Friday, January 16, 2015

Junior High, Parenting and Triggers

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When my son entered grade 7 I was freaked out ... for all sorts of reasons. Freaked out because he was getting so old, freaked out because the school was way bigger than he was used to and there were so many kids and we were in a new town and he didn't know anyone, freaked out because he would be changing classrooms and teachers several times a day and there was just SO MUCH that he would have to deal with every single day, freaked out because junior high can be so tough - especially for a kid with Autism.

But not once did it ever occur to me that my son being in grade 7 would be a trigger for me.

It never even crossed my mind that something as simple as his AGE would cause crap from my past to come rushing back to me - to fill my mind with things I thought I had long since dealt with.

I guess that is the thing about triggers... you just never know when they are going to come up and smack you in the face.

When my son came home in those first few weeks of junior high talking about the graffiti he saw on the bathroom walls or the words he had heard in the hallways and asking what it meant I desperately wanted to turn to him and have a simple discussion about it. But instead my heart would drop and my stomach would burn and my anxiety levels would skyrocket and the tears would threaten and I would have to practice every one of my coping mechanisms just to get the most basic of explanations out. Flashbacks and floods of memories and nightmares would accompany every single one of the conversations for days or weeks afterwards until I could process it all again.

When he tells me about things that happen at school I always have to ask myself if my reaction is based on logic and reality or some emotional response triggered by things that happened to me over 25 years ago.

Some part of me always assumed that it would be more difficult for me when my daughter reached junior high. Maybe I figured I wouldn't have to worry as much about my sons. But I have found that it is almost painfully important to me that my sons don't turn into THOSE boys.

Because I am certain that THOSE boys' mothers didn't think their sons were behaving the way they were towards me.

Peer pressure is a powerful thing. Even boys who have been taught well can turn into complete idiots when surrounded by a group of idiots.

And so I continue to do my very best to teach my boys that no means no, to respect women, the meaning of consent, and how important it is to stand up to peer pressure. I am raising feminists and I am proud of it.

I also remind myself that even though there are some things we really never fully get over it doesn't mean we will sink into the darkness. I have support. I am not alone. There are a lot of really good men in this world - I am married to one of them so I know that for sure and that means my boys have a really great example to follow. There is always hope.

Junior high... I sure didn't love it the first time around and apparently it is just as difficult going through it with your kids. Just think - I only have like... 6.5 more years of junior high to go!

(shhh we aren't even going to BEGIN talking about high school yet... baby steps people, baby steps)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mabel's Labels Stylish Scholars Combo review

Pin It With back to school just around a corner, and three kids’ supplies to keep straight, I needed labels that would be quick, easy and long-lasting. With Mabel’s Labels I found exactly that.

Mabel’s labels offers a number of unique labeling products that are perfect for back to school, in designs that my kids love. My boys are particularly fond of the blue camo design in the Stylish Scholars Combo.

Application is easy, and these labels last throughout the entire school year and longer. We have been using Mabel's Labels for years and these things never wear off!

I haven't managed to label all the kids school supplies yet (since I haven't actually purchased them yet) but you can see how great they look all labelled up in this Mabel's Labels review I did a couple years ago.

I would recommend Mabel’s Labels to anyone looking for a quick and easy solution to labeling their kid’s school supplies, clothes and more. They are my most favourite. Get some. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

How to Win Friends & Caffinate People! Join our #HavaJava Twitter Party Jun 12 @ 9pm EST

Pin It Anyone want a coffee?

On Thursday June 12th at 9pm join Single Jo Coffee and a bunch of other coffee lovers as we talk on Twitter about everyone's favourite … COFFEE!

Maybe you'll win one of these super fun personalized cups......

#HavaJava Twitter Party Details:

Date: Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Time: 9-10pm EST
Hashtag to Follow: #HavaJava

RSVP below if you'll be joining us.

Hosted by: Make sure you are following our host @SingleJoCoffee 
Moderated by: @hartgalla -- @shasherslife
Prizes Awarded by: @tarasview - Home of the Coffee Drinker's Dozen!   

Prizing available to Canadians only (ex. QC), please read the Rules & Regulations and RSVP in the linky below. You must RSVP in order to qualify for one of the prizes.

**INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your Twitter handle “@yourTwitterhandle” in the Link/Blog Title field, and your Twitter URL “” in the Link Field. By entering your Twitter handle, you've agreed you've read and will comply with the Rules and Regulations.  The link may take time to appear, please only enter it once. Refresh the page to see it's been listed if you are uncertain. All duplicate entries will be removed prior to the 9pm EST start time. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

When Crap Explodes All Over Christmas

Pin It I love Christmas.

It is my most favourite holiday. I love the tree. I love the decorations. I love the gifts. I love the turkey dinner. I love it all.

I have even learned to love the fact that my birthday is on Christmas day... for the most part.

But this year?

This year Christmas was something else.

I struggle to find words to adequately describe our Christmas.

I can honestly say that I have never experienced a Christmas like this one in all of my 38 years.

Allow me to tell you the story of the Robertson Christmas of 2013. It is a delight.

For awhile now we have been having some plumbing issues in our home. We've been living with them relatively well but in the weeks leading up to Christmas it got really bad and our landlord had to come over several times to "fix" things.

Unfortunately not so much actual "fixing" happened and a week before Christmas we were left with zero plumbing. Like.... none. No showers. No laundry. No doing dishes. And most traumatic of all? No flushable toilets.

Oh yes... it was super fun.

So on the morning of Christmas Eve our landlord came over to fix the problem but instead he accidentally flooded our basement with sewage.

