Friday, December 26, 2008

Italextravaganza Day 6-9

Our last Adventure began on Day 6 with a marathon drive back up the center of Italy ending in Garmisch, Germany. As many of you know, Garmisch is one of our very favorite spots, right in the German Alps on the border with Austria. After our very rainy days in Rome (the Tiber flooded on the day we left) we were desperate for some snow, and we were not disappointed. We stayed at a great little guesthouse in our favorite lodgings of the whole trip (it was amazing how "at home" we felt in Germany after our adventures in Italy where we were definitely tourists)... the Alpenhof Garnihotel for those who might be interested... and spent the next day cross-country skiing. We tried out the ski runners for our Chariot baby stroller for the first time, and everyone in the family agrees it's a pretty cool invention.
After getting our snow fix, we spent the night and drove home the next day. Aaaah, it's good to be home.

Italextraveganza Day 3-6; Rome

After our wonderful hiking adventures in Campiglia, we once again loaded into the car and began the beautiful drive down the coast to Rome. Most of Italy is hilly or mountainous, with a mixture of deciduous and coniferous forests, vineyards, croplands, and towns. Almost every town has a ruin at its heart, and they are almost all perched on the hillsides, leaving the bottomlands for farming.
Despite the scenery, we were ready to leave the car by the time we got to Rome. Through an amazing combination of gutsy driving by AdventureDad, navigation by AdventureMom, and sheer luck, we found our hotel and got unloaded without getting lost or in a wreck. We soon joined up with the Smiths for the remainder of our Rome adventure.
The next morning we started our experience with a Papal Audience. Because it was raining we ended up in a theater-type auditorium rather than out in the Plaza. Over an hour was spent by the Pope greeting visiting groups of note (which he did in 5 different languages) before he did a blessing and prayer. It was rather interesting because each group had prepared a song or short performance in answer to the Pope's recognition. The whole experience was a little less holy and a little more "produced" than we had been hoping, but still one of those things that I wouldn't miss the chance to do.
The next day we piled onto a bus for a short trip to some of the Roman antiquities. We saw the coliseum, triumphal arches, the old and new forums, St. Peter's Church (which contained a statue of Moses done by Michelangelo), Venus' Chapel, the government buildings designed by Da Vinci, and countless other ruins. It was truly mind-boggling both in terms of beauty and history. We could have spent twice as much time just soaking in all of the world-changing history that has occurred there.
The third day we started the morning with a tour of the Vatican Museum. The Museum itself is immense with almost 4 miles of halls, so we only did a portion of them in our tour. The tour focused on the "receiving halls" where the ancient Popes recieved visitors of State and also lived. The halls were constructed of marble and guilt, and were packed to the gills with antiquities gathered throughout the ancient world. We saw statues, vases, ossuaries, mosaics, tapestries and paintings from Greece, Ephesis, the Orient, Europe, and of course Rome. There were of course works by da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Bernini, and countless others. It was truly awe-inspiring and beautiful, and once again we would have had to take much more time to truly appreciate the details of what we were seeing. One of our favorites was a mosaic taken from the floor of a 300 B.C. Roman communal dining hall, originally an advertisement for what was available there, it is now a piece of art on a wall (it's the picture with the hanging fish and vegetables). Also appearing throughout the museum was the Coat of Arms of the Vatican... crossed keys representing the keys to heaven presented to Saint Peter (the first Pope) by Jesus.
Of course the crowning event of our Vatican tour was a walk through the Sistine Chapel. We had too little time there as well, although it would be easy to spend and entire day trying to take in all of the detail. The Chapel was suprisingly large, and Michelangelo's Frescos are more exquisite than any photo could capture.
That afternoon, AdventureMom and M settled down for a much-needed nap (followed by a cappucino and cake with "Aunt" Joss) while AdventureDad and the Smith boys went on an adventure of their own. They braved the metros and buses to see one of several ancient Christian catacombs dating back to 200 A.D. This was AdventureDad's favorite part of Rome, not only because it was once again awe-inspiring (and a bit macabre), but it was a place where history truly came to life (as it were). The catacombs have only been excavated since the 1950's (only a tiny fraction are accessible), so there are chapels and alcoves that contain mosaics, carvings, and frescos that are completely original and unrestored. One of the oldest images was that of Jesus the Shepherd, depicting Jesus with a lamb draped over his shoulder.
We loved Rome (although we were glad to be there during the "off" season... it was still crowded), and intend to return someday when we can see things at our own pace, with older kids, and also see some of the things we missed (the Parthenon for example).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Italextravaganza Day1-2... Campiglia

I'm typing up our Italian adventure in several installments... here's the first!

