Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

First of all, Happy New Year to everyone!

I am really looking forward to 2009. You don't know how long I've been waiting to say "We are moving back to the States this year." Well, maybe you do if you chat with me on a regular basis. Tim says we will more than likely have our orders in March. Ugh!!!!

Grandpa is doing much better. Haven't been able to reach anyone today, but as of yesterday he was still in the hospital.

All but 2 boxes of our Christmas presents from the States finally made it here today. A week late but better late than never. Jacob was so excited to get everything else he was waiting for. He finally got his Thomas Round House (or Browned house as he calls it) and various other buildings and track. I guess we need one of those fancy table to put in on next but that will have to wait until we move. I'll post pics soon of what my living room looks like. The Island of Sodor has taken over! He's happy so that's what's important. He also got a Cootie Bug Game. Ever have that as a kid. I did. We tried to play the proper way which lasted all of 10 minutes. Then he decided to just put the bugs together. At least it was better than the 3 of us trying to play CandyLand. That was an experience.

Tim started back on Night shift this week. Yuck! This means he's basically a zombie for the next couple of months. Luckily, if my calculations are right, it's his last batch of Night Shifts here.

The weather for the past week has been dreary. I am so ready and in need of seeing some sun! Plus, Jacob got some starter roller blades with protective gear that he wants to try out. That and a remote control car. After a few crashes in to the furniture I have decided it will have to be an outside toy.

Tomorrow will be spent slowly taking down the Christmas decorations and preparing for the arrival of my best friend Sara on Monday. We've known each other since we were 4yrs old. Though we don't get to see each other often and we found out years ago we are terrible pen/e-mail pals, we can still pick up where we left off. Pretty good since we haven't lived in the same town in over 20 years!

Well, there is about 30 minutes left of 2008 on my end. Enjoy your celebrations and stay safe!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Just Checking In

Hello everyone! Hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas. Our was nice and quite. Tim was working the 4 evenings leading up to Christmas. By Christmas Eve, I was ready to pull my hair out with Jacob. He was excited and wound up, etc. Our Christmas Eve was spent just the 2 of us and a frozen pizza. We watched a couple of movies, set out some milk and cookies, read "The Night Before Christmas" and called it a night. Jacob went to be surprisingly well. Tim was thankfully home by 10:30. Much better then the 3am the night/morning before due to unexpected happenings at the end of the shift.

More than half our packages from the States have still not made it to Sicily :(
I have been bummed about not being "home" with my family for Christmas. It's tough knowing my parents, sister, grandparents are all together and we cannot be there. Glad this is our last Christmas in Sicily.

Christmas morning, I woke up to Jacob in my face whispering "it's Christmas morning mommy, let's go down stairs" We all went downstairs to find that Santa came! The unwrapping took about an hour, as oppossed to the hours last year. Had we had the rest of our packages I'm sure it would have been an all day affair again. Jacob was happy with his new Thomas the Train toys. I think we have just about every wooden engine they make! He added a few new buildings and track to his collection. Tim got a Wii. That has been a lot of fun. For me, I got some new Vera Bradley stuff, quilting books, and some other goodies.

I made a nice ham dinner. Of course Jacob decided he wanted Pizza bagels for his Christmas dinner. Jacob was completely worn out by 7:30pm.

Spent the last couple of days lounging around the house. The weather has been rainy. I really miss our treadmill that is in storage after being cooped up in the house for a few days.

Last night I called my parents to see how things were since Christmas. They were at work, but Grandma was home with some bad news. Grandpa had to go the the hospital very early that morning for chest pain/heavieness/shortness of breath. The doctors say he has Congestive Heart Failure. Lovely. Reason number xxxx why I want to be home this year. And of course it is a Sunday and he is in North Carolina not New Jersey where they live so they cannot get his files or speak to his doctors until today. I didn't understand how it came on so suddenly but after refreshing my adult cardiac health it made sense. I wouldn't be surprised if he has had this for the past couple of years but it was just treated and not given a name. I really want to call back but it's 2am. Gotta love the 6 hour time difference.

That's the latest on my end. Tim heads back to work tonight to start night shift. Luckily, if I calculated right, this is his last block of nights while we are here!

I'll keep you all updated!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

The stockings are hung, the presents are wrapped, the goodies are baked and the tree is trimmed. Now we wait for Santa. . .
Have a Merry Christmas where ever you are this year.
Andrea, Tim and Jacob

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Baking. . .Mmmmmmmm

I love baking, especially at Christmastime. One of my family traditions, which I am continuing is the cookie and bread baking. As a kid, I remember the days (not weeks) leading to Christmas, my mom, sister, and I would spend hours in the kitchen making Chocolate Chip, Spritz, Oatmeal, and Sugar Cookies. I remember the cooling racks all over the dining room table and on towels on the floor. We didn't have pets and my mom has OCD when it comes to the floors so it was good. Then we would make breads, Banana and Strawberry. I love the strawberry and until this past year, I have never met anyone else that has heard of this Strawberry bread recipe. I warn you though, its a diabetics worst nightmare the amount of sugar between 2 loaves of bread.

