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Author: Deborah

How Do You Search the Web?

My default search provider is Swagbucks. I get relevant search results, and earn rewards points while doing something I’d be doing anyway. In addition to receiving Swagbucks for everyday searches, you can also earn by completing surveys, answering polls, completing tasks, and more. There’s lots of bonus swag codes to be found as well. Your Swagbucks can then be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, charity donations, sweepstakes entries, etc.

A Web Developer Can Be Your Personal Assistant | Prednisonepill

 

Swagbucks has some big things in store for their 5th Birthday this year – they’re giving out five $1000 cash prizes and holding a HUGE Swag Code Extravaganza where you can earn 135 Swag Bucks worth of codes! There are also some huge games planned, and while the party doesn’t happen until February 25th, on Monday the 11th you’ll get more info, including how you can win one of those $1000 prizes!

Haven’t joined Swagbucks yet? Click here to join and use the Swag Code 5THBIRTHDAY during registration – you’ll start with 120 Swag Bucks instead of the usual 30. I’ve earned close to 4000 points from using Swagbucks so far. Once I hit 5000 I’ll be cashing in for $50 Paypal cash. woo hoo!

Parenting Through Depression #BellLetsTalk

I wrote this quite a while back, but never posted. I thought it would be appropriate to share it today, on Bell Let’s Talk Day. It’s important for us all to talk about our experiences with mental health and illness. It’s important that we open discussion and alleviate stigma.

10 Good Parenting Tips - Parenting For Brain

Why? Well, because according to the Canadian Institute of Health Research, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lives. The Canadian Medical Association tells us that 2 out of 3 will suffer in silence, out of fear of the reactions of others. We can do better.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1995. I’ve had ups and downs, but am happy to say that today I am in a good place. I still have depression, but it is well-managed with medications, coping skills, and an awesome support network. I am lucky for all that. But there are still some bad days.

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Monday was a beautiful day. Blue sky and sunshine, a lovely fall breeze. The leaves are turning radiant shades of red and orange and yellow. This was a day of hope and optimism. I felt great. I walked the dog. I voted. I made dinner. I got work done.

Sunday was a grey day. Damp chilly. Dark. I spent the day on the couch. I let my child skip his karate lesson. He wanted to watch YouTube and play on his DS. I let him. He stayed in his pajamas all day. So did I. I made him a PB&J sandwich for dinner. I didn’t eat.

Some days depression wins, and parenting follows the path of least resistance. Some days there’s simply no energy to enforce the rules or create activities and fun.

I have a history of depression, and I’ve had two particularly difficult periods in my illness. The first led to my diagnosis, and the second was 2 years ago. So, 15 years or so apart. Not bad really. I am lucky that my depression is kept mostly under control with medication and my ongoing practice of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). But when I have a low day, my low is way lower than the average person’s low. Thankfully I’ve learned ways to bounce back pretty quickly.

Depression affects so many aspects of your life. There’s exhaustion and physical pain. Difficulty making decisions. Irritability. Anger. Confusion. And of course the sadness you immediately think of. And depression affects your family too. They watch you suffer, and they can suffer from lack of attention and care.

As a parent, it can be difficult to maintain consistency with the rules and consequences. Some days depression has used up all your energy, and it can feel impossible to find the stamina to deal with a toddler tantrum or to enforce the no devices at the dinner table rule. Wouldn’t it just be easier to let it slide? And if the kids are playing with their phones, I won’t have to make conversation. That’s a help. But boy is that ever confusing for the kids.

When I’m having a low day, mealtimes seem to come around every five minutes. Someone always needs something. The phone won’t stop ringing. Everything is overwhelming. And I just want to hide.

But I’m a parent, and I have to reach to find the reserves somewhere in there. And mostly I do. Boo has never gone hungry or missed bath time. I’ve never sent him to school in his pajamas (other than on pajama day) or without a lunch. But I’m not always a lot of fun.

