Thursday, November 29, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
As I watched CNN talk about people getting up at 5 a.m. to go shop for bargains in the U.S., I smiled. I am done....however, it isn't the same shopping online! Shopping in Norway is almost not an option as everything is so very expensive. I have friends that are having babies soon and I am in a panic about gifts as just a cute little hat or a little toy is about $20 here. It is insane!
We plan to come back to the U.S. for a visit next summer and I will be shipping things to myself from there. Now I know what I miss the most. Of course an Arby's sandwich won't be shippable, but I will make sure I visit Arby's once or twice! I have already started a list.... :o) You would think that living in Japan would be more isolating, but it really wasn't because of the large base with American shopping. Here, however...there is not anything like that. My dream right now? An afternoon at a Michael's Craft store....ah...that would be nice! Then I would go to a grocery store and buy food to ship back. :o) When we went to Italy in October, we shipped back 4 boxes and 3 of them were food from the post commissary! :o) Sad...lol.
Rich comes back from Germany tonight. Tomorrow we'll attempt to take our family Christmas picture....although the forecast is calling for rain/snow mix. We'll have to head inland and upward to the nearby mountains for a more white than wet shot. Should be fun!
Happy shopping everyone...hit a sale for me! (by the way, all my friends from Japan, they do have real sales or salg here....in Okinawa it totally cracked us up that they advertised big sales for 5% off....goodness, you gotta make it worth the gas to get there at least!) :o)
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Lily Su Grace Messina - 2 1/2 years old
Lily has changed so much since we adopted her a little over a year ago! She has changed the most in the last six months since we moved to Norway! She loves to sing and dance and hop. Oh, how she hops! I love it most when I am trying to change her clothes or wash her hair in the shower! Tigger was the most appropriate outfit for her this Halloween! She is constantly jabbering away in English, giving a running commentary of all that is going on around her. It's like having a pint-sized female Howard Coselle around me at all times. She has a few Japanese words that have stuck in her head, which amuses me as she wasn't really even speaking when we lived in Okinawa. She was obviously listening though! She attends Norwegian classes with me once a week and although she is drawing the whole time, she will sit and repeat everything Pastor Sam says under her breath. She says hello and goodbye very well. She kept telling everyone "Ha det!" in Italy (goodbye in Norsk). By the time we taught her ciao, she was back in Norway. She has a little friend from Lillegym that is from Argentina and she is starting to say hello and goodbye to her in Spanish. Of course, we still use a few Chinese words with her and I am starting to push some Chinese language learning DVDs her way. She can say hello and goodbye and I love you in Chinese as well as a few other random things she has kept from her past life in China.
Lily is in love with Seasame Street, Winnie the Pooh, Blue's Clues and she also likes to read Clifford books. She is an avid drawer and is mastering drawing snowmen right now, also a favorite book topic for her. She was able to get a hand-me-down tricycle, which she rides around in the basement. She loves it! She usually has a play phone tucked under Bob (what she calls her short arm) and a purse or two slung over the handle bars as she pedals back and forth on the wooden floors. She continues to love her little kitchen and can't resist making hot tea and a meal of hotdogs, french fries (or fred fries, as she says) and eggs if you are in the room with her.
Below is a video of Lily on a road trip where the boys (with virtually nothing to do) decided to teach her how to do the pro baseball salute to the fans...with "Peace Out"....unfortunately, she has a little issue getting her two fingers up so she needs bob's assistance which slows her down a bit. Rich was not thrilled when his two year old daughter kept doing this little act all over Europe. However, I thought it was a riot.
Cyndi and Tim watching the canals for gondolas in Venice, Italy
Tim finds a friend at San Marco's Square in Venice, Italy
Tim really loved the Venetian masks and jesters hats in Venice!
Tim is turning into quite the young man these days. He is 11 now and seems to realize that he is starting to grow up and is savoring his youth. He usually allows Rich about 5 minutes after getting home in the evening before he starts pestering him about playing a game of ping pong with him. Tim has gotten quite good and would play ping pong all day if he could find someone that was willing. He is doing a badmittin unit in gym at school right now and he is realizing that his ping pong skills have really helped him.
