Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer fun!

Really? I love summer. Always have. How can you not love summer, you know? Carefree days, beautiful weather, the sun, and swimming! And of course, cold beverages sitting on a patio, visits to the park, and family vacations.

I'm already starting to freak out about winter - we get hit hard with winter in Canada, and it seems like we only get a few good weeks of really great weather to enjoy. So, of course - we enjoy the good weather while we can!

We are never inside. We spend our days swimming, which the boys love. And just enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Here's how we've been keeping busy these last 2 weeks:

A little bit of golfing...



LOTS of swimming...



Strawberry picking...







Touring Ottawa and enjoying frozen treats...



And feeding the ducks!





I'm hoping that summer lasts for a really long time, because I can't bear the thought of cold weather right now! Here's hoping for lots of sunny days ahead!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

6 years ago today, I married my high school sweetheart - the funniest, smartest, cutest man I've ever known.





He puts up with a lot being married to me - my lack of culinary skills, my insane spending habits, and my daily complaining. Thank you, honey!

And thanks for feeding me and our boys. Without you, we'd surely starve.

We've been through so much, and since becoming parents together, I have realized that he is the best father to our children. My boys are madly in love with their daddy, and I love watching him play, teach and laugh with our boys.



I look forward to many, many more years of love and laughter... Happy Anniversary, baby!

I am also featured on La Dolce Vita today - a fabulous blog! Check it out and leave a comment if you want! :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nothing to fear but fear itself

After reading this awesome post by Maria, I thought to myself: I can't believe I have not written a post about my fears, being that I am the biggest hypochondriac I know. Like, seriously. You have no idea how worried I get over every little thing! I'm not talking about the normal worry we have about something bad happening to the people we love, but other less significant, yet totally paralyzing, fears.

Some of my biggest fears and worries are:

Flying. Flying scares me. I have always been afraid of flying. I have flown a lot - to Europe many times, to many parts of the US, to the other side of Canada, to various caribbean islands. I close my eyes during take-off. Once we have been in the air for 10 minutes, I relax a little, because I have heard that the most dangerous and most likely time to crash is during those first 10 minutes. Oh, you didn't know that? Well, now you do. Happy flying! When I'm flying, I will eat whatever food is given to me. No matter how gross. The creamers for the coffee. The sugar for the coffee, the dessert, the pretzels, the so-called chicken... whatever. I eat and eat. Do you know why I do this? No, not because I'm hungry. I do this because it will keep my energy levels up in case I need to tread water. You know, in case our plane crashes into the ocean and I have to wait to be rescued. I need to have a full stomach so I can do this. Also? Turbulance sucks. I hate it. No matter how many times the flight attendants tell me it's okay. It's not really okay. Didn't the recent Air France plane crash experience really bad turblance? I rest my case. It's just not normal to drop a few hundred feet while you're in the air, or to be shaking so badly it feels like an earthquake is happening mid-air. I try to read while flying. Once, I tried to read a book about getting over the fear of flying, but it did not help. On a trip back from Acapulco, our flight was delayed. By over 1 hour. While we were sitting IN the plane. I asked the flight attendant what the problem was, and she told me there was some engine problems. I freaked out. Started crying. She told me I could go see the pilot, to see if he could calm me down. This was before 9/11, of course. I went into the cockpit, and saw 2 pilots with every manual you can imagine opened on the floor - papers everywhere. The very nice pilot said to me: "Don't worry. I don't want to die, either. We're going to figure out what's wrong before we take-off." And thank you, nice pilot, for almost making me jump out of that plane.

Insects are gross. I hate bugs. Truly. I am scared of bugs. The 3 bugs I hate the most are: earwigs, spiders and centipedes. Once, when I was living in D.C., I saw a centipede run into my closet. I had no idea where it went, all I knew was it was in my closet. So, I did what any normal and level-headed person would do - I emptied out my entire closet, and left all my clothes in the family room for the remainder of the time I lived there. I never did find out where that centipede went, but I was glad it was not something I'd have to worry about each morning when I got dressed. Spiders also freak me out completely. I have almost caused several car accidents due to spiders being on me while driving. I noticed a spider crawling on the sleeve of my coat once, so I started smashing my arm against the window to try to kill it. Not realizing that my other hand was still holding the steering wheel - which meant I was zig-zagging in and out of the lanes to the left and to the right of me. Yes, that was stupid. But thank God, by some small miracle, there were NO cars around me. Phew.

