Life is Delicate

I’ve done it. I’ve dwelled on the negative. I’ve thought about things that make me unhappy. I’ve stressed over things I cannot change. I always have the saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff” in the back of my mind, and I know I should heed that advice. However, it’s easier said than done in some instances, and I end up occupying my mind with worries.  I know better than to spend my time doing this. Life is much too short. And over the last few months I’ve been counting my blessings. A lot of bad things have happened to people I know in that time.

Last winter, one of my closest childhood friends (since we met in grade one) was told she had a mass on her breastbone. Obviously she was scared. It terrified her that she might have cancer, and that she might not be around much longer for her 4 year old son. She felt guilty that she would be sad and preoccupied with thoughts of her health during Christmas, and that her son wouldn’t have a special Christmas. She felt terrible that her son might have to see her sick. Thankfully she had her mass removed a few months later, she does not have cancer, and though she has to have regular check-ups to make sure she’s okay, she’s doing great. When she told me about the mass initially, I was shocked and overcome with worry. This was someone I’d known and been friends with most of my life; someone I’d seen and talked to regularly for 34 years. Shannon was my very best friend for many of those years. I cried a lot about it. We cried on the phone together. Hearing her say that she was so scared that her little boy, her only child and the light of her life, wouldn’t have a mom was horrible. It also made me feel grateful for my own good health.

In May, one of my former co-workers, and a friend, suffered a brain aneuryism. His wife, also a former co-worker and friend, made everyone aware of the situation on Facebook, and gave us updates when she could. Sadly, he passed away shortly after. Though I hadn’t seen him or his wife in over 15 years, we were friends, and, though we lived five hours apart, we chatted occasionally on Facebook and Twitter. The two of them had been so wonderful to me when I worked with them at the radio station so many years ago. I would go to their house some days and have lunch and a visit. They were kind and giving. They meant so much to me that I had a dream about them years ago, and mentioned it to Nancy on Facebook when we finally reconnected there about eight years ago. In my dream I had seen them in a nearby town, but couldn’t reach them before they drove away. I was stressed out in my dream because I really wanted to see them and talk to them. Strange, right? They obviously left an impression on me. When I read that Rich had passed away on Nancy’s Facebook page, it was bizarre. It seemed impossible. Rich was only 52, and he lived healthily. It was so unexpected and so sudden. He left behind Nancy, the love of his life and soulmate, and their five year old daughter Zoe. To see that one day someone you love can be here, and the next day he isn’t, without warning, was devastating. I was reminded that you never know when it’s your last day.  I was also reminded to check that my organ donation card was filled out so that I, too, could make a difference in others’ lives.  Rich was an organ donor, and his wife made the decision to donate everything that could be used to help others waiting for transplants.  Because of the selflessness and generosity of the two of them, the lives of at least eight people have been prolonged and enriched.  Rich will live on in them.  Over the last two weekends, Nancy and Zoe have come here to visit with me and others with whom Nancy and Rich worked so many years ago.  We’ve talked about Rich and what happened, and we talked about how wonderful it is for Zoe to know that her dad has saved lives.  That’s truly an awe-inspiring legacy.

Last month, one of my fellow teachers – a co-worker and a friend – was hit while cycling in preparation for an upcoming triathlon. The first thing reported was that she had suffered “life-altering” injuries. Initially we – her co-workers – didn’t know what that meant. We eventually learned the extent of Julie’s injuries. This was someone who was very active: she swam, biked, ran, and coached the cross-country ski team at our school. She also lives on a farm with her husband, and they have two young children. A morning bike ride turned into a traumatic experience that left her with a broken neck, a broken back, facial lacerations, broken teeth, lung damage, and broken ribs. And she’s paralyzed. For now.  And maybe for always.  Only time will tell.  She’s a strong and determined person though, and I know she will work hard and fight to try to be able to walk again.  Not only has she endured a number of surgeries already to repair her body, but she’s also trying to make things better for the community as a whole by advocating for safer conditions for cyclists.  She, her family members, and her friends have been interviewed by the media to bring awareness to the law when it involves cyclists and cars.  Julie is turning the single most devastating occurrence in her life into an opportunity to make a positive change so that others do not have to suffer the way she is suffering.  To be able to focus not on her injuries and how different her life will be, but on helping others is nothing short of amazing.

