Sunday, September 27, 2009

I finally finished one room!

After only FIVE months...ok...I'll say FOUR months since we spent at least one in temporary barracks housing...I've finished Bella's bedroom.  I wanted to paint and hang some shelves and reorganize, etc.

Well, this weekend we were finally able to get it done and I love it!  Its so much brighter and cheerier than it was before.  I did a really simple paint job...kept with the theme/style that is on her crib bedding and bumper pads.

The window in her room is wonderful.  It lets in a lot of natural light and for a baby's room I would probably just have left sheer curtains, but because of all that wonderful light I went out and bought fabric...remember that post? (Domestic I am)  and I made cute little curtains for her room...

John spent some time hanging the shelves we found at a German hardware store and I was finally able to put up some of her stuffies and photos and cute little things that were gifts from family and friends...and my "how to" books for being a great mom.  :)

We found this pretty little canopy at a garage sale for $5.  It fits perfectly over Bella's crib and really softens that part of the room. 

And last, but not least is the photo that my dad gave me a long time ago before Bella was even a twinkle in my eye....actually, I wasn't even married, but I loved the picture so much and I've always wanted to hang it in my baby's room.

I'm so glad room #1 is finally done.  My next project is my bedroom and hopefully it will be done by the time Madmad's stuff gets here near the end of October.  That means that I'll effectively be done with my house decor (or at least the bedrooms) within 7 months of moving to Germany.  ha ha ha.  At least all the boxes are unpacked.  :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You turn for a minute...

to put the vacuum away and return to find this.

You just can't get grumpy with a face like that. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cleaning frenzy

John found 1/2 of a broken zipper with a sharp edge in Bella's mouth yesterday.  I have no idea where it came from but I'm not taking any chances.  Nothing like that kind of scare to make me WANT to clean. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The WHAT adventure?

Today we went for a long bike ride. I've had cabin fever something fierce and needed to get out of the house and get some exercise in before my stay at home sweatpants actually became part of my skin...

Madmad is not a very good bike rider yet. She can do it, but she still gets nervous down hills and forgets to use her brakes and tries to stop with her feet and when she does use her brakes she stomps on them and comes screeching to a halt nearly always toppling the bike.

So, we decided to take it nice and easy and to stay on the wide bike paths, but we wanted to stop by the outdoor store here for an accessory for Mr. C's bike... Ok..not really an accessory - when we shipped the bike we discovered that  the seat was missing? Huh? Yeah...who knows where it went? Mr. C found a cool seat in the dumpster ( we ARE resourceful aren't we?!) but the metal post was too small and so the seat wouldn't attach correctly on the bike so we went to see if they sold seat posts....

Thats not really an accessory...its kind of necessary, but to end this little tangent story, I was proud of Mr. C biking for nearly 2 miles with no seat.  (ha ha ha...what a sport.) we head down the little path to go to the commissary and outdoor store Maddie gets scared because she has to turn a corner, forgets her brakes, can't stop with her feet in time and plows BAM into a 4 ft ditch lined with concrete.


She didn't really get hurt - had a little cry and then was too scared to get back on her bike. Mr. C and I rallied and soon we had her back on and she ended up riding the whole 2 miles with us.

Long story short...she wrote in her journal and drew a picture of her "ditch" adventure...or maybe not...

And we even got a cool picture to go with it...

I'm the lunatic looking one with wild hair saying "oh my!"  John is the other blondie who exclaims, "Good fall!" and a few other unreadable things.  And Maddie is laying in the ditch (see bluebell, her bike?) saying Waaaaaah! 

Love it.  We had her change the B's to D's, but I had to scan it so I could pull it out someday when she's 17 and have a good laugh with her about it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Two days ago...

My baby girl turned 10 months old.

We pulled her out of the bathtub and decided she looked so darn sweet that we had to do a photo shoot right then and there. So we laid out some sheer curtains (that I *still* haven't hung) and let her play in them.

She was sooo cute.

We now have a full-blown crawler on our hands. Look at her working so hard with her little tongue out. She constantly has her tongue out checking out her two new teeth that grew in this month!