Now, after all this baking of course my siser and I wanted to dig in, but we were not allowed. We had to wait until Christmas Eve. Ugh!!! Usually that was the next day but when when your are between 4-8 years old that feels like an eternity. Sometimes my dad would get in the action and make his famous rum balls. Those are good! Oh, and in case you were wondering we had 3-5 family members that would brave the elements in the 5 hour drive from New Jersey to Vermont for Christmas so the sweets didn't last long.

Now, I am not countinuing on this grand scale. There are only 3 of us for now, we get no company. Between yesterday and today Jacob and I made Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter (forgot that one, we did that too as kids), Oatmeal Choc. Chip (sent those to work with Tim with PB ones), and Strawberry Bread. I'm still deciding on the Spritz. It's a pain though to get the Green food coloring just right and stuff the cookie press.
That's all for today. The presents from the States are finally making their way here. We got 1 last night and Tim said he as 7 boxes today! I told my parents to go light but they still sent 6 boxes. Good grief!
Thanks for stopping by and have a Very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. . . .

That's how I feel and that's how it looks in my house and surrounding neighborhood. I love that song by the way. I like just about any Christmas song. I would have Christmas music playing 27/7 this time of year but Jacob has enough after about 30min.

I think the house is finally ready for the arrival of the big man himself (Santa) this week. The tree is as done as it is going to get. Still cannot get my Angel on top, but oh well. I really want a nice garland but that will have to wait until next year when we are stateside and have more choices available. I either want to do a Cranberry colored ribbon or get wooden red beads. I don't have the patience to string popcorn and cranberries, nor do I want to prick my fingers over those cranberries. I have really taken to the red thing since living here. I think my friend Lindsay is rubbing off on me with that. I used to be a Blue/Green girl.

Jacob commented the other day, "I like my Christmas House Mommy." Glad he is happy with it. He really gets Christmas this year (the santa and toys part) and for that we are happy. Working on the religious aspect next. I think that is that hardest especially when it's not openly discussed anymore. I explained our Nativity scene to him and for now he has down Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I have a great Golden book from when I was his age that explains the Christmas story in very simple terms so we've been reading that too. Also, watching my favorite Christmas cartoon "A Charlie Brown Chirstmas." For now Jacob is walking around saying "script girl, lunch break, lunch break." It's amazing though what his little 3 year old mind can make sense of.

Tonight is Tim's Christmas Party for work. So we are going to that. The menu sounds amazing as do the prizes. Plus, a night out childless happens once every 6 months (or so it seems) so we are taking advantage of that.

This week we are anticipating lots of packages from the States. I am a little worried they won't make it here for Christmas but we shall see. Monday I meet with the CDC to get Jacob enrolled in Pre-School come January. Yay! I also have my annual baking fest to do: Chocolate Chip Cookies, Spritz Cookies, Strawberry Bread and Banana Bread. It's just a small amount of what we did as kids but I still look forward to it. This year I have a little helper who loves to bake with mommy. He's been looking forward to making cookies.

I'll check in before Christmas with some pictures hopefully of our preparations. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A trip to see Santa

This morning Santa came to Sigonella. This is the 3rd (and final) year we have seen Santa here. I am happy to say that 3rd times a charm. This year the organization of the whole event was the best ever. A few days ago I was gearing Jacob up. In the past, we stood on line for 45 min just to get there and he starts crying, etc. Like in "A Christmas Story." Days ago he told me he didn't like Santa, he liked the Reindeer. Great. Last night I told he he had to tell Santa all the Thomas toys he wants and that did. He rattled everything off and this morning said he was ready.

We stood on line a long time but it moved. Santa looked authentic and Jacob went right up there with Mrs. Clause and started telling Santa everything he wanted like a pro. I even go a good picture. Yay! So proud of my little man today.
We are off now to the Security Associations Children's Christmas Party where we will see Santa again, play games and make some crafts. Then we are off to a "Christmas Open House" where some of my craft goodies are on display. To quote that magician in Frosty. . ."Busy, Busy, Busy"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Finally, we know where we are going, well almost.

So, after a crazy 48 hours of learning why we hadn't gotten orders yet and what our new option was we finally know something. Too many people not enough spots is what it comes too. So, Tim will be a recruiter for the Navy beginning in summer 2009.