Germs are my enemy. My hands are always dry because I wash them a million times a day. The fear of germs increased 100 percent when my first child was born. I was freaked out about anyone touching him. The day after he was born, 15 people came to visit me at the same time. My husband, who had just stepped out of the room to get some water, came back in my room to warn me. I wanted to run away with my baby, but I had no time. Someone touched my baby's hand. Which, hello? Might as well have spit in his mouth! I whispered to my mom: "OMG, mom, OMG!" And my mom, what does she do? She goes and puts some Purell on his tiny newborn hand. Okay, so I officially had a heart attack then. Germs and alcohol poisoning? I could not deal! This fear mostly went away when my second baby was born - I was okay with people holding him. I was not a Purell freak like I was the first time around, but still. Isn't it just common sense to wash your hands before you hold a baby? We carry antibacterial wipes with us everywhere we go, and I always wash their hands before they eat. I also make sure to wipe down the grocery cart handles before they touch it. Because, eww!

Those are my top 3 fears - flying, insects, and germs. What about you? What makes you totally sick with worry?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How To Keep Your Sanity When Traveling With Children

Remember back in the day, when going on vacation meant that you'd actually be, well, vacationing? What it meant for me, essentially was:

Wake up at 10 a.m.
Get into bikini. Put on cute cover-up.
Find the perfect spot by the pool, and tan. Order a drink. Swim. Drink. Swim. Tan.
Relocate to the beach. Swim. Swim. Tan. Drink. Swim.
Go shower so you can go shopping before the stores close.
Get dressed, and decide which pair of shoes (out of the 50 you brought) you'll wear.
Shop. Shop. Shop.
Back at hotel, take off all the tags from the new purchases, and make them look 'not new' so customs, who has you on their 'hotlist' as someone who spends too much money in other countries, doesn't think you shopped too much.
Go out for dinner.
Go out for drinks.
And do it all again the next day.


This is of course when I was not traveling to Greece, where a lot more walking and sightseeing was done. Europe is all about doing the tourist thing. The list of reasons I will not take my kids on a 10 hour plane ride to Greece until the youngest is 3 years old is long, and is a whole other post!

Fast-forward to life with a child. It was daunting, at first, to even go to the grocery store. Everything had to be well thought out ahead of time - diaper bag packed, baby fed, baby's diaper changed, apply makeup, find purse, change baby's diaper again, feed him again, go to the grocery store. Phew.

So, the idea of traveling with my child came up. I was missing Florida. I needed the sun, the sand, the beach. I needed to see palm trees, and to be on vacation. So, since hubby was working, my mom, my sister and I, along with Christos, went to Florida. Christos was not yet 2 years old - and I was pregnant. Oh yeah. Traveling with an almost 2 year old while pregnant was... actually, not bad.

My tips for traveling with a toddler?

Take a short flight. No longer than 3 hours, and you'll all keep your sanity.

Bring a portable DVD player with your child's favourite DVD's.

In your carry-on bag, bring new books and toys to occupy your child.

Travel with family. The more, the merrier. Seriously - as many extra hands as you can get to come with you!

Try to take as many cute pictures as you can while on vacation.



Also? Bring lunch to your child in the hotel room. No need to sit and wait to eat at a restaurant. Who wouldn't enjoy a burger and fries in bed?



Now, taking a trip with 2 kids - a 6 month old and a 3 year old - became a bit more challenging, but still totally do-able.

My tips?

Nurse your baby on the plane. He won't even realize the plane has taken off, and he'll sleep almost the entire time. Also? When you travel with a baby who is breastfeeding, you have more room in your suitcase for shoes!

Take your husband, your sister, her husband, and your parents with you. You're good to go.



Make sure to stay at a child-friendly resort, where they provide things like beach toys for the kids to play with.



Okay, moving on to traveling with a 1 year old and a 3 and a half year old. Try to pack light. I had to pack less shoes than usual so I could pack things like formula and diapers. Oh, the things I sacrifice!

Don't worry about leaving your baby half dressed after a diaper change on the plane. It is hard enough changing the diaper of a squirmy baby on the plane to begin with! And don't worry if he walks up and down the aisle of the plane, talking to everyone he sees. They don't mind at all. He's happy? You're happy, all is good.



Make sure your children have enough soothers to last them the entire trip.



Leave the flat iron at home, and go 'au natural' with your hair. It's okay, really.



Again, pick a child friendly location. I recomment the Atlantis in Bahamas - you'll never have a dull moment, and with 5 children's pools to choose from, the kids will be happy all day long! This pool had a HUGE play structure in the water, with slides, and buckets of water, and so much more! (Note - my hair is straight here, because it's the day we arrived. As if I'd have time to straighten my hair with 2 boys in one hotel room with me!)





Nap time can be enjoyed under a palm tree in the shade. That way, someone can always stay close to the baby while you swim!



Did I mention bring your parents? My dad is such a great grandfather - traveling with them made this trip more enjoyable.



And of course... after the kids are happily tucked in and asleep, you can have a few drinks. And actually realize that you're totally enjoying vacationing with your kids!



