Thursday, April 28, 2011

Insectophobia

Summer.

It's just around the corner, and for this, I'm very grateful, especially since we haven't had a good spring at all. The weather has been awful. It's been cold, raining, hailing, and yes, even snowing. Thanks a lot, spring.

Summer, though. Summer is different. It's the season of love, sunshine, and happiness. The season of sun-kissed skin, flirty dresses, and pretty shoes. Swimming every day, BBQ's at night, and cold beverages enjoyed with friends on patios. It's definitely my favourite season.

There is almost nothing I don't like about summer. Except for this one thing...

Insects. Bugs. Wasps, bees, ants, earwigs, spiders and centipedes. These are the things I can do without. I used to wake up my father at all times of the night just to kill the smallest of insects, if one was in my room. I used to kill mosquitos with hair spray, because at least I didn't have to touch them that way.

I have a serious fear of bugs. So bad, in fact, that I've even put my life in danger.

A few years ago I noticed a spider on my arm, crawling on my olive green Banana Republic coat, as I was driving home. Not knowing what to do to get this creature off of me, I started screaming. And smashing my arm against the window of my car, to kill it. I didn't realise at the time that I was also weaving in and out of three lanes on a very busy road. Thankfully, it was late at night, and I was pretty much the only one driving at the time. Otherwise a major accident would have occured. All because of this stupid spider.

When I was on maternity leave, I was in the kitchen cleaning up while my baby was taking a nap in his room. That's when I noticed a giant wasp on the banister of the stairs. I panicked. I sat there, for 15 minutes, just staring at the wasp. I quickly sent a text to my husband, asking him to come home from work to help me. I was in major distress, because I had no way of getting to my sleeping child. What if he woke up and needed me? Or, worse—what if the wasp started flying towards his room? How does one actually kill a flying wasp, anyway? Eventually, the wasp moved and I was able to rescue my baby before he woke up, but that was a situation I never want to be in again!

Another time, when I was living in D.C., a centipede—the insect I am freaked out the most by—scurried into my closet. What could be worse than a centipede entering your closet? Argh. Pretty much nothing. I did what any sane person would do: I took out all my clothes and laid them on the floor of the family room. I inspected each item, and when I was certain there was no centipede just waiting to crawl down my back, I left them neatly on a pile on the couch for the next several months. I never opened that closet again.

I believe the fear of bugs—insectophobia—runs in the family. Driving home from dinner one night, my sister suddenly slammed on her brakes in the middle of the street. I nearly rear-ended her. She ran out, onto the sidewalk. I quickly pulled over to see what was wrong, and she said to me, nearly in tears: "There is a spider in my car!" Yes, she did abandon her car in the middle of the street. I can't remember what happened next, except I know we both made it home alive.

The most embarrassing thing about my fear is how I behave in front of my children. We'll be outside together, enjoying a beautiful day, and suddenly, I'll start waving my arms, running in circles, and screaming like a lunatic if I see a bee or wasp.

I have even (Oh, GOD, parenting award of the year) run into my house if a bee gets near, closing the door behind me, leaving my kids vulnerable to attack! I know, right? What kind of mother am I? Instead of telling my boys they won't get stung if they just stand still, I tell them how when I was nine years old, enjoying a bike ride to the corner store to buy Nerds and FunDip, I got stung by a bee. Just like that! And again, last summer. I was just walking, and boom, I got stung. So yeah, they DO attack innocent people. And now, I have made my children scared, too.

However, don't be alarmed. They are still very much little boys who love playing in the mud and touching worms. Which, as I'm sure you are aware, makes me cry a little inside.

I guess there are worse fears to have, right? And if you know of a way I can get over this phobia of mine, please let me know!

(Oh, and hey! If you wanted to hear all about the Royal ParTea I attended with Jeanne Beker - completely bug-free, thank you very much—you can read all about it here, online in Ottawa At Home Magazine!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

THE event of the year!

Sadly, I won't be making it to London in time for THE biggest wedding of the year, even though I had the perfect outfit planned for the occasion. My invitation was also lost in the mail, but really, these things happen, so I'm not that upset.

Instead of staying home and feeling sad that I'm not at the wedding of the year, rubbing elbows with the Beckham family, and asking Victoria just how many nannies she employees, I will be at THE biggest event of the season, right here in beautiful Ottawa.


