Monday, January 26, 2009

Feel the Burn!

Can I just say that I am SO EXCITED to almost have this packout done? We spent our weekend organizing and my extremely hard working husband power washed the grill and everything outside. We are ready!!! So after Wed, we will be sittin here twiddling our thumbs and I can't tell you how much I just want to go home already.. but I must wait. Plus, we still have Paris at the end of Feb!

It was absolutely beautiful out today. Everyone here was in an awesome mood. It rains and rains and then randomly we'll have one warm sunny day just to lift our spirits. I think God knows that we need a little sunshine sometimes!!! We played outside for awhile before naps and they slept for nearly 3 hours! hallelujah. I got a nap too!

Derrick is working late, I'm sitting here making a packing list and need to finish my bible study tonight. Such the exciting life I lead, but I love it. ;) Although I will admit to being ecstatic at being able to sit at Barnes with a cup of coffee every once and awhile in the near future. .. I can see it.. almost there!!!

It looks as though our house will close on time as long as USAA doesn't keep dragging their feet. Hallelujah! Today I feel very blessed, and feel answered prayers. I also have to report that Valerie has earned her star for cleaning up/listening to us and has had hardly a whine or tantrum. I should also clarify that if she throws a tantrum over being asked to clean up her mess, she still has to do it, she just doesn't get the sticker. While in college and learning about motivating children I learned that most of the time we need to set up an external reward for motivation which over time because intrinsic (internal). So far, so good!!

.. as for the title of this post, it's due to the fact that my arm is burning from playing D in Wii tennis!!! :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Money Matters

Valerie is very interested in money these days. She begs to take the money out of the atm, and use "her" money to buy, for example, her own popcorn chicken from the food court. She has a couple purses and usually has a coin or two in it, or play money that she brings along to the store.

Last night we bought and played the game "Monopoly Town" with her. It's for ages 4+ but Valerie at 3.5 completely got it. There's a circular track on which a small car (who talks!) gets pushed around. Basically the car tells you how many spaces to go, you push the car that many spaces, and put a house on the space you land on. They are #'d 1-4 and if someone else lands on your space and it's a 3, you owe them $3. She LOVES this game and completely loves being the banker.

We have had issues getting her to clean up her toys lately. She used to be pretty good about it but Ellie's tornado tendencies are rubbing off on her older sister. We made a sticker chart yesterday in which she gets a star every day if she picks up her toys when asked (and hopefully sometimes when not asked but we'll get there). Instead of throwing her tantrum about it as she has been doing suddenly for the last several days, she was SO excited to get her sticker.

To make this even more motivating we decided we'd start Valerie on an allowance. It is young, however it's a huge motivator for her! We'll hope day 2 goes well. So if she gets 7 stickers (a week's worth) she will get $1. If she wants a $5 toy than she has to save it for 5 weeks.

What do you think? Is $1 enough (if she wants a movie, she'd have to save for 20 weeks..)? She also has her daily chore of feeding the dogs. We basically say "if you do your chores, you get your star." However I don't want to add too many things to her list yet as we're trying to curb one behavior at a time.


In other news, we're just a LITTLE stressed this week trying to wrap things up. Our mortgage company is super swamped and dragging their feet so it's messing up our closing. They also just let us know this week we needed a termite inspection so we had to rush for that. All is well there, but last night was the deadline for our mortgage and it's still sitting on someone's desk. We are going through our lawyers to hope for an extention (as it's in our contract to have it done by yesterday) but the stress and extra $ is really starting to irritate us with this whole process!!

We pack out on Wed so this weekend is spent sorting through the piles of junk in drawers and shoved into closets in this tiny townhouse, trying to figure out what we absolutely can't live without. Luckily the kids are both older this time and it is a lot harder moving with a baby!!

I had my doctor's appt on Thursday. I'm 16 weeks, the heartbeat was in the 140's. Nothing new to report, I go for my u/s sometime towards the end of Feb. We will ask to find out the gender if possible. I have thought it was a girl most of this pg but the last few days I am starting to think boy. This is mostly because the girls heart rates were always in the 150's+ and I didn't feel movement with them until 19/20 weeks. I felt this one at 14.5 and baby is already very active. We will see. We are -not- hoping for a boy this time, as nearly everyone asks us. I don't think the perfect family necessarily involves having atleast "one of each." I am just praying this child is healthy, I don't develop pre-eclampsia again, and Derrick gets to be there!!! :)

Enjoy your weekend, I'm off to clean. ug. ;)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sunny Days.. Sweepin' the Clouds Away..

