Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving & December

This year we spent Thanksgiving Day at Harding University in Porto Rafti. My parents attend every year and we had a feast of food before us! It was such a blessing to be there and have family to spend this day together. Harding had all the food provided and Matt and I brought the icecream! That was easy enough! :) We sure did miss Thanksgiving at Grandma and Poppy's house in Oklahoma!! And I know Melody cooked up a storm and Stephen provided the wild boar he killed! I don't think we missed out on the wild boar! Congratulations to Gary and Michael for their Thanksgiving bucks they shot...yummy! :)

On November 30th we went to our church's Christmas party at the Titania Hotel. There was good food, English, Bulgarian, Greek, and Russian Christmas carols, and a message about the birth of Christ. We had a wonderful time and then we went to the roof garden to take some pictures. There was a great view of the acropolis and the weather felt warm for December.

Ashtyn has had a rough week being sick. I took her to the doctor on Wednesday for a regular check up and it just so happened that day she started a fever so it was perfect timing. The doctor told us she had a very red, swollen throat and it was a throat virus so we couldn't put her on medicine. Well she continued to get worse making it very painful for her to swallow. This morning she woke up with a red, splotchy rash all over her face, back, and chest so I called the pediatrician. I woke her up even though it was 9 am, and she told me she has Strep throat which led to Scarlet fever, thus the rash. So, she put her on antibiotic and she is doing SO much better right now. It was shocking to me that this doctor didn't even ask to see her and she put her on antiobiotic and diagnosed it as Strep...I guess that's one of the differences between Greece and the U.S. We didn't even need a perscription to get it!

Here are some pictures of Thanksgiving, Christmas and our apartment.





This is the view from the Athens Centre where Matt goes for his Greek lessons.



Ashtyn loves taking a bath and I love playing with her hair!




Pappou at Thanksgiving




Mimi is showing Ashtyn a scarecrow

I found Ashtyn standing up in her crib for the first time.

At the roof garden of the Titania Hotel

Our little sweetie!


My friend Holly came to visit Greece while she was studying in Vienna. Holly helped me in my classroom for two years when I taught at GAC.

Some of you asked to see pictures of our apartment, so here it is! I didn't take any of the bedrooms yet....I need to pick up first! :)













View from our balcony on a cloudy day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Halloween and Growing Up!

Okay, I think I'm all caught up on pictures now. Our little girl is just growing up too quickly and I am so thankful I get to spend quality time with her every day. Halloween didn't really feel like Halloween since Greece doesn't celebrate this day. However, I decided to wear an orange shirt and I found a Halloween outfit in Ashtyn's closet that one of my GAC parents gave to her. Well, we were going to my parent's house to say "trick or treat" and had to stop at the bank on the way. Well, we certainly got strange looks from people. Even the people who worked at the bank couldn't stop staring. They probably felt sorry for Ashtyn. What kind of a crazy mom would dress their kid like that!?! It was pretty funny.





For some reason Ashtyn likes to suck on her fingers backwards.





This is my friend Phaedra whom I have known since 3rd grade. We were neighbors growing up and she babysat for Ashtyn today while my parents are in England. It was great seeing her again!

Ashtyn loves to get into this tub of toys. She will sometimes dump the whole thing onto her lap!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More pics...

Ashtyn has two little teeth on the bottom and has two teeth coming in on top now.



Daddy and Ashtyn reading "Itsby Bitsy Spider" together.

Watching Simba play...


We took Ashtyn to Harding's campus in Porto Rafti for an education class. They needed several hours of observing an infant play and interact. She had a lot of fun and the college kids enjoyed playing with her.


At a restaurant near my parents house.



Ashtyn can clap, wave, point to your nose, give kisses (especially to her teddy bear, not so much mommy and daddy unless we beg for it!)


This is the view from our apartment on the second floor. You can see the ocean in the distance. On the other side of the balcony we have the view of the mountain.



Monday, November 10, 2008

FINALLY!!

