When I’m not writing at Today’s Parent, I’m taking much-needed time off all writing, and living life — playing with the kids, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, driving the kids around, helping them with homework, drinking tea, watching karate, watching soccer, watching dancing, reading, tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming.

I’m telling you this because something was brought to my attention the other day. Well, it was really a few weeks ago, but it seems to take a few weeks for this piper to actually sit thee down and write* here these days, in case you haven’t noticed.

I bumped into my old friend Ryan, who’s also a Cheaty Monkey reader, and she said something like, “I miss you now that you’re not online anymore.”

Not online? ME? You miss me? Not online?

Eager to know if other friends “missed” me online, I went up to some more old Cheaty Monkey readers in the schoolyard, and asked them if they thought I’d totally deserted them too.

“You know, Angela,” I said to one of the lovely moms, “I may not write at Cheaty Monkey that much anymore, but I’m all over Todaysparent.com all the time.”

Like Ryan, she had no idea.

“I write a bunch of blogs every day there,” I explained, “Mostly about celebrity families, but also on tough parenting topics like bullying and dealing with tragedy. If you’d like, please check it out!” (I am shameless.)

I said this to Ryan and Ang, and I’m going to say it to you now too: If you miss me (and I miss you too, believe me!), please friend me on Facebook. I keep it pretty well updated with some of my celebrity posts, ALL of my weekly celebrity galleries (UPPAbaby stroller contest in this one, hollaaa!), ALL of my more personal writing both at Cheaty Monkey and at Today’s Parent, and of course, with lots of photos.

Speaking of which….

Yes, another great reason you need to friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter NOW. Betty White was sleeping beside me when I took that picture (that’s what they call need-to-know information).

Please don’t “miss” me! Let’s stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and a little more often here (I’ll definitely try).

In other news:

- I have successfully lost seven pounds.

- People who write comments without reading articles properly are, as the Rascal used to say, “vewy fustifating” (trans.: very frustrating).

- I’m giving a talk (well three talks…three sessions) on developing a daily writing practice at this month’s Blissdom Conference.

- I’m going to talk about why a daily writing practice is important, what to write about, why to use a blog as your platform, and a bit about my own writing practice.

- I’m also going to talk about how sometimes a writing practice may actually involve not writing. But that’s only really if you do NOTHING but write and edit all day long. *cough*

- Otherwise, write.

- Every day.

- After the session, I’ll share all my secrets here.

- Or…, maybe three weeks after the session.

- But NO! I will write here more often.

- I officially suck at going to yoga.

- Instead of going to yoga, I’ve been riding my stationary bike while watching The Voice, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, or Pokemon.

- Yeah, it doesn’t get much worse than that.

- I’m just still too self-conscious in the yoga room.

- I was going to title this post “An Open Letter to My Yoga Teacher.”

- Hmm, maybe I will anyway.

- But next week, I’ll be closer than I’ve been in the last five years to my goal weight, so I may just show up at the shala.

- Oh, wait, but Josh is away.

- So maybe sooner.

- In my microsession, I will also talk about using Instagram and Twitter/Facebook photos to build your blog posts.

- You won’t want to miss that.

- I could also do a whole other session on how to blog with a massive cat on your lap…

- …who wants nothing more out of life than to stick his tongue down your throat.

- OH! I know.

- Maybe next year.

I miss you and will try to write here more often. I may have a full writing practice at Today’s Parent, but I can’t really post photos of my pets there, now can I?

LOVE!

xo Haley-O

* From William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience — one of my fave literary works of all time. Tiger, Tiger burning bright / In the forests of the night, / What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


Chin high. Face filthy. Shoulders square and teeny. Oy. He was very proud to be wearing his mama’s favourite t-shirt. For some unidentified reason, I beam whenever he puts it on. And the neon bracelets (aka scary chemical bangles he got in a loot bag and that I hate and hid as soon as he put them down and looked the other way) add the perfect touch, don’t they? He comes in peace — this bizarre, uncannily cute being of mine.

“Mama! Mama! I am 35-point-zero pounds today, Mama!”

Look at him riding my stationary bike (and singing). He’s actually pedaling….

