Happy, Happy to me!

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Well as I recently celebrated another year around the sun it is time reflect. 2020 oh what a year you have been. As I sit back and think about the last year let’s be real, calling it a dumpster fire will be using a kind term. Not only were we all dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic and the repercussions of that, but personally, my year was filled with various medical issues that were presented to people close to me. I missed out on so many events, trips, special events and really what about the overall mental drain this put on all of us.

So rather than going on and on about everything that sucked and God knows I can fill a few pages of that, I’ve decided to focus on the positives. I am grateful for the time I got with my family. My husband was out of work many, many months due to our province being in various stages of lockdown because of the pandemic. Along with him being home, our kiddo was home since schools were closed. Throw in some online learning, missed graduations, recitals, birthday parties and my gosh it wasn’t easy but we somehow got through it. We grew as individuals and as a family. We learned to appreciate each other even when we were working through our own feelings of the fear of the unknown. God knows there is no parenting book on how to raise a child during a pandemic, or if I’m wrong and there is one, it was probably sold out with all of the toilet paper!

According to the encyclopedia Britannica middle age is considered anything between the ages of 40 and 60. So being in this “middle age” phase of life I’m grateful for my health. I am able to wake up each and every morning and put on my pants one foot at at time still. Yes there may be more aches and pains than there have been in previous years but what we don’t realize as we’re going through life is that we do a number on our body. It isn’t until one day we sneeze and throw out our backs (figuratively speaking not literally) that we’re like oh crap!

I’m grateful for technology. It is hard when your family is not close by. To be able to FaceTime my parents, see my brother’s family including my nephews growing up even when I can’t physically be there is huge. For the memes sent by a friend at 5am as she heads out to workout or the check in text at 10:30pm because she was thinking about you. This pandemic has brought us closer together even though it is keeping us apart.

I’m grateful for the sun shining. Yup I know that sounds cliché but there is something special about those fall days where the sun is still hot enough to warm you up. When I’m waiting to pick up the kid and the wind lets down for a bit and the sun hits your face and a feeling of calm comes over you. It is as if mother earth is telling you, I got you, we’re okay.

So as my brother reminds me, I’ve entered my 29th year again (plus, plus) and I am going to use the life experiences I have acquired to take this year head on. After what has been thrown at me in 2020, I know that I can take on whatever comes my way.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Taking time to enjoy the small stuff

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With Canadian Thanksgiving being earlier this week there is so much to be grateful for this year. From my family, to our health, to our friends and everything else that comes along with being over half a year into a pandemic. If living during these times does nothing, it helps you realize what is important and what truly matters. As I was perusing through Instagram one day a few different people I followed were reiterating what a good friend of mine told me a few months ago. You should take some time to quiet your brain, to focus and start your day with gratitude. For someone whose mind races a lot and tends to be go, go, go, that’s hard. I wake up on some mornings with good intentions but life happens. Today I had a moment. I had dropped off my child to school and was walking back to my car. Usually I’m looking down and am rushing to the car. Today I happened to look up. Sometimes you need to take that moment and look up. Stop, whatever it may be you’re doing and focus on the gratitude in you heart. Today I am grateful.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Well Hello There My Friend…

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So you’re probably thinking what the hell is she doing in my mailbox. It has been a while my friends. Life as we know it has changed for all of us with this pandemic we’ve now been living for the last six months. To be honest I’ve thought many times about writing but literally, what the heck would I say? Hello, we’re alive but in lock down. Hello, we’re in phase one. Hello, we’ve moved to phase two. Finally in phase three. Who had the desire to write in the middle of a lock down? Certainly not me. But as my husband keeps reminding me, we paid for this site so it is time to come back and share some of myself.

How are things where you are? I know so many of my friends in the US and Europe are living different lives than we are here in Canada. Some are virtual learning/working, some are hybrid, some have actually gone back to classes/workplace. Many friends who work in office buildings in downtown urban areas are still working from home here. And I have to say we’re lucky here in Canada that our schools opened for in person learning in September. A staggered start but it provided some “normalcy”. Parents had the choice to do online learning, in person learning or pull their kids out and home school. We have friends doing all of the above. At the end of the day you have to do what is best for you and your family, for us that was in person learning. The kid went off to a new school this year learning in French and is in grade one. My baby is no longer a baby. She has her own unique style, opinions about things and is ready to take on the world. She’s trying to navigate her place in this world and of course that comes with some hiccups but I hope she knows that I’ll always be in her corner.

