Saturday, December 22, 2007

nothing new

i'd had a few people ask me why i haven't been posting. really it's because there's nothing new to report. we're nestled in most days/nights (besides going to work) because it's rainy and cold and most all of the restaurants on the pennisula close in the winter.

we are almost through the christmas parties. one more tonight. i don't mean to make it sound like i don't enjoy christmas parties, but sometimes when there are several in a week it gets tiring. we're looking forward to having about 20 of our friends over on christmas eve. we'll all head to the christmas eve service at 5:30 held in a cave, and then have hot chocolate, cocktails and dessert at our house. we will also play yankee swap (aka white elephant) with the gifts everyone brings. finally we'll be watching national lampoon's christmas vacation (my favorite holiday classic). on christmas day our friends are hosting christmas breakfast and then we're going over to the galley on base to serve the troops christmas lunch. we will certainly miss being with our family and friends for christmas. we hope each of you have a very merry christmas!
last night we watched this holiday classic. is it one of yours? we absolutely love it. what are your favorite christmas movies??

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

christmas partied out

do you get like me and feel pooped for christmas?? i love this time of the year but with all the things you have to do-baking, shopping, and parties- sometimes it's just so tiring. i woke up with a little cold today and i'm sure it's because last week caught up with me. we had something every single night. and we're only on dec 11...there are 4 more parties i know of; including one we're hosting on christmas night. sometimes we get wrapped up in the busyness of christmas and forget what it's all about. it's about celebrating the birth of jesus christ. it's a time to reflect on what christ's entering the world means for your soul. it's spending sweet precious time with family and friends whom you love.

so today, as my body was telling me to slow down, i was able to reflect on what is important about christmas. i was able to spend some time in prayer. and i was thinking of all of you whom i love and miss very much.

Monday, December 3, 2007

confessions of a slacker

didn't take a shower today. and went shopping out in town, hoping i wouldn't run into anyone i know. chances were good since i know 5 greeks and my american friends make up .2% of the population here in crete.

took echo on 1 walk, instead of her usual 2.

ate leftovers and pieced "snacks" together for a dinner.

watched a chick-flick movie.

shopped online and spent $30 on gift bags and while at jumbo (greece's walmart equivalent) spent $60 on nothing.

accumulated a stack of dirty dishes in the sink.

neglected the overflowing basket of dirty clothes.

my excuse??? hubby is out of town on business. :)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

6 in a row!!!

navy beat army 38-3!! that's 6 in a row. :) we had a army v. navy game-watching party at our house for the big event. pictured above is dawn wearing the roger staubaugh autographed helmet we have.

we also put up our mini Christmas tree a few days ago.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

giving thanks


thanksgiving is easily one of my favorite holidays because it gives me a chance to reflect on all that i have to be thankful for. god has given me a wonderful husband and an adventurous life. he's given me a fantastic family and endearing friends that would give me the shirt off their back.

happy thanksgiving to everyone back home. we sure miss being with you today. i hope you are surrounded by the love and laughter of those people god gave you to bless your life.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

congrats to the red raiders!

congrats to the red raiders for pulling off a big upset of #4 oklahoma. my friend who is a longhorn and not a big red raiders fan says all texas tech is around to do is to spoil things.

well, spoiler strikes again!! :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

today we remember...

you are over there in a country far away from home.
today you may not even get a hot meal.
tomorrow you might be sleeping on a concrete floor.
a few weeks ago you missed your kids and wife so much you could feel it in your gut.
in 2 weeks your sister is getting married but you won't be able to make it.
you still have nightmares of that day when the bomb went off and your best friend died in your arms.

we will never know what it is like for you there.
we may not ever fully understand all the ways you have risked your life for us.
you and i will probably never meet.
but today i would like to take a moment to say:
we thank you for protecting our freedom.
we thank you for fighting for us.
we are grateful for your sacrifice.
we are humbled by your bravery.
we ask God to protect and watch over you.
we remember all of the heros who have sacrificed their lives.
Prayer on Veterans Day
"Dear Lord Jesus Christ, those whom we honor today are examples of your words: "Greater love than this no one has: that he lay down his life for his friends." They gave up their lives in the defense of freedom for their loved ones and their country. Teach me to appreciate the virtue of patriotism -- a true and Christian love of country. Let me love my country, not to follow it blindly but to make it the land of goodness that it should be. Let my patriotism be such that it will not exclude the other nations of the world, but include them in a powerful love of country that has room for all others too."
- St. Joseph People's Prayer Book