I was invited to attend and cover the Royal ParTea, a fashion fundraiser for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, with Jeanne Beker, Canada's very own Queen of Fashion herself. She's a TV personality, a journalist, an author, a jet setter, and pretty much as close to Canadian royalty as you can get. I'll be writing all about this event for Ottawa At Home Magazine, too, complete with pictures, so stay tuned for that!

The event is a Royal Wedding preview, taking place in the elegant 4th floor gallery of the stunning Museum of Nature tomorrow afternoon. Tickets for this event are $250 a person, and with only 125 invitations, you can rest assured it will be one elegant event.


The Royal ParTea will also be hosted by CTV's Carol Ann Meehan, and will feature an exciting fashion show with Kate Middleton inspired fashions from St. Laurent Centre. Adding to the pomp and circumstance: the Governor General's footguards will also be front and centre at the party.


We will be treated to champagne, taste treats, and a delicious high tea service by Thyme and Again. Of course, no event if complete without a fabulous goodie bag and this unique gift bag is filled with full-sized products from Chanel, Pandora, Dior, Crabtree & Evelyn, and more.


As we're sipping our tea, Jeanne Beker will be giving us the inside scoop on the Royal Wedding before she leaves for London for the real thing. She's been travelling back and forth, visiting with all the suppliers of the Royal Wedding, and I can't wait to find out all the fun details of Kate and Will's big day!

There are still a few tickets left for this event, and if you'd like to support this amazing cause, you can purchase your tickets here.


Hope to see you there. And if you can't make it, I'll give you all the details later, anyway!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Everything you wanted to know about Greek Easter

It should come as no surprise to you that the biggest celebration of the year for Greek people revolves around food.

There are many things I love about being Greek, and Easter is one of them. The week leading up to Easter—Holy Week—is where people of Greek Orthodox faith are more well behaved than any other time of year. I can't say that's true for me, since I don't even fast, but I know there are a few good Greek Christians out there, somewhere!

On Good Friday, children are brought to church to help decorate and place flowers on the 'coffin' of Jesus, and, on Good Friday, we don't eat much. You will find many grumpy Greek people on this day. We basically eat boiled water and perhaps a fruit or two.

Saturday night before Easter, we go to church for midnight mass. Several thousand Greek people pack into our relatively small church, all holding candles. The children's candles are always the most decorated, and beautiful, and are traditionally given to them by their Godparents.



Right before midnight, all the lights are turned off, and the church remains lit only by the Eternal Flame on the altar. At midnight, the Priest calls out "Christos Anesti" and passes the flame to everyone around him, until all the candles are lit. We all kiss each other, (and this can take up to an hour because we keep bumping into people we know) and it's such pretty sight, the thousands of flickering candles, as we make our way outside at midnight.

Of course, the night is not complete without a few ladies burning their hair, but we have grown accustomed to the smell of hair catching on fire, and to the feeling of warm wax falling onto our hands.

After church , we drive home, candles still lit. We get weird looks from people in other cars, who are wondering why we're holding lit candles in the car. (I don't even want to know what would happen if an airbag popped open.) We do this to make a sign of the cross with the candle once we get home, under the door frame, in smoke. The burned cross remains there throughout the year, symbolizing that the light of the Resurrection has blessed the home.

The candles are then placed around the dinner table for the midnight meal. Before we begin eating, we break eggs with eachother. This is a challenge called "tsougrisma". Who ever has the strongest egg is the winner. Of what? I don't quite know, but it's still fun to win.

Greek Easter for me is all about the warm and delicious smell of my grandmother's fresh baked Easter bread, tsoureki, yummy koulouria, Greek cookies, dyed red eggs, and of course, the lamb. Oh, the lamb...

On Easter Sunday, Greek men (and women) wake up at the crack of dawn to get the spits and grills all fired up for the big feast, and for the lambs. Around noon, we start ripping off the meat, and eating. We also enjoy other food, like Greek chicken rice soup, cheese, bread, potatoes, salads, pasta dishes, and more meat. So much more.

It's the beginning of a two day feast where basically, we just eat and sleep, in rotation, with friends and family. We listen to Greek music, dance, break some plates, and say "Xristos Anesti" over and over again, and continue eating, until we can't take it anymore. Tents are put up in backyards, everyone has a drink in their hand, and we party hard.