I wanted to share with you a photo from pick up earlier this week. They had painted circles in the schoolyard to help the kids with social distancing. How resilient are our kiddos for all of these changes that have come and continue to come their way? Happy Friday my friends! Have a safe and happy weekend!

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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It Is Your Civic Duty

Now I have always been excited to do my part and my civic duty. I remember as a little girl going with my parents to the Salvation Army (their local voting centre) on election day to watch them cast their vote. Back then you just gave your name (the person volunteering probably already knew you) and they checked you off. You went into your little booth, pulled the curtain around you, grabbed the special tool and were off. So many dreams were created in that booth. You felt as though you ACTUALLY had the power to create change. After all, that was the American dream.

In the city I grew up in, I was lucky to work for a few summers at City Hall. I got to know some of the politicians and see how things worked from the inside. Maybe because of this reason, when I became of voting age, I remember being excited to vote. My friends who have known me forever often asked if I had never left would I have run for politics? The answer is maybe. I am a person who likes to evoke change. I like to be part of the solution group. I also believe that you can’t bitch if you don’t vote. I have friends who choose not to vote and I yell at them. Usually the response I get is we’re in Massachusetts, it will always be blue. If you don’t know, a blue state in the US is a Democratic State and a red state is a Republican state. Since 1900 the state of Massachusetts has voted for the Republican presidential nominee 10 times, so definitely not unheard of, just not the norm. And the attitude of “my vote doesn’t count” is what many people say is the reason why the outcome of the 2016 election was the way it was. Now I promised myself before I sat down that I would keep this as non political as I could. My goal isn’t to recruit more Democratic, Republican or Independent specific voters. My goal is to get you to just get off your butt and go vote. To believe, like me, that you (and your vote) can make a difference.

The America of today is different than the America I left over a decade ago. Were the same issues facing the country then? Absolutely, things don’t change overnight. Did I as a Greek-American woman feel as though I was discriminated against–absolutely (those stories I’ll share at a later time). But regardless of all this did I feel as though I could bring about change to the world around me and make it a better place? You bet your bottom dollar I did. So off I went every day to try. As a member of the human race please do not give up. A friend posted a meme with this messaging and I thought the words couldn’t ring more true: “I’m mentally drained from the pandemic, racism and murders in addition to my own personal shit. I’m MF tired.”

Please my friends muster up the strength to register to vote if you haven’t done so already. The voter registration deadlines vary by state but from what I can see are between October 4th and 27th, with a couple of states letting you register in person day of. To see what the rules are for your state click here. If you are in the USA and haven’t registered yet, please go here. If you are like me and voting from abroad please go here.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Are we living the dash?

There are days that we sit here and chug along.  Really just going through the motions of life, doing the same things, day in and day out.  But when we stop and take a look to assess the damage, holy…it is like a slap in the face.  Now this can be with the good stuff and the bad.  We’re so busy and on the go that most of us don’t actually stop to assess our lives regularly.  Are we living the dash?

Trying to live your life purposefully and/or with meaning is a goal we should all be working towards.  Otherwise, what was our purpose on this earth?  I know each of you, and myself included were put here to do more than just take up space and use the resources.  Our goal should be to inspire one another, encourage one another.  Our goal should be to touch one person’s life each day, if we can accomplish that, then little by little, through small changes, we are not only changing the world, but we are living our dash.  Take a few minutes and try it today.  See how you can empower someone else, see how you might be able to do one thing to change the life of someone, even if it is your own.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Seriously clothing industry?!

