Monday, October 31, 2011

October 2011 goals revisited

This month has flown by for me, as I knew it would.  Time flies when you’re having fun, right?  Thank GOD my husband was all about getting the house organized, since he’s done more of it than I have.  I feel guilty about it, but Mark says he likes doing this kind of stuff around the house.

1.  Get the ENTIRE house cleaned from top to bottom before Mark returns from his deployment.  - Pretty much got this one done.  It wasn’t organized, but it was pretty clean, thanks to paying someone to clean most of it before we got back.
2.  Reorganize the kitchen and put things I don’t use much on shelves in the basement to free up space in the cabinets.  I didn’t get this done as much as I would have liked.  I put some stuff away, but still have more to go.
3.  Unpack all boxes I shipped to myself and get things put away.  I got over half of them unpacked, but still have more to go.
4.  Wash all baby boy clothes and get it all organized by size in plastic containers. DONE!!!  (Thanks for the help mom!)
5.  Reorganize our storage rooms in the basement to make everything easily accessible.  DONE!!! (Thanks to Mark, who did 90% of this.)
6.  Clean up downstairs living room (which is currently being used as a storage room in part of it, and the guest room in another part of it).  Take all storage items and find places for them in other storage rooms.  DONE!!  Again, thanks mostly to Mark and my mom.
7.  Get Passat ready to sell and advertised.  Not done, but for good reason.  More on that later.
8.  Get Abbie a big girl bed and dresser set and get that put together and in her room.  Partially done.  We have her mattress and box spring ordered.  They’ll be delivered in 2 weeks, but we have to order her headboard, which will take 2-3 months to arrive.  The joys of living overseas.   And we still need to get her a dresser.
9.  Move crib and changing table from Abbie’s room to baby boys room.  Not done since Abbie is still using them
10.  Turn current office/ craft room into baby boys room.  Baby boy’s room is currently empty, which is a feat in itself.  Once we get Abbie’s bed, we can move her furniture to his room.
11.  Reorganize all of Mark’s and my clothes.  Move one of our dressers from our bedroom into storage or downstairs living room to make room for glider and bassinet in our room.  Again, partially done.  I have most of our clothes organized, but still have more work to do. 
12.  Look into moving our wardrobe down to Abbie’s room and getting an Ikea closet organizer for our closet area to free up some space.  Mark and his brother moved the wardrobe to the garage for us, but now all the clothes that were in the wardrobe are in a huge pile where the wardrobe used to be.  We still need to get a closet organizer from somewhere.

