Thursday, June 29, 2006

whirlwind of emotions

Wow, a whole week since my last post. No wonder. Haven't been home much. We've been back and forth to Montreal. For some good times and some sad times.

First the good times. Went to a big fat greek wedding. Nice ceremony. Most breathtaking bride. She was the flowergirl at our wedding and is just as beautiful now as then. Her husband seems like a great guy. Wishing her all the best in her new life. Awesome reception. Lots and lots of food. Lots and lots of music. The kids were so cute all dressed up in their best. The twins arrived at the Church. Layed down on the pews and took an hour long nap. So then, they were all ready for the party. They ate and ate and danced and danced till they literally dropped on a chair and fell asleep. We definitely have party animals on our hands ;)

A few hours before going to the wedding, we stopped to say goodbye to a special lady. She had been fighting pulmonary fibrosis for a few years and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a couple of months ago. There was nothing more that modern medecine could do for her. She had but a few days to live. When we got there, the priest, the same one who would be celebrating the wedding we'd go to a few hours later, was leaving having just performed the last rites. It was tough to see her like this but at least we got to say our goodbyes, exchanged a few stories and even a few laughs. She was inspirational.

During my first year of college, I made a new friend who was to become a lifelong friend. I ended up studying at her place a lot cause she lived right next to our school whereas I had an hour commute one way. That's when I met this special lady, her mom. A typical Greek mom who loved to cook and feed us. She only spoke Greek and I couldn't understand her but we instantly "clicked". Over the years, I became a part of that family and I learned their language and customs. My friend was a bridesmaid at my wedding and is now the godmother of my first born. Circumstances have it that we even now live in the same city and we both got pregnant at 40! Throughout all of this, her mom was always there cheering us on. She developed her pulmonary condition due to secondhand smoke and was hooked to an oxygen tank and later in a wheelchair for the last 3 years. Despite this, she made a point of going to San Francisco, spent last summer in Greece and even went all the way to Australia to see her relatives and I guess say her goodbys. She hated staying home asking her daughters to take her out, anywhere. Just a month ago we spent a day along with the kids at a local museum. She just wanted to do as much as she could while she could.

So a few days after celebrating a wedding, we returned to the same Church for a funeral. The circle of life. The good times and the bad times. This time, the twins stayed home and only big sis came with us. It was a big learning experience for her. We had said our goodbys to her and we were there on that day for the family. To show them that we loved them. It was a long 2 days but there was a nice sense of closure for all. She left us with a smile and her blessings.

Thank you Georgia for all that you have done and the joys you brought. May you rest in peace.

Friday, June 23, 2006

the end of a phase

Yesterday afternoon, the twins and I were waiting for big sis at her bus stop. We had a small pre-schooler picked bouquet of wild flowers to give big sis and a little present for the bus driver who's been coming here for the last few years.

I knew it would be an emotional day for her. And sure enough, when she stepped off the bus, on this her last day of elementary school, her eyes were blood-shot. She had obviously been crying. The little bouquet and hugs from the twins cheered her a bit. Brought her in, prepared all her favorite food for supper. Having a bit of a cold and feeling worn down, she skipped soccer and went to bed early.

Today, favorite foods for breakie and getting ready for a bday party for the twins this afternnon followed by their soccer games. Big sis is going to a year-end party thrown by one of her classmates. She invited the whole class, hired a DJ and the party will go on from 5 to 11. There was a sleepover too but we drew the line there. Tomorrow morning we are heading to Montreal for a wedding.

Oh my beautiful first born. We are so proud of you. You have always been a sweetheart. Vivacious, creative, gentle, loving and inquisitive. Your teachers over the years have never had but great things to say about you. And you finish off your first stage of education by bringing home a straight A report card and a Leadership award.

It feels like yesterday when we first went to visit your "new" school. You holding my hand. You glowing with anticipation. It feels like yesterday when you went for the first time on the big yellow school bus. You were beaming. And I followed the bus in my car with misty eyes and I looked from afar when you went into your first day at the new school. Who knows if I won't do the same thing next year?

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I so vividly remember that life-altering day in 3rd grade. A community nurse came to our school and all the kids had their eyes checked. I was given a paper advising my parents I needed to go see an eye doc as I needed glasses. Oh the shock, the horror. I guess we weren't all that surprised. After all my father's side of the family are all bespectacled except for him.

