Category - family

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Host An Easy Puppy Party
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Great Grandparents
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Surprise Puppy!
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Teaching Your Child With A Disability To Ice Skate
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From Sympathy There’s Gratitude
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10 Offline Family Activities To Enjoy This Summer
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Dear Parent Of A Newly Diagnosed Child…
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I Didn’t Expect To Feel Like This When She Turned Ten
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Beach Babies Rejoice
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Running For The Cure

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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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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Surprise Puppy!

Before you say it, I know. And I fully agree. Puppies are not usually an appropriate Christmas gift. But, when you’re already planning on adding a pet to the family, being able to coordinate it with Santa is a parenting coup.  Our daughter Avery adores animals. She lives and breathes fur. I also breathe fur, hence my weekly allergy shots. But that’s a story for another time.  Avery’s first pet was our rescue dog, a terrier/chihuahua Roger. We got him when Avery was a toddler and her physical therapist suggested a dog as motivation to get her walking. It worked.  We also had a guinea pig. Sadly, he’s in pet heaven now. RIP Ernie.  And if you are familiar with my Instagram account, you’re painfully aware that we have a big orange tabby named Kevin. He just so darn photogenic that I can’t help but share pics and videos of him. A lot. Like, a “crazy cat lady” amount.  Now that Avery is eleven and is responsible enough to start caring for a puppy—learning to feed and train her very own dog, we were happy to make this wish come true.  Though she asked Santa for a puppy (she actually[…]

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Teaching Your Child With A Disability To Ice Skate

I love my daughter. I enjoy skating. But I don’t love or enjoy skating WITH my daughter. In fact, I’d rather do anything else. However, she’s desperate to learn. I don’t understand her fascination, but I suspect she saw it on a television show and has taken a fancy to it. So we’re trying. And boy is it ever trying. People have said, “It’s not like skating is a vital lifeskill like swimming or something. So why bother?” I know. Skating isn’t an essential skill, but the heart wants what the heart wants… (so even if the heart’s mother can’t stand being cold, whaddayagonnado?) When I saw that Erin Oak Kids was offering a Family Skate program at a rink near us, I signed us up. Us. As in I have to be on the ice with her the whole time. Though there are some wonderful therapists and enthusiastic volunteers on the ice to help, this isn’t lessons. This is a designated block of time, a freezing cold ice block of time if I may, for families with kids with disabilities to have “fun” learning to skate. So. Much. Fun.  Do you hear the negativity here? I do. And I[…]

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From Sympathy There’s Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada and there is so much to be grateful for. But with all the awful things—the violence, the tumultuous and surreal (I mean, can you even believe this has been allowed to go on this long?) political climate, not to mention the unnerving actual climate, it feels like we have to squint to see the good. But it’s there.  I’ve been watching it fill my Facebook feed. It feels right and affirming to see all the happy today.  But then I looked out my window and saw the saddest thing. It literally squeezed the air out of my lungs and made me dizzy with sympathy.  My family room window faces my neighbour’s kitchen window. We didn’t have blinds for a few months when we first moved in here thirteen years ago, so our poor neighbours were likely privy to way too much Thornbury in various states of undress. Tall trees, a substantial generation gap, and a language barrier prevented us from becoming close with our neighbours. But they’ve always smiled and said hello over the fence whenever we’re both out in our yards. And they happily throw back the balls and frisbees that ended up underneath[…]

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10 Offline Family Activities To Enjoy This Summer

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Social media, cell phones, texting — we have instant access to each other 24 hours a day. We tend to log in and tune out. Canadians spend more time online than any other country. This can mean that every member of a family is online on their own device, even in the same room. I just emailed this shocking fact to my husband sitting across from me on the couch. Many parents have expressed concern about technology’s intrusion into their family time. I feel it. Do you? I grew up pre-internet, so I learned how to maintain a conversation and can easily make human contact without being digitally connected. But can I say the same about my children?  Even if we limit our kids’ screen time, their learning and social skills are still impacted by OUR screen time. Have you ever shushed your child so you could finish composing an email? Have you looked away during your child’s soccer game to post an Instagram photo? Have you texted from the dinner table in the middle of your son telling you about his French test? Not proud of it, but I’ve done all of these[…]

