Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!

What a year! I started this blog almost exactly a year ago! We started out 2008 by spending some snowy days up in Mt. Etna and enjoying our first Carnivale experience in Acireale! Derrick left the day after Valentine's day for his 6 month deployment. Ellie celebrated her 1st birthday in March, with a lady bug birthday party. In April we went to the base Easter Egg hunt and had our own little Easter at home. The Reed's graciously invited us to Easter dinner so we weren't alone. In May, I took the girls through a hellish trip on a C5 to the States to visit family and friends for a month! We got to see so many friends, go to several zoos, and spend lots of time with my parents. It definitely helped make the deployment go faster!

June dragged out very slowly as deployment dates kept changing and my fellow wives with deployed husbands and I were all losing our sanity. Close friendships were formed through this time. We took the kids to the 4th of July celebration on base and got our home ready for Daddy to come home! Derrick returned back mid July and we even got to see his plane land on the runway! In August we had a princess party for Valerie's 3rd birthday. For our summer vacation, we took a 2.5 week trip, driving over to the mainland and all the way up to Germany and back. We visited Rome, Tuscany, Venice, and Naples in Italy. The best part was meeting my parents in Germany, in the Alps, for a week! We went to a castle in Austria, took a train up to the highest peak in the Germany Alps, and lots more! Garmich is a beautiful place.

This fall we celebrated the usual holidays, trick-or-treated, and spent time with friends. We found out that we are blessed with a 3rd pregnancy! Derrick has been on call every weekend since we returned from vacation in August so this has left us with absolutely no time or allowance for leaving the base area. We have been disappointed that we weren't able to do more here, and would have enjoyed it more had it been a shore duty. However, I am very greatful for the traveling experiences we have had. Being a Navy Wife is very hard but without it, we would not have the close friendships we now have, and the stamps on our passport! For that we are greatful. We are extremely glad to be moving back to the US in a couple short months so that our family is a regular part of our lives again!

For now, we spend the next couple months getting ready to move. We will be doing our packout in a couple weeks and shipping our van over as well. We close on our home on 1/30 and hope to fly out of here and move in by end of March, first week of April at the very latest. I have a vision of Easter morning in our new home!

Thank you for being a part of our 2008 and Happy New Year to you all!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas to All..

and Happy New Year!

We had the most wonderful, relaxed, Christmas this year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays with your loved ones.

This year Valerie is finally old enough to really have conversations about preparation of our hearts during Advent season for the coming of Christ. We really focused on how Christmas is all about giving, grace, quality time with family and friends, and being greatful. She is just as much into Jesus's birthday as she is to Santa, which is good, although I sometimes have a hard time explaining how they BOTH fit into Christmas. For now, she believes that Santa loves God so much and wants to share his love with all the children in the world and that's why he gives us all gifts. I guess we have to start somewhere right? :)

To start out Christmas eve, Valerie and I made some reindeer mix (aka "Puppy Chow" or "Muddy Buddies") to leave for Santa.

During the day, we made cards for Santa, painted our nails so we'd look just "bootiful" for church that evening, and made lasagna for dinner! We went to a very simple church service at the Chapel on base that evening in which we read scriptures and sang carols. It was lovely, although I spent part of it outside letting Ellie run around screaming. Here is a photo before we left, the best I could do with a tripod!

After church, we came home and ate a very late dinner, italian style. The girls were excited to have their own sparkling champagne (aka grape juice). Every year I buy the girls Christmas PJ's in which they of course wear on Xmas Eve! We left our reindeer mix, carrots for the reindeer, and letters to Santa on the table.

Another tradition in our family is that Derrick reads, The Night Before Christmas before we tuck the girls in bed. Ellie didn't make it that far ;)

Christmas morning- We kept things pretty simple this year. We decided to stay in our PJ's and hang out, eating leftover lasagna and relaxing together as a family after weeks of craziness. It was nice to have a quiet Christmas with just us.
Just woke up:
Valerie's favorite gift this year was a sleeping beauty pony that walks/makes noises, very girly.

Ellie's was actually a toy train set that goes with some thomas trains but my favorite picture of her is of her shaking some of her new instruments!

We spent the afternoon on the couch watching "It's a Wonderful Life" and letting the girls play. I found Valerie asleep in her room amongst this mess, which took her only about 45 minutes to create!

That evening, we drove about a half hour west of here to the little town of Caltagirone. They have a tradition of lining their famous steps with flowers and setting a nativity up top. We missed the live nativity by a couple days I think; however were glad to check it out! We ate a couple pastries on our way out of town and that ended our wonderful little family Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Recent Happenings

This will just be a little random grouping of updates over the last week or so. I haven't had much time to blog and process photos as we have had phone line issues, interent issues, and our computers both had to be restored! (and aren't done yet! grrr!!)

