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9 posts from August 2005

August 27, 2005


Yet another chance to win a free stay at Casa Dinoia in fashionable 101 Reykjavik: Correctly pronounce the above name the first time! Oh, heck, we still probably say it incorrectly.

Here is another one: Snaefellsjokull! This is the glacier we visited today. We didn't actually climb it, as Kelsey fell asleep and Caitlin was "too freezing cold", however we may take some future visitors (if they come at the right time of the year) camping there. It is absolutely gorgeous and some beautiful hiking trails are right at your footsteps.

Had we not had the kids with us, it really would have been easier to walk. A long walk, but the road was again, not really "a road" and many times we thought we were going to lose a tire or worse. We didn't though, yea (!), and have some lovely pictures. Here is one of Pete standing in front of Snaefellsjokull! The second pic is of the girls under the sign at the picnic spot. We just happened to find this great spot with tons of white pines that had been imported from Alaska.

Yes, those are their winter coats and yes, they were necessary in August.

August 25, 2005

"First ones here!" or "The puffin out front should have told you"

Yes, we finally made it to a swimming pool yesterday. There are only 8 in the city and with the "settling in" we have been trying to do, simply hadn't gotten to one yet.

Okay, and there is something weird about having to fully shower before you go outside while it is pouring rain to go swimming, but that is just me. I am sure after a few times, the whole thing will seem perfectly normal.

So, we got ready, drove to the pool and parked. I pointed out that the parking lot looked somewhat empty and Pete said, "Oh, everybody is just still at work". I jokingly said, "Pool's closed, the puffin out front should have told you". Yes, the classic Wally World line from Vacation. So, Kelsey and I head in and stare at the empty vestibule while the worker we almost tripped over tells us that the pool is closed for maintenance! His actual words were, "Let me translate this sign for you".

I told Pete and we headed to a pool closer to home. He thought surely they rotated the maintenance, while I thought it more likely they shut down all the pools the same week (first week back at school for Icelandic kids) and get the work over with. Guess who won the bet?

So, we went out to dinner last night and spent our daughter's inheritance to make up for the fact that she couldn't go swimming til at least next week. Then they spent two hours in the Nemo paddle pool and, yes, they wore their swimsuits.

August 22, 2005

I should be sobbing

as my baby started second grade today, but all I can think of is just how much I will be able to get done. Well, should I choose to do it. Of course, I am referring to house-hold chores which will never get done as this house is just too big and my helpers are too small!

In theory, I could get tons done except the dishwasher doesn't always clean the dishes and the washing machine takes 1.5 hours for the "quick" cycle and holds 1/4 of a normal load. The dryer is also extremely slow, taking at least an hour to dry anything. And, please don't make me laugh by suggesting I dry stuff outside - have you seen the weather lately??

So, Caitlin started school today and yes, we took the annual picture and no, you can't see it. The driver showed up 10 minutes early and I told him I needed to take a quick picture. He quickly decided to take one of both of us. Caitlin looked fine, but I was pre-coffee and that says it all.

So, if I can crop the photo, will add to the site later along with birthday photos and other items from this weekend!

August 14, 2005

Another Day, Another Year

Older, that is, at least for Jen. Yes, as of 6:32 a.m. EST, I (Jen) am now 33 years old. As Pete would say, I am now almost a third of a century old! OH, whatever.

So, no pics of today as we didn't do anything too terribly exciting, just had a yummy chocolate cake and opened a few gifts. "The Birthday" excitement will be extended this year as apparently quite a few of my gifts did not arrive! I did however, receive a cool "trollish" magnet from C and K and the "Cool Cooking" Icelandic cookbook I had been eyeing at the USO store. Blood pudding, anyone?

Since I don't have any pictures from today and it's my birthday (so I get to do what I want), I am going to insert cute pics from Shannon's surprise (??) wedding shower last year. The girls stopped by after it was over and were just too darn cute and so very happy for Shannon to be marrying "Uncle Mark" or "Marky-Sparky" as he is called in the best circles.

Pictures courtesy of Janet V. Powers!

August 12, 2005

They're Here!

Our boxes, that is. Yes, the mysterious HHE that no one believed would ever show, has finally arrived. And we have the boxes to prove it!

I am really hoping they re-use the boxes and paper in some way as it is just amazing how much paper they use to wrap the unbreakable thingamajig that you might use once 12 years from now. Granted, yes, we will use most everything we brought with us and the things we won't use will go to the thrift shop.

As you can see the girls are thrilled. They spent their afternoon 'organizing' the playroom. Yes, we have an actual room where they can play and store their toys! Anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting our VA basement knows this can be nothing but an improvement.

August 11, 2005

You buy them actual toys and

they end up playing in the box that shipped your the Goo-Gone and Dyson attachments!

Yes, I got a care package the other day with several large bottles of Goo-Gone (they only sell the tiny ones on base), attachments for the vacuum and Method products. Talk about a care package! It's funny how you get older and realize that care packages of oxi-clean wipes and your favorite toothpaste are just as comforting as boxes of brownies.

At any rate, they don't sell Method on the base and www.drugstore.com charges and arm and a leg. I just love the lavender scent and how it makes my house smell so clean but not in that awful fake pine elementary school bathroom way. Plus ,their more environmentally conscious stance is refreshing. Thanks, Mom!

Also, a "shout-out" to Dad and G for the AWESOME Corky's BBQ sauce! I had to break one open last night. It was only for chicken tenders, but mmm, that stuff is good.

SO, I empty the box and Kelsey promptly jumps in. The child sat there for well over 30 minutes completely entertained. Why didn't we think of this sooner??

