Archive | husband

our first getaway without the kids!


When my mom was visiting in early December, Elliott and I went away by ourselves for 24 hours. This is the first night we have ever spent away from our kids together. I blame that on living overseas! Please don’t do as we did; prioritize this and get away with your spouse whenever you can!

We had planned this for awhile, but when it actually came time to leave my [amazing, incredible, and very brave] mom with our kids, I was nervous. We were leaving her with two small children with a manual transmission car in a foreign country. (I told you she was brave!) For these reasons, we decided we wouldn’t go too far. From the picture above (taken from our kitchen window), you can see Nicolosi, which is about 30 minutes away.

We stopped in a natural reserve (Monti Rossi) for a long hike, and then we checked into our B&B in Nicolosi and spent the rest of our time there exploring the stylish mountain town, sipping mai tais (yep) and cappuccinos, and eating rustic, authentic Sicilian food. Here are a few of my favorite photos!


becca-garber-nicolosi-getaway-6 becca-garber-nicolosi-getaway-1 becca-garber-nicolosi-getaway-8 becca-garber-nicolosi-getaway-4 becca-garber-nicolosi-getaway-10 becca-garber-nicolosi-getaway-2 becca-garber-nicolosi-getaway-9

We visited two restaurants while we were in Nicolosi: 1877 for dinner and Antico Orto di Limoni for lunch. Both of them were built in converted wine presses from the 1800s!


Colors of Sicily: green pistachio cornetto, blood red orange juice, and creamy white cappuccino.





We both did a lot of reading and writing during our 24 hours away. (In the photo above, Elliott is working on his book after we finished lunch.) I thought we would also do a lot of sleeping — no nursing babies or frightened toddlers! — but I still woke up multiple times in the night! And woke up at 7am and couldn’t go back to sleep! Now how is that fair?!

I did miss Lena and Gil, but I knew they were in wonderful hands and savored long hours of quiet and freedom with Elliott. I have dreams of leaving the kids with their grandparents in a few years to go on an epic vacation with Elliott — visiting the Galapagos and hiking to Machu Picchu is at the top of my list — so I guess I better start training up for that now!

Have you ever left your kids for a getaway with your spouse? Was it a success or a flop?

44 :: in husband, motherhood, Mt Etna, Sicily

Veterans Day… Italian style!


So I have to admit that I am kind of confused about the festivals and holidays for Italian saints.  There are so many of them, and I can’t keep them straight!  Today, for instance, is the festival of Saint Martin, who is the patron saint of new wine and also the patron saint of the Italian army.  And this is one of four saint-related holidays this month alone!

Anyway, we’ve been enjoying a lot of things related to San Martino’s sainthood lately.  Yesterday we went out to lunch at an agriturismo (restaurant on an organic vineyard and olive grove) and drank deeply of their wonderful new wine.

Today Elliott was asked by his base commander to represent the U.S. military at a mass in honor of San Martino.  It was held in a chapel next to the huge Cathedral of Saint Agatha in downtown Catania, and there were several hundred members of the Italian army in attendance.   The archbishop of Catania led the mass!


The kids and I stood in the back for about half of the ceremony.  We did our best to stay quiet for the entire thing, and we did okay… until it became absolutely necessary for us to leave.  My children had reached the limits of their endurance.  Sadly, just as we were leaving, the little nun (who is on her knees in the photo above) came up to me and lashed out in rapid Italian, chastising me firmly because my bambini needed to be in absolute silence for the mass.  I stuttered and blushed, forgot all my Italian, and finally just turned and ran!

Anyway, the day improved after that low point.  After the ceremony we took pictures with some of the veterans, and one of the military gentlemen put his incredible feathered hat on my head.  Can you believe that thing?!  I can’t imagine taking myself very seriously if this was part of my uniform!


Elliott also got a photo with the commander of the Italian army in Sicily (!), and we got a family photo in front of the Cathedral of Saint Agatha in the main piazza of Catania.  Doesn’t Elliott look handsome in his dress blues?


I remember the slightly panicked feeling I got when I first heard that Elliott — then a dashing young veterinary student that I was developing an enormous crush on — told me he was in the U.S. Army.  I already liked this guy… so if I married him, what would it mean for our lives?  I couldn’t imagine being a military wife.  It seemed so foreign, a totally different way to live my life: all macho and Army and going all over the world to live on military bases.

But as the years have passed, and as Elliott and I have faced the challenges of being a military family together, I can only say that I love this life.  We have made serious sacrifices for the U.S. Army, such as living apart for 12 months of the first 15 months of our marriage.  We have also reaped enormous rewards, like living in Italy for three years and enjoying wonderful healthcare benefits. No matter what the future holds, I will always be grateful that Elliott chose to begin his career in a place where honor and service come first.

I know it isn’t always easy for Elliott to get up each day and go to work.  I know sometimes the honor and greater good of his work get lost in the monotony or the politics.  But he does it, and he does it faithfully and uncomplainingly, skillfully and thoughtfully, compassionately and diligently.  I know the Army doesn’t even know how lucky they are to have him!  I am so thankful and so proud of him today.  Happy Veterans Day, my veteran!