And then you start planning the next trip all over again...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My little peanut

Shopping at Costco is always so much fun. My favourite thing about Costco is the free food samples. Seriously. And then I always end up buying whatever they're giving away. I'm the best consumer, ever. I will fall into any trap! I also love the amazing discounted books. Practically half the price of what I normally pay at Chapters!

Dimitry's favourite thing at Costco? The peanuts. He insisted I open a carton for him to eat, and he sat down for snack time in the aisle of Costco. My little sweet peanut!

Whole wheat eggs

It's no secret - I'm not good in the kitchen. I can't really cook. Every time I do try to cook, my kitchen looks like an earthquake just hit it. This really infuriates my husband, who is great in the kitchen and is a total neat freak when it comes to the kitchen.

When we first got married, we were grocery shopping. He had just picked up a carton of eggs - brown eggs.

"Husband",
I said to him, "I do not eat whole wheat eggs."

He just stared at me. You can imagine what must have been running through his head...

Well, yes, I did think brown eggs were whole wheat, for some bizarre reason. I mean, I'm sure if I really thought about it, I would have realized how completely silly that statement was, but it's the first thing that came out of my mouth when I saw that he was about to buy brown eggs. Since then, I don't really care what colour my eggs are because, well, they do taste the same. I'm still not sure why some are brown, though. I'm sure there is a perfectly good explanation for this phenomena.

So, yeah. I suck in the kitchen. But there are a few things I can make.

Like:

Grilled Cheese
Macaroni and Cheese
Toast
Spaghetti and meat sause
Chicken parm
Greek salad
Macaroni soup
Pita or english muffin pizza
Peanut butter sandwiches
Mashed potatoes
Meatballs
Eggs - any way, baby! I recently learned how to make scrambled eggs. Don't laugh at me. Or, go ahead and laugh. I laugh at myself all the time.

So, you see - my list is rather limited. I do want to change this. I told myself when I was on maternity leave with my first baby that I would cook all the time. I made dinner for my husband once. Pepper steak. I was on the phone with my mom, almost in tears, because I had to touch the meat with my hands and it was freaking me out. Then, when I was on maternity leave with my second baby, I swore that I would cook all the time. Nothng much changed, for some reason. I was just too busy to find the time to cook.

You would think that someone who spends as much time in the grocery store as I do would know how to cook, but I just don't. I see recipes and they scare me.

The other day, a friend brought over some chocolate for fondue, and some fruit. I was getting the chocolate ready to warm up, and the instructions said: "Melt over hot water." Or something like that. So, I filled up a pot of water, and was just about to put the chocolate IN the water, when my mom asked me what I was doing. "It says melt over hot water!" She just sighed, and took over. (What she did was place the chocolate in a pot, and then placed that pot over another pot of hot water on the stove. Wow! I think what you're suppose to use is a double broiler? Or something?)

It was great chocolate fondue, let me tell you. I'm so glad she came to my rescue!

Have you had any disasters in the kitchen? Or are you all just good at cooking? I hope I'm not the only one without a clue!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back to school shopping!

One of the things I enjoyed most about going back to school every September was the back to school shopping. I loved shopping for new clothes and especially 'supplies' like new backpacks, pens, and notebooks. I totally miss that aspect about being in school. And of course, having zero responsibility! I'm getting excited because I can now enjoy 'back to school' shopping with Christos, who is starting (sob,sob) kindergarten in September!

And what better place to look for those must-have back to school items than the store that got me pregnant in the first place, Pottery Barn Kids? No, I didn't actually get pregnant in Pottery Barn Kids, but I was shopping there with my friend and I was head over heels in love with all the baby stuff. 2 days later, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I totally think the air in Pottery Barn Kids helped get me pregnant. Now, I stock up whenever I'm in Toronto, which is not that often - or anywhere in the USA. I swear, the day Ottawa gets a PBK I will scream so loud you'll hear me, no matter how far away you live! I heard they're not coming to the nation's capital because they don't want to have to translate everything in French. Which really just sucks. So unfair.

Anyway... back to the topic at hand - back to school shopping for Christos! I am totally going to buy him this lunch bag and backback. Isn't it the cutest? I love it!



And of course, he'll need a new desk, right? Don't 4 year olds in kindergarten do homework? He totally needs a desk! (For the record, Christos is already doing 'homework' - he loves sitting at his little Ikea desk, drawing, practicing letters, and stamping. He's so ready for school!)



He had a huge room - hardwood floors, white crown moulding, baseboards, and chair rail. His walls are painted light green and light blue. BUT his furinture (queen size bed, dresser, night table, bookcase) is brown, like this:



What colour desk should I get him? The red? Or the white? The white will match the mouldings, but the red will match some of the artwork on his walls, and the red in his comforter, which has construction vehicles on it. Which one would you get? Also, what other 'must-have' school items should I get him?

