Monday, July 26, 2010

Project Mom: Project Me!

At least once a day I say to myself, "My life should totally be a reality show." Because the things I've gone through, the things I've said, and the things I've done, since becoming a mom, would be very watch-worthy.



I've been blogging for over three years. I decided that after having my first child, rather than sending my friends a dozen emails a day about my baby, a better outlet would be to start a blog. (My friends still thank me to this day!)

Blogging has been a great way for me to connect with other moms and a great way to document all the crazy adventures I've had on this awesome journey of motherhood, while providing some advice to other moms, too.

I'm the mom who never says no. I'm the mom who doesn't care how dirty my boys are, as long as they are having fun. I'm the mom who worries more than I should, about everything. I still sleep with my 2 year old. And I love it.

The saying "It takes a village to raise a child..." are words I live by. I'm family-oriented, and I'm the mom who, despite having worked in the fast-paced world of radio and television news, both on-air and behind the scenes, interning at Entertainment Tonight in Hollywoood, California and CBS in Washington, D.C., can honestly say that nothing is as exciting as being a mom. Or as difficult. Which is why I'm thankful I'm surrounded by a large family who is always there to lend a helping hand. And do the ironing.

My blog was voted Best Family Blog in the 2009 Canadian Blog Awards. This year, I started giving back through my blog - by donating one dollar per every comment I received to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario - a hospital that took care of my oldest son when he was very sick. It's amazing how many people you can reach through social media.

I'm also the mom who loves everything entertainment. I used to be the girl who never missed any episodes of any reality shows - until, well... until I became a mom and have hardly any time to watch TV at all!

Being a mom is a 24 hour a day job - I'm always on - and I love it. Every sleepless second. Okay, maybe not every second, which is what's so awesome about blogging - I get to share my stories - the good, the bad, the ugly, the funny - with a diverse online community, letting people into my life, and sharing laughs and tears along the way.

Being a mom is the greatest gig I've had. I love nothing more than talking about it. To have the chance to do this on telelvision would be a huge bonus!


The producers of "Project Mom Casting" - a reality television concept, are looking to connect with moms during BlogHer in New York City. As you all know, I'm going to be at BlogHer this year, and I'm so excited - I hope I get the chance to tell Mom Casting just why I'd be a perfect fit for this reality show in person!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The perfect BlogHer outfit!

I've been thinking about what to wear to BlogHer, because it's literally around the corner. (Squee!) I have tried on so many dresses, and while I feel good about most of my choices, nothing screamed "YES! YES! YES!" to me until today.

I found the perfect dress to wear to all the fabulous parties for at least one of the nights. I think I'll fit right in, don't you?

Oh, and I decided to leave any traces of my roots at home, because really? I don't want to look like a tourist. (Don't you know Canadians always dress like this?) Also, as if I'd wear a pair of pants that accentuate my hips! I think not.


More BlogHer posts to come - stay tuned!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The most important post you'll read this summer

When I was 10 years old, my mom received a devestating phone call from her close friend. Her two year old son had somehow managed to walk into their neighbour's backyard, and fell into the pool. Paramedics arrived as quickly as they could, and the baby was rushed to the Children's Hospital. He was in a coma for days - he was blue and unresponsive when he was pulled out of the pool. Doctors gave my mom's friend almost no hope for a healthy and full recovery for her son. However, miracles do happen. He came out of his coma and is living a healthy life today.

Many children are not as lucky.

Every summer it's one tragic story after another: "Toddler drowns in backyard pool" are words we see time and time again when we read the news, and they are the words we don't want to have to see. Every story I read about yet another drowning is heartbreaking.

According to the Canadian Red Cross, there are over 400 drownings in Canada each year. (A report I read showed that there were over 3,000 drownings in the United States in 2007. 30% being children.) There are far too many horrific stories of young people dying in the water. Even more tragic to me is when I read about children who have drowned who are the same age as my children; it sends chills up my spine, and it breaks my heart in a million pieces.

Drowning is the second leading cause of death among children. This is alarming because it is something you can prevent. The truth is, the majority of drownings occur as a result of lack of supervision. Children who are left alone can easily fall into the pool, and sometimes, they can become trapped by hazards such as the filtration system.

Remember, it only takes a moment. It is not okay to leave your young child outside while you rush in to get the telephone that is ringing inside. Drownings happen suddenly - and drownings are silent. "But I was only gone a second..." is not something you want to tell the paramedics later.