6 :: in Army, husband, Italy, military life

hello from Crete!

becca-garber-stavros-beach-crete-1 Stavros Beach, Crete

becca-garber-stavros-beach-crete-2 A water bottle that I won in a giveaway.  I never win anything!

becca-garber-stavros-beach-crete-3 Contemplating a nap.  (He took a nap!)

You will know this if you follow me on Instagram: we are in Crete!  My veterinarian husband travels here every quarter to care for the pets and military working dogs at the tiny little base in Souda Bay.  We came with him last year, too, and had a harrowing journey back when one of our plane engines died mid-flight!

One of Elliott’s soldiers also brought his family, good friends of ours from church.  Rachel and I have been enjoying our side-by-side apartments and chances to take the kids to the pool or beach at a moment’s notice.  Tonight they have offered to babysit while Elliott and I go out for Greek food!

Sometimes I stop and shake my head a little bit, marveling at the amazingness of this week.  I can hop on a military plane with my two children and spend a whole week vacationing on a Greek beach?  Perks of military life!  But none of these blessings comes without sacrifice.  In this case, the biggest sacrifice is made by my husband, who goes quietly to work each day (in Sicily or in Crete) in order to care for his family.  Thank you, Elliott; I could never do what you do, and if I had to, I could not do it with such grace.

I’m trying this week not to take this stage of life for granted.  By next summer we will undoubtedly be back in the States, and trips to Greece will be a thing of the past.  This brief season — sand in tiny swim trunks, a two-year-old learning to dog paddle, a date to eat Greek food in Crete, a 7-month-old sitting beside me taking markers out of a basket over and over — will be over before that next wave sinks into the sand.

What fleeting stage of life are you enjoying right now?

2 :: in Greece, holiday, husband, thoughts, travel

life lately

Well, it’s been three weeks and still no internet in our house… sigh. I see the Telecom truck in our neighborhood regularly, but the fire must have done some serious damage as they still don’t even have an estimate about when it will be fixed.  “Domani, domani, tomorrow, tomorrow, they say.

But life has been busy and full with my mom visiting from Virginia and we’ve made do without internet quite well (to my own surprise). Now we’re enjoying a beautiful getaway in a rented villa on the Sicilian coast. More pictures later this week! For now, here are a few more Instagram photos from around home in these early weeks with little Gil.

becca-garber-instagram-2 sweet sleeping newborn
& big sister love in the morning 2013-02-284 one of my favorites from these early days
& miso soup (hard to find in Italy so this will have to do!) 2013-02-283 my sweet little family
& Saturday morning means pancakes and eggs for breakfast! 2013-02-282 my little love
& he looks like he’s up to something 2013-02-280 ok, can’t get enough of the sister/brother snuggles!
& perfect little hands in the lamplight 2013-02-2711 reading, knitting, and snuggling with a wide-awake newborn… lasted about as long as it took to take this picture
& I spent hours of my day (and night) walking this little man to sleep 2013-02-288 reading by the fire
& oh that precious smile! 2013-02-287 Siena and Lena appropriated the toy basket
& just walkin’ around my house with a baby in my arms 2013-02-286 journaling and coloring on the balcony on a sunny February morning
& somehow he stayed awake through all of Moonrise Kingdom 2013-02-285 chubby chubby cheeks!
& Lena teaches Gil how to wear Mama’s glasses
7 :: in family, Gil, home sweet home, husband, Instagram, Lena, life lately, motherhood

New Year’s Day in the orange groves

On New Year’s Day we took a long hike down in the valley below our home.  We were tired when we started out, discouraged from an argument, wearily determined to turn the tide for 2013.  I hoped the blue-sky day and the outdoors would refresh our souls.

And, amazingly, that happened.  I guess sometimes you don’t know how soothing an afternoon will be to your soul. How quiet hours can reset you when you spend them lying in the grass and eating oranges… and talking or not talking… and just being still.

^ Lena has become especially attached to these shiny black beetles lately.

^ more bugs
^ 36 weeks pregnant, Lena’s first orange of the day, and our town in the background on the cliff’s edge

^ picking olives and clutching her prize

I love these photos because they capture a moment in our lives, a moment that will soon be past when our little boy arrives in just a few weeks.  They also capture so much of what we enjoy right now, from the Sicilian oranges hanging from the branches to Lena’s complete fascination with bugs to the hugeness of my belly to Lena’s love to snuggle on top of us whenever we lie down.

They also capture my husband in so many ways as a father: the way he is completely at home in the outdoors, his playfulness with Lena, and the quiet way he encourages her to explore creation: to hold bugs, touch amazing plants, pick olives straight from the trees, and sit peacefully in the grass watching bees buzz from flower to flower.

Our lives are so complex.  Yes, there is eager anticipation.  Yes, there is crippling sorrow.  And always there is deep, abiding joy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
12 :: in hiking, husband, Sicily, thoughts

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes