Tag Archives: sister

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

 

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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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

I think I’ve figured it out

10 Sep

It might probably be a bit hasty and I am almost certain it will backfire at one point or another but I think I now know the 1 thing it takes to master the magical number of three. Children, that is.

Are you ready??

Taratataaaaammmmmm……

If you want to survive the new situation with little or no help you will have to let go of wanting to do everything PERFECT. As a matter of fact, leave the word PERFECT out of your dictionary for good. As in, permanently. As in, never use it again. Because one thing is certain. YOU CAN NOT DO EVERYTHING PERFECT. Unless you are a superwoman. Then, kudos to you! You are truly ONE OF A KIND.

Back to the remaining human mothers, before (or in my case after) you hit rock bottom, LET some things GO. It won’t be the end of the world. I promise you that. Here is a short list of the few things I realized since the little guy inside made his debut:

1. Ask for help. If you are anything like me, too proud to ask for help, make an extra effort and DO ask for it. You will be surprised to see that there are more people than you think who are more than willing to give you a hand. I don’t know what I would have done this summer if I didn’t have my sister’s nor my mother’s help with the new addition. I felt a bit like a nomad moving from one house to the other and although it was tiring physically, it was the ONLY thing that kept me sane. Having someone to lean on is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING in the world.

2. Plan wisely whenever possible. Taking all 3 kids to the supermarket after school (as in tired and cranky & hungry) is a big NO NO. I thought I could manage it. Two days ago, I learned it the hard way. Let me paint the picture for you by describing one of the ‘beautiful moments’ I had to endure while trying the impossible. I was struggling to keep it together while Jannis was chasing Iliana in all four aisles of the supermarket and Iliana was screaming bloody murder. You can do this, I kept telling my burnt out & utterly exhausted self. The little guy outside was now WIDE AWAKE (in my mei tai) and slowly beginning to take his oh-my-God-I-suddenly-realised-that-I-am-starving-so-lets-tell-mom-that-I-need-booby-NOW face while I was staring on my phone’s shopping list in the hope that all remaining 23 items would just magically put themselves in the cart.  For a moment I decided to ignore the chasing & screaming and started speed shopping. Then, on aisle 3, I found Iliana sniffing on shower gel bottles (yes, THIS she learnt from me) and Jannis rubbing his hands with 1/4 of the coconut shower gel bottle which he accidentally poured on his clothes. I will let you imagine the rest. SPOILER ALERT: Multitasking: EPIC FAIL.

3. LET GO of PERFECTION. I can’t stress this enough. When I generously agreed to give N. some much needed personal time and go sailing with Ilianas’ godfather (am I not the COOLEST WIFE EVER???), I took refugee at my sister’s (AGAIN). We were two adults and 6 children. When he came back, 4 days later, he saw Jannis and commented on his change of colour of skin. Jannis, now looked more like a 7year old South East Indian rather than a Greek. What happened to Janni? Didn’t you put sunscreen on him? he dared to ask me. Oh honey, be thankful that all six of them are still alive.

I rest my case.

Until next time

love

tatu

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party of five

if you get easily disgusted, don’t read this

24 Aug

While we were vacationing in Pelion a couple of weeks ago, my sister and my cousin had the insane magnificent idea to go swimming on the beach of the busiest, widely known, beautiful beach of Mylopotamos.

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N. & Ch. (Alex’s husband), tried to talk them out of it, giving them multiple reasons why this would probably be the worst idea of the whole 7 day trip, but they were so persistent, they just decided to go along. Mistake No 1.

After a full breakfast, Mistake No 2, I had the splendid idea to switch places with Ch. & ride along with Alex & the girls (Mistake No 3). I do remember my last words to Ch. before I sat on the co-drivers seat: If Iliana complains that she has tummy ache, stop the car and we will switch places, ok? Ch. gave me the my-mind-is-totally-somewhere-else-and-I-will-nod-just-to-get-you-off-my-back look and said OK. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.

Half way through the 1 1/2 hour torturous ride up & down the mountain to the beach, N. stopped the car.

S H I T.

A semi panicked, semi guilty looking N. exited the car.

– WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? I asked him. Of course I already knew the answer to that.

– Iliana just threw up.

– Oh no. No, no, no, no…If you know me, you know I can handle almost anything related to kid’s typical illnesses (sore throat, ear infections, bronchitis, you name it). Almost. The whole seeing what my kid just ate in detail accompanied by the most disgusting smell in the world thing I don’t deal with, well.

Numb and with the most disgusted look on my face I was staring at the 3-year-old who was crying like hell covered in the full morning’s breakfast, mumbling something about men being useless…

Thankfully my sis came to my rescue. She managed to calm Iliana down, clean her up (wet wipes inventor-I love you), put her dress and the 2 Barbies who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time into a plastic bag and into the trunk and pretended she didn’t mind. Oh yes, the whole puke-aversion thing runs in the family.