Thankfully my low days are few and far between. The issue on Sunday? I forgot to take my pill. It was after noon before I figured it out. My morning routine had gotten interrupted and the medicine just didn’t happen. Couple that with the dreary weather and a lack of sleep, and the whole day suddenly makes sense. That in itself helps me to bounce back, knowing there was a concrete cause for my low mood, one that I can manage and avoid in future.

Let the sunshine in

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Parenting is a tough gig. Couple that with a mental health concern and some days can seem truly insurmountable. Do I have a message for you here? I guess so. I want to open up about my depression, to contribute to the conversation. And I also want us all to watch out for each other, and to try to keep the judgement at bay. Some days we’re just doing our best to keep the boat afloat.

Dusty the Crop Duster at the Waterloo Air Show, June 1-2

Do you think your kids (or you!) would like to meet the star of Disney’s upcoming animated feature, “Planes”? Well, if you head out to the Waterloo Air Show this weekend (June 1-2), you’ll have the chance!

File:Dusty the Crop Duster.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

 

Dusty will be appearing at a number of air shows across North America this summer, in advance of the film’s release on August 9. He will show off his talents, communicate with the crowd and be accompanied by an exclusive and uplifting Disney musical score. Sounds like a great time for kids of all ages!

 

The owner and pilot of the aircraft tapped to play the role of Dusty in the air show performances is Texas-based aerial applicator Rusty Lindeman, who customized one of his own Air Tractor AT-301 airplanes to match Dusty’s paint scheme and features. Manufactured in Olney, Texas, Air Tractor aircraft are used for agricultural spraying, seeding and fertilizing, plus forestry protection, fire fighting and more in the U.S. and more than 30 countries around the world. “We’re happy to help bring Dusty to life for the performances and hope that the audience will have fun and learn a bit more about the importance of aerial application in modern agriculture,” said Air Tractor’s Kristin Edwards.

 

 

 

 

“‘Disney’s Planes’ is a great underdog story, said director and aviation enthusiast Klay Hall. “It has a lot of heart and a message we can all use: If we can believe in ourselves, step out of our comfort zones and get past whatever fear is holding us back, we’d be surprised with the results. And that’s exactly what happens to Dusty in this movie. He’s a crop duster who’s never flown above 1,000 feet, but he dreams of being the fastest air racer in the world. He has a lot of obstacles to overcome and needs to dig pretty deep to find the courage to become more than he was built for.”

 

David White, Co-Producer of the Waterloo Air Show added: “The Waterloo Air Show is a wonderful family event and we are absolutely thrilled to be a part of the ultimate family experience with this very special appearance of Dusty from ‘Disney’s Planes.’ We invite those of all ages to join us for this most unique event.”

 

 

About the Waterloo Air Show

The Waterloo Air Show will take place June 1st and 2nd, 2013, at the Region of Waterloo International Airport. It is a two-day family-friendly event that showcases some of the best skills and entertainment the aviation industry has to offer. With displays both in the air and on the ground, guests can enjoy amazing aerial demonstrations headlined by the world-famous Canadian Forces Snowbirds, while exploring exhibits, vendors, additional aircraft on the ground, kids activities, an Autograph Tent, Food Truck Alley and more.

Let me introduce myself …

So, I’m absolutely new to blogging – never done it before, and haven’t really even read a lot of other folks’ blogs. But, I’ve been thinking of starting ever since I found out I was pregnant last spring. There seems to be such a community of moms sharing their experiences online. I’ve been posting on message boards, but find sometimes I just want somewhere to brag or vent or process an experience, without anyone else feeling they need to respond or that I’m looking for a response. Know what I mean?

I'm working on myself, for myself, by myself. (With images ...