13.  Plan November trip to London!!  We leave in 5 days and this still isn’t done.  Oops.
14.  Turn downstairs living room in to guest room/ play room/ office/ craft room.  Yes, it’s big enough to do this, it’s just going to take some creativity.  Mostly done!  We just have more organizing to do and have to move more toys down there.
15.  Take a big trip to Ikea to get different closet storage for our room, storage unit for main floor bathroom and Abbie’s new bedroom set. We haven’t had time to go to Ikea yet.  This will be moved to my November goals.
16.  Finish quilt and return sewing machine before I leave home.  Still not done.  RATS!  I need to finish that quilt!  Hopefully in November I’ll be able to get it done if I get my machine all set up again.
17.  Get all cards written and sent on time.  They’ve been done, but usually not sent on time…  Oops.
18.  Enjoy time with my husband after being away from him for almost 7 months!!!!  I’ve definitely accomplished this!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I had heard that sometimes families have a rough time with reintegration when military members come home from deployments.  I wasn’t too concerned about having issues, but it was in the back of my mind a little bit before Mark came home.
Mark is an outstanding daddy.  He is very involved in Abbie’s daily routine when he’s around and he is her favorite playmate.  No one makes Abbie laugh like Mark does.  I wasn’t worried about Mark falling back into our routine, but I was a little worried with how Abbie would handle Mark.
Abbie quickly took to Mark again and even before he could get out of his uniform, she was dragging him all over the place.  I almost immediately took second fiddle and she wanted Mark to do everything for her, which was perfectly fine with me.  (Unfortunately, almost 2 weeks later, that’s not still the case.)
Abbie, in typical 2 year old fashion, has been testing the limits with Mark.  I’m proud of him because he didn’t let her completely over run him like I thought she would.  Abbie is a VERY strong willed kiddo, and that combined with how smart she is makes her tough to deal with at times.  But Mark didn’t let her get away with much, so she’s learning that she’s not going to get away with murder with daddy.  I would tell Abbie she couldn’t do something and she would immediately go ask Mark if she could do it.  Mark would always agree with me though, so she’s figured out now that we’re a united front and if one of us says no, we’re both going to say no.
I think when you’ve been away from someone for over half a year, you always kind of wonder what it’s going to be like when you’re with them again, especially when that “someone” is your husband.  It’s hard, at times, to maintain that bond when you live on different continents and he’s fighting a war.  But it truly was like he’d never left almost immediately.  For a while, I couldn’t believe he was actually home, within my reach, and I just wanted to sit there and stare at him.  Sometimes I still can’t believe it.
Mark has changed though.  He has a confidence about him now, that he didn’t have when he left.  He’s still the modest, kind and gentle man I married, but he carries himself differently now.  I think him going to war and doing the missions they did over there gave him more of a purpose at work.  He actually got to put to use all those hours he’s spent training in the jet.  I noticed almost immediately that he now refers to the F-16 as “my jet” instead of “the jet” like he used to.  He’s said he’s much more comfortable in the jet and flying it is second nature for him now, which is bound to happen when you fly as much as he did over there.  I don’t think he was ‘unconfident’ before he left, but he is definitely a little more forward now, which I like.
I’m so proud of Mark, and all the guys he deployed with.  I couldn’t imagine having to be away from your entire family for as long as they were away, and I have the deepest respect for those that endure deployments that were longer than Mark’s.  Hopefully it’ll be a while before we have to go through another deployment.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Fill-in and 5QF


  1. The best part of October was  Mark’s homecoming!!!
  2. The worst part of October was  stressful OB visits and enduring a bunch of tests that I probably didn’t need.
  3. For Halloween, I’ll be a mom chasing a 2 year old dressed as a cupcake around.
  4. I hope that in November baby boy is born.  Anytime after Thanksgiving would be good!
  5. Wifey has posted MilSpouse Secret Santa. I probably won’t be participating.  I already have too much on my plate for the holidays, especially with baby #2 being due mid-Dec.  Hopefully I’ll be less busy next year though!


1. Do you prefer cotton, silk, or flannel sheets?  Cotton for sure.  Flannel are too hot and silk are too slippery.  High thread count cotton.

2. What time zone are you in?  Central European

3. What is your favorite part of the holiday season? The holiday cheer that most people seem to have and spending time with family and friends, although this year we probably won’t get to see family since we’re staying in Italy.

4. What is your favorite "wintry" drink? (It doesn't have to be an "alcoholic" drink!)  Hot cocoa and hot apple cider, but admittedly, I drink hot cocoa all year round.  It’s my favorite!

5. In your opinion, what is the worst job in the world?  Any job where you don’t like your boss or co-workers.  That’s the absolute worst and makes any job miserable.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Strong like bull!



Monday of this week I had my first OB appointment at Aviano.  It was just a consultation appointment with a nurse, going over my records from the States.  However, she did an excellent job of completely freaking me out by telling me numerous things that could have gone wrong during Abbie’s birth.  She brought up shoulder dystocia and how when the shoulders get stuck they put your legs up by your head and a nurse pushes really hard on your belly to get the baby to pop out.  Sounds pretty pleasant if you ask me….  (By the way, Abbie didn’t really even have shoulder dystocia, so her telling me all of this was pointless.)  And then she asked how many times the vacuum popped off of Abbie’s head.  It popped off once, and she said, well that’s good because if it pops off three times, that’s an automatic c-section.  …  Yay.  Again, probably didn’t want or need to know that just then.  She then made me an appointment with the midwife for the next day, which I thought was a little odd since I pretty much had to beg to get the consultation appointment before 36 weeks.

I should preface this by saying that I have been told the OB care here at Aviano is pretty relaxed.  They don’t do urine tests every appointment like they have done at all the other OB’s I’ve been to.  And you go every 4 weeks until 36 weeks, and then you have appts at 38, 39 and 40 weeks and they normally don’t do any extra ultrasounds unless absolutely required.  My OB that I was going to for the first 7 months of this pregnancy switched to bi-weekly appts at 28 weeks and then at 36 weeks you started going in every week.  My OB for the majority of my first pregnancy did ultrasounds at every visit, which I know is pretty rare.

