That time we were almost cast for TLC

Have you ever experienced one of those moments where time seems suspended in midair and you observe the situation you’re in from a slightly removed perspective and know somewhere deep in your bones that this is a pivotal moment? A moment with a fork in the road and it could change your life completely if you go one way, or it could stay the exact same if you go the other?

Well did that EVER happen to the Sisterhood last week!

Roughly a month ago, we were contacted by a development company called Crybaby Media out of NEW YORK CITY (yeah, New York, New York!) regarding a mandate that had been sent down from the TLC and Lifetime networks to find and cast families with four or more sisters for a new docu-series they were looking to develop.

You can imagine our surprise when our wee-baby, fairly personal blog put us on the map and got us noticed. Reading and re-reading the initial email we were all pretty convinced we were probably being duped and that it had to be a scam of some sort. Our mama was just worried we would John & Kate Plus 8 the crap out of our lives if we participated.

....I can see why she would be concerned.

….I can see why she would be concerned.

As with all big, scary, exciting news, we met immediately to discuss our stance and if we wanted to proceed with the Skype interviews they had requested and aired our concerns. We decided to see what the show was about and what we would be giving up to participate.

To say the initial process left us feeling like we were in good hands would be a stretch – scheduling conflicts and poor communication led us to really question the legitimacy of the opportunity. After expressing our concerns after being stood up and emailed after the fact to reschedule us – again – things seemed to take a turn for the better and we were finally able to Skype with McKenna from Crybaby Media.

The initial interview was for McKenna to get to know us more and see if there was enough about us as a Sisterhood that people could relate to and was the rawest of the process. We nervously accepted her call as we heard Skype ring through our set up laptop at the bottom of Julia’s basement stairs where quiet, decent lighting and stacked seating were available.

McKenna was friendly and warm which put as ease fairly quickly. She got right into it and asked us to round-robin introduce ourselves and give a snapshot of who each of is, our lifestyle, age and position within the Sisterhood. We were asked to describe each other, our childhood, our parents, what we do together for fun, what we do apart that makes us unique – the typical kinds of questions you would expect for a reality-based series participant to divulge about themselves. After about 20 minutes of us cautiously answering the required questions, McKenna let us know she would like to pass us through to the second stage and interview, which would be taped and then cut down to make our 2-4 minute ‘pitch’ video to the network.

We logged off the call with instructions for follow-up and instantly burst into a common commotion of chatter throwing around concerns, questions, statements and ideas for how to get all of this to process through our overloaded brains.

What just happened?

Did our little blog just set off a series of events for us that we could have never imagined? Did we even want to participate now that we knew what we’d be sharing with the world? How would this affect our lives and relationships? There were so many questions and unknowns it was hard not to get too ahead of ourselves. We were still reeling from even being found on this wide world of the internet and to be honest, our concerns for our little lives were beginning to surpass our interest in being cast.

Maybe a little too real for reality TV?

Maybe a little too real for reality TV?

After confirming our follow-up taped interview, we were provided a general guideline for the questions and style of answering in order to get a good cut for our final video. When the day of the taping came we met early to discuss what had come to the surface for each of us over the two days between interviews. We were sure to be honest with one another about what we were comfortable discussing and what we would rather not shed light on just yet – surprisingly there are still things about us that we are just not ready to let our readers learn just yet. We determined a good rule of thumb to be if we were comfortable writing about it here, we should be comfortable being honest and open about it on camera.

Our taping went really well and I think I speak for all of the sisters when I say that we might have benefited from the structure and style of the conversation more than anyone. In the 45 minutes of taping we were able to learn a little more about each other, what we want out of this blog, how we view the world, our childhood and each other uniquely from one another.

Most importantly, we uncovered that we wanted to raise our blog to be a community for people to come and experience what it is to be a part of such a tight sisterhood, to feel not so alone with the battles they wage daily, and to know that there are a bunch weirdos out there stumbling through this insanity that we call life just as awkwardly as any one.

We all didn’t express it then, but we were all filled with anxiety of the changes that may come into our lives if we were picked up by the network and it wasn’t an eager anxiety. Personally, I made sure to pray on it that if this was not meant for us or would not bring only light and love into our lives it would be removed from our hands to choose.

Please? Or, no thank you?