Of course, chocolate is also important for Greek people celebrating Easter, too, and every year I have an Easter egg hunt for my children in our house before the real festivities begin.

Along with the candles, new shoes and outfits are purchased for children from their Godparents, and if you're ever at someone's house, celebrating Greek Easter with them, and you're not sure what that guy's name is? Just call him George. Nine times out of ten, you'll be right.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The news this week

Like many of you, I start my day by drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee and reading the news, in print, and online.

Every week, a few stories fall into one of three categories for me: Ridiculous, Are You Serious, and Complete Craziness. And every week, a few people from the entertainment world say a quote or two worth repeating.

I present to you the top three stories of the week, and the quotes that had me laughing the most.
Ridiculous:

Last week, I received my J.Crew catalogue in the mail and as usual, I flipped through the pages to see which items I would add to my 'must-buy' and 'lust-after' list. I love everything about J.Crew. I also love buying my boys clothes from crewcuts; the shirts are tagless, and super soft.

Yesterday I read about the controversy over a picture of the company's creative director, Jenna, with her son. The picture shows an adorable little dude, laughing with his mom. A happy moment, captured on film. Ad or no ad, it looked real to me. Her son also happens to be wearing pink nail polish; "Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite colour is pink," Jenna said in the caption.

This little boy, who likes the colour pink, has made the news. Because he's wearing nail polish. The horror! Seriously? This is not a big deal. Every time I paint my toes, my boys ask me to paint their toes, too. I never say no. I do take off the polish before we leave the house, but if they wanted to keep it on, I'd be okay with that. When my youngest son wanted a pink plasma car, that's what he got. I wasn't going to tell him blue was better because he's a boy. In the morning, when I'm putting on my make-up, my son sits on the counter, putting on make-up too. I wash his face after, but I'm not harming him by letting him try on my lipstick.

There is no harm in a little boy wearing nail polish. Just like there is nothing wrong with my three year old playing with a doll or riding a pink plasma car. Just like there was nothing wrong with me playing Star Wars and He-Man when I was a little girl.

Let kids be kids. Let them live in their innocent world of colour and make-belief and imaginary friends. Boys can wear pink and girls can play hockey. Every child is unique. My five year old loves books and collecting coins. He'd rather be reading than playing hockey. And I'm okay with that. My boys, similar in some ways, are also very different little characters. I embrace their differences and I love seeing their personalities develop, no matter what their favourite colour is. Let's worry about bigger issues.

Are You Serious?

An air traffic controller failed to respond to two planes that were landing at Reagan National Airport in D.C. recently.

Why? Because he was asleep! I know being an air traffic controller is one the hardest jobs there is; I have a hard enough time keeping up with Tweetdeck, so I get it. It's a hard job. But. It's a serious job! It's one thing to fall asleep in your office with your hand on your mouse, it's a totally different thing to fall asleep when you're directing AIR TRAFFIC and have hundreds of lives in your hands. The air traffic controller was working his fourth consecutive overnight shift when he fell asleep. Someone needs a new job. And thanks to this new fear I have of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job, I will be increasing my dose of Ativan the next time I fly.

Compete Craziness!

Garbage. We all make it. We all have it. We all think it stinks. Luckily, we live in a society where garbage trucks pick up our trash every week. For this I'm grateful, but at the same time, I pay thousands upon thousands of dollars in taxes to this lovely city of mine and therefore, I kind of think it's a given that someone will come pick up my trash. It is a service I pay for, after all. And I don't like being told I have to seperate my trash in blue, red, yellow, pink and green bins. I recycle, yes, but I also don't want to have to think about where to place every item that needs tossing. My lovely city will be reducing our garbage pick-up to every two weeks starting next year. That should make for a fun, maggot-filled, stinky summer!

Awesome quotes of the week:

My favourite news man, Anderson Cooper, had this to say about Snooki:

"I'm telling you, Snooki is one impossibly lucky, unusually spunky, freakishly tan, beer guzzling, juicehead hugging, muscle loving, Botero body, pint-sized money-making machine."

And funny Greek man, Zach Galifianakis, offered some advice about Twitter:

"Like, I would advise people that while it's okay to tweet about your paper-towel purchase, I really don't want to know about what shape your stool is in."

And look! A quote from another funny Greek, the always brilliant Tina Fey, on expecting her second baby:

"I'm not sure I'm remembering correctly, but I think it hurts a lot when they come out."