The close calls, the loss, and the life-altering experiences of others surely remind us all that life is so precious, and it can be too short.  Worrying about small things isn’t worth the time it takes.  Because you just never know.  Things can change in an instant.  “Seize every second of your life and savor it.”

A Wonderful Time at Wonderland

Summer break is almost over. It’s sad, but true. My youngest will be starting junior kindergarten in a few weeks, my oldest will be in grade four, my husband will be back to work, and I will be returning to teaching after four and a half years off. My mission this summer was to do a number of fun things with my family to make the most of our time together before the craziness begins.  Unfortunately when we’ve had the days off to go on adventures, the weather has been less than cooperative. So the number of fun activities we’ve done has been a lot less than I’d hoped. That said, we did get to go on an overnight trip to Niagara Falls, where my kids experienced the magnificence of the Falls for the first time, and where we all had a blast at Marineland, watching dolphins perform, feeding beluga whales, and going on some really fun rides. Last week we were able to go to Toronto, to an amusement park called Canada’s Wonderland, and spent nine hours riding rides and eating treats. Needless to say, it was so much fun.

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The park is gigantic and so being able to see all of it and do all there is to do there was impossible in nine hours. Because it was a hot and sunny day, and because I’d never been to that part of the park before (it’s relatively new), I wanted to go to Splash Works, which is the waterpark section of Canada’s Wonderland. However, in case it was packed (which it WAS because who doesn’t want to go on waterslides and swim in a lazy river when it’s over 30 degrees Celsius?), we went to Planet Snoopy and KidZville first. My reasoning was so that Zoey, our four year old, would be able to have some fun on age-appropriate rides for a bit, in case there wasn’t much she could do at Splash Works. Planet Snoopy has many rides that are perfect for the little ones Zoey’s age, and Zander, our eight year old, could join her too. There was Swan Lake, Snoopy’s Revolution, Snoopy vs Red Baron, Snoopy’s Space Race, The Pumpkin Patch, Sally’s Love Buggies, and the Character Carousel, all of which she loved. She even rode on a number of them more than once. The lines, despite the park being very busy that day, were not too long.

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There were even different Peanuts characters walking around Planet Snoopy, just like at Disney where you can see the princesses and princes, Mickey and Minnie, and other lovable movie characters. My kids are too young to know any of the Peanuts characters – much to my disappointment because I was IN a Peanuts musical in high school! – but I coaxed my son into getting a picture with me, Snoopy, and Lucy.


While Zoey and I repeatedly went on the rides above, Zander and my husband tried Boo Blasters, which is a laser tag-type ride that was a little too scary for my boy. After that, they quickly went to ride the Ghoster Coaster, which I remember riding as a child (so it’s been there a long time). The two of them went on the Ghoster Coaster, a wooden roller coaster that is fairly tame, and therefore age-appropriate for young kids who are keen to have a thrill but not have the daylights scared out of them! They rode it three years ago when we went to Canada’s Wonderland, and loved it then and loved it again.

Next up was a visit to KidZville, which is right beside Planet Snoopy. The rides at KidZville are also for a younger age group, and so Zoey and Zander could go on anything there. Zander and I tried out the small but fast roller coaster Taxi Jam, which we had also gone on three years ago.  It’s totally my kind of roller coaster! Zoey took on Swing Time, Zander did Blast Off!, and both kids tried out the Launch Pad, which is just outside of KidZville. Though that one is rated a “high thrill ride” according to the park map, this one is as crazy or as tame as you want it to be. It’s like a Jolly Jumper for kids and adults. Participants are strapped into safety harnesses, which are then attached to rubber-band-type things. And then they just jump up and down on a trampoline under them. The kids really enjoyed it.

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Unfortunately, when we finally made it to Splash Works the place was insanely busy. There were so many people in the kiddie pool that we could barely see water. We just saw people. Although there are some very cool looking slides and rides in that area, we decided not to stay because my husband and I feared we’d lose sight of the kids. That’s definitely the place we’ll go first though when we go back to Canada’s Wonderland, and hope it’s not overridden with crowds.