So as I sit here and type this I think it is important to give you a bit of history as to how I came here.  For the last nine months, hubby and I have been following a Keto way of eating (WOE).  What that means is that we eat high good fats, moderate protein and low carbs.  Low carbs in the area of less than 20 grams a day.  To give you an idea that is one average sized potato or the bottom of a hamburger bun.  They call this a WOE because truly you’re changing your thinking about food, which in turn is changing your body.  So with this new WOE has come weight loss.  And with this weight loss has come the need to purchase new clothing.  Now for a girl who has been in the plus sized world her whole life, moving out of that world into the “normal” store world is a bit daunting.  In the plus sized world, I knew that when I walked into the store, it would be people who looked like me.  Either a little bit smaller or a little bit bigger, but at the end of the day if you weren’t of a certain size, you weren’t shopping there.  In the “normal” world, the size zeros and two intermingle with the size 14 and 16s.  And you have everything in between.

I am a tailor’s daughter in case you didn’t know so from a young age I understood body measurements and the importance of knowing them and altering clothing to fit your type of body.  So one thing I had going for me this whole time is my measurements were that of a models. No, no I never had a model’s body but my measurements were even, they fit.  Now this new body isn’t even and doesn’t fit. So dresses are out and mix and match is in, which brings me to my latest shopping expedition.  I go to the GAP in hopes of finding some clothes.  Their jeans tend to fit me well.  Now one little tidbit that I’ve found is that the outlet clothes in adults fit larger than at the actual store, where as the outlet kids stuff needs to be sized up.

Anyways, I’m at the actual store and find a pair of jeans I’m looking for in my size, super.  Then I move to tops.  I’m looking at a few different ones and you know when you can just tell some stuff is sized bigger? Well in this case I grab a medium, large and XL.  Three different designs, three different sizes and all three fit.  Now I assure you if you haven’t seen me I’m in no way shape or form a medium size.  But thank you Gap for stroking my ego for a few minutes. But my point in bringing this up is we have a generation of girls growing up with visuals of models who are size 0, 2 and 4s and while progress is being made both on the runway and in mainstream media to show women of all sizes, this crap is playing with our minds.  How is a girl not going to feel bad when she really is a medium but can also fit into an XL?  Why can’t there be more consistent sizing?  Why can’t your measurements reflect the same size regardless of the brand?  How can the measurements of a typical size 8 be considered an XL by some manufacturers? Seriously clothing industry?!   As a mom to a daughter, I know that these are issues that she will face in the coming years and something that we’ll have to navigate together.

What is your experience?  Have you ever been able to wear multiple “sizes” in one store?  Is my experience a one off or am I not alone?

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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A Day of Love or a Hallmark Holiday?

So tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.  A day that everyone expresses their love to each other.  People race around to candy stores to buy large heart shaped boxes of chocolates, teddy bears and whatever else they can find in order to bring home to their loved one so they know how much they mean to them.  But really, is February 14th a day of love or a Hallmark Holiday?

My husband does not buy into it.  He doesn’t think that you need one day a year to remind someone how much they mean to you.  This should be done throughout the other 364 days a year.  It is the little things like when he’s hogging the covers and you let him have them because you know if you pull on them he’ll just wake up.  Or when you’re pregnant and all you want Chinese food from one place and he goes to get it for you at 10pm.  Or when you just need a break and your partner senses that and takes the kids for the day so you can get some much needed mental health time.  These are the little things.  These are the things that aren’t posted all over social media on February 14th but these are the things that count.

So a couple of years ago my husband tried to send me flowers on Valentine’s Day and the flowers never arrived.  Now you’ll say that it is convenient that they didn’t arrive.  So picture a Valentine’s Day with not even an acknowledgement from your partner.  Needless to say I was not very happy as I am not a fan in spending $100 on roses that will just wilt and die and three days but I would have been happy with a card.  He included a card with a heartfelt message in the flower order, that never came.  So late that night when he came home from a long day of work, he showed me the placed order (days prior I might add) with the message that never came.  Of course I understood and needless to say he made it up to me but it just affirmed my belief.

So tomorrow we’ll wake up and have a family breakfast.  Open our cards (remember I said cards were important) and go along with our days. Whether you’re married or single, celebrating or not tomorrow know that I’ll be thinking of my wonderful friends near and far.  I’m grateful for all of you and wish you a great day, however you choose to celebrate.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Family

It is amazing how his family becomes your family after marriage.  The dynamics that you’ve had all of these years now need to be shared with a new group of people. The closest members of your tribe become exposed and everyone is vulnerable.  I’m fortunate enough where our families have meshed well.  Maybe it is the distance, maybe it is the personalities, we’ll never know.  Regardless I’m grateful how easy it is when we’re together.

