Well, I never made it to yoga that week. And, as you can see, I hardly have time to do another thing I love anymore — blog here at Cheaty Monkey.

Things are busier than ever at work, so by the end of the day, after the kids are in bed and I’m done working some more, I just want to get offline, play with my animals and read a book.

A couple of weeks ago, Josh and I went on our trip to Mont Tremblant alone, i.e., without kids. I still can’t believe we went on a plane together without them. I was a little anxious, of course, because the Monkey kept asking things like, “Mama, will I ever be an orphan?” (The kid has impeccable timing.) But the flight was nothing, and it made us feel like we were farther away than we really were.

Want to see some pictures I took of beautiful Mont Tremblant (click to enlarge)?

The Skier.

The pole I would crash into if I attempted to ski.

Selves-portrait on snowy gondola ride.

Snowy gondola ride.

Sunglasses only a skier could love.

A new little black vegan purse.

Hotel room with a view….

If the kids were here, this wouldn’t be so quiet.

Ahhh, what could be better than peace and quiet and good old selfish indulgence. For three days we walked, worked out together, walked some more, watched the skiers, went for dinner, read our books, saw The Hunger Games (and had to switch seats because the French kids behind us kept saying “Quoi?” “qu’est-ce_que_c’est?”). It was amazing — and the perfect 40th birthday gift for Josh.

Of course, things returned to chaos and busyness as soon as we got home and it’sgrandma returned the kids to our doorstep. Sighhh, that’s why I know I need to find a way to get back to yoga.

It’s one thing to practise with the kids running around me at home, but quite another to go to the calm and peaceful yoga shala, sweat it out and breathe deeply.

But Josh is away again, so I’m not going anywhere. And I’m running on empty.

When he comes back, I’m making yoga and my well-being a priority. That’s a promise. Even if it means I have to cut another hour of sleep. Because, as I learned from our trip, life is too short to just run all the time.

xo Haley-O

P.S. When I say busier than ever at work, I mean it. Here are some things I’ve been working on lately: creating Today’s Parent‘s Earth Day page (my baby!); 20 Great Canadian Getaways; Postcards from Niagara Falls (originally printed in the May issue of Today’s Parent Magazine); Mark Wahlberg gallery; Celebrity kid hair inspiration gallery; and lots more, including editing articles, creating more galleries, tweeting for Today’s Parent, multiple daily posts at my Celebrity Candy blog, etc., etc., etc.. See? Just a little busy. But it’s LOVE! xo

I should really stop writing blog posts in my head. Because they never actually make it to the blog. I used to write a blog post a day in my head and then transcribe it seamlessly here. But now they come about once a week, and the finished product looks nothing like its mental predecessor.

Yes, these days, since I blog 3-4 times a day over at Today’s Parent, sitting down in the evening to write this blog, I gotta say, takes some effort, extra stamina, and vegan gummy bears. And the only reason I have vegan gummy bears in my pantry is because the Rascal loves them. I personally think they’re disgusting, but I had them here, you know, because he loves them, and one thing led to another and before I knew it SCARF…. Ew, seriously. Fingers crossed the “organic juice” they’re made with has an iota of nutritional value.


Now I’m trying to blog here, and Josh-O is talking on the phone. If you only knew how loud he talks on the phone. And he takes up the whole house with the pacing. What’s with the pacing?

GO DOWNSTAIRS, I’m mouthing to him, waving my hand ferociously (lots of post-gummy-bear adrenalin pumping through my veins). TOO LOUD. Seriously, I can’t hear myself think. Where was I, even? I guess, then, whatever I write now, I am NOT responsible for. I will say, though, that it’s been harder than ever for me to sit down to write this blog, go to yoga, get up in the morning, divide my attention equally between my dog Betty White and each of my two cats, MAAARGE and Minden. It’s been harder than ever for me to HEAR MYSELF THINK BECAUSE he’s on the damn phone.


He is the loudest phone talker ever in the history of phone talkers.



I’m fading. More gummy bears. NO. I’m still on that 21-day cleanse. Lemon water in the morning is still going strong. Except for those few days last week when got blasted with a nasty flu, which threw me so off course that I ended up at a Starbucks.

And then Josh pushed me so far off the rickety wagon when he brought me a tall soy-no-water tazo chai latte the other day (ENABLER), that I’m still cleaning the sweet-cinnamony puddle I landed in off my pants, which are getting tighter again already.