And sure enough, I ended up with these ugly looking cat shaped spectacles (still have them somewhere in the house). I wore them as little as I could possibly wear them. Wearing glasses wasn't "cool" back then. It lead to teasing. And for someone with a weak self-image it was devastating. I would make sure to sit in the front of the class whenever I could. Most movies I saw as a teenager and young adult where blurry: no way I'd go on a date with those things.

And then the contact lenses revelation. Yeah. Except one had to get used to taking them on and off and playing with all those solutions. Coming home in a drunken stupor and too lazy to remove them, waking up in the morning with dried up eyeballs and eyelids stuck to them.

And then going on trips. Hubby and I needed a bag just for our eye stuff: prescription glasses, prescription and non-prescription glasses, lenses and a bunch of extra ones, bottles of fluid.

And then the laser eye surgery revelation. Hubby and I had ours done at the same time when big sis was 4 years old. The best thing ever. Throw out all those bottles and vials and glasses.

When preggo with the twins, my vision deteriorated. Normal pregnancy phenomenon I was told. Should go back to normal after they are born. Well it did with one eye, not the other. Major bummer. I was getting major headaches from one eye with clear vision and one eye with fuzzy vision. I could go get my eye laser eye corrected again. Just haven't gone around to setting all the appropriate appointments. So I'm back to wearing glasses. Which I don't mind really. They have such cute ones out now. I even got two pairs of diffferent colors to go with different outfits!!

This past year, big sis got her first glasses. No big deal for her. Thanks to Harry Potter, its now cool to wear glasses and kids have such a great selection, unlike what I had. Laser eye surgery will still be a possibility for her later on.

Yesterday, I brought the twins for their first eye exam. They impressed me so with how great they did. She did a full half hour exam, same one she does on me. The good news is their vision is fine now. The bad news is that they should be far-sighted at this age. So they will most likely be near-sighted in the future. More bespectacled family members for us!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

the fridge meme

I thought of doing this for a while. This one is for fun. A little glimpse in your life. A slice of your life's continuum. Grab your camera and take a picture of your fridge. Yes, your fridge. We all know how things end up here, They come and they go. No rearranging! Just the way it is. And list what's on it.

Here's mine!

fridge side:
-FIFA world cup soccer schedule
-kids' artwork (butterflies, greek flag, beach scene, Star Wars montage, turtle, piano certificates)
freezer side:
-Xmas pic of kids
-"Our Lord's Prayer"
-magnets from Halifax, Greece, Florida
-hubby's phone numbers
-old prescription pads used now for grocery lists ;)

And now, I tag: beachmama, nancy, sharon, northern mom and the thinking square

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

the woes of being a mom

Warning: self-pity post, no need to read further, this is an exercise in self-preservation by writing randomn thoughts down.

So I've been working like a madwomen these past weeks organizing year end parties and making new bedrooms for the kids. Moving furniture, washing, re-organizing, buying new bedding, etc. I work, work, work and its all about them. That's what moms do, right?

Yesterday at the graduation party, I could see kids running to their parents for hugs and kisses, getting family portraits. I didn't get that and it hurt. Even though I worked so hard to organize it. Then it dawned on me. Those parents getting all the hugs were mostly working parents who made an extra effort to be there. Guess its expected for us SAH moms to be there and be involved so its no big deal. Do we become less appreciated cause we are always there?

Get home last night and ask them what they would like to eat and big sis replies in that pre-teen arrogant voice that just grates your nerves: "you're the mom, you figure it out". That hurt. Today they were going to Montreal (Biodome and La Ronde) as a year end trip. I asked her if she needed my help to get her things ready. That same voice: "I'm old enough to take care of myself!!". That hurt. I say, to myself, no you're not. You certainly needed me last week when you had that stomach flu. A while later, a friend of hers calls. I give her the phone and she goes to the other room to talk. When she comes back, I ask her: "so what's up with your friend?" That same pre-teen voice answers: "you don't need to know everything in my life!!" That really hurt. Now I'm mad. I explode: "No, I don't need to know everything in your life but your tone of voice and your attitude is downright offensive. Since you don't seem to need me, I'm leaving!!!" I then hopped in the car, drove around a few blocks, listened to some really loud rock n'roll and tried to calm down. God this motherhood job stinks at times. Am I loosing it?

Came back, things were better. The rainbow after the storm. Then hubby shows up late from work. She's all sweet as pie, greets him with major hugs: "oh dad, I have so much to tell you and show you!!" See, there's my theory again. Working parent gets all the accolades. He never reprimands much either, since he's not always around. I'm the nagging, authoritative one, so guess I get the short end of the stick.