Initially we thought we would get to pick North Carolina but soon found out that NC and VA were not options as we are not dual military. Of the choices we were then given, the Atlanta region which was the next best thing. This includes all of Georgia, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. I would rather not think of going to Florida let alone the Panhandle. After living in the Clearwater/Tampa for 15 years I'd like to think I've been there, done that (no offence to my buddies that still live there). Alabama would be ok. We have friends from college there (hi Beth!). Geogia is what we would really like preferably around Atlanta. Looks like good schools, low cost of living and awesome Children's Hospital for me to eventually work at, good shopping (a must!), lots of activities. One of Tim's sisters lives near by. I am really happy with the price of houses and options. When it came down to it, I wasn't happy with the house selection in VA for what we could comfortably afford on possibly 1-1.5 paychecks. I have rediculously high standards and wasn't feeling it. Looks like that will not be a problem in GA (or so I hope).

We now wait to get the orders and then proceed from there. We don't think we will have a definate city until we get there, but I think there has got to be a better way. Of course, my way of thinking and the way things are done are two separate things which then causes me much anxiety and frustration. For the next 5 months I will probably pester Tim about this issue until I get an answer I like :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rome Pics

Yes, I was bad and took a picture in the Sistene Chapel. Sorry so dark.
Aunt Amanda and Jacob in the Colosseum

Jacob at Trevi Fountain. He Said "This is the Perfect Trip"

Trevi Founatin at Night


Colosseum Arches

Roman Forum


These top 2 pics are birds in the sky. We had never seen anything like it. The formations were very rhythmic.

Jacob in front of the fountain at the Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps (Note to my retail snob friends: The street leading up to the steps has Burburry, Armani, Gucci, Salvatore Faragamo, Luis Vittone, etc. Amanda and I had fun window shopping. If only. . .)

Just a pretty Church

Fall Leaves ( I miss Fall)

Tiber River

Pantheon (Raphael's tomb inside)

St. Peter's Basilica

Fountain in St. Peter's Square

Here are the pictures from our trip to Rome. I cannot believe we have been home 1 week already. First off, we loved it. Reminded us of Paris. I think I like Paris better though. If you go to Rome this time of year I HIGHLY recommend a scarf, had, and gloves. We didn't plan on it being that cold. Luckily we had the winter coats.
I also highly recommend purchasing a Roma Pass. Currently 20 euro but going up to 23 euro in January. Kids are free (I forget what the cut off is but 3 is free). This gives you unlimited use of public transportation (Metro, buses, etc.) for 3 days and free entry to 2 museums. After you use your 2 free, you get discounts. Not valid for Vatican Museum. We used our freebie to go into the Colosseum and run around the Roman Forum. It paid for itself. We also used the Metro to get around. Jacob loved riding the train. We also had great luck and did not fall victim to pick-pockets. There are a lot of pan handlers around the Colosseum. If you see guys dressed as Gladiators who want you to take their picture, run the other way. As we found out 5 euro later. Live and learn. Food was pretty good. I think it is better in Sicily. I think it's because in Sicily, we pretty much have natives. In Rome you have a little of all ethnicities.
As for accommodations, we stayed at a flat up the street from the Metro Capri. This was one stop away from the Vatican. It seemed like a good mile or so walk from the flat to the Vatican so we took the Metro. We still did ALOT of walking. Our flat was great, 2 big rooms, kitchen, living room and bathroom with washer. If you have little ones this is the way to go. There was also a little supermarket up the street so we ate in for a few meals. Great for those picky little eaters. If you would like the contact info let me know. It was 100 euro a night and certainly beats having to drive in everyday and find parking. Our cab ride from the Airport was between 40-50 euro. All cabs in the area max out at 50 euro so don't pay more than that. It took us 1 hour to get out of the city to the airport at rush hour for our plane home. Glad we went when we did. I'd rather be early than late.
So that's our trip. Try to go if you can. We only did the Vatican Museum but if you don't have little ones and have the time check out the other museums in the city. There are hundreds I believe. Tim and I hope to return in the future to do all that.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend Update

Friday I headed to base with our company. It was nice to be childless for a little while. Tim didn't want to experience the day after Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza. I got a few Kitchenaid small appliances to replace what I had. They were 20% off plus no tax. Yay! I was going to wait on these until we move back next summer, but it was too good to pass up. I got some other things too but don't want Tim to know since they are his presents. Later in the day we all headed to Caltigerone and the mall. The weather was horrible and we go drenched. But at least they got to see some other parts of Sicily.

Yesterday we bid farewell to Amanda and Chris as they went back to the States. Actually, Amanda headed back to Texas and Chris went to visit his friend in Berlin. So, our house is quiet and lonely. I love to have visitors and it always such a let down after they leave. I am happy knowing that this summer will move us much closer to them. After a very early wake up call to the airport, the 3 of us went back home and went back to sleep for a few more hours. We headed back to the mall to pick up the best fake Christmas tree I have ever seen. After converting the 280cm to feet it comes in at a whopping 8.8ft! I know, it's GINORMOUS! And a steal at roughly $180. I'm not into the whole pre-lite tree thing, plus they always look scrawny and are way more $$$. Finally decided no more real trees. They are messy, are brown by Christmas and with Tim and Jacob's pollen allergies it just seemed like a better way to go. Just my opinion though.