Just outside of Planet Snoopy is the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit. My kids were very interested in it. You walk through a wilderness area with over 40 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. They are scientifically accurate, based on the latest paleontological knowledge. They looked so real that I had to tell Zoey they were “plastic, pretend, dinosaur statues” so that she would continue moving along without fear!  Both of the kids loved seeing the dinosaurs and making them move (it’s interactive), and they also had a ball at the dinosaur digging area, digging up bones.

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My husband and daughter went back to KidZville to do a ride or two there, and my son and I went to Thunder Run. When I was younger, that was my favourite ride at Wonderland. I’m not a fan of roller coasters that have a giant drop or that go upside down (because I’m a scaredy-cat), and so Thunder Run was one I could handle. It’s called a “high thrill ride”, but it doesn’t do loops or drops. It simply goes fast, inside and outside the mountain, which is the “landmark” of the park. I knew my son would be just fine on it too, because when we went to Disney two years ago he went on Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Mount Everest. I did not. Those were much too scary for me. Both Zander and I had so much fun on Thunder Run, and I was happy I could experience one coaster with my little guy.

One part of Canada’s Wonderland that I used to love as a kid was going to see the shows. They used to have groups of people singing and dancing in various closed locations. Because I’m a fan of live entertainment, it was something I looked forward to when I went to the park. Decades later, there are still theatres for shows, including A Cirque Experience (an acrobat show) at Wonderland Theatre, Charlie Brown’s Jungle Journey (the gang from Peanuts dance and sing their way through the jungle) at Playhouse Theatre, and a variety of entertainers at the International Showplace. We didn’t get the chance to see any of the shows when we were there. There’s just so much to do!

Of course it wouldn’t be a Canada’s Wonderland experience without funnel cakes. It’s the first place I ever heard of a funnel cake, and it’s still the place where you can get the best funnel cakes. Delicious.


We all had so much fun on our little day trip to Canada’s Wonderland.  And I was so pleased that the kids enjoyed themselves.  I always looked forward to going there when I was a child, and again as a teenager, and I still do as an adult.  The entire atmosphere of the place is somewhat magical to me.  As soon as you walk in you see the big mountain – Wonder Mountain (where divers perform acrobatic dives throughout the day) – you smell funnel cakes, french fries, and other delectable dishes, and you see happy faces of people having a whole lot of fun.  It’s absolutely one of the best places to go at any age.  We’ll most definitely be back…and maybe even before this summer ends.


Fun Family Weekend at Niagara Falls

It’s summer break, and that means that all of us – me, my husband, and my two children – are home and looking for things to do and ways to pass the time. This summer is especially significant to us because in the fall Zoey will be starting school and I will be going back to teaching after four and a half years off. I want to do as many fun things as possible, as close by as we can, so that we can really enjoy this time together. This weekend we took our first overnight trip of the summer. I decided I wanted to take the kids, with my husband, to Niagara Falls. I haven’t been there in years, and I always marvel at the sight of this natural wonder of the world. To see it is breathtaking. My eight year old son was impressed as soon as we could see it.



After walking to the very edge of the Canadian side, and enjoying the many different views of the Falls – all of them spectacular – we let Zander, our eight year old, decide on two places to see in Niagara Falls, among the many attractions. There’s the Guinness World Records Museum, Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks, Ripley’s Museum, The Mystery Maze, The Fun House, The Clifton Hill Skywheel, and a whole whack of others that could have been considered. Ultimately he ended up picking The Mystery Maze and The Fun House, and, $80 and about 20 minutes later, we were done. To be honest, those were likely the most overpriced and underwhelming attractions we could have experienced; however, there was a little bit of fun had, which is the most important thing.

We even had fun with some fierce creatures on our way out of the city!


We went to our hotel and settled in. The next day we were going to Marineland, an amusement park with both animals and rides, which is only a few minutes outside of Niagara Falls, and we were all very excited.

