Zoey and the birds

Some days I catch a little bit of my kids being silly, on my phone. Tonight my phone was recharging when the kids were cracking each other up with their songs about “birdies”, and so I couldn’t record it. One sang something funny about the birds, making the other laugh, and then it was the other’s turn. It was adorable and hilarious. Lately Zoey, my 3 year old, has had an obsession with birds. She chases them in the park, and she talks to them through her bedroom window. It’s usually when she’s supposed to be napping in the afternoon. One day about a week ago I caught some of this…

Translation: “I’m just talking a birdies a second.”





Sixteen Years Later…

It’s funny how you sometimes end up where you never thought you’d be. If you had asked me at my university graduation, 16 years ago this month, where I’d be and what I’d be doing in 16 years, I would have said I’d be in television. That’s because for years before that I had wanted to be a journalist. I wrote a lot, and then after my first year of university I decided to go into TV. (I said I wanted to be “the next Barbara Walters”.) And fortunately I was offered a job at one of the three big private TV networks in the country, Global Television in Toronto, before graduation. I had done an internship there, and so I had made connections and shown I was eager to learn and to work. It was exciting. I realized quickly that I did not, like I thought I did in the past, want to be a reporter on TV. My skin is much too thin for that. I care far too much about what people think of me. You can read a bit about that in this post about the movie “Frozen”, for Ketchup With Us. Anyway, I did a number of “behind-the-scenes” jobs at Global TV, culminating in a job as the “fill in” producer at Queen’s Park, where our provincial parliament is, and in a job as a production co-ordinator, working as a liaison between the news producers and the editors. They were fun jobs, albeit with a lot of pressure. And at Global, the more I asked to do, the more they gave me to do, gladly. It was pretty easy to get promoted: just show you’re a hard worker and willing to do any job (including getting up at 3 am to sit where there was a city strike, waiting for hours for a closed-door meeting to end!). My whole experience at Global TV was invaluable, but I made a decision to do something else. I was not a big fan of living in the city, which is funny because when I was a kid/teenager in my small town I dreamed of being in “the big city”. I thought I’d have an apartment somewhere sophisticated…AND a lovely little house in the country where I’d go on days off to write! I also wanted to make a difference in the world, and I didn’t think I was doing it with producing a weekly political show now and then, or editing pieces for voiceovers for the newscasts. I decided, on a whim really, to go to teachers college with a friend. Soon after we both got jobs here, at the high school in Wingham. And now, years later, I am a secondary school teacher on an extended leave with a hubby and 2 children, living in Wingham. Perhaps it’s the expectation I’ve put on myself to “be something”, but it’s definitely sometimes difficult seeing what my former classmates and former co-workers are doing in the industry, though I’m extremely happy for them and their successes. It’s not helped when teaching colleagues say, “Are you EVER coming back?” and “Why are you still at home?” I feel a bit lazy, to be honest, even though being at home is anything but easy. Also, because I am still that ambitious woman I work weekends and the odd days during the week at the radio station here in town. I don’t want to feel as though I’m just sitting at home, because, let’s face it, some don’t put a lot of value on that. Someone said to me, several months ago, “You’re too good a teacher to be sitting at home.” I remember a colleague telling my husband, when my son was 9 months old and I wasn’t back to work (we have 1 full year of maternity leave here), “Tell her to cut the apron strings and get back to work.” It was shocking. And so, partly because of societal pressure, and partly because of the pressure I put on myself, I sometimes feel like I’ve let the me of 16 years ago down. I haven’t become “the next Barbara Walters”. I haven’t become a successful TV producer. However, I have become “Mom” and have successfully produced 2 wonderful human beings whom I love more than anything in this world. I will never regret my decisions because of them and my husband.


Easter…Later? (for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop)

Writing Prompt:  Easter recap!  And a blog post inspired by the word : late.  (I’m going to do a combination here.)

The common cold has been making its way through our house…and it’s doing a second lap I think.  First it was my son who came down with the nastiest and craziest sounding cough I’ve ever heard (it’s now a combination of a sneeze and a cough, which he refers to as a “snough”, funny kid).  Then my daughter was fevered and had a runny nose.  Next it was my turn.  And it knocked me on my butt last weekend.  Unfortunately last weekend was also Easter weekend.  Normally we go to my parents’ house, where my brother and his family are as well, and it gives the kids (my brother has 4 and I have 2) a chance to see each other and play together, which isn’t a regular occurrence due to distance and busy lives.  However, I decided I would have to stay home.  I didn’t want to give anything to my brother’s family or to my parents, and, to be honest, I felt horrible.  I didn’t want to be up and about, running after kids doing an Easter egg hunt.  And when it was time for Zoey to get ready to go with Daddy and Zander,  she decided she wanted to stay home too.  She was still fighting her cold.  So she and I didn’t actually have much Easter fun, other than the little Easter egg hunt we did with Zander and Daddy on the morning of Easter Sunday.



