Sunday, September 30, 2012

August/ September 2012 Abbie-isms

**I was making milk shakes for Mark, Abbie and myself and we asked Abbie if she wanted one.  She, of course, said yes, but we said, “Oh you don’t want one?  Well I guess we’ll just have one then.”  Abbie was like, “No!  I want one!”, but we pretended she said she didn’t again, and did that back and forth teasing for about 3-4 minutes.  Finally Abbie just stopped and got a little smirk on her face and said, “You guys are just teasing me, aren’t you?” and started laughing.  Not much gets by her!
**Mark was making up a bedtime story for Abbie about David and his mom running errands.  He told her a story about everything that David and his mom did that day and after he gets done, Abbie’s only question was, “But where was David’s daddy?”  She is about 300% a daddy’s girl.
**Abbie got stung by a bee (her first sting) and was a “tad” bit hysterical about it.  She, of course, wanted to call her daddy, so we called Mark and he asked her what happened.  She replied with “I’m just freaking out right now”, which was about an understatement of the year.  She was screaming, which scared Ben, so he was screaming.  Fun times…  But she’s fine now.
**Abbie has learned the concept of husband/wife.  We had just dropped my friend, Brittney, off and her house and Abbie said, “You know what?  Brittney’s husband’s name is Dan!”  (That was correct.)  So then we went through a few more people – Jennifer’s husband is Josh, Grandma’s husband is Grandpa, my husband is daddy, etc.  I decided to test her memory and ask her who my friend Rachel’s husband is.  (She hasn’t seem them since the end of May when we were back in the States.)  Abbie thought about it for a minute and then exclaimed, “Rachel’s husband is Jay Jay Angel!!”.  (That is incorrect.  Jay Jay Angel is Rachel’s horse.  Husband.  Horse.  Almost the same thing.  I gave her half of a point.)
**Abbie doesn’t really say “self” very much.  Instead of saying, “I can do that all by my self.”, she’ll say, “I can do that all by my lone.” or “I don’t want to be by my lone.”  Kind of makes me smile every time.
**Abbie pronounces school as Skew-El.  She’s always talking about going to skew-el.  Pretty funny.
**Mark and I were in the kitchen and I gave him a hug and said, “I love you.”  Abbie was in the other room, not in eye sight, but as soon as I said that, she piped in with “I love you too, Daddy.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


IMG_0378I’ve been wanting to write this since Abbie’s bout in the hospital, but just haven’t had the time.  I can’t believe September is almost over!!  And I think October is going to go by even faster than September has.

During Abbie’s stay in the hospital, I posted on Facebook occasionally and kept friends and family up to date on what was going on with her.  I was overwhelmed by the response I got from one of my posts about Abbie having to have surgery.  I had over 70 responses to that post, plus another 6-8 people sending me private messages, plus another 8-10 people writing on my wall and that was just on Facebook.  My friends here were texting me, we had people bringing us meals while we were in the hospital, a couple people brought Abbie presents and I had many offers from friends to take Ben for us.  After we got back home, a friend in the squadron arranged for people to bring us meals for the next week and she said she had quite a few people respond to her email requesting meals for us.  The commander of the base’s wife even emailed me telling me she was thinking of Abbie and hoped she felt better soon.  I’m on a few committees with her, which is how I know her, but it made me feel special that she’d take time out of her busy day to write me a note.

I truly can’t describe how loved and cared for I felt during that whole ordeal.  I HATE that Abbie had to go through that, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, or their kiddos, but I don’t think I realized how much I am surrounded by truly good, kind-hearted and caring people until it happened.  I still have people asking me how Abbie is doing.

My mom and dad just moved to MO, but my mom had to call her old bank in northern IL to get some information.  One of my high school classmates mom works at the bank in northern IL and she answered the phone when my mom called.  She immediately asked how Abbie was doing and said the whole bank staff had been praying for Abbie’s quick recovery since my classmate had told her mom what had happened.   People from on the other side of the world were praying for Abbie, all because of a post on Facebook.

The whole situation really humbled me.  Our friends here really stepped up and made us feel like everything would be taken care of, and our friends and family at home were sending all the prayers they could from afar. 