Our first day we drove to the tiny town of Campiglia at the southern end of the Cinque Terra National Park. This is an area of the "Italian Riviera" that has 5 old towns that have changed very little over the centuries, and have now been made part of a natural/historical perserve. We arrived at our very quaint Italian villa (at which not a single person spoke English, which led to a very amusing "show and tell" while we were checking in) and crashed that first night. From our villa we looked out over the bay of La Spezia edged with snow-capped peaks on one side, and out over the Meditteranean on the other. It was quite spectacular.
The following morning we took a trail that literally started at our hotel and proceded to drop several thousand feet down the cliffs to the ocean below. The entire trail was a series of rock steps leading down through tumbled rocks, brush, and small vineyards clinging to the hillside. At one point nosy me couldn't help but open and close a pretty wrought-iron gate set in a rock wall that was literall overhanging the ocean. To our suprise the owner of the gate was home, and must have heard the squeak, because he came out to say "Hi". He spoke a few words of English, a few words of Deutsch, and quite a bit of French. We spoke a little French, a little Deutsch, and of course English, and between our Germo-FrenTalianIsh we were invited into his home for a drink of his wine, grown right there! It was a tiny building built on the ledge, with a roof that was about 6 feet tall (Jimmy had to duck a little), and two small rooms, one a kitchen with a table and one with a tiny bed in it. Of course out back he had a patio roofed with grape vines, although it was all bare for the winter. It was a pretty cool experience!
That evening we made a fairly quickly vetoed hike to dinner... it was yet another set of stairs that was several miles longer than we thought it would be, and we quickly discovered that our stair-climbing muscles were done for the day. Before we turned around we had the odd experience of running into a group of boar hunters in the woods. It was a bit disconcerting to see a bunch of guys there with guns, although luckily we had seen some warning signs (as well as a LOT of boar-digging damage in the woods) so we knew what was going on. We ended up driving to dinner, which was fortuitous because we stumbled on a wonderful B&B whose restaurant actually opened early for us just so we could have dinner with M (most Italians don't eat dinner until 8 or 8:30 at night). We were so impressed we went there the next night too.
The next day in Campiglia we took a hike through the seaside hills to Riomaggiore, the closest of the 5 towns of the Cinque Terra. It was a spectacular hike on a beautiful day, and it of course involved many more stairs! The trail was actually pretty rugged, involving lots of rocks, steep slopes, and at times clinging to ledges above the ocean or along the top of a vineyard wall. Jimmy carried M on his back the whole way, getting his work-out in! We ended up at an old church built on a steep hillside above Riomaggiore. We took a little breather on the green grass, enjoyed the astounding views, then turned around for home. Marion actually walked about 1/4 mile on the way home (see picture!) which was pretty amazing considering the rough terrain. She promptly fell asleep as soon as she hit the back-pack, which was what we were counting on. Needless to say none of has had much trouble falling asleep that night!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Free for Fun

We have not had any more snow since the initial snowfall, although scraps of it are still around. AdventureDad, M and I have been spending as much time outside as possible, mostly biking or hiking (although hopefully there is some skiing and snowshoeing in our future), and generally enjoying his free time. Block leave, the chunk of "time off" following the RLBT has officially started, Yeah for us!

