From the Mommy Files…

Archive for the ‘parenting humor’ Category

Hey there! How’s it going?

Yesterday was the last day of school. Like you, I’ve been mired in all the end-of-the-year events, shopping for teacher gifts, etc. Plus, I’ve been working on an exciting new project, which I will share with you soon. I didn’t want you to think I had succumbed to a new malady, so I thought I’d better check in! 😉

Boo and Bebs enjoying the beach on California's Central Coast.

Boo and Bebs enjoying the beach on California’s Central Coast.


Like you, I like to read blogs. (Thanks for reading this one!) Some posts really resonate with me, and I share them on Facebook or Twitter. I thought it would be fun to share them here with you.

Here are my 3 favorite posts from this past week.

1. Saying These 8 Things To Your Kid Every Day Could Change Their Life

I came across this on Facebook, from The Breast Cancer Site. It really hit home. Recently, I have experienced a mindshift in my parenting. I’d been reciting mantras, reading affirmations, trying to motivate, inspire, uplift myself — and boost my confidence. I realized my kids needed this too. These are some great tips to help your kids feel good about themselves, gain confidence, security, and courage.

2. To Build (or Break) a Child’s Spirit

This one comes from Huffington Post Love Matters, by Rachel Macy Stafford. This post reminds us that what we say and how we say it can have a profound impact on our kids. We do get frustrated. Absolutely. No one likes to be yelled at — not even us. We aren’t bad people. Sometimes we make bad choices, and make mistakes, but that doesn’t make us bad people. We have to find ways to turn these incidents into lessons of what not to do, and how to do better. Even something as simple as spilling milk — I know, even when it’s the 100th time — can get our goat. I’ve realized that we need to be positive and use these as teaching moments. We can make they feel awful, or we can teach them that mistakes happen, and remind them they are loved, and they can do better. Sometimes easier said than done, but we all need the reminder sometimes.

Now something just for fun! 😉

3. Bohemian Momsody

This one’s from Scary Mommy. If you don’t subscribe to Scary Mommy, go now and do it! There’s some great stuff there, and some chuckles too. I’m sure we have all felt like this at one time or another. Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite posts this week? What are some of the other blogs that you follow?


Been away for a while dealing with my elderly parents. I’ll update you on their situation another time. So much has happened.


Let’s shift back to those small beings living in our home…our kids. 😉


Bebs is home sick today.




On Monday, I heard about this stomach bug that lasted a day, causing vomiting.

I thought, “Phew. Dodged that one!”


Spoke to soon.


We were up all  Tuesday night.sick_clipart

Just when you think you’re done changing the bed linens for the night…

You know what I’m talking about!

Bebs stayed home from school on Wednesday.


Uggh!  I had things to do!



I’ve got a very full schedule, and not including pick up/drop off, I have about 5 hours, 5 days a week without kids to accomplish it.

I’m singing your song, yes?


You’re worried, feel awful for your sick child, and you tend to him/her.


But what about the other stuff?


I began complaining about all the things that wouldn’t get done that day.


You too?


Well, there’s my trip to the gym.

I have health issues, and this helps me keep those in check, not to mention it curbs stress, improves my mood, and gives me a sense of “Yeah! I did this just for me!”

I also use that time to read.

Scratch that from the list.


Then there’s the grocery shopping, and errands.


Oh yeah, I was planning to write.


And there is, well, that part-time job.

The one that helps me to celebrate my Greek heritage and culture every day; keeps me involved in the community; gets me published regularly; has been responsible for great learning; offered me the opportunity to meet some really great people (including a mentor!); and, well, I’ve garnered some fans along the way, and their praise and encouragement feeds my ego, and eases my writer’s doubt. It’s more than a job to me.


Then there’s volunteering. These days, we must be involved in our kids’ schools.

We have to know who’s in the schools, what they’re doing, and well, if we want activities for our kids, we have to be there to organize and work them – you know. We must also be the teachers’ partners in our kids’ education.

My girls go to two different schools. And Boo attends Greek school on Saturdays.

That’s three schools/PTAs requesting my time.

And I serve on a school board.

You know those days when you have to call and cancel out on something because your child is sick, and it just happens to be the day that everyone else is canceling for the same reason? Yes. We feel guilty when that happens.