But it’s OK. I’m writing a blog post right now, and I made it to yoga this morning (and both Betty White and Minden are curled up on my lap…). I only did half of my practice, but that’s all I planned on doing. No backbends, no twists, no deep adjustments. Josh was leaving early for work again this morning, so I needed to take it really easy. Besides, as one of the designers on Project Runway Allstars said in her thick Australian accent last night, “I feel like I’m in a pressure cookah.” I don’t do yoga to chill out, but a chill practice is definitely what I need for the next little while. Especially if my generous, patiently persistent teacher insists I keep getting on the mat no matter what.

After practice, and after racing to get the kids dressed, fed and to school on time, I ran in to the Macrobiotic Centre of Toronto to pick up some of their Floating Ashtangi Juice and breakfast. For lunch I enjoyed one of their delicious rice triangles at my desk. And for dinner, I filled my canned lentil soup (I was too tired to make the real thing) with oodles of napa cabbage and green and purple kale. And so I had some gummy bears. At least you have something to read today, Gorgeouses, so don’t complain. Heh. Even if that something is gibberish (who even knows).

So back to Josh, and then I’m going to bed.

Josh got a new job. He went from being a work-at-home dad to going to the office early in the morning and coming home late in the evening. We have to get a friggin’ DOG WALKER now, and he’s given me full license to scowl at him when he comes home (ENABLER) for the next month or so.

So I’m tired. I am dog tired.

And I’m asking everyone to bear with me as I make this transition — like, if I babble on too much at the schoolyard, if I don’t respond to emails or your precious comments, if I suddenly start to giggle uncontrollably, wear my shirt inside-out to work, write gibberish, obscenely long blog posts, etc., etc..

It’s just that I was just so used to having him home all the time:

“Josh, can you pick up the kids from school? I am SWAMPED at work today!”

“Josh, can you take the Monkey for lunch today? She seemed sad this morning.”

“Josh, can you pick up some rice milk for me, oh, and ‘goji beans’ for the Rascal? I’m not going to make it to the school in time if I stop on the way.”

“Josh, can you take the Rascal to Karate today? I am BEAT.”

There’s none of that anymore, Gorgeouses. I am on my own. And I have an empty box of gummy bears and a gibberish blog post to show for it.

At least there’s a blog post at all. Right? See you soon.



Good night, Gorgeouses!


xo Haley-O

I never write about my marriage. It’s not because I’m not “allowed” to — Josh trusts me to make him look good at all times. I could even do like Russell Brand and post a photo of my confused spouse’s glorious morning face on twitter, and that would be okay (for Josh, but apparently not for Katy Perry). But I’m not as crazy as Russell (or, of course, as saucy). Indeed, if it were up to Josh, our kids’ faces would be all over this blog. I’m the one with the privacy issues.

Here’s the thing, though: Josh doesn’t care what I write about on this blog. And it has nothing to do with trust or privacy issues or how good or bad I make him look in the morning. The real reason is BECAUSE HE RARELY READS THIS BLOG. That’s right! My husband rarely reads my blog. Some might find that dysfunctional (and Josh would be fine with that). Others, like me, find it liberating, and fully functional — for EXPLOITATION.

Gorgeouses you are about to witness a cheaty blog SABOTAGE.

See, not only does Josh-O rarely read my blog, but he accused me of being a HOARDER the other day when we went to Costco (for the first time in 10 years, might I add). Apparently, I’m a hoarder because I want a kitty jungle gym in our living room. They had one for $45 dollars (which I’m told is a steal as far as kitty jungle gyms go). And when I saw it, I immediately had visions of our 14-year-old cat, MAAARGE, actually out of our closet.

So he went away on a business trip the other day, and THIS is what he’s coming home to….

A KITTY JUNGLE GYM! And guess who’s the first to know. Not him. But YOU. Because YOU read this blog. BWAH! I’m so evil. This is DELICIOUS!

Yes. I wanted it. I wanted it this jungle gym for MAAARGE and for Minden….

And for all those “mom bloggers” out there whose husbands don’t read every single gorgeous word they write on their blogs. OWN it, Ladies. EXPLOIT it, Ladies. Make him regret it. Make him see the error of his ways and how very incredibly smart you are. Take it back. RAWR!

Call me crazy. Call me hoarder. Call me crazy hoarder. I DON’T CARE. My husband is going to rue the day he called me hoarder. And he may start actually reading this blog for FEAR of future sabotages. Besides, my cats really needed a safe refuge from you-know-who….

Yes. The Rascal and I went to the neighbourhood pet store together to pick up the new jungle gym right after Josh left for his trip….

“Mama,” he said with his cheaty little smile and that cheaty little glint in his cheaty little eye. “Are we going to get da jungo gym foh da kitty cats?”

