Posts in Category: Community

The Canadian Dairy Association’s Chocolate Milk Marketing In Elementary Schools Is BOGUS [VIDEOS]

So. The Elementary School Milk Program (AHEM: Chocolate Milk MARKETING CAMPAIGN, because their sales go way down without the inclusion of said chocolate milk), is getting rather brazen and authoritative this year.

Did You Know?

“Chocolate milk has no more sugar than ‘100% Fruit Juice!”  This is the whole ‘Milk in Schools’ slogan slapped across pamphlets that went home with most public, elementary aged school kids this week. I’m just gonna tweak that nifty little tag-line a bit for a minute here. Amuse me. Come along for the ride. “Chocolate milk has the same (if not more) amount of sugar as ‘100% Fruit Juice!” There. Much better. Let’s break this whole juice is healthy concept down first. It’s not just soda that is full of sugar. Juice can be just as high in sugar as soda. Even the ‘100% fruit juice’ labelled ones, with no extra sugar added. Fruit juice contains no fibre, and the small amounts of vitamins and antioxidants in even the 100 % pure fruit juices do not make up for the large amount of natural sugar content. Read that article linked within. It’s a gooder.  I tried to find the chocolate milk pamphlet online to link to, no dice. All I could find was the more generalized (perhaps LESS CONTROVERSIAL, ahem) milk in schools brochure. But as you can see from my picture above – they are blatantly promoting chocolate milk all on its own.

The Truth About Marketing

Unfortunately, food and beverage manufacturers aren’t always honest about what is in their products, keep in mind. The fact is, the fruit juice you find at the supermarket may not be what you think it is… even if it’s labelled as “100% pure” and “not from concentrate. There are 30 grams of sugar in flavoured milk (chocolate, strawberry). Flavoured milk also has other ingredients you won’t find in the plain stuff such as colours, flavours, artificial sweeteners, which definitely don’t make it more nutritious. Yes, chocolate milk is damn tasty and I prefer to give it to my kids occasionally as a treat. It’s not being given to them every single day as a healthy food choice.

About 1 in 3 North American children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the first generation of kids who are expected to live a shorter life than their parents. By 2050, 1out of every 3 North Americans will have diabetes at the rate we’re going. This is a fundamental problem that no one is talking about. I’m paying attention and not listening to everything being marketed to me as touted being healthy for my kids and we’re teaching our kids about food brands and labels and how what they see on all of the food being marketed towards THEM aren’t honest. With this pamphlet coming home from school, we had to have another talk about chocolate milk being a TREAT, not an everyday healthy drink to consume like the advertising and slogan on the pamphlet would have their sponge-like little minds believe.

So I don’t mind having these talks with my kids. I believe that kids are being told some of the biggest lies they will ever hear in their lives by government and the food industry. It kind of boggles my mind though that we’re the ones who get strange looks at the grocery store say for example, when one on my kids pipes up asking, “look, mama, these gummies say they have vitamins and 100% fruit juice in them! That’s MARKETING right mama?! Is that true?” We’ve taught them to question marketing and to know that they are being sold lies. If we did not teach them this, they would believe what they’re seeing and reading. Kids are so trusting and innocent in this way. Just as we teach them about ‘stranger danger’, we teach them about sneaky marketing. You can think we’re zealots or go overboard with the whole healthy food consumption thing, all that you want. The stats don’t lie. MARKETING DOES. Especially advertising geared towards children. Take for example the chart that I’m looking at right now on my dining room table. It compares the nutrients of white milk and chocolate milk VS. “100 % apple and orange juice.” They list them all, calcium, vitamins D, A and C, including protein, fat and carb content. They don’t say that most of those ‘nutrients’  are injected into the milk and are synthetic. They very conveniently leave out the Bovine growth hormone content that is given to cows in the U.S. to make them mature faster and produce more milk, or the inhumane treatment that happens to cows on non-grass fed dairy farms everywhere.

Canada … Ontario, Get With The Times!