Do you love Glee and Sex and the City? Then you'll appreciate this quote from Lea Michele:

"I totally figured it out: Rachel Berry grown-up is Charlotte York from Sex and the City, if Charlotte were raised in Ohio by two gay men."



And that's your week in news! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What to expect when you become a mom

No matter how much you think you know about becoming a mom—no matter how many books you’ve read on the subject, no matter how many conversations you’ve had with friends, no matter how many summers you spent babysitting as a teenager—until your baby is placed in your arms, you don’t know a thing, really.

I was clueless when I became a mom for the first time. I never really spent a lot of time with babies except to ooh and aah over them. When I became a mom for the first time, I didn't have any friends who already had children (except for my best friend who had also just given birth) so it was a brand new world for me. No one really told me what to expect.

By the time I had my second baby, I felt like an expert. I worried less. I slept more. And as time went by, life got a whole lot easier. Still, everyday is an adventure...



Here are a few things you can expect when you become a mom:

You will walk around topless the first week after bringing your baby home because your boobs are constantly in use.

You will learn the words to and sing every children's song ever invented. Even in public. Embarrassing yourself takes some getting used to, but you'll adapt. Sometimes, you will sing along with these songs even when your children aren’t in the car with you. You might even catch yourself watching Sesame Street when the children have long since left the room.

You will roll your eyes at every childless person who complains they are tired. They have NO IDEA. You manage to do it all with only four hours of broken sleep a night. (For five years!)

You'll cry out in pain when you step on LEGO. Stepping on LEGO is not something you can avoid.

You will chase your children around with food begging them to eat, while your blood pressure reaches dangerous levels.

You will never go to the bathroom in peace again.

You will give your children tampons to play with so you can enjoy just two more minutes in the shower.

You will lose five pounds in sweat as you watch your toddler touch every part of a public bathroom.

You will have a nervous breakdown when your child uses the bathroom at a dirty truck stop in the middle of nowhere.

You will have nightmares about this incident for years to come.

You will invest heavily in hand sanitizer.

You will become an expert at negotiating with small terrorists who have vocal chords that can shatter glass.

You will discover why grocery shopping should be done alone.

You will learn to change a diaper in the dark while warming up a bottle of milk at the same time.

You will sit through a business meeting in a crisp white shirt, looking professional, only to realize later that you have leaked a little from your left breast.

You will have your eyeballs poked, your skin scratched, and your hair pulled every day.

You will become emotional over every little thing. I get teary-eyed looking at doodles my children draw for me, I still melt with each hug I receive, and I love sleeping beside my children.

All sorts of commercials will make you cry.

You will become your child's most important teacher; not only will you teach your children how to write, how to read, and how to count, you'll also teach them to share, to give back, and to never give up.

You will also be your child's biggest supporter. Goal or no goal, I never stop cheering for my son from the sidelines.

Your dinner will sometimes consist of what you've picked up from the floor.

You'll get to play in the sand again, and swing high on the swings along with your children.

What words of wisdom would you give to a new mom? What do you wish you had known? What have you learned since you became a parent?

Monday, April 11, 2011

African Cats

I was sitting in the movie theatre a few weeks ago anxiously awaiting the start of some movie (can't remember which one—I have a terrible memory, and plus, I mostly go for the popcorn, anyway) and a preview for African Cats appeared on the big screen.
Within seconds, I was crying. And almost choking on my popcorn, which we all know is like the number one killer. You know how those kernals get stuck in the weirdest place under your tongue and nothing gets them un-stuck? Anyway. As I was almost dying, I was also wiping away my tears, because the preview for the movie was so emotional!

The music, (in case you're wondering, the song in the trailer is Life Is Beautiful, by Vega 4) along with the images of the African cats taking care of their babies, nearly did me in. African Cats is a true story that takes places in, you guessed it, Africa. Right away, you know it's going to be a breathtakingly beautiful movie to watch, but what's even more amazing is that the movie is a true story.

The movie is narrated by one of my favourite actors, Samuel L. Jackson, and the story revolves around Mara, a little lion cub who strives to grow up with her mother's strength, (see, I'm tearing up already) spirit, and wisdom; Sita, a cheetah and single mother of five mischievous newborns; and Fang, a proud leader of the pride who defends his family from a rival lion and his sons.

