Happy St. Nicholas day- making memories

I’ve been busy making memories today. Well, creating the backdrop for memories to be made tomorrow actually. Tomorrow is St. Nicholas day, and thus my Nicholas’ name day. In the greek tradition name days are bigger than birthdays, and are usually celebrated kind of like we do birthdays, with presents and nice phone calls. Both Nicholas and Cassie (Christina) have their name days fall in December, and me being the total christmas-junkie that I am, love it. I get two more reasons to make December an even more fun month than it already is.Today I started what I have decided will be a new

Stamatopoulos Christmas Tradition: decorating the christmas tree the night before St. Nicholas day. 

The reason I do it at night and not during the day is because I don’t want Nicholas or Cassie to participate in the tree trimming just yet. There are the obvious reasons; delicate ornaments and clumsy kiddos don’t really mix, and mess mess mess being two of those, but I honestly don’t mind either.

The reason I don’t want them to help out just yet is because I so vividly remember the magic from when I was little..

Let me first explain the basics of Norwegian christmas as it was celebrated in our household.

Lillejulaften (the 23rd) : We would eat Julegrøt –rice porridge served with sugar, cinnamon and a knob of butter smack dab in the centre of if.  This is actually a really old scandinavian custom and is usually served on christmas. Both rice and milk were expensive, thus making this a luxurious meal for the farmers back in the olden days. Before we sat down to eat my mother would hide a scolded, white almond in it. The person that finds the almond gets a price. (A tradition much like the greek bread that you hide a coin in for the new year, the one that gets the coin is supposed to be lucky the following year.)

Julaften (christmas eve) : This is the big day for us Scandinavians. We say that Jesus was born that nigh, and that is what we celebrate. Christmas presents are not opened until the evening, after a long day filled with eating, eating and waiting and waiting and waiting for the time where the children finally get to open presents. At some point during the gift opening Julenissen (santa) actually comes knocking asking “are there any nice children here?” and hands out a gift to each child.

Now that you have the low-down on the whole Scandinavian Christmas thing. Back to the magic..

My mum and dad would wait until we were in bed, and drag the tree into the house and through the hallway and into the living room. The living room is located right above my twin brothers and mine bed room, so we would of course hear that they were doing something, but we wouldn’t care. We were busy whispering and making elaborate schemes for how we would catch mum and dad. We just knew that there was no such thing as the strompenisse- or stocking elf-  and we were hell-bent on catching our parents filling our stockings.              In our house there was no fireplace, so my mother and father had the tradition on hanging our stockings on the doorknob outside our room. I remember the two of us staying awake as long as we possibly could, fighting off the drooping heavy eyelids, and stifling yawns. We were so excited about the gift extravaganza waiting the next day that we had a hard time sleeping anyway, but occasionally we would ask the other “are you awake?” to make sure we didn’t fall asleep.  I remember my mum coming down the stairs every half hour or so to check if we were sleeping, and telling us to go to sleep NOW, when she discovered us very much awake and waiting down in our bed room.      Oh, how LONG those nights must have felt to our parents. Waiting and waiting for us to fall asleep, thankfully in the end we did, and one of them (or maybe the strompenisse) would come down and fill our stockings and move them from the door handle to the foot of our beds.

Waking up on Christmas and feeling something hard and rough under the covers where my feet were felt like christmas! We would take our stockings and tip-toe up the stairs. The smell of fresh pine-tree thick in the air we would round the corner and walk in to the living room to the most amazing sight. A fully lit and decorated christmas tree. Total bliss, total childhood magic. The kind that stays with you forever, and makes you want to recreate the same for your own children. Full of awe we would sit down on the sofa without even turning on the tv(!) open our stockings and munch our way through the chocolate, oranges and what not that were in there. We would open the little present in the stocking while we sat there and commented on the beauty of the tree and it was christmas..

It makes me feel like christmas just writing about it now, and I want that same experience for Nicholas, Cassie and Tristan. This whole tree decorating thing only lasted until we were old enough to actually want to help decorate it, so maybe around seven years old, but it’s still what I remember the best about christmas. Being like I said, a christmas junkie, there is no way I could wait until the 23rd to trim my tree. So this is the New Tradition. The night of the 5th decorate the tree so the kids can wake up to in on St. Nicholas Day!

A few pictures from our previous christmases!


Nicholas then 20 months opening presents on christmas day


Nicholas and I with his stocking on julaften


Nicholas and Cassie last Christmas in Canada, opening Presents

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Happy St. Nicholas day!

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How old are you anyways?!

You know how sometimes you meet someone, it might be in a line-up at the grocery store, or on a train. You meet and for some reason you strike up a conversation. The conversation usually covers the basic questions,

Stranger: “why do you live here in Sweden?”

Me: ” My husband works here, so I followed him”

Stranger: “Do you work? Or what do you do?”