I’m doing a lot of things, but they’re all very important to me and I make the time for them.

Except on days when I have a sick child at home.




Most of the to-do list doesn’t get done, and it makes me stressed, and I’ve lost my sense of accomplishment for the day.

Those little things like checking off parts of your to-do list go a long way.


I started to complain, and then I stopped myself.


I pulled out the to-do list.  to do list (4)


Time to re-work it.


What could I accomplish with my child home?

Is there anything on tomorrow’s list that I could do at home, and shift some of the other stuff to tomorrow?


As my daughter slept, I took the opportunity to write.


I made some phone calls, did some work.




Then I switched to some household tasks.

– Planned dinners, made the shopping list.

— Cleaned out a cabinet, then started to file some papers.

Those were much lower on the list, but I’m here, can’t go out, so might as well.


I couldn’t get to the store that day, so I had to plan something else for dinner with what we had.


No gym.

– Watched what and how much I ate that day.

–  Since I was stuck in the house, I made a few more trips up and down the stairs for good measure.


I moved my “outside” tasks to the next day.


When Thursday rolled around, I got up a little earlier.

– I took care of my writerly tasks before the family woke up.

– I took the kids to school, got that workout in right away – and did a little extra.

– Work

– Volunteered at Boo’s school

– Attacked those errands that I couldn’t do


Then it was time for pick up.


I actually thought I had caught up from the sick day, and was ready to attack today.




I got up at 5 (These are Golden Hours. I do whatever I want!). Wrote. Answered emails.


Then it was time to get ready for school.


Boo went to school.


Bebs didn’t feel well. Slight fever, lethargic.


Staying home…again.


As I began stressing about all the things I’d have to give up today, I stopped.


Time to re-work the schedule…again!


– Fortunately, I checked several things off the list this am.

– Gym? Nope. Extended workout on Monday.

– Lunch with a friend? Raincheck.

– Grocery shopping? Will have to wait until the evening.


That frees up some time.


What’s on tomorrow’s list?


Oh yes.

Laundry. Cleaning.

Let’s go.


I’ll be so happy tomorrow. Then I can just play!


As winter approaches, we’re all going to have those days when our kids have to stay home from school, and it throws off our day(s).

Try to remember that it’s OK to re-work your schedule.


This is a great reminder to not put things off, because you don’t know what the rest of today – or tomorrow – will bring.


It’s a reminder to prioritize.


Remember that saying, “Man makes plans and God laughs?”


It’s so true.


Life is unpredictable.


We have enough stress. Don’t add to it.


Some ideas:

– Make sure you leave some flexibility in your day.

– Schedule the most important tasks early in the day so you’re sure to accomplish them.

– Don’t put off going to the gym until tomorrow, because who knows what the day will bring, and why feel awful that you let yourself down?

– Make that trip to the grocery store today, while you can.

– Don’t leave all the errands for one day a week. Do these throughout the week, when time presents itself.


Check these off the list!


Take a moment to remind yourself that you aren’t perfect, you are a mom (or a dad), and life is unpredictable.


You know what?


You’re a superhero already.


Know why?


Cause you are MOM. Or DAD.


Plain and simple.


Give yourself a break.


Don’t stress.


Now, back to my housecleaning.

I read and hear about babymoons, people planning when they’ll get pregnant, outlining every single moment of their lives.

And I laugh.

I laugh really hard.

Have you ever heard the saying about the “Best laid plans?”

Or what about the one that says something about we make plans and God laughs?

When I was planning my wedding, a well-meaning friend lectured me extensively about how you’re supposed to wait two years before you have a child.

I was 36.

There was no waiting two years.

She got married at 30, so she had two years to wait if she so wished.

I explained this to her, insisting that if I waited two years, I’d probably only have one child.

Well, as it turned out, I got pregnant at the end of my month-long honeymoon.

We thought we’d settle in, and after a few months start “trying” to get pregnant.

Well, what do they say about the best laid plans?

So we jumped into the fray, fast and furious…

You know, marriage, children – in the immortal words of Zorba the Greek…

The full catastrophe.

Add to the mix that my husband decided we needed to start a gut rehab on our home BEFORE the baby was born.

