Wednesday, October 27, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 7

Day 7 of the 30 Days or Truth writing prompts asks us to write about someone who has made our life worth living for.

This is probably the easiest prompt so far. And of course, pretty predictable, right?

Without a doubt in my mind,



The two people in my life who have changed it forever in the most positive, beautiful, wonderful and awe-inspiring way are my two children.



My two baby boys have made me love with all my heart and soul, make me strive to be a better person, make me appreciate life and everything it has to offer, make me thankful, more loving, and more aware of the world around me. They teach me as much as I teach them, it seems. They constantly make me smile, and laugh. I cherish every second.





Without a doubt in my mind, my children make my life worth living for.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A good deed

I had plans to have a huge garage sale this summer so I could get rid of some of the clutter in our basement—baby books, clothes, and toys. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to have another baby, so I thought selling the things we no longer needed was a great idea. Other items, I had already donated to our children's hospital.

I had organized everything into boxes and bags. I was about to pick a date for the garage sale when my sister called me to tell about an ad she saw online.

"Loukia, this pregnant single lady is looking for gently used baby toys and books. Why don't you give her all your stuff?" she suggested to me.

I thought that was a great idea.

I emailed the mom-to-be, and we made arrangements to meet at the shopping centre near my house. I arrived with bags of goodies for her unborn child.

After I gave her the baby gear, I got a little teary-eyed. I knew that her baby would enjoy the same books my boys enjoyed, I knew her baby would play with the same toys that brought smiles to my babies faces, and I knew that she would love her child with all her heart. I felt happy that this deserving mom had a great supply of toys and books for her little one.

A few days ago, I received an email that brought a smile to my face again...

Dear Loukia,

I just wanted to thank you once again for the baby books and toys you gave me back in June. I have been so blessed to have so many caring and wonderful people come into mine and my baby's life to help us in a situation and a time of need that I am truly amazed at how God can draw people into a person's life when they are at their most lowest and humblest point.

My baby is due in about a week and a half, and without your generosity I doubt I would be as prepared as I am for her much anticipated arrival.

Thank you so much once again for your kindness and taking the time to answer a call for help. God bless you and your family,

A

It's truly amazing how just one email can brighten your day so much.

(Have a free second? Can you please vote for Loulou's Views for Best Family Blog in the 2010 Canadian Blog Awards? I'm in the finals and I'd love to win again! All it takes is literally one second - and one click! Thank you so much!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Glee's not that innocent!

Have you seen the new cover and feature about Glee in GQ magazine? I saw it for the first time on Entertainment Tonight a few nights ago when I was staying at the InterContinental Hotel in Toronto all by myself for a conference.

My first reaction?


Wow. Rachel and Quinn are so hot. I have to hit the gym hard-core next week!

My second reaction?

Someone is going to have a negative reaction about this cover—uh-oh!

My third reaction?

Wow. Rachel and Quinn are so hot. I have to hit the gym hard-core next week!

Jill wrote a great post about why the cover featuring the stars of Glee bothered her, and her comments have been excellent and plentiful, with some people completely agreeing with her view that it's a bit too much, while other thinking it's totally appropriate.

Jill said that: "Yes, it’s an adult magazine, but these kids play high school students, for crying out loud. Young high school students. They are in character, in a school, promoting their show about high school students."

I am okay with 'high school' students being portrayed in this sexy fashion. Why? A few reasons. First of all, both actresses are over 21. GQ is a men's magazine that is known for taking seriously sexy pictures of women and men. Also, let's not kid ourselves, folks—kids in high school are drinking, smoking, and having sex. It's been like that forever. Remember the 70s? The 80s? The 90s? You get the picture. It's not a new phenomena, teens being sexual beings. I wasn't completely innocent in high school. I'm not talking about grade 9, but by the time you're in grade 11 or 12? People are doing things. I'm not saying that's right... it's just the way it is.

Looking at this issue of GQ is not going to make teenagers have sex. Or make them dress any sexier than they're already dressing. Yes, some things teenage girls are wearing today are completely inappropriate—tacky, slutty clothes that fall under the category of 'major faux-pas'.

But if your child is living under your roof, it's your job to see what they're leaving the house in. If you're paying for their low-cut jeans and crop tops, then don't blame the people at GQ. And don't forget. No matter what? Sometimes teens will be rebels. I'm not proud of all that I did back in the day. (Oh, my God—I just said back in the day. Weep.)

