Sunday, October 31, 2010

Abbie update – 17 months old

I haven’t written much about Abbie lately and I feel like she’s changing so fast and I’m going to forget it all unless I write it down!

Last week Abbie had a bad case of hives the entire week.  I’m not sure what was going on, but it looked horrible.  She never had a fever and she acted completely normal, but the hives got progressively worse and were moving all over her body.  I was pretty worried about it, and after 3 calls to the nurse help line, talking to her doctor once on the phone, and them all telling me to wait it out, I still took her to the doctor.  They basically said to let it run it’s course and if it lasted longer than I week to come back.  It lasted 6 days.  At first I thought it was because I switched fabric softener, but now I think it’s those little mandarin oranges.  She loves those things, but I think they’re what were giving her the rash, and diarrhea.  But she’s all better now!


She’s growing up so quickly.  She loves carrying her “purth” around, even though she has a heck of a time keeping it on her shoulder.  She finds all sorts of little things to stuff in there and then walks back and forth across the living room with in on her shoulder.  IMG_3093

Every time we leave the house now, she runs around grabbing armfuls of stuff to take with her.  It’s usually a few stuffed animals and a book or two.  It’s pretty funny though.  We get her out of her car seat and she also has to take something with her usually.  And on the subject of books, she’s starting to read along with books we read her.  She’ll say words that she knows are coming up and you can tell her to get a certain book and she’ll go get it off of her shelf with 30 other books on it.


She’s quite a bossy little thing.  She LOVES telling the dogs what to do.  She’ll tell them to come, down, stop it, sit, etc, and then she’ll usually say good girl if Sadie does what she tells her to do.  But she’s always shouting commands at the dogs.  And she still calls Sadie, “Wee-woo” (short for Sadie Roo). IMG_2987

One of her newest things is she now says “me”.  When she wants you to pick her up or read her a book or do whatever with her, she’ll chase you around with her arms in the air yelling “Me! Me!”.  I’m guessing that means that she understands who “me” is now since she’s calling herself “me”.


She pretty much repeats anything we say now, at least the last word.  Any sentence we say, she’ll repeat the last word, or the main word.  She’s requesting foods now like banana, applesauce (that’s a big one), turkey, ham, chicken, bookies (cookies), peaches, oranges, etc.  Even if she can’t see them, she’ll request them.


And she loves to pretend now.  She loves rocking her baby, and changing her baby’s diaper (with a real wipe of course), and feeding her bottles (her own bottles).  She’ll pretend to give us cookies out of book that has cookies in it.  I’ll give her a bowl and a spoon to “mix” things in and that’ll keep her busy while I make dinner.  She loves it when you “taste” her food.  And she likes to help with whatever I’m doing now.  If I’m vacuuming, you can be sure that she’s under my feet “helping”…  But it’s fun and I like having my little side kick around.


PS:  Don’t worry, that’s chocolate.  =)  (Nutella to be exact!)

Quilt #2 progress

Last week I finished my 2nd quilt top.  I was so nervous to start putting all my pieces together because I was afraid they weren’t going to match up at all, so I put this off for a long time.  But I finally decided to bite the bullet and just put it together, and if I had to cut a bunch of the edges off to get them even then so be it.  I’m still learning.

Here’s a picture of me sewing the sashing in on.  Notice that big gapping hole on the left side in the middle of the picture?  Ugh.  That was definitely an “oh crap” moment. 


Here’s a close up of the hole.  Oops.  My quarter inch seams leave much to be desired at this point, but by the end of this quilt I had gotten it figured out.  And I discovered a have a quarter inch foot for my sewing machine!  That will make things easier for sure.


So here it is, all done.  I still have to trim the edges though.  It turned out much better than I was expecting.  You can see the backing hanging behind it too.


By the way, this is our “new” bedroom!  I’ll post more on it later, but Mark and I redid our house this weekend and our old office/craft room/ playroom is now our bedroom.  I still have all my fabric hanging in our bedroom though, and when this quilt is finished, I’ll probably hang it up there for decoration.

