Monday, February 23, 2009

Back from the U/S...

.. and it's a GIRL! Madeline Ruby should be making her arrival around 7/7, still growing right on track and everything is seemingly healthy at this point! (Thank God for that!)

I have felt this one was a girl most of the pg, so I wasn't too shocked. I admit to being a little nervous that if D heard it was another girl he would start crying or something but he was totally beaming. The U/S tech's wife is due around the same time as me and found out they are having their 2nd girl. The guys were comparing notes and Derrick was telling him how wonderful it is to have two girls squeal and jump all over you every day. Don't let this big bad ass guys fool you.. they appear to be annoyed with all the Cinderella but you should have heard them gushing about their girls :) We are happy as can be, and Valerie insists her name is "Flower" buuut we'll have to work on that!!

Sorry for no pics, maybe D can scan them later at work. We are down to the bare essentials here!

Friday, February 20, 2009

House Virtual Tour and Doc. Update

I just found a home that is selling for 50K more than we paid for ours, a street over from our house, same model exactly! It just has nicer floors and some upgraded cabinets, and also a gas fireplace. However the pics are so helpful to us because when my parents looked at the home, it had white walls and no furniture. Every room looks practically the same and it's hard to tell how big/small a room is with no furniture in it. Ironically they have the same color scheme as us and with the white trim/wood floors it looks beautiful!

On another note, I went to the doctor today for my 20 week appt. I will post a 'belly pic' tonight if I remember to have D take one. Everything is fine, nothing to report. Heartrate is still in the low 140's so we are still wondering if this one is a boy as the girls' were both in the 160's. (I have heard this from numerous, but not all friends.. something to do about the metabolic rates differing in the sexes). interesting food for thought. We'll know on Monday!!! Our names are Madeline Ruby and Owen Anthony.

Have a great weekend!! Ours will most likely be spent painting and fixing knicks in doors, getting ready for inspection. Next weekend we go to Paris!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Decorating Advice- Kitchen

Hi all!

We are SICK again. Coughing like doggies over here (literally sounds like a bark) and watching a friend's 2 year old all week. It has not been the best week but we are making the best of it.

The thing that gets me in the best mood these days is planning how I am going to decorate my new house! We would like to paint a lot of the downstairs before our furniture arrives to make things easier so we're trying to somewhat come up with a 'scheme' now. I could use some opinions!!

Choice #1- Real Hardwood or Laminate flooring? (Please vote!) We really do not like carpet at all in the downstairs, especially with children who spill things and dogs who run through the house with dirty feet. After living with ceramic tile floors in every single room of the house, we love that we can actually keep it *clean* and just periodically steam clean the rugs.

I have heard from some to get real wood because it's worth more to the value of your home and you can always refinish it if it gets yucky. It looks nicer. I have heard from others to do laminate because the dogs won't scratch it, nor will my children wearing dress up shoes,etc. We aren't sure what to do- if we did get laminate we'd go with a higher end that looks as close to wood as possible, without breaking the bank. Any recommendations??

Choice #2- Kitchen

Our dishes, linens,etc. sort of go with italian country/french country or old world/pottery barn styles. Golds, dark reds, olive green, mediterranean colors.

Our new home currently just has the very basic builders' standards.. basic cabinets, beige counters, and linoleum floors. (yuck). I am obviously not going to rip it all out, other than the floor, so I need to be able to do the fixings with paint and possibly new hardware,etc.

Here is the current pic of the kitchen/little breakfast area. Remember that the floors will be replaced with wood/laminate throughout (pic taken from family room.) OR we may put a slate/natural looking tile in the kitchen/eating area for moisture.. but I'd rather have it all be the same.

We are going to also paint all of the trim white in every room, and replace that light fixture first thing with a wrought iron small chandelier or something.

So option 1:
-Paint cabinets white, appliances would blend in nicely. Replace counters eventually, walls would be either beige in the entire family room/eating/kitchen area or a red color in the kitchen and beige in the other room.

Option 2: leave cabinets natural, eventually put nicer counters, paint walls a golden color or red/white wainscotting on the bottom half. I love both of these kitchens, however the white appliances would stand out more. We could also stain just the lower half a darker stain or a dark green or something more fun .. or just the wall of the island,etc.

Option 3: Recently I've been seeing a lot of black cabinets and I love them with the wood floors and lighter walls. Especially when they have a little wear and tear on them (aka sand a little bit so the natural wood comes through and it looks kind of rough). My issue is that we have *white* appliances which would probably pop out too much huh? I can't see replacing all of the appliances just b/c I'd rather have black or stainless. Mom- I could totally see your kitchen this way, btw. with the khaki/golden walls and your black appliances. What do you guys think of the black?

Or half white/half black.These pics are from random decorating sites which I unfortunately did not mark, so I appologize for not leaving credit where credit is due. Please comment and give me your opinion- especially if you have any knowledge of floors, painting cabinets, etc.!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blood Orange Picking

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day with your loved ones! I do agree that it can be overly sold as a "Hallmark Holiday" .. but so can Christmas or any other holiday. I personally love V-day because it is soley about telling those around you how much you care about them!
This year we decided to spend it with our girls as I blogged earlier. We got up bright and early and met some other families in our FRG (Family Readiness Group) out in the countryside. Emilio and Mariska are a wonderful couple who frequently let us American's come and pick oranges, and to top it off cook a very large several course meal for everyone at their home! You pay for this of course, but it's worth it!! However you don't pay for the oranges, we took home several BAGS full (to share with friends!) and they are the juiciest oranges I've ever had in my entire life. Valerie loved squeezing the oranges in a press to make blood orange juice- it is so sweet in comparison to the regular Tropicana you get in the US. It was a great day!! To end our V-day, Derrick made eggplant parm over spaghetti (yum!) and we watched a movie together. It was a perfect Valentine's.
Here are a couple of photos from our day-

Mt. Etna is at the top still covered in snow, you can see how large it is in comparison to the surrounding hills. All you see in Sicily are rows of olive trees and orange groves! It's very beautiful, although VERY country!

