Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Birthday to You Eleni! You're 2!

It's been a fun week!

Wednesday Eleni turned 2 years old!!

Someone please tell me how this is even possible! I could have sworn we just brought her home from the hospital yesterday....

So for the last few weeks Eleni has been waking up everyday saying,

"Mommy! Happy birthday to Eleni? Party? Today?"

And of course everyday I had to say,

"No, not today Elli Bean, but soon, I promise!"

She's also been asking for balloons. I usually keep a package of balloons in a drawer in the kitchen. She knows where they are so she just goes and helps herself to a balloon and tries to blow it up......which she hasn't been able to do yet, but I let her try for as long as she likes.
Then she asks one of us to blow it up for her. t
Then she kicks it around a little bit and yells "GOAL!"
And then she pops it....and that's the end of the game.
She loves it! At least a half hour of entertainment every time, which for a toddler, is amazing.

Anyway, BALLOONS. So she's been asking for balloons because the drawer has been empty lately.

And everyday I would tell her

"No, not today Elli Bean, but soon, I promise! We're going to buy LOTS of balloons for your birthday party!"

And she'd yell,


and jump around for a while...and then ask me to put on Peppa Pig for her....

So Tuesday night after I put Eleni to bed and had a little cry because I couldn't believe my baby is turning 2 (true story, except it wasn't just a little cry, it was an ugly, heaving sob with a lot of snot), I filled up the living room with balloons!!

Just before I went to bed, I put the camera on the dresser so I could grab it as soon as she woke up and get a video of her reaction to the balloons in the morning. Well the next morning I woke up, and as most people find...I needed to pee. But as most pregnant women find, this isn't just a "I'll slowly roll out of bed and make my way there in a minute" type-situation. This is a "RUN!!! NOW!!!" situation. So, I did that.

As I was finishing up I heard a little voice, "Mommy? Mommy?"

Panicking, I yelled, "Mommy just had to go pee-pee baby, just wait for me in bed, I'll be right there!"

But I could hear her getting out of bed, and then I really started to panic because I didn't have my camera and she was going to find the balloons and I was going to miss her reaction and I'll never get this moment back and I'll have missed it for all eternity and WHY ARE MY STUPID UNDERWEAR STUCK!!!

I think I'm a fairly intelligent person but when things like this happen to me, I have to question whether that 50 grand I still owe to Simon Fraser University was worth it.....

 Anyway, somehow I managed to convince Eleni to stay in the bedroom and wait for me while I untangled myself. Which she did. Good girl!

Then we crawled back into bed (her idea, once again, Good girl!), and she gave me hugs and kisses and looked at me smiling and said, "Happy birthday to YOU?"..........

After weeks of asking everyday if it was her birthday that day, finally the day of her birthday arrives and she asks me if it's my birthday.....go figure

So I said,

"No Elli Bean, it's not MY birthday today, it's YOUR birthday today!!! And we need to get up and get ready because you're having a big party today!!"

She sat up with a HUGE smile and yelled,


I should probably mention....not because it's important, but because it's cute....she can't actually say 'birthday' properly. She says 'burr-day'.......yeah, I told ya it's cute....

Anyway, so Eleni and I got up, I grabbed the camera and we went out into the living room. When she saw all the balloons she said, "OH, Mommy! BALLOOOOOOONS!!!"

It was very sweet! And yes I do have a video of it but it's still on the camera, I haven't uploaded it yet, and unfortunately Antonis has the camera today because we're making an ad for the restaurant. But I will share that as soon as I can......I know, I know, why tell that whole story when I don't even have the video yet?? Because I didn't want to forget the story...remember, we're writing the Mallis family history here....and also because I'm notoriously disorganized with this kind of thing and we all know that so we'll just have to get over it....

So we woke up Baba and Eleni opened her presents from us: a little kitchen that makes fun cooking ans washing up noises, a set of plastic food to put in the little fridge, and a giant book of 750 stickers to stick all over the house and drive me crazy! She loved all of it!

Then we got ready and went down to the restaurant to set up for the party. Everyone was coming at noon....we didn't get there until after 11am.....I was panicking again....luckily this time it wasn't because my underwear were stuck, put panicking nonetheless....

Lucky for me Miltos and Maria arrived with their kids 15 minutes early, because as I was struggling with the fruit kabobs thinking I was never going to have time to make the sandwiches, Maria came in and we had everything out and on the table by 12:10! Maria, my birthday party angel! We were a couple minutes late but it doesn't matter because we're in Greece and everyone shows up late for things anyway.

