Wednesday, January 29, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

When I told Steve that I loved the picture that Delilah drew of he and I, he wanted to know which one was me...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hate is a strong word...

I don't know about your kids, but my kids are constantly using the word "hate".  "I hate him", "I hate her", "I hate pizza" (I know, right?), "I hate cheese", etc, etc, etc.  I am constantly correcting them by saying, "Hate is a strong word!" and it is...there are few things, people, etc that I could use that word to describe....I hate hypocrisy, racism, prejudice,,,it fits for those ideas but I think that most people feel the same.  

Today, I took Delilah to the commissary with me.  I knew it wouldn't be a quick trip, but I was in a good mood, she seemed to be in a good mood, and things were looking up, so I took her along.  When she hopped into the car after preschool pickup and I told her we were going, she immediately asked the dreaded question,  "Can we get the car shopping cart?  Please.  Please!!!!"  And like I said, I was in a good mood, so I gave in.  Sure, I thought, how bad can it be....

It was worse, worse than driving a Suburban through the narrow streets of Italy for these past two years, practically worse than childbirth.  Not quite as bad as going to the dentist, which I need to do, BUT CLOSE!! Almost as bad as the dentist.  

I tried to talk her into the new carts our commissary has--you know the kind that has two baskets stacked on top of each other and the car part, complete with steering wheel and horn, is actually in the seat-part of the cart.  Those are much easier to drive.  But no, not Ms. Delilah, NO.  She insisted on the double wide version of the car/shopping cart.  Driving that thing through the aisles is impossible.  And clearly invented by a man.  The constant need to back up and pull forward, back up and pull forward just to make it down the straight grocery aisle after turning is too much!!  TOO MUCH!

Our 20 minutes-tops shopping trip in a good mood quickly turned into an hour of me screaming and cursing that damn cart, while Delilah swung from the hood of it like a tiny Chinese gymnast.  So if you happened to see me at the commissary today, I was not possessed.  It's the cart's fault. I hate it. 

There's a reason these photos are blurry...and it has nothing to do with the camera.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Apparently, I need drugs.

We have our home computer set up to show a repetitive series of words each day for the screen saver. It's something I rarely noticed anymore and instead, simply pass by it without much of a glance.  We really set it up for Tory, who is convinced it will help her improve her SAT scores one day.  Maybe so.  Regardless, Steve and I barely noticed the words most day and when I do notice them, I rarely see the same word twice.  Until this week...

This week, it seems that every time I look at the computer, the same word is scrolling across the screen...

Perhaps it's a message that I need drugs. Thank God it's almost the weekend!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wrapping up Christmas

We're finally finished with wrapping up Christmas around these parts (yes, total pun intended) and I can't say that I'm too sad this year. It's almost like Christmas came and went so quickly this year, it hardly registered a blip on my radar. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, but Christmas in  Italy is so different than what I grew up with, I'm just not feelin' it over here.  And we've been so rushed this holiday season--too rushed to even really enjoy much. I swear, next year we will be putting up the tree the week after Halloween, just so that we have a chance to enjoy it instead of rushing to get ready for Christmas and then rushing to put it all away after January 1st. And then I've got it--the dreaded mommy guilt. If you're a normal mom (not a Pinterest mom with far too much time on her hands) like I am, you know what I'm talking about. Nothing is ever good enough and soon your kids won't be little anymore... Ugh, the Guilt!!

When I was a little girl, my parents put up the same fake Christmas tree every year.  I use the word "fake" for a reason... It was white (to portray the image of a snow-covered tree, I guess) and my mother put these pale blue lights on it.  I pretty much hated it.  I wanted a cut tree more than anything but my mom's "allergies" kept us from getting a cut tree.

But my father volunteered with the Lion's Club and every year, he would work the club's Christmas tree lot. And every year, close to Christmas day, he would bring me my own tiny little tree that he would put up on a table and let me decorate with flashing colored lights--you know the huge bulbs and come in a rainbow of colors? I loved my short, fat little tree.  I was perfect to me.