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we found a waterfall and tried washing everything under the crystal cold water that was coming down the mountain: including 3-year-old Iliana

Needless to say the already way too long drive to the beach got an hour extension and when we finally arrived at 3pm at the much awaited beach we realized we had to park 1 km away from the 300 steps which would lead us to it only to share it with another 1000 people who had the same dumb idea.

Tired, nauseous & fed up we took the absolute necessary things (or so we thought) and started to walk towards our destination. Nobody dared to say anything as we all felt like fusing time bombs who were just about to go off with the teeny – tiny – bit of stupid comment.

When we finally arrived at the beach, we discovered that there was no space left for 9 people so we squeezed our belongings together and shoved them next to some rocks convincing each other that, and I quote ‘we are so lucky, we found shade’, ignoring the fact that we had just carried an umbrella & a tent for 1 km and 300 steps.

The kids managed to stop whining & fussing as soon as they hit the water and N. & I decided to take turns in staying with Iliana as she didn’t really feel like swimming (can you blame her?)

After a couple of drama-less hours had passed I decided to leave everyone behind and go for the long-awaited swim in the sea. It was great. Worth it? Definitely not, but still I tried convincing myself that it was great.

When I returned to the gang, N. & Alex seemed eager to share with me the latest incident of the day.

Iliana had suddenly felt the need to pooh (after she had eaten two dozens of grapes, Mistake No 4) and thought to share it with the other 1000 people on the beach by shouting out: I HAVE KAKA!!!!! A painful realization: We had forgotten THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL: the potty.

-SO? what did you do??? I was smiling….Finally, something that happened without my presence.

– She shitted in a plastic bag.

– Oh great! still smiling

– And while we were praising ourselves that we had brilliantly mastered the crisis, wiped her clean and threw away the only plastic bag we had, she shouted: I HAVE MORE!!!

– hahahahahahaha (ironic, right)

– And then we took the huge bag of chips (crisps if you are British) we had just licked clean and let her finish in there.

– Honey, I am proud of you!

Until next time

love

tatu

shhhhh don’t tell anyone

26 Jul

I am leaving for a two day, much needed desperate getaway with my one and only, precious, big sister Alex!

WITHOUT KIDS.

I know. I actually AM the luckiest gal on the planet! At least for the next 2 days!!!

My super talented sis will participate in a group exhibition on the island of Andros. The lovely people who organized the whole thing, decided to invite the participants and their +1’s to spend the weekend of the opening on the beautiful island.

But you know who the most brilliant of all is? My N.

He made the whole thing possible. I am guessing it had a little bit to do (or a lot) with the fact that I went mental a few times these past 3 weeks, but still…

He is one hell of a guy!

Until next time

love,

tatu

how to lose your mind in 10 days

23 Jul

For the past 10 days I have taken care of: 4 children, 3 dogs, 1 husband, 1 baby tortoise, 1 canary and 2 teenagers, a.k.a. my parents (yes, in THAT exact order).

I have survived…

…minus a few brain cells from the burn-outs/meltdowns/drama-queen-like-cries I suffered these past few days. At one point I had to google the first signs of bipolar disorder just to make sure I wasn’t a strong candidate heading towards that direction.

Why would I voluntarily put myself through such an ordeal?

It’s easy, my friends: Sisterly love.

Alex & her eldest were going to be gone for a few days and she asked me to help my mom take care of the remaining family (2 daughters, 2 dogs & the baby tortoise).

Sure, I thought to myself, when she first discussed this with me. I can handle it. No problem.

WHAT THE F#CK was I thinking?

I won’t bore you with the stories that made me seriously consider jumping off the 3rd floor directly into the pool (which is slightly on the right side of the building) at one point or the other.

I will however, share with you, a few of the GREAT moments, because these are the ones that make it ALL worthwhile:

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sometimes you just need to PLAY ALONG

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or have an imagination like my mom’s

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and play out of nothing

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when everything else fails, use chocolate

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bribe them

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don’t forget to take care of them

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live in the moment and enjoy the small things in life

Truth be told, it was HARD WORK but I survived. My mom survived. The kids are still in one piece & none of the dogs have gone missing or died. Case closed.

Until next time

love

tatu

the embarrassing call

13 May

Did you ever find yourself in a situation where you had to make an embarassing phonecall?

I just did.

I called my son’s school to let them know that I had accidentaly given him the dog’s rice for lunch. I know. It doesn’t just sound bad, it actually is quite BAD. Considering the rice was on the verge of not being edible anymore (dog edible that is).

Let me explain myself.

I love my son. This was not deliberate. Now…how can someone do such a mistake? Easy. There were 2 identical tupperware in the fridge. One light blue & one turquoise. Let’s pretend my sister never mentioned that I should be careful not to switch the basmati rice with the smelly rice when I was left to take care of yesterday night’s dinner for the kids (which I totally rocked by the way).