I totally imagine The Lion King, only in real life. Of course, since this IS a Disney movie, I expect that we are all going to cry.

There are many wonderful perks to blogging, like receiving advanced screening passes to movies I know my children will love. When I was asked if I wanted to attend the advanced screening of African Cats, I said yes right away. My oldest son will be completely captivated by this movie, so we're definitely going to bring him. I think this movie is not suitable for my three year old, though, and knowing his attention span, (although he can watch Home Alone over and over again) we'll leave him home for this one.

African Cats is the third release from Disneynature—the first two, if you remember, were Earth, and Oceans. Both movies truly amazed me.

African Cats opens nationwide on April 22nd—Earth Day!

I've been given two family passes to the advanced screening of African Cats—a family four pass for Ottawa, taking place on April 18th at 7 p.m., and a family four pass for the Toronto screening, taking place on the same day, at the same time. (I'll email the details to the winners!)

If you would like to see African Cats a week before everyone else, just leave me a comment and I'll pick the winner Friday, April 15! (Just let me know if you want to go to the Ottawa or Toronto screening.)


Hakuna Matata!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Wearing an apron... but leaving on the heels!

Last week, after breakfast, I baked a chocolate cake. After the measuring, pouring, and mixing were finished, I put it in the oven, set the timer, and looked at the clock on my kitchen wall.

"Oh, no! Kids! We have to leave RIGHT NOW for swimming lessons!"

I took the cake out of the oven, threw it away, and drove off to the Athletic Club with my family for Sunday swimming lessons. Almost every time I try to bake, or cook, something will go wrong. Without fail.

I'm not very domestic. I don't beat myself up over this, though—there are other things I excel at.

Although I'm no Martha Stewart in the kitchen, I do very much love food. That's the first step, right?

In my quest to become a better cook, I happily accepted the role of being a Life Made Delicious connector with General Mills. As soon as I heard the words 'easy recipes' I was on-board! Also, there are tons of healthy and easy-to-cook recipes for kids on their site, too.

In working with General Mills, I'm able to try out new and easy recipes my entire family can enjoy. A few days ago, I came home from work and was greeted with an amazing box of goodies from General Mills, filled with all sorts of food. My boys quickly dove in, picking their 'favourite' items, and started eating. Cheerios, Betty Crocker cake mix and icing, Green Giant veggies, Nature Valley granola bars, (my absolute favourite!) Old El Paso salsa and tortillas, and Fibre One bars and cereal—our pantry was stocked!




During the week, I'm fortunate, because although I'm stuck in an office all day, (okay, there are some perks to this—lunch dates with friends, hair appointments, and shopping trips over the lunch hour) my family takes care of my children. My parents, grandparents, and in-laws baby-sit, and since we're Greek, my children eat healthy, home-cooked meals five days a week.

On the weekend, though, I like to cook for my boys. I don't want them to have no memory of their mom in the kitchen, you know?

This weekend, I'm going to try the Garden Fresh Lasagna. Apparently, it can be ready in 30 minutes. That's less time than it takes to get a blow-dry!




The steps to prepare this meal didn't make me run away screaming from my computer, like some recipes do.

Let me speak 'cooking' to you. All you need is:

A package of lean (or extra lean) ground beef
2 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup milk
1 box Hamburger Helper Lasagna
1/2 tsp of dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tomato—chop, chop chop!
1 bell pepper, 1 zucchini—chop, chop, chop!
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Easy so far, right? Now, in a 10-inch skillet (I just call it a frying pan thingy) cook the beef until it's well, cooked. You know. Drain. Next! Stir in hot water, milk, uncooked pasta and sauce mix (from the Hamburger Helper box), oregano and garlic powder. Heat to boiling, while stirring. Then, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, and keep stirring occasionally. Pop in your veggies and cheese! Cover, simmer, and remove from heat. Stir it up and... voila!

"KIDS! DINNER IS READY!"

Besides great dinner ideas, I'm excited to try baking some adorable Easter cupcakes.






There is no way I can screw these up. And I promise to post lots of pictures of the results!

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Time Out

Two days ago, I received a phone call from my mother that almost caused me to have a heart attack at work.

She was laughing so hard on the phone I thought she was crying. This happens all the time, when she calls. She'll call to tell me something funny, and she'll be laughing on the phone before she can even say hello back to me, and right away, I think of the worst possible scenario. And it's not because I've been watching too many episodes of Criminal Minds; it's because I worry about everything all.the.time.