I’m currently quilting my first quilt also.  I’m doing a “stitch in the ditch” stitch on it, because I figured that would be easiest.  It is easy, now that I figured out it’s a lot easier to “stitch right next to the ditch”, instead of trying to get the stitching right on the seam.  That was next to impossible and I was all over the place, but I finally gave up and quilt like 1/8th of an inch off the seam now.  It’s much easier.  Once I get done with that one I’ll post more pictures of it.  I’ve decided I’m going to give it to my grandma for Christmas so I need to finish quilting it and get it binded quickly so I can get it in the mail to her!  Wish me luck!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Fill-in

Here are this weeks questions.

  1. What’s the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?  I had a few people stop when I was younger and had car problems and was stopped on the side of the road.  That was nice because I was clueless.  We also had someone give us $40 to pay for our meal when they found out Mark was in the military.  We were shocked!
  2. If you are having a hard time going to sleep, what do you do to help yourself?  Usually I read until I fall asleep, so I don’t have too much trouble.  If I can’t sleep I watch TV until I do fall asleep but then sometimes I get sucked into the shows and REALLY can’t fall asleep.
  3. Name something that makes you wish you were a kid again.  I just did a post about this a few days ago after I heard the Sesame Street Song “I don’t want to live on the moon.”  Having a bunch of stress makes me want to go back in time to before I knew what stress was.
  4. What is something you never believed until you experienced it?  How hard parenting is!  I knew it would be challenging but I remember thinking SOO many times pre-child, that I would NEVER do that with my child.  Ha!  I learned very quickly after giving birth, never say never!  (And to quit being so judgmental!)
  5. What can’t you say “no” to?  Hugs and kisses from my little girl and husband.  And anything chocolate.  =)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I don't want to live on the moon.

The other day I was listening to Pandora's toddler station with Abbie and this song came on and I fell in love with it. I just looked it up online and thought I would share it with you all.

I have to admit, this song makes me cry. And it's not really a sad song, but it just takes me back to simpler times when you didn't have to worry about anything and life just seemed easier. And I love living in Italy, but there are some days that I could replace "moon" with "Italy" and it would be perfectly fitting. Luckily those days are few and far between now, and this isn't one of those days, but it still makes me cry anyway.


Monday, October 25, 2010


“I am treating you as my friend asking you to share my present minuses in the hope I can ask you to share my future pluses.”  ~Katherine Mansfield

As most of you know, I use this blog as kind of a diary for me.  I am an incredibly open person, and there’s not much about myself that I don’t feel comfortable sharing.  I am good at keeping others secrets, but I really don’t have many secrets of my own.  I try to portray in this blog exactly how I feel, which includes the good, the bad and the, at times, ugly.  I don’t agree with people trying to sugar coat everything and trying to make their life appear perfect when it’s not.  I think that’s being insincere and fake.  I can understand how people that have blogs might not want the whole world knowing that they are having a hard time and might chose to only share that with close friends though.  However, that’s not how I work really.  Being overseas, I often don’t get to talk to my friends at home for weeks at a time.  We’re on completely different schedules, we all have busy lives and it’s hard to find the right time to call.  So I use this blog to keep them up to date on what’s going on in my life.

The rule of friendship means there should be mutual sympathy between them, each supplying what the other lacks and trying to benefit the other, always using friendly and sincere words.”  ~ Cicero

My friends at home and in the States are amazing.  Although I rarely get to talk to them, if I truly NEED to talk to them, they are always available.  They are supportive and nonjudgmental and always make me feel better about whatever is bringing me down.  If I write a “downer” blog, these people truly know me and always send their love and encouragement and make me feel 10x’s better, even from across an ocean.  I realize that I have an amazing life and I am truly blessed in pretty much every area possible.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t hit bumps in the road occasionally.  Usually those bumps in the road involve a separation from Mark.

