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Empty Nests

I had intended to tell you a story tonight about my wonderful week. You see it’s been one of those weeks where my job really rocks. I’ve seen friends and movies, and friends at movies. I’ve had spa treatments and enjoyed cocktail parties and helped to launch charitable events. My work isn’t always this eventful or “in-person” social, so this week really stood out. And I’m now exhausted, but in a really good way.

Empty Nest Advice — Empty Nest Syndrome Tips and Solutions

But something not very awesome at all happened at some point Wednesday evening or overnight.

The baby robins are gone.

Hubs had chased away some crows earlier in the day who’d been showing a little too much interest in the nest. And then all seemed well. The parents were taking turns watching and feeding the babies. I got to see them lifting up their little beaks to accept the worms. I didn’t have time to grab the camera and take a picture, and told myself I’d get one another day. But it was not to be.

When I got home Wednesday evening, there was no parent at the nest. And no parent when I glanced out the window while making coffee. When I came back to pour my first cup, there was again/still no parent, so I went to investigate. And I found an empty nest.

I talked to Hubs and he commented that he didn’t see any robins when he got home the night before either, and had worried. It’s all very sad, but I guess it’s the circle of life, right? Crows and Common Grackles are known to be natural predators to robins and likely one or the other of these chased off the parents and grabbed the babies while we were away.

So now I feel guilty for being away for 7 or 8 hours. Like the babies were my responsibility, which I know they weren’t , but still.

I’ve read that robins build a new nest for each new clutch of eggs, plus I don’t think this was a great location for them anyway. The hanging basket kept the babies safe from squirrels and chipmunks, but there was no coverage to hide the nest from flying predators. So, I removed the nest, intact, and sent it in to school with Boo. His teacher said she will use it in the science curriculum. It is in awesome shape, since it didn’t fall out of a tree or anything. You can really see and appreciate the amount of work that went in to weaving the grasses and twigs and cementing it all with mud. The structure also includes some strings and ribbons momma found, and the nest is lined with really soft grasses. It is a thing of beauty.

I truly hope that momma and daddy robin have better luck with a second set of eggs, and that they find a more secret place to safely raise their family.

My Soda Stream, My Love!

I don’t usually drink a lot of pop, though I do love it. My boys, especially the Teen, would drink it constantly if I let them. So, when I heard about the Soda Stream company, I was intrigued. The concept of making our own pop at home, with our own tap water certainly appealed to me, both from a cost-saving and a convenience factor. Not to mention the environmental impact. With Soda Stream you re-use your bottles over and over again for up to 3 years, rather than creating masses of plastic bottles needing to go to recycling. And the Soda Stream bottles are BPA-free.

SODASTREAM Spirit Pink Blush - Soda Maker | Alzashop.com

 

But how does this all work? And, most importantly, how does the pop taste??

 

Soda Stream machines require no electricity or batteries. The fizz comes from a CO2 carbonating cylinder and a simple push (or pushes) of a button. More pushes = more carbonation, so you can choose how fizzy you’d like your drink to be. Also, because you add the flavour syrups yourself, you can choose how sweet and/or flavourful your drink will be. Because the machines require no electricity, they are very portable and would be a great option for a small kitchen with few outlets, and are easy to carry to a different room, on a picnic, etc.

 

As for taste, my family is impressed. When I introduced the Teen to the machine he was more excited than I’ve seen him in ages. Seriously, it was pretty awesome to see. We did a quick training session, and he crafted himself a bottle of orange pop. Which was devoured in minutes. We’ve tried a number of different sodamixes so far, and haven’t had a miss yet. Cola, Diet Cola, Orange, Ginger Ale, Lemon-Lime, and more all taste as you would expect them to. They taste like the name brand versions, not the discount or no-name labels. Even the root beer, which I was worried about, received the seal of approval from the Teen. He declared it excellent and likened it to the root beer of a rather well-known fast food/root beer establishment.

 

From a mom’s perspective, I like that I can be in charge of how much syrup is flavouring our pop now. And I appreciate that the mixes are sweetened with cane sugar rather than HFCS. This pop is lower in carbs and calories than store-bought pop, which definitely works for me. Here is a sample comparison from the Soda Stream website:

 

Prepared Size: 250 mL

Coca-Cola Cola
Calories 100 35
Fat/lipides 0 g 0 g g
Saturated/ saturés + Trans/ trans 0 g 0 g g
Sodium 30 mg 2 mg mg
Carbohydrate/ Glucides 27 g 7 g g
Fibre/ Fibres 0 g 0 g g
Sugars/ Sucres 27 g 7 g g
Protein/ Protéines 0 g 0 g g

Looks good to me! If we are going to drink pop, I would rather it look like the column on the right. The Teen is heading off to college in the fall, and I’ve decided that one of these machines will make a great addition to his dorm room. Let’s face it – I know there will be far too many nights of pizza and root beer. If he makes his own pop he’ll be saving money and drinking a little healthier.

