A Thirst For The #summerofrich

I had planned to give this as a gift to Rich for Father’s Day but (spoiler alert) I guess I just couldn’t wait that long, LOL!

I made it for him and in honour of him. 

So from now on whatever trails our #summerofrich adventures lead us to Rich will always be well hydrated with his new, “one of a kind”, personalized and insulated water bottle that will keep his drinks really cold and refreshing no matter how lost we may get or how hot it is outside.  

Every summer since its conception about five years ago now I like to give a brief synopsis of what #summerofrich is for any newcomers to my page who may be wondering what the heck it is exactly. 

It began with a simple exclamation one (very) early Friday morning at the end of June as we stood waving goodbye to our three kids as they drove away on the bus to camp for the next seven and a half glorious weeks (I actually think 2 of them were staff at the time and may have already left for camp, but not important!).

They were barely out of the parking lot yet when Rich turned to me with the biggest smile on his face and shouted “It’s the Summer of Rich”!, and wasted no time at all getting started. Our first activity on the #summerofrich agenda that year (and every year after that until last summer) was already scheduled for later that morning. We were off to the spa for pedicures.

The #summerofrich meant that he now had a seven plus week break; a well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break from the burdensome (I use that term, not him) role he plays as both mom and dad, chef, psychologist, schlepper, grocery bagger and much, much more for the other forty something weeks of the year; a role which he has so selflessly taken on for the better part of seven years now.

Last summer when the devastating (yes it was devastating to many) announcement came that overnight camps would not be running due to Covid-19 I thought for a brief moment that we should cancel the #summerofrich all together seeing as Rich would not be getting his well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break. Then I realized that we don’t have to cancel it at all, we just needed to pivot somewhat, after all we no longer had all three kids away for the summer anymore anyways.

And tada, the #summerofrich 2.0 was born. This past year we pivoted a lot due to Covid restrictions. And although our summers may not be as carefree as they once we’re, the #summerofrich has become an incredible outlet for the both of us. If you were to tell me 5 years ago that I’d be enjoying the great outdoors, hiking trails all over our beautiful Province of Ontario and exploring the beauty of nature I’d have said you were crazy.

It’s now become the perfect way to take care of our mental health, have fun and discover places we never imagined before. 

What a healthy outlet we have found to do together and I’m so glad that sharing our adventures brings so much joy to others as well. Hashtag #summerofrich has created quite a following!

I’m a planner and I love spending time researching and finding new and adventurous things for us to do. I take my job very seriously (hey, you never know but maybe one day we will even complete the entire length of the Bruce Trail, all 900 KMs of it!).

But most of all when we needed to pivot last summer, the #summerofrich 2.0 took on a whole new life of its own and has made many of our adventures that much more meaningful and memorable too. Our kids have even learned to embrace our passion in small doses, call it “Pandemic boredom” but hey, I’ll take it! 

Yes, the #summerofrich may have started out as a well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break for Rich during the seven or eight weeks that the kids were away at camp but it’s become so much bigger than that, so much so that as we pivoted this past year we also continued to discover even more adventures with every changing season.  Me and winter do NOT get along but if you add the hashtag #summerofrich next to it then count me in! (And it’s a good thing that his new water bottle can also keep his drinks nice and warm as well!!)

#twopointoh #learntopivot #insulatedwaterbottle #earlyfathersdaypresent #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #nature #hiking #getmoving #yourmentalhealthmatters #youareenough #family #relationshipgoals

Happy Birthday Rich!!

This past year has been nothing less than a Shit Show!!!! (am I right or what?) and I am so grateful everyday for having your strength, your gentle embrace, your sense of humour and your love.

You are my anchor, my heart and my beloved and I thank you for everything that you do for me and our kids (yes, the list is pretty endless) and I thank you for everything that you are.

We honour you, we appreciate you and most of all we celebrate you today, tomorrow and always because no one deserves it more than you!

I hope all your wishes come true in the coming year. Have an amazing day! 🍍🥰🎂🥳

#mybeloved #iloveyoutothemoonandback #foreverandaday #happybirthday #everyoneneedsarich #summerofrich #youareenough

It’s Movember: Change The Conversation

Today we welcome in the month of November and the good news is that means there are only 60 more days left until this year from hell will finally be over! But today also marks the beginning of Movember which also means that for the next 30 days men from all around the world will be growing a moustache in honour of their fellow men everywhere.  

Movember, which originated in Australia is now a celebrated movement that raises awareness and funds for men’s health issues but more specifically; Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Depression and Suicide.

