Tag Archives: quality time

Breastfeeding: a true story

13 Nov

This is by no means a bragging post.

This is simply me, wanting to document the third (and last) journey of mine while I still have the luxury of exclusively breastfeeding the little guy outside.

There are certain things about breastfeeding that no one tells you about.

When you become a mom for the first time, you are immediately flooded with all kinds of insecurities concerning the well-being of your newborn. The weight you are forced to carry for being solely responsible for its survival, weighs heavy on your heart and soul.

Then, your milk comes in. And it hurts LIKE HELL. And you turn into an ugly Dolly Parton version of yourself (I could draw you a picture but I am pretty sure you’d rather not). You begin to wonder:  Is this how it’s supposed to feel? Is this normal? Do I have enough milk? And along with the pain, the hormones and the self-doubt you get an overflow of information (you never asked for in the first place) from relatives and acquaintances trying to impose what THEY think is best for you. And while you are trying to tame the inner voices, a smart-ass, formula bribed, so-called pediatrician pays you your first visit and informs you that your baby is losing weight and that YOU might not have enough milk and that they might need to supplement with formula.

While I experienced all of the above I was one of the lucky ones. I had my sister’s back. She had previously nursed all three of her girls and reassured me that although it sure didn’t feel like it at that point, it would eventually get better & I would even enjoy it.

It took 2 whole months, a different pro-nursing pediatrician and the LLL (La Leche League) support group to make it work, but it did. And after the first very hard couple of months I started seeing the beauty of it.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all moonlight and roses. Here are a few examples of what breastfeeding was/is to me:

  • For the first few months your baby is like your key chain. Glued on to you. Especially if your baby eats irregularly (all three babies suffered from acid reflux which on some days meant that they were on the breast 24/7).
  • You can NOT smoke/drink alcohol/starve as this will affect your milk supply.
  • You might have to say bye-bye to certain foods/drinks which make your baby fussy. Because lets face it, fussy baby=sleepless mommy.
  • Your milk is light=easier digested=frequent night waking.
  • You feel like super woman. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Which brings me to the next point:
  • You become mesmerized by the power of nature.
  • You get sick, baby gets antibodies through your milk, baby doesn’t get sick.
  • You have the power of the tit. If everything else fails, put your baby on the boob and it will immediately calm him down and drowse him off to dreamland.

Last but not least, do what you feel is BEST for YOU. If you feel like nursing is your thing, do it. If you feel that your baby will strive more on formula, do it. And feel damn good about it.

Until next time

love

t

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detox day

6 Dec

I am not talking about actual physical detox, like these incredibly disgusting healthy greenish little magical juice cleanses all you healthy people are voluntarily inhaling (good for you by the way, but SERIOUSLY??)

I am talking about the oh-so-needed MENTAL DETOX.

We are all living hectic lives. We worry and stress and our lives are dictated by deadlines and promises we feel obliged to keep. Do we ever take a break? Not really. There is no time, we keep telling ourselves. There are one hundred other million things to do before. Before what though? Before we reach our limit? Before we hit rock bottom? Can’t we identify the warning signals ahead of time? Can we not avoid the meltdowns?

We sure can.

We just need to learn to let go or have someone push us into that direction.

Two days ago, I was lucky enough to have my mom talk me into enjoying some alone time. I was hesitant at first (to say the least). But then, the idea of enjoying some pre-Christmas window shopping with my sis seemed irresistible. The couple of hours I originally had in mind magically turned into a whole stress free day away from everything and all obligations. We strolled around the shops, nostalgically missing our old uncomplicated lives and ease of spending, wished we could afford the 10 things we were sure we NEEDED (spoiler: if you come to think about it, there are very few things one ACTUALLY DOES NEED), met up with two close friends, indulged in digesting the ultimate junk food (yes, people, my DETOX involves ACTUAL JUNK FOOD) and obeying to my pregnancy craving which included Bradley Cooper, toffee and raspberry. YES, that Haagen Dazs ad definitely hit this pregnant woman’s sensitive spot.