This morning she has to be ready by 7:15. I get up early to get her lunch and breakie going. Again gives her dad one big hug before she leaves, tells him she loves him so much and how escited she is about this outing. Then the doorbell rings, her friend is there to pick her up to go to school. She grabs her stuff and leaves. No goodbye mom. Not a glance back. no thank-you. That really, really hurt. Sat in the family room with tears in my eyes. And then the pre-schoolers both came over to hug me and tell me they love me. Had to smile :) And thought to myself better enjoy this now cause in a few years, the hugs may be scarce.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out,...


Today was big sis' graduation party at her elementary school. It was beautiful and emotional and I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time.

A few parent volunteers helped the teacher orchestrate a finely tuned event. Every graduating child received apart from their diplomas and certain special medals, the serious part, a special award to celebrate a talent of theirs. An idea which I found sensational. Over the last weeks, I scoured all the dollar stores to get a small fun gift: binoculars for the curious kid, a microphone for the talkative kid, a small address book for the friendly kid, etc. Instead of the graduating hat, we gave them each some funky sunglasses.

Interspersed with the award presentations, some of the kids performed dance and music numbers. My big girl even played the piano. A difficult piece of her repertoire and boy where those butterflies going! But she did a great job.

Afterwards refreshments and snacks/cakes were served. The kids received a "yearbook": each child wrote a page about themselves, their experiences at their school, their hopes for the future. The kids were going around getting autographs from each other. Pictures were being snapped left and right.

95% of the kids are going to the same high school next fall. Big sis however, decided to apply for this particular enriched program in another school. We got her letter of acceptance last week. It was elation and trepidation combined. Only one other classmate is following this same path.

So today, watching all these kids graduate got me all emotional. They're a great bunch. I've known most of them for the past 6 years and their parents too. I felt a certain sadness when I realized I may not see some of them again. Must be tough for teachers to go thorugh this every year.

Then I started worrying. Are we doing a good thing removing big sis from this tight knit froup to send her to another school where she won't know too many? Sure, they say they will keep in touch. Great intentions but often not carried through. Or maybe its a good thing to let her experience new friendships, starting with a clean slate.

Parental decision and turning points in kids' lives, definitely conducive to butterflies in the stomach. Its hard to leave the familiarity of a known school and known group of friends to face an uncertain future in a big school when all of a sudden they go from the oldest kids to the youngest ones.

Hope it all works out. We are giving her till Xmas in her new school to see how she fares and then we'll re-evaluate. One of the harder parts will be for her to get ready an hour earlier. We are used to her school starting at 9:15 whereas this new one will start at 8. And we are not really morning people around here :(

Saturday, June 17, 2006

the kindness of strangers

Last Friday night was soccer night for the twins. They play different fields, same time. So we take one vehicle, drop off one parent and one child at one and then drive 10 minutes to the other one. Last Friday was wet as in P*SSING RAIN!!! We had our Maritimers bright yellow raincoats and billy boots and huge golf umbrella so we were fine.

The game ends, time to leave and pick up hubby and baby girl. Get baby boy and big sis in the car. Put key in engine, one little chug, and it dies. Try again and again and again. Nothing. Zilcho. Call hubby on his cell. Before I can finish my sentence, my phone dies. OK, let's not panic in front of the kids. We are parked on a quiet suburban street. The car windows are all fogged up. I leave big sis with baby boy and walk up to this nice looking house and ring the doorbell.

What a sight I must have been. Wet, messy hair, look of panic in my eyes. This nice man lets me in, his wife and two girls behind him. They let me use their phone to call hubby AND he offers to drive me over to pick up the rest of my clan. So I hop in this total stranger's van. Hubby and baby girl are the last ones on their field. Remember, its still P*SSING RAIN!! Baby girl is all freaked: "where is my brother? who is this man? where is our car? etc" Of course, the conversation turns to soccer. This man is from the Netherlands and rooting for his home country. He offers to drive us home (a good half hour ride back and forth for him) but hubby says, lets go to your house first and see what's up with the car. He plays with this and that and the car sputters and comes to life! Looks like this electronic anti-theft thingamajiggy fried and was shortcircuiting the ignition or something like that. I just drive cars, don't understand them ;) This nice man invited us into his home to drink something hot. We declined wanting to get home as the kids were freaked and exhausted and WET.

