{FAMILY} Monster Trucks Aren’t Just For Boys

Monster Jam

I’ll confess, each year when I see that the Monster Jam® event is coming to town, I suggest that my husband take my son for a boys night out. Foolishly, the thought of taking the girls hadn’t ever crossed my mind.

Not only does Monster Jam® offer fun for the whole family, but it features highly-skilled athletes – some of which happen to be talented women, going head-to-head in adrenaline-pumping, engine-revving races.

This year, Canadian contender Cynthia Gauthier will be behind the wheel of the Mutt Dalmatian monster truck. Raised by a mechanic father, Gauthier grew up with a passion for anything with an engine, competing in dirt bike races, and eventually joining the Bad Habit team that went on to the Monster Jam World Finals in 2015. With a female Canadian contender in the race this year, now’s a better time than ever to show your girls that extreme sports aren’t just for boys!

Monster Jam

Cynthia Gauthier | Mutt Dalmatian Monster Truck Driver

Enter below for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the opening night of the Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series, coming to the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver on April 7th at 7pm ($100 value):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest runs from Monday, March 20th to Sunday, March 26th. Entrants must be able to attend the April 7th event at 7pm in Vancouver, BC. Winners will be contacted by email once the contest closes. 

Click on the image below to learn more about what you can expect from this rip-roaring event! Monster Jam

{FAMILY} 9 Reasons Why 9 Is Going To Be The Best Age

I’m going to preface this by saying that every age seems to be the best age – especially with your first child. Every time my oldest has a birthday, I quietly wish that time would stop. I don’t want her to get any older, this year was the best age ever – I think to myself. And every year, it seems to only get better.

Best Age

Yes, the level of sass seems to grow faster than her feet. But with the added sass comes so many other wonderful qualities in my daughter. Here are 9 reasons why I think this new age – the age of 9 – is going the best age (yet):

1) Goodbye booster seat! One less piece of equipment taking up space in my car. No more worrying about carrying along a booster when taking cabs or planes or riding with friends. One down, two to go!

2) Still mom’s biggest fan. She may be too cool to kiss me goodbye at school, but she still looks up to me and values my opinion. She loves spending mother-daughter time together and openly looks up to me. I’m going to soak it up while I can cause I know this one will fade as she becomes a preteen.

3) She’s developing her own personality. She’s funny, creative and kind. She’s at an age where she does what she wants – and thankfully (so far), she makes the right decisions.

4) We can hang out. Like, for real. We can go out for lunch, go for pedis, or enjoy a day of shopping, and I don’t have to worry about bringing a diaper bag full of tricks, interfering with nap times or competing with friends. She loves hanging out with me, and I cherish every moment we spend together.

5) She listens (well, most of the time). When I give her advice, she listens. She trusts my instincts, opinions and experiences, and values my input.

6) She tells me her secrets. It does take a little prying sometimes, but I’m doing my best to establish a trusting relationship with my daughter. It can sometimes take a lot of work, but I know establishing trust is vital as she approaches her teen years.

7)  She’s becoming her own individual person. When they’re younger we decide how they dress. We often create miniature versions of ourselves, dressing them up in clothes we love. But now that she’s older with her own personality, she’s developing her own style (with my gentle guidance of course).

8) She has her own interests. Until now, I’ve taken the lead on the selection of her extracurricular activities (with her input on new things she’d like to try). This year, I’m shifting gears. I think she’s now tried enough of a variety of activities so I’m letting her take the lead in making the picks for next year.

9) She still believes. While she’s proven to be her own person, she still maintains that childhood innocence – and this may be the last year. She still believes in the tooth fairy and Santa, but she asks a lot of questions. I fear for the moment that she realizes the truth, and savour the moments of magic while they’re still here.

{FAMILY} Canuck Place: Light A Life This Holiday Season

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice has provided a place of comfort and compassion for children with life-threatening illnesses and the families who love them for over 20 years. Recognized internationally as a leader in pediatric palliative care, they have been providing fundamental programming and support to better the lives of families in need. But the demand for their services has become greater than ever, with the number of families in their care nearly doubled in the last 10 years, and they need your help.