A Time for Thanks

Our family had a beautiful Thanksgiving with our friends and neighbors the Smiths. Joss cooked the Turkey, so I felt like I really had absolutely nothing to stress about this Thanksgiving. Thanks Joss! We gathered together over a feast of turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, cranberry, sweet potatoes, salad, green bean casserole, and pumpkin and pecan pies, not to mention the gluhwein (a mulled wine/schnapps mixture that is a holiday specialty in Germany), hot cider, and eggnog. Whew. It was enough for twice as many people, which of course means that we got to enjoy second and third Thanksgivings as we worked our way through the leftovers. Following dinner we played board games for hours, which was a wonderful way to spend the evening. I would really love to start a "game night" tradition in our neighborhood.

It has been a season of Thanks in so many ways, and the experiences of the last year and a half have served to remind me of how very blessed our family is. This is our first holiday season as a whole family, and every time we do something "special", like celebrating Thanksgiving, decorating for Christmas, etc. it is extra-special because we can all share it together. I am also constantly reminded of our friends that helped M and I through this deployment... the ARG girls (my running group) as well as some other wonderful ladies from our neighborhood. Our dynamic has changed a bit since our families are back together again and we need each-other a little less (and have less time on our hands!), but I always know that when I need another strong woman to turn to for support, laughs, a good complaining session, or just some Indian take-out, any one of my Auerbachian friends will come through.

Monday, November 24, 2008

November is Almost Over

I can't believe how quickly time has passed since AdventureDad got home. It has been a wonderful blur of family bonding. AdventureDad has had a very light work load which has manifested itself as a lot of long weekends. A great recipe for family time! We just got our first snow storm, and took M out for a walk in the snow... she was beyond adorable. She figured out pretty quickly that she could scoop it up and throw it, and that she could leave foot prints by stomping her feet. After we find some longer mittens to solve the cold-wrist problems, I think she will be a true winter-lover just like her Mommy and Daddy. I will say the rest with pictures...enjoy!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween

We had a wonderfully Happy Halloween in the Duncan household for a number of reasons. First of all, M was reunited with her Daddy last Sunday morning, and she is in heaven. How did she ever make it with only one big person to dote on her? This Halloween M was still a bit too young for Trick-or-Treating, but of course I couldn't resist dressing her up. We had the cutest little mousy on the planet in our house, and then another adorable mousy came over to play. Halloween is really for the parents at this age!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

He's Home!

Yeah! AdventureDad is home!!! I'll update soon, I promise, but right now we're just basking in our togetherness.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Still Waiting

There really isn't any new news on the arrival of AdventureDad. He left his "office" several days ago but has several legs of the journey to complete, all of which come with their own potential delays and frustrations, so we wait.
In the meantime, the Gutsy Dad is home safely, so there is hope! I am so happy for the Gutsy Family and their new beginnings. Yay!
Here are some pictures of our very patriotic neighborhood. Our home is the bottom one, and the rest are just some others that caught my eye.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Treading Water

I found out today that the arrival of AdventureDad has likely been set back by several days. No real reason, at least that he could tell me, other than the problems that are likely to arise anytime you are busy moving thousands of people from one continent to another. I knew better than to set my mind on any particular date, but it is a setback in my life. I have had a mental timeline that was helping to keep me on track during this time of anticipation and stress, and now I'm going to have to adjust. Not that there isn't plenty to do... I'm going to put the extra time to good use (when I'm not busy feeling sorry for myself), but it is amazing how much it has thrown me off kilter. Imagine someone telling you (after you had made your plans) that Christmas was going to be moved to December 28th this year, but just for your family. That's about how I feel. I'm not only holding my breath now, I'm also treading water. I'm not sure how many other life-sustaining activities I can keep up at once!
Luckily, time does march on, and in the meantime M is doing a great job of keeping me busy. We went for a 45-minute walk today in our neighborhood during which she demonstrated to me all of the microscopic wonders of nature. This kid notices things that pass everyone else by, from a particularly green chunk of moss in the sidewalk crack to the tiny red berries on a bush, a crunchy leaf that she stepped on, even an invitingly round stone in the gravel caught her eye, all of which she hands to me with a "thank ummm", her version of Thank You ("Your Welcome" ends with the ummm sound, so this phrase does too), which she says in advance for me whenever she hands things to me. I have yet to find out how long she would keep this up, as I usually end up eventually having to interrupt her tiny explorations so that we can make some forward progress. It is kinda nice to have to "stop and smell the roses" (or berries or dirt) sometimes though!
Also, I fully intend to take some photographs of the neighborhood decorations, so keep your eyes open. Hopefully I'll get them posted tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Holding my Breath