It is no secret that I’m ready to move back to the States, but there are definitely things I will miss about living overseas.  One is obviously the traveling, but we can still travel in the States.  Even more so, is the tight-knit community this base has.  I sat at a table in the food court by the BX, trying to get volunteers for our upcoming bazaar, and I knew over half of the people that walked by.  It was like 2 hours of socializing because I’d get done talking to one friend, and another one would walk up.  You just don’t get that sense of community at most bases in the States as you do over here.  And I also think it helps a lot that I am blessed to be a part of a squadron that is pretty tight-knit and even more so that I’ve volunteered on committees that have helped me meet many people outside of our squadron.

And for those of you that are wondering, Abbie is 100% better.  She still talks, quite frequently, about not wanting to “feed the butterfly” (her hep-lock) and how she didn’t like the doctors and going to the hospital, but she’s back to her spunky self!

Thanks again to everyone who prayed for Abbie and was concerned about her.  You really made us feel loved.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sunday Social

1. What is something you have wanted to do but are afraid of?  Play the piano in church.  I have major fear of doing anything in front of a large group of people, but I would love to be the type of person who’s perfectly comfortable sitting down and playing.  I haven’t really played the piano in a good 5-10 years though, so I’d need to brush up on my skills.
2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  The fun (?) thing about the military lifestyle is that we tend to live our lives in 3 year increments.  We have moved 5 times in 6/7 years and we are rapidly approaching our 6th move, but we don’t have our assignment yet so we have no clue where we’ll be going.  But in 5 years, I will still be happily married to my husband, and we will have an 8 year old and a 5 year old and hopefully a 2-ish year old, God-willing.
3. What are you looking forward to before the end of 2012?  Lots of things!  The base bazaar is coming up soon, we’re going to Rome and the Amalfi Coast with Mark’s parents and brother, my parents are coming for 3 weeks and we’re going to Salzburg for a weekend and Ireland for a week, along with showing them around here more, we’re planning on going up to Munich to meet friends there for a long weekend, going skiing in Austria in December with the squadron and also going somewhere over Christmas, but we haven’t decided where yet.  LOTS to look forward to and I’m so excited!
4. What are your hopes for your blog?  I’m not sure I have any hopes for my blog.  I like to meet people through blogging and I suppose followers are always nice, but I blog for me.  It’s my online journal of sorts, to keep track of different phases of our lives.  I print my blog out every year, so someday we’ll have a whole series of books from my blog that the kids will be able to look at and see what they did and where they’ve been.
5. Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?  Nope, not at all.  We live in Italy, and while it’s been an amazing experience and the travel has been unbeatable, we’re ready to get back to the States, to a house that’s big enough for the 4 of us, to all the modern amenities that the US has to offer and Italy doesn’t (garage door openers, closets, etc), and most importantly, to be closer to family.  Abbie is at the age where she is very aware when grandparents and aunts/uncles aren’t around.  While we will never live super close to them (about 5 hours away would be the closest possible), it would be nice to be on the same continent.
6. What is your morning routine?  Get up around 7:40am, quickly get dressed, take the dogs downstairs to go out, open the shutters in the living room, get Ben’s bottle ready, get Abbie’s breakfast set out, get Abbie up and dressed and eating breakfast, get Ben up and changed and dressed and feed him his bottle, feed the dogs, eat breakfast while feeding Ben breakfast and encouraging Abbie to finish eating, and then get out the door to get Abbie to school around 8:30am.  It’s kind of a whirlwind.

Friday, September 21, 2012



1. What is one grammar issue you cannot let go without correction?  Oh, a lot of them.  You’re, your, they’re, there, their.  My number one pet peeve is when people say ain’t, but I rarely correct them.  I can’t stand it.
2. What's your favorite thing about fall?  The cool, crisp air, instead of the hot, muggy air, and pulling out the cool weather clothes.
3. What's your favourite dish to take to a potluck? I guess I don’t have a favorite yet.  And it seems like I’m asked to bring something different every time, so it’s hard to have a favorite. 

4. When do you start Christmas (Holiday) shopping?  Well being that we live in Europe, I’ve been picking things up here and there all year for people, especially during our travels.
5. Did you move homes a lot growing up?  Nope, only once.  My parents built a house when I was 16, but I didn’t switch schools or anything.  However, since I’ve been with Mark, we’ve lived in 6 places, in 4 different states and 2 countries, so I’m making up for it.


1.  Something I am very proud of is  my husband.  I know how to pick them, that’s for sure.  He’s such a hard worker and an amazing dad.

2.  My favorite thing about myself is my organizational skills.  I love being organized and having schedules and lists.  You’d never guess I was organized by looking at my house though.  This place is WAY too small for us and I find myself just moving piles from one place to other, and it especially stinks that we don’t have closets.  We’re busting at the seams here, but we only have about 6 months left, so I’ll live.