 

Soda Stream systems, carbonators, and syrups can be purchased from a variety of retailers or online at their own website. I recommend purchasing one of their variety packs to start out, so you can sample a number of flavours at once. Each of the 500ml bottles of sodamix will make 12 litres of pop.

Disclosure: I received a Soda Stream Jet system starter pack and sodamix to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions on this blog remain my own.

Yet Another Post About Pee

 

I remember a few years back, when the Teen was maybe 8 years old. I was chatting with a colleague, a mom of a teenaged boy. And I asked her, in utter desperation, “Please tell me! WHEN will he start peeing IN the toilet instead of on it??” Or beside it, or behind it, or whatever.

Morning Pee: This Is Why You Have To Pee So Much In The Morning ...

She just laughed at me and walked away.

I can’t remember the last time my bathroom stayed clean for longer than a couple of hours. What is the issue? Why is aim so difficult?? I mean, I guess I can get a minor miss that splashes on the back of the toilet. But the floor?? What do boys do in there? What are they looking at to throw their aim off so?

“Lalalala … oh look over there! Soap!”

I used to swear the Teen must have been talking to the cat or something. (And maybe peeing on him.)

I’ll go to sit down in there, and I immediately smell it. Then I look and see the tell-tale sheen on the floor. What the ..??

Basically, my bathroom stinks.

My favourite cleaning tip for all you moms of boys? Disposable disinfecting wipes. I buy them in bulk. There’s a container beside each toilet in the house, and it makes it so easy to give a quick wipe for any little offerings my boys have left behind. (I have to admit, at this stage it’s really only the little one with a real problem.) I don’t know what I’d do without these things. And get a nice scented one. SO worth it.

Also? If you can convince your boys to sit down to pee, so much the better. There’s no real reason they need to stand after all. As long as they remember to hold it down, sitting is definitely the way to go.

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 ??

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 ??

Mommy Mondays – New Beginnings

 

I’ve blogged here before about wanting to give up my day job, about how I’d much rather be home with Little Boo. Well, my day job is becoming increasingly stressful and bringing me a lot of angst and generally making me unhappy. Even aside from the Little Boo issue.

Mommy Mondays – LoLoboog44 | justaBXmom.com

So, I’ve decided to take a small first step to moving away from office work. I’ve taken on two new business projects in an effort to create alternatives to my monthly paycheque. With any luck, if things start to take off, maybe we can see our way clear to my eventual resignation.

Or maybe I can at least hire a cleaning lady and afford online grocery shopping to free up some mental health and family time. Or pay for my Blissdom Canada registration …

Nothing too earth shattering. I’ve decided to sell for two companies whose products I have used and loved for years – Avon and Pampered Chef. I am “my own boss” in both instances, as they like to say. So I can do as little or as much with it as I’d like. I figure I can start out slow-ish and build up. I spent a good few years in retail sales, and I love to talk and to meet people, so I think I can swing this.

My first Avon order went in tonight. Exciting! The products will arrive later this week and I will have my first experience of the sorting and invoicing and collecting. We’ll see how it goes. I am having a lot of fun reading and learning and browsing through the samples I can order. It’s like Christmas!

Pampered Chef officially starts next month. I have two shows booked already, and my “one-up” is encouraging me to try for 2 more in my first 30 days to get my momentum going.

I’m excited to be trying something different. I’ve talked about becoming a PC consultant for years, so I think it is definitely time to give it a shot. It feels good to be making a move and attempting to create positive change for me and for my family. I’m planning to set up a new blog (or two) for these businesses, and will create Twitter profiles as well. I mean, I am addicted to social media after all.

Wish me luck. And if you’re interested in browsing an Avon brochure or hosting or attending a Pampered Chef show, by all means let me know. That would be totally great. And fun!

The #MonthofMom Photo Challenge Is Heading into the Home Stretch

We are now on Day 21 of P&G’s #MonthofMom 30 Day Photo Challenge. I’ve been having fun coming up with images based on the daily prompts. Of course, as a P&G Mom, I’ve also been weaving in some of my favourite P&G products where they fit with the day. I hope you’ve been following along with the fun on Twitter and/or Instagram! Maybe you’ve even discovered a new product to try.

Introducing The Month of Mom | Kiddie Academy

 

I’ve also been wondering if any of you, my dear readers, have been taking part?? If you have joined in, I’d love it if you left a link to your Twitter or Instagram profile in the comments, so I can go see what you’ve shared. Let me know!

 

You can see most of my photos over on my Instagram page. A side effect of this challenge is that I am now addicted to Instagram. I love sharing pics and seeing what’s inspiring others. I expect I’ll be continuing with other Instagram challenges after this one is done.

 

If you haven’t joined this photo challenge but would like to hop in, there are still 10 days left. You can see all of the details in my earlier #MonthofMom post.