Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend Update

I think this is becoming a weekly post for me.. maybe I should have my own SNL skit. ha. I suppose I'd be the only one laughing ;)

Anywhoo Friday Derrick and I went out on a date and left the girls with one of our great teenage sitters. I appreciate living in military housing very much for many reasons, one being that we have several sitters to choose from! We weren't really in the mood to drive all over town so we just went to an irish pub across the street from base (they also serve italian food but a few american things as well.) Afterwards we just went to Applebee's for dessert and coffee and walked around. There wasn't too much going on but it gave us a chance to plan for our upcoming vacation a bit.

Saturday we took the girls to my favorite beach in Catania- Lido Azzuro. It's a few euro per adult to get in but has very clean amenities including a restaurant, bar, picnic area, play ground, and boardwalk to walk down to the beach. It is always entertaining to sit and think of all of the cultural differences of the beaches in Italy vs. the US. The obvious being the speedos everywhere and espresso stands at the beach. There are also men who walk around with poles on their shoulders carrying everything from sunglasses to soccer balls. You will get hounded to buy something no less than 6 times over the course of a couple hours. I also love to watch the water aerobics/dance moves that always seem to be going on. There is usually an instructor on the beach shouting out dance #'s and lines of people in the water following. (a dance like the macarena, for example). The girls love the sand so I prefer to go there than the many rocky beaches around (though the water is clearer at those). We had a fantastic time, as seen below in the pics! (taken with our old point and shoot and not really photoshopped, sorry.)

You can see a faint Mt. Etna in the background.

Valerie is starting to swim a lot more. She was a total water baby and then developed a bit of an anxiety early this summer. Daddy took her waaaayy out to the deep end (hmm..) when mama wasn't looking so she had some swim time today. She prefers to hang out in this baby raft though. ha whatever works.

Apparently she was ready for a nap. Ellie likes to lay in the sand and make sand angels, as well as to dip her food in it. It's getting a bit better these days but I gave up long ago on controlling that.

Saturday evening we met some friends in Motta for dinner. Before sunset we had a beautiful view of the town below and the ocean. The park down the hill isn't maintained extremely well but it was a gorgeous, breezy evening. The girls danced at the restaurant and made friends with the owners. Ellie has turned out to be quite the social busy bee. She walks up to strangers, runs right into the kitchen, and begs for food. Afterward we walked down the street for some yummy gelato. The girls were up super late and did so well, although we felt the ramifications for letting them do so this morning. Both of them were super crabby and Val even had to be brought back to church because she was so tired and full of tears as we left her. They are both napping now so I'm about to sneak in a bowl of ice cream while I don't have to share. ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday

At hectic times in my life I often focus on what needs to be done, what frustrations I have in doing so, and forget to really sit back and feel gratitude. Today I choose to be thankful and choose joy. It is certainly helping me deal with my chore list today which includes steam cleaning up Norman's "I tried to eat a baby doll's ballet skirt" vomit all over my house. That post is for another day though! What are you thankful for? I'd love to know!

*There has been a breeze lately that is making the 100 degree temps a bit more bearable to a person used to Chicago summers

*Derrick's foot is continuing to heal (I am not sure if I posted this but he either sprained or fractured it in Djibouti a couple months ago and is doing some physical therapy exercises to help it along)

*Valerie has been going to bed -on time- 8 nights out of 10 and all around in a much happier mood. I get teary eyed seeing how happy and relaxed she is again. She is definitely in need of a cohesive family with stability!!

*I have really felt a sense of balance over the last couple months. I am learning to say no and do away with those things that keep me from what I feel I am called to do for my family, my personal interests, and so forth. I have had to step back from some roles and hobbies, allowing me to pursue those that I've wanted to do in the past but never had time for.

*It's only 5 months til xmas! I know, I know.. but most of you know that I am in LOVE with holiday's and everything that comes with it.

*Eleanor is in the midst of a vocabulary explosion. Any time I give her anything she says, "thank you!" (well.. it sounds like tay ooo) I worked on that with Valerie for a couple months. I have never taught it to Ellie, she just started saying it last week! It is so helpful having a little student model (Val) for her to learn from. I am hoping this carries over to potty training.

I'll close with that. Have a fabulous weekend! I will have lots of pics, surely. Tomorrow night Derrick and I are going out for a dinner date. We've decided to make it policy to have a date once a week (sometimes lunch, and not a whole evening but you do what you can). What can I say, he still makes my knees weak. We need to find a new place. Any sig people have suggestions?