3. My favorite color for fall is those oak leaves that turn a fluorescent orange color.  There’s a couple trees by my MIL’s house that turn the most gorgeous color.  I love it.

4. Something I've been learning lately is patience is a virtue and that sometimes you can be too busy.

5. A book I am reading now/have read recently is “The Next Best Thing” by Jennifer Weiner, although I’ve been reading it for awhile and fall asleep every time try to read it.  That’s probably not a good sign..

6. My favorite Pandora Station is I don’t have one.  We don’t get Pandora over here.  Boo.  But it would probably be a mix of country, soft rock, musicals, piano instrumental and Christian.  Does such a thing exist?

7. This weekend I will cleaning my house, enjoying spending a little time with my husband, who’s been working 4pm to 4am all week and going to the Italian American Friendship Festival.

Happy Friday!!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Casera Casavento

We truly are very blessed to live in such a beautiful part of this country.  There are many very pretty parts of Italy, but I just cannot get enough of the Dolomite Mountains.  I could see us settling down in Colorado someday because of how much we like the mountains.

I’d heard of the dinosaur footprints a few times and had been wanting to go check them out for quite a while.  Last weekend was beautiful so we decided to drive the hour up near Claut, Italy to check them out.

The drive up was beautiful.  The waters that run in to Lake Barcis are like nothing I’ve seen before.  This is near where we went for the 4th of July.



We weren’t 100% sure where we were going, but we knew the general area.  I had read that there would be signed telling you where to go, which was partially true.  There were a few signs, but they were pretty few and far between.  This picture on the left below was one example of a typical Italian 2 way street.


So we entered the park and started following the few signs we saw.  The paved road was a little bit narrow, but at least it was paved.  And then we went through a series of 10-15 switchback turns that were so tight our SUV couldn’t make it around them without backing up and doing a 3 point turn.  The whole way up Mark and I were wondering if we were going the right way (out loud) and Abbie was asking where we were going and why we were going that way and if that was the right way and were we still in Italy.  Thank God Ben was quiet.


And then our narrow, paved road turned in to an even narrower, unpaved road with steep drop-offs on one side.  There was no place for us to turn around so unless we were going to back down a good bit of it, we were stuck going forward.


Luckily we found a parking lot a little ways up the gravel road and decided to park and explore on foot.  This was our first view on the hike.


Abbie is such a mini-Mark.  She is his little shadow and she wants to do everything that daddy does.  It’s cute.  Ben was enjoying the ride and the view.


The sign on the bottom is the one we were following all along.  Abbie loves to point the way.  She always has.



We hiked up the road for a half mile or so, and then it opened up into a beautiful meadow nestled in the mountains.  I would love to vacation someplace like this someday.  It was so peaceful and relaxing.


Abbie was asking me to take her picture quite a bit, which of course, I did.  I love photographing her.



We wandered back into this small canyon that had a waterfall in it, with a stream running through it.  It was beautiful.


The actual footprint was larger than my hand.  I was under the impression that this was the entire footprint of the dinosaur, but Mark keeps telling me that it’s actually a toe print of the middle toe of the dinosaur.  I’m not sure which is right.


It was fun to climb around on the rocks, over the creek, but a little bit scary rock-hopping over the creek while wearing Ben.  He throws me off balance a little bit and I kept thinking it would be REALLY bad if I feel with him on me.  But luckily nothing happened.  I was pretty careful.


As I said, she is ALL about her daddy.  Almost as much as he is all about her.


Mark and I were taking pictures of the waterfall and we turn around and Abbie was standing ankle deep in the water without a care in the world.  She had a grand time climbing all over the rocks.  It’s fun to see her so independent. 


You can kind of see the second print in this picture.  It’s on the very top, left corner of the rock, in line with the main print.


There was water cascading down the side of the canyon wall, in addition to the waterfall at the end of the canyon.  The kids loved putting their hands in it.



We are enjoying what a good little traveler Ben is right now.  I know that will change all too soon, but for now, he’s happy as a little clam going along for the ride.  He’s at my favorite age still.



There was a tiny cafĂ© type place in the middle of the meadow.  We would have loved to eat there, but we left our money back in the car so it wasn’t an option.  Boo.  Maybe next time.  And there were free roaming donkeys and cows in the meadow.  Abbie wanted to go see the donkeys of course.


