Tag Archives: kids

about imperfection & new beginnings

20 Jan

 Recently I met up with a dear friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a while and she asked me the question I have been asked a few times since the little guy outside joined our family:

‘how do you do it all? 

I thought she meant my latest creation, so in pure excitement I began to blabber about the whole process behind each new recipe post.

‘No, no’  she kindly interrupted me. ‘I mean, the whole thing. The kids, the house, the crafting, the new blog’, she said.

‘Well, its chaotic and some days are really tough, but if you take a look at the great big picture, life is great. Seriously, I can only recommend adding another tiny human to an already messy household’ I replied.

Its like my sister told me when I asked her why she is getting another dog, when she already has one. ‘Since I do everything anyway for Pluto, why not do it for one more?’ And so she got Micky. And after a hell of very difficult first year, they learned to love each other and have become inseparable. Did you see what I just did there? I compared the addition of another tiny little human to the addition of another pet. I know, I know. It is very naive and too simple. But you know what? Simple is good. Simple is sometimes better.

N. & I have been having the same conversation every night for the past 19 months and 3 days. HOW DID WE LIVE WITHOUT PETROS? And honestly, I don’t know. I think back at the very dark period in my life when I first found out I was pregnant again & I try to understand the heartache. Why was I so devastated? So blind? My old self infuriates me. But I am not holding a grudge anymore.

I think the most valuable lesson my little guy outside taught me is to embrace imperfection. I have become softer, calmer and more forgiving. Mainly with myself. And that is a huge thing my friends. HUGE. I don’t drown anymore in guild trips. When I fall, I gather my pieces and get up again. Perhaps stronger than before.

And during this self transformation I decided to share the love I have for food and started my own food blog. And this is an invitation for you my lovelies to get engaged. There is a link on http://www.wonderbitesbytatu.com where you can subscribe and get my recipes per mail, you can like my facebook page, you can follow me on instagram or spread the love and help me build my tribe!

Are you with me?

until next time

love

t

 

this is my truth

18 Nov

I don’t want to make any excuses.

I don’t have time. I am guilty of using this phrase every now and then and although it seems to be most of the time true, it actually isn’t.

Yes, having three kids and a household to take care of doesn’t leave me with a lot of ‘free’ time, but it all comes down to HOW I chose to spend this ‘free’ time. Most of the time you will find me in my kitchen. Sometimes I am too tired to do anything productive which is OK. Ever since the little guy outside made his début I find myself in a constant state of accepting and embracing imperfection.

Talking about imperfection I have decided to embrace my imperfect little belly which depending on the angle of the picture makes me look 3 – 5 month pregnant. I am at my pre-pregnancy weight but my body has changed and I have learned to respond with a smile at innocent little five year olds who ask me WHY I have such a big belly. Instead of badmouthing my body I tell them that I have been lucky enough to grow inside me 3 utterly nauseating at the time wonderful creatures and that I love to eat. 

I still breastfeed my 17 month old blessing of a wonderfully vivid and healthy boy. I officially apologize to any of you I had silently criticized about extensively breastfeeding your toddlers before. I never planned to nurse him that long and although I am in a constant forgetful sleep deprived mode, I am no way near weaning him because the truth is, I still cherish this special bond. So, for all of you who are dying to ask me the same question I have been asked a zillion times in the past six months when will you stop? the answer is whenever I feel ready.

I love making plans. Sure, making plans and actually executing them are two different things but even if the plan doesn’t work out it doesn’t mean it was not worth it in the first place. That being said, the execution of my BIG PLAN to start my own food blog has taken a bit longer than anticipated, not because I didn’t have the time until now it’s because ”life happens while you are busy making other plans”. But I am determined to make it happen, so stay tuned 😀

Last but not least. Appreciate the small things, learn to let go & enjoy life.

Chose to be happy.

until next time

love

t

   

what mother’s day looks like at our home

11 May

I am not big on commemorative days. For all sorts of reasons. Why should there be one specific day to celebrate something/someone? I mean, do you feel more in love on February 14? Are you less of a mother worthy of celebration on the remaining 364 days? Maybe I would feel less strong about it if it were celebrated in a simpler way. Not in the lets-buy-some-more-commercial-crap-to-show-our-love-on-the-day-we-are-supposed-to kinda thing.