Tim is in the 6th grade at the ISS middle school, same as Joe. They don't have any classes together (which is good) but they are in the same school. Considering they each have 12 classes, it is a small miracle they aren't together for any of them. Tim didn't go to Barcelona this year because it is only for 7th and 8th graders, but he is looking forward to going next year. He attended Lierskole for a week with his classmates up in Hardangerton, Norway and had a great time. He is looking forward to that next year again too. (Lierskole is when the entire student body of a certain grade and their teachers go to live in cabins in a Norwegian national park and conduct classes from there for a week)
Tim played JV soccer alongside Joe this fall and is playing JV basketball and club basketball as well. He also enjoys lacrosse. Tim is in the photography club at school, where he gets to work with a professional photographer once a week for an hour. He has assignments each week and is learning a lot about photography. Both boys are very much into picture-taking these days. It is hard to be in Norway and not take pictures as it is such a beautiful country!
Tim is doing well in school with mostly A's and a few B+'s. He is not as socially at ease as his older brother and is often seen tagging along after Joe and his friends. He has a strong work ethic in his school work though and is starting to learn to take pride in his work rather than just cranking out assingments like a robot. This has made a huge difference in the quality of his work. I am so proud of him!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Joe and his host student, Sergi Aguilera, who will be living with us for 10 days in May
Superman, Joe Messina, holds up the leaning tower of Pisa
A little about Joe....if you have ever seen the movie, "Ratatouille", you know the character Linguini (good Italian name in a French setting in the movie). Linguini is Joe in a cartoon character. I swear they could have used him as the template for the drawings....tall, lanky and freckled with curly, out-of-control reddish-brown hair on the top of his head. I laughed out loud when I first saw his character. Every now and then I call him Linguini, which, of course, I get a goofy grinning/grimace shot back my way that only a teenager can give. :o)
Joe is in the 7th grade at the International School of Stavanger (ISS). He plays on the JV basketball team and also plays club basketball. Between practice and conditioning, he is usually at the school for some kind of practice four days a week. He is also has taken up a new sport, lacrosse. That meets twice a week for a couple of hours. Don't worry, he has plenty of time for homework and practicing his trombone. He continues to be one of the "cool guys" at school and so far I have been happy with his choice of friends. ISS has students from 35 different countries, so his friends come from all over the world. Speaking of all over the world, Joe just returned a few weeks ago from a 9 day field trip to Barcelona, Spain. Pretty cool! The son of the family he stayed with will come stay with us for 10 days in May. The pictures above are mostly from his trip to Spain, where he was able to really experience a great time in Europe. The rest of the pictures are from Italy, where we went for fall break in mid-October. In October, Joe was in Lierskole up north in Norway for a week, in Spain for a week and a half and in Italy for a week with us. That kid gets around! We are really proud of him!
Joe and Tim talk with their buddy, Zac, during trunk or treating at the NATO base.
Thank you Aunt Amy for the adorable Tigger outfit that Lily adores!
Welcome to the new blog site for the Messina family! The other site was not as user-friendly as I had hoped so I chose a new venue for our antics to be recorded and shared!
Many of you are hoping to see some Halloween pictures of the kids. Halloween is not really celebrated in Norway. The Americans (and even some folks that weren't American) met in the new parking garage on the NATO base and we did "trunk or treating." The kids went around from car to car getting candy from the trunks. It was safe and small and the kids must have done the circuit of 2o cars about 4 times apiece. Lily was still a little overwhelmed, but she had a great time. Every time she sees the parking garage, she asks, "trick or treat in there, Momma?" For those of you that have remembered Rich in the cow costume, you'll be appalled to know that now Joe has inherited it. Yes, our Joe, who just turned 13 (yikes!) is wearing the Halloween costume his dad wore two weeks before he was born.....THAT will make you feel old!