Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What are you doing this weekend?

Is it too soon to be talking about the weekend already? It's never too soon to start planning, right?

It just so happens that this is going to be one seriously busy weekend for me, and I'm very much looking forward to it!

Friday night, my mom, local artist Katerina Mertikas, is having an art show at Koyman Gallery. If you are an art lover, please do come by the show!

I also just found out through Andrea that on Friday night, you can participate in a free outdoor star party at the science and tech museum! There will be a lot of telescopes for you to use and the Observatory will be open. Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't rain! Christos is going to be so very happy, since he is currently obsessed with the Universe, the stars, the moon, and all the planets. The other day he asked for a telescope! (Did you know it was the International Year of Astronomy? I didn't know this, but there are even more 'star-worthy' events going on at the Museum, as well!) I know we'll be there for some of the fun!

Saturday during the day, I'm hoping if it is nice enough out, to take the kids for a nice walk downtown.

Saturday night, I have to go back in time - and dress up in 80's gear for a big surprise birthday party. I will make sure to post my pictures! I still have not found an 80's outfit to wear, but I know my hair will be teased, the hot pink lipstick will make an appearance, along with the blue eyeshadow! I'm thinking I could go as Jem? I don't know, I'm having a hard time figuring out what to wear... do any of you have any great costume ideas? I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, I am looking forward to the baptism of one very cute baby boy! His parents are great friends of ours, and his Godparents are also my baby boy's Godparents as well.

Heaven... through the eyes of a 3 and a half year old!

No words needed. Well, okay, some words needed. All you have to know is this is the first thing my little boy saw outside of his house this morning. And did you happen to know that one of his favourite trucks of all just happens to be a street sweeper? Oh yes, heaven.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Why do weekends go by so quickly?

Hope you all had a great weekend, despite the rain on Sunday - wasn't Saturday just a gorgeous day, though?

We spent most if it outside - enjoying the beautiful spring day! And Dimitry got his first haircut, too - I took him to Melonhead, the children's salon, in Place D'Orleans. He was a bit nerveous, but did not cry at all! The bubbles as a distraction and the fact that he eventually just sat in my lap helped keep him relaxed! I think his hair is a bit too short, though - but I know it'll grow soon! ;)

The boys just continue to amaze me everyday - each one is at such a precious age, and I cannot get enough of them... as tiring as it on some days, it's just such a blessing, you know?

We also got together with all our friends on Saturday night to celebrate hubby's birthday - we had a great night with great food - isn't Baton Rouge just the yummiest?

I know I've mentioned Stellan to you before - today I wanted to talk about his name gallery - click here to see it!

Basically, this name gallery started when McKMama was pregnant with Stellan and when he was first diagnosed with SVT - Doctors didn't think he would survive, (but he was born totally heart healthy) so, long story short, people started taking pictures of his name in very unique and beautiful ways, from around the world.

The picture of a group of woman in the Ivory Coast holding up a sign with his name was amazing - and most recently, someone sent a picture in with Stellan's name in the sand in Senegal, West Africa... pretty neat, huh? Just yesterday, McKMama said it would be neat to see his name at the Eiffel Tower - and what do you know, a few hours later a picture with Stellan's name is in Paris!

The pictures are quite amazing, so you should check it out and if you're a photographer, or just love taking pictures, you should also join in and send a picture to his name gallery. Just something nice to do for this family, who are going through such a hard time right now with their baby. Although I don't know this family personally, McKMama and I have emailed a few times, and through her blog, I really do feel like I know her - and as a mother - especially as a mother who has had her child in the hospital for an extended amount of time - I know all too well the worry that comes with it. I hope Stellan gets better, and I hope the Doctors find some way to stop his heart from beating so fast.

Did you all have a nice weekend? How was the weather where you live? I'm hoping the rain here in Ottawa goes away soon - I'm looking forward to seeing the sun again soon!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The weekend is here!

I've had a lovely Friday so far - took the morning off, and went shopping with baby boy for a birthday cake for hubby - it's his birthday today!

I asked the lady to write:

'Happy Birthday, Daddy' on the cake, but when she was done, I saw that she had written:

'Happy Birthday, Dady' instead... yeah... anyway, they fixed it!

Then came home and played with Christos during Dimitry's nap and then took them for a walk and now I am going to work.

Tomorrow night - celebrating with all our wonderful friends at one of our favourite restaurants in Ottawa.

Also, please continue to keep Stellan in your thoughts and prayers. Things are just not looking that good for him right now... he's in my prayers.

I hope you all enjoy the weekend - today has just been a fabulous spring day!

UPDATE******** MckMama's latest blog update sounded much more positive about Stellan; I'm still praying for them and I'm hoping things get better for little Stellan soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Picture fun!

Just for fun, some pictures!