And that house was about one hour away from the nearest family member.

Did I mention that my mom’s health took a huge downturn about the time I discovered I was pregnant?

To tell you it was a tough few years, I wouldn’t be giving you the whole truth.

There have been really difficult, painful times, with many obstacles thrown in the mix.

I have two children. I lost the third.

If I had waited two years, perhaps we would have had the storied “honeymoon period,”Mommy and Eleni Feb 2009

Spent more time solidifying our relationship and learning to be a couple.


But we got married older.

And one of the problems with marrying older is that when you have kids, there’s not a whole lot of support from the grandparents.

At that point, they are often older, ill, or already passed on.

My mother-in-law passed away the year before we married.

My mother is not well.

My sister lives in another state.

So there was no chance of help.

Unless we paid heavily for it, and since we decided I would keep my part-time job and be a stay-at-home-mom, this is one of the things we couldn’t afford.

This makes things even more difficult for a couple, and can strain the strongest of relationships.

Would I change anything?

Well, sometimes I wish I would have married younger.

But more than likely, I would have married someone else and would probably be divorced.

And I wouldn’t have my girls.

So things happen as they are supposed to.

We all have an “ideal,” a way, a sequence that we think everything should happen.

Life has a way of laughing in our face.

Things happen in spite of our best efforts otherwise.

The second time I got PG, it took 8 months to make that happen.

The third time, we really didn’t even try – and that pregnancy turned out to be a molar pregnancy.

Life comes at you fast.

Don’t make too many plans.

Things happen.

Just live.

Be grateful for your blessings.

CHOOSE to be happy.

Enjoy life.

You can plan and “try” all you want, but inevitably, things will happen when they are supposed to.

Make some plans, but don’t get your heart set on them.

Remember – things will happen as they will.

The challenges, the stumbling blocks will make you even stronger.

Life is too short.

Don’t waste too much time planning.

Just enjoy your life.

Then you will be the one laughing.

On this blog, I’ve talked a lot about the importance of keeping traditions alive.

Family history goes hand-in-hand.

Many people don’t know how their family ended up in America, let alone when or where.

At our house, these traditions and history are part of our everyday.

My children know all the names and towns.

They’re fascinated by it, and ask questions.

This past Thanksgiving Eve, I had the pleasure of having my nephew/Godson come to stay with us.

My brother is a single dad.

Maybe he doesn’t have time – maybe he doesn’t know about family history.

He certainly doesn’t celebrate any traditions or customs, unless I do it and he joins in.

So here I was with my nephew, on Thanksgiving Eve.

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner was making my maternal grandfather’s meat stuffing recipe.

It’s a lot of work, so my aunt didn’t want to take that on, along with everything else.

I totally get that, but it’s just not Thanksgiving without it.

The last few years I made it at home anyway, because, well, it’s just not Thanksgiving without it.

Sad thing, these days, only one of my cousins (of nearly 20) make it.

My aunts and uncles do not either, because it’s a lot of work.

This is why there used to be a party BEFORE Thanksgiving, when we all gathered to lend a hand in the stuffing preparation.

This party would include family, friends, some appetizers, wine—and lots of laughter and storytelling.

For a while, this actually became more fun than Thanksgiving, but I digress…

So here I am with the nephew – the kid is 9 and he’s one inch shorter than me. 😉

He offered to help.

The girls decided that if he wanted to help, that I should have that time with him.

They told me so.

So they stayed downstairs, while Nephew and I cooked.

He got a big kick out of the food processor! He’d never seen one before, let alone used one.

We took each ingredient, one by one. I cleaned, chopped, put things in bowls, etc., and he inquired about each and every one and why it was prepared that way.

Then I asked him if he knew whose recipe this was.

Holiday time is a great time to share family recipes, history and to keep traditions alive. This is my papou’s “famous” meat stuffing. It’s just not Thanksgiving without it.

The conversation went like this:

Nephew: You said it was Papou’s (grandfather).

Me: Yes, but it is MY papou’s recipe…my mother’s father.

Nephew: Really? It’s been around a long time then!

Me: Yes. It’s just not Thanksgiving without it!

Nephew: I promise I’ll try it this year, since I’m making it and all.

