27 March 2012

Counting My Blessings

Don't get me wrong, I still hate Italy. BUT, in the midst of wishing and wanting things to be different, I was able to come up with a few things that I do appreciate having here!

1. Library - I'm a book nerd at heart and having the libary on base has been wonderful

2. Burger King - with the chocolate shakes that I LOVE

3. Movie Theater - popcorn is amazing there and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to watch a movie and buy snacks

4. American "comfort" food at the PX - what would I do without my favorite box Kraft Mac'n'cheese?!?!

5. American Red Cross - I start volunteering this coming Wednesday and can't wait to finally get back into doing something with my time again

6. Jobs openings - they are few and far between but they still exist!

24 March 2012

Excitement for First Day

Wednesday is my first real day working as a volunteer for the Red Cross at the health center (pictured). I can't wait! I'm so excited.

Main dilemma is what to wear?! Good thing the weather is warming up here so I can pull out my summer CAbi clothes that fit this prego belly. Very few of my other professional clothes fit other than my CAbi shirts and skirts. Go figure. I knew I liked that clothing brand for a reason!

If I can muster up the energy for it, I might be volunteering every week day until we go on vacation (to home!) for block leave. The main person is leaving sometime soon and I need to learn as much as I can before she leaves. Right now we have no idea who is going to fill her spot.

Picture Source

22 March 2012

New Hobby

I think I've found a new hobby that could be a lot of fun (and not to much $$$), and it would be something I could do when and hubby and his boys are deployed. Cookies! I'm not thinking of fancy cookies with weird ingredients...I'm talking about cookie decorating.

Doesn't that sound like fun?! I can decorate and ship cookies over to hubby when he's gone. Even better is the fact that I can always order anything I need online. There are no international shipping restrictions here in Italy on cookie decorating supplies!

Even though my (30th!) birthday is 4 months away, this helps me with a birthday list ideas. Cookie decorating supplies! Amazon and Wilton.com, here I come.

21 March 2012

Death by Power Point

Today was the 2nd day of clinical orientation, and in typical Army fashion, we were stuffed in a small room like sausages and brainwashed with power point after power point. I could literally feel brain cells being slowly sucked out of me. To bad it wasn't by one of the Twilight characters. Oh well...a girl can dream.

Good news, I have a volunteer role now! At first I was going to help with hospital administration, but today I got switched to education because the need was greater there. I'm stoked. Education and in-processing for all our the new employees and volunteers gives me the chance to get to know a lot of people (especially the big-wigs), as well as learn the inner workings of the health center.

As part of the orientation, we got to tour the whole building including the birthing center. I was a little freaked out when they said they can only handle two women in labor and anyone else that comes in has to get sent to San Bartolo Hospital. I'd rather have my baby in the middle of a deserted field with no help and no epidural, than be forced to go to the Italian hospital.

Anyways, the birthing center was pretty cool. The rooms are nice and "homey," or as much as a hospital-type room can be. There is a bed for the husband to sleep on, and the place was really calm and quiet. There were no screaming women so hopefully it means the docs and nurses know how to manage our pain well!

Friday I go in for all my immunizations. Hopefully, I won't need to many of them. I don't want to be sick when my hubby comes home!

Happy Hump Day.

19 March 2012

Latest Cravings

Biscuits...I go crazy over biscuits right now. They aren't the most healthiest thing to eat, but since I also consume scary amounts of plums, nectarines, cantaloupe, pineapple, and carrots...I figured biscuits aren't that bad.

Milk here goes sour in about a week and since I don't drink milk, it's nearly impossible for me to keep it around when hubby is gone. Even with hubby here, we are at a race against time to use it all up before turning sour.

With my biscuit craving, having no milk was a huge problem. What was I gonna do?!?! I searched the internet and found a recipe for Sour Cream Biscuits, and guess what - they taste amazing!

Sour Cream Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 t sugar
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 c sourcream
1/2 c butter

Melt the butter and mix in sour cream until smooth. Add dry ingredients. Add a few drops of water if necessary. (I hand-rolled the dough into balls and patted them down to 1/2 in thick biscuit shapes. Bake until bottoms are golden at 400 degrees.

Enjoy! (I ate four of them after baking! But in my defense, I made them really small. )

18 March 2012

16 Weeks...DONE!

When I met and married hubby, I never imagined my heart could hold that much love for someone. I was so happy...puppy dog love all the way. Still am. I feel like a giddy school girl all crazy excited when I see my husband.

And then we got pregnant. At first I wasn't to keene on this little alien, but this 2nd trimester has been a huge turn around in attitude for me. I feel like the Grinch who's heart grew three sizes.

