Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Blessings

First look at everything that Santa had left.

This was a great Christmas, one of the best! We went to Carasburg Christmas Eve so we would be there in the morning sharing the fun of discovering what Santa brought. Emily had to work Christmas Eve so we given instructions to make sure Cara was kept upstairs until she got home. On the morning of the big day I was surprised to find that Cara and her daddy were still sleeping way past time to be downstairs. Emily tried to wake Cara up by telling her that Santa had come last night and left presents but she snuggled down to get more sleep. Finally Emily mentioned to Cara that Grandma and Grandpa were here. Cara immediately jumped up and wanted out of bed.

We took over two hundred photos just on our camera alone documenting the day. Here are just a few.

Checking to see if Santa ate his snack that was left for him.

Showing mom and dad a present.

Cyndi and Danilo Skyped in to see Cara open the present they had given her.

Yeah! Zia Cyndi and Zio Danilo got Cara princesses dolls!!

Showing Grandpa the princess throne.

Make up anyone?

Playing princesses with Grandpa.

The family all together.

Princess toys for the bathtub!

You will notice a princess theme here this Christmas. When Cara had her second birthday this year we were in Italy and could celebrate only via Skype. Her party was a princess party and I wanted to have some princess fun myself so this Christmas all of our gifts to her but one were princess things. This was perfect as it turned out that this is what she told Santa that she wanted, princesses.

I hope your Christmas was filled with fun, joy, family, and blessings.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Seasons Greetings

Sending laughs, hugs, & kisses to all!

From our family to yours we are all wishing you the happiest of the holiday season. Merry Christmas!

The state side family: Scott, Emily, Grandpa, Cara, & Grandma
November 28, 2008

The Italian family: Cyndi, Danilo, Ameridad & Amerimom
Venice July 15, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter's First Storm

Thursday night we went to bed thinking we were prepared for the ice storm that would soon descend upon us. We were wrong . . .

. . . this is the view of our driveway, a sheet of ice. It was a beautiful sight but that quickly faded into memory as we soon lost power to our house. At first I wasn't too concerned about it but as the minutes turned into hours and neighbors checked on each other we found that the power would be gone for at least two days. We hurriedly closed up all of the curtains to help hold the heat in and Bruce monitored the sump pump to make sure water in the basement wouldn't be a problem. He lost count of the number of gallons he dipped and hand carried out of the basement but before power was restored it was somewhere between 80-100 gallons. Our house lost about eleven degrees a day. Huts before power was restored the house temperature was down to 47 degrees.

A view looking from our front porch, notice that we did loose a tree from the storm.

The first night we went to our friends house and cooked the Christmas dinner that I had planned on serving Scott's family, as they were to be at our place celebrating Christmas. The second night we stayed at other friends' house and enjoyed a delicious hot dinner, hot showers, and a nice warm bed to sleep in. We cannot thank them enough for having us over.

For some reason our trees out front didn't loose their leaves this fall. All of our Bradford trees out in front were in distress as the weight of ice on the limbs and leaves made some of the branches touch the ground. I went outside and hit the ice off of the worse limbs. We did loose one large limb on another Bradford tree.

Our power came back on Sunday around noon. We, needless to say, were thrilled! I had called earlier in the day and was told that power wouldn't be restored until Wednesday. The weather forecast had predicted that there would be a warm up and the ice would melt, this didn't happen. Things stayed cold and then we had high winds making repair on the power lines more difficult for the crews. Power lines would be fixed only to have additional breaks as high winds caused more tree limbs to break and fall onto the lines.

The following photos were taken today, Monday, three days since the storm. You can see from the photos there is just as much ice on the trees as the day of the storm.

Looking to the front of our property.

Looking to the south of our property.

Ice in the trees.

Looking out over our pond.

Looking back at our property.

We have gotten the food back into the refrigerator, heat back up in the house, and purchased a sump pump that will run on a battery for eight hours. I can now use the electric stove to cook and we are settling back into our normal routine, or so I thought. Tonight on the news we found out that they are predicting another storm. It is to arrive about one o'clock tomorrow with up to l/4" - l/2" of additional ice followed by changing to snow.

Keeping our fingers crossed that we keep our power. These storms are much more beautiful when you have electricity.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Love You

When Cara was born and we were enjoying all of the excitement of being new grandparents a relative said if you think this is great just wait until she can tell you that she loves you. Cara has been saying this to us for quite sometime and we both smile with pride each time we hear her tell us. On the day this video was made she decided that it would be fun not to tell grandpa. After we stopped with the video taping and started to play with toys she then decided it would be OK to tell him. Grandpa also got plenty of hugs too.

We love you Cara!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We Give Thanks

Of the many wonders that life has offered us the most important to us is our family. We have been blessed beyond our dreams. Love and peace to your family from ours.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Girls Morning Out

This last week was a fun one for me as I went to Carasburg for babysitting duty on Tuesday and stayed until Friday. (It was a busy work week for Cara's mom and dad.) Cara and I filled our days together with plenty of play and cuddle time.

Cara looking so cute in her new coat and hat.

I have never driven Cara in the car--I have always left that up to someone else to do, as I just didn't want the responsibility of dealing with crazy drivers coming at me and my beautiful grand daughter. However, on Wednesday morning I decided that maybe today I would break that rule so that we could go out together for breakfast at one of our favorite breakfast places, Bob Evans, which is close to home.

Yummy whipped cream.

Since it was just the two of us out for the day the photos were taken by me, stretching my arm out in front of us. Think I got some really cute shots.

