Saturday, August 29, 2009

The fear of flying... with children

In a few days, I'll be boarding a plane with my two boys. Need I remind you that they are 4 years old and 19 months old?

Or that I'm not the biggest fan of flying, despite the countless number of times I have been in an airplane? And even though I've written a post about staying sane when travelling with children, it's never easy, you know?

Oh, wait - here's the best part - I'm flying ALONE. Usually, when we travel with the kids, we deploy the troops. Since my children have been born, when we travel via airplane - for SHORT destinations, like Florida (my favourite!) or Bahamas (love it!) we go with my parents and sister and her husband. The more hands to help, the merrier, you know? One of us entertains each child, and we can happily play pass the baby to the next person when they start getting cranky. I highly recommend this way of travelling.

Being Greek, we're also pretty dramatic and make a big deal about everything.

My mom: "Okay, Loukia. In your carry-on, you must have children's Gravol, which you will give to Christos before take-off, otherwise there is no point, and children's Advil, and Advil for you too and a change of clothes for you all, and toys, and a DVD player, and snacks. And oh my God, how are you going to handle it and of course a pillow and some books and what about the car seat and should you bring a pillow for Christaki? I think you should and make sure when you get there to relax and take breaks and make sure the kids sleep at their regular bedtimes and don't yell at the boys and it's a short flight so don't worry but are you sure you can handle it, because they are impossible to take care of sometimes!"

Moi: "Oh my God, mom, I don't think I should go anymore! Should I go? I'm sure I'll be fine. They listen to me more than they listen to you, anyway, plus I'll have the double stroller. I'll be fine. Christos! Come back here! Dimitry, stop - that's the down escalator! Christos! No! Dimitry! Stop touching people! Christos, stop running! Dimitry, eww, don't touch the garbage! As I was saying mom, it will be a walk in the park. And plus, I know I'll come home with a really good blog post! What? Don't look at me like that! I blog, I'm NOT in a cult!"

Yeah. My mom and I talk like this all the time.

So I'm going to go to Washington D.C. with my boys to visit my uncle and his family and to take one last vacation before school starts for Christos. (EEK! School, OMG!) I will be celebrating my birthday in one of my most favourite cities, ever. My grandparents will be there, too, thank God. They will be such a huge help. I think I'll be able to handle it. Right?

I have been to D.C. many times, and I've lived there, too, when I did my internship at CBS TV. I have nothing but the best memories of D.C. and I can't wait to show Montgomery Mall to my boys! I mean, all the amazing museums and stuff! Seriously, there is so much to do there and I hope we get to do it all. I cannot wait!

Now, I just have to get through the plane ride. As long as there are no delays in the airport and as long as my boys are on their best behaviour, I should be okay. Gulp. And of course I will be stocking up like a mad women on the junk food. Snacks are a moms best friend, you know. And we better not have a bitchy flight attendant. I can't stand it when they're bitchy.

Please with me luck, friends. I think I'll need it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Comment love needed, please!

I've written a little post over at Everything Mom - and if have a second, please go leave a comment for me! It's for a great contest and I'd love to win. The writer with the most comments will be the winner!

Thank you!

xoxo

Edited to add: Thank you to everyone who left me a comment! I won the contest and I'm so excited! The prizes are truly amazing... I cannot thank you enough!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Road trip!

So, we made the five hour drive to Toronto this past weekend. I was scared to be in the car for that long with my boys, to be honest. That's why I like trips on planes that are less than four hours. Which is why we go to Florida often, and to Bahamas. Short and sweet.

Christos is actually a great traveller. He can entertain himself, and he is very well-behaved. I know he's ready for Greece next summer!

Dimitry, on the other hand - this darling child of mine does not like sitting in his car seat for more than 20 minutes, max. So it was more challenging keeping him happy.

What helped? A lot of snacks. And none of them good. Also? Lots of rest stops. Our first stop was about two minutes from our house.

"I need a snack!" Christos declared from the back seat.

"Okay, here is a granola bar."

"No! Stop at the gas station!"

And so it began. First stop. Less then two minutes into our trip. Christos stocks up on chips and chocolate. Already. At 10 a.m. Okay, then.

Of course, as you may know, when you have two children, whatever one child has, the other child has to have, too. No matter what. So, Dimitry was eating chips at 10 a.m. too.

Our drive was mostly uneventful, but of course included a lunch stop here:



And another two stops after that. On a five hour road trip. But, hey - if the kids are happy, that's all that matters, right?

Another necessity for long car trips is the DVD player. Next time, though - I'm brining one for each boy! There was some fighting over who got to hold the DVD player, and of course, big brother won.

That's okay, Dimitry took a nap. Thankfully!

And although we had enough toys and books to entertain an entire preschool class, Dimitry of course opted to play with my 400 dollars Chanel sunglasses.



Again - happy baby, happy mommy. (And what's the worst that can happen, really? He breaks them, and I need to buy a new pair? Win-win situation!)

It was so worth making this trip, though - to see my best friends again, with their beautiful children, and having our kids play together. It was awesome.







Also awesome? The shopping, of course. Hello, my most favourite store on earth!



I was and am a huge Pottery Barn fan. I love, love, love Pottery Barn. And then I discovered Pottery Barn Kids. And shortly thereafter, I had my first baby. Yes, it is expensive, but oh... so.... worth it!

The kids had a lot of fun in PBK. I bought the boys backpacks. Christos loves his.



And then we continued walking in Yorkville and my heart started beating really fast when I saw these. I must have these. I want. Oh, look how pretty they are! I'll take the black, please.



This trip wasn't all fun and games, though - we toured a factory. No, not the cheesecake kind, the donut kind! I don't often get to eat a fresh Krispy Kreme donut, but when I do - Oh. My. God. Greatest (artery clogging) taste ever! We went through a dozen in um... well, in no time at all, really. The boys loved watching the donuts being made.



Our drive back was okay - but we made even more stops. The best part for my boys was playing on this bulldozer for half an hour. They loved it!



After that, the only crazy thing that happened was when Christos decided his Oreo ice cream sandwich would look better smeared all over the inside of the car and himself.

We survived, though! And we'll happily do it again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thoughts on a Tuesday

The other day, Christos was looking through a box of old computer parts. He picked a part up, and I asked him if it was the motherboard.

He sighed. "No, mommy. It is not." Then he proceeded to empty the box, talking to himself.

"This is the fan, this is the DVDV player..." until he got to what he wanted to show me. (Yes, he does say DVDV!)

"Look mommy! This is the motherboard!"

I am amazed at my child, newly 4 years old. Everyday, he amazes me with the things he says, and with what he knows. We have real conversations now. About everything. He makes jokes. He has an amazing sense of humour. He understand everything. He is a thinker, my child. And very sensitive. He is always watching out for his baby brother. "Where is Dimitry?" he'll ask if he doesn't see him right away in the morning.

"Carry me," he asked the other day as we were leaving the park. "Christaki, you're a big boy, and you're heavy. Just walk." I told him.

"But I like it so much in my mommy's arms" he said to me.

I melted.

He's starting school in a couple of weeks, and of course, I'm still full of anxiety about this. My little baby boy.

