Friday, December 11, 2009


We finally made it back to Utah!! Our plan was to surprise our family by arriving a week earlier than planned, it worked!! It was the hardest secret to keep! We left Marco Polo Venizia Aeroporto on Monday, December 7 and flew into Charles-De Galle in Paris, France. We had a horrible experience in Paris's "city of love" airport, but we made it to our plane and flew into Detroit. We spent the night in Detroit and flew our of Detroit on the 8th. We landed in Salt Lake in the morning, picked up our rent-a-car (Larry, Dave's oldest brother, was so kind in arranging for us, Thank You Larry!!!), and drove in the SNOW to Layton, where we checked into our hotel. The hotel reservations were screwed up, but we managed to fix it and get into our room and the car unloaded. It was lunch time so we raced up to the Post Office on base where my Dad works and surprised him!!! We went to lunch and then headed to Mom and Daddy's, where we surprised my brother, Steve!!! My other brother, Scott, was working in Provo and after work he picked up his boys (Laura, his wife, was sick so she didn't make it) and drove up to see us. We waited in the living room for Mom to arrive from work when she called and said that she had a doctor's appointment after work, so we waited some more, then she called after the appointment and asked Daddy what he wanted for dinner because she was at the store picking up her prescriptions. Daddy told her they would figure it out when she got home.

Mom arrive home, entered the basement, took off her shoes and coat, said 'how come it's so dark down here? Honey, what's goin' on?'

Daddy said 'Nothin', just sitting in the living room.'

Mom said, 'Okay, I'll be up in a minute.'

After making a pit stop, Mom walked up the stairs saying, 'What do you want..............Oh my gosh!!!!! You're home!!!!!' With tears in her eyes she came to hug us all because after three years her girls are home!!!

Scott and his boys left to go home and the rest of us went to dinner.

Saturday is the family party to welcome us home and decorate Mom and Daddy's home for Christmas!!! Yeah!! We made it in time for the holidays!!

It is so nice to be near family again, it's as if we never left. I guess that means we are supposed to be here in Utah. It's time to swallow our stubborn pride and accept the fact that this is where we are suppose to be!!

Monday, November 30, 2009


So we are on our last legs of getting out of here. We have gotten completely out of our house. The movers came last Monday to pack us out, it took them two days to pack and load the crates. I wasn't too happy about how they packed those crates and Dave was having a fit. The took apart all of our bookcases and desks, but left the screws and dowels in everything. That means that everthing is going to be broken, and I get new stuff!!! All of our things came to Italy fully assembled and the Italians think it is totally cool to take everything apart when they send it back to the states. What a pain in the backside!!!

With all of our stuff packed up and the house empty, we were able to clean and do final inspection on Wednesday. So that's all done. We have to take in the final meter reading for our electricity and pay an 'estimated' final payment (they will let us know in 4 to 6 months if we owe any more). We shut off the phone and internet, moved into TLF all on Monday of last week.

We got to spend Thanksgiving in TLF with just our family. We received a few invitations to share the day with other families from the ward, but decided that we wanted to be alone and relax after the stressful few days. We had ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, garden salad, pumpkin pie and apple pie. It was a great day! We talked about the many wonderful experiences we have had here in Italy and how grateful we are for our family and friends.

We had to speak in church last Sunday for the last time in this ward. Kaitlyn gave her last talk in Primary two weeks ago. So we are all good until we figure out what ward we will be moving to next.

This week is just as stressful, more for Dave than anyone. And today didn't start off very well at all!! First off, he couldn't find his keys, actually that is not unusual since he never puts them in the same place twice. When we lived in the house, he would usually leave them in the car until the end of the day when he needed them to lock up the house. He has a couple of times left them in the car since moving into TLF. I found the keys just a couple hours ago under the kleenex box. ;0) Then he had to go pay the final bill for the electricity and they wanted our account information, just in case we get a refund. So he had to come back to the room to get the checkbook, which he couldn't find where he thought it should be, so ended up waking me up to his stomping around. UGH!!! Now we just have to go over to the hospital to pay off that bill, that one is gonna make me stress out!!!!! Then we just need to take care of the car, we have to sell it because it is European specs, so we can't ship it back to the states.

After all of that is done and we have to get Kaitlyn's school records, our medical records, and Dave's last day of work. We will fly out of Venice to Paris, spend a couple of hours there. Fly from Paris to Detroit, spend the night in Detroit. Fly out of Detroit to Salt Lake City, rent a car, check into our hotel, get some much needed rest, then see our family!!! We are all so excited about returning to be near family for the holidays!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Okay, so we are in the process of trying to get moved. It has been a freakin' nightmare!!! Dave, of course, decided to exercise his return rights back to Hill AFB, UT, six months ago. They actually did away with his job or consolidated it with another wing or group or something and didn't tell him. Then said that the lady that has his position isn't going to give it up or something like that.....the job was guaranteed to him by contract and condition of return rights. So Hill had to scramble to find him a position, found him one or created one for him. Between Hill and Aviano, they couldn't decide who was gonna write the orders, so Dave had to write them himself and submit them. Orders were approved and we began the process of getting everything set up.

Dave started the outprocessing by decideing when we were going to leave Aviano and getting our airline tickets. Then he had to schedule the movers, they don't celebrate Thanksgiving so any time was good for us, the sooner the better. They will be here on Monday and Tuesday to pack us out and load it into the crates. What are we going to sleep on? Well, Dave tried to make reservations at TLF (Temporary Living Facility) but they were completely booked for the time that we wanted a room, so he made reservations in town at a hotel. Come to find out, he had to call EVERY day to see if there were any cancellations at TLF or we would have to pay out of pocket for our hotel. LAST night we finally got TLF for the whole time we need it. Thank you!!! I really wasn't looking forward to having to eat out EVERY meal for 3 weeks.

