One of My Favorite Things About Being a Mom #KCT

#KCT 1

My cheeks are burning with heat inside the chill of the arena. I zoom around the corner, waving to my mom as I pull up into a flip. When I land, I feel a sense of great accomplishment. I did it!  I whirl around to see if my mom saw it. Yes! She’s standing up, clapping wildly.

“Mom! Look at me!” I snap out of my reverie as my six-year-old zooms by on her bike. Her determination to ride well so she can let go of the training wheels is written on her bright face. She speeds past me while balancing in the middle, not using her training wheels.  I know I can relate to needing mom’s approval for accomplishments.

I turn and see my four-year-old squealing down the slide. It’s her first year to do this all by herself without one of us helping her up the playground apparatus. With all her challenges and delays, her confidence grows daily.

The playground has been recently updated because of the fundraising efforts of local parents. The old equipment was old and unsafe. As a parent, I am grateful for the new equipment.  Not every community has the opportunity to upgrade, yet so many parks and community centers are in need of update and/or repair.

The Kraft Celebration Tour recognizes the passion and community spirit that brings people together and promotes healthy, active lifestyles from coast to coast.  Since 2009, the Kraft Celebration Tour has helped hundreds of thousands of Canadians in 40 deserving communities with a total of $1 million toward projects such as:

  • Building a skateboard park
  • Upgrading a sports field
  • Improving a boxing facility
  • Renovating a community youth center

Did you have a neighborhood park nearby where you spent time playing with your friends, or a trail on which you loved to walk your dog? Nominate them to win $25,000 to create something new or make something better – oh, and a broadcast with TSN! And nominations are being accepted until June 7th!

To nominate a community, Canadians are asked to submit a short essay and up to five photos explaining why their community deserves to be a part of the Kraft Celebration Tour and how the $25,000 community award will go towards the creation or improvement of a local community space.  The essay should also touch upon how the award would help promote community spirit, a passion for sports, and an active lifestyle.

“Through the Kraft Celebration Tour, we’ve been able to continue our tremendous partnership with Kraft Canada and give back to deserving Canadians across the country,” said Stewart Johnston, President, and TSN.  “For the past four years, the communities that are honoured and the stories that are told by the Kraft Celebration Tour help remind us how fortunate we are to live in such a diverse and beautiful country filled with countless remarkable people.  To be a part of something as special as this program is an honour for all of us at TSN and we can’t wait to head out on the road again.”

On June 30, TSN and RDS will announce the 20 finalists selected by a panel of judges.  Then it’s up to Canada to decide the 10 winning Kraft Celebration Tour stops via 10 weekdays of head-to-head online voting beginning July 8.

Also we’d love for you to check out their Facebook page too

One of my favorite things about being a mom is playing with my kids at the park.  They grow up so fast, sometimes you just have to ditch the dirty dishes. Playtime is so important for the whole family.  Even though my mom died a long time ago, a big part of my childhood memories is hanging out with her in our neighborhood.

Kraft Celebration Tour TSN Eng 4C

Disclosure – I am participating in the Kraft Celebration Tour Blogger Campaign. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.

I am Humbled and Honoured to be Nominated

Top BloggerA few weeks ago after nominations for Vancouver Mom Top Bloggers were sent out, I found out through the grapevine that a few loved ones had sent in my blog for consideration. Well, last week I was short-listed.

I have been given amazing opportunities because of my writing that have been priceless, and have had the privilege in meeting many fabulous people.

With readers like you I feel like I have achieved so much, and can’t wait to see where my proverbial pen takes me next.

If you would like to vote for me, click me on the link and vote for Motherless Moments.

Thank you.



If you are in town and want to join in on the party on June 19th, register here.(link)  Use code 2013friend to save $5.00 off of a regular ticket. See you there!

My Instant Interview with Nia Vardalos


I had the opportunity to sit down and read an advanced copy of Nia Vardalos’s book, Instant Mom, before interviewing her about her book, daughter, movies and writing.

Yes, I was both enamored and nervous by the experience of a writer’s, and former foster kid’s dream. I remained as cool as I could until the end of my prepared questionnaire, when she turned the tables on me. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did talking with her.

I loved the book. I am a former foster kid. It really needed to be out there.

Thank you Danielle. I am terrified that it is getting out there. I love meeting kids like you that are living completely fulfilled lives. This stigma has got to be erased now.

Agreed. When did you feel the need to be a mom?