So when I went to my appointment on Tuesday, I was completely overwhelmed and frustrated by what she was saying to me.  She started about by saying, “So I see you didn’t pass your 1 hr glucose test?”.  I told her I had passed it by one point and I was worried about it so I had triple checked with my midwives in IA about it and they kept reassuring me that I had passed it.  This midwife basically said that by their standards I didn’t pass it and that I had to come in to do the 3 hr test this week.  That was the first blow.  I think part of the reason it bothered me so much is because I was really worried about it before and it had taken me a week or two to finally stop worrying about it.  This just opened up this entire can of worms again.

And then she said that she noticed I’ve had high blood pressure throughout this pregnancy.  Granted, my BP is probably higher than the average persons, but my BP is ALWAYS high at the doctors office.  For as long as I can remember, I would have high BP at appointments.  And I wrote about this during my last pregnancy too, where I had high BP at the beginning of appts and if they’d take it again at the end, it would be much more normal.  I told the midwife this and also how my midwives in IA weren’t concerned about it either and she basically said “Too bad, we’re going to test you for pre-eclampsia anyway.”  *sighs*  At this point I was fighting back tears because I was so frustrated.  I am grateful that they are concerned and just want to be extra cautious and I realize they’re doing this for the sake of our baby and myself.  I get that.  But I didn’t really intend on spending the entire 2 weeks Mark has off at the hospital doing zillions of tests.  We have a TON of stuff to do on the house and his 2 weeks off was when we planned on doing all that.  Me being at the hospital 4 out of 5 days this week and 3 days next week wasn’t in my plan, at all.  But I agreed to the tests and hopefully I’ll pass them all to relieve all of our fears.

The biggest blow was when she said that she’s going to require me to come in twice a week from now until he’s born for NST’s.  (Non-stress tests – where they hook you up to monitors and monitor his heartbeat and movement.)  I DO NOT have time for that.  And naturally she wants me to come in either Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday.  Abbie is at the sitters Tuesday and Thursday, so one day a week I’m going to have to figure out what the heck to do with my 2 year old for 30 mins to 2 hrs while I sit at the hospital.  I think this is being a bit excessive on her part, but she’s not budging on having me do these things.  The first two weeks are fine because Mark is home to stay with Abbie, but after that, I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

Then she measured my belly and was like, “Whoa, we’re going to get you in for a growth scan ultrasound as soon as possible.”  My belly was measuring 35.5 weeks and I am 33 weeks pregnant.  I got in for an ultrasound later that day, and sure enough, baby boy is huge.  His head was measuring 36w1d, his abdomen was measuring 36w and his femur (which is supposedly the most accurate measurement) was measuring 34w4d.  When they averaged all the measurements he took together, baby boy is supposedly measuring 35w5d and is 5lb14oz.  (Normally they are 4.5lbs at 33 weeks gestation.)  This news did freak me out even more than I already was, especially considering all the “info” the nurse gave me on Monday about birth complications.

I really don’t understand how the measurements across your belly during pregnancy can tell them anything about your gestational age.  They use the same thing for people that are 5’0” tall and 5’11” tall and have BMI’s from 20 to 40.  Without taking other factors into consideration, how does just measuring the size of your belly tell them how big your baby is?  I don’t get it.

Apparently I’m just destined to have big babies.  I am glad they’re healthy and growing, or as Mark puts it, “Strong like bull!”, but having to push out 10lb babies is not my idea of fun.  I would be THRILLED if this little guy was 9.5lbs or under, but if the ultrasounds are accurate, he won’t be.  I’m a little jealous of people who have babies that are 6 and 7lbs and actually look like newborns when they arrive, instead of 2 month olds.  Luckily I was smart enough to not buy baby boy newborn sized clothes since I knew he wouldn’t fit into them anyway. 

This week has been a little bit overwhelming for me.  It’s a lot of information to process and take in, especially when I had been thinking I was pretty healthy.  I’m currently at the lab getting a whole bunch of tests done, so I should have some answers later today.  My fingers are crossed for good results!!