Jacob is all in to Christmas this year. He looks at the tree and calls it his christmas tree. He asked Tim to make a Christmas house (we assume he meant decorate). He told me last night he wants his friends to come and see the tree. We haven't even put the lights and ornaments on it yet, wait till he sees that!

Tim has to work this evening so I am catching up on housework that got neglected over the past week. I did squeeze in a few minutes to briefly view our Rome pics. We got lots of good ones. So hopefully I can get those on here and Facebook tonight.

Thanks for Checking in.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Note: This was intended to post on Thanksgiving, but one our many power outages throughout the day prevented this. Better late than never I suppose.

I am so excited to have family in town to celebrate Thanksgiving with. Which leads me to this post. What am I thankful for. . .

1. Husband - Tim is an excellent husband. We've known each other for 14years and he still manages to surprise me and sweep me off my feet :)

2. Jacob - How is it that such a little person can take over your whole life? Loving a child is so much different than a spouse. Maybe because I am a mom I feel this way. I am so thankful to be Jacob's mom and being able to watch and help him grow into a person with opinions, feelings, a sense of humor. . .it's not always easy and I have my moments (many) where I need to be more patient but I wouldn't change it for anything.

3. Extended Family- Even though my family is spread out, we are still good about calling and e-mailing on a regular basis. Being over here in Sicily I really miss them. But technology makes this a little easier to deal with.

4. Friends (Facebook has reestablished this) - I still keep in touch with Sara, my best friend of 26 years! And even though we have very different lives and don't get to talk that often (we are horrible pen-pals) we are able to pick up with out missing a beat when we do get together. I love those types of friendships. I was very worried about having military friends with the way we all move but after living here I have formed some life long friends. And someone said, "Friends are the family you Pick" (or something like that)

5. Health - Being a Nurse, I've seen it all from the delivery room to the morgue. It really make you appreciate the circle of life. Every year at this time I think of my tiniest patient that passed away in my arms and makes me realize how blessed I am to have a healthy family.

6. Travel - Over the past 2.5 years I have traveled to places I never dreamed I would see, let alone by the age of 30. (Paris, Munich, Rome . . .)

7. SAHM- That's "Stay-at-Home-Mom" Since living in Sicily this has been a reality. Hard at first but easier now. After listening to my Stateside mommy friends I am grateful for this experience.

8. For the opportunity to live where my ancestors came from. Yes, I am an Italian American ( aka Andrea Marie Gulino). Half Sicilian/Half Calabrian. So, to be able to actually live where my Great and Great Great Grandparents lived has given me a better understanding of some of the ways I grew up. I am also appreciative of them immigrating to the U.S.!

9. Education - I am thankful I was able to go to College and pursue the career path I always wanted . Especially in these economic times! I feel secure knowing when we go back to the States I can add to the family income.

10. Our Military - I appreciate the sacrifices our military members and military spouses make to keep our nation safe from harm. Long hours, single-parenthood, deployments, etc. It's not an easy job and at times thankless. I really wish everyone in the States could see some of the "news" we receive here about the good our Soldiers and Sailors do all over the world. I believe the news media has done a great disservice in this area. So, the next time you come across a military member, please thank them for all they do.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We're Baaaaaack!

Just wanted to let you know we returned from Rome LATE last night. Our flight was delayed so instead of getting in around 9:30pm, we landed around 10:30pm and until we got the luggage (airport was on the ball for once with that!), found the car, got to the house, etc. didn't get to bed until almost 1am. We all slepted in this morning, which was much needed. So great to see Amanda and Chris. Jacob has taken an immediate liking to Aunt Amanda and must know where she is at all times. It's really cute. Rome was great! Jacob did amazingly well yesterday at the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica the Church itself and the tombs of the Popes. It's as if he knew why he had to be quite. We also saw the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Pantheon, Roman Forum and some other places. I'll post pics next week when we get back to normal.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I know we have much to be thankful for this year!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Off to Rome and some other random updates.

First, an update on the TMJ situation. I now have about half of my jaw mobility back. So, I guess that is better than nothing. I really don't want to go in to the dentist tomorrow because that will just mean more meds. The Motrin is working just fine. I took 1 Flexeril and that knocked me out for half a day. To potent for little me.

As for my vacation. We leave on Saturday and return on Tuesday night. I am so excited to go to Rome because it also means seeing my sister and her husband, who I have not seen since their wedding in July 2007. I am also excited to see how Jacob does with them. That is the biggest thing I regret living overseas, all the family he is missing out on. I grew up like that, and I never wanted the same for my kids. Oh well, I guess I can relate. When we get back on Tuesday we will spend the rest of the week showing them around, Mt. Etna, Catania Market, mall (my sister will enjoy that), and Taoromina (my favorite place!).