Dave has been telling his bosses that he was leaving in December and that they needed to find someone for him to train on the programs that he uses so that the transition would be smooth. WELL, in all their wisdom they waited until FRIDAY to send someone over. Never mind the fact that he wasn't going to be in the office next week and his last day of work is the 4th of December. Oh yeah, and by the way, he had to move over to a new building on Thursday!!! BY HIMSELF!! He is so frustrated! People are thinking that what they need him to do has to be done YESTERDAY, never mind the fact that they have had six months to get their crap done before the deadline. Now that their deadline is here they want him to drop everything and get it done especially if there is a problem that should have been taken care of six months ago. UGH!! Stupid people!!!

One of Dave's co-workers tells him not to worry about it, do what he needs to do to get the heck out of here and not worry about all this other crap. The bosses knew six months ago he was leaving and if they waited until the last minute to find a replacement then it's their problem. But the only problem with all of that is Dave was raised to have good work ethics.....he can't leave his bosses hangin' out to dry.

Dave went to turn in the reading on our electricity and try to get a final bill. They told him that they couldn't give him a final bill until we actually turn in the keys, get the meter reading on that day, turn it in....they will give us a estimate of what it will cost, but not an actual final bill until 4 to 6 months from now. Yes, I typed that right..... FOUR TO SIX MONTHS FROM NOW. We will be in the states and they could jack up the final bill and we could end up owing thousands of dollars MORE than what we have already paid. UGH!!!

The Medical bill is the same way pretty much.....that is a long story in and of itself. One I don't want to have to think about this morning.

Oh the stuff we have to get done this week. Laundry today, prepareing talks to be given tomorrow in church, packing the suitcases, seperating and gathering stuff to be given away, seperating and gathering stuff that needs to be shipped ahead of us so it's there when we get there, move ourselves into TLF, clean the house, clean the FMO furniture, find and turn in the keys to the house, turn off the phone and internet, pick up medical records, turn in all the library books, sell the car, pay off the medical bill, finish out-processing, pick up a rental car, get to the airport, and fly out of Italy!! Holy cow, I guess I better get busy!!

Needless, to say we feel like we have been taken advantage of by the Italian government and our own because they allow the Italian government to do this to American citizens. Sure this is actually their base, but we put all the money into the buildings and the landscaping. The Italians get all the good civilian jobs on base, get paid much better wages, and get the better schedules. The Americans get whatever is leftover.

Don't get me wrong, we have LOVED being in Italy. We have fallen in love with the culture, art, people, and the country. We have had experiences here that we could NEVER have had any where else. Our family truly needed this experience. We have all grown closer together as a family, we have grown spiritually, and stronger as individals and as a family. We have learned to rely on each other and help each other. We have watched to church grow and members become active again. We kind of like to look at our living here as a three year mission. We know that we were sent here for a purpose, I pray we have accomplished that purpose. We have created memories that will last us all a lifetime. Now it is time to return to the states, Utah in particular and continue on our life's journey.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Halloween

I know this is a week late, but hey we've been crazy! Our ward had a trunk or treat Fall Festival last weekend and so the girls got all dressed up in their Pirate costumes and became......

"Daddy's Pirate Wenches"
There was food, games, activities, and of course trunk or treating. We had a good time visiting with friends and letting the children have fun. The weather even cooperative, no rain, but it was chilly.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Are We Ever Moving? Part 2

And the answer is......YES! We finally got our orders this morning!!! We have our plane reservations now too. We leave Venice, Italy on the 15th of December. We get to be home for Christmas!!! Yeah!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are We Ever Moving?

Are we ever moving? That is question I keep asking myself every day for the past month. You see our moving hinges on orders from someone sitting at a desk at Randolph AFB, TX. Do they care that our visas expire in about 60 days? Apparently not. Do they care that we have a child in school that needs to have records copied so that we can transfer to a new school? Of course not. Do they care that I have to carefully plan for a major move that requires 14 hours on an airplane? Absolutely not!!! We are all going insane trying to make plans for the holidays and we don't even know where we will be. Dave has been letting and bugging people about needing orders to make these arrangements for at least 6 months. UGH!!! So frustrated!!!

I finally went back to the doctor for a follow up for the RA that I was diagnosed with a year ago. The new doctor ordered new tests and a series of x-rays because he was not happy with the results of the last. Last week we got all the results from 4 sets of x-rays, both hands and both knees, and about 9 vials of blood. I do not have RA, I actually have Chronic Fibromyalgia Syndrome or FMS. I have done a little bit of reading on the subject and realize that many of the health issues I have had over the past 20 years can be attributed to FMS. I have thanked my Heavenly Father several times a day since last Thursday for the thoroughness of the doctor. I can now take the things I learn about this ailment and get my life back. I do NOT want to be a slave to the pain I experience constantly. Fibromyalgia can be explained as constant pain at varying degrees in varying places at varying times throughtout the day. Fibromyalgia affects everything in the body, from the top of the head to the bottoms of the feet, from the inside of your vital organs to the outside of the skin. Fibromyalgia zaps your energy within minutes of waking, that's IF you are able to sleep.

Earlier this month we enjoyed a wonderful trip to Bern, Switzerland, to visit the LDS temple before returning to the states. We were looking at our pictures and realized that we didn't get any pictures of the temple!!! We got pictures of our drive up and back! We enjoyed a quiet, unhurried six days of family and new friends. Here are a few pictures of our journey up and back. Hope you enjoy.
These pictures were taken on the border of Italy and Switzerland, in Como.
Our beautiful daughters in the Swiss Alps!!
The leaves on the trees in the Swiss Alps are starting to change colors the first full week of October. I love the many waterfalls that we could see around every turn it seemed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


We took a drive one evening in mid September and ended up at this really awesome, cool little park in Polcenigo. There is a restraunt, an outdoor cafe, walking path, and the BLUEST pond I have ever seen in my entire life with fish that had to be at least two feet long and ducks and geese every where. It was beautiful!!! Enjoy these pictures.

September Day-Trips

I know this is kinda outta the blue or late....whatever you want to call it, but I found my camera and uploaded all 121 pictures that have been taken over the past six weeks or so. I realize I haven't really posted anything on our blog lately so now that I have pictures I'll post and try to get all of you caught up on our family. I hope ya'll enjoy.