Please? Or, no thank you?

A day later we received an email stating we had been passed on and ironically enough were told we were not nearly “outrageous” enough for the casting – which if you’ve ever been to one of our family events you know this is not entirely true – however, we did take that as a compliment when we considered the network that had put out the mandate.

Can you IMAGINE if we had made it through!?

When we all found out about not making it to the next round there were shared expressions of relief – we weren’t exactly sure we were ready for TLC… or if TLC was ready for the likes of us.

So for now, we are your humble community blog, focused on sharing our lives with whoever happens upon us. Who knows what the future brings though – stranger things have happened!

~ Toni

Engaged and looking

I thought when you met your life-partner, ‘penguin’, and live-in best friend, the frustration of dating, and especially the nerves of the first date, would be a thing of the past.

I should preface this by telling you that I was never great at dating – Michael can attest to all of my rookie mistakes when we were first seeing each other *hangs head in shame* –  so I was kind of relieved when he decided to keep me for life and asked me to marry him. I thought the days of first dates were over – after all I had earned this perk as sort of a rite of passage for being taken off the market.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Apparently, first dates also still exist for those who have shacked up. They’ve cleverly disguised themselves as job interviews – first, second and third ones – and include all the butterflies and nerves, the fleeting hope for a match made in heaven, the self-talk track to keep calm and confident in what you have to offer, the anticipation for the follow-up call or email in the days following – it’s all just a guise for a first date.

Even worse, interviews carry the same chance for disappointment as a flopped first date – the realization that he’s not your type, or the looks-good-on-paper but not so much in real life kind of first dates come with the territory. It includes the no chemistry matches, the mixed signals from one person being over zealous, the dashed hope and even the discouraging realization that you might be looking for a unicorn that just doesn’t exist.

While I am currently acting as nanny to three beautiful babies, I have also been actively dating a few new prospects for employment. Each time, the determination to find my match rallies the best parts of me to come shining through almost on cue – I’m charming and smart, quick-witted and friendly. I reach deep into myself to bring forward my inner sales person and I give it my all, every time, in the hopes of a possible long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship.

Sometimes this attracts unwanted offers, sometimes it means my qualifications are out of their league, and sometimes I’m just not enough to make the final cut.

While I’m still looking for my fairy tale-ending in terms of gainful employment, I’m starting to understand what people mean when they say, interviewing is a valuable skill.

I’m learning quickly who I’d like to have dinner with, past or present, dead or alive; I know my top three weaknesses and strengths like the back of my hand; if I get asked what animal I’d most likely akin to, I know the answer that takes the edge off is a tiger because my name is Toni – which depending on chemistry I can say with a wink; running through my career path from school to present day is like recalling a well-read tale, with which I take care to highlight different parts depending on the role I’ve applied for. I have a proven set of favourite and creative questions to ask when I’m given the opportunity to screen my candidate to help decide if I’d be satisfied long-term, having this stranger hold stake over the majority of my time. Most importantly, I know how to break through and get my possible match to relate to me as a person, to find common ground quickly and figure out a few of their triggers.

Just this past week I nervously met with a candidate that I had been hoping to hear from – the organization, product and team structure all interest me and the role is exactly the pieces I’ve loved about each of my previous ones. When I left I felt comfortable and confident and now am dangerously flirting with the hope of a follow-up request to meet again. The second interview is more my pace, where I feel a bit more in control and am a little more sure of how they’re feeling about me. It will be the date that tells me if I’m all in or not.

In the meantime, wish me luck – I’ve got some research to do for my next first date.

~ Toni

You asked, we answered!

We sent out a call for questions last week and questions we received! Thank you to everyone who asked (a.k.a. all of our relatives! 😉 ). Take a look at the questions we collected and the answers we came up with. 🙂


 

Are all of you going to be answering these questions (hopefully, yes. Like The Social)? ~ Ben

Julia: You betcha!

Andreah: Except this one. 😉

 


 

What was the inspiration behind starting a blog? ~ Tasha

Julia: This is totally a Jacqui question! It was her idea. So, in short (ha!), this whole blog mess is her fault! 😉 But seriously, I think she would be the best one to answer this one.

Toni: Haha, short… It’s true! It’s all Jacqui’s fault.

