It’s a good sign that I’m writing today. It means I’m using a little less energy for anxiety, and a little more energy for productive stuff like writing (more than I already do…). Sigh, even though I just received a bill for the ambulance. It’s okay. I’d happily pay anything they asked.

Actually I feel pretty close to back-to-normal after the events of last month. Still a little more tired than I’d like to be, still breaking down during yoga (gosh, I wish that would stop). But I’m working on all that by cleaning up my diet (what else is new), and just taking it easy on myself.

Of course, I still watch some of my favourite trash TV shows, which helps. But when I’m not hanging out with the kids, I’m keeping busy working a lot, reading on my beloved KOBO — nothing lascivious yet, ahem, much to my female friends’ chagrin (you know who you are) — building crazy-intricate Samurai monsters for the Rascal….

…and making a lot of almond milk….

…which is so strangely therapeutic! Isn’t it beautiful? The Rascal loves it….

Mama, it tastes like icin’,” he says (icing!). And from the looks of this masterpiece the Monkey brought home the other day, she likes it too….

I still think the “k” her teacher erased makes more sense…. I’m pretty sure my daughter thinks I’m more a KOOK than a COOK. But I’ll take it!

Anyway, yes, the Rascal’s doing great. A nutritionist I bumped into on the street today suggested I give him water with a squeeze of lemon every morning to detox away the lingering circles under his eyes. So I’ll give that a shot. He’s finally getting less clingy, and he’s finally sounding more like himself. Baby talk is never cute. EVER. Just saying.

But getting a carrot from our lovely Today’s Parent food editor, Eshun Mott, is definitely cute — and good for the detox….

Oh, I love that photo. He and the Monkey (whom you can see snooping around in the background) were on location at a Today’s Parent Magazine photo shoot. They’ve been doing a lot of that lately, which is totally fun!

They’ll love seeing themselves in the magazine. “I’m famous now, right, Mama?” Yes, you are totally famous, Monkey, especially after all that hand modeling you did with the adorable Daniel DeSouza yesterday (above). I’ll keep you posted on the stunning photo the kids took for a spread in the August issue — yes, front-of-the-face, and all!

Oh, gosh, how’d that photo get there? Heh. Betty White and her feline siblings, Minden and Maarge!, are doing great too.

Everything is good. The Rascal is healthy. We have a working laundry machine and dryer again. The spider in my car has finally vacated the premises (all that swinging in front of my face was distracting). I’m riding the stationary bike again. The Monkey’s looking forward to her 7th birthday party and another trip to the crystal store. Josh lost 15 pounds. And school is almost out.


xo Haley-O

Tears streamed down my face as I looked out the window of PICU at SickKids Hospital, May 11, 2012.

Walkers from all over the city formed a circle around the hospital — a giant hug for all of the kids, families and staff inside the walls. It was Meaghan’s Walk.

I looked back at my 4-year-old son, sedated and intubated on the bed behind me. IVs poking into arms still soft with baby fat, a glowing red toe attached to blinking monitors, mechanical waves of his breath. “Do you feel that big hug, Baby?”

The day before, 3:07 p.m., I got a calm call from the school office. I was on my way to pick up the kids. Ten minutes until the bell rings, I thought. Couldn’t they wait? No. Five minutes later, a frantic call from one of the parents: “Hurry, Haley! They’ve called the ambulance.” WHAT?!

I fought through garbage trucks and idle walkers to get to the school, screaming and gasping in the car. I couldn’t get there fast enough.

But I arrived in time to see the ambulance and fire trucks for my son. Children were gathered along the schoolyard fence (it was home time!), excited to see the emergency vehicles. Mothers were slouched with worry for my son.

I ran through worried-looking teachers and oblivious young students to the office, where my son lay. Not seeing me. Not knowing I was there. I moaned and my knees gave out. The emergency crew carried him out and I followed — the school principal holding me steady as I moaned, wailed, struggled to breathe and looked beside myself at my son.

“Does he have diabetes?” No. “Allergies?” No. “Anything like this before?” No. Is he going to be okay? No answer.

We climbed into the ambulance. My mother, there now, reaching for my car keys. Dark. I sat in the ambulance and watched and didn’t know and asked and moaned.

They kicked me out into the front seat because there were too many of us in the back with him. Five of them working on my son.

The siren came on and the people on the street looked through the large front windshield of the ambulance and saw the mother of the child wailing and gripping her armrest.

Ninety minutes later in the SickKids Hospital Emergency Ward, they got him to where they wanted him, intubated him and immediately sent him for tests.

“You’re going to hear a lot of scary things,” the (wonderful) social worker told me as she handed me some ice water and we watched the crowd of doctors hover and scurry about the bed. “Don’t listen to any of the words, okay, Mom?”

Is it going to be okay?


It was going to be okay. The first round of tests came back. And he was ALL CLEAR.

And so we waited for him to wake up and grasp at the tubes. And he did it, and it took FOUR of us, including Josh, to hold him down. Horrible to witness. But an excellent sign.

I held his little foot (poor thing, he inherited my feet…) as he slept. And I listened sleeplessly to the sound of the machine pumping air into his little lungs.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, siiiiiiiiiix,1, 2, 3, 4, 5, siiiiiiiiiiix,1, 2, 3, 4, 5, siiiiiiiiiix.

Late the next day, the doctors argued passionately about how to extubate my forceful, unbelievably brave little guy, and he was breathing on his own and calling for me soon enough. So thirsty. When we got another “all clear,” we were released to a room he wouldn’t leave for the next five days as he fought relatively minor symptoms of what, after countless never-wracking tests, appears to have been a virus at the bottom of all of this.

