About me

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pre-heat Knitting



I actually made this hat at the beginning of April, before the heat settled in.  It was for a friend who had a baby in March, and we finally had the opportunity to give it to her last night.  The pattern was this one, which is super easy and super fast, despite the tiny yarn.  It's clearly too hot for her little boy to wear it right now, but hopefully it will fit this (or next?) winter.

There's no knitting happening right now; I am looking forward to some car trips this summer to make some headway on this.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Things We'll Miss



I have a feeling that we won't miss many of the things here in Greece until they're unavailable in the US.  That's exactly what happened when we moved here: many things we took for granted in the States became highly sought after prizes.  (Like food coloring.  I can't find it anywhere here.)  Most of the things we ended up missing were conveniences, rather than necessities.  Sort of like the list below.

:: oregano flavored potato chips

:: looking out the window to see which of our friends are at the playground (so we can join them)

:: delicious, inexpensive, abundant, "local," seasonal produce

:: the fact that no one cares about our excessive noise

:: easy-to-clean stone flooring under the kitchen table (but not the sound of breaking glass)

:: seeing at least one acquaintance every time we go to the store

:: walking more

:: running in the house

:: the feeling that we live in a real neighborhood

:: hearing Greek being spoken all of the time

:: living a simpler life




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Hindsight

I've asked myself several times if there's anything I would have or should have packed differently this year.  So much of our move hinged upon the unknown that I couldn't have been prepared for everything; I had to settle for covering most of my bases.  As it turns out, I did.

Here are some things that I would consider changing, although we're managing to make do just fine.

1) Should I have paid an extra $50 to bring a suitcase full of cloth diapering supplies?
                 The verdict is still out on this one.  I spent about 10 Euros every week for paper
                 diapers. 
                 Cloth diapers would have used electricity and water, and we probably would have 
                 purchased paper diapers every now and then for emergencies and traveling.

2) Should I have packed more shoes for the two older kids?
               Yes, especially for Z.  I thought I would be able to find decent, inexpensive shoes
               once here.  I didn't.  Z outgrew her sneakers pretty quickly, and that will be a 
               much needed purchase when we return.  I also should have stocked up on 
               flip-flops, seeing as M wears little else in the summer. (He is so my son.)  

3) Should I have stocked up on new socks and underwear for the grown-ups?
               For B, yes.  He currently has only three pairs of intact socks.  I didn't bring any
              cotton socks, knowing that I would be wearing sandals once the weather got 
              warmer.  All the same, it would be pleasant to have clean, dust free feet sometimes.

4) Did I bring too many clothes for T?
              I overpacked for T because I had an abundance of hand-me-downs from M, and
              because I knew how dirty toddlers get(and I didn't want to be doing more laundry 
             than necessary).  I ended up giving a bag of clothes to a friend, and sending a 
             couple of coats home with my mother(they'll fit next year).

5)  I should have bought myself some long underwear; the winter here was colder than normal.

video

Here's a snippet of the end of the year Greek Dance performance at the school.  M is second from the end, and Z is fifth from the end.  They worked hard all year, and did a great job!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, T!


Thanks for joining our family!  We needed a little, loud, blond, fruit-eating comedian.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Waiting

It's not something I'm terribly good at.  I thought seriously about titling this post "Anticipation," but that word connotes pleasant motion: perching on the edge of my seat, scribbling "to-do" lists, busily packing, eager action.  Instead, I chose the word "Waiting," which I equate with long lines at the Post Office, a doctor's office, the bank.  Waiting isn't something that seems pleasant, but is something that must be suffered through.  

We (the children and I) are two weeks away from our departure.  There's not much to do around here in the way of packing and sorting;  I'm just throwing most of our things into our suitcases.  The nicest thing about the "move" part of our international move, is that we came with only the clothing we would need.  Throughout the year I have purged worn-out and out-grown clothing, especially that of Z.  (M's clothes will be needed in a few years, I'm thinking.) All that purging has left room for some of the treasures that we can't leave behind.  

Hopefully our repatriation will be easier than the move to Athens, which was fraught with the unknown.  At least we're moving back to the same house, the same cars, the same paperwork.  


The real kicker is the heat(and lack of AC), which reduces me to an incoherent puddle at around noon.  The above picture was taken at around 8 pm and 90 degrees, at Z's school field day last week.  Thank heaven the school had the foresight to schedule it for the evening, rather than in the glaring sun.  

Here's to the next two weeks!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Progress

September 5, 2011

 June 14, 2012




 September 2011



June-ish 2012

I can't even begin to explain what a blessing this school year has been for all of us.  We went into it quite unsure of the outcome and, despite many little hiccups along the way, everyone benefitted from the break in homeschooling.   I, for one, realized that staying at home with the kids can be really boring if everyone is gone all day.  I am excited to get back into homeschooling next year, and I have some better ideas about how to proceed with a toddler and multiple students.  

For Z, learning a sense of self-discipline through homework was great.  She did so much writing that next year won't seem like a huge challenge, and her grasp of English grammar is going to be so much better after all of the Greek conjugation and declension drills she had to do.  Her spelling has vastly improved, which has made me realize that it might be a developmental milestone.