Jacqui: Throwing me to the wolves! I wanted to write a blog, so I started researching them! Everywhere said to make sure your blog is unique to you and nothing is more unique to me than the amazing bond I have with my sisters. Also, bringing them in would also mean bringing in different personalities, opinions, ideas and voices! When I introduced it to Toni and Julia it was just an idea that they all loved! And so birthed our beautiful blog.

Andreah: When I was told about it, I thought it may just be the best idea to keep us more connected!

 


 

What do you get out of the blog/blogging? ~ Ben

Julia: So many things! I am a writer by trade, so having something to write about and for every week is lovely – it gives me focus and purpose for my craft beyond diapers, potty training, screaming babies, and Frozen on repeat. I’m loving reading my sisters’ posts as well. We talk a lot. A. Lot. And we’re really loud. But some of the stuff that is written in these posts I never knew before, or hadn’t realized how important those moments were. Also, I’m adoring reading my sisters’ writing – I’m so proud of them! Who knew we could all write?!

Toni: For me, I think learning about my sisterhood and the women that it is compiled of has been the biggest blessing. It’s easy for me to say that I know my sisters, but reading their blogs has allowed me to learn about them in their own voice, instead of just from my perspective. I’ve also been reminded that I love to write – after demanding college papers, reports and projects, and writing for a few technology-based firms, it’s been a big change to write again from my heart and I’m loving it.

Jacqui: I have to agree with both Julia and Toni in that this has brought us closer together, if that’s even possible! Also I have always wanted to journal as an outlet – it was suggested as one of the many therapies to help with my epilepsy. This is so much better, because your journal doesn’t give you feedback, and no one is there to tell you when you’re being ridiculous.

Andreah: I like sharing with my sisters. I haven’t been very good at doing that in the past, and this is letting me open up to them more! I was told by my favourite counselor to start writing and this is a really positive outlet to do so.

 


 

What is your favourite post (excluding ones you wrote)? ~ Ben

Julia: I think my favourite is Jacqueline’s post about her first seizure. I was there (obviously…) but I don’t think she’s ever actually told me what it was like for her that day, nor what it was like for her living with it. I loved how it was written and I loved how revealing it was. Such a hard day for our family, and such a life-changing one for her.

Toni: This is a tough one for me to answer as I have so many moments of surprise, pride and laughter reading the other sisters’ posts. If I had to narrow it down, it would have to be a toss-up between Julia’s post about her fairy-tale ending and her admittance to struggling with PPD again. Her fairy-tale post is so real, relatable, and true that I think it helps to remind people that relationships are not the rom-com or fairy-tale that Hollywood or Disney would have us think, but instead messy and full of surprises. But on the other hand, every time Julia speaks about her battle with PPD, I cry. Not tears of sorrow, but tears of pride. Absolute pride in my big sister standing up for herself and any woman who has ever felt alone in their own struggles and being the beacon of light they needed. Shine on, sister of mine!

Jacqui: I have two! The first is Andreah’s long-distance sistering post. Dee, like all of us, is very stubborn, and when she told the three of us that she was moving, it was pretty hard for us to handle. For me, at least, there were some heated, tear-shed “conversations” because I couldn’t wrap my head around it. So when she wrote it, it was like a weight was lifted off my chest – I can’t tell you why, but reading that her being away from us is hard made me understand her decision a little bit more and reaffirm it wasn’t my bad B.O. that caused her to run away 🙂 LOVE YOU DEE!!! The second is Julia’s most recent post. It really hit home with me because Cody and I are planning on having babies and I am so scared. Excited, scared, and prepared. Because of Julia’s bravery I know what to look for, I am not scared to ask for help, and I have the best role model to help me fight through it IF it does come. LOVE YOU JULIA!

Andreah: I have a favourite of each. Julia’s would have to be her second post, Strength in defeat. I love how open she is and her ability to share – it made me proud and hopeful to have a sister that amazing! Toni’s is her first post, Measuring up. I felt a camaraderie with her feeling the same way I have most of my life, and just loved it! It really puts you in her shoes. Jacqui’s would be the one that almost made me pee my pants laughing, Here’s the short of it. Seriously, how did we get so lucky to have a sister this funny?

