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11 posts from March 2006

March 27, 2006

The Rainforest

If you don't already reduce, reuse and recycle, you will after watching Caitlin's class presentation on the rainforest!  There is nothing like a group of 5 - 11 year olds reminding one of just how lucky we are to have such resources and how we should use them more carefully. 

It was just a dress rehearsal today, but a great one at that.  The kids have worked really hard and really know what they are talking about.  Pete will videotape the actual show on Friday, so I just took a sampling of pictures today which are in the newest album entitled, "Rainforest Presentation".

March 25, 2006

Utterly Drained

Img_0044or how we hosted Kelsey's 4th Birthday Party today and most of the 19 guests (children only, didn't count adults) don't even speak the same language we do.  That is okay, though, we got by with a lot of pointing and using our basic vocabulary (drekka, appelsinu, epla?).  Kelsey's teachers from her leikskoli Njalsborg stopped by and they werImg_0039e able to help translate, as well as Berta, the adminstrator of RIS, Caitlin's school.

Oh, and we already knew the word for potty. Even if we didn't, given it is 'pissa', I think we could have caught on pretty quickly.

So, the birthday girl had a good time, even if she was a bit shy.  The face-painter and clown balloon-maker were awesome!  They did fabulous jobs with the kids and even led them in a few games.  Here are two pics and will upload an album later.

March 22, 2006

The 'kek'

Img_0025 Yes, a day of many posts!  Here is the 'kek' for Kelsey's 4th Birthday.  Oh, and the sweetest part of today?  I made her pancakes for breakfast and put up a few decorations in the kitchen.  Kelsey was so excited about it being her birthday, she threw her arms around me and said, "Oh, Mommy, thank you for giving me a birthday!"

More later when we open presents and cut the kek!Img_0024_1

Four Years! FOUR YEARS!

Img_0022Change the number to "ten", name the movie and actor & win a piece of:

Kelsey's 4th Birthday cake!  Yep, LBJ is 4 years old today!  She is quite happy, but just hadn't woken up just yet when the picture was taken.

More later as the day progresses.  Oh, and much more this weekend after the "My Little Pony" party!

HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY, Kelsey!!

March 19, 2006

Blink and You Will Miss It

or how most of the NATO base in Keflavik is PCS-ing.  For you non-military types (like me), that means a permanent change of station.  Yes, the helicopters and planes are being redeployed elsewhere by no later than September of 2006.

Might not sound so big to the rest of the world, but it is sizeable news for this island.  So, what does this mean for the Dinoia family?

Well, ironically, not as much as one might think.  Recently, at least one member came to the conclusion that she was being a little too dependent on the base.  The drives were getting to be longer and the rewards seemed to be fewer.   We were utilizing the base to get all of our basic American needs, but those are the same things that in essence, we were trying to separate ourselves from by coming here.

I mean, really, Totino's pizza rolls and TGIF's spin dip are not necessary food groups.  I am also better off drinking plain sodavatn (soda water), than constantly imbibing coca-cola products.  Since I don't like Icelandic coke, I only drink American coke.  Well, did til I gave it up for Lent. 

The more important point, though, is that it is hard to truly integrate oneself into a new society while still being so reliant on their home country.  It is not hard to understand why people may feel that some Americans don't try hard enough overseas.  Some rely 100% on bases and other places and never even step foot outside the gates of their overseas American home. Which begs the question:  why go there?

So, we, the Dinoia family, are trying to better 'not stand out'.  I can't guarantee we will always succeed. Perhaps, though, by using and paying for more Icelandic resources and lessening our dependence on our own country to fulfill our every need, we might hear that famous quote just a little more often, "Oh, yeah, you blend!".

Oh, and more on the base closing can be found here, i.e., the border just got much farther away!

March 16, 2006

Our Ski Kid!

Pict0966_2 Words can't describe how proud we are of Cait.  She was really sick Tuesday afternoon and most of Wednesday, but didn't let that stop her.  She continued her lessons yesterday and today and totally dazzled everyone.  Her teachers could not believe how quickly she caught up and how well she did.

Given that one of her parents, ahem, is not the most naturally athletic of sorts, this is an extremely comforting photo.  Now we can't wait to get Kelsey started next year!

March 15, 2006

Fraulein Caitlin und Fraulein Kelsey

Just a quick pic today, but more later.  Due to illness, we have had not so many activities this week.  We did manage, however, to find some classic German costumes for next Halloween and dress-up.