Last year, when my oldest son was 3, I left him sitting on the pool steps without a flotation device on, thinking he was safe, as I started doing my laps. When I was swimming back towards him, he slipped from the steps and went underwater. He was not moving - I couldn't see his face. It was the scariest few seconds of my life as I swam as fast as I could to get to him. I pulled him out, with the help of my friend, and he started coughing and crying. I was so thankful he was okay. And I have never made that mistake again.

Here are some tips to help keep your children safe this summer:

When you're outside with your children, make sure they are within arm's reach of you or your partner - or whoever is looking after them. This summer, my family and I are spending almost every day in the pool, enjoying the water, and my boys, 2 and almost 5, are strong swimmers, with floaties on. My oldest son swims without floaties, as well, but to be safe, he usually wears them in the pool and ocean, and we're always right there with him. Always. Until they're older, they will not be going in the pool without one of us there with them. Flotation devices are very important - and just as much fun can be had in the water with floaties or a life jacket on!

If you are going to put your child in an after-school or weekend activity, make sure it's for swimming lessons. There is nothing more important that having your child grow up to be confident in and around bodies of water - learning to swim is not only a lot of fun - and a great way to get some physical activity - but it's vital for survival, too. I started swimming from a very young age, because I spent summers in Greece, and I took swimming lessons every single year, too. (Until your child is four years old, lessons are more to get them used to being in the water. The real learning comes later on!)

If you have a little wading pool in your backyard, make sure to empty it after each use. Believe it or not, it only takes a very small amount of water for a child to choke and drown on.

If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, I'm sure you have the proper fence built around the pool - double check every night that the fence is locked!

Don't leave the water toys or noodles in the pool or lying around the pool when you're finished swimming - put them away, because toys could attract young children, prompting them to reach into the pool to get what they want.

Above all else, keep an eye on all the children in the pool. Even if you're not a certified lifeguard, you can still pretend you're on Baywatch! Keep counting to make sure all little bodies are accounted for in the pool. And don't forget the sunscreen!

This is National Drowning Prevention Week (July 17 to July 24). Although it's only one week, we should all remember to keep ourselves and our children safe around water year round!

If you have any tips for staying safe in the water, I'd love to hear them, too!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thoughts on a Thursday

When I was in the fourth grade, during quiet reading time, a disruptive boy started acting up.

The teacher warned him not to speak loudly again, as he was making too much noise. She said: "If you talk once more after I have repeatedly told you not to, not only will you be punished for 5 minutes after class, the entire class will be punished along with you. Everyone will have to remain in their seats for an extra 5 minutes, quietly."

Of course all eyes were on this young boy, who, of course being a young boy, challenged his teacher and laughed.

And of course, this teacher meant business. We were all punished. Out of the 20 children in our classroom only 1 child had caused an issue, but the result was we were all going to have to pay for it. They were repercussions to his actions.

It was unfair. But then again, so is life.

I remember what I was wearing on September 11, 2001, when I got the phone call from my mother telling me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre.

Visions of me enjoying a glass of red wine at Windows of the World flashed in my mind, as I was in NYC just a few months before, enjoying the breathtaking view from the very top of the World Trade Centre. My reaction quickly turned to one of fear and mass confusion.

At work, we turned on the boardroom television set to CNN, just after the second plane crashed into the WTC. More panic ensued for me, as I thought of my extended family in Washington, D.C., and a family member who was in the Middle East on business.

Speechless. Numb. Scared. Sad. Disbelief. "Why? How could this have happened? Who could be so evil?" were asked by us all that day. What occurred on September 11th is not something any of us will get over.

There are so many horrible things in our history books, with 9/11 being one of the recent additions to pages upon pages of events that never should have happened, the biggest, in my opinion, being the Holocaust. Events that will always be etched in our minds as things that never should have happened in a society where good is supposed to trump evil.

Thousands of innocent people lost their that September day. An entire city - a strong, proud, historic city - was... panicked, to say the least. That day, hundreds of parents lost their children. That day, many brave and heroic fire fighters and emergency workers risked their lives to save others, losing their own lives while doing so.

9/11 should never be forgotten. I think that when discussions about whether to build something that is stirring up some controversy near the sacred grounds of WTC, a lot of thought should go into it.

More so, when an issue like this is causing so many people to have such mixed feelings, I believe there is only one place we should go to for the final decision. To the families of the victims of 9/11. They should decide. They should be given the choice.

They didn’t have a choice when their loved ones were so brutally taken away from them. I think at least now, we should show them a little respect. Communicate with them, and consider their opinions first.

I respect all religions, and I am a very open-minded person. There is no perfect religion. I will also say, as a Greek Orthodox, if people of my faith had done something so horrific, I’d feel the very same way about the issue at hand. (Or any other religion, for that matter.) And that is the honest truth. If it were me, I would avoid confrontation at all cost.