The first day he goes to school just happens to be my birthday. Oh, yes. A memorable day for sure. We meet his teacher that day. And I hope I get a good feeling from her. I hope she is kind. And I hope my son likes her.

He is shy around new people. My son has some anxiety, like me. I wish I could take it away, but I don't know how. Perhaps he has this because it is just genetic, and perhaps it's because of the time he has spent in the hospital. Maybe it's a combination of both.

I wonder how he'll do in those first few days? Will he be terrified at the idea of me leaving him at school, to fend for himself? Yes, he can put his shoes on and off, he can go to the bathroom alone, he can ask for a glass of water if he is thirsty. But will he be able to tell his teacher he wants some water? What if they're not allowed to drink anything until snack time? What if another child is mean to him? What if he cries? What if he is scared? And my biggest fear - what if he is bored?

His favourite show on TV is How It's Made on Discovery Channel. He just wants to be learning, all the time. He wants to talk about how a man landed on the moon, about how cement is made, about the planets, and he wants to read. He tries now, with his books. Pronouncing the words, repeating the letters.

Maybe school will be the best thing for him. I really do think he will love it. I know it will be hard to adjust to the new routine at first, and I'm sure this is not going to be last time I talk about this. I am confident that he will do great, regardless of the tears we'll both cry on his first day.

But.

I will not leave the parking lot on his first day of school. I will be in my car, crying. Not able to leave. It's going to be a big step for both of us. I'm sure all moms go through this, on some level, the first time they take their child to school.

I have sheltered him, protected him, and cared for him every single day since he was born. Of course I have, I am his mother. I feel almost more protective of him than I do for Dimitry, because of what he has been through with his UTI's and pneumonia.

And everyone knows the second child is easier, because by the time baby number two is born, you're a pro at the whole mommy thing. You don't worry over every little thing, you know? Dimitry's personality is different than Christos's - he is more outgoing, and is very social. With everybody. I think Dimitry will have an easier time starting school, so I am putting him into playgroup a few mornings a week this fall.

And leaving him alone. With Christos, either my mom or I would stay with him in playgroup, when he went. I'm going to try to 'hover' less with Dimitry. In fact, I already do. It's just hard, sometimes, because they grow up so fast, you know? And all I want to do is protect them forever.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Stupid mommy

My oldest son, who just turned 4, began swimming this summer alone in the pool.(While wearing a life jacket). He was so brave - jumping in, swimming to the deep end, having fun. It was amazing to see him swimming with no fear, from one end of the pool, to the other. I was so proud.

Then my sister got a pool in her backyard. We were all excited, and Christos loved watching the diggers and all the construction work going on in her backyard as the pool was being put in.

One day, as the men were working in the backyard, I was talking to my mom and Christos. I told them about this scary show I saw once about a girl whose hair gut stuck in the drain of a pool. She ended up drowning.

"So this girl was swimming in the pool, and all of a sudden, her hair got stuck in the drain! And she was trying and trying to get out and she couldn't! She couldn't breathe... couldn't move... she was gasping for air... and then she drowned." I said to my mom. And oops, to my son, as well.

The episode I'm talking about was either on Dr. Who or Twilight Zone. Probably Twilight Zone, although I don't remember for sure. (Remember that show?)

Yup. I said this in front of my child. The one who was not afraid to swim in the deep end, near the drains or jets.

Maybe I shouldn't have said this story while my son was around, because ever since, he will not swim in the deep end. He will not. He refuses to leave the steps. He'll swim around a bit in the shallow end, and that's it.

I gave my son a fear.

Of swimming. Even though he was NOT afraid of swimming a few months ago.

I gave my son a fear of swimming. I did this. Can you say 'bad mommy'? Because that is what I feel like. I have told him over and over again that the story was not real, it was just a TV show, that nothing will happen to him if he swims away from the stairs, that he will be fine. I demonstrate for him, by swimming in the deep end, going deep under water, and showing him I'm fine. But nothing. He will not move. He is frozen in the shallow end.

One step forward, two steps back.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dirty little secret

This is my most honest post yet. Everything I've ever written on my blog has been completely honest and truthful, but what I'm about to say is something I have never talked about here before.

I quit smoking.

Yesterday.

I have been a smoker for many years. I started smoking in high school. Continued through most of University, except for the one year I quit - my second year, I believe. Then, I started again. If you have ever smoked, you'll know it's not the easiest addiction to give up. But I did try.

I quite for a few months before I became pregnant and of course, all throughout my pregnancy. I did not smoke the entire time I was breastfeeding. Then I started to smoke socially again. When I was out for dinner with friends, and drinking a glass of wine, I'd have a cigarette or two. This lead to me having a cigaratte every night before bed, well after my son had gone to sleep.

Again, I quit (obviously) when I was pregnant with my second child. And again, after I stopped breastfeeding, I started socially smoking again. I was not a heavy smoker; maybe a few a day. But still. That is a lot of years of doing some serious damage to my body. (Just want to mention here that I have never smoked anywhere near my children or any other child. For what it's worth, I think people who smoke near their children are in the wrong.)

For someone who is a class-A hypochondriac like I am, it amazes me that I have done this for so long. It doesn't feel good. I feel the effects when I carry my son in my arms up the stairs. I should not be having problems breathing going up the stairs with my child in my arms. I'm a mom of two. How selfish of me to have continued smoking for as long as I have!

At the same time, I will say this - I will miss it. It's been a part of who I am for a long time. I associate smoking with going out and having a good time, the same way some of you may feel about having a glass of wine when you go out. It's hard for me to go out and not think about having a cigarette. I know it is wrong to think this way, to feel this way, but I can't help it. Many of my friends smoke.

I promised myself I would quit by the time I turned 33. That day is almost here. My birthday is September 3rd.

Yesterday, I just stopped smoking. It has not been easy. I have to do this for myself, and especially for my children. I know how bad smoking is - you don't have to remind me of all the terrible things that can happen to you if you smoke. I know. Trust me.

I just wanted to share this with you. And I hope you do not think any differently of me now that you know this.

And oh, yeah - the amount of food I've had today has increased incredibly!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mommy wars...seriously?



Let's talk about the so-called 'mommy wars'. It seems that is all everyone is talking about lately.

What is this all about? Seriously? Are moms - grown-up, mature woman of worthy value - good moms - getting into heated debate over what is better? Staying at home with the kids, or going to work?

Come on.

Go listen to this song. It will put you in a good mood. Then come back, refreshed, and let's talk.

Back? Okay, good.

It is sad that a woman, from the moment she gives birth, feels the need to have to prove herself to society and to other moms about her decision to either stay at home to raise her children, or to go back to work when her children are still young. We always say "I'm not one to judge" when discussions about certain parenting topics come up, but we have no problem mouthing off about this issue and making moms feels bad about their decision.

In my perfect world, I would work only 3 days a week, and I'd have extra help around me all the time. As much as I love being with my boys, it is hard work. Which is why I like going to work. That does not make me a bad mom.