This holiday season, you can help Canuck Place to light the lives of those families in need through their Light A Life campaign. To celebrate the holidays, they have been sharing 12 days of gratitude, celebrating the stories of the families, doctors and volunteers behind their organization, helping them to thrive and change lives over the years. Here are some of my favourite gratitude stories from their campaign:

Canuck PlaceCanuck Place

Read about 10-year-old Caitlin, who ran in this year’s Canuck Place Adventure Race with a broken toe and a courageous grin, determined to raise funds for the children’s hospice that provided so much care and support for her brother and their family until his passing in 2011.

Canuck PlaceCanuck Place

Learn more about Dr. Hal Siden, who has provided pediatric palliative care for the children and families of Canuck Place for over 16 years, mentoring the next generation of care providers, and lifting the spirits of his patients with his faithful, four-legged sidekick Poppy.

Canuck PlaceCanuck Place

Check out the stories behind why Karolina Durda and the other 300+ volunteers have donated over 23,000 hours of their time in the last year to the children and families who have relied on the services of Canuck Place.

At Canuck Place we believe the end of life should be lived as fully as the beginning. Your contribution can change lives.

Give the gift of life by donating to the Canuck Place Light A Life campaign. It’s as easy as writing a message honouring someone you love or remembering someone you’ve lost, making a small donation, and dedicating your message to that special someone through lighting a virtual candle on the Canuck Place website.


Please help to spread the word about this important, life-changing cause by sharing this post, and following/sharing the stories behind Canuck Place. Here’s how to find them:

Website – Canuck Place Children’s Hospice


{FAMILY} The Nutcracker: A Reignited Passion For Dance

Last year, after 4 years of taking weekly ballet classes, my daughter decided to take a break from the classical dance genre to try something new.

At first, my heart sank. I had grown up with a passion for the arts, and watching my little girl sauté and pirouette on stage each year had made me so proud. But I soon realized that instead of dancing vicariously through my daughter, it was time for me to return to the barre myself, and I’m still taking adult ballet classes today.

When I treated her to a mother-daughter date to see The Nutcracker last year, her passion for ballet was reignited and she decided to give it another try. This year her class will be performing their own rendition of the holiday classic and my little girl is thrilled to be dancing in the Arabian scene – one of our all-time favourite Nutcracker pieces.


The Arabian dance performed by Alberta Ballet

I’m looking forward to watching my tiny dancer perform on stage once again this year, and I’m excited to share with her our annual holiday tradition of watching professional ballerinas perform in The Nutcracker in the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Theatre again this holiday season.

This year will be my 34th consecutive year of watching the production, and each year I look forward to seeing how each choreographer and dance ensemble put their own twist on the famous Christmas ballet.


Choreographed by Edmund Stripe, and decorated with more than a million dollars worth of dazzling sets and costumes designed by Emmy Award-winning designer Zack Brown, this year’s production promises to be an unforgettable event. Ballet BC’s artistic director, Emily Molnar explains the decision to bring Alberta Ballet back to Vancouver:

“Vancouver audiences were delighted with Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker when it was first presented here in 2011. We’re pleased to bring back this magical version of the famous Christmas ballet with its live music performed by the VSO, extravagant sets and costumes and the talented dancers of Alberta Ballet. The Nutcracker is unforgettable family entertainment that is sure to enrich your holiday season.”


Each year, I like to share the gift of dance with my readers through a giveaway, and this year I’m so excited to be giving away not two, but four tickets to the performance (a $280 value)! Enter to win below, and stay tuned for my review of this year’s show.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Choreography: Edmund Stripe
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky


December 29, 2015 7:30pm
December 30, 2015 2:00pm
December 30, 2015 7:30pm
December 31, 2015 2:00pm


{FAMILY} Don’t Judge A Dalmatian By Its Spots

I was walking my Dalmatian at my favourite dog park the other day, when I overheard the same hushed commentary hiss through the tight lips of passersby. “Ohh Dalmatians, they’re cute but they’re SO hyper….” they sneered. And I get it – for some reason Dalmatians have gained a bad rap – likely due to the surge of poorly-treated and poorly-bred pups that were mass produced after the popularity of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians. 

“Ohh Dalmatians, they’re cute but they’re SO hyper….”

But isn’t assuming that all puppies born of the same breed have the same temperament, almost as presumptuous as assuming that all people of a certain race have the same personality traits? Ok dogs and people aren’t quite the same, but I do find that dogs, like people, have their own personalities and temperments – (in my opinion) as a result of the environment in which they were raised (nature vs nurture?).


