Monday, January 30, 2012

It's been a rough week...

If we're friends on Facebook, you know it's been a rough week. If we're not friends on Facebook than just know that I have four sick kiddos (upper respiratory infections so not too bad), that on Wednesday Bubba had an allergic reaction that resulted in an ER trip and he's now a carrier of an EpiPen Jr; both with us and at school. But all that aside, we're moving into our house! I figured the fastest way to show our house would be a video but on the sloooooooow internet connection here at the hotel, I had to split it into parts.
And I lied; Downstairs is the main entry to the house, as well as the laundry room and another bedroom. (and a very tiny [but clean and not creepy] cellar. We are tentatively planning on using this room as a guest bedroom but we have to see how hot/cold it gets/stays. 

 And part 2 (and rest assured that the ''uh-oh's'' at the end of part 1 were Pook's concern over his sissy opening all the kitchen cabinets). No one was in danger during  the making of this video.
And that's pretty much our house...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Overdue update on Peanut


Obviously right now our life is more chaotic than it usually is and I'm pretty proud of myself that during this time of chaos, I've still managed to find the time to blog. Granted a paragraph or two then a photo collage isn't great but it's better than nothing (and honestly, blogger is pissing me off loading individual photos lately so the collages are easier). But I realized today that we've had milestones come and go without me acknowledging them at all! Okay, I acknowledged them but not on my blog. Geez, what kind of mother do you think I am!?
Back in summer and even early fall I was lazily attempting to potty train Peanut. He was almost three, he was full capable physically (holding it at naptime, able to pull his pants up and down, would tell me when he was dirty/wet) but he simply didn't want to. When Nanaw and Papa visited in July, he had it down. For almost two weeks he did awesome with the peeing part. Then Bubba started school...and right about the time Bubba was getting attention for that, Peanut stopped using the potty. He would pee in his undies, on the floor, in a diaper/pull up, anywhere. He wanted his ''kid diapers'' back (sissy's diapers were a different size so he said those were ''baby diapers'' but his were ''kid diapers''...he was NOT a baby if he wore the kid ones...at least in his mind. So after a few days, I threw in the towel. I realized that he wasn't ready. I was stressing myself out more than what it was worth. I knew that he would train eventually and I let it go. Sure we left his little potty out and if he went, we praised but we didn't make a big to-do either way.

Fast forward to October. He's really almost three now and I was feeling the societal pressure to get him out of the diapers. Well again, he let me know he had other plans. Some days he would do awesome and the next day he just wouldn't care. At this time, we got our moving dates and I decided to drop it and pick it up once we got settled here.

Well, apparently Peanut had other plans. See he decided to wait until the first week of December to ''want'' to go on the potty. He didn't even tell me or ask me to go, he'd run in there, use the potty then come back out and need me to button his pants and want a high-five. We had a few ''uh-oh I gotta go potty now" instances where we didn't make it to the potty in time but those happen. A few days after this is when we moved into the hotel. In the hotel, I did not have a little potty and he requested that I just give him diapers. Well that wasn't happening since I hadn't brough his ''kid'' diapers. Hours into day 1 at the hotel, he agreed to sit on the big potty and he (unintentionally) went #2 on the potty. Where my other kids were kind of scared to do that, Peanut thought it was SO cool. He loved using the big potty suddenly and it didn't matter where we were at, he'd yell ''I gotta go poop...now!" Honestly it's not even that embarrassing by kid number 3...I was just so proud of him for sticking to it! 

