Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bye Bye Big Yellow House

The movers came and carefully wrapped all of our belongings in bubble wrap, boxed it up and placed the boxes into giant wooden crates. The wooden crates will go on a boat over the Atlantic Ocean and will arrive in Charleston in 45 to 60 days. Right now, we're staying at the Navy Lodge on base until our departure on the 11th. Although it's a little cramped in a hotel room with 2 adults, a toddler and 2 dogs, it's pretty fun and it marks the beginning of our new adventure.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Buon Natale da Sicilia

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Love, The Balents

Christmas Day

It's orange season in Sicily so for Christmas breakfast, I made fresh squeezed orange juice and used up every orange in the house. Dad cooked ham & cheese omelets, bacon and toast and Mom sat on her butt and fueled up on Dunkin Donuts coffee (she has it shipped here!). Since we move into a hotel tomorrow morning, my parents decided it was just too much to decorate and put up a tree when the movers are coming tomorrow to take all of our stuff away. Imagine my surprise this morning when I found that Santa brought us a little wooden tree and surrounded it with gifts.
I'm crazy about anything with wheels so I was super psyched to get a lot of cool cars, trucks and motorcycles from Bina, my Mimi and Papi and my cousins from Florida.
Santa gave me a portable DVD player along with this funny t-shirt for the LONG airplane ride to Charleston, South Carolina...
It was a nice Christmas. Now we have to get packing. It's finally time for the big move—YIKES!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

The rain kept us cooped up in the house all weekend so today Mom and I HAD to get out of the house before we drove each other CRAZY. We visited Dad at work, we checked out the last minute sales at the Navy Exchange and then we went to Piazza Pizza for lunch. After lunch we ate lollipops, worked on our skee ball skills and rode the merry-go-round until we ran out of quarters. It wasn't our idea of a traditional Christmas Eve but it was still a good one.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

We're Not Dreaming Of A White Christmas

but we're hoping for a dry one. It's been rainy and windy with temps in the 60's here in Sicily. We try not to complain too much since we know we're better off than those being pummeled with snow and freezing temps in the Northeast of America... Burrr! We hope you have plenty of spiked eggnog and a roaring fire to keep you warm through the holidays.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Joyeux Noël Meagan

We had an early Christmas celebration with Meagan last night because she won’t be here on Christmas day—the brat is ditching us for a romantic holiday in Paris (insert gag sound) with her husband. Meagan did however bring me the most amazing gift ever, a Radio Flyer trike/chopper, and thus her absence on Christmas day is forgiven. Tis the season! I can’t quite reach the pedals, but that doesn’t stop me from spending every waking moment on this bad boy.

I’ve known Meagan since I was an infant. She has witnessed many of my milestones in person (Also via this blog! She is quite possibly Bambino Balent’s #1 fan!). Meagan likes to swing me around until I’m dizzy and she tickles me into hysterics. I love Meagan! Being stationed overseas, our friends become our family. Meagan is our family. She is my aunt, my mother’s sister. Meagan works at the same travel office where my mom used to work but that’s not what brought them together. It was their love of dogs (Meagan’s dog Jack and my dog Paolo are total B.F.F) that sparked their friendship. And their friendship grew as they learned they had so much more in common… Tap-dancing-Irish-beer-drinking-jazz-hand-buffoons! Meagan not only makes us laugh but also is someone we can always count on. We’re going to miss you most of all, Meagan. We wish you a Joyeux Noël in Paris. Hurry back to Sicily so we can share some more good times before our departure from the island. Tick tock tick tock we leave in 20 days!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Party At Ella's

Yesterday I went to Ella's house for our regular scheduled Monday morning play date, but this play date was anything but regular. Ella and I built and decorated a gingerbread house together and exchanged gifts while our moms chugged sipped mimosas.
Ella got me a Cabbage Patch Baby Doll named Leo Xavier to help bring out my nurturing side and I got Ella a Little People School Bus to help man her up a little. Of course I wanted to play with the school bus and Ella wanted to play with the doll. Aside from the sippy cup fight (I always want what Ella is drinking!) and a couple of toy fights, it was a cheerful morning. We are officially in the Christmas spirit!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

One reindeer holiday Baby Gap sweater= $30.00
Four cups of coffee and one apple juice while you wait in a 2 hour line to see Santa= $10.00
Completely freaking out when you sit on Santa's lap= PRICELESS!

Friday, December 14, 2007

What You Talkin' Bout Willis?

This doubles as my "Gimme a kiss" face or my "I smell a fart" face.