I may be a bit biased when it comes to Dalmatians (I’ve had mine for almost 13 years now), but like with people, I don’t think it’s fair to judge a book by its cover. Contrary to popular belief, my pups is calm, friendly, gentle, submissive, and actually quite lazy! She’s great with kids, and terrified of cats.

Yes, when given the opportunity, she can appear to be a little energetic…


But the majority of the time, she’s sleeping in a sun spot on my living room floor – lazy as can be.


Many dog owners think of their furry friends as their babies. As silly as it may seem to non-dogowners, canine companions are regarded to many as a legitimate part of the family. Can you image if you were walking past a stranger with your ginger-haired baby and you heard someone sneer, “Ohhh redheads can be so hot-tempered!”

If you don’t have anything nice to say – don’t say it at all. Or at least, don’t say it within earshot of the person you are saying it about.

I’m not a dog expert. I’m sure there are some breed-specific traits and health issues that are genetically linked, but properly bred and raised Dalmatians are usually not “hyper”.

Properly bred and raised Dalmatians are usually not hyper. 

I’ve known several Dalmatian owners, and I can honestly say that they make great pets for families with young children and are the sweetest pets. If you are interested in getting a Dalmatian – do your research (and be sure that the information you are reading comes from reliable sources).

To learn more about Dalmatians, check out the  Dalmatian Club of America website.




{FAMILY} Adult Adoption: My Journey

I was adopted twice. In the first year of my life fate brought my adopted mother and I together in an unconventional way, and at the age of 5, I was adopted by her and my first adopted father. 16 years later, I was adopted again by my stepfather, who had become my primary father figure. The adoption process in my adult years was unconventional as well. In fact, after nearly two years of attempts and a final, dramatic courtroom session, the results of our adoption journey set a new precedent for adult adoptions in Canada.


In 1979, as a way of celebrating the International Year of the Child, a special woman with a big heart and a passion for children set out to help a family in need, so she posted an ad in the Buy & Sell offering child care services. My biological mother came across the ad and jumped at the opportunity to receive help. Fortunately for me, a babysitter who was found by chance became my mother by choice. She married soon after our meeting and the couple added me to their small family through private adoption. I lived with both of my adoptive parents until the age of 6.

When I was 6 years old, my adoptive parents divorced. While I lived full time with my adopted mother, my adoptive father moved to another country and remarried. As his new family grew, our relationship dwindled, and we eventually lost touch during my teen years. Meanwhile, at the age of 9, my adoptive mother began a relationship with a wonderful man, who would eventually become my father.

For most of my childhood and throughout my teen years, this man played the role of “father” in my life. Because he had two children from a previous marriage, he and my mother had decided to take their relationship very slowly. They married in an intimate ceremony in our home seven years after they started dating, when I was 16. Afterwards, my mother and her new husband sat all three of us new step-siblings down and told us that we would have equal rights in our family. For my new stepfather, this meant that I was officially accepted in his heart as one of his own children.  For me, though, it wasn’t enough to feel truly accepted as his daughter.


For me, the difference between having him as my stepfather and my legal father was similar to the difference between having a common-law partner and a husband – there was something extra special about making the relationship legal.

I had accepted him as my father figure, but I wanted to take on his family name as well. I wanted my university degree to display the last name that represented the father who had raised me. When I married, I wanted his surname to be recognized as my official maiden name. I wanted to share the same last name as my mother. To me, it was a symbol of our blended stepfamily becoming a true family unit.

My stepfather had made the decision to marry my mother as a way of legalizing their union (and ours), and I felt as though it was my turn to make a similar gesture with the same sentiment, but on my own accord. At the age of 19, I decided that it was time to make our roles as father and daughter official. I wanted to present the idea to him through a sentimental gift, so I purchased a small mahogany clock and had it engraved with the words, “It’s time you became my father.” I presented it to my stepfather and asked him if he would like to make his role as my father legal. He welcomed the idea with open arms, and we started what became an unexpectedly lengthy and almost impossible adoption process.