Eleni had the best time! She ate so much junk food, I don't even think she tried one of those stupid fruit kabobs....just a little note to self as well as anyone else who goes on Pinterest and thinks fruit kabobs look like a great idea for a kid's party....THEY'RE NOT! DON'T DO IT!
They take forever to make, if you stuff them in a watermelon rind for a fancy-pants-presentation you can't get them out without using Chuck Norris-like-skills, and the skewers are later used by one kid to pop all the balloons and make all the other kids cry....FRUIT KABOBS = FAILURE! Just cut the fruit up and throw it on a plate. Nobody will even notice the fruit porcupine that took you 4 hours to make anyway......

As I was saying, Eleni had a great time playing with her friends. It was definitely a successful 2nd birthday party....except for the fruit kabobs....oh, and she didn't actually eat any cake. I forgot to mention above that everyday while she was asking if it was her birthday yet and was her birthday party today and about the balloons, she was also asking for chocolate cake for her party. And of course, the day of her party, Lefteris bought her a big Hello Kitty chocolate birthday cake AND....she doesn't even want to eat a piece! Crazy kid! Oh well.

Like I said before, I don't have our camera right now to show you the photos from the party, but I DO have something even better! Our good friend Torsten came to the party.....and if you've read the blog in the past I've shared his photos many times here and I think we all agree, we'd rather look at his photos over mine any day of the week! So here are some photos by Torsten, who so thoughtfully gave me a USB stick filled with photos from this party, an envelope full of photos from Eleni's 1st birthday party last year AND gave Eleni a gorgeous, custom made dress from our good friend Malene over at Botek here in Molyvos (  she's a genius with a sewing machine and has beautiful fabric, she didn't pay me to say this I just really really really love her stuff and I think she's incredibly talented so you should definitely order yourself something from her website.....or order something for me since she lives right around the corner and the shipping won't cost you a thing *wink wink, hint hint*)

So, a big BIG thank you once again to our dear friend Torsten for the gorgeous photos below!
You've beautifully captured yet another special moment in the Mallis family history and we're so grateful for it!

Sakis...or Papou Saki as Eleni calls him


Not now Yiayia, I want to play with my friends!

Big hugs from Baba

Eleni flossing her teeth with her balloon 
and The Twins make an appearance here as well

The handsome Alexandros, 
or 'Egg-shan-doe' as Eleni calls him

This little guy is my visual measurement of how long I've been in Molyvos, 
he was born the first summer I was here
and now he's 6.....
very grown up...
and a balloon popper extraordinaire....

Maria - Apostolis' mom, and my birthday party angel!
Thank you SO MUCH for swooping in and saving my butt that day!
And her sweet daughter Michaela

Yes, this is from the boxed wine
Yes, she did get presents for her birthday
Yes, of course she preferred the blown up wine pouch
Yes, I also played with these as a kid and
Yes, they are awesome and super fun so 
No, she's not that least I don't think so.....

Christina, Eleni's good friend and our neighbour

Party animal taking a little break

You're too cute little one!!
And your 2nd birthday is next in just few weeks!

Not now Yiayia, I'm busy!

Cake time!!!

Miltos and Yiannis
I'm just gonna let this one speak for itself.....

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The 100th Blog Post!

Finally, after just a little over 2 years, you are reading my 100th blog post!

Lets all pretend that 2 tons of confetti is raining from the ceiling right now! Weeeeee confetti!! Ow, crap I just got one in my eye....

If you've read all 100 of my rants and rambles, you deserve a medal! I'm not going to give you one, but just know that I think you deserve one! Job well done my friend, or family member, or random person that I don't know from Russia, Spain, Philippines, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Fsldkjfursldth. You have shown a true commitment to my 2 year journey of lame jokes, confusing rambles, narcissistic tendencies, constant bragging about my child, freak outs about things that don't matter, my love for TMI, and my complete lack of care towards the rules of punctuation.

Thank you! 

And cheers to another 100!

Seriously though, I'm so glad I decided to make this blog. 2 years ago, I was pregnant with Eleni and feeling like everyone I love and care about back home were missing out on the most important thing to ever happen in my life. This made me so sad and homesick. I felt guilty that I'd moved so far away and taken away everyones opportunity to share in experiences like this with me. So I decided to start the blog so I could at least keep my family and close friends updated on what was happening over here. I thought this was the answer to fixing what they (well, YOU) were missing out on, but what I didn't realize was how big of an impact this was going to have on me.

