Category Archives: Family

The Day Ukee Became a Movie Star

In my day job I work behind-the-scenes at YMC, a digital parenting magazine, and besides also writing there, I get opportunities to do some really fun things. A few weeks ago Ukee, our adopted rescue pup (thanks A.R.F. Ontario, we love him!) and I took part in a video for a Purina campaign.

He was a natural, and by natural I mean he was all over the place, licking everything, and curious about the lights and people and WOAH…did you see that ball? Ukee and I had a blast!

Anyway, the video is live so check it out. Each dog and owner combo was on set for 45 minutes, so keep in mind that approximately 44 1/2 minutes of me saying, “Ukee, get back here,” were cut to make room for the video message.

P.S. He’s the cute, 100% purebred, Canadian black mutt.


BioSteel Hockey Training Camp

Where is the best place to spend a hot August day when the temperature soars to 30C and humidity takes it into my brain has melted temperatures? The rink, of course.

hockey, hockey fan, teen boy, hockey player, BioSteel hockey training camp, training camp, NHL, BioSteel, professional players

My family and I were invited to attend the BioSteel hockey training camp sponsored by Mazda for their #MazdaFan campaign. How do you get teenagers to wake up early in the morning? Lure them with promises of seeing NHL players in action while surrounded by the irresistible aroma of an arena. They’re hockey players, so that smell is scientifically proven to elevate their endorphin levels, or something like that. The point is it was easy to get our son out of bed so he could see some of his hockey heroes up close, unlike getting him out of bed on school mornings where I lose count of how many times I run up the stairs to make him move because no human can count that high.

Our son began playing hockey as a 5-year-old, but his love started much earlier when he began dragging around a cut-off, broken hockey blade my brother game him everywhere we went. Like many young children who begin playing the sport they’ve been mimicking since their toddler legs could carry them around on imaginary ice to whack at pucks (any small object lying in their path), he had starry-eyed dreams of the big leagues. NHL players became his sports idols and their names, jersey numbers, and saves to goals ratio stats became something we discussed around the table.

hockey, hockey fan, teen boy, hockey player, BioSteel hockey training camp, training camp, NHL, BioSteel, professional players

He’s in high school now and has hockey class — not gym class — this semester and his school coach is a professional player with a CWHL team, so hockey is still on his brain. Outside of school he’s played at the house league and rep levels and the only thing that changes is the colour of his jersey, not the intensity of his love for the game. It’s a love I support; hockey teaches work ethic, commitment, and sportsmanship, and he had a chance to see that up close at the training camp.

hockey, hockey fan, teen boy, hockey player, BioSteel hockey training camp, training camp, NHL, BioSteel, professional players

hockey, hockey fan, teen boy, hockey player, BioSteel hockey training camp, training camp, NHL, BioSteel, professional players

hockey, hockey fan, teen boy, hockey player, BioSteel hockey training camp, training camp, NHL, BioSteel, professional players

hockey, hockey fan, teen boy, hockey player, BioSteel hockey training camp, training camp, NHL, BioSteel, professional players

The players on the ice — all pros and many of whom we’ve watched compete for the big prize over the years — were there to work, but it was clear they were having fun, too. And watching these professional hockey players celebrate when the puck made it past the goalie’s pads during a practise scrimmage made me realize that inside they’re still the little boys who pulled battered nets into the middle of the street for impromptu road hockey games. They just get to earn their living playing the game they love.

“Disclosure: I am part of the Mazda BioSteel Hockey Training Camp Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Back On Track

Like many parents I saw my kids off to school today for their first day of grades five and ten. I’m now reaching up to kiss one child and trying to keep up with another who’s a whirlwind.

Like many parents there’s a part of me that is a bit melancholic about the end of summer and what it entails: the knowledge that our time together grows shorter or is changing, fewer days of sleeping in and eating late, cooler nights that herald colder days. I relish a return to more structure for my work because pulling all-nighters to write and edit so that I can spend the day at the beach with my kids takes days to recover from, but the last few days of August and the early days of September are my time to wallow in a bit of sadness. After several days the wallowing will get boring and I’ll return to normal, but for now….wallow wallow.

I’m not fond of strict schedules and haven’t raised my kids that way, but structuring my days while they’re at school flying solo is good. More daylight hours in which to write + time away from my desk to get outside = a more reasonable bedtime and fewer bags under the eyes. Guys, my under eye bags aren’t delicate or cute, they’re the size of hockey bags.

beach, kids, girls, morning, rocks, shore, beach combing, water, lake, Lake Ontario

We start every school year with a bit of beachcombing before school drop-off, but just so you don’t sit there thinking, “How does she have time to get ready AND go to the beach and mygawd she’s one of those moms who creates fruit and hummus art for her kids’ lunches,” our morning went something like this:

Me: Wake up, kids.

Them: …………..

Me: C’mon, time to get up.

Them: ……….glurghbrrhumpph

Repeat steps three and four another few (countless) times.


Them: Yawn. OKAY, we heard you.

Me: Seriously?

They stumbled to the shower, back to their rooms, downstairs, upstairs, outside — it’s a wonder nobody tripped during all that stumbling — and then they were so rushed that we had to leave for school without breakfast, so this morning the kids ate scrambled eggs, raspberries, and drank juice out of plastic containers in the back of the Jeep while D and I drove them to their first day of school. And so it begins.

We dropped off Bou at his high school and I hopped out to say hi and bye to my niece who was also being dropped off, and because my primary role as the mother of a teenager is to embarrass him whenever I can, I offered to give him a big smooch as his friends were arriving. Sadly he doesn’t embarrass enough — or at all — and he leaned down instead to hug me before going off to find his friends. I’ll hang on to this victory for the days when our primary form of communication consists of him eye-rolling and shrugging and me huffing.

We have almost one hour between the two school start times, so we’ve made it a tradition to head down to the beach for some play time; it’s the calm before the excitement.

The summer sped by; we had family from France for a visit in August, went camping a few times, one of my closest friends came for a sleepover with her family (More of that please!), I took 5 trillions photos, we spent countless hours at the barn, and I spent zero hours working out — Oh, hello, tight pants. — and generally kept a very poor, but full schedule. Sandwiched between all that I still wrote, just not here.

You can make my chocolate, coconut zucchini bread and bacon and cheese jalapeños recipes, which could explain the tight pants, and read about conquering the meeting new people jitters at Yummy Mummy Club.

Over at Life In Pleasantville I wrote host and houseguest posts that will guarantee you less pre-visit preparation angst and score you repeat invites.

So…the moral is, I’m back on track. Are you getting there? Or were you always there, in which case I don’t want to hear about it and we likely can’t be friends.


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