The rest of the day was spent in bed, first fighting the afternoon nap, as usual, and then finally giving in.  Even though I felt bad physically, I felt worse emotionally, thinking that this sweet 3 year old didn’t get the chance to have any fun.  Sure, she was incredibly excited when her brother and her daddy came home, bearing gifts…and chocolate.



But she didn’t get to have the family fun.  And so, I think we’re going to have to have a late Easter celebration with my parents in the next few weeks, when we all finally feel like ourselves again.  Hopefully Mother Nature will bless us with some warm, more spring-like weather, and we can enjoy it with family…and chocolate.

Radio Interviews About My Children’s Book

I have had the privilege of being interviewed by a couple of fantastic and supportive colleagues at CKNX Radio in Wingham, on two different stations – FM 101.7 The One and FM 94.5 The Bull – about my self-published children’s book called The Duck Who Lost Her Quack.  I tried to sound “normal”…but I’m not sure I accomplished that!  😉  However, here are the interviews, if you’d like to have a listen.  Oh, and here’s a link to the site where you can check out my book:  The Duck Who Lost Her Quack.


Interview with Laura Geddes (FM 101.7 The One) about The Duck Who Lost Her Quack



Interview with Kevin Fell (FM 94.5 The Bull) about The Duck Who Lost Her Quack


The Top 5 Things That Make Me Happy (for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop)

Writing Prompt:  Things That Make You Happy

There are a lot of people and things that make me happy, but I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 for this particular blog post for Mama Kat.

1)  My kids:  There are so many things that make me happy about my kids.  Sure, there are moments when I can’t wait for bedtime, mostly because it means a bit of a break from “I need milk”, “More juice”, “I need food”, and “Change my bum”.  But I can’t imagine life without them.  I love seeing them play together, hearing Zoey (the 3 year old) say, “I love you, Zander, you’re my best friend” (to her big brother), seeing Zander hug Zoey,  seeing them smile, hearing them laugh, hugging them, and kissing them.  My little girl is particularly loving, and she will smooth my hair, put her hand under my chin, and say, “I love you, Mommy.”  Melts my heart and wets my eyes every time.

2)  Coffee:  I am unabashedly addicted to it.  I used to be ashamed, when I first became a coffee drinker when my son was an infant, but I’ve since embraced it.  I figure there are worse things I could be addicted to, that would be more harmful to my health and my wallet.  And the nurse practitioner just told me that caffeine helps with headaches, from which I suffer…so that’s basically a “go ahead” from a health care professional to indulge.  Right?

3)  Chocolate:  I consume at least a little bit of it every day, whether it’s in the form of hot chocolate mix added to my coffee (heaven in a cup), or in the form of a few chocolate chips I can sneak from a bag in our pantry.

4)  Reality TV:  This sounds pathetic, but I look forward to the night of the week when “Survivor” is on.  I should probably be picked as a fan if there’s ever another “Fans vs Favorites” season, because I’ve watched every season.  That would be cool, except I hate bugs, I’ve never camped before, and I am still traumatized by having to go pee in a hole in the ground while travelling in Italy.  Better to just sit on my comfy couch and watch probably.

5)  Summer:  I live in the snowbelt of Midwestern Ontario, Canada, and it’s difficult because I strongly dislike snow and cold.  I long for warmth, the sun on my face, and being able to walk outside without worrying about windchill, frostbite, falling on ice, and having to precariously walk on snowbanks.  Of course, I might just settle for a tropical vacation every year!

If I could, I’d add sleep, time to do nothing, music, massages, alone time with my husband, and going out with my girlfriends…Perhaps in another blog post…?  Happy Easter to you!  I hope this weekend finds YOU happy.


From the Mouth of Zoey (10 Minute Free Write for Ketchup With Us)

A little girl in our house had a big few days last weekend, full of celebrating. Zoey turned 3. And though we didn’t have a big party, we did have family here, as well as presents, and cake(s).

princesscake2  castlecake

In honour of Zoey’s birthday, I thought I’d write a list of things Zoey has been saying lately, to show you the kind of funny and sweet little kid she is.