While we were sure of our decision to legalize our father-daughter relationship, we were unsure of how to start the official process of an adult adoption, so we sought out the legal advice of a lawyer and close family friend. Because I hadn’t maintained a relationship with my biological parents, and I had lost touch with my adopted father, we thought the process would be as simple as submitting a petition of consent signed by myself (as an independent adult), and my soon-to-be father, but after some careful digging, our legal counsel found some roadblocks in the system that would make our case nearly impossible.

Our lawyer concluded that without certain parental permissions, the process of adult adoption would be very difficult for us due to the precedent laws in place. The adult adoption process required permissions in order to legalize the union, and in our case, there were two required permissions in particular that we were unable to provide.

The first was “permission from the natural parents of the person who is to be adopted”*, or in my case, permission from my legal adopted father. This seemed like a reasonable request, as in most cases of adoption it would make sense for the legal parent to be required to give their permission to revoke their parental rights; however both my natural and adopted fathers were no longer present in my life.

If we were unable to provide signed consent from the biological or adoptive father, then we were required to meet the second form of consent noted in the adult adoption law: permission from the spouse of the person to be adopted.* I was unmarried at the time, and we thought this requirement was absurd and archaic. Why should a female adult need permission from a spouse to complete the adult adoption process?

Why should a female adult need permission from a spouse to complete the adult adoption process?

My soon-to-be father had experience in the courtroom, both through his previous role on the parole board, and through acting as the legal representative for businesses he ran. He realized that we might be able to circumvent the formal legal barriers ourselves. Our attorney wisely suggested that his idea wouldn’t work, but she did agree to arrange for a hearing before a BC Supreme Court judge on our behalf.


In BC, adoption is a BC Supreme Court matter. Traditionally, appearing before a judge in a Supreme Court setting requires the presence of legal representation, but since the traditional legal process had not worked in our favour, we decided to represent ourselves. Our plan was to throw ourselves at the mercy of the judge and hope for the best.

As we anticipated our court date, we rehearsed our argument, aware of the challenges we would face by stepping into a courtroom without a lawyer by our side. When the time finally came to approach the bench, the judge started the session by asking in a stern voice, “Where is your lawyer?” My father held his head high and responded with confidence, “My Lord, lawyers cannot help us any longer. We are here to appeal to you directly.”

The judge, looking perplexed by the fact that we would even attempt to appear before him without a lawyer, paused for a moment. We were waiting for him to ask us to leave his courtroom, but the stars lined up and he replied, “Tell me a little bit more.” At that point we knew that we had a chance.

My father proceeded to tell the judge about our journey, that the process had taken far too long, and that our only desire was to join together legally as father and daughter. As he started to address the challenges we had faced, the judge interrupted him and asked us two questions. He began by asking me, “Do you want this man to adopt you?” I quickly responded, “Yes, my Lord.”

He then asked us, “Are the people who are interested in this adoption in the courtroom today?” We looked at each other, and then looked at my mother who was watching on eagerly, and we replied, “Yes, my Lord.” Caught up in the moment, my father continued with his explanation of the challenges we had faced. He hadn’t seen or heard the drop of the judge’s gavel.

The judge leaned forward and focused his eyes on my father, who was still speaking passionately about our journey. “Mr. Dueck,” he began in a loud voice. “Mr. Dueck! I have already granted your request.”

The courtroom, which was full of strangers waiting for their turn to be heard, exploded in applause.  They cheered for our family and for the kindness that had been shown to us by the judge. My mother, father and I burst into tears, thanked the judge, and left the courtroom overjoyed.

As we left the courtroom the judge ran after us and stopped us in the hallway. We froze, sure that he had changed his mind. “I’m going to expedite the paperwork for you,” he said. “You’ve been through enough.” He brought the paperwork to the clerk himself to ensure that our adoption was processed immediately.  As a result, a document that would have normally taken 6 weeks to process was delivered to us within days.

We had challenged the sexist, archaic laws around the adoption of an adult, and as a result, our case has set a new precedent for Canadian law in the case of adult adoption, all thanks to one judge who chose to take a chance on a young woman and her desire to make her stepfather her father forever.

Adult Adoption

* as outlined in the Adoption Act, Section 3(4), (5) and (6).

