Monday, December 15, 2008

So, The Time Has Finally Come!...

So, today marked two more days (including today) until we head off for our visit to the States. The kids have been tracking our progress on the calendar, and it seems like a dream that we will soon be in Pennsylvania with the other half of our family and friends. Wow...

If for some reason you see that I am not around as much, bear with me. I will do my best to check in often, but... although we will be there from December 17 to January 13, I assure you it is not a true RELAXING vacation. It is already crazy, and we have not even gotten there. But that is okay, we have lots of things planned, lots of people to visit, and lots of memories to make.

Please pray for us, that we have a safe and enjoyable trip. And that God will have mercy on us, and that Miranda and Dario will sleep ALOT. :-)

Also, some bad news. My puppy, Jack, brother to Benny, died today. He was sick over these last couple of days. We did not know to what extreme. Anthony DID take him to the vet, and he was given medicine, but he just could not do any more. My poor, sweet Jack... a dog, but what can I say, I got attached. I miss him, and poor Benny does, too. And so do their adopted brothers, too: Meeshee 1, Meeshee 2, and Meeshee 3. They have grown up together like real brothers, even they are two different species. Funny how things work out. I am sad, but am also glad for two things. 1) that Jack is no longer suffering. 2) that Benny has plenty of company who loves to have him around, play with him, and distract him.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Belated September 10, 2008... Visit From Family And Friends...

Just A Reminder...

My other blog has my crafty creations like papercuts and creative writings in it... Come and see what I have been up to...

A Fun, New Christmas Meme...

My friend, April, over at Takin' Time To Smell The Flowers, made up her own Christmas meme and Tagged ME!! You know that I love this stuff. I have not had a lot of time to do them, but decided that I needed to do this one. Hope you understand that my answers WILL be very different from most peoples. My life has changed drammatically from before I was married. My life has changed dramatically from when we lived in the States. Neither is better, both are just very different. And, so saying, here are my answers...

The rules:

1. Provide a link to the person who tagged you & post the rules on your blog
2. Answer the Christmassy questions
3. Tag 4 bloggy friends
4. Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

It's that simple, now here we go...

1. Favorite Christmas carol?

I really do enjoy SO many... O Holy Night, Silent Night, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, Drummer Boy, etc... I could go on... Oh, and Breath of Heaven and the one by Jewel that I cannot remember the name of right now... and...

2. Favorite Christmas movie?

Again, I have many... Some I cannot remember the name of at the moment. Okay this is my list of must-see around Christmas time movies...
I am not a fan of Scrooge, but He has to fit in at least once.
While You Were Sleeping,
Mircle on 34th Street (even though we do not celebrate Santa as part of Christmas),
The Santa Clause with Tim Allen (even though we do not celebrate Santa as part of Christmas it is just TOO funny),
Home Alone,
White Christmas,
Little Lord Fauntleroy with Ricky Schroeder in it,
Doris Day's Moonlight Bay and By the Light Of the Silvery Moon,
Charlie Brown Christmas,
Which is the one of the little boy with glasses who gets a gun for a gift from his dad and gets his tongue stuck to metal pole??? That one...,

There are more, but I think I may have already gone a little overboard... :-)And I love to watch the Holiday parades!!!

3. How many Christmas cards do you send out?

Although I used to send to EVERYONE we know, I now only send to those who sent to us the year before... I think this year I have 10 or 12 to send out. Speaking of which, I am a little behind... :-) It is easier to be forgotten or dismissed when you do not live nearby. Anyway, thank you to those who have not forgotten us!!

4. Do you send a Christmas letter, picture, or card?

I have done each... This year I was thinking of making my own card and having it printed out and maybe putting in a newsletter insert (or I could save that for my email letter for the new year if I run out of time). :-)I love doing family pictures or of just the kids, but that is a bit more costly.

5. Travel or stay home?

We normally go somewhere as, here in Italy, a lot Evangelical Christians believe that Christmas should be celebrated every day and not just on one particular day. I agree, but love to have that ONE day to REALLY focus on Jesus and His most amazing and loving sacrifice to us. Anyhow, we normally go to a friend's house that also celebrates, because they are also foreigners. :-) Though, there were a couple of years when we just stayed home and my hubby cooked yummy food for me.

This year, though, we will be travelling to the States. Should be very memorable! :-)

6. Real or fake tree?

No tree, as they are looked upon by many Evangelical Christians here in Italy as Pagan symbols from the past. Mind you, this is a Catholic country where everything religious can be made into an idol. So... even the nativity set is taboo, though I have one and put it up. We always had a fake tree growing up, actually we even had a funny SILVER tree. when it started looking really shoddy, and when we had a bit more money to spend, my parents invested in a beautiful fake GREEN tree. :-) Funny that I should have to specify that. What memories!!!

7. Do you like eggnog?

I never thought I did, until I moved here to Italy and could not easily get some. During my last pregnancy, I craved it, and have developed quite a funny comfort-food liking to it. :-)

8. Favorite Christmas childhood memory?

Getting my Barbie horse (we did not have a lot of money, and that was a most treasured gift for me), and watching the four-colored, rotating light splash color all over our beautiful Christmas tree, sending flashes of color everywhere as it bounced off of our glass balls and lights. And making Christas tree decorations and cookies!!! and, the family gathering... especially when my grandmother was alive. :-( (I miss you, Abuela! Jesus, please give her a hug from me... Love you both!)