Have you seen Glee? There is nothing unsexy about this show! Everyone is hot. Puck is sleeping with older ladies. Quinn is pregnant. Cupcakes are laced. Santana is making out with Brittany. Threesomes are discussed, people are faking their pregnancies, and entire shows are devoted to Madonna, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. If you're concerned about Rachel in her sexy underwear but everything else that is being portrayed on the show is okay, I'm confused. This show is not for young children. And GQ is for men.

I'm speaking from my own personal perspective, and as a mother of two boys. I wonder if I had girls if my opinion would be any different? I do understand how shitty it is to have to spend countless hours looking for a decent Halloween costume for a young child. And that is sad. Children should be allowed to be children. But once you're 17, you're in another category altogether.

I am curious to find out what you think about the new GQ cover? Do you hate it? Do you approve? Why?

Edited to add: 24 year old Dianna Agron (Quinn) released the following statement in response to the reaction over the sexy GQ cover and photo shoot:

In the land of Madonna, Britney, Miley, Gossip Girl, other public figures and shows that have pushed the envelope and challenged the levels of comfort in their viewers and fans… we are not the first. Now, in perpetuating the type of images that evoke these kind of emotions, I am sorry. If you are hurt or these photos make you uncomfortable, it was never our intention. And if your eight-year-old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry. But I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 6

What do you hope to never have to do? It's time for Day 6 of the 30 Days of Truth writing prompts.

Day 6: Something you hope you never have to do.

There are tons of things I hope to never have to do. Of course, having to say goodbye to my loved ones tops that list, and just the thought of anyone close to me passing away is a topic so scary I can't even talk about. I hope to never have to deal with the sadness that comes with death, even though I've dealt with it before. I know this is a part of life, but it's a part that I am most afraid of.

I hope to never be in very uncomfortable situations. I never want to be in a plane crash. I never want to consider sushi a favourite food. I never want to play dodgeball again, and I never want to be on Jeopardy because I was once on the Greek version of that show, at my community centre, and OMG, did I ever SUCK. (My dad was all, "You'll do great!" My mom was all, "Loukia, you'll do HORRIBLE. How embarrassing! You won't even get one answer right! OMG, I am not even going to come see you!")

Ahem. Anyway.

The one thing I hoped to never do was to experience seeing one of my children sick and in pain. Besides death, I think there is nothing worse than having to see your child suffer. My worst nightmare came true.

When I was pregnant, I worried so much about losing my unborn child. I thought, 'If I can make it to twelve weeks, I'll be okay. The worry will go away.' However, week 12 came and went, and as as my belly grew, so did my worry. Little did I know then that the worry I had when I first found out I was pregnant would be everlasting. And it would get worse.

My oldest son suffered a few bad kidney infections when was very young. At 12 weeks old, he was admitted to the children's hospital and he stayed, with me by his side, for two weeks. To see my baby with an IV in him, and to watch him endure countless numbers of ultrasounds, was something I never thought would happen to me, to my child. I hoped to never have to see my child in pain. But I did. He missed his first Halloween.

At 6 months old, he got another infection, but this time our hospital stay was only 5 days. I was a little stronger, but still. The worry. Knowing that what he had was treatable made it bearable. I knew we would be going home. And I knew, speaking to his doctor, that the worst case scenario would be surgery. We could deal with that, I thought then.

At 3 years old, a few days before Halloween, my son got a very bad cold. I was frozen when his doctor told me he had pneumonia. I didn't think it was possible for children to get pneumonia. His illness resulted in a two week hospital stay. In isolation. When things took a turn for the worse, he needed surgery to drain fluid from his lung. I never thought I'd see my child be put to sleep for surgery, for an operation of his lung. God knows how I survived that day and the days that followed, family by our side. Oxygen masks, morphine, the beeping of the machines, rushing to find his nurse whenever I got worried, and trying to comfort my sick child. These days were the hardest of my life. Seeing other precious children sick on the same floor was also unbearable. The smell of Purell now only reminds me of his hospital stay. I know I'll never forget, even the smallest details, of those days. The entire experiece was something I hoped to never have to do - to see my child in pain.

Everything else I hope to never have to do in my life doesn't seem so awful, after that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 5

I have been thinking long and hard about Day 5 of the 30 Days of Truth writing prompts. It's been the hardest one for me to write so far (wait—don't I say that every time?) which caused me some panic because if I don't know what I hope to do in my life, then clearly I'm lacking direction of some sort.

(Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4)

Day 5: Something you hope to do in your life.

I know what some of the things I want to do in my life are. I consider these things pretty attainable and I know if I really wanted these things to happen, I could make them happen. All it takes is drive and perseverance.

