goodbye to a very good dog

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I am very sad to share that our sweet dog, Miss Kayloo, has passed away. She died peacefully surrounded by her family.

I am quite heartbroken. We all are. Kayloo was one of a kind.

We adopted Kayloo when she was about 3 months old. Despite a not-so-great start to her life (she was abandoned at a dump) she was eternally happy-go-lucky.

Except when it came to small white dogs… or smallish dogs in general. She wanted to eat those ones. But other than that, eternally happy-go-lucky.

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When she first came to our house she promptly threw up on the carpet and sat on Mickey. And that would set the tone for how the next 7 1/2 years would go in our household.

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We thought she would be about Mickey’s size full grown. She ended up being over twice his size. We thought she wouldn’t shed much. Her daily brush left her surroundings looking like a medium sized rabbit had been massacred. Walking her was an upper body workout that threatened to put your back out and she never EVER listened in the house unless you completely lost your nut (although for some reason she had amazing recall at the dog park. She was an enigma).

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Her odor was not great, especially after a bath, the only person she had mouth control for was Naomi and when you clipped her nails she carried on like you were detaching her paws from her body.

Our home feels lopsided and too quiet without her.

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She liked to hug. She would gently (for her) walk into you until you folded over and held her head in your lap. She did it to us, but she also did it to strangers who, for reasons only she knew, needed it. She had a gorgeous shiny coat. Her paws smelled like nachos.

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I never worried about Bad Guys when I walked her at night. More than once men crossed the street after she turned her square head in their direction and locked her steely eyes on them… little did they know her evil plans to kiss them to death. Twice she protected Mickey from larger dogs with plans for a nice light snack. Both times she handled the situation without incident with a grace and control I had no idea she was capable of.

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She liked to roll in dead fish on the beach. She had the most adorable freckles on her nose.

She was more John’s dog. She loved all of us, but mostly she loved John.

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She was trained as a therapy dog. She loved the vet. If there was a Head Tilting Championship she would have won. She had no concept of self preservation. She couldn’t swim. She had an aggravating scream-bark when she wanted back into the house. Her ears stood up perfectly (with one little nick in her left ear from when she pissed another dog off at doggie daycare).

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She had bad hips and bad knees and a sensitive stomach. She twisted all her ankles and years of a full body wag left her with a bad back. We lovingly called her our Lemon. She and Mickey had daily power struggles over the best dog bed and Mickey was always utterly annoyed with her and now he’s adjusting to not having her to boss around.

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She was always under foot. Everyone loved her.

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She had some peanut butter. She had some apples. Naomi started to “sing” (howl) and Kayloo joined her.

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And now she is gone.

My heart hurts… but I know she had a really good, sweet life with a family that loved her like crazy.

Good bye Kayloo.

Thank you for being such a good girl. I miss your big square head and your soft muzzle.

We love you.

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 Beacon Hill Park Family Photograph


so long (for now) victoria… hello kelowna!

It’s happening… it’s happening… it’s happening! Our little family is moving away from the island we have called home for the last 7 years.

(all photos taken by the very talented Vivian Kereki Photography at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, BC)

Family Photo by Vivian Kereki

We are moving to Kelowna, BC… that’s a 1/2 hour drive + a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride + a 5ish hour drive away from here.  The movers come on Saturday and then the house will be empty. We’re moving on. No turning back.

Holy crap.

Family Photo by Vivian Kereki

I had a wee bit of a freak out yesterday. The idea of uprooting our lives to be closer to family has been a far away shimmer of a thought for so long… and now BAM! Here it is! I may or may not have sent a frantic text to John yesterday suggesting that maybe we should just scrap this whole thing, unpack the 4,000 boxes stacked in every corner of the house, order Thai and drink wine instead.

He said no so clearly John is the meanest.

