Category - family

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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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Super Simple Summer Fun
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Hot For Teacher
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When A Pet Dies

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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Super Simple Summer Fun

  As Canadians we spend a lot of time indoors. This past winter was especially brutal. Spring arrived just in the nick of time because the Thornburys were getting dangerously close to a “The Shining” situation. Rum—good. Red rum—bad. My kids have been itching to get outdoors and back to nature and that’s exactly what we did last week. We spent seven glorious days with family at their cottage on a lake in New Brunswick— sans wifi or television. No iPhone grafted to my hand? I expected it to be difficult. It wasn’t. It was heaven. Here are a few of the activities we enjoyed: On day one of our vacation, thanks to the last remnants of Hurricane Arthur, we had no choice but to make our own indoor fun. To be clear, the dads coordinated the fun. I sat on the covered porch and read for three solid hours. Bliss. So what fun did the guys come up with? First they played a game — “Super Moose” (Reg. $29.99). It’s a wooden puzzle challenge where players take turns balancing antlers on a wobbly moose head. It’s meant for ages 3+. The older more dextrous and patient kids enjoyed it,[…]

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Hot For Teacher

    *Disclaimer: This post is me making nice for calling my husband “Susan” in a recent blog post*  I married a teacher and I highly recommend it. Teachers love kids, they’re silly and creative, and best of all they’re home all summer! Though by August 31st I’m pretty much ready for him to pack his school bag and hit the road.   Ten reasons I’m lucky to have him With hashtags. #justbecause   1. He’s always the first to apologize. Even if he didn’t do anything wrong. #peacekeeper 2. I don’t have to remind him that I don’t like bok choy. He just knows. #expertchinesefoodorderer 3. My mom told me that you can tell everything you need to know about a man by his eyes. If they’re cold, he’s cold. If they’re kind, he’s kind. If they’re crossed, well, he’s probably being goofy and that’s a good thing. #babysgotblueeyes 4. Even though it’s kind of emasculating he’ll walk the chihuahua if I ask him to. #mychiguy 5. He’d rather stay home with his family than go out on the town. #homebodyhardbody 6. He’s allergic to whining, gossip and cattiness. #Imarriedagrownup 7. He laughs at my jokes. #noaccountingfortaste 8. He[…]

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When A Pet Dies

Pets die. It’s inevitable, but when it actually happens, it’s heart wrenching. Especially when you have kids.   We have two dogs who are getting on in years and we accept that they won’t be with us forever. But our skinny pig Ernie was only ten months old, so when he died suddenly it was a shock. Though he was merely a guinea pig to some, to us he was a beloved pet and sweet friend to my kids Sebastian and Avery. For reasons unknown, Ernie had a massive seizure and died. My daughter has Epilepsy so I’ve done my fair share of research into seizures. But never did I imagine I’d be Googling “what to do when your guinea pig has a seizure.” I was sitting next to his cage when it happened. He suddenly began convulsing in his cage, and was paralyzed and helpless in a matter of minutes. I knew when I picked held him, his head tilted and nuzzled lifelessly into my neck, that he was leaving us. That’s the hardest part about having a pet—they are completely dependent on us for their survival. So when they get sick or hurt or god forbid die, it’s[…]

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