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 Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day weekend my friends. I know that the official holiday isn’t until Monday but I also know that not many people will be reading emails on Monday and really many will be sneaking out early tomorrow, if not tonight.  My wish is that each and everyone of you have a Happy and Safe weekend!  As Canada celebrates the 150 may your day be filled with family time, laughter and good weather!

For my American friends who are reading this and wondering what the heck Canada day is, here is the definition according to Wikipedia: “A federal statutory holiday, it celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada.”

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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Vacation Time

After my quick visit to Beantown for my reunion, it was time to come home and get ready for our family vacation.  We were going back to Beantown, driving this time, for a family wedding.  As it always happens, there is never enough time when going back.  I will never have enough hours or days to see everyone.  That is tough as this time I didn’t get to see some of my besties, but thank God for technology!  I did get to see some of my amazing LLS friends that I hadn’t seen in over five years and for that I’m grateful.  I was able to meet my friend’s seven month old and her wonderful partner.  When you know someone for over 35 years you want to make sure that the man they end up with is worthy of their awesomeness, and I can say that he is.  Oh and miss A, is absolutely beautiful.  I’m so happy for you S and your little family! With all of this we were able to sneak in some family time as well.

Other than of course this family time, the main reason for attending was my cousin’s daughter’s wedding.  If you know me personally, you know that my entire family is in Greece, so when I say cousin it is actually my second cousin’s cousin.  We’re Greek, this how we roll.  Regardless this family took us in as their own many, many years ago.  We had countless holidays at their parent’s house, countless drives in the white station wagon to Cape Cod with 5 or 6 of us in the back, that I remember fondly to this day.  Oh and there was this one time that V didn’t want to go to the beach so we borrowed the station wagon and went swimming in a random motel’s outdoor pool.  Miss K attended her second wedding (well the church part and probably the first one she’ll remember).  The bride was stunning and it was amazing to see so many cousins there, especially a couple who I hadn’t seen in over 10 years.  Of course a big shout out to the C Family for watching Miss K so that we can enjoy some adult time at the reception.

We topped it all off with celebrating Father’s Day with three of my favourite men.  My dad, my husband and my brother.  We enjoyed a great lunch downtown and had fun watching me get heckled by a clown who was blasting me with his water gun.  I’m not going to lie it was hot and I took it like a champ.  Unfortunately as with all good things, the trip had to come to an end. It was sad to say goodbye to my family.  Regardless of how many times we do it, it still gets me every time.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my current life but a piece of me does stay behind.  The kid did awesome in the car and we made it back in amazing time.  Before we knew it we were catching up on laundry and stopping at Starbucks.  As great it is to be away, it is always wonderful to come home.  Now that vacation time is over, time to make some plans to fill up the rest of our free weeks this summer!

Here are some highlights from our trip…

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 has been a hectic couple of weeks…

It has been a hectic couple of weeks at our house.  Last time I wrote Holy Week and Easter were approaching.  We were fortunate enough to have my parents and brother and his family visiting for Easter.  It was wonderful to all be together and have the cousins be able to hang out and do all of the things that a an almost three year old and four year old would do when they are together.  There were so many great snapshots of their trip including Miss K’s first ever Easter egg hunt!  Melissa did a phenomenal job organizing everything and of course it went off without a hitch expect for the baskets that I forgot to bring.  Fitting that the kids ran around in shopping bags to fill up!

The week continued with yiayia and pappou staying on which meant early morning snuggles and of course a morning koulouraki for the kid.  Yes I know it isn’t the breakfast of champions but hey when they visit they get to spoil her and I’m okay with that.  I swear regardless if my family is here for three days or two weeks the time flies by.  We were lucky to have yiayia and pappou here for Miss K’s third birthday.  Yes you read that right, my baby is three.  Well now she tells me that, “I’m a big girl now, but don’t worry mama, I’ll always be your baby.”  Yes you will be.  We are so lucky to have a healthy, smart, funny little girl full of personality and yes sometimes attitude.  She definitely speaks her mind and lets you know who is in charge.  There are days that this drains me to the core, I won’t lie, but on the other days it makes me so proud.  I want her to be feisty and fiery.  I want her to challenge and always question in order to learn.  I want her to have compassion and the courage to speak her mind.

My wishes for her as she enters her third year are: first and foremost health, because without our health we are nothing.  Secondly I hope that she can see the love that her father (along with so many family members and friends) have for her and bring that with her in everything she does.  Remember that she’s good enough when the other little girl doesn’t want to play with her.  Remember that she can climb the rock wall when it looks so scary through her little eyes.  Remember that she can sound out that word in the book, as she tells me, “I want to read it mommy.” And thirdly, I want her to grow.  Obviously that is a given you’ll say, she’s three of course she’ll grow.  But I mean more than in height and weight.  I mean into the little lady that she is becoming.  I mean into the compassionate child who wanted us to help the birdie stuck in the neighbours vent on the side of the house; who wanted us to go back when we saw the ambulance wheeling out a lady from her house, to make sure she was okay.  This is what is important in life.  You can have all the money in the world but if you don’t have your health, you aren’t surrounded by love and you don’t have compassion, what is the point of living?

Happy Birthday Little Lady.  I love you to the moon and back. And yes, you will ALWAYS be my baby!