So yesterday, we parked in front of his house again. We rang the door bell and gave him a FIFA soccer ball from the Netherlands and thanked him again.

One kind act deserves another.

Friday, June 16, 2006

daddy's surprise

Hubby is out of town, back tomorrow. He'll have a neat surprise upon his return.

He's been bugging me since we've been living here (14 years) that he wanted this. I finally went for it.

Went here to order it. So many choices but they suggested that I go with a 28 footer. They came and installed it in the far corner of the backyard. Now I know which way the wind is blowing ;) The kids love it. They want a proper raising of the flag along with national anthem singing on Canada day.

Can't wait to see the look on his face but knowing the twins, they'll let the cat out of the bag the instant they see him.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

soccer fever

This household is deep in it. 3 kids in soccer. 6 hours minimum of organized soccer per week. Soccer paraphernalia everywhere. Constantly washing soccer uniforms and socks. Impromptu soccer practices in the front yard as in pic above when big sis was getting the twins to do some drills. Hubby has been coaching/playing soccer all his life. I used to go watch him play when we were first dating. One year, he was the only white player in an all black team. Another year he was the only non-italian on the team. He played in university and once put me in nets at a practice cuz the goalie didn't show up. He played in the military. Fifth year coaching big sis and her team.

And now the FIFA World Cup. 3 televised games daily. The TV is constantly on. Everyone is watching. Baby boy is really into it: he can tell you which country has played and if they scored, the color of the uniforms, he's analyzing their plays and asking a gazillion questions about the rules and regulations. He's been amazing us when playing with his own team. He is showing a competiteveness and a focus that is surprising us. He is generally the quieter of the two but on the field, watch out. When he gets the ball, he takes off with it at full speed and has already scored many times.

Funny how we relate events according to World Cup years, multiples of four like the Olympics. 20 years ago, the final game of the World Cup in Mexico happened the day we got married. Bad timing. A few of the men in our wedding party ended up at the local bar near our reception hall to catch it on their big screen. 16 years ago we watched the final with friends in Jasper. 12 years ago I was preggo with big sis and had a huge party here. 8 years ago we were in Greece. 4 years ago we were tending to baby twins.

Reminds me of an italian friend of my dad who has been to every World Cup and Olympics all over the world. He works as a chef, has never been married and all his earnings go towards these awesome trips

I guess the World Cup and its fever grasps at our European roots. Soccer, otherwise known as "futball" to millions is a part of life, a cultural thing, a matter of national pride. I've so often wondered what would have happened if my parents didn't decide on a whim to emigrate here. I don't think I would have advanced academically and professionally as much as I have here. This is, after all, the land of opportunities. I've daydreamed for years how my life could have been different. For one, I would have had relatives. But then my dad is quick to point out jokingly how one half doesn't speak to the other half. I could have lived in a country filled with history and culture where people spend lots of time and effort on enjoying themselves and their friends and family than maybe North Americans do, so involved as we are with acquiring things. But I could be wrong, I could be fantasizing and glorifying hours spent sitting at a café when factually indulgences like a long hot shower or plenty of parking spaces are rareties. Who knows. Just simply part of my cultural dichotomy.

For now, I'll just be cheering and wearing the colors of my favorite European team ;)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

renovations part 1


DURING: as soon as baby boy saw the workers, he went to get his own tool belt and tools and proceeded to help them out! Here, he's gone for an ice cream break :)


Saturday, June 10, 2006

joining the sisterhood

Special day for big sis today:

--last day of Greek school and graduation party with her classmates (and special accolades for mom and dad who've been driving her there every Saturday morning for the past 7 years!)

--final rehearsal for the 6th grade year end presentation happening tomorrow: every year they put on an excerpt of a Greek tragedy/comedy from an ancient playwright, she is stunning in her outfit!

--she comes in my bedroom this morning while I'm getting ready with the proof...Aunt Flo has visited her for the first time :~()

No wonder I'm all teary eyed today. My sweet girl has now joined the sisterhood of women...she's exactly 11.5 yo.

...B I G S I G H ...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

la dolce vita

So I'm getting really psyched for this upcoming trip. Been reading up about the area and wished we had more time to see more but I think we'll plan on going back with the kids one day to show them that part of the world.