I think I’ve only been to Marineland once in my almost 41 years. And it was when I was around nine years old. So I was definitely overdue for a visit. Having the chance to take my kids – who love animals and having fun (who doesn’t?) – was a bonus. The day was AMAZING. We were given tickets to feed the beluga whales – thank you Ann Marie! – so we did that as soon as we got to the park. The kids (and Scott and I too) loved it. Kodiak was a sweet beluga!



We also took in the King Waldorf Stadium Show, where we were able to see sea lions, beluga whales, dolphins, and walruses. The stadium was packed full, and the entire crowd was entertained for the almost-hour-long show.



After the show it was time to feed the deer. One of the only memories I have of visiting Marineland when I was a kid was of my dad feeding the deer. They swarmed him. So I was a bit timid when my husband asked if I wanted to feed them, after buying some food for them. It was deja vu all over again…


Above is Dad, in August of 1983.

Below are Scott and Zoey, in July of 2015.


The deer are very tame and calm, and wouldn’t hurt anyone, but I’m a bit afraid of any animal that is taller than me if standing on its hind legs (which happens to be A LOT of animals – including some dogs – because I am a shorty), so I kept some distance between me and them.


It was then time for the rides. Here in Ontario there are a number of attractions where kids can enjoy rides. The catch is some of those spots are so crowded that you have to wait in atrociously long lines to ride even the shortest of rides. That was not the case at Marineland. And it was a beautifully sunny and warm day, in July, when places like it are overrun with families. Sure there were hundreds of thousands of people there – the evidence of that was the full parking lot – but things are spread out so that it doesn’t seem like it. (You can rent strollers and double strollers, so the kids won’t tire out walking and parents won’t tire out piggybacking and carrying kids around. We got a double stroller that fit both Zander – a tall eight year old – and Zoey.) And there were lots of rides to go on so there wasn’t one that had terribly long lines. Another fantastic thing about Marineland’s rides was that most were perfect for kids my age. Although the Sky Screamer is one of the most popular rides at Marineland, and Zander was dying to go on it – he’s a daredevil – neither my husband nor I was brave enough to go with him! The next best thing was the Orca Screamer – a mini Sky Screamer – and both Scott and I were able to muster up the courage to experience it with Zander. It was definitely tons of fun for him, and I even got video of him screaming, “Amazing! This is awesome!” even though he didn’t know I was recording him!


He also rode the Sky Hawk with me twice (but there’s no pictures because hubby doesn’t take pics!), which spins around and also goes high up into the air, and he rode the Viking Adventure on his own twice. That one twisted and turned, and got a big thumbs up from Zander.


Zoey, our four year old, was also able to spend the afternoon on age appropriate rides, including the Ocean Odyssey…


…and the Boat Carousel…


…and the Tivoli Wheel.


She went on the last two rides several times, because she was having so much fun on them.

We all had a wonderful time, and spent six hours there. It didn’t seem like much time at all, and if we had been staying another night in the area we would’ve stayed longer. And now, as I’m looking at the visitor map, I see that we missed two entire sections of the park! I guess we’ll have to make another trip to Niagara Falls and Marineland to see what we missed this time around. Maybe even later this summer…

Mom Guilt – Post By Allison Empey

A friend of mine is also a mom of two, and, like many of us parents, she feels the guilt that goes along with having any sort of me time. She’s written about it, for Quinte Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, and I wanted to share her words with you. No doubt you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement at what she describes.  It’s all part of this giant job we call parenting. :) 


Mom Guilt

Hi, everyone.  I’m Allison.  (“Hi, Allison!”)  I’m here today because I have a problem.  I have “Mom guilt”.  And I need help.

I’ve always prided myself on being a laid-back, easygoing person.  Definitely not your Type A personality.  My shoes and boots aren’t in perfect pairs inside my front door.  I have no less than 3 novels on the go at one time.  I squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle.  Every. Time.   And “guilt” was NOT previously a word in my personal vocabulary.

Then I became a mother.  Twice.