Thursday, November 8, 2007

puppy shampoo

to tell this story, you first need to know our morning routine. ken wakes up between 5:15-5:30 every day and takes echo on a short walk.

afterwards, he brings her back to bed with me so she can snooze for a couple more hours. ken tells me he loves me and then gives me a kiss goodbye. i mumble something resembling "i love you too. have a good day."

this morning it was a little different.

ken: "echo is mad at me."

me: "why is she mad at you?" i said half asleep.

ken: "she's mad because i had to use her shampoo."

me: (i thought i was dreaming but then i realized ken was talking to me.) "what??"

ken: "there wasn't any shampoo in the shower except for echo's so i had to use it."

me: "no you didn't." i motioned for him to bend his head down so i could smell. yep, his hair smelled of echo's jasmine-scented puppy shampoo. "sorry, honey. i finished off the bottle last night when i took a shower. there is more shampoo in the storage cabinet. i just forgot to put it in the shower. i'm really sorry."

oops.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

the streak is OVER!!!

the 43 game losing streak has come to an END!!
navy defeats notre dame 46-44 in triple OT!

all of us navy fans here in greece lept off the couch when the NAVY D stopped them for the 2 pt conversion in the third OT. boy are we excited!!!! i also gotta give props to ram vela (aka SUPERMAN) in the pic below for sacking (flying into) the QB in the 4th quarter.





Friday, November 2, 2007

gainfully employed

after taking a 7-month sabbatical, i'm returning to the working world on monday! i got a job working for central texas college on base. ctc is a vocational school offering 2-year degrees and professional certifications. http://www.ctcd.edu/campus/index.htm
i will be recruiting students to take classes and getting them registered. i will be working 10 hours a week on tuesdays and thursdays. it's a meager wage but something to do a couple of days a week. a girl can only do so much scrapbooking. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

trick or treat

echo made the seabees treats in chinese takeout boxes for halloween (her mom helped her stamp them). she was so cute wearing her ladybug costume (a repeat from last year because she couldn't find another one here in greece). she still didn't like her headpiece but she was sooooooo cute and everyone thought so :). the below picture depicts what echo does every time she is in ken's office. she loves it there and always looks out the window for kitties!

Monday, October 29, 2007

the plant conspiracy

all the plants that come into my ownership have a conspiracy against me...i'm sure of it!!

i am the epitome of a "black thumb" when it comes to gardening and owning plants. once one comes to my house, it's dead plant walking. the only plant i own (because the mint plant already died) is close to death - note the yellow leaves. and it's not like i don't water them or put them in the shade or sun depending on what they require. i guess some of us are just not meant to be plant people.

it's such a bummer too...i need to grow herbs like cilantro because i can't get it here in greece. can anyone suggest an easy plant i could take on to overcome my black thumb??


Sunday, October 28, 2007

a day at the dog park

today we took echo to the "doggy park", which here in greece consists of a a dirt path and a sign allowing dogs (most of the area beaches and the one park I know of do not allow dogs). the doggy park is next to one of the rocky beaches so walking along the water makes it nicer. it was warm enough for shorts but not a bathing suit, and the water temp was only for the brave. most days we have fall-like temps (upper 60s/low 70s) and some rain here and there, but there are still some days it's very nice and warm. i got a sunburn sitting outside at lunch on friday. but winter is just around the corner so we're soaking up as much sun and nice weather as we can.