Found this song in our iTunes collection. Thought it was perfect for both hubby and little alien...especially with hubby gone right now. Boy do I miss him.

Thinking of You

When I'm all alone or in a crowd
In a quiet place or where music's loud
If I'm on the road or in the other room
That's how you know I'm thinking of you.

When the flowers bloom
When the leaves turn brown
When the sun is hot
When the snow falls down
When the clouds are gray
And the skies are blue
That's how you know I'm thinking of you

I'm thinking of you, that's all I do, all the time
You're always the first and the last thing on this heart of mine
No matter where I go or what I do
I'm thinking of you

Can't remember now who I use to be
What I cared about before you came to me...baby
Every selfish thought, all I thought I knew
Has been replaced with thinking of you

14 March 2012

For YOUR Safety

Here are a few tips on what NOT to say or do to a pregnant woman unless you want to get hit with one of the wonderful comebacks below...or literally slugged in the face (blame the hormones).

I'm sure the list will grow as I get bigger and become the subject of even more "Whoa, you are huge" comments. Sadly I have to admit that I've been the a culprit of #1...sorry girls!

Of course immediate family is excused from having to follow this list...because they had put up with me for the past 29 years and therefore have the right to tease and torture me all they want.

Disclosure: Not all the comebacks came from my ingenious brain. A few of them came from Pregnant Chicken and are linked back to the appropriate webpage.


1. How are you feeling?
Depending on the moment and how far along I am, I could be experiencing nausea, fatigue, headaches, heartburn, leg cramps, nosebleeds, ligament pain, stuffy nose, and and a host of other "wonderful" and common pregnancy side effects. So don't ask me how I'm feeling! If you really want to know, ask me how far along I am and go look up it up on Google.

2. NEVER and I mean NEVER touch the belly.
I won't touch your belly if you don't touch mine. (Seems like a fair trade).

3. Should you be eating that?

4. How many more babies are you going to have?

5. Feeling fat yet?

6. You better sleep now because once the baby gets here....
I can't sleep now because of the pregnancy induced insomnia, and I'm about to turn into a raging monster from sheer exhaustion. But thanks for the advice.

7. You should NOT be drinking caffeine.

13 March 2012

Another Great Day

This was me till 11:30 this morning. Well, I did wake up and text my hubby good morning at around 7:30 and took the dog out. But then I went back to bed and sleep blissfully for another few hours.

Good news: docs here FINALLY put me on a medication that works for the PHN. I still feel pain, but it isn't excruciating. I'm sooooo happy. Of course I'm a little p-oed that it took them two months to figure things out, but hey, at least they did it.

More awesome news: today is our 9 month wedding anniversary! Hubby and I have been through a lot of crap and change in the past nine months, but we've survived so far and I believe it's made our marriage stronger. I knew I had married a pretty awesome guy from the very beginning, but as we've pushed through each hurdle with this PCS (and pregnancy), I am in awe over the amount of patience, strength, and perserverance that hubby shows every day.

Babe - I love you and miss you!

11 March 2012

15 Weeks - Prego Update

With hubby gone, I like to get myself out of the house every few days and plan things to do. I had all kinds of fun stuff planned for today, including going to the base theater to see the movie "Lorax," returning a few items at the PX, do some more shopping, get a chocolate shake from Burger King, clean and organize the baby's room, scrub the hallway floors, and do my nails.

And then the morning came and my plans changed. Whether it's the pregnancy, the PHN pain, or a combination of both, sleep is something I don't get much of...normally between 2-4 hrs a night. Today that lack of sleep seems to be hitting me harder. Since I've been dragging myself around all morning, I decided it's just not worth it to continue with the "dragging" but to go back to bed. Even if I don't sleep, rest still feels GOOD.

On most days I really hate the fact that I have anything to do. No full-time job. Volunteering hasn't started yet. I don't have any family or friends to call up and go hang out with it. And we are trying to reserve our sightseeing fund to save money for big trips. So it's pretty much just me and my dog...and nothing to do.

Yes it all sounds awful, but today...the awfulness became a blessing. Because I have nothing pressing to do, I can go back to bed and not worry about a thing! It is truly a whole lot of wonderful.

Oh yes...and 15 weeks - done!

10 March 2012

Best Drop Biscuits

Found this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe blog and they were delicious! Just had to share them with you too. I cut the recipe in half to only make 6 biscuits. The lemon juice is so you don't have to have buttermilk.

