#Workshop – #Financial & #Family #Support for #Autism, #HamONT

Back to School 3

Excited to announce the first of a new workshop series being held in Hamilton, ON called “Financial & Family Support for Families Affected by Autism”. It’s being held on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at St. John United Church, Hamilton ON, doors opening at 6:30pm.

The first workshop is called “Getting Ready For Back To School, and Finances“. More information: 2014 August – Financial & Family Support – online rsvp.

Speakers will discuss:

  • Back to School: preparing financially and emotionally – by yours truly… 😉
  • RDSP – Melissa Greaves, Primerica
  • Budgeting – Christine Lasebnik, Primerica

Please join the Facebook group created specifically for this workshop series: Autism – Family & Financial Workshops.

Proof of “Never Say Never”


I left my small hometown of 2,000+ people when I was 18 to venture across the country for post-secondary education.  My parents “ruthlessly” sold my childhood home (How dare they?!) in the summer before I left and moved to a farm before I visited for Christmas break of first year university.  So, I packed for university and packed everything else I had for their move.  I left my hometown saying I would “never move back until I owned my childhood home again”.  Well, never say never.


Fast forward 16 years.  I moved back across the country, got married, have amazing almost 6 year old twins, am now getting divorced, and the kids and I have moved to the family farm; back to my hometown.  In the past 16 years, I have lived in 2 provinces and 3 metropolitan areas, and am now getting reacclimatized to small-town living. 


I was pleasantly surprised to find out that library is open every day of the week, but not the number of hours in the day as it is in a city.  I was shocked to see the sign on the front door of one of the satellite library locations has Wi-fi!  Having said that, the family farm also has Wi-fi…but I digress…


There’s only one Early Years Centre BUT, it has OFF-SITE playgroups at various parks in the area, with staff and one volunteer from the centre to help the parents in attendance with their kids, and set up different activities.  It also has a special needs-specific program offered every Thursday morning, which was nice to attend this week to start meeting other parents of children with special needs in the area.  Staff at the Centre are so excited because “there’s a new family in town”.  DD is even attending one of the French programs, that is run by a family friend whom I babysat for as a teenager.


I forgot that people here tend to get married and have children earlier than I did.  I remember some friends were surprised that I was going to university to get an education (gasp!) rather than a husband (double gasp!).  It seems that many of my childhood friends got married by 21 or 22, had their first child within a year so now that we are all in our mid- to late-30s, they have pre-teen and teenagers while I’m chasing after almost 6 year old twins.  It’s a very strange realization to find out that I’m an “older mom” here.  I talked with my best friend from highschool tonight, only to find that her son is now 12 years old – he’s still 5 in my mind; my almost 6 year olds are still babies in her mind.


I’m having a hard time getting used to the slower pace for everything here.  Everyone works REALLY hard (my dad has cut, turned, bailed and stored more than 100 bales of hay this week, on his own…and it’s “just” a hobby farm – my parents still run their own business full time!) but the panic and stress inherent in city life just don’t seem to be here.  People actually drive the speed limit or under (you mean it’s not just a “guideline”?) here, which feels very foreign to me.  Having said that, you can get everywhere within a 15 mins drive so really, what’s the rush?


In the end, I think I will have to change my original “never move back until I own my childhood home again” to:

“I WILL own my childhood home again…someday”.

Redheads + Sun = Freckles





The kids and I spent a couple hours yesterday with friends of ours at a playground near the water. It was crazy hot and sunny out. With 3 redheads and 2 fair-skinned brunettes in our “party”, everyone was sprayed with sunscreen first. DD and her best friend laughed their heads off while they were being sprayed (okay, I did too). DS was NOT impressed. He’s very sensitive to liquid drying, but the feeling was short lived.


We also saw and petted some police horses while we were there. DS was even very interested in the horses, which was amazing as he doesn’t go near the horses at my parents’ farm. My kids are now proud owners of “trading cards” of one of the horses…and I deny taking extra time to look at/drool over the police officer in uniform on the front of the card…completely deny it…


After spending time with the horses, we all walked over to Pier 4 playground, where there is a very cool replica of a tugboat for kids to play on. Very quickly, the other grown-up with us was dumping water on the kids and they all looked like drowned rats.


Today however, the kids and I have been “counting new freckles”. Welcome to the life of redheads! If exposed to sunlight, we freckle. I was fortunate to grow up in a family where my grandmother used to always say that freckles were “marks of beauty” so I seem to have come out of childhood not being embarrassed by freckles like others who freckle easily. Even before my kids had freckles (their father is a redhead too so it was “destined”), I was working on them embracing freckles.


Although not a redhead, my dad is very fair-skinned so he and I were always putting sunscreen on when I was a kid, while my mom and brother didn’t “need” to with their darker skin tones. We aimed to use SPF 45 if we could find it…which was very hard to find 30 years ago. I always wanted to get that beautiful tan that all my friends did, but I also knew it wasn’t going to happen. Thankfully, I’m not a redhead that just thinks of sun and gets burnt.


My mom gave me a t-shirt once that encompasses redhead vs sunlight perfectly: “Authentic Redhead: Keep Out of Direct Sunlight”. My t-shirt is even in that bright green that ONLY redheads can wear.