November 25, 2012

Birthday Adventures, Part 1

This year my birthday (November 22) happened to fall on Thanksgiving Day.  We decided it was high time our family experienced an overnight vacation!  After all the work of getting moved into our house, it was so nice to get away from it all for a bit.  We chose to explore the island of Capri, approximately a one hour's ferry ride away from the Bay of Napoli.

Ted booked our hotel reservations--2 rooms with 4 people in each--at the Floridiana Hotel in Capri for Thursday and Friday nights.  We were up bright and early Thanksgiving morning.  The kids and Ted surprised me with presents at the breakfast table.  I wasn't expecting presents...going to Capri was a gift in itself!  But my family likes to spoil me on occasion, so I'm not complaining!

Note my cute handmade hat from Charis and the felt slippers Ted brought me from Estonia!  Tobin made coupons for me, Arden wrote a sweet card as well, and Kenna gave me a box of...interesting...assorted items, including a Batman yo-yo, painted rock, mirror, and Disney princess tin. :-)

We left the house around 9 a.m. and drove to one of the Navy installations which is right next to the Naples airport.  We were able to park in the garage there for free, then walked over to the airport to catch the bus that would take us to the port for our ferry ride.  We were plenty early, so once we got the tickets we walked to Castle Nuovo, which is right across the street!  We didn't pay to go inside, since we didn't have enough time to do it justice, but it was cool to cross over where the moat used to be and look inside at the courtyard.  One of the cool things about living in, city, city, BAM!  Ancient castle!

We ate a quick lunch before boarding our boat to Capri.  The ride was uneventful; there were enough seats that the kids spread out in search of windows to peer out of, and Ted and I amused ourselves trying to figure out what the daytime cooking show people were saying in Italian.  (That show followed one discussing the credibility of UFOs!)

Arriving at Capri was so exciting!  It was beautiful!  And the weather was just gorgeous--sunny and warm but not hot.  We rode the funicolare (cable car) up to the main square of Capri and from there walked to our hotel.  We checked in, exclaimed over our beautiful rooms, settled in a bit, and then took off for our first adventures!

November 10, 2012

Settling in and Managing Without Daddy

The day after Ted left to go to Estonia for 13 days for a NATO exercise we lost power at the house for several hours.  As it approached dinnertime and grew harder and harder to see, I decided to pack up the kids and drive to the mall to buy flashlights and batteries plus grab some food.  (Ironically, McDonald's.)  JUST as I was about to leave the house the lights came back on.  Whew!

The internet guys had been at the house for a couple of hours before all this happened, and I couldn't tell if we were the only ones without power or if it was a neighborhood thing.  Turns out it was a neighborhood thing, so I needn't have worried, but not knowing what to expect, I confess I was more than a bit nervous!  Especially since the gate to our driveway had gotten stuck and wouldn't close!  God graciously sent some help in the form of American neighbors, who helped me call the landlord and communicate the need for the gate to be fixed pronto!  (The landlord speaks pretty much no English at all.)  He arrived after 9 p.m. and finally found the problem.  I went to bed feeling that the day had been nearly a complete waste as far as "accomplishing" anything, but very thankful that my true source of Power--AND my protective refuge--was with me all the time.

Ted was kept busy in Estonia with 16 to 18-hour work days, so we typed to each other a few minutes each night (I think Skype only worked a couple of times) before we both crashed.  The kids and I did great, honestly!  We drove to and from the Support Site for AWANA, Bible study, park play times, and Charis's youth group meetings, squeezing in grocery shopping trips around those events.  One evening we went to the R family's house for dinner and fun, since Tanya's hubby was also away.  (We did a kid exchange during the day after Bible study, so I simply returned her boys and picked up my girl!)

We unpacked, broke down boxes, hung stuff on the wall, sorted, organized, sorted and organized some more after the 7 wardrobes were delivered, and generally settled into a fairly good routine.  We did math lessons, Rosetta Stone language lessons, and science experiments.  We read about World War I, light and color, and the Gilbreth family (from Cheaper by the Dozen).  We made homemade bread, pizza, and snickerdoodles.

We worked hard to convince Lucan that he really does want to be potty trained...but he still thinks differently.  We worked hard to convince Zaden that he really does want to walk...but he still prefers to have a death grip on someone's finger at the very least.  (Still, he's close!)  We also worked hard to convince him that he really can go down the stairs by himself...but he still prefers to have someone helping him.  (He did gain confidence just being around the stairs and crawling up them, and I gained confidence in LETTING him crawl around).

All in all, the 13 days passed fairly uneventfully...although there was that one night at 10:30 pm when I went to arm the security system only to have my nerves jangled by the ear-piercing shrieks that erupted, echoing off the walls and tile floors so that I was fairly sure Ted could hear us in Estonia.  A few eternities (or maybe just moments) later, silence again reigned, but my heart was pounding and my hands were shaking!  The door on the third floor balcony had blown open during the big windstorm, and I didn't see the indicator that something was open when I put the key in to enable the system.  At least we know the alarm works!

Ted arrived home last night in time for dinner, greeted with many shouts of joy and hugs and kisses.  We are thankful to be reunited again and look forward to putting the finishing touches on our home together!

November 04, 2012

We're in Our House!

We're in our house, we're in our house, we're in our HOUSE!!!!

October 22 was move-in day.  I took the little boys to a babysitters' house so we could have some time without them underfoot.  The men were maybe halfway unloaded when I brought Lucan and Zaden home, and we put Zaden down for a nap, so that helped a lot.

The next few days were a blur of opening boxes, sorting, organizing, and a bit of lamenting, such as, "Why did we bring that?!  We can't use it here!" or "Oh, if only we hadn't put _____ into storage!"  But overall things began finding their new home quite nicely.  It didn't take long to set up the kitchen; I AM glad I put a number of bulkier items into storage.  We have a good-sized hutch from the housing warehouse, plus my grandmother's china hutch, so we're able to make the items I did bring fit pretty well.

I stole the two bookshelves formerly used to hold our kids' books and Sonlight books and put them in my pantry.  Most of Ted's and my books we left in storage, bringing only the kids' and Sonlight books plus our absolute favorites and ones we hadn't yet read but wanted to.  So our books fit nicely on the two shelves Ted built soon after we were married.

As an aside...I shouldn't assume that you already know this, because I didn't before we came!  Italian houses generally have no closets, cupboards, or built-in shelves: thus the need for me to steal bookcases. :-)  We are issued one wardrobe per person, plus an extra one for the active-duty member for uniforms.  So yes, that is NINE wardrobes, folks!  Only two were delivered; the rest will arrive this coming week.  Those will hold our linens plus games, coats, anything else that would normally be in a closet.

Ted had the week off to help, and then he had to leave bright and early Sunday, October 28, for an exercise in Estonia.  I know he hated to leave us with things pretty much in chaos, but I assured him we would be fine...

(To be continued!)