The biggest thing they’ve left out of that pretty little chart? THE SUGAR CONTENT in flavoured milk or 100% fruit juices. How convenient. Kind of sneaky in fact. We as a society are ready to analyze and question what we’re being sold in other areas of our consumption (clothes, cars, houses, etc.) We doubt, we question, we can see when we’re trying to be bamboozled. We do the research to make sure the product we’re buying is legit. Why on EARTH wouldn’t we do that when it comes to the FOOD THAT WE EAT?!

Look, I get it. Milk in schools is an easy, accessible way to help children get trough their day. So let us leave it at that, with plain old milk leaving the flavoured ones out. If the excuse is that kids are more inclined to drink chocolate milk over the plain, well yea! Of course they are. When we give them that choice. When we give them that power over their own nutrition. It’s up to us as parents to begin at home with these teachings.

Advocates like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his Food Foundation movement, have stood by his Flavoured Milk campaign. His message is clear: the more sugar we consume, the more we tend to want. If even milk has added sugar, what doesn’t? Part of getting everyone to better eating is getting everyone familiar with more wholesome, less-processed foods. Milk closer to nature is a better choice than milk with added sugar and colourings and flavourings. Every eating occasion is an opportunity to promote health or oppose it. If schools take a lead role in promoting health, there will still be much work to do outside of schools, but school then becomes an important part of the solution, rather than contributing to the problem.

And I agree. Adding flavourings and sugar to milk offers no nutritional benefit. The harm of the sweetened dairy products, besides the added calories, is that the palate changes so that the drive for sweetness increases. No matter what Oliver’s critics might say. Speaking of which, his flavoured milk campaign is SO 2011. He’s since moved on to lunches that are served in schools and food education for kids, parents and teachers alike.

Socioeconomic and Demographic Accessibility

The hardcore truth of the matter is that some kids go to school without being fed breakfast. Or, if they have been fed breakfast, it was a bunch of sugary crap. Every single day. (Again, I’m talking about consistency here, not the occasional treat). And much the same continues throughout their day when they pull out snacks and lunch. Very little whole-food based food with REAL (not synthetic) vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and protein value. So milk is a simple, accessible (cost effective) choice for many families to jump on board with to supply their kids with at least SOME nutritional food value to keep going throughout their day. I personally know that most of the vitamins touted to be in milk are not naturally sourced. As in they’re synthetic forms of those vitamins and ADDED into milk to make it more marketable. A one stop shop to get a whole fleet of vitamins, minerals and food supplements: vitamin’s A, B6, D, B12, calcium, protein, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous zinc. Healthy carbs and fats. (Questionable, i.e.: skim vs. regular, whole milk vs. 2%, organic vs. regular, etc.)

I realise that our family comes from a place of privilege wherein we (by working our butts off to be able to afford whole foods) can provide our kids a nutrient dense diet every day. There are several reasons that we view this as a high priority in our budget, which stem from cultural beliefs surrounding food and water being sacred, being medicine; core values and health issues that my husband and I have. The truth is that there are a plethora of other ways for even low-income families to feed their kids simple, whole-food based meals and snacks that provide all of the nutrients that milk and flavoured milk are advertised as having. But knowing and understanding this takes LEARNING and education for parents too. Which is why some North American schools have stopped including flavoured milks in the milk programs and have workshops and book informative public speakers to come in and provide hands-on learning tools about how to feed their families on a budget, exposing truths about sugar and industry marketing.

My reasons for writing this post aren’t just to rant and rave. I’m hoping to generate online discourse and proposing that parents who are interested in tackling this issue, DO SO. It is much easier to turn a blind eye to the horrifying statistics on childhood obesity and diabetes and continue on as we were. Buying the hype. At what cost? We need to rally together, support one another, regardless of socio-economic and demographic barriers. Start up a movement in your school. Research speakers and workshop options. Put together your own presentation and make a call-to-action with your school’s principal to present at your next School Council meeting. Share your knowledge with other parents and students in an approachable, helpful way. Make suggested alternatives to flavoured milk easy, price friendly and accessible. Be the motivation. Igniting community awareness and interest in a convenient manner is key. We can’t just TELL parents they’re doing something wrong. How pompous, right? In essence, they aren’t. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have. With what we’ve been taught sold.