Once I realised that no one I loved was in grave danger, I relaxed.

"Dimitry got his first time-out!" she said to me, laughing.

My reaction? "Oh, my poor baby!"

Followed by: "Oh! My poor baby! Hahahahahahaha!"

I couldn't stop laughing at the thought of my child in a time-out. See, we've had it really good so far—our oldest son is the most attentive, most well-behaved child ever in the classroom. Last month, he received the Star of the Month for his school, for being kind to others. The words of praise I hear from his teachers make me feel proud, and I realise that I must be doing something right. My oldest son won't be spending too much time in detention when he's older, I'm sure of it.

However... I have a feeling I'll be on the receiving end of many phone calls from the principal's office when my youngest son is older.



Seems my baby and I are cut from the same cloth. I spent many a lunch break in the principal's office in high school.

"Loukia, you're late again?" my principal would sigh, as I would take my seat in front of him.

"I can explain, though!" I'd always start. "I didn't have any gel for my hair so I ran to the corner store to get some. That's why I was late."

Don't get me wrong—my baby is the sweetest child. He is most definitely a mamma's boy. He loves to snuggle with me, and he always falls asleep with his arms wrapped around my neck. He is caring, observant, and oh-so-smart. He's fiercely independent; he basically toiled trained himself. He's also very determined.



During his Monday morning playgroup, he apparently told his teacher to shut-up because he was not happy with what she was saying to him. (If you ask him, though, he'll say he got a time out because he dropped something.) He sat quietly during his time out, and rejoined the group when it was time.

"It was only for two mikins, mommy," he said to me when I talked to him on the phone.

When I got home from work, I gave him a kiss and a hug and sat him down and explained to him that he can't say that word to his teacher—or to anyone, really—again. I told him it wasn't nice, and that his teacher is a very good person, who does a good job taking care of him.

After we had our little talk, I started laughing again. The idea of my little dude in a time out still brings a smile to my face. Even when he's in trouble, I find him simply irresistible!

Oh, hey! I have a Green Works giveaway going on right now on my review blog. Go enter to win a great big package of cleaning products! Because I know how much you all LOVE to clean!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pure happiness

You know that feeling when you heart is going to burst because you're that happy? And your happiness is a result of seeing your child so happy their heart is about to burst? That's the kind of happiness we experienced this weekend, when we took our son to the Royal Canadian Mint on a tour. Seeing your children happy is the best feeling on earth. It's a million times more amazing than the happiness that comes from a great shopping trip. (Even though a great shopping trip is pretty awesome, too.)



My oldest son has four piggy banks and each one holds money for specific things: spending, sharing, saving and schooling. He most recently used some of his 'saving' money and bought his baby niece something when we were in Florida. We spent over an hour looking for the perfect 'something' to gift her with.

He often counts his money, while learning about math and the value of a dollar at the same time. We took a tour of the Mint a few years ago, before my five year became fascinated with coins, currency and gold bars.

A few years ago, you could say he enjoyed the tour of the Hershey's chocolate factory more, and really—could you blame him? This time, though, he got dressed with care, brushed his teeth with no complaints, and could hardly contain his excitement on the drive there.



Having recently received his very own one ounce gold bar (his first investment piece, aww...) he wanted to see first-hand how these bars were made. Right here in the city he lives in!



At one point during the tour, I looked over at him and saw him listening intently, with a little smile on his face, and I had to hold back my tears. I didn't want to look like the weirdest mom ever on this tour by bursting into tears, you know? But it warmed my heart, to see him so happy. That's one of the best parts about being a mom. I'm not ashamed to say that my happiness is their happiness, and I do whatever I can to make sure they're always happy. Even if it means giving in when I know I'm not supposed to.

After the tour, he got to hold one very heavy gold bar. "It weighs as much as Dimitry!" he said, laughing. He was very impressed, and wished he could take it home. (Me too, sweetheart, me too...)



Later, when we went for lunch downtown, he told us how much he loved the tour, and that it was even more fun than the dinosaur museum—another one of his favourite places to visit.



We have family memberships to every museum in the city, and our weekends are often spent at one of them, making memories and watching our children explore and learn new things. It's a world of discovery for them, and I love having front-row seats to each new experience they have. Nothing warms my heart more.

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