Here is Kaitlyn on the beach at Caorle. It's one of the resort beaches on the Adriatic.
We have been to Bibione a couple of times, but always during the off-season. This time we decided that since this was going to probably be one of our last chances to go during the tourist season we would go to one of the beaches we hadn't been to. Wow, what a difference!!!
The sun was out, the tourists were sunbathing, little children running around naked (that's how they roll in Italia), the water was nice. The tourists ride around on these crazy motorized two-seater bicycles. Pretty Cool!!

I was surprised how organized the beaches were, I know that sounds weird huh? Any way, each hotel has a designated area and specific chairs or color of chairs that they use. Very strange for us who don't do beaches.

We saw jellyfish again.

There was actually a church on the beach. I don't understand why because out of respect you need to be DRESSED in order to go in. But hey whatever works.
And here are all three of our beautiful girls!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Here We Go Again

Yup, it's the beginning of a new school year and we are back to a 'normal' routine. The night before the first day of school the girls receive a father's Priesthood Blessing, a tradition that was started when I was a child. Each child sits in the chair, in our family it happens to be the computer chair, and at the hands of their Daddy receives that special council from their Heavenly Father. The council is always unique to each child and is something that they need to hear. This year was no different, Kaitlyn received her blessing and was counciled to choose her friends wisely and to choose the right so that the Holy Ghost will always be with her so that she will make the right choices. When she was done, Aimee said that she missed getting those Father's Blessings each year, so Aimee recieved a blessing also, then Wendy said she would like one. So this year was a little bit melancholy for me as I realized that I only have one child in school now.

We are happy to say that after a LONG night of worrying and fretting about our first day of school, Kaitlyn did great. She made a few friends and is going to love the fourth grade!!

I know that Aimee and Wendy have put their lives on hold the past year or so waiting for us to return to the US and that once we do return they will be flapping their wings and going out on their own. For me that is exciting and a little bit scary. Did we teach them everything we were suppose to? Did they listen when we taught them? I sure hope they did.

In other news, we have added another family member to our home. A parakeet named Leo. Had you scared there for a minute didn't I? ;0)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Book Review....

I just finished a really cool book, "Bitten & Smitten" by Michelle Rowen. It was a funny read. For some reason I have been in a Vampire mood, it seems that at least one of the books I am reading is about Vampires. It must be part of the 'Twilight' craze, but I like my books a little bit more on the mature side.

The synopsis:

'Dear Mom,

'I might be a wee bit late for Cousin Missy's wedding. It's bee a tough week. Turns out, my blind date from hell was literally from hell. Guy bit me. Next thing I know, I'm being chased all over the city by vampire hunters. And did I mention that I got fired, too?

'Bright side--I met a man. Thierry de Bennicoeur. How great is that name? Anyway, he's sexy, six hundred years old, and a tad suicidal, but no one's perfect, right? And we have a deal--he's gonna show me the ropes of the vampire world, and I'm supposed to help him end his existence. Or maybe I'll just try to convince him life is worth living--no small challenge with the mostly immortal, let me tell you. I'll admit it's a complicated relationship. But with any luck, I just might have a date for that wedding after all.

' Hugs and kisses,


Sounds funny right? Here's a little more:

'As soon as the blood touched my tongue, the pain vanished...It was like fine champagne; strawberries and cream; Kahlua chocolate sauce on French vanilla ice cream; ambrosia--food of the gods. Pick one.

'Thierry's arm was tense for a moment, but he slowly relaxed. I looked up at him. His eyes were dark, and he wore an unfathomable expression on his face.

'"Enough, Sarah," he said, and his voice was ragged. He squeezed my arm and roughly brought me up to my feet.

'I thought he was going to push me away and leave the room, but instead he grabbed my shoulders to pull me against him and crushed his lips against mine, drinking me in as I'd just done to him. I wrapped my arms around his waist and kissed him back, deeply, so deeply that I thought I might drown...

'Okay, maybe being a vampire wasn't so bad after all.'

This is a series of books and suprisingly they are pretty clean as far as language and sexual content. A great summer read and funny!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

2009 100+ book challenge

So I found this awesome blog that focuses on reading. If you know me I love to read just about anything I can get my hands on. If you have been to my home you know I have a library of very good, and probably some not so good, books. Many of my friends borrow books from my library and love sharing my love of books with others. All of my daughters have their own libraries as well.

Any way the blog I found is

I hope it was okay to copy the picture from her blog. I have accepted this challenge and on my side bar I have the list of books that I have read thus far with the date that I finished them. So far I have finished 52 out of 100.

I am currently reading several other books:

1. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

2. The Heir of Mistmantle Book Four Urchin and the Raven War by M. I. McAllister, this series I have been reading to Kaitlyn at night before she goes to bed each night

3. The Book of Mormon

4. The Immortal Hunter A Rogue Vampire Novel by Lynsay Sands

5. Prelude to Glory Vol. 6 The World Turned Upside Down by Ron Carter

I just love to read so much. A lot of people I know read one book at a time, but not me...I read many as you can tell.

Join the challenge which ends the 31th December 2009.

Monday, August 3, 2009


My good friend, Sandra. Congratulations Sandra!!!

Send me an email with your address and I'll get a box of a few of my favorite things to you this week.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Okay so I noticed yesterday that my next post was gonna be my 100th. You may ask yourself what the big deal is? But according to blog etiquette everyone has a giveaway for the 100th post, a blogaversary, and of course, any other time you feel like it. So I am having a giveaway!!! The way to win is by doing a couple of things:

1. Leave a comment - that gives you one entry
2. Follow my blog - that gives you one entry
3. List 10 of your favorite things on your own blog - that gives you five entries

All of this must be done on or before the 1st of August, one winner will be drawn on the 2nd of August.

Now what is the contest? I've been toying with this idea for some time, actually I think I have been since I started blogging nine months ago (that means I'll have another giveaway in just a short three months). I think I will do a 100 of my favorite things.

See I love the movie 'The Sound of Music' and my favorite song from that movie is 'My Favorite Things', or something like that. But you know the one I'm talking about....'these are a few of my favorite things'. Any way, so I thought it would be cool to list some of my favorite things, 100 to be here goes.