When I returned home I was dead meat but incredibly happy.

Thank you mom

Until next time

love

tatu

little miss sunshine is back!

5 Nov

‘Mom, is Iliana not going to school anymore?’

Ouch.

I dreaded this question ever since I decided to take her out of school. As a a responsible and grown up parent I decided to address the situation when the timing was right. I wasn’t ready for 06:42 in the morning though.

‘Well honey, no. Iliana is not going to school anymore’.

‘But why?’

‘She was miserable. She was being bullied. Remember how you had a hard time at this kindergarten as well?  I usually avoid bringing the bullying incident up but I felt like unless he felt her pain there was no way he would accept her quitting school.

‘Yes, I remember. In that case, you did good.’

I always seem to forget how wise Yiannis can be for his age. If you manage to have the patience to explain EVERYTHING in FINE PRINT to him, 24/7, you are in for a treat. I rarely do have it nowadays, I’m afraid.

So, yes. I did the unthinkable. At least for Greek standards. I decided to keep her home for one more year. At the age of almost 4. And you know what? She is back. Happy, smiling, joyful, positive, full of energy and the life of the party.

I might not have any free time left but I will eventually, and I am in no particular rush at the moment. I am planning on savoring the one on one quality time I have with her.

I am relieved and calm again (most of the time). 

Thank you for your support, your ideas and your comforting words. Thank you Jenny & Matt for pointing out the obvious and proving that at times like these you really have to listen to your instinct and look at the big picture.

until next time, 

love,

tatu

 

the Internet – a friend or an enemy?

2 Sep

A few days ago I had my 1 year blogaversary. On the very same day, the Internet was cut off.

A sign?

Maybe.

I am ignoring it.

As the 1st No Internet day was passing by and the odds of getting it fixed soon looked more and more pale, I started to panic. Sad, but true.

And then it hit me. I am an addict. An Internet addict.  I use it for almost anything; to blog, to connect, to look things up, to stay in touch with friends and relatives, to work. I use it  ALL THE TIME. It is easy and uncomplicated. It is great.  Or so I thought.

You see, I have ‘survived’ without the Net for longer stretches of time in the past (usually during vacation) but it had always been MY CHOICE.

Now, I was ‘forced’ to have a break. I thought it would be dreadful. What would I do?

The first No-Internet night we went to bed at 09:30 pm. I can’t remember the last time we voluntarily went to bed shortly after we put the kids to rest. After all, this is MY FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY.

3 Days of NO INTERNET passed by and I realized the following few things (in order to avoid cheesiness I’ ll share a couple of pics I found on the net which describe the situation perfectly):

no wifi

source: fb

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source: single dad laughing

So PAINFULLY true.

Do yourselves and your families a favor and try to look at the big picture. Can you relate? Are you so Internet obsessed that you are missing out on everyday life? On your kids? There is still time to change that. Step back and enjoy the small Internet unrelated joys of life.

Thanks to everyone who has cared, followed, commented and helped bring this blog to life.

Up until next time

love

tatu

The Internet is great. In moderation.

my weekend in pictures: Andros (revisited)

31 Jul

Thanks to the greatest husband alive (in a slightly exaggerated sense) and my mother in law who made it happen, I managed to relax, let myself go, unwind & immensely enjoy the time I had with my sister on Andros last weekend.

I recharged my batteries (it always surprises me how ridiculously fast they manage to die on me once I return to everyday normal life), spend some uninterrupted quality time with my sis, met a few new interesting people & laughed a lot (thanks to my dear friend N. who managed to return to her island just in time for the opening of the exhibition).

Here are some of the pictures I took over the weekend. Enjoy.

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sunset while approaching Andros with the ferry

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the exhibition poster

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my super talented sister Alex with two of her paintings

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beautiful Andros

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the sisters

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enjoying the small things in life (a.k.a. leftover picnic on the balcony)

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blue

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massive tree

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I was very tempted to jump of the cliff, but I am not eleventeen anymore

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the return

If you ever have the luxury chance to get the hell away from everyone and everything, even if it is just for a couple of days, DO IT. I promise you it will be A BREATH OF FRESH AIR!

