I try.

I try to be a good mother.

I try to be a good wife and daughter and friend and relative.

I try to be a good person.

I try to be a good student and employee and coworker.

I try to write well.

I try to entertain and delight.

I try eat well.

I try to practice yoga. Every day.

I try to exercise.

I try to breathe and meditate and be spiritual.

I try to look presentable.

I try to be compassionate.

I try not to eat or wear animal products.

I try to keep a clean house.

I try not to lie, get mad, eat too much sugar, skip meals, spend too much money.

I try to manage anxious thoughts, stave off panic and ride waves of depression without slipping back into the deep.

I try to keep my plants alive and my pets fed.

I try to support and help others.

I try to be green and heal the planet.

I try to keep my family happy and healthy.

I try to set a good example for my kids.

This holiday I stopped trying.

I took a holiday from parenting and everything else at my parents’ cottage. I ate a lot, slept a lot, relaxed, gained weight. I let my kids eat cookies for breakfast, spend the day in their pajamas and watch Star Wars.

We played a lot of Sorry! (the Rascal’s our Sorry! champ!)….

We made a (sorry) snowman….

I slid down a hill on this Spider-man sled over and over again and laughed….

We went snowshoeing….

We danced and did our thing….

And I bought a sparkly pompom hat and scarf, fell in love with Ryan Gosling, baked cookies with the Rascal, read books, coloured and went for fairy walks with the Monkey, played tons of soccer, gazed at the stars, the moon and the nearly-frozen lake….

I’ve quoted this a bunch of times here in this blog and I’ll quote it again. My wonderful former yoga teacher, Monica Voss, said this about an asana (yoga pose) during one of our classes a few years ago: Sometimes we have to collapse the structure so we can gradually rebuild. I’ve never forgotten it.

And I’ve done it again.

I’ve collapsed the structure — The Structure of Trying — in which, like a guinea pig, I try and I try and I try to attain goal after goal and I’m just running and running and time is passing, wheel is spinning, and I’m getting nowhere. And I’m still heavier than I’d like to be, getting heavier. And still anxious. And perpetually tired. Endlessly busy, and buying, and sitting, and doing, and pushing, and giving, and hungry, and full, and struggling.

I’ve collapsed the structure. And I’m very gradually building a new foundation — starting with me.

I’ve found a really gentle guide on holistic nutritionist Meghan Telpner’s website called 21 Days to Health. It’s an ebook that involves making small daily changes to your life, like drinking lemon water in the morning (Day 1), flossing every time you brush (Day 2), going to bed 15 minutes earlier (Day 3), and so on. I do a lot of these things already (like flossing!), but I’ve been feeling such a sense of accomplishment, simply because I’ve managed to drink lemon water every morning for the past 5 days — never mind the fact that I haven’t been inside a Starbucks in five days either!(!!)

That easy, daily sense of accomplishment is golden for someone like me.

At the same time, I’ve been energized enough to make all my own meals, feed my family well, eat greens, take a lunch to work, eat lunch, avoid sugar, drink more water, and stay away from Starbucks!(!!)

And, so, for my yogi readers: I haven’t been to yoga. I’ve gone from my daily, trying Ashtanga practice to effectively ZIP. But I feel good. I’ve been taking my practice into my own hands, laying down the necessary foundation of a good diet (and general self-care), on which to gradually build a proper yoga practice — and everything else. The yoga just wasn’t working: I was gaining weight, not sleeping, feeling anxious. But then again it was working. It’s now forcing me to make space for yoga in my life (as my current yoga teacher might say) by cleaning up my diet (but, as you know, he would definitely not condone not practicing to make the space…!). And cleaning up my diet, for me, has meant limiting strenuous exercise. At least for now. I will be in class tomorrow, though, and probably a few times next week. Eventually, I’ll build my practice up to where it was, but I’ll be stronger and healthier and lean enough to progress in it and, finally, to be assisted in twists without shame, crying (or laughing!). It’s worth a try.

So it seems 2012 is starting quietly, calmly, privately (hence the lack of blog posts…), pensively, lightly, (somewhat) effortlessly, deliciously, healthfully, joyfully.

I brought a delicious casserole I made and an orange to work today….

Happy New Year, Gorgeouses…!

Love!

xo Haley-O


Happy Holidays, Gorgeouses!

I have nothing to say. Mostly because I’ve been eating way too much sugar. So now, as I sit down and attempt to craft a brilliant Happy-Holidays blog post, all I hear in my mind is this: bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Eventually the sugar buzz will go away, and I’ll probably have to eat some more sugar. UGH, there are just so many sugary goodies in my house. IT’S SO UNFAAAAAAAIR! How am I supposed to eat healthy when, for example, our amazing Todaysparent.com General Manager, Elana, leaves THIS on my desk….