My mini-chef, making his favourite, a Greek salad. This is usually his night-time snack! My little Greek boy!


Exploring the world of colours...


Things got really, really messy. But they had so much fun!


Christos's crystal store. He always buys news gems or stones from the gift shop at the Museum of Nature.


The two brothers actually doing something quietly together!


Having fun at Cosmic Adventures...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My little genius...

Last night, my 3 and a half year old was helping his daddy organize the basement.

As he was sweeping, he said to me that he now wants to be a 'Destruction worker' instead of a 'construction worker' because he loves to destroy things. Well, I just thought that was totally genius of him! He made up a word! And then I realized that 'destruction' is already a word that exists.

Man, I must be losing brain cells with this lack of sleep! (And yes, my children HAVE been going to bed by 9 lately, but I still stay up way past midnight - I'll just never learn, will I?)

Last night, the boys did some finger painting. It was Dimitry's first time, and he was loving it! They were both so cute, I had to take some pictures, which I'll post here soon.

Oh, also? I found my bracelet! Well, actually, my son found my bracelet behind some frames in our kitchen. So hoorah! Now I can save my money for something more practical. Like a new charm for my bracelet, perhaps? ;)

Also, please continue to pray for Stellan.

Thanks everyone.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thoughts and prayers needed...

I stumbled upon this great blog not too long ago. This mother has 4 children, and she's a wonderful blogger - each post has an average of like, 500 comments - she's also a fantastic photographer - check our her blog, you'll see...

Anyway, right now her baby is in the hospital with heart problems. Things are pretty bad at the moment. You can read her story on her blog. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers tonight.

Thanks.

www.mycharmingkids.net

Is it spring yet? and other random thoughts...

So, the first official day of Spring was last Friday. Hoorah for that, right? Except why is it minus 20 degrees celsius today? What is up with this weather?

If you're a mom, then you will know how hard it is to get a coat, shoes, hat and scarf on your child(ren). Dressing my one year old who will not sit still for anything and does the back arch thing while I'm trying to dress him everyday is really hard! I think we all deserve some sort of medal for surviving this ordeal on a daily basis! And diaper changing a one year old is also next to impossible! It was so easy when they're younger, huh?

My one year is is currently fascinated with the garage opener. He loves watching the garage open and close and open and close and open and close all day long... and he loves phones. He walks around saying 'ello? ello?' and holds the phone up to his ear. It's so darn cute!

Spiderman is my 3 and a half year old's new enemy. We went to a birthday party yesterday and Spiderman made a surprise appearance - my poor little guy started to cry! I used to hate clowns when I was a little girl... I guess it is not that uncommon for him to have been scared, but still, I felt bad.

I have started dieting yet again. Story of my life, let me tell you. Again, I'm cutting out the carbs - not fruits, though - I need something sweet! It's just so close to summer, and in order for me to look half decent in a bikini I need to jump start this diet! (I had lost 15 pounds before our trip to Bahamas, but the food at the Atlantis was too good to give up and I gained 5 pounds in 5 days... and then some upon our return!)

My children have both been going to bed before 9 p.m. lately. It's so wonderful! My 3year old was usually going to bed at midnight because of his late afternoon naps, but he has dropped those, thankfully. This new bedtime means he wakes up more refreshed and happy in the morning, and it also means hubby and I get some time to ourselves, I get to watch my shows, and read before going to bed.

I have not taken Christos to IMAX yet - and I think he will love this one on the space station, since he is fascinated with space, the solar system, and the Universe.

Any random thoughts you care to share with me?

Return to ME, Tiffany...



Do you remember that website from a few year's ago, called Save Karyn? I was fascinated by this smart woman! She was 20,000 dollars debt she made this website asking for people to send her money to help her pay off her debt. Well, word got out and her website was a huge hit, because she made A LOT more then 20,000 dollars! And of course because of her genius idea, she was on all the talk shows, got a book deal and I believe her story is now being turned into a movie. So, let's just say she's clearly not in debt anymore!

I recently lost my favourite Tiffany & Co. bracelet - the Return the Tiffany one that I have had for years. For my birthday last year, hubby bought me the letter C and the letter D (the initial's of our children) charms from Tiffany to go on my bracelet. I loved them so much! One day, in Chapters, I lost my letter D charm. I was so sad - and was determined to buy another one the next day. But, hubby went to the book store that night and found my letter D charm. I was so happy. A few months ago, again, in Chapters, I lost my letter D charm for the second time. The next day, I bought a new one and then I crazy glued the charms so they wouldn't fall off again.

Okay, so in the last 2 weeks, I have not been able to find my bracelet. And it's driving me insane! I have looked EVERYWHERE - in my house, my car, at work, at my parent's house, etc. It's just... gone. I think my little Dimitry might have thrown it in the garbage. Or ate it. Because really, it's just gone.