When industry partners up with the government (the Elementary School Program for example, or say – the Canadian Food Guide, which is a whole other bucket of worms, but take a comparitive look at our food guide compared to the Brazilian Food Guide ), the thought of challenging that strong-hold of power is overwhelming. I get it. Writing this post took me nearly two hours and I have many more (hours) ahead of me if I hope to get chocolate milk sales banned from my kids’ school and help other parents and kids understand why this is a GOOD THING. No, I don’t have lots of time on my hands. I work full-time too. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have our own daily intricacies, problems and issues to deal with.

Don’t Just Take My Word For It …

Sugar, in and of itself has become a widespread, controversial subject. Please watch the documentary “Fed Up”. It’s a highly (scientific and evidence based) researched (albeit disturbing) look at sugar as the INDUSTRY it really is. Placing private profit ahead of public health. Watch the trailer below.

Learn more, know more.

What You Can Do

➵ Be friendly. DON’T BE PREACHY. Make it fun. Perhaps start off with signing up to have your school celebrate Food Revolution Day 2016 and use The Flavoured Milk campaign a springboard for small steps.
➵ Print and share the easy to read PDFs from Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation, Toolkits for Change under “Flavoured Milk.’ There are 3 sections (The Facts, Find Support and Create a Campaign.) Email my post to begin, if you want, to your school council members and principal. Post it on FB and tag your neighbours, your friends, etc. Find your allies at the school and join together.
➵ Contact your school council chair, your principal, your ministry of education (where the campaign comes from). This might be considered causing a ruckus depending on where you’re at demographically. I guess you need to be comfortable with that. Or be okay with being uncomfortable. I’m going to be communicating with my kids’ school council that I’m already a part of and the principal to make my own presentation.
➵ If you can get your school’s principal and council members on board, call an info night session for all parents to attend and hand out the resources linked above, put them on a overhead and use them as talking points to all parents in attendance. Better yet, make a mini, easy to digest power point presentation using these resources to accompany it. Send the printables home with the kids too, just like that chocolate milk pamphlet was. They may not be printed in colour on fancy heavy weight gloss paper, and that’s okay.
➵ Contact ME to use and modify my power point presentation (coming soon!). Sign up for my newsletter to find out when. Or simply use Jamie Oliver’s resources to create your own, that’s what I will be doing, he makes it easy.

This may be one small thing that you do – in eliminating flavoured milk being sold at your kids’ school. With the power to invoke long-term change; in how parents and kids know about and understand nutrition, how neighbourhoods and school districts to come together as a village, recognizing the importance of food education and diet-related diseases that we are facing with this generation.

Special Call To Action: Help Reshape Humanitarian Aid Work

top It was mid-summer, 2012. Spirits were high as Trev (my husband for any new readers) and I were at Dundas Square for a performance he was about to get down in (as the bassist for the band Digging Roots at the time) for Aboriginal Day festivities at Dundas Square in Toronto. About an hour before he was to hit the stage we received a phone call informing us that his/our dear friend, Steve Dennis had been kidnapped. Steve is a humanitarian aid worker, and since 2002 he has been assisting to provide aid in some of the world’s most devastated areas.

At the time of his kidnap, he was deployed with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. Steve and four of his colleagues were attacked by armed men, shot and taken with force as hostages. One of them did not survive. None of us can begin to fathom what this might have been to go through. I just know on the other side, in receiving this horrible news … that time stood still. We had no control. There was nothing we could do to help Steve. We didn’t know if he would survive. Thankfully, he did. But thousands of other aid workers in similar, tragic events, have not. And yet thousands more who have survived physically, require care and rehabilitation that they are just not receiving.