And look at that round little belly! She's finally puttin on a little weight now that we've added formula to her diet as per Dr.'s orders. The last time we put her on the scale she was up to 16 pounds and is finally wearing her 9 month clothes now.

She also pulls herself up to standing on any piece of furniture she can get her hands on. At first she would just cry until I helped her sit back down, but she's now learned that she can plop on her cute little bottom and it doesn't hurt.

How have these months flown by so fast. Ten months old....I'm so happy I'm your mama, little one.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Switzerland Part 2

The second half of our Switzerland trip was spent in Bellinzona, a town about 20 minutes from Lugano. When I had lived there previously I had heard of the castles in Bellinzona, but I had never been to them. So, we decided to go see ourselves some castles.

There are three castles in Bellinzona. We decided to go from the top down which also meant going from the smallest to the largest.

Of course "small" in castle speak is not very small.

It didn't have much there...a restaurant that cost $39 franks per person...Uh...not likely we were eating there...and a teeny little courtyard. It was nice to have a chance to walk around and see our first real castle.

It does have a museum inside of it that had various musical instruments. If there is one thing about Mr. C that I need to share...its his infatuation with bagpipes. So, there you have it....I married a man that loves bagpipes. Okey dokey...token photo of Mr. C with bagpipes. :)

The view from the top was magnificent. The country around it was so lush and green with steppe farms that were bursting with produce.

And...we could see the other two castles that we were headed to next!

We left that first castle and headed to castle #2...Castello Montebello.

Can I just say....WOW.

As much as we wanted to see all three castles we ended up spending the rest of the day here.

We drank from the fountains

Made wishes in the wishing well

Leapt like gazelles along the wall (or at least the 7 year old did.)

Played in the grass in the shadow of the castle tower

Gazed at the beautiful view

Snuggled when we got tired

Played "throw baby in the air"

and "babyzilla"

jumped for joy

checked out the castle we'd just come from

and took a family photo to remember this great day.

We were sad to say goodbye the next morning. We made a quick stopoff in Arosio to check out the view one last time, say hello and goodbye to Ila, Ben and their family AND we got lucky enough to partake of the generosity of Emilio and Gabby when they sent us home with tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini. Oh YUM.

We stopped off to lunch near a river on our way home...Enjoyed some typical Swiss braid bread, soft cheese, nectarines and salami. **sigh** Life should be this great all the time.

Till next time, Switzerland.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Where were you today....eight years ago?

I was on a metro train in downtown Washington DC when my coworker stepped on board and said he'd seen the weirdest tv footage just as he was leaving the gym...a plane had crashed into the world trade center in New York.

We chatted with each other and quietly speculated on what may have happened. Metro riders eavesdropped on our conversation...wondering what was going on.

Then we walked into our office building about 4 blocks behind the White House and saw coworkers pulling the tv out of the closet to watch the news.

Some watched with stony silence, others cried quietly, my jaw dropped and I stared in disbelief as the second plane flew into the building.

"That is not an accident" whispered my friend.

We heard the sirens start on the streets....I rushed to the front window that overlooks McPherson Square and stared.

Bullhorns, repelling men in black, machine guns..."DO NOT CROSS THE BARRIERS. WE WILL SHOOT." Tourists in a panic...the Metro lines clogged.

Then we gasped at the black plumes rising up behind the White House. The Pentagon was hit. My coworker shrieked, "My husband works there." All of us knew someone who worked there.

Phone lines were tied up...nobody could get through. Some trying desperately to call New York and loved ones who worked in the Trade Center buildings. Others desperate to reach the Pentagon.

"We're leaving...come with us." Joe grabbed my arm.

I left.

Outside people were in a panic running for their cars. The roads were clogged...where were they going to go? We walked.

Fighter jets whizzed overhead and people screamed and dove for it another plane that will crash?

We walked lined the streets and all radios tuned to the stations blaring the news. We had gone only about 1/2 mile when the first tower fell. We stumbled along in the mass of people in shock...then the second tower fell...strangers hugged each other and wept...


We decided to go to my coworker's apartment that was near the capitol, but not the White House. Our educated guess was that it would be the safer of the two?