At any rate, we’ll see if I can find the time to keep this up, and hopefully even make it interesting! Now that my little guy is 6 months, I can grab a few mintues here and there while he entertains himself. I wish I’d started earlier, but then I’m not sure when I would have found the time to write anything in the first couple of months. And not sure anything coherent would have come out if I had. I may reminisce a little at first, since I’m still trying to process some of the earlier experiences. And trying to capture them before I forget what it was like to have a baby in the NICU or to have a tiny little infant attached to my breast almost constantly 24/7 for a month or more. We’ll see.

Please bear with me ??

Find Your New Best Friend – Mega Pet Adoption Weekend in Toronto June 5-7 #adoptlove

Just look at that face! How could I not fall in love at first sight! This is our precious pup, Maxi. Regular readers will know her well. We adopted her through the OSPCA 2 years ago, and she has become an integral member of our family. She is loving and playful, and sometimes a little skittish. She likes to visit the off-leash park to make friends with other pups, and she loves to sneak into the laundry room to eat the cat’s dinner. Like everyone, she has a mix of good and bad traits ??

101 Best Friend Quotes - Short Quotes About Best Friends

Maxi had been surrendered to the OSPCA because her owners could no longer care for her. We visited because we were looking to fill a hole in our family. It was a match made in heaven.

Pets have always been important to me, and I adore having my furry babies in my life. If you are in the GTA and ready to make the commitment to a new four-legged friend, I strongly encourage you to check out the Mega Pet Adoption Weekend happening Friday-Sunday this week at the CNE grounds.

In its second year, this event is hosted by the Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal Services, proudly sponsored by PetSmart Charities of Canada and PetSmart, and will involve a number of animal welfare agencies from across the GTA. For just $25 you can bring home a new family member who will be spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Standard pet licensing fees apply to City of Toronto residents.
“Each year more than 15,000 animals enter GTA shelters. During these three days we hope to find 600 of them new forever homes. Anyone who is considering adding a pet to their family should join us and see for themselves the amazing animals available for adoption,” said Barbara Steinhoff, Executive Director, Toronto Humane Society.

What: Mega Pet Adoption Weekend
Who: Adoptable pets from local animal
welfare organizations, including Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal
Services

Spokespeople from PetSmart
Charities of Canada and PetSmart will also be on-site

When: Friday, June 5 – Sunday, June 7,
2015

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Queen Elizabeth Building on the
grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition

 

“Adopting a new companion is a rewarding decision, one that will bring a lot of joy and create memories to last a lifetime,” said John DeFranco, President, PetSmart Charities of Canada. “Through partnerships, such as those with the Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal Services, we’re able to find forever homes for even more pets.”

 

So, are you ready? Your new best friend may just be waiting for you at the CNE grounds this weekend.

Raising Polite Kids

”Mommy, am I allowed to have a little snack? Like maybe a pumpkin cookie?”
I tell him of course he can. As he lifts a cookie from the tin, he blows my mind with his next words.
“I really like these cookies. They taste yummy. Thank you, Mommy, for making them.”

7 Easy Ways to Get Kids to Be More Polite - Focus on the Family

Isn’t that just the best? Completely organic, non-prompted expression of gratitude. This doesn’t seem to happen often in our house, so it stood out and truly made my day. (Mommy may be feeling a little under-appreciated lately. Hmmm.)

How can we foster good manners in our kids? Most importantly, I think, by modelling them ourselves. Kids learn from observing us in our interactions with them and with others. So we need to remember to use our pleases and thank yous too. When you ask your child to help you with something, say please. When they do help you, say thank you. Notice the positive interactions they have with others (helpful, kind, gentle, etc.) and acknowledge them with verbal appreciation. All of these will help to reinforce the polite behaviours we hope to nurture in our kids.

And small things that we do everyday can influence them when we least notice it. Hold the door for a lady with a stroller. Hold the elevator for whomever. Smile at a stranger. Let someone merge into traffic. All of these things will be noticed, and our actions speak louder than our words. We can lecture about good manners as much as we want, but if we don’t display those manners and kindnesses ourselves, our lectures simply won’t stick!