Here in Italy, a cut tree is very hard to find--surprising, right?  They are so popular in Germany! There are some available but they're usually ugly and expensive, so our family was stuck again this year with the pre-lit 220 volt tree that we bought at the PX last year.  For some reason, Jackson absolutely LOVES it.  To him, it is the prettiest Christmas tree EVER.  Jackson is our "Christmas kid". He lives for the holidays, and so when Steve and I went to Ikea a couple of weekends before Christmas and they had tiny, fat LIVE Christmas trees that you could plant after Christmas, I knew we were in trouble.  So Jackson got his very own living Christmas tree in his room this year :)  Wish I could have found some big, fat, flashing 220 volt lights for it...

But it was perfect for him.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Textbook Pictures into Reality

This is one of those weird little posts that had never actually occurred to me to write and then something came up and metaphorically smacked me right in the face and so I knew right then and there I had to write about it.

So here it is: 

Bear with me, ok? 

Until I married Steve, I had never really thought of myself as the traveling "type". My parents weren't really big travelers and our family vacations mostly centered around visiting family (who all lived relatively close to home, I might add). So other than a trip to Disney World the Spring after I turned 4, we really didn't do much traveling. Looking back on it now, traveling was never really something I ever considered, but I guess as the old saying goes, "You can't miss what you don't have..."

In the 1st or 2nd grade, I can distinctly remember reading a short story in my Language Arts book about a little dog in Pompeii just before Mt. Vesuvius. It was a fictional story, of coarse, but at the end of the story there were really photos of Pompeii and I remember being FASCINATED with it. And I can remember hearing about the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia on the news and thinking that place was as far away from me as the moon.

When my (much loved and wonderfully awesome) cousins Frank and Joyce came this summer for a visit and we rode in a gondola in Venice, I understood perfectly the tears in their eyes and wonder in their voice when they said repeatedly to us, "I never thought I'd see this".  I get that. And I think it everyday. 

Steve, on the other had, grew up in a family who did do a lot of traveling. His father worked civil service for the Air Force and they spent a great deal of time living overseas. As a child, Steve went to places I didn't even know to dream of. He talks of listening to the 1985 Iron Bowl on a friend's car radio while skiing the Alps in Switzerland and he has a shoebox of communist momentos he picked up on a school trip in 1987 to the then USSR. I remember flipping through family photo albums of his and seeing pictures of Steve in front of places I had only read about. My personal favorite is one of him looking bored and miserable posed in front of The David in Florence, a typical teenager of the 1980's--rock t-shirt, Walkman (tape not CD), zit faced, braces, and oh-so-lovely mullet haircut. (Steve, not David)

Steve caught the travel bug early in life and when the time was right, he wanted to share that opportunity with our kids. 

So here we are today, in Greece--our 11th country we visited in 2013, the 3rd in just the month of December alone. Yep. We caught that bug. 

Which brings us to that smack in the face part of the story I mentioned a million words ago at the beginning of what has turned into a long-winded post. 

We were boarding the plane in Athens today to fly home to Greece and I was walking down the jetway and I happened to look up and see this advertisement on the wall:

Bravo, MasterCard. My sentiments exactly. 

We've gotten to see so many awesome places in the 2 years we've lived here. And I'm so thankful to have memories to go along with those schoolbook picture. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Grateful for 365

Happy New Year!  What an experience we had getting to spend New Years in GREECE.  We are on our way back and are looking forward to some peace and quite that this New Year will bring. (I'm being hopeful here) I seriously need a vacation from my vacation!  I can't wait to tell you all about our adventures here (and in Prague also), but until then, here's a little project that I actually heard about a while back.  I love the idea and decided to participate this year.  Hopefully, you'll join me! (on Istagram, look for Torysmama or click on the Instagram tab at the top of the blog) Looking forward to a year filled with gratitude and adventures!