Last Sunday after a weekend of xmas parties, birthday party, and our date night, we spent Sunday after church watching xmas movies and stringing popcorn. We got enough popcorn strung to go around the tree twice, which was good enough for me. Maybe next year we'll do more.. although Norman ate some of it off the tree!

On Thursday, Valerie had her preschool Christmas party. She was thrilled to tell me about making red and green popcorn balls, reindeer trail mix, and she was happily drinking cocoa with marshmallows when I picked her up. Afterwards, we had her very first recital.

The recital was completely chaotic and not really what you'd expect from a traditional recital as the kids were excited that all of the parents were there and remained unfocused for most of the hour. In general, the kids listen very well during class other than a couple of 1.5 year olds who run around the entire time. They showed us what they usually do during a class and wore santa hats, which some kids started fighting over. I was happy to say that Valerie completely behaved herself, and was one of few who did so. She did have a little melt down when her hat fell off and her hair was all messed up but we fixed that and off she went.

Friday I had my 11 week doc. appointment. All is well, we heard the heartbeat (and saw it!) on the u/s machine. Derrick was able to come this time and the girls were excited to see the baby although I'm not sure they actually understood what they were looking at. Heck, it was hard for ME to see the baby on that thing. I thought I was 11.5 weeks but she has me at 10.5 weeks so we have some discrepency. (It's not really *possible* for me to only be 10.5 weeks) so we shall see what happens as far as due dates are concerned. My kids haven't made it passed 38 weeks thus far anyway so it probably doesn't matter. Derrick will have to scan the pictures at work as our scanner died. Taking a pic of it is not workin! :)

This weekend was taken over mostly by our house-buying experience as we were up until nearly 4am Friday evening filling out contracts and going back and forth with our realtor and the sellers. I am glad to say that part is done. We're a bit stressed this week as it is Christmas yet we are scrambling today to get an inspector, attorney, contracts mailed, mortgages set,etc. arhghh!! I will be glad when it is all done and we can be settled before the baby comes!!

Sunday after church we decided to work on our gingerbread house. We baked the pieces of gingerbread on Saturday and let them sit out over night to harden. Getting them to stick together and stand up is a project we didn't have much patience for. Ellie of course wanted to eat it NOW and Valerie just wanted to decorate. There is no way I could have held them off to let each piece dry before adding another, so i took it apart and they each made their own flat cookie house. It worked out much better, took 10 minutes, and made for a good dessert last night.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Update: We got it! (officially)

Signed contract in hand.. they accepted our counter offer. (We just kicked in the closing costs which they were agreeing to pay for originally.) Ahh well.. it's ramen noodles for us for awhile but that's okay right? :)

We're so excited!!!

(For those who asked, it's near Great America/far Northern Chicago area)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ha. I spoke too soon.


There was another offer submitted at the same time as ours (who said this was a buyer's market.. because so far every house I've had any interest in flies off the listings..). Apparently ours was higher, they countered to their terms and we accepted so we could be done with this fiasco. Poor Derrick has been running back and forth to work to use the scanner and phone (our phone line is also dead.) The italians say, "Va Bene!" (it's all good..) but we say no dude.. it's not all good... our phone hasn't been working for 2 weeks!!! Anyhow it is nearly 3:40 am here and we are still up. We had both accepted our terms, we signed the contract, scanned it back, the sellers had it, I was to mail the check in the morning.

I just got an email saying the first people showed back up and 'raised their offer significantly.' GREAT. I'll keep you posted. I am sure hating this house buying business.

On a good note.. baby #3 is well.. will post u/s pics tmrw. I am measuring an entire week behind what I thought I was, so there is some iffiness there as to my due date but healthy it seems.


House Hunters

We just bought a house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well we hope so, anyway! Our offer was accepted today and we close the very end of January! My parents looked at several houses for us last weekend (thank you!!) and they were all duds from our list. Break-ins, neon paint on the walls, mold, you name it. However they happened to see this one for sale next door and we had originally taken it off of our list due to the high taxes but have since realized we have to pay the price if we want our children in good schools! They loved it right away, it is super clean (white walls, white carpet.. we'll see how long that lasts) but move-in ready. It's 4br, 2.5 bath AND a playroom, a den, and a basement!!! It's absolutely perfect for us and we couldn't be more excited!!!

Wish us luck this month, cross your fingers that nothing weird happens to mess it up!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas is coming..

the goose is getting fat! (Is that how it goes? random.)

