Happy to you…

Happy to you…a new phrase the kid has been practicing.  It could mean different things to different people.  For her it is easier to say than Happy New Year, which is what we were practicing.  As she was saying it, it got me thinking how my life has changed over the last year.  I went from having a baby to a toddler.  I went from being able to put my child in a playpen, to barely being able to go to the bathroom alone.  My phenomenal eater is now surviving on breadsticks and hummus.  Oh and my house is gated better than Fort Knox.  Regardless of all this I am happy.  Yes we all have our bad days, whether it is hers or mine, but all in all we are making daily memories and of course learning everyday.

Tonight as we ring in the New Year, we will cut the traditional Vasilopita.  Or as my friend and Greek food guru and blogger, Kalofagas puts it, the Billy bread.  We always cut a piece for God, Jesus and for the Virgin Mary, and then we cut a slice for the home.  We proceed to cut a slice for each member of our family present.  There is a coin in the bread and the symbolism is that if you find the coin you will have good luck all year long.  If you still haven’t made your Vasilopita yet it isn’t too late, pop over to Kalofagas’ recipe here.

As I sit and reflect on 2015, I want to say Thank You to each and everyone of you who takes the time to read this blog.  I hope once in a while it makes you laugh, makes you think and above all makes you feel connected with my little world. As you embark on your festivities tonight, whatever they may be, please be safe.  And as you wake up tomorrow, remember that you are starting with a clean slate…be sure to make the most of it and live it YOUR way!!

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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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Merry Christmas !

Wishing each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas!  Thank you for taking the time out of your busy days to read my blog.  I hope it has brought you some laughs through the year.

Kαλά Χριστούγεννα!!

merry-christmas

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 Penelope…is there a Santa Claus?

Okay if you personally know me you know that I do my darnedest to Christmas shop throughout the year.  I have no patience for what comes out of humanity in December and mostly after the 20th of December.  The pushing, shoving, profanity spewing adults all trying to get the same parking spot, toy for their child, coffee so they can make it through the day.  Regardless of if you celebrate Christmas or not, you’re dealing with this craziness, and Canadians are the nicer people.  I am wondering if I’ve lost my American edge or I’m just getting older and realize it all doesn’t matter.

I know that tomorrow night and Thursday, I’ll have more photos than I can count on fingers, of people’s trees lined with gifts underneath.  Then photos of jubilation on the faces of family members once they open those gifts.  But really, truly, is that what we have become?  What I ask myself is when was the last time these people put the phones down and had a real moment with their families?  When did our lives have to become open books in order for us to get through the day? You might think I’m being judgmental and perhaps it is coming across that way but ladies and gentlemen, my wish for you this Christmas is to create real memories.  Put the phones down, put the video apps away and capture the smile on your children’s faces.  Ingrain that in your memory.  Take a moment to smile at the people who are around the tree with you, you never know when it might be your last Christmas together.  Leave the wrapping paper strewn on the floor and enjoy the hugs and kisses the morning gives you.  And for my friends who are spending Christmas alone this year, know that in a house in the suburbs outside of Toronto, in Canada, as I drink my morning coffee on Thursday, I’ll be thinking of you and thanking God for bringing each of you into my life.

I leave you with my RDKism:  “You never know when you might miss the actual moment because you’re too busy trying to prepare to capture a possible moment.”

xo

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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 the most wonderful time of the year….or is it??

As I sit here and type, I have my frappe in hand, in early December.  The house is quiet as it is O’Dark Hundred as I like to call it.  The important people in my life are tucked in their beds and of course this mama has started the day.  We have a busy one today with a trip to a farm for Christmas Wonderland adventure.  A sleigh ride, some crafts and a visit with the big man dressed in red.  We went to ‘officially’ visit the big guy this past week and it was a disaster.  The tears, the screaming, yes that was my child at the mall.  Thanks to everyone behind me (yes we were first in line) who was patient with us.  My child’s behaviour, which was totally normal for a 19 month old, got me thinking.  Is this Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year??  When I think back to growing up of course it was because it meant that we would have a vacation from school, but as an adult, what does it mean?  Have we lost ourselves in the hustle and bustle of the season?

I had two hours alone on Friday to finish up a couple of gifts that I needed to get.  Yes I’m normally done by US Thanksgiving but they were gift cards and I couldn’t buy them online.  So I run into one store and there are literally 23 people ahead of me, in line on a Friday afternoon.  As I had so much time to wait and observe, I was able to see humanity at its finest.  The woman and her sister or friend who were screaming at the poor sales associate who couldn’t be older than 25 for having to wait while the manager looks into their items that they called to place on hold.  The woman behind me who obviously was trying to have a business meeting on the phone and hide the fact that the register system was calling out a new cashier available every five minutes. The husband who was hemming and hawing every few minutes of why they had to be in line and the wife who explained the gift was for HIS side of the family.  When I finally got to the cashier with my items, yes I picked up a thing or two in the line to the register, I greeted the woman.  At 2pm she looked like she had worked 12 hours that day.  I jokingly said, “Wow it is pretty busy in here, I guess no one works anymore.”  And she replied, “It is the attitudes that get you, I can understand being this miserable after 5pm but not in the middle of the day.”  That struck a cord with me.  Truly were were more miserable after a long day at work?  Were we sick of particular people or our own lives and taking it out on others?