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Dear Parent Of A Newly Diagnosed Child…

The early days when you suspect something might be wrong with your child completely suck. Literally—the fear and worry sucks the life out of you to the point where you wonder if you have the strength to actually go on. But the day you hear the words, the actual diagnosis, is the worst day. It’s indescribably (though I’ll try) horrendous.  When we got the phone call that confirmed our daughter has a chromosomal disorder I was dumbstruck. I couldn’t make sense of  what was happening. There was a loud ringing in my ears that made it hard to think. I fled outside and gasped for air. I couldn’t breathe. I eventually came back in and sat quietly on the couch beside my husband and we cried.  A few months later our daughter ended up in hospital which is a despicable story in itself (doctors are wonderful people, but they don’t always see what you see. When a medical professional tells you that it’s all in your head, listen to your gut and do what needs to be done.) This is when further genetic testing revealed the extent of our child’s chromosomal deletion/duplication. The first few weeks with this new knowledge[…]

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I Didn’t Expect To Feel Like This When She Turned Ten

As her tenth birthday approached, I felt on edge. Normally the prospect of a celebration has me excited—party planning, baking buying a cake, and wrapping gifts are generally joyful. But instead of joy, I felt dread.  It wasn’t until after her party, when it was quiet and I was alone pouring over images of my daughter as a baby, a toddler, a school girl, right up until photos taken that morning of the amazing ten year old person she has become, that it all came out in a rush of emotions I didn’t expect.  I was choosing photos for a video to document our daughter’s first decade of life. You can watch it below if you feel inclined. I know, it’s kind of like me saying,”Hey, wanna watch slides of our vacation to the Grand Canyon?” And then forcing you to sit through two hours of photos of my family posing in front of various rock formations. Except, this video is only two minutes long and it’s worth watching if only for the song. God I love this song. Milestone birthdays—there’s obviously a lot of nostalgia that go along with watching your child grow up…and away. As babies, they clung to us. They[…]

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Beach Babies Rejoice

I grew up with sand between my toes—not a comment on my mother’s housekeeping, but a product of living a stone’s throw from White Rock beach. I spent every possible minute turning over rocks in search of sea critters, and digging my feet into the sand until it went from warm and dry to cool and wet.  All children should experience the joy of exploring tidal pools, building sandcastles, and running barefoot on the sand.  .  This is why I’m thrilled to share this video about “World Beach Rescue Day.” Not to mention that it combines two of my favourite things—the beach and wine. Barefoot Wines and the beach go together like Frankie and Annette (If you don’t understand that reference you might be a Millennial, in which case, you’ll have go Google it. Or like, Snapchat it). Since moving away from my beloved seashore to the land locked province of Ontario, I’ve come to appreciate the great Great Lakes. They are rather spectacular—shark free and unsalted even. I haven’t switched teams completely however. Ocean or lakes, or rivers for that matter, they all run through me. It’s more about the beach. Step barefoot onto sand, and stress involuntarily dissipates.  Beaches[…]

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Running For The Cure

I have so many fears that I’m afraid there’s something wrong. It frightens me.   I worry about things like Hog Weed, and Lyme Disease, and plane crashes, and nuclear war. I’m scared of penicillin resistant super bugs, and child abduction, and funnel clouds, and pesticides, and GMOs, and solar flares destroying the earth or at the very least, our internet access. And tsunamis (which is dumb because I don’t even live near an ocean, but we occasionally visit the seaside). Oh, and Ebola. But the thing that scares me the most; the one fear that consumes my thoughts on a daily basis, is cancer. It’s the Exorcist of diseases. Gory slasher flicks don’t scare me, but horror movies like Paranormal Activity and the Exorcist terrify me because they could happen. Just like cancer could happen. And it does. Based on 2009 estimates two out of five Canadians (45% of men and 41% of women) are expected to develop cancer during their lifetimes. And one out of four Canadians (29% of men and 24% of women) is expected to die from cancer. Source This is truly frightening. FYI, fretting over every lump, bump and funny mole doesn’t actually help. In[…]

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