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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Hair

I knew this year that we wouldn't be visiting the barber as frequently as I'd like.  In the States, I have a pretty awesome hair trimmer that I use for the boys' hair every other month or so.  I occasionally trim Z's hair myself, and when she wants a more drastic change we head to the nearest inexpensive salon. (Years of crooked Barbie hair has taught me to seek professional help for more specific styles.) B prefers that I trim his hair, too, which has led to some of the more heated "discussions " in our marriage.


I say all of that to say this: I have successfully given my daughter a "hairstyle" for the first time in my life.  It's just a little crooked, like all of my Barbies, but she's pleased.  Now B is insisting I trim his shaggy mane, to say nothing of the boys' out-of-control locks.

Dare I?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday


As my siblings and parents and husband and children will tell you, I am slightly scatterbrained and more than a little distractible.  Except when I am sewing, as I have recently discovered.  Hours can melt away while I am intent on finishing a sleeve or figuring out just how the diagram works.

One of the things I am most anticipating about my return to the States is pulling my machine out of the closet and stitching together the patterns I worked so hard at tracing today.  I am GEEKED, I tell you.  What's more, I am going to go home with cut fabric in my suitcase.  We aren't needing the queen-sized duvet cover anymore, so it's turning into several "muslins" for some new garments for me and Z.  All I will have to do is sew the pieces together.

p.s.  Happy Memorial Day!  Wish we were here celebrating.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Silence

As my mind turns ever homeward, I am finding less and less time and inspiration to post.  And, truth be told, I am sick of the internet.  In the evening, I would rather read a book than come up with something to write on The Blog.  That's not to say that I'm spending less time in front of a screen (I wish), but I am trying to make my time on the internet more productive.  Last Saturday, I reactivated my Facebook account for all of five minutes before it became apparent that it was the exact wrong place for me to be.  For some people, Facebook is a fabulous social connector; sadly, I am not one of those people.

So, all of this is to say, that there might be fewer posts in the coming weeks.  Honestly, there's not much to report.



p.s.  We've been taking pictures of all of the little crafts and projects we have made throughout the year that we won't be bringing home.  I love that Z says "good-bye" to everything before we pitch them.  As long as we have pictures and she can bid her farewells, she's happy to clean out our crafts.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

More Technical Difficulties

This week saw another failure in our communications, this time both telephone and internet.  I'm not usually one to spend much time at all on the phone, but not having that choice was a little maddening.  It turns out that the outage was caused by an essential wire being torn out of the wall.  I won't point any fingers, but I will say that the child at whom I would normally point was not the culprit.  It was a little embarrassing to hear from the OTE technician what caused everything, and it took all of two minutes to fix.

I wish I could say that my absence from the blog is due totally to that, but it isn't.  We've been busy, and I have been lazy.  I've also been thinking about this, and wondering if I should reactivate my Facebook account.  Am I not spending too much time in front of a screen anyway?  At the same time, I am wrestling with being out of touch with many friends and family members; without Facebook, am I cutting myself off from some healthy relationships?  Just wondering...




Finally, a photo of the latest knitting.  A friend here recently had a baby, her third girl.  I was lucky to be invited to a shower thrown for her, and had a chance to hold her sweet little baby.  Sigh...newborns.  I was in heaven.  Since my friend and her family will be moving back to the States in June, I wanted to send along something smallish and portable.  It's this pattern, which comes with directions for all weights of yarn and sizes of baby head.  I used the last skein of Quince and Co. Lark in my stash, and added some flowers out of a mystery yarn.  


And here's T, who was quite the unwilling model.  I promised him a couple of a cherries as a reward,  and managed to snap a few blurry pictures before he ripped the thing from his head.

Monday, May 14, 2012

O-lym-pi, O-lym-pi, O-lym-pi-ah-ke!



The first question boys ask each other here (and I'm sure most of the rest of the world), is "What's your team?"  For a little boy who moved here without any inkling about soccer teams, M caught on pretty quickly.  His team, along with most of the boys in his Kindergarten class, is Olympiacos.  And not only has he learned about all of the soccer teams here, he's also learned all of the things you shout at the players while you're watching a game(including some of the more choice phrases).  It helps that there's a pick-up soccer game at the playground whenever there's a ball and more than one boy.  M has played more soccer in the past ten months than in his previous five years.


M's Christmas present from us was to go to a real soccer game, at the Olympiacos Stadium down in Piraeus.  It was a bit of a hassle, but fairly inexpensive, and it made M's year.

p.s.  Can you sing this?  M can.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Labor of Love



Truly.