Ahhh, the end of the RLBT is nearing an end. I find myself alternating between a state of calm acceptance of the craziness that is my life, during which I know that things can change until my husband walks through the door, and that I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch. Then there are the times when I feel like a 5-year-old at Christmas, a 12-year-old waiting for my birthday, an 18-year-old waiting for that last summer break, all rolled into one. I'm holding my breath for these last couple of weeks, trying not to turn blue, and it is not easy.
Today I spent a large part of the day decorating for the "homecoming". It is fun that we live in a very small community, and we are all friends and neighbors. That means that the entire neighborhood is being decorated, and it looks great. There is no doubt that a large celebration is being had in everyone's life right now. I will post some pictures in the next day or so, but it is a wonderful sight to behold. In addition to my patriotic decoration, I also decorated our small covered porch on the front of the house. I put out some nice winter flowers (it's weird being in a place with "winter flowers"... heather, chrysanthemums, and asters, among others, will bloom all winter here), a pumpkin, and I made a little wreath for my door. It looks so nice I wonder why I haven't done more of this stuff!
I am also scurrying around the house trying to get some of the sorting and organizing I meant to do over the last 15 months done. Of course I never will finish it all, but hopefully my priorities can at least be finished. The house is currently at that stage where it looks worse than it did before I started though, with everything pulled out of its hiding place. Sigh. I'll catch up one day (hopefully before we pack up to move back to the States!)
It is also most definitely fall here. The fall weather is kinda dreary with lots of rain, but there are also sunny days in which to enjoy the beautiful show of foliage. I found an amazing leaf that has every color in it, and M got to enjoy a big pile of maple leaves .

Saturday, October 4, 2008

More Race Pictures

Here is an irresistible photo of M, plus some of the pictures I ordered or swapped from the race.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Marathon

The Marathon. The single most demanding goal that I and my friends set for ourselves has finally been achieved. Wow. This was truly a team effort for ARG (Auerbachian Running Gals) and all of our supporters. We started our serious training program clear back in February, and we all stuck to our guns until the end. Of course there were injuries, pregnancies, and any number of other obstacles to overcome, but we did it. The entire team was there, and although not all of us ran the race, every single person there was integral to the effort. There is no way that I could have crossed the finish line without the help and support of everyone on the team. Between Marg making us believe we could all run a marathon, then designing our training schedule; Joss, Bryan, and Marg watching M for me during long runs; other members of the team making me practice when I didn't want to; and the group effort of encouragment and baby sitting during the marathon itself, it was truly a team effort. So, THANK YOU to Marg, Joss, Bryan, Logan, Mae Mae and Ki Ki (you know who you are ;-) ), Vicki, and Jen, and of course to my Jimmy whose long-distance pride and support both brought tears and strength. I love you guys.
Now a warning: feel free to skip to the end of the post if you don't want to read about every step I took during the marathon...