He already looks as chubby as a newborn and he has 7 weeks to go!!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


**I did not take any of these pictures.  They were all taken by my friend, Jessica.  They just have my copyright on them since photos now automatically get my copyright when I upload them to my blog.  But again, I didn’t take any of them.  Jessica deserves all the credit.  THANK YOU Jess!!**

It was finally the day Mark would come home, and oddly enough, I felt completely calm.  I wasn’t nervous at all, like I thought I would be, maybe partly because I didn’t really think he’d actually make it home.  The odds of 12 jets getting off without a hitch is pretty much a small miracle.  I didn’t actually believe he was coming home until I saw him waving to us from the jet.

It’s funny, when I’d look at other people’s homecoming pictures, often I would get teary eyed seeing them.  I wasn’t sure how I’d react to Mark coming home, but I mainly just felt sort of numb.  I was excited, but I was looking around at other wives who were about jumping out of their skin, and I wasn’t anything like that.  Maybe that had something to do with me not doing any sort of jumping in my 32 week pregnant state, I’m not sure.

<On the bus out to the hangars.>


One of the many cool things about being married to a fighter pilot is that sometimes you get your own private homecoming since they fly in in their own jets.  We were able to go to the hangar to wave to him as he was taxiing to his hangar and then greet him when he got out of the jet.

<Watching all the other jets land and wives and kids greeting their daddy’s and husband's.>


Mark was the last jet in the 12-ship to land.  I was getting a little worried by this point because we’d seen all the other jets go by and we were still waiting for Mark.  I was sure he was the only one that hadn’t made it back and I kept asking one of our friends where he was and which direction he’d be coming from and why it was taking so long.


But finally we saw his jet come around the corner.  This is the only time I got a little bit choked up.  I was so relieved that he was actually on the ground and that we were going to get to hug him soon.


It was surreal to see him in the jet and for him to wave back at us.  I tried to imagine what he was feeling at this point, but I couldn’t even imagine being in his shoes.  I think Abbie understood when I told her that was her daddy in the jet and she seemed to get more excited too.  She was ready to run up to the jet even as it was running.



We walked over to where he was parking the jet and waited FOREVER for him to open the canopy and get out.  It seemed like we waited hours for him to turn off the jet, and I wasn’t sure if it was just because we were waiting for Mark or if it actually was taking 10 times longer than it did for the other guys to open their canopies after they’d landed.  Turns out something was wrong with jet so the ground crew was making him do a bunch of checks on the jet before they let him turn it off.  Even the commander of the other F-16 squadron on base, who was nearby, was giving Mark the signal to just shut the jet off since it was taking a long time.  He sat there for over 15 mins with the jet running waiting for maintenance to do their thing.


FINALLY he turned the jet off and opened the canopy.  Mark brought Abbie an Olivia doll back from Afghanistan.  Mark was so excited to give Abbie the doll and kept it with him during the flight home.


Usually wives climb up the ladder to welcome their husband’s home, but I didn’t want to leave Abbie down on the ground by herself, and I’m not the most graceful creature on earth when I’m pregnant.  With my luck I would have fallen off the thing and made a big scene.  So I stayed on the ground, although I kind of wished I’d gone up to greet him.


I kind of figured that Abbie wouldn’t be too shy around Mark since she’s not shy about much these days, but part of me was a little worried that she might hesitate a little bit.  But she didn’t at all.  She was more than ready to go give him a big hug.  This is what I’d been waiting for for months and Mark too, and it was really sweet to witness it.


She wasn’t the least bit nervous about giving him a big hug, even though he was in all his flying gear.  And she was pretty darn excited about the Olivia doll too.


Finally it was my turn to give him a hug.  I was hoping he wouldn’t have his mustache when he got home, but he still had it.  Oh well.  Baby boy got in the way of it being a really good hug, but what can you do?  I basically just wanted to stand there and stare at him.  I couldn’t believe that he was really home.


Abbie was completely in awe of Mark.  She ran around looking up at him, trying to get his attention for the first 3 days he was home.  She was perfectly happy when he was paying full attention to her.


And he was (and is) completely in awe of her too.  (The stache came off shortly after he got home, by his own doing.  He said he was sick of it.)


