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Happy Birthday Ontario Resident, Renew Your License

I try so hard to be organized and get on top of things. I make lists and check them off as I go. Gives me purpose.

I double check emails, messages, paperwork. But, sometimes I forget to open mail. Even worse… I open mail, make a mental note of it and then forget to take care of what I need to do. 

Every year in Ontario, your birthday is a blessing and a curse. If you own a car, your license plate sticker needs to be renewed yearly or bi-yearly on your birthday. Your drivers license? Every 5 years. This shouldn’t be a shock to any Ontario resident turning 39 years old. Except to me. Today. The day before my birthday. 

I vaguely remembered about renewing the sticker on my license plate. So this morning I went on the hunt on the disgusting mess of my desk for the form that I had received in the mail, opened and left on the valley of might as well be dead and gone (AKA – my desk). I eventually found it, below my super neglected planner and a stale cracker my son must have left lying around, opened it and realized there was two pieces of paper. What was the other? A drivers license renewal form. Effective tomorrow, both my drivers license and my license plate would be expired. No problem I think. I’ll move around my work day and take care of this early afternoon. Easy peasy. 

Just after noon, I race off across downtown Toronto to Service Ontario to get in the long queue of citizens renewing the same as well as other Ontarian bureaucracy that requires this office. When it was my turn at the wicket, the woman asks me for my emissions test results. What? But I bought this vehicle new… it’s in good shape… it’s oh. It’s seven years old now. 

Ontario drive clean test result

Crap. I now have to find a place this afternoon for an e-test. Of course, I went over on my data plan this past weekend on my cell phone for the rest of the month, so now this search is going to cost me money. After a couple phone calls, I found a place that I could drive right into this afternoon! Great! I drove back across downtown and got in line. Two cars ahead of me. I wait… Both cars pass… my turn… HUZZAH! I passed too! Now to fly home, go online and renew the sticker for my license plate.

But not before I forget to grab the copy of the ownership out of the glovebox, the current insurance policy, and make note of the odometer reading.

I’m trying to cut myself some slack, I’ve had a long couple weeks of getting major things done while balancing being a decent parent, delivering completed projects to clients and being pleasantly surprised by the variables that have popped up and have diverted my attention in a good way.

All told, the cost of having a birthday and owning a car in the province of Ontario for today:

  • driver’s license renewal: $90
  • e-test: free
  • license plate sticker renewal for two years: $240
  • GRAND TOTAL: $330.00

Now, I have to grocery shop because there is no food for the kid’s lunches. Maybe I’ll actually get to do some work way later tonight. So happy birthday to me. I’ll be 39 years old tomorrow, working late tonight and still figuring life skills out.

There Was That One Time At Mom 2.0…

I love telling stories in the vein of American Pie. You know the way Michelle starts to tell Jim about her one time at band camp and what she does with the flute. It’s a really corny thing that I do.

So on that note (no, no flutes are involved in this story), if you are curious about the level of dork I can achieve – picture this… There was this one time at Mom 2.0, actor Taye Diggs (of Broadway musical Rent fame and TV series Private Practice) was the emcee of the Iris Awards. I’m not nominated, but I am there anyway to celebrate my friends and HOLD UP – this is where the story gets good, I hope I didn’t lose you…

Taye Diggs at Langham Huntington Hotel for Mom 2.0

I met actor Taye Diggs in the hotel lobby of the Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California. I shake hands with him with my right hand, he tells me I have a strong grip (side note, I really pride myself on that), so I ACTUALLY FLEXED MY RIGHT ARM FOR HIM and said “you should feel my bicep!!!” YES I DID.

Did he not reach out and grab my left arm, the one hanging beside my body, all flaccid and loose and say “oh yeah okay, nice.”

OH NO. Not only did I embarrass myself with a man after consuming some of the sure fire liquid courage, but I embarrassed myself with super buff guy, Taye Diggs. That guy has abs you can wash your shirts on.

Yes, I am available for parties as a side show act, please enquire in the comment section below.

 

What is Mom 2.0?

Mom 2.0 is where I found my tribe last year, where I become surrounded by the women that get me and I get them. Where pool side drinks at Mom 2.0I can be energetic and excited and like an avocado (you know, extra? Guacamole?) and not be judged for it. It’s the place I go learn, to be encouraged and where I can also encourage and help and share and teach.