The blow by blow of the race: starting at 5:50 a.m. waking up after a night of almost no sleep thanks to the butterflies, quietly getting dressed and sneaking out of the house with Joss and Vicki (the other runners) while not waking up babies, in order to walk down to the pier and catch our 6:50 ferry. Ride ferry, arrive in Limone at 7:30. Proceed to gathering area, strip off outer layers to stuff in the official bag (that will be transported to the finish for us) to stand shivering in the cold morning for 2 more hours while waiting for the race to start. Mill up and down the hill several times thanks to conflicting directions from race officials, to finally end up in the correct starting position. Stand there for another 30 minutes while chatting with a fellow American and a Canadian we met and eyeing our fellow runners. Immediately spot many people who look as un-marathony as we do, which is comforting. Among these is a rather heavy-set man in dark clothes and a giant back-pack containing water and food, who is wearing a black beret and eating a hoagie sandwich. Name him "Chef Boyardee" (Thanks Vicki!), and decide that we should probably finish in front of him. Enter loud music and excited announcements in Italian (we understood the "Lake Garda Marathon" part), and the crowd starts to press forward. We are herded like sheep toward the starting line, when suddenly everyone breaks into a trot!!! We trot behind a "pacer" who is supposed to finish in 5 hours, down a street lined with cheering crowds, and the race has begun!!! The road is immediately lined with fellas whose backs are turned to us and in front of whom the plants are becoming very wet... just couldn't miss the start I guess. Luckily Marg had forewarned us of this strange marathon phenomenon. Now it hits us... we have started a MARATHON, in ITALY. It doesn't get much cooler than that! We forget our first walk break in all of the excitement, but the need for some quick breaks of our own brings us back to reality. Still, we are off to a great start, and it is hard to stop and walk like we should (it's part of our training plan). Before we know it 5k's are down, we stop for water, and Vicki moves on ahead. She has to take off her tights in Riva (where the rest of our crew waits to cheer) and wants to be far enough ahead to have plenty of time. Joss and I stick to our run walks and enjoy the beautiful scenery. (Part of the race was the road just above the water in the picture above.) This is fun! We are now close to the back, it is not crowded, and the folks we are with are taking a similar relaxed approach which is nice, until an official on a bike comes along and warns us that the road will be open to traffic in 10 minutes. Luckily in 5 more minutes we are in Riva del Garda, where we see the whole crowd of ARG supporters cheering like crazy... what a boost, and much needed after the relative loneliness of the tunnels and lake front. In Riva Joss decides she needs to slow down a little, and urges me to go ahead. I am worried, but also too full of adrenaline to go any slower at the moment. After a bit of inner turmoil I decide to go on ahead and strike out on my own. Soon I'm heading up the valley toward Arco, running through vineyards, along streets, and with a beautiful view of a castle on a cliff. My muscles are warm, everything is flowing, and I feel great, although the iPod is nice with only my thoughts for company. I pass Chef Boyardee and feel some inner satisfaction. Around 15k I spot a familiar short stature in a blue jersey ahead of me... Vicki is in my sights!!! With this sighting I have a new goal, to catch her, but damn is she quick! Every time she stops to walk I think I'll catch her, but then she starts running again. It takes me until 20k to finally get within yelling distance at a water stop. She turns and lights up, and I'm relieved that she seems to want my company as much as I need hers. Keep in mind that Vicki was intending to stop at the 1/2 marathon (the longest distance she had trained for), but we crossed 1/2 together (21.1 kilometers) and she decided to make a try for the end. Meanwhile I keep hoping that we will sight Joss, but no luck so far. I hope she's OK. Vicki and I now run our fastest 1/4 of the race, exhilerated by our new-found companionship (and in Vicki's case an apple-induced high). It is definitely easier to run when you have someone to pass the time with. The k's click by and we are feeling GOOD. We have our "peeps", people that we have been passing and re-passing... stinky green guy, yellow guy, glitter calves lady, red shirt lady, orange shorts guy. They help pass the time. Then comes 30k. The race seems almost over, only 12k to go, right? However, the course now turns back up the opposite lake shore, and we are faced with a long gentle up-hill slope and a hard wind in our faces. Suddenly the last 10k becomes a lot of work. We talk, we sing, we walk when it's time. Thankfully there is fruit and water available every 3 miles, because we need it! Pretty soon we are on autopilot, our legs moving forward despite the numerous aches and pains that are developing, and we find that it is so hard to start running after stopping that we skip our walk breaks. This is it, the push for the end. We are among the last 200 or so racers, so there aren't many peole to cheer, and we really need each other, sometimes just to look down and assure each-other that yes, our feet are still attached, and yes, they seem to be moving forward. A medical crew gives us a long look as they pass on a motorbike. Whatever...we're still running! Each kilometer seems like eternity now. I miss the sign for the 41k mark, and am elated when Vicki convinces me that we truly are in our last k of the race. FINALLY we round a corner to see the ARG team waiting for us, and the finish line, which we crossed in 5 hours and 18 minutes. The best part of the whole race was being joined by Joss (yes, she made it to 30k and then caught a ferry to the end to watch us finish), Marg, and Jen to cross the line together as a team. Because as epic as my description just was (sorry), the marathon really was just one day. The real race has been making it through the last 15 months sound in body and mind, and we are all here.