I have a long list of places to see in the short amount of time we are in Rome. We might have to sprint from sight to sight. LOL! Seriously, there are the tourist spots to see and just the fact I am getting off this Island. After awhile it feels like living in a fishbowl. Can you tell I am over it?

We still have no orders. Humph! Seeing how we are suppossed to leave in June, we should be finding out soon. I really want to start looking for a house. I miss owning our own home. I love painting the rooms and decorating it. All in good time I suppose.

That's what's happening in my corner of the world. I'll check in again for Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hope your morning was better than mine. . .

I woke up this morning to find that I could barely open my mouth. Very scary. The left side of my jaw felt like a tight rubber band. So, of course I started to get scared, then Jacob was being fussy and I could hardly talk to him. I tried to ever so carefully and slowly open my mouth but that's when the popping and pain started. Greeeeat, TMJ. I've had occassional random popping before on the left side but it lasted seconds. I called the dentist and luckily they could see me.

My next issue was finding what to do with Jacob. My neighbor moved, my other friends with little ones had already left for their Tuesday activities, the CDC was booked solid. I called Tim and luckily after 45 minutes he called back and came home.

The dentist was very nice. Of course I was thinking the worst, would they have to do surgery, manually pop my jaw back? (I have a dental phobia going back to my childhood of orthodontic work). Luckily, some stretches, Motrin, Flexerall, and a soft diet are all that are needed to hopefully regain normal use of my jaw. The dentist asked if I am having any stress. Lets see, I just finished a crazy week, havn't slept right in a few days, have company coming and a trip to Rome and 3 year old boy. Yeah, I have some stress! I can only comfortably open my mouth enough to fit in a toothbrush or spoon. Gotta love ball and socket joints! Luckily for my family this also means they don't have to listen to me LOL! So, right now I am enjoying some vanilla yogurt and waiting for the motrin to kick in.

I'll keep you updated on the situation!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jacob Turns 3!

2 Years


1st Birthday

November 14th was Jacob's 3rd birthday. Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital. . .Here is a look back at Jacob on his birthdays, my he has grown!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yes, I am still alive. . .

Hello everyone! Sorry I have neglected to post yet again. Very busy around here. To quickly recap, last Saturday we had Jacob's Kid 3rd Birthday party. We kept it small with just the few families we met from the beginning of our time in Sicily. I originally wasn't going to do a kid party this year but after we got invited to several Jacob wanted one.

Sunday I co-hosted a farewell party with 2 other ladies for my very dear friend Rose. We have been neighbors from the beginning of our time here, moved in 1 month apart, and have become the best of friends. We really lucked out to have such awesome neighbors and friends! Definately one of those rare friends that you know you won't lose contact with. Very hard to say good-bye, but hopefully we will get to move near them in the summer (should have an update on that later in the week!)

Monday I had lunch with Rose, did some Christmas shopping, and held night 1 of Stamp Club.

Tuesday was spent in Caltigerone with 2 friends. Nothing else scheduled.

Wednesday and Thursday were the other 2 Stamp Clubs.

Friday was Jacobs's actual birthday. My little boy is 3. . .where does time go? I also got ready for my 2nd craft fair of the season. Stayed up waaaay to late preparing, but that's what us procrastinators do.

Which brings us to today, Saturday. The craft fair was VERY successful. I got home ate lunch and took a much needed 3 hour nap. Thanks to my great hubby for getting Jacob so I could catch my beauty rest ;) By the way, if you missed out I still have some things.

Tomorrow I am hosting my annual Christmas Stamp-a-Stack. I am pleased with what I came up with. I only wish I wasn't limited to coming up with 5 designs. Oh well.

Yes, I am nuts and have been dubbed the "Craft Nazi" by one of my friends. LOL! And yes, the maddness is catching up with me. My poor family hasn't had much of my attention . Thank goodness we are taking a much needed family vacation next weekend and I have nothing scheduled this week.

I will post some pics of the past week hopefully on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Halloween Pics

As promised here are the pics from Halloween, just a week late! But, better late then never right?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a fantastic night of Trick or Treating, I know we did. The day was pretty chaotic for me. I spent all morning finishing my last minute cards for the craft portion of the base Autumn festival. I wanted to do more but time was limited and I wasn't quite sure what to expect turnoutwise. I was leaving the costume prep to Tim. He had to get Jacob to the base for 4:15 for the annual kids costume parade and Trick or Treats as the different booths. I arrived around 2pm to meet my craft table partner, Angela. It was "blustery day" to quote Winnie the Pooh. I thought it would rain at any minute but it didn't. Parking was a nightmare as it usually is with these events. I found my table and Angela found me and we set up. Tim and Jacob arrived around 4:30 and we got to go to the different organization booths to get some candy.