Until next time

love,

tatu

a week in words – Pelion

8 May

First things first:

Leaving the house for a week WITH the kids is not considered a vacation. Period. You wanna know why? Vacation = Relaxation. Vacation with young kids = Stressful Relaxation.

Don’t get me wrong. I love going away. Especially if the company is great (my sister,  my nieces and a few close friends), the setting is beautiful and the weather is perfect.

Easter happened to fall late this year and we decided to spend a week in beautiful Pelion.

I realize that we are extremely lucky in having a place to go to whenever we are in need of change of scenery. Especially in times like these when vacationing in hotels is less financially feasible anymore.

We left last Saturday.

No 1 note to self: Packing the day before is of vital importance if you do not wish to lose half of your day packing, closing the house, feeding the animals that stay behind etc.

After a very stressful morning we put the already agitated kids and the dog who hates car rides in the car. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned to you N.’s talent in utilizing the car space available to the max. If anyone saw how packed we were he might have thought we were going on a 3 month trip, not on a 7 day trip.

The trip which took us in our previous lives 3 1/2 hours, now has extended to 5 horribly slow passing torturous hours in the car.

No 2 note to self: Invest in car seat entertainment to avoid car fights between siblings.

Image

After what seemed to be an endless road trip we arrived in Volos at the supermarket where N. had a similar meltdown with Steve Martin in the Father of the Bride only it didn’t involve hot dog buns, it involved 2 bottles of shampoo.

The first day was perfect. All 5 kids were super excited, even Benny seemed to enjoy his newly found paradise. The weather was wonderfully warm so we decided to head to the beach.

The ride to the beach is long (50 minutes) and full of turns and at times you feel like you are on a roller-coaster. If you manage to get past this and not throw up your entire breakfast you are in for a treat. The scenery is beautiful, the weather is slightly chilly and when you start driving down the mountain and getting closer to the beach the excitement reaches its peak.

Pilio May 2013 191

Needless to say all children defied the icy cold water temperature and swam and swam and then swam some more.

Pilio May 2013 237

Now THAT was a relaxing day at the beach. I admit it. Maybe the only couple of hours of the whole 7 day trip but it made it all worthwhile.

The next two days flew by as we were all enjoying ourselves. When Alex and the kids left things started going downhill. Ok, I am exaggerating of course but you know how it is when you have the perfect setting to begin with and then you suddenly lose it?

No 3 note to self: Don’t start the ‘vacation’ with the perfect company, END IT.

I won’t bore you with the details I will just mention the few things that interfered with the otherwise perfect (??) week away.

As always with no merciful exceptions whatsoever, I was sleep deprived and I don’t know about you but when I lack the sleep I need I tend to get cranky and dwell on certain things that would otherwise do not mean that the world has come to an end. Let me share a few examples

  • On day 4 the oven broke down. For me, the semi planning freak it rocked my cooking world. I soon came to terms with it and tried to find alternative ways of cooking.
  • Benny decided to roll himself in unidentified (obviously) poo a few times which made me use up the one bottle of shampoo (you see, I knew we would find the perfect use for it) and lose my temper and swear IN FRONT OF THE KIDS. Yes, I went down that road.
  • N.’ the builder’ (that is a different story and totally worth a whole post dedicated to his talent of almost being able to fix everything) spent half of the week fixing things instead of relaxing and enjoying his kids.
  • On our last night (it was after the event I will describe that we decided the time had come to return home) a little gecko decided to commit suicide and get burned inside the electrical service panel causing the entire upper floor to go dark 20 minutes before losing the natural light of the day. SPLENDID. Especially when dealing with an almost 6-year-old who gets a meltdown for not getting his much promised spaghetti.

Apart from the few setbacks we managed to spend some quality time with our friends and enjoyed the Greek lamb after all.

All in all it was wonderfully challenging, much like everyday life with my kids.