March 13, 2006

But I don't speak Garmisch!

Pict0953 Caitlin feared touring in Garmisch, as she thought she didn't speak the language.  Since she is also not fluent in German, probably a valid point.  So, instead of dragging her around with us all week, we did the next best thing:

signed her up for ski lessons!

I am determined that my children will be more coordinated than I have yet to become while learning 'social sports'.  So, we registered Caitlin for the Ski Kids program through the lodge.  She was originally only slated for 3 days, but begged to go for five.  Really, my child wants to spend all day outside skiing in gorgeous weather, um, okay!

Monday afternoon, Kelsey and I did a brief tour of downtown Garmisch.  She was still quite jet-lagged, so we didn't do much other than have a coffee (okay, gummy bears for her) and walk around and soak up the culture.  Oh, and did I mention we started to adore German chocolate?

Pict0956 Pict0957_1    So, the above picture is of Kelsey in downtown Garmisch (near the church) and the other two are of the girls and then all of us in front of our horse and carriage.  We took a carriage ride around both old and new Garmisch.  It was pretty cold, but the driver was very entertaining and the ride was so smooth that Kelsey napped contentedly through half of it!

March 12, 2006

Are we in Boston?

Pict0951_1 Kelsey asked when we landed in Munich.  She had just woken up and looked around sleepily forgetting we had just flown from Copenhagen.

It was a long day, but we made it from Reykjavik to Copenhagen to Munich and eventually to Garmisch.  It took a while as the GPS in the car kept trying to take us back to the airport.  Pete finally gave up on it and used, gasp, a map the rental car agency gave us! 

Lo and behold we arrived in Garmisch in record time after figuring out downtown Muniich.  Oh, okay, so the minimum speed limit of 100 km/hour on the Autobahn really helped.  Thankfully, the kids slept through most of that, so they didn't see the car that had run off the road (must have been moments before) and was hanging through a highway sign.  They also missed the driver we came upon who was only going a mere 60 MPH and thus we had to swerve rather quickly. 

The camera was dead upon arriving at the Edelweiss Alpine Lodge and Resort, however, it successfully charged this morning.  It has been snowing since we got here and thankfully, like Iceland, but unlike Northern VA, Germany does not close because of snow!  We are really used to just going about our lives like normal no matter what the weather (snow, rain, sleet, hail all at the same time), so it is refreshing to be in a similar environment.

So, the photo is the view from our room.  Look to the back of the photo; they have TREES here!!  We forgot what real forests looked like!  You may also see what looks like a small mountain.  In reality, you just can't see everything because of cloud cover.  What you do see is commonly known  'the Alps'! 

So, you could say we are happy to be here and thus far, the kids are enjoying their first trip to mainland Europe.

March 06, 2006

It blew books off shelves and scared the socks off some poor DS Agent!

Or, we had an earthquake today!  Apparently, I was so shaken that I continued my shower blissfully unaware.  However, then the phone rang and it was Peter calling, so I knew something had happened.

"Did you feel it?!"
"Um, feel what?"
"The earthquake!!"
"Um, no, I was in the shower."
"Okay, bye."

As you can see, not only was an earthquake (of some magnitude, I should add, small ones are not unusual here) recorded today, but also the text of one of the longest phone conversations I have had with Peter to date!

Oh, to see the actual earthquake stats, go to this page:  earthquakes in Iceland.

March 02, 2006

The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Dinoia

Watch out Bavaria, you won't know what hit you!

Yes, I know The Sound of Music was in Austria, but let's face it, our trip will probably more resemble the famed Griswold European vacation.  So, what is up?  Where are we going and why?

Well, Pete has a conference at the  Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, and gosh darnit, we are tagging along.  We received our tickets in the mail yesterday, and with the exception of the Drama Queen, we are excited to be taking a week-long trip to Garmisch with at least one side trip to Munich.

I am sure Cait will be excited once she gets there, but right now she is SO concerned as she will miss school.  Yes, we are having testing done to make sure she still has our genetic makeup!  Her school not only gave her permission to go, but indicated that they felt "outside of the classroom" education was often far more stimulating.  Considering what she has learned so far in Iceland, I would have to agree.

So, the three of us (and Pete on the weekend) will do the tourist thing from March 11 - March 18.  Don't worry, no sweats and sneakers, but probably will still look the part.  Let's just hope we remember the camera this time and the charger!