Hi everybody!! Well, it has taken this long to FINALLY get internet, tv, and a phone where we can call long distance....so to say the least we are so excited! Now, that doesn't mean that the tv works whenever we turn it on...but it does work 50% of the time and we are able to get Fox News. We have so much to update you on so I will have to do it in chunks instead of a huge blog post. I'll briefly give you an update on what's going on right now. Matt started his Greek lessons today. It is 4 hours a day from 1-5pm Mon-Fri. This will last for 3 weeks. I am tutoring two children in English and it is going well. The girl is in 3rd grade and the boy is in 6th grade. It is fun and it keeps me in the teaching mode. I'm also teaching the children's Bible class on Sundays. We had 4 children last Sunday. Most of my time of course is spent taking care of Ashtyn. She is growing up and already has 2 teeth on the bottom. She now has two teeth coming from the top too. She loves to touch the power cords and she knows she is not allowed to go there, but of course she does anyway. She is so funny and she stares at us as she makes her way to the cords. When we say "no" she gets startled and will just stare us down. It is really hard to keep a straight face and we have found ourselves busting out laughing. We're going to have to get control of ourselves if any kind of discipline will work. She has finally come around to liking food so that is great! She is not crawling on all fours, but can basically get to where she wants on her elbows. The biggest challenge for me right now is the driving!! Greece has absolutely no structure or organization to driving and not an inch of space to park...so I have been very reluctant to driving. However, depending on Matt to take me everywhere is becoming very difficult especially when I have to go to tutoring on Mon and Wed, so I am being forced to learn how to drive. I have to learn two things: How To Drive In Greece and How To Drive A Stickshift

I'll let you know how all that goes. My parents are in London right now so I'm taking care of their new puppy, Simba. My dad bought Simba for my mom as a surprise birthday present!

So here are a few pics starting from 6.5 months and I will make my way up to 8 months in the next few postings.

At Mimi and Pappou's house when we were living with them.


Mimi's new puppy, Simba! He's too cute!!


At church, on potluck Sunday.



Ashtyn having a blast playing with Simba.


Hip Hip Hooray!

Ashtyn is 7 months old in this picture.


I'll try to post some more tomorrow!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Arriving in Greece

We finally made it over to Greece! We arrived here on Sept. 9th at 2:30am after a two day trip. All of our flights were on time and we did not lose any luggage so that was nice! Ashtyn did pretty well considering the length of the trip including layovers. She cried for about one hour going from Chicago to London and then she fell asleep until the plane landed. She was fussy going from London to Athens since it was around midnight and I was still dragging her here and there. When we arrived at the airport, my parents were there to pick us up as well as a couple from Hellenic Ministries, Heath and Mariko. Heath and Mariko have been in Greece for one year and they will be helping us as we get settled into the ministry. That same night we went to the Hellenic Ministries kick off party for the new year. They introduced our family and prayed for us. It was exciting to be reconnected with them and see familiar faces.

My parents have been extremely helpful and wonderful hosts while we have been living with them. Ashtyn is now a little more adjusted and she has one more place to be moved to...our own apartment! We have been searching for an apartment and we pinned one down tonight. We were able to get the owner to come down on the price to fit our budget and we are very happy with it. We needed a place close to the center of Athens and not too far from my parents. We also bought a car which we are so thankful for finding. It is a 4 door Chevy Lacetti. It is much easier to get Ashtyn's carseat in a 4 door car! It took a while to get this finalized as we found out we needed to get all different kinds of paperwork done in order to purchase a car, rent an apartment etc. My parents were running us here and there to the offices and we have accomplished what we needed at this time.

The weather got cool overnight! Once the sun goes down we have to put on our sweaters. Greece usually stays hot until the end of September, so it's a little strange.

We attended the love meal at Hellenic Ministries last Monday. It was the first one, so there were not too many people there. Matt and one of the workers roamed the streets and invited people to come in for a hot meal. We served them and visited with the refugees and some of the workers we had not met from Hellenic Ministries.

We are slowly getting settled in and taking care of legal documents. Our container is scheduled to come in about 4 days. We have been told there are delays at the Athens port, so our container will probably not be here for a while. We are praying for it to arrive quickly as we have found an apartment now.

We think about our friends and family in the States daily. We love you and have enjoyed talking to you either on the phone or internet.

Spending time with Ruthie before leaving for Greece.


On the airplane going from Chicago to London

Crashing in Heathrow airport while waiting for our next flight

Ashtyn is 7 months old

Uncle Ken and Aunt Katina came to visit!