Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Graduation Day

We've come a long, long way together...
Through the hard times and the good,
I have to celebrate you baby...
I have to praise you like I should.
Fatboy Slim

Two years ago, my oldest son started kindergarten. I was really worried. I had a million different fears, but mostly, I was scared of how he would adapt in school since it was his his first time in that environment. I worried if he would go the bathroom if he had to. If he would eat his snack. If his teacher would be nice. If he'd make friends. It was a lot of worry!

We went to meet his teacher a few days before school started, and it did not go well at all. However, as the days and weeks went by, he started loving school. Really loving school, and his teacher, and his classmates. He was thriving, and I was proud. The last day of school was emotional for other reasons, and marked the end of 12 amazing months.

"Say cheese!" I said to my little junior kindergarten graduate, and was given a huge smile and two thumbs up.

The first day of school this year started off a little sad.

But I was hopeful.

My little dude is a thinker, a learner, and a lover of books. He would rather watch The Discovery Channel than go see Cars 2, loves to collect coins and money and studies the Periodic Table of Elements on the ipad. It scares me how much he knows!

The best part of his kindergarten journey has been his incredible teacher, Mrs. P. She was exactly the teacher he needed. Patient, loving, kind, fair, understanding, and caring. Attentive to each child's needs. As her thank you gift, we are giving her an original painting made by my mom of a teacher and children outside the school. I wanted something to show her how much she meant to us.

Today, my five year old is graduating kindergarten. And now? I am filled with anxiety over the fact that he will be started Grade One in the fall.

A full day of school. With recess twice a day!

Will he eat all his lunch?
What if he gets thirsty?
What if he has a hard time getting his snow pants on and off?
Will he have fun with his friends?
What if he's tired?
Will he eat his snacks?

Sigh. Never ending worry!


Today, though, I'm just going to enjoy celebrating the last day of kindergarten with my son.


My little graduate!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Where I'm From

I am from high top sneakers and push down socks, from Fashion Plates and Cabbage Patch Kids, from Rainbrow Brite, see the shining light, and my favourite Lucky Care Bear.



I am from Nerds and Archie comics, a best friend who lived next door, and She-Ra, Princess of Power. I am from banana clips that never stayed in my thick, unruly hair, neon bandanas, and Scooby Dooby Doo, I love you.

I am from brown carpet on the stairs of my old home that I used to pretend was quicksand so we could play Star Wars, falling into Jabba the Hutt's pit.

I am from a living room with giant bay windows, overlooking the forest, and trees swaying in the wind. I am from never ending summer days and building space ships to take us to the moon.

I am from the days of terry cloth dresses and jelly shoes. I am from the little orange television set in our kitchen, the television set that started my fascination with news one cold day in January, 1986, the day the Challenger exploded right before my eyes, tears streaming down my face.

I am from a home that had no fireplace, so Santa wasn't real to me. But the love was plentiful. I am from Monchichi and My Little Pony, and smelling Strawberry Shortcake's hair. I am from a yellow Sony walkman, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, outfits from Esprit and Benetton, and penny loafers.


I am from the smell of fresh baked bread, big Greek family dinners, and cracking red eggs at Easter. I am from staying up really late to go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. I am from strong family traditions.

I am from worry and anxiety attacks.

I am from "Be nice to your sister," and "Loukia, did you get in trouble again?"

I am from Greece and Canada, McDonald's as a treat after Greek School on Saturday mornings, and Pastitso baking in the oven on Sunday nights.

I am from bike rides to the 7-11, family picnics at Mooney's Bay, and Mediterranean summers.

I am from Hilroy notebooks filled with cut-out pictures from Bop magazine, dance recitals, jazz hands, and singing camp songs on bumpy buses. I am from shopping trips with my father to buy the very best camping backpack (it was bright blue) for my first—and only, my God—camping trip, complete with tents. I almost got eaten by a bear, I swear.


I am from rubber band and gimp bracelets, mis-matched earrings, and Bonne Bell shimmer lip gloss in a tube, given to me by my favourite babysitter.




I am from rocks and stamp collections, carving soap on my front porch, and collecting spoons from cities I had visited. I am from watching Annie seven million times, and keeping a diary and writing bad poetry when I was 12.

I am from burning my nose on a car lighter in grade 6, and being made fun of every day for weeks on end. "Hi, Rudolph!" they'd all say. I'm from reading my first 'novel' that my mom bought me, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Bloom, in the basement of 58 Greenboro. I'm from lying in bed next to my mother and holding on to her hair so she wouldn't leave.

I'm from taking care of my baby sister, running with her in my arms, and dropping her when she was just a baby, head first, into the cold concrete on a Toronto sidewalk, and being yelled at all the way to the hospital.

I am from "But daddy, I promise I won't do it again..." and "Yes, I studied. Yes, I swear." I am from Alyssa Milano hair and crushes on Tony Danza and Kirk Cameron.