It’s one of my opportunities to briefly get away from parenting and home life and responsibilities and do what I do best on my own – travel. Mom 2.0 is where I can sleep all starfish like in a bed and not have to share with a toddler or wake up to have to strip sheets because someone had an accident. Where I can have a mimosa with breakfast, lunch and dinner and it’s perfectly acceptable.

Mom 2.0 is the place where new Mom connections are made and old ones rekindled. Where you meet other women who have been through what you have been through, the trenches of the ‘hood – motherhood that is. Where you converse on the social media landscape, what’s happening, what’s going to happen, how to make rules, how to break rules and how we are all going to work through it together.

Mom 2.0 is the place I cannot wait to be next year and do it all over again.

 

 

Re-Entry is Fuzzy and Unkind

Last week was one of the best weeks of my life. I was in California, connecting with old friends, acquainting with new ones, living a life of freedom. Making the most of conference life at Mom 2.0. Missing my family, but hey, which mother doesn’t?

Re-Entry into the real world is fuzzy and unkind. I came home somewhat sober and detoxing to a broken kitchen faucet, a wretched smell in my kitchen that was like a sweet garbage, a stench of god knows what in my laundry room, a dripping washroom pipe and snow tires still needing to come off the car. 

Those issues existed before my departure, the kitchen faucet started to deteriorate a couple weeks ago. A decision was made that instead of purchasing an exact replica, a more high end one would go in its place. The box and new faucet is still in the kitchen, waiting for me to open it and get to work.  

I discovered the leak in the washroom pipe about a month and a bit ago. The reason is has yet to be solved is because I couldn’t figure out how to dismantle the lovely drawers in the floating vanity to get to it. Any and all assembly instructions have yet to show me how to disassemble. And my lying under it and starring up has solved nothing. 

Laundry room stench? Not sure.

The snow tires? Well we had a freak ice storm in the middle of April so I was just making sure winter was over. Like officially over. That’s my excuse. Looks like it is and I could have booked an appointment to have it done before I left. I didn’t. 

 

They lingered while I was away because no one else is going to do it for me.

 

This feels like the ultimate metaphor for my life right now. It’s easy to hide, escape temporarily or to pack it all up and just run from the shit and start over. 

There are the things you cannot control – the health of your parents and how people will react in certain situations.

And then there are things you can control. I have to prioritize what needs to be done and focus and see it to the end. I start something and then move on to something else before I finish. And then I leave that one undone when something else runs through my brain or a shiny object catches my eye. Or when it gets too hard to do, I just pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s the curse of either being a Gemini or a creative person or both. Whatever it is, it’s detrimental to myself.

 

Today, for re-entry, I started fresh.

 

Yesterday was a Sunday, a whirlwind. A day spent with my kids before back to work today. Today, I wrote out everything I need to accomplish this week, this month, this year. The list is long and very daunting, but for today there are check marks on the “done” column.

I rolled up my sleeves, put on my big girl panties and got to it.

Called to change over tires and have appointment booked? Check.

Located bad garbage smell in kitchen and removed it? Yes.

Laundry room stench? I’m working through it.

Washroom dripping pipe and kitchen faucet? It’s in the process pipe. Pardon the pun.

Started on my actual work that I get to invoice and be paid for? On it.

Small victories.

 

 

Bouncing Back

Hey Mommas,

We are going to talk about bouncing back after baby. But we are not talking about bouncing back to work – we are talking about your body.

There’s this thing, it’s WORLDWIDE, in every culture and every language I have personally encountered – the obsession with getting that pre-baby body back immediately. And that obsession is coming right, left and centre from your spouse, your mother, your mother in law, other mothers, from friends who aren’t yet mothers or have no desire to be, and most of all – FROM YOURSELF!

You get in your head and start thinking awful things about yourself, that you’re too soft now and too squishy and you lament that it’s been a couple months and you’re breastfeeding and only eating heads of lettuce for lunch and you’re still not able to fit into those pre-baby jeans. You’re hopping on the scale day after day watching it stall stagnant or only creep down one or two pounds a month and you are in a panic that you will be “fat” forever.

My friend, you need to stop that!

Some women are damn lucky and genetically blessed. It’s been a couple months, the world looks at you and your baby and girl, you look hawt! No one can tell you just gave birth. Sure, you know, but to the rest of us, you look amazing.

body bouncing back

Some of us (ME, just so you know, you are not alone), are not so lucky and seeing as though it is maternal mental health week, let’s talk about some of the numbers that matter, not the numbers on the scale.