Me: “No, I was pregnant when I got here and had my first son about 3 weeks after I arrived, I’ve been mammaledig- on maternity leave ever since”

This obviously leads the conversation on to the topic of children..

Stranger: “Oh how nice, so you have one child? How old is he?Is he still home with you then? Since you are still on maternity leave?

Me: No! Heavens no. He would have gone crazy if he had to be home with me still at the age of 3,5! No, he is in dagis. I’m home with Tristan, my 3,5 month right now..

Stranger:  Oh, that’s nice.. You have two boys. And so close in age. So lucky!

Me: No, no, no. I have a girl as well.Cassie. She is in the middle. 19 months. She is in dagis too!

And then comes the reaction to this revelation. And it varies a bit depending on who I’m talking to. But usually it goes along the lines of;


(And Yes, it is shouted out in Caps Lock, or more or less anyways)


People seem to think it is absolutely bat-shit-crazy to have three kids so close together. However I don’t. Having another child to me just means I am having another round of first. First smiles, first laughs first shots, first illnesses. First meetings being an absolute favourite of mine!


Nicholas meeting Cassie for the first time


and meeting Tristan for the first time


Little sister becoming big sister, and meeting baby brother for the first time


I get to experience it all for the 3rd time – and I’ll tell you this; it doesn’t get old! I’m just as amazed at seeing Tristan meet new goals as i was 3,5 years ago when i was seeing Nicholas doing the same exact thing. I have been so lucky with my three, they are pretty good sleepers, they are all reasonably good eaters. They are all healthy (knock on wood) and mostly happy. What more could I possibly ask for? Yes – it might be a bit more hectic for a few years, but the positives by far outweighs the negatives.

If you see the way Cassie looks at Nicholas, all starry-eyed and with so much love,

and then mimics exactly what he is doing at the time, you would understand.

Or when you see Nicholas go over to Tristan who is a bit sad, and give him his pacifier and a kiss on the forehead a long with reassurances that “mamma is coming soon”,


you would definitely understand.

I think I have given my kids an incredible gift. The gift of family, and togetherness. They might in the future end up not liking each other, or they might end up the best of friends. But no matter what happens they will each  have two other people in the world that can relate. That they can whine about me to. Because face it, we will never be perfect parents in our children’s eyes, they will have many complaints about us and who better understands a mother’s fault than those who share the same mother?


I love our life, I love our crazy home, and most of all I love how our children are growing up together, how Cassie learns from Nicholas, and how Tristan soon will be learning from them both.

Siblings are a blessing, and for those of you thinking about going for number two, or three, my recommendation is; GO for it. You won’t be sorry you did.


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It has been a while!

And a whole lot has happened.. Try having a whole new Kid for a start!  I can’t believe that the last time I posted here Cassie was around 4 months, and now I’m sitting here with my third child!

So on that note let me introduce Tristan Nathaniel. My third little love was born August 13th 2013. He is lovely and beautiful and I feel that he really completes the family. DSC_0268

He looks like a perfect mix of Cassie and Nicholas, and yet he is his own little person. He is chilled out and not very demanding. But loves to be in the mix of things, and is already standing up more than sitting down when I’m holding him. Which makes me fear that he will be walking early just like Cassie did…

Cassie.. Where do I begin? She is fearless and bold. The never sits still, always on the move. Not necessarily naughty, but very very curious. Things have to be opened, tested and tried. She climbs on everything. I mean EVERYTHING. She is usually the one that initiates rough play with Nicholas, and she loves nothing more than a good wrestling match. She has inherited my love for books it seems. Although her taste right now runs towards flap books, and she is more for turning the pages than listening to the story..



Oh, and did I mention that she is a beauty? Seriously, she is so cute with her curly hair and big blue eyes. Don’t be fooled though, she is a thug! I call her Hurricane Cassie- and she lives up to the name!! She is a daddy’s girl, and they seem to share the same kind of boundless energy.

Nicholas, my firstborn has grown into a big boy! Now 3,5 and multilingual. He speaks English, Greek and Norwegian/Swedish- although his preferred language is by far English. He can count. Knows his alphabet. And most of the time he is a very good listener. He is still laid back and cuddly, but seems to have grown out of being shy over the last few months. He loves animals, him and I love to sit and watch a good animal documentary on the weekends when Cassie is napping. He is a proud big brother of the other two- and so very loving towards them! Cassie and him are pretty good friends- it’s amazing to see their relationship develop! Nicholas is a cuddler, and he is the one that loves giving me hugs, kisses and sitting on my lap. He is so smart, and has memory like an elephant! He is the one that seems to be most like me.


So here we are. We have grown and changed and added another person to our family. Things couldn’t be better! Happy to be writing again🙂


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Please vote for my little happy!


press the link and click stem! I would love for Baby C to win this photo contest!

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