Cara working on her breakfast.

With breakfast over we decided it was time to head to Walmart, then on to Kohl's to check out toys, Christmas decorations, and the pretty jewelry. With the morning ending it was then time to head for home and catch up on a little rest.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Indian Summer

Today's weather outside was the first reminder of the season that winter was not too far away. We woke up this morning with temperatures in the thirties with the high to be around thirty-nine. Later on in the day I watch as the scattered snow showers, that the weatherman predicted, swirled outside the window. As I watched the beauty of the snow I thought back to one week ago today that the temperatures were in the high seventies. Scott, Emily, and Cara visited us last weekend and we were all wanting to spend some time outside. We loaded up the car and headed to a park not far from our house. With grandpa's careful attention of making sure Cara was safe on the playground we all joined having fun in the fun . . .

. . . checking out the slide . . .

. . . grandpa and Cara going down the slide with daddy helping . . .

. . . grandma, Cara, and mommy's turn . . .

. . . as Cara would play on something and grandpa got too far behind she would call to him, "Come on grandpa, come on."

. . . this was a little scary but grandpa made Care feel safe as they went down the slide together. . .

. . . the suspended bridge was fun to jump on . . .

. . . getting a push on the tire swing from grandpa . . .

. . . Cara and mom peeking through the tunnel at grandma and grandpa at the other end . . .

. . . grandpa helping Cara to walk the balance beam.

We all enjoyed our fun day at the park. We also knew that this was probably one of the last nice days of the season and hated to leave. I am sure we will have a winter filled with getting together, playing inside on the cold days, and maybe even playing outside on a snowy day. I know over this winter I will be thinking of warmer weather that will greet us in the spring and be ready to hit the park again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Houston We Have A Problem!

Now everyone has done something that they knew they shouldn't be doing but has gone ahead anyway. Well, I am no exception to this. With Indian summer still hanging on I decided that I would finish up with the last of the mowing for the season. I took my husband's pride and joy of the yard equipment and mowed out in the flat pasture where it was nice and safe. When I finished with that I decided that I would trim around the pond. Yes, this is one of those times when you question yourself but go ahead anyway, besides I was being extra careful. As I am on this huge mower I now am thinking to myself that maybe this isn't the proper equipment to use to trim with but instead of quitting I decided that I would be extra careful. Not long after I talked myself into continuing I soon got into a little, how shall I say it, a situation. Even though I was going slowly when I tried to go to the right I went to the left and when I tried to go forward I went backward. Lucky for me those little trees stopped the mower and me.

Knowing I was stuck I walked back to the house having a conversation in my mind with myself about how this really could have been far worse then it was. I had a machine stuck on the dike of our pond but with good luck on my side I was walking back to the house to find my sweet husband and figure out how I was going to tell him what I had just done.

You know you have a wonderful husband when you greet him with a "when you change your clothes I need a little help from you. Oh, and by the way please don't lecture me because I already have done that to myself." We have been married for almost forty-two years, I was five when we got married so do the math, so he knows me better than I know myself sometimes and asked where is it? I told him the good news is that it wasn't in the pond and if you counted the wheels up in the air as being on the dike then it was at the back of the dike of our pond.

We walked hand and hand out to Zeter, that is our mower's name, and when he saw the mower he never said one word about where I had left it or how it got there in the first place.

He went back to our pole barn and brought in reinforcements, another tractor and rope, to help in the rescue of Zeter.

Mission accomplished! Free at last, free at last! Thanks sweet husband for undoing my mistake and best yet still not even mentioning once about what I had done.

I want Cyndi and Scott to know that this isn't as bad as it looks, OK maybe it is, but I was going really slow and this was a slow motion situation. Also, I want you to know that I have learned from this and promise not to mow close to the pond ever again.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ciao America-Ciao Italy

Four years ago today my family all put on a brave face as we took Cyndi and her cats to Chicago International Airport where she would soon leave her country and start a new life in Italy.

This was one of the most hardest moments of my life as I watched her walk down the concourse to board her plane. She was moving so far away and how much I would miss her and all of the moments that we could no longer share by only having a two and a half hour car drive. No longer would we have the surprise visits, meeting at favorite restaurants, pizza night, going to the dollar movies all day long, in other words just spending the time together. My best girlfriend was moving so far away . . .

. . . but as I watched her leave us I knew in my heart that she was making the best decision of her life. When she doubted this move I was the one encouraging her to follow her heart and go where it took her . . .

. . . she was heading to a new country to start a new life with a wonderful man that stole her heart. Danilo is one in a million and was in love with our daughter and she in love with him, this move was right . . .

. . . as our children married our family grew, we now have four children and one beautiful grand daughter, Scott and Emily's child. The miles may be between our houses but that does not interfere with our hearts. The love for our family grows stronger with each passing day . . .

Together in Florence, Italy 2008
. . . we cannot have the surprise visits with each other because of the large pond of water between us but planned visits have been a twice a year event . . .

Outside the Coliseum in Rome.
. . . trips between the USA and Italy are not as frequent as we all would like but we jam a lot of catching up on things when we all get together . . .

. . . celebrating my birthday in Venice, one of my favorite places to be . . .

. . . the piazza in Milan before heading out to view The Last Supper . . .

. . . smiles of victory having climbed the stairs to the top of the duo mo in Florence, I chose to shop in the markets that morning . . .

. . . of course, many fine places for great food and the finest wines. Even though we are here and you are there we toast you to many more years of happiness and more fun visits. Happy move across the big pond! We are already looking forward to the next scheduled visit. See you soon!!