At first, I thought I was being irrational due to those ridiculous postpartum hormones.   However, I still have this “Mom Guilt” thing LONG after that weird postpartum period.  My kids, a boy and a girl, are ages 6 and 3, respectively.  For the most part, they’re very good kids (especially for people OTHER than Mom and Dad).  They’re well behaved, easy to entertain and aren’t a flight risk if you take them out in public.  Every person who keeps them for me says great things about their “child-watching” experience.  So why, dear reader, do I still get this nagging feeling, this uncomfortable sensation in the pit of my stomach that keeps me thinking “They SHOULD be with ME.”

It started when my eldest child was just a few months old.  My parents kept him overnight on New Year’s Eve, so my husband and I could have some friends over and try to celebrate in a childless fashion for the first time since babe was born.  Of course, as it turned out, I didn’t really enjoy myself, thought about my 2-month-old the whole time, then couldn’t get up and dressed fast enough the next morning to go and get him.  But that’s normal, right?  Right.  It was the first time he’d been away from me for more than a few hours, so these feelings were natural.  I worried about how he’d slept (if at all), if he cried too much, and all of the normal newborn worries.  But, honestly, I wish it had stopped there.

This problem with “Mom guilt” plagues me to this day.  I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve turned down invitations for dinner with friends, shopping trips, overnights with my husband because of this feeling.  The feeling of “It was MY decision to have these kids, so it should be ME taking care of them.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.”

I worry about putting people out – that these lovely people could be doing something ELSE with their time rather than fetching juice boxes for my kids.  I worry that they won’t sleep well at Nanny’s.  I feel guilty if I linger too long at the restaurant the three times a year I DO go out for dinner.  And THEN I feel guilty because I’m trying to listen to what my dinner companion is saying, but instead I’m ruminating about how I should have stayed home and taken care of my kids myself!  (Sorry, everyone I’ve gone out with over the past six years!)

It’s hard to believe that I still have this problem six years later.  And that now there are TWO children to “worry” about instead of just one.  It’s not as bad as it once was – I mean, taking care of a 6-year-old versus taking care of a 6-MONTH-old is a whole different ball game – but it’s still there.  It even happens when I leave the kids with my husband, which is RIDICULOUS.  My brain wants to recognize that they will be totally and completely fine, and that their Dad is honestly not even a little bit “put out” about being in charge of them for the time I’m gone, but that little nagging feeling always seems to be all “Step aside, spleen!” and push it’s way into the pit of my stomach.  I’ve just become really good at living with it.

I know a lot of parents who are able to leave their kids with their grandparents, or aunts and uncles, and go to a sunny resort for a week.  And I don’t begrudge them that.  I APPLAUD them for that.  I wish that I were able to do that, without guilt, but I know I’d be miserable.  I’d constantly be thinking about what a wrench I’d thrown into their plans, into their otherwise normal and easy lives that they would lead if they weren’t in charge of my kids for a week.  Let’s face it – no one wants to think about/cry about that when they’re trying to enjoy an oceanside pina colada.

This guilt feeling IS lessening as my kids become older, more self-sufficient human beings, but it’s still present.  It might always be.  I AM trying to get out more, to do more things on my own, without feeling like I should be staying home.  I know some of my friendships have suffered because of this problem.  I know I’ve turned down one too many invitations to go to Toronto or Ottawa overnight to see people who were some of my best friends.  I have a lot of lost time to make up for.  And it needs to start soon.

This isn’t an instructional blog post, nor does it contain helpful tips for keeping diaper rash at bay, but if it resonates with just one other person out there (hey, I’m sure “Dad guilt” is a thing, too), then I’ll be content.

This was a hard post to write.  A lot of it was written through a haze of tears.  But while my 3-year-old sits happily on the floor watching Imagination Movers, I’m gonna slip into the bathroom and fix my mascara.  Guilt free.

Every Bunny’s Different – Book #3 Is Available!

Last year I had this crazy idea.  I wanted to self-publish a book.  Why not, right?  There are a number of online sites which make self-publishing easy.  All you need is a computer, an idea, and an illustrator (if you are like me and can’t draw).  Although there have been some delays and snags, I’ve actually managed to write and self-publish three books.  I’m extremely proud of them too.  I’ll give you a brief rundown of them all – available for purchase at,,, and – but I want to start with my latest, called Every Bunny’s Different.

