Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summerfest Begins

(This was yesterday's post-I've been experiencing laptop difficulties.)

Today is the first day of Summerfest in Milwaukee. I can't say that I am too excited. Although it is meant to be a whole lot of fun I have to say that I have never really had a great time there. The food at the festival is always great, I will admit ,but it is just way to difficult to try to enjoy eating in the crowds.

Here are some reasons for my lack of excitement.

1. It's too damn crowded.

2. Too many drunks, I mean really drunk drunks.

3. Too many macho guys getting in fights.

4. People from everywhere descend upon our beautiful city only to abuse it and act like idiots...and pee everywhere.

5. It's too damn crowded.

6. Even if you go to see an act, you are lucky if you can actually see or hear the act that you want to...(excluding the Marcus Amphitheatre of course).

7.If you have to drive through the city like I do, you will get really frustrated by the massive amount of cars with drivers that have no clue as to where they are going.

8. My neighborhood gets trashed.

9. Did I say that it's too damn crowded?

10. Even if you don't drink, you'll definitely smell like you've had more than your share by the time that you leave.

Again, this event is supposed to be fun. It is a blast for a lot of people but I can't nor did I ever get into that type of fun. How much fun is it to get stepped on, sworn at and have tons of beer spilled on you? In the past I have been burned by cigarettes, soaked by beer and punched, just by walking through the crowds. One of my sisters was slammed up against a brick wall once and her only way out of the situation was to punch the drunk woman who squashed her. My sister would NEVER punch anyone. I never liked dancing on picnic tables because they are too wobbly and you might get pushed off of one of those as well.

I guess that I have come to realise that if you really want to enjoy the event without worrying about the condition that you will be in when you leave is that you just have to be drunk. No thanks.

But even if you don't drink and want to brave the crowds go ahead and enjoy what the festival has to offer. Originally it was meant to be a lot of fun without all of the riff-raf behavior of today.

side note: just in case you are wondering...

yes I do like to have a good time

yes I do have a drink from time to time-I just don't get drunk for the sake of getting drunk, to me, that's just stupid.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

After a few extremely exhausting days I think that I have gained most of my strength back. We are caught in the middle of a heat wave and it's been at least 90 degrees F every day. That wouldn't be so bad if the dew point weren't in the 70's. It's been so sticky! I'm so thankful for my central air and wonder how I will cope without it next month. I guess I'll just have to sit in the sea a lot.

I haven't had time to keep up with the news but I did manage to learn that our Paris Hilton was released from jail yesterday. Boy, I'm glad. Now , I can move out of the country. I just don't get it, she is an heiress, right? So why didn't she have a driver or someone drive her for her late night burger that landed her in jail. And if she was driving on a suspended license, that is even more pathetic. The most pathetic thing about the whole story is that she received so much media attention regarding the jail sentence. It's a shame that our media focuses on our celebrities so much, even when they are criminals, when there are truly tons of other news events happening in our country and across the globe that warrant more attention than this pathetic heiress. So, I will stop giving her more air time now.

I do want to mention that now I know how to make naughty kids...just don't pay any attention to them. As we have been so busy with the move my answer to any of their requests has been, "not now", " maybe later" or " just watch some TV." It saddens me to have done that, but the last few days have been chaotic. Izabella and Foti are fighting constantly. Now Foti has learned that biting his sister could get him some attention, negative attention, but attention nevertheless. What also doesn't help is that the kids have almost no toys to play with and our house is nearly empty. Luckily, my sister, Joanna, had them for a little while on Monday as well as our neighbor, Lisa. And Lisa, is SO wonderful that she brought over her daughter's play kitchen and a whole basket of toys for them to play with until we leave. (What will I do without her?)
Since things have slowed down a bit I have been able to sit and read with them and even enjoy lunch with them again. I am the type of mom that will let dust bunnies run free in my home before I will let my kids down. Yeah, I know, where am I moving? The country where everyone constantly sweeps their balconies and clean is never clean enough. Anyway, back to what I was talking about... Having been so busy makes me realize just how important it is to have the time to spend with your kids and that it has put into perspective (once again) just how lucky I am to have the opportunity to stay home with mine. The next time I want to complain about how tired I am or how unappreciated I feel, I will think about how sad they have been without me doing what I normally do.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Check it out for yourselves...