Monday, October 22, 2007

monday morning quarterbacking

gosh, i really wish the red raiders and cowboys would start playing in the early time slots. the games are interfering with my sleeping schedule. :)because we are 7 hours ahead of EST, saturday night i went to bed at 1:30 a.m. watching tech get stomped by the mizzou tigers (our defense stayed in lubbock and the ball must have been on fire because our receivers couldn't hang on to it.) last night i stayed up until 2:15 a.m. watching the cowboys defeat the vikings. tony romo is the greatest!! he's really fun to watch and i think he's always displaying the right kind of attitude even when he doesn't agree with a call. this is really important especially for all the kids out there who look up to pro athletes. there's many more out there that swear, throw a fit, taunt, and put enormous egos on display. hats off to tony...you make us cowboys fans proud!

as if my dedication to watching football games while sacrificing sleep isn't enough, ken and i are also in a fantasy league with our friends here in souda. this week, we crushed the only undefeated opponent improving our record to 5-2 tied for first place in our division.

Friday, October 19, 2007

sleepy time

this picture makes me smile. it's been a busy and long week with some late nights of work, talking to beloved family and friends, and watching season 2 of 24 (dang this show is addictive!)

finally it's friday ... and we're all retiring early tonight.

Monday, October 15, 2007

navy ball

this weekend the u.s. navy celebrated birthday # 232! on friday night we went to the navy ball for the celebration. it was held at a very nice resort just outside of hania. this was our first navy ball as we usually just attend seabee ball held in the month of march. we had a fantastic time...here are more pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/ken.schwalbe/NavyBall2007
we stayed up until 3am watching the cowboys game last night. i feel bad for ken since he went to work on 3 hrs of sleep. i was so bummed about the game. even though i really don't like tom brady, i have to give him props...he threw out of his mind with 5 TD passes. the 'boys D just couldn't stop them. we'll have to improve our game for the rematch in the super bowl and hopefully then, TO can finally have his popcorn. on the other hand, it was a great college football weekend for the schwalbe household - navy, texas tech and texas all won. we stayed up until 2:30am sat night watching the a&m v. tech game with joel and katherine (aggies, but we love them anyway). FINALLY tech is ranked in the top 25 with the statement win (35-7) over the ags!!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

ashley's visit to greece

ash and i had a fantastic time while she was here visiting. we hiked the samaria gorge, went to the spa in hersonossis, checked out the area beaches, explored athens, and had some genuine good sister time. :) she brought me some goodies from the states and yes, i got 15 rolls of double-sided tape so i can continue scrapbooking! the picture above is at the parthenon in athens. unfortunately most of it is under construction but it was still amazing to see. here are the rest of the pictures from our time together. http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow.jsp?mode=fromshare&Uc=tk5w931.afkzqg9d&Uy=sf2pwp&Ux=0

Sunday, September 23, 2007

double-sided tape

ughhh....i can't find it anywhere on this island!! we went out ALL DAY looking for it last week. sometimes i get so frustrated looking all day for something I NEED, especially when it involves driving all over town going to all kinds of random greek stores only to come up empty-handed. well i guess we did find a substitute, except that after taping down 25 pages of my wedding album (that i finally finished after 3 years) everything taped down started coming up. i should have known to only stick with 3M, NOT something made in greece! thank goodness my sister is coming next weekend and bringing 10 packs of 3M double-sided tape. yay...scrapbooking CAN go on!! note to 3M: please sell your tape here in greece...specifically crete! by the way, i'm really making headway on my scrapbooking projects. i have almost finished my wedding album and i have finished to date ken's navy career album that will be a work-in-progress until he retires. i'll take pictures of a few pages and post them on my next blog entry. i have a good friend here, katherine, who loves scrapbooking and we have a routine of going to the gym and scrapbooking almost every day during the week. so the whole reason for this post is to all you scrapbookers out there...be glad you can run to target anytime you run out of 3M double-sided tape!!!! you are lucky! don't take for granted what you have available at your fingertips.

i'm SO EXCITED for my sister to come. we are spending 7 days on the island going to beaches and ruins, and then an overnight spa trip to the east side of the island. we're also taking a girl's trip to athens for 4 days...my first time to see the "big city." it will be really good to see ash!! i've been kind of lonely lately really missing my family and friends.