That being said, when the kids gave me their handmade mother day gifts last Friday my vision became temporarily blurry as well. And although I didn’t get to see my mother yesterday I too wished her a happy mother’s day. And when Omi (my German grandmother) came to the phone I wished her happy mother’s day too and told her that if it weren’t for her none of us would be here right now (for all intents and purposes I left all the males out of the equation). And yes, subconsciously I hoped for a day full of flowers, hugs, kisses, mommy awards etc.  Instead I got a Sunday, similar to any other family day of the year. Let me paint you a picture:

  • Early wake up by the little guy outside in a soiled diaper followed by Yianni’s daily homework battle timing vs sleeping in
  • Siblings fighting over who gets the bigger egg for breakfast vs breakfast in bed
  • Struggling to convince the kids that I am not their slave/housemaid/personal cook while yelling at them to clean their mess up vs the family enjoying some quality time while peacefully playing HOTEL
  • Trying to unhook the little guy’s claws hands from my legs so I can prepare his long overdue lunch while screaming at N. that he needs to take him NOW vs enjoying lunch on the seafront with all three kids behaving impeccably
  • Blabbering something like this is not how I imagined to spend the day to N. with him replying that I should have told him it was important to me and he would have made the effort #MEN vs a joined effort of N. & the kids to surprise me with, well, anything
  • Dancing with the kids in our living room vs dancing with the kids in our living room
  • Iliana cited a poem she learned by heart and I was so moved I had to record it. Three. Times. Yiannis borrowed my phone, inserted the correct grammar spell check and typed up a note with how he feels about me vs nothing would beat that

You know. Reality vs picture perfect & utterly unrealistic family moments. And it got me thinking. Why should I waste my time thinking of the things I would like to have instead of the things I am actually blessed to have?

Let’s be authentic and impulsive and appreciative of each other EVERY day. Doesn’t that sound much better?

Until next time

love

tatu

a little bit of gratitude

25 Sep

A little over a year ago I was completely ignorant of the magnitude of happiness that the little guy outside would bring to our lives. The day I held the positive pregnancy test in my hands I started crying and crying and crying and the only one that saved me that day was MY person, MY ROCK, my sister Alex. I honestly don’t have a clue what I would do without her.

Alex was thrilled. She was ecstatic. She was out of this world happy. She tried to calm me down by saying all the right things and she even managed to make me take a momentary glimpse at the light at the end of the tunnel. She stayed calm and reassured me that everything was going to be alright. 

Well, she was DAMN right. After a trying and very difficult pregnancy, everything DID turn out alright.

I would like to dedicate this post to the people who stood by me and whose gestures of kindness helped me in one way or another to fight my inner demons and simply gave me hope. HOPE is a wonderful thing. HOPE is essential to leading a happy life. HOPE is priceless.

A big shout out to my enthusiastic sister and my loving hubby, who always encouraged me that I COULD do THIS.

Special thanks to my mom who showed empathy, compassion and patience when mine was running out and to my mother in law who went into the trouble of putting properly cooked food on our table, every single day.

From my real life friends who went out of their way to help me (thank you Iro & Daphne for that surprise delivery of burger & fries-you seriously MADE MY DAY) to my fellow blogger friends whose words of encouragement made all the difference (Matt, you might be right, he might turn out to be my favourite after all).

Thank you.

Life is good. Life is NOT PERFECT. It is blissful, chaotic, beautiful, frantic, challenging, stressful but most importantly BEAUTIFUL.

Yes, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL

Until next time

love

t

happy

32

20 May

I am almost there.

Officially I still have 8 weeks left. Realistically I will be ecstatic if I get another 4. Both my children decided to leave the premises at 36 weeks gestation and I have been holding on to this little guy tight ever since I had one of the most terrifying days of my life when I nearly lost him right before Christmas.

This has been, and still is, one hell of a ride. A roller coaster of emotions. At times I felt broken, I saw no hope, I thought we had hit a dead end. I felt like there was no way out. But you know what? There is (almost) always a light that will shine through. The impossible becomes possible. And what I feared would tear N. & me apart, made us actually a lot stronger. I feel more love, appreciation, respect for him than ever before. He picked me up when I fell down. Each. And. Every. Single. Time. He said the right words at the wrong time. He was there. 24/7. He was my rock. I am confident that I (we) wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for his support. This is what LOVE is all about you guys.