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Look at this kid

Valerie is about to turn 3 in a couple weeks and I'm feeling a bit nostalgic about my little baby being an official preschooler. Just look at her. She's so long and skinny, full of attitude and yet so innocent and still needing her cuddles and hugs when she gets an "owie." She has been planning her birthday since January so I am about to sit down and finally stamp out the details. She is insiting on a castle cake, pink and purple "sparkles" (what do I do with that? HuH?), and of course a princess dress. I'm sure her friends, who are 99% boys will just love that. ;)

We just relaxed at home yesterday and bbq'd with our neighbors. A perfect weekend! Valerie ran around in the sprinkler for awhile last night to beat the heat. It is still in the upper 80's in the evenings here these days. Too hot for me, thank you. We went to the pool after church today as well. It seems that is the thing to do as we saw many friends there who had the same idea!

Have a fantastic week!!

Had to throw in one of Ellie too.. just because I can't resist those deep brown eyes!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A long catch up post.

We've been pretty busy this week getting things done around the house and catching up on lost time. Derrick has been working only until lunch this week so we've had a nice balance. On Wednesday we took the girls to Etnaland, which is a large waterpark near here. It is suprisingly nice with lots of stuff to do! It's very expensive though~ 20 euro for an adult which is a bit steep with the euro at an all time low these days. The girls enjoyed a big lazy river ride on our laps and a baby pool complete with slides and water canons. I didn't want to have my camera stolen at the park so I didn't bring it. The only downside was the food. We are pretty sick of rice balls and stale pizza at the bars but there doesn't seem to be much alternative. I highly recommend going though for a fun day and something different! After dinner we like to take a stroll around the neighborhood with the dogs and stop at the park. Often Valerie flies her kite and Kilah loves to chase it. This park is about 4 doors down from our home. Ellie is our daredevil. She tries to jump off the high platforms at the park and just this morning jumped off the dining room chair and landed on her face. She is certainly D's child.Yesterday we had the girls go to the CDC so that we could run some errands and have a lunch date. Of course we ate at Applebee's but it was sure nice to eat a meal together without the kiddos. Later we were on a trek to find Ellie some shoes. The poor kid has two pairs of shoes as our options here are so slim and she lost one of them at the water park. We walked through the entire mall and the only four pairs of shoes we found that were her size were.. get this.. 39 euro. Yeah right. I don't spend $60 on shoes for myself most of the time let alone for a kid who will outgrow them in a couple months! Looks like will be getting a large order from me soon. ;)

Lastly, yesterday evening we had a princess movie night with Valerie. I've posted about this before as she loves to do this. After Ellie goes to bed she puts her princess dress on over her pj's and brings her princess wand, her princess Belle doll, and gets a big bowl of popcorn. She insisted on sitting by Daddy and even had him changing Belle's outfit. I believe I heard a few choice words as he was trying to figure out how to get the dolls tights on.. but it just made me love him even more for putting up with it. :)

We are off to take the girls to see Wall-E at the movies soon ~ I had better go pack Ellie's diaper bag! Ciao for now!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Homecoming pics

I don't really have too many because my neighbor took them for us. I will have to post those when she gives them to me. Here's what I have for now!

So for the story- Derrick had a pretty hard time getting a flight out of Djibouti. They finally had one scheduled and it kept getting pushed back days and days! Finally he was going to come in on Saturday morning but he called and woke me up Friday morning and said, "Suprise.. I'm getting on a plane in a few minutes and I'll be home in a couple hours!" I was so NOT prepared so I was freaking out a bit but soo excited! We raced around trying to clean up the house, make food for the single sailors, and make ourselves pretty! We got there with time to spare so it worked out well! The whole command was there since it was a work day and I had lots of company. We saw the plane land and stood by the hanger waiting for D to pull up. Valerie had a big sign (as seen in the video) that she painted herself and it was overall a very nice homecoming.

Derrick is settling in and doing well. He is working a bit this week and next and then will start his four weeks of leave time! Hooray!!! The girls won't leave the poor guy alone but I can't say *I* mind. I actually sat by the pool on Saturday and relaxed while Ellie slept and Val played with Daddy in the water! What a perfect day!!!

Waiting in the airplane hanger. Val insisted on holding onto the stroller.. which obviously ticked El off.
So Ellie tries to pry her hand off and Val starts whining.

Ellie has started making the 'scrunchy' face. I have several photos of Val making this exact face at 15 months!
filthy from the hanger. home with daddy.. but daddy was giving attention to e-nor so she was a little sad. is it me or does she look like she's 8 years old in this picture? Valerina happy again
some decor. I had a sign on the front door also with streamers and a few signs on the dining room wall. That's all we had time to do!
Giving Daddy his present- She painted a wooden frame and then I put a pic of the 3 of us in it that we did in the US.
He brought home a couple pretty cool carved masks among other things

Friday, July 11, 2008

guess what??

he's home :) I'll post some more video/pics tmrw.

Monday, July 7, 2008

a few more

Here are just a few more. Most of the pics of the 3 of us were taken by others so I'll post those when they come in. I haven't taken Kilah to the vet yet.. will update on that soon. Hoping to wait til Derrick comes home.. which right now seems like it's going to be awhile. :( ttyl--

Saturday, July 5, 2008

More from the 4th..