I am crazy about this child. So much that I can’t deal. And, after what we went through last May, I thank God every day for his health and contagious enthusiasm for life. Though I wish he’d drink his lemon water, eat more greens, clean up his Ninjago spinners, spare me that ringing in my ears from extra-high-pitched pleadings to watch Star Wars (again), and sleep in his own bed.

Of course, I am also crazy about his big sister.

I took her to “the crystal store” (as she likes to call it) this evening — a little mom-and-daughter outing. She’s turning seven (SEVEN) on Saturday, so this was a special pre-birthday gift. You see, she loves fairies. And she sparkles in these spiritual shops, which incidentally attract others who also believe in fairies. Her favourite is a charming store called “Odyssey,” which is worth the drive all the way out to Pickering. So that’s where we went.

She bought a necklace with a charm full of “pixie dust,” a miniature blue bird — “for happiness,” the lady behind the counter said — a little blue cluster of crystals, a coin with a saying on it that she liked, and a mini “fresh picked rainbow,” which I’m still not quite sure how she’s going to use.

I love being eccentric and imaginative with her. And if you know me well enough, you know I often have a crystal hanging on my neck.

“Mama, d’you know what? Selena Gomez is Justin Beaver’s girlfriend.” Did you learn that in school, Monkey? “No, Grandma told me.”

I’m also crazy about our magnificent Betty White….

…our little lover, Minden…

…and our beautiful MAAARGE! (who, alas, isn’t doing so well, I learned at the vet just today)….

(If you want to see ALL the things I’m crazy about, by the way, check me out on Instagram — love love love! And if you’re on Instagram, tell me your username in the comments, and I’ll follow you back.)

Also, big news: I finally got a wedding ring that I’ll actually wear. Strangely enough, I loathe conventional jewellery, and my original rings have been tight ever since I had kids. But this ring’s very light, simple and symbolic for me. Josh is thrilled, of course — I guess because he’s crazy about me. And I guess I’m crazy about him too, enough to wear a piece of jewellery…that doesn’t contain crystals.

Love!

xo Haley-O

P.S. I’ve been up to a lot, as usual, at Today’s Parent. Check out my most recent blog posts and galleries (every week I do a fun celebrity gallery) over at Celebrity Candy! And some other fascinating stuff my fellow editors and I have written over at On Our Minds.


I realize I look obese in this photo. But, although I can’t claim to have my 28-year-old body back by any means, it’s not as bad as it looks up there. And I obviously love you and miss you enough — after this latest long pause between blog posts — to appear obese before you, just to share a laugh.

So, our Betty White loves her mom. Can you tell? If I leave her for a minute, she squeals. It’s a bit of a problem, and it really irks the neighbours. So into the kayak she goes….

PEEK-A-BOO! I look like a hunchback in that photo, with bad kayaking form, to make matters worse. See how I love you?

And see how I love the water? I never loved it this much growing up. If someone suggested water sports when I was a kid, I usually ran the other way — screaming. I guess you appreciate the things that make you happy more as you get older. Or, at least you have to for sanity’s sake.

Because I don’t stop during the week. Among the kids, Josh, my job, my gazillion interests….

“Numbers never stop,” the Monkey tells her little brother. “They’re even making numbers right now.”

I don’t stop. The lake makes me stop, and breathe. And the lake literally made me stop a couple of weekends ago when I wakeboarded too hard in roaring winds and she wouldn’t have it. After several face plants into the cement-like waves, I got myself a concussion.

I’m still recovering from this concussion because, against the doc’s orders, I haven’t stopped working on my computer, and I haven’t stopped reading. And here I am talking to you, when I should really be resting and getting back on the yoga mat.

Gazillion.

But who can rest when you have two kids, a busy husband, an exciting job and what really seems lately like a gazillion interests? So here I am with that lingering ache and buzz around my head, and the sensation that my mind, my brain, is all a-fragmented…. I suppose that’s how I’d describe what this concussion feels like. But I keep going until I can’t go anymore — stopped in my tracks by the warm, sparkling, rippling waves.