I had forgotten that writing is an important outlet for me. When I'm sad, frustrated, stressed, happy, excited, whatever it is, writing helps me focus, it helps me squash any negativity I might be feeling. I have a bad habit of dwelling on things. If I can't get to the root of a problem and fix it right away, I can't stop thinking about it. And by continuing to think about it, I continue to feel upset about it until it's fixed.The process of slowing down to put things into written word, and of course my need to throw humour into the mix (yes Freud, I know, major defense mechanism, whatever, you stay out of this!), really helps me put things into a positive light again. Or if they're already in a positive light, it's just nice to hold onto those moments a little longer. I guess in a nutshell, writing lets me get rid of the crap that I don't want to hanging around in my brain, and lets me hold on a little tighter to the things I do want in there. Does that make sense?

Good: in. 
Bad: out. 
Simple stuff. 
But so important!

My homesickness will never fully go away. I'll always have moments of missing home and everyone there, but writing the blog and getting your responses back has helped tremendously! I may not be able to see you face to face, or give you a hug whenever I want to, but you're all there, you're reading, listening, enjoying the photos despite my complete lack of talent for photography (and, not to mention my complete lack of progress on that for 2 whole years!), and even laughing at the stupid jokes. I believe, in some ways, this blog has even brought me closer to you. Because even if we were sitting across the table from one another, I probably wouldn't have told you all the stories that I've told you here. We forget or we don't have enough time. Sometimes I just don't want to talk about it, but I can write it down no problem. Like today. Telling you all this. I don't actually know why I'm telling you all this today, I just sat down at the computer and this is what's coming out. But I'm going with it because that's what I've done with the 99 other posts.

Why change things now?

Anyway, on top of all this I'm also so thankful to have this written history to look back on, for Eleni to look back on (and hopefully not be too embarrassed), and the twins now too!

If they want to know what happened on the day they were born
or what day they took their first steps,
what were their first words,

WHEN THEY SAID THEIR FIRST SWEAR WORD (Ahmmmm Eleni, August 22nd 2014, it's the F word, and you know exactly how to use it....I'm correcting you to say Ze Frank which is one of your favourite cartoons right now but we all know that's totally not what you're saying, I'm just hoping to trick you into thinking that's what you're saying so you'll stop swearing in public! Jesus Christ!!),

it'll all be here, 
with every detail, 
never to be forgotten

That's pretty cool

So, with all that being said, lets move on and put a few more things into the history book today, along with some really horrible photos that I know you're going to love!

Tuesday we had a check up with the doctor. All my test results came back and I am super duper healthy and doing great which means the babies are also doing great!

They are each 10cm long now. 2 strong heartbeats: 156 and 158 beats per minute...for all you old-wives-tale believers: this means girls. We still don't know for sure. Maybe next month we'll find out. Sorry old wives, but I tend to put a little more faith in science when it comes to these things....

I'm 16 weeks this does that count as 4 months? Kind of? I'm gonna say it does sanity's sake

I've gained 6 1/2 kg which is almost 15lbs...I can't remember what I'd gained with Eleni at this point, I'll look back later and find out, but oh god....this belly's getting heavy already! Granted, my back and core muscles still hadn't completely recovered from my pregnancy with Eleni so I wasn't as strong from the start as I was with her. But even my feet are aching already. I'm not the praying type, but

Lord help me! 
I'm getting the impression that this may not be the easiest thing I've ever done....

But the coolest thing that's happening this week is I'm starting to feel them move! I felt Twinny B (I call them the Twinny's now since they don't have names yet....well they kind of do but I won't tell you what just yet) tapping lightly every now and then over the last couple weeks, but now I can feel tiny little flutters of kicks and punches and rolls from both of them! Very exciting!

Eleni's 2nd birthday is on Wednesday!!!!!!!!!!! 

We're planning the party right now. 12pm, Wednesday, at the restaurant. I'm going to try to do a rainbow theme. This all depends on what I can find in Mytilini tomorrow for decorations, but that's the plan for now. I'll have photos for you next weekend. She's so excited! She's been talking about her birthday all month! She'll have chocolate cake, just like she asked for. We'll invite all the friends she asked for. She loves rainbows. Even though when I ask her "Eleni, what colours do you see on the rainbow?" she says very adamantly "BLACK!"....maybe she'll have a different, slightly less Gothic view of the colour spectrum after this. One can hope.

The lovely Nicole was here for 3 weeks and just left this morning for a week of adventures in Turkey and then home again to Canada. We miss you already Nicole! Eleni loves you to pieces, I think almost as much as I do, and Antonis wants to tell you again to please be careful in Turkey..... and by that he means be careful of the Turkish men.....and by that he means please don't bruise the Greek male ego by choosing a Turkish husband instead of a Greek one....I told him you're only there for a week but apparently that's done nothing to eliminate his concerns.