 I have felt that need from the time I got married. It’s a quiet voice that got louder and louder as each attempt was unsuccessful. The analogy of the sound of the fan over your stove that is whirring in your ear and driving you nuts, that you don’t even realize its there until you turn it off. That’s what it was like when I found my daughter.

Before you got married, you told Ian that you wanted to adopt. Why?

It is a strange thing that I have often encountered with parents, who have adopted, that they had said it early on that they were going to adopt. I don’t think it’s some mystical calling.  It’s larger than us, and I knew it from the minute I met my daughter. My first thought was, “ Oh, I found you.”

How has your relationship changed since meeting your daughter?

At the beginning, it was fantastic. She called me Mommy very quickly. Then once she came to live with us, that transition was challenging. So daunting. I realized that this is not a book about adoption; this is a book about how all mothers feel at the beginning. You are so overwhelmed. You’re so afraid.  My mom just very calmly said, “All moms feel this way.” It was so calming. Those little few words made me go-okay. And now, all my daughter and I do is laugh. It’s a great relationship. It’s positive and we are open about her history. I acknowledge her DNA so that she understands that it is a graft that formed for our family. You don’t try to envelop the child in any way that cuts off their past.

If you knew about the fos-adopt route ten years ago, would you have gone through less IVF treatments?

Yes, I would have. I know myself. I am so stubborn that I think that I would have still had to see it through for the knowledge that it brought me. The feeling of just saying,  ‘this is when I am done.’ So I don’t discourage anyone who says, ‘ I am going to do it. I know there are children out there but I want to have my own biological child.’ I say ‘That is your God-given right.’ Don’t try it. Do it. I offer this information as an option. For people who say, ‘No way am I putting my body through IVF.’ Or ‘No way am I doing an adoption, or trying to go overseas.’

When did you have time to write the book while being a mom? Because I know it was done in real time and present tense. Did you write as you went through the experiences, or did you go back?

That is an excellent question. I kept a tiny lined journal.  I would write little moments like not sleeping 20 minutes. Things like that because I wanted to tell her story one day. I thought it would be good for her to know for when did I start to trust you? When did I let you kiss me? Just like with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, we would be out at a party and someone would say, ‘ I hear you are a mom now. Where did you get the baby from?  I would say, ‘Actually she’s not a baby, ‘ and I started to tell the story. Within 10 minutes there would be 20 women standing around me weeping. I can’t be the person telling my stories while making people weepy I thought so I started to talk to my agent. She was new at my agency and she said, “Hey, you have become a mom under unconvential means, I think this might be a book. Let’s take it out and see. “ I said, No way.’ I am way to private. And when my daughter started school, I realize in that moment as she was walking away that is such a full circle. So that’s when I decided to get brave and sit down and write. Just compile all the notes. It took me a year. I don’t think I’ve ever cried more, but it was cathartic.

It really showed in the way you presented it. It was like we were having coffee as you told it. Thank you. It made it a very readable story, and emotional too.

I’m glad to hear it. I toyed with making it funny because it is what I’m known for. But I just thought it would do it a disservice to the truth. So, I decided to be honest with my daughter, and just tell her the truth. It’s quite liberating to say, ‘ Hey this happened.’

Do you have any advice for moms who want to write their own story? Or other mother writers who want to start a blog or book or something?

Yes, I do say this all the time when I teach screenwriting.’ Don’t look at the whole, just look at it one word at a time. If you set up trying to write a screenplay or a book, it’s so overwhelming you might stop.’ It would be like saying I’m going to run a marathon; as opposed to I’m going to walk around the block.

It’s almost like a scene.

Exactly! It’s like a scene at a time. It’s actually how I wrote My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I took all the stories and put them together into one story at a time, then threaded them together in the span of the year.

That is great advice.

Yes it’s simple, and I do think that women are natural storytellers. I think that we are all communicators. We have the ability to write, way more than we think we can.

What is the take-away for potential parents to know about the fos-adopt programs? The resources at the back of the book are great.

Sometimes people think you have to be heroic to do something, to take on more than you can handle. That’s why I wanted to talk about the parents I have met.

Everything that is offered to you I think should come to all parents.

A reader, Kathy, asks, “What do you think is the difference between growing up in Winnipeg and raising your daughter in LA?”