But it’s only Tuesday. And so earlier this evening, I made veggie burgers for the first time ever, and promised a Twitter friend I’d post the recipe, so checkit:

They’d probably look better if I’d used black beans, but all I had were red kidney beans (no wonder, because I never eat them). Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients: 

1 15-oz can beans/1.5 cups cooked beans (black beans, pinto, red kidney)
1/2 cup salsa
1 oz sliced onion (or more, to taste)
1.5 cups bread crumbs (I use spelt or wholest grain possible)
1 tsp cumin
pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

1. Pour the beans and the salsa into your food processor, and blend until smooth.
2. Add in the onions, cumin, 1 cup of the bread crumbs, pepper, and blend.
3. Pour it into a bowl.
4. Get messy, and use your hands to make 8 nice-sized patties. As you form them, gently press both sides of the burgers in the remaining bread crumbs.
5. Let them set in the refrigerator for 15-30 mins while you prepare other parts of your meal (or clean up or make the kids’ lunches!)
6. Place the burgers on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven at around 350ºF for around 20-25 minutes (I’m not really sure about the timing — I just waited ’til they browned a little bit), flipping once.

Stick ‘em in a nice, lightly-toasted, whole-grain bagel, sprinkle some Daiya vegan cheese on top, some Vegenaise, ketchup, Dijon, lettuce, tomato, the works, and enjoy!

Tell me, Gorgeouses: Do you have a gazillion interests too? What are some of your interests — beyond parenting and your job…?

Love!
xo Haley-O


Wake up.

Wrestle the dog.

Wrestle the cat.

Let out the dog.

Boil some water.

Let in the dog.

Give her her favourite all-natural, vegan “boney.”

But first, make her sit. Gentle….

Make lemon water: squeeze the hell out of lemon, pour water on top, then the freshly boiled water.

Make cat food with leftover boiled water.

Prepare Maaarge’s meds.

Wait patiently as Maaarge tries to eat her meds.

Feed cats.

Attempt to drink lemon water and pop first herbal med of the day.

Bring lemon water upstairs without spilling.

Turn on all the lights and wake up sleepy heads.

But first! Stare at the Rascal’s adorably large, heavily-blonde-lashed eyelids as he begins to stir (inevitably) in my bed.

Take out clothes for the Monkey, dump them on her bed and savour the cuteness of her sweet morning breath as she dozes, still as a log on her messy pink bed.

Shower.

Yell in the shower, “Wake up, sleepy heads!”

Someone comes in and asks twenty-seven questions: “Is it the weekend?” “Can we have a toy today?” “When is it the weekend?” “Mama, are you going to work today?”

Someone else comes in: “Do we have swimming today?” “I’m tiiiiiired.” “Mama, am I having lunch with Grandma?” “I don’t wanna go to swimming.” “Is this Queen Elizabeth’s necklace?”

“JOSH! Wake up!”

Get out of the shower, brush teeth, floss, attempt skincare regime and get dressed, while drinking lemon juice and not spilling.

Help the Rascal with his socks.

Leave Josh to finish up with the kids and run downstairs.

Make kids’ breakfast.

Fill steel water bottles and insert ice packs into lunch boxes. Place all in backpacks.

Brush the Monkey’s hair.

Make green smoothie.

Write lunch notes.

Pack lunch.

Feed the monkeys.

Give Rascal probiotics, and vitamin D drops to both.

Wash blender and kids’ breakfast dishes.

Put on makeup in the dining room as kids get their coats and shoes on and ask me thirty-four questions.

Kiss Josh goodbye and send him off with the Monkey (if he’s still home).

Take the Rascal to school (or both kids if Josh is away or at early morning meeting).

Chat with teachers.

Avoid Starbucks.

Head to work listening to Cosmo‘s Wake Up with Taylor, drinking green smoothie without spilling.

Avoid Starbucks.

Walk into office and say hello to awesome colleagues.

Check email.

5-hour marathon: Blog, tweet, edit, write, go to meetings, answer emails, LUNCH, blog, tweet, edit, write, publish, etc., etc..

Race home.

Stop for 2-minute grocery run or fresh green juice if there’s time.

Let out the dog.

Run to the school in 5 minutes.

Pick up the Rascal.

Stand, wait, talk to parents, watch the Rascal play.

Pick up the Monkey.

Stand, wait, talk to parents, watch the Monkey play.

Walk home with the kids in 40 minutes.

Go to programs (if have them).

Make dinner.

Ride the stationary bike for 30 minutes while dinner cooks.

