Thursday, December 25, 2008

kala christougena (merry christmas)

we wish all of our family and friends a wonderful and blessed christmas holiday and happy new year! we miss you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

bethlehem coin purse project

my friends andrea and dawn partnered with mountain movers international and launched their ministry in bethlehem a couple of years ago. recently, they have learned of about 100 women from the Deheisheh refugee camp who are making coin purses as a primary or supplementary source of income. won't you consider giving these as gifts this christmas or throughout the year?

you can watch the whole video and learn more about the coin purse project by following this link:

for ordering info send an email to

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

this is our mini-christmas tree that has been with us since 2003! so far we've lived in places that only allow a small space for a tree so it's worked well. our house in greece doesn't have a fireplace so we had to hang stockings on the bookshelf this year. i told ken we'll retire this tree to the kids' room next year because i want to buy a nice BIG pre-lit (with white lights only) tree. too bad i won't have those after-christmas sales to peruse this year! if anyone finds a good deal, let me know and maybe i can catch it online!

isn't she the cutest reindeer you ever did see? echo is sporting her winter coat she got from aunt granny deb last christmas. she loves it!! just so you don't think i only care about our beagle girl, i must share with you a sad story. our kitty, morris, decided to run away on the last day we were on vacation to the states, about a month and a half ago. so far he hasn't come back. we sure hope he does though...he's a great cat (and that's coming from someone who used to not be a cat person.) we look for him several times a week but so far we haven't found him. :( morris, if you're reading this...COME HOME! we bought you all kinds of kitty treats while we were in the states and i'm sure you'll love them!! :)

this last picture is what cornbread dressing looks like when you only have YELLOW corn meal. my mom was kind enough to send us white corn meal last year but it didn't last us until this thanksgiving/christmas. those darn little nasty greek bugs got to it and we had to throw it out. i don't know though...the yellow corn bread is growing on me. it tastes the exact same...yummy!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

25 weeks and baby stroller engineer

thought you would enjoy a few photos of my belly at 25 weeks and ken putting together our chico cortina stroller.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

the "convenience" of peeled, ready-to-eat baby carrots & greece riots

sunday night...i woke up at about 11pm sick as a dog. i could not keep anything down and after about 12 hours of this, i threw up some blood so i called the doctor. he immediately made me go downtown to his hospital because when i mentioned "blood" he thought something was wrong with the baby. so we had a little translation issue. i explained i couldn't keep anything down and he said, "oh, ok. you scared me. i thought it was the baby. it's something you ate. i'll give you an IV and take some blood tests." apparently the blood i threw up was a ruptured vessel which was no big deal.

i thought for sure it was the stomach flu but i didn't have a fever or any other "sick" symptoms and doctor knows best. he was tests came back with bacteria present so i had food poisoning. the only thing i had eaten different than ken was some raw carrots from our nex (base food mart). it's about the only vegetable i buy at the nex. and why?? especially when i have all these wonderful organic, fresh veggies at markets in town?? because of the phenomenon of the "american convenience" peeled, ready-to-eat, baby carrots!! this incident has definitely put a stop to eating these little carrots, at least until i return to the states!! (having them shipped from wherever to here, makes me a little leary of how "fresh" and safe they are.) from now on, i'm going old school and getting the regular "bugs bunny" carrots from the fruit & veggie market. ones i have to peel and cut myself!!
oh...the torture!! :)

trivia question: when did peeled, ready-to-eat baby carrots enter the marketplace? because i certainly don't remember them as a kid!

the riots:
my doctor made me stay overnight in the hospital to make sure they flushed out all the bacteria and wouldn't let me leave until i was 100%. that night around 10:30 the riots that were started in athens over the police shooting a 15-year-old boy 2 days earlier, made their way to the streets of chania, right in front of the hospital!! i had a front row seat to it all. from my window i watched protestors break all the windows of a bank and throw desks and chairs into the streets. they also burned garbage in dumpsters and pushed them into the streets to block traffic. i admit i was a little scared but the doctor came to my room, as well as the nursing staff to assure me of my safety. the entire incident has turned very political and now americans are not allowed in downtown chania & athens for the time being. (as a point of reference, we live 15 mins from downtown chania so we feel completely safe.) and the riots are not ongoing in far it was only monday night.