I am from a big wooden box filled with pictures of my childhood, the smell of moth balls in my grandmother's chest in her apartment in Greece filled with trinkets and old passports, and memories that are so fresh in my mind, they make me smile.



This writing prompt has been going around the blogosphere this week, and it is such a great trip through memory lane. You really should do this, too—I'd love to read about where you're from.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Girlfriends

"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve." Stand by Me

I've had the same group of best friends since I was 12. Maybe even youger. We have been friends since before we waxed our eyebrows. We have been friends since the days we wore our hair in a 'poufs', as we called it, and teased our bangs to look like Alyssa Milano. Definitely since crop tops and high-waisted jeans worn with skinny leather belts bought at Guess were in style.

Since before 90210. Probably since the beginning of Who's The Boss.

My best friends are awesome. And we've been through it all together. Bad hairstyles, awful jeans, pleather pants and tops, sequined tube tops and Tretorn running shoes. We have been together since skinny jeans were first in style, perfected with safety pins.

We have spooked ourselves with the Ouija board, watched Girls Just Want to Have Fun more than one million times, and danced all night long.

We have travelled to Venezuela, Florida, California, Toronto, and Greece. We have lived together as college roommates, and interned together in Washington, D.C. We mastered the subway, almost got kidnapped, and had VIP access to the hottest clubs. We went to the same university, joined a sorority, skipped classes and studied (yeah, studied—ha!) in the library together.

We were together when we discovered the INTERNET.

We've shed tears, yelled at each other, kept each other's secrets, and gotten in trouble.

We were in each other's weddings.

We had babies.



Half of us can now commiserate over how tired we are. We don't sleep much anymore.

We have overcome tragedy and have laughed so hard it hurt. We have stories to tell, nights we don't remember, and nights we remember as clearly as if they happened yesterday.

We have seen eachother naked far too many times, and have no shame around one another. Going to the bathroom with the door open and continuing conversations while we're peeing is second nature to us.




Although we no longer all live in the same city (half of us are in Ottawa, the other half, Toronto) we see each other as often as we can.


Every year, we always plan a girls getaway weekend. We do it up Sex and the City style. Except we don't go anywhere as exotic as Abu Dhabi. (There is definitely a Samantha in our group, though!)

This year I was lucky to be invited to the Brookstreet Hotel for the weekend, and of course, I had to bring my best friends with me to experience it all.


I even bought new shoes to celebrate! (They were on sale, and I didn't go over budget! I even returned a dress to justify the Burberry shoe purchase. See how good I am?)
This past weekend, we kissed our kids goodbye, suffered minor anxiety attacks, hit the LCBO for alcohol, stocked up on junk food, and made our way to the hotel for a weekend of fun and relaxation.

Saturday started with breakfast on Elgin Street, our old stomping grounds during our university days, and then we hung out around the pool of the Brookstreet Hotel and girl talked for about three hours. We took pictures...


and had some yummy drinks...

We talked some more. And laughed. A lot. Then we got ready for a night out. A night that would keep us all awake well past midnight. A night that included a fun car ride with a designated driver (thanks, Z!) and lots of wine.

It was a perfect weekend, at a perfect hotel. I think it's really important to try to get away at least once a year with your closest girlfriends to re-connect, to unwind, and to relax. And, of course, to party like it's 1999. With better hair. And, fine, with not as perfect abs, but whatever.

The Brookstreet is a great hotel complete with an amazing spa, gorgeous outdoor saltwater pool overlooking a PGA approved golf course, and five-star dining. I would most certainly go back.

The weekend went by far too quickly, and it was back to reality in suburbia. It was a memorable weekend with fabulous girlfriends, and for a little while, it felt like we were 12 again.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Motherhood is...

Motherhood is a million different emotions exposed every single day.

Motherhood is letting your toddler use your dress as a Kleenex, and being okay with the fact that you're walking around in public very stained.

Motherhood is reading 10 books at 10:30 p.m. to a three year old who will not fall asleep, no matter what.

Motherhood is saving the last bite for your child.

Motherhood is trading your awesome French Vanilla ice cream (sigh) for the Superkid flavour.

Motherhood is sliding down a metal slide in a too short dress and feeling the burn, just because it makes your child laugh.

Motherhood is sleeping only five hours a night for over five years, and not even caring anymore.

Motherhood is waking up in a panicked state, remembering the school bake sale the next day.

Motherhood, in turn, is baking cupcakes at midnight.

Motherhood is sharing a knowing look with your child, and receiving smiles that melt your heart over and over again.

Motherhood is grinning and bearing it.

Motherhood is exploring your surroundings, and spending hours collecting the perfect sea shells.

Motherhood is going pee with a baby in your arms, and a three year old at your feet, in a tiny airplane bathroom.

Motherhood is losing five pounds from the stress and sweat of travelling solo on an airplane with little children.

Motherhood is your first prescription of Ativan.

Motherhood is waking up multiple times a night to make sure the children are covered, to re-fill water glasses, and to escort sleepy little people to the bathroom.

