Directional Indecisevness

Below is a conversation I have regularly with my brain, soul and motivation, spouse, friends and children:

Image borrowed from Yoast.com

ME-  “which way do I go?

THEM- “whichever way you choose! Your possibilities are endless.”

ME- “That certainly doesn’t help me in making a decision. In fact, it makes things that much harder!”

With both boys in school several days a week and a deployment looming over us, I am feeling the need, desire and push to get back into the swing of things. You know, get my personal development and lifelong learning back on track. It is so exciting, I am so motivated but find myself spinning my wheels every day! Why? Because I can’t choose a direction. And so it goes, each and every time I ask, even today. It sounds simple to solve, doesn’t it? Just find some time, make a decision, do your research and move forward. That’s what I keep saying too! It’s a great plan of action. The timing is right and well, I will have the time. But I can’t narrow my focus. There are so many new things I want to try, to experience and to learn about. I want them to all work in my favor too. To help streamline my quest to be a monetarily productive member of our family. I guess I am left with only one thing to do.

Go running.

Again.

Link

ShopStyle.com

Search multiple sites, all at once, to find exactly what you want without driving from store to store OR hopping from site to site. Still undecided? You can pin your findings to your Pinterest board and mull through them at a later time. It has been a life saver for me as I quest to find the perfect shoes for a dress I am wearing to a wedding.

Getting back on the horse… or is it in the saddle?

What once was an inspirational outlet quickly became just another task on the list. This time around I’m hoping to post more and think less.

Today- I’m not thinking about how awesome it is to finally enjoy the pool.

Puddle Jumpers are the latest and greatest thing for teaching our boys to swim. Well, at this point it’s just teaching them how to respect and be comfortable in the water. Swimming form will come later.  I have to say, these things are awesome. Coast Guard certified (which means they are allowed in military facility pools), less bulky than the traditional PFD’s, cool colors and characters, AND no crotch strap or crowded neck because the vest constantly rides up. Overall, a true hit. My 3 year old wouldn’t go near the water last summer. This season, he wore a traditional life vest complete with crotch strap his first few times in the water. Not such a hit. Now, he is constantly asking to go swimming. Yay! Thanks, Stearns. You have made swimming so much more enjoyable!

A little zucchini goes a long way…

Cleaning out the fridge is a weekly chore. One that I don’t particularly enjoy, but must do just the same. This week, I found a few zucchini waiting patiently in the crisper. Still firm and fresh, I knew they wouldn’t last much longer, so, I shredded them.

20110806-092619.jpg (Which was a very gratifying experience.) The wet vegetable shreds so easily and quickly I would almost say it was fun, if it weren’t for the mess it leaves behind. Regardless, today, these zucchini shreds became bread! Using this recipe (with a few substitutions: Greek yogurt instead of sour cream/half the oil and milled flax seed with water instead of eggs), I made 2 batches of the delicious dolci. Knowing I would eat every last crumb I had to remove the bread from our home. I wrapped the still warm loaves and gifted some to our neighbors. The first was to a family that unexpectedly delivered an Easter gift for Elliot (see this post). Although they don’t speak English, and we don’t speak Italian, they invited us in for a Cafe’. (We have a date tomorrow.) The next loaf went

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to our immediate neighbors. They too don’t speak English, but were happy just the same. The final gift was for a woman and her parents up the street. She DOES speak English and asked me “why” when I delivered the goods. I guess I would ask the same thing if I received food for no apparent reason. :) In the end, a small gesture goes a long way when trying to befriend your neighbors. And here, caring neighbors are a good thing.

Bubbles!

Our oldest has become a bubble fanatic, he loves them! Knowing how quickly a toddler can go through bubble solution I decided to make my own.

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After a quick google search, I discovered a plethora of homemade bubble recipes. But which to use? All recipes call for the same ingredients, dish soap, water and either glycerine or corn syrup. Figuring my ability to find glycerine would be limited since we live in Italy, I opted for Anne Hallock’s recipe.

20110806-091756.jpgShe uses corn syrup and I know there is a strong chance that my son will try to taste the solution at some point. So as chemical free as possible is best. We filled up our bubble containers and stored the rest in a mason jar.

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Overall this recipe is OK. It works well, but it isn’t as viscous as the store-bought solution. (I may try adding more corn syrup) Also, the amount of bubbles produced from each turn is lower. Other than those 2 points it works perfectly for what a toddler really needs. BUBBLES!

playing with picnik

I decided to leave the hassles of my Photoshop program today and venture out to play with some online editing tools. I found Picnik. A great little online program that takes out the hassle of processing your photos. It contains all the standard editing tools you need. It also has some fun, creative effects to try out on your photos. When you finish you can add a frame, stickers and text, choosing from a great selection of fonts. And then it will save right to your desktop (or wherever you choose). From here you can print it out, send it away or post it to your favorite social networking site. Here are a few more of the architectural cards I finished for my aunt using Picnik.

  

  

a few new ideas-

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My Aunt Julie asked me to create a few greeting cards from some of my favorite architectural shots. Completely thrilled with the task, I began perusing my photo library in search of some cool shots that I could transform into welcomed greetings. Here are a few of my latest creations.