It’s a very big difference, and that’s why we are so strict with toys, treats and things like that. We are appalled by the entitled attitude of a lot of Los Angeles people. I remember being in Neiman Marcus in the children’s department. My daughter was in the corner playing with the display that they have set up, probably wrecking it. A woman was returning an item and didn’t have a receipt, she was reaming out the clerk in front of her own nine-year-old daughter. It was so disgusting to me that this was happening, I had to step in.’ I just have to say this is a terrible life lesson that you are teaching your daughter right now. Please, can you watch your language?’ The customer huffed out of there. By the way, I have that pepper spray on my keychain I always carry around. The shop clerk looked down and saw that and said ‘ Can I borrow that?’

I worked in retail for over 15 years. I would have loved more customers like you.

Well thank you. It’s the Winnipeg, and for me, it’s the Canadian way. We are taught manners. The whole time I was growing up I never heard my mother tell anybody off. She always dealt with situations with diplomacy.

 Love of your mom, that’s what got me. Yes, my mom died when I was 10. Anytime I hear daughters appreciate moms, especially when you become a mom, just makes my heart swell.  She is such an amazing mom, grandma to your girl.

Thank you. The Core, my group of friends, surrounds me; we all have that appreciation of our parents. Recently, they told me, “Tell your friends, thanks for spending time with the old fogies.’ Mom, you are fascinating. We love having you around. We have such appreciation, every day, especially at this age. Every day with our parents is a gift.

Question from Twitter. You may have already seen the tweet.

Anthony Field from The Wiggles would like to know, “ Do you know how good My Big Fat Greek Wedding is?”

Wait a minute; Anthony from The Wiggles, and I Retweteed that?


Oh my, I love it! Oh, I am so excited. Ok. First of all, love The Wiggles.

They are amazing. We got to meet them.

So tell him, the appreciation and admiration is mutual. Do you know how great The Wiggles are?

I will!

I know I have to wrap up as time is moving on. I would like to get personal. A few years ago when you joined Twitter, you and I chatted a few times. I sent my children’s book to you for your daughter called, Harley.

That’s it Danielle. I knew it. I knew it was you! I love your book. Ok. Now, I remember.

I still have the kind thank you note that you wrote me back. You hand wrote a note. How cool are you?

How cool are you to send me your book. Yes, I remember everything. Wow, that’s a blur of time too.

I wanted to write it for my kids. I did not care for a publisher to change anything, so we did it our way.

Which I loved, I think I said that. I think I referenced your book to somebody who was talking about doing a blog with pictures, and I said someone sent me a book with pictures of her cat for her kid. This is crazy. I have it. It’s still in my daughter’s room. We have it. We love it.

I am blushing.

I am so glad we reconnected.

Me too.

See my review of her book. Buy her book here.

Thank you Nia and Harper Collins for the book and this opportunity.

My Mother’s Last Mothers Day

‘Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy.” I hand over my homemade to my mom at the restaurant.

She opens it and sees my self-made coupon for her to cash in when she needs dishes washed. Her eyes scan the card like it was the first card she had ever read. I patiently wait to see if she really likes her card and gift. Our eyes meet over the table and she beams the widest smile.

‘Thank you honey. I love it.” She says.

Just then our desserts arrive in all their sweet glory. We are at her favorite dinner place. It is so grown up here that there are cloth napkins. My sister and I wanted to make this day very special for her. Everyone keeps whispering around her that we need to treat mom very well because she is so sick. I am never allowed to ask her what is making her so sick or urge her to take her medicine so she can get better.

She excuses herself to the bathroom. She gets her cane in place and hobbles to the back of the restaurant. I follow behind her saying I had to go too. As I wash my hands I stare at myself in the mirror. I still can’t help feeling like something is not being said. I love my mom so much. Before I can think anymore, she comes out of the handicap stall.

We walk back to the table as my sister and dad are waiting to go. After we get home and get into our pajamas, I hug my mom tight. When she tucks me into bed our favorite way to say goodnight is telling each other “I love you more than a million oceans.” I smile as I close my eyes and drift off to sleep.

Little did my ten-year-old self know is that was the last Mother’s Day I had with her. She died of breast cancer three months later at the age of 38. As hard as it was to see her in her chemo-ridden self, I hang onto the memory that we honored her on Mother’s Day and every day since. It’s what moms deserve.

How I Survive Mother’s Day

cropped-me-and-my-mom.jpgThe bright morning light awakens a new day. I am standing in the kitchen, heavy hearted, facing the calendar. With a long deep cleansing breath, I flip the calendar from April to May. The date stares out at me as if it had a spotlight on it. 26 years ago I celebrated my last Mother’s Day with my mom.