The last time Mark was TDY, I had a really rough time.  Really rough.  I was miserable and I was trying to deal with emotions that I don’t really have to deal with unless Mark is gone, and I don’t have much practice with Mark being gone, so I’m still learning.  My unhappiness was reflected in my blog, and most of my friends were very supportive and helpful, which I truly appreciate. All of my friends, except for one.

One of my “friends” wrote me an email telling me I was depressed, had severe anxiety, was mentally unstable, was endangering my husbands life by talking to him about how I felt, and was providing an unhealthy environment for my daughter and I needed to get on medication.  Mind you, her only contact with me for the past few YEARS has been through my blog and on Facebook.  When I tried to talk to her about my point of view on it all she said something like “Well I can see we’re not going to agree on this so I’ll just un-friend you and stop reading your blog.”  …. ?  Okay…  I couldn’t imagine saying that to someone I thought was depressed and had severe anxiety, but obviously she and I are two very different people.

Real friendship is shown in times of trouble; prosperity is full of friends.”  ~Euripides

I’m telling you all of this because Mark is going TDY again in November.  So fair warning, my blog posts MIGHT have a different tone next month, and if that’s going to bother you, instead of sending me hate-mail, just do me a favor and don’t read them.  I really think this time will be different than last time was though.  I have quite a few people here that I feel comfortable talking to now, Abbie goes to the babysitter twice a week so it’s not me and her 24/7 for 2+ weeks straight (which by the way, would probably put ANYONE over the edge), and I have LOTS of stuff to keep me busy, including the crud tournament!  But what I’m feeling is what I write, and that’s not going to change.

To those of you who have been amazing friends (you know who you are), I don’t know what I’d do without you!  I’m hoping to get to spend time with ALL of you when I’m home next year!  You guys are the best.  And to those of you that I don’t know in person, only though the blog-o-sphere, but have been supportive also, thank you!  Sometimes a kind word from a stranger is just what one needs!

~We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible.  To have real conversation with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.”  ~Thomas Moore

For the first time…

in 7 months, Mark and I went shopping for clothes.  I have not bought a single item of clothing for myself in the 7 months we’ve lived here.  Actually I take that back.  I bought a t-shirt in Prague, a shirt in Lipica and an I *heart* Sarone shirt since I’ve been here.  I’m an Old Navy/Target/Kohl’s type shopper and online shopping for clothes isn’t half as fun as shopping for clothes in person.  Especially when I’m changing sizes.  I really need to try things on.

So Mark and I went to Emisfero mall, which is about 40 mins east of us, and shopped at H&M.  That’s about all that was in our price range.  But still a 10E shirt now is still like $14.  And even if you buy 2 of them that’s $8 more than you’d spend in the States on 2 items of clothing.  It adds up quickly, but I got 2 new long sleeve t-shirts, a pair of jeans (yay!!) and a set of leggings.  Mark got 2 sweaters and 2 long sleeve button up shirts.  (Family that reads this – you want Christmas ideas for Mark – he needs new clothes!!!)  Abbie of course makes it very interesting (read: difficult) to shop and the whole time she was screaming and Mark was saying “Abbie, please!!!”.  (As in SHUT UP!!!)  So we were rushed and it wasn’t much fun, but we got a few new things which was exciting.

I really want to find a pair of boots that I like, but I’m kinda picky.  I know exactly what I want, but I can’t find them, at least not in my price range.  Boots are ALL the rage over here right now and pretty much 95% of people are wearing some type of boot.  They sell them all over the place here, but most of them are in the 200Euro price range, and I’m not about to pay almost $300 for a pair of boots.  That’s a lot of money and as I said, I’m more of a bargain shopper.  But you’d think being in Italy, the land of leather, I’d be able to find a decent pair in my price range.  I actually found a pair I liked when we went shopping, but they didn’t have my size.  Go figure.