Family Photo by Vivian Kereki

Victoria has been really good to us. Some highlights:

  • buying our first house together- this was awesome and incredibly stressful. Many nights spent staring at the ceiling in terror rather than sleeping
  • getting married- friends and family flew in from all corners of the world to celebrate with us
  • John starting his practice- such a huge accomplishment with really wonderful patients and staff
  • meeting Mickey and Kayloo and adding them to our family
  • making the move to work from home
  • the little flower cart around the corner- you pay based on an honour system. Awesome.
  • having our daughter in a birth pool on her bedroom floor- John caught her… my mom arrived minutes later… we had a sip of Guinness to celebrate and I fell asleep in my own bed
  • walking to the amazing cafe down the street
  • our friends- the connections we have made here are priceless. I have worked and laughed and cried with very beautiful people here in Victoria
  • our neighbours (also friends!)- we truly have a little oasis here, our neighbours feel like family
  • being part of a supportive parenting community- I started some groups for local moms after our daughter was born and there are almost 1,000 members now… a huge group of supportive, informed and community minded women I have really grown to depend on
  • being interviewed by the CBC for the No More Mommy Wars, photo project+ everything to do with the No More Mommy Wars project! Incredible!
  • the people who love our little bug- our neighbours, friends, coworkers. It is a beautiful thing seeing other people love someone you love so much.

Oi. Why are we moving again?

Family Photo by Vivian Kereki

It’s scary to pick up and move in my 30s. I moved every year and a half or so in my 20s. Last count I’ve lived in over 20 places… but I’ve never moved my family before. We’re moving because we feel like this is what is best for our family but… ooohh…. what if we’re wrong? What if I’m wrong?

Holy shit, what if I’m wrong?

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During one of our goodbyes a friend commented that this would be a “fresh start” and I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit. We have no personal contacts in Kelowna, John knows a few people through work but other than that we are starting over. Like, OVER over, baby. We don’t know ANYONE. We are moving for family but they are not in the area yet so the first while could be me wandering around aimlessly (desperately?) asking strangers to be my friend.

Ha, ha, heh. Just kidding… ha. Sigh.

I am a huge introvert (yes I am, trust me) so it goes against my nature to jump into social situations… but I’m going to do it, y’all.

I may need a little nudge every now and then though so feel free to follow up with me on that.

(love this photo below with the cherry blossoms! reminds me of the belly shots we had done with Maria Hutchison when I was pregnant)

Family Photo by Vivian Kereki at Beacon Hill Park

I’m going to have to update my little bio now, aren’t I? No more island living for me… off to the Okanagan…

Did I mention we’re moving to wine country?

Thank you, Victoria. Thank you for being the right place to start my family. I love you, I’ll miss you… I look forward to seeing you again very soon.

Family Photo by Vivian Kereki

(we’re playing Ring Around the Rosie in the photo above, so glad Vivian caught it! Girl loves that game and INSISTS that everyone All Fall Down…)


for when we renew our vows

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Minted (check out their Save the Date cards). I wrote it (I wax on about John and I) and the opinions are all mine… Spoiler alert: I think Minted is pretty dang rad.

About Minted: “Our purpose in life is to uncover exceptional design from all over the world and bring this to savvy consumers who won’t accept anything else.” Holy crap, it’s like they made their site SPECIFICALLY FOR ME. Thanks Minted. High fives.

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John proposed to me just outside Dam Square in Amsterdam where I lived in January 2007, a little over a year after we started seeing each other. He proposed on the spot we first kissed under a very Dutch overcast sky and a slight drizzle. A year and a half later we had vacationed in Egypt, moved to Canada, started a business (John), started a marketing job (me), bought a vehicle (I hadn’t driven regularly for a decade), moved out of a one bedroom apartment and into a house (ack!), got used to living in one place for more than a year… and got hitched standing by the water in the sun with our family and friends in a small town on Vancouver Island, BC.

And we planned a wedding.

I didn’t think I was going to be all that fussed about the details… and then my mom and I started dress shopping. That process unleashed my inner princess and it turns out when it comes to champagne coloured fancy dresses the princess quite likes “more” and “shiny.” It wasn’t long before I got my curious fingers on a sparkly tiara and I didn’t look back.

A TIARA, people. I’m not even kidding.

Clicking around Minted I now have all kinds of ideas for what we will do if we ever renew our vows. When we renew our vows? What? I’m not suggesting we get married EVERY YEAR… I’m just saying some hors d’oeuvres and a honeymoon suite couldn’t possibly hurt… feel free to help me put this on John’s radar.

I really like the “New Adventures” theme by oscar + emma. I think it is sweet and clean and not too formal.

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I adore “You In or What?” I might chicken out at the last minute and go for something a bit more formal, but honestly? It’s perfect and hilarious and a great reminder about what the day is all about: having fun with the people you love.