As we watch men’s moustaches grow we are paving the way towards critical and possibly life saving conversations to occur and reminding men of the importance of early cancer detection, making time for annual check-ups, getting more active and essentially decreasing the amount of preventable deaths. 

From a young age some boys are taught (whether it be culturally, generationally or socially) that a “real man” shouldn’t cry, that a “real man” can’t show fear, that being compassionate is somehow a character flaw and that acting anything less than a tough guy is a sign of weakness. 

These untruths only feed more and more into the many toxic masculine aggressions and can also lead many men towards feelings of “self-reliance and emotional repression”,  both of which can very likely produce an increase in mental health problems such as Depression and Suicide.  

A man with such toxic character traits may also make it much less likely that they will seek medical and/or psycholgical help for themselves and could therefore lead to a much shorter life span. 

When I came upon this picture the other day (see attached) of the soon to be “President of the United States!!!” and his son Hunter Biden, I saw a picture of courage and strength, I saw a picture of acceptance and understanding, I saw a picture of forgiveness and I saw an unconditional love between a father and his son. 

This picture went viral but sadly it did so for all the wrong reasons. Some individuals (to remain nameless) mocked and shamed this portrait as a toxic portrayal of how a “real man” should act and they are sending a very misguided and scary message to the world; especially to the most vulnerable and most impressionable young men among us. 

I wish they could see what I see when I look at this picture and I wish that they could see how having the gift of a strong male role model in a young boy’s life could set the bar higher towards a society where men are embraced for their vulnerability instead of their toughness.  We could sure use more men like that in the world right now.

Let’s “change the face of men’s health” (Movember’s motto) and squash the stereotypes by supporting and encouraging all men to see this picture through that same lens.

#changetheconversation #endingthestigma #movember #changethefaceofmenshealth #youareenough #noshame #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #joebidenforpresident #iwishicouldvote

Thankful and Blessed

Today I was so honored to receive an amazing and much appreciated nomination from my very dear friend Sheri Epstein and my very new friend Belora Cotnareanu whom I am so blessed to have both of these strong and supportive ladies in my life. I was nominated in a group that was formed just a couple of months ago called “Creative Cooking During Corona” by  Cheryl Obrant who’s love of food and community has since brought together almost 10,000 like-minded individuals who share recipes and build each other up! See below:

CELEBRATING WOMEN  #top10

“Is there someone in your life, or even yourself, who has really done something unique and special during these past few months??
Stepped up in an incredible way, given back to others, come up with a unique or innovative business idea……Overcome challenges or adversities and deserves to be Spotlighted and recognized???
TODAY WE FEATURE THE 10th OF OUR #TOP10 a double nomination by Sheri Epstein and Belora Cotnareanu – thank you ladies and we share with you the amazing Kim Newman Fluxgold

Here is the story shared by Sheri and supported by Belora

Kim Fluxgold has suffered from severely debilitating depression for the past 6-7 years. She has tried many things to help her “get better” nothing has made a difference. Although her depression has often made her feel like giving up she doesn’t!

Each day she tries to cope with the challenges of daily life of being a wife and a mother, which in itself is difficult enough. But… on top of that she has made a commitment to helping others who are suffering like she is. Kim writes a blog entitled, You Are Enough, and she even authored and published a book for children, “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go” to help parents explain depression to young children.

Then the shut down happened and Kim became very concerned for all the grade 12 students who were losing out on the things that mark the end of high school. As a mother of a grade 12 student (as I am also) she knew that this shut down wasn’t just about losing out on part-time jobs and march break plans, but also losing out on prom, graduation, summer plans, moving into residence, frosh week, etc.

As well, she was and is very worried that all this loss could cause many of our children profound sadness, feelings of grief, and depression. Kim wanted to do something to show our graduates –all our graduates – that we are  proud of them and that we honour them.
So Kim designed these wonderful lawn signs and all proceeds from the signs are being donated to Kids Help Phone, which is seeing an increase in calls since the shut down.

Kim did all the advertising for the signs, had them made, and then delivered each one personally (with her family members helping with driving and schlepping) to each grad.

This has put many miles on her car as she has travelled all around the GTA putting smiles on grads’ faces. To date she has raised about $10,000 for Kids Help Phone. I would say that this is pretty amazing for anyone to do but for someone who struggles each day with depression this is AWESOME!

Kim is most deserving any and all accolades that she gets (even if she often doesn’t feel that she is worthy of them).

WHAT AN AMAZING STORY!!!!!!!!!  SO PROUD OF YOU KIM!!!!!!!!!!!!

#womensupportingwomen #empowerment #bekind #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #blessed






Should The #Summerofrich Be Cancelled Too?