Every Bunny’s Different is the story of a bunny named Bryn who learns that she hops differently than the other bunnies.  As a result, she is embarrassed and decides not to hop at all.  Because I can’t have an unhappy ending (I need to have a happy ending…always!), Bryn learns that everyone is different and that’s what makes us special.  It’s an uplifting story about embracing differences, accepting yourself as you are, and being happy.


Now let’s go back to the beginning…or, at least, to the first book.  It all started with this one.  The idea for this book came to me quickly – based on an adulthood experience I have had – and everything seemed to fall into place with it easily and rapidly.  It’s called The Duck Who Lost Her Quack.  It’s about a duck named Gemma who is forced to change and, consequently, becomes a different – sad – duck.  It ends happily though, with Gemma becoming herself again and finding happiness once more.  I think it’s a sweet story about choosing to be happy and not letting others change you.


Months (and months and months) later, I self-published my second book, called Sammy’s Rainy Day-And How It Went Away.  It’s about a cat named Sammy who gets sad and lets his emotions overcome him.  It, too, ends happily, with Sammy’s friends coming to his rescue, and letting him see the love around him.  Sammy even pays it forward by helping another animal on the playground overcome his sadness.  Again, I think it’s a heartwarming story about choosing happiness, as well as being about the importance of friendship, and recognizing the good around you.


As a mom of two fantastic children, I wanted to write stories for them with really beautiful, positive, and inspiring messages attached to them.  I think I did that.  I’m proud of what I’ve done…so far. More to come…

If I Had More Time

Taken from a Writing Prompt from Mama Kat: What Would You Change About Your Life If You Could?

If there was something I could change about my life, it would be that I would have more time. Over the last few months (okay, realistically over the last 6 months or so) I have not been keeping up with writing on my blog. It’s definitely a time problem. At the beginning of last year, when I started this blog – inspired by other bloggers whose work I read regularly and who I think are incredibly talented – I had free time. My then almost-3-year-old frequently napped, which meant that I had a few hours in the afternoon to myself, while my hubby was at work and my son was at school. I used that time to feed my passion for writing. It was something I used to do a lot when I was younger – in elementary school I wrote poems, short stories, and even raps (!), and in secondary school I wrote for the school newspaper – but that was a LONG time ago. I loved getting back to it. I even wrote and self-published some children’s books. It had been a dream of mine to create something that I could be proud of and show to my children, as an example of setting a goal and achieving it. (Shameless self-promotion: The Duck Who Lost Her Quack, Sammy’s Rainy Day-And How It Went Away, and Every Bunny’s Different are available at and


But the afternoon naps of my youngest disappeared, and, with them, so did my free time in the day to write. The nights have also gotten busier, with me single-parenting three nights of the week.  So it’s difficult to have any time to just sit and think…and write. I honestly don’t know how the other bloggers I follow find the time to write as much as they do, and I wish I could do the same. The only reason I am able to write this right now is because I am at work…shhhhh…which means I am alone (and I can do this because I’m just a body here in case something goes wrong!).

Of course, keeping up with writing isn’t the only thing I would do with more time. In September, my son and I started taking guitar lessons. It’s something I have wanted to do since I was 14, listening to Bon Jovi and hoping to get an electric guitar for my 15th birthday. That didn’t happen. And I didn’t ever take lessons. So when the opportunity came up months ago, I jumped at it. I loved the lessons, but I started to feel overwhelmed with life a few months later. It seemed we (my family) were always running here and there, though I know we’re not nearly as busy with extra-curricular activities as many people we know. That, compounded with daily headaches and back and neck problems, led to me abandoning the guitar. I jokingly told my hubby he could step in for me for a bit. Now he’s hooked. And I haven’t yet been back to guitar lessons. It’s been four months. I miss it. But, again, I don’t feel like I have enough time to practice as much as I need to. As much as giving it a real try deserves. If I had more time I would definitely continue with guitar lessons, and, in a perfect world, I’d have loads of free time to practice.