As anyone could image, the repercussions of this tragedy have had ongoing effects on him that you or I could not imagine. He brought his concerns to the NRC and received next to NO ongoing support. In the years since Steve has made discoveries concerning the NRC’s level of accountability and level of duty of care to it workers as an organization in general. Not just regarding what happened to he and his colleagues. So he hired a lawyer in “pursuit of answers about organizational accountability and support for my injuries” as Steve states in the essay of his Fund Razr campaign. Why is he seeking to raise funds? Steve hopes to help re-shape aid policy and procedures to the level that reducing the risk of violence requires! And to take proper care of those and their familes who are suffering. As one might envision, in knowing what a huge organization that the NRC is … the bevy of high rolling lawyers they have at their disposal. Steve is but one man in his plight for fair and [much needed] call-to-action for change in aid and thus far has used his own resources and time to cover legal fees.

There is so much more to the story and I urge you to read what Steve has to say and watch his video on his Fund Razr page. The change he is trying to manifest will benefit the future of ALL aid workers. He is asking us to share his message … like that of so many other aid workers, and to discuss what duty of care means to you, and make a small donation any way we that we can.

This has been difficult to write as I want to share ALL of the details with you, but I also beseech you to visit his funding page. Get the full scope of how crucial the shift towards safety and accountability for aid workers that Steve is petitioning for. Share his story on your social networks (use the hashtag #ReShapeAid) and get involved in the discussion.

Words From Trevor

When Steve first told me of his decision to start working with Médecins Sans Frontières, I saw immediately what a great fit it was. Steve is a level-headed, fair and pragmatic engineer who brought a talent for making things out of nothing to places that needed them most. His good heart and wisdom was recognized by ex-pats and nationals alike and he earned respect unanimously. He has always had a mind fit for figuring out processes and logistics and MSF, and later the Norwegian Red Cross (NRC), saw that and put it to very good use for a long time. There was always knowledge that working on these front lines brought risk, but there were plans in place to provide a working environment that was as safe as possible. Steve was forthcoming with his thoughts on where he saw weaknesses in security procedures and other safety concerns. Indeed on some assignments, he was the man on point to enforce best practices to ensure the safety of the staff, ex-pat and national, on the project. He had the experience and the ability to disseminate his knowledge to the organizations he was working for. And he did.

In 2012, his camp was stormed by armed men, resulting in the death of his friend and driver, Abdi Ali, and the kidnapping of him and 3 others. The camp was being run by the Norwegian Red Cross (NRC), and they were absolutely negligent in their responsibilities towards the safety of their staff. There were a slew of security measures that had been well discussed and thought out, yet were simply ignored or dropped. And after the kidnapping, the NRC did nothing to take responsibility for their actions nor make reparations in the field for their mistakes.

The kidnapping was a turning point for Steve. I know that he has struggled with PTSD and has not been, and may never be, ready to return to the field. But, Steve is a man who sees justice as a responsibility and he is standing up against the NRC to make them accountable for their failing response to the kidnapping incident. His voice echoes the unheard voices of thousands of aid workers who ask only that true efforts be made towards keeping them safe while they do important and harrowing work in the field.

Steve is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I am grateful that he is and will be around to watch my children grow. And I am proud of him, and absolutely support him, for taking this stand. His actions must have a positive effect and will, in all likelihood, save lives.

best man

My Best Man

Feature Friday: The Diverse Prowess of T. Nile

Being the wifey of a folkie has its benefits. Immeasurable in their direct association to the unique wonder that is Trevor, himself. A complicated, kind, funny, dark, charismatic, charming and sensitive man … but I’m not here to talk about all of that. I’m referring to all of the extras that I’ve gotten to reap from his direct connection to music in Canada. Born into an illustrious Canadian folk family, he is the son of an accomplised musician, gold record producer and deeply respected advocate/patron of the roots/folk music scene in Canada. Trev followed in his dad’s footsteps and as a result, has met and made many a friendship with other musicians on the scene.

Then there was that time BC (before children), when he was the Artistic Director for the Eaglewood Folk Festival. This is where we first began to work together as creatives on a big project. I suppose you could say EFF had a significant influence on how our relationship developed in those first early years together. Working and living together is not for the weak! Why am I giving you all of the back-story? Well, I’ve gotten a few questions from readers about how I know about or discover the talent that I feature here as a part of our “Feature Friday” series.

