Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Haha the travel bug has officially bitten this Mama's impressive behind for sure.

As you know, I took the boys on vacation to Jamaica in February/March. I haven't gotten around to blogging about it until now though.

It was amazing! I'm in love, with the place, the people, the food, the everything.

I've always had a soft spot for Jamaica (D-Man is 1/2 Jamaican lol so of course I would) and this vacation just went to show how amazing it was. It's soooooo beautiful there. The people are so nice, and even though there is poverty we never felt unsafe.

We flew into Montego Bay, and were bussed to our hotel in Negril (Beaches Sandy Bay) which as of Sept will no longer be a Beaches property. The boys were both amazing on the flight. Mister M got to watch TV, sit by the window, talk with the flight crew (Westjet is the best!) and D-Man slept 90% of the flight there lol.

It was beautiful. We had a ground floor room, with a patio, you could see the ocean and the gardens from our door.

We had a little gecko that hung outside on the patio that the boys made friends with, and there were lots of beautiful birds that flew around all the time.

The food was wonderful! We stayed at an all inclusive resort so there were buffet style meals pretty much all day. It was great for us because we could eat when the kids were hungry instead of at scheduled times, or when we could find a place.

We spend a lot of time on the beach, playing in the sand, soaking up the sun, swimming in the ocean. That was the main goal for this trip, to just relax as a family and have fun together. We didn't plan on doing a million things once we were there, just chilling.

We made some awesome friends too, E and K are both amazing men, who I still keep in contact with. They were great with the kids, showing us some neat things we wouldnt' have seen normally and spending time with us.

We did go on a few excursions though. We went into Negril and looked around, it was pretty neat, and we went on a tour through a couple Parishes to Black River. Once we were there we got to go on a boat cruise through the black river and see crocodiles, birds, mangroves, and a million other beautiful things. It was so different from everything we've seen at home. The captain was great, very good at what he does, and Mister M really enjoyed seeing the crocodiles.

After our boat cruise we went to this awful little place (with an amazing view) for lunch. Honestly the worst meal we had the entire time... the staff acted like we were causing them problems by existing. There were a bunch of people from the US with us as we all felt the same.

After the awful lunch, we went to the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Its a little known spot called YS Falls. Gorgeous waterfalls, and an amazing mineral pool to wade in after. I think it was my favourite part of the entire trip. And I got to meet a cute boy too lol.

On our way back we drove through other parts of the parishes to see how the people really lived, and we even stopped at a road side stand for fresh crawdads. I don't eat them but Mister M really loved it, I was so impressed lol.

The flight back was awful, it was full of crying babies, D-Man had developed a cold just a few days before and was miserable and not sleeping the entire time. But luckily it was only 4 hours, and we were back in the cold, cold, cold March air :(

We will be going back to Jamaica for sure.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


We've had an eventful summer in regards to animals around our house.

Mister M has a new pet hamster, which seems to be thriving (all other ones we used to have in Toronto never lived longer than 3 months). D-Man has two goldfish that we can't kill no matter what we do to them, so they're a perfect first pet lol.

We've been babysitting on the odd weekend, my best friends dog. She's a 6 year old Pug named Vayda and the boys just love her to bits.
We've also got a 14 year old tabby cat named Goblin. She's a duchess, a grand dame of a lady who knows her stuff, and still tolerates the kids, but will hide when she's had enough. She's very awesome, and a good pet for boys to have (and easy for mama to take care of lol)

We used to have two cats. The big 14 year old, and Mister M's kitten Tootsie. She was 4 years old, and a dwarf. She's had health problems since she was born but it never seemed to bother her before. But just last month the landlord accidentally let her out of the house, and because of her dwarfism she wasn't fixed so she went into heat and ran around with some boy cats.... and we all know how that works. She got pregnant.

But, her body was too small to carry the kittens so they miscarried, but... there were complications. She got sick, very very very sick.


Her uterus didn't expell the aborted fetuses and they rotted. Her uterus was filled with puss and leaking all over the place. She was dehydrated and sick.

I took her into the emergency vet ($130 later) and was told they could do the surgery to remove the uterus for a price of $2000+ but there was less than a 30% chance of survival, and she woulnd't live much more than a year or two afterwords. Or we could do the humaine thing, and put her down.

Hardest thing I've had to do. I had to go to my oldest, and tell him that his kitty, that he's had since he was 2 was dying. And that we had to take her back to the vet and put her to sleep so she wouldn't hurt anymore.

He cried, I cried, the baby had no idea what was happening and thought we were all nuts.