I REALLY need to buy clothes that are a little more dressy.  I’m not even a little bit into fashion, and I am 100% about comfort.  Every time I look at clothes online I gravitate towards long sleeve t-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts.  If I could live in those, with a comfy pair of pajama pants, I’d be in Heaven.  But when I go to squadron events, I feel vastly underdressed and I hate it.  Yesterday we saw this girl on base that had a really cute sweater dress on, with leggings and taller boots.  I told Mark that that was a really cute outfit and I’d like to wear something like that and he said that he didn’t want me to dress dressier because then he’d look like a slob.  ….  So it’s okay for both of us to look like slobs together.  Great.  Luckily for him, he gets to wear a flight suit 90% of the time.  However, most of the time I’m wearing what we normally wear around people who dress up, so I end up looking like a slob by myself.  I just found 2 sweaters and a sweater dress on that I like, but they’re $61 and I just don’t know if I should spend that money on myself when we have Christmas coming up.  Maybe I should apply for “What Not To Wear”.  Do you think they’d do an overseas edition?

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Sadie is our 3.5 year old wire-haired Dachshund.  She might be mixed with a little bit of terrier, and we got her on the side of the road in Oklahoma from a couple out of the back of their truck.  I had wanted an English Cream long haired Dachshund, but they were $500+ and we didn’t want to spend that much on a dog at the time.  So we got Sadie.

Sadie is Abbie’s best friend.  Abbie loves her, and Sadie is extremely good with Abbie.  Sadie also got hit by an SUV in 2009 when she took off after a roadrunner.  Ugh.

IMG_3051I noticed Friday that Sadie was acting a little odd.  She moved a little funny and just wasn’t acting like herself.  But Sunday night, she was acting really strange – laying in a corner, avoiding people, and her whole body was shaking.  I started to get worried and tried to find an emergency vet, but conveniently, the base vet doesn’t have any sort of emergency vet.  They give you a list of vets in the area that do have emergency numbers but all their messages were in Italian so I couldn’t understand what they were telling me to do.

Monday I got up early to take Sadie to the vet on base, only to drive all the way there  and have them tell me that the vets are all out for the entire week.  Go figure.  So I called an Italian vet at 10am (because that’s when they open) and they said to bring her over around noon.  I took Sadie to Dr. Conforto in Sacile and she looked her over and pressed on her back and couldn’t really find anything wrong besides her having a slight fever.  She told me to watch her and if she got worse to bring her back in.  Sadie remained the same thru Tuesday and Wednesday evening she looked like she was getting worse.  So I took her back into the vet at 6:30pm Wednesday night.  They ran a full blood scan on her and did an ultrasound on her because they thought that there could be something wrong with her stomach or intestines, but they didn’t find anything on the ultrasound either.  They gave her an anti-inflammatory shot and again told us to keep an eye on her and bring her back if anything changed.  Thursday Sadie was back to her normal self.  She was playful and had a little bounce in her step and wanted to be by us so I was hoping the worst was past, but I was wrong.

Friday morning, Sadie was acting really stiff and not wanting to move much so I took her back to Dr. Conforto.  Again, she felt her back and tested her reflexes and didn’t find anything wrong so she told me to watch her and bring her back Saturday morning if she wasn’t better.  I took Sadie home, and took Abbie to a Halloween party on base.  By the time Abbie and I got home around 2pm, Sadie pretty much wasn’t using her back legs at all.  She could hardly stand up for more than 1-2 seconds without her back end flopping over to one side or the other and basically her entire body was bent a little bit.  I started freaking out a little bit (or maybe more than a little bit) and called half the people in our squadron and Brittney trying to find someone to watch Abbie so I could take her back to the vet.  No one was available to watch Abbie, although Brittney would have come all the way back here from base to watch her, but I tried plan B first.  I called Dr. Conforto’s personal number that she gave me and she told me to take her in to the clinic and have someone else look at her at 4pm because she was out of town and wouldn’t be back until Monday.  I didn’t really want to have someone else look at Sadie, especially since it’s hard going to an Italian vet who’s English is limited and my Italian is pretty much non-existent.  I called my friend Jordana, asking her if she could watch Abbie and she gave me her vets personal cell number and told me to call him.  So I called Dr. Levine, who is an American that owes a vet clinic here.  This whole time I’d also been in contact with Donna, Mark’s mom, because she works at a vets office in the Chicago area.  She was relaying the info I was giving her to a vet at her clinic and giving me his recommendations, which was to get her to a vet asap.  Dr. Levine told me to bring her over and he’d check her out.