Ok, I'll close blog post 100 here with a mish mash of photos from the week and with sincere intentions of continuing to write the Mallis family history here for at least another 100 blog posts.



You got a little on your face there Elli-Bean

OH, it went up your nose too? 

Dinner at the restaurant
Our happiest customer!

Mmmmm giovetsi and apple juice! 
the apple juice is mostly water...
I'm one of those no fun mom's that worries about health and teeth

Beach time with Nicole!!

Lets go swimming!!

Come on Mommy!

Mommy daughter picture!
Eleni we'll get the rocks after, can we just take a picture together right now? 

There we go! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Alonia Taverna, our Restaurant

This week I finally got myself organized to create a facebook page for the restaurant. Well, truth be told I started the page about a year ago but I really only got as far as writing 'Alonia Taverna' before I gave up to watch the Kardashians or Coronation Street. Actually I got a bit farther then that. Under 'Address' I wrote something like '111 FixThisLater Street' with our postal code.....but at least the postal code was right. I think I might have put the phone number too. Anyway, the point is there was nothing on the page, but I fully intended to come back to it later and fill it up with photos and info and then send it out to everyone I know.....

.....but then people started finding the page....

....and these people started hitting that little 'Like' button with that little thumbs up that lets you know they've been there, they've seen your page, that page with nothing on it except that you're located on FixThisLater Street......

Huh. I didn't expect that to happen. 

So I decided I better say good-bye to the Kardashians and the Barlow's, grab my camera, and FixThisNow before too many more people discovered that I'm a procrastinator. 

Here are some photos from last night's live music. It was fun night, lots of people dancing (Antonis included) and drinking (me NOT included) and eating (oh yeah, I definitely did my share of that) and just having a good time. 

Full tables
Our Torstenos in the corner 

Mine and Nicole's feast!
Fava, aubergine salad, Greek salad, 
ladotiri saganaki (we ate that before I remembered to take a photo) 
and grilled sardines

Aubergine salad (left corner) 
and an almost empty plate of fava....that plate was licked clean 10 seconds later
mmmmmmmmm faaaaavaaaaaa....

I know many of you back home cringe at the thought of eating a fish with the head and tail still on
but let me tell you
it's amazing!
You don't have to eat the head or the tail, 
but when you cook a fish whole, and this goes for any fish,
it keeps the meat nice and moist

Some Turkish friends who visited us last year
Dancing up a storm

 More dancing

Go here to see a little more dancing from Antonis:

More food pictures
this is supposed to be up with the other food pictures but it doesn't want to move for me 
of course
so I'm just going to leave it here
lets all pretend that I meant to do the name of artistic expression?

More dancing 

And here's one from about a month ago
Eleni playing with her friend Antoinette from Holland, 
eating Oreo cookies and running around the restaurant
Antoinette's mom, Wendy, sent me a ton of photos of our 2 girls playing together in the restaurant
but I can't figure out how to get them onto the blog
....this one happened by some crazy miracle that I haven't been able to do again
I'll keep trying though....

So if you're on facebook, look for Alonia Taverna and give us a thumbs up. You can follow all of our yummy and exciting goings on from there. 

And just quickly to update you on life in general for us: all is good!

Eleni is great! Baba is just going to pick her up now from Yia yia and Papous. Antonis is great, but getting a bit tired from working his butt off everyday...and it's been 40 degrees here lately which makes things a little more difficult. I'm great too, feeling good, we have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, just a regular check up, so I'll let you all know how that went next week.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Tons of Photos For You

(oops, not sure what happened here but there seems to be a bit of a glitch happening and I can't get rid of this giant photo in this very strange spot. Sorry guys but I'm not going to spend all day trying to fix it, I'm off to the beach, so just scroll down and pretend this never happened haha! Thanks!)

Today I find myself experiencing something I wasn't sure existed anymore.......FREE TIME!

Eleni is over at her grandparents house, somehow I cleaned the entire house yesterday without realizing what a great job I did until this morning, and there's nothing else that needs my attention.

Except for me!!

And you!

So the first thing on my list of things to do today is to attack you with a ton of pictures. Some old, some new. If we're friends on facebook then you've already seen a lot of these but there are a few extras as well.