This morning was a different story.

I was sleep deprived. Yes, I know what you will say. Cheap excuse. Well…I guess it’s the new mid 30’s mommas lame excuse. Like an equivalent of the early 20’s booze excuse. Sorry honey, I didn’t mean to sleep around, I was too drunk.

Now it sounds more like:

Sorry honey, I didn’t mean to poison you, I was just too tired to think straight.

And for the purpose of not making a total fool of myself let’s pretend that there wasn’t a sign that something was off with the rice when I found a teeny tiny little fracture of a chicken bone in it.

Until next time

love,

tatu

copy and paste

28 Mar

Do they ever grow out of it?

My children are currently in the phase of copying and pasting each other in EVERYTHING they do.

I usually don’t mind that much. I have learned to adapt. I buy Iliana a lollipop, I buy one for Yiannis as well. I need to change Iliana’s pjs because she vomited on them, Yiannis demands to change into a clean pair as well (even though his is spotless). Unless the circumstances ask for differential treatment (such as birthdays, namedays or sick days) I treat them equally.

I know what you think: Why do I give in? Well…I have decided to pick my battles. Yiannis can be exhaustively stubborn and I can be extremely tired at the end of the day. Furthermore, one of my resolutions this year was to say more often yes than no, right? If it were up to my son we could argue about anything & everything. I am trying to convince myself that it is a trait what will serve him well later in his life. Iliana is generally easier to handle but once we go down the negotiation road she follows closely in Yiannis’s footsteps.

Yesterday the copying-pasting thing reached its peak. After visiting the pediatrician for the 3rd time in the last two weeks, we stopped by the drug store to get all the necessary evil to put us on the right track again. We ran into our close friends D. & V. who volunteered to take both kids into the hairdresser’s next door until I finished getting all the stuff we needed. Aaaahhhhh…perfect. I had the next five minutes all alone.

I chatted up the drug store owner, felt gratitude towards my generous friends who gave me the gift of alone time and finished my shopping. Upon leaving the store I suddenly remembered the promise of 1 lollipop for each. I politely asked if I could take 2 for my kids (the son of the owner gave me the don’t-give-me-that-crap-you-just-want-them-for-yourself look), chose 2 interesting enough flavors and left.

The moment I stepped into the hairdresser’s Yianni did not lose any time and demanded his promised lollipop (if you ever contemplate with not following through what you have promised Yianni, think again). I take them out of the bag, show them to my kids and slowly start spelling the flavors: c-h-e-r-r-y annnnnnnnnnnnnnddddddddd  w-a-t-e-r-m-e-l…I WANT THE WATERMELON, shouted Iliana. Yiannis’s already tense look turned into the evil-brother-ready-to-murder-his-younger sister look, NOOOOOOOOOOOO…..I WANT THE WATERMELONNNNNNNNNN.

Oh….I snapped. I lost it. I was furious & totally overreacting. I started preaching on how ungrateful they were only to realise a few minutes later that the only one who urgently needed a time out was me. The realization of a parent.

Until next time

love,

tatu

 

tension, tension and some more tension

27 Mar

What I need is patience, patience and a LOT MORE patience.

The situation is like this:

The kids are still sick (I kind of regret the thought I had two weeks ago that this winter has been easy on us in terms of sickness). Yiannis has been sick and OFF SCHOOL (the latter being the hardest) for the last two weeks, Iliana followed a week later. N. felt off a couple of days ago and guess who got the fucking flu now??? YEAP, you guessed it. No wonder.

They still haven’t found what the hell is wrong with my mom (she got admitted to the hospital a week ago). In the meantime she feels like shit, is horribly bored and needs to feel pampered and well taken care of.  After all she has done for us the least we can do is take care of her.

As I returned yesterday from yet another day spent in the hospital (my mother in law has spent more time with the kids during this last week than she has in the last 6 months-bless her), I was hallucinating due to sleep deprivation thinking of Michael Keaton in this movie he did ages ago, Multiplicity. It’s a comedy about a man who never has enough time for the things he wants to do and is offered the opportunity to have himself duplicated.

multiplicity

Between you and me the movie is pretty lame, but the idea of being able to duplicate myself seems very appealing to me at the moment.  That is the magic power I would choose to have right now.  No, I am not full of myself but for the purpose of keeping it together I would love to be able to have 5 versions of T at the moment.

One for the kids, one for N., one for my mom, one for the housework & one for my sister, who is attending to her 3 kids, taking care of our dad & pampering our sick 91-year-old Omi (oh yes, I forgot to mention, that she got the evil flu my kids seem overzealous to spread around) and is not far away from a nervous breakdown herself.

Thank you all for your very sweet thoughts, prayers and kind words. Thank you for all the great ideas to let some steam off (even if it means creating a calmer yet FATTER version of myself).

Until next time

love,

tatu

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