Thank you for reading ??

Childhood Summers and #CampMemories

When I was 11, my best friend asked me, and our other best friend, if we would go to Mint Brook Camp with her that summer. Mint Brook was a week-long sleep-away camp, run by our church, and we were finally old enough to go. C’s mom had volunteered there for years and both of her sisters had gone. Her middle sister would even be one of our counselors!

Flawed system robs children of their childhood

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when my parents said yes! The next months were spent in anxious anticipation of the first week of August. And the camp fun began the moment our parents put us on that yellow school bus and sent us off down the highway. The singing, oh the singing! The patience of bus drivers is truly remarkable. “I go to Mint Brook Camp so pit-y me. There’s not a boy in the vi-cin-i-ty …”

For us, camp meant freedom and adventure and fun and independence. Ten girls in each of ten little cabins, playing, singing, swimming, learning together for 7 whole days and nights. It was kind of like a week-long sleepover party. But with rules and daily cabin inspection and early morning wake-up calls to attend flag raising. We were all assigned daily chores (peeling vegetables, gathering firewood, mopping the dining hall, etc.), and we signed up for activities in 3 sessions each day (swimming, canoeing, crafts, and more). Every evening brought some type of activity, plus chapel, and campfire. Our days were full and definitely structured. But nothing felt like a burden. Every moment was filled with the laughter and joy of trying new things with friends new and old.

It’s hard actually for me to pick a favourite memory. Everything to do with the water was amazing. Learning to paddle a canoe was certainly a highlight, as was the year that C and I were allowed to take our canoe up the river on our own, no counselor, with a younger camper in the middle seat. We knew every rock and log and shallow spot in that river. We knew which side of the island had the weaker current. And we knew just how close to the waterfall at the end of our paddle we could safely go (the bottom part of the waterfall, not the top, don’t worry). We felt so mature and trusted.

And one night we slept under the stars certainly stands out. We all took our sleeping bags out onto the field and lay there staring at the night sky, looking for constellations. It was a perfectly clear night, and I had no idea before just how many brilliant points of light were up there. Truly gorgeous. That was an eye-opener and something you just could never experience in the city.

I continued at Mint Brook, spending a week there each summer until I was 17. My last two years I graduated from camper to counselor-in-training. I taught rowing to the girls twice each morning and led canoe trips in the afternoons. I taught them the campfire songs that had been taught to me, calmed their fears at night, or sometimes told them the camp ghost stories if I thought they could handle it. I organised nature walks and introduced the girls to the trails I had come to know over my years there by the river.

I grew up at that camp. I made friends and met family (literally – no less than two distant and one not-so-distant cousins I didn’t know!!) And I made memories that I’ll always have, even if I can’t find the pictures to prove them! (Damn days before digital cameras and my need to capture every potentially bloggable moment …) We started the Teen at sleep-away camp when he was 11 as well. And I can’t wait to send Little Boo when his time comes.

Why I Blog

 

I’m participating in Bloggy Moms 2011 Blog Dare. There are prompts for a new blog every day, which I know I won’t be able to keep up with. But I will jump in with a contribution whenever it feels right.

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Use Free Hosting For Your Blog - BlinkBits

Today’s prompt is “What first prompted you to blog?” Well, if you look back to my first ever post here, way back in 2006, you will see that I started this blog as a way to deal with the reality of being a new mom. I wanted a place to talk about raising my new son, to brag a little, to vent when needed, and to share. Really, I think I saw it as mostly an online diary, with the possibility that someone else might read it. And if someone did read it and want to connect with me, well, that would just rock.

So, I set up the blog and posted once. And then I got totally distracted by life and a high-needs baby and looking after hubs & my tween step-son, and developing new friendships with other new moms in my moms’ group.

And the next time I posted was in 2009, almost 3 years to the day. Oh yeah.