So while I was nervous about a full day of flying/traveling with a newly ''potty trained'' kiddo, it went really well. He's completely trained, day and night (though I do make him wear a diaper still at bedtime; only because he's sleeping on a hotel mattress and if he had an accident, I don't want to deal with that). But yeah, so Peanut potty trained himself. Completely and if you don't count all the pressure that I put on him (granted off and on, but still) he trained himself is about three days. So basically I've learned that until Sissy is ready, I'm not stressing myself out nor wasting the time. Besides, one kid in diapers is pretty good considering at one point not too long ago, I had three in diapers at the same time.

a cheap thrill

In Italy it seems that those 50 cent ride on toys are the latest rage. Every grocery store and mall has several and they range from odd (an elephant steering a boat) to modern, Tow Mater or Scooby Doo for example. The kids LOVE them and for 50 cents, we usually oblige. Well today we finally went up to the second story of a mall and it was, and I quote bubba ''the funnest place on earth''. Move over Disneyland, my kids were impressed by mechanical trains, baby go-carts that are 50 cents for three minute rides and giant toy monster trucks.
And every single ride pictured was really just .50 euro (roughly $.75USD).You win this one Italy, well played!

Friday, January 20, 2012

We've now been in the hotel for 32 days. While most of the time I feel like I'm going to lose my mind, all in all it's not too bad. I mean six people and one dog in one hotel room for over a month...things could be going a lot worse! But all in all, things are falling into place. We chose our house and sign the lease next week. We got our overseas health insurance (as we are not eligible for Tricare because we aren't active duty) and I'm waiting for our insurance cards. Our van arrived last week and we quickly realized that while we could try to be a one car family, it would be difficult. It's about 30 degrees and we'll be living over 5 miles away. Way too cold for B to bike to work. He could have my van but then if I wanted to take the kids to storytime or do anything else on post, we'd have to walk to the bus stop, ride for awhile, switch buses, then ride the rest of the way to post...all in all it'd make a 20 minute trip take an hour. We needed to find him a car and he started looking weeks ago. We had some money saved up to buy something outright, as long as it wasn't more than $5000. He had fallen in love with the Mini Coopers so that's what he'd been looking at online. Bookmarking listings that we wanted to go look at.

Well as luck would have it we found a solider right here on post who was moving and needed to sell his. It was older than what B had been looking at but much, much cheaper. The kicker? It's a 1993 but looks much older (in a vintage/classic way, not  junky). He drove it to the hotel for B to check out and B loved it. It needs a few smaller things (new tires, new muffler) but is completely driveable, runs great! We made the guy an offer later that night and yesterday, it was signed over to B. It's officially his!
Because we got such a great deal on it, B has the extra funds to turn it into a hobby. While he has to buy new tires and a muffler, he's also ordering the logo hub caps and in the spring time, will probably have it re-painted. (the body paint is in great condition...the racing stripes are peeling off). He wants me to make him seat covers once my sewing machine gets here, etc. I think he will have a lot of fun with it. And trust me, I passed him on post yesterday...he looks SO happy driving it. Just grinning from ear to ear...it's just a car that makes you smile. And the boys? They LOVE it. They call it "daddy's luigi car'' after Luigi from Cars:
Luigi was a 1959 Fiat but they don't know that!
Me? It reminds me of Mr.Bean's car! While I can't picture B sitting in a recliner on top of it, I can see why Mr. Bean needed too. This car is tiny.Much smaller than the new Mini's. The thing can't be wider than maybe 4 feet and possibly 4 feet tall. But it is perfect for B who tops out at 5'5''. It's a hobby, a commuter car and it's economical. I think it has a 9 gallon gas tank and insurance is a whopping $16/month. Che bello!

Here is his car next to my van:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Local Markets...

This weekend we ventured out to the nearby town of Camisano to visit the market that comes in each week. We had heard wonderful things and since our swaggerwagon FINALLY arrived (never in my life did I imagine being so excited to see a minivan!) we headed over. We were not disappointed!




 The market has everything. Clothing, accessories, dollar store type items, purses, shoes, produce....oh the produce! It's amazing! The above pic of the strawberries...we got the entire flat for 4 euro...that's about $5! And they were the freshest, sweetest strawberries we had ever eaten. They were delicious! And the oranges are everywhere. We did not buy them simply because the quantities were too much. 3kg (7.5 lbs) for 4 Euro...amazing deal but we could not eat almost 8 pounds of oranges. You could buy a flat of pineapples...8 total for 3 euro. The kids (and B) were so excited about the strawberries (fragola in Italian) that they ate them on the spot.
please excuse the poor quality, i only had my iphone with me!
If you're in the area, be sure to check them out. And Peggy over at pcsitaly.wordpress.com did a great write up on where the markets are each day. You can find that post here. I am so glad we have our van now. And I am super excited to go to the market where they sell antiques!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's been almost 3 weeks but...