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I am really liking themes that feature the couple prominently. “Retro Numbers” by Jill Means is similar… maybe I’m just falling in love with these gorgeous couples…

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If we didn’t go with a photo card I think I’d go with “She Said Yes” by Carrie Eckert- you can put your story right on the card! I love how personal that is and I am wishing I had thought of it when I was sending out our cards…

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 And then for the wine lovers (of course)- “Little Wine Charmers“:

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I am in love with minted.com. Not only is the site beautiful and intuitive with designs that are highly customizable, I love what Minted stands for as a community: It’s crowd-sourced creativity that gives indie designers a platform. Watch the video on their About Us page to meet some of their designers and fall in love just a little bit more.

What are your favourite designs? Are you married? Do you have your themes picked out?

And most importantly:

Do you think it is likely John will ever EVER go for the whole renewing our vows thing…? ;-)

 

Photography: Our wedding photo by Concept Photography


so this is christmas

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Little Miss hangin’ out with her bud, Santa Claus (photo taken by the lovely Vivian Kereki Photography).

As I write this she is sitting beside me saying “No way. Nope. No waaaay.” I’m not sure what she’s referring to, but she’s adamant. Twelve months have passed since her last Santa photo (obviously). Her hair is longer and frames her head in curls, she tells Kayloo to “back up” and “no” and gets mad at her for slobbering on her toys. She told me she loved me 2 days ago. Yesterday she was inconsolable until I figured out she was saying “kiss.” She wanted me to kiss her head where she bonked it. My kiss fixed it. She likes to wear dresses, she LOVES to wear tights and her favourite topics are trucks and “choo choo trains.”

She loves hugs. She loves to dance. She asks me if I need help and if I want a coffee.

Somehow she’s a little person. A whole little person. It seems like a lifetime ago when I was talking to her in my belly. I remember not being able to imagine being in the world and not being pregnant and now I can hardly remember what it was not to know her.

This tiny human has redefined sleep and rest and fun and Monday’s and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s and priorities and worry and nourishment and Christmas. And everything else.

She has redefined everything.

As we launch into the holidays, Merry Christmas!

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More Christmas

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2011 (letter to Bambino)

Christmas 2011 (pregnant belly shot- 27 weeks)

Christmas 2010 (John and Chad and Rebeccah)

Christmas 2009 (in Victoria)


damned damned

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

I am in my home office as I start this post. I am working. I can hear Little Miss down the hall with her attentive babysitter and she is chattering away owlabaloobahbah uppa! and I am here typing and I want to abandon my clicking keyboard and join her. Her uppa! tweaks my heart in a previously undiscovered place. I want to catch every silvery moment because I know that soon enough her sweaty blonde curls will never lay against my chest while she shrugs in her sleep and it will be all about friends and school and whatever it is that girls older than my daughter are all about.

But I sit in my swivel chair and work.

But I want to be sitting here working. I want to Succeed and Kick Ass and Use My Brain and Solve Problems and Expertly Swoop In. I want to Use My Education and Pull My Weight and Know the Answers. I want these things. I really want these things. Before I started working again I would hear from my Lawyer Friend and my Business School Friend and sometimes it felt like everyone was running faster and harder and better while I perched on the ground looking up with hopeful eyes and idle hands where no one saw me or needed me.

My daughter needs me. John needs me. My family needs me. I know that.

I was at a bbq over the weekend (for an hour and 15 minute post nap and pre-dinner meltdown) and I was talking to people with Real Full-Time Jobs. Being a mom is a Real Job but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. I was telling one of my (male) friends that it can be hard not having a Real Job. Now that I am working I can say, “Marketing and Business Development” (capital M, capital BD, of course) when people ask the universal icebreaker, And-What-Do-You-Do? Before I said, “I’m a stay-at-home-mom” (cue patronizing/bored smile) or “I’m doing the full-time-at-home Mom thing” (cue uncomfortable/absentminded nod) or “Well, uh. I’m at home now, my daughter was born last year and, you know, I’m enjoying being home with her, and we’ll see how long we do that for and it’s nice, you know, although sometimes it’s tough because I really like working, it’s been a huge part of Who I am, you know?” (cue eye-glaze and escape to the bathroom and there goes my small-talk companion).

It’s my insecurity, I know that.

