to be a great day despite our visit to the clinic for Paul's hand.  On Wednesday Paul had his meeting (the real reason for our trip) so the boys and I had a rest day.  We hung out in our PJs for most of the morning and then went to the playground, had a light lunch out and waited for Paul to come home.  We went out to dinner that night, yummy Indian food and then went for a stroll around the city.  Paris is much different at night.  All the tourist buses have left, it's quiet, subtly lit and peaceful.  I wanted the boys to see the Eiffel Tower at night and also to experience the flashing that occurs on the hour.  For the millennium celebration they lit the Eiffel tower with flashing bulbs and they still use them each night.  Now let me tell you, it doesn't get dark in Paris until at least 10:00pm making it very hard to get little boys to sleep at a normal time.  By Wednesday night, 10:30 was their normal bedtime so it wasn't strange at all that we had them out and about at this time of night.  We were playing on a playground in the park in front of the Tower when she started flashing - the look on William's face was pure delight!  He just sat and stared and said "wow!".  Unfortunately I didn't see Lewis' reaction as he and Paul had gone to find a restroom but Paul said he was also amazed at the sight.

Thursday was a rainy day but we went out anyway, we had no plans just walking and discovering.  We were in the Jardin de Tuilleries just in front of the Louvre when the weather took a turn for the worse.  We went inside for cover and originally planned to only see the pyramid and get a snack but found out children are free for the museum so we decided to go in.  Now Paul and I are not museum people, needless to say neither are Lewis and William, but it's the Louvre and you need to do it once so we did - did I mention it was pouring rain outside?  We got our map and headed straight to the Mona Lisa, slowly pushed our way to the front and as she came into clear view I leaned down to the boys and said "look, that's the Mona Lisa, she's one of the most famous paintings in the world."  And Lewis said "yeah, I know Mom, I've already seen her on Little Einsteins."  Good grief.  Well, at least they're learning something from the shows they're watching?  I have to admit, I don't get all the hype about this painting.  We viewed several other paintings by da Vinci that I personally liked better, but what do I know about art?  Nothing.  Paul and I both agreed it was a bit anti-climactic to finally see her, but we can say we've seen her in person.  We moved on to the Ancient Egyptian exhibit which we all liked more, they had an actual mummy!

Friday we spent another long day at the Jardin de Luxembourg enjoying the playground, the fountains, a nice lunch (sushi again, yummy!) and a lovely snack on the way home.  All week I wanted to stop at a corner cafe, have a creme brulee and a glass of champagne and Friday was my day!  I convinced Paul to stop and bribed the boys with ice cream - it was a fabulous last snack in Paris!  I'm not sure Paul enjoyed it as much after paying the bill (eating in Paris is crazy expensive) but I'm very grateful for that little indulgence.

And Saturday we came home!  I will share this, for the first time coming home from a trip I didn't dread being back in Naples-answered prayer?  I think so.  I'm finally gaining peace about being here and for that I am truly grateful.

Wow, after not writing for a week I just talked your ears off (or eyes since you're reading it).  Now that we've unpacked from Paris it's time to start thinking about Crete!  We leave for Greece on Saturday June 12 and I can't wait!

Both boys are still missing their Oma - the distraction of Paris was good but as soon as we got home they remembered and said "let's go see Oma".  We all miss you!