Hot Sunday in Shanghai

After torrential rains on Saturday, Sunday greeted Shanghai hot and sticky. It is hard to enjoy a coffee in that heat. Made me a little cranky. 

But then I received a wechat from my friend asking us to go swimming at a local compound. Heck yes!  Glenn had a meeting so it was just me and the girls. So my two girlfriends and I set off with our four kids. 

I have to say, I love spending time with these ladies, who also happen to be Canadian. Siobhan and I met my first couple of months here on the Shanghai Mamas website. We met for coffee and have been friends ever since. Our kids love each other and our husbands have become incredibly close. We go on family vacations and just have a blast!  

Monica moved here a couple of years ago but we really only started hanging out a few months ago. We both kick ourselves for not connecting sooner but things happen in their own time. Her two beautiful daughters are the same age as mine. Our oldest daughters could totally be sisters. 

Our friendship is based on understanding, compassion, kindness and a ridiculous amount of laughter. Their friendship is a safe place to always be myself….the good the bad and the ugly.  😜 They never judge and always have solid advice. I always leave feeling lighter…and loved. That is a beautiful thing. Thank you ladies for being in my life. ❤️❤️ 

We are getting ready to wrap up our 3rd year in Shanghai. It has been a rollercoaster of a year and the future is a bit uncertain but there are exciting times ahead. And what a year of growth it has been. The support and love from the people in our lives had been incredible. 

Only 9 more days until the girls and I fly home to NL. We are going to get our house on Berteau Ave ready to sell. When we bought it 7 years ago, it was our dream home but our dreams have since changed, as they often do. If you know of anyone looking for an amazing and unique property in the heart of St. John’s, give them my contact info. 😁😁 It will be a busy summer but I can’t wait for one last one on Berteau. So many happy memories there. Bitter sweet….but more sweet. 

Below are some photos from our day. These humans fill my bucket! 

I have big plans for my blog in the upcoming months. Stay tuned!

Until next time!

Only joy, only love,




Matching PJs

It’s pretty common here in Shanghai to see people out for a walk or exercising in their pajamas. Always makes me smile. These two ladies had matching pjs on this morning when our for their stroll. I had to snap a photo to share. Too cute. 😀

Until next time!

Only joy, only love,



How do you deal with life’s stresses and challenges?

Life can be a roller coaster of joy and sorrow. Everyone has different challenges to deal with and how you deal with them ultimately defines how you live your life. We’ve been thrown a lot of curveballs over the past few years. I don’t want to bore you with all those details but I would like to share just some of the strategies that are helping me manage stress and anxiety while striving to live my best life.

Breathing. I use meditation to focus on gratitude and to calm me down especially when I can feel my anxiety rising. This has helped me so much. I can’t adequately describe it but it has been life changing. I can feel my energy calming and relaxing. It’s a great tool. I started with various guided meditations and now am able to do it myself. Even a short time helps. Last summer, when we returned to Shanghai from Canada, my oldest daughter was having trouble falling asleep. She just could not settle and was getting herself wound up. I downloaded a guided meditation and she played it on her iPod. It took some getting use to but she used it for months and now doesn’t need it anymore. She falls asleep peacefully……most nights.

Make a list. I’ve always been a list maker but when life is getting stressful, my list helps me to focus on accomplishing one item at a time. Only one item because if I start to think about everything going on it can become overwhelming. The feeling of accomplishment helps with forward movement, motivation, focus and keeps me from getting “stuck” in my own head.

Set goals for yourself. Long term and short term goals. Big and small. Write them all down. Make a plan to accomplish them….and then follow through. Cut yourself some slack when life gets in the way of checking off items but don’t stop trying to accomplish those goals.

Make self-care a priority. Everyone knows exercise and nutrition are important and we have made some great progress in that area as a family . Still lots of work to do but we have been focusing on living a healtier life and have both lost the weight that we gained when we moved to China 3 years ago…hhmmmmm….it was an amazing first year of dining out in Shanghai HAHA. But I’m also talking about smaller, simpler, daily tasks of self-care like moisturizing, flossing, cleaning my skin or soaking in a hot bath. Just basic self-care. Doing these tasks with love and gratitude have helped me accept and love myself and be more grateful for my body. Be kind to yourself and give yourself the attention and care you deserve.

