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8 posts from August 2008

August 26, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

I really, really, must get some rest.  However, I couldn't forget to at least post a piIMG_1492cture or two about the first day of school in the U.S..  Take a good long look at the girls and comment with  your guess as to what was, shall we say, missing from the school supply list this year (at least for the time being)....

Nick was also quite excited about the start of school.  He is looking forward to an intense schedule of trying new foods, continuing to work on his crawling and has a vision of walking by the end of term (we hope or fear?!).  If that isn't enough work for a wee one, he may also look into this optionIMG_1489

August 23, 2008

Photo Op

No, it's not Pete at work (yet).  While he is traveling, his current job in Denver is not allowing him to do much other than work behind the scenes, shall we say.  So behind the scenes, that he cannot even have his phone with him most of the time and no internet (unless he hops on over to Kinko's)...makes scheduling the move-in (ROTFL) that much easier.

Why do I laugh?  As of today, we STILL do not have firm dates for either our HHE or storage.  I would say this has been by far the most long and drawn out state-side move.  We finally received the inheritance shipment (which was painful for obvious reasons) and the car (not painful, but no gas/no plates/no drive).

We had quite the day yesterday:   a repairman at the house almost all morning, the inherited goods arriving (much later than scheduled) in mid-afternoon, and the Odyssey last night.  To the CDG (Car Delivery Guy's) surprise, the car was dirty!  Really??  You mean no one on the ship bothered to clean off the windows or vacuum the seats?  Sent from Iceland by boat, then driven across the country for days, and I am supposed to be mad because the outside is dirty?

Oddly enough, this is from a man who had the nerve to call me yesterday morning and tell me if I wanted my car, I had to give him $895, COD or cashier's check.  For a dirty car, no less!  I didn't know if he thought I was a complete moron, desperate enough to do anything to get my car (filthy, remember), or just trying to pull a fast one, but it was by far the most ludicrous thing I had ever heard...COD for a car being shipped for a government move.  No, I didn't pay, and never heard the final outcome, but have my car, so frankly, don't care.

We also still have yet to find out when/if our storage can be delivered (I use 'if' b/c just so much has not gone according to plan during this summer & move/fallen apart completely and I am just so over it all)...you know, the boxes of stuff that have sat on their tushies for three years (and counting) in a MD storage facility?  Yeah, that's the stuff we still have no clue about.  I mean NO clue.  We know more about the HHE, just not when it will show up.  Go figure.

So, here we are for at least another two weeks in the Residence Inn.  Not that I mind, but I honestly forget that at some point we will live somewhere besides the family reunion/soccer team weekend haven of Northern California.  We are being introduced to family members of staff and pretty much know everyone on a first-name basis.  At least have a two bedroom, two bath, which is fairly spacious, especially tonight.

Not only is Peter gone, but Caitlin is spending the night at a friend's house. Definitely a boost for her, especially given how few girls we have met so far in our neighborhood.  The boys all seem to be nice, but there is something to be said for girlfriends with similar interests.  And since both Nick and Kelsey are asleep, what with the night owl being out, I should probably get some rest.  However, I just received an email from a friend in Reykjavik, and remember that I forgot (I think) to many this many moons ago. 

My friend Letetia started this company earlier this year.  She realized after moving to Reykjavik that while there may be a lot for kids to do, the language barrier on Icelandic web-sites can be tough to crack at first.  Not all of the web-sites are completely in English, and/or search engines don't always get you to the right place.  So, she created this site in English, Icelandic, and Polish.  It allows you to find almost anything for your youngsters interested in recreation.

Before the site debuted on the web, she realized it might need a few action shots.  A few weeks before Nicky was born, she asked if my girls might be interested in participating in a photo shoot.  I didn't realize the extent of her new project, but volunteered the girls.  I figured with a new baby in the house, they would need to get out a bit.  When the day of the shoot rolled around, it turned out he was really new (5 days), so Pete took them and they spent the day playing chess, jumping on trampolines, eating pizza, you know, the good life. 

I forgot about it for a while, what with the newbie and the upcoming move.  However, after receiving an email in the early summer about its debut, I checked out the site and found a  very focused and familiar child.  So, check it out for fun or review it if you might be on your way to Icyland for a while with your tots.  Either way, go Letetia, it is a great idea and hope it continues to thrive! 

August 19, 2008

Ten years ago

20020690503_0_ALB1st Day and birthday party 011 you were thrust into the world from your warm and cozy hiding spot and placed into my arms.  After a turbulent and emotionally draining pregnancy, we were thrilled to have you in our lives.  We were startled by your blond hair and blue eyes, but so happy you had arrived at long last.  You were a long and lean baby, then toddler, as we began our somewhat unusual and  nomadic life together.

You have taken much time and care to become your own person.  You tried soccer (didn't like so much), ballet (much better, but not quite you) and settled on swimming and a love of music, whether vocal or instrumental.  You were and continue to be intensely thoughtful as a child, which fueled a love of reading, almost to a fault.  How many times have I heard an odd noise in the middle of the night, checked on you, and found you under the covers with a flashlight and your latest book?  The book that eventually causes your eyes to flutter as you tire yourself from the intense concentration and you drift off to sleep trying ...to.. read...one...last ...word.