With more time I’d also start taking voice lessons. I used to sing. All the time. It’s what I’d do on whenever I had any free time. It was my thing. And I was good. WAS. When I started teachers college, I moved home, leaving the big city and my vocal instructor. That was in 2000.  When I first started this blog, one of my goals for the year was to follow my bliss: singing. I originally intended to start lessons to get my instrument back into shape, and then pay for some recording time and make a CD for me and to have something cool to show and play for my children. That lasted one lesson.

I admit that I feel bad about focusing on myself with my make-believe free time, but I really think it’s important to do what you love and what makes you happy. Obviously my kids make me happy, and I love them more than anything in the world, but I think it’s important to show them that Mommy has hobbies and activities she loves and needs time to do. Hopefully that will also ignite a passion for something in them.


I have been fortunate enough to have had four years off from my regular job – teaching secondary school – to concentrate on taking care of my family, so I know that the time I have free to do anything “extra” will diminish drastically in September when I go back to work and my youngest starts school. I’m sure I will have a much different list of things I’d want to do with my free time then. I know that I’ll miss spending all of my days with my daughter, having the time to drive my son to and home from school every day, and spending every minute of the kids’ time at home with them. Instead of lamenting the loss of free time to do things for myself, I’ll be wishing time wouldn’t move as quickly as it does, mourning the loss of the time I used to have to just hang out with the kids.

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Time, why can’t you just stop for a bit and let us do all of the things we want to do?

Sammy’s Rainy Day – And How It Went Away

I’ve been meaning to write about this for several months now.  I should have excitedly written a blog post in October when I finally self-published my second children’s book.  Upon self-publishing my first children’s book, I immediately told the world!  And I shared the news here.  I was extremely excited about doing it.  I was incredibly proud of my book.  And I had a lot of support from family and friends, which was surprising, encouraging, and heart-warming.  Although I had those same emotions with this book, I didn’t promote it in the same way.  Obviously doing something a second time is not as significant as doing it the first time.  However, my lack of enthusiasm, I think, is due to all of the frustration I’ve felt while working on this project.

My first book, The Duck Who Lost Her Quack, was written, illustrated, and self-published within two months.  There were no problems using the software provided by Blurb.  There were no problems with the picture files, the amount of text, or the formatting of pages.  And, because it was my first book, a lot of family, friends, and acquaintances bought books to support my creative endeavour.  I even did a few radio interviews with my colleagues at CKNX Radio, and a business owner in my town asked if she could carry some books to sell.  It was a wonderful experience.

Unfortunately my second book, Sammy’s Rainy Day – And How It Went Away, was not such a smooth venture.  I wrote it about a month after I wrote the duck book.  However, I decided to submit it to a publisher with the hopes of it getting published, not self-published.  So I had to wait three months.  Nothing.  No problem, I’ll self-publish this one too.  I was ready for an illustrator, but because of busy lives, several people who were supposed to fill that role did not get any drawings submitted to me, after almost two months.  Luckily I found someone to do the illustrations for me, and by the end of August they were done.  And they were adorable and perfect.  But when it came time to put them into the book-creating software, there was a problem.  The resolution was too low.  After using many different methods, over several weeks, it finally worked.  Then I realized I had too much text for the pages.  But it was too late to ask for more pictures.  My illustrator had gone back to university and was tremendously busy.  It took another few weeks to re-size all of the pages, and, while I was doing that, I was also trying to create the book using another method, so I could keep the price to print it down.  That just caused more unnecessary stress in my life…and did not work.  Finally the book was ready to self-publish…seven months after I wrote it.

Although not as many people ordered my second book, I was proud of it and happy with the response.  However, the delays, the snags, and the frustration soured my experience with Sammy’s Rainy Day and did nothing to motivate me to write about it here.  That makes me feel bad because creating something, no matter how long it takes and how many wrenches are thrown into your plans, is something to be pleased about.

I’m glad that today I can finally put behind the exasperation involved with this book, and acknowledge Sammy’s Rainy Day – And How It Went Away.  I honestly – and biasedly, of course! – think The Duck Who Lost Her Quack  and Sammy’s Rainy Day are two really good books for children, with great messages about being yourself, problem-solving, overcoming sadness and struggles, and finding your happiness.  (And if you want to see for yourself, they’re available at,, and!)