It was a great day trip!  We had a lot of fun and it always feels like an adventure when you explore Italy.  Makes me wonder what other places there are to explore around here that I don’t know about!


My boys!!!  I just can’t get over how smiley our little Benj is.  He is happy most of the time!!


Monday, September 17, 2012


**My internet is down right now, so I can’t research the history of the places we visit like I normally do.

Bratislava, Slovakia is an easy hour long drive from Vienna.  As I mentioned in the Vienna blog, there is a boat that goes back and forth between the two cities also, but we opted to drive.  It was a pretty drive (honestly, I fell asleep during part of it), mostly flat. 

It’s interesting going to Eastern European countries because they just have a different feel than Western Europe, most likely because they were under communist rule for so long.   They still have pretty churches and stuff, but for the most part, buildings are very “block-ish”.  Not ornate, not much detail, pretty much all the same, ugly.


We drove in to Bratislava through a very industrial looking area, that was much more modern than I thought it would be.  I guess since the part of Italy we live in is sort of “behind the times” in certain areas, I assume countries like Slovakia will be the same, but it wasn’t.  We followed the signs to city center and eventually found our way to old town, which is what we wanted to see.


We saw these row houses when we were driving in to the old town area and they really reminded me of Innsbruck.  I love all the colors.


We found a place to park in a little underground garage.  I should have taken a picture of it.  The parking spots here are definitely designed for tiny European cars.  Our smaller SUV has issues getting in to some of the spots and trying to get kids and strollers and stuff out without banging your door into another car is quite a challenge at times.

We parked basically underneath this church and Abbie wanted her picture taken in this doorway.  I need to edit it, but I just don’t have time right now.


Abbie loves to lead the way when we’re exploring new places.  Luckily she’s pretty good about not getting too far ahead and stopping when we tell her to.  Usually.


We stopped in this tiny church (you can see the entrance on the left in the picture above).  It was beautiful and it had this round window at the back, which showed that the wall was about 2 feet thick.


I have no clue what this bear was for, but Abbie wanted her picture by it, and she was very intrigued by the stick pigs.  She was over there numerous times saying hi to them.


Slovakia was the sixth country Ben’s visited in his 9 short months.  (Italy, US, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and Slovakia.)  He loved it, as you can see.  He’s a great little traveler, but kids are pretty easy to travel with at this age in general.  They get much more difficult when they’re mobile and have a mind of their own.


We passed through this little market and bought a magnet for our collect, and on the way back to the car we bought the kids t-shirts.  Some day I will make a quilt for them with all of t-shirts from all of the places they’ve been when they were younger.  Someday.


This was one of the main squares in old town.  Abbie was all about getting her picture taken but we took Benj out of the Ergo for a picture on the bench.



We had our little Maclaren umbrella stroller with us on this trip and we decided that this was the last time we try to travel with it.  It was a pain in the butt to push over all these cobblestone streets and it’s shorter than our Bob’s, so it’s uncomfortable for Mark to push.  Lesson learned there.


If you get off of the beaten path a tiny bit (but still in the old town area) you run across this type of architecture.  There is graffiti all over Europe, and some of it is really neat, but the buildings are what gave Bratislava a different feel.


But back on the main path, where things were much better maintained, it was a beautiful city.  Even the run down parts were beautiful in their own way.


This little boy is a ham and a half.  He loved having lunch at this Irish pub.  While we were there, a short parade of some sort of religious group walked by while singing and dancing.  I’m not sure if he was terrified or excited, but he was very interested in them.  They made a lot of noise.


We should have taken a ride in their little tour “bus” thing, but we didn’t.  We were hoping to head home during the kids naptime so they’d sleep in the car, but they didn’t.  Oh well.


Apparently there is a restaurant/ look-out area on the round thing on top of the bridge, but I have no clue how you get up there.  The castle would have been neat to tour, but we ran out of time.  Maybe next time.


Slovakia was a neat country.  I would have loved to see more of it, but we wanted to explore Vienna more.  On the way home we passed LOTS of people on bikes that were biking a trail right along the road.  Novel concept that the Italians don’t quite get.  They’d much rather take their half out of the middle of roads, or better yet, ride 2-3 abreast to block the entire lane.  It’s great…  And that 4-wheeler in the picture on the right?  Mark slowed down to let him pull out and the guy actually waved in thanks.  It took Mark and I by surprise and made us realize, yet again, how different Italy is from the rest of Europe.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one Italian wave in thanks in the almost three years we’ve lived here.  That’s just not their style, which is why I much prefer Austria.