Reach out to your support group or see a therapist or BOTH! Find people you trust and love that can support you emotionally and without judgement. Have people in your life that will send you loving energy and positive thoughts and give you solid advice. For me, it has always been quality over quantity in the friend department. I am blessed to have beautiful people in my life that love and support me and my family all over the world. But don’t wait too long to open up because you’ll end up feeling alone….and that is never good. Once I opened up, I could feel the love and support coming our way and it helps makes everything feel lighter.

Remembering that this is our daughters’ childhood. They deserve a happy childhood. I don’t mean completely shielding them from life’s challenges. Life will inevitably be tough at times and they need to develop the coping skills to deal with it. They are watching how we deal with challenges and how we communicate as a couple. This will shape how they deal with their life and I want to be a good role model for them. I strive to be really present with them and remember to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. There is nothing sweeter than hearing your children’s belly laughs….pure joy.

Gratitude for the people in my life. I don’t have it all figured out, by any means, but what I do know is that the most beautiful part of my life is the people in it. It makes me think of the lyrics “for I’m a lucky man to count on both hands the ones I love” from Pearl Jam’s song Just Breath. When our friend, Scott, passed away, “da b’ys”, as we say in Newfoundland, were jamming this song at the funeral party. That line just stuck in my brain. It still pops in my head at the most random times and is always a good reminder that makes me smile. Scott was a special man who died too young but he made a lasting impression on literally everyone who met him. He’s been gone for 7 years and still makes us laugh on a regular basis with memories of his crazy antics. His life was too short but his legacy is one of love and laughter. We have a life filled with love and laughter and know how lucky we are. I have no intention of ever taking that for granted. I’m thankful that my daughters have role models in their lives that are exceptional humans and they will always have people that love and support them.

My sister, Marlayne, is an incredible role model for me. She is beautiful, wise and kind and has been a sounding board for me for as long as I can remember. A few years ago, she shared “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz with me. It has helped formed how I deal with life. I use to worry so much about what people would think or would feel bad if I couldn’t do something I was asked to do. But by always speaking the truth with the right intention, you take away all the bullshit and worry. It’s very freeing. If you are truly always doing your best, then you can’t help but feel content. It brings peace and removes self-judgement. It takes a while to really own it but when you do, it feels good. I credit some of the peace and removal of self-judgement to turning 40…..but I think that is another blog post in itself….right ladies??!!

Enjoy The Four Agreements and I hope it helps you in your daily life like it did for me.

I would love to hear your strategies for dealing with life’s stresses and challenges because, at the end of the day, we are all on this roller coaster together. Post a comment or send me an email – I have learned so much from my community and am always hungry to learn and share more. Thanks for reading.

Until next time!
Only joy, only love,

YCIS International Food and Culture Fair

We had a beautiful day on Saturday for the International Food and Culture Fair at the girl’s school, YCIS Hongqiao. Our family headed up the Canadian Booth and sold out of poutine in two hours!  It was a hit. We had tattoos and flags donated by the Canadian Consulate here in Shanghai and the kids loved getting them put on. Georgia was covered in them from head to toe. Not so much fun scrubbing them off the next day. 😜

We were also sponsored by Purity Factories from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. We served Purity Syrup, which is a sweet concentrate that you mix with water. It was a huge hit as well and we even had to use our personal stash bottle that my mother in law sent us that was meant for display purposes only. My children (and husband) were not impressed. 😂😂. I will admit that the jam jam cookies that they donated went to Glenn when he was in hospital for 9 days. He did share with all the nurses and doctors at Shanghai United. Special thanks to Purity Factories for supporting our family and bringing a little bit of Newfoundland and Labrador to Shanghai. 

The event started out with a parade of all the counties and music by the Shanghai Big Band. They are an amateur Japanese Big band and they were incredible!  I could have listened to them all day. I have to mention that it was also my father’s birthday that day and he and Mom spent it volunteering with us at the food fair. It was so nice to have them there with us. 

Glenn was in his wheelchair but he had no problem getting around and trying out all the food at every different booth. Every time I caught him in my perpherial, he was sitting in his wheelchair with a different plate of food in front of him. It was hilarious. I guess he got his appetite back. He also brought his guitar and rocked out from the booth. 

There were 15 countries represented and it was a colorful and delicious day! I love seeing the pride people feel representing their home country. It really brings the school community together and all proceeds go to a local charity called Seeds of Hope. They support and help developing schools in rural China. 

So it was a feel good day and I think we represented and brought the small but mighty Canadian YCIS family together. Looking forward to next year. I must give kudos to Carol Mao for doing an amazing job at organizing this event. She is a perfect fit as the Parent Relations Officer at the school. 

