I have been posting intermittently on this blog for many years, but I have opted to move to a new venue. Most of the content from  here has migrated over.

To read of the ongoing adventures and nonsense that is my life, simply go to

happy halloween!

Birthday Party Terror

birthday-2901945_1920.jpgFor those who don’t know me, I somehow manage to function with a low to moderate level of anxiety on a regular basis. This has been my reality for my entire life, and through the years I have found various ways to help cope, including creating situations where I can manage or minimize my stress. This sometimes means that I appear to be a bit of a control freak to those on the outside.

My main focus for my anxieties for the past 9 years has been managing my son’s food allergies. At the tender age of nine months, we discovered that he was allergic to eggs, which lead to a complete revamp to how our family ate, shopped and generally looked at food. At the age of three, after a year of eating peanuts, we discovered that he was allergic to those as well.

Ever since our initial discovery of the allergies, social gatherings of any kind have been a source for my swirling anxieties. Unless, of course, I was the one buying and preparing all the food. Even my husband and I have accidentally fed our kid things that contained egg that we missed on the ingredients list – immediate hives and an upset stomach – so how could I trust someone who doesn’t have to live with it on a daily basis to remember to read the ingredients list every.single.time? What about cross-contamination in their kitchen? What if the sugar for those cookies came from the bulk food store?

Thankfully, the egg allergy was outgrown and it is fairly easy to find nut-free snacks at grocery stores where we live, so I have become more relaxed about food. To an extent. There are now people whom I trust to cook or bake for my family – friends and family members who have proven they get how important it is to be cautious, and who don’t make me feel like a crazy person if I grill them about their ingredients.

My son is now almost 10 years old, and he is also becoming an advocate for himself – often (but not always) double-checking that the food he is being offered is safe. BUT, birthday parties are still a huge source of stress for me because of the dreaded birthday cake.

Homemade or store bought, most of the time the cake is a treat that my kid can’t partake in. Sure, I can (and have many, many times) bring him his own special cupcake, but even if he gets a yummy cupcake, it’s not the same as digging into a giant slab of the official birthday cake.

The point of this post, you wonder? Other than to share with everyone that I have my own (very real) struggles that I (usually unsuccessfully) try to hide from the rest of the world? Well, this weekend my son will be going to a birthday party and the invitation very clearly stated that the cake with be NUT FREE. My son is not the only invited guest with a nut allergy, and this seemingly small gesture from the birthday boy’s mom literally makes me tear up. As I have every time someone has gone out of their way to ensure my kid is not excluded.

These are the moments when my I feel my anxiety levels dip low, and I can just be happy for my kid that he gets to enjoy a party with his friends.

a little bit of music

My younger son is the adventurous one, the kid who will join all clubs and try all things presented to him. He swallows up his nerves and repurposes them into internal drive. To be honest, I wish I could be more like him some days.

He’s been taking accoustic guitar lessons for the past year at a local music school. Once a week for 30 minutes he sits with his teacher and furthers his skill and knowledge, and I am inspired by all the young musicians developing their talents in other small rooms throughout this converted house.

The window is open in two of the rooms facing the backyard, where I sit. From the basement I hear as a young boy, a couple years older than my guy, learning to beats to Don’t Speak by No Doubt. One floor above, I hear someone else learning a classical song (don’t ask which one!) on the upright piano.

From another room I can faintly hear a child singing.

And while I can’t hear him, I know my young man is learning how to play one of the traditional songs in his lesson book. I’m amazed and impressed by these young people who willingly let the world hear their talent, develop their passions, and generally just challenge themselves to learn a skill they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

It’s a beautiful cacophony. Even the squirrels seem to be drawn in by it all. Either that, or they want the acorns. (I tried to take a picture of the squirrels but they were too quick. next time)


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

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.



Best of part of finishing

I ran a 5K this morning, along with 7,999 other people, in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon extravaganza. For those of you who know me well, running is a new part of my life – I’ve always enjoyed working out, and trying to stay relatively fit (that includes eating donuts and chips, right?), but it’s only in the past several months that I’ve felt strong enough to be able to run any amount of distance.



It was a bit of daunting task – the race started at the other end of the city at 8am, which meant being out of the house before I’m usually even out of bed in the morning (6:45am. yikes). With all the excitement, I barely slept (fear of sleeping too late I guess), and my stomach was unsettled. I had to gobble down a toasted freezer waffle and a yogurt when my stomach wanted nothing to do with either of them. 


I ran with a friend. It was hard – running along the roads downtown, many with a bit of an incline. No pretty scenery to look at, only a handful of spectators cheering us on. It felt great, though. We barely stopped (once to get a sip of water, once to fix my shoe) and I even had the energy to sprint the last 100 metres. We finished in about 35 minutes, which is pretty awesome for two 30-something women new to the running circuit.

Continue reading “Best of part of finishing”

Liebster Award


As some readers of my blog may have noticed, I’m been a bit quiet on the writing front for many months, but I’ve recently started up again. One of my posts grabbed the attention of another WordPress blogger – – and something in what (or how) I write must have tickled this blogger, because I’ve now been awarded the Liebster Award. I’m honoured that someone other than my friends and family members have enjoyed my posts. Thank you very much!

Wildlifewatcher (as you may have guessed) writes about the wildlife he/she spies around his/her home, and also posts some lovely photos. If that sorta thing tickles your fancy, I recommend checking it out.

Now, the big question: What is the Liebster Award, and when will I be getting my gold statue in the mail?

The Answer: This is an award given blogger-to-blogger, for blogs with around 300 (or fewer) followers. I will NOT be receiving anything shiny in the mail as a result, but I DO have the satisfaction that someone, somewhere, thinks that what I have written is deserving of notice. I’m touched. (sniff).

Continue reading “Liebster Award”