“Yes, honey. We’re going to the pet store now.”

“Dadda’s gonna HAAAATE it.”

He will. He’s going to hate it. But we love it. Love it. Love it. Love it.

So, Gorgeouses, do you think Josh is going to be throw me in the doghouse for this? For all of this?

Come to think of it, we could use a doghouse…. Maybe on the other side of the living room? Heh.

Wish me luck….


xo Haley-O

P.S.: Thanks, in advance, to Josh-O for being SUCH A GOOD SPORT! I love you! Also you are very handsome in the morning.


Isn’t it SWEET? Do you like the stripes? The BLUE walls?

We’ve had so many changes in the past few weeks that I don’t know what to do with myself. It’s all a little too much, especially for me, since I don’t do change very well, which is exactly why the universe keeps throwing it at me (lose a tooth much?) — well, the universe and MY HUSBAND, who is now, by the way, officially, a WORK-AT-HOME DAD (WOHD, FTW).

And, no, you didn’t miss that blog post. I didn’t write about how Josh-O was out of work for, ohhh, three months, or about how we did our share of flipping out. But it was all worth it because, now, he’s HOME. And he’s happy. And he REALLY wants a dog. Hurray! We’re working FEVERISHLY to rescue a dog. But the shelters, fortunately and unfortunately, don’t love giving dogs to families with young children. But that’s another story — except to say that we just got APPROVED by a Mississauga dog shelter! (Go Mississauga! Shout-out!) Hurray!

While Josh was gainfully unemployed, he annoyed the heck out of me by turning the house upside down with changes: spring cleaning, re-painting the entire house, putting up desperately-needed blinds (who knew?), throwing out my beloved winter boots, alas, and selling Rascal’s baby furniture…. It was all so awful. But I love the end result. Check the kids’ rooms….

So fresh, huh? And so CLICHÉ, I know…. The Monkey, of course, wanted pink, and the Rascal blue…. Who was I to argue? I think it’s beautiful.

Sniff. Rascal’s been sleeping in our bed for the past two weeks because we — geniuses that we are — sold his crib AND THEN went looking for a bed. Believe it or not, I’ll actually miss sleeping with him because he’s the best cuddler in the world. Certainly better than this skinny little rugrat, MAAARRRGE!

(That Marge’s ear is perfectly positioned RIGHT in front of the now heinous GREAT GAP — the gumline of which is receding to frightening heights — is no accident, I assure you! But we’ll not get into that right now. Not while I have this fancy spring in my fingertips! Heh.)

Rascal was, of course, SO excited to get his new big-boy bed that he got right into his lion outfit….

RAWR! Of course, SOMEONE, was not impressed….

At all. But WHAT A LOWER LIP, eh? Isn’t it fabulous?

Not fabulous, however (other than this segue, bygones), was bedtime. It started off great, with the requisite bedtime jumping party….

…and the obligatory back-of-the-head blog photo….

But, the minute the light was turned off, Rascal started screaming. And my heart’s been pounding out of my chest ever since — of course, tonight’s episode, OMG, of Survivor didn’t help. I lay down with him for a few minutes to calm him down. Way too smart for his own little good, though, he climbed completely on top of me so I couldn’t leave without waking him up.

But I left. I rolled out from under him, told him I’d be back in TEN, and I left. And he screamed, as he always does when he doesn’t get his way. And he cried great bulbous tears, as only he can when he doesn’t get his way. But I did it. I left. Heart aching, pounding with mother anxiety. And, in no more than two minutes, all was quiet. Except for my heart, Jeff Probst, and a very impressed purring kitty with a fabulous lower lip.


xo Haley-O

Once we have reached the desired end, we think, we will turn back to purify and consecrate the means. Once the war we’re fighting for peace is won, then the generals will become saints, the burned children will proclaim in the heaven that their suffering is well repaid, the poisoned forests will turn green again. Once we have peace, we say, or abundance or justice or truth, or comfort, everything will be right. Well, it’s an old dream.

It’s a vicious illusion. For the discipline of ends is no discipline at all. The end is preserved in the means; a desirable end may forever perish in the wrong means. Hope lives in the means, not in the end. Art does not survive in its revelations, or agriculture in its products, or craftsmanship in its artifacts, or civilization in its monuments, or faith in its relics.

– Wendell Berry

Forgive me, Gorgeouses, for I hath ingested NO CHAI LATTES in two whole days. In fact, I have not had a stitch of sugar, nor a drop of caffeine.