i've been neglecting my blog lately...maybe it's all the football i've been watching. surprisingly we've been able to catch several games. whether it's an 8pm or 3am game, we've been watching. and the navy games have been streamed through our computer that we connect to our TV to watch so that makes ken happy. so far, navy has done pretty well at 2-2, texas at 4-0 (narrowly missing an upset by south florida), and texas tech has been doing well until the heartbreaking loss to okla state this weekend bringing us to 3-1. a BIG SHOUT OUT to MICHIGAN STATE for handing notre dame a new starting record of 0-4. go spartans! ken thinks for sure it's navy's year to beat notre dame this year and i think he's probably right!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

anniversary trip to santorini


ken and i were able to sneak away to the island of santorini for 3 days over labor day weekend to celebrate our 3rd annivesary. it was such a great trip...until the last 4-5 hours when i came down with a severe sinus infection that has kept me in bed until today. santorini has the traditional white houses and buildings with blue domed roofs (what you typically see as greece in the movies). everything is built into the side of a cliff...it's truly remarkable. the island is famous for its sunsets as you can see. here are a few more pictures of our trip...

Friday, August 31, 2007

celebrate!

we had all of our friends over wednesday night for hor 'de vours and beer to celebrate both ken and shawn being selected for lieutenant commander. cory led us in a champagne toast and then he and kim presented ken and shawn with a pair of oak leaves (which they will pin on when they promote). we all had a great time!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

are you ready for some football...llll....llllll??!!

we're only a few days from the greatest time of year! not it's not my birthday or july 4th. it's not christmas, thanksgiving or st. patrick's day. yes, ladies and gents, college football is 3 days from kicking off!! the rush i get in anticipation of watching the first game is unexplainable. really, somewhere in there most people think i must be a boy. i can't help it. I JUST LOVE COLLEGE FOOTBALL!!! living in greece certainly presents its challenges in watching games but the armed forces network is faithful in producing a few games each weekend. i know i won't be able to catch all of the texas tech games but thankfully through the internet i can listen to them. although ken and i are super-excited to go to santorini this weekend to celebrate our 3rd anniversary, we're bummed to miss afn carrying the navy football game live (thank goodness for tivo!)

here's the cutest promo pic for kicking off the college football season ever! ken and i wanted little travis william smith to have proper clothing to cheer navy on! his parents are our friends in austin, jason and dawn. ken and jason went to the academy together. go navy! go texas tech! and if ken were writing this blog entry he would say, go texas! (then i would puke!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

yay!! promotion time!

ken found out today he was selected for lieutenant commander. he will officially get promoted sometime in the spring of 2008. yay!! congrats to our good friend in italy, carl, who was also selected!! ken celebrated with a beer and an ice cream sundae. nice pic if you can get past the texas shirt. :)~

Monday, August 27, 2007

i love these pics!!

doug and candice had their engagement pictures taken last week and they are just too good not to share...






greece fires

please pray for the greek families affected by the fires. most of the fires are on mainland greece (we are 7 hours away by boat). the fires look to have been set intentionally and 60 people have perished so far. some villages were completely surrounded and rescuers were unable to reach them. i can't believe someone would do this. the latest area being threatened is Olympia and the site of the greek ancient olympics (first picture below). there are still many active fires that are growing and the greeks are now getting help from other nations. below is a map of the fires i found on the internet. please pray. my heart breaks to think people are being burned alive because they are trapped by these fires someone else started.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

farewell andy!

we had to say goodbye to one of our good friends, andy, on friday. :( we will miss him very much! we had a 'sing off,' aka a 'send off' karaoke-and-washer-tourney-style last weekend. we had shirts made with this picture on it that said "andy's sing off."

although we'll miss him, we're glad he's being co-located in san diego with his wife who is a pharmicist for the navy. they've been married for over a year and haven't lived together yet!! fair winds andy...we hope to be stationed with you and tiff again down the road. until then, we wish you both the very BEST!

my camera starting working again and i snapped this picture of echo. it was too cute not to share...
well it's back to work for ken tomorrow. vacation is over. :( although we're going away to santorini for our anniversary next weekend! we had fun for the first half of our camping trip to elafonisi but the winds were causing our tent to buckle down in our faces (yes, it was a flashback to the grand canyon trip my senior year of college for those who were there), so we packed up at 2am and drove home. we got all the basics accomplished though. we taught echo how to swim and boogie board, grilled hotdogs and made smores over the campfire, and taught some italian kids on vacation how to play horseshoes. yesterday we went to the lake on the island about 45 minutes from our house. it's a beautiful lake but no dice on motor boats, so ken's hopes to get in some wakeboarding were dashed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

happy birthday aleida!