You are deeply imaginative and from sketches to stories to songs, you can create worlds in which one could be lost for ages.  You have the ability to be terribly independent, but enjoy sharing your imaginative exploits with others, especially those close to you. You are a loving older sister, whether through such creative play with Kelsey or lulling NIcholas to sleep through song.IMG_1300

 You are a unique combination of us with your willowy figure, sparkling green eyes, porcelain skin, and ecru tresses.  We alternate between worrying about how quickly you are growing up to basking in your accomplishments.  You crossed between the continents as though you were skipping across a footpath in the backyard, and still remember the details of every step along the way.

You are Caitlin Hughes Dinoia, our little girl (yet so grown up) and today you are ten.  Happy Birthday,  Little Buddy!

August 17, 2008


I am betting at this point you are surprised to see anything posted at all.  Time seems to fly, and with Nicky still being a growing (and thus hungry) boy, no wireless internet, living in two places at once, still adjusting to life here, and oh, school starting next week, well, things are a little busy at times.  My best intentions seem to be flushed down the toilet and instead of blogging about Nick's every move, Kelsey's newest quote, or Caitlin's newest song (10,000 B.C., thanks for asking!), I end up spending too much time on a too slow internet trying to find activities, furniture, a Master's program I really want to do (when??), and, and, and...

Today I took a huge break from stressing about this somewhat by accident.  Our new Ikea couch (we tried Craigslist, we really did, but...) was delivered with an incorrect pillow.  We had planned on all schlepping to Ikea after lunch, but ended up not having time to retrieve the pillow from the house before we dropped off the rental car and then hurried to Walnut Creek for lunch at the Pyramid Alehouse with friends.  After returning to the house after lunch, the girls wisely thought a trip to Ikea might be boring (frankly, I was quite on the same page).

Good thing we did not go with him.  To drive there, return a pillow, and get a new one (not quite right, but close enough), took well over four hours.  We ended up staying at the house in order to arrange what I could and for the girls to play 'clubhouse' with the boxes from couch and glider.  This is, by the way, a fabulous way for them to play...requires nothing but boxes and they will play for hours uninterrupted.  Anyone who has moved recently knows that empty boxes fuel imaginations for days.

They were content to take up permanent residence in the dining room, but Nicky and I needed to get out and stretch our legs.  Since school starts on the 25th, I figured we should probably test the walk to the school.  And, yes, that is if they both get into the school;  it is now looking like we won't find out until Tuesday.  We headed off to the park just behind the school and found not only did it have the regular school playground (open to the public), but also a playground for wee ones.  It was gorgeous weather, Nick wanted out of the pack, Caitlin and Kelsey saw the perfect baby swing, and so we let Nick-Knack go for his fPhoto-1irst ride.
This was the first photo I took (with the I Phone, no less) and he remained  this happy the entire time.  Of course, that his demeanor most of the time, except when hungry.  He is so amazingly content, and I can't help thinking it is not only that we are more relaxed, but that he has such doting older sisters, who have yet to balk with helping.  Kelsey is not as fascinated with the stinky diapers as she used to be, but still willingly assists with everything Nicky-related.

Since I missed writing about it earlier, now would be the perfect time to add about his six month check-up on Wednesday.  We found an office that was recommended by Pete's co-worker AND accepted by our insurance company, a near miracle!

Overall, the appointment went fine.  We had to explain the lack of immunizations (other than the first cocktail) quite a bit, as we expected.   Then the dreaded, "Does he sleep on his back, side, or stomach?"

At night, should he actually make it to the pack n play, he does go down on his back...but will happily turn over during his slumber. Then when he sleeps with us, he spends half of his time sleeping on side, as he is eating at the same time. Thankfully, the doctor understood the positives of co-sleeping and when we explained, that was that. 

They did the height, weight, and head measurements, and like his sisters, he is long and lean.  The pediatrician offered that now would be a fine time to start solids, so we bought a little plate and spoon later in the day in anticipation.  The poor guy ended up having to get five shots that day, one in the left arm, and two in each leg.  He did quite well, crying only until he latched on and seemed to forget the entire event a few minutes later.IMG_1460

To the right is the other "first" of the day.  You can't really tell from the photo, but he laughed, giggled, and snorted the entire time. He tried to feed himself, and would have loved to slather himself in the rice.  The night ended with a bath, as you can imagine, and now he is sleeping sweetly in his 'crib'. 

I can't believe my little guy is almost six months old, or that his sister will be ten years on Tuesday.   I almost forgot...looks like the blue eyes will likely stay...my sweet little souvenir Viking...who has awoken again...bless, bless for now.

August 12, 2008

Is this good-bye?

Sadly, it may be.  It has been two days now and, gulp, my GSM is still missing.  Yes, my dear little Motorola Razor with at least 20 or so absolutely adorable pictures, is on the lam.

Where did it go and why?  I was so careful with her, getting the protective cover, keeping her out of the ocean (unlike my sunglasses!), and rarely letting her out of my sight.  And, now, now she is gone.