- Get a job in the media world again—in radio, print or television.
- Publish a parenting book and a children's book and keep on writing.
- Get enough stamps in my passport so I need extra pages—travel extensively.
- Buy a house in Miami. Wake up to the sound and smell of the ocean.
- See Formula 1 in Monaco.
- Quit smoking for more than one year —become a true non-smoker.
- Cry tears of joy at my children's weddings.
- Hold my grandchildren in my arms and kiss their soft baby skin.
- Become a billionaire. (Or a millionaire!)

Those are the little things I want to happen in my life, God willing. But those things don't seem like anything truly substantive, or 'life changing'. They are just things that I know will eventually happen, if I want them to happen badly enough and if I'm lucky.

I guess the main thing I hope to do in my life is to become an adult and grow up. Sure, I consider myself a great mom. I've been through so much with my children, especially with my oldest son, and it has definitely aged me and made me stronger, older. I'm not completely irresponsible. I'm also not completely independent either. I'm not talking about learning how to pay the bills or do all the cooking, because when I have to do those things, I can, I do, and I will.

What I mean is, I want to be able to start making decisions for myself. Without having to ask other people for direction or guidance. Without having to worry about what other people will think if I say the 'wrong' thing, or if I choose the 'other' option. I need to stand up for myself more. I need to go with my gut feelings and put myself first. I need to let go of the guilt. I need to worry less. I hope I'm able to be a stronger person, a person who is more sure of herself, and a person who isn't so afraid of stepping outside of her comfort zone.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thankful

Here in Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this long weekend. In other words, we're all eating a LOT. Which is awesome because all this eating has made me really excited to go back the gym on Tuesday. And to kick carbs to the curb once again!

What are you thankful for this year? I'm thankful for so many things but especially for my two little boys who make me smile and fill my heart with so much love every second of every day.

I was interviewed on my friend Avitable's blog today too, about Thanksgiving, so come visit me over there!

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 8, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 4

Another day, another writing prompt - now that I've forgiven myself for something, it's time to forgive someone else for something they did to me.

I thought rather than writing about something really serious, like forgiving the biggest bully ever in my middle school—for beating the crap out of me in grade 7 because I didn't run fast enough in relay during track and field—I'd talk about something else I'm going to forgive someone for. (And by the way, I ran FAST. She was just evil.)

If you want to play along, you can find out more here: Day 1 (Day 2, Day 3)

Day 4: Something you have to forgive someone for.

Dear S,

It's all your fault I had to get braces.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was at your house, and I had brought over my entire Strawberry Shortcake collection. Strawberry Shortcake, Blueberry Muffin, Raspberry Tart, Orange Blossom and Lemon Meringue. You only had Strawberry Shortcake, but that's okay—I was going to let you play with my dolls.

At some point during the day, I noticed Blueberry Muffin—my favourite, and apparently, your favourite, too—was missing her shoe. This devestated me and I started looking for her shoe everywhere. I was suspicious of you, but you told me you didn't take it.

I went outside to look, just in case. That's when I tripped and fell flat on my face, smashing in my two front teeth. Blood everywhere. Still, I was concerned because my Blueberry Muffin was MISSING A SHOE. (Do you remember how annoying that was?)

I was cleaned up, I went home, and eventually, my teeth grew in crooked and I had to get braces, which I was kind of okay with, because braces were sort of cool and I always wanted them. (Kind of in the same way I always wanted a broken arm—so I could wear a cast and get everyone to sign it. That never happened, though. I guess I didn't climb enough trees.)

Anyway. One years ago, over some wine and good times, you told me a secret:

"Remember when you came over with your entire Strawberry Shortcake collection? And I only had Strawberry Shortcake? Well, I was REALLY jealous of your Blueberry Muffin, you know."

"Really?"

"Yeah. And I want you to know that I took her shoe and threw it across the street to make you mad."

"So that's where her shoe went!"

So, dear friend, I just want you to know that I completely forgive you for keeping that secret from me all these years.

And I forgive you for being the person responsible for making me get braces, even if it cost my parents thousands of dollars that could have otherwise been put in my savings account.

I also forgive you for loving my Blueberry Muffin doll, because she really was cute and she smelled so yummy.

Friends forever,

L

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 3

The 30 Days of Truth writing prompts have been great so far. Are you playing along? You totally should! Some great posts have been written here and here, too.

Here is my Day 1 and Day 2.

Moving on...

Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for.

I am a pretty forgiving person. I forgive other people easily, especially if they apologize for something they've done to me, as long as they are sincere. I don't have the time or the energy to hold major grudges, and there are very few people... actually... there is no one I really hate. No one has crushed me that badly yet, and although I've had my heart broken before, it was nothing that I wasn't able to get over.