Here it is in all of its glory. Can you believe it? I had to take pictures so everyone could really understand what I am so bent up about. This is not just another box to put in the truck...

and it's taller than our car! Now, let's think about it again. The man lives in the U.S. and his mother lives in Greece. He sees a beautiful curio cabinet on sale at a furniture store and wants to buy it for her. He doesn't own a truck so he calls my husband to help him pick up this piece of furniture. It's way too expensive for him to ship to Greece so he keeps it in his apartment and/or storage for about 2 yrs. And now we are moving our things overseas and he didn't think twice about including his freight.
Anyway, enough about him. I have to get packing. The movers will be here in a few days so I am running out of time. We are almost completely finished. I still have to go to the basement and sort through a box of old photos. I have way too many photos since photography is my hobby and I completely forgot about the basement box. I hate my basement because it's unfinished and full of spiders.
My sisters and friends are having a going away party for us tomorrow so we have a lot of work to do today since Kosta is still working during the week. It didn't help that I was sick last week and Kosta was the week before. We will be fine after the movers come. We will just live out of suitcases for the next few months. Well, I have to get working!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Opportunist and the Container

There is a certain Greek person that we know here that drives me over the edge. He doesn't think twice about imposing, in fact, I think he has mastered the art of shameless imposition. Since the day that he arrived in the U.S. he has relied on my husband to find him a home, a job, friends, cars and more, much more. He is constantly screwing up his life and waits for my husband's advice or help to fix it.
For those of you that know me well, you will probably know of whom I am speaking about, but for the purposes of this blog we will call him N. Before I go into what he is up to now I will give you a list of idiotic and nerve-wrecking behavior that has impacted my family and my every last nerve.

-First, he decided to move to Milwaukee because his mom knew my mother-in-law...not my husband. (can you see where this is headed?)
-He arrives and we drive him around town to look at apartments, nice apartments. He rejects every one of them and finds his own rat hole, complete with drug addict neighbors, the kind that knock on the door for a dollar or two from time to time....and then he complains about it.
-He didn't take a shower for his 1st week here, because he couldn't figure out how to work the shower. Sister-in-law showed him how to TURN THE FLIPPN' HANDLE.
-skip ahead a year or two because some of it might just seem too unreal....
-My husband goes to Greece to visit his family and N. wants to send something along for his mom. He comes over with an antique SILVER TEA SET and a leather trench coat, I am not kidding. It put my husband's suitcase over the weight limit.
-He decides to move to another big city in the U.S. and dares to ask us if we know anyone there that can help him. I stayed out of it. But, my husband gave him a name of someone. He moved there, rented an apartment, rejected a job that our acquaintance offered him and moved back here less than a month later only to arrive at our doorstep needing a place to stay. My son was only 1o days old.
-I will skip another year...
-He buys his mother a curio cabinet because it's a " good deal". My husband has to go get it with his truck. My husband asks how N. is going to send it to his mom. Hmmmmm....he didn't think of that.
He hangs on to it for a year or so and decides to move to another city. He puts the cabinet in storage. (is this still a good deal for him?) That city didn't work out for him either so he comes back here 2 weeks later.
After we tell him that we are moving back to Greece for sure he is struck with a great idea, he can put his mom's cabinet in our container. Never mind that she doesn't live where we are going, but at least it will get to Greece. Hubby tells him that we'll take it only if it fits. N. thinks that it will fit for sure because it's a container, hell if you can fit a car and the contents of a 3 story home into it, surely there will be room for one more piece of furniture. Ever since his great idea he has called every week to talk about it, you know, so we won't forget. Tomorrow my husband will go get the dang cabinet, so it will be here when the movers come and we seriously don't think that it will fit. My husband told him that it is the LAST thing to be loaded and if it doesn't fit...N. will have to figure out how to get it back to his apartment without his help. It's all so annoying.
I feel bad ranting about this but when does it end? I do realize that he is really good to our children and he thinks the world of us, but how doesn't he know that what he does is just out of control? His mom is wonderful to us also and I think that she feels bad for us having to deal with him. I can't wait to see how this turns out. ARRRGGGH!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Daddy told me that all of the stars in Hollywood sleep with masks..."