People repeat after me:  Christmas is on December 25th.  It is on December 25th this year and every other year.  There is no reason to run around like mad people.  There is no reason to take your frustrations out on others.  Yes you had to drive around the parking lot three times to find a spot for your car.  Yes you had to wait a little longer in line to pay for your items.  But ladies and gentlemen, this is all avoidable.  Many years ago I started buying gifts throughout the year.  I try to buy items that I think people will still like six months from now.  This not only helps your bank account but also helps save your sanity.  Don’t want to budget to do that, try picking up one item a month.  That way you’re eleven items in when December arrives.

My other tip is Christmas cards.  Yes I still send paper Christmas cards.  I find it to be the one time of year that I can reach out to people that I may have lost touch with and let them know they are thought of and in my heart.  Want to get on my Christmas card list?  Send me your address! LOL My address list checking starts in August.  I make sure I update addresses and confirm any I’m not sure of.  I also cut and add to the list at that time.  By November my labels are printed and ready to go.  Right now I’m at the mercy of a photographer waiting on my daughter’s photo so they won’t go out as early as I would have liked but the majority of my work is done.

Now I could continue to write about how Christmas isn’t about the gifts and we should be a less materialistic society but there are a million and one blogs about that.  My wish for you in the coming weeks is that you are able to find some peace in all of the insanity.  That you don’t let other people (shoppers, co-workers, etc.) bring down your wonderful mood and remember that this truly is, the most wonderful time of the year!!

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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Quality Time

It isn’t a secret that we all could use more hours in the day. Or rather more uninterrupted time in the day to spend with our loved ones, aka quality time.  What does quality time look like for you?  Does it mean some snuggles before the insanity of the day begins?  Do you happen to commute with your spouse and is that your quality time?  Or are you like so many of us trying to make quality time fit in a day that you wish had 30 hours in it?

For me, quality time with Miss K is early morning.  Both hubby and I try to make a point to spend some time with her.  Whether that is having her make us coffee in her play kitchen to start off the day or watching us cook breakfast in the real kitchen, we think that this initial interaction is important.  I know the days that daddy isn’t here to greet her the constant calling out for him begins and unless we can get a Skype call in there (daddy refuses to purchase an iPhone so we can FaceTime) she continuously asks for him.

What about quality time with your friends?  A few months back I started a mom’s dinner group.  These include women that I have met in various ways since becoming a mom.  I set up a dinner once a month.  It is a way for all of us to get out, dress up, have some adult interaction, and a libation or two.  It never ceases to amaze me the topics that we can cover and truly these ladies and the dinners have become something I look forward to.

And we can’t forget our partners in crime.  That special man or woman that we decided we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with through better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, in death do us part.  Well you might have all said that but I’m Greek so there are now vows in our ceremony.  We just walk around a table and bam…its official!
Regardless of what you’re doing, quality time with them is important as well.  At the end of the day, in 5, 10, 20 years from now when the kids are out of the house it is them that you want to make sure you haven’t neglected.  It is them that you want to make sure aren’t forgotten in the daily hustle and bustle that is called life.  When was the last time you kissed them for no reason?  What about a long hug?  Don’t forget the small stuff that made you fall in love with them.  Through it all they will be there.  Your ups and downs, your good times and your bad.  Make sure they are an important filler of your quality time.

For some reason as I type this a Billy Joel song comes into my mind.  Make sure you don’t let another day slip by without quality time.

This is the time to remember

We walked on the beach beside that old hotel
They’re tearin’ it down now, but it’s just as well
I haven’t shown you everything a man can do
So stay with me, baby
I’ve got plans for you

This is the time to remember
‘Cause it will not last forever
These are the days to hold on to
‘Cause we won’t, although we’ll want to
This is the time,
But time is gonna change
You’ve given me the best of you
But now I need the rest of you

Did you know that before you came into my life
It was some kind of miracle that I survived
Some day we will both look back
And have to laugh
We lived through a lifetime
And the aftermath

This is the time to remember
‘Cause it will not last forever
These are the days to hold on to
‘Cause we won’t, although we want to
This is the time,
But time is gonna change
I know we’ve got to move somehow
But I don’t want to lose you now

Sometimes it’s so easy
To let a day slip on by
Without even seeing each other at all
But this is the time you’ll turn back to and so will I
And those will be days you can never recall

And so we embrace again
Behind the dunes
This beach is so cold on winter afternoons
But holding you close is like holding the summer sun
I’m warm from the memory of days to come
This is the time to remember
‘Cause it will not last forever
These are the days to hold on to
‘Cause we won’t, although we’ll want to
This is the time,
But time is gonna change
You’ve given me the best of you
But now I need the rest of you

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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