Of course, it’s vegan and fair trade, so there were no excuses for me NOT to devour this chocolate-mint DREAM….

Well, anyway, I managed not to eat the whole bar. But it sat just like that on my desk all day, staring at me and calling my name. “Haaaaaaley! Haaaaaaaaley! Eeeeeeeat meeeee! Noowwwwwww! I’m yuuuuuuummy and will make your world preeeeeeeeeeetty!” So as soon as work ended and I got in my car to pick up the kids, I tore open the luscious green wrapper and scarfed a good chunk of it down like an ancient, ancient Neanderthal man in winter. I probably shouldn’t bother with the metaphors, huh? Bzzzzzzzzzzz…..

Despite my extreme sugar consumption, I have been going to yoga every day — except for those two days when, A, I had a rare migraine headache and couldn’t see anything (AND I still practiced blindly in my bedroom while the kids pointed at me and laughed) and, B, my alarm didn’t go off (I swear, it didn’t go off! Why won’t anybody believe me!?). In the New Year, I’m committing to a full 6-days-a-week practice…. And I’m going to really try to lose weight. No, really. REALLY.

I’m not going to go crazy and say I’m quitting sugar and wheat and chai lattes. As my friend Alice suggested, I’m just going to keep it simple and limit sugary and salty extremes: I’m going to eat grains and vegetables at every meal (lunch and dinner, anyway), and one soup; and I’m going to enjoy a fresh juice, fruit and/or tea in the morning instead of grabbing a chai latte.

In the meantime, I’m high on sugar. Bzzzzzz….. And I have to wake up early for yoga.

Oh gosh. I need water….

In the New Year, there will definitely be fewer sugar rushes. I’ve been feeling tired from all the sweet gluttony, and I haven’t been eating lunch. And due to protruding sugar gut, my yoga twists are awful again — like the books I’ve been collecting on my shelf at work, only not as HILARIOUS….

And bzzzzzzzz…. Nothing.

As I vowed on Today’s Parent‘s Facebook page earlier this evening, next week I’m going to take a “parenting holiday.” I’m not exactly sure how this is going to go down because I still have to feed the Monkey and Rascal, bathe them and break up the fights! But I’m going to try enjoy my family and relax this holiday without worrying so much about outcomes. “C’we have cookies for breakfast, Mama?” Sure! “Mama? C’we watch ANOTHER movie?” Sure! And just maybe I’ll take a little better care of me for once, instead.

Josh and the kids say HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Betty White says HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Minden says HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Maaaarge came out of hiding to say HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Happy Holidays, Gorgeouses! All the best to you and your families!

Love!

xo Haley-O


I’m not sure if my brillers yoga teacher minds if I quote him (again), but I’m too shy to ask. And yesterday, in yoga class, a funny thing happened.

In Ashtanga yoga, which is the style of yoga I practise, you do the same sequence every day, 6 days a week. Once you’ve mastered the poses your teacher’s given you, you get to add on another pose (or more). So I’ve been “stuck” at Bhujapidasana for over 9 months now. UNTIL YESTERDAY!

David: How was your Bhujapidasana today?
Me: Umm, uh, good. I, erm, was a bit stiff in the neck, but I got my feet off the ground.
David: Okay, do Kurmasana.
Me: Umm.

DO KURMASANA. Just like that. After 9 months. NINE. NINE MONTHS.

SURE! No problem. Do Kurmasana. You want to see Kurmasana, Gorgeouses? Let me show you Kurmasana. Actually, let DAVID show you KurmasanaLOOK!

And here’s a woman named Maria Villella demonstrating Bhujapidasana and Kurmasana (aka Hell on Hamstrings) very fancy-like on video — because you have to see these Kurmasana poses in action….

Right!? RIGHT. Do Kurmasana, he tells me. Just like that. And would you believe it’s even harder than it looks? I promise to video it when I can finally do it, ohh, 9 years from now?!

Anyway, I’m still in shock that I got a new pose. So I had to tell you all about it — even if you don’t share this crazy passion of mine. But, you know, this is my blog. And this yoga is my life saver. It makes me a healthier, happier, less OCD-anxious person. And it makes me a better — stronger, more focused, present and less nervous — mother. It’s kind of basically me. In a nutshell. Or nutshell-shaped pose. Hmmm….

And now for farm pictures.

We went to the farm near Montreal to spend the first night of Passover with Josh’s side of the family. And it was beautiful as ever. Except for that one bitty thing Betty White did. My in laws aren’t dog people, but they graciously allowed the dogs to roam free in the house, and, well, Betty White thanked them for it….