Well, it is in part, thanks thanks to Trevor. I have made some amazing friendships through him, in particular with other strong, creative women. The ladies, well, they like Trevor. Not in the way you might think! Well, yes … back in the day that way too. He did his fair share of camp-fire courting! That is, after all, how he reigned me in.

Which brings me to the particularly gorgeous and unreserved talents of T. Nile. An acoustic and electronic goddess, T.Nile comes from a lineage of one-man-bands starting with Jesse Fuller (wrote San Francisco Bay Blues) followed by her father, Dan The One Man Band. I fell in love with her luminescent vocals year ago, and when she started to combine usual her guitair, banjo, harmonica, kazoo with foot percussion, synth and electronics … HOT DAMN! It was like nothing I’d ever really heard before and immediately wanted more of. She began touring with her dad at the wee age of six so one could say she definitely has the chops and the experience to permit for such ballsy experimentation. Being quoted by Sarah Bauer of Exclaim Music as a, “banjo-plucking love-child of Beck and Lana Del Rey” … I couldn’t agree more. Her voice is sultry and strong. He lyrics and prose deep, throughful and spread throughout your atmosphere like honey.
So, without firther ado – I bring to you the avante-garde, west-coast folk roots meets EDM sonic stylings of T.Nile!

My 21 DF Work in Progress: a Transformative Journey

When I first began this program, I had my reservations. In the end, I suppose – about myself. All of the tools and support I needed were (are) there after all, the rest was up to ME; the biggest (pardon the pun) equation in all of this. As someone who has publicized a sizeable quotient of my life online as a parenting, relationship and food blogger, sharing in my fitness journey should be nothing new, right?


My struggles with body image and weight have been a burden I keep held down low, squashed with shame and confusion. I occasionally talk about them, very lightly and never delve too deep. That had to change. I understand that now. In order for me to fully embrace fitness and food portion control as a lifestyle change, not a diet – and to feel good about doing it, I had to address my dark passenger. I had to (continue to) delve deep and dissect my WHY. Not my WHY for pursuing a better path to nutrition and fitness, but WHY it’s always been such a struggle.

Feature Friday For The Lovers: Introducing Digging Roots’ Single “I’ve Got it Bad” [VIDEO]

For The Lovers

When Raven and ShoShona, of Digging Roots, approached me to work with them on a music video for their song, “I’ve Got It Bad” … I was both terrified and honoured. Yet, as it goes with many things in my life, I decided to abandon fear and dive in. It began with Shoshona and I writing the concept. ShoShona wanted to experiment with the idea of not taking themselves too seriously so I presented her with a series of tongue-in-cheek treatment ideas and we hashed out many different concepts and story-lines. As is often the case, our original concept was a much longer story. But, as also is often the the case, we didn’t have endless funds at our disposal so we reigned shots in to utilize who and what we had to work with. Which, from a professional prospective; was a stunning well of creative professionals of which to draw from anyways.

From there, Raven, Doug (the D.O.P, co-director, editor and my husband), Sarain Carson-Fox, Shona and I just went for it. We decided on a storyline of, learning to love yourself. How do you tell such a story without being cheesy? Comedic relief. Over five days, we shot tons of footage in Longboat Key, Florida. Even when Shona was stung by a stingray on the third day, she kept going!

This video is truly a labour of love. Our children, ranging in age from 2 to 18, all helped. My mom and Shona’s mom helped and together we were able to have fun, work hard and put together a really charming and FUNNY video. Our actress Sarain was a dream. Such a great sport with fantastic comic timing and to top it off … she’s gorgeous! Her character tells the story of how a woman who thinks she’s in love, finds what she was looking for in herself instead. In her darkest moment, she sees herself and saves herself from her own heartache. She is, in essence, her own prince charming.

To be honest, those five days of production helped me forget how much pain I was in from the Lyme Disease that was infecting and attacking my body. That’s when you know you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing.

Thanks to Digging Roots for having faith and thanks to Doug for spending so much time on this project.

I hope you enjoy it!

Trevor and Selena Got Married: Part Two

What’s a wedding without a party? Who likes to party? The answers are, not much – and we do!