First I'll just quickly update you on what's going on around here:

Eleni's great! Talking like crazy in both English and Greek. This week I noticed that she is consciously switching between the two languages depending on who she's talking too. For example, if she's spent some time with Yia yia and Papous (who she can only speak Greek to), then she comes home with mommy (who speaks to her in 98% Englsih), she might start to say something in Greek to me, but then she'll stop herself, think for a second, and then say that same word in English. So she definitely understands that there are two different languages going on and she knows which one to use with which person.

But she also knows that Mommy understands Greek and Baba understands English. Because, for example, if she only knows the word for something in Greek, she'll say the Greek word to me but she waits for me to say the word in English. The she repeats it. I get ridiculously excited about this.....I just think it's beyond amazing!

Anyway, until now I couldn't tell that she understood that there were two languages going on around her because she was always thinking before she was saying anything. Now her language skills are more developed, so her response time is a lot faster, which means a hesitation is more noticeable now when she suddenly has to switch from speaking all Greek to all English or vice versa. But weirdly, when she talks to Antonis and I at the same time she can switch back and forth between languages instantly, without hesitation. My guess is that since she's used to using both languages in our house it's easier for her to transition between the two wheras maybe it's a bit more difficult to go from speaking only Greek for 2 hours (or whatever) then switching over to only English? I don't know, this is just a guess that I'll never get an answer too, but I find it interesting anyway.

This might not seem like a big deal to some but it's pretty exciting for us because we weren't sure how her language development would be affected by teaching her both languages at the same time. A lot of what I read about this method said that it works well but not to expect your child to say anything until about 2 years of age.

Well, Eleni will be 2 in just over 2 weeks....her language skills are way beyond what the books say, so we're relieved and extremely proud of her. From the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to bed, the girl doesn't stop talking, and I might roll my eyes sometimes or joke that she "takes after both her grandmothers" but really, it's the best sound in the world and I could happily listen to it 24 hours a day.

As for the rest of us, we're great! I'm feeling really good, finally! I'm a lot more energetic and I haven't felt sick in about 2 weeks. I do have a lot of pain in my hips, back and lower stomach, but it's not all the time and it's just normal growing pains. About once a week or every 10 days or so I've been experiencing growth's pretty painful and all I can really do is lie down and wait for it to pass. But it isn't anything to worry about....except that every time this happens I can actually see my belly has grown again which is a bit frightening since I'm only 14 weeks but look about 24 weeks. It's insane! Seriously, how big will this belly get??? I had another one of these growth spurts last night, it lasted a few hours, and by midnight last night you could already tell the belly had grown again. It's kind of weird and cool at the same time. But also terrifying because I'm pretty sure I'm going to be as big as bus in just a few short weeks.....

Anyway, I want to get to the beach before I run out of this thing you all call FREE TIME, so here are a bunch of pictures from when Eleni and I were in Canada, and at the end are some recent photos of Eleni. I haven't taken an updated belly shot but I'll do that this week once I get around to recharging my camera.

Have a great weekend!!

Her first time in the snow
First snowman
she wasn't too sure about it at first 
but then who is when you're dressed like a marshmallow and can hardly move!

Building a snow kitty on the balcony

Eating snow for the first time

Before bed snuggles with Papa and watching The Cuddlies on his phone 

Shopping with Gaga in a race car

Fun at the park with Gaga!

Making friends

"Come on Gaga, we're going to play over here now"

Cuddles with cousin Charley
And a big birthday kiss to little Charley Mae who turned 2 yesterday!!
We love you girlie!

More cousins! Heidi and Spencer, both cute as a button

And still more cousins! Kora being awesome, as always! 
We miss you Koko!

And MORE cousin fun! And some auntie and uncle fun too!
Cuddles for Brianna, who Eleni fell in love with immediately
And here's my mom and my auntie Pat side by side so you can see that twins really are genetic in our family

Just goin' for a drive...with a towel on her know, normal everyday stuff...

Cousin Savannah!

Playing with Auntie Bonnie, Uncle Kev and Savannah at our early Easter celebration


Easter baskets

Chocolate time!

Reading a book with Uncle Kev

Having a chat with Sandy

A winter's day at the beach and looking for sea lions with Gaga and Papa

One of her favourite things to do, throwing rocks in the water

Music time with Uncle Dale and Sandra

And now here's some more recent photos from here in Molyvos:

Tubby time outside on a hot June day

I dare you to come a little closer Baba!

Dancing with Christina on the balcony

Cutie pie!

Super cutie pie, on her way to a birthday party

Alexandros turns 4! (He's in the yellow). 
Eleni's very excited to have her own birthday party now because she had so much fun at Alexandros' party
She's decided to have chocolate cake
and she will be inviting Alexandros...or "Ekshandos" as she calls him

Birthday parties are fun!!