The Messina Family

The Messina Family
Barcelona 2010

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Kona's first bath

Kona had her first bath today. It was actually more like a shower...she cried at first but quickly was resigned to her fate of being lathered up. She was not a very happy puppy. Amazing how big and pitiful their eyes can get when they are wet. Reminded me of Puss in Boots when he does his thing in the Shrek movies to look cute and innocent. :o) Kona wasn't the only one to get wet. Three humans also got wet, but that was because Joe was wielding the shower head!

Hard Life Lessons....

My friend calls these birds "clam diggers". They have a huge bill and are VERY loud. They love to tease the dogs!

A preschool class having their lessons outside by the fjord...we also saw a group of about 70 school kids and their teachers out on a bike ride!

A huge male pheasant...they are everywhere (and protected) in Norway. This one was bigger than a chicken!

My favorite's being slowly built along Hafrsfjord...all windows for the view!

Joe got back from Sweden on Sunday afternoon. He (and all of the people from ISS that traveled with him) were wiped out. Did they sleep at all during their four day stay? I am not so sure. I didn't even want to ask. I have never seen such tired looking kids (and parents and coaches). Joe slept for 3 hours that afternoon and then went to bed on time that night. He is never one to get up in the morning...I love having to call him 3 and 4 times every morning. :o)
To make a long story short, Joe missed the bus on Monday morning. Lily wasn't up and ready to go yet, so he worked on cleaning his room until we were ready. Oh, did I mention that Rich had my car? Yes, we had to hoof it to ISS. That is over 5 miles away, one way. Luckily we had very nice weather. It took us an hour and 45 minutes to get there (and then another hour and 45 minutes to get me back home). I told him that when he sits down to eat his lunch, I will just be getting home...after walking for 3 1/2 hours straight. I am hoping it taught him a lesson....he kept telling me how tired he was that night. I just grinned as I popped the blisters on my heels after over 10 miles of walking...pushing Lily in the stroller and having Kona along as well. Kona only walked about 1/3 of the time. She preferred to see the sites from the stroller next to Lily!
We took a few pictures while is a lovely walk....just a long one!

Joe's time in Sigtuna, Sweden

Here are some pictures from some good friends and fellow track moms that traveled with their kids to Sigtuna, Sweden for the NECIS track and field meet last weekend. The whole ISS team did very well. We are all so very proud of them! Joe medaled in one of his four events - the high jump, where he placed third. Way to go Joe! As Rich says, "He's an international track star at 13!" Okay, that's stretching it a bit...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekly musings

There's been a lot weighing on my heart this week. Before I get to that, I want to mention that in the "Russ" posting I did a week or so ago, I said I would try and get a photo of a Russkort for that post. I did and it's there...they are fun to read. (always more fun in English so I know what it actually says!) :o) Also, a big hurrah for the Norwegian flying folks...the strike ended and Joe was able to make it to Sigtuna, Sweden! It appears like he'll be doing almost all of his events today, on the first day of the meet. He is scheduled for shot put, high jump, 4X400 relay, and the 1500m run. He texted me yesterday to let me know he got there okay. He took his camera, so hopefully he'll get some good pictures.
This week...actually I can't say that it all started this's been a few weeks in the making. It sometimes feels so surreal when you are in such a beautiful country and things like the cyclone in Burma take place and the earthquake in Chengdu, PRC. My heart just aches for these people. Imagine in China...with the one child policy that has been in place for decades many parents are now childless...losing their only child in one of the many crumbling school buildings we are hearing about. Thank goodness the Chinese government is allowing help to come pouring in., it's been three weeks and I just read today that the UN president finally talked some sense into their military leaders to allow some help to flow more freely into their country. We may never know how many THOUSANDS lost their lives that could have been easily saved. I know from living in Okinawa, where there are all sorts of different military bases poised to react to such natural disasters, that it could have been there less than 24 hours after the cyclone hit. My stomach curdles thinking of the small children...and there are thousands of them...that are starving...dying of thirst with no clean water to drink. It just baffles me.
Another sad note to mention...on Wednesday, a terrible tragedy occurred to Steven Curtis Chapman and his family. He may sound familiar to you because he is one of the most well-known Christian music singers of our time. What you may not know is that he has made several missionary trips to China with his wife and has adopted three young girls from there. He has reflected his adoption of his daughters in his music and in several books that he has written with his wife and daughters. He already had several older biological children before adopting the three from China. On Wednesday, on of his teenage sons accidentally ran over and killed his youngest daughter, Maria, who was 5. Evidently he backed out of the driveway in an SUV and never knew she was there. I cannot imagine the pain that the entire family is going through...the son...the children...the parents. Many of the family members witnessed the entire thing. He is such a champion for international adoption...especially in China. He has an organization that helps families adopt when they need the extra money. My heart goes out to his entire family.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's sooooo quiet!

That is an understatement! Things are starting to wind down with school. Sergi is now back home. The biggest reason it is quiet though is because the airlines are on strike! The Sola airport (which we sit on top of and overlook) closed this morning at 7 a.m. There is a strike in place that started Friday night....they are pulling their workers slowly and there is no end in sight. All the airports minus Oslo are closed in Norway. Impact on us other than no air traffic noise???? Joe is supposed to fly to Sweden on Thursday with 29 other kids for a track meet in Sweden! The rugby team is also leaving for Copenhagen for their NECIS meet. This affects over 50 ISS athletes, several teachers and dozens of parents that are going to watch. Don't know what will happen...hopefully we'll hear something soon...they are less than 48 hours from leaving.
The oil companies are hurting as well. They had a lot of air traffic here over the weekend, preparing for this strike. There are over 500 flights (mostly helicopter) to and from off shore oil rigs every day. Hope they loaded up on provisions and their aren't any emergencies! Keep you posted....

Flying kites on Sola Stranden

Lily helps her Daddy fly the kite. She used to be petrified of the kites, but now is quite the pro...even going and setting up his kite so he could relaunch it.

Kona dug the entire time we were at the beach. She was a puppy on a mission. After an hour of continual digging, she had a 6-8 inch hole that she collapsed into. She slept for 4 hours that afternoon!

Kona's face after the "big dig"

Kite boarder in the freezing water with his dry suit on.

Look at all the kite boarders out on the beach today! It was windy!

After leaving Sergi and his 23 other Spanish exchange students off at the airport, Lily, Rich, Kona and I headed to the Sola Stranden (beach) to fly Rich's stunt kite. There had been a kite festival on some flyers around town. Rich thought it was for stunt kites. There was one other stunt kite flyer there. The rest of the folks were kite boarding...and it was amazing to watch!

Adios to Sergi!

Sergi Aguilera Ruis went home on Sunday afternoon. He seems to have had a great time while he was here but was ready to see his family again. He had spent 10 days away from them, and I believe this was the first time away. We sure enjoyed having him here and we hope to keep in touch. This fall both boys want to go on the exchange trip to Barcelona, which means we'll have two students with us this time next year. Should be fun!

17 Mai at the Joa's house

Joe and Kona pause to take a picture in front of the tulip garden in Sola Sentrum.

I don't have bunad, but I do have a nice Norwegian Dale sweater to wear!

Rich riding on Joe's ripstick (like a jointed skateboard with only 2 wheels) in his suit....

Joe trying to do skateboarding tricks (in the grass first)

Joe doing back layouts on the Joa's trampoline or as Lily would call it, "trampeetreen"...sounds a lot like krispe kreme..)

Hilde Joa, one of our neighbors

Cyndi and Randi Joa

Walking to the Sola tog. Ola holds his mom's hand and Tim's.

Lily and Elena sit on Torres's ATV that he drives to and from work.

Lily with pretty dandelions in her hair...

Randi and Torres Joa are our neighbors and friends. We spent most of the day at their house talking and having fun at their openhouse. They have an 11 year old son named Ola. Ola has Down's Syndrome and autism. He loves playing with any kind of round object...balls, balloons and bubbles. He adores "playing basketball" with the boys and our basketball hoop. They are fantastic neighbors and I thoroughly enjoy all the time we spend with them. Rich didn't leave until after 11 p.m. that night, he was having such a great time. Randi and I were smart...we put our kids to bed and went to beds ourselves! It had been a long day!

17 Mai tog fra Sola

Here are some of the pictures we took from the Sola parade in the afternoon. This is our "hometown" parade of all the organizations and sports klubbs in the town. We had a great time watching it this year, knowing a few more people!