Unadventures in Fall 2011

3 Dec

You choose to report, albeit a little late, on all the goings on from day to day.  Months go by with few or no adventures, but the daily happenings are interesting enough sometimes, that you decide family and friends might still like to hear about them.  There were only two slightly interesting occurrences in summer: Frankie turned 2 and has been talking like crazy, and you found out you’ll be having another baby (a girl, praise the Lord!) in February.  But fall has been full of astoundingly exceptional adventures.  Or at least enough worth writing about.

On September 23rd, you hurriedly leave the last day of your special training classes and rush away to the Warrior Challenge, a 5-K obstacle course consisting of crawling like a bear, balancing on a log, climbing up an 8-foot wall, jumping over a car, and many other hurdles (including muddy ones!).  You win by over a minute before the second place contestant, but as usual, you are so fast that the photographers weren’t ready in time and your moment of glory is never recorded on film.  It will surely remain in the memories of all the incredibly impressed fans and witnesses to your great defeat.

Throughout September and October Kirby goes to soccer practice and participates in soccer games, each once a week.  Soccer practices consists of a bunch of 3-5 year-olds: the 3 year-olds run around mostly aimlessly if they aren’t looking at flowers or talking to each other, the 4 year-olds run toward the ball and get kicks in every once in a while, and the few 5 year-olds on the team score most of the goals.  Soccer games are the same except there are more breaks for water and whining, and there are twice as many kids doing all that.  Clearly, the best part of soccer to all the children is the snacks afterward.  You are gone to training in Germany for nearly all of October, but return home just in time for the last soccer game, during which Kirby actually kicks the ball toward the correct goal a few times.  These are the thrills, folks.

You are thankfully gone for all of the planning that Nicole does on the USO Halloween Spooktacular & “Haunted” House that occurs on the weekend just before Halloween.  She fills the living room with various disgusting props, goes dumpster diving for unusual decorations, and works on large crafts such as a mobile of chicken bones and a massive twine spiderweb.  You come home just in time to discover that you are committed to helping with the haunted house that Friday & Saturday, but you all have a wonderful time at the big party and trunk-or-treating on Sunday, and you are a good sport about the 5 different Halloween parties you are forced to attend.  Perhaps receiving a Stormtrooper costume makes all the work more worth it, and having friends to watch both boys that Saturday night so that you two can actually go to a grown-up costume party and spend the night without children sure helps.  Kirby takes turns between dressing as Raphael the ninja turtle and a SWAT team guy, and Frankie dresses as Winnie the Pooh in the honeybee disguise and an astronaut.  Both are obviously the cutest children trick-or-treating every time.  Kirby’s birthday is that busy Sunday, but you hold off on his bowling party (a Spider-Man theme) until the next weekend when you’re just a tad less busy.

When you are gone, Nicole takes the boys with some friends to a chocolate festival in Soave, a close town with a beautiful castle.  Then when you return in early November she enjoys exploring some more of the local areas with her friends.  On Thursday the 10th, she goes to Nove where they make ceramics for big name companies like Lennox & Tiffany.  On Friday, she goes to some nearby purse factories where they sell beautiful leather goods and she picks up a pair of butter-soft red gloves that she promises she’ll pretend to be surprised about when she opens the bag Christmas morning.  Then the next Monday she takes her 3rd trip to Venice with a friend, eats at only the cheapest spots and takes the slower train, proving that if any of you visit here you really can stop by Venice for less than $20.  Amazing.  She buys some clementines from a man selling produce from his boat, and sees the church that’s a library in Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, one of her favorite movies.  Inside is an exhibit about Leonardo da Vinci, one of her favorite people.  Italy is fantastic.

On the 19th you participate in a just-less-than-5-K fun run, the annual Italian & American Turkey Trot, and you do not win.  Not only that, but someone steals your commemorative shirt that you threw on top of the car before running.  Italian runners are apparently a little bit faster and not quite as ethical as American runners.  This gives you great motivation to beat them next time and bring home the win for America.  It is a beautiful day, although chilly, and you really enjoy running around the lovely Lago di Fimon lake.  That night you attend another Italian/American event – a traditional Thanksgiving dinner held at a country western bar, and it’s clear that the competitiveness stayed on the track.  Despite the language barrier, you have found that Italians here are almost always friendly and considerate to you and your family.

In fact, some Italians have figured out that the nicer they are to Americans, the more money they make off you!  There is a very friendly olive farm & oil factory that loves to cater to Americans, and Nicole’s MOMS Club is planning on going one Sunday.  You are invited too, but you are a little unsure if you want to go with a bunch of moms and babies.  Continue reading if you decide to stay inside, or go to Fifth Adventure: Trip to Olive Farm if you tag along with the family.

Are you kidding yourself?  When else will you have an opportunity to pick olives and watch them pressed?  In Italy, no less!  These are the opportunities you were hoping for when you moved here.  Sure you stay inside, for part of the day, and then you get up and go to the olive farm!  Now go to Fifth Adventure: Trip to Olive Farm to read about a perfect Sunday afternoon in Italy.

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