1. The Sound of Music
2. Books
3. Scented candles
4. Pictures
5. Cross stitch
6. Crochet
7. Reading
8. Peace and quiet
9. Autumn
10. Country music
11. Mexican food
12. Baby feet
13. The desert after a rain shower
14. The sound of thunder rolling down the canyons
15. The sound of rain on the roof
16. Baby's laughter
17. Italy
18. LDS Temples
19. Family
20. Friends
21. Sleeping
22. My husband
23. A comfortable chair
24. Sundays
25. Gelato
26. Fresh baked bread
27. The smell of lavendar
28. Lip balm
29. Cinnamon and Pumpkin scented candles
30. Lavander scented candles
31. Fresh laundry
32. Vampire books
33. Romance novels
34. Historical fiction
35. Sitting outside in the shade on my swing
36. Latin music
37. Italian music
38. Tender moments
39. Funny moments
40. The movie Grease
41. The tv show Grey's Anatomy
42. Crime shows
43. Comedies
44. Betty Boop
45. Teddy bears
46. Bunny rabbits
47. Souvenior thimbles
48. Bags and purses
49. Baskets
50. Diet Pepsi
51. Ice cold water
52. Warm showers
53. A nice back rub
54. Grandma's baby blankets
55. Children's singing
56. Children's laughter
57. New scrapbook paper
58. Scrapbooks
59. The first day of school
60. Blogging
61. Rubber stamps
62. Stickers
63. Crossword puzzles
64. Suduko
65. Hidden object games on the computer
66. Roller Coaster computer game
67. Nora Roberts books
68. Any movie with Vin Diesel
69. The movie Dirty Dancing
70. Long hair on little girls
71. Gerald N. Lund books
72. Tom Clancy novels
73. Shelves to put nicnacs
74. Baby dolls
75. Backyard BBQs
76. Kabobs
77. Daddy's steak
78. Mom's macaroni salad
79. Grandma Crook's potato salad
80. Grandma Berkley's zucchini casserole
81. The sound of Grandma Crook knitting
82. The sound of Grandma Berkley's voice
83. Grandpa Berkley's garden
84. Grandpa Crook's teasing
85. My parents
86. Dave's parents
87. The ability to read
88. The legacy that my ancestors have left me
89. My testimony of Jesus Christ
90. The USA
91. The opportunities I have been given to travel to other countries
92. Star Trek
93. My rocking chair
94. Facebook
95. Family history
96. Arthritis (yes, I am thankful for my arthritis)
97. Talented people
98. Kind people
99. Loving people

And last but not least

100. ME


Now what will the winner receive? A box containing some of my favorite things. Remember to post on your own blog, follow my blog, leave a comment, and most important....have fun!!

Good Luck Everyone!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Take Me Out Back and Shoot Me

Seriously, I really wish someone would take me out back and shoot me. I have been hackin' up a lung for five days now, but it feels like an eternity!! I have kept my family up with my barking and the dogs in the neighborhood howl every time I cough. My head feels like it is going to explode. The muscles in my abdomen feel like they have done a million sit ups and a million crunches. I can't sleep for coughing so much. I can't lie down, I can't sit up, I just want to die. The pain which I experience on a daily basis is five times worse because of this stupid cough. I know that this will pass and that I will get better soon, but right now I just feel like I will never get over this.

Okay, so besides being sick, we are anxiously waiting for Dave's job interview on Monday. Yes, he has an interview for a position back at Hill AFB in Utah. We are desperate to get back to the states and even back to Utah. Yes, I just said "WE ARE DESPERATE TO GET BACK TO UTAH"!!!! For those of you that know us, know that we haven't had very good experiences in Utah, but we are willing to let them lay in the past and start anew. We will never complain again about anything there after our experiences here in Italy.

Don't get me wrong we have loved being here in Italy, the people are wonderful, the country is amazing and we have seen and done some things that we would never have been able to do or see any where else in the world. Obviously!!! But we have had some serious health issues here and we need to get back to the world of real doctors and be able to choose the care that we need. We need to have the medical facilities available to us that we obviously don't have here.

The girls are all anxious to get back to the states where they will be close to family and be able to get on with their lives. Things for them have kind of been put on hold because of the lack of availablity to civilians.

Wish us luck and pray for all of us. We have spent much time in prayer and fasting for our family as well as family members and friends all over the world. We have been richly blessed by our Heavenly Father and are thankful for the experiences we have had here, the good as well as the bad. We have become a stronger family and become more self-reliant. We look forward to seeing all of our family and friends soon. We hope to be able to hook up again with friends that we have met here in Italy and have had to say good-bye to.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Well, the fourteenth was Kaitlyn's 10Th birthday. I can't believe my baby is a whole decade old, a double digit! It seems like just yesterday that we were being told that we were expecting a surprise. And what a surprise she was too because two years before we had been told the chances of us getting pregnant again were slim to none. What a blessing she has been to our family! Our family had been through so many tragedies, disappointments and trials the previous six years or so that the Lord decided to send this little miracle to us. She brought the smiles back, the laughter, the joys, and the happiness back into our family. We feared losing her before she was even born. I went into labor with her at 18 weeks and so I spend the next several months in bed. I did EVERYTHING the doctor told me to do so that she would grow to full term. She was still a tiny baby at barely 5 pounds and a tiny 17 1/2 inches long. At 10 days she aspirated and had a second degree seizure. Dave had to resuscitate her with CPR and saved her life. Yes, she truly is a miracle to us. We love her so much!!! We hope she had a wonderful birthday and many many more to come.

Kaitlyn loves to play with bouncy balls, write poems and stories, draw pictures, watch movies, snuggle with Mom, be read to each night before bed, go places with her family, and just be a girl. She likes to spend time with her family and friends. She loves school, but hates homework. She loves stories, but hates to read. She is learning sign language, spanish, italian, and crocheting.

Kaitlyn has enjoyed her 2 1/2 years here in Italy. She has made so many friends, but has had to say good-bye to many of them since their parents PCS to other places. She misses her grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends that she has in Utah and can't wait to get back.