I really can't stand when people talk on their phones and drive inattentively. What's worse is when they talk on their phone and try to back up. For instance. tonight we were outside for a little while after we saw my sister, Gina, to her car. Shortly after our last wave good-bye an SUV came barreling up our driveway so that it could turn back in the direction from which it came. I sneered at the driver, who was a young, attractive woman -talking on her cell phone. Never mind that she could have hit my children if she would have appeared 1 minute sooner but what's worse is that after she made eye contact with me, she backed up into a car right behind her on the other side of the street. She stopped her car after I told her that she dented the car behind her. How could she not realize that she totally backed into that car? Next, she hangs up her phone and hops out of her SUV to assess the damage. Let me just say that she was still holding her precious phone in her hand and also not wearing any shoes. How can people drive without shoes? Those pedals are not easy on the feet! Anyway, her jaw dropped when she saw the HUGE dent that she put on the parked car. Her next move was to stop and look at us for a second before she slowly tried to make her way back into the driver's seat. My jaw dropped and then she stopped and said, " do you know whose car this is?" Sweetie, of course we don 't know whose car it is. There are only 10 apartment buildings in a 2 block radius! Next she says, " oh, then should I leave a note with my information on it?" Ah, yes....duh. So she wrote a note and put it on the car's windshield. Then she drove away....duh. If Kosta and I had not been outside she would have never stopped. Apparently, she had another important call to make.
I called the police and they told me to just look at the note that she left on the car to verify that everything seemed legitimate, as well as leave a note in the case that the owner of the dented car needed a witness. I think that it's a shame that the police don't want to respond to situations like this anymore. So, I wrote a note and shoved it through a crack in the window. I will probably get a call in the morning.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dominic's Party

The birthday boy just off the stage!

Izá is quite a natural!

It was REALLY hot last Saturday at Dominic's party but we had fun anyway. The kids got to play on a water slide so they were fine. The adults started looking at the weight limit of the slide so that we could get some relief also. The temperature was in the lower 9o's (F) and it was extremely humid as well. It's been the same since then. Too hot to do much outside.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Can't sleep so I'll Blog