Now, I still blog to brag and vent. But it is with a more active sense of community. I have met so many fabulous people through blogging and other forms of social media. I read lots of blogs. I try to actively find things to share that might help or interest my readers. I try to find ways to connect, especially with other parents, so that we can support each other and learn from each other.

I also blog as a way to work on my writing. I love to write and for a long time thought I might enter a communications field. This is one avenue for me to work on that goal I guess. Or at least to find an outlet for my desire to write.

So, do you blog? Or just read blogs? Why do you blog? Why do you read my blog? Hmm … maybe I don’t want you to question that last one too deeply ….

The Day I Found Out I Was Pregnant

 

Ooh! I love today’s Bloggy Moms Blog Dare prompt. We had been trying unsuccessfully for years to get pregnant, including fertility treatments, so the day I found out I finally was pregnant, well, it was huge.

COVID-19: New Pregnancy Precautions 'Not Based on New Science'

It was at the end of the day, and we’d just gotten home from work. I do admit I can’t remember what I was doing that I came into the house so long after hubs. When I came in the door he had already started the spaghetti sauce. And as soon as I smelled it, I gagged. My stomach turned completely over.

And I knew. Right then.

So, I disappeared to the downstairs washroom where I kept my stash of pregnancy tests. And I peed on one. And there was the tiniest, faintest-ever second line. Honest there was. And hubs told me I was imagining things.

But I knew.

A couple of days later it was Friday. And I REALLY wanted a drink when we got home from work. Crap day. But, I was sure I was pregnant, in spite of the really almost invisible, but I’m sure it was there, line. So I peed on another stick.

And this time? This time, although it was still pretty light, even hubs couldn’t mistake it. I sat there and I stared at it. Then I put it down. And picked it up. And stared again. I left the bathroom and looked at hubs and said “Congratulations!” and held out the stick and started to cry. Just a little.

It was so amazing and overwhelming and exciting and scary and everything. I did throw the test in the garbage, but I probably hauled it back out for a peek at least a dozen times. I briefly thought about keeping it, but then decided that would be gross. Eww, pee!

I called my obs/gyne on Monday and her receptionist congratulated me and told me to come right over for the official blood pregnancy test and to set up an appointment schedule.

And the rest, as they say, is history ??

Post-Blissdom Highs and Lows

I am on my post-Bliss high, which is always mixed with a bit of post-Bliss low. You see, after 3 days filled with friendships old and new, amazing speakers, awesome brands, great food, late night wine and giggles, it can be a little rough to come back home to the everyday grind. Plus, as a introvert living with depression and anxiety, these kind of events really take a massive effort from me. My mind is racing with ideas and plans, but my body and emotions are drained and begging for time alone in a quiet room where I can shut down for a while and re-charge.

 

Sunday I came home and slept. Monday I did some more of that. It’s Tuesday now, and I feel like my batteries are back up close to 100%. So now I’m going to try to unpack. Unpack my bags and unpack my ideas. It’s time to take notes, to write down all the things spinning around my head, and to try to interpret the notes I jotted during the sessions on Friday and Saturday. Time to pull out the business cards collected and send quick notes to new people I met, so I can cement that connection. These things have to happen quickly or they won’t happen at all.

 

It’s time to look through the pictures taken, to remember good times and begin to miss people. Also to realise how many people I missed at the conference! Oh my gosh so many people I wanted to speak with and didn’t. No matter what some folks may think, I am painfully shy. And I am terrible at small talk. So I don’t tend to strike up conversations. And I’m terrible with names, so I fear introducing myself to people I’ve already met and insulting them. I spend a lot of time trying to stare at nametags that have flipped backwards.

 

Blissdom Canada is, for me, a brief retreat from the everyday. It’s a place I can forget my daily stresses and the difficulties of the last couple of years and just be me. It’s a place where I can learn about new techniques and tools, be inspired by amazing individuals, and build up a store of excitement for new projects to come. And it’s about friendships and love and support and a kick in the butt when I need it.