Since then, I have spent years blurring out the day by taking extra shifts at work, or by many other self-made distractions. It was just another painful reminder that my mom was not here.
Mother’s Day became a new mixed bag of emotions when I became a mom. One half of me craved the joy of celebrating with my girls, and the other half still wanted my mommy. How can I miss someone I barely knew?
I posed the question to my social media circle whose community embraced me. The virtual loving support I received from cyberspace broke the isolating wall that surrounded my heart since I was ten years old. Many other motherless moms made themselves known. We continually keep in contact, especially when anniversaries and Mother’s Day approaches.
The feeling of belonging made me more empowered to do more things positive to celebrate my mother, instead of grieving all the time. She loved purses. I remember playing with her boxes of purses while she napped post-chemotherapy. My girls now play with mine. Every weekday afternoon I watch The Young and The Restless (her favourite show). It makes me feel connected to her.
I see my oldest daughter looking at my childhood album. I sit beside her and tell her stories of when I was younger. She asks questions about my mom. I find myself smiling when I share reflections of her grandma. My mom was a school teacher. Subsequently, I had to do homework right away and never leave it to the last minute. My daughter closes the book and goes to play with her dolls.
Feeling lighter, I move on with the morning activities. I realize that I need to share with both my daughters their grandma. Just the past five minutes remind me that there were good times to cherish. I spent years in anger that she died. I still get emotional at the injustice. It never changes anything. She is still gone.
I owe it to my children to cherish my time with them, because life is too fragile. The passion to repair my story by writing new chapters motivates me to be the mom I don’t have anymore. That is the best gift I can give myself this Mother’s Day.

Wishing you the best wishes and dreams this Mother’s Day and every day.

A Childless Mother’s Day

IVF4BCMother’s Day is approaching quickly. For years after my mom died, I hated the day. I would volunteer to take the Sunday shifts so those moms on staff could all have the day off. I felt that by keeping busy at work it would make the day go fast, so I could numb the pain that I did not have a mom.

When I became a mom of a miracle and bonus baby, Mother’s Day took on a whole new meaning. I did not ask for much other than  time to relish in the fact that I was chosen to be their mom.  Throughout the day my heart would ache for those trying to be a mom. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I met my girls.

As many women who long to be moms, Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder on what is missing in their lives. When I interviewed Nia Vardalos about her book  Instant Mom, I asked her if she knew that her daughter was in the fos-adopt program would she have gone through the 13 IVF treatments?  She replied, “I say, that is your god-given right. Don’t try it. Do it.”

As I have written about the struggles for BC couples who have tried to conceive naturally and can’t afford to go through in vitro treatments to be parents, my heart aches for them. The BEST parents are those who want to be parents through any means.

There are as many as 1 in 5 families who are impacted by infertitlity. Fertility declines as early as age 28, when women are involved in their careers and might not be thinking about families. The only province that is curently funding IVF is Quebec. Publicly funding  IVF would save precious health care dollars. Since Quebec has a reputation of being family focused like BC, will this election help BC families come May 14th?

Did you know that Austraila funds up to 80% of the cost of IVF? Publicly funding single embryo transfers will preserve the health of multiple births and mom long term.

After battling many years of endometriosis I have been gifted the joy of being a mom to two amazing daughters.  Are you celebrating Mothers Day this year?  What is your story?


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Disclosure: I am a valued member of the #IVF4BC blog team. As such, I received compensation, but my opinion is my own.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

tangled web

When this book arrived in my mailbox, I opened it with curiosity about a potential love story. It was February, the month of love after all. I always held Valentine’s Day at arms length. Growing up I was never the ‘pretty one’ who got lots of heart-shaped boxes and cards. As a teenager, I stayed home from school dances and parties. I was broken-up with once on Valentines’ Day.

When I met my husband we agreed that Valentine’s Day wasn’t for us but Hallmark. Once in a blue moon he would surprise me on the day.

Days before Valentines’ Day this year, I cracked open Me Before You looking for a different kind of love story. And I found it.

Louisa lives at home and worked at a local café. She divides her time between family and her long-time boyfriend, Patrick. Then, her beloved café is closed. Living in a seasonal tourist town, jobs are scarce. She reluctantly takes an interview to help a man who recently was in a terrible accident, which left him in a wheelchair. Will is bossy and moody.  He once was a worldwide traveller and extreme sports enthusiast. Louisa refuses to treat him like his mother.

Soon she loves her job with passion. Louisa brings Will out of his bitter shell. She shows him that life is worth living despite his forecast. These two are from different worlds, yet come together under difficult challenges.

I quickly became enraptured in this heart-wrenching and romantic story. I know you will become addicted to see what happens next.