So, see, the more I think about it, the more I am beginning to enjoy the idea of Christos going to school. Any reason for me to shop, and I'm one happy mommy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A few of our favourite books... at least, for right now!

A few months ago, I wanted to write a post about my favourite books, and about my love of reading, but instead, I wrote about the books my boys, especially Christos, loved reading the most, here.

I find it nearly impossible to talk about the books I love, or am currently reading, without talking a bit about what Christos's favourite books are. So, you see - this post will be about the books I loved reading and what I'm reading right now, but I have to share with you a few of Christos's favourite books of the moment.

Almost is a great book, about a boy who is 'almost' 6 and he can 'almost' do anything, like make his own breakfast, and he's 'almost' not scared of anything. Christos loves it when I read him this book!



These little Ready to Read books are also on his 'must-read' every night list: Earthquake, Flood and Volcano. They've got great illustrations, and they explain things in a simple, interesting way for a young child. Even I learned a thing or two. I tell you, it's great that my son is starting school in the fall, because I just know I'll be learning so much from him!

Today, he said to me: "Mommy, I know what do in case there is an earthquake. I go under a table, or under a doorway, or get outside." I love books that teach him important things like safety in emergency situations.



And I recently bought A Tree is Nice, because, well, the book 'looked' nice and it's also a cute story. I do recommend this book for little boys and girls. It's beautifully illustrated, too!



I have to say, though, that Christos's favourite book right now is Amelia Bedelia. I bought this for him hoping he'd 'get it' and boy, does he ever! The other night, as I was reading to him, he was in hysterics laughing at the story. He kept saying: "If that was me, I would know what to do!" So, so true. Amelia Bedelia is a classic, I think, and I'm so glad he loves it so much! The picture of the 'dressed chicken' is what he laughed at the most.

And finally, Down By the Station is just a great read, overall. He really enjoyed this book when I read it to him last night, and I have a feeling it might become a favourite!



As for Dimitry, he still loves the Karen Katz books, and today I bought him Where Is Baby's Beach Ball? He loves lifting the flaps, and I'm glad he's enjoying reading more now.

So, moving onto some adult literature - here are some of the books that I totally loved reading. I loved reading these books so much I would stay up well into the night because I just could not put them down, but at the same time, I wanted to slow down because I would start to panic that once I finished the book I'd never find another one I would love as much. Do you ever get that way? Or is it just me? So. Without writing a book review, my favourite books include: The Way The Crow Flies, Fall On Your Knees, Night, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Glass Castle, The Stand, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Stephen King's On Writing and Angela's Ashes. There are dozens more I love, but these are the ones that just pop into my head. Have you read any of these? If not - these are my suggestions to you. I'm currently reading The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society and, just because I have not read anything by Stephen King in years, Just After Sunset.

I want to know what you're reading right now! Any suggestions you have for my next 'must-read' book? Any recommendations for a children's book that I don't already own for my boys? What book is your all-time favourite? I'd love to hear all about it!

Friday, June 19, 2009

My McFabulous interview

So, having worked in television and radio for several years, I met some pretty interesting people and had a few fun interviews. However - nothing as awesome as this!

The one and only McMommy agreed to be interviewed on my blog! And she's just fabulous, you know? Of course you know! It comes as no surprise to me that she also lives in my most favourite state ever. I think she is so cheerful because she is surrounded by palm trees. I would be that happy all the time, too! In fact, I am happier when palm trees are near. So are my boys. I think we need to move. At least for the winters!

So, without further ado (or is adu? Or adieu?)... THE interview!



What made you start your blog? How did you think up your clever name?

I lost a dare. And so, the consequence was that I needed to share the explicit details of my life with complete and total strangers. Forever and ever amen.

Or………could it have been……

A love of writing and a need to express my thoughts on parenthood, marriage, and life in general…and that is the reason why I started a blog???

Yeah, I’ll never tell. I’ll also never play Truth or Dare again.

As for the name of my blog, I did a simple mathematical formula: Matthew + Carter+ Mommy= McMommy. Lo and behold, a blog was born.

And little known fact? Standing in the shower, shampooing my hair…that is where I came up with the name “McMommy”. My best ideas always come to me in the shower. That’s why I try to take two a day.


What is your favourite food to eat? Favourite drink?

A piece of chocolate cake after dinner with a glass of red wine, preferably a cabernet sauvignon. And if you want to make this situation EXTRA PERFECT? Have my husband sitting across from me with his espresso and sambuca. Although we may need to switch out the chocolate cake to a cannoli for him.

What do your children do that make you laugh?