So now I have to spend 210 dollars on this bracelet again. (By the way the price has gone down!) Along with 135 dollars for each of the charm letters. (Price reduction again - they used to be 160 each!) A big, huge waste of money that I just don't have!

So I wonder if I started a website called "Help Loukia get back her Tiffany bracelet" or "Help Loukia get her sanity back", would it be a success? I mean, I'd only be asking for 1 dollar from each person until I got my bracelet and charms back... not bad, right? Yeah... whatever... I know it's a horrible idea and it would never work. Oh well... I'm giving it another week and if my bracelet doesn't turn up, off to Tiffany I go!

Okay so of course now that I had to re-visit their webpage, it just made me want to go shopping, like right now! And now I have to have this charm, too... maybe for my birthday? I love it! This was the necklace my little boys got me for Christmas. I love it so much. Tiffany is just so lovely. You can't go wrong, can you? I mean, that blue box and white ribbon is seriously just perfect!

Don't you just LOVE Tiffany & Co., too? If I had a girl, I'd be in huge trouble!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Check it out!

This is Google today! How very cute, huh? I was blown away by the fact that The Very Hungry Caterpillar still sells one copy every 30 seconds in the world and has sold over 29 million copies.

Of course my son loves this book! And he also loves The Very Busy Spider and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Oh, and by the way?

Was that not just one of the best episode's of Grey's Anatomy ever?

Seriously... wow!

I loved the scene between Christina and Izzie outside. When Christina told her she wanted her to fight and Izzie said thank you - so emotional.

And of course all of them taking care of Izzie, and getting her into a bed and into a gown - so emotional.

And George, running down the hallway to get to Izzie - so so emotional.

And of course, Derek finding out the news. Of course that will bring him back and I wonder if he will, in fact, save Izzie?

What do you think?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Q's and A's with a 3 year old!

While my 3 and a half year old was taking a bath last night, I decided to ask him some questions so I could write them down in my journal to him. Even though I pretty much knew all the answers ahead of time, it was fun, and he was a willing participant!

What's your favourite colour? Turquise

What's the opposite of Black? White

What does mommy do all day? Work

What does Dimitry do all day? He just sits there... and poos on the floor. (Yes, this did happen last night, as he went diaper-less for 30 seconds in our family room!)

What's your favourite song? No One, The Garbage Truck Song, and Boom De-Ada. (Boom De-Ada from that great Discovery Channel commercial - don't you love it?)

Who sings No One? Aleeesia Keys.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A construction worker.

What kind of truck do you want to drive? A grabber, a Bulldozer, a front-end loader and a snow plow. Not boring trucks. Dump trucks - that's the most boring truck.

What do you really like? Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Mars.

Who is your favourite person on Earth? Daddy.

What do you like to collect? Crystals.

What's your favourite food? Kraft Dinner with Cream Cheese. (He means his grandmother's homemade macaroni and cheese).

What's your favourite drink? Water.

Who is your best friend? Mommy and Daddy. (Yay! I'm mentioned!)

What do you like to watch on TV? Mighty Machines.

Where have gone on vacation? Florida and Bahamas.

Do you like airplanes? No... they are boring, tiny, yucky.

Do you like going to playgroup? (No answer - he just stuck out his tongue).

Do you like gardening? Yes, the most!

What's your favourite part of the day? Morning.

Sigh... love him!

Pictures!

Just for fun... wow, 2 posts in one day means I am really procrastinating!






Add this to the long list of worry...

By now you've all heard the tragic news about Natasha Richardson. After taking a fall while skiing in Mont Tremblant, she passed away from a traumatic head injury. The scary part of this story is that she was fine after the accident. Talking, laughing, refusing medical help. Only an hour later, she started complaining about head pain.

Reading this article on CNN.com makes me even more worried, since as a mother to two young children, I have seen them fall and hit their heads quite a few times. I suffer from Hypochondria - capital H. So last night, when my 1 year old banged his head on the side of our door frame, I was, needless to say worried. Oh, did he ever cry! But after a minute, he was fine. Still, I worried...

At 6 months old, he fell off my mom's couch and we rushed him to the emergency room, to make sure everything was okay. Again, he was fine.

But still... kids take spills and kids will get hurt, no matter how watchful and careful you are. So really, the article above has made me feel a whole lot worse, and my worry has grown. Like I don't have enough to worry about!

I think that helmets should be mandatory on ski hills. I used to ski when I was younger, but have no real desire for it anymore. My oldest son, who is 3 and a half, has not gone skiing yet, and I also don't have any desire to get him on the slopes any time soon. I'd be way too worried of him falling! Of course, I can't live my life like this, and I can't prevent him from doing activites that are normal, right? So I guess I have to remember that stories like that are not common. But still... I worry.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thank You - you're a wonderful blogger!