Cheesy? YOU BET. But, let’s not forget that I am still pregnant and I have the right to overindulge in the emotional outpouring of my soul. OK??

I have (finally) reached the stage where I am genuinely happy about #thelittleguyinside. I am confident that we took the right decision when we decided to play along the very scary (at least in the beginning) game of fate and keep him. I see the anticipation and joy in my kids faces when they ‘help’ in the preparation for their sibling. I also see the first signs of jealousy but I choose to look away. I know what’s coming and I know it will be exhausting and draining and challenging but also BREATHTAKING, BEAUTIFUL & FULFILLING.

I CAN’T WAIT!

Until next time (please keep your fingers crossed he will stay put at least for the next 4 weeks)

love

tatu

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of lice and mayo

6 May

Are you one of those people who get easily disgusted? Are you single and /or child free? If you answered yes to either one, DON’T read along.

Consider yourselves warned.

Now, embrace yourselves for the following wise fact I need to share with you before I begin to tell my story:

Becoming a parent will CHANGE YOU for LIFE. There is no turning back. Long gone are the carefree days. There are all sorts of disgusting little encounters you will have on your day to day life as a parent that you slowly and steadily start getting immune (if there is such a thing) to dirt and stink. It starts slowly. First there are some spit ups (or exorcist style projectile vomits if you are lucky). Then there is pooh which tends to be very liquid if you breastfeed and has the unbelievable power to spread and permanently soil all of those precious little onesies you carefully picked out at the maternity store.  Eventually your baby will get a stuffy nose which YOU will have to unblock by sucking out the snort because your baby is well, too young to do it on its own. The older the baby gets, the more disgusting the encounters become. Until you reach the kindergarten/preschool/casual encounter with other small children age where you see your child scratching its head and while you are still ignorant you discover the first louse, which you accidentally and wishfully take as dirt until you see it moving. THIS my friends, will transform you forever.

For the past six and a half years the only encounter I had with these dreadful microscopic insects was at the most inconvenient time of all: when I was pregnant with Iliana. Until that time, I belonged to the ignorant group of people who thought that clean kids don’t get lice. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yes, you can laugh along. I had erased all the bad lice related memories from my mind, the only thing I do remember from that summer is that I had semi-permanently ruined my relationship to vinegar.

When Iliana started kindergarten back in January, I received a 3-page detailed advisory letter from school on how to avoid catching lice and what to do if you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation. I quickly read through it and tossed it somewhere in the school file as I considered myself & the kids immune to lice since we hadn’t encountered any for the past 4 years. Little did I know.

Ten days ago as I was blissfully watching my kids play, I saw Yianni scratching his head. Not the 5 scratch a day thing, more like the 5 scratch a minute thing which immediately sent cold shivers down my spine. Could it be….I couldn’t even pronounce the word in my head. No….it can’t be. 

So, I did the only thing a mature parent would do in my situation. I looked the other way.

A day later, I started scratching my head. The whole day. I even had N. look at my head. No honey, I can’t see anything, he reassured me.

MEN

Later that evening, when Yiannis was already in bed, and after I had just washed my hair I started feeling THE ITCH again. Now, I started to panic. I opened the pharmacy drawer, took the magic lice comb out, stuck it in my hair, pulled half of my hair out, looked at the comb only to find a microscopic particle of dirt. MOVING. S H I T. That can’t be happening….Oh no…How will I get rid of them?? Why me?…. Why now???

While I was in complete self pity mode I broke the news to N., went to Yiannis room, switched on the light, took a good pitiful look at him, visioned the lice that were probably having a party on his head, switched the light off, shut the door and decided to deal with that the following morning.

I went online and started frantically searching for natural remedies to get rid of the nasty intruders only to remember a couple of minutes later that a dear friend of mine had gone through a similar situation while she was breastfeeding her infant daughter last summer.

I immediately rang her up and shared my pain. While I listened carefully to her instructions I asked N. to bring me the mayo we still had (and seldom use) from the refrigerator. After emptying the whole bottle of Heinz Light Low Cholesterol Mayo on my head and wrapping the whole thing in cling film I had two choices. Laugh or cry. I chose option no 1.

While I spent 3 hours on a Saturday night and all Sunday (at least on Sunday I had the company of my son) wrapped in mayo and combing out lice and their offspring, I felt gratitude for two things: Friends who give you priceless advice & Heinz Mayo.