Forgive me, Gorgeouses, for I hath exhaustion, anger and frustration — all the usual “evil” emotions that come-out-come-out with detoxification, with withdrawal.

Forgive me, Gorgeouses, for I hath posted LONG QUOTE (above) that I totally want you to read. It came to me today via iPod, via him, as usual. Which wouldn’t be such a big deal, if I didn’t ALSO get an email from her with a similar message — reminding me not to focus so much on “goals,” dietary and otherwise, but instead to make “one self-supportive choice at a time”:

What prevents you from doing things for yourself is not a lack of goals or intentions as you probably know. What would it be like to simply be kind to yourself? To rest, to eat nourishing food, to take your body out for some fresh air and movement, to allow yourself to feel your emotions, to make space for quiet time, to pray…? To trust that wholeness is already here, and not something you have to create or find? (Email, Caroline Dupont)

To think, I’d get such similar messages in two days — two days sans chai latte. So I’m DONE with GOALS, the “old dream,” “vicious illusion.” We are now, officially, all about the means (even though this, too, can become a goal if taken too seriously). It’s like a total sea change for someone as goal-oriented as I am — my entire life.

One self-supporting choice at a time.

Am I wrong? Or, could many of us use this beautiful, sage reminder?

Tomorrow is Josh and my 7th wedding anniversary. SEVENTH. Will I have a chai latte? Probably. Because if I don’t, I might be as miserable as I was today….

Or I may make the ostensibly more self-supporting choice and have a cleansing swamp smoothie…. Or or OR…, maybe for tomorrow — my SEVENTH anniversary — cake and chai lattes are self-supporting, and definitely spouse-supporting, choices?

For our anniversary tomorrow, Josh and I are taking a staycation. My parents are bravely taking the kids all day and overnight, AND they set us up in a five-star hotel in the heart of downtown Toronto — breakfast and a “special package” included! We are going to relax, enjoy, savour, indulge, hold hands, see ALICE IN WONDERLAND in 3D….

So, anyway, yes, I’m taking all the sage advice that came barreling in, welcomed, these past couple of days.  I’m thinking about my exhausting, habitual, annoying goal-making — a habit that’s even stronger, to think, than the chai latte. Without creating another goal, I’m going to simply recognize this goal-making energy, the striving, reaching, the insatiable aiming high, and to gently rein it in, rein myself back….

Kind of like this blog….

Forgive me Gorgeouses, for I don’t always know why I blog here. And I do think about this often. I don’t know where this blog’s going, for how long, to what end…. And that’s finally okay. I may lose readers and gain readers, as the game goes. Yet I plow on. To no end. With no goal.

And, so, I. I put away the arrows. I stand on this ground. Being with what’s here. Like it, or not.


xo Haley-O

P.S.: Check Cheaty Goodies for a sweeeeet GIVEAWAY. Best facial in GTA, you could win — or fabulous products for the rest of you (Canada, US and beyond)!

When I was around eleven years old, my parents took my brother, sister and me on a boating excursion. We stayed on a big houseboat. My sister and I slept head-to-foot in a narrow bottom bunk bed, my brother got the top bunk, and we all ate and drank out of red-and-white plastic dishes. My dad wore a sailor’s hat, and my mom wore light, large-rimmed glasses and barrettes in her hair. We were the picture of leisure.

Until we got back on land. The parking lot a bed of stones. Ripe for throwing. At my sister. In the stomach. Or so my brother said. Bad aim. MY MOUTH. MY TOP RIGHT FRONT CENTRE TOOTH. Broken. Badly.

My brother got his allowance taken away, and he lost his TV privileges for a week. I, on the other hand, got a bonding on my tooth, years of tooth anxiety (since that bonding kept spontaneously breaking off at, of course, the most inopportune times), AND 10+ root canals and other surgeries — I stopped counting after the 10th, but trust me when I tell you I know every endodontist in Toronto. It was what my brother likes to call, “the gift that keeps on giving.” So not fair.

Two days ago, I learned that the gift will give no more. ALAS, I am losing my FRONT TOOTH.

It’s going to be a lo-ho-hong process. Within the next month, after many, MANY consultations, I’ll have my front tooth knocked out, bone surgery and gum surgery to make this thing perfect. In the end, I’ll have a permanent implant put in, which will apparently be GORJ. But, again, it’s a long process. While my gums and bone heal and prepare for the implant for nine months — ARE YOU READY FOR THIS (if you haven’t already heard me exploding about it all over twitter)? — I will be wearing what I’ve heard called a “flap,” “flipper,” or DENTURE in place of the tooth. This wouldn’t be so bad…, IF ONLY I DIDN’T HAVE TO TAKE IT OUT AT NIGHT!