Today I want to talk about how much enjoyment I get from reading blogs. My favourite blogs are obviously about parenting. I love how one simple story can bring tears to your eyes and how when you read a certain story you're nodding and smiling in agreement the whole time; other times, you feel thankful that you're not alone in certain experiences as you realize that other young children also throw temper tantrums in inappropriate places!

One of my favourite blogs, www.girlsgonechild.blogspot.com, is written by one hell of a great writer, and no wonder her blog is so popular. She is the coolest! Her post about having a daughter brought tears to my eyes; I promise it will do the same to you. I don't even have a daughter; I'm blessed with two amazing boys, but still - this post pulled on my heartstrings.

My new favourite blog that I am loving is www.mycharmingkids.net - and as soon as you go to this blog, you'll know why. This mom has 4 children all under the age of 5. And she is the best photographer ever! I am completely in awe of her pictures and I need to get my hands on her camera! (Although even I owned this camera, I'm sure my pictures would not be as good as hers - she is really, really talented!) Seriously, all her pictures look like they are out of a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue. Also, her stories are inspirational. Makes you somewhat feel stronger as a parent when you read certain stories, like the one where her little girl had a tantrum in Target. So true, and I can totally relate! Another post, about the joy of parenting, made me smile, because there is no greater joy, is there? As hard as it can be sometimes - when you're at the end of your rope - just look at the bigger picture and realize how blessed you are to have children. There is nothing more amazing or rewarding or fulfilling! She also offers great ideas to pass the time indoors with the kids, on rainy or cold days.

Other blogs I love to read on a daily basis are www.lifeisgoodatthebeach.ca - especially for creative ideas in the kitchen. Seriously - check out this cake! I can barely put icing on my cupcakes without it turning into a disaster!

I also love www.acraftymomsblog.blogspot.com for her stories, like the one about throwing an inexpensive yet super great birthday party! And again, as a mom, when a child is sick, I can relate - to the worry that is almost impossible to express with words. But as a mom who had a child hospitalized 3 times - and even requiring surgery for pneumonia - I can relate to these stories especially. And I think it is nice to have this way to share stories and offer words of comfort and support.

And, well, I think we can all relate to days like this! (From yet another awesome blog, www.catwomantexas.blogspot.com) Amazing how we function, huh? Ahh... the life of a mom!

And of course, posts about 'what you can do with your kids' are always great, aren't they? This is just one of many posts I love from this great blog, www.quietfish.com/notebook.

Anyway... thank you to all the wonderful bloggers out there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You know you're a mom when...

I wrote this some time ago. I have made some edits in italics!

You know you're a mom when...

- the most exciting email you get in a day is the one from your mom telling you that your baby pooed! Yay!
- even when your baby is no longer in the room, the TV is still on Treehouse.
- you sing really loud and act really silly in public i.e. Loblaws, Chapters, Starbucks because it makes your baby laugh.
- you no longer go to the movies every week.
- you don't really care that you don't go to the movies anymore.
- your old jeans still don't fit you... 18 months later. (Try 3 and a half years and 2 babies later!)
- you only talk about your children. (Some things never change!)
- every 'non-parent' issue seems boring and like, soooo not an issue anymore!
- you wonder why you're working and not at home with you child (until you remember how expensive diapers and formula are).
- your magazine subsriptions are no longer to US Weekly and Glamour, but to Parents and Today's Parent.
- you don't mind sticking a bibila (Greek for soother/binky) in your mouth after it falls on the floor before giving it back to your child.
- you understand why parents talk in weeks and months.
- you have counted ounces more then anything you've ever counted before.
- your heart wants to explode with love.
- you understand why co-sleeping rocks.
- You spend all day thinking about your children.
- You feel guilty being at work.
- You feel guilty that your kids are not eating enough veggies.


Feel free to add your own to the list...

Re-posting an old post!

Is this allowed? To re-post an old post because you don't have anything else you want to blog about? I posted this a while back, after finding it on someone else's blog... it's kind of fun!

Type in your name and you'll get a description of who are. Is it accurate... or not? You be the judge!

http://www.bostonuk.com/index.cfm?id=572

Loukia

With your charismatic personality and persuasive powers you naturally attract all the good things in life which you could want. Kind, generous and sincere you are a good friend and partner with strong attachments to home and family. You are ambitious and have sound business acumen, this together with a natural love of life ensures that you enjoy success financially and in your relationships.

Monday, March 16, 2009

In other news...

So, did you watch Desperate Housewives last night? Pretty boring episode, but I guess it is the calm before the storm - apparently next week is Edie's last time on the show - I'm sad to see her go, she was always fun to watch on Wisteria Lane.