1) “We don’t like cat pee…or poo…in our faces.” I’m not sure where this came from, though we talked about neighbourhood cats peeing near our basement bathroom, leaving a terrible stench. That prompted Mommy and Daddy to discuss our dislike of cat pee.  However, the “in our faces” part wasn’t part of the discussion!

2) “Listen to me, birds: don’t eat garbage. That’s disgusting.” I saw crows picking through the garbage bags one day, making a mess. I told Zoey they were eating the garbage, and this was her response. She often looks out her window and says this to the birds she sees.

3) “Let me touch your eyeballs.” She likes to touch my eyeballs. I don’t get it. But it hurts.

4) “We don’t have wieners. We have dadinas.” Living in a house with a big brother, she wondered about her body parts. I had to let her know that she and Mommy are the same, and Zander and Daddy are the same.

5) “Boobies…boobies…boobies…boobies…boobies…” This was just something she decided to say over and over again one night while lying in bed.

6) “You have booders in your nose.” You should read a previous blog I wrote, and see what happened to Zoey’s “booders”. (Just Another Day of Motherhood)

7) “Let me smell you.” [sniffs] “You are fine.” I’m glad I always pass the test.

8) “You have boobies. Daddy has boobies too.” Poor Daddy. Now he’s self-conscious.

9) “There’s dog poo on the snow. And big, giant horse poo too.” Zoey thinks the dirt on the snow (from the street) is NOT dirt. I think it came from me telling her to watch where she steps and not eat snow…because dogs and cats go pee and poo on it. ‘Never eat yellow snow’, right? Or brown snow. Whatever works.

10) “What are those?” Those are your nipples. “No, they’re my pickles!” When getting changed into her pajamas, Zoey pointed at her nipples and asked the question.

11) “I don’t want go sleep…ever!” This is pretty much the feeling of both of my children. And Mommy and Daddy are TIRED.

12) “I love you, Mom.” Quite often Zoey will say this out of the blue. She’s a very loving little girl. And now she’s started calling me “Mom” instead of “Mommy”, like a big kid. It’s funny coming from such a little person, but it’s also a little scary, because she’s growing up so quickly.

Which brings me to this one:

13) After planting numerous kisses on Zoey, her response was quite grown up: “That’s enough, Shannon.”

Happy birthday, Sweet Pea.  I love you and your brother more than you’ll ever know.



Ahh, Cuba… (A Memorable Spring Break – for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop)

It’s been difficult to think about spring around here. I live in Ontario, Canada, and in the “snowbelt” of Midwestern Ontario. That means we get a lot more snow than most of the area, and this year has been exceptionally snowy and cold. Even now, on April 14th, we’re expecting snow overnight, and maybe some freezing rain as well. It seems as if the winter will never end. One of the ways I’ve maintained my sanity having to stay inside for months on end with a 2 year old is to dream about the warmer weather, trees with leaves swaying in the breeze, flowers in full bloom, and the sound of waves crashing on the sand at the beach. Spring is one of my favourite seasons, because it’s invigorating when the days get longer, the sun starts to peek through clouds, the wind isn’t biting cold, and you can smell the earth. But it can’t compete with summer. I absolutely LOVE summer. And so, thinking about my most memorable spring break I have to say it was the year my husband and I travelled to Cuba for a week. It was in 2005 and we went with another couple who had been to the same resort the year before. They thought it was so fantastic they wanted to go again the next year, and thought we’d enjoy it too. It did not disappoint. It was hot and summer-like, which was the best.

The resort was lovely.


It had a beautiful pool which we sat beside all day to read…


…with the occasional dip in to get to the swim-up bar.


It had the most gorgeous white sand beach that the resort staff meticulously “cleaned” every morning so that it was pristine.


The entire staff was friendly, fun, and accommodating (and made mean mojitos!). We even ventured off the resort for a boat ride, and we found this little guy.


And we did very little. That is something my husband and I can’t do these days. We have 2 children, who are 7 and 3, and so we spend our days working and looking after the kids. We love them more than anything in the world, and love spending as much time as we can with them. But just like I dream of the summer sun and heat, I dream of a few days of having nothing at all to do…except sit at a swim-up bar, drinking a mojito, and reading a classic by Charles Dickens. Ahhh…perhaps another spring break?