Best Drop Biscuits
1/2 T lemon juice
1/2 c milk
4 T butter
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t salt

Mix lemon juice and milk, let sit for five minutes. Melt and slightly cool butter. Add dry ingredients and milk and lemon juice mix. Bake at 350 until golden brown.

09 March 2012


One thing I've started doing is celebrating the milestones. I'm not talking about a huge party bash, or stuffing my face with a bag of dove chocolates. What I mean to to acknowledge the progress and use those moments to help me smile.

#1 Survived two whole weeks without hubby. This is the first time being alone in Italy and being apart since we've been married.

#2 Got gas (gasoline that is). Here in Italy we have to buy gas with special coupons. I brought one book of coupons with me thinking I was set, because Chad always only used two to three coupons for a fill-up. Little did I know, I was 10 coupon points under. Two Italian guys came out and started yelling at me in Italian and after frantically calling hubby about what to do, I ended up paying a pretty penny on my debit card. All said and done, I left the gas station a little shaken, but alive and with a full tank of gas. (I'm determined to make that tank last till hubby gets back!)

#3 Got mail. While you may laugh at this one, the APO boxes at the post office have these horrid little locks that are impossible to open. It's like the thing is trying to keep me from my mail. Today I tried to open the stupid thing for 10 minutes before going for help. But I tried!

#4 Changed the water jug by myself. Hubby was worried that I would wrestle with this one. It was really heavy and I was worried that I would have this baby in the process of lifting the jug, but I did my best and managed!

#5 Setup a new computer. I REALLY wanted to down a bottle of wine with this one, but I refrained. I am not a techy person at all, in fact I get points if I can figure out how to turn the desktop on when the power goes out.

#6 Went grocery shopping (for one). Now this might seem silly, but after shopping together with Hubby for so long, I had a hard time shopping for one. I didn't have piles of meat and potatoes or two of everything in my grocery cart. It was very weird.

We've still got a ways to go before hubby gets home. But I take each day as it comes, and celebrate every little new victory and milestone as they happen.

Yeah me!

Shopping Online

A few weeks ago I bought pants online for the first time. I was a bit skeptical and turns out that my skepticism was dead on. Pants ended up being way to big. Bummer! No more ordering clothes online that I haven't tried on before. Guess I'll be saving a ton of money while living here.

Now I have to have to figure out what to wear to clinic orientation for two days. It's not that I have nothing in my closet...it's just that all my dress and semi causal pants don't zip or button up! Maybe, just maybe, I"ll luck out at the PX (crappy military version of Walmart) and find a pair of black maternity pants that aren't XXL.

There is a saying about military wives..."Hot or not." A good 90% of military wives are obese. My guess is the PX offers mostly XXL to accommodate the needs of the majority. It's sad.

On a positive note, we have scheduled an ultrasound appointment on April 7th to find out the sex of this little alien. I'm very excited.

07 March 2012

American Red Cross: Day 1

I haven't finished all the in-processing to become an official volunteer with the cool badge and vest, but I was able to go to my first staff meeting this morning, and hang around for the mass casualty training brief. Next up I have clinic orientation, HIPPA, and immunizations. But it's all good. Can't wait to start for real. Then I'll actually have something to do here. Whew.

Was talking to another volunteer wife and soon to be first time mom. It is so great to meet women who are in a similar situation as me (prego, bored, trying to give this place a positive go). She is a nurse, but is going to volunteer so she has something to do during her week, because the clinic has no job openings for nurses...or so they "say." Apparently they reserve nursing jobs for docs wives. You wouldn't think the doc's wives need to work, but a lot of them are nurses and they get jobs right away it seems. Sucks for the rest of us, but oh well. Life isn't fair.

On a positive note, I've gained a pound! Or so the scale says, and it makes me so happy! Docs gave me more anti-nausea meds and they worked and helped me avoid paying homage to the porcelain last night. I have my fingers crossed for good luck tonight.


Lately other blogs have been a type of therapy for me. Laughter therapy...stress relieving (aka cry my eyeballs out) therapy...relief therapy.

I laugh with the other wives about their days as they describe them, and how instead of calmly killing a bug in the kitchen, one girl nearly douses the entire area with Raid. And how when their soldier is gone, they have a huge gapping hole in their heart that NOTHING fills. And how they all feel exactly the same way as me, maybe not as a hormonal-crazed prego, but still just as stressed and lonely.

Is is sad that I laughed hysterically over "while in the fetal post-vomitting position, I realized that I really need to clean my toilet"? Maybe cause that has been my recent nightly ritual (gotta love pregnancy). One thing that is strangely comforting, my dog Baylo comes and sits right outside the bathroom every time.