Kaitlyn wants to be a writer when she grows up. She has grown several inches since we moved here to Italy, she is 4 feet 5 inches tall. Not too much more and she'll be as tall as her mom, 5 feet 1 inch!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fourth of July Celebrations....NOT!!

The day started nice and sunny, but by noon the clouds had rolled in over the mountain and we knew the afternoon thundershowers were on their way. Dave, Aimee and Wendy managed to get out canopy set up over our table for the craft fair in the spinkles and rain that fell from the dark clouds. Dave then rushed home to get me, Kaitlyn and all of our other stuff. When we got back to the base it was sprinkling a little bit. We set up and were ready for customers by 315. We sat and sat and sat and sat.........and sat for several hours. Thank goodness I took more crocheting to work on because it was a VERY LONG DAY. The sun made an appearance for a little while, but those dark clouds loomed over the mountains like a bad dream. We had several people stop by our "booth" to take a look at our wares, Aimee's paintings and drawings, Wendy's photography, and my crocheting and cross stitch, but no sells. At about 730 a couple of little girls came by and wanted to buy something small, Wendy sold a small cross stitch pieces she made about 10 years ago and I sold a couple of cross stitched magnets. A whole $10 is what we sold. BUMMER!!! We broke even, the entry fee was $10. I don't think the craft fair was advertised as well as it could have been and it was the first year. At about 815 we started cleaning up and the thunder rolled and the lightening crashed and the rain came down in buckets!! The canopies were trying to blow away and so we had to hold them down and rush to get things put away and help each other. Dave was stuck at home because it was HAILING and the wind was so bad that he couldn't get the gate open long enough to back out of the driveway. When he finally showed up we were in a mad dash to load the car and get the canopy down, we had lots of help, the Reiker and Stevens families helped to get everything loaded in our car. Thanks everyone!!

The celebrations included a battle of the bands. When did music become so load and screechy that you couldn't understand it? I thought I was gonna go insane listening to that. There were 8 bands and they each had about 20 minutes to impress the judges. OH MY HECK!!! Most of the music was screaming and screeching guitars. There were maybe two songs that I could actually hear what was being sung. One of the bands, The Originals, was pretty good and they won the competition. One of Dave's co-workers, Dave, had a son that was in that band, so my Dave was pretty happy that they won. And of course, the other Dave was a proud father.

Dave and Kaitlyn had a good time checking out the games and food most of the day. The ward was having a party at the pool that night as well, so Dave took Kaitlyn over there so she could go swimming. She was able to swim for 20 minutes before they were kicked out. They had a good time despite the weather. They were able to spend quality one-on-one time together.

We were all exhausted by the time we all got home. Dave ended up sick with a cold, Kaitlyn was trying to get over a cold and so she was back to being sick again, Aimee and Wendy were just plain exhausted, and I was in enough pain that I didn't care one bit about anything for a couple of days. But over all we had a great Fourth of July. Sorry there are no pictures, we forgot the camera. Hope everyone had a great holiday!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lots to catch up on

I don't remember if I updated everyone on Dave's situation. About a month ago he was having problems with tingling in his left arm and fingers. This had been going on for about a week or two and he was getting concerned because of the family history of heart issues and diabetes. He made a doctors appointment, that alone concerned me because he NEVER goes to the doctor unless he is REALLY sick. Any way, the doctor ordered blood work and a stress test. We waited a couple of days and he was feeling like it was getting worse so the doctors' nurse told him to go to the ER in Pordenone. We spent 10 hours there hooked up to cardiac monitors and waited for the cardiologist to appear. Italy is VERY laid back and their philosophy is we will get to it when we get to it. Any way, when he FINALLY saw the cardiologist, who was all of 20 years old, she told us there was no evidence of cardiac problems. YEAH!!! Dave went ahead a did the stress test as ordered by the doctor, and everything was great!! There is NO sign of cardiac problems, so far no diabetes. His cholesterol is a little high but the doctor didn't seem to be too concerned about it, told him to continue riding his bike and watch his diet.

I believe that the tingling in his arm and fingers is due to carpal tunnel.

We have signed up for the craft fair here on base for the 4th of July. I have tried to get as many baby outfits done as I could to sell, and I will be taking orders as well. I also decided to sell the cross stitch projects that I have completed over all these years. Aimee and Wendy are also going to be selling some of their paintings and photos. We are all excited to participate in this activity. I just hope that it doesn't rain all day.

An update on my arthritis I suppose is about due. The doctor put me on Mobic, an arthritis medication, for a month and it didn't really help and it also caused some side affects that I wasn't too thrilled about. So for now we are just trying to manage my pain, not too successfully right now, but oh well. I am looking forward to returning to the states and finding a doctor that specializes in arthritis. Last November I was able to go to the gym and do some walking and exercises. I was really enjoying it and feeling a bit better, the pain was a bit managable. But since January I have not been able to go and sometimes I am lucky to walk down the stairs. Of course, some days are better than others. I do what I can, when I can and try not to do too much when I am having a good day.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Boy Do I Miss Her

I was sitting here doing some crocheting and listening to my iPod when Rascal Flatts song "Ellsworth" came on and I was reminded of my Grandma Berkley. If you listen to country music and have heard this song, you know why I would burst into tears. You see Grandma had dimentia before she passed away and she didn't remember a lot of us. Then I looked at the calendar and realized that today would have been her 88th birthday. I started thinking about her and realized that I miss her so much!

The last three years of her life she spent in a nursing home in Ogden and I didn't go see her very often. I know that I should have gone to see her more often but it was so hard for me to see her wasting away and not remembering me, her youngest granddaughter. When we would go we always took Kaitlyn with us and Grandma ALWAYS remembered who Kaitlyn was. There was a special bond there that I think was strong during the pre-existence and when Kaitlyn was sent to our home it was like two very old and dear friends had met again after a short separation. It was a wonderful thing to be a small part in that reunion, but also very sad because my memories of my Grandma as she used to be were fading.