I stayed at our booth until a little after 7:00 and headed home to get at least a little door-to-door trick or treating in. I came home to find Tim already let Jacob get into some of his candy. . .greeeeat! We headed out and Jacob was all excited telling us which way to go. He kept telling up "I want another house to say trick or treat" soooo cute. He really got into it this year! We recycled his Spider costume from last year, which was a big hit again. Even though we got started a little late, there weren't a lot of houses giving out candy this year. I think the festival had a lot to do with it. Jacob had a great time though, and when we tried to each hold his hand to cross the street he screamed thinking we were trying to take his candy. LOL! Don't stand between a preschooler and their candy!

When we got home Jacob sat down and empty out his bag taking out each piece of candy saying "this is the perfect treat" he kills me with the stuff he says!

Note: I will post the pics later when blogger or the laptap decided to cooperate.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Jacob wanted to wear his "Boo" jammies to bed tonight. Aren't these just the cutest?! My parents sent them in his Halloween box. He has a Turkey pair as well. So after his bath, he wanted to "go scare daddy" so we went downstairs as quitely as we could (have you ever tried quiet with a 2 year old?). Jacob found Tim and said "boo!" Of course Tim played along :) Then I tried to get a few pics. I think Jacob might have a future in modeling. You should have seen the poses he was trying out. I should have snapped a few more pics but I was getting a little frustrated. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Christmas Cards

I've been getting ready for a craft fair I am doing with one of my club members next week at our "Autumn Fest." I am really excited about this since it is my first! I hope it is successful.

Here are a few Christmas cards I have come up with so far. The pictures don't look that great but I am happy with the cards in person. Christmas tree on the top left was done with my BigShot. Having so much fun with that machine.

The "Post Card" card, was done with the SU "Winter Post" stamp set, which I LOVE! It has that vintage feel. The die cut was the top notes die that is exclusive to SU. The final card is the SU Level 3 Hostess set "Window Dressing." This window is so versatile. All papers and ink are also Stampin' Up! products. If you need more details let me know. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blogger Illiterate

After about an hour of unsuccessful attempts to add a counter to this blogg I found a tutorial. After needing to open about 3 tutorials to find what I needed I finally added a hit counter. yay! It was so simple after I found the correct tutorial! I started with a rather low number so I hope to see the numbers climb.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Birthdays!

This is a crazy time of year for my family and birthdays. The majority of us have them August-Nov. just nuts. So whose is it today. . .

Happy Birthday Amanda and Chris!

My sister and brother-in-law are both 26 today. Amanda is older though by a few hours. So the joke is that Chris married and "older woman" LOL.

I am very excited they are coming to visit next month for Thanksgiving and a trip to Rome. I cannot wait!
So above is a pic of Amanda and I at her wedding last summer. Of course I was the Matron-of-Honor (I don't like the word Matron--makes me feel old) Wasn't she a beautiful bride. And yes, though I am 4 years older I am shorter. I see blogger has now decided to act up so I will not get to post a pic of Amanda and Chris right now. Oh well.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Random Pictures of Jacob

I discovered I have neglected to post pictures of Jacob for a while. So sorry. Actually I have not taken any pics recently. Funny how when it's your child's first year the pictures are snapped 100 times and day and as they get older the camera sits for longer intervals.
The story with Jacob and the Sunglasses. . .He came down stairs one day when he was suppossed to be napping with these silly plastic sunglass upside down. Waves at Tim and says "hi daddy" it was so funny and cute the way he did it and he looked rediculous. We refer to the picture as "The Elton"
Now the other pic to your left with the dive paraphanalia. As many of you know Tim has taken up diving since we have lived here. Jacob is fascinated by the gear. He found the flippers and mask and decided he too, wanted to be a diver. So this is what he did. Guess he needs a little snorkel set when we move back to the states next year.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What a day!

Yesterday was my 1st day volunteering at the Elem. school. Jacob slept while I got myself together, which was great! That never happens anymore. I leave the house at 7:40, get in the car, turn the key and nothing. I try again. . .nothing. Ahhhh! Why on a day I have to be somewhere at a certain time does my car not start? We just changed the battery about 2 months ago so I was sure this was not the problem. I went back in the house and woke up Tim and Jacob because now they had to bring me to the school. Our Alfa is a stick and I don't drive stick. I tried twice and didn't like it. Now I see why I should know how. Anyway they dropped me off at 8:05.

I found the office and the clinic and had a short wait while the nurse finished up a meeting. I quickly found out the School nursing is not a sit down job! I didn't expect it to be. My taste of school nursing in nursing school required us to be at the school for only 4 hours once a week. Plus, we had a teaching project to do so that took most of our time planning that. Without going into details, yesterday we were busy all day between our screenings and patients the day flew by. It is very different from floor nursing which is what I am used to. So, I am going to try and go in once a week if it works out with child care, etc. It was great to be doing something I went to school for and haven't done in several years. I felt like I used my brain in ways I haven't in a while. Now, I will admit I did have a touch of guilt in the morning as I walked up to the office, even though Jacob was going to be home with Tim all day.