My kids are in the “poopie pee-pee” phase. It drives me up a wall. Everything is hysterical to them about those words. Lately, they have created a new word….yes, they made up their own poopie word: “Poopiechatchie”. I have no idea what it means. They have no idea what it means. They just looooove this word. So much so that when we are at the parks, they will climb to the top of the slide and shout “POOPIECHATCHIE!!!” and then race down the slide giggling. Or we will be at the pool and they will do a cannonball into the water and shout “POOPIECHATCHIE!!” as they splash into the water. It’s ridiculous and annoying, but there is a part of me that can’t stop laughing about it. I know it’s just a phase, so I don’t really give them much attention when they say it. However, when my husband and I are talking in conversation and the kids aren’t around, we’ll throw the word out.

For example:

McMommy: “I took out some steaks to defrost for dinner tonight. Should I do baked potatoes or sweet potatoes?”
McDaddy: “You should do POOPIECHATCHIE!”
And I die laughing.


What do you think is the best part of being a mom? Favourite moments?

Clearly, the best part is getting to be bossy. Who doesn’t love to boss people around?! It’s a real ego booster and heaven knows that is what every woman needs after getting her stomach stretched out to the size of a large boulder.
Oh, what? You want my politically correct answer? Well, why didn’t you say so??

In that case…


I love looking at each of my boys and trying to figure out what facial features are mine, which are my husband’s….what parts of their personalities are just like us and what parts are uniquely theirs. When I was pregnant with Carter, I couldn’t wait to see what he looked like. Was he going to be a clone of his brother or would he look entirely different? I love seeing my children’s personalities and interests and likes and dislikes unfold as they grow. It’s so interesting to me….and probably the reason I haven’t ruled out a third.

What's your favourite store to shop in?

What’s my budget? (Although, if you are giving me a budget, then this question isn’t fun anymore and I’ll accuse you of conspiring with my husband, who loves a budget like no one’s business.)


Do you like Cheesecake Factory? Or are you so over it? If you like it, what's your favourite cheesecake?


Not so much a fan of Cheesecake Factory. Although the cheesecakes are good, it’s the whole “Factory” thing in the name that turns me off. Why didn’t they just name the restaurant “Cheesecake”? Was that soooo terrible? I wondered if they ever considered “Cheesecake Manufacturing Plant”.

What are you top 3 favourite movies?

Ok, I’m not a huge movie buff. Some of my favs include Thomas Crown Affair, Bourne Identity, Clue, and Elf. But have you seen a movie called “Thank you for Smoking”? If not, you should. I’m not going to explain the whole movie, but I will say I love movies like that.

This song will get you on the dance floor:

Songs don’t get me to a dance floor…….drinks and live cover bands, however, will get me to a dance floor. And then, I get excited about each and every song and I turn to my friends and I’m “OMG!! THEY ARE PLAYING MY MOST FAVORITE SONG EVER!!” all super-annoying like. Only I don’t think I sound all super-annoying. Which is probably even more super-annoying to my friends.

What are your tips for staying sane when traveling with your children?

Have a good glass of wine or a babysitter waiting for you when you arrive at your destination. And if you are lucky? Both.


What do you love most about blogging?

The power I will one day have when my boys are unruly teens: “Teenage Matthew and Carter of the Future, do you WANT me to blog about this? Because I WILL. Or you can just say you are sorry and I’ll step away from the laptop. It’s your choice.”
Just kidding, boys. Heh heh heh. Poopiechatchie.
The truth? Hands down, the writing aspect is what draws me in every day. I love to write. The words just flow for me. As soon as something happens, I know exactly if and when and how I want to write about it. An awesome bonus is that people actually read what I write. And they tend to come back the next day to read more. That amazes me.


How do you stay so fabulous?

I’m so far from fabulous, I can’t even tell you. And while I may not be fabulous, I am smart… so I’m taking your compliment and running away now!

So there you have it, friends. My McFabulous interview with the one and only McMommy! Hope you enjoyed reading her clever answers as much as I did!

Thanks, McMommy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Breaking News!

My darling Christos, who is two months away from turning 4 years old, took the plunge yesterday. He started swimming all on his own, around the entire pool - deep end, shallow end, the whole thing - for hours! He had a great time, and he said:

"I'm never going to forget the first day I swam by myself."

Aww! Break my heart. Talk about a milestone meltdown for this mommy! (Actually, there were no tears. Only a feeling of happiness for him!)





In other news...

My baby boy, Dimitry, is 17 months old today! Wow! He's my little sunshine and I just LOVE him! He is the happiest child, ever. Always smiling, laughing, dancing. And so, so smart. He truly amazes me, everyday. I can't believe how quickly he is growing, right before my eyes...