Clean up dinner as Josh bathes the kids and reads stories.

Feed cats.

Medicate Maaarge.

Feed Betty White.

Let out Betty White.

Kiss the kids goodnight.

Make the kids lunches and snacks for tomorrow.

Make my lunch.

Finish up days work: blog, tweet, write, edit, answer emails, Facebook, etc., etc.

Soak beans and/or grains and prep dinner for tomorrow.

Watch TV to numb the heck out. If not at an evening event interviewing a celeb, or out celebrating a 40th birthday with a big night out….

Wrestle the dog if she’s not already in bed.

Give kitties cookies and fill bowls with water.

Good night.

Next week: Back to early morning YOGA. Somehow….

Love!

xo Haley-O


Look at that….

That’s our little Monkey on the stage of Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream. I wrote a blog post about it over at our editors’ blog at Today’s Parent, but I wanted to share some of the pics here too.

She was invited to launch the lantern with Rapunzel and Flynn about two months ago, and she’s been counting down the days ever since. And, Gorgeouses, she was amazing (click to enlarge)….

I was crouching way down beneath them, taking pics and, of course, bawling. All eyes were on her. She played her part superbly — she was the magic!

It was such a great show (we love Disney On Ice). My parents, my sister and her kids came to watch the Monkey’s special moment. Here they are rehearsing during intermission….

That special night was probably the highlight of our March Break! Well, that, and that one go-to-work-with-Mommy day (don’t ask)….


Make yourself at home….

Because I’ve been working around the clock lately — I was at The Heart Truth fashion show last Thursday evening (and interviewed Canadian R&B singer Divine Brown), congratulated Matthew McConaughey’s fiance, Camila Alves, on their recent engagement (interview to come), and last night, interviewed Carson Kressley (hilarious interview to come) — I decided to take today off and show the kids a good time.

Despite this sexy cough and fever I’m sporting, I took the kids to the Art Gallery of Ontario today….

…and then we built a model plane (FAIL) and attempted to fly it in the park, but it broke pretty soon after we left the house. So I sat shivering in the hot sun as the kids rolled down the parks’ steep hills. I bathed them right when we got home, made us all some smoothies and collapsed.

Gorgeouses, when I opened my macbook to blog this evening, I swore all I was going to do was post this “vlog” (video blog) and call it a day!

….But, Josh and the kids are at Grandma and Papa’s house, and apparently delirium has set in — so I’ve written this tome.

And I’m not done.

Since I’m addicted to posting photos on Twitter, I took the plunge and joined instagram. It’s basically an app that lets you prettify your photos before you tweet them, and share them with other photo-sharing addicts. If you’re on there, too, look me up @haleyoverland, and enjoy pics like THIS….

Love!

xo Haley-O

P.S. Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream runs until March 18th. If you’re in the GTA, checkit! You can get tix here. And you can learn more about it in my review of the show at Today’s Parent.


“Mama,” the Rascal pleads, “I’m not doin’ anything to Betty and she’s just crazing me out!”

If you ask me what I love about motherhood, that sums it up (also Beyblades and Lego — I built these insane Star Wars ships myself in just four hours the other day!). At four-years-old, the Rascal is brimming with personality, and at six-and-a-half years old, his quirky, hilarious sister is too.

My parents took them out to a Purim party this evening, giving me some much-needed time to myself. The Rascal wore a Superman costume that, to my pleasant surprise, was too small on him; and the Monkey wore a Supergirl costume and her favourite shiny blue “magic gloves.”

Even when I have time to myself, though, there’s always our high-maintenance, spirited Betty White to deal with. And lately, adorable as she is, she’s been “crazing” us all out….

…Especially the poor cats, whose ability to find the perfect place to sit never ceases to amaze me, even if it’s in Betty’s direct line of fire (RUN, MINDEN, RUN! Like the wind!)….

It’s been a rough few days with Josh-O away for work again. And Betty White knew it so well that, when I collapsed on my bed the other day, I landed in a cold, wet patch of what the kids like to call her “stinky pee.” Needless to say, she was officially excommunicated from my room after that, but the persistent little bugger managed to sneak sheepishly back onto the bed and curl into an entitled little ball beside me.