It also does not make you a better mom if you stay home with your kids, although I give you a lot of credit for doing that. I will say this - I think moms who stay home with their children, as blessed as they are to be able to do so, have it harder. It is non-stop work. From keeping the children busy and entertained, to arranging playdates and activities, to cooking meals and cleaning the house - it's a lot harder than sitting in a office. (Sure, a mom who works in an office has the stress of getting the kids out the door in the morning, picked up after work, and has limited time to cook dinner for her family - I get it - being a mom is tough, no matter what!) Of course, if you're the mom who sleeps in, allowing the nanny to wake and feed the kids everyday, while you go play tennis and then go for lunch and then come home in time to kiss your kids goodnight - everyday - then I see this as a problem. But that's just my opinion!

Why is it so hard for us to be kind to eachother, to support the choices we make as woman? As mothers? Whether you stay home with your children, or whether you leave the house to go to work, you are providing for your family in the way that is best for you. Everyone has a unique situation. No one should be judged. Saying things like "I feel sorry for you" to a mother who goes to work is just ignorant. Or feeling sorry for a mom who is 'stuck' at home with her children all day when it is her choice - stupid. Who are you to judge this mom?

I'm a working mom. And by working mom, I mean I work in a nice building, downtown. I have an office. I write, I edit, I chair meetings. I go for lunch dates with friends, I get my hair done, I go shopping. (At lunch, people!) My boys are looked after by my mom or mother-in-law or grandmother while I am at work. I do miss them during the day. But I love working. I need to be working. I also consider motherhood the ultimate rewarding job. There is nothing I enjoy more than eating dinner with my boys, going to the park, giving them a bath, reading to them, and bedtime routines.

Being a mom is my number one job - the one that really matters. But job number two - the one I get dressed up for in the mornings - is the one that affords me the lifestyle I want to have. I'm not giving up my salary. Even with a combined income, I will continue to go to work. Even if I won 30 million dollars, I'd go to work. Okay, if I won 30 million dollars, I'd start my own business, but I'd still want a job outside the home.

That's just me. I admire moms who can do the stay-at-home thing. I think they are great mothers. Probaby a lot more patient than me. I think no one works harder then these moms! They deserve a lot of credit. However, just because they are at home with their children doesn't make them better moms.

Some days, it is not easy leaving my boys. But I know they're in good hands. I know they have a wonderful time without me. If my children had to go to daycare, I might have hesitated at returning to work while they were so young, but I know many moms have done this, and it has worked out fine. The thought of having a live-in nanny is not really for me, either. Every parent has to make this tough decision for themselves. It's never really an easy decision.

When I had my first baby, I stayed home with him for only 6 months before I returned to work. It was hard going back to work, initially. With my second baby, I stayed home for the full one year maternity leave. I loved it - I was with both my boys for one entire year. I had a great support system of family around me, helping with the children, so I never felt too lonely. But it was difficult. Taking care of two little boys is hard work! When my one year of maternity leave was coming to an end, a huge part of me was ecstatic to be returning to work. I know sitting at a desk is easier than staying home with the kids. I know this because I have done both.

A lot of moms go to work because they have no choice. They need the income to take care of their family. How can you think this mother is making the wrong decision? In fact, she is doing the right thing. She is putting food on the table for her family, saving for her children's future, for their University expenses, vacations, clothes.

Sure, ideally, a mom looking after her children - or a dad - is probably better than a nannny doing it. Or a daycare teacher. But there are many positive outcomes to a child being in daycare, like the social interaction they get with other children. My boys haven't had this exposure in a full way yet, and with Christos starting kindergarten soon, I'm worried about how he'll adjust to the school system.

Every situation in parenting has pros and cons. We just try to do what is best for us, and for our situation.

The fact that there is a 'mommy war' going on out there makes me cringe. I think the people who are fighting about this need to get out, have a drink, read a book. Live in the moment, and enjoy life. Play with your kids. Do what is best for you, and stop the bitching!

Sheesh.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The good stuff

I feel like I too often talk about the things I'm not good at, or the things I don't like doing, or the things I don't like about myself.

I suck in the kitchen. I can't really cook more than 5 things. I am not a 'nikokira' - Greek for 'good housewife'. I can't iron. My closet is a mess 3 days after I organize it. I sometimes leave wet towels on the floor after my shower. I swear too much. I spend too much money. I buy my children whatever they want. I can't say no. I drive too fast. I switch lanes without putting my signal on, sometimes. I eat too much chocolate. So do my children. My math skills are horrible. I'm not the size I want to be, yet. My abs are still not what they were before I had kids. I hate traffic. I'm always late.

Okay, so. How about what I am good at? Or the things I love about me? Or the things that make me happy? Isn't it time for a more positive post?

I love my hair. It is what I get the most compliments on. Followed by my smile. You'll see my biggest smiles, my most honest smiles, in any picture I'm in with my children. That's me.

I still love my boobs. Maybe more now then before. Pretty cool that they fed my babies for a while!

I love shopping. I'm not going to feel bad about this, or make it something bad. I'm single-handedly great for the economy. Both the American and Canadian economy. You're welcome.

I love reading to my children. I love teaching my children. I love playing with my children. At playdates, I'm not hanging out with the other moms, even though a part of me wishes I was. I'm playing with the kids. I'm reading to them, I'm laughing with them, I'm chasing them around. I'm on my knees, getting dirty, I'm in the pool, getting my hair wet. Every minute I'm with my children, I'm with my children. Actively involved. Talking, playing, laughing. Being together, in the moment. I love being a mom.

I love swimming. I'm great at swimming. I have never lost a race. I took swimming lessons all my life. I love being in the ocean, swimming, far and deep, away from the shore. Praying I don't get bitten by a shark or jellyfish. You cannot keep me out of the water. It is my favourite thing to do.

I love reading. Books are my passion. I think I'm a geek at heart. I must be. I love a great book, I love a great blog post, I love the connections. I would rather be home in bed with a book (or my iphone) then out at a bar. My friends know this about me and yet they still love me. Thank you.

I love getting my hair done at the salon once or twice a week. It's my time to relax. Plus, I cannot do it as good myself!

I'm great at organizing my children's closets. Shirts, pants, sweaters, socks, underwear - I'm very proud of their closets. Their rooms are always picture perfect - toys and books put away, beds made neatly, clothes hung in order. Yay, me!

I make great mashed potatoes.

I make great scrambled eggs.

I make great homemade mac and cheese.

I love listening to great music while driving.

I love being in airports, and people watching.

I love spending times with great friends.

I am good at at multi-tasking when I'm at work. I can write an article, I can write a comms plan, I can send out a dozen important emails, do research for a new project, organzie a meeting, read a few blog posts, and tweet all in like, 10 minutes flat. Okay, maybe in more time than that, but you know. I can do a lot at once.

I am never late at sending out thank you cards. I love stationary and thank you cards are important to me! Nothing like old-fashined mail, you know?

I love sleeping beside my children. I can't imagine not spending most nights sleeping beside one of them. Seeing my children sleeping brings me such happiness and peace. They grow up so fast, so I'm going to spend as much time as I can with them sleeping beside me, because I have a funny feeling when they are teenagers? They're not going to want their mom in bed with them anymore!