Me: Great. Do you know what my papou’s – your great papou’s – name was?

Nephew: No.

Me: His name was Jim.

Nephew: What?! That’s my dad’s name! Is that where my dad got his name, like I’m named after my papou?

Me: Yes!

Nephew: That is soooo cool!

Me: Do you know what my yiayia’s (grandmother) —your great yiayia’s – name was?

Nephew: No.

Me: Maria.

Nephew: Get out! How cool! Was that on purpose?

Me: Yes. This is our tradition. Auntie and Uncle were named after Papou’s parents.

Nephew: So is that how Boo and Bebs got their names?

Me: Absolutely!

Nephew: That is the coolest thing! Does everyone do that?

Me: Not anyone else in our family does that anymore. But many Greeks follow this tradition.

Nephew: I would really like to go to Greece someday. Would you take me?

Me: Sure. Do you want to learn Greek?

Nephew: I know about 10 words in Greek. Could you teach me some more?

So everything that we did, I described in Greek. He listened intently.

Nephew: So tell me about your grandfather Jim.

Me: He came to the US in 1906.

Nephew: You’ve got to be kidding! That was more than 100 years ago.

Me: Yes. He came here when he was a young man. He went to join his father and uncle who were working out West on the railroad.

Nephew: With trains?

Me: They helped to lay the tracks.

Nephew: Maybe that’s why I really liked trains.

Then I proceeded to give him the abridged history.

Papou eventually moved to Chicago and went to work with his uncle in the grocery business.

Later, he opened his own store, and also a restaurant and bar.

He married my yiayia and they had 7 kids.

My mother is the oldest.

My papou also imported cheese and olives from Greece, and became known around the country.

He also sponsored about 1000 Greeks from the area around Tripolis, Greece, near where he was from, to come to Chicago.

These people would come, and he’d help them start their new lives.

He’d either train them in his restaurant, got them jobs somewhere else, or help them start their own businesses.

He was well-respected.

Nephew: That’s amazing! Did you ever meet him?

Me: No. He died many years before I was born.

Nephew: How old would he be now?

Me: About 125.

Nephew: What?! Did my dad know him?

Me: Your dad was about 2 when he died.

Nephew: Oh. How come no one else talks about him?

Me: I don’t know. Maybe they don’t know about him. You should ask Yiayia to tell you stories about her dad.

Nephew: That would be so cool.

So the stuffing was complete, and Nephew actually tried it, and he liked it.

At Thanksgiving dinner, he proudly announced to everyone that he helped make it, and that it was his Great Papou Jim’s special recipe, and that’s who his dad is named after.

It was a really special time with him.

He asked me later that night if there were any special Christmas traditions.

I told him he’d have to come over again to find out.

As we left, I hugged him and he thanked me for telling him about the stuffing, and my grandfather.

Then he said, “I’m so happy to be Greek. There are so many awesome things to learn about being Greek.”

That totally made my night.

And made me proud.

Won’t he be surprised when I take him to the National Hellenic Museum over Christmas break and show him the photo of my papou that appears in their newest exhibit, “American Moments!”

So you’ve read that and thought perhaps this was a crazy parent who promised her child for future wedlock.

While I have teased my girls that there would be no dating, and between all of our friends, we should be able to find a suitable husband for them, I had no hand in this “engagement.”

Earlier this year, Bebs joined Boo at her school.

After one of those first days at school, she came home to announce that she was in love and was going to marry a boy in her class.

Now at this time, she wasn’t quite 3.

She’d known this little boy for a couple of years, as his older sister and Boo were in the same class.

Bebs would get very excited when she knew she’d see him.

We’d post a picture of Luke, but Bebs doesn’t want anyone to get any crazy ideas and try to steal her man. 😉

Talk about a school girl crush!

One day in the car, we were listening to a song called “Eroteftika,” by popular Greek singer, Elli Kokkinou.

Boo looked over at Bebs, and proclaimed, “Eroteftika means ‘I fell in love!’”

To which, Bebs promptly responded, “Ego eroteftika me to Louka!” (I fell in love with Luke!)

So there you have it.

They’d play together at school sometimes.

Occasionally, Luke and his sister would come to our house to play.

Talk about excitement.