M, essentially, had a year off.  Had we been at home, he would have been pushed (by me) probably more than he needed to be.  As it was, our ten to fifteen minute reading lessons were a perfect compliment to the four hours M spent playing at school.  He'll be more developmentally ready to sit still next year and get down to learning.  He'll really miss all of the friends he has made, but I am trying to expand our social network in the US, especially and intentionally to include boys.  I smell Cub Scouts in our future.

T definitely basked in the spotlight while the kids were away at school.  He and I had opportunities to play with neighborhood friends that we would have missed had we homeschooled.  It was a pleasure to focus on him (most of the time), and I realized just how enjoyable those toddler years can be.



Friday, June 15, 2012

A day in the life of T, according to T

Let me preface this post by stating that I am writing it for myself and for posterity, so feel free to skip it.  I failed to capture and remember most of Z's baby-talk, and M went from two words to speaking full, although unintelligible to the outsider, sentences.  T has embraced all of the middle steps along his journey into childhood, and makes steady, consistent progress in every area.  He has also been able to blend Greek and English seamlessly in his everyday speech, either switching from one to the other or just jumbling them all together.  I know that, save for this post, six months from now I will have no recollection of T's language.  



Upon waking, T likes to greet all the members of our household with hell-lo, followed by their name.    For breakfast, he prefers umbone(oatmeal) or cee-low(cereal) followed by a banana and bites of everyone else's breakfasts, if he can get them.

He usually spends the morning playing.  If he can't find his toys, he asks poo-no toe (where is it?) whatever he is looking for.  When T finds it, he says na toe (here's) or ekey toe (there's) whatever the  object is.  He really enjoys die-doe-done (dinosaurs), especially of the Dinosaur Train variety.  He has one board book about dinosaurs that he prefers to read to me, rather than hear read to him.

When he's hunnie (hungry), he likes to eat luch or a nak.  His favorite foods are faw-dee (strawberries), tay-toe (tomatoes), and goo-ya (cucumbers).  He does not like his hands to stay dirty, and often asks for my hep to wipe them.

If the weather is nice, T will ask to visit the play-lown (playground), and swing on the koonya (swings), which are his favorite.



If he wants to participate in what we're doing, he asks doo-dooin'?   When we ask if he'd like to join us he says yeah.


He can say all of his friends' names, including the Greek ones like Don-ee (Antonis) and Dee-tee (Dmitris).

Before bed T asks everyone in the house for a kick , which means you should pucker up.  (When he starts yelling hi-ya! protect your shins.)  If bed he prefers choo buh-lank-ank (two blankets) and choo pal-low (two pillows).

Nani kalo, T!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday, again


::  We said a bittersweet goodbye to our neighborhood American friends today.  They're headed back to the States for good, at least for now.  We'll miss their weekly, sometimes daily, companionship.  I can't tell you how blessed I was the day we encountered each other at the playground.  It's funny how we spotted each other for Americans before we even spoke: she had a Vera Bradley handbag, I was sporting Chacos.  I sometimes wonder if immigrants in the US are able to identify compatriots by the brands of clothing they wear?  Does anyone know?

::  It has been too, too hot to bake and cook, so our meals have been of the sandwich and salad variety.  Any suggestions for cold dishes?

::  The Apostles' Fast is upon us!  For me, it is the sneakiest.  I always seem to forget that it's coming, and then how long it lasts, and then what meals to make.  I foresee a trip to the store for some tuna tomorrow.

::  We're becoming nocturnal.  The days are too hot to be outside.  There's a nice breeze, but the sun is relentless.  So the kids and I hunker down until six or so, and play at the playground 'til eight or nine.  It's a huge concession of mine--I like uninterrupted time in the evening to recharge my depleted batteries.

Z at 2.  T smiles the same way.

::  Monday marks the eighth anniversary of motherhood for me.  The days creep by, but the years move lightning fast.  Happy Birthday, Z.

::   I am spinning my wheels with homeschool preparations.  I CANNOT wait to order next year's supplies and start planning in earnest.  We'll be trying something new this year, which will hopefully streamline the process.  Sometimes I get caught up in the organizing and miss out on the content.  Read this post the other day, and decided that substituting the word "organizing" for "homeschooling methods" describes me.




p.s.  I have been eating these lately by the bucketful.  It all started when I couldn't find good dill pickles at the supermarket, and realized that an abundant and inexpensive supply of dill, sea salt, vinegar, and cucumbers could be put to use.  I don't really follow the recipe in the link, I just fill a tupperware container with cucumber and dill, and add salt and vinegar to taste (diluting with water, of course).  The great thing is that the salt and vinegar prevents bacterial growth, so these can sit in the refrigerator for up to a month.  Trust me, they only last a few days or so.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Beach Time



Apparently May Day signals the beginning of warm weather here in Greece.  On April 30, a sweltering, summer-like day, we received some strange looks for wearing shorts.  But on May 1, everyone had on tank tops, shorts and sandals.   The news for that day reported record turnouts at the area beaches.

Despite welcoming warm weather at the first of May, the rest of May has been mercifully cool and cloudy.  Until this past weekend.  Everywhere in Greece is close to a beach, and B took the kids swimming to celebrate the advent of the heat.  (T and I were hiding from the sun in our apartment.)  They loved it!  B sat at an umbrella shaded table on the beach and sipped a frappĂ©; the kids found a dead cuttlefish, and built sand castles.