 


 

What is your favourite memory together as a group? ~ Kim

Julia: This is a hard, hard question. You have to understand that there is 8 years difference from top-to-bottom in our sisterhood, which means you’re asking us to recall something where we were all present, all cognitive, and where we all liked each other. 😉 I think our baking nights (which we turned into our working out nights, thank goodness) are my favourite memories. We would get together every week to bake a recipe one of us had found online. We’d all pool in resources for hosting and for ingredients, have dance parties, write down the funny things we’d say (read: the nonsense things we’d say) and end up full of carbs, sugar, butter and laughter. All in all, not great for my butt-size, but definitely good for the soul. Loved these.

Toni: Well put, Julia. We’ve always been kind of all over the place due to the age gap, but I would say lately, when we are all able to be together in any grouping, it’s become such good, quality time together. It’s like we’ve learned to appreciate the gap and the preciousness of our time and that’s been an awesome realization for me. I also enjoyed baking days (sorry, ladies, not as much as our workouts though ;)) but I think a major highlight for me would have to be any movie or gaming night we’ve ever had…even ab night can’t replicate the soreness from the laughter that ensues on these evenings. Another one would be my birthday this past February – planning the launch of our blog was the best birthday present, ever.

Jacqui: HANDS DOWN – THANKSGIVING 2011? 2012? I have never laughed so hard! This was during a not-so-easy time for us and our family. We all gave up, let go, drank a little…some of us a lot…and laughed until our stomachs hurt! There are so many inside jokes that have come out from then! Next time you see Toni ask her how to spell OPEN! Seriously crying laughing over here just thinking about it! HAHA!

Andreah: It was 2011, Jacqui! Remember I brought the demon leprechaun? But I have to agree with Toni, the movie and game nights are the best. My abs and face hurt from laughing and smiling after those awesome nights!

 


 

Describe each of you as an animal? Why?~ Kim

Julia: This is just MEAN. Seriously. I had this question in a job interview and totally blew it. I said ‘deer’. You know, the skittish, hunted creature of the woods? The one who gets slaughtered in a Disney movie?!?! Yeah, blew it. I have no idea. What animal would I be? Me. I’d be a human animal. Done. Next question. (HATE that question).

Toni: This made me laugh! So mean, Kim. I had a hard time with this one…I asked Mike and he dug himself a lovely grave with his answer…so that didn’t help. I would have to use my fail safe – a tiger…cause I’m Toni…get it?

Tony the Tiger

Jacqui: Honestly the first thing that came to my mind is a llama – like The Emperor’s New Groove llama! If you haven’t watched the movie, I feel sorry for you. You should probably call in sick to work and watch it! If you have and you know me, I think you will agree! I am spunky, awkward, I have been told I am hilarious AND I will spit at you if I need to!

Llama

Andreah: I am having such a hard time answering this question. I think I would be a bird, cause I keep flying around and there’s the migration patterns. And the whole flock thing… Yeah! I think I would be a bird. Joe’s Grandpa called me a duck, but I think I’m more like a cardinal.

 


 

Which actress would play you in a movie about your sisterhood? ~ Kim

Julia: Young Julia – Anna Kendrick, because I love her. Middle-aged-goddess Julia, Julia Roberts, because obviously (same name equals same person!). And Hot-Older Julia, Helen Mirren. Me-ow. 😉

Anna Kendrick | Julia Roberts | Helen Mirren

Anna Kendrick | Julia Roberts | Helen Mirren

Toni: Young Toni, Mila Kunis, only because she’s my ULTIMATE girl-crush, and hey, why not? Middle-aged me – Monica Belluci, because it’s a movie and I can. And saucy-older Toni – Jaclyn Smith, because again it’s my life and you’re not the boss of me.

Mila Kunis | Monica Bellucci | Jaclyn Smith

Mila Kunis | Monica Bellucci | Jaclyn Smith

Jacqui: Oh boy! Young Jacqui – Leighton Meester, because two words: Country Strong. Middle-aged Jacqui – Julianna Margulies – I have the biggest lady-crush on her! Older Jacqui – Susan Sarandon – she has sass and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her. I feel like I would be like this in my older age! AHAHAHA – I like this game!