Funny too that we are staying at the Venetian which is like a little part of Italy, Venice more specifically. I've always wanted to go to Italy. One can say its partly in my blood. Both my parents speak italian. My dad because where he grew up in Europe, Italian was the second language they learned and my mom worked there many moons ago. When we immigrated to Canada, we lived near the Jean Talon market in Montreal, smack in the middle of Little Italy. All my classmates, the local shopkeepers, my neighbourhood friends and my parents friends and co-workers were Italian. I have fond memories of hours spent in their homes listening to Italian music, oh how they love their operatic arias!, and eating their delicacies. And attending their fun festivities: baptisms and first communions and weddings. Apparently when I was 6 years old I could converse even in their dialects like sicilian and calabrese. The church we went to had mass conducted in Italian. The daycare I went to was run by nuns who only spoke Italian. My high school was 95% Italian and so were my first boyfriends ;) Took a few years of formal italian lessons in high school and always loved the way this language sounds. Listening to Andrea Bocelli or any of the other tenors sing in Italian gives me goosebumps. Years ago, I spent a lot of time in Boston for some continuting education courses and I was always drawn to their Italian neighbourhood. It was all so homey and familiar to me. And the restaurants,yum!!! So lately, when I go for my morning walks I've started listening to a local italian station. A little strange but its really just to keep my ear perked up to this romance language, so I don't forget it as I have a lot less occasions to hear it or even speak it anymore.

Arrivederci mi amici!!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

twenty years ago...

today, I was in a frenzy most probably. I was finishing up my final exams in university and a few weeks away from getting married to my long time boyfriend. A year before that, he had proposed during a rainy long week-end camping trip. We had been dating for 7 years.

I so remember the first time I laid eyes on him. First day of CEGEP. He was sitting in front of me in a Creative Writing class. He had long hair, a moustache, a cowboy hat, an old worn out t-shirt with the sleeves cut off showing off his tanned muscular arms. I was instantly smitten. He had a bad boy edge I just couldn't resist. I made a point of getting to know him. I knew his class schedule by heart and would arrange it for us to go home together (an one hour bus/metro ride)as we lived in the same area. We even shared a locker. He had a girlfriend, but that didn't deter me. Slowly but surely I knew I was going to make him mine. So we became good frineds, worked on projects together, took the same classes, became lab partners. He was smart and fun and outgoing. I was only smart. Before I knew it, he dumped his girlfriend. We were still just friends. Then my 18th birthday came along. I was going downtown clubbing with a whole bunch of girlfriends to celebrate. Unbeknownst to me, they invited him along knowing I had a crush on him. Before the night was over, we had our first kiss. What a birthday present. And here I am soon about to celebrate my 27th birthday with him!!! Mind boggling. How much we've been through. How much we've done together. And amazed that we are still each other's best friend.

SSSOOOOO, I've been bugging him for a while. Twenty years married. We need to do something special. And we are!! Just got our plane tickets and we are indeed going to Vegas!!! Not somewhere I ever really wished to go but seems perfect right now. Got the babysitters, all of them, lined up. (Amazing how many people it takes to replace ONE mom). We are leaving for 3 nights. We are staying here. He's actually been invited to attend a convention there so there's this whole package of hotel/meals/entertainment going along with it. Yep, LONG airplane ride with NO kids. Going somewhere new. I'm a wee bit excited. We're even joking about possibly going to one of those quicky wedding chapels for a vow renewal. And getting ourselves new rings while there. It's not a long trip but who cares, it'll feel like we were gone forever and I think that after 3 days we'd miss the kids anyways. Just last night we were watching them swimming and we both sighed and looked at each other and smiled. We knew what both of us were thinking. We are so lucky. We have such a beautiful life. A home we built, 3 amazing kids we created and still being together.

Friday, June 02, 2006

viva las vegas

hmmm, Las Vegas, Nevada...

land of the quirky wedding chapels and casinos and animated nightlife and showgirls and CSI and surrounding desert, playground of the famous and infamous; have never been, any of you?

hmmm, Las Vegas... ;)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

two peas in a pod

Picked up the twins soccer uniforms. They're in different teams: boys with boys, girls with girls. We don't get to pick the teams nor their jersey numbers. Pure luck of the draw. WELL, turns out both get the same number (which is way cool) but get this, both of their coachs turn out to be twin moms! Way cool!!! Baby boy LOVES his uniform, he has slept with it, wears it to school, shows it to everyone or tells everyone about it. Too cute!!!

On to a totally unrelated subject. Aunt Flo or whatever else you want to call it showed up yesterday. In my head a big AH-AH! So is that why I was feeling so crummy last week? I thought PMS would be a few days worth but could it be a whole week and a bit? No fun.