I love riding my bike. And now, I ride my bike with my 4 year old riding beside me. That is a beautiful thing.

So there you go! A happy, positive, I love me post. Hope I did not just kill you with too much happiness. But sometimes it is important to keep things positive, you know? What do you love about yourself? What is your favourite thing about you? What are your passions? What makes you happy?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Scary mommy, lovely mommy

Some blogs are so great to read because the posts are so well written, and the stories are easy to relate to. Reading Jill's blog is like that. It's great, honest writing. It's funny. It's real. It comes as no surprise to me that Jill is as popular as she is. I was hooked from the first time I read Scary Mommy. She is an amazing mom, a great writer, and such a sweetheart.

I've already interviewed the lovely McMommy and OHMommy, and today I'm happy to add Scary Mommy to that list! If you love her as much as I do, you will know there is nothing scary about her at all. She's just all-around awesome.



Le interview...

Your blog, Scary Mommy, is so fun to read - you clearly have an adoring fan base, too - can you tell me what made you call your blog Scary Mommy?

My children had just been given Sleeping Beauty as a gift. Ben, who was just beginning to form sentences at the time named everything scary: His brother, the sink, his grilled cheese, and... me. It seemed like the perfect name at the perfect time!


What is your favourite thing about blogging? Can you see yourself doing this for many years to come?

There are so many things I love about it, but mostly I love how it has altered my outlook on life. I appreciate the little moments so much more now. Minor annoyances become blog fodder, rather than disasters, and I see humor in the everyday. I'll blog as long as I have something to say, I suppose. Or, until the kids become horrified at what I've written about them.

What are some of your most 'scary mommy' moments? 

I think of scary mommy moments as the tone of my blog-- the real, honest moments of mommy-hood. But really scary? Last year, Lily hopped on an elevator before me and the doors instantly shut on her. I was unable to pry them open and can still hear her screams muffle as the elevator climbed 100 floors. It was horrifying. A kind woman escorted her to the lobby where I was waiting in hysterics with the boys, but it was a terrifying 10 minutes. Her fear of elevators can never be called irrational.

Since it's almost time for back to school, how are you preparing yourself? (Do you have the song "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." in your head, like in that Staples commercial?)How are you preparing the children?

That's the best commercial ever! My children have already started whining that they don't want to go back to school and want to stay home with me. I, on the other hand, am counting down the days. I'm trying to get them excited, but know it will be rocky. Change always is.


Tell me, honestly - is it much harder having a third child? Or was the transition from one child to two children harder?

Honestly? Yes. The transition of one to two was a breeze for me, but two to three kicked my ass. Lily adjusted much easier to a sibling than Ben did at the same age, and being outnumbered even on the weekends is challenging. But I definitely recommend it-- there is nothing like watching my little clan play together.

My son will be starting kindergarten in September. I'm going crazy with worry and anxiety about this, and I think I'll end up being a stalker in the trees at his school, to make sure he is okay. How did you deal with the first day of school with your children? Were you relaxed? Any tips on staying sane?

The first days of pre-school weren't all that bad for me, but pre-school is so warm and cozy. I cried when I toured Lily's kindergarten for next year-- it was just so... big! I think I'll be the mom along side you, hanging from the tree. Hopefully I won't fall.

How do you manage to cook a decent meal every day when you're talking care of 3 children? 2 of which are boys?
 

Who on earth said I cook a decent meal everyday? My children (and even more so, husband,) are horribly picky. There are about 5 meals they happily eat so I begrudgingly make those. Again and again. I hate it. But I go all out for company-- want to come over for dinner?

Do you think boys are harder to take care of when they are young, as opposed to little girls?

Boys, at least so far, have proven to be infinitely easier for me. There is so much less drama, less emotion and less yelling! Plus, they just adore their mommies. But, my oldest boy is only three, so I reserve the right to change my mind. :)

What's the one thing you tell your children about a hundred times a day? (Besides I love you).

"No." Evan isn't speaking much, but I am quite certain that he thinks his name is "Evan, No." The kid is getting into trouble constantly- climbing on counters, jumping off of furniture, helping himself to cookies... Yes, no. Definitely, no!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I wish...

I wish I worried less. About everything.

I wish things did not have to be so complicated.

I wish I made better decisions.

I wish making decisions was easier.

I wish I wasn't so scared of the unknown.

I wish I spent less money.

I wish I knew how to save money.

I wish I could cook more than 5 things.

I wish I wasn't always on a diet.

I wish I exercised more.

I wish no child would ever get seriously sick or hurt.

I wish bad people didn't exist.

I wish I travelled out of the country more than twice a year.

I wish I wasn't so afraid of flying.

I wish I could always get my way.

I wish I wasn't this emotional.

I wish I was a better writer.

I wish I had more patience as a parent.

I wish I spent less time online. (But not really)

I wish I could buy whatever I wanted all the time.

I wish my Passat could transform into a Touareg.

I wish I still had my old Golf.

I wish I had a nanny.

I wish winter did not exist after January 1st.

I wish I had a palm tree in my front yard.

I wish my hair was naturally straight.

I wish I complained less.

I wish I had more time to do all the things I want to do.


Thanks to Maria for this post idea!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hurt so good

After having given birth twice, I guess I can say I have experienced one of the worst pains of all. On a 'pain scale', being in labour is pretty much at the top, right?

Luckily for me, and thanks to the epidural, I did not find the act of labour that painful.

Here are things that I think are almost, if not more painful than giving birth:

Brazilian Waxing - Let's face it, this is not fun, no matter how much you get along with the person who is doing this to you. It's almost comical, really, the positions you get in to make sure you're um, well groomed. Seriously, you are so exposed! It's not really a pleasant experience! It's amazing you're able to carry on normal conversations while getting waxed. "So did you see last night's episode of Grey's? Oh, my God... ouch! I mean, really, Mer and Derek in the elevator... ow, ow, ow..."

Getting a tattoo - I can't remember how old I was when I get my tattoo. I'm pretty sure I was in University, though. This was not too painful, although I do remember asking the guy "Are you done yet?" about a dozen times! Speaking of tattoos, I am craving another one. Am I too old to get a second tattoo?

Belly button piercing - I got my belly button pierced after I had my tattoo, and I thought the pain wouldn't be that bad. However, it sucked. I am totally sensitve in my belly button, and I almost passed out when I had this done. I remember the guy putting wet paper towels on my forehead, because he was worried I was actually going to faint on that bed.

Burns in the kitchen - Yes, we all know I suck in the kitchen. But you know what they say about a girl who is not good in the kitchen, right? Right. So, I'm an airhead in the kitchen, and I will either cut myself or burn myself if I'm trying to cook. Once, I was making pizza in the oven, from scratch, thank you very much - and I took the pizza pan out with an oven mitt. I then grabbed the pizza pan with my other hand and realized a few seconds too late that I was only wearing one oven mitt. Can you say burn, baby?