When we got to Dr. Levine’s (Abbie was with me – I had her strapped on to my back in the Ergo and I was hauling Sadie around in my arms), he gave us two options.  One was to try to give her a shot with a high dose of steroids and see what happens, or two was to send her to a doctor in Palmanova who would do a dye test on her back and do surgery if she needed it.  The price for option one was around 20Euros, and the price for option two, if she ended up needing surgery, was going to be around $2500.  …. Yikes….  Mark, naturally, wasn’t available to talk to during most of this so I was making these decisions on my own.  Obviously if we could go the cheaper route I wanted to do that, but if it was going to risk damaging her back permanently, then we’d have to go with option two.  Dr. Levine said that most people try option one and sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.  I decided to try option one and she how she handled the shot, but Dr. Levine called the doctor in Palmanova just in case she ended up needing surgery to make sure he was available, which he was.

Sadie improved quite a bit overnight though, with the shot.  By morning, she seemed less stiff, and could bear weight on her hind legs for 10-15 seconds before falling over, and she could even take a few steps if we let her.  We took her back to Dr. Levine Saturday morning and he said she’d made great strides so we could try putting her on steroid pills for the next week to see how she does.

So that’s where we are with Sadie-roo right now.  She’s still improving and I just gave her her first dose of pills.  We’re supposed to watch her for a week and contact Dr. Levine on Friday to let him know how she’s doing.

Thanks so much for all of your prayers and concern!  She’s not out of the woods yet, but she’s still improving which is a good thing!  I’ll keep you all updated!IMG_3047

Saturday, October 23, 2010


We had friends of ours from FL stay with us for a few days this past week.  Monday they went to Venice by train, Tuesday they went to Trieste by train and Wednesday we went to Cortina.  Cortina is about 1.5 hrs north of us and it is probably one of the prettiest drives I’ve been on while in Italy.  A lot of that had to do with it being fall and all the beautiful colors, along with the tops of the mountains being dusted with snow.  All three of us fell in love with Cortina.  Mark wasn’t along (he was working), but I guess that’s a good thing because now I can go back with him!

IMG_1680 On our way up there was this little pull off with a field full of horses right by it.  Luckily my car stops pretty fast and there was no one behind me because I slammed on my brakes and pulled over so I could take a few pictures.  Sorry for the crazy driving T and P, but I couldn’t miss a shot like this.  (By the way, these pictures are all taken with my little point and shoot Canon, not my DSLR.)

IMG_1685 There were probably 15-20 miles of biking trails like this all through the area.  They were really nice trails and they went all the way up past Cortina.  I would love to go back and go biking a little bit.

IMG_1687 IMG_1688 IMG_1690 IMG_1692 Isn’t this little guy cute?!  He’s just Abbie’s size!  (Abbie was in the car at this point screaming “Horth!  Horth!”.

IMG_1696 This whole area is known for it’s winter sports.  There are multiple ski resorts in the area, and we passed this on the way up, and we also saw a big building with “curling” written on the side.

IMG_1697 Everywhere you looked it was one beautiful scene after another.  I couldn’t get enough and even though it’s pretty remote, I’m fairly sure I could very happily live here.  Especially after I tried the hot chocolate!  It’s like a thinned out pudding and SOOO good!