So... how do you think she is going to make her big exit? Will her crazed husband kill her? Or will she be in some sort of an accident? Will Mike be okay? Will he get back together with Susan already? Is it just me, or are he and Katherine just so wrong for eachother?

Also... what was with Tom Green on Celebrity Apprentice last night? I don't normally watch this show (talk about boring - getting some so-called celebrities to do, basically, nothing - like bake cupcakes and sell wedding dresses and all they do is place a few calls to their rich friends) but yesterday Tom was team leader and he did terrible! Knowing his history as a prankster, I am assuming he did this on purpose. He was probably bored to pieces of this show and wanted out quickly... And I was rooting for him, since he is a local Ottawa boy! Are you watching this show this season?

And did anyone watch Grey's Anatomy? It was a good episode. We finally know what is wrong with Izzie, although I have a hard time believing it. I don't want her to leave the show! Will she be miraculously cured? How will Alex handle the news? When will Derek snap out of it?

Beautiful weather = beautiful weekend!

I am happy to say that FINALLY... spring is here! Yes, I know it is not officially spring until next week, but we had some excellent weather in the nation's capital this weekend!

The kids loved playing outside. They couldn't get enough! Christos even took off his jacket at one point, because he got too hot playing! I love it... spring makes everyone happy. He saw a bird flying, and he said: "Mommy, look, my friend from Bahamas is here visiting me!" We went to the Aviation Museum this weekend. Christos had a great time. He loves planes and he got to sit in a couple of planes with an instructor who explained to him how everything worked. He was paying attention to everything. I think he should skip kindergarten and go straight to grade 4! I'm seriously thinking he'll be bored otherwise!

I can't believe how independent he is becoming. Yesterday, he went to the bathroom all by himself, and washed his hands by himself, too. Without even telling me he had to go the bathroom, he went. I was amazed - couldn't believe it! At the same time - wow - sadness at how fast he is growing up. I'm so proud of him.

And Dimitry, too - wow! He says so many words, and he loves doing everything his brother does. He, just like his brother, gets more enjoyment out of 'real' household items, as opposed to toys. The phones, TV remote, doorbell, garage opener - all fascinating to him! He will be 14 months old soon. I wonder how time flies so quickly... I enjoy my boys immensely. They give me so much joy and make me laugh all day long.

My mom is having an art show in Ottawa in a couple of weeks, at Koyman Galleries. I'd love to invite you all to come to the opening and enjoy the beautiful art! Her paintings fill the walls in my home and I love her work! I'm not just saying that because I am her daughter... ;)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Love of Reading...

This was going to be a post about my favourite books and what I'm currently reading, but I decided to turn it into a post about my son's favourite books! I'm glad my 3 year old loves reading as much as he does. I love buying him books and especially reading to him at night. He always asks for 5 books, and I always comply. I just cannot say no! (That's another post altogether - my inability to say no to him, no matter what!) Last time I counted, he had well over 200 books in his bookcase. I'm thinking this can't be a bad thing, as he also has a younger brother who will hopefully love to read as much as he does! And of course, I will be donating some of the books when they outgrow them.

Some of his favourites are the Richard Scarry books; the Busytown stories. We talk about things around town, different jobs, how paper is made, what a plumber does, etc. They're great books and a great way to teach kids!

We are also loving Jon Scieszka's Trucktown books - Melvin Might and Smash! Crash!



As well, Officer Buckle and Gloria is a favourite book of my son's. I have to agree! It teaches you thinks like, 'never stand on a swivel chair', 'always wear a helmet', etc.




I also like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books - very funny and cute and age appropriate, I think! He loves these books, too.



Alexander and the Terriblie, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is also a fun read that my son enjoys. I could go on and on... we loved Snow Day, too. Just one of those cozy books to read on a winter night...



My son is currently fascinated by the universe - he already knows all his planets in order, and he loves reading books about floods, volcano's, the earth and how things work. So of course, Smart-opedia Junior is a must have and his favourite book right now. He got it for Christmas and he even made sure we packed it with us on our trip to Bahamas! You learn about, well, everything in this cute book. I highly suggest buying it for your toddler! They sell it at Chapters, but I also saw it at Costco, too! (I think it was 14 dollars, such a great price!)

Along with his love for the solar system, he likes gems and crystals, and everytime we go to the Museum of Nature, we have to buy a few more rocks and gems to add to his collection. So we have a couple books on gems and crystals, too.

I want to know what are your children's favourite books? Any books you suggest that I haven't mentioned that you think my son will love? I'd love to hear what your kids are reading!

This is from CNN.com today - an article about the importance of reading to our children! And of course, the article reminded me of how much my son also loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar - who doesn't love this book?