Shopping in high heels - Shopping is my favourite thing to do, besides being with my children. I am in heaven when I'm in a mall. And I tend to shop in nice shoes, because wearing nice shoes make trying on and buying nice clothes more pleasurable, you know? But after a few hours of walking around and trying on clothes, shoes, and make-up, my feet are killing me! Once, shopping in Sherway Gardens in Toronto, I had to literally hold onto the walls of the shopping centre as I made my way back to the parking lot.

Stepping on Lego - It is so important to pick up all the little Lego pieces after the children are finished playing with them because if you step on a piece of Lego, you will be cursing so badly your children will start repeating you and then they'll say these bad words in public, making you look like a really terrible mom. But is there anything else you can do, except scream and yell when you step on a piece of Lego? Oh, my God - the pain!

Burning nose with car lighter - No, this is not something I did in a drunken state in my teenage years. I did this in grade 6. I was in the car, on the way to school, and I pushed in the car lighter for fun. It popped back out. I took it out. Looked at it. It didn't look hot... and for reasons I'll never know, I put it on my nose to see if it was, in fact, hot. It was. I had a burn on my nose that lasted a while and I kid you not - my classmates called me Rudolph. Good times.

Getting an epidural - Hands down, this was the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life. Oh, and getting my IV. I hate needles. But the idea of a long needle going in and STAYING in my spine for several hours? Nightmare. It took a long time to get my epidural in with my first pregnancy, and it took even longer - 45 minutes or so - with my second. The contractions were pretty bad to begin with, and having an inexperienced guy stick a needle in my spine 8 times before someone else took over was horrible. I will never forget that feeling of the needle being in my spine. This pain tops everything else. Although it gives instant relief once inserted properly and makes labour way more fun (my sister was singing "Push It" by Salt N' Peppa to me in the delivery room and I was singing along) the idea of getting another epidural is almost reason enough for me to never have another child.

What's high on your list of things that hurt?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

On blogging

Lately there has been some negative talk about 'mommy bloggers' in the media. Why all the negativity? Perhaps because blogging has all of a sudden become really popular, with more and more people starting to blog. And doing product reviews. And receiving lots of free 'stuff' and money for writing about what they think of a product.

I don't really see a problem with this, as long as it's done with honesty. And for the most part, I think it is.

I tend to read blogs for the writing, not for the reviews.

This recent article on 'mommy bloggers' in Chicago (which I heard about from Nap Warden) was poorly written. It portrayed mommy bloggers as moms who only blog for money. It talks only about the moms who blog about products and make money from doing this. There is no mention about the hundreds of bloggers out there who blog just because they love it, who are popular because of their words, not for their giveaways, and who have wonderful stories to share. As a journalist, this story was not well researched at all. I think I could have done a better job writing this story on my first day of journalism school. Drunk.

I started my blog when Christos was only 18 months old. He is now 4 years old. I started blogging because I love to write. Before blogging, I would email my friends dozens of times a day to talk about a news story, to share my thoughts on what was going on in Hollywood, to talk about politics and, of course, to talk about my life as a mom. I then discovered the world of blogging - and it was a much better way of getting things out! And my friends were very thankful.

I continue to blog because I enjoy it. I love talking about my boys. I love the connections I have made through blogging, I love that I have an online record of the things that are going on in my life.

I have no problem with moms who do giveaways. Most moms who do reviews - at least the ones I have seen - are honest and do it for good reasons. At the same time, I'm not one who needs someone else to do a review on a product for me to decide if I want to buy it or not. I'm a natural born shopper, and I like making my own decisions with my purchases.

On another note, why do some people not like to be classified as a 'mommy blogger', anyway?

Does it really matter? Why are people concerned about the label? Let's all just be bloggers, then. Bloggers who are moms. Or not moms. Doesn't matter to me!

For the record, I don't have a problem telling people I'm a mommy blogger. It's easier then saying: "I have a blog where I mostly talk about my children, because, well, I'm a mom!" I also happen to have a career in communications, writing and editing. You can call me whatever you want.

If you love to blog, continue to write without feeling bad about how you are viewed in the media or how you are labelled. Write whatever you want to write about. I read many great blogs everyday and I think there is a solid community here, filled with, for the most part, support, encouragement, and friendship. Heck, there are things I tell my friends in the blogosphere that I don't tell people in real life!

I think you can absolutely make wonderful connections with people you have never met and feel close to them even if you're miles away. I think this is a beautiful thing. I think if you're a blogger, you understand this.

Let's not lose sight of how great blogging is, despite the way some media outlets have portrayed this. Blogging is about people sharing their thoughts, writing from their hearts, and making a connection.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Photo shoot!

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the fabulous Cherie-Lynn, (@CLBuchananphoto on Twitter, in case you're not following her!)an amazing photographer. She came to my house to take some professional family pictures. I've been tweeting with Cherie-Lynn for a while, and it was so nice to finally meet her in person.

My boys loved her from the second they met her! She was great with Christos and Dimitry, and I wanted to hire her right then and there to move in with me.

I was scared that Christos would be shy, or would run away, but his smiles were big as soon as he saw her. Same with Dimitry. She is a fabulous photographer, and I can't wait to work with her again.

We had a lot of fun and I was so happy with the pictures! Here are just a few of the great shots she captured that day...

Isn't she great?

I love the one of me in the park with Dimitry in my arms and Christos on his bike. I think that picture would be a really cool blog header... and I could change my blog name to, like, "Loulou in Suburbia" or "Loulou's park tales" or something!















Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

“A lot of the people who keep a gun at home for safety are the same ones who refuse to wear a seat belt” (George Carlin)



One of my biggest fears - besides the universe, flying, insects, diseases, natural disasters, car accidents, drownings, kidnappings, aliens, food poisoning, war, famine, and long weekends when stores are closed - is guns.

Guns scare me. I used to have dreams about guns and being shot. I don't really know where this fear came from. I live in a safe city, and in a safey country that has pretty decent gun regulations.

When I was living in D.C., I did a 10 minute documentary for my broadcast journalism assignment back home. I thought it would be a great topic, and since I was living in what was the 'crime capital of the USA' I thought it would be fitting.

(As a side note, I have to say I never saw any violence while living in D.C. Bethesda, actually. The subways were safe, and I knew where to stay to not get in trouble. Georgetown. And at Montgomery Mall. Joking. Getting lost in the car with my mom in a really shady neighbourhood on another trip to D.C. is, well, a whole other post!)

In order to get 'good' footage for my story, I went to a shooting range in Maryland with my friend. It was the first time I ever held a gun. The man explained what I was suppose to do and I faced my target man, and began shooting. On my very first shot, I hit my 'man' in the chest.

I was so excited! I turned around and faced my instructor, while pointing my loaded gun at him.

"Did you see that? How good am I?" I said to him, waving my gun up and down.

His face went white, and he said to me: "Please never point that loaded gun at me again."

Oops... my bad. It was just an innocent mistake. But an innocent mistake like this is what kills people every single day in the United States, Canada, and many other countries. Guns are bad. Period. In my perfect world? There would be no guns.(And no crime, and no bad people, la-di-da.)

It was a crazy experience, and it did give me some great video for my story. But I was pretty sure I'd never want to hold a gun again.