This article was also published in Focus on Adoption, Winter 2015 Issue

The #1 Thing My Husband and I Fight About Over The Holidays

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, and the halls all decked with boughs of holly. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? Well as much as I LOVE Christmas, there are a few things that come up each and every year that cause the hubs and I to toss aside the holiday merriment in favour of bickering over the tiniest of holiday details. And while there’s a list of things that fill our roster of holiday mini-battles, there is ONE disagreement that comes up every single year that we have yet to resolve: THE HOLIDAY DECOR. I blame the differing childhood family traditions for this one.

“The stocking were hung by the chimney with care”

I grew up with beautifully-embroidered, personalized stockings (with our names in the same fonts of course!), hung in a perfect row, evenly spaced, in one or two of the primary holiday colours that complimented the white and gold accents that surrounded our home. So naturally, I envisioned my mantel to look something like this:

Christmas Stockings

Clean, simple and elegant in my opinion. Who doesn’t love a Martha Stewart-esque display?

My husband, that’s who.

He grew up with a family tradition of decorating the mantel with handmade stockings made by each member of the family. All different patterns and colours, in varying sizes, shapes and materials. Names weren’t needed as each stocking was so unique to its owner that there was never a question as to who each stocking belonged to. His family’s fireplace decor was festive, colourful, inviting, warm, and sentimental. And I’m not saying that I hate this idea – I just come from a different place.

I think he envisioned our mantel to look a little more like this:

Christmas Stockings

Cute, just…not my style.

“Oh Tannenbaum”

And the Christmas tree. While I grew up with a monochromatic, look-but-don’t-touch, window display style Christmas tree, decorated in white and gold ornaments and sprinkled with baby’s breath and fresh flowers similar to this one:

Christmas Tree

The hubs grew up with a more kid-focused, rainbow-coloured, tinsel-laden version of the holiday shrub, similar to this one:

Christmas Tree

He doesn’t understand why I cringe when my children hang their unmatching ornaments around the bottom of the tree, and why I won’t let them wrap the tree in a sea of sparkly silver and blue tinsel. He just doesn’t get that I like to have only white lights evenly spaced, and each ornament hung at an equal distance from each other, in matching colour sequence from top to bottom, with only the most dainty of ornamental pieces. And I don’t think we will ever fully agree on which decorative style is better for the holidays.

So there you have it, every year when I bring out the box of Christmas decorations, the battle begins. The hubs rolls his eyes and begins with the same questions: Why do we have to use these ugly stockings with our names on them? Why can’t we use the stockings from when we were kids? Or We should get blue decorations for the tree and decorate it with lots of tinsel!

No and no thank you.

This year I’m giving in and biting my tongue. Not really because I’m being nice or fair, but more because I’ve been forced to against my will. With a new addition to the family, and a store that no longer carries the matching personalized stockings that we’ve used in the past, we’ve had to mix it up a bit. So this Christmas our mantel looks like this:

Christmas Stockings

And our tree – decorated only by our children (which explains the undecorated top and back of the tree, and giant bow), looks like this:

Christmas Tree

And you know what? Seeing the proud smiles on my children’s faces (and my husband’s face because he’s finally getting his way this year), makes it all worthwhile. Kind of.

Family Fun at the Grey Cup Festival {Giveaway}

Wrap up the Canadian football season with a 3-day festival full of fun for the whole family in downtown Vancouver from November 26th – November 30th!

Grey Cup

On November 30th, 2014, Vancouver will once again play host to the Grey Cup, the 102nd CFL championship game, which will be held at the home of our BC Lions – BC Place Stadium. This year’s Grey Cup Festival promises to be a ROARing good time for the whole family, with an epic line up of kid-friendly events and activities to get your family revved up and into the spirit of the game leading up to the final showdown of the season.

The Grey Cup Festival kicks off on November 26th, and includes a plethora of free events over 3 days for families to enjoy leading up to the final game on November 30th – including live concerts, a street festival, a parade, and an action-packed family zone!

Because the list of activities is so long, I thought I would share with you the top events for you to enjoy with the whole family:


Nissan Family Zone – Jack Poole Plaza, Nov 27-29, 11am-7pm (FREE)Grey Cup


  • Family-friendly live entertainment will be happening daily on the Canadian Direct Insurance Stage, featuring a lineup of talented performers.
  • The CN Safety Zone will be set up, including football tips and railway safety lessons from the experts.
  • Football BC will be running fun football activities – including the opportunity to toss the pigskin with a CFL alumni!
  • The Canadian Forces will be presenting a fun and interactive obstacle course for kids to get active!