During the three years that Grandma was in the nursing home, my family was priveleged enough to live in the house that Grandma and Grandpa raised my mother in. After several years of suffering from depression and anxiety I was able to heal and feel the love that dwelled in that home from so long ago. I was able to become me again. Our family grew closer together and helped each other to heal what had been damaged because of the depression that I had suffered for many years and was never diagnosed. We were going to buy that house and finish raising our children and have a place for our grandchildren to have wonderful memories, but we needed to move on.

Because of the dimentia and many lonely years that took over Grandma's mind, my good memories started to fade. Since moving out of the house and regaining some of my mental health I have been able to find those good memories of Grandma. Grandpa and Grandma had a HUGE garden in the backyard and every summer we watched, helped them take care of that garden. I barely remember sitting in the pea patch when I was really young shelling and eating those peas. Grandma always made the most amazing meals with the produce of that garden.

My Grandparents weren't rich by any means, but they had a lot of love for their family and I'm sure that as Grandma's mind failed her, it scared her. I am so thankful for the Gospel and the knowledge that that has given me. Because of Grandma's faithfulness and testimony and example, my Grandpa joined the church. Their love of the Gospel helped to instill in my Mom and in Me the love of the Gospel and helped me to strengthen my testimony.

Grandma's house always smelled of fresh food. She baked some amazing zucchini brownies that tasted like chocolate. Her garden salads have always been my favorite and I haven't been able to find a good one since.

Grandma loved to read. I remember sitting on her lap or next to her on the couch while she read to me. Her love of reading was passed on to my Mom and then on to me and hopefully on to my children.

I really miss my Grandma today. I love her very much and can't wait for the day that I am able to hug her and kiss her soft cheek.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I have this wonderful friend, Heather, that I met here in Italy who has the cutest little girls. She has embarked on wonderful journey of making and selling hair bows. They are handmade and would look great with any outfit for your little girl.
This is her link to cute, adorable and affordable bows.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I have decided to start a new blog where I can advertise my crocheting. Right now there is only a couple of things which can be purchased, but I hope you will check it out and spread the word.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Birthday Girl!!

Today is Wendy's 19th birthday! Her last year as a teenager. Wow, where as the time gone? I was thinking about that last night and I realized that my life would be so incomplete without her here. She has been such a joy and inspiration to me. She has been so much help during the trials in my life and I don't know where I would be if she wasn't here to help me out. You see when we found out that we were pregnant again so soon after having Aimee (she was five months when we got pregnant) the doctors wanted to abort her. I had had such a hard time with the pregnancy and recovery with Aimee the doctors didn't think I would survive another one so soon, if ever, that they didn't want to risk anything. But we told them no that we would go through with the pregnancy and leave it all in the Lord's hands and I am so glad we did. I have never regretted that decision.

Wendy has helped raise her younger sister, Kaitlyn, and she has been a great housekeeper. She took over the mother role when I was unable to. She has cooked, cleaned, done laundry, planned meals, planned parties and anything else she has been asked to do without so much as a complaint. She has been a lifesaver to our family. She has done all of this and excelled in her school work and anything else that she has wanted to accomplish. She has set goals for herself that are absolutely amazing that at 18 I would never have set for myself. She sets a fantastic example to all of us.

Wendy loves to teach her Primary children. She remembers their birthdays and cheers for them when they succeed. She is amazing!

We love you Wendy very much and are so glad that you are a member of our family.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours

So this month has been a bummer, joke, the pits, or absolutely hilarious, depending on your outlook on life.

We started out the month THINKING that we had hot water. When the hot water heater got fixed LAST month, it lasted all of THREE DAYS. That's right three days!!! The water heater has been broken since the first of this month, that's 17 days so far. The guy keeps comin' out to fix it, but for some reason it ain't workin'!!! We keep going to the gym on base to take those nice HOT showers in the evenings. But today I thought, 'Oh it can't be that bad.' HA HA on me!!! It is that bad, especially when cold makes the pain in my back and hips WORSE!! So much for going to church today.

Our car started having a leak from somewhere about three weeks ago. Well, last Wednesday, it had it's last leak. Dave said, 'I don't dare drive it any more. I think we've blown a headgasket.' Oh great!! That sounds bad!! So as we were sitting in the food court waiting for Aimee to get off of work someone out in the parking lot was talkin' with Dave and said to take the car to this mechanic that has a shop up the street from us in Marsure. So Thursday morning Dave took the car up to him. Thursday afternoon the guy calls and says, 'you have a leak in one of the hoses from the radiator and it'll cost about 150 Euro to fix.' Dave said okay and had him fix it, it was job beyond Dave's capabilities. We were pretty glad when it wasn't gonna cost us 1000 Euro. So Friday evening Dave went and picked it up and it's fixed. YEAH for mechanics!!! Plus the guy knocked 50 Euro off the price!!! YEAH for nice Italian mechanics!!

Friday, because we had no car and it was raining, we decided to clean the living room and move the furniture around. Well, I tripped over something and so I moved my foot to catch my balance and instead my foot slipped out from under me. I know, graceful huh? Any way, I landed on my belly, pulled the muscle in the back of my right leg and wrenched my back. I am such a klutz!! Now you know why the pain in my back from the cold shower is so bad. Any way, I felt like an idiot!!! I am always so careful when I clean or walk because sometimes I'm not so steady on my feet any more, but what can I say? Maybe I shouldn't try to clean any more? That sounds like good advice to me. ;0)

It just seems like when we are trying to do everything we are supposed to be doing, everything falls apart. I guess it's just another test to see if we will be faithful? Oh, who knows? I just want to catch a break sometime soon.