Denmark Snow

Greek Church

Vatican Skyline

 

Thanks for looking.

beloved daddy’s day, belated…

I designed this Father’s Day card a few months back with every intention to have it printed in time for the big day. Unfortunately, with all the chaos of having babies, visiting families, flooding basements and countless other day-to-day emergencies, I failed.

To my dearest husband (those are his feet on the right) from your wonderful boys (E’s feet on the left). We love you.

Happy Father’s Day!

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and life as we know it has changed forever, again!

We welcomed our second child, Miles Harrison, to this world on May 4th, 2011 at 3:10 AM. Although the labor only lasted a third of the time as the first, it was a far greater adventure! But he arrived healthy and from what we could surmise, happy. Now that I consider myself a seasoned mother I see where the fun ends and the work begins. The adjustment period… the part they don’t warn you about in the classes. It is here that you are left to your own devices. No family, hospital staff or curious neighbors to help cook, clean or that want to hold the baby. You alone are the sole being responsible for the welfare of this new, fragile, precious being. If  you thought one was difficult to get used to whew, try 2! What do I do first? Where do I start? How will I manage all of these daily demands? The answer I have found so far- you just do. One step in front of the other, one day at a time.

 

UPDATE:   It has been about a 6 weeks now since Miles arrived and I think I am starting to find my groove. Now, as happy as this makes me, I must say that I am also sacrificing, namely in the sleep and personal appearance departments. I have NO idea how mothers of two or more children are able to shower, make-up and hair-do themselves every morning! I am lucky to change out of my sleep clothes. In any event, I am sure that in another 3 months I will have figured out how to squeeze 20 minutes into my day for a regular shower. As I mentioned to my mom, if and when I find “the”solution, I will sell it to women EVERYWHERE!

Buona Pasqua – (Happy Easter)

When you move to Naples, you are given a ton of advice. Most unwarranted, and usually negative. Rarely are you told about how nice the people are here. They love children, are outgoing and friendly, and really sincere. They don’t seem to partake in lip-service like we americans do. If they don’t have anything to say to you, they won’t attempt anything more than “Buongiorno.” One quality I can really appreciate. Don’t get me wrong, they are suspicious of strangers and people they don’t recognize, but if YOU are kind and courteous, the reciprocation of rewards is unbelievable. And to think, the only thing I did was make a few dozen Christmas cookies and deliver them in person to each of our neighbors in December.

        

With a whirlwind called morning behind us, I set in for a day of laundry and other domestic rituals with my 21 month old, in preparation for the holiday weekend.  Halfway through folding clothes, the doorbell rings. (To many, this doesn’t sound like anything exciting, but when you live in a foreign country and don’t speak the language it sure is nerve-wracking. For starters, you KNOW you can not communicate and you will have NO idea what they want. Additionally, the only person we expect to ring our doorbell (without calling in advance) is the landlord and he had already visited earlier that morning.)I open the door to find an older couple standing at our gate. Immediately they begin speaking, what feels like, a mile a minute Italian. Desperately I try to decipher what they are saying, my brain begins scanning the limited italian it possesses. While speaking, I notice the woman is holding a brown bag and mentions Natale (Christmas) and Pasqua (Easter). With Elliot in my arms, they point the bag in his direction and it is then I realize they brought him an Easter gift. They reminded me I had given them cookies at Christmas. (At least that is what I think they said…)  A lot of uh’s and hmm’s pass in conjunction with awkward pauses and then they ask about my ever-growing bump and when I am due. Well, really they motioned to my belly and said something in Italian, naturally, those are the questions asked, so I told them, in Italian “cinque Maggio” they oohed and chuckled and then asked if we were English or American and if the bump was a brother or sister. With their mission complete and chit-chat over, we wish each other a “Buona Pasqua”.  Elliot and I tell them “Grazie” and we watch as they walk home. Encounter over. Although it was short and sweet, it is this type of visit, that makes me less stressed about answering the door.

Now, I need to decide on an American Easter tradition, that I can make in time for Sunday and deliver to our neighbors. Hmmm… any ideas?

the perfect name- getting to the final four

We are on the quest to find the perfect name for our soon-to-arrive baby boy, and let me just say that this is not an easy task for us.  We want something off the beaten-path but not ridiculous. Something with class but that doesn’t age him before his time. And most importantly, we want a name that is tease-free, cool, and a bit unique. On top of all the requirements for his name, I also feel that I will know when we have found “the one”.  Well, I am due in less than 3 weeks and my intuition has yet to show up!  Choosing a name is much harder than I ever anticipated.

We had an exceptionally difficult time naming our first child, because we didn’t find out the sex of the baby. Thus, we had to decide on 2 full names.  How did we manage this feat?  A single elimination sports playoff bracket!  Depending on how many names you have you can start with 32 or 16 if you are lucky enough to have a short list to begin with even 8. What we love about this method is that you can repeat it as often as you like and if you still end up with the same name(s) then you know they truly are your top choices. We are using this method currently and have narrowed over 32 choices down to 4. Although, the jury is still out, and we do add names weekly, but at least we have a tool to help us weed out the junk. Check out half of one of our brackets.

 

EDITED TO ADD:

After what felt like countless brackets we decided on a name. I am not sure if it was the fact that we were being discharged from the hospital that day or that we were tired of being in limbo but we made a decision. Interestingly enough it turned out to be a name that appeared for our first child.

And the winner is-

Miles