I watch too much Sesame Street. :)

It is SO SUNNY today! I think it hit 60 atleast and was just a wonderful day out so far! We did some yard work while the girls played outside and then rode our bikes to the park. Valerie finally can reach the peddles on her new Disney princess bike that Daddy bought her this fall. (It was in a box, with no sample, so we thought she could fit it when we bought it). She is so excited to be a "big girl" and it is enough motivation for her to eat her veggies so she can keep growing!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My new favorite site.

Check this lady out. She's got cleaning tips, printable schedules, and organizational tips. She has a spotless house (not that it's possible for that to be my goal, considering I have two toddlers, but maybe in the next house it will be LESS full of clutter 24/7 with our playroom!) Anyhow, she inspires me a bit and some of her tips I find useful! .. like how to mop hardwood floors! who knew? :)

A New Day!

It is SUNNY outside, the rain stopped, no flooding here, hallelujah! :)

Maybe God knew we all needed a little break before we went insane from the rain. I personally enjoy walking around with the bottom of my pants wet all the time .. lol.

I am going to sit and scrapbook a bit today with Lovie and let the kiddos play. I am pretty good about making hand made cards for birthday's and such, but scrapbooking is another story. That actually requires you to print out pictures which I don't do. I am currently working on Valerie at like 4 months old, seriously. Maybe I'll get a jump start so child #3 actually has one?! They do have baby books that I wrote in, but that may be as far as it gets.

Sorry I haven't been taking too many pictures lately. We have spent mucho time indoors, organizing our closets, toy box, and bins of baby clothes to get ready for our packout next week!! Not too much to take pictures of.. will try to get some in this weekend. Ciao for now!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is it March yet?

Oh the joys of Sicily. Beautiful countryside, true; however, whoever decided that building a base in the only low lying ground on the entire island (the rest is mountainous) was a "genious."

We woke up at about 2am to pouring rain and storms. I woke up again at 4, still pouring rain. I felt like it was going to be a long day. I couldn't sleep.

I got up at 6 and my backyard was already soaked/patio flooded as usual. It rains nearly every day here between Nov-Feb. This year seems to be worse than the last two, hardly a break at all from it. I had to drive D to work because we are down to one car and he rides his bicycle in, but obviously not when it's pouring. I had PWOC, Val had preschool and ballet, and I had a meeting! We dragged the kids out to the car and realized the car is covered in mud. Gross. Look up, the sky is full of *brown* clouds and it's pouring mud basically on all of us. Really awesome. Derrick said it's coming from Africa.

So we drive D to work and realize the river to NAS 2 (for you old Sig people) is flooding fast. This "river" usually is bone dry. The roads all the way to the other base were flooded. It was 7:45 and we had to stop at the grocery store to get a dessert to bring to pwoc (my bible study.) I drag the kids through the parking lot, which is flooded, and Val's shoes get completely soaked because I can only carry one kid at a time these days. So she's standing there sobbing, I'm yelling at her to run, we're all getting soaked. A nice lady carried her up to the door for me. Whoops, the commissary is closed today for training. again, really awesome. Tromp back to the car and sit there for 45 mins until preschool opens.. then trudge back in the rain to preschool.

We got to pwoc and had a lovely time until the commander of the entire base got on the intercoms and announced that the bases are closing and to go pick up your kids pronto! Wow. So we ran and got Val out of preschool and drove home. By this time my legs were soaked from the knee down, poor Ellie was drenched by the time we got to the other side of base to get Val. (yes, walking). The guards at the gate tell us all the roads going to Mineo (the other housing) were already closed. I'm feeling thankful that we don't live there.

Derrick was already home when I got there and luckily it was pretty safe driving home. There was atleast a foot of water on the road in front of our housing. Derrick started putting our important file boxes, computer, upstairs just incase. This afternoon it stopped raining, but as we were watching the dogs we saw another huge storm cloud coming in. The command was telling everyone to go home and put their valuables up. A few months before we moved here, there was a horrible flood here in which several feet of water flooded everyone's homes while they were sleeping at night!