It was yet another difficult week in our home last week when reality smacked us right in the face once again with the news that our girls would not be going away to camp this summer. And even though it too didn’t come as any big surprise for us, we had all just been trying to hold on to whatever little bit of hope we had left in order to somehow try and save part of their summer (and ours!).

With the girls now not going to camp this summer also meant that there would be no official #summerofrich either. For those of you who have been following my journey for some time now already know what the #summerofrich is (and many seem to really enjoy following it too lol) but for those of you who don’t know or who may have forgotten or who truly don’t give a rat’s ass about the #summerofrich I will tell you about it anyways. 

Rich (like many other loving parents) begins to countdown as to how many days are left until the kids leave for camp the next summer; from the moment they return home from the summer before (don’t even dare try to deny that you aren’t one of those parents too lol). 

Yes of course he loves his kids but he also needs the break, he also deserves the break and he has also earned the break. It’s not like our kids are toddlers or such anymore who need constant supervision but for Rich, summertime has become a much needed, much deserved and very much earned mental break.

For six years now Rich has had to take on both the roles of mom and dad along with the cook, the maid, the chauffeur, the psychologist, the schlepper and countless other roles too and so when the kids leave for camp (even if it’s only 2 now instead of all 3) for 7 to 8 weeks a summer it has become his time to destress, push the reset button, take a step back and try to relax somewhat. 

As I said above it’s not like our kids are toddlers anymore or need constant supervision that we can’t still try and make the best of the #summerofrich 2020 with a revised edition (we probably won’t be getting our annual summer “husband and wife pedicures” any time soon or taking walks along the beach either). 

So here’s a sneak peak at what the revised edition of the #summerofrich and Camp Fluxgold may look like (see pics). All that is still missing is a fire pit to make s’mores and sing songs around with friends and family in arms reach!

#ichooseme #youarenotalone #selfcare #summertime #poolside #relaxation #hiking #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #takecareofeachother #strongertogether #family #friendship #campismentalwellness #swimtime #firepit #newpool #everyoneneedsarich #everyoneintothepool

This Is Us; 25 Years Later

It was exactly 25 years ago today that the fabulous and fun loving photographer Elliot Sylman captured the true beauty and essence of one of the best days in both Rich’s and my life and so what better way to honour our 25th Wedding Anniversary today (since that cruise around the world I had all planned out in my head ain’t happening😛) than to have that same fabulous and fun loving photographer capture the true beauty and essence of our life together 25 years later with his amazing Covid-19 Initiative @theporchpics.

Several months ago (Pre-Covid-19) I mentioned to Rich that I had a really strong desire to renew our wedding vows for our 25th Anniversary. He kinda laughed it off each time I brought it up and thought I was kinda kidding whenever I did, but deep down inside I kinda wasn’t.

As most of you already know by now, the last six years have been bloody hell for us and has left our marriage tried, tested and completely put through the wringer somedays but through it all our marriage has stood the test of time.

Marriage takes a lot of hard work and a mutual understanding, it takes tears and forgiveness, it takes good communication, it takes lots and lots of laughter and fun and it takes sacrifice and compromise mixed in with a whole lot of unconditional love.

I’m not really sure why I’ve had the overwhelming desire to renew our wedding vows, but today as we take each other’s hand and jump feet first together into our Second Act, somehow doing @theporchpics with my beautifully imperfect family by my side is all the renewal I truly need right now. 

I love you to the moon and back Rich, you are my forever and a day. Thank you for keeping me safe and for all that you are and all that you do for our family; there is no one else in this great big crazy world I’d rather be quarantined with either!! In SICKNESS and in HEALTH until death do us part.

#thisisus #twentyfive #silveranniversary #happyanniversary #everyoneneedsarich #myreasonswhy #myeverything #mybetterhalf #summerofrich #summerofus #ourfamily #family #familymatters #weddingvows #celebration #youareenough #cheers #renewal #theloveofafamily #throughgoodtimesandbad #insicknessandinhealth #honestlyspeaking #imperfectlyperfect #imperfectlybeautiful #cheerstomanymore #strongertogether #quarantineanniversary #mentalhealth #mentalillness #depression #anxiety @reenafoundation

Happy Ruffday Maggie

Our “fur” baby turns 9 today and I’m pretty sure that her one birthday wish this year is for all of us to take a very loooonnnggg walk for a good solid 8 hours and leave her the heck alone curled up like a ball on daddy’s pillow. Happy Ruffday Maggie. 🐕🐶🥩🧀🎈

I wanted to reshare a blog I wrote 2 years ago with you today called “A Dog’s Purpose” (see link below) in honour of Maggie’s birthday. In the last month Maggie has been a pillar of strength and support for each one of us in one “purposeful” way or another and even though she has no clue what this Pandemic is or why she has suddenly been overwhelmed with an abundance of walks and cuddles she has truly made each day a little easier and a little brighter.