I finally uploaded Christmas photos! There isn't much, the kids just opened their gifts in the hotel room. They ripped through everything so quickly that Peanut was done going through his stocking and on to his presents by the time I got my camera! But here is a quick overview....
Their favorite gift was there LeapFrog Explorers. Nanaw and Papa got them the gamers, Nanaw Phew Phew bought them each 2 games and we bought the cases (plus other presents). Those Explorers are life savers! Kids are learning, having fun and being fairly quiet! Which when six people are living in one hotel room...is a huge blessing!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"It's not bad, just different!''

My friend Amy (whom I met here in the hotel, doing laundry...she has four kids too!) was telling me how she catches herself saying this when referring to being here, in Italy.

"It's not bad, just different'' and I think that's the best way of describing it. I haven't been here for very long and in all honesty, I haven't seen very much in the grand scheme of things but so far we are enjoying ourselves. A lot of what we do on a day to day basis is similar to life in the States. We're on the military base so we go to the PX, the commissary, eat a mediocre lunch at Burger King...pretty much the same thing you can do on any military base. But off post, things are different. Not bad, just different.

When we first arrived here and ventured out, I was kinda shocked at how old and (for lack of better word) trashy parts of our new country looked. Dilapidated houses, dogs and cats roaming freely, abandoned buildings, laundry lines everywhere, billboards/advertisments in random places...but then it kinda hit me. It's not trashy....it's old. Italy is waaaaaaay older than the United States. Vicenza (the biggest city near us) was settled in the third and second centuries BC. In 49 BC Vicenza received Roman citzenship. We're talking about a place, a city that is over 2000 years older than the States. The area is very rich in history and these "dilapidated/abandoned'' houses are here because here, they don't always upgrade. They're passed down from generation to generation. Many of them look abandoned but in actuality, people live there just fine.

I was trying to explain this to Bubba, who on Saturday asked how old these buildings were downtown, near the Piazza dei Signori...
  
There was a plaque explaining that the Church (on the right side) was constructed in 1560-1565... So I explained to him that it was almost 500 years ago. I told him how when these buildings were constructed, America wasn't even the United States yet! He asked if these buildings were older than the Alamo and I told him, "yes! Much, much older...by over 200 years!" He was floored! We explained to them how the bricks and stone that made up the road were just as old. As were most of the bridges and lots of the buildings. It was really hard for him to grasp how Italy could be so much older. 

And it isn't just the buildings and construction. Everything is kinda stuck in the past (except fashion... definitely not in the past!) Italy isn't a country obsessed with having the latest and greatest in everything. Even technology is waaaaay behind the states. The Italians all use phones that I swear, T-Mobile was giving out as free phones five years ago! I'm talking phones that have one screen that is just the green backlight with the grey numerals/letters. It's not a bad thing, it's just different. The cars are all very small and I'd say about 1/2 are at least over 20 years old. Not restored as antiques, but just that old. They still work so why buy a new one? An attitude that could definitely be a lesson to many Americans!

Here are some other differences we've noticed or gotten used to:

-Grocery stores don't take debit cards or credit cards...everyone pays in cash. Everytime we plan on hopping on a bus and going somewhere you'll always hear Ron or I ask each other ''Did you take out Euro yet?". Gone are the days of just grabbing the debit card and heading out!

-Public toilets here have two buttons for flushing. One button is for number #1 and another for number #2, it's to conserve water. The boys have learned that they need to push the bigger button so they don't waste water.

-Trash is divided into 5 categories: glass, plastic/aluminum, paper, dry waste and then organic. In some parts, recycling is mandatory and punishable with a fine or jail time if you're caught not separating!