And, of course, I’m going to the BlogHer conference in August, sharing a room with other bloggers…. I better not drink ANYTHING. Because if my toothless grin ends up on the internets I don’t know what I’ll do.


That was Tuesday. The weirdest day of my life. That same day, I got a gap in my front yard to match the impending one in my mouth — the universe, like all my friends online and off, poking fun at me. (I was way late getting my camera out.) WEIRD….

That same day, I took the Monkey and Rascal to the YoGabbaGabba show at the Elgin Theatre (with EMMA, Sandra “MAMALOOPER” and their adorable kids). And YoGabbaGabba is, like, a trip on TV, let alone LIVE. WEIRD….

I played FREEZE with Chris Murphy from the band SLOAN. WEIRD….

From YoGabbaGabba, I learned Rascal has a new dance move: the stripper hands-slicking-the-hair-back move. Here are the hands on their way down. WEIRD….

After YoGabbaGabba, Emma, Sandra and I bravely walked all five kids to Terroni. Trust me, WEIRD….

…and they were all CRAZY. BIG PROPS to the staff at the Terroni on Queen. After Terroni, we were all zonked. I schlepped the kids four blocks from the restaurant, through the EATON CENTRE, back to our car….

And, when I got back to the car, I found the perfect evidence of the unspeakable kid craziness that transpired at Terroni. A dirty fork — IN MY PURSE. WEIRD….

That night, as Josh and I relaxed in front of the TV and our respective drugs of choice — him Facebook, me Twitter — someone started BANGING on our front door. We both shot up, looked outside, and saw someone run away. I ran to the door, and Josh said “NO,” then ran downstairs, and came back with a BAT, a police flashlight, and a hat. He was a man on a mission. He opened the front door, saw everything looked okay, said, “LOCK THE DOOR,” and stomped after the runaway. I waited nervously by the window, Macbook in hand. I was frozen, though. Shockingly unable to tweet until he was home safe.

Turns out a bunch of teenagers were egging the street. We’re lucky all we got was a loud knock on the door. Apparently, the boys FLED when they saw Josh-O stomping after them with flashlight and bat in hand. Scary dude.


Tooth out!!!


xo Haley-O

P.S.: THERE’S A GIVEAWAY AT CHEATY GOODIES. My fave online/offline store and spa PURE + SIMPLE IS BACK! Check it. And enter! Their stuff is the BEST.

It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t voluntary. It was awesome. It was a Computer Fast that no one could have anticipated. It was the computer fast that changed. my. life.

HA! It wasn’t THAT exciting.

(By the way, I’m too tired to be blogging right now. Because this day was MADNESS, I tell you, MADNESS! I’m still getting used to Rascal not napping anymore. ALAS! But, it’s been, like, way too long since my last post, so here we are — trying to string coherent sentences together. Bear with!)

But, I AM sitting here today typing away on a brand SPANKING new 13″ Macbook — fumbling a little with the new key placement and too-long nails — all thanks to my generous husband.


Thank you, Josh. IT IS a wonderful Hanukkah gift. Something that was SO much needed. Gorgeouses, you couldn’t have known, my last macbook was giving me mini heart attacks all the time because it didn’t have enough memory or megs for me and kept freezing and took HOURS AND HOURS to load any little thing. I’ve got chills just THINKING about all the time and frustration this new computer is going to save me. No wonder I’ve been having anxiety lately.


It was the COMPUTER FAST that taught me SO MUCH about a major TRIGGER of my seasonal anxiety. See, the colder the weather, the more one SITS on one’s ARSE surfing the internet.

While the Mac people feverishly worked to transfer the data from my old computer to the new one, I re-laaaaxed, I watched TV (like, ACTUALLY watched it), I read yoga books and my novel, I FELT NAKED — unable to reach over and grab the computer to answer my latest question. I have millions of questions every second, and, whom do I turn to for answers? THE INTERNET. Always THE INTERNET — all the people, information, connection. It’s addictive. Like a grande soy no-water tazo chai….


And, imagine — as the psychic at the bookstore told me the other day — I have ALL the answers already. Everything I need…. How true. And it took a COMPUTER FAST to really show me that.

A great Hanukkah gift, indeed.

Speaking of Hanukkah gifts, check my Canada Moms Blog Post “Beyond Gift-Giving: Hanukkah the Green.” I’ve been very contemplative lately. In a good way. Time actually slows when you close the computer and turn inside.

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