We took her back to the vet, and I went into the room with her. She was so sick she didn't even fight when they laid her down on the table to administer the needle.

I held her head and she was looking right at me, and then just like that she was gone.

We brought her home and burried her in the backyard. Mister M even had a homemade paving stone to mark her grave.

We miss her.

Summer fun 2012!

So like I mentioned before, it's the middle of summer vacation and we've already done a lot of fun stuff! I bought and built my very first barbeque, so exciting lol. I've got a nice deck, and now I have patio furniture, a bbq and everything I need to entertain back there (other than the time lol). I'm very excited about it!
We've done lots and lots of fun beach trips, and trips to the wading pool near our house too, the boys are so tanned it's hillarous. They look like they're wearing skin coloured shorts when they're in the bath because of their tan lines.
We've managed to spend a lot of time with friends, going out for dinners, entertaining at our place, the usual. It's so nice to finally be able to have people over without any problems, when I lived in Toronto I hardly ever got to see my friends, and now that we all have places, cars and jobs it makes everything a lot more fun lol.
The boys and I have gone on some day trips too, the best one was the Toronto Zoo. They both loved it and we had a blast! D-Man is getting to the age where he knows his animals and likes to see them. We even got to see a lot of them up close which doesn't happen usually. They also got to touch sting rays and sharks, and play in the splash pad! I'm hoping to be able to get back there before it gets too cold, maybe for the Halloween experience, we'll see :)
I love having a car now! It's so nice to be able to decide at the last minute to just pack up and go to Toronto for fun things like the zoo and not worry about train and bus schedules. I don't know how I ever managed without one.
We've got to go to some local fairs too, we go to the Quaker Oats Picnic every year with my grandmother (she worked there for 35 years) which is always fun, the boys like it, although this year Mister M didn't have as much fun because he didn't have anyone to ride the rides with and D-Man was too small to be able to do a lot of them, but I'm hoping to take Mister M to Wonderland by the end of the month just the two of us, so he'll get to do everything. I haven't been in years and years so I'm quite excited too.

Ooops, worst blogger ever!

Argh so yet again I suck at blogging. I've got tons and tons to update everyone on so this post will just be playing catch up, then I'll do some more about specifics :) So, it's the middle of summer vacation. Mister M is adapting well to not being at school, although I wish I had a bit more money to send him to a camp or something, I think he'd really like that. D-Man is still in daycare so that isn't a change for him at all.
I've been working a variety of jobs, as a Field Guide at a berry farm, a private home care PSW and most recently as a technical support advisor for a computer company who shall remain nameless :) I always said I'd never go back to working at a call centre, but this isn't too bad, I like the people, the job actually doesn't suck and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I'll be finished school in a year and a half! So come September 2013 I'll be writing my provincial exams and should be a RPN by October!!!!! Sooooo excited lol, now just keep fingers crossed that I'll pass everything lol. We're now totally settled into our new place, and even know some of the neighbours. We really lucked out and the people who live behind/beside us (we're on the corner) are a single mom and her two sons, aged 8 and 6. Mister M is thrilled, he finally has friends his own age to play will all the time, and they always make sure to include D-Man too which I think is amazing of them.
Some exciting things are happening with me on a personal level too, I might have met someone that I can start a relationship with. He's taking it slow because of me (MAJOR COMITTMENT ISSUES HERE) but he's coming down this weekend to meet my kids, and see how that goes. I've never introduced anyone to the boys before so it's something pretty serious. Hopefully they all like eachother, if not, my kids come first. But I figure if I like him, then the boys will. Mister M is the important one, D-Man doesn't really care yet but since it effects them both this is a big step in our lives. The man, I'll call him R for now, is a bit older than me, I'm 24 and he's 36. He has three kids that he gets every other weekend (and during the week too if they want, he's got a decent relationship with their mother). The kids are all older 15,11 and 8. He has his own home, care and a good job which is important to me, I don't want to support someone else I've already got two men who depend on me for everything. I'm excited to see where this will go! I'll keep you posted. The next blog will be more about all of our summer fun so far, we've managed to cram a lot in there in a few short weeks for sure! Until then... take care :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Psychology Assignment 7

It appears to be working! My idea of how to transfer my studied knowledge from short term to long term memory was to have a study partner quiz me, and since I don't want to appear dumb it'll spur me on.

I've noticed that I've been able to retain more information than before. I've also been able to retain it longer, and put it to practical use in real life. Which is another way of retaining knowledge that I didn't think of trying (at least consciously).