-When you go into a small grocery store, you DO NOT handle the produce. You tell the owner what you would like and how much. He will put on a pair of disposable gloves, then get the produce for you.

-Having four kiddos is rare here. Even more so than in the States. Italy is small, for the most part. Smaller houses, smaller cars, smaller families. While yes, there are the stereotypical ''big'' Italian families...it's usually made up of extended family members. I have quickly learned that anything that sounds like "Mama mia! Sono tutti e quattro i vostri bambini?" is responded with "Si, sono madre a quattro". Yes, I am the mother to all four. I get asked this on the bus, sightseeing downtown, in restaurants and usually the next question (though I'm not sure what they are saying, I can tell by the word 'femme') is something along the lines of 3 boys and just one girl.

-Not a lot of Italians know English. Luckily when shopping, several store owners know just enough. Gelato stands know enough to help you order (at least the time we did it!). Restaurants are hit or miss but usually pointing and displaying fingers of 'how many' works just fine. Most of the Italian food words, are the same words. Spaghetti, pizza, calzone, cappuccino. Ragu means a sauce with meat. Prosciutto is ham. Formaggio is cheese then obviously parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta....are all the same. When ordering water make sure to say naturale, otherwise you will get carbonated and while some people like it, I think it's gross!

Oh and word to the wise if you have kids, get ready to push their bedtime back. Italians eat late...like restaurants don't usually open until almost 7pm and service is slow. Not bad, just different. Italians take their time eating. You're not rushed to give up your table. They won't even bring you your check until you ask for it.

While eating late was fine for us over winter break, now we're back to cooking as much as we can during the week and then going out on the weekends. I just can't keep my littles up that late regularly.

-Drivers here are nuts. I'm used to the "Motorcycles are everywhere...LOOK twice'' mentality of the states. In Italy it seems to be the "oh look a motorcycle in my lane...i'll just stay here, drive 2 inches from their handlebars and then HONK because they are in my way''. It seems like the lines painted on the roads in Italy are merely suggestions. I've seen people make a one lane into two. They do not stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk unless there is a light telling them to. They will come within inches of pedestrians as well, so word to the wise...do not walk in the streets and when you have to, walk as close to the curb or the parked cars as possible.

I know that there are more differences that we encounter each day and I'll continue to share those as we go. Until then, I leave you with this sign to ponder...
Yes this on post, but being a joint post (meaning the Italians are sharing it with the United States...both Americans and Italians work here) we see quite a few new signs!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

This is our new town...

Today, we ventured downtown. When it's as easy as hopping on a bus and pressing a buzzer to stop when you see something worth stopping for, it's hard to resist. I took a ton of pics and I'll post more soon but had to post this one. Just a little bridge over a small canal. This is Italy!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The kiddos!

I've been blogging tons about Italy; the food, the house, Venice but everything has been from my point of view. I thought I would mention how the kids are doing.

Bubba started school this week. I have to say that when I went and enrolled him, I was very impressed. We met the registrar, filled out paperwork then met with a counselor. She talked to Bubba about what he liked best about school, had him color a picture, write his name, etc then (working with current class sizes) placed him in the class that she thought would be the best fit. Bubba loves to color, write, read and draw...he impressed the counselor immensely with his ability to write, that he can identity and write all 26 letter of the alphabet, upper and lowercase and that he can count to 100 and write up into the 30's. Shortly after assigning him a teacher, we got a tour of the school. It's new and just really nice. Good layout, great policies regarding attendance and security (his last school was nuts!) and most importantly, Bubba was impressed. Their room has it's own bathroom and a door to the playground...that's a big deal when you're five!