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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Three years and counting…

Three years ago today I sat down for the first time in front of my computer to write.  I had no idea what I would really write about or honestly if anyone would read my blog.  All I knew is that I was pregnant, in my third trimester and had this crazy idea.  My husband who is my biggest supporter purchased the domain name, my good friend who is my go to techie helped me set it all up and there was no turning back.

It is hard to believe that today is my three year anniversary of blogging because so much has changed.  I went from a scared pregnant woman to a mom of a toddler.  I went from questioning could I do this to being confident in my parenting choices and decisions.  I went from doing what I wanted when I wanted, to being mindful of this little person that was now my responsibility and changing my life in ways I had no idea she would.  I went from searching for a group of mommies who were in the same situation as I, to creating a group of mommy friends that I wouldn’t change for the world!

Life, regardless of the stage has ups and downs.  I’m grateful to be in a place where I can sit behind a screen and write about mine.  I’m grateful for my upbringing so that I can share those ideals with my little one.  I’m grateful for you, each one of you taking the time to read, comment, send me a text or email letting me know that you got something out of my blog.  And of course I’m grateful to my hubby and the kid.  If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have the content to keep doing what I’m doing.

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 phases of life

October 11, 2016–I have realized that this post didn’t publish so I am back dating it.

October is my month.  It has been for as long as I can remember.  If you don’t know me personally it is my birth month and I like a big deal made about birthdays.  I don’t really care about the gifts, although I’ve never seen a gift I didn’t appreciate, but for me it is more about the cards.  A well picked out card can mean more than a $1190 (CND) pair of Gucci flats.

This October has unfortunately been full of the phases of life.  We met a friends one week old who immediately stole everyone’s heart by entering this world.  Later we visited a friend’s two month old who was just starting to get into an every day routine of feeding, cooing, sleeping, pooping, and repeat.  And found out two other loved ones were pregnant.  These are the happy phases.  We remembered loved ones lost both honouring their birthdays and anniversaries.  And unfortunately we dealt with sick family friends and went through the phase of life where we lost them as well.  I guess this year October for me has been a month of reflection.  If you saw my post last week you saw my take on friendship.  What about family?  What is your take?

If you’re like me you have an extended family that you might see once or twice a year, or once or twice a decade depending on where they are.  You try and use social media as a way to stay connected and you hope that when you’re together again it makes it less awkward but really are your friends more like family and your family more like friends?  We all have those BFFs that know more about us than we remember ourselves, so certainly we need to keep them close.  This usually is the case with a sibling or a close cousin.  But what about parents?  If you’re lucky enough to still have your parents with you, are you close to them?  Have your roles reversed where you’re worried about them because of aging? Do you worry about whether the last time you told them you loved them might be the last time you speak to them?  Do you make an effort or do you like many take them for granted because after all their your parents and they’ll always be there for you?

As I sit here typing this, the sun still not up yet, waiting for my hubby and little one to wake up, I ponder.

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 Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends

happy-canadian-thanksgiving-2016Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends.  Wishing each and every one of you an amazing day filled with food, laughter and the love of your family and friends.

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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Birthdays, Easter, a Nameday oh my…

Well what a busy two weeks it has been.  Since the last time I wrote we had family visiting to celebrate the little Miss’ birthday. I know everyone says it but seriously I can’t believe how the last year has flown by.  The first year is a whirlwind as you’re sleep deprived, unsure what to do with this tiny human.  The second year is different, you’re still unsure of what to do with this human but from a different perspective.  How to get them to stop jumping on the furniture or wanting to run in the street.  Trying to understand everything that they’re saying to you and helping them not get mad when they can’t communicate.  Trying to make sure you instill in them the important this in life for that age, things like: confidence, sharing, and trying to be an all around well natured child.

This year we had multiple events to celebrate the big day and were so lucky to have family and friends with us.  We went right from the parties to Orthodox Easter or Pascha as we call it.  It is a very special time of year where we are do things a little bit different than our other Christian friends.  First off is the date, Orthodox Easter always falls after Passover.  This year it was over a month after Catholic Easter.  Next year it will be together and then not again for eight years.  We’re not big into the bunny and chocolates.  We’re more into red dyed eggs and candles lit at midnight. Regardless of how you incorporate traditions into your Pascha, I hope it Χριστός Ανέστη!

Lastly we celebrated the Nameday of a special man in our lives, Παππού Γιώργο!  Pappou George and all of the George and Georgias celebrate their Nameday the Monday after Pascha when it falls after April 23rd. So this past Mondya we celebrated him and other cousins, aunts and uncles with those names.  Να σας χαιρόμαστε και να είσαστε πολύχρονη!

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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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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day…February 14th.  It is the same day every year yet you will see thousands of people scrambling for that last minute card, gift or even flowers from the gas station to please their loved one.  My hubby thinks that it is a Halmark holiday.  I can’t say that I completely disagree with him.  I don’t believe that you should wait until one day a year that is decided for you to show the people that surround you that you love them.  You should do it every day in some small way.  Grand gestures don’t mean much if they aren’t backed up by day to day actions.  So today I will spend it with the people that I love.  I am grateful that I can do so and wish that I could do it every single day.

To all of you wonderful people who take the time to read my blog I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!  May your day be full of love and laughter!

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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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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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