This summer, we arranged a play date, after a monthlong separation.

Bebs waited at the door for her beloved to arrive.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

They got out of the car and she began to literally jump for joy.

“He’s here! Here’s here!! YAY! He’s here! You know, I’m going to marry him!”

I asked her when.

She said, “When I’m a bride.”

He walked in the door, and she blushed like I’ve never seen before.

They hugged each other.

It was a nice play date.

When they were leaving, Bebs reminded me that Luke was her intended.

I asked Luke if he was going to marry Bebs and he smiled.

He’s 4.

I think we have some time yet before we have to plan the wedding.

At least we know he comes from a good family.

Luke’s mom and I joke and call each other “Simbethera,” which is Greek for in-law.

Yesterday we saw them at a party, and there was great anticipation in the air.

He came in, she hugged him, and then he bee-lined to the bathroom.

She waited outside the door.

I asked if Luke had arrived.

Bebs replied, “I love Luke! He’s in the potty right now.”

The pair was indeed happy to see each other again.

As they went off to play, another guest asked us about this impending wedding.

“What are you offering for a prika? (dowry)” she inquired.

Gosh, I hadn’t thought about that. It is 2012, you know.

Luke’s mom overheard and said, through a chuckle, “Oh yeah, how about that dowry?”

Wow. What would we offer?

Quickly, I told them what I had jokingly told my husband’s cousin in Greece, when he asked about my own dowry.

I said, “How about some olive trees and a couple of goats?”

The woman who asked said, “What do you think is the going rate for a goat in Greece these days? A few thousand euro a piece?”

I had no idea.

She brokered the deal, and there you have it.

The kids are officially engaged, to wed at some (very) distant date in the future.

(Hold on, I can’t stop laughing)

We asked Boo what she thought of all this.

She was thrilled, since Luke’s sister is her good friend.

I asked her if she had fallen in love yet, and she responded as usual, but with a new caveat:

“I’m too young to fall in love. But when I get married, it will be with a REAL prince.”

(Pause for more laughter)

So there you have it.

I guess one arranged marriage down, one more to go.

Many of you know that I experienced a molar pregnancy in September 2010.

It was with great anticipation that I looked forward to the birth of my 3rd child, only to have my world decimated by the revelation of the molar pregnancy, and of course its aftermath, wrought with complications.

And then there was chemo.

As I struggled to deal with it all, I proclaimed that I was now the mother of 2 daughters and 1 angel baby.

Since the day of that earth-shattering diagnosis, I have prayed for that little angel baby.

He’s visited me in dreams.

Ok, you’re saying, “Stop the truck! HE?”

He’s come to me several times in dreams and pronounced that he was a boy.

So I finally got my boy, but he’s an angel in Heaven.

Many times I have contemplated how and when I would tell the girls about their baby brother.

There was never an “if”. I would share it with them someday, somehow.

That day came much sooner than I expected.

A few months ago, the girls were arguing about who was the big sister.

Bebs was not satisfied to be just the “little sister.”

I tried to explain to her that I was a little sister, too.

“But you’re a big sister too!” she retorted, with all her 3 year-old wisdom.

I am.

And she kept repeating, “But I am a big sister! I am a big sister! Mom, will you tell her?”

I paused for a moment to ponder what she meant by that. How could she possibly know?

I recall talking to her about the baby when I first found out I was pregnant.

She was 18 months old. I figured she wouldn’t tell anyone.

I never told Boo. For some reason I thought she’d run to school and tell everyone.

This was strange, because I hadn’t kept any of my pregnancies a secret.


A subconscious safety mechanism for what was to come?

Who knows?

Then I wondered, could Bebs actually remember that, on some level?

I thought the best thing to do was to go with it. After all, she really was a big sister.

I sat the girls down.

Mommy: Yes, Bebs is a Big Sister.

Boo: And who is this other person?

Mommy: It’s an angel baby. He lives in Heaven with Jesus.

Funny, there were no other questions.

Good thing, cause I wasn’t sure where to go from there.

From time to time, the girls mention their little brother—but only as Bebs refers to him—as the BABY ANGEL.

Last night, after one of Bebs’ monster tantrums (it’s tough to be 3, after all!), she started talking about the baby angel.