Sighhh…, want to hear what a great parent I am? I was so exhausted from solo parenting and the pee fiasco that I put the kids to bed at 6:10 p.m. last night. It was still light outside, but they were too busy bouncing off the walls to question it. Miraculously, they went right to bed and stayed there, and they woke up the next morning at the perfect time (the Rascal’s vomit scare at 6 a.m. notwithstanding) — with ample time before school to dawdle, drink a green smoothie, and play with the new Beyblades I bribed them with the day before — which is making me think they should go to bed at that time every night, huh…!

In addition to Josh being away and the dog crazing us all out, things have been really busy at work. Yoga has fallen through the cracks completely. But I may take a real break over the weekend, roll out my mat and make it happen. Because Josh-O and my romantic getaway for his 40th birthday — the first time we’ll be going away alone together since having kids — is still too far away. And, although, motherhood has its perks, I’m beginning to really understand that, for my kids’ sake and mine, even I need a holiday.

Love!

xo Haley-O


Oh gosh. I’m posting this picture of myself for three reasons.

1) Because Ange told me I’m finally looking like myself again after 4 weeks of looking like arse from the ghastly cold/cough/flu/bronchitis I’ve been battling (the dark circles under the eyes are still there, as is that UFO thing in the middle of my head — heh, I wore it shopping this aft, and the Rascal loved it). And Ange has a fabulous British accent.

2) Because my friend Alice, aka “Kittenpie,” said my hair looked “Gorgeous!” when I tweeted it earlier today.

3) Because this is my blog! And one should post photos of oneself on one’s blog, don’t you think? (And it’s really rare that I actually get a good photo of myself, so I thought I better post it and possibly make it my Twitter/Facebook avatar for the next 10 years.)

And one should post photos of one’s kids on one’s blog, don’t you think? And if one (like myself) doesn’t post photos of one’s children’s faces on one’s blog, then one better post a photo of one’s child’s FIRST LOST TOOTH!


Congratulations, MONKEY!

…Or at the very least, one better post lots of photos of one’s seriously unphotogenic dog — to make one’s own photo look more gorj.

Speaking of one…, guess what I did this weekend?! If you follow me on Twitter, you may know I gave a talk (about blogging, community, marketing and me!) at the Rotman School of Management, at University of Toronto.

Because I was so sick, and because the kids kept me up most of the night before, I may or may not have dozed off mid sentence once or twice…. But what a great experience! I wasn’t nervous at all, could have talked all day long, and the students were really lovely. I also learned a lot myself, simply by taking the time to reflect on the pretty crazy career I’ve had so far: from hobby blogging, to Urban Moms, bTrendie (remember that?), to TODAY’S PARENT MAGAZINE.

Here’s the wonderful Professor Bill McEvily (left) and social media expert Matthew Stradiotto, of the Toronto-based social media company Matchstick.ca, who also gave a (fascinating) talk.

And look what Prof. McEvily gave me for showing up to his class….

I love this mug. This mug SAVED me during two extreme, ugly cough attacks at work today and yesterday, so I’m very grateful. Inside, however, was the worst possible gift ever: a gift card to Starbucks. Apparently, the professor did his homework….

One should probably blog more than once a week (or so) if one’s going to have just so much to share, don’t you think? We haven’t even gotten to the diet and yoga stuff I wanted to tell you about. Next time.

UPDATE ON MAAARGE!: As many of you know, Maaarge has been really ill. Well, I’m happy to say the wonderful vets at Laird-Eglinton Pet Hospital have worked miracles: Maaarge’s seizures have stopped! She’s stopped urinating everywhere, and I even got to shower her (for the first time in 15 years). So she actually even smells fantastic! Her back legs aren’t what they used to be — I’m thinking she probably injured them during one of her seizures. She sleeps a lot, and she seems a little more out of it than before all this happened. But she’s comfortable and happy.

I’ve been holding her a lot lately. Putting my ear to her li’l body and listening to her purr. It occurred to me that she’s literally my rock. Sediment upon sediment of emotions, memories, experiences. I’m not ready to lose her, and I know there’s not much time left. But I’m enjoying holding her, appreciating her. My delicate, precious, living relic. For as long as I can.

Love….

xo Haley-O (off to make one’s morning green smoothie!)

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