As for myself, what can I forgive?

I forgive myself for not being a perfect mom.

Growing up, every single night, my family and I would sit around the dinner table, enjoying a home cooked meal. Dinner time was important, and we never missed an opportunity to sit together, eating the food my mother had cooked. Each day was something different, something traditional, something healthy.

Since I'm a full-time working mom, I'm not able to do this for my children. I pick up my children from either my parent's house or my in-law's house at 5 o'clock everyday, and they'll just be sitting down to eat. I join them, usually. And it makes me sad that from Monday to Friday, we don't really have a 'regular' dinner routine at our house.

I'm thankful that they're able to eat so well during the week. It's just sad that they'll never say: "Mom was the best cook!" Rather, they'll say: "Yiayia's cooking was the best!" On the weekends, usually my husband cooks, as I can be quite... dangerous in the kitchen. However, I try. Once a week, I put dinner on the table for my kids, and that's something.

I forgive myself for not providing what I always thought I would for my children, a home cooked meal every night of the week. I'm sure if I was a stay-at-home-mom, I would cook more often. Maybe in a few years, I'll be able to do that? For now, my boys are happy and well-fed, and I get to enjoy other things with them during the week, like our morning routines, bath time, reading, and bed time.

I'm sure they'll remember that as much as who put the food on the table, right?

Monday, October 4, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 2

When I saw the 30 Days of Truth writing prompts, I was excited to blog about them. It was surprisingly easy to write down the things I hated about myself for Day 1. But thinking about the things that I love about myself? That was a little harder. Hmm. That's not right, is it? Anyway...

Day 2: Something you love about yourself.

I love my body. I have always been comfortable in my body. Even when I was pregnant. I've never been a size 2, and I've never had the desire to be a size 2. I know my body and that is simply not attainable for me. I have curves. I love food. And I'm happy. However, after having children, I hated my body. I wanted my pre-pregnancy body back so badly. It was quite depressing, those first few months after my son was born, to realize that wasn't going to happen for a long time. My favourite t-shirts from abercrombie and fitch didn't fit me anymore, my jeans were too tight, nothing looked right. 5 years and two children later, I love my body more today than I did even before I became a mom. Even though my abs aren't as flat, even though my boobs aren't as boobilicious, I'm happy with everything. I wish more women were confident in their own skin. I hate hearing my friends complain about the things they hate about their body, because when I look at them, I see nothing but beauty. We are all flawed, but we should still love what we see. I do.

I love my persistence. When there is something I really want, I go for it, and I usually get it. I can be really persistent, and I think persistence pays off. During my last year of University, I wanted to land an intership in D.C. at a major news station. I applied at CNN, CBS, and NBC. I was accepted at all three stations, and had a hard time deciding where to go. (I ended up choosing CBS because it was the closest subway ride from where I was living in Bethesda.) If there is a job I want, I can be persistent to the point that I get it. (Maybe I'm a little annoying, too?) I've had Directors tell me that's a good trait, and I guess it is. I can be very focused on attaining the things I want in life. However, when I don't get my way, I have a hard time dealing with that disappointment.

I love myself as a mother. I always knew that I wanted to be a mother. When I was a teenager, I would babysit the entire neighbourhood, and I loved it. I loved reading to the children, preparing snacks for them, and getting them ready for bed. I have always loved kids, and having two of my own is my greatest accomplishment in life. I have a soft spot in my heart for all babies. I love how I mother—I'm over-protective, I worry too much, I give in too easily, but I love it. I just want to make my children happy. I love that I'm a mommy and I love hearing my name called out in the middle of the night. It gives me a great purpose in life.







I love that I just say it like it is. Yes, I can be a total blonde sometimes. A complete ditz. And I'm okay with that. I know I'm smart. I have two degrees, I've had some really amazing jobs, and I haven't burned my house down yet. So I'm doing something right. I sometimes say things that I maybe shouldn't have, but I never apologize. I can get really enthusiastic about a lot of things and I say OMG a lot, and I'm okay with that. I think it keeps me young!

I love my zest for life. The smallest things in life make me happy. A nice gesture, a sweet comment, my children's laughter, swinging at the park, travelling, people watching in airports, yummy food, good music, friends, and my family. I love making other people happy, I love shopping, I love swimming, and I love to read. Even though I'm a full-time working mom of two, I always find time for myself, and I think this is very important for everyone.

Coming up next... Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for. (Is it just me, or are these prompts getting harder as the days go by?)




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