The number 1. One healthy bouncy baby and one mother who birthed it. The fact and miracle of birth is pretty awesome and women all over the world do it.

The number 2. Hopefully you and your baby have two arms, two legs, two bum cheeks, you catch my drift… it’s all encompassing as part of your body. Make it all healthy. Nourish every part of your body with the nutrition that keeps you going. Cheat every so often if that makes you feel happy and feeds your soul.

The number 6. Six weeks post partum, once you have your doctor’s permission, which is around the six week post-baby point – that is the earliest you should be worrying about working out. Your body is still healing from the trauma of childbirth. Face it, giving birth is trauma. Give yourself time to heal from that before you force yourself into activity to change it.

The number 12. Marilyn Monroe is rumoured to have worn a size twelve and she was gorgeous and sexy. Really beautiful. Considered to be the most attractive in Hollywood in her time. I don’t have her same dimensions, but I wear that size.

The number 90. That’s how many pounds I can bench press at the gym.

The number 100. That’s the weight in pounds that I can squat. Why am I giving you this number? I think my strength is pretty damn beautiful and sexy.

The number that does not matter is the number of what you weigh.

body bouncing backI know, you hear this all the time, but I’m going to tell you that according to every chart, I’m overweight. I’m also leaving you with these pictures of me that show me celebrating my body. That I am healthy, that I feel gorgeous, that I am a mother of two and I could not care if someone sees me as fat and that I work hard to lift heavy weights. That having a post-partum body has not stopped me from doing anything I want to do or be what I want to be. Sure, I have a belly, I have stretch marks. I also love them and they do not make me less of a person.

I’m not saying you need to do this, I’m saying that this is what is feeding my soul. Blue corn nachos and sour cream are my go to snack right now. Having a glass of red wine is a pleasure. Eating just a head of lettuce for lunch is not and it doesn’t make me happy and it’s not healthy or sustainable.

Please Moms… be healthy for your children. Get your “body flaws” after giving birth out of your head. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not beautiful. Celebrate you! Celebrate that stretch mark, that love handle you now have. You’re so lucky to have it! Simply by being – you have bounced back.

 

 

 

Why You Will Love Beaches Resort in Negril

The country of Jamaica had always been on my list of places to go, but let’s face it, if I haven’t been there, it’s on my list. I had already been to quite a few islands in the Caribbean – Roatan, Bahamas, Cozumel, Cuba, St. Maarteen, to name a few, but never before to Jamaica and I wanted too so badly. The food, the music and the culture were all calling my name, so my itchy feet said that I had to do it. I am also in love with the Beaches Resort brand, so when we booked our trip to Beaches Resort in Negril while still at Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos in February 2017, we knew we would be in for a good time!

 

Here’s why my family loved Beaches Resort in Negril:

negril sunset

1.) We found that the resort is “small” enough that you can see straight across the beach area and can see who is at Pirate Island in a hurry despite being on Seven Mile Beach in Negril. We could allow the kids to have more freedom and not be chained to us because we could have a sightline of them a little bit further away from us than we have in bigger resort areas. The kids are starting to be of the age where being a little bit separate from us is good, but they’re still very dependant on asking when we’re going to have lunch and can they have another “Miami Vice” from the swim up bar.

 

2.) The sunsets were amazing! I’m a sky porn sucker, no doubt about it, but the hues of the orange, tangerine and yellow that I saw on that beach in Negril were exceptional! The sunsets were a long and drawn out affair, slow, peaceful, meandering. The daylight lingers a bit as if it’s fighting to stay present, but then just gives up and slowly is overcome with the darkness.

 

3.) There was a dinner beach party one night – that we missed most of due to dinner reservations at the Venetian, but man it looked fun! There was a marching band that came, that we hung around to watch and it just ramped up the atmosphere to full tilt party. I was told that this is a weekly party.

 

drinking a coconut in negril4.) Neither the kids or the adults ever went hungry. There was a quick service BBQ serving Jamaican patties, sandwiches and burgers all day long. My daughter, my son and their friend were able to have frozen yogurt at Yo Yo’s every day. That’s not a bad thing when you are on vacation, is it? Monday there was an amazing BBQ on the beach for lunch and coconuts were served. It was my kid’s first time drinking from real coconuts. My favourite restaurant there is Stewfish – so laid back with Jamaican inspired cuisine. It’s right on the beach (go in sandals and flip your shoes off under the table) and served us both breakfast and dinner. For breakfast, I opted for the eggs benedict and for dinner (we were there twice), I had the traditional stewed fish and then I had the chicken breast.