The Pictures

M and I in Limone

What's cuter than kids at the zoo?
(M and Jills)

Villa Angelica

A typical waterfront.

(This one is in Lazise)

The Travels

Aaaah. Home again after a week gallivanting in Italy. Our (meaning Joss and the boys, Vicki and the girls, Marg and Jills, Marg's parents, Jen, and Marion and I) trip to Lake Garda was phenomenal. Joss and I had a beautiful drive down following the "scenic route" over a narrow winding pass south of Munich that took us past several gorgeous alpine lakes (or Sees as the are called in Germany). Upon arrival in Riva del Garda we wandered around a bit before finding Villa Angelica, which we eventually were guided to by Marg, but it was well worth it to discover a restored Italian villa complete with huge grounds with gardens, fountains and courtyards. We spent the next several days exploring the quaint (although "touristy") lakeside villages, all of which had lovely waterfront areas that reminded me of the Mediterranean coast. We took a trip to the zoo that Marion, Jills, and the boys particularly enjoyed. My favorite outing was a trip via ferry to Limone, a village on the west side of the lake (and also where the Marathon started). Limone is squeezed between the cliffs and the lake, and as a result is built as a series of terraces. The buildings are piled on top of each-other with narrow stone-lined alleys between them. The alleys are full of planters and balconies and are very picturesque, and each opens onto a terrace that is planted with citrus or olives. Especially interesting are the lemon terraces that date back to Roman times. They are lined with huge pillars, and some have a network of dark wooden beams covering the terraces... perhaps to hold some kind of screen for frost protection? Whatever the reason, they are both ancient and beautiful.
In addition to the scenery there was of course the food. We cooked a fair number of meals for ourselves, but with a ready supply of delicious olive oil, pastas, sauces, etc. available at the grocery store, the results were quite wonderful. We also ate our fill of gelatto, pizza, pasta, and coffee. Mmmmm.
I will post a few pictures, with more to come when we get done sharing!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Empty House

We are leaving for Italy tomorrow. Marathon week has finally arrived (the actual race is Sunday). The butterflies are fluttering in my stomach, but my overall feeling is one of excitement rather than dread. I really think this is going to be fun, and as I told one of my friends, we are going to NEED a marathon to burn off a week's worth of Italian dining!

In preparation for our voyage, I took Casper to the kennel tonight (makes for a smooth departure in the morning). It is so strange not to have his happy nervous little self around. It is shocking to realize that he has been in my life for over 8 years now... his absence is definitely noticed. No-one to quiver at the door when loud noises happen, or to happily clean up Marion's "droppings", or to groan loudly as he settles into bed. Sigh. Luckily he is at a nice kennel with Zephy and Tilly (two of his doggy friends), so he probably won't miss me at all.

Above is a picture of Marion enjoying her finger painting. She is becoming such a little character. She did three amazing things today. First, as we were preparing to leave for the kennel, she went to my purse and put her sippy cup in it for me to bring with us. Amazing planning on her part!
Then, as we were riding in the car, she was singing her version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which goes like this: "Twinko Twinko it-tle stoooor, HOW ooo ARE, Upppa BaaBaa HIGH, Ika HIGH". (New words are added every few days.) She manages to carry the tune very well through the whole thing. At any rate, she was singing and I started to sing with her, and she stops and says to me "NOOOOoooo". Apparently I am no longer allowed to butt in on her solos. Fortunately she says "No" in a very adorable way which involves shaping her lips into a very exaggerated O that looks almost like fish lips. I say fortunately because she is becoming quite the little tyrant who is bent on discovering her limits and every one else's! Luckily she is still basically sweet so it is more cute than anything (although I would never tell her that... she takes these things very seriously!).
Her final miracle of the day was that she had her post-dinner poo poo diaper, and as soon as she did it she promptly walked over to her diaper bag (in an exaggerated sailor's swagger thanks to her "hot seat"), pulled out a clean diaper, and presented it to me for changing. Pretty soon she's going to be running the household!