Mortifying mommy moments

The other day, I was at my friends house with the boys. We went swimming, had some snacks, relaxed. Well, really... I did not relax at all. In fact, swimming with children without another set of hands to help is hard! I had to carry Christos in my left arm. You know he weights 50 pounds, right? Thank GOD it felt a lot lighter in the water, because I was also holding Dimitry in my right arm. He's 27 pounds. They were both wearing life jackets. They, and I, were in the water for over an hour, easily. What a workout that was for my arms, though! But seriously? Swimming without someone else to help with the kids is not something I recommend to anyone. Unless, of course, your children can swim on their own. Christos is almost 4 years old, so I'm hoping this will be the summer he takes the plunge and swims on his own.

So. Anyway. We decided to head to the park across the street. Christos was on top of the play structure, having a good time. I was in the sand with Dimitry.

"Mommy, I have to go pee!" Christos announced to the world, to all the moms and nannies and children at the park.

"Okay, come on down and we'll run back to the house."

"No, I have to go NOW!"

"Okay, come on down, and we'll run behind that tree over there. Come on, sweetie, come on!"

"No... I'm going to pee here!" he said, as he pulled down his shorts, and proceeded to pee on the slide.

Um, yeah... I was embarrassed. And mortified. It all happened so very quickly, too. I tried to clean it up the best way I could. My friend put some sand on the slide.

And I prayed the sun would disappear behind the clouds and rain would come pouring down, to clean the slide for the other children.

I totally cringe when things like this happen.

What is your most mortifying mommy moment?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Breakfast of champs



What? You mean this is not what your child eats for breakfast? Nutella right out of the jar?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For the love of food

I love food. I'm Greek. I have to love food. Greeks are very passionate people - we yell, we are loud, we love life, we love our families, we are really over-dramatic, we freak out over the smallest thing, we dance, we sing, we like to have fun, and we eat. Oh, do we eat!

One of the reasons I love visiting Greece is for the food. Yes, the beautiful sea and scenary are gorgeous, the culture and history is like no other, and it's nice seeing my family - but the food, man. It's so good. Greeks take their meals seriously. Dinner time is almost sacred. I remember my grandmother, my father's mother, cooking for me in her apartment in Patras. Being that she is also half Italian, you can bet she knows what she is doing in the kitchen.

I have memories of certain foods. One time, after a day at the beach, we went to my grandmother's for a light lunch - meatballs, canelloni, salad, fruit. Yup, light lunch. I remember eating my delicious food and then all of a sudden, the room started shaking. It was an earthquate. 5.6 on the richter scale. I knew we had to leave. We had 4 flights of stairs to walk down, and we most certainly were not going to take the elevator because well, if you saw it, you wouldn't take it, either. But the food was so good! I just had to get one more bite in my mouth before I left. Seemed like all of Patras was outside, talking, yelling, freaking out. Me? I was worried all right. And I couldn't wait to get back to my food!

Greeks sometimes show love through food. When I met my husband's extended family for the first time in Greece, they offered me a lot of food. Every night was a feast. Thank God we did so much walking, otherwise I'd have gained over 30 pounds in that one trip alone!

Souvlaki in a pita from little vendors outside night clubs at 3 a.m. has to be the best thing ever. Or corn on the BBQ by the dock. Fried meatballs. Fresh tzatziki. Lots and lots of bread. And Greek salad. Eating fresh fish overlooking the beautiful water... These are the foods I think of when I think about Greece. Oh, and ice cream. Ice cream from the 'periptero' - the little corner convenient store.

My other grandmother, my mother's mom, takes such good care of my children. She cooks for us several times a week. The healthiest of foods. My boys are very lucky to have her in their life - not only for the incredible amount of love she gives them, but for her amazing cooking! I'm glad she is around to make tiropites for us (cheese pies), and yemista (stuffed tomoatoes), and fakes (lentil bean soup)and givarolakia (meat and rice balls). I love that my kids love food as much as I do.

I have to start learning how to cook these foods, as well as koulouria, the special festive cookie we eat at Easter and Christmas. Food is a huge part of who we are. And amazingly, it's food that keeps most Greeks healthy, living long lives. Olive oil, lots of veggies, lots of fish, fruit, fresh bread, wine. How can you not be healthy when you eat and drink these things every day, right?

Remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding? The scenes which involve food pretty much gives you a glimpse into how seriously we take our food!

I hope I have not made you too hungry - but if I have, perhaps you'll be inspired to cook up a Greek meal for dinner tonight! If you need any recipe ideas - let me know and I'll ask my grandmother! (Because we all know the only thing I do good in the kitchen is eat!)

This post was written for June's write-away contest over at Scribbit.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend wrap-up!

Weekends in the summer are so much fun, don't you think? It's incredible how much you can actually do in two days! Despite the fact that my boys had colds, I took them swimming on Friday at a friends house. They had a blast! I wish we had this weather year-round, though.





Saturday started off very much like last weekend - with a visit to the Doctor's office for baby Dimitry who had a little ear infection. We then took a nice walk in the Glebe - love it there!