In life, sometimes even if one person makes a mistake, there will be repercussions for everyone. Life is unfair to so many people, for so many reasons. And sometimes, decisions have to be made that not everyone will agree with. Regardless of how you feel about the issue at hand, it is important to remember to respect and allow people to have their own opinion.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, July 12, 2010

What not to do: the labour edition

Today I'm going to give you a lesson in what NOT to do when your sister is in labour, having seriously bad contractions.

When my sister was in labour two short weeks ago, she went to the hospital to check in. She was a few centimetres dilated, and was told to go to a nearby restaurant to eat and walk around for a couple of hours before returning to get admitted. With her hospital bracelet on and overnight bag in the car, she called to let us know she would be grabbing a bite to eat at a restaurant overlooking the water.

Of course, we all decided to go meet her and her husband for dinner, which was a great idea and something big Greek families do. We were having a great time.

Until I took out my camera.

Because doesn't every mom-to-be want her picture taken while she's having a painful contraction?

So being the good sister that I am, I took a picture of her.


(Ouch. The pain!)

(The beer is NOT my sister's!)

And then, her contraction passed.

I captured that on film, too.


"God that hurt!"
my sister said.

"G! Smile for the camera! Look at me! Say cheese!" I said in return.


I can't say I was surprised with her reaction here. I mean, I get it. Contractions hurt. So I totally do forgive her. Nobody had a camera shoved in my face the two times I was in labour.

I guess I was asking for too much?

Oh well. Let's just say my camera will stay in my purse until after her next baby is born!

You live, you learn, right?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I miss, I love, I look forward to...

Sometimes I think back to certain parts of my life, and I miss them. The other day I was pumping gas near my high school. I remember my high school days vividly - the walks to the bus stop after school, my friends, my first car, all the experiences.

Later that night, as I lay asleep beside my children, I was so happy to be in that moment, to be at this point in my life, an adult, a home-owner, a wife, a mother of two. I love right now.

This morning, I thought of the future, of seeing my boys graduating from University, wondering what they'll become, each of them with their different personalities. There is so much to look forward to! (My prediction? Oldest son: scientiest/doctor/paleontologist; youngets son: the next Michael Schumacher!)

Even though I miss the days gone by - University, high school, and being a child reading Sweet Valley Twins and long summer vacations with my family in Greece - I love the present. And as much as I love the present, I look forward to what the future holds.

Things I miss...

High School. The simple days. Discussions with friends. School dances and crushes. Experiencing everything for the first time. Organizing school fashion shows and assemblies. 'Studying' in the library. House parties. Taking the bus to my boyfriend's school (who is now my husband.) Dance recitals.

University. Independence. Big groups of friends and 90210 nights and the Greek crew. Tunnels only discovered during my 2nd year. Joining a sorority, late night study sessions, and the 4th floor of the library.

College. Moving away from home. Studying what I was passionate about, broadcast journalism. Moving to Washingon, D.C. to complete an internship at CBS, and seeing a huge newsroom in action. Recording a 10 minute documentary on gun control in a new city, shooting a gun for the first - and last - time, the subway, nights with friends, Georgetown, and the shopping! Going to L.A. for another internship at Entertainment Tonight and leaving early to take a radio job back home. (Regret!)

Things I currently love...

Swimming with my boys - Christos is swimming like a pro this summer, head underwater, jumping into the pool - it's amazing to watch how much he's progressed since last year! And this year, my 2 year old is swimming with only floaties on - he's also jumping in the pool, swimming to the deep end with no fear at all, and loving every second.

My children's laughter and the way they play together. Watching them learn, reading to them, and just being in the moment with them.

Feeling the sun on my skin.

Driving with with A/C blasting and my music playing loudly.

My sister's new baby girl... such sweetness! Nothing like holding and loving a new baby again.

Breaking a sweat at the gym - I'm completely dedicated for the first time in years and it feels great. My energy levels are through the roof.

Iced coffee and dinner with friends on nice patios.

Backyard BBQ with family.

New shoes.

Things I look forward to...

Our family vacation to Mont Tremblant. A time to fully re-connect and just have fun and enjoy the gorgeous view.

BlogHer! New York City! Meeting some incredible people, and just having a terrific time. Learning, socializing, laughing. (And of course, Saks Fifth Avenue!)

Winter vacation in south Florida - a nice break from the cold and snow! (Yes, I'm already thinking about ways to get out once it gets cold!)