The Mill was the easiest breakfast spot for us due to proximity to our hotel room and it was a buffet so it also have the kids a bit of independence to be able to serve themselves. I have zero complains about any of the food we ate there. We ate really well.

 

beach in negril, jamaica5.) The Jamaican people were great! The answer to everything we asked for at the resort, the airport, on the beach was “Yes” or “No problem”. The staff was super friendly, and made my kids and us feel so welcome. We found the staff actually remembers you from day to day – the bartenders would remember the kids favourite drinks when they saw them and of course remembered that I like Pina Coladas. I wonder if part of it was were in there in low season, so there were a lot less people for them to remember, but my bet is on that they truly cared about making our experience that much more personal.

 

6.) We didn’t feel crowded anywhere. We went at the end of January into the first week of February. There was ample space on the beach, lot of pool loungers at both Pirate Island and the main pool. It seemed that we never had to wait long to be seated for meals. Nothing ever felt crowded and you never felt like you didn’t have your own space to enjoy yourself.

 

pirate island park in beaches resort in Negril7.) The big winner in terms of attractions at the resort for our families was Pirate Island. The kids loved the lazy river so much and the slides. Who doesn’t love a water slide? The two moderate size waterslides were a ton of fun. You can be so carefree and cheerful.

 

By the way – I have to add, everything is included.

Not a single extra cost incurred for us unless you ordered a bottle of wine at dinner from the manager’s list – which we did do or shop at the gift shop.  We went snorkelling, no cost to rent the mask and fins, no cost to hop on the boat!

Off-site excursions are not included in the price and prices are marked on the website. We opted to not leave the resort for this trip.

If you have read down this far – here’s a bonus for you! I have edited together video from a day in the life of a family on vacation on Beaches Resort in Negril! Check us out from entering and peeking into the room, to Pirate Island and the evening on the beach. Enjoy!

 

Our only hiccup was check in. When we arrived from the airport, they had no record of our reservations. Then my family was assigned a room on the other side of the resort as our friends and I was told I wasn’t a returning Loyalty Guest. It was really strange considering we had booked our vacations in the Loyalty office in Turks and Caicos the year prior. The good news is, it did get sorted out and we had a great time!

playing shuffle board in Negril view of grounds of beaches resort in negril

I Am Miss M and Mr. Z’s Mom

 

If you had asked me 10 years ago who I was, I would have had an answer for you. I was the girl who jumped out of airplanes, camped across Southern Africa, partied all night, danced until the sun came up and went to work mere hours later only to do it all over again the next week.

I had big dreams and lofty goals, to see every corner of the world, to touch every peak I could, to own cottages and properties in far flung exotic locales and jet off on a whim.

I was kicking ass in my career, winning accolades and admiration from colleagues and awards from industry peers.

I had it all together. Or so it seemed.

Things just stopped. Changed?

And I was in a confused state.

My name wasn’t Kathryn anymore.

I remember the first time I felt the sting of identity loss. My daughter was 4 months old and it was our second week attending a session of a Mom’s group at a local hospital. I was so excited to meet other moms in the same point of their lives as I was, in the throws of new mother hood.

But no one seemed to care what my name was, what I had done for a living, what music I was rocking out too or what I was aspiring to accomplish in the future. They just wanted to talk about poop. Breastfeeding. Nap times and sleep schedules.

I was “Miss M’s Mom”.

Miss M’s mom morphed into Miss M and Mr. Z’s Mom after a few years. And in some situations, I tried hard to hide that I was a Mom for fear it would cost me a future gig.

I struggled hard with comments from people about being a working Mom. With passive aggressive comments about “leaving early” or not being committed to the work I was doing.

I toyed with leaving the work force many times only to reassure my self again and again I was damn good at what I did.

It took 8 years for the fog of sleep deprivation to lift and to become comfortable in this new name. To understand my new direction. I am Miss M and Mr. Z’s Mom and I’m a thrill seeking explorer at heart and I’m also an award winning documentary and TV editor. I am doing it all, deep down, I was always still there.