more info if you want to read about the riots:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

6 month belly

here's the 6 month belly shot. once our camera starts working, i'll take another one in my usual spot under the texas flag facing sideways so you can actually see how big it's getting!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

6 month stats

this is the baby boy. what? you were expecting a picture showing he IS a boy? yeah, me too. but when i walked out of the dr's office, they handed me this. a pic of his head, belly, and arm. now he's too big to fit on the screen for a whole picture so i guess future pictures will just be in parts. hopefully next time i can get the lower half! :) as you can see, my doc doesn't have the fancy 3-D ultrasound machine. this is greece. :)

baby 6 month stats:
- 12 inches long
- 1.3 pounds
- kicks mommy during yoga and at 5 a.m. some mornings

mommy 6 month stats:
- weight gain to date: 5 kilos or 11 lbs (i like to measure in kilos!!)
- weird must have foods/drinks: caramels & country time lemonade
- attending yoga 3x/week and can still shave her legs!

daddy 6 month stats:
- successfully put together stroller!
- loves his job as nightly back rubber to mommy

i promise i'll post a belly pic as soon as my friend sends it to me. our camera is on the fritz so i had her take one yesterday...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

it's a BOY!

when we went to the doctor on oct 31, the doctor was only 90% sure it was a boy. now, he's 100%! so i guess i can start looking for all things blue, trucks with wheels, and anything that goes FAST! :)

we are so excited and blessed to see baby boy schwalbe growing and i'm even feeling a flutter/soft kick here and there. next monday i'll be 6 mos! sometimes i think 4 mos isn't enough time to get ready for his arrival...but then again, when are you ever ready??

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

no gain from back pain

whoooahhhhhhh....after 13 weeks i was celebrating. morning sickness had ceased!! i had energy at a level i forgot i ever had. no need for naps. i was feeling GREAT! then, enter 18 weeks. back pain galore. particularly on my right side. it didn't take me long to be introduced to sciatica nerve problems as well. i gave my husband a night job as a back rubber. while i was in the states i stocked up on a bunch of therma care heat pads and use one almost every night. and on really bad days, a little red wine goes a long way. i started going back to my yoga class 3 weeks ago and i think that's helping...a little.

yesterday my sweet hubby bought me a pregnancy massage and was on cloud 9. my friend joni told me to get a tennis ball and move up and down against the wall. does anyone else have any suggestions?? or is it like our friend carl put it, "it will go away...just give it another 4 months!!" YIKES!!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

20 it a boy or girl???

when we came back from the states, we had a dr's appt on halloween. the baby was kicking and moving like CRAZY but finally we got a shot that indicated it MIGHT be a BOY!!! the doctor is 90% sure. i get an ultrasound at each appointment so maybe we'll know for sure after my appointment nov. 21.

Friday, November 7, 2008

usna 10 year reunion

while we were in the states, we were able to go to annapolis for ken's 10-year reunion at the naval academy. we were also able to spend a few extra days neighborhood-shopping...hopefully we'll be buying a house near annapolis. we're waiting for ken's orders to his job at the navy yard in d.c. next june/july. we had a great time at the reunion seeing old friends and watching navy win vs. smu (albeit from the tent since the rain was coming down sideways).