And he was ALL CLEAR.

“Mama,” he said after several hours of fasting for one of his countless tests, “I’ne so hungry, and there’s nothin’ I can do about it….” And he cracked a smile.

Miracle Flower. Josh got me this flower for Mother’s Day (that Sunday). It drooped when I placed it by the window, and stood straight up when we weren’t looking after I placed it in front of the hospital bed.

I can’t share every detail of this nightmare because it is just so dark and so personal, and you would be reading for days…. And while sometimes I really need to share this (like right now), there are other times that I just can’t share it at all, and I feel guilty and anxious sharing such a profoundly personal experience.

But he is ALL CLEAR. Though still a little tired, he’s running around at school like nothing happened. He’s fighting with his sister (who’s dealing with her own feelings around this still), and playing soccer with his friends.

…Except that he’s hugging me a little tighter, and I’m hugging him and his sister a lot tighter.

I have to thank our FAMILY for being there every minute of this journey. My parents even managed to text me a photo of themselves when I was having a particularly hard time late one night and they couldn’t be there…. And they all showered us with toys and snacks and love while he recovered all those days in isolation.

I want to thank the wonderful team at Today’s Parent Magazine for the support they gave me that goes way beyond the parametres of co-working — and for the support (and space) they continue to give me as I heal from this trauma. The wise Ms. Scarbiedoll, my manager, got the brunt of my dark, frantic blatherings, and I’ll never forget how she was there for me.

And thank you to my amazing friends, both online and off, who offered to send us food, baked us cookies, called off the hook, DM’d, tweeted, Facebooked and emailed.

And thank you to my beautiful yoga sisters, who brought me delicious vegan food, received my desperate emails, called to check in on me, and emailed and dedicated practices to us.

And, oh my gosh, the TEACHERS and PRINCIPAL of our school, who moved school buses and called and emailed off the hook, and listened and worried, and just adore him….

And, the teachers at our morning school who baked us bread, called, texted, offered childcare and hot lunches for his sister, and listened and worried, and just adore him….

And fellow parents at the school, who kept my fingertips busy texting back and forth, and made veggie meals for me and had their kids craft the cutest get-well cards ever….

And thank you to our pediatrician and his assistant for following this every step of the way and for answering my teary calls and questions.

And, oh wow. Thank you to incredible the staff at SickKids Hospital: Ashley, Emily, Eva, Jenny, Sandy, Dr. F, Dr. Z., Dr. C., that wonderful social worker in Emergency, and all those doctors and nurses whose names I never caught. They gave us the speediest possible results to all the tests we went through, kept us calm, gave us hugs, and listened with such compassion and patience. They saved us.

And thank you to all the walkers at Meaghan’s Walk for that giant hug that touched so many children and families that day.

We are so beyond grateful that for our little guy everything was all clear. Please consider helping the families that are still there by supporting the amazing place, SickKids Hospital, that is there with open arms if you ever need it.


xo Haley-O

I can’t believe I’m blogging this evening. It feels like I was just here. But I counted the days (on my fingers), and it’s almost been two weeks. Remember when I used to blog here every day? Time just goes so fast now. And as I mentioned in my last post, I’m determined to slow it down. And I’m determined to write here tonight even though I’m simultaneously battling my cat Minden as he attempts avidly, feverishly to kiss me or, well, seriously, to stick his slimy tongue down my throat. BATTLING HERE. Sorry for that visual, but HELP ME seriously…!

So this is me at eTalk TV again….

It’s not the best picture of me. I’m super grin-y. Mostly because I was happy it was over. We were talking about some intense stuff — like celebrities and extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping and placenta eating. Not easy topics to talk about on behalf of a national brand. But I did love doing it, and I think I did OK! It’s airing next week. So keep an eye on my Twitter feed AND Facebook page (which I implore you to LIKE to stay updated on my celeb news and lots of other fun stuff), for the exact date.

Can someone please get this cat off of me? Or at least just don’t get upset if I can’t get a coherent sentence going here, OK? And, by the way, he does this at 3 a.m. every night too. Just when the Rascal starts sleeping through the night (still barely, at 4.5 years old), my cat starts waking me up? Am I never meant to sleep through the night again? I’m tired over here. I saw bags under my eyes in my car window reflection this morning. BAGS. Big ones.

And, alas, even the eye mask, with which I’ve been obsessed lately (melatonin, FTW!) isn’t helping….

Anyway, last night we took the kids to see Canada’s Got Talent — yet another perk of working at Today’s Parent. And we had a great time. Do you watch the show? Are you, like everyone else who watches, voting for Rally the Dog? We were. Check out our fancy signs….

Raahhhhh! Go Rally! Hee. So ‘dorable.

So, this wasn’t so bad, Gorgeouses. Didn’t take that long. Hmm…, maybe I could drop by here more often and update you some more on the goings on around these parts? Or is time going by so fast for you too, that you didn’t even notice it’s been two weeks already since we last chatted?

In the meantime, I did go to yoga last week. Just once. But it was a start. And I meant to go this morning, but time flew right out from under me as I was working last night, and I decided getting that extra hour and a half of sleep was more important than making it to yoga. But an hour and a half later, I wasn’t so sure.

See you soon….


xo Haley-O

Some more stuff I’ve been working on and am really proud of: Carson Kressley’s hot fashion tips for moms, Natural makeup and skincare products we love (ALL MY BEAUTY SECRETS!), 6 delicious vegan recipes, and a big spread in June’s issue of Today’s Parent Magazine (on stands mid May!). I’ve also updated my CV again, if you want to have a look at all of my recent publications. THANKS!

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

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.


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….


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….


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.


xo Haley-O

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