Next stop? The scariest place I've ever been - a gun show. It was in a huge warehouse, and there were tables upon tables of guns, bullets, books on making bombs, and other paraphernalia. There were hundreds of people there, all excited, holding guns, buying bullets and books, laughing, having a good time. I saw some really scary looking people that day and I wondered what all this was for? Hunting? Really? A hobby? Bizarre. And no offense, but really, guns serve only one purpose - to kill.

My brother-in-law is a police officer. I worry about the fact that he sometimes brings his gun home - even though it goes in a safe, with the bullets removed. I tell my sister all the time that when she has kids, she has to be extra careful. I've read so many horror stories about a child accidentally getting their hands on a gun in their home. We don't need this type of tragedy - this can be prevented.

I interviewed a man who worked for The Brady Centre to Prevent Gun Violence in D.C. and was told about how bad the situation with guns really is. Although this interview took place several years ago, the numbers have not changed dramatically enough to say there isn't a huge gun problem today. For whatever reason - our laws, our population - Canada doesn't have as high a gun problem. (I'm no subject matter expert, but I'm pretty sure that's the truth.)

Each day in America approximately 85 people die from guns.

816 people were killed in 2002 by a gun in Canada.

(You'll notice this number is higher than the poster shows above - remember the poster is talking about murders only.)

I'm not good at math, but I think there is a vast difference here! Yes, we have a MUCH smaller population, but there are bad people everywhere. What I think we have here are better fireams laws.

What is that saying? "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." I have to disagree - the person holding the GUN is doing the killing. No gun - no dead person.

Remember the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002 that took place in D.C.? How insane was that? 11 people were killed. Innocent people, going about their day, being shot down for no reason at all. Brutal. That story totally haunted me. Imagine the fear people had to even go to the corner store?

Is there a safe way for people to own firearms? Probably. And of course there are many responsible people who own guns. Only, all too often, these guns fall into the the wrong hands and that's where the problem lies.

Bowling for Columbine, although controversial and heavily edited, was kind of an eye opener for me. It was scary. Columbine isn't the only school that has been so tragically affected by gun violence, and this is a problem that needs to be fixed. No one should have to be scared to send their child to school.

Every three days in the USA, an entire classroom of children are killed as a result of gun violence. I'm hoping these statistics, if true, will be drastically reduced with time. Since I'm not technically an American (even though I should be an honourary citizen because I love America almost as much as Canada) I still wanted to voice my opinion on this topic because it worries me. It worried me before I became a mom, and it worries me even more now.

The gun violence in Toronto worries me, too. There was a shooting in the Eaton Centre a few years ago, on Boxing Day. A mom and daughter were out shopping, and the girl was shot dead. It was a gang related shooting, in which an innocent person was caught in the middle. This is the type of story I can't stand reading about. This is what makes me angry, and makes me wish that guns didn't exist.

How do you feel about this issue? What can be done to make the situation better and our streets safer? Or is this problem too big to ever really change?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My petty complaint

I know I shouldn't really be complaining about this, but I'm going to anyway.

I have a housekeeper who cleans my house every other week (even though she should, in fact, live with us, because my boys are wild and crazy and make a huge mess every single day) and she is a lovely lady. Very sweet, caring and giving - always bringing the boys gifts for Christmas, letting my boys follow her around, and putting up with us, generally!

She is great at what she does. For the most part. But there is this one thing she does that drives me insane, and I complain about it every time.

She washes our clothes, irons, and folds them perfectly. However, it is the way in which she stacks these perfectly ironed and folded clothes that drives me insane!

Instead of piling things in a way that would make sense, like: bottom sheet, top sheeet, pillow cases, towels, and then a pile for Christos's clothes, and then a pile for Dimitry's clothes, and so on - she does this:

Pillow case
Underwear
Dimitry shirt
Bottom sheet
Towel
Dimitry shorts
Pillow case
Bra
Towel
Christos pj bottoms
Towel
Loukia jeans
Dimitry onesie
Christos pj top
Pillow case
Dimitry onesie
Christos shirt
Dimitry shorts
Loukia shirt
Towel
Bottom sheet

Get the picture? I end up spending a good half hour having to make organized piles so I can then put everything away in the room in which they belong. This totally irritates me. So much so that I try to do all the laundry before she comes so I don't have to deal with these ridiculous, totally out-of-order piles.

Wouldn't this drive you up the wall, too?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

When a day takes a turn for the worse

Today started off good. The sun was shining, I kissed my boys goodbye, and I went to work for the morning, for a meeting. A short day in the office meant I could rush home to be with the kids all afternoon.

Also? I was having a great hair day. I put on my favourite pair of jeans and heels, and a cute white top. I felt good!

My day quickly took a turn for the worse...

When I got home, I took my boys to the grocery store and, feeling brave, decided to buy ingredients to cook dinner. Well, I should have known something was going to prevent me from cooking dinner as soon as I got the idea in my head! As is always the case.
My experience in the grocery store was a disaster. I've taken both boys alone before, and they are usually well-behaved. But today, God help us, it was a complete disaster.

Dimitry was not happy, having woken up early from his nap. Christos was okay, but stalling and getting in and out of the grocery cart. Dimitry wanted out. Then in. Then out. Then he ran down one aisle, while Christos went the other way, and I was stuck not knowing where to go. After some spilled sprinkles, dropped cupcakes, and rolled away fruit, I decided we should head home. But not before Dimitry and Christos played farmers in the fruit section, individually bagging each fruit. It was fun for a while, but I was done. I was tired, and drained. I'm sure some of you have had similar experiences at the grocery store - I hope I'm not alone here! I still had to get home to actually cook dinner, remember? (And that means a lot of extra time for this 'not-great-in-the-kitchen' mama!)

Of coures, Christos insisted on doing self check-out. Did I mention we had a ton of stuff? Anyway, to avoid a breakdown, we did the self check-out thing. Baby was totally fussy, and Christos was slowly scanning each item. Beep... beep... beep...

That's when I started looking for my car keys.
"Hmm... they're not in my purse. Let me check again... nope, not here. Okay, boys, let's go to the car to see if they're there."

We got to the car, and no keys. But the doors were unlocked. I though I must have dropped them on my way into the store, so I decided to put the bags in the trunk and take the boys back inside to see if anyone turned in any Volkswagen keys. No luck.

I called my mom, and my dad was on his way to my house to pick up my spare key to bring to me. The boys and I passed some time in the store, and I realized that me cooking dinner was not going to happen.
So, Christos, Dimitry and I went outside to wait for my dad. We were standing at the doors of the Superstore, and what do I see? My car slowly reversing... and driving away.

"Oh my God, Christos... someone is driving away in our car! No way.. OMG? Someone just stole my car?"

I was sort of laughing, while holding the umbrella under me and the boys, and sort of crying at the same time, in that "I'm a lunatic" sort of way.

I called my mom. "Mom? Someone just drove away with my car! My car just got stolen!"

She thought it might be my dad, and this made sense to me, because like, who the hell steals a car with 2 car seats in it at 4 p.m. from the grocery store?

Of course, it was not my dad, as he appeared a few minutes later. The cops arrived shortly after, and I filled out my report. The boys were playing in my dads car, but they were getting cranky again. And me? I was angry!