Now, a few days later, I am still trying to recover from our ‘vacation’. As we always say with N.:

We have returned home to rest.

Until next time

love,

tatu

quality time

2 May

It’s Easter week here and we have been taking some time off.

As much as I enjoy the blogging world it feels good NOT to have the Internet option so I can spend some true quality time with my family and friends.

I hope you are all well. Consider yourselves missed!

Until next time

Love,

tatu

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what are you? 3?

19 Apr

While I was desperately trying to find THE MANUAL on how to be THE PERFECT PARENT (spoiler: there is none) I swallowed a few dozens of parenting books. Some I loved, others I breezed through and a few didn’t appeal to me after all and were left unread on the shelf.

What I realized after reading all these books was one thing: Too much information can be as harmful as too little information. The key is ΠΑΝ ΜΕΤΡΟΝ ΑΡΙΣΤΟΝ (pan metron ariston=moderation is the key).

What I have done in the last couple of years is reread some chapters of the books that I found helpful and keep in mind little gems and treasures I find on the way.

One of these treasures was a phrase an author suggested we should tell ourselves each time we forget that we are dealing with a child. The deeper meaning was that we tend to get carried away and expect way too much from the little person we have in front of us.

Let me give you an example.

Iliana asked me yesterday to play hide and seek. In the effort of spending more quality time with my kids I decided to drop everything I was doing and play along. If Iliana asks, you usually obey since she is the sweetest, most sunshine-y little girl on this planet (objectively speaking of course).

What I had forgotten was that she hadn’t really grasped the concept of the game. Yiannis absolutely loves to play hide and seek and usually finds it extremely entertaining to scare the hell out of her whenever he hides and suddenly reappears (accompanied by a shriek voice and frightening face while pretending to be a lion). So the whole concept of hide and seek is a bit distorted in her little 3 year old mind.

Iliana: Mama, count to three and I will hide under the couch

Me: Honey, you are not supposed to tell me where you hide, I will count to ten and you will hide wherever you want, ok?

Iliana: Ok mama, I will hide under the couch and you will then count to 3.

Me: The whole purpose of this game is that you hide without telling me where you are and I will try to find you ok? don’t tell me WHERE you hide, ok?

Iliana: Ok mama. I will hide first and then you count to 3. She didn’t seem like grasping it but I decided to play along, anyway.

Me: 1……2…….3…….I am coming….

Iliana: Ok mama, I am behind the curtain!

I rest my case…

Until next time

love,

tatu

Image

even if she hadn’t told me, her ‘kiki’ kind of spoiled her hideaway 😉

 

what would you like to be when you grow up?

7 Feb

I can’t honestly understand the reason behind this question. Especially at the age of 5. Or maybe I can. The question is being asked for one reason and one reason only; Adults ask the little people that just because they want to get amused. 

Depending on my age and play preferences I answered this question with a zillion different answers. When I was 6, I wanted to be a ballerina (shocking, I know). When I was 7, I wanted to be a singer. When I was 8 I wanted to be a dancer. When I was 9 I had made up my mind: I wanted to be famous.

I recently had the chance to spend some one on one quality time with Yianni (driving him to the paediatrician) and we started talking about everything and nothing. I really enjoyed that as Yianni is the rather quiet boy that keeps to himself so I let him do most of the talking and I just gave him my full attention (my eyes were still 100% on the road).

The one thing led to the next and after talking about 15 minutes he concluded our discussion with this gem phrase:

‘Mom I finally (at 5?) decided what I want to be when I grow up! I don’t want to be a fire-fighter any more. I want to be a knight. In a castle.’

Needless to say I was too mesmerised to even comment and I let him be the kid he is supposed to be at 5 by just replying: fine by me!

Until next time,

love

tatu

Image

quality time

28 Dec

As we have magically found ourselves in a beautiful place with very limited Internet connection, I have decided to inhale my family for a few days and give them my full and undivided attention.
I wish you all ‘einen guten Rutsch’,as the Germans say (a good slide) into the New Year, may you have the year you have all dreamed of and much more!
Love,
xxx
T

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