As well, Dr. Suess books are very popular with my son. He loves Fred and Ted Like To Fly and Fred and Ted Go Camping. These books were written by the son of P.D. Eastman, who wrote the original Fred and Ted book and also Are You My Mother? He also loves Go, Dog, Go! And One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish! Of course!

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm sharing the love!

Let me know if you want me to email you a coupon for 30% off GAP, Banana Republic and OLD NAVY.

I will gladly pass along this coupon to you... it's valid from March 12th to 15th, so let me know if you're planning on doing any spring shopping!

Changes to Ottawa's downtown core



I love working downtown. I would have a hard time accepting a new job at any other location in the city - I love the hustle and bustle of the downtown (even though it's still relatively tame compared to like, D.C. or Toronto) but hey - I'll take what I can! Since I am frequent visitor (and spender!) at Ottawa's Rideau Centre, I am very familiar with the intersection of Sussex Drive and Rideau Street. (And I work within walking distance of that intersection, too.)

It is one of the city's busiest intersections and it's true that the area needs a re-vamp. I was pleasantly surprised to read this morning that plans are now in the works to transform the intersection into a public square where a people can walk through or sit down and enjoy the view. (Currently there is a concrete underpass you have to walk under to get through to the other side, and it's pretty ugly and a lot of homeless people hang out there - not somewhere I am fond of walking through with my kids).

"Recognizing that traffic must be accommodated, the NCC looked for inspiration to such busy places as Times Square in New York, and Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square in London." Hey - I love Times Square and Trafalgar Square, so this can only be a move in the right direction for Ottawa, I think!

From the Ottawa Citizen: "The vision ... is to reclaim this historic space as an urban experience and transform it into a national icon," says a study commissioned by the NCC. The site "will convey a significant capital to the world and be representative of Canadian values, ideas and the nation's role on the world stage." The intersection is a key point on Confederation Boulevard. Dignitaries travelling from the airport to the prime minister's residence or Rideau Hall pass through.

The Congress Centre is also under renovation, so the entire area is going to be so nice when it's all done. And this is a great thing for tourists. If you don't live in Ottawa, it is a pretty hard area to navigate through, especially on feet. Sidewalks will be widened, more trees will be planted, and there is talk of a new fountain, too. I love fountains!

The only down side of this story is that this all could take up to five years to be completed. That's a really long time! I'm not too fond of the proposed monument as shown in the picture. I think a huge fountain would be so much more appealing.


Here are the 3 possibilities for redeveloping Sussex and Rideau: (From The Ottawa Citizen)

Scenario One

Creates a public space adjacent to the east façade of the Government Conference Centre. The underpass and MacKenzie Avenue ramp extension is removed and all pedestrian circulation is at grade.

A small island at the intersection of Colonel By and Rideau serves as a refuge for pedestrians crossing the street. It is the most minimal intervention.

- About 900 square metres of commemoration space

- All existing pedestrian crossings are maintained

- Existing traffic patterns are maintained

Scenario Two

Creates a central, triangular-shaped space for public gathering and commemoration.

The space is defined and contained by a ceremonial streetscape with wide promenades.

A centre median divides Colonel By. A new pedestrian crossing of Rideau is located at MacKenzie. The underpass and MacKenzie ramp are removed. Bike lanes provided.

- About 1,700 square metres of commemoration space

- Pedestrian landing areas at Rideau intersections are enlarged

- Sussex is one-way northbound to St. Patrick

- Traffic lane widths are adjusted to accommodate wider sidewalks

Scenario Three

The entire area east of the Government Conference Centre to the intersection of Colonel By and Rideau is dedicated to public space.

The space is contiguous across the south side of Rideau strengthening relationship to Rideau Canal, Confederation Square and Confederation Boulevard.

A grand boulevard is developed along Colonel By. It is envisioned with wide sidewalks and centre medians. New pedestrian crossings of Rideau at Mackenzie link directly to the space.

The underpass and MacKenzie ramp are removed. Bike lanes provided.

- About 2,100 square metres of commemoration space

- Pedestrian landing areas at Rideau intersection are enlarged

- Sussex is one-way northbound to St. Patrick

What do you think of this plan? I think anything that is going to make our city more beautiful is a great thing!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ahhh....

What a beautiful day it was today! We spent the majority of the day outside, having a blast. This post will be short but I'm just so glad we have such nice weather this weekend. Spring is finally upon us! Finally!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Crash...

I saw it coming before it actually happened... I was driving home last night, anticipating some serious hugs from my little boys when all of a sudden, the blue car in front of me slammed on his breaks. I quickly reacted and started breaking, too. I braked within a centimeter of his car, but did not hit it - of course, the driver behind me didn't see any of this happening because she rear-ended me so bad! (She got charaged with careless driving).