Until next time

love

tatu

 

 

if you ever take one advice from me, let it be this

21 Mar

ALWAYS TRUST YOUR (MOTHER) INSTINCT.

Call it intuition, call it sixth sense. Call it what you like. If you have doubts about a certain situation, trust your instincts. Unless you are a hypochondriac or suffer from any kind of anxiety disorder or … you get the picture.

Throughout the last 6+ years of parenting this point has been proven to me more than once. I was very reluctant in the beginning but as the years passed by, I got more experienced and listening to my instinct almost always turned out to be the right thing to do in the first place.

Iliana had been snoring since she was 2. After a few frightening sleep apnea episodes we decided to do something about it.  I asked the advice of my pediatrician and he suggested I should see an ear-nose-throat specialist. So we went and saw a couple. Both said the same thing. She needs to have surgery.  It didn’t take much to convince me as Yiannis had his adenoids removed when he was 3 1/2 and all health related problems ceased to exist a week after his operation.

So we decided to go through with it and I took Iliana to the surgeon my pediatrician had advised me to consult. Although she had enlarged tonsils he didn’t want to take them out. He tried to convince me that they are there for a reason and we should only take her adenoids out as they seem to obstruct her breathing. I was reluctant. I saw it coming. I had doubts. I shared my doubts both with him and my pediatrician. I don’t want to put her through another operation next year. If you feel that we might end up here again for her tonsils, I would rather take them out now. Why put her through ANOTHER operation? ANOTHER full anaesthesia? 

Don’t worry. We ll take the adenoids out and the problem will be fixed, her surgeon reassured me.

Well, guess what.

Her problem was never fixed. She kept on snoring, she still had apnea episodes, she kept on being a poor eater and she never gained the proper weight she needed to thrive. All in all, her operation was a complete failure.

Which brings us back to today. Its been four days since she took her tonsils out (with another surgeon and without consulting my pediatrician first). I am mad at the doctors who exploit our children in order to make more money. I am mad, Iliana had to have two surgeries to fix her problem, instead of just one. I am mad I had to sign a sheet of paper agreeing that the full anaesthesia might have complications as severe as leaving her brain-dead. AGAIN.

Let’s look at the big picture now.

I am glad I didn’t dwell on what happened last year (well not too much, that is) and I trusted my instinct and searched for a different surgeon who was both competent and kind and respectful.

I am glad this is over and she is OK now.

I am glad I have two healthy children and another one on the way.

Until next time

love

tatu

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thank you Woody for yet another reality check

12 Mar

I have a tendency to moan. I wish I were more like my mom who can find the beauty in virtually anything, but I am not. I am grateful for the reality checks I do get every now and then which make me appreciate my life more but usually this kind of life-is-beautiful-euphoria doesn’t last. At least not to the extent I would like it to last.

As I was watching another episode of  ‘True Detective’ last night, one phrase of Woody Harrelson’s character stuck with me. Pardon my rephrasing I don’t quite recall the exact dialogue. Here it is: What if years pass and shit happens and you realize that you have already lived the good years? That the actual good years happened back then when your kids were still young and you had your whole life ahead of you. That these WERE the GOOD YEARS.

Let it sink in for a moment.

Am I living the life I was aiming for? YES. Am I happy? YES. Is it perfect? No.

Life is not perfect. It will never be. Maybe that is why the good moments are so precious because we can’t take them for granted. Would we appreciate life if it was only good? Wouldn’t it get boring? Tiring to some extent?

Life is unpredictable. Life is moody. Life is full of incredibly happy moments and excruciatingly painful ones. It’s up to you what you make of it. Are you happy? Awesome! Are you miserable? Do something to change it. Don’t settle. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t sit around and wait for life to become better. Pick up your broken pieces and start over. 

Life is wonderfully challenging. ENJOY THE RIDE

Until next time

love

tatu

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be careful what you wish for

24 Feb

‘I wish I had some time for myself’ I kept on telling N. Although I cherished the time I have had with Iliana for the last four years, I was convinced that the piece of the puzzle which was missing was some time for myself.

For the last couple of months, all I have is alone time. What do I do with it?

Nothing.

I vegetate. In front of my laptop or my phone. I occasionally eat (lets not forget the love affair I have with food). On good days, I semi force myself to knit, while watching one more episode of Suits, or Fringe, or the Blacklist or any other TV Series I am currently hooked on.