So after getting up earlier than he's had to in weeks (school starts at 8:10 here, in Texas it STARTED at 7:20!) he was off. Thursday afternoon I met one very excited kindergartener at the bus. He loved it! First, he got to ride the bus (it picks him up and drops him off at the hotel for now) and he loved that. Then he got to go to his classroom. He got to play outside even though it was cold (in Texas they had indoor recess anytime it was cooler than 45degrees) and he couldn't believe it. From the bus, the school, his teacher, the meals in the cafeteria...he loved all of it. I feel much more confident in this district than I did our last (we were considering pulling him out and homeschooling) and now Pooks is beyond excited to go next year. I'm hoping he gets Mrs. M as well. She sent home so much info to keep me informed and at ease. Plus she wants to have a meeting to introduce me to herself and her classroom. She even wrote a note that said ''Love, love, love your son! He is a very capable child!". His last teacher was nice but this one is above and beyond...and it's only the second day!
waiting for the bus!
And the younger kids? They're doing great too. This week we've had more issues with tantrums and whining but I think it's a combination of the hotel losing it's appeal and they are waking when Bubba wakes...which is too early for them. The two boys *want* to nap (seriously, Peanut asked to go lay down) so I let them for about and hour-hour and a half and guess what? Bed time was hell. Horrible. They didn't go to bed until almost 10pm which fed into a vicious cycle when they woke at 7am again this morning. I cannot wait to get to our house, get settled and for bubba to be able to get up and get ready without disturbing them. 

Prior to the last few days, things were even better. They love all the new foods. Gnocchi with cheese sauce and pizza are their favorites though they have tried almost everything that we've offered. They love bread with olive oil drizzled on it, inhaled the fresh Parmesan-Reggiano  that I grated on their pasta (and it was sharp...I was taken back on how different it tastes to what we're used to) and know that when we go to restaurants there are no kids meals, no to-go cups. It's water in a glass and they have to be very careful. 

They love being able to see the mountains and whenever it's really clear out, they ask to go upstairs and ''take some pictures''. Me with my phone, them with their toy phones. They are amazed at how some days you can see the mountains, some days you cannot! 
So far, no one has complained. They occasionally say they miss Nanaw/Papa, their friend Alivia...but overall they've adapted. They are very, very excited about our new house! Bubba especially is insanely excited about having a house with a fireplace!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Food items that are more awesome in Italy, that you wouldn't think would be better but they are!

When one moves to Italy you expect certain things to be better. Pizza, olive oil, wine, grapes, cheese, gnocchi...I mean, they *should* be better here. Hello, it's ITALY. We have been amazed by the deliciousness of all of the above. But then there are the things that you would never expect to even be different, let alone better.

Case in point: Yogurt. Let me introduce you to a new found love called Froop...
Now you may notice it's not Italian...it's actually German. The other brand that I don't have a photo of is also from Deutschland (and while good, it's not near as amazing). The layer at the top is fruit and then you have the yogurt...but this yogurt is not like Yoplait. It's so thick it's practically a custard and when you mix it with the fruit layer it's melt-in-your mouth delicious. Oh, and the fruit layer isn't chunky either, it's whipped and fluffy. The container is also bigger than what the yoplait/dannon ones are...it's amazing. And just in case you thought it was just me, the kids like it better and even B loves it, which he hated yogurt in the states. We stir it all up  and the boys will each eat an entire container. In fact they had one after dinner the other night and declared it their dessert! Froop also has more choices for fruit flavors. (I've never like coffee flavored yogurts or the pies/cake ones..blech!) Pictured is strawberry (which is my favorite) but the boys love the cherry and the mixed berry, B loves the mango. They have even more, apricot, lemon, etc and for $.65 a serving, they're not a bad price either. 

Food item number 2 is: Pepsi (or Coke or Fanta...soda in general)

I will fully admit that I love soda. And I knew moving to Italy that soda isn't near as popular as it is in the states especially while dining out. Wine is cheap...at our local place, I can get a 1/4L of wine for 1.8 euro...about $2.40. A glass of soda however is 2 euro for a small or 4 euro for a ''large'' and you get no ice. (The "large" is maybe 12oz). That's about $5.32 for essentially a can of pop. And it's not a fountain drink either...it's a 1L bottle that they open and pour into a cup. Ridiculous. Needless to say I've been drinking a lot more wine and a lot less soda.