I was in pain instantly, which I couldn't believe - the back of my head, my back, shoulders and even my right arm were really hurting! I was checked out by the ambulance folks, and they offered to take me to the hospital, but I really just wanted to get home to my boys. My husband was there within minutes (amazing feat during rush hour!) and we got home around dinnertime. Minus my car, of course. It's at the body shop being repaired.

How come I am prone to car accidents? I was in another serious accident last year, when I was 8 months pregnant. This time the accident was my fault. I had just left an appointment with my OB/GYN and I was having some discomfort in my belly and wasn't paying attention to the road signs, and I completely ran a stop sign onto O'Connor. The sound of that crash was extremely loud, with air bags popping out and everything - luckily, just on the passenger side, as the driver side airbag was not working. And being 8 months pregnant at the time - that's a great thing! I was taken to the hospital for observation for several hours and had a couple of ultrasounds as well as my blood work done to make sure my placenta was still in place. Well, anyway, in the last 2 years, these are the car accidents I've been in. Not fun at all, for anyone involved, but again, am thankful for the caring firemen that quickly arrived to the scene, and to the paramedics who evaluated me.

I also felt terrible for my best friend who I was speaking with on the phone as the accident happened... normal talk, then all she hears is me screaming, breaks, crash, horns blasting, my phone goes flying across the car and then... silence. She was worried and kept calling me back and finally we spoke and I told her I was okay! What a scary thing to have to listen to, though!

I just can't get over how many people, both pedestians and other drivers, stopped to STARE like the 3 car pile-up was a circus show or something! During the half hour we waited for police arrive, only one man asked us if we were okay and if we needed help. ONE person! What's this about Canadians being super friendly? I'm beginning to change my opinon on that...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A quick news update...

So when I first heard about Chris Brown beating up Rihanna, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. At first, I did not believe it. You know how many stories in Hollywood are untrue? I thought maybe they got into a verbal arguement and word leaked out and gossip spread and so on... well... turns out I was wrong... poor Rihanna was hurt bad. Most of us saw the brutal picture of her on the Internet. And then word got out that she went back to him, which I've read is very common - for abused women to go back to the people who abused them. I can't believe she did go back to him, especially after reading the reports today of how badly he hurt her. The full police report is on The Smoking Gun. It's pretty bad, and gives graphic details, so read at your own risk. I'm very upset over this story.


http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0305093brown4.html

In other news...

The Greyhound bus killer was found NOT GUILTY today. This is beyond horrific! He beheaded an innocent man on a bus while others watched in horror. And now this man is going to the hospital, not to prison where he belongs. He was found 'not criminally responsible for his actions.' Are you freaking kidding me? Who the hell was responsible then? Come on! Sometimes I have a real problem with Canada's legal system. CLEARLY the murderer was having a psychotic episode during the attack - no sane person just kills another person! But I hate the 'crazy person' defense, I really do. How many 'sane' people kill? UM - NONE! Therefore, shouldn't he go to prison? I don't want this man out on the streets again. He has to pay for his crime, I'm sorry. Imagine being the victim's family. And of course, who is going to help the other victim's, the innocent people on the bus who had to watch this happening? You better hope our medical system will pay for their therapy!

As well... one of our local TV stations has cancelled it's 6 and 11 o'clock newscasts. This is a sad day, indeed. (Happened a couple days ago, actually) I used to work at this TV station for several years, and a lot of the people they laid-off are hard-working, decent people. Management clearly should have been the ones getting the boot. They clearly had issues running the station for many years. Now instead of a night time newscast, the morning show is 4 hours long. From what I've read and heard, they lost a whole lot of viewers with the choice they made. And now, great, we have what, one local newscast to look forward to - at 6:30 p.m. - whose on-air talent is pathetic, to say the least!

Good shopping news!

So you all must love Joe Fresh, right? I sure do! I love going to the Superstore and grocery shopping and also picking up a cool pair of swim shorts for my boys for only 12 dollars. There is nothing wrong with that, I tell ya! Seriously -the children's clothes Joe Fresh provides are truly good quality! And so very nice. I have bought my boys quite a few shirts from there, and socks, and pj's. I find pj's kind of hard to shop for, especially for my 3 year old who has even outgrown GAP's size 5 pj's. And onesies for the baby are great at Joe Fresh, too!

Now, I just read that Joe Fresh is coming out with a beauty line, too! Inexpensive, good quality make-up! Who doesn't need another lip gloss? Or a nice new eyeshadow? Their line is set to come out very, very soon so keep your eyes open!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Craving warm weather!




Can spring get here already? I am really so over winter - the cold, the snow, the snowsuites, gloves, hats, scarves, boots! I am pretty sure my kids are sick of winter too. I can honestly say the best time they had this winter was when we were in Bahamas... no big surprise there! To be able to freely run around, wearing nothing but a t-shirt and crocs... it was heavenly!

