Family health

Introducing the Stanley family...

The Stanley family takes on our Healthy Family Challenge in order to integrate family fitness — and more vegetables! — into their household.

By Maria Stanley
Introducing the Stanley family...

The Stanley family: Daughter, Nasia, mom Maria, son Nicholas, and dad, Jonathan.

My family and I are super excited to be part of the Today’s Parent Healthy Family Challenge. My name is Maria and I’m a stay-at-home mom in my late-30s (giving 40 the stink eye). I come from a big Greek family, born and raised in Kingston, Ontario. My restauranteur father has owned the family business for more than 40 years and is an amazing, self-taught cook. My homemaker mom can also cook and bake like nobody’s business. The irony that I am a terrible cook is not lost on me.

In 1999, I spent a weekend at my cousins’ place in Toronto and met their cute friend. One year later, we went out on our first date and we’ve been together ever since. Jonathan, (whom I always refer to on my blog as The Husband) and I got married in a big Greek wedding in 2000 and 12.5 years later, we’re still married. This is proof that miracles do happen! Jonathan works as a CEO for his own company in the tourism industry. He works long hours and travels a lot throughout the year. It’s definitely a challenge for me and the kids, but when you have no other choice, you learn to adapt pretty quick. Also, caffeine is my best girlfriend.

We have two great kids — Nicholas, 9, and Athanasia, 6 (going on 14!), who are the loves of our life. They are also the reason I have many, many grey hairs, but the joy they bring to our life makes up for it. Nicholas is a funny, sweet, smart kid who loves to read, play video games and is hockey-obsessed. He’s a sensitive little dude who appreciates his friendships, is respectful and very polite. He also loves to make us laugh with his dance moves at our family's Friday night dance parties.

Athanasia (we call her Nasia) is just a total sweetie who is kind and fun and curious about everything. She loves school and her friends and, oh, how she wishes she could have a kitten if Daddy wasn’t allergic. She is constantly singing and dancing and loves art and drawing. She loves to swim and thinks our late-night family scooting sessions are the best. She loves Spongebob, but since we’ve had to cut her off cold turkey, Madeleine and vintage The Muppets have filled in quite nicely.

As a family, we’re excited and nervous to face the challenge of becoming a healthier family. I have yet to tell the kids that this is less about becoming “famous” and more about actually eating vegetables, but we’ll get to that at some point I’m sure. My kids are the pickiest eaters, so to say mealtimes (especially dinner) are painful is an understatement. If only pasta and bread were considered a vegetable! Ultimately, our goal is to become a healthier and more active family, and my personal goal is to also lose some weight in the process. Can’t wait to get started!

This article was originally published on Feb 28, 2013

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