Last week, we had the opportunity to visit some of my father in law’s first cousins.  They live a couple of hours away and coordinating schedules isn’t always easy.  We were able to meet up with three of them (and families) and the stories that were shared and the memories that were relived were special even for an outside to see.  Before we headed back we were able to visit with Yiayia Georgia. She is my husband’s grandmother’s sister.  Unfortunately all of my husband’s grandparents, as well as my grandparents are deceased.  So it was amazing for the kid to be able to connect with someone of that generation.  Yiayia Georgia is 92 years old and God bless her, she remembers things better than some people half of her age.

My FIL asked her to tell me the story of the deer, since I had never heard it. I’ll preface the story with they live on a farm with many acres so seeing wildlife is an everyday occurrence for them.  She recalled a day when she had gone out for a walk and a deer had the same idea.  She stood still as really what else could she do.  The deer proceeded to come closer to her.  She couldn’t run so she stood there until the deer came close enough where she could grab it by the neck.  So here is this woman, in her 60s holding the deer in fear it’ll hurt her.  Luckily her daughter was on the property and saw this from a window and came running down.  Yiayia asked her daughter to go grab some rope so they can tie the deer’s feet.  Once that happened Yiayia could finally let go of it and not be scared.  Quite honestly she didn’t say she was scared I used that word as really, nothing else fit.  Women of that generation didn’t have the same fears that you and I do.  They didn’t have to fear online bullying of their kids and sexual predators in their neighborhoods.  Their kids played outside until the streetlights came on and usually since they were all immigrants they tended to stick together.  They lived two to four families in a home, they worked the land, they tried to have the best life that they could.  Their fears were about the boat journey to come to a new country.  They worried about not knowing the language and leaving family behind that they could only communicate to via letters and then telephone.  They worried about keeping those Greek traditions alive while assimilating in their new country.  Yiayia Georgia is what I would call  a νταρντάνα γυναίκα.  She was one tough cookie and I am just lucky enough to call her family.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Happy New Year

Thanks for the memories 2017. I’m not big on resolutions because really each day is a blessing and an opportunity to make a change. You don’t need January first for that. My chance came June 7th. Nothing really significant about that day but it was the day hubby and I decided to change our way of eating and joined the Keto bandwagon.

Now most people hear Keto and thing bacon and high cholesterol. That isn’t what it is all about, although bacon is a perk! I really didn’t expect much I mean after all I had been overweight my whole life. Although I was never one to diet as they really don’t last, I had made a lifestyle change before getting pregnant. My goal was to get back to that weight. Slow and steady wins the race as they say. Well six months later I’m happy to report I’m there. I’d like to think I’m a modest person but gosh darn it, this was a great accomplishment. One I should be proud of, and even more importantly one I got to share with my hubby who rocked the hell out of Keto! I’m so proud of him. A friend asked me if I’m at my goal weight? I’m not sure what that would be. If I look on that list of height/weight at the doctor’s office I’m probably still considered overweight, maybe even obese. But who the hell is 5’10” and 115lbs?? Other than a supermodel of course.

I’ve learned to not worry about that number on the scale. I’ve learned to trust the process. I wasn’t sure wether or not I should even write this post but if I can encourage one person to make a change then it was worth it. I’m not specifically talking about weight loss, it can be about anything. Stop being scared. You have to start somewhere. Why not let today be that start? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Take the class, go for that hike, give it a shot.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. May your 2018 be full of health, happiness, love and laughter! And remember go for it! Whatever is holding you back isn’t worth it.

 

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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The big day is almost here…

Well the big day is almost here.  Santa Claus arrives at our house tonight and we are ready and waiting.  We’ll be decorating cookies for him later tonight.  We’ll be putting out our reindeer food and leaving milk and cookies (if the kid doesn’t eat them all).  Tomorrow morning we’ll wake up, open our gifts and go to church, before spending time with family. What traditions do you have with your family on Christmas Eve?  I’d love it if you shared with us.

FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
Wishing each of you all that the Season has to offer.

 

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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