Oh yes he did.

So now that there was poop-water all over the kids' playroom and our storage room and laundry room  and the sewage had exploded out of our toilet and bathtub all over our bathroom and our house smelled like a public toilet we figured it was time to head to a hotel.

We gathered up the kids and our Christmas tree and all the supplies we could think of to make Christmas morning fun for the kids and headed to the local hotel.

Here is where some good things start happening. Pay attention because people are awesome.

We called our friends who totally had a sick kid and they agreed to take our cat just because they are great. So we dropped off Shadow-the-cat at their house.

We stopped at our local Pizza Hut for lunch and the hostess (who recognized us since we live in a very small town) noticed that we looked... um... not great. So we told her what happened and then we went and ate lunch. When it was time to pay for our lunch our server and the hostess came over and PAID FOR OUR LUNCH for us because they felt so bad for us.

So that was amazing.

Then we headed over to the Holiday Inn Express hotel where the second amazing thing happened - the hotel gave us TWO huge hotel rooms FOR FREE for 3 nights.

That's right. People are awesome.

So yes, our house was flooded with sewage ... but we were fed and we had a warm, lovely place to stay for Christmas. It could have been SO much worse.

Christmas morning was good - the kids opened their presents and presents make everything better when you are 11, 10 and 7.

Then we headed back to our house to see where things were at. And they were bad.

Nothing says "Happy 38th birthday" like cleaning crap off your bathroom walls. Really.

We ate kraft dinner and peanut butter sandwiches for Christmas dinner. I did not love that.

On boxing day we came back to the house again after finally being able to buy some cleaning supplies but quickly realized it was WAY more than I could ever clean up on my own. So my husband called the landlord and he called a professional and she came over and sprayed some sort of disinfectant all over everything. Then she came back a couple days later to clean the mess up so at least it is safe down there now.

Of course we have a pile of toxic belongings on our deck that we have removed from our basement that have been perfectly preserved in their crap-covered state thanks to the -40 degree weather which we haven't yet managed to take to the dump. On the up side it doesn't smell. Yay winter?

The day we were leaving the hotel to come home my husband got a call from the food bank where he is the manager and discovered that furnace had died and a fridge had quit working too. Because of course it did.

I've decided that having your basement flooded with sewage is NOT the best way to celebrate Christmas or your birthday. Just in case you were thinking of doing that next year... don't.

But I could have handled all of that if everything was fixed and we were done with the whole nightmare. Really.

This morning my husband (the chef in our family) put our Christmas turkey in the oven and we began to prepare for the Christmas dinner that we missed.

I got in the shower and admired our new non-poop covered shower curtain that we just purchased yesterday and then I heard it... the toilet started making the same sounds as before. The water from the shower was not draining.

And the toilet stopped flushing.

The plumbing was NOT fixed. We are back to a bucket for a toilet and let me tell you... I am not happy.

Oh no I am not.

The turkey is cooked but it is not getting eaten because I am too busy trying not to have a nervous breakdown.

I may or may not have started sobbing and saying things like "the landlord is not allowed in our house again to try and FIX anything - he has to call a professional this time! I am NOT DOING THIS AGAIN."

My husband may or may not have tried to calm me down by making me tea.

So the landlord has been called. We are waiting for a plumber who had better have some sort of certification.

I let you know how it all turns out.


*UPDATE* Dec 31st - A real certified plumber came and fixed the issue today! Yay! 3 Cheers for plumbers!

So long 2013, don't let the door hit you on the way out!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Apple TV 3rd Generation Review

Pin It Guest review by my husband Doug

We’ve had an Apple TV for some time, however when given the opportunity to try out the new third generation model I was excited to see if there was any differences.

Outwardly, you cannot tell which is which (except for the dust on the older one). They look identical in every respect. It was a little confusing, only because we had the two of them.

Performance wise the new Apple TV felt faster in bringing up content. It felt snappier and faster in the menus and searching. The thing I noticed most was that the wireless internet connection was much more stable then the 2nd Generation Apple TV. This was my biggest complaint of the 2nd Gen model, I could not really use the thing without having a ethernet cable connected. As a result the 3rd Generation model was wonderful to use and setup. During the time we were using it to get ready for the review it worked flawlessly even when moved from room to room.

Using an Apple TV does take a little bit of getting used to. It’s not that it’s difficult to use, it’s easy, but there’s a lot it can do that you may not know. Certainly you can watch movies you rent or purchase from the iTunes store. If you have a Netflix account you can stream that content. You can browse videos on Vimeo and YouTube; you can browse photos on Flickr, these I expected. What’s interesting though is that I can wirelessly push content from our iPad to the Apple TV.

This is a more interesting feature then I first thought. My daughter was watching a movie on the iPad while her brother’s were watching a ‘boy’ show on the TV. The boys finished their show and she was able to then come into the living room and put her movie on the big screen where she had left off on the small screen. As someone who is into photography I have been able to share my laptop screen (I use an Apple MacBook Pro) to show photos - wirelessly. So I’m editing photos in my photo program, I click the Airplay icon and select the Apple TV and just like that my laptop screen is shown on the big tv and I can quickly share photos (or whatever) to the whole room, it even takes the sound/music from my laptop and puts it over the TV’s speakers.

What’s neat is how much you can use this little box for. As you use it more, you turn to it more often to use. With the third generation of the device the one complaint I had with the previous one has been dealt with and it just works.

There are other devices who do things like the Apple TV, but the Apple TV just works. For me, it makes finding and sharing media easier.

Disclosure: I was provided with an AppleTV 3rd Generation from Staples Canada in return for this review.
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