No phone lines were in service. I knew my family would be worried. There was nothing I could do.

That night I walked from the Capitol to my house in Alexandria, Virginia. There was an eery cars, bridges was unsettling and I was afraid.

For the first time in my life I felt afraid, truly afraid for my safety.

How do others live with that fear daily?

9/11 is not just a day I will never is a feeling that I will never forget.

God bless our soldiers fighting for our freedoms. Please bring them home safe and take care of our beautiful country.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Switzerland - Part 1

I have to do Switzerland in 2 parts otherwise I'll have to title this the longest blog ever about Switzerland and how boring is THAT after I JUST did the longest blog ever about Prague? So, to keep my blog nice and spicy we're doing a 2 part series of our Labor Day weekend extravaganza...

Day 1
I was pretty impressed with our ability to leave town nearly perfectly on time. We said 10AM and were out the door and on the road by 11AM. When does THAT ever happen when there is a Johnson planning the trip?

So we drove....

and drove...

and drove...

and drove.....

And about 7 hours later after a couple of stretch your legs-potty break stops we finally saw the most beautiful sign...the one we'd been expecting and waiting for...

We're here and JUST IN TIME FOR DINNER! What else do you eat your first time in the Italian part of Switzerland than PIZZA? Exactly. So, we connected with Ila, Ben and Aurora and headed out to eat some real pizza...the kind that has a nice thin crust and just the right amount of toppings that you can fold in half and let it just dissolve in your mouth.

Oh gads...I'm hungry now.

Ila and Ben hamming it up for the camera.

Aurora and Maddie became great friends. They shared a pizza...but I'll bet they could have each eaten one all on their own.

As we were eating we discovered something...little Munchie likes pizza.


In fact, she wouldn't leave it alone. She just kept eating and eating and eating the pizza. She grabbed giant handfuls and chunks of it and stuffed it in her mouth. It was quite amusing to watch....she didn't stop until we made her stop. I'm raising my daughter right! Italian pizza...her first favorite food. :)

The next morning we woke up to the smell of...Pizza? Uh...Maddie searched for it and discovered it in Bella's diaper. We laughed and laughed. She smelled like pizza for two days.

We got dressed and headed into Lugano Centro to see the city center and take a walk along Lungo Lago (lakeside walkway). After parking our car in a lot we walked out and discovered we'd happened upon a free buffet put on by a condo complex that was trying to sell condos. We were going to just walk on by, but in typical Italian/Swiss fashion they INSISTED we come in and eat some of the we did...

We ate

We danced

It was the PERFECT way to start our day and really...does it get much better than free food, drinks, music and CLOWNS?

After eating our fill and probably more than our share ( was a free buffet.) we headed out along lungo lago to take in the beautiful sunshine of southern Switzerland...

It was almost like I'd never really all looked exactly the same along the lake...but I recognized almost nothing about the town center!

We eventually met up with Ila, Ben, Aurora and the Vedani family. The last time I saw the Vedani's was almost 8 years ago! Paola and Alain looked almost the same as I always remembered, but their daughters were 13 and 10 now! AIYA! So grown up! I remember meeting Elise (13) when she was just a toddler of age 2ish...

Paola was smitten by Munchie. She was so loved on that she forgot who mama was...this is the first time she's ever let someone else other than her dad or I hold her while she takes her sippy cup.

We went up to the top of Monte Bre and enjoyed the view of Lugano and surrounding area. It also helped with the digestion of ALL THAT FOOD we ate at the free buffet. I just stood and soaked in the beauty of it all...

Hangin with my two best girls...Ila and Paola

The mile or so hike up wore us all out so we recharged the kids with icecream....(just what they needed....more sugar.) :)

We adults had a drink and relaxed while the kids played for a little while.

Ila and Alain

Giada took a million pictures of Bella and then would make funny cartoons out of them with her mom's iPhone...

We finally looked at our watches and were shocked to see that it was nearing 7:00PM. We ended the day at a restaurant where I think everyone was feeling a little bit weird...

Our heads hit the pillows and we were out.....dreaming of Part 2 and the castles we'd see in the morning...