Today I had another baby doctor appointment. Things are looking great in bambino land. He/she was moving around a lot, is growing like a weed, and had a heartbeat of 156.

I also got to pickup a few packages. Two of them were boxes of baby room decorations that hubby had gone and ordered. How amazing is he. I love him so much!

Now I'm waiting for Two and a Half Men to come on tonight. Even though the shows appear one day later than in the states, it's great being able to watch a few of them here.

06 March 2012

Things that make me laugh

I'm totally taking these tips into account for Easter....

My favorite is tip #10:
"When you leave, make sure your husband walks down the stairs in front of you so you don't wipe out in your stuffed piƱata state, he'll cushion your fall."

05 March 2012


It's official...I've had my first public cry. Today I broke down in tears at the family center on base. I had sent an email to some of the family support asking for help on how to adapt to this place, describing my experience as "being dropped into the pit of hell." Thankfully they were quick to respond.

I went to the lady's office to talk about what is out there to help military wives/spouses adjust. She started talking about how she understood how hard all the change is and as everything she said struck a cord, I started crying. Apparently it happens all the time, so I wasn't too embarrassed.

I was able to book my calendar with a bunch of stuff. It's all for later this month, but at least it's something! Then I ended my afternoon at the base by buying a chocolate milkshake, first one in THREE WHOLE MONTHS. It was so delicious!

Next goal in my list...get more than 2-3 hours of sleep a night!

03 March 2012

PCS in Italy

Been reading through a bunch of military wife blogs and came across one where the wifey is also currently in Italy...stationed at an Air Force Base, but here just the same. At first, I was getting a little p-o'ed reading her blog. It was "love Italy this...and how cool Italy is that..." This is not what I want to hear! I hate this place and everything related to it. But I kept reading.

I got to one post where the wifey mentioned that it really does take six months being here before you finally get acclimated. There were even posts about how she broke down in tears in the frozen pizza section at the grocery store.

Anyways, for all my dear readers, thank you for putting up with my ho-humming and crabby posts. Give it one more week and we'll hit the three month mark. June will be six months and while I know that seems so very far away (believe me, I feel it), don't give up on me. And if I still don't turn around and adapt to this place come June, at least you'll have the wonderful little bambino to hear about come August/September!

First Real Prego Clothes!

I bought my first real prego apparel today. It was only a short sleeve white teeshirt, but it was still fun. Also bought a few tank tops that have been my staple these days. Who would have thought that this COLD blooded girl that usually wears jeans and jackets in the summer would be wearing tank tops and shorts in 60 degree weather!

Almost stopped by taco bell for some nachos, but I refrained. Will save that for another day, and grocery shopping for yet another day! Anything for a reason to get out of the house a couple of times a week.

Bought a face mask so I can continue cleaning the floors like I had planned. Initially started cleaning the bathrooms and scrubbing them down with bleach (a black dust settles on EVERYTHING here). But then I got the smack down from friends because I was using chemicals while prego. Who knew there were so many rules! So I have gloves and a face mask now.

02 March 2012

Prego = Parasite

Or so you would think. Nobody wants to touch me. You're pregnant? Well then we can't help you. That's was it feels like. Right now I desperately wish I wasn't restricted to only a few TriCare physicians, and Italian doctors that don't speak a lick of English (or so they pretend).

I have postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) which in short is nerve damage (aka excruciating pain) caused by shingles that I had a few years ago. It sucks, but with great advances in medicine, I got started on a medication that finally worked! That was November 2011.

December 2011...I find out I'm pregnant. Whooppeee! Of course this is great news, but guess what? I can't take any of the meds I was on that worked for the PHN. What can I take? Good ol' Tylenol.

Hate the break the news, but Tylenol might has as well be breath mints...it does absolutely NO good.

January 2012...I explain to the docs here that Tylenol just isn't cutting it. Could we try something else? After three weeks of my papers getting mixed up, I finally get a consult with an Italian pain management physician. You can read about that experience in one of my older posts.

February 2012...we try out some cream stuff but it doesn't work. After a week, I call my physician to give him the update. Two weeks later...I finally receive a call back with my physician wanting me to take this problem to my OB since I'm prego and nobody want's to mess with a prego apparently.

Two months later...sleep deprived...at wits end...20 lbs lighter...I'm still without answers.

Why is everyone treating me like I'm a parasite? I would scream and double over in pain, causing a scene if it helped...but that would just exhaust me more. There is no way that I'm the first and only prego with chronic pain. What about the millions of other women in a similar situation?

Another weekend...no answers. Good thing I have an extensive collection of chick flicks! A good laugh or sappy movie always helps to take my mind off the situation.