But if you go to the Italian grocery store, it's priced much more reasonable. (obviously it's cheapest if you're shopping at the commissary but I mean when shopping on the economy. At the commissary it's just regular American soda). I bought a 1/4L of Pepsi for .87 euro (a little over $1) at Emisfero, which is best described as an Italian version of Wal-Mart. A can of Pepsi is cheaper at .44 euro. And the neat part is when you buy it in cans, it's individual cans, not a case (you rarely find anything in bulk off post because most Italians walk, bike or have tiny cars so smaller is better) and each can has a special foil lid. 
  source
It's a sanitary thing, to keep the lids clean. It simply peels back; there is no seal or glue. It's just a little Pepsi hat. And it just keeps getting better. Once you open that Pepsi and take your first sip you'll notice something different. The Pepsi is better! A quick look at the ingredients and you'll see why: soda here is made with zucchero, sugar. Not high fructose corn syrup but sugar and man-oh-man can you tell. It's so much better tasting! And I think all sodas (that you can buy on the economy...not at the comissary) are made with sugar instead of HFCS. I haven't been here very long, nor have I drank that much but from what I can tell, it sure seems that way. And fruity drinks like Fanta...I couldn't even stomach them before but here, Fanta actually tastes like oranges. It's not so fizzy and it's more fruity (plus Italians love some Fanta, it's everywhere). 

And lastly *for now* the number 3 thing that is 'more awesome' in Italy:
McDonalds. It could be the weeks we've gone without it but we caved and went to the mall this weekend. The food was ah-mazing. We went because we were curious about what an Italian mall would offer but secondly the dang McDonald's logo is on bus stops, the sides of buses, etc all pointing you to the mall where one is located. The kids noticed one in Venice and I downright refused to eat there but since we were going to the mall anyway, we told them we'd have lunch there. The menu is similar (the kids all had chicken nugget happy meals with fries, fanta and a toy) but slightly different (the happy meals also include a drinkable yogurt). I had a sandwich called a ''Crispy McBacon'' which was similar to a double cheeseburger but the cheese was a sauce and it had bacon...no ketchup, mustard, pickle, dehydrated onions. The fries were AWESOME. I don't know if it's a difference in oil or what but we chowed down on them. Oh and ketchup? Forget about it, you have to pay per packet here! I'm not sure how much as I couldn't understand the guy but I did understand that it cost money!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Part 2, getting settled!

**warning, I have started and stopped and restarted writing this post going on 4 days now. If it seems choppy, just know that it is! Sorry!**


So we have now been in Italy for two weeks. It's actually flying by already! We have spent these two weeks living in a hotel...it's on the Army post and while you may think "Geez, 14 days in a hotel?" there are others who have been here anywhere from one week to three months! How long you live in the hotel is dependent on how quickly you find a house. Initally, you can't go look at houses right away. It's a ton of briefings, getting ID cards, etc before the actual housing process begins. For us, it was delayed even more due to the holiday(s). So we're getting pretty cozy in the hotel.

It's a 'suite' I suppose; there is a living area, a kitchen area, a bedroom and a bathroom. Rascal is allowed and we are actually in the pet-friendly wing so there are other furry friends around too. Sleeping arrangements are quite comfortable despite the lack of space...Bubba and Pooks are on the pull out couch and Peanut is on the roll away bed, all situated in the living room. B and I are sharing the queen and Sissy is in the mini crib (who am I kidding...she's in our bed. Her blanket and stuffed monkey are in the mini-crib). Rascal sleeps in his crate and it's working out quite well. The most annoying part is the clutter/toys everywhere. It's not that the kids are messy, it's just there is no where for it all to go.

