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Host An Easy Puppy Party
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Introducing Your Child With Special Needs To New Classmates
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The Simple Plan That Helps Me Deal With Donation Requests
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Team Canada (Special Abilities Division) World Cheerleading Champions
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Ontario’s “New” Sex Ed Curriculum Is A Dangerous Mistake
6
Why You Should Go To Your High School Reunion
7
Everyone Is Socially Awkward
8
Let’s Pop The Age 7 to 11 Bad Behaviour Bubble
9
This Workout Works Out For Me—Orangetheory Fitness
10
Great Grandparents

Host An Easy Puppy Party

We hosted a puppy birthday party today and it was off the chain. Literally. There were dogs running free all over the yard and in my kitchen. When I was a regular contributer for a popular website called The Yummy Mummy Club (now, “YMC”) I went by the handle “Party Mummy.” My beat was all things entertainment. I wrote about pet parties (why yes, we did throw a full-on dog wedding), kids’ parties, adult parties—some reeeeeally adult ones like a passion party, an unforgettable (for my husband at least) vasectomy dinner, various mom pub crawls—plus a vast array of “let your hair down for some serious fun” parties.  At one point I was attending or hosting some kind of festivity at least once a week. Lately however, I’ve been about as social as an incarcerated nun librarian mime in solitary confinement. It’s a temporary lull. Life just got busy and a little too serious. However, when your daughter’s dog turns one year old you simply MUST throw a puppy party no matter what else you have going on. Even if the date falls on Thanksgiving weekend.  So today we somewhat hurriedly but happily hosted Ruby’s “ONE Year Birthday Party.” Puppy pants, optional.[…]

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Introducing Your Child With Special Needs To New Classmates

This school year we decided to introduce our daughter, who has special needs, to new classmates by way of a “Get To Know” Avery video.  It’s normal for kids to be curious about differences. Some kids approach Avery, respectfully. They can see there’s something different about her, but they treat her kindly anyway. Some kids shy away from her. Some ignore her or deliberately shut her out. And sometimes, but thankfully not as often, some kids make fun of her behind her back.  When we talk about Avery’s struggle with speech and explain why it’s difficult for her to form certain sounds, kids understand her challenges better and it makes them more comfortable around her. Also, when they know why she sometimes gets stuck in a repetitive verbal loop, repeating the same thing over and over, they’re less likely to feel frustrated with her because they know it’s not on purpose. She’s trying her best.  When kids are given Avery’s back story, and know that it’s okay to ask questions about Avery, the staring and stand-offish behaviour almost always stops. In fact, when kids understand her challenges, they treat Avery as just one of the gang. Actually, they are quite protective of her. […]

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The Simple Plan That Helps Me Deal With Donation Requests

Do you donate? If not, why not? This was a recent topic of conversation on CBC radio’s Ontario Today. Nobody wants to admit that they aren’t givers. However, research shows that charities are relying on a shrinking pool of donators. Seventy-five per cent of donations come from people 50 years+.  Younger generations aren’t as likely as their predecessors to part with their charitable cash. Radio host Rita Celli posed the question, “Why are younger generations less likely to donate than older generations?” If you don’t sit around sipping tea, listening to talk radio like I do all day, here’s the gist: We’ve been duped and scammed and lied to by so many deceitful charlatans that we don’t know who to trust anymore. We’re jaded. So when asked to part with our hard-earned dollars to support whatever fundraising campaign, most of us respond with a suspicious, “not this time.”  Most of the callers who weighed-in on the topic said they don’t feel comfortable not knowing for certain where their money is going.  I totally get that. I participated in a charity walk a few years ago and raised thousands of dollars. We later found out that only a small percentage of the money[…]

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Team Canada (Special Abilities Division) World Cheerleading Champions

When doctors express concerns about something being “wrong” with your new baby, you can’t believe it. You refuse to believe it. Looking down into your child’s perfect face, all you see is beautiful potential.  But when the chromosome test comes back, and you eventually accept that your child is in fact, imperfect (genetically speaking that is, because she is perfect in every other way), you make plans.  When you are the parent of a child with special needs, there are so many plans that need to be made—for her health, for her education, for her safety, for her development, for her future. All to ensure that despite her disabilities, she will have the chance to be the best version of herself and to, as they say, live her best life.  So we taught her (and ourselves) sign language. We took part in too many therapies and programs to mention. And when she expressed an interest in a sport or activity, we put our fears aside and let her try.  Last fall Avery joined the special abilities cheer team, Team PCT Eternity, at Power Cheer Toronto. Her excitement trumped my hesitation.  Lead by the most incredible team of coaches and volunteers,[…]

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Ontario’s “New” Sex Ed Curriculum Is A Dangerous Mistake

Yesterday as I was speaking to somebody about the premier’s decision to revise Ontario’s sex ed curriculum, I soon realized that only one of us perceived it as an absolute travesty.  With a flippant shoulder shrug they said, “Sex ed should be taken out of schools and taught at home anyway.”   And that’s when my head exploded. For my outside Ontario readers, to catch you up to speed—we recently elected a new premier to lead our province. We had two very qualified female candidates, a male candidate who values change, community, and the environment above all else, and a Donald Trump clone. The clone won.  Premier Ford kept his promise to revise the current health and physical education curriculum. Effective this fall, we will be reverting back to 1998 curricula.  The ramifications of this decision have been discussed heatedly across the internet. Google the topic and you’ll discover that students in Ontario will no longer learn about same-sex marriage, transgender or queer youth, or gender identity. They won’t be taught about the social and sexual dangers of our digital society or about consent either.  Instead of building on the curriculum, important topics like these and more, have been erased.  Back to[…]