Leighton Meester | Julianna Margulies | Susan Sarandon

Leighton Meester | Julianna Margulies | Susan Sarandon

Andreah: Oh I don’t know… Mary Lambert for me now (she is so awesome talented and beautiful!), Emily Deschanel for a bit older me cause she is quirky and weird, and I’m just going to say it cause I freaking love her, Meryl Streep for elegant, aged me – I love her in It’s Complicated.

Mary Lambert | Emily Deschanel | Meryl Streep

Mary Lambert | Emily Deschanel | Meryl Streep

 


 

What is your first memory of each sister? ~ Mom

Julia: My first memory of Toni isn’t really a solid memory. I sort of remember her in the periphery of my life since I can barely remember a time when she wasn’t there. I remember graduating preschool and she was there, somewhere. I remember moving from our apartment to our first house and I remember holding a houseplant in the front seat of our car, and thinking how important I was because I was helping with the move (holding the houseplant is a major contribution) and wondering where Toni was. I guess my most solid memories of Toni are of us playing in our giant yard at our first house, and of Dad and Mom actually making a room for us when Jacqui was being born, just off of our playroom in our first house.

My first memory of Jacqui is of the morning she was born – I woke up and our Memere (grandmother) and Uncle Kevin (our Mom’s younger, bachelor-y brother) were there, which was SO weird to me. I had to go to school that day (I was in grade 2) and it was very concerning with these strange people there – they weren’t my everyday people.

My first memory of Andreah is similar: I recall going to school knowing that she was going to be born and I couldn’t wait to tell my class. My teacher wouldn’t let me tell anyone until after we had settled in and it was actually show-and-tell time and then I blurted out, “It’s coming!” Very clear. Very eloquent public speaker. I just remember being wiggly with excitement, kind of like when I had to go pee and was cutting it close. 😉

Toni: First memory!? Wowza Mom, way to ask the tough question. I think my first memory of Julia was of her reading to me on the stairs just off the kitchen in our first house…that and the time she had crawled up on the back of the toilet to get her nail polish out of the bathroom cabinet and I opened the lid of the toilet so she would step in the toilet bowl when she went to get down – and she did…and she wanted me BEHEADED.

I think my first memory of Jacqui would have to be us playing with the Tonka trucks in our sandbox that Dad had made for us at the second house, that and always getting stuck at the dinner table after dinner because she wouldn’t finish her juice. Other than that, I have the same hazy memories that Julia had about me, of Jacqui and Andreah, just kind of always being there, but my favourite memory of Andreah is the time she fell asleep in her spaghetti at the cottage. When Mom moved her to the couch, she sleepily stumbled back into dining room devastated that she had been removed from the table. Annoying then, adorable now.

Jacqui: Because of my seizures, a lot of my memories are very hazy so I am sorry if these aren’t quite accurate. My first memory of Julia is her talking to a group of trees that were in the back part of our property at our second house. She was the princess and the trees were her father – the king – and her mother – the queen.

Toni and Andreah are blurred together. Toni was pulling Andreah and myself around in a red wagon. We lived on a tobacco farm and the property was set up with two houses (Ed. There were actually three houses. The workers’ house was also on the property. ❤ ): ours and the landlord’s. Our landlord had a mean old dog and somehow, one way or another, we came face to face with him and he attacked us. Toni jumped in front of him and blocked his teeth from me and Andreah, taking all the pain and the lovely teeth. I am pretty sure she still has a scar. Forever Toni would be my protector.

Andreah: Yeah, this one is hard. First memory of Julia is her reading a poem during a Christmas program one year. I remember because I got shaken awake by Dad because the sound of Julia’s voice lulled me to sleep, not in a boring way, in a comforting way. It was the year I was wearing the velvet green dress.

Toni was when I was riding a tricycle still and I couldn’t keep up with her. I got upset that she kept leaving me behind, so I went inside to get her in trouble and Mom said that I would either have to try and pedal harder or ask her to slow down.

Jacqueline I just remember always being there! A favourite one was when we had one of Julia’s high school friends Barbie babysitting us and we built pillow forts and played airplane, where we would lay on her feet and she would hold our hands and it would feel like we were flying!

 


 

If you have any questions for the Sisterhood, let us know! Comment below, get us on our Facebook page, tweet us, or email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. If you ask, we’ll do our best to answer! 🙂