It's about 2 am or so. I can't sleep so I thought about blogging. I haven't been sleeping well at all lately. I think that it is a result of my anxiety. There is so much to do in preparation for the move and he sands of time just keep slipping away. I spent the better part of the day packing " non-essential" clothing into boxes, for all of us. Non-essential means that we won't need them for the next few months. Gosh, do we really need so many clothes? It's crazy. I am not a huge shopper either. I am lucky enough to have a sister that also has children and we swap clothes back and forth so by now I we have way more than what is needed for each child. In fact, I have even given half of them away already. My own clothes aren't a huge deal since I have had 3 kids in the past 5 years. I have a lot that I still can't fit into yet and I FINALLY stopped wearing maternity clothes last month. I am in size limbo. So, my stuff isn't taking too much space and wasn't too much to go through. All I know is that every time that I have packed to go to Greece for a month I still seem to get it wrong. I usually have too many pairs of shoes, not enough sweaters or warm stuff for cooler nights and definitely not enough pairs of slippers-if I have any at all. I have to buy the kids slippers. We don't wear them at all here since the floors are either carpet or wood. Its going to be hard to get them to wear anything on their feet in the house since they like running around barefoot. My mother-in-law will go nuts if she sees the kids without slippers or anything on their feet. We will all need to adjust a wee little bit.
Next, I transferred all of the food from the upstairs fridge to the downstairs fridge. I found some pretty interesting mutations in there! Ever seen a cucumber that's been pushed to the back of the fridge about 2 months ago? Yikes! It's funny because before I had kids there was almost nothing in the fridge, but now there is always so much that I often forget that I have something , because it's in the back, so I buy another one. For instance, I had 3 bottles of mustard, 3 half used jars of salsa(one just opened yesterday)-(another one opened last week), 2 little plastic limes (lime juice for guacamole) and lots of yogurt that was well past its expiration date. I am a scatter brain so I wasn't surprised. It's a shame that I ended up throwing out a lot of food, but I can't exactly give away a half used jars of things like jelly or olives.
I packed a few of the children's favorite books into suitcases and put the rest into boxes for the container. We will stick with library books for the next couple of weeks. I also have to make sure that we don't have any outstanding late fees at the library! Gotta tie up those loose ends.
I did all of that plus the normal daily things like taking care of the kids, cooking and doing laundry. I am completely exhausted and yet I can't sleep. I am really looking forward to getting some rest on the beach!

Just a Picture

This is the view that we enjoy when we go for walks.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Today I was cooking and Izabella said, "Mommy, I'm a pothead! "
I turned around and she came into the kitchen wearing a strainer on her head. OK, it wasn't technically a pot but it was hilarious. She was singing
"pothead, pothead I'm a pothead!" Foti soon joined in. Then I had both of my children singing the little verse. Ay!

Our Day at the Zoo

Just a few pictures of many from our visit to the zoo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Last Day of School

Today was Izabella's last day of school. I was excited and sad for her. She loves school so much I hope that I can satisfy her appetite for learning over the summer.
Last night she drew 2 pictures for her teacher, as a good-bye gift. Izabella is such a sensitive little girl. She signed her name on both pictures and put them carefully into her back pack so that she wouldn't tear the paper. She was so proud of herself.
As I was getting ready to pick her up I felt a little sad. I had hoped that I wasn't going to get teary-eyed like I did the first day that I went to pick her up from school, back in September. Well, I did get a little lump in my throat. My little Izabella was sticking by her teacher's side until the very last minute. After the teacher released her to me, she ran over and picked some little flowers and then gave them to her. I took pictures. It was obvious that she was going to miss her teacher greatly and I was witnessing her reluctance to say good-bye. As we left I hugged the teacher and it was apparent that everyone was feeling a little emotional. I talked with another mother on our way to the car and she said that she felt the same. All of us wacky moms were trying to hold back tears! I am so happy that she was learning in such a caring environment. It was a perfect first year of school for her.

Where's the Baby? Part II

This little cubby seems to be her new favorite spot. It is so funny to see her hanging out there!