It’s still hard to believe that he’s home.  His homecoming day still seems surreal to me, but I am SO thankful that he’s home safe and sound and we’re all together again.


Monday, October 24, 2011

197 days

197 days is how long it’s been since I’ve seen my husband in person.  And now he is supposed to be home tomorrow.  I’m more than half expecting something to go wrong and him to not end up coming home tomorrow since that’s the way the military usually works.  I’m trying hard to not get my hopes up, and right now they aren’t.  They probably won’t be until we’re a few hours out from his arrival.  But the signs are made, the outfits are picked out and the list of things that need to be done tomorrow before we bring him home are created.
For the past week or two, it hasn’t really felt like Mark would be home soon.  I’ve felt like I still have at least a few weeks left before he gets home.  Honestly, I still feel like I have a few weeks left instead of a matter of the hours that we’re down to now.  It’s surreal to think that in 16 hours I could be in my husband’s arms again.
I’m very excited to be in a “wife role” again.  I realize that I never stopped being his wife while he was away, but I basically didn’t have any “wife duties” for the past 6+ months.  I didn’t have to make meals for him or clean up after him or do his laundry.  I didn’t have my best friend around to talk to whenever I wanted to talk and I didn’t get to fall asleep next to him.  We talked almost daily, but mostly it was me emailing him books and trying to keep him up to date on what Abbie was doing and how she was progressing.
Mostly, I’m excited to see Abbie and Mark together again.  I’m excited to see her reaction to him and I’m excited to see his reaction to her.  I told him that his 2 weeks off are most likely going to be spent with him watching her and me watching him.  Abbie has changed A LOT in the 6 months Mark has been gone.  She’s lost all of her “baby-ness” and she is a thriving little girl now.  She talks non-stop and I think that’s going to be an adjustment for Mark.  I think Abbie has forgotten that Mark is her favorite playmate, but I think it’s going to take her about 30 seconds to remember again once he’s home.
I’m nervous about seeing him again too.  I wonder how much he’s changed and how much I’ve changed in the past half of a year.  I’m sure we’re both different people now.  And I’m 32 weeks pregnant so obviously my physical appearance is quite different from when he last saw me.  As I predicted, quite a few of the wives in the squadron have lost weight.  I haven’t seen everyone yet, but of the few I have seen, most, if not all, of them have lost weight, some as much as 20lbs.  I wish I had an improved body like they do, but instead I’ve put on 25+lbs.  I know Mark won’t care, but I care and it bothers me.
Here’s praying that everything goes according to play tomorrow and that he gets home when he’s supposed to.  I’m ready to be with my husband again and have our family all together.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Settling in

We had someone clean the majority of the house before we got back to Italy.  So the floors were cleaned and most of the cobwebs were vacuumed up.  Things were dusted and clean sheets were on the bed.  It was nice to not have to deal with bugs as soon as we got home.  However, looking around at everything that still needed to be done was (as still is) completely overwhelming.  There is still a LOT to do.
Abbie was like a kid in a candy store with all of her old toys.  It’s been very nice having her so interested in playing because we can actually get things done while she’s up because she too busy playing.  And it’s nice to have a fenced in yard again because she runs around outside and plays on her slide too while we’re in the house cleaning and organizing.
The first night we were home Abbie slept from about 8pm – 1:30am.  I spent from 1:30am – 3am trying to get her to go back to sleep and finally gave up at 3am.  I got her up and let her play from 3am – 5:30am, while I got her room and clothes more organized.  The second night she did pretty well, only waking up once at 1:30am.  The third night was the worst.  She was up about 7 times between 9pm and 8am.  And the fourth night she slept all the way through the night.  I’m really hoping she’ll sleep all the way through tonight too.
It’s weird being back in Italy.  I know this is my home, but it feels like I’m on vacation for some reason.  Like I live here, but not really and not permanently.  Being around all my stuff and the base and driving my car really reminds me of Mark and makes me miss him 10x’s more than I did when I was in the States.
My mom and I have slowly been getting the house put back in order.  I had 19 boxes waiting for me at the post office when we got back.  I went to the service counter to get the combination for my p.o. box on base and she took one look at my ID and said “Oh <my last name>.  You have a few boxes here.”   Then I went to the pick up window with all my package slips (they put slips of paper in your box when you have a package and you have to go pick it up at a window).  One of the guys behind the counter got one look at all my slips I had in my hands and said, “You must be <my last name>.”  And then another guy came up a few minutes later and looked at all the slips the first guy was going through and asked if I was <my last name>.  Ha.  So…  apparently most people don’t ship 33 boxes in one month.  I was worried about the BOB getting here, but it made it here just fine and even fit into the truck of my Passat without any problem.  It took us two trips to get all the boxes home, but the 19 that have arrived so far are at home.  I’m still waiting for 14 more from me and then all the ones Mark shipped back from Afghanistan also.
I still don’t have Internet or home phone, which pretty much stinks, and my internet isn’t working on my cell phone either, but at least I can use my phone and send and receive texts on my phone also.  I’m not completely cut off from the outside world, but it sure feels like that not having internet access.  They came out 2 days ago to hook up the satellite, and told me that I would have internet access Monday morning, but no such luck on that.  They still haven’t turned it on.  My home phone situation is a HUGE mess that I’m still trying to figure out and I have no clue when that’s going to be fixed.
Overall, it’s good to be home and I can’t wait for Mark to get home.  We have a TON to do with rearranging our house though and it’s stressful looking around.  I’ve been making lists upon lists and hopefully we’ll be able to get it all done before baby boy arrives.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fill-in and 5QF