Motherhood is not wanting to give up co-sleeping, ever.

Motherhood is knowing the words to all the songs your children love and singing along with them, even if people in other cars look at you like you're weird.

Motherhood is listening to these songs even when your children aren't in the car with you.

Motherhood is being able to multi-task. No - really multi-task.

Motherhood is coming up with a brilliant plan moments before an epic battle erupts between siblings. (It usually involves chocolate.)

Motherhood is discovering two raw eggs broken in your Louis Vuitton purse.

Motherhood is never missing your son's soccer game.

Motherhood is determination.

Motherhood is feeling such an intense feeling of pride when your child even runs the right way after the ball.

Motherhood is never ending laundry.

Motherhood is creative meal ideas and always having Nutella in the house.

Motherhood is Happy Meals.

Motherhood is having a hard time losing those last five pounds...

Motherhood is knowing your children so completely and loving them with all your heart and soul.

Motherhood is being constantly amazed at the things your children say and do for you.

Motherhood is changing sheets at 1 a.m.

Motherhood is learning new things, seeing things in a different light, and appreciating construction zones. After all, you now know the difference between a digger and a bulldozer.

Motherhood is getting emotional over every little thing, and sharing a special bond with other moms.

Motherhood is a non-stop, never-ending job.

Motherhood is simply awesome.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Celebrating Summer

"Mommy, can you stay home again today?" my five year old asked me yesterday morning as I was making his snack for school. He was busy colouring in his new Egypt colouring book we bought at the museum gift shop the day before. I was floored. Usually, my big boy blows me a kiss and barely has time to say good-bye to me when I leave for work.

That awful feeling of mommy guilt hit me like a ton of bricks. I ran upstairs to kiss my three year old good-bye. "Mommy, you no work today, right?" he looked up at me with his big, gorgeous, brown eyes.

I gave him the biggest hug I could, and told him I'd see him after work. I promised him I'd print him off a few pictures of Marv and Harry (you know, the bad guys from Home Alone?) because he's obsessed with that movie, and that made him smile.

Tuesday was one of those perfect summer days—I took the day off work and spent it with my boys. We went to the children's museum where we stamped our passports at different destinations around the world, explored Egypt, loaded cargo on the giant ship, and shopped for fresh fish in Greece. We made a few crafts in China, and then enjoyed a nice lunch of pogo sticks, french fries, and salad overlooking Parliament Hill. We frequent this museum often, and each time we go, we have a great time.

After the museum, it was time for kindergarten for my big boy, so off to school we went—we were the first to arrive, so the boys got to play outside before school started. After, I went grocery shopping, took a break with my baby boy, played in the backyard, and cleaned the house. I felt like the perfect stay-at-home mom. If only it was like this every day, I thought to myself.

"Don't you wish you could just lay down in the big, fluffy clouds?" I asked my five year old after school, on the drive to my sister's house. "Mommy. You'd fall right through!" he replied to me, "Because clouds are just made up of water particles."

The conversations I have with my boys make me smile all day long. The conversations I hear between my boys, when they don't even know I'm listening, make me smile even more.

We arrived to my sister's, where everyone was meeting to swim the night away and to enjoy a BBQ dinner. I love swimming with my boys—and this year, I'm truly amazed at how awesome they are in the water.


Summer days are filled with so many awesome things. My almost six year old had his first soccer game of the season a few days ago—he was so anxious to get on the field, and the shy guy at the beginning of the season last year was nowhere to be found.



I love everything about summer, even though it's been so busy I barely have time to blog. End of school parties, soccer games, swimming lessons, and evenings at the park and in the pool... I WISH I had the entire summer off to spend with my boys every day. However, I'll be taking off two days a week for two months starting at the end of July. If I could figure out a way to make that a reality year-round, it would be great.

Another reason I love summer? Vacation time! We're going on a road trip to Ogunquit, Maine soon. Over seven hours in the car with my boys should be... interesting. Thankfully GM Canada is hooking us up with an awesome mini-van with built-in DVD players, so that should help pass some of the time, right? Also, frequent stops. For our sanity, and for the children's sanity!

Summer is also all about backyard BBQ's. Very frequent backyard BBQ's. Right? How about some awesome BBQ gear to help you enjoy summer even more that valued at $100? Pretty awesome, huh?



The Celebrate Summer Giveaway (thanks to my friends at Life Made Delicious) includes:



Barbecue Utensil Set
Paper Plates
Colourful Napkins
General Mills goodies from:
Old El Paso
Cheerios (including Chocolate Cheerios!)
Fibre 1
Betty Crocker
Nature Valley

Sorry, this giveaway is only open to Canadian residents. I'll pick a winner randomly on July 7th!

YUMMY! Now you can have an awesome party in your backyard and invite all your friends—no more excuses!

I hope you're all enjoying summer so far. It's the little moments—the laughter in the pool, the walks around the block, the after dinner bike rides and visits to Dairy Queen—that are memories to cherish.

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