9. Christmas traditions new or old or both?

I will take anything I can get, at this point!!! Making simple memories, that is what I want to do!!! And take LOTS of pictures of it all!!!

Tag---Your it!

So, I choose...

Decor To Adore
Snippety Gibbet

I hope you will participate, as I would love to know your answers, but If you can't... no worries. Have Happy Holy-days!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Belated September 16, 2008- Our Visit For Dario In Naples...

part of the long, windy driveway of the hospital...

View from the long, windy driveway of the hospital, Vesuvius and part of the city of Naples (aka Napoli)

closer view of the hospital...

View of part of Naples from the long, windy driveway of the hospital...

The view of Vesuvius from the long, windy driveway leaving the hospital...

the hospital view from the bottom of the long, windy drive way...

The hospital sign...

Part of the gate of the hospital...

Vesuvius, on our way home

Remember Dario was born with Congenital Muscular Torticollis. I posted about that back in June. I have given some updates along the months of how his therapy had been going, and I even introduced you to Maria Pia, the physical therapist.

Well, back in September we had a visit to determine how Dario was doing with everything. About a month or so before, we had gotten Dario an ultra sound of the muscles in his neck, and that confirmed that, in fact, his muscles appeared almost completely symmetrical. That means that there was NO ripping of his neck muscle when he was born. Actually, that means that the Torticollis was caused by his positioning in-utero. Not that that is comfortable either, but it meant far less therapy, and far less stress.

So, anyway, the appointment in Naples... I was so nervous. We, Maria Pia and I, had already been fighting with Dario to do his therapy for about a month and a half, and I was dreading being told that his progress was too slow, that things were worse, or that we had to continue with the therapy for much longer. Of course I wanted to do what was best for my baby, BUT... it was a REALLY hard, a REALLY stressful few months for our entire family.

As it turned out, the doctor heard what I had to say, looked at the ultra sound results, went to stretch Dario's neck from side to side, and turned to me. She agreed that he was fighting against the therapy. She could tell just in the two minutes she handled him. And, she said that if we continued to do the therapy it could possibly start to cause MORE damage if the muscles were forced since he was actually excercising the contrary muscle by pulling away every time. She said that he has shown significant progress since his last visit, that once he, especially, started walking, his left-over slant in his neck would adjust itself. So, she then proceeded to give us the news that HE WAS DONE!!! I felt tears welling up at the news, but waited til we were back in the car to let them out. God is so good!!!

We had a gorgeous day to take some pictures of the most amazing view, and God provided a way out of a very difficult time. Praise His Name!!!

Dario IS doing so much better since September. You can barely see the slant when you look at the nape of his neck, and the muscles of his face are more symmetrical. Now that he is beginning to walk, I can already see how it is helping him and strengthening him.

God provided for all of our needs, He heard and answered our prayers, and He gave us the strength, hope, and faith we needed to get through every challenging day. We cried many tears, we were stretched in our faith, and we can now look back and see how He was there, helping and comforting, supporting and guiding, ALL ALONG THE WAY.

Again, I will say it... Praise God!!!

By the way, the pictures were drive by pictures, so they do not all do justice to the beauty of THIS part of Naples. There are some amazing architecture and building designs. There are many other parts that I dislike very much, but this part is always a pleasure to visit.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Belated Thanksgiving To ALL!!!...

This post is for all to see, but especially, you, Justin, and friends.

You see, we had the opportunity to go to spend Thanksgiving with our friends, the Candeloro's, at the American base "near" us. (Okay, so it is almost an hour and a half away, but SO worth it.) :-) We had so much fun. The kids played, did crafts (Miranda discovered the joys of glue glopping everywhere), watched movies, and laughed a lot. We adults ATE a whole lot of YUMMY food, laughed, and talked. Some of us watched a football game or channel surfed, too. We had three different turkeys: one American turkey made the regular way, one fried turkey, and one Italian leg of a turkey (which was huge) made the regular way by my hubby, Anthony. We had tons of sides, and an "over-abundance" (that is in quote because to me there is NEVER an over-abundance of it) of desserts. Yummy!! We also played a game that had some of us ROLLING and in humorous tears. There were newbies and the "regulars" there, which made for a nice and different mix. Unfortunately, I did not get all of the pictures I wanted to get, but... That is okay.

These memories are very special as some of our new military friends that we have made here in Italy will be moving away soon. So, Julie and family, this also goes out to you. As you prepare for changes and unknowns, remember these times, and most of all remember that God is there wherever you go and whatever you do. He wants to be a part of your every day, to help you, keep you, encourage you, strengthen you, and bless you. He never fails!! I am grateful to have had you in my life if even for a short time. Julie, you are a remarkable woman!!!

Remember to keep our military and those far from home in prayer! Many are missing their childrens' births and celebrating the holidays away from home. Those are only some of the cases I personally know of. It is not comfortable, I am sure, but they do their job knowing that it is important. "Thank you."

Justin and all of our friends out there,

wherever you are, remember that you are NOT forgotten. We are praying for you, and thinking of you. May God bless you and your families, and may He keep you safe. Happy HOLY-days!!!

(By the way, if you care to leave a comment, you do not have to have a blog or be signed into Blogger. Just leave a comment, sign your name at the end so I know who you are, and click Anonymous.) :-) Easy as pumpkin pie (okay, so I have never made one, but it is probably as easy as defrosting Elaine's cheesecake)!

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