  1. I want my house to automatically clean, rearrange and organize itself.
  2. I have  so many things to look forward to in the next few months!  It’s exciting!! 
  3. I wish these next to weeks of Mark’s reconstitution leave go by slowly so we can enjoy our time together to the max.
  4. I hope I don’t have to give birth in an Italian hospital.
  5. I wonder how long it’ll take Abbie to be potty trained once we start really working on it.



1. Where do you escape to when you've had enough?  My bed usually.  When I’ve had enough, I just want to get away from it all and sleep.

2. What shows are you watching this fall?  Well that’s a little tricky being in Italy and all.  I have to download all the shows I want to watch.  But I LOVE Parenthood, Survivor, Grey’s Anatomy and Dancing with the Stars.  If I was in the States I’d probably watch a few more, but it’s a pain in the butt when we’re over here.  Besides, I’ve been so busy I don’t have time to watch TV anyway.

3. What was the longest roadtrip you've ever taken and where did you go?  In the States we drove from Phoenix to Chicago, which was a LONG trip, especially with a 6 month old.  In Europe, we drove from Ramstein, Germany, down to the French Riviera (Nice and Cannes), then down through Pisa and Florence, Italy to Rome, and then up through Innsbruck, Austria to Southern Germany and then back to Ramstein.  Took about 3 weeks and we had a blast!

4. Do you plan on taking your kids to Disney World?  Yes, for sure!!  The last time Mark and I were at Disney (in 2008 I think) we talked a BUNCH about how we couldn’t wait to bring our kids to Disney.  We’re going to wait until they’re a little older so they will enjoy it more and remember it, but we’re already VERY excited.  That was the one thing Mark asked me not to do with Abbie while he was deployed – he didn’t want me to take her to Disney without him.  I wouldn’t have dreamed of it anyway since I know how excited he is about taking our kids there.

5. What is something people would surprised to know about you?  I’m not sure anything about me is “surprising” but considering most people reading this really don’t know me much at all, maybe anything would be surprising.  ??  I think the average person meeting me for the first time thinks I’m a quiet, reserved person, which is partially true.  I am more comfortable being an observer vs being in the center of attention.  However, I am incredibly spontaneous too.  Once I get an idea in my head, I go full-bore until I’ve accomplished it.  For example, in 2005, after Mark graduated from college and commissioned into the Air Force, he moved to Montgomery, AL to go to ASBC (a course everyone has to take).  I was still in Milwaukee.  Mark and I were talking on the phone at 9pm on a Friday night and he mentioned he had the weekend off and I did too.  I decided right then and there that I wanted to see him so I packed a little bag, jumped into my little Jetta and drove 12 hours straight through the night to Montgomery and arrived there around 10am.  Crazy, but I did it.  And I called my parents an hour into the trip to let them know what I was doing and they didn’t even freak out!  I was shocked.  I ended up staying down there for a few days and we went to FL and spent time in Destin.  It was a lot of fun and I don’t regret for a minute than I did it.  I also was pretty spontaneous when I decided to move down to FL with Mark.  From the time we casually talked about it until the time I had decided to quit my job, drop out of school (although I already had a bachelor’s degree and was going back for a 2nd degree – not sure it would have happened like this if I hadn’t already had a degree), cancel my loans, move out of my apartment and drive all my junk to FL from WI in a horse trailer was less than a week.  And again, I don’t regret that decision one bit either.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The trip back