Because I really do enjoy being home with her. Like when she yells “mamma mamma maaaammaaaaa!” as she waddles down the hall and tightly wraps her arms and legs and head around me like a warm, diapered monkey and I hug her warm little body until she’s ready to let go. And when she squeaks “bee-you?” (bear) and “babee?” (baby) over and over until her little arms are full to the brim with stuffed monkeys and plush babies and she nods that she and her entourage are now ready to go to the park. And when she calls Kayloo so she can sneak her some of her unwanted lunch. And when she says “pig” for the first time. And when she says “down” and pats the floor beside her inviting me to look at her animal magnets. And being here to help her with every single memorable and forgettable thing she needs.

But I get such a thrill from a perfect project plan. And talking with people who don’t talk about nap times (although, truth be told, I am more than willing to fill an hour with sleep talk). And launching mom power photo projects. And, hell, let’s not overlook depositing a paycheck. When remembering to take the sheets out of the washing machine and googling “quick dinner recipes” are my biggest intellectual challenges for the day, remembering the price tag on my education makes me want to throttle myself with a Lamb Chop puppet.

So here we are again: damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I’m damned either way. There is no such thing as having it all. At least not all at the same time, I see.


no more mommy wars! photos

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Remember that photo project all about the Mommy Wars I told you about?

The photos are finally live!

This project is for you if you’ve ever felt judged as a parent. Being a parent can be DIFFICULT. It can also be all kinds of awesome, but when it’s tough we need support from one another, we don’t need to feel like our every move is being scrutinized (we’ve got enough self-doubt going on, trust me).

If you’re a parent or if you plan to be a parent… or if you KNOW parents (you see where I’m headed with this), please go check out our photo project!

No More Mommy Wars, yo!

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labour day weekend… already

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This is actually a picture from June. WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO?

Little Miss loves nothing more than to have control of the dog leash. If it is possible for dogs to roll their eyes Mickey pulls it off.

Let’s throw all our summer love into this long weekend. It’s a lot of love.

SUMMER WE LOVE YOU!


real parenting cfax1070 #mommywars podcast

cfaxHere is the link to Mommy Wars podcast from last Saturday.

Our interview starts at 35:45.

Notes to self:

  • must work on my “hey there”… when I say “hello” at the beginning of the interview I sound positively saucy. Oh. My. God. Mortifying. I should have just thrown in a “how YOU doin’?” for good measure.
  • calm down. I was nervous and I couldn’t remember if I had said what I thought I said, or if I was just remembering practicing saying what I said with John the night before. (said saying said saying)
  • high-fives to me to asking fantastic women to join me. Sarah-Jane and Anna rocked it!

Too fun. Down with the Mommy Wars, yo.


real parenting cfax 1070 AM: chatting about the mommy wars

I’m going to be on the radio show Real Parenting CFAX 1070 AM this Saturday, Aug 10 at 12:30pm PST talking about the “Mommy Wars.” Exciting!

You know the whole mommy war thing, right? It’s all that “Are You Mom Enough” and “I work inside/outside the home so I’m better” and “I breastfeed/formula feed so I’m better” and “I’m a good mom OH YES I AM” mumbo jumbo. I’m going to be joined by my friends Sarah-Jane Steele, birth & postpartum doula and pre/postnatal yoga teacher; and Anna Arneja, a child protection social worker and we’re going to discuss why this nonsense needs to STOP ALREADY.

The mommy wars are lame. We have better things to worry about. Like how to function on less sleep than is humanly possible.

Learn more about the show:

Raffi: Need for social media reform + Mom Panel: Judge free motherhood

RAFFI IS GOING TO BE ON THE SHOW. He’s a tiny person god.

Off to fight the mommy wars…


a haiku (that’s right, a haiku)

plush toysThere are piles of cotton everywhere in my house. Fuzzy blankets and squishy stuffed animals and bright mini socks and baskets of laundry and and and. It’s everywhere. It’s adorable and it drives me crazy. It’s so sweet and Little Miss loves it hugs it and names it George… and it drives me crazy.

And so! A poem:

Drowning in cotton
as cute, plush piles reach higher.
Makes me crave sharp stuff.

Too dark? Oh. Sorry. But I’ve been driven to writen a poem and YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

I get a strange thrill out of frail objects these days. Breakable glasses of fully spicy wine (that don’t get knocked over)… delicate, dangly earrings (that don’t get yanked, really they are just pretty handles at this stage)… electronics (without peanut butter smudges)… sunglasses (ditto, smudges)… All this limp, safe cotton makes me jones for something fragile.

You? Does living dangerously now include being in the presence of things that are not indestructible?