At 408 stitches per row, and 10 rows per inch, it has taken me over a year to knit 14 inches.

That's  approximately 57,120 stitches altogether.

(Not including the mistakes toward the bottom that I will have to fix.)

I promised to finish vest in time for B to wear it this winter.  He even brought a specially matching shirt to Greece to wear with it.

Sorry I didn't come through, dear.

Now, if I put my nose to the grindstone, and if I am not distracted by any other knitting projects(ha!), how long will it take to finish this?

Love you, honey.

(And I love that you are keeping me on task.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Little Inspiration

photo credit: James Kicinski-McCoy, here
This picture may or may not be responsible for all of the couscous we ate this week.



Every year after Pascha I have a few weeks of meal planning excitement, and it's back to serving my family the same old boring dishes.  And really, I don't even want to eat them, let alone the troops.  The other day I stumbled upon a couple of series at Bleubird Vintage, which totally inspired me to make my meal planning a little more intentional.  I don't know what it says about my palate, but I want to eat every kids' dish in Kiddo Lunch, and I want to eat it from a bento box.  I may just be finding a recipe for Turkey and Carrot Meatloaf and buying some tiny balls of mozzarella tomorrow.  And since we have access to such fabulous fruits and vegetables here, why not?  Obviously not every meal will be a Herculean effort, but some should be special, right? 


  

photo credit: James Kicinski-McCoy, here



And while we're on the subject of intentional, I love the idea of packing lunch the night before, despite the fact that we're at home for lunch.  It would cut down on some of the lunchtime crazies, and we could be ready for an instant picnic.  Hmmm...


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Poor, part 25


If E. Nesbit is on the list of your favorite authors, then Edward Eager might deserve a place there, too.  His books that combine the everyday and the magical often have a subconscious moral, and my older children loved this one.


And another reason to love the Edward Eager books are the whimsical illustrations by N.M. Bodecker.  The details are exquisite.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Faffoota



In Greek, a girl who is missing her front teeth is called "faffoota" because she makes lots of "faff" sounds when she talks.  We have been anticipating y(and dreading) this moment for some time.  This little one won't be looking so little soon.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Something for me

When my family was visiting, my sweet brother and his sweet girlfriend did a lot of exploring in the center of Athens.  One day they stumbled upon a yarn shop, and happened to leave with a skein of yarn for me. (See what I mean about being sweet?)  

While B was in Thessaloniki for ten days, I busted out this little infinity scarf.  It's just a simple moss stitch; I couldn't do anything more complicated with B away.  The yarn is Sol Dégradé by Lang Yarns.  It's a cotton tape yarn, which has really nice drape and is ideal for that transition between cool and warm weather.




Yarn: Sol Dégradé by Lang Yarns
1 skein/ 218 yds
moss stitch over 35 sts using a size 10 1/2 needle

p.s.  I had a really hard time telling B how I wanted my picture taken, so ended up with this doofy one.  

p.p.s.  Dad, I managed to get that ring off my right hand (finally).  It's now on my left one.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Mouth


We've discovered that smaller packages aren't always inconspicuous.  In fact, the most prominent feature of the smallest child in our family is his MOUTH.  When he's not astounding us with his vocabulary(belted at the highest volume), or laughing at everything silly(at same volume), or singing nonsense songs, he's eating.  At any rate, the Mouth is always open. 





p.s.  I think that this video from when he was 4-months-old is a good predictor of his future personality.  What do you think?

video

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 5: Return Home

Leaving Olympia was a little bittersweet.  The kids weren't excited to head back to school, and Z was hoping that we would be hopping a plane for our home in the States as soon as we arrived in Athens.  We decided to move slowly back to Athens, and to stop in Mycenae on our way.  We picnicked on a swelteringly hot and sunny hill in the parking lot. (That jacket I'm wearing lasted only for the pictures--I then rolled up the jeans, ditched the socks, and sweated through our tour of the site.)



The famed Lion Gate,


with husband and children thrown in for scale.


Basically the ancient site of Mycenae is at the top of a mountain, with a commanding view of the countryside all the way to the sea.  I had fun imagining King Menelaus surveying his domain, because the surrounding countryside is quite pristine.  I don't think the landscape has changed too much in the past few thousand years.



Maybe our children can support us with their modeling careers? ;)


We hopped back in the car for the last few kilometers, during which we heard "I'm carsick" several times from M.  When asked if he was going to be sick, he replied, "No, I'm just bored of being in the car." (Me, too, M.  Me, too.)