Those Last Few Moments Before Bedtime...

are filled with roaring laughter when my dad tickles me while shouting, "Zizzer! Zazzer! Zoo!"

What's Cookin?

This is my latest discovery. The oven door can also be used as a trampoline! Can anyone recommend a good anti-anxiety medication (besides whiskey) for my Mom?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Few Of My Least Favorite Things

Lately we've been reflecting on all the things we'll miss about Sicily. There are of course many things we won't miss about Sicily. Here are just a few...We won't miss the mountains of trash scattered along the roadside. During our time in Sicily, we've had the privilege to be invited into many Sicilian homes, each of them immaculately clean and impeccably tidy. So naturally, we are completely baffled by the trash dumped along the country roads and the litter filled streets of Sicily.
We will not miss the INSANE driving and CHAOTIC Sicilian roads. We've seriously been lucky enough to only have been in three car accidents and totaled only one car during our five years in Sicily. Finally, we absolutely will not miss the horrifying stray animal problem that reduces my Mom to tears on a weekly basis. It is gut wrenching!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bow Wow Wow Yippie Yo Yippee Yay

My Mimi gave me this stuffed dog for Valentine's Day last year when I was visiting her in Florida. I never really paid any attention to it or any stuffed animal for that matter until a few months ago when I named him Bow Bow. Now I sleep with Bow Bow, give Bow Bow kisses and demand that my parents give Bow Bow kisses at bedtime. My Mom couldn't be more thrilled that I chose a DOG to be my favorite stuffed animal!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Baa Baa

Coming up front Motta road this afternoon we saw this flock of sheep in a pasture with the Motta Castle off in the distance. We'll miss this beautiful view and we'll even miss the flocks of sheep that can be a real pain in the rear when the sheep herder and his flock slowly cross the roads whenever we're in a hurry.

Pasta Alla Norma

On Friday, we went to Pizzeria Donna Fortunata in Motta for dinner. Dad has picked up pizza from here several times, but we've never sat inside for dinner. What a shame we just discovered this little gem with only a few weeks left in Sicily. Most restaurants in Sicily are kid friendly but this place was ridiculous! The cook took me into the kitchen and showed me how pizza is made and he even let me knead some dough. The waitress encouraged my parents to let me run around so they could enjoy their dinner. And the owner chased me around and kept teasing to steal my toy cars. In addition to the fantastic atmosphere, the food was delicious. I had the Pasta Alla Norma, which is a typical Sicilian pasta dish with eggplant and tomato sauce. My parents both got pizza, which of course was great because it's pretty difficult for an Italian to screw up pizza (except for that burnt pea pizza- Auntie Cherly Lee Ski, Aunt Carrie and Aunt Hilde all know what I'm talking about!). The best thing about Pizzeria Donna Fortunata is that they actually have Guinness and several German beers on draft! I'm not kidding! Why is it that we discover such beauty too late?

Friday, December 07, 2007

18-Month-Old Well Baby Check Up

Yesterday I went to see the doctor for a check up. I'm 35 ½ inches long and I weigh 28lbs 14ozs. I'm in the 95th percentile for height and 80th percentile for weight. The doctor said that I was long and lean! I'm healthy except for an aggravating case of molluscum (wart like bumps) all over my torso, which I've had since I was an infant. I've seen several doctors regarding the molluscum and they all say that it's not a problem and it will eventually go away in a few months. However, in my case I've had these bumps for over a year and they are spreading so the doctor said he'll do a little research and get back to my parents about a treatment before the bumps move up to my face... ick!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Really Good Weekend

On Friday evening, we went to the winter festival on base. The gym was filled with inflatable slides, obstacle courses and bouncy houses. My face had a permanent smile the whole time...
On Saturday I hung out with Bina so my parents could go out on a date. While my parents enjoyed a quiet meal at an Indian restuarant, I ate pasta with Bina and Antonio. After dinner, Bina made me a little bed on her couch and I fell asleep in front of the televisione...
Sunday morning we went to Catania for coffee and people watching...
While we waited for the restaurants to open for lunch, I played in the Catania park...
We went to Sicilia in Bocca for lunch. We like the rustic atmosphere of this place and we love the swordfish involtini, which is uniquely prepared with raisins and pine nuts...
After lunch we took a three hour nap (the longest and most wonderful nap ever!) and then we headed into base to see the Harlem Globetrotters. Last week my dad stood in line for 45 minutes for tickets (he's the best dad ever!) and 10 minutes into the show I refused to sit still so we left...
I'm more of a hands on kind of guy, so I was happier shooting hoops in the lobby arcade instead...
It was a really good weekend.