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9 posts from August 2006

August 30, 2006

Not to fear

we are still here, just very busy.  I forgot just how time-consuming the beginning of the school year can be.  I keep thinking I will have so much time to get things done and then feel lucky to eat lunch.  I really do have to try to get more sleep, so here is just a quick run-down of the week...

  • Cait is extremely excited about learning Icelandic this year!  In fact, she has re-piqued my interest that waned late last year.  Not that I don't find the language interesting, but, well, it is incredibly challenging.
  • The web-site (basic pages) is complete!  Yes, I will be adding fancy-pants fun stuff soon, but for now, the International School site is good to go.  I have also been updating items at www.modurmal.com, the local Mother Tongue Association.  I can't claim the design of the site, but it is great to have so much work so soon.
  • Kelsey begins her Mother Tongue classes on September 16.  While she is clearly learning English at home, it is recommended that young native English speakers take supplemental classes.  Since Kels is in an all-Icelandic preschool, it is especially important that she is prepared to go back to a mostly English environment next year.
  • Caitlin will start choir practice on September 11.  She is a little shy, but I think we can all agree that it is time for her to do more with her voice.  She claims she will be 'nervous' and while I believe it to a degree, if you have heard her belt out a song recently, you know that nervousness disappears pretty quickly!  The choir is for girls in grades 1-3 and is coordinated through Domus Vox

I begin my weekly volunteer/website work at the school tomorrow, so must get some shut-eye.  More later!

August 23, 2006

Oh, yeah, you blend

Img_03871 Well, this year, she did!  Caitlin started third grade today at the International School of Iceland.  Last year it took us several months to catch up with the locals as far as apparel.  This year, we are all set from the get-go.

See, one doesn't just get up and get dressed here in Iceland, not if you are headed to any kind of skola.  No, one gets up, assesses the weather, wakes up the said child, re-assesses the weather, helps child pile on the layers and then performs a final assessment before the taxi arrives.  With the weather and the requirement for a minimum period of outdoor time regardless of the weather, it is important that one's child is dressed appropriately.

So, once I nixed the capris today, she dressed in a long sleeve shirt, leggings and socks for her basic outfit.  Then we added rainpants (if the wind is bad, she could get soaked walking into school) and polar fleece socks to keep the rain boots on (they always seem so big, even in the right size).  She then wore her new 66 North jacket on top (I know, I am a sucker, but she does look soo cute and BLENDS!) and finally a rain jacket and mittens.  And, yes, today is August 23, technically still summer, even here.

Img_0388The end result?  Berta was so impressed with Caitlin's appropriate dress that she used her as a role model for the other students (new expats)...dress like Cait or get soaked and freeze.  So, here she is posing for her first day of school pic and then the taxi driving off with my little baby....

August 21, 2006

~Technical Updates~

The International School of Iceland is online in its new format!  Also, note there is a new Flickr badge on the sidebar of this blog.  This should always have our most recent pictures and then you can also look at them on our photostream.

The current selection includes pictures from our trip to Chincoteague (July 30 - August 5), our birthday party at Auntie Pat and Uncle Joe's house, our trip to Sesame Place and yesterday's outing to the Reykjavik Farm Park & Zoo.  It was an amazingly gorgeous and sunny day yesterday.  The girls were so warm they were were wearing sleeveless shirts!

Ooh, last but not least, in fact, most importantly, pictures from Cait's 8th Birthday should be in the badge!  She had a lovely day on Saturday including a surprise sunday with sparklers at Grillhusid, having her birthday on Culture Day, having her friend Heida spend the night and indulging in cake and gifts. 

Her big birthday party with her friends will be in mid-September.  There will be so many new students that it will be sort of a "welcome to ISI"/Birthday party.   

August 19, 2006

Icelandic Gift Basket

Img_0365 My friend Berta stopped by today with her two children, Heida and Gustav.  Heida is 9 and Gustav just turned 4 and our kids just love playdates with them.  H. and G. brought gifts for both Caitlin and Kelsey and Caitlin and Kelsey finally gave Heida and Gustav their birthday gifts.

As it turned out, Berta also brought a gift for me from her garden: a gorgeous basket of homegrown treats!  The basket was filled with potatoes, basil, parsley, cilantro and a rose, all from her garden, a rhubarb jam (w/rhubarb from the garden) and smoked trout that she caught on a fishing trip!  It was such a lovely treat and surprise, especially considering that I am not the one in the family with the birthday today!  Don't worry, pictures of our (now - sob) 8 year old are coming soon.

Berta also came over to meet with me regarding my new position with the school.  As of yesterday, I am their new webmistress. I am working on the redesign of the site as we speak, as I type.  The current design, International School, is still up, but  the new site will be published tonight as there is going to be a big article on the school in tomorrow's Morganbladid!

August 18, 2006

Island Economy

or how I paid $60 for 12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts yesterday.  The commissary at the base closed on Saturday and our only option (on base) is now the mini-mart.  If we are stocking up for a party, that is fine, however, their grocery selection is, well, limited at best.

So, we had friends over for dinner last night and Pete made his famous chicken parm.  I was thrilled to find a familiar looking bottle of pasta sauce for the low, low price of $4.30 per jar.  Not too bad there, but the chicken nearly killed me.  It didn't dance or sing or come pre-marinated.  Nope, plain ole' chicken to the tune of $60!