Who steals a car? I mean seriously! I'm the type of person who sees a 20 dollar bill on the pavement and will not pick it up just in case I'm on camera or something!

I started thinking about all the things in my car - some pictures, my diaper bag, all my groceries, my MacLaren double stroller, the car seats, and my groceries. There goes dinner!

30 minutes later, I was told my car had been found. On the other side of the grocery store. We drove around, and I saw my car, front door wide open. And, oh, the mess inside! They had taken apart that diaper bag - as if I kept a big wad of cash in there, in between the diapers and wipes! All the new back-to-school clothes I bought for Christos at Gymboree yesterday were tossed all around, and the handle of my glove box was broken.
Seriously? To whoever did this? What the hell? You didn't even open the truck to get all my groceries? You suck and I am glad I don't know you. Mean people suck. You are a bad person for doing this. Especially knowing there are 2 car seats in the car. You have no values. I hope you're caught. But really, I hope you grow the hell up and realize what you did was not right.

P.S. John Hughes passed away today.

P.P.S Went to the park with the kids after dinner (my mom brought us food) and one of my really nice flip flops broke, so I walked home with only one shoe on my foot.

Is today over yet?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Loulou's Anatomy (My take on Health Care)



No, this post has nothing to do with Grey's Anatomy, except I will be talking about doctors, and also? Aren't you excited for the season premiere? I am. I totally am.

This post is about health care. It's on all our minds. It's the most important thing I care about when it comes to who I vote for. And reading Pauline's recent posts about her views on health care, it got me thinking I should finally write about my views on this topic, too. (If you haven't read her posts yet, you should - she covers the latest developments from a US perspective.)

I feel blessed to be living in a country as great as Canada for many reasons - one being our health care system. While it is far from perfect, I think it is pretty darn good. And I've had lots of first-hand experience, which I'll talk about later on.

If you don't know much about Canada's health care system, let me summarize for you: basically, everyone gets free health care.

"Canada's national health insurance program, often referred to as "Medicare", is designed to ensure that all residents have reasonable access to medically necessary hospital and physician services, on a prepaid basis. Instead of having a single national plan, we have a national program that is composed of 13 interlocking provincial and territorial health insurance plans, all of which share certain common features and basic standards of coverage. Framed by the Canada Health Act, the principles governing our health care system are symbols of the underlying Canadian values of equity and solidarity."

Canada's universal health care system covers about 70% of expenditures. Ophthalmology and dental services account for a lot of the private expenditures in Canada. So, basically, you have to pay to to go to the dentist - if you are not insured. I have insurance through my job in the Federal Government - which pays my dental fees, massage therapy, eyeglasses, etc. The benefits and pension plan that Federal Government employees receive are excellent - not to mention the one year maternity leave we get which includes, basically, our FULL salary for the year we're off - but that's another post!

Back to health care. A recent study I read said there are approximately 45 million Americans who are uninsured at any one time. I think this number is depressing, if it is in fact accurate. That means that these people do not have access to proper health care. (Studies show that 40% of US citizens and only 5% of Canadian citizens lack adequate access to health care). That is just wrong!

I think Canada's system where everyone in entitled to health care is fair and right. Can you imagine what it must be like to be a poor mother living in the United States with a sick child who requires hospitalization, only to realize she can't receive the proper care for her child because she can't afford it? I feel terrible for people in these situations. Something should be done to allow everyone - ESPECIALLY children - access to the same care as those who can afford health care.

At the same time, I should point out that I am also a huge supporter of private health care. I think in a perfect world, in a perfect country, a two-tiered system would be allowed. Many countries already have two-tiered systems. Canada does not - yet. (Just certain provinces in Canada do.) In a two-tiered system, there would be private clinics and hospitals for people to go to if they wanted to pay. And there would still be quality hospitals for people who cannot afford to go to the private hospitals, or those who don't want to pay. There would still be 'free' hospitals and clinics, so everyone would receive the same quality care they so deserve if they are sick.

I absolutely think that there should be clinics and hospitals where a person can go to and pay to be seen faster, or to get an MRI done quicker. Many people do not agree with this concept. And I get that. But... when it comes to my health - or my children's - I want nothing but the best. Even if I have to pay for it.

Having a two-tiered health care system in place across Canada would be ideal, I think. I'd like to have a choice. If I want to pay for a certain test, I should be able to. It's my health, after all. Instead of waiting 2 months for, say, an MRI - I'd only have to wait two days. This, in turn, would actually reduce the wait times for people waiting in the public system for the same test. See? Win-win situation.

Some say Canada already has a two-tiered system - the second tier being "The USA" which is where people go if they have money and need urgent care - again, I don't see a problem with this. If need be, I'd go to my friendly neighbours for health care, too. As I am sure most of you would, as well! Of course it is not fair to those who cannot afford to do this - but if it comes down to your health, or your child's health, wouldn't you do whatever you could to make sure they are receiving the best care possible? Even it meant having to pay?

Now, the experience I have had with hospitals in Canada has been nothing but excellent, although I'm sure at the time I had a few complaints. However, when my oldest son was 12 weeks old, he had a high fever, so we rushed him to CHEO, where he was seen RIGHT AWAY, and after determining he had a kidney infection, was in a room on the 4th floor with an IV getting better. No waiting, no worries, no forms to fill out. No bill. Despite the many ultrasounds he had. Just good quality care by some excellent doctors and urologists. He was sick again when he was 6 months old, with another kindey infection, and he was in a room being treated shortly after we arrived.

This past winter, he got a bad case of pneumonia. While we did have to wait in the emergency room for a few hours to be seen, once we were seen, an x-ray was performed and he was admitted - for two weeks. He even needed surgery to drain fluid from his lung and a chest tube was in him for 4 days. He had countless x-rays, ultrasounds and a C/T scan. It was all free. (Let's not talk about the horror of seeing my child so sick - something I'll never forget.) His doctors were all brilliant and deserve all the money they make.

Sure, we are taxed super high in Canada, but holy hell, it is worth it if my child is treated so well in the hospital! I have nothing but the best things to say about our experience with CHEO and the fabulous doctors and nurses. Especially the nurses. They deserve an entire post, too. Am I too understand that there are children in the United States who get pneumonia but are not treated because their parents can't afford the insurance? Please tell me this is not the case!

What it comes down to is this - free health care = excellent. Everyone should have access to free health care, with quality doctors taking care of them, and no child should be left untreated. Every child deserves the same care. Absolutely.

It would not be harming anyone if we allowed a two-tiered health care system across Canada. I know there are private clinics in bordering provinces, and I'm thankful for that. We should be allowed to pay for a test if we want to. As long as the quality of care were to remain the same in our public hospitals.

Now, I'm not one to usually talk politics here on my blog, and please forgive me if I have any information wrong in this post. Feel free to correct me. I like to keep things light and happy on my blog, but this is an issue that weighs heavily on my mind, and I wanted to discuss it. I would love to hear your thoughts on health care, whether you live in Canada, the United States, or Europe. I am hoping everyone can be civilized with their comments, and although I have no problem with a heated debate, let's try to remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, okay?