I have made a few friends here in Italy and all of them are in the military, so you know what that means....MOVING. Well, one of the friends that we have become close to over the past 6 months or so is moving this week. The Abbott family has been so fun. We have gone out to dinner with them, BBQed with them, played games with them, and Annette has even learned how to crochet. We have watched movies with them, visited and gotten to know their wonderful family. There is Chris, he is so funny and he's the husband/dad of this wonderful family. There is Annette, she is so quiet and reserved until you get to know her and then WATCH OUT, she's the wife/mother of this amazing family. There is Hannah, the oldest and only girl, I totally feel for her, she is so hilarious! There is Jake, the oldest boy, he cracks me up! There is Jared, he is a hoot, he was a munchkin in THE WIZARD OF OZ play and he made me laugh so hard!! Then the baby, Nate, well, he isn't a baby any more, but he is the youngest and so adorable ya just gotta love him. All the children are between Wendy and Kaitlyn in age and all the kids get along great together. I wish we had more time to get to know their family better and do more things with them, but their assignment is up here and so they must move on. I hope that we are able to see them again sometime when we return to the states.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Okay, so we have been out of hot water for like 10 days! We started calling the property manager 10 days ago to let him know that the hot water heater wasn't working. He would come over and 'fix' it and the next day when it was time for showers again, there would be no hot water. On his second trip out here, he had someone else come 'fix' it. It was a temporary fix. Again the next night when shower time came, there was no hot water. By this time we are all get a bit upset because we were having to call friends to see if we could use their shower. Last Thursday Dave called AGAIN and told him it was broke to please come fix it. Well, Friday was an Italian holiday, so the property manager wasn't going to be able to have anyone come look at it until Monday. So this time we went to the base gym to shower in nice hot water with REAL water pressure. We all felt so CLEAN. Monday came and the property manager came out again to look at the water heater and took a component out of it, I have no idea what it was he took out, but he said it was fried. He would have to go get the part, so he went and got the part put the new part in an STILL no HOT water!!!!! Tuesday afternoon he showed up again and brought someone with him and they drained the water heater, replaced the thermastat, hooked it back up, and left. When it was time for showers this morning, we HAD HOT WATER!!!! Yeah for hot water!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Confessions of a Pepsi Addict

Hi my name is Pamela Holloway and I am a Pepsi Addict. (clapping)

I must confess that I have a serious problem...I drink. Diet Pepsi that is. I have been drinking Pepsi for as long as I can remember.

My earliest memories are of my family vacations in Utah to visit my grandparents, both sets, and there has always been Pepsi involved. There is ALWAYS Pepsi in the house of both grandparents, at every meal there was Pepsi, at every Pinochole game there was Pepsi, on every camping trip there was Pepsi. Our family LOVES Pepsi!!!! Can you tell? There was always Pepsi and ice in our homes. Most of us LOVE Pepsi on the rocks. I personally can't drink it if it isn't on the rocks, the ice waters it down so it doesn't mess up my stomach. Do you think that maybe that's a sign to give it up? I don't know, I'll have to think about that one for a bit longer.

Every babies' pacifier, binky, dummy, whatever you want to call it, was dunked into a glass of ice cold Pepsi in order for the baby to hush and take that pacey. Was that a smart move? Probably not since most of us have craved Pepsi since we could ask for it. So far FOUR generations have loved the Pepsi!! Some of us have been good and given up soda all together, others have given up caffine, others have given up the sugar. I am one that has given up the sugar. (This is NOT a picture of anyone in my family, but represents how bad we had it.)

At one point in my life I would have taken an IV drip of straight Pepsi. Now it's an occassional ice cold Diet Pepsi on the rocks (ice). At one point I would have highjacked a Pepsi truck to get my fix. Now it's just the expired cases that the stores are supposed to take off the shelves, but sell it at a reduced price one week before they expire. Great deals can be had!!! At one point I could have easily gone through three cases a day. Now it is an occassional can.

I have tried going cold turkey off of the Pepsi, but the migraines have NOT been worth it. I did go off for two years beginning with my pregnancy with Kaitlyn, but when the stress of life got to me, I went straight back to my old friend, Pepsi. What does that say about my ability to deal with stress? I guess it's a good think I'm not a 'coke' addict or an alcholic. But then again maybe that means I could step over the line really easy? No way!! I much prefer the Pepsi thank you very much.

When we were getting ready to move to Italy I was told that they didn't have Pepsi there, I thought I was going to die and have to have my parents ship a case a week in order for me to survive. Happily there was Pepsi to be had at the Commissary. I have been disappointed that Pepsi is not served in the restaraunts here, only Coke. I know that was blasphemy, but it had to be said. Any way, when we go out I usually drink water.

I realized today that I haven't had a Pepsi in about five days!!! I can't believe it. I didn't realize it until this stupid headache started and I asked Wendy to fix me a SPRITE. Wendy hasn't ever fixed me a Sprite and so when I have asked her the last time, five days ago, she fixed me a Pepsi!

I remember as a child living at Edwards AFB my mom having me fix her a Pepsi each morning before she would even get out of bed!!! I have never been that bad, but pretty darn close. Caffine isn't good for pregnant women or nursing mothers, but Mom and I both have drank the Pepsi during those times. Except of course when I was pregnant with Kaitlyn and nursing her.

Now this post isn't to make anyone feel bad or sad for me, but to make you laugh and reminds me that there are many good memories that I have of my childhood. There are many things that can trigger our memories and Pepsi is one of mine, maybe that's why there will ALWAYS be Pepsi in my home. I like to remember those good times and those good things and Pepsi helps me to do that. I have great memories of my life and I like to reminisce of those carefree days.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

22 Years and Counting!!

Happy Anniversary to US!!!

I have been married to the same WONDERFUL man for the past 22 years!!! We sat down to a wonderful dinner tonight and Wendy asked us what time we had gotten married. We were married at 11am in the Mesa Arizona Temple. And she said, "Exactly 22 years ago ya'll were getting married." It made me remember kneeling across the alter from my wonderful man and it brought tears to my eyes. I have truly been blessed with a wonderful husband. We didn't know much back then and we had NO idea what the future was going to hand to us. We have been through some wonderful times and some sorrowful times, but we have done it together. Brother Skinner, the man who officiated our wedding, told us to make it to the temple every year as close to our anniversary as possible to remind ourselves of the covenants we made to each other. Unfortunately we haven't been able to go the past three years because the Swiss Temple is too far away. I can't wait to get home to the states where it is easier to get to a temple. We have been to the Swiss Temple once since arriving here in Italy and found it amazing!!!