We had crated her in some cheap thing when we went out to the sugar shack (below) for a couple of hours, and the crate collapsed on poor Betty White! From the evidence we gathered, she then freaked out and started running all over the house looking for us — pooping in the living room and and AND decorating the entire upstairs with diarrhea….

A-ny-way…. She’s a GREAT DOG! I love her — like crazy.

So here are the pics! (Click to enlarge….)

We started at the sugary-sweet Sand Road Maple Farm. I was in a really good mood the first day — a true Canadian!

The whole family enjoyed an “authentic Canadian maple meal,” as I watched (since they don’t serve anything green or remotely vegan there other than orange juice). And the kids tasted their first authentic taffy stick…

…in their own special way….

The Canoe Race was a hoot. I was still in a good mood for this…. I was really into it!

…Of course the view helped…!

Unfortunately, none of the rowers opted to go through those RAPIDS OF DOOM. They all portaged. Boooo. So we stood out there for an hour for nothing….

But it’s okay because I was in a good mood and Betty White was warm….

Other than that, I planted my butt on a country chair and transcribed a couple of interviews (for hours!), and I started to get moody after feasting at the Passover Seder. Maybe it’s the yoga finally sinking in — but if I don’t eat clean (no sugar or overeating), I feel awful. Kind of like how Betty White’s puppy-cousin Kugel felt in a kippah…..

But the yoga helped. Saved me. And it’s always a treat to be out of the city and immersed in nature….

Birds….

Betty….

Love!

xo Haley-O


I don’t know who invented Wordless Wednesday. I could probably Google it. But part of the reason I’m attempting my very first Wordless Wednesday ever (and failing at it as we speak) is that I’m feeling awfully lazy. Awfully.

Which reminds me…, I have another word to submit to the Urban Dictionary: “ARFUL.” It’s the word you can all use from now on when your dog is being AWFUL. Arf!

We’re being wordless tonight because I am lazy. And because, really, these pictures from our trip to the country last weekend speak for themselves…. Checkit! (As always, click on the photos to enlarge them.)

I can’t keep it wordless any longer. Just one word. One? Oh, two…. THE DRAMA! THE DRAMA! And…. Oh, how we love our Betty White!

And that, dear Gorgeouses, was your Wordless Wednesday — the first, last, the only, Wordless Wednesday of 2010.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

LOVE!

xo Haley-O


Did any of you check out the fabulous Neil Kramer’s Fifth Annual Christmalhijrahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert? Well! It was a very big deal, and guess who showed up? Our very own CHEATY MONKEY (featuring special cameos by Betty White, the Rascal and, regrettably, my boob) singing everyone’s favourite Dreidel Song. CHECKIT:

I probably should have apologized in advance for the dirty dinner plates on the table. But see how the plates were scraped clean? It was some kind of mock macaroni dinner, if I remember correctly. Thanks to my trusty vita-mix blender (love!), the kids ate an entire broccoli stem each and didn’t know it.

“It has a lovely body with legs so short and thin.” That line cracks me up EVERY TIME she sings it.

It’s been 2 days since Neil’s big party, and Hanukkah’s only slipping further into the past, so I figure I better post our video here now. But DO go and check out so many of my friends. It’s a lot of fun!

Love!
xo Haley-O


Last night between fits of insomnia I dreamed of glitter and really long hair. I woke up to find the Rascal snoring and drooling on my back — wearing his new Maple Leafs jersey, clutching his new Maple Leafs hat in one dimply hand and his new Spiderman scooter in the other.

“Mama, your hair smells like gummy bears.” He’s right, unfortunately. This new shampoo is awful.

Stomp stomp stomp. The Monkey runs in to my bedroom carrying her new miniature Rapunzel doll, “Look, Mama! Her hair looks like a long stick on her head! [Giggle].” Good morning!

Hanukkah is here all right. While the first night’s gifts weren’t a total success (the Rascal’s Cars phone was too educational…). The second night’s gifts were so awesome the kids forgot about Christmas and Santa, Rudolf, elves, indoor trees adorned with pretty sparkly things….

But it wasn’t the hockey sweater and mini Rapunzel doll the kids loved…. It was the fabulous night out. I took the Monkey on a girls’ night out to see Tangled, and Josh-O took the Rascal to the Leafs game – via subway. Gorgeouses, ’twas the night my clinging-to-babyhood Rascal became a big boy….

New shirt — new attitude! (Not including the epic tantrum he threw this morning when he wanted to wear his favourite yellow sports jersey underneath his new Leafs jersey: “No, you can’t wear those two together, Rascal.” “Wahhh, I want Mama, Wahhhh!”) And yes we let him wear that Leafs jersey to bed AND to school. Hey, it’s preschool. No one cares.