Thanks!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Giving him the moon and stars...



I wrote a birthday post about my son turning four years old, and I wrote about his very fun birthday party, but I forgot to write about the only thing he asked for from us - a telescope! My little four year old is obsessed with the solar system - the planets, the moon, the galaxy... it fascinates him. So when he said he wanted a telescope for his birthday, we delivered!

He enjoys it so much - as do I! We've had quite a few cloudy nights, but on the clear nighs, we have seen the moon beautifully, as well as Jupiter. Yes, Jupiter! It's beyond cool.

But I'm wondering if it is cause for concernt yet? I mean, the last thing I want to be doing is raising my child to love space so much he actually wants to be an astronaut! I just could not handle that, you know. I have anxiety attacks over the thought of him going to another city for University - let alone moving out of our house if his new home is not on the same street as mine.

Just how would I handle my little boy travelling to space? Millions of miles away from me? I don't mind if he works for NASA, but from here on Earth, thank you very much. (And would that mean he'd have to live in Florida? Hmm... maybe not such a bad idea, after all...) Space travel is too scary for me.

Seriously,though - don't you get in those moods when you are looking at the stars and you start to question everything? And how really tiny and insignificant we are in comparison to the entire, vast, universe? Does it not blow your mind when you start thinking about space? It spooks me out!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Do you know where your children are?

My children don't watch a lot of television. Especially Dimitry - he just does not sit still long enough! He is too busy running around causing mass chaos wherever he goes. It's really cute, actually. But I also wouldn't mind if he sat through one 20 minutes show so I can get some work done around the house, you know?

Christos does have a few shows that I would say are his favourites, or have been at some point.

He went through a Bob the Builder phase a couple years ago. He likes Toopy and Binoo. He loves Mighty Machines and How It's Made on Discovery, and classic Bugs Bunny. He used to watch Hi-5, which I also totally loved, because everyone was so cute on that show. And the songs are totally fun to sing along to. Christos also really enjoys Max and Ruby.

I'm glad that none of these shows bother me too much. I'm thankful he doesn't like Dora, because her voice alone is enough to drive me insane. Like, seriously. Thank God I have boys.

Now, let's talk about Max and Ruby.



A harmless little show about two little bunnies. But... my gosh, Ruby is the most annoying older sister ever! Poor Max!

Also? Where are their parents? This totally bugs me. Ruby is only (I think) 7 years old, and she's totally responsible for Max. All the time. She even takes him shopping to the mall alone, with no adult supervision. And she takes him on a city bus to go visit her friend. She is only 7! And Max is only 3! (I think. Although he hardly speaks, so maybe he's closer to 2?) She feeds him, plays with him, bathes him, and helps put him to sleep. I'm all for older sister/older brother helping out and playing with their younger siblings, but come on! What are their parents doing? Who cooks their dinner? I have seen their grandmother on occasion, but still... talk about lazy parents!

Does this not drive you insane, too? Or is it just me, reading way too much into a harmless children's show?

And let's get back to poor Max. His sister is so mean to him sometimes!

And the theme song?

Max and Ruby... Ruby and Max... Max and Ruby... Ruby and Max... Max and Ruby... Ruby and her little brother Max.

Wow.

But still, cute show. I don't hate it. It's just... well, annoying, don't you think?

This post was inspired by McMommy's recent post on annoying TV characters! Thanks, McMommy!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Birthday celebrations

I could not have asked for a better day to celebrate Christos's 4th birthday party. Amazingly, it was a beautiful day, weather-wise. We were so lucky, because it pretty much rained all through July.



And having a birthday party for my 4 year old with all his friends - a dozen or so - would not have been as fun indoors, you know? (For my sanity, especially!)

Christos wanted a cotton candy machine and a popcorn machine at his birthday party, so of course, that's what we got! And the kids loved it, of course.







We ate so much food and enjoyed his beautiful cake that tasted even better than it looked!



His favourite present was a crystal making kit and this 'crystal mining kit' that he got busy with right away. I was happy too, as it kept some of the kids busy for a while!







It was a great day... and I wasn't even that emotional - I'm so happy my baby boy is 4 years old! I have a 4 year old... so cool.

My baby is 4 years old!

August 1st, 2005.

The day my life changed forever.
The happiest day of my life.
The day my first son was born.
The last day I had a Starbucks coffee in peace. Just kidding.

I was a complete mess those first few days. I couldn't properly burp you, I could not fall asleep for more than few minutes at a time, so anxious was I about you, my new baby. The fact that I was responsible for you was scary. But as the days went on, the easier it got. I can say this, though - I was instantly, madly, head-over-heels in love with you, my Christos. You were the most beautiful baby I had ever seen!



The first day in the hospital, you lifted your head to look around. I was amazed at the strength you had, even as a one day old baby. You were born with a full head of beautiful hair - at first, curly, like mine, but after your first bath, stick-straight, like your dad.

Those first 12 months were the best of my life - every first with you was amazing - your first smile, your first crawl, your first time walking - each day, such a joy. You are filled with sunshine and happiness. You made me realize the power of love, and the deepness of worry.



When you turned 2, I couldn't believe how quickly you had grown. A little boy, leaving the baby-ness behind, talking, playing, exploring. You have always been smart and wise beyond your years - you're an observer, very sensitive, very caring, so curious. I love to play with you - I love being involved. You won't find me sitting on the bench at the park - I'm there, in the sand with you, going down the slide with you, and pushing you higher on the swings.



You turned 3, and again, I wondered where the years had gone - another year of laughter and amazement with you. Everything you do makes me proud. Well, maybe not when you're angry or throwing a temper tantrum, but for the most part - you're such a happy boy who wants to learn something new everyday. You're very attached to your father, and you listen to him more than you listen to me. He has you completely under control! I love seeing the great relationship you have, and at times, I get jealous seeing how much you look up to him. But in the middle of the night... "Mommy!" is who you call out for, and that's all I need to hear.



Now you are 4. 4!





You continue to amaze me daily. You can draw stick people and write letters, and I have kept every single one of them, as I consider them masterpieces. You're a big brother, and a great one at that. You love everything construction - I'm convinced if you don't become an astronaut or a doctor, you will own your own construction company. That would make me proud, too. I do hope you get out of the phase of wanting to be a garbage man, though.

You start school soon. You are ready. I am not, but that's another story altogether. I hope you don't get bored in class, as you like to do 'adult' things, like take apart computers and talk about mother-boards in your spare time, or list the planets in our solar system in order to me. You show me the milky way galaxy in your books.

You make Greek salad better than I do! You're already teaching me things and you're only 4.

I love when we get alone time, when I'm reading to you, when I snuggle with you at night. I love every single thing you say. You have a little Borat-like accent that is so adorable it makes me laugh. I am a very over-protective mom, and I'm trying to step back now, as you're growing up. Trying hard. But it's not easy to let go, you know. You are my darling baby boy, forever and ever. You and brother have blessed me in ways I cannot describe.

Happy Birthday, my 4 year old! You're a big boy now... and growing more everyday... but you'll always be my baby.

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