I’ve thought long and hard on how I might prose this (largely) pictorial style wrap to the sharing of our wedding photos. Why? (Another question, oh yes.) Well, largely in part because the location of our reception turned out to be rather unfortunate. Not in our enjoyment for the evening of (more or less), but most definitely in the after-math.

I won’t say another thing about it but to link to a review (and other reviews at the end of the fun) when I’m good and ready at the end of this post. (I’ll edit and link-up when that happens.) Because – well – this was our wedding. We don’t want to continue to mar the beauty of the day with any more negativity than that which has already been attempted. We, our guests – our family and friends; set a stellar space, the music flowed (as did a few other libations) and the glow of love and joy was huge. That’s it, that’s all this post should be about; yet on the good word of some colleagues and those who are in the know…it wouldn’t be right to promote said business in a shining light given our experiences.

So I hope you understand the vagueness (I’m sure some of you want the scoop, who doesn’t love a dirty scoop – especially when it comes to a small wedding, in a small town at a local business?) You’ll have to wait for those reviews my pretties and just enjoy the positive flow of these photos. There is a video yet to come and a couple of posts over on Babble where I’ll highlight the kids’ involvement in our wedding a bit more.

Help us lift the memory of our evening up in the light, grace, style and class that it deserves…and leave the rest in the past, my friends. (All amazing photography by Ratul Debnath of Image Pros Photography. You can see PART ONE, The Ceremony, by clicking here.)



This morning I am woken with an extreme feeling of gratitude, on this my 37th birthday. Oohhh, it’s creeping in and I am reminded today, as many of us are on a birthday – the importance of caring for this vessel I that holds my brain and my heart, into middle and old age. The importance of our youth, the 8th fire rising.

I am reminded of the strong support system of friends and family that surround me, lift me up, care for me, dote on me and inspire me. Yesterday and today I’ve felt especially doted on and inspired. Today is going to be a good day and I want to leave you with the work of some of my favourite people in this world, big influences and loves in my life. This work that they are doing, makes all of the day to day madness worth it. Wake up and RISE.


So now I know why I don’t usually do giveaways here…I hate awarding only one person!

You’ve all been so patient in awaiting to hear who the winner is so without further ado…the winner is:


End of the summer. That time where you do one last special thing. One last big adventure, BBQ, beach or camping trip.

For us it was our 2nd annual neighbourhood block party. When we moved to this suburban neighbourhood a couple of years ago, we had no idea how lucky we’d be. In fact this city mouse (me), was rather snobbish about it all in thinking that I probably wouldn’t make many friends or have all that much in common with my new neighbours. To be clear, it’s not that I thought (or think), that I was/am too cool for the suburbs. What I speak of is this idea that I have in my brain; that I’m too weird for most people. The damaged one. I’m usually pretty straight up about where I come from and my experiences in my life that have made me who I am today. I have opinions and express myself differently than a lot of the women I meet.

I don’t usually identify or bond with people unless they’ve been through similar experiences to my own. I suppose that much is true for most. There’s just more oddballs in big cities. We gravitate toward the erratic pulse, the ebb and flow of a big city that can swallow us whole; a nomad with no ties – if we so desire it to. I became a city girl myself on the run many years ago and I always considered it home, always found my way back to where no one knew me, only those who I chose to let in gained admittance. We all know living in a small suburb in Northern Canada is the exact opposite of all of that. Sure you can hide a lot behind closed doors, but I’m not much for that. I let my ‘freak flag’ fly as is.

I was right for the most part. If it weren’t my beautiful friends who already lived here, (one of the main reasons we chose this small city), I’d be like so many other lonely mothers who live out in the boonies with partners/husbands who travel a lot for work. Which, as it turns out – isn’t going to be an issue for us anymore.

As some of you may know, the close friends whom I speak of are in fact like family to us. They also happen to be the co-leaders (a husband and wife team), of the band Digging Roots that Trevor plays in. Make that past tense.

I know.

A big shock for many of you who know us or who are regulars here. It still feels a little surreal. Trev played bass with them for nearly six years and that working relationship is a big part of what bonded our families so tightly together. There were many reasons for Trevor’s decision, some personal and not a part of my story to share here and some based on hard realities.