Monday, September 15, 2008

IKEA to the Rescue

Marion is now at the age where she longs to have control over her world. She is frustrated by her inability to express her desires, and she loves play-acting with toys so that she can tell them what to do. Part of this fantasy involves being able to interact with the objects around her, which is difficult when those objects are all giant-sized. When we visit her friend Jills' house, she immediately gravitates toward the kid-sized furniture. To remedy this tragedy, my friend Joss and I took an emergency trip to IKEA today. Marion got a pint-sized table and chairs, plus a baby-san chair for the living room. She now has a little nook all her own just off of the dining/living area (under the stairs, for those who have been here). She instantly took advantage of the situation, and I look forward to much future crafting, coloring, etc. Yay IKEA.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Today was the first day that it truly feels like fall is in the air. It was chilly enough that I ran in tights and a jacket rather than shorts, and I found it necessary to don a fleece jacket more than once. I am excited that a new season is on its way, but a little sad because we never had a truly hot summer this year. I'm sure Jimmy would beg for the weather we are having, gut unfortunately it doesn't ship very well.

Marion got her first taste of fall too, and was enthralled by a drift of leaves on our sidewalk. The majority of the trees are still green, but every windy day drifts more yellow leaves along the roadside.
Jimmy and I also got ourselves a beautiful Spanish cabinet bar for our anniversary. It will be a multi-functional piece of furniture in our household. The picture is the cabinet still at the furniture store, but it does look lovely in our home.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Beginning of the End

Tonight I attended what is called a "Town Hall Meeting" in our community, the main subject of which was organizational aspects of the end of the RBLT. This is the first time it has felt really really real, and it is SOOOO exciting. I have to talk myself down out of the clouds a little, because in reality it is not quite happening tomorrow, but it is good for my heart to feel the way it does right now.

In other news, Marion is now consistently calling Casper a Good Boy, which she pronounces as "GooBouy", which is adorable and well-deserved on Casper's part as he is frequently being told this by her as she bounces up and down on his butt or pats his eye repeatedly. He really is a good boy, and it is heart warming to see the way that he has warmed up to her.

Now I am abandoning my sink full of dirty dishes and heading to bed, as my level of exhaustion makes the sink-full-of-day-old-stinky-dishes penance I will have to do tomorrow well worth it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The First Post

Okay, so after much resistance and procrastination, and after reading and enjoying the blogs of my friends for months, I have finally become a blogger. Sigh. No promises of frequency or consistency will be made, but I will do my best. The reality is that our family is unlikely to be really settled for many years to come, and with so many friends and families to keep updated, this is the most sanity-preserving way that I can think of. SO. Here we go!
I am also making no attempt at catching up with the past, as those whom I really want to read this already know most of the things that are referred to, and if you don't, you can always ask!

After such a stunning beginning, there isn't anything too monumental to report at the moment. There are two huge events looming in the life of our family, those being 1) The marathon at Lake Garda, Italy that I and my friends have been training for since January, and 2) The end of Jimmy's Ridiculously Long Business Trip henceforth known as the RLBT(Thanks Marg!) , coming up in a couple of months. In preparation for number 1, I just completed a 22-mile-run (followed by a mile-long walk to get home) and lived to tell about it, a feat of which I am very proud. I am no longer worried that I have it in me to run the marathon, which in comparison will be flat, and supported, meaning that I won't have to carry 6 pounds of water on my back. Piece of cake! (I figure those things will negate the remaining 4.2 miles that I haven't run yet.) Event number 2 has left me feeling a bit rushed to finish projects that I have been procrastinating starting for over a year, mostly organizational and de-cluttering in nature, but none of which I absolutely HAVE to complete before he gets home, it would just be nice. No pressure though, or so I tell myself. Really if I didn't get a thing more done and he could come home tomorrow, the world would be a happy place.