After school, Tim and Jacob met me for a late lunch at Applebee's we finished some errands and headed home. I can see at the moment that if I worked M-F from 7:30-2:30 how it's a pretty good schedule esp. with little ones because there is still time for playing and catching up before dinner and bed routine.

I had a break in the middle of my day. I used this time to do some things that needed my attention but of course the people I needed were not available. At least I got some good exercise running from one end of the base to the other.

Car Update: Now today, we brought my car to the local Sicilian mechanic who did a stint in NY. I think that is why I like him since I am from northern NJ (I say northern since there is a big difference in southern vs. northern NJ) . It was the battery in my car that was bad. That was good news since I was planning on it being the starter or alternater. $$$$ parts if you have to replace them and certainly something I don't want to replace from here since we would have to order the parts from the states and have them sent here. Takes forever. I am happy I have wheels again!

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's Finally Finished!!!!

Pinwheel Pattern. Look at the Dark Green. . . see it?

Hand work on the boarders. Ugh! This was the worst part, but most rewarding in the end.

Corner folded over so you can see the back.

Yes, the quilt I've been working on since March is finally done! Yippie! Can you see me jumping up and down with happieness? I am happy with the end result. There were mistakes along the way but I learned a lot and look forward to the next one that I start at class tomorrow.

The pics you see are of my Log Cabin Quilt. I went with the "Pinwheel" pattern. I didn't see it at first but from the pictures it now stands out to me. Log Cabin quilts typically have a red center square symbolizing the heart of the home. My greens were chosen because that is Tim's favorite color and the purples because that is my favorite. Now I have an heirloom. It is a full size meant to snuggle on the couch with or throw on the bed on a cold night when I just need one more blanket. I'm sure Tim will just love that since I already like a ton of blankets.

After all this I have a new found appreciation for quilts. The time, thought and money put into them is quit a task.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Good Conversation and Cards

Hello all! It's been very busy around my house. Friday was Tim's 31st Birthday. We went to this Chinese Restaurant called Hong Kong in Catania. The ride was a little scary, but every drive through Catania frightens me which is why I don't drive there. Once we got there I was so excited to get some yummy food, and it was just that. Jacob loved looking around. He was going on about Kung Fu Panda and the Dragon Warrior. He associates things with his movies. We went back to our car to find parking ticket. So much for free parking. Where we parked was packed with cars and they all had tickets too. Oh well.

Saturday I woke up bright and early for a joint yard sale with my neighbor. We did awesome. Many of my things found new homes. After I cleaned up from that, ate lunch, and did some grocery shopping it was time to go to quilting at 2pm. Stayed there until almost 6pm. Then it was home for dinner. Yikes! It was great being that busy. The day flew by and I actually felt normal. Like I said in a previous post, life in Sig is not normal. My recent busieness is (for me anyway). Sunday I was absolutely exhausted. I had a meeing with another stamp buddy. And it was nice to sit, play with stamp techniques and chit chat. Monday night was my 3rd stamp groups monthly meeting. Small with just 3 of us. Again, great time with wonderful people and conversation. Tuesday was spent cutting paper all day for my Halloween Stamp-a-Stack. That's where we make 10 Halloween Themed cards. These are fun because I get to stick with a theme and do several ideas around that theme. The prep work is insane but the end result is a lot of fun. Got some good reading time in with Jacob. Worked on ABC's. That's going to take a while. He's not quite 3 so I don't feel pressured to get this done.

Today was the actual Stamp-a-Stack. 4 ladies in the morning and 4 children including mine. The kids played well like normal 4-2 year olds do and the adults enjoyed their cards. And again, more good adult conversation. The afternoon was spent outside with Jacob playing until Tim came home Which was late allowing for extra outside time. This cool weather is great, Jacob is actually asking to play outside. Tonight was 2nd group to make Halloween cards. I got to spend time with 2 great ladies that I don't get to talk to very often. We had a very enlightening conversation that really made me feel somewhat better, though still sadenned by an issue I've been dealing with for sometime. It's nothing serious involving family or me persay. Just an issue that has weighed heavily on me for a little over a year now. It's gotten worse so I decided to distance myself from it. I found out that the issue is affecting others and I might be able to help by talking to someone. So, hopefully I will work up the nerve to have this conversation and not have a panic attack while doing it. Wish me luck! As I am not good with these types of things. Now that I know I am not making this up should make it easier.

I think what I love about my schedule is that I am doing something I LOVE!!!! I haven't been forced, talked into doing more than I bargained for, I'm not in an environment where I constantly question or doubt my beliefs based on others and don't feel like I have to do everything. I have found I'm not complaining anymore because I like what I am doing. Yay!
So simple, yet so hard to realize sometimes! ( especially when others tell you differently)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Well, I cannot sleep. I keep thinking about my new stamps, paper, ribbon, glue. . . I am in major craft mode lately. I don't know where this sudden burst of creativity is coming from. I'd like to think it's the change of season. Which brings me to my topic. FALL!