We love you to the moon and back Maggie, forever and a day!

#maggie #morkie  #happybirthday #ifdogscouldtalk #nomorewalks #partofthefamily #adogspurpose #adogslife #pettherapy #cutenessoverload #toocuteforwords

https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/a-dogs-purpose (April 21, 2018)

Things Change, People Can Too

Two years ago this coming July I wrote a blog titled “Distress Centers, Demi Lovato & Doug Ford” that I wanted to share with you again today because I feel like it is quite relevant to our life right now. A lot has changed since I first wrote this blog including my reference to being a smoker for over 30 years because as you all know by now, I no longer am! 

Something else that has changed since writing this blog on July 29, 2018 was my great dislike at the time for our then newly elected Premier of Ontario; Doug Ford, but over the last six weeks he has really grown on me ALOT as he continues everyday to prove to the people of Ontario (and Canada) what the true definition of a leader and a mensch are.

He has stepped up to the plate and  gone above and beyond what’s in his actual job description and shows his genuine concern and compassion “for the people”.  I can’t say for sure I will continue to feel the same way about him after the crisis is finally over but for now I don’t think we could ask for a better man (or woman) for the job.

Something else that this particular blog touches upon is addiction, our mental health and asking for help. Our mental health is imperative right now and figuring out ways to ensure that we take the very best care of both our bodies and minds. 

I fear that more and more people are going to come through this Pandemic with new or worsening addiction and mental health issues, both young and old. And being in quarantine many may not realize that if they are feeling vulnerable, alone or scared that help is just a text or phone call away. 

But taking that first step to reach out to someone can feel next to impossible for many, but will also be the greatest thing that you do for yourself so if you are feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed and need to talk to someone, Kids Help Phone and 310-COPE are just two of many helplines that are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; they are the definition of an essential service!

https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/distress-centers-demi-lovato-doug-ford

#dougford #demilovato #kidshelpphone #helplines #ourpremier #essentialservices #addiction #mentalillness #mentalhealth #selfcare #ichooseme #youarenotalone #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #masksoff #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #endthestigmatogether 

Modern Family Farewell

MODERN FAMILY FAREWELL

Who else watched the series finale of Modern Family last night? If you have been following the series for the last 11 seasons then last night did not disappoint with its usual silly humour and quirkiness mixed in with an emotional tribute and send off. 

I loved watching Modern Family all these years for how very relatable it was for so many families and how it taught us about inclusivity and how being different is okay, it taught us that no 2 families are the same and that too is more than okay. It also taught us about love and acceptance and most importantly it taught us that we are all imperfectly perfect.  

I simply loved the ending as they showed the outside exteriors to each of the three homes turning off their porch light, but quickly flipping one of the lights back on as a nod to a scene earlier in the show when dad Phil tells his family that no matter how near or far they venture away from home, the porch light will always be left on in order for them to find their way back home; basically letting the audience know that family is number one and that no matter what, we will always be there for one another because that’s what family does. 

And when we get through all this I know there will be millions of porch lights left on to help each and every one of us find our way back.

And if you’re wondering, I had a really good cry as I sat curled up on the couch next to my family who I’m pretty sure already know that our porch light will always be turned on.

#modernfamily #sitcom #family #familymatters #youarenotalone #youareenough #anothergreatserieshasended #checkonyourlovedones #togetherapart #stayhome 

People In Glass Houses

Today I went for an afternoon stroll with 2 of my kids, Rich and of course Maggie which has become a very important part of my Covid-19 Self-Care kit. I’ve been walking a lot recently through an industrial area near our home because, well it’s sadly pretty quiet these days. But today as we were making our way back home just talking and being mindful of our surroundings some loud mouth, egocentric dumbass drove by and shouted to us from his car window “6 feet apart morons, 6 feet apart.” I probably should have just laughed it off like the rest of my family did knowing that we were doing absolutely nothing wrong but when I saw he had car full of passengers, who for all we knew were not immediate members of his household, I was ready to turn around and chase after his car like a dog chases a squirrel up a tree! 🏃‍♀️🧘‍♀️🏋️‍♀️🤸‍♀️🐿🐕

#selfcare #rantover #walkaway #dumbass #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #bekind #choosekindness #youareenough #mindfulness #togetherapart #flattenthecurve #socialdistancing