August 08, 2005

It's a bird, it's a plane,

It's two kids stuffed into a tiny Nemo blow-up paddle pool which is stuffed into their parents bathroom shower. Odd as it may sound, this provided two hours of fun for our kids tonight. They are now officially prunes, however, they have had their first bath in two weeks and thus are excited!

Okay, call off Children's Protective Services, I didn't say they hadn't bathed, simply that they hadn't had "a bath". The Lellow House, sadly (and this is its only fault) has NO bathtubs. However, given how wonderful the house is in every other respect, well, we figured we could just suck it up.

The kids were missing their baths, though. Not swimming and not sitting in hot pots, but their playing with soap paint, soap crayons and toys for hours at a time baths. So, we found this Nemo paddle-pool and voila! And no the picture is not pervy, the kids are completely covered. In fact, 10 to 1 Caitlin is wearing several swimsuits since she insists upon overdressing wherever she goes.

On that note, overdressing here is not such a bad idea. We went out to Office1 Superstore today (um, office supplies yes - "super" store - no!) so Pete could buy a cable. Caitlin was looking at back to school supplies and found this cute "book bag". I swear it looked like it would fall apart after a week and it was marked at the low price of $80. I don't know who actually buys this stuff but have figured out they might sell more if stores were actually open more than 4 hours a day.

Oops, forgot about overdressing. Okay, so we left the not-so-super store (okay, not bad, but not Office Depot/Target, etc.) and headed outside. I believe there were winds that in certain parts of the world (most of the U.S.) could be considered 'gale force'. Here we call it a summer Sunday.

So, yeah, if you come to visit - leave the umbrellas at home!

August 05, 2005

Culture Shock?

So, Caitlin experienced her own bit of culture shock today, but almost sort of a reversal. We went to the library on the base, which is quite extensive and has a huge children's section. They are running a summer reading program and each Thursday the participants gather together to do a related craft project.

We got there a few minutes late (we did have a 45 minute commute) so the craft had already begun. Caitlin sat down and started working, creating a pyramid with jewels inside and Kelsey also started one.

Two other girls were sitting at the table quietly working. A few minutes later one looked up at the other and started speaking. Caitlin looked at me excitedly and said, "Mom, they speak ENGLISH!"

It never occurred to me that when I told her about the reading program, that she didn't know the other children would be native English speakers! I just assumed she knew. I guess in her mind though, everyone her age speaks Icelandic, unless they have told her otherwise. The children that speak English are the exception and so far, few and far between.

We also hosted our first playgroup today. I still haven't figured out where everyone is from with the exception of the two moms who were in my Icelandic class. Even though we still have very few toys, almost everybody brought one to share and I turned the coffee table into a giant coloring paper. Even the very young children enjoyed it and thankfully, the brownies disappeared quickly! Not surprisingly a few veggies left, but better I snack on those than the brownies.

We also met our landlord today. He is stopping by tomorrow with the insurance adjustor and the GSO assistant from the Embassy. Hopefully, they will be able to install something in the girls' bathroom to assist the water in flowing down the drain rather than throughout the bathroom. The landlord seems nice and is very concerned, so we are confident this will be a good 3 years!

August 01, 2005

Keflavik, the town

Keflavik is known to many primarily as it is the location of the airport, as well as the Navy/NATO base. In fact, the base and airport actually share the airfield. There is a sign at the automobile entrance to the airfield that reads, "Aircraft has the right of way". Yep, definitely not something to challenge here with the remarkable amount of air traffic.

I digress, sorry! So, today we decided to explore the town of Keflavik. It was quite hyped up on the internet and in some of the tourist guides, so we figured we would give it a go. Unfortunately, like many other towns (towns, not sights), the advertising says one thing and you see another.

It isn't as though there aren't things to see or do, but we read about at least 4 museums that were open to the public on Sundays. We thought they were extensive and more historical than they actually turned out to be. However only one was open. In fact, the town looked like a ghost town. Only one restaurant and the museum appeared to be open. Okay, and the Bonus Video (whose advertising suspiciously resembles Blockbuster).

So, we went to the boat museum. It was interesting, tons of model boats, but almost everything was in Icelandic and 3 weeks of Icelandic does not remotely prepare you for that! In a connecting room was an unrelated glass art exhibit. Great work, but the works of art seemed to be jammed into the room. One wrong move and you own some nice broken glass!

The third room was definitely intriguing. We are not entirely sure (again, all in Icelandic), but we feel it is about an Icelandic band that was very popular in the 70s. There was a "poster" for each year of the decade and many statues with 70s-esque clothes. (Mom, word of warning, one mannequin was wearing a pair of glasses I swear I saw in your glove compartment on our last trip there! :-))

The kids loved this room! Let's just say there was a disco ball and strobe light and you-know-who was in heaven. God, we HAVE to find a singing teacher for that child! She was singing again tonight and first of all, her lyrics way beat anything out there today and secondly, she can so hold a tune! Her singing gives me chills at times; you just don't expect a 6 year old to open her mouth and sing the way she does. I am no expert, of course, but... Even one of the Embassy staffers (Icelandic) noticed and commented he couldn't believe her pitch.

So, one more thing on our "to do" list. Now that school is out, we can accomplish a few extra things on our list. I think we have almost gotten the UAB squared away and hope to hear about the HHE on Tuesday.

Why Tuesday you ask? Why because we are on holiday tomorrow, of course! The Laugar Zoo and Family Park http://www.husdyragardur.is/ is open (og frytt) and free to the public tomorrow, and since we owe the kids a return trip, you can bet we will take that freebie.