Monday, December 24, 2012

Buon Natale

Well this is our last year to celebrate Christmas in Italia so that is what we are doing this year. The first Christmas we were here we celebrated Jesus' birth in Paris at Disney and last Christmas was spent on the beach in Barcelona Spain. So since this is our last year in Italy we decided to spend it here at our casa. With New Years week spent in Budapest Hungary. We wish you all a very MERRY CHIRSTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR! Love the Gilleo's

Many of you are on my Christmas Card Mailing List but for those of you that are not this is the annual Gilleo update. Enjoy

Buon Natale,                                                                                                                                November 16, 2012

                I hope this edition of the Gilleo Family Christmas letter finds you all well and full of happiness. I have to admit I am in a funk this Christmas letter writing season.  I usually love this time of year as I enjoy writing our annual family update. This year I have had to dig deep to even get out the paper and pen to write the rough draft. I also enjoy receiving all of your family updates as well, and don’t want to miss out on those. I mean who doesn’t enjoy getting something other than ‘bills’ and ‘junk’ in the mail? Although on a side note we have not received a gas or electric bill in over 15 months now. That’s gonna be one whopper of a bill and one piece of mail we won’t enjoy opening. Anyway as a result of my letter writing funk I have handed over the task to my three boys this year. Just to warn you I am not responsible for what they may or may not write, although they were bribed really well to make us look good. The only suggestions I gave them was to write about things they liked, didn’t like, forgot or wanted to forget, and things they loved and will never forget. Enjoy……………………………………………….

                Wasssup….this is Kaleb. I am about to be a TEENAGER, and since you all have been one once or are even raising one, a few, or more you know where I am coming from. I am in 7th grade and well I really thought that my parents were going to disown me after the roller coaster of a year I had last year. This perhaps could possibly be the reason for my parents’ complete and utter shock of bringing home a first quarter report card of A’s and B’s. They went so far as to go to the school to make sure my teachers were not mixing me up with some other handsome boy in their classes named Kaleb. Quite embarrassing but I have learned that’s what my parents do best. EMBARRESS me. I was pitcher for my baseball team this year and am getting ready to start another basketball season.  I want brownie points so I have to say I love my parents, but why do they have to embarrass their kids so much? Like when we went to Spain for Christmas last year we spent the night in France and my dad hit a wall with the side of our van, going down a road that even I knew our van wouldn’t fit down. Then in Barcelona my mom wasn’t paying attention to where she was walking and missed a step and totally biffed it. Then she keeps talking about how she is taking her time getting her degree so she and I can graduate and walk the stage together. These are my parents folks……does anyone know at what age a child can become emancipated from their parents? Okay Okay I’m only kidding……I don’t want to be thrown out in the cold and left to fend for myself. I love my parents and am thankful for what they do for me, all their love, guidance, and support. Let’s face it folks I am the oldest child and everyone knows the oldest children are the favorites. MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!

                Ciao, this is Mason. I turned 9 this summer and just finished my first quarter of 4th grade.  I also got all A’s and B’s and made the honor roll, but trust me it is on like Donkey Kong now. I can’t let my little older brother show me up. HAHA I say “little” older brother because he is older but I am bigger than he is. He will probably need me to protect him one day so he better start being nicer to me. Let’s face it peeps, everyone knows that the middle child is always the fave….and that would be me. J My favorite part of the year was having my Grandmas and Papa come and visit this year. I also loved our trip to Ireland this summer. Dad says we have Irish in our blood and my little brother thinks that means we have green blood in our bodies. Silly kid…..I will never forget when we went to France on our way to Spain and my dad left part of our van on a wall there. I’m sure that’s a moment he would love to forget but we like to remind him of it so I doubt he will ever be able to forget it. In fact that moment of our trip reminds me of the scene in A Christmas Story when the dad goes into the basement to fix the broken furnace. The line from the movie goes like this “my father wove a tapestry of obscenity that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan”. Except his is still over the town of Arles France. Nugh said. Everyone is always talking about how lucky I am to get to experience all these countries and this life overseas. I am Texas born and can’t wait to get back to where everything is bigger! One day I’ll look back and be thankful for all the things I got to see, but for now I’m ready to not have to go anywhere on all our down time from school. MERRY CHRISTMAS Ya’ll love and miss you.