We have been so busy this year with Christmas parties, house stuff, and work stuff! This coming weekend we plan on staying home together and enjoying some of the Christmas things we haven't had much time to do yet. Valerie and I plan on making our first gingerbread house and we may venture up to Etna to let them play in the snow depending on the weather. Some days the whole mountain is covered in it, and other days it looks iffy.
Last Friday, we went to Derrick's command Christmas party. I will take any chance I can get for a date night with my hubby and we had a great time! It was at a large italian restaurant/hall out in town and we had the typical 4 course italian meal of antipasti, pasta, meats, and cake. Derrick even won a door prize, an XBox 360-- of which I only play pacman on thus far, but what a cool gift! Our sitter took a photo for us before we left.

Saturday we finished up our xmas shopping, went to an open house, a birthday party, and a party at church! It was a very busy day. Sunday after church we layed around in sweats, strung popcorn for the tree, and watched Christmas movies. My favorite being the Chevy Chase, "Christmas Vacation" and Derrick's is always "A Christmas Story." I think he secretly wants a bb gun.
I don't have any pictures without Ellie holding a cheeto. It's an obsession, and if she's at a party with an open bowl, she will have one in her hand until we leave. Anyway, Lovie bought this adorable sweater for her at a craft fair several weeks ago and I had to show it to you! It's handmade.. and adorable, I think!

looking trendy in her Zara dress and boots!

Incase you forgot, she's 3. lolVal's ballet recital is tomorrow.. be prepared for pics and hopefully video!! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho

... says baby Fin :

I took some photos of this cutie pie last week and here are a few of my favorites! Alison was dealing with no power for 2 days, my children and her toddler tearing up the living room, and it turned out okay!! Thanks Alison, for letting us come take over your home :)

We thought the bow was a little large, but it's all we had. It also shows how tiny he is!! May try again with a smaller blue ribbon (which I forgot, of course). Look at all that hair for 3 weeks old!!

This is a special photo. The chair is a family heirloom and his shamrock blanket was bought for him in Ireland while Ali was pregnant! His name is Irish, as his parents are both Irish as well.Gotta get those tootsies ;) I remember when Valerie's foot was exactly the length of my thumb. Eleanor's was never that small as she came out 2 weeks later. Ah how they grow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A little randomness..

Hello loved ones,

OY. This week has been an Oy, Oy, Oy week.

Ellie is cutting her molars and to put it frankly, I'd like to run away until they come in. Monday she was hanging onto me all day, crying and whining. I can't even go to the bathroom without her banging on the door sobbing. She screams at the top of her lungs if Valerie even touches one of her beloved Thomas trains (which are Valerie's btw, she just took them over). As I'm writing this, she just went outside in her pj's (footies) and is splashing in the puddles and mud in the backyard. Oh the fun of having a 20 month old! This stage just simply drives me insane as their big emotions and new found independence are almost too much for them to handle. I realize in my head that she doesn't yet have the words to express how she feels and probably feels faster than she can even process so the frustrations come out in screams, hitting, and driving us all bananas. I remember this with Val, and remember the joy when she was over it. This too shall pass, I must remember, but I will admit to also wishing some days I wasn't pg so that I could drink some wine when she went to bed. ;)

Here is an example of her new found independence: She is loving Dora and Elmo these days, and took all of Valerie's Dora underwear. Luckily Val doesn't care. She's apparently moved on to bigger and better things like sparkly princess underwear. However, Ellie will only pee in the potty after her bath (yay!) but wants to wear underwear on the OUTSIDE of her clothes every day. That's really a fashion statement. again. oy. The cranberries on the couch are garland for the xmas tree. .. we must have been decorating at the time.

Other than that we are doing alright. I am having serious frustrations trying to find a house that is affordable, in a good school district, that doesn't have 9-10K in taxes a year (hellllo craziness) or that isn't 2 hours out of Chicago. I have 3 or 4 on my list finally after hours of searching and hopefully my parents will tell me one of them is livable. If not, they will probably have 2, soon to be 3, little house guests for awhile :)

Baby Tre is doing alright in there so far. I have my next appt next Friday when I will be a few days shy of 12 weeks! Hard to believe isn't it? Time is flyin'! We aren't sure on any names yet, feel free to throw out a suggestion.