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Why You Should Go To Your High School Reunion

Getting invited to your high school reunion isn’t necessarily exciting. In fact, the idea of reuniting with former classmates can be downright nauseating. Not because you find your old school chums repugnant, it’s the thought of small talk and the notion of maybe not quite measuring up.  I wrote a bit about the awkwardness of being a human, with examples of personal awkward moments. I mean, if you can’t laugh at your own idiotness, what’s the point? Every person, even the super confident ones, are socially awkward at times. It’s a fact.  I didn’t go to my ten year high school reunion. Not because I didn’t want to, but because at 4,386.5 km away, it was a daunting trek. And not one I could easily take having just started a new job.  By all accounts it was fun and there was a good turn out. But only ten years out of school, there were still egos to manage, reputations to overcome, and importance to prove. So, it was fun, but with an edge.  I did make it to our twentieth. With two young children at home, I welcomed a little “mom-cation.” The atmosphere was quite relaxed. Now in our thirties,[…]

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Everyone Is Socially Awkward

Even the most self-assured people feel socially awkward. Nobody is 100% confident, 100% of the time. I’m coming to realize this more and more….we’re ALL socially awkward in some way. It just sticks out on some of us more than others.  I’m going to my thirty year high school reunion this weekend. I was telling everyone that I couldn’t believe I was 25 years out of high school. My friend corrected with me a jarring, “Idiot. It’s 30.” Great. I’m awkward AND old.  It’s going to be fun counting up all the awkward triangle moments. You know, when you end up in a conversation with two random people and it becomes awkward fast and you can’t escape.  Reunions are a funny thing. You WANT TO GO because it’s nostalgic and you’d love to see old friends face-to-face instead of just on Facebook.  But you DON’T WANT TO GO because what will you wear? What will you say? What if it’s awkward? News flash: It WILL be awkward. Not all of it, but parts. But it’s okay! We all feel it. And nobody has died from making an innocent social slip. You just feel like dying in the moment. But it passes. I[…]

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Let’s Pop The Age 7 to 11 Bad Behaviour Bubble

When I taught elementary school I didn’t tolerate rude behaviour from my students. My role as an educator afforded me the right to address disrespectful conduct and hopefully turn it around.  As a parent I don’t accept rude behaviour from my own children. In my role as queen of my house, I shut down snarky comments and eye-rolls, right quick.  But as a person in the world, trying to teach my kids, but also protect them, sometimes I have to tolerate other people’s rude kids.  I want to shake these parents and say, “What are you doing?? Why are you allowing this? Teach your kids to be nice!” The shaking part is probably assault. So I keep my hands to myself and my mouth shut.  But it’s really, really, really, really, really hard.  The other day I drove my son and his friend into Toronto and dropped them off at a theatre to see some You Tuber celeb guy. I don’t know. I don’t understand it. But they, along with the thousands of other fans were excited, so I don’t question it.  My daughter and I had to wait a few hours for them, so we found a shady park in The[…]

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This Workout Works Out For Me—Orangetheory Fitness

Orangetheory Fitness has not only changed my body, it has changed my ‘meh’ attitude toward fitness. I haven’t had to worry too much about diet or exercise until my forties. Then my metabolism slowed down and I lost my general zestiness. I started gaining weight and losing tone. I watched it happen, but I did nothing to stop it.  The weight gain and general decline in my overall fitness occurred for several reasons. Like… a) Working from home and sitting on my rear end all day. b) The complete lack of self-control. For example, I bought three boxes of Girl Guide cookies just to be neighbourly and put them in the freezer to stop myself from eating them. And guess what? Frozen chocolate mint cookies are delicious.  As adults, there’s nobody to tell us, “Lisa you can’t eat the whole bag of chips. No, you may not have a second helping. Eat your vegetables! That’s enough wine there missy!! For the love, drink some water!” c) Exhaustion. Aside from a legitimate issue with low iron, this predicament is my own doing. I’d rather stay up late binging on “Call the Midwife” and potato chips, than go to bed at a sensible[…]

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Great Grandparents

One of my grandfathers died when I was little, but I was privileged to have had three grandparents, actively and lovingly participating in my life well into my adulthood. Two of them lived long enough to become great-grandparents.  I lost my last living grandparent earlier this year. He was ninety-seven. But not an old ninety-seven. But rather a witty, knows-your-name-plus-the-names-of-every-one-of-his-childhood-friends, sharp mind, but ailing body, kind of ninety-seven.  This weekend my family spread his ashes, and my grandma’s too (he kept her ashes so they could be together again one day).  My parents were there. And aunts and uncles and cousins too. I regret that I wasn’t able to make the cross-country trip to help honour them.  I am grateful though that I was able to see my grandpa one last time. My daughter and I visited him last spring. It was a special visit. I knew it would be the last.  When I told people my grandpa had died, many were surprised, saying, “Wow. You still have grandparents?” My grandma Fraser died suddenly and unexpectedly in her mid seventies. I don’t think my grandpa ever quite got over the loss. He lived independently for nearly two decades after she had[…]

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