I have checked everywhere with one (unlikely) exception in hopes perhaps she just fell on the floor and I somehow forgot to pick her up.  We have torn the room apart (lots of fun), the car apart (ooh, no more Kettlecorn for the kids at the Farmers Market), and the house...oh, wait, that took 12 seconds.  No luck anywhere.

So, if one of my beloved readers  happens to be in the East Bay area and discovered a little, black Motorola flip-phone lovingly wrapped in a leather cover, please, please email me!  And for anyone trying to reach us, wondering why we didn't answer?  Well, there you go.

August 08, 2008

Toothpicks anyone?

Cause I really need them to keep my eyes open at this point.  I probably should not be typing, but I have had things rolling around in my head for days now and my head is about ready to explode (no, Dad, not a headache, just general frustration).  Between the move, the hotel's incessant lack of internet (thanks, Marriott!), and still feeling like a fish out of water, I am not sure what to do.

First, however, let me allay a few fears, the first being that the girls will not get a spot in school.  Yes, they will go to a school and likely even the same one.  The previous post was my, well, not understanding why the packet needed proof of residency to be handed out.  I can tell you for a fact that we are one of many, many families moving to this area and wouldn't it be easier to give out the packets (lease or no lease) and if the parents come back with the proper information... great, give the kid a spot!

Instead, one cannot even get said packet (new registration forms, etc.) UNTIL you show proof of residency, to include a signed lease.  Although I do have to say, I was happy they did not require us to show two months of utility bills (required according to their website).

Enough about that, though, as we can't do anything at all until Monday.  I am going to fill out the forms, cross my fingers, turn around three times under a full moon, and say a prayer the kids will go to the same school...oh, and then quit worrying about it.

August 07, 2008

I promise

beloved readers that a new post will appear tomorrow.  A new design may even be in the offing, but that may take a bit longer.

I am just so exhausted (um, can I still blame it on jet lag?) and with the still slow (and generally awful, if available) internet, I just haven't been able to finish the last post.  The edge of the laptop is like a knife in my wrist, but the Nickster is sound asleep in my arms and if I move one inch....well, as you know, never wake a sleeping baby.

So perhaps tomorrow, after my visit to Fusion 3, my new salon (maybe?), I can finally finish.  In case you weren't aware, it will be my first post-Jogvan visit and I am hoping things will work out for the best.  You know they say the hardest part about moving for a woman is finding a new hair stylist and a, er, physician?  Well, if all goes well, one down and one to go.  Heck, as long as my roots come out remotely decently, I will be quite happy. 


August 02, 2008


So, we tried to register for school today, with the operative word being "tried".  For those of you who don't know, we have opted to go with public school for the $20K a year we can save by not schlepping the kids to a private school each day.  While I am sure the private schools are perfectly good and may well be worth the money, I think public schools tend to be a little more realistic. 

Mind you, this is not how I would feel overseas.  However, that is a whole different ballgame and somewhat irrelevant right now, since we won't bid again for at least, oh, 13 months, and the actual move could be 3 years away.

I have been looking at the information on the San Ramon Valley Unified School District web-site for several months now and pretty much figured out one thing:  we needed to show up in person two months ahead of time and have at least two pieces of "proof of residency" saying we had lived here forever (or at least 60 days) and then, only then, could we register.  Um, yeah, after arriving here July 15, finding a house on July 20, and signing the lease yesterday, not sure we could have accomplished things much faster.

Now the website gave a lot of information, and stated we had to follow the above to a T, but we thought perhaps showing up in person might be the best bet, lease or no lease, and perhaps they could cut us slack, give us a packet, AND an appointment?  As of this past Monday we were desperate to at least have an idea of where the girls might go to school.  And?

"Come back Friday with your signed lease and THEN you can pick up a packet!"  The packet that has the registration form, the ever-important doctor's form, dental form (a new one for us), language form (would love to put that we are an Icelandic only household, however, "Komdu Katla" once a day probably doesn't count), and, and, and....

After they gave us the packet, we were given instructions to go home, fill them out and show up at the school with them on Monday, August 11.  We had arrived just in time this morning (well, found out just in time on Monday) that the offices closed for the 'summer' today at 4:30 p.m. and wouldn't open again until one week from Monday.

So, we now have to hope that:

  • they will accept the TN doctor's form....we have used up our annual check-ups for the girls and really don't feel like being out even more for this move (despite it being a paid move, there are many, many hidden costs).  Mind you, we thought we were being proactive by taking care of their well check-ups in Memphis since we didn't know how long it would take to find a pediatrician here or if they would have any openings.
  • if they don't accept said form, we can see the doctor before the start of school (I know, I know)
  • most importantly, they will actually meet with us on Monday and, um,
  • have space in the schools since some of our friends here have actually been wait-listed...and did I mention spaces in the same school for both of the girls.  They don't bus the kids here, so picture me dropping them off at two different schools at the same time...and, yes, that would blow our walking to school idea. 

Whew, now off to fill out the forms and fret for a week til the doors to the school open for us (we hope)!