Going back to Greece next summer with my boys for the first time and introducing them to our wonderful Greek culture and way of life - the food, the history, the beautiful sea, and extended family.

What about you? What do you miss? What do you currently love? And what are you looking forward to?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday!

"Seriously, mom? How can you give up this stuff? I mean pasta is SO GOOD!"


"I know you're on Atkins, and all, but you're missing out, mom. But that's okay. More for me!"


Nom. Nom. Nom.

Sigh. I miss pasta!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A perfect picture

There is nothing I have not tried in the quest to take the perfect picture of my children and their brand new baby cousin.

"Smile boys!"

"OMG! Look what's growing on mommy's head!"

"OH NO! LOOK!"

"Chocolate! As much as you want!"

"Look! Look at me! Over here! Look! Dimitry! Christos! HELLO?"

"I SAID... CHOCOLATE!!!!"

I'm failing. It's just not going to happen.

It's almost impossible to get my 2 and a half year old to sit still long enough to take a picture, although he always smiles on demand. (Small victory!)

During the summer, my children go through at least 3 outfit changes a day, because they're always getting dirty at the park, in the sand, in the sink, by the water, and getting food stains - like watermelon - all over themselves. It's like a constant, never-ending battle with the laundry. (Am I alone here?)

Yesterday I tried to take a picture of my boys and my new niece and it was almost a perfect shot - until I noticed the chocolate and watermelon stains on my mis-matched two year old. (Brown shirt, grey shorts? Yup. Last outfit of the day.)

Well. At least they're smiling, right?


Thursday, July 1, 2010

The new baby girl in my life

My 6 years younger than me sister had a baby girl last week. My little sister, way more independent than I am, is someone who has never needed my advice because she always knows what she wants.

Last night, she called me and asked me for advice. For the first time ever.

"Can I store breastmilk in the fridge? And after, am I supposed to warm it up?" she asked.

Finally. I was asked for some advice!

Just a few days ago, my sister became a mother. It is truly amazing how much I am in love with this new baby girl, perfect in every way - it feels, in a way, that I sort of have a third child - that's how much I love her!

My boys are loving their new cousin, too. The first time they met her, they could not stop smiling. It was such a sweet moment.

I had really easy labours and deliveries, (as in 6 hour labours, pushing for about 20 minutes with both babies, and both times, I was induced) so I sort of expected the same for my sister.

Didn't quite turn out that way for her, though. She was in labour for 27 hours. She pushed for 3 hours. I was so stressed, I bet my blood pressure was through the roof as I waited for her to deliver her baby. Since the happy family arrived home I sort of haven't left her house. I feel bad for my sister because she's not going to kick me out but, I don't want to leave. Because I love holding her baby!

I can also say with absolute certainty, as much as I LOVE the newborn stage - and am enjoying my sister's baby - I'm not going to have another baby. I am exhausted just watching my sister feed on demand, I don't want to have to deal with losing that weight again, and we are close to not needing diapers anymore. Now with this new baby in our lives, I can enjoy it all - but still go home and fall asleep when I want to.

I think this post - my tips for new moms - and this post - about my life before I became a mom -will come in especially handy for my sister now.

Congrats, mama! Welcome to this awesome, amazing, thrilling, emotional world called parenthood, a world you have now just begun to understand. Your life has just changed before your eyes - enjoy every moment. And don't worry. You will get to sleep again. Not sure when, but eventually! (Sleep is overrated anyway!)

BlogHer!

So after stressing over whether I should still go to BlogHer or take a best friends trip to New York City two weeks later - I have decided that this year, it's BlogHer for me.

I received a lot of comments, emails and phone calls from my best friends and from fellow bloggers, and the one thing everyone agreed on was that I had a hard decision to make. (I have a hard enough time deciding what to wear when I get up in the morning!)

My best friends and I see each other all the time. And we always go on one getaway a year together - so I know I'll be joining them wherever we go next summer. And I know they'll still love me even though I won't be in NYC with them.

This is the year for me to go to BlogHer - so my decision (finally!) has been made. And I am so excited!

Oh, and can I ask a favour of you? Can you pretty please vote for me for the 2010 BlogLuxe Awards? I was nominated (thank you!) in the Guilty Pleasure category along with some totally awesome blogs. (Um, I'm in the same category as Pioneer Woman? Wow!) I can't wait to attend the SocialLuxe party this year in New York City! It only takes a minute to vote, so if you can, I'd love your vote. Please click here ! Thank you! (You can vote once a day until July 12th, too.)

Are you going to BlogHer? If you are let me know - I can't wait to meet you!


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