Impending Change

As I continue to pack my life into boxes I keep thinking about how different daily life will be in Greece. The pace of things at home won't change too much because of the kids but the pace of things outside of the home will definitely change. I will need to adapt to the schedules and shops in Greece in order to get things done because hardly anything is open all day whereas here I can go almost any time and get anything done. In most instances it won't be a huge deal because I usually schedule my errands for late morning. McDonald's drive thru is always great for those days because I finish my errands right around lunch time. There is a McDonald's (no kidding, right?) but there is no drive thru. I will just have to plan better so that I have something for the kids to eat after we are finished running errands. I will also have to satisfy my Starbucks craving by actually walking into the store and ordering my coffee, instead of using the drive thru. OK, I only use the Starbucks drive thru about once a week, most of my other visits are normally by foot. But you've got to love that Starbucks drive thru!
I will need to figure out where I can take the kids to do fun things. I don't have a problem with that here because the list of things for kids to do is endless. We do something extra special at least once a week. The museum has free admission for Milwaukee County residents on Mondays, the children's museum, local pet shops, the library and our local parks are all on our list of favorite places to do fun things. We visit the zoo monthly. The kids never tire of that! I think that it will be fun finding the fun things to do together in Greece because I will be discovering new things along with them.
There is also one thing different that I just have to mention. I am so not looking forward to this part, especially as an American, but here it can't flush toilet paper down the toilet. Yes, there it is. I remember the first time that I visited Greece with Kosta and he told me that I couldn't flush the paper in the toilet. I must have looked like a deer caught in headlights. I was grossed out and I still am. I have spent the past 2 years teaching Izabella that the paper goes in the toilet and now I will have to teach her that it goes into the waste basket next to the toilet. She is in for some confusion now! :) This part of my life is probably going to be the most difficult for me to cope with because it's just stinky. I will manage and I will get over it. Yes, I change diapers day in and day out but it's a totally different thing. There is really nothing like American life and its conveniences especially when it comes to the bathroom. We love our clean, potpourri filled bathrooms and that is all there is to it. It is obvious since I started writing about how differently things will be done in Greece and my mind kept bringing my back to the bathroom issue.-Aside from that, there are so many welcome changes. The holidays, the "misi-meri" (aka siesta), the food, the passion for life, the weather and the scenery. I can't wait to see how things will unfold once we get there and get settled.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Good-bye Doctor

Yesterday we had Alexandra's 9 month well visit. It was our last visit to our family pediatrician. (hopefully no one will get sick) It seemed like just yesterday that I was pregnant with Izabella and I had to fill out "new patient" paperwork. At the time I would have never guessed that by now I would have 3 little patients visiting that practice. Yesterday I also filled out a request for medical records to take with me in order to give to their new pediatrician, whomever that may be. As I have developed a strong and trusting relationship with their pediatrician(s) and the staff at the office , I am a little nervous about finding a new one. I often wonder if the new doctor will be as gentle and caring as the one that we are leaving. I realised that not only were they doctors and nurses, but they had become friends and very important ones at that. I completely trust them with the well-being of my children and in return they trusted my intuition as a mother. As we left the office I felt a little tug on my heartstrings. It was not only another thing to check off of my list, but it was yet another "good-bye".

Monday, June 4, 2007

Friday night out

This past Friday night I went out for dinner with my sister, Joanna. She treated me to dinner for my birthday and we had a great time. I knew about our dinner for a few weeks and we could have gone to any restaurant that I chose but I didn't even think about it until we were getting into the car that night. The decision wasn't difficult as I like almost anything. So I decided that I haven't had the opportunity to try any of the restaurants at our new shopping center, Bayshore Town Center. We had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and I have to admit, the food was really good. The menu was huge and it took me a while to decide what I really had to have that night. I am trying to enjoy a lot of the foods that I know that I will miss while I am in Greece. Don't get me wrong, I have know problem with Greek Cuisine, I actually love it, but there are a lot of things that I haven't found there. So, I decide to order Fettuccine with Chicken and Sun -Dried Tomatoes. It was fabulous! The portion was huge so I had lunch for the next day. And you know we couldn't have gone to The Cheesecake Factory without ordering cheesecake! We shared a piece of the Dutch Apple Carmel Streusel cheesecake. Needless to say we were stuffed when we walked out of there.
Although I will miss the plethora of chain restaurants that we have here in America, I am truly looking forward to eating out in Greece. There is nothing greater than having fresh fish at a taverna that is seaside. Or how about coffee at a small cafenio on top of a mountain? For those of you not familiar with Greek cafenios click on this link, it is a perfect example of what I am looking forward to.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Izabella's Signs

<oops! Daddy misspelled a word!

Izabella has been into making signs lately. She has made a sign for almost every door in the house. She draws the picture and then tells us what to write on them. I think that it is too cute not to share.