Ones that we couldn’t have for-seen coming. You know, the usual stuff that causes stress for new(ish) parents; finances, job security, wanting benefits, etc. So there’s all that grown-up stuff. There’s also the reality of how much time we were spending apart as a family during these fleeting early years of parenting. It hasn’t been easy and we thought and dreamt of all sorts of ways we could make it work before we were actually doing it. Touring together, combining creative forces on big projects together, sharing a nanny, all sorts of things.

Some of that stuff, as wonderful as it sounds, doesn’t work with babies and toddlers in tow. Or with other careers and deadlines and bills and juggling to keep it all going. How many people with young children do you know with two full-on careers on the go? Music isn’t the only thing Trev has going for him. He’s had his own web development company for years and has worked full time, or more than full-time ever since I’ve known him doing that alone. Imagine touring with a band and trying to record an album and band practices and being a part of the creative/business aspect of being in a career band on top of that? Triple that with the responsibilities (and natural desire to be a present, patient and loving dad), of fatherhood and home? And those are just the reasons I feel comfortable is sharing here. There was/is more to it.

No matter how much he wanted to do both, something just had to change. So hard decisions have been made because two of the biggest reasons are the two little kids who were missing their dad an awful lot, much of the time.

Will this affect our friendship? No. Although making the decision and knowing how much work would be involved for our dear friends in getting a bass player – that was hard. They’ve been so patient, kind and inspiring to Trev’s journey as a bassist. A big commitment from them too. So there is heartbreak on both sides. We’ll have to find new ways to be together and nurture one another as we move forward into this new stage of our relationships. We still live down the street from each-other after all. Rave and Sho are still sponsors to our children and I love theirs like they were my own nephews. Our kids are tight, theirs being quite a bit older than ours. They are role models to Wyndham and Abby. Sho’s son Skye is one of Abby’s sponsors. She calls him, ‘my Kye.’ They and we know each-other deep down; all the grand and dark bits like not many friends or even family do. (Or can.) ShoShona and I have built a sister-hood. <<< If you watch that video and happen to be a softie in a badass shell like me then you might tear up a bit. I myself just watched it and am ugly crying, so. Our extended families have become close, I’m now a sponsor to ShoShona’s niece and developing awesome friendships with her sisters. Sho’s mom is a guiding light in my life; as an elder, a survivor, and an honest, kick-my-ass-when-I-need-it-mentor.

Trev not being in the band isn’t going to wash all of that away. We plan on laughing about all of the beautiful and crazy times we’ve had when we’re grey and curmudgeonly. What does this all really mean? It means that Trev has decided to begin the search to take a senior position with a big firm in the big city. In mourning his departure from music for a while he cut off all of his beautiful hair and shaved his beard. (Almost. I had a few ways to convince him from going completely straight. Sheesh.) It means that if he can’t work from home and has to commute everyday, we may (MAY) decide to avoid that by downsizing and moving back to the city. Of course, we really want to avoid that because look at all we’ve built here! Our own little community. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, we wrapped up the summer together with some other friends, family and our neighbours. All pictures courtesy the exquisitely talented Ratul Debnath of Image Pros (Photography).

#RealMamaLife: May They Be Messy

Welcome to the 5th edition of Real Mama Life!  <<< (click there to learn more about how you can participate!)

Where we embrace the glory and humour in the chaos. Un-staged and imperfectly beautiful.’

Fingernails should be dirty.

Paint should be splattered and smeared about.

Laughter and shrieks should echo.

Water should be splashed in, endlessly.

We should give our neighbours something to talk about, what with our tailgate parties and vegetable gardens instead of lawns.

There should be an endless supply of freezies, popsicles and ice-cream.

Watermelon should drip down chins and all over clothes without a worry.

Neighbourhood friendships betwixt children should flourish.

Hair should be sticky and tangled with sunscreen, sand, mud, paint and food.

Music. There should always be music.

These are all signs of a glorious day full of exploration, free play and release in the life of a young child.

During this, the season of summer…

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