TELUS Street Festival – Canada Place Way, Nov 27-29, 11am-9pm (FREE)Grey Cup


  • Live radio station broadcasts, food trucks and interactive exhibitors (face painting, photo booths and even a giant jenga game).
  • Experience 15 concerts over three days right in the heart of it all at the PlayNow.com Main Stage, featuring local up-and-coming Vancouver artists like Delhi 2 Dublin, The Matinee, BESTiE, Dominique Fricot and more. (Complete concert line up)

Save-On-Foods Grey Cup Festival Parade – Saturday, Nov 29 10am-12pm (FREE)

Start: 10:00am at Smithe & HornbyGrey Cup

Finish: 12:00pm at Dunsmuir & Granville

Winding through the streets of downtown Vancouver, the parade will be a celebration of Canadian football, spirit, and the coveted Grey Cup will make an appearance!  It promises to be an event filled with floats, marching bands, smiles, and fun.  Get ready to ROAR on the Shore starting at 10am! And be sure to catch the Purolator Tackle Hunger campaign. Purolator will be collecting non-perishable food items from the parade crowd, which will contribute to their Tackle Hunger campaign, providing food for those in need.

And More!

  • Cheerleader Extravaganza – see all of the teams’ cheerleaders and dance teams perform at the Vancouver Convention Centre in a FREE family friendly event
  • Calgary Grey Cup Committee Pancake Breakfast – FREE pancake breakfast from 11:00am-1:00pm Thurs + Fri on the PlayNow.com Main Stage
  • CFL Alumni Autograph Sessions – daily in the Vancouver Convention Centre from 11:00pm – 7:00pm

Don’t miss out on the party of the year!


Make your Grey Cup experience one-of-a-kind by entering for a chance to win this amazing family package, which includes:

  • Family Set of Official Grey Cup Festival Apparel ($250 value)
  • 4 VIP spots to the Grey Cup Parade (including breakfast) ($400 value)
  • 2 VIP Red Truck Lager Tailgate Concert Series passes (for the grown ups) ($300 value)
  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a child (aged 6-14) to be in the one of the VIP Vehicles in the Save-on-Foods Grey Cup Festival Parade!
  • TOTAL VALUE: $950!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Third Child Problems

The name’s Cloey, and while I might only be 3.5 months old, I have a lot to say. Too bad no one’s listening to me because I’m the third child.

third child

My mom’s busy right now (big surprise). She’s combing my big sister’s hair into a slick bun for ballet class and nattering on and on about how important it is for her to write sentences in her journal since school’s out due to some “teacher’s strike” (whatever that is). My dad’s off kicking the soccer ball around with my brother in the front yard, and my dog, well she doesn’t even care that I exist. Since no one’s paying attention to me, I thought I’d take a break from batting around the stupid toys that dangle above my face on the mat that I’m always lying on (I can’t really control my arms so I’m not sure why they keep torturing me like that anyways). Instead, I thought I’d take over my mom’s “blog” (wtf, sounds like something you’d find in my diaper) and share some thoughts on what it’s really like to be the third child. Spoiler alert: it’s no midnight boob snack.

When I came into this world, I was greeted by 4 sets of sparkly brown eyes, oochy-coochy sounds, and wide grins. I thought I had it made – so much attention, how could I not love it? But things have changed in the last 3.5 months. Ya I still feel the love, but I know it’s only temporary. I could go on forever about how tough my life is, but since I can hear my mom packing up the diaper bag, I’m gonna make this quick.

third child

5 things that suck about being the third child:

1) I often wear my pyjamas all. day. long. I see all of these trendy kid fashionistas rocking it on Instagram. Kids in mini fedoras and distressed jeans, wearing scarves around their necks like they rule the world. And then there’s me, wearing the same puke-stained polka-dotted sleeper that I wore to bed last night. One word mommy: accessorize.

2) I have no toys. I know my sister and brother lived a life of luxury, swimming in a sea of newly-purchased, age-appropriate toys. I, on the other hand, am left to play with a faded excuse for a rubber giraffe (I think it was once one of those awesome “Sophie le Giraffe” things I’ve seen). Oh, and a moist spit up cloth that they tuck into my hand for me to chew on. Thanks mom, that’s what I really wanted (not).