all the pictures:

jason and dawn smith with jack danjczek

usna class of '98 outside bancroft hall

daryl, jen, dawn, jason, bill, cort and ken

bill and joni

john and ken

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

baby shower

when i was in the states, a few of my college friends flew in and had a shower for me in raleigh. actually it was a joint shower with my friend elizabeth who is 7 mos prego with a baby boy. it was such a fun weekend!! angie brought andy who is 18 mos and of course mr. jack was there who is now 6 mos. both boys are so stinkin' cute!!
baby s will be all set for the '09 football season

joni and jack

angie and andy

doug & candice's wedding

my brother douglas got married on oct 11, 2008 at a beautiful mountain resort, mount magazine, in the ozark mountains of arkansas. ken and i were honored to stand up for doug and candice. it was a beautiful cermony and everyone had a wonderful time.

click on this link to see all the pics:

Sunday, November 2, 2008


wow!!! texas tech is 9-0!!! get your guns up folks. we could be on the brink of a national title run!! now we just have to get past ok state and big deal - ha! :) watching the red raiders' last minute miracle catch next to my husband (a horns' fan), was especially sweet for me.

here's jack danjczek getting all fired up for the red raiders!!

we're back from the states now and trying to get back on souda time. give me a few days and i'll post some pictures from our trip and my 20 week baby bump photo.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

no tellin'

last week we had our 14 week appointment and were hoping to find out the sex but as you can see, we can't really tell.


it was our last appointment before we go home to the states so we'll have to wait and (hopefully!) find out when we return. my next appointment is oct 31.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

14 weeks

my friend heidi was kind enough to send me some maternity clothes this week. (thanks heidi!!) i was holding out to buy most of my maternity clothes when we go to the states in 2 weeks, but my friend katherine told me my shirts just weren't cutting it. i guess it's not very attractive when the waistband from my maternity pants is showing. :)

rain, rain, come and stay!

finally, we had our first rain this weekend. it hasn't rained here since the beginning of may!! it was very dry and dead-looking everywhere...we certainly needed it. summer is slowly slipping away, although beach and warm weather days will be back and will continue into october.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

we will NEVER forget

we will not forget the people who gave their lives that horrific day, september 11, 2001...

we will not forget those who are defending our very freedoms that define this country...

we will not let terror and those who wish to do us harm make us live in fear....

we will NEVER forget...

Monday, September 8, 2008

12 weeks

i haven't taken any pictures yet because I DIDN'T THINK I WAS SHOWING!!! wow, now that i look at this picture i can't believe my belly is this big at 12 weeks! are you sure i'm not having twins?

today the guy came to fix my computer and i told him i was pregnant. he said he thought i was and was going to ask when i was due but he was too afraid. after all, he could be wrong. i said, "really, you were going to ask? because i'm not really showing that much. it was just today my staff told me i 'popped out' over the weekend." boy was i wrong. now looking at this picture i DO have a baby bump...and i couldn't be prouder! :)
candice, i hope my bridesmaid dress fits in 5 weeks!! (for those who don't know, candice is my soon-t0-be sister-in-law. doug and candice are getting married oct. 11 and ken and i are going to be standing up for them!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

4 years...

today, 4 years ago, i married my best friend, my soul mate, and the love of my life.
happy anniversary sweetheart. what a blessing God gave me in you!!

i love you with all my heart...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

a flutter...

yesterday i felt a flutter in my stomach...i thought, "this is it...the first time i'm feeling the baby!!"

just before i was about to shed tears of joy, i suddenly had a "pressure" feeling.

followed by a "backfire", aka as a dart (except replace the 'd' with an 'f') wasn't a flutter at was just GAS!!!!!!!!!

ahhh...the joys of pregnancy... :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

claussen pickles

so about a month before i got pregnant the NEXmart (our 7-11 like grocery store on base) started carrying claussen pickles. hot diggity dog...this made my year!! you see, i love love love these pickles. dill pickles are ok and will get me by in a pinch but i love the salt and vinegar taste of claussen pickles. so i ate these pickles to my heart's content going through a jar in 2, maybe 3 days tops! you see, i had to make up for not having them in over a year and a half!!