So say a little prayer. I'd like to make it out of here before that happens again :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

An updated "belly pic"

A reminder.. this was at 8 weeks. definitely showing already, not that I started with a 6 pack but my tummy did not stick out passed my boobs!!
Here I am last night at 14.5 weeks.

Last night we went out with friends for chinese food in Catania and it was so yummy! My springroll was very crisp and my rice was perfect. The servers spoke english and let the kids run around, we were the only people in there. It was lovely!! Definitely recommend it. I think it was the Grand Cina or something.. for those in Sicily, it's the one always in the paper every week.

In other news, my portrait lens is broken. The wheel/ring that focuses won't turn, or gets stuck if it does turn so I have to take a break from portraits for awhile. I feel awful, as I had been waiting until after the holiday's and now have to cancel on about 5 families. At this point, I will wait to get it fixed in the States.

We are working on a 3 night weekend trip to Paris at the end of Feb/early March for our anniversary! We have never taken a trip without our kids before other than spending one night in a hotel nearby while leaving them with Grandma.. that has happened twice in our 4 year marriage! We are so lucky to have wonderful friends we trust over here! (and are happily watching their children so they can go away too!) If you have any Paris tips, please let me know! :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Just a little hello..

I haven't written in awhile. I just thought I'd write today. My camera has been taking a little break. My favorite lens is totally broken (it just won't focus) and I hate dragging the huge zoom lens everywhere, plus it is raining every day these days!

Back in the swing of things, preschool and ballet have started up again. Valerie does so well with a little structure in her life and is learning a lot in preschool. We still work on academics at home for reinforcement, but it gives her a place to make super messy crafts, play with friends, have structured circle time activities, and do things like "Show and Tell!" We are currently working on learning to write her name as well as the letters and numbers. She can write Valerie, but sometimes mixes up a letter or two and tends to write huge, and not in a straight line. I can see a lot of progress already! She can identify every letter or number up to 20, however she can only write those with straight lines. (For example, the R in her name is difficult for her due to the curve!) She learned her colors long ago and we are now working on mixing with paints,etc. (what do you get when you mix red and blue). She loves that.

Eleanor is very sad to not be able to go to school with Valerie. Yesterday she took off her coat, marched in side and hung on to a table and would not let go. I literally had to drag her out of there kicking me and screaming. Poor baby. She has a long way to go til she turns 3!!! We "work" on preschool a little at home, mostly through play as I do and did with Valerie. While it is important to learn to sit still and focus, children do this much better if they are actually interested in what they're doing so you can make it fun!! We try to incorporate learning most of what we do. When we eat breakfast, we count our grapes. We talk about what color everything is, all the time. We play, "I Spy..." while driving in the car, or quiz Ellie on animal noises.

Eleanor can sing half of her ABC's, can sometimes count to 5, and knows some animal sounds. She knows the color yellow. She loves puzzles right now and her current obsessions are trains and Dora, and anything Valerie is doing at that moment. ;)

Our move is in progress, we should be packing out all of our furniture and shipping our van very soon. We will be flying out of here mid March and have so much to do before then. PCSing from overseas is certainly a mess that I don't really want to deal with again. All of us need to be seen by doctors, dentists, given health screenings. We have to ship our things so that they can travel for 60-90 days to our new home, meanwhile living with no car and no furniture. The dogs need to be given screenings and updated shots. We have to repaint the rooms we painted, fix the sink that cracked some how (porcelein, lovely!) and have housing inspections. When we get to Norfolk, we have to stay in a hotel overnight with the dogs, and then hopefully our Van will already be in VA so we can drive it back to Chicago with us. If not, we will have to switch airports and fly the dogs with us to Chicago, then get our Van later. The closest they will ship it to is St. Louis. Oh the joys of moving!!!

The baby is doing okay so far, I believe. I felt flutters this week (14 weeks) very rarely, but when i'm lying in bed before I go to sleep! My next appt isn't until the 22nd, so I don't have much to report.

Derrick is working extremely hard right now doing some sort of dive exercise for the month of January, and then will be gone a few weeks out of Feb. (perfect timing, right?) They are very under-manned here so unfortunately he will be pretty much working late until the day we move! Poor guy. He could probably use some prayers.

I'm going to bake some bread with the girls, enjoy your weekend!