Saturday, November 23, 2013

October getaway

Ever since I started my own business, the time we spend together as a family has become more and more important. Sometimes we get to spend the weekends together, sometimes we don't. That's why I was looking forward to going somewhere for 3 days as soon as we had the opportunity of doing so , and we got so lucky :October 28th is one of the two( !!)  national holidays here in Greece and we managed to synchronise our schedules . One of the destinations I've had on my mind for a while now, was Lake Doxa . So, Saturday morning, without having packed too much and too many, we commenced our journey.In less than 4 hours we reached our destination but the problem was there were no rooms available. Everything was packed with last minute travellers! We hadn't made any arrangements ahead of time because we weren't 100% sure where we wanted to go , plus, we always managed to find accommodation quite easily.Hungry and anxious, we stopped for lunch and for a short walk, admiring the surroundings. It was indeed a brilliant location.Words are too poor to describe the enthusiasm and wonder we felt . But we were also under pressure...it was getting dark and we still hadn't found suitable accommodation, with the closest town located at about 40 km, I wasn't in the mood of wasting that much time driving places. Then we remembered a little hotel we stayed at, about  2 years ago. It wasn't very close but at least it was in the area, and we got lucky. We checked in and we finally relaxed. Markos was only 4months old when we first came to this area and we had such a wonderful time. So being there 2 years after made  me feel even happier.
Second day started quite early; with the hour change, the kids were awake at 7 am.By 9 am we were out and about, finding a path and just getting lost in the wilderness. Autumn is such a wonderful season if the weather is nice. And expecially  here is Greece this beautiful season  reminds me of the Romanian summers, with a bonus: colorful trees, leaves changing and yet still preserving a taste of summer and green. Absolutely magnificent!
If I had to summarize and decide what the highs and lows were, I'd have to say that we definitely loved the area, the time we spent together, the hiking ...Lake Doxa undoubtedly  lived up to its reputation and the Mountainous Korinthia is a dreamy destination. As for the lows I'd have to mention the fact that it seemed to us a little pricey...starting with the hotels and ending with the restaurants, the whole area doesn't seem to have tasted the crisis that's been torturing Greece for  5 years now (and still counting). Other than that, I'll always remember this trip as one of this autumn's greatest moments.And to prove it, here are some pictures :

Night visitors at the playground

View from our hotel



Keep walking, never look back...

Something to keep the boys busy


Lake Doxa- sunset

a 4 hour  stop in Xylokastro on our way back

a 2 hour stop in Ancient Korinth



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Exploring the city - Floisvos Park

Weekend. Sunny October, my favourite month, and not because it's my birthday in a few days, but because the weather is great and we can do so many fun things. Last week we went to Evia, again. I hope I'll have time to post about it(in the meantime you can check our last year's entry ).
 Today we decided to stay inside the city walls. Yesterday the kids and the grandparents discovered a beautiful place in the south of Athens. They didn't get to see it all, so today, loaded with enthusiasm and a contagiously happy mood we took the train, followed by the tram and in about 45 minutes we arrived at Floisvos Park.To be honest , I haven't heard about it before, but since my boys love anything that has to do with mass transportation and since both my husband and I have  got our monthly passes we said why not? let's ride those trains until we pop. We are lucky as the boys are enjoying so much being surrounded by other passengers and just travelling that even though it was quite a long ride, they both put on their best behaviour, which was such a relief. I tend to get anxious if they become restless in public. 
So without any further delay, here are some pictures, they speak for themselves. The park spread in front of us in all its beauty: alleys along the coast for a pleasant stroll,a park for dogs (mind you, it may seem unimportant but we,  as dog owners,  found this space absolutely fantastic, too bad it's too far from us ) an enormous playground with so many rides, slides and swings and happy kids ,that our boys couldn't have enough of it. By the time we were ready to leave they looked as if they'd been in a sauna , coffee places with  astro jumps , bikes and small cars  for hire , pretty much everything you need to spend a few hours in a happy atmosphere.







Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Our super easy potty training

I've been away for too long...and the more I delayed my blog  posts the worse I felt , as if I had abandoned one of my dearest friends. The truth is that I've been involved in an important project...some might call it  life changing, for me it is my lucky break: the chance to turn one of my most daring dreams into reality...But that's another story. For now,I'd rather share some thoughts on our potty training experience.
At times I'd come across all sorts of articles about potty training, all of them offering advice and a sum of steps to be taken into consideration.To be honest, I appreciate all the effort put into these articles, but I wasn't going to follow any of those steps and that for the simple reason that I felt  too relaxed and calm...there's no deadline in teaching my child how to use the potty...he wasn't even two years old  at the time so I just thought I was going to take my time and let him lead the way.Same happened with my oldest son, although there were voices (coming from my family)that he should have been completely potty trained by the age of 2...So, when my mom bought the potty(about 5 months ago) I just put in in the bathroom without saying anything to the toddler. After a while I moved it into the living room...the potty had become an irresistible piece of furniture that somehow fit into our chaotic/full of toys/messy living room. 
I think summer is the ideal time  to start potty training.My boys don't wear any clothes in the house because, of course , it is very hot. So it was easy to keep an eye on how often he needs to use the potty ( very often I might add, almost every half an hour).That made me think he wasn't ready ,so, I did nothing, except clean the floor and ask him to tell me if there was  anything to clean and where(which he always did). One day he sat on the potty...I sat next to him, but after 5 seconds he left. One week later he sat again, I sat next to him, he left again...same story for quite some time, so again I thought "well, I guess it is not going to happen this summer, he's not ready!".But one day he said "pee-pee"...I thought"yeah, right" but I still  encouraged him to sit....he sat on the potty and the miracle happened! 
I praised him so much and so loudly and my enthusiasm seemed so genuine that even my oldest son wanted to use the potty just to keep the joyful atmosphere going( and he never used the potty he learn to go straight to the big boys' toilette)The baby (sorry toddler) was the happiest...he'd go and sit and tell me about that and I'd clap and praise his effort , and it worked! next day he did it again, and soon he "upgraded" to "number two".
I can't say he's completely potty trained, that would be inaccurate, but he's doing great and I couldn't be prouder, The last months have brought many changes and we've added one more milestone:after the transition from co-sleeping to crib  and weaning (which I thought would never happen) , here is potty training.Seems like they're growing too fast, too much and too quickly. Long story short, adjusting to his needs and pace has proven to  be the best way....again.It never ceases to amaze me how easy things are when we're ready to follow .
I did IT !!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The end of a journey

I've been waiting for 3 weeks to write this post. And now, as I'm sitting in front of my computer trying to compose it, I realise words aren't coming easily:our breastfeeding journey has come to an end...after 21 months of wonderful and meaningful moments spent together, I had to wean my baby, due to some sudden health problems. Although I tried to avoid treatment and even avoided going to the doctor for fear she'd tell me I needed medication, finally I had no choice and stopped it. The weird part is that I thought I'd face difficulties as my baby was glued to me night and day...breastfeeding whenever he was feeling hungry, happy or sad, bored or just because he knew he could. He would wake up 2-3 times a night to demand what was rightfully his and although I was getting tired, I couldn't imagine myself not breastfeeding. 
The past 5 years I remember myself either pregnant or breastfeeding. I live in Greece and here breastfeeding rates are of the lowest in the world. I was lucky to have all the support from my family and even though people kept asking me "how are you going to wean him?" , I somehow didn't care..." he'll stop when he's ready" and I was right. My oldest son stopped breastfeeding when he was 19 months old.One day he didn't ask for it, I didn't offer and he grew out of it...no tears, no hassle, it went smoothly, painless  and it just felt right. With my youngest one, I expected to be harder for him, but it wasn't. One morning I said to myself"today I start taking the medication..happy mothers make happy kids" I wasn't happy, I was in pain and I had to do something about it. During the day it was OK as I had been trying to distract him and keep him as busy as possible, but in the evening he realised there was something new in his routine and he didn't like it. He started crying, I stayed with him and I told him that I loved him, but I was  on medication and he needed to take his bottle( he hated his bottled, it had been totally useless until then).he cried a bit and he fell asleep, I was holding his hand...he woke up twice that night and in the morning we started playing again so he'd forget.In two days he stopped waking up at night and started drinking milk from his bottle...just like that! apparently he was ready to wean, but I wasn't. I missed  it a lot....I still do...Now, after 3 weeks it's safe to say that our wonderful journey has finished. The good side is that my metabolism is kicking and the scale has dropped 2 kg ...the baby is sleeping through the night and so do I, most of the nights .But I still miss it...is it because he seems fine without it?or maybe because he's getting more and more independent every day ?is it because I might not breastfeed again? or  has it been for so long a part of me that I have forgotten how to live without it?Either way,it has been fulfilling and probably one of the greatest things I have done  for my kids so far...let's see what the future holds...
PS. If Ryan Gosling think it's  sexy, that IT IS :) !!