Ciao for now! Oh P.S. I am still addressing Christmas cards. I realize they take 2 weeks from Sicily, but we're a bit busy as you see. So you may get one after Christmas. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Italian villa photo shoot

This weekend I took some photos for our friends Ryan and Lovie and their two little boys. I've always wanted to take pictures up on the hillside at this big estate type place, but was nervous to trespass. Luckily, there were people in the yard when we pulled up and I just asked them super nicely if we could use their yard for photos and they said, "Si!" It was great!
After we move and I have everything established I will be changing my blog. I have yet to determine if I will combine my professional photography blog with my personal blog. What do you think? I have seen it done both ways, and have to admit that those photographer's whom I admire most and would most love to have take photos of my own family combine their personal stories with their professional shoots. I think it shows both sides to the photographer's personality and allows you to see who the person truly is behind the camera. Great photos happen, in my opinion, when there is a connect between the photographer and the subject and it's very important to atleast agree with the photographer's style and vision to get what you want. For now it's chaos, a little of this and a little of that. That's what I've got for now. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Getting into the Christmas spirit..

The day after Thanksgiving we always put up our tree. This year as no different, but we had two helpers this year instead of one! Last year I think Ellie was already in bed sleeping as a baby!
They had fun playing in the box, pulling ornaments off and putting 3 ornaments to one branch. You may think, "Wow, Lindsay is totally anal and a perfectionist and she must have been going nuts." You'd be proud. I gave up long ago. You should see our tree. (Which btw, has had lighting problems/circuits blowing every time we plug it in so you will have to wait to see the finished result. lol)

We are heading out to the tree lighting/Santa's arrival on base. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Survey

Both my mom and Danielle sent this to me so I thought I'd post. Copy and paste on yours or leave a few comments!!


1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? For Christmas I like to wrap presents so the kids have something to rip open. I like it to color coordinate also and it's harder to match gift bags.

2. Real tree or Artificial? I like the smell and idea of getting a real tree, but practically speaking we have a decent artificial. I also like to keep it up from Thanksgiving to New Years!

3. When do you put up the tree? day after Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down? New Years.

5. Do you like eggnog? No! My husband does though!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? That's so hard. The very first thing that popped into my mind was a fisher price kitchen with all the play food. I think I played with it for a couple years. Either that or I always asked for a new doll of some sort.

7. Hardest person to buy for? my husband's siblings

8. Easiest person to buy for? my kids

9. Do you have a nativity scene? yes, it's a knock off version of the willow tree simple set. I'd eventually like to have that.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? mail of course!

11.. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? There is no such thing!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Christmas Vacation! gotta love Chevy Chase. Love Actually is a very close 2nd.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? In October but I actually enjoy shopping during the holiday season with the crowds and stores decorated!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas Present? not unless it was a duplicate

15. Favorite things to eat at Christmas? special xmas cookies or treats

16. Lights on the tree? Right now they are all white, non-blinking. Val asked for colored AFTER we decorated the tree, so next year maybe we'll just load it with colored lights like a big gumdrop!

17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night

18. Do you travel or stay home at Christmas? changes every year. We are about done traveling for a loooong time though so if you want to see us, you can come to our new house next year!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? of course! However I read Val Twas the Night before Christmas year round.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? angel. We got it at an antique shop in my hometown.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Growing up we were allowed one gift on xmas eve, the rest xmas morning. I think here we are going to let them open new pj's and maybe slippers/socks every year on xmas eve and the rest on xmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Usually I'd just say the increased lines/crowds while shopping but this year it is being homesick for the USA!

23. What theme or color are you using? I don't really have a theme. Our tree has red cranberries in a grapevine garland and red ribbon swagged around it.. but my living room has red curtains so it's just that I like red ;) However we are fans of homemade noodle wreath ornaments and the silly hallmark ones as well.

24. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? This year I'm feeling like either italian (duh.. but like a lasagna or something) or mexican/enchilades. The last few times we were with my parents we went out for chinese before church. That would work too!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? a watch (Ellie flushed mine down the toilet in Rome), a new pr of boots, or some caleca dishes to replace my slowly chipping set I got at the market.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving in Italy

This year we have so much to be thankful for. I was so happy to spend the day with friends who have become like family to us over here. Many of our husbands deploy together so we tend to stick together on holiday's! This year Derrick's det (team) came over for a huge amount of food and games! I'm not in any pics, D says he is afraid of my camera. ug. I would just like some memory that I actually was AT Thanksgiving this year, but oh well. :)

Val dressed herself with striped tights and sparkle shoes. So Ellie had to wear a dress and sparkle shoes too. This drives my husband crazy, who already had El dressed.

Kylan and Valerie dancingEllie rocking out on Guitar Hero

oh that dorky husband of mine and Al
Poor Izzy.. the kids were hanging on her all night. At one point I think Val even talked her into taking her to the bathroom. lol
Julie and Austin
Chris and Ivy

The Waller's

Hope yours was wonderful!