29 April 2009

ATHENS










We took a trip to Athens so Nik could become a United States Citizen and order his passport. We took the early train from Kalampaka, it leaves at 6:30 and it is a 5 hour trip to Athens. We were lucky to get the seats we had because the train was full and we had to buy first class tickets at 55euros for one way. Nik made a friend of the boy in the seat in front of us, he was very excited about his first train ride and was walking all over the place and entertaining the other passengers. Its a good thing that Nik is so cute because the passengers seemed more forgiving when he became a little loud and started to cry because he was so tired. He finally fell asleep and slept for about 30 minutes until we arrived in Athens. Greeks also really love children so wherever we went we were given preferential treatment.

The train drops you off right in front of a metro station so we got onto the subway and headed for the Acropolis. Even though Nik was tired we thought it would be a good idea to hit up this historical Greek site before heading up to Arthurs uncles house out "in the suburbs of Athens". Here's a picture of Nik and I riding the escalator, he was treated to so many first today because this was also his first Metro ride and his first bus ride. Athens has many stray dogs and lots of pigeons so he spent many lots of time chasing them and being very excited about so many animals. All of these great shots of the Acropolis and Parthenon were taken by Arthur. We only walked around it and did not go inside. We walked to Monastraki and had a Gyro and Fries and then took another metro and bus to Arthur's Uncle were Nik immediately felt at home and treated their apartment like he was at home. Please note: he likes moving furniture around and unplugging devices and being in charge of the remote. And there were plenty of remotes considering that the apartment had four rooms and four TVs. He also fell in love with his Cousin Fotini, I so wish she could move up here she was a great baby sitter. He is pictured below with her. Since Niks schedule was so out of whack and he was in a new environment he got very cranky and was acting like a very naughty boy, note to self: traveling to the States might be harder than I think.

The next day we got on the bus (last photo) to go to the American Embassy. No photos because last time we where there Arthur almost got tackled by Embassy security for taking a photo. Have I mentioned how Nik loves other kids, especially little girls, he likes to grab them and if I would let him I am sure he would be giving them kisses. HE LOVES GIRLS. and there were little girls at the embassy, boy is it embarrassing when your child runs head long for another child and embraces them.
The act of getting Niks passport was really easy, of course they had changed the form since I had copied it, so I had to redo the form. But we just gave them all of the information we had, his birth certificate, our marriage certificate, my current and old passports, Arthur's passport, my school records showing that I had lived in the United States and several other documents. 150 dollars and several questions later, they had Arthur and I hold up our right hand and solemnly swear that Nik was our son and they gave us his United States Birth Certificate. He is now officially half Greek and half American.

We took the metro to Syntagma Square for a quick bit to eat at McDonalds, fast and easy. Nik likes the chicken nuggets and strawberry milkshakes. We then headed for the train station to go back home. Nik chased some pigeons around and we got on the train at 3:30pm and got home at 8:30. It's good to be home.

19 April 2009

Easter








Greek Orthodox Easter was celebrated today, one week after Catholicism. We did the traditional roasting of lamb along with the rest of the town. The smoke was so thick in the air that it almost looked foggy outside but after two o'clock and with most of the fires put out the sky has cleared. We had our lamb on the fire and our neighbors goat, Katerina also made cucaretsi, basically all of the insides of the lamb on a skewer. If you come on Easter of Christmas you can try this Greek delicacy.
Arthur and I then tried to play backgammon but baby also wanted to play so we were delegated to watching him roll the dice and spread the chips around.
After Nik played outside with the cat and petted her with cookies, such a sweet boy, of course then he tried to eat the said cookies. We listened to firecrackers and gun shots and watched cars go by. Nik also took several rides with his dad on the Vespa, he will soon be driving it by himself. He went to the playground several times, read the blog below.

The Playground

Nik demands to be taken to the playground constantly and if you don't do as he wants he will scream his little pretty head off. Here he is on the swing, then on the thing that goes around, you can see KokaRoka behind us this is how close it is to home.
There he goes again, running for the playground.
This time he decided to play with the hose.
video

12 April 2009

The Return

Here we are at the hospital and Nik is walking down the corridor viewing the pictures on the wall. He especially likes the animal scenes of tigers, monkeys and birds.
Two days after surgery and he is sitting up and playing with some wooden blocks that some frequent German tourist of KokaRoka brought for Nik.
Perfectly happy being wheeled about just a few days after surgery.
Last view of the hospital, goodbye.

We came home on Friday, just one week after the final surgery and one of the first things Nik did when he came home was dance on the bed. We now get to wear two piece outfits, pajamas (above) and jeans and a t-shirt (below). The staples will be removed on Monday at the local hospital, the only thing we are dealing with now is a very bad diaper rash.


















08 April 2009

Hospital Stay

Everything is going great and Nik is a true strong trooper, nicknamed Popeye or Superman. Today the doctors even have allowed him to start eating, milk, yogurt, cream or soup. I gave him milk right away and he downed 12 ounces like a starving man and then filled two diapers up with #2's just as quickly. I really kind of miss the colostomy bag and am very glad that I got away with 14 months of none poopy diapers, pewyew!
The surgery was on Friday and lasted 2 hours, he was on morphine the rest of the day and the early morning of Saturday, by Saturday afternoon he was standing up on his own even though we kept trying to keep him down (impossible). By Sunday he was pooping and walking the corriders. On Monday they allowed him to drink tea and took out the nose hose ( I have no idea what it is called). Tuesday he became very cranky because he was hungry and did not sleep well at all, so today (Wednesday) we are very happy to report that he has been allowed to eat. He is also very happy and when he had his yogurt he by-passed using a spoon and just shoved the yogurt cup into his mouth and swollowed it down.

This visit has been very interesting because we have been able to compare Nik's restorative spirit against another kid who had the same kind of surgery on the same day. This kid is 30 months old (twice Niks age) and has the ability to talk and communicate what is wrong (the doctors and nurses don't seem to like this so much) thank goodness Nik can't talk yet and only screams his unknown discomfort. This kid only just sat up on his own yesterday, 3 days after Nik and he still has not pooped, to the embarrassment of his parents since they saw how many dirty diapers Nik did in one day TEN.
The doctors did tell us it was rare that he went to the bathroom 2 days after surgery and that normally it happened 5 days after, but like we said Nik is a super star and we may even go home earlier than expected especially since they had informed us that normally they do not allow the kids to eat for 8 days after the first poop, so the organs can heal, but we have already started eating. So the proposed date for going home is Monday or Tuesday, but i hope it will be before that. This weekend will be busy at KokaRoka (Catholic Easter) and Arthur will probably have to leave me so he can help his mom. But keep your prayers that we will be home for the weekend.
Pictures to follow.