So, for the last 2 days we have finally had some breezy, cool weather. It's awesome! Fall and Winter are my favorite seasons. The other 2 I could care less about. Give me Sept.1-Feb. 28 any day. From the age of 1-10 I lived in Vermont. I think that is the absolute best place to spend fall. The leaves are gorgeous shades of red, orange, and yellow. The "Leaf Peepers" are visiting (those are the tourists that come specifically to see the leaves). Apples are ready for picking, and then there is the apple cider, pumpkins, Halloween. . .it's great! I really hope to get up there this time of year at least once for Jacob and Tim to experience it. Of course there is the change in wardrobe. Jeans, sweaters, dark colors, I love it! And let's not forget that first day of school and the prep involved. The back-to-school shopping was always fun, especially the supplies. I could live in a Staples. I have always had this thing for paper, crayons, pens. . .I'm always well stocked in these kind of supplies. As I got older fall also meant High School and College Football games on Friday and Saturday nights. Those were fun. ahh the memories!

Today I actually turned off the A/C for most of the day and had some yummy apple candles burning. I was in fall heaven! I've been meaning to put the fall decor out (pumpkins, leaves, etc), but the humidity of the last 2 weeks just killed the mood. So, hopefully after my yard sale on Saturday the stuff will come out.

As the seasons change, so does my schedule. I am really happy about this schedule or lack there of. I decided to end my commitments and positions I held last year to focus more on my family, crafting, and to enjoy the last months in Sicily. Maybe I'll finally get Jacob's scrapbook finished. So far so good. I'm not stressed, I don't feel the pressure to do everything that comes along. Jacob is too young to participate in pre-school and sports here so were are enjoying the time together. I look forward to chauffeuring him to these activities in the near future. There are many days I miss the structure of going to a job, and all the craziness that revolve around that but, there will be plenty of time for this when we return to the States next year and get back to some kind of normalcy (my life here is far from what I consider normal). So, that's that.

Ok, I have rambled enough and I think I am finally sleepy. Good night!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sept. Stamp Club

Spring Action Inside the "Under the Stars" card
Pocket Silhouettes (sorry it's sideways)

Well tonight kicked off the 1st of my 3 stamp clubs this month. I think I captured the WOW factor I've been trying to accomplish. I tried a new technique called "Brayered Background" and it created a really nice sunset effect. All cards used Stampin' Up! products. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This past weekend we went on a spur of the moment overnight trip to Cefalu. A very pretty tourist town here on the island. It is about 2 hours away by car. We followed some of Tim's co-workers and as soon as we paid the toll Jacob decided to puke everywere. So, it is official, the kid gets car sick. I used to do the same thing, and in his defence, the roads are bad here. I sat in the back with him for half the trip and was feeling yucky too. The roads in Sicily are bumpy and curvy. Not a good combination for someone that gets motion sickness.

So, we arrive at the hotel and decontaminate Jacob. Of course I get stuck with this fun job while Tim checks in. I can do blood, pee, and poop, but I have a problem with vomit. Some nurse I am right?! We get to the room and Jacob was horrified that there was no TV. We finally found the little 13in screen on the wall so all was well.

We headed to the beach which actually had sand, score! This beach reminded Tim and I of Clearwater Beach in Clearwater, Florida which we lived 10min. from growing up. The sand was really soft, min. rocks and scarce shells. I missed the shells but that wasn't a big deal. Jacob went right in the water and had a fun time making sand castles with daddy, or at least trying too.
Saturday night we walked up to the center of town for dinner. Jacob was dying for pizza but the restaurants in Italy don't open until late. The cafes and bars were open at 6 so we stoped and got some water and granita (aka Italian Ice). It was delicious. We got lemon flavor and it was like really sweet lemonade. It hit the spot after the long walk in the heat and humidity. Jacob kept asking the waiter for pizza. After that we killed some more time but going into a little shoe store. I finally found Birkenstocks to replace my brown pair that are beyond repair. They were a fraction of the price even with the exchange rate approx 1 euro=.67 Yippee! So, after my new pair of shoes it was finally 7pm. . .Pizza time. We found a retaurant and order drinks. Jacob chiimed in to the waiter, "uh, pizza?" He finally got his pizza about 30 minutes later. And not a minute too soon. He polished off 3/4 of it. For those not familiar, pizza in Sicily comes on a 10in. plate. After that we called it a night and walked the mile or so back to the hotel and called it a night. I think I fell asleep to Jacob singing the intro to Thomas and Friends. Lightening McQueen has been taking a back seat to Thomas lately. I don't know which is worse. It was nice to get home even though we weren't gone too long. I quickly remember why I am not a fan of sandy beaches. Sand was in everything. I'm still finding sand and it's Wednesday.