                Ciaola, that’s hello in Italian and Spanish. This is Luke and I am so culturally confused I’m basically a mess. My parents try to explain the different cultures, languages, and nationalities to me but I just can’t keep up. Especially since I am an American who speaks English but I live in Italy where they speak Italian and go to school where they teach me Spanish. What in the world do they expect of me? All that matters is that we are ALL human! I turned 5 this summer and well humans that makes me the baby of the Gilleo household, and we all know what the baby of a family is. That’s right I am the proud “favorite” child. I started kindergarten this year and man nobody prepared me for what I was going up against. Preschool was short and full of games and playing, they don’t mess around in the big leagues taking up your WHOLE day with reading, writing, and learning. I miss the days of going to play at “school” for three hours every other day. This big school stuff is for the birds. I don’t know why my parents are always fussing about me being 5 and I have already been to 10 different countries. I’m pretty sure we drove through that many states when I was just weeks old. I do admit that the castles here are awesome and Edelweiss Germany is my favorite place on earth, especially because of the pool and hot pool. We are going there again next week for the Thanksgiving week. We are also going to a place called Budapest which is in Hungary for New Years. So am I a Budapest when I am Hungary? My parents are taking us on our first cruise for Spring Break to some place called Greece; I always thought that grease was something left over in the pan after my mom was done cooking. GROSS! My favorite part of the year will be our trip next week to Edelweiss, I already know it. I have tried and tried to not have weekly nightmares about the time my dad took a piece of a wall in France home with us because it was embedded in the side of the van. I really wish he would learn his lesson and just listen to my mom because she is always right and knows everything. She said not to go down there! So when do the police start taking licenses away from people who no longer can drive? I am worried about my dad and especially now since he just bought a new BMX, BMI, IBM, I don’t know my parents always call it the beamer…..that’s a BMX right? My mom makes my dad keep it parked in the garage and my brothers are not allowed to ride in it, look at it or breathe on it. XOXOXOXOXOX oh and money is good for Christmas.

                So there you have it the highlights, lowlights, and unforgettables of 2012. Now I will quickly update you on the important one of the family… I am the glue that needs unstuck sometimes I pluck grey hairs daily thanks to my children, I am 36 and still degreeless, and I couldn’t be more blessed. I love what I do and who I get to wake up to everyday. I wouldn’t change a thing. I have three amazing boys who keep me on my toes and remind me why I was put on this earth. I have a husband who is my rock and often times my stepping stone. I ran my first half marathon in May and hope to run another one in Verona in Feb. I am NOT the most important member of the family but I am the luckiest. Perhaps my letter writing funk is due to the fact that my family and I have had an amazing adventure here in Italy over the last 2 ½ years and I am quite sad to have to leave this place in a few short months. God has blessed us so much in all that we have been able to experience, see and live on our journey. I will be sad to leave the “real” Italian food, wine and culture, but I am excited to see what God has in store for our lives next. We will welcome our next duty station with open arms and know whole heartedly that; that is where He needs us to be for the next few years. I am thankful for all your love and friendship across the ocean and through the thousands of miles. J

                Clark is a very important part of this family and although God is the most important and the center of our family Clark is a close second. He works hard to keep us together, to provide for us and to show us the way. He loves his job and is very good at what he does, more so he loves to make sure his family is happy. He was selected for Senior Master Sergeant and will be able to sew it on after we get to our next duty station. God willing of course he doesn’t do anything illegal, stupid or unethical. Although we poked fun about his lack of driving ability, in all fairness I did ask him if he wanted to write the family Christmas letter this year and he declined, so it’s fair game. Yes, the van meeting the wall in France was not a good moment but one that we clearly will look back on and laugh about for years to come.  In fact there are many of those not so funny at the time moments over the last 2 ½ years that we can now all joke about! It’s just life and as we grow older we surely have come to realize that the little things don’t matter and that all we need is God, family and love. Hope that you all have a wonderful and VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! Miss and love you all so SO so much! Oh and my hubby did reward himself this year with a new BMW!

                                                                                                       ~ GOD BLESS ~