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Here’s the little town of Cortina d’Ampezzo.  The pictures really don’t do it any justice.  Cortina hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics, the 1963 version of The Pink Panther was filmed here, along with scene from Cliffhanger.  It’s surrounded almost completely but the Dolomites (mountains).

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Since we were there off-season, most of the restaurants and shops were closed, and we were there during reposo (the Italian 3 hour mid-day naptime).  But it was still fun to walk around.  I’d love to go back and spend a weekend there with Mark, shopping and skiing.  Who wants to come watch Abbie for us?

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One of the James Bond films was also filmed here and Audrey Hepburn frequented Cortina.IMG_1723

These next pictures were all shot along that bike trail I was talking about previously.  It was pretty chilly up there – in the low 50’s when we got there, but it was sunny and there wasn’t much wind.  However, it was snowing by the time we left!  It was neat to see the weather change so quickly and it was Abbie and my first time being in snow this season!


You can see one of the ski resorts on the right side of this picture.

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It’s snowing!!


Thanks for touring Cortina with me T and P!  I hope you had a great time during the rest of your time in Europe!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Fill in

  1. Are you a night owl or an early bird?  I am a night owl for sure.  And thank God my kiddo usually sleeps until 8-9am so I don’t have to get up early!
  2. What makes you jealous?  When people get to spend time with my husband and I don’t.  I get very jealous of that.
  3. Have you started Christmas/holiday shopping yet? When will you finish? (There’s only 63 days left!) Yes, I’ve started, but I am far from finished unfortunately.  I’ll be done by the end of November though so I have time to ship stuff back to the States or have stuff shipped here from the States.  The joys of living overseas!
  4. What would you have a personal chef make you tonight?  Considering it’s 9:40pm (I’m way late on this – issues with my dog – more on that later), I’d have them make me some amazing dessert!
  5. Where was your first kiss?  In a closet in the church “Attic” at a lock-in in jr. high.  We were playing Truth or Dare.  That was a long time ago.

Monday, October 18, 2010


While Donna and Ryan were here, we went to Venice.  We drove this time because we had to drop Ryan off at the airport and it was interesting seeing that side of Venice.  Obviously you can’t drive in Venice, but they have part of the island that is designated for parking and it is expensive!  I think we were there for 4-5 hours and it cost 18E to park.  It is much easier taking the train.

We took the water taxi from the north side of Venice to San Marco Square.  Abbie enjoyed looking out the window most of the ride.

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Venice was pretty much packed the day we were there, but we couldn’t have asked for a prettier day.  The weather was pretty much perfect!

IMG_2611 IMG_2618 Apparently this is the time of year where San Marco Square floods.  It was quite interesting because it’d never seen it like this.  They had riser set up all over to use as sidewalks, but the people were barely moving on them.  They were even as wide as a normal sidewalk and people were having trouble getting anywhere on them.  So we decided to forego the risers and brave the HUGE puddle.  We found a fairly shallow part of the puddle and tiptoed through it and we didn’t even get wet… that time.

IMG_2621 IMG_2622 IMG_2624 You can see in this picture where the people are walking next to the risers – that’s where we walked the first time.  If you went slow enough, you didn’t get wet.  Some of the puddles were 6-8 inches deep though, so you definitely didn’t want to walk through the lowest parts of the square.


We went into San Marco Cathedral this time.  It was our first time in there and it was pretty neat.  They had really neat mosaics and the inside of the cathedral is amazing.

IMG_2630  IMG_2636  The entrance way of the cathedral also floods.  There were these doors and then 4-5 steps going up to another set of doors that led into the cathedral.  The water was up to the first step and they had the risers in there to walk on too.

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I thought this picture was pretty funny.

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Abbie asleep in the Ergo.  She had her first real meltdown during this visit to Venice.  We wanted her to go in the Ergo while we walked through the water and she had other plans apparently.  It was pretty bad and took us a while to get her to calm down but she eventually did.  Hopefully we won’t have too many more of those episodes, but we’ve already had one more since this one.  Being a toddler is tough.  =)