Aside from the usual outings we do in the winter - library, Science and Tech museum, Children's Museum, Dinosaur Museum, (Museum of Nature), Cosmic Adventure, wave pool (actually only have gone once)... we hit the malls, and other stores like Chapters. Even Loblaws in an outing for us! The last 2 nights we've spent some quality family time in... brace yourselves - WalMart! I actually hate WalMart - but my boys love it, and they run around and get their energy out and then we go home. Sounds crazy, but what else can we do to pass the time when we've exhausted all other options? (Not counting the fun we have at home, doing crafts, cooking, and just playing).

I'm so ready for warmer weather - so we can spend some quality time outside! Without freezing! In the backyard, in the sandbox, at the park, taking long walks, breathing in the nice warm air, swimming, going to Dow's Lake and Mooney's Bay and little weekend getaways... I am craving this!

This weekend I think we will hit up Cosmic Adventures and maybe the Mud Oven for some fun painting. I was thinking of also going to Proulx Farms (we go there every year for strawberry picking and we get our pumpkins there right before Halloween, and it's so close to home!) for the sugar bush and a horse back ride.

Also keeping us busy this weekend is a birthday party... fun, fun, fun!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A feast like no other!






These pictures are all from last year's great Greek Easter feast!


For us Greeks, the biggest time of the year is not Christmas, even though it's still a huge celebration - it's Easter. Greek Orthodox Easter this year is on April 19th and what marks this festive and happy occasion is - FOOD! Yes, we Greeks love our food, and Easter is a time to celebrate that love of food. The warm smell of my grandmother's bread and tsoureki, my mother-in-law's koulouria (Greek cookies), and of course... the lamb... oh, the lamb...

Easter is the greatest time of year for food, feasting and celebrating family. Eater time, from carnival time (which is huge in Patras, my dad's hometown) right through Holy Week is a special season in Greece.

The Carnival (Apokria) season starts around Mardi Gras time and ends on Sunday with the burning of the Carnival King - setting fire to an enormous paper maché effigy of Judas. Fireworks and feasting continue through the night and the next day (today, Monday March 2nd) is called Kathara Deftera, aka Clean Monday or Ash Monday.Rice, beef, salads, yeastless bread and taramosalata are some of the foods that are enjoyed today.

Holy Week is the most important week - on Holy Thursday the eggs are dyed bright red; symbolic of Easter in Greece. On Good Friday, flags at homes and government buildings are flown at half mast. We all go to Church. Holy Saturday, we attend midnight mass and at midnight, as we are all standing outside our church with our lit candles, we kiss and say XRISTOS ANESTI! Christ is Risen! It's a very special time and we go home in anticipation of Easter Sunday, the day we feast and eat and eat... all... day.... long.

It starts with the bright red eggs - and the cracking of the eggs - each person takes an egg and challenges someone else and whoever has the egg that lasts the longest without cracking has good luck for the rest of the year! The rest of the day is spent eating, and listening to music, and just enjoying the day. Avgolemono soup -Greek chicken rice soup - is enjoyed, along with cheeses, tsoureki, potatoes, salads, pasta dishes, and of course, the lambs roasting over charcoal fire... and while you're waiting for it to be ready, you just go up to it and pick off some meat and eat... mmm... soooooo good!

For the love of reading 1...

I have always had a huge love for books and reading. I am so thrilled that my eldest son has the same love of books as I had as a child. I remember sitting in my basement as a young child waiting for my mom to return from a book fair. She came home and handed me Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. I must have been in grade 4, because I was still living in Greenboro (and we moved to Hunt Club when I was in grade 5). I remember this book was just the best thing I ever read and then frequent trips to the book store became part of my weekly routine. Yes, I did read all the Sweet Valley Twins and Babysitters Club books! Loved Babysitters Club... anyway since then of course I have read countless numbers of books, and some of my favourites are on this list below. What about you? Which books from this list of 100 have you read or plan on reading?

I stole this meme from Dani's blog.

I have read only 32 out of the 100 books on this list, and I plan on reading more!

How to play:

1. Put an X after the books you have read.
2. Add a + after the books you LOVED.
3. Add a * for the books you plan on reading.
3. Tally your total at the bottom!



1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X+
6 The Bible X (not all of it)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X+
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X+
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy X
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X (Only what we had to read in high school)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger X+
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy X+
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen X
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini X+ (also loved A Thousand Splendid Suns)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X+
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez *
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving X+ (LOVED IT!)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X+ (LOVED this. And will watch it on TV every year!)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan X
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel Xish
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon X
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X (Did not really like it)
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold X
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding X
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert X
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn X
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad X
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

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