I know, I know, it is an island economy and things are at a premium.  But, good grief, how do people eat?  It wouldn't seem so bad if produce were less expensive, but, yeah, it's not.  I briefly thought about us all becoming vegetarian for two years, but I think that would be just as pricey.  Ever shopped at Whole Foods?  Yeah, their produce is cheap compared to Iceland!  Also, at least for the cost you have the privilege of saying 'it's organic'...not so here.  You can get organic, but it is definitely pricier.

Mind you, we haven't yet had to buy gas on the local economy yet and we are psyched to pay (currently) $7.65/gallon!  I suppose the good news is that we are now currently set on our stores of:  dishwashing liquid, shampoo, body wash, laundry detergent, fabric softener, hand soap, oxi-clean, goo-gone, soup, olives, canned foods, kitty litter and all the rest of the personal items that are so costly here.  When we lose the FPO, we also lose the privilege of having more than 16 oz of liquid in any package.  The government even considers canned grean beans to be liquid, so glad we stocked up!

I suppose the bonus to all of this is that we really will look at how we spend our money at the store.  Although, I was sad to see almost all of this week's weekly allowance spent on one meal yesterday!  Peter thinks our basement looks like a retail store, but I say better that than having to spend $12 on a small box of laundry detergent (the generic brand).  When we are at the store we will only have to buy food, which is good since they charge you for the grocery bags, too! 

Now, I purchased my reusable grocery bags online, but if I hadn't, I would have probably spent close to $150 just on grocery bags!  I understand their theory is to just bring your own and save the cost, but they don't even offer cloth bags for sale in the store.  This is also a country where it is standard to only buy whatever food you are going to eat that day.  I am all for fresh food, but really, is having an extra box (or 20) of pasta in the pantry such a bad idea?

So there is a little 'slice o' life'.  Mind you, we are still enjoying Iceland and it should be interesting to see how we do.  Not only will we be more conscious of how we are spending our money, but really, what we are putting into our bodies.   I have been 'coke-free' since April and haven't missed the cola at all.  Since I spent $2.90 on ONE litre of coke for Peter on Tuesday, he is also considering lessening considerably the amount of soda he drinks.

Oh, and junk food?  Not likely.  Yes, there will be occasional treats, but with a small bag of goldfish running over $2, it won't be like the States.  And, no commercials here to remind the kids of what they are missing.  I think we will instead let them indulge in the bakery treats that are so popular here, but at least seem to have some nutrition.

Okay, Little Buddy Junior has awoken from her late afternoon nap, so off to make her dinner.  Ooh, and tomorrow, well, we all know what tomorrow is...Culture Day in Reykjavik and it just happens to fall on one of the most important days of our year.  Don't know?  Check back tomorrow!

August 15, 2006

Home again, home again

The good news?  Pete did a darn good job keeping the house neat while we were gone, so I didn't have a huge post-vacation letdown...til we got to the living room and found the...

sad news?  Shaggy, one of our beloved hamsters, passed away (probably yesterday).  Mr. Bjorn, who took wonderful care of the pets (Brownie & Cheddar are thriving!) had warned Pete that Shaggy was quite lethargic the other day.  So, we were set to expect the worst, although sadly, Caitlin was not.

The interesting news?  The bunk beds arrived!  So, once we can get them through the door of Cait's room, we are going to try the 'sharing' business again.  Since we have yet to be able to get our bed upstairs and thus, be closer to the girls, we thought a shared room might help with Cait's nighttime loneliness.  Or maybe she could learn from Kelsey how to fall asleep by herself?  I know it sounds strange, but Kelsey is just so good about going to bed.   

Um, except now they are fighting over who gets the top bunk!

Speaking of bunks, I may well have to head off to my bed.  As I am getting close to that zombie state and could well fall asleep sitting up...oh, wait, I did that on the plane for two hours (a record, I know)!  And, yes, poor Pete headed off to work.  He somehow seems to be better at the whole sleep deprivation thing.

Anywho, we made it home safe and sound and now should get some sleep!

August 04, 2006

3rd Time the Charm?

Img_0327_2 Our technological difficulties sadly extended beyond the laptop this week.  However, while we are still awaiting those beach pics, we do have a few of the girls ready for sun and surf.  More later, we hope!

This is a view from our hotel, the Island Motor Inn.  Our room overlooks the intracoastal waterway and we loved it!

August 01, 2006

Kiddy R&R

generally consists of time spent away from the 'rents.  So, Cait and Kels had 5 days of it last week when they spent quality time with Auntie Shannon and Uncle Mark at "Annacampolis".  It is based on her friend Jen Pope's camp (for Jen's nieces).  So, they spent a week doing tons of fun things without us looking over their shoulders. 

Rather than reiterate several great postings, take a peek at www.3saltydogs.blogspot.com.

Beachy-keen...for now

Wondering where our great beach pics are?  Well, sadly, you will have to check back tomorrow.  We made today our pool/Ocean City day.  We went to OC for dinner, a walk on the boardwalk and mini-golf but didn't so much get to the mini-golf.

I guess it has been a while since we have been to Ocean City.  Not that we expect every beach town to be gorgeous and pristine, but I think we forgot just how crowded it can be.  We had our fill by the time we finished dinner and stopped at Wal-Mart (we had also forgotten how, ahem, inexpensive Wal-Mart can be!)to pick up beach chairs and sand pails for tomorrow!  So, take a peek tomorrow evening for a selection of photos from our first day at Assateague Island National Seashore

Oh, and pray the laptop doesn't crash - again.  Yes, it died yet at Shannon and Mark's house the yesterday.  Somehow Pete (the pc geek & god) brought it back to life and even managed to get the wireless going again (thanks, HP, for having those drivers on-line!). 

On the other hand, if you don't see anything, weeeellll...check back in two weeks?