Here are some photos from our beautiful day. 

Our first customer was a Canadian from Quebec. She approved of the poutine 😀

Seriously, I think he tried every booth! 

And Carol Mao just sent me these two photos… credit : YCIS Marketing Team 

Thanks for reading! Until next time. 

Only joy, only love,



Capturing the Fabulise

My dear friend, Lisa Browne, is a pretty amazing photographer and avid traveler. She is so talented and has a very unique eye. I just love seeing the photos of her travel and especially how she captures people.  If you get a minute, do yourself a favour and check her out.  


Website –

Instagram- @capturingthefabulise. 

You’ll be glad you did!

I wanted to share some photos that Lisa took of my family back in February. We are so pleased with them. Thanks again, Lisa, for your patience with my stubborn 5 year old who really doesn’t like crowds…..which can be challenging living in a city of 26 million people. 😜😜

Lisa is currently traveling in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region and has been posting some amazing photos. But the photo below cracked me up this morning. ‘Split Pants’ are very popular in China and I can still remember the first time I saw a child in them. She just squat down and let it all go on the sidewalk. No diapers….just split pants. Using them definitely speeds along the potty training process. 😂😂 

Happy Friday! 

Until next time. 

Only joy, only love,




Glenn may be in hospital but I’m on a two day streak kicking his butt playing crib. No pity for him! 6-2 for moi. In this particular game, he wasn’t even across the skunk line. You’ll notice that he snuck his middle finger into the second photo. 😂😂 

In all seriousness, it looks like he is breaking out tomorrow. He’ll be on oral antibiotics for a while and still needs to take it easy and not walk more than 10 minutes at a time for a few days. So I’ve rented a wheelchair to get him out of the house. I think I’ll just push him in the scooter lane on Hongmei Lu. I should attach our go pro to his wheelchair. That would be funny. 

Thank you to everyone who has reached out sending love and support. I can’t express how much it meant to me. I can feel the love and positive energy and am filled with gratitude for the beautiful people in our lives. We are beyond blessed. 

I have benefitted from the kindness of so many people and it makes me think of this quote which I say to our girls all the time. “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”  – Etta Turner  Isn’t that the truth. 

On another note, I’m so happy that my parents got to see the Great Wall today. Mom and Dad wanted to cancel because Glenn was still in hospital but I pushed it because we were good and I know how amazing it feels to stand on that wall. I’m delighted they got to experience it. Check out these photos that their fantastic tour guide, Alice, sent me. They are so stinking cute!  Thanks for the recommendation, Shirani Alfreds. Alice took great care of them. 

Until next time!

Only joy, only love,



It’s been a while….

Just wanted to write a post as life has been kind of crazy lately and I simply haven’t had time but I’ve missed it. I am writing in my notebook a lot though. Perhaps some day I’ll organize those thoughts. My husband, Glenn, has had three knee surgeries in the past two and a half weeks. The first one to repair a torn acl and the other two to help stop the infection he got from the first surgery. He’s still in hospital now on IV antibiotics but is on the mend and in excellent care. We just need to get the infection under control and get him home!  We all miss him. 

To be honest, we’ve had a lot going on personally and professionally and the last few months have been extremely challenging. I hit a pretty big low this past week and was having a hard time seeing the forest for the trees, as my dear friend, Dana, says. I’m tired and it’s hard to cope when you’re exhausted. Things are turning around and I am so lucky to have my Mom and Dad here visiting to help, listen and support me and my family. They had no idea how timely their visit would be when they booked it last fall. ❤️❤️ I sent them off to Beijing this morning for a quick trip to see the Great Wall. It’s their second trip to China and they need to see it. 😁 

So I’m working on really owning “only joy, only love”. It’s easier to type it than implement it some days. Life is always sweeter when I approach it with this mindset.

Here are a couple of thoughts that I’ve read or heard this past week that have resonated with me. Thought I’d share. 

“Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.”          – Maya Angelou

“The best things in life are on the other side of your maximum fear.”     – Will Smith

My sweet father read me a quote last night that I just loved. 

“Even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea.”                       – Algernon Charles Swinburne.     This one makes me feel calm. ❤️❤️

I hope to write more soon. We have an exciting week ahead. 

Until next time!

Only joy, only love,



P.S. The girls enjoy playing “surgery” when they visit Glenn. I have to say that they have amazing bedside manner. 😂😂