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.