As hot as our tour of Mycenae was, the bridge spanning the Corinth Canal appears to have been windy and chilly.  I didn't actually get to see it, because I was on nap duty with a sleeping babe in the car.




And that's it!  We've been back at the ol' apartment for a couple of weeks now.  It's nice to settle back into our routine.  We've had a few days off for May Day and the pending elections, and we've found some new energy to apply to our English lessons at home. (Or maybe Mama casually mentioned that we would be repeating a workbook, which lit a fire under someone's pants.) 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 5: Olympia, and B ♥'s Pyrgos

The little town of Olympia is charming, but it is definitely a tourist trap.  The site more than makes up for it.  We had a cool and cloudy morning for our tour.

Taking five before we begin the day.


.....and we're off!



A classic picture.  T isn't blinking; he shut his eyes when I said to smile.  M is going through a "don't take my picture" phase; he's trying to escape.  Z was upset about something.




 Some columns.





M running through the remains of the Gymnasium.





Entering the Stadium.


Fighting off the French students so that we could begin our race.
Take your marks...
Get set...


GO!




(or STAY!)



The museum at Olympia houses some of my very favorite Greek sculpture.



And that was our lovely morning.


The sky cleared for the afternoon, so we took a jaunt down to Pygos.  When we arrived, B told me that he really wanted the title of the blog post for our day to be "I ♥ Pyrgos,"  and he repeated this often while we were there.  It really was a charming city, especially the large plaza that occupied the center of the city.

We played.


We noticed that Bieber fever knows no borders (it says Justin Bieber =  θεός/god).


I don't know how apparent it is in the following clip, but barn swallows and house martins just filled the skies over Pyrgos.  They're the Greek versions of the American robin, meaning warm weather and Spring.
video

And finally, after a gyro, ice cream.  It was the best we'd had all week. (And, B claims, the best pistachio ice cream he's ever had.  Yet another reason to ♥ Pyrgos.)


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 4: A Drive and Something New

On this day, two weeks ago, we drove from Delphi to Olympia.  If ever there was a drive to make us carsick, it was the stretch from Itea to Nafpaktos.  We had to stop about halfway through so everyone's heads could stop spinning.  We lunched in Nafpaktos, where the wind was so strong that poor T had trouble walking.  Thankfully we found a quiet, wind-reduced square where our food didn't fly out of our hands.  After Nafpaktos, we had a short drive to a pretty cool bridge, and paid an exorbitant toll to cross it.

After the bridge and Patras our trip got interesting, because my intrepid husband plotted our course through the mountains of the western Peloponnese rather than around them.  To say it was the more beautiful than Sicily would be an understatement.  Firstly, it was so green, a color that I hadn't associated with this part of Greece before.  Secondly, we didn't pass a single car for at least 50 km--clearly a sign that we were on the right road.

We made it to Olympia only because my husband speaks fluent Greek, although the mountains an unpleasant place to be lost.  And really, the rest of the day was pretty uneventful.

Except for this.

video


We thought it was pretty awesome that M taught himself to ride a bike in about five minutes.  He borrowed that set of wheels from our hotel's owner's son.  It was definitely the highlight of the day for him.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Guh.

Last Thursday, when I went to turn on the wireless router, nothing happened.  Το ρούτερ (just pronounce "rooter" with a Greek accent) was fried.  And due to the weekend and a holiday, we had to wait until today for a new one.

 I hate to admit what a serious kink one little broken gizmo put in my plans.  All of my planned blog posts, all of my KCWC reading(but not participating, sigh) just did not happen.  In the end, though, we managed to entertain ourselves using "old media." (And it wasn't so bad.)


pattern: Lucille
size: 0-3 months
yarn: Mondial Extrafine (2 whole skeins)
mods: short sleeves, fewer buttons



As a brief interruption to my "travel series" (Har. Har.) I thought a little knitting would do.  I made this sweater for a friend's new baby with some yarn I bought while here.  Truth be told, the yarn shops I've visited in Athens have yarns that do not interest me.  I didn't realize how fortunate we are in the US to have access to such high quality and affordable yarn.  Anyway, I am always amazed by how superwash yarn stretches; despite following the 0-3 months directions, this sweater fit T.  Sadly, he refused to model it.  The pattern was delightful and quick to knit, despite the fine gauge, and I hope to do it again.


p.s.  I know I owe some emails.  I'll catch up in the next couple of days.  Promise.