Dimitry enjoyed a nice nap, while Christos ate pizza under a nice big tree.



We went to a BBQ Saturday night with the boys, which was a lot of fun, only I never had a chance to sit down. I'm just never going to get used to eating standing up, you know? My boys had a great time, especially Christos who decided it would be funny to take off his clothes and run around the backyard naked. Yikes!





Ice cream and another fair on Sunday to wrap up the weekend... good times!





Hope you all had a great weekend, too!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My weekly 'random' post

What were your favourite movies growing up? I have so many 'favourite' movies that I used to love watching - Annie, Troop Beverly Hills, Adventure in Babysitting. One of my most favourites was Can't Buy Me Love... I just loved that movie! I knew Patrick Dempsey way before Grey's! Of course, who could be a child of the 80's without naming Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and Say Anything 'must-watch movies'? (that scene with John Cusack is still the best!) I also loved Beaches. Which was the most depressing movie I had ever seen and I still get sad when I hear the song Under the Boardwalk or Wind Beneath My Wings. Sob. Sob. Sob. I also loved Big with Tom Hanks. And Dead Poet's Society. And Top Gun. Oh, Top Gun! (Highway to the Danger Zone...) Did you think I would forget to mention Dirty Dancing? Not a chance! I still know all the words to all the songs on the sountrack. And I am saving the best for last - Girls Just Want to Have Fun! I loved dancing when I was younger and this was just one awesome movie! But please tell me THIS is not true - a re-make with Miley Cyrus? Nooo... say it isn't so!

In other total randomness...

I am sometimes too lazy to empty the dishwasher. So instead, I'll just start it again... and walk away. Am I the only one who does this? I hope not!

I shop a lot. Some would say I'm quite addicted to shopping. I am not going to lie to you - I am addicted to shopping. It's nothing new. It's been a part of who I am for a very long time. I loves clothes. And shoes. And purses. And I love shopping for my boys. They have enough clothes to dress an entire city. If I didn't have this insane spending habit, I could afford to take my family to Florida 5 times a year. But seriously, I can't stop because I'm convinced someone is stealing my clothes. How else can I explain the fact that every morning when I wake up, despite all the shopping I do, I never have anything to wear? Which is why I'm going shopping on my lunch break. Because I have nothing to wear this weekend! (Shh, don't tell my husband!)

I speak to my boys in both Greek and English. When I'm all lovey-dovey with them, I'm usually talking Greek. I find that my oldest son, Christos, speaks English with a bit of an accent now - which is so totally cute. When he says "What are you doing?" he sounds just like Borat.

This weekend is shaping up to be action-packed and fun-filled. I'm taking the day off tomorrow to meet up with one of my BFF's and her baby who now live in Toronto along with my two kids at her sister's house with her three kids for an afternoon of swimming. Remind me again why I'm getting my highlights done in the morning, when I will be swimming in the afternoon? Sigh! Then, a birthday dinner at a fabulous restaurant for another BFF and cousin, and a BBQ at my other BFF's house (who is also my baby Dimitry's Godmother!) Fun, fun, fun. I only hope the colds my boys both have will magically go away by tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tips for a new mom

When I was pregnant with my first son, I was clueless about everything having to do with babies. Sure, I had some experience changing diapers, and hanging out with other people's babies, but not for longer than like, 20 minutes at a time.

I was a blissfully happy pregnant girl, because I ate McFrosties and Blizzards every single day for 9 months. And lots of Doriots, until I found out they contained MSG and then oh my God, I never touched them again until after my baby was born. Also, my husband would cook me the most fantastic and oh-so healthy meals. I had salmon at least once a week and I think that's why my babies are now so smart!

We had the perfect nursery. My husband took out the carpet, installed hardwood floors, chair rail, crown moulding, thick baseboards, and painted the room a gorgeous blue and green colour. We had beautiful white furntiure, gorgeous bedding, paintings, and lots and lots of baby clothes hung in the closet and folded in the dresser drawers. I even got a very uncomfortable but pretty white 'nursing' chair for the room. No slider for me - none I saw were nice enough for this room!

I also slept a lot during my pregnancy. I fell asleep during movies, both at home and in the theatres. I fell asleep everywhere. I was so tired all the time. Little did I know my body was telling me to sleep all I could then because I certainly wasn't going to sleep after the baby was born!

I was induced, so before we went to the hospital, hubby and I stopped off at Starbucks for the last time as a family of two. I had orange juice and a lemon poppy seed loaf... yum! We got to the hospital, and it was a fun day, really. I ate pizza for lunch. The nurses were great, my entire family was there, and then I had my baby. Easy-peasy. Better than a brazilian wax, it was. (Yes, of course I had an epidural!)

And my baby was born and my life was forever changed. I could not stop staring at him. I did not sleep for 48 hours. I was petrified to close my eyes.