Overall, the trip back to Italy was pretty easy, thanks, in large part, to my mom helping me.  I was most nervous about the check in process, since I knew that they could charge me an arm and a leg if they wanted to.  I ended up having 16 items of luggage total between my and Abbie’s stuff, the dogs, and my moms stuff. 

Luckily, we were helped by two very nice guys at the airport.  I explained to the check-in agent at the United counter that my husband was in the military and deployed and I was going back to Italy, but I wasn’t on PCS orders so I knew I technically didn’t get any extra baggage allowance.  He pretty much cut me off and said, don’t worry about it.  I’ll take care of you.  And he did.  He only ended up charging me the $500 for the dogs, which was unavoidable since the 2nd flight we had was with Lufthansa and they have to give Lufthansa their cut of the fee.  He could have charged me $50 for the 2nd bags for Abbie and myself and $70 for my mom’s 2nd bag, and then $200 for our 3rd bags if he wanted to.  Thank God he didn’t.  So after that I was so relieved that I wasn’t too worried about the rest of the trip.  He even gave my dad a guest pass so my dad could go all the way to the gate with up and we ended up having one last meal in the airport with my dad.

The plane was really nice.  It seemed to have more room than most planes I’ve been on and the seats were pretty comfortable, even for me at 7+ months pregnant.  Abbie did really well on the 7.5 hour flight to Germany.  She didn’t sleep at all, but I didn’t think she would.  Some lady in front of us turned around and asked pretty rudely if Abbie was going to go to sleep at all because she wanted her to be quiet so she could get some sleep since she’d been up since early and had more flights to catch.  I told her that no, she probably wouldn’t sleep at all, but she wasn’t being loud or kicking her seat or doing anything disruptive to her.  The lady apparently didn’t want her to talk at all.  Yeah… Good luck with getting my VERY talkative 2 year old to shut up for another 5.5 hours…  The lady even had an open seat next to her so she was laying down the whole flight too, and was still complaining.

We had a couple hour layover in Frankfurt and Abbie fell asleep in the stroller as soon as I put her in it about an hour before we took off from there, and then she slept next to me on the flight to Venice and slept the whole way.  I woke her up when we landed because it was really hard carrying her and all our junk onto the plane.  We managed to get all of our stuff collected on to three normal sized luggage carts in Venice, including the dogs.  We got a few funny looks from people, but most people smiled and were friendly.  My mom and I managed to push all of the carts by ourselves, while wrangling Abbie at the same time.  She was pretty good about staying close by us and she was pretty worried about the dogs so she wanted to “help” with them.

Overall, the trip went really, really well.  I wish Abbie would sleep more than she does when we travel, but she usually just gets giddy when she gets really tired so it’s not too bad when she doesn’t sleep.  I hope baby boy is as good of a traveler as his big sister is.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Playing in the leaves

Chalk this up as another reason I love fall.  Watching a 2 year old run through the leaves, having a grand old time just warms my heart.  There’s something special seeing Abbie enjoy herself so much doing something as simple as playing in leaves in my parents yard.
I’m fairly certain that my parents enjoyed playing in the leaves with Abbie as much as Abbie enjoyed their company.  She’s really going to miss them, but I know she’s going to have just as much fun playing with her daddy when he gets home and I’ll have just as much fun capturing their adventures on camera too.
PS:  I took pictures for my friend Rachel, of her and her horses, recently.  She went to print some of them and the lady at the checkout asked her for a copyright release because she thought they were professional photos.  I was pretty excited about that.  I’m figuring out my camera more and more, although it really is the camera that makes the pictures amazing.