First Day of School

I have a fascination with taking photos of my boys as they are walking away from me – on their first and last days of school, or as they strut down the street with friends. When they don’t know that I am watching, they show me a part of themselves that is usually shielded when they pose for photos.

The symbolism of these photos is not lost on me – my boys walking away from me into their future and slowly gaining their independence. They are ready for it, even if I’m not.

This is the first time that I am not quite ready for them to head back to school. We have had such an amazing summer – lazy days at the cottage, swimming in the lake, playing board games, searching for frogs, and being ever vigilant for snakes! Of course, there were moments and days when they drove me bananas with their bickering and wrestling, but for the most part I got such a thrill in being able to enjoy getting to know them, and the persons they are becoming.

Here they are off to Grade 5 and Grade 3. While they are still so young,  I am acutely aware that there are precious few years left where they will be content to spend their whole summer with just the three of us (and Daddy when he’s not at work). I am so blessed to be able to spend my days with them, and I just didn’t want these days to come to an end.

their world awaits


my posts were always sporadic because I would often start writing something and forget to post. Then I went through what I consider my “lost year” when I helped my sister through her many months of cancer treatment. three years later and I still have a hard time thinking about the long days and weeks of feeling like I was being pulled in 5 different directions every moment of the day. also, I am terrified of putting my real self out “there” for the world to see. I assume that what I say is not clever enough, or funny enough, or interesting enough. I also had (and still have) a bizarre objection to blogging and our society’s obsession with over-sharing on the internet. But here I am cascading through life in my 40s and I am in the fortunate position where my “job” is taking care of my family. My time is (mostly) my own to do with what I will while my husband toils away at his job and my kids play with superheroes. I am now, and always have been, a writer. even if no one wants to read what I put down on virtual paper, I feel better when I have extracted the words from my head.

I have many notes of half-written posts and ideas of stories. maybe I will share them. In the meantime, have decided to resurrect this dormant space and use it to keep my imagination swirling and to perhaps share bizarre or boring stories of my life.

chronicles of the injury prone

Under the bandage is a bruised and scraped up ankle. sigh

Just as my twisted left ankle was starting to feel better, I fell victim to another random injury. This time, at least I have a good story to go along with my banged up ankle. 

Let me set the scene: after resting my left foot to the point where I felt steady enough to walk to the water, I decided to bring my little guy on a canoe ride around the Bay. Using my super strength, I coaxed the large, fiberglass canoe from the boathouse into the water, held it steady while my kiddo boarded and gingerly climbed in. We have a double-ended paddle that makes solo paddling a breeze. So, we were off, keeping to the shallower parts of the Bay – it was getting fairly windy and it’s been a while since I was in control of a canoe; it would have been bad for my credibility if I’d capsized with my little guy on board.

Trevor and Brendan swam out to the raft do I dropped off Nathan to jump into the deeper water with them. I also felt like swimming so I decided to return the canoe to shore. All was going well; I managed to align myself close to our stairs (without crashing into them!) and started to climb out while firmly keeping hold of the canoe. Just as I was dipping my foot into the water, a wave hit the canoe, knocking me off balance and forcing my foot against a couple of rocks. 

My ankle turned purple almost immediately but it wasn’t until I was out of the water and trying to walk that the real pain set it. 

I think this is the universe telling me to sit down and relax. I guess I have no choice! 

they have found the perfect spot to lay out and relax after a morning of swimming

cottage life. the August edition

The sun shines down and heats my freckled arms and legs, the water glistens, and in the distance I can hear the water gently lapping against the rocks while my kids play (and bicker) at the beach. I would be there with them but I twisted my ankle earlier, so I am resting with my foot elevated, my glass of white wine nearby. The injury occurred in the same way as most of my dozens of ankle injuries – while walking. I don’t even have a good story like that I was walking over treacherous terrain, jumping over rocks to get away from a bear. Oh no, I was walking very leisurely down a small flight of stairs that were perfectly even. Pathetic.

my view as I convalesce.

We are halfway through our first summer as cottage owners. We have dealt with bears (actually opened our car door in the middle of the night to get the last few sips from the Timmies cup), an ant infestation that stalled our bathroom floor installation (we had to barricade the room for a couple weeks while the poison took out the jerks), and we’ve had to learn to live with the occasional snake (most of them aren’t poisonous).

this guy was hanging out at the beach

Mostly, we’ve all fallen in love with Georgian Bay. We’ve been lucky that our family have also been able to spend time with us here…swimming, drinking, and making memories. Strangely, we are going through the days without many photos. In general, even though we have internet, we watch very little tv and our smart phones are rarely within arms reach. Both my little guys are becoming better swimmers and spending more time reading. And catching frogs. And building forts. Or just lounging in the sun.

the journey home

Right now, in this moment, life is good.

the secret to summertime bliss

We are only a week and a half into summer vacation, but the last day of school is already a distant memory. We have managed to pack in so much in so few days, which is how summer generally goes since the boys came onto the scene.