Here are a few more pics from yesterday. A few of our friends whose hubbies are deployed also (but not with D - infact 2 of them came home tonight!!!) came over and we ate and let the kids relax before going to base for fireworks. My friend Giusi also taught us how to make tiramisu as she grew up in Catania! I'll post some more later-- here's what I have for now. As for updates on D.. every time he calls he tells me the date is pushed back another day, or several days,etc. I don't anticipate him home any time soon. feh.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Beat the Heat!

Happy 4th of July!!!!

To start our morning off the girls swam in the backyard (shocker, I know). Valerie has had swim suit issues lately (she's a skinny gal.. the suits her size are way too big and hang too loose but the suits from last summer give her a permanant wedgie. hmm). SO we went shopping yesterday and she tried on about 10 suits. (remember now that we have ONE store to choose from here also) It is pretty hard these days to find a toddler a suit that doesn't look like she's trying to be sexy. I don't understand gold clipped string bikinis for 2 year olds. sorry. Besides, D would probably flip his lid if he saw his little girl in something like that. Of course the one that fit her is a disney princess suit. Maybe it was meant to be. sigh. She is thrilled as you can tell by the picture. I do have to admit I love the little ruffle/bow in the back ;)

This is supposedly her model/princess pose. She is showing off her new suit:
Just look at that cute ruffle..

Those big baby thighs are slimming down! such a big girl these days.
Sissy doesn't like hugs!!

Val swims with my old cabbage patch doll-- did anyone have one of these? She is all plastic/rubber (whatever) and can go in the pool/bath tub. She also gets tan lines. (rolls eyes)

Kilah.. poor dog needs her hair cut. That would be D's job.

Norman and his stubbornness would not turn his head. He is a camera phobe apparently.
And I realize both dogs need hair brushing and nails cut,etc. don't judge. i'm tired. :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

UGHGH nevermind.

I just caught Norman peeing on the rug. Apparently they are both doing it.. I'm not sure. They just might find themselves walking the top of Mt. Etna tonight.


Happy 4th!

I hope you all have a Happy 4th of July!! It is actually probably my favorite holiday after Christmas, of course. The town I grew up in is pretty 4th obsessed. Everyone decorates their front porches and there is a very large, long parade down Main Street. I would love to have a big bbq and go see the fireworks-- a perfect relaxing day! It is especially sentimental ever since I married a Navy man ;)

It is a bit bizarre celebrating overseas but living on a base you still see some patriotism. There will be some family games and what not over on base with fireworks to cap it off. We will head over there at some point. Beforehand some of my girl friends whose hubbies are also sitting there twiddling their thumbs, waiting for a plane to pick them up... are going to come over to bbq.

I am actually posting to see if anyone has advice for my dog. Kilah (who is a Cairn terrier- think Toto from the Wiz. of Oz) is probably about 6 years old? I got her my soph year of college. She's a really good dog for the most part. She is very 'miss priss' at times and instead of rolling over to say i'm sorry.. kind of barks at you like, 'screw you. I do what I want.' At any rate since I got home from my month in the States, she's been peeing on random rugs, at random times. She NEVER used to have accidents.. ever. She's peed on 3 different rugs in the past 3 days and I am about to lose it. Thank god we have ceramic tile everywhere; however, pulling the rugs out in the driveway to scrub and clean is a pain in the ass considering they have furniture that has to be moved to do so!! Especially since I am doing this by myself with 2 toddlers!! I am about to kill this dog.

I am almost starting to wonder if there's something wrong with her. Do you think it'd be stupid to take her in to the vet since it's not a normal habit of hers? Or do you think she's just ticked at me for not walking her very much these days with D being gone? (can't deal with 2 dogs and 2 kids on a walk.. it's impossible). Any advice?


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It was the pig, with the blanket, in the kitchen

So as I've posted about 200 times since this deployment started, Valerie hasn't slept in her room without protest in months. The issue hasn't really gotten better, I just try different tactics every other week or so, none of which work. Night before last, I was sitting at my desk talking to a friend on the phone around 10pm when I realized Val was in the kitchen. I honestly probably never would have heard her all night (The door was shut) except that she made the mistake of going into the cabinet for animal cookies and the door shut pretty loudly.
I knew it'd be something to remember so I took a picture. She was having a slumber party with 'pig'. Pig came out of a vending machine on an outing we had with Daddy right before he left. He is one of three love's that she rotates in sleeping with. (Mickey Mouse from our cruise last summer is #1, closely followed by an incredibly soft rabbit stuffed animal/puppet that Grandma Debbie sent for Easter). He actually had his own blanket in the hall way but apparently wasn't invited to the party.
We are hoping to have Derrick home in less than a week now.. so please keep those prayers coming. We sure are ready!!!!