Emilio our fine host, explains about how they sell their oranges and the different types,etc. We learned a bit about the Mafia taking charge of what kind they can sell and for what price, etc.

We had to eat while we picked of course! fresh off the tree!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Monday Park Pics

It's almost Valentine's Day! What are you and your loved ones doing? We are going to start the day off with some heart shaped pancakes and fruit with pink yogart dip! We got the girls each a little stuffed animal and a small thing of candy, and just agreed to exchange cards for each other. That morning we are going out to the countryside to pick blood oranges and then will have lunch at the owner's home with some other friends of ours! We're so excited! V-day is typically not a date for us (who can find a sitter on V-day?) but we like to enjoy it with our girls.
This weekend we are also going to head to Acireale to the Carnivale as we did last year. If you click on the links to the right I think it might have even been my first post!!
Not much is going on this week. We are waiting for Naples to book us some plane tickets so we have a date. We got bumped from the MAC flights thanks to Norman. That dog.. don't get me started. I am, however, glad to be flying commercial so we can fly straight into Chicago and not be stuck switching airports, staying over night in a hotel in VA with dogs and toddlers! Can you imagine that taxi ride? :)
I went to the market with some friends today and grabbed some fresh strawberries, eggplant, and zucchini! I am going to make my first eggplant parm on Sat night I think.

Monday Derrick had a halfday so we took the girls to the park. Here are a couple pics. Enjoy your week!

Monday, February 9, 2009


It's Monday and my house is CLEAN! I love the beginning of the week because I always start full of ambition, cleaning my house, ready for the week ahead. By Friday the floors are dirty, I have zero desire to cook/clean, and I'm ready for D to come home and take over. lol :)

I haven't posted too many pictures recently because 1) my portrait lens bit the dust and I'm just waiting until we move to have it fixed since I'd have to mail it to the US and 2) I realized recently that I somehow didn't get my battery charger for my camera battery into the bag and it's missing/packed out. LOVELY. (and I have yet to find a place that sells that stuff here) so I save my precious battery power.
This weekend we took advantage of Derrick finally being off the on-call duty and drove out to Agrigento. Agrigento is a very small, very poor town about 2 hours west of here. There isn't much to see in the town itself, however; the Valley of the Temples is right next to it. These are ancient Greek ruins and it's just amazing to see the history on this small island (especially coming from the US whose history is relatively short in comparison!) I went to Agrigento with my parents about two years ago, just after Ellie was born, but Derrick hadn't been yet and we thought it'd be good to go now that we have two tots and don't need a stroller!

At this time of year the almond blossoms are blooming and the smell was so strong! It was beautiful for about the first 30 minutes we were there. Then the wind came in full force and the temperature dropped what felt like 15-20 degrees. We ran to the car for our coats and hurridly had to race through the rest to get the girls back to the warm car. Oh well. It was a nice day out and away from base!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sick, Sick, Sick

I have been so sick since Friday, I think the worst was actually yesterday. Being pregnant it is hard as you can't take too much, and I avoid meds unless it's absolutely necessary even when I'm not pregnant. I was up most of the night and think I'm going to give in today and try to find some relief. Over it!!

So far this week we've been making Valentine's and "doing art" as Valerie calls it. At school she walks straight to the art center and paints something just about every day. I love it! One of my favorite days of the month is my Stampin' Up Club that I go to at my friend Andrea's. She teaches us how to make a few cards, learn new techniques, and bonus we get dessert plus girl chat time away from kids! I got some new stamps on Monday so Valerie has been going to town. She LOVES to stamp and Derrick rolled his eyes when I pulled out a little punch that punches out hearts and she said, "Ooooh! A new punch!" I already have her hooked!!

A few friends have told me I don't talk about my pregnancy very much but I guess I don't have anything to say yet! The first half is always fairly boring as you are just usually feeling kind of crummy but you don't know the sex yet, can't really plan anything yet,etc. I have been feeling kicks for a few weeks now but Derrick hasn't felt one yet. They aren't strong enough. I am pretty sure we have narrowed down our names to Madeline or Owen but have yet to figure out the middle names. Some of you know it's been a long road just to figure out first names for us this time so that'll just come with time!

I need to go stick some waffles in the toaster for the girls so I can run Val to school! Have a great day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Sunday!

Yes they do show the game here, but not until midnight and with no commercials! Well, that's not entirely true. We get Armed Forces Network commercials (aka military propaganda). Darnit! That is my favorite part!!!! So needless to say, superbowl at this house isn't a big deal. Next year I promised D I'd make a ton of food and let him have a party in our new home!

The movers came and packed us out on Wednesday! The house is empty, except an old couch, an end table, a coffee table, a dining table, and we each have a bed. We kept our TV which sits on Norman's airline crate and the computer sits on the end table next to the couch. It's definitely interesting here and the girls are over it already. Valerie is excited to move to her new house but completely depressed that her new stuff got to go there while she is sitting here waiting. I feel your pain girl, I feel your pain.

We closed on our house on Friday thanks to my parents!!! They took care of everything for us via power of attorney and finally that saga is over! We are hoping to move in before Easter as our stuff should be arriving (as well as us!) a couple weeks beforehand.

Not much else new to report here, we are a boring bunch right now watching entirely too much tv. Hope you all had a great weekend!!!