As a freelancer, my work schedule is fairly flexible – most days I do my work after the boys are in bed – which frees me up to spend the long, sunny days with the little men. So far that has meant staying an extra few days at the cottage after the husband returned to the city, spending an afternoon at the local pool, and (like today) chilling in the shade while the boys travel between the wading pool and the swings. Very similar to how our past two summers have gone (other than the cottage. That part is new!)

coming to shore after tubing!
So far the biggest difference has been the boys themselves – Nate is now big enough to fight back when Bren is irritating him, which has meant that I’ve been called in as a referree more times than I can count. Add to that the general surliness of one son (not naming names) and there are days that feel like weeks. And making me dread the teenage years, especially since they will both tower over me by then.

I am determined, however, to ensure a fun summer, for all of us. I deliberately did not sign them up for many camps, to give us the freedom to go back and forth to the cottage, and to leave the rest of our days open to random swinging on swings. I am trying to give my guys the laid back summer experience that I remember having. 

There are lists floating around describing how to give your kid a 1970s or 1980s summer, which is the approach I’ve aimed for the past few years, long before those lists became popular. Here are my five rules to make the most of the 2 months of summer:

1. Make plans with friends and family when you can.

2. Cheesies, popsicles and ice cream are crucial to a balanced summertime diet.

3. Spend as much time outside as possible. Also, getting soaked by the hose in the yard counts as a shower.

4. Bedtimes should be approached as a loose guideline.

5. Calm the f&ck down. 

oh, and also (for me) put the phone down and enjoy these days before they slip away into distant memory.

colourful tongues courtesy of Ring Pops

Cottage life part 1

Cottage life part 1

To quote my favourite 5-year-old, “this is so amazing”


The husband and I fulfilled a dream and bought our own cottage in the fall. It’s a well-built, if recently neglected, 3-bedroom plus bunkie on Georgian Bay. We took possession in the fall; since then we’ve spent a single night here on two different occasions but this weekend is the first time I feel like it’s becoming our own.

The fam is enjoying a lounge on the bunkie deck, basking in the warm sun that is hinting at what the summer will offer us, while over to my right there is still bits of snow in the shade of the trees. I have to agree that this is so amazing.


Before you think that today has been nothing but leisure, the truth is I spent hours cleaning mold and mildew from various surfaces affected by a leaky roof, while the husband worked with a contractor to get our water running (straight from the lake!). Our morning was spent running errands in town (like buying a new water filtration system).


There is still much to do, such as replacing the carpet in one of the bathrooms, fixing the dock and the boathouse, and replacing the old furniture that came with the cottage. But (and this is a big one) I feel so blessed as I sit here in the sun on the edge of Georgian Bay with my 3 guys. This life really is amazing.



the story continues

I have long been silent on this blog, for a number of reasons. I could say that it’s because life got busy, and that would be true, but it’s more than that. I guess the main reason is that I was starting to get overwhelmed by how much everyone tends to overshare on social media, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do that anymore. I love the idea of having a place to record my thoughts and dreams and random sillyness. I also love having a creative outlet – my job is not a creative one and sometimes I feel like it saps the creativity right out of me. What do I? To sum up: copy edit. There are stringent grammar, style and punctuation rules that need to be adhered to, and at the end of the day, I no longer want to be sitting in front of a computer. Particularly when the rest of life needs to be attended to.

Throughout the past couple of years of radio silence, I have started drafts of posts, but I have never gone back to complete them, never quite sure how to express what I have wanted to say. This past year and a bit have been, well, hard. My sister has cancer. Even typing those words brings me to tears.

I have sat beside her through the worst of her days, I have done the talking in doctor’s appointments when she couldn’t find the strength to speak, I have watched over her while she slept fitfully after her days of chemo and radiation. And when the treatment was over, I have tried to be someone she can turn to with her frustrations, fears, and general randomness of life.

There are many days when I feel like a part of my soul is cracked from the emotional strain of this past year. Particularly because while I strive to be the rock that my big sister requires, I am also the the mom to two beautiful, very young, boys who need me to be their comfort and support while they find their way through life.

Here’s the thing: even though I have sat with my sister at countless doctor’s appointments and I have learned all that I could about her type of cancer (squamous cell carcinoma of unknown primary), I am realizing more and more as each day passes how separate I am from her. We are walking together through this path, and we are both nervous and scared, but it is her life that has been altered forever. No matter how much I want to help and support her, and even though I fully understand what is happening to her body, I will never really know what is happening in her heart and in her mind.

I am deeply wounded by living through this with her, but I am merely a bystander. There are many days when I want to let my fear and sorrow consume me, but I can’t. We don’t know how many months or years she has left of this life, and that is so hard for me to grasp, but I’m sure that it’s even more devastating to her and her children.

While she prepares herself for the possible surgery to remove what is left of a tumour, I am still living my (ever-so-slightly mundane) existence and planning for the future. So here it is: I also feel guilt and plenty of it. She is facing months of recovery, and possibly losing some mobility, while I consider what colour to paint my bedroom walls. It’s an awful thing. And I wish someone could tell me that everything was going to be just fine.