fast forward to july; enter pregnancy! :) i would eat a claussen as a snack or with my lunch and bam! i would get sick. i blamed it on the "evening" sickness (after all the baby is on texas time which is why i don't have morning sickness!) i kept on eating my claussen pickles, unbeknownst to me that baby REALLY didn't like them. i would get sick and think, oh well, this is happens. and then one day i had a grilled cheese, tomato soup, and you guessed it - a claussen pickle. not too long after eating i got sick but only the pickle came up. i thought to myself...maybe it's the pickle?? oh, golly, NOOOOOO....not the claussen pickles!!!!!

it's been 2 weeks with no claussens, and you guessed episodes of "evening" sickness. the jar is still sitting in the fridge, teasing and haunting me. this weekend, i thought...what if i just try it one more time (because 10+ times probably isn't a good definitive test!). but i didn't cave in because i was feeling good all weekend and those who are pregnant or have been know, if you're feeling good, you don't want to mess with that.

so baby doesn't like these pickles and i don't know why. he/she is sure missing out! so i add yet one more thing to the "DO NOT EAT" list. but you can bet, the moment i deliver, hubby will be summoned to fetch me a jar of claussen pickles!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

emau egkyos !!

i'm sure you enjoyed watching the kickoff of college football season as much as we did. it was a great weekend for the schwalbe household...all three of our teams, TEXAS TECH, NAVY & TEXAS won!! this year, rather than debate which school is better, we started a new debate: which school will our first-born attend????

that's right -- we have a future red raider, longhorn or midshipmen on the way!! i'm 11 weeks along and due on march 30. ken got extended 6 months until june 2009, so the baby will have the unique experience of being born here in greece. i really like my doctor and the facility out in town where i will have the baby.

we certainly appreciate your prayers for the baby, the birth, and us, as we figure out how to become parents. we will share pictures of the growing baby bump and reveal the baby's sex on our blog so check back occasionally.

btw, 'emau egkyos' means 'i'm pregnant!' below is a picture of the baby at 10 weeks (the head is on the right.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

greek name day and traditional dancing

this past weekend was our landlord, mironas' name day (patron saint he's named after. this celebration is bigger than your actual birthday here in greece.) to celebrate he threw a dinner party complete with traditional greek dancing. i thought you would enjoy a few videos.

the end came for ken and i around midnight when everyone was getting thrown into the pool. luckily we escaped before anyone got to us. not so lucky for this lady...

Thursday, July 31, 2008


i'm pretty pumped that ken and i will be spending our 4th anniversary in ireland. we're going to spend like 5 seconds in dublin and explore the countryside for 4.5 days. anyone been? do you have any suggestions of must-see places? shoot me an email or leave a comment...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

facebook phenomenon

i've received a few email requests from friends to join facebook. and then i hit delete (sorry). but finally, i decided to take the plunge. i created a profile today and even put a pretty little picture in my profile. and so far, i have to say i like it. i'm not a big fan of myspace because 1) people's pages take FOREVER to load here on my slow greek dsl and 2) random (scary) people request me as a friend. which is why i pretty much stopped doing myspace.

but i think this facebook thing may have potential. it's basic. you don't have all the fru fru of designing your page with everything under the sun. i only have 3 friends so far so come on...if you're on facebook accept me. :) i'll see how this thing goes...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

missing these girls...

so this is a shot we took outside a coffee shop in suburban boston back in fall 2002. we all met up in boston and spent time in the city and martha's vineyard to work on our screenplay. because see, we were all going to become famous screenwriters and actresses with our unique and funny script. we decided to record ourselves all weekend. i still have those tapes and need to transcribe them!!

with this group you laugh until your belly hurts with tears streaming down your face. these are the jewels of what friends are supposed to be...and i'm lucky enough to call them my best friends...i miss you all dearly...
just for fun, i dug up some old pictures of these fun girls...

getting some grub during angie's wedding weekend

who wears a pink housecoat while running the nyc marathon?? angie does!

after the marathon

another trip to martha's vineyard sitting at the black dog cafe

first time meeting ken - new year's eve in nyc 2002

the girls at my wedding