Except the Monkey. Apparently she cares. A lot.

“Mama, I was on stage in front of thousands of people today,” she screamed when I picked her up from school today.

My child — my 5-year-old child — stood up on the gymnasium stage in front of the entire school to accept the School Character Award for “Consistent Demonstration of Empathy” today. Now who’s verklempt? Empathy. Empathy!


On our special night out, the Monkey and I had some much-needed time alone. She sat on my lap throughout the movie, got scared and wanted to leave as usual. But I urged her — just like in swim class — to push through her fear, and she did and she was illuminated like a thousand lanterns….

*Weep.* It’s…just so pretty.

I think I liked Tangled even more than most people because I thought Rapunzel was Reese Witherspoon the whole time. So throughout the movie, I was, like, “Wow, Reese Witherspoon can really sing.” Rapunzel was played by Mandy More, though. Who’s also quite agorjable and talented, but she’s not Reese Witherspoon.

Tonight we had our big Hanukkah party with all the cousins at It’sGrandma’s house. Latkes, dreydls, gelt, more presents (egad), the works. And I’m…. I’m beat, and I’m full. And I’m practically broke.

Oh, before you go, check this out! I’m honoured to be a Top 5 Finalist in two categories of the Canadian Weblog AwardsLife and Best Written.

I have to say, I’m really surprised. Thank you to whomever nominated me and to the jurors and the brillers Ms. Schmutzie (the Awards’ creator and organizer), and especially to all of you for being so Gorgeous.

Happy Hanukkah to those who are celebrating!

Love!
xo Haley-O

P.S.: Put on your dancing shoes and check out this now-viral Hanukkah video I posted at Today’s Parent yesterday if you haven’t already — it was featured on CNN today.


It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! It’s….

“Come on, people — look at my pine cone! PleeeeeeEEEEEEEeeeeeeEEEEase? Ah, aah, aaah!”

He’s in a whining phase. My little superboy is always whining. Just this weekend a close family member told me this: “I feel sorry for you. I really do.” That was after I pointed out his latest favourite phrase: “aah, aah, aaahhh!”

At first I felt vindicated when she said that. The Rascal IS really high maintenance. He’s a needy little guy when he’s with me — constantly. But this isn’t a reason to feel sorry for me. Sure he’s one whiny little dude, but he’s smart and funny and adorable, and he’s loving and affectionate. And his friend poked him in the eye today and it’s all grotesquely bloodshot and hard to look at, but he’s still ridiculously gorgeous. And he may crawl into my bed every night and wake me up every hour on the hour, but he gives. the best. back rubs. No one should feel sorry for me. But everyone should just trust me when I tell you he’s high maintenance and I’m tired.

Still it was a good Halloween. I ate too much candy, but I’m fasting for the next three weeks with The Feel Good Guru (more on that later)…. And in the midst of Halloween preparations, I stole away on my own for a bit and celebrated the second-year-anniversary of my beloved yoga studio with their annual “yoga Olympics” — look how fabulous!

I thought I’d better go to the Yoga Olympics because I had the weirdest dream the other night that I was a child around the Monkey’s age (5), and I didn’t want to play, like, at all. I didn’t want to play ANYTHING. It was actually kind of a nightmare. Really sad. I figure I’d better do more things I really enjoy doing; I figure I’d better play more.

Here’s my amazing teacher, David Robson, demonstrating the down-dog relay….

And here’s the uthplutihi contest….

While I was having my own unique (I know!) kind of fun, Betty White was at the top of the stairs at home trying to figure out what the deal was with our Halloween decoration….

REEEEEEEEOWWWW! Don’t worry, Betty White! SUPERGIRL will save you!

Halloween night was a lot of fun (even for me who apparently hates playing, BAH!). The kids had a great time — even though there was a lot of “ah, aah, aaaah!” which escalated to “wah, waah, WAAAHHHHHH!” when we walked by some neighbours who were hiding behind the bushes, scaring the little kids. *Cough.*

While our pumpkins weren’t quite Martha Stewart or Sue Sylvester material, they weren’t bad…. What do you think? I did the Mickey Mouse one start to finish  (Josh carved Tinker Bell) because the Rascal HAD to have a Mickey Mouse pumpkin…ah, aaah, aaaah!

How was your Halloween? Eventful? And tell me, pleeaeaaeEEEEasse, what do you do for “play”?

Love!

xo Haley-O

P.S.: One of these days I’ll figure out how to use my new(ish) camera. Fuzzy pictures – bygones!

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