Bebs: I’m sorry, Mommy. The Baby Angel said I am a good girl, and I should be one.

Mommy: Did you talk to the Baby Angel?

Bebs: Oh yes, Mommy!

Mommy: What did he say?

Bebs: He said not to have tantrums. That I’m a sweet girl.

Mommy: Yes, you are a sweet girl. Can we see more of this sweet girl?

Bebs: OK.

Mommy: Do you see the Baby Angel a lot?

Bebs: Yes, Mommy.

Mommy: Does he look like you?

Bebs: No.

Mommy: Does he look like Boo?

Bebs: No.

Mommy: Does he look like me or Daddy?

Bebs: I’m not supposed to tell you.

Mommy: Why not? I’d really like to know. (I’m curious, after all!)

She paused for a moment.

Bebs: Well, he looks like Jesus!

Mommy: Really? Does he have dark hair?

Bebs: Mommy! OK, well, he has white hair…

Mommy: Really?

Bebs: I can’t tell you that. It’s a secret.

Mommy: What else does the Baby Angel tell you?

Bebs: It’s a secret between a Big Sister and her Baby Angel.

Wow. I guess she’s right. I’m really not supposed to know.

Not to be outdone, Boo chimed in.

Boo: I know what the Baby Angel looks like!

Mommy: Tell me.

Then she presented me with a small painting her godmother gave her, of an angel watching a baby in its cradle.

She pointed to the baby.

Mommy: This is the Baby Angel?

Boo: No, Mommy. We are the baby, and the Angel is our Baby Angel, watching over us.

 5 year-old wisdom.

As a tear came to my eye, I thought this would make me sad.

But somehow it did not.

It’s actually comforting to know he’s here with us.

Knowing the girls acknowledge him too, and he’s part of regular discussion.

This morning, Bebs was acting up again.

Mommy: What would the Baby Angel say?

Bebs: Oh, I don’t think he would like it.

Mommy: Then you should be a good girl, a good big sister.

Bebs: You’re right, Mommy. I’ll be better, for the Baby Angel. I have to teach him things. That’s what big sisters do.

Yes they do.

And if he can help with behavioral issues too, A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

I knew losing a child could change a parent forever.

Who knew the influence that angel child would have on his siblings.

Recently, Boo explained to me how the world was created.

Interesting insight from the five year-old.

Check it out:

Boo: Mom, do you know how the world was created?

Mom: Tell me.

Boo: There was a very special girl in Heaven. Her name was Mary. God decided that she was special enough to be the mother of His son. So they got married.

Mom: They got married?

Boo: Let me finish! So they got married, and then the angel came to tell Mary she’d have a baby boy and she was supposed to name him Jesus.

Mom: Gabriel?

Boo: Good, Mommy. Soon after, Mary gave birth to Jesus, and she became Panayia (most holy), because she was the Queen of Heaven. Panayia was going to have the baby soon, so Joseph took her to his hometown so he could take care of her.

Mom: Why would Joseph take her? You said she was married to God. Wasn’t she married to Joseph?

Boo: Mom, you’ve mixed it up. Panayia was married to God. They had a baby together, so they were married.  But God traveled a lot for work, so their good friend Joseph helped them out, so Jesus would have someone to help him while God was away at work.

Mom: Interesting. So what happened to Joseph?

Boo: Joseph was their best friend, and like a good uncle, he taught Jesus many lessons.  When he got too old, he went to Heaven. Then when Jesus was big enough, God sent him some notes.

Mom: What kind of notes?

Boo: He sent notes on how to create things. First was the note about people. – how to make a man. And then God sent another note, on how to create girls. Another note showed Christouli (Jesus) how to create the trees, flowers, the animals, and everything on earth. Jesus was a good student.

Mom: And then what happened?

Boo: Jesus became the king, and he watches over us and takes care of us. We love him and we pray to him and he is part of our family too. We can’t live without Jesus. He even created bad people so we learn some lessons too. We have to be good, so we can go to His house in Heaven someday.

Mom: And God?

Boo: He’s in Heaven. He doesn’t work anymore. He’s retired.

So there you have it, the story of how the world was created.

The world according to Boo.

Fascinating how the minds of children work…

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