3) I’m ALWAYS in the car. If I have to get buckled into that stupid five-harness bucket seat one more time, I swear I’m gonna spit up in my mom’s face (actually, I might just  do that anyways, for shits and giggles, teehee). I swear, every time I’m finishing off a sippa nook nook and getting dozy (there’s nothing like a milk coma. I’m serious, nothing.), it’s off to the car so my siblings can go to school, dance, soccer, swimming, the library. No one ever asks me where I want to go.

4) I spend more time looking at the back of an iPhone than I do looking at my mommy’s face. I’ve made a game of this – I stare and stare at her with a blank look on my face, just waiting. When she glances at me over the top of her stupid phone to make sure I’m still breathing, I put on my biggest smile and reward her with a little giggle, just to show her what she’s missing. It works 2/3 times.

5) I don’t get any peace and quiet. For once, it would be nice to just fall into a deep milk-enduced coma without the shrill shrieks of my sister, or the loud roars of my brother, or the barking (oh the barking!) from my dog. Dude, I just want to take an uninterrupted nap, is that too much to ask for? I mean, I’m a baby, it’s what I’m supposed to do.

So there you have it – my life in a nutshell. And while my family is busy “learning” and “talking” and “eating solid foods” together, I’m going to be studying everything they do, and learning a thing or two from this genius. And when I pop out my first word and take my first step, they had better be ready. That. Is. All.

Cloey xo


The BC Teachers’ Labour Dispute: Why I’m Accepting The Money

I’m not a teacher, and I’m not a politician. But I am a parent, and therefore am affected by the ongoing labour dispute that is happening in BC. Unlike many of the media outlets who are calling this a “BC Teachers’ Strike”, I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that there are two sides to this dispute, that this is a feud between the teachers union and the government of BC. I think it is also important to acknowledge that it affects more than just the two sides involved, it also affects the students, parents, and taxpayers of our province.

Until now I’ve been quiet about the dispute. I’ve watched as my Facebook feed has been flooded with backlash against teachers, against the government, and against our Premier. I’ve refrained from commenting on posts about who should receive the $40-a-day ‘childcare support’ that will be provided to families during the labour disruption, and I’ve bitten my tongue as people have raged about the government’s attempt to drag out the dispute in order to make the teachers look like the bad guys.

Tomorrow is supposed to be my daughter’s first day of Grade 2. And as I sit back and read the comments, articles, discussions, and rants from teachers, government officials, union representatives, school board administration staff, parents, friends and strangers, I’m left with some thoughts.

Accepting the $40-a-day childcare allowance from the government for my school-aged child does not make me an idiot, nor should I be excluded from receiving it based on my employment status.

I’ve seen some comments on social media about who should receive the $40-a-day childcare allowance during the school closures, who think that work-from-home and stay-at-home moms and dads should not receive this benefit because they will not require childcare services during the delays. These people are missing the point (and ignorant if they don’t realize that everyone with children, regardless of employment status will need additional support).

I am a taxpaying home owner. And like everyone else in BC who pays property taxes, I am paying school taxes that are used to pay for public education in BC. With schools not in session, doesn’t it make sense for everyone who has paid their hard-earned dollars towards provincial school taxes to receive a refund when that money is not being spent on what it was intended for? While the money is being presented as child care subsidy for parents who are left with children at home as a result of the dispute, what it should be presented as is a refund on taxes that have already been paid.

The money does not dissolve my feelings of frustration towards the dispute and how it will hinder the educational needs of the children in my province. The money does not sway my support for BC teachers, and does not blind me from the challenges that they face every day in over-packed classrooms with limited resources for children with special needs and lower-than-average wage increases.

What the money does do is provide support for parents like myself who will attempt to educate their children during their extended time outside of the classroom, through educational outings, tutors and related resources. This has nothing to do with parents who are working, who work from home, or who take care of their children full time. It is about the children who are missing out on classroom time and the valuable education they deserve.

I feel for the children who are experiencing delays in their final year of high school, and for the children who are entering school for the first time in Kindergarten. I feel for all of my fellow parents who fear for their children and their educational future. But I also understand the issues and am willing to wait patiently for them to be resolved properly. I know a resolution won’t happen overnight, and would rather support our teachers as they fight for what’s best for our children’s futures than to settle for a short-term solution that is not in the best interest of our children.