At least that is how I spend my mornings. I lose the luxury of vegetating once my kids arrive home. One would think that all this alone time should recharge my batteries. I should be calm and sweet and caring and the perfect mom to my children at least for the 4 hours I do spend with them until bedtime, right? HELL YEAH, but sadly this is not the case. 

I have good intentions and am happy that they are back but one teeny tiny little misbehaving sets me on fire. WHY?

I am an extrovert. I thrive on meeting up with the people I hold close to my heart. Living in the suburbs doesn’t always make it easy so I used to spend Mondays to Wednesdays usually running errands (grocery store/bookstore/pharmacy/local fresh produce market/IKEA). On Thursdays, we would pick Yianni up from school and head to my sister’s place. We spent frantic afternoons trying to coordinate the needs of 5 children but when they were all tucked in bed, we spent some serious quality sister time (snacks and dvd). 

On the weekends we usually had one quiet day (for my social introverted hubby N. to recharge his own batteries) and one day that I would cook for friends to come over and spend the day. There was a balance.

There is no balance now. Ever since my bed (ar)rest I stopped doing all of the above and instead of valuing the much anticipate alone time, I choose to vegetate. I postpone the few things I am able to do for the days to come. I tried explaining it to my sis and she said: hon, that’s what one might call depression.

But I am not depressed. I am not unhappy. I haven’t regretted the choice I made to keep this baby. Am I super excited about it? Not yet. I have been there twice already, I know what having a baby entails. I know the true meaning of ‘sleeping like a baby’ contrary to what it might mean to the ignorant (excuse my choice of words) non parents out there. 

Life is good. It is sometimes just plain frustrating.

Until next time

love

tatu

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wan sepona time

1 Feb

Ever since the incident, I have been calling my gynecologist every couple of days to give him a full report on my progress. If you know me, you know I hate calling doctors on their cell phones. Why??? Because they are pretty much overdosed on the whole receiving freaked out-totally-unjustified-24/7-patient phone calls.

But he insisted and truth be told my situation needed to be monitored. So…I waited for the perfect timing (sometime around noon) and dialed the dreaded number every couple of days. As time passed and things started to look a bit more hopeful, I limited the calls to once a week.

Last Friday I called and begged asked him if I were allowed to drive.

‘What?? from the sound of his voice I knew I had just irritated him.

‘Well….I am off my meds, last time you saw me you were happy with how everything was going, so…I didn’t even get to finish my argument.

‘That is why I don’t want to give you ANY freedom at all. I know you. The minute I give you the OK to drive, you ll start doing things around the house, driving around the neighborhood, running all sorts of errands. So, NO. No driving, no walking up and down the stairs, no NOTHING. LAY IN BED. Or on THE COUCH. Do we understand each other???

BAM!

Feeling like I have just been told off by my primary school teacher, Mrs Katy (bless her very strict soul wherever she is), I sobbed silently and agreed to continue laying it low.

The thing is, N. needed to leave on a business trip for a few days which meant that the remaining members of the family needed to find another place to crash. Since, I, once a proud mother and caretaker of all, was somehow incapable of taking care of the family from THE SOFA, we opted for the next best thing: 5 1/2 kids, 2 dogs, 3 adults: My sister’s house.

To cut the story short, come Sunday, the kids and I were picked up by my father who then drove us off to Alex.  Johnny (the canarian) and Benny (the dog) had already been transferred safely to my mom’s house the day before. An hour later we were greeted by my 3 nieces and sister with excitement and joy which helped me recover from the stressful ride as a co-driver to my dad. You see, my dad, drives a car like he drives his motorcycle. YES. At the tender age of 73, he STILL rides his motorcycle. EVERY DAY. Unless it is pouring which in Greece is rarely the case.

Five, very full days passed filled with lots of children’s giggles, sleepless nights (Iliana got sick and Yiannis was so excited to be with his cousins that he wanted to start his day at 05:00 am), homework with the girls (I will get back to that), cuddles with the dogs, movie nights with the sis and the non stop-chatting-while-trying-to-watch-the-movie-dad.

The highlight of all was definitely the moment my middle niece asked me to correct the fairy tale she had just typed up for her English class.

‘Wan sepona time…

Until next time

love

tatu

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