Dave does so much for me that I could never thank him enough. But I want everyone to know what an amazing man he is. He had no idea 22 years ago that he would have to do so much for me in order for me to just enjoy each day. Since being diagnoised with RA last year, he has had to do ALOT for me. Some days he has to even help me out of a chair!!! But he does it with a kiss and a smile. He has had to put up with my inability to do a lot of things as simple as sweep the floor, cook dinner, or even do the laundry. He helps every chance and as often as he needs to, always with a kiss and a smile.

We have had experienced a lot of sorrow throughout our marriage. We have lost babies before we could hold them, we have lost beloved parents and grandparents. We have had to experience physical hardships with my health and emotional health as well. We have stuck it out together and become stronger individually and as a couple.

We have been blessed with two wonderful daughters, Aimee and Wendy, who have become amazing women. They have pitched in in every aspect of our lives. They work, they help around the house, they help take care of Kaitlyn and me. They haven't always done it with a smile, but they are learning to do it more so now as adults with their beautiful smiles. They are amazing!!!

We have also been blessed with a wonderful little Kaitlyn. She has brought so much sunshine into our lives, especially after experiencing so much loss in the nine years it took her to get to us. She is becoming a great help to me and learning so much from her sisters. She will be an amazing woman when she finishes growing up.

I want to my family to know that I love them so much and appreciate EVERY thing they do for me. I LOVE you all very much.

Monday, April 6, 2009

To Sell or Not To Sell

I love to crochet cute baby things, dresses, booties, blankets, etc. I love to cross stitch beautiful pictures. If I don't give them away as gifts, they sit in a drawer or box and take up space. I'm wondering if people would be willing to pay for these beautiful creations. What do ya'll think? Would you pay for these beautiful creations for that special baby, or for that special someone in your life? I am considering starting my own business with a link to sell these items. What do ya'll think?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What a beautiful day to get caught up!!

Today was an amazing day! It was beautiful outside, not too hot not too cold, so Dave woke up and started on the yard work. He cleaned out the flowerbed under the kitchen window, I think we are gonna try to plant tomatoes this year. He also managed to break my poor froggy!!! He trimmed the Honeysuckle bushes on the fence in front of the house. He started to cut the grass, but then got sidetracked. He went and bought me a swing so that I can enjoy the sunshine and outdoors in comfort this year instead of spending so much time inside. Isn't he just the best?!


On the 23rd of March was Aimee's BIG day....she is no longer a teenager!!!! She turned 20 years old!!! I can't believe she is that old. It has been an interesting ride the past twenty years with her. She is an amazing woman. She has been a challenge and a joy, ones I would NEVER trade for anything in the world because we have all grown to become better people. We had homemade pizza for dinner and chocolate creme pie for dessert, we even made her blow out the candles!!

Yesterday I got a wild hair and decided that since we will be getting ready to packout of here in about 8 months I needed to go through stuff and organize and clean the basement. WOW, I can't believe all the JUNK we got rid of!!! Empty boxes that have come with books, movies, presents, and art supplies in the mail that we thought, "Hey we can use that box to send gifts back to the states so we will save it." Did we send any gifts back to the states? Of course not, because we want to see everyone's faces when we give them their gifts in person. Any way, there was TONS of stuff, I think we filled up one of the HUGE trash bins at the end of the street. It still needs some work, but a little bit at a time does wonders!!

Then I organized my craft supplies so that it is easier for me to find things that I need instead of buying more. It is amazing the amount of yarn I have gotten since we moved here. I filled two RUBBERMAID boxes and two bags with the yarn. I don't think I will be buying any more for awhile. My cross stitch supplies are now in drawers that I can easily get too and know what I have. Maybe I should sell some of the projects I have finished? I used to sell them when we lived in Colorado and then the buyer got them framed themselves so that they were matched to their decor. My scrapbook supplies are a little bit more organized, but I still have a ways to go to organize them better, besides I can't get too many supplies here in Italy. I guess that's a good thing. Now where to put everything?

Now all I need to do is get about five more bookcases for all the books and DVDs we have bought in the last two years. We haven't had any satelitte, cable or AFN box to watch television so we hear about or see a preview for a movie or series and we buy it. We get hooked and then order the whole series so we can be entertained. The DVDs we have decided that it is better to have them in a storage book so that they don't take up so much space. We had two bookcases with only DVDs, two rows on each self, and we have got them down to 17, yes seventeen, storage books. We have over 300 titles. The girls and I LOVE the books so most of the bookcases are overflowing with novels, books, stories, comics and whatever we can read. Again we love the series type books so when we read the first we have to order the series. We have become the library for all of our friends! We don't mind, but we make them sign away their lives in order to take them home. Bummer huh? Oh well, I love my DVDs and books. Plus we have put a label on all of our books that say they are 'From the humbly crowded library of Pamela J Holloway.' I think it's cute any way.
While we were organizing, Kaitlyn had her friend Olivia over to play for the afternoon. Kaitlyn is such a lonely little girl because we have no American children that live close by so we have to arrange playdates for her. She usually goes to Olivia's house, but since they were getting ready to go on vacation for spring break we decided to have her come to our house. They had a great time playing with PetShops and games and watched a movie before we had to take her home. Kaitlyn is sad because Olivia will be moving away this summer.
Once we got Olivia home and picked up Aimee from work we had to go to the laundrymat to get the piles of laundry done. We put the laundry off all week because it takes so stinkin' long to do it. Now that it is getting warmer outside we can hang most everything on the line. YEAH!!
I did so much yesterday that I can't hardly move today. I laid down on my new swing outside in the fresh air, read a few pages of Janet Evanovich (one of my favorite authors), and took a nap! I think everyone tried to wake me up about four times, but I was so comfortable and it was so nice out I just ignored them.

Aimee gave me my birthday present last week...a cuckoo clock made in Germany. Isn't it beautiful? I've always wanted a cuckoo clock. My Dad's parents have one downstairs in the family room and I love it. So now I have my own and it was bought here in Italy, but made in Germany. Cool, huh?

I was able to finish the baby ensamble that Wendy wanted me to make for her future baby girl. It consists of a dress, booties, headband, blanket and 2 burp cloths.