But I sure wish someone had told me a few things before I had my baby, though...

Like:

How I would not be able to sleep for fear of something happening to my baby.

How important Purell would be.

How tired I'd be.

How I would not fit into my regular clothes for weeks. I mean, months. (Okay, years.)

How to burp a baby. I had such a hard time with this!

How to master the perfect swaddle.

How to put the infant carrier into the stroller properly. Took me a few weeks to get this right!

How to give a newborn a bath - that was really hard.

How to not get peed on.

How important it is to take a nap when the baby is napping!

How important a nursing chair would be - ugly or not!


But, you learn as you go, right? And as each day passed, being a mom became easier and easier. In some ways. The tired part has lingered, though.

When my second son was born, the new feeling I had was 'guilt' - guilt for being apart from my first born for the first time overnight. Guilt at not knowing how to perfectly split my time between the two; just your regular mommy guilt.

But things like breastfeeding and burping and swaddling a second child - those came easily to me, for the most part. You sort of forget and then quickly remember how small they are and how to handle them, you know? And you realize that two children? Are very much harder then just one - but perfect at the same time!

What do you wish you had known before you had your first baby? What is the one piece of advice you wish someone had to told you - and what advice do you give moms who are expecting their first child?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Weekend fun

We had a great weekend, despite the fact that Christos had a cold. We went for a walk downtown on Sussex, where we enjoyed the beautiful day, looked at a nice waterfall, ate some Cheetos and fed the birds. They seemed to love the Cheetos as much as my boys did!





Have I mentioned how hard it is to get a decent picture of me with my boys? Seriously? I think I need the help of a professional, although my husband is not bad at taking pictures. At least both my boys are at least looking at the camera in this shot. (We can't expect them both to be smiling now, can we?) But of course, I'm not smiling. I think I'm talking. Or begging them to smile. Whatever.





Here's Christos, as Atlas...




And big smiles with Cheetos stains!



!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday, Monday

Today, instead of going to work like I usually do on a Monday, I stayed home to take care of my little boy who has a bad cold. Runny nose, cough, watery eyes, the works. He needed some mommy love today and it was great to be able to spend a whole extra day with my boys. So far, Dimitry is not sick, but you know it's bound to happen, especially since he drank from the same bottle of water as his older brother!

Christos and I went to get the mail at one point, and a letter had arrived from his school. (Eek - his school!)

"Christos, look, it's a letter from your school, they want me to answer a few questions about you."

"Like what, mommy?"

"Like, do you follow directions?"

"Yes."

"Can you use crayons and scissors?"

"Yes."

"Can you use the washroom on your own?"

"Yes." "Mommy?"

"Yes, love?"

"Does it ask if I can clean?"

"Aww, no sweetie, they don't ask that."

"Well, write it down. Tell them I know how to clean!"

And he totally made a good point, you know. I feel like writing a letter to his teacher (Eek - his teacher!) telling her about Christos. His interests, how he has a cart that he rolls around our house with cleaning products inside, cleaning everything. Or that he carries a binder with him as he goes around checking to make sure things are working, like the computer, or the TV, or the 'pipes'. How he sits down to do 'homework' every day; or how he loves playing rock and crystal store. There is so much I want to tell his teacher about him, and I hope I get a chance to before he begins school, his new adventure, in the fall.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Favourite pictures for a fabulous Friday

Random posts are always fun to read, right? Well how about a favourite pictures on a fabulous Friday type of post?

Here are a select few of my favourite pictures!

I love this picture of Christos. He was almost 2 years old, (like, he turned 2 a week after this picture was taken!) and this was his first time in Florida, experiencing the beautiful ocean. With his clothes on. How could you resist, right?



And I love this picture of Dimitry, running through the sand in Bahamas. It was his first real time on the beach, not counting our trip to Florida when he was 6 months old. I love seeing how excited he was and how much fun he was having!



And um, yeah... this giant jelly fish is really not my favourite picture of all time, but clearly my son loved it. So because this was his favourite part of Atlantis, and because his smile is so huge, this has by default become one of my favourite pictures, too. Pure childhood happiness! And seriously? Eww!



And here you have a picture of me in my most favourite parking lot on earth. Surrounded by beautiful cars. At Bal Harbour. It's so peaceful and wonderful there and oh, yeah, did I mention the shopping? Sigh... heavenly!



My son already has the sweats and he has not even started eating his pizza yet. He was dipping his bread in butter. Ah, just like his mama!



Speaking of pizza, here's another favourite 'pizza' shot of mine! See my big boy, eating that slice of pizza? Yes, I did say slice. If only all slices were that big, I wouldn't have to eat 4 of them! I could go around telling everyone: "I only ate one slice of pizza!"



Now that was fun! I think I'll do this every Friday because, well, pictures make me happy and so does Friday!

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