Well as luck would have it, this week B had his housing briefing. Then Tuesday I had to go with and we looked at houses on a website. It  has a pretty specific search and we could narrow down our must haves (pet friendly, extra bedroom) to our would like to have (close to post, not an apartment). We picked two houses that we ''liked'' (honestly I didn't like either but we HAD to choose two. Each day, sometimes several times throughout the day, the pickings change because as one family chooses a property to see, it becomes unavailable for others to view. Once they decide yes or no, it can be released and others can view it as an option).

So Wednesday we went and looked at the two that we weren't thrilled about and needless to say, we were underwhelmed. They were nice but each had an issue (the first had no grass. A yard of gravel and pavers...no grass. We have 4 kids and a dog, we need grass. Even just a tiny bit....the second was on the side of a cliff. Seriously the drop off was intense and the one laned dirt road leading to it was terrifying, I don't think the swaggerwagon could even make it up!). We returned to the office feeling defeated. While there, I hopped on the computer and started a new search to see if there were any new listings. There was one! And it seemed perfect. Four bedroom, 2 bath...it was about 5 miles away which might be too far for B to bike to work like we had hoped but otherwise it was perfect. And it was a house, not a duplex or apartment. We went and saw it later that evening.
It truly was beautiful on the outside and more space than I ever dreamed having on the inside. Seriously it was listed as 4 bedrooms but there is one downstairs off the entryway and another off of the kitchen that were considered ''entry'' and ''study''....in actuality they are just extra bedrooms. It's got everything on the required list (even has a fireplace and HUGE terrace...seriously it's like the biggest terrace you have ever seen. No joke, the terrace is bigger than the living room in our last house. The whole time we were looking at the house, the boys were running the terrace). It also has a private gate and driveway, there is even a little camera on the phone so when someone buzzes at the gate, we can scope them out before letting them in.
The two ''cons'' would be it's distance from post and how dated the tile is on the inside. The distance is do-able we had just hoped to find something closer so B could bike to work. It's not that he can't now, it's just these Italian back roads are narrow, winding and Italians drive crazy. I mean petal to the metal, making two lanes when there is barely room for one. They don't yield to pedestrians, or look twice for motorcycles. It is nuts. (and to think, I have to get a drivers license while here...eek!)

And the tile? Well, Italians love tile...and I don't mind it. Our last house was nothing but tile and I grew to love it. But this house was built in 1975 and it is full of bad 70's tile and it's everywhere. The backsplash in the kitchen is tile but it's not the same tile that's on the floor. And the kitchen tile doesn't match the hall tile, which doesn't match the living room tile, which doesn't match the bedrooms, etc. And it's not a solid color either but a gaudy print over and over and over. I have no clue how I'll decorate! B says ''Rugs...lot's of rugs". And the bathroom tile...geez, just wait til you see pics!

So as you might have guessed, we went with house number three. While it was a no-brainer to B and to our friends whom went with us, it took me longer to come around. I've always lived in a 'cozy' house. Nothing big, just enough for what you need. This house is not cozy. I had pictured a small Italian house that was cozy. This is nice, but big. There are 2 stories...the bottom floor is the entry, the laundry room, the spare room, a small cellar and then you go upstairs to a landing. Off of the landing is several doorways. One is to another spare room, one to the kitchen, one to the living room (complete with fireplace and wet bar), one is the hallway to the bedrooms. Once in that hall, there is a bedroom door, then a bathroom, then 2 more bedrooms, then on the other side another bathroom and the master bedroom which is so big we could EASILY upgrade to a king sized bed. Hell, we could probably fit the king and the queen bed in there together. (I kid but it would fit). So it's a lot of house and I'm not used to that. (Though I am extremely excited that one room will be my craft room/ an office!! WOOHOO, kid free zone!! Once I really talked it out, looked at the pics, thought about the cute cafe down the street, the school close by...I quickly decided that I didn't want to let it go.
We won't move right away. We'll probably be in the hotel for another month. We have a meeting on the 11th with housing for pre-negotiations, then we'll have a lease signing, then we'll get a move in date. Since our household goods probably won't be here til mid February, there really isn't a rush. (The army provides loaner furniture but I'm not wildly excited about that).