my good friend aleida's birthday was this past saturday. aleida, i hope you had a great celebration in austin!! wish i could have been there. i miss you like crazy! the pictures above are from her birthday party last year at the bowling alley.

ken and i are just hanging out this week. he took a week of leave because he was going to lose it if he didn't take it before sept 30. we've planned some day trips around the island and on thursday we're heading to elafonisi for an overnight camping trip. echo can't wait! unfortunately our digital camera broke so we have to send it into canon for repair. my postings might be pictureless for awhile. :(

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

boardgame mania!!

on saturday we had "gamefest 2007." we had 6 2-person teams and a round robin style of playing yahtzee, sorry, boggle & uno, hearts, golden tee, and washers. ken and john's team, aka "terd ferguson" won the tourney. they are proudly displaying their 1st place trophy above. kyle made the trophies and did a great job on them. ken and i had the boardgame fever and decided to break out the game of life on sunday night. ken had never played and i beat him 3 times! i highly recommend everyone turn off the t.v. and play some board games with your family. quality time...you can't beat it and you can't ever get it back.

looks like candice and doug have set a date -- october 11, 2008. so count on us being in the states for hopefully 2-3 weeks. we would like to stay through the 25th so ken can go to his 10 year reunion at the academy. i just came across this picture of doug down on his knee proposing...how cute is he??

changing gears, i have to tell you a sad story. i was visiting heidi in italy last week and she was telling me how the italians go on vacation for 3-4 weeks and let their dogs off their chain to fend for themselves. well yesterday, i was taking echo on her morning walk and saw the dog 2 houses down was off its chain. (all dogs in greece are outside dogs usually tied up on a chain.) i walked it back and luckily the owners were outside so i walked up to them and pointed and said ' esy skylos' (your dog). the woman shook her head and said 'oxe skylos' (no dog). and she motioned for him to go away. i was confused for a minute before i noticed they were packing up the car with suitcases fastened to the top. sure enough a few minutes later they drove off! we continued on our walk and fluffy dog joined us. then 1 mile later the squatty cocker spaniel joined us outside his house. the gate was closed so i knew he didn't just get out. i was talking to my vet about this later in the day and he said it's normal for people to do this, especially in august. they expect the neighbors to feed them or the dog to get by. if the dog comes back when they return, great. if not, then they just get another one. i know i can't take all the dogs in, but i am going to feed & water them at their houses each day. poor skylos.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

when in rome...

the colosseum
...do as the romans do! ken and i have been gone for the last 2 weeks on a vacation/work trip to italy. this time we took the train from naples to rome for a long weekend. the trip started off a little shaky when i left my purse on the train. the train was continuing on to milan so i thought i would never see it again. i had all of my identification - DL, passport, and military ID - in it. i have never lost a purse or had one stolen so i was very upset. i went to trenitalia customer service and they called the conducter of the train. i was in luck...the purse was right where i left it!!! it got to go for quite an extensive trip around italy. first to milan, then florence, up to trieste and back down to rome!! the train guard brought it back to me later that day! i was so thankful. :)

st. peter's basilica

trevi fountain at night


the rest of our trip was fantastic! we spent 3 full days jetting around rome. we got to see everything! it was easily my favorite place in italy so far. my favorite site was the colosseum forum ruins. the most disappointing site was the vatican. don't get me wrong...the sistine chapel is quite amazing but you have to walk around for 2 hours before you get to it. i wasn't particularly impressed with the vatican museums. and we didn't get to see the pope. :( no one does!

sistine chapel ceiling (don't tell them i took this picture!!)after rome, ken had a week of work and then he went back to greece. i stayed an extra week with our friends heidi and carl.

we had a great time!!! here are the rest of the photos from the trip:
http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow.jsp?mode=fromshare&Uc=tk5w931.8nr1vu0t&Uy=95fbfj&Ux=0