My friend is also a wonderful teacher, knows how to explain the things that I don't understand, and make it so that they make sense. Which I wasn't able to do on my own. I feel that understanding what I need to be studying also helps with the ability to retain the information. I'm still under a lot of stress (I'm a single mom I work and I'm a student so it's a given), so I know that I may not be able to recall as much as I would be able to under perfect conditions, but it's a start.

I've found that through doing these blogs I've developed a better understanding of the topics I chose, and I hope that you readers have also learned a thing or two (or at least that you've stuck around until the good stuff comes back).

This is my last post about the psychology assignment, next week I'll be posting all about our Jamaican vacation we took back in Feb-March. I've got a million pictures to share too! And some stories about ~very~ cute Jamaican boys you don't want to miss!

Psychology Assignment 6

One of the biggest problems I've been having this year as a nursing student is with my memory. Especially in anatomy and physiology. I can study all I want, but I do not retain the information that I need. My brain refuses to hold it in.

During class we talked about the stages of memory. Sensory memory, just needs to retain enough information to remember not to bump into walls, trip over our own feet, touch a hot pan simple things like that. Short term memory helps us remember if we locked the door, where we set that book we were just reading, the names of celebrities latest flings ect. Long term memory is what enables us to keep and retain information for use at some point in the future. It can be lost, but not as easily as short term memory.

Where I'm having the most difficulty is transfering the information that I study from short term to long term memory. There are different ways to do that, but what I've been trying so far is repetition and recall. It's not working though.

I study, study, study and then test myself, but it's just not sticking around enough. I try to give myself enough time to get it all together but with all the different amounts of information I need to know, for school, work and life it's hard finding room in my poor overworked brain.

I need a better way to transfer things from short term to long term, and I don't think I'm going to be able to do it on my own.

My idea is to get a friend, who is already a nurse, to help me study. The challenge of not wanting to appear stupid in front of him should give me that extra push I need to retain the knowledge. And I hope that it will help come exam time. We have our first study session planned for later this week, so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Psychology Assignment 5

So it's been two weeks since I've started the official operant conditioning of D-Man's hitting habit. It's still a work in progress but it's slowing improving.

I know that my parenting technique involves a lot of psychology (no matter how much I claim to not like or pay attention to it). I use operant conditioning all the time to teach my kids, the same as my parents did with me. It's just way more official when I'm giving details out instead of just doing it instinctively.

So we're all almost healthy again, the boys are over their colds, and I'm getting better slowly. D-Man has improved over the last two weeks. He'll still swing out when he's mad, but he's stopped smacking his brother all the time. He's changed to yelling at everyone, but since I yell too, I know where he gets it from. Yelling I don't mind as much (I'll still try to stop it, but to me hitting is way worse).

Fortunatly I've only had to resort to time outs twice. Both times were after a long day of daycare/babysitter while I was busy with school/work. To make matters more difficult, we're weaning from nursing during the day too. So his main method of comfort and soothing isn't there anymore. So not only does he need to learn how to act when he's mad, he has to find a different way of making himself feel better.

This process isn't going to take two weeks and be finished. I have a feeling that it will take a while, and be a life long learning experience.

Psychology Assignement 4

Slow and steady wins the race right?

The operant conditioning process is quite a bit slower than the classical conditioning. I do know that I'm working with a toddler compared to a cat, but still.

D-Man still takes his anger out on his brother, maybe not all of the time now but still most of the time. The time ins work, but they're time consuming, and I'm pretty busy right now, with packing to move, getting back from vacation, school and everyone being sick.

That's another big issue, the conditions of the experiment have changed. When I first started this, everyone was healthy, but now both boys have got really bad colds, and I've got pneumonia. So it's making everyone's fuses a lot shorter, and making it so that learning just gives headaches instead of inspiration.

We're still working on it all though. I can see D-Man starting to think before he hits, where as before he would just swing out. Now he's making a deliberate choice to be mean, and he knows that there will be consequences.

It's only been a week, so we'll see how it goes next week. Hopefully everyone will be healthy again to make the process easier.

Psychology Assignment 3

The next topic I'm going to cover is Operant Conditioning. Operant conditioning is a form of learning during which an individual modifies the occurrence and form of its own behavior due to the consequences of the behavior. Basically, you change how you do something because of the reaction you get.

D-Man has a violent streak in him, he's very alpha in personality and I don't think that helps with aggression. Lately he has been hitting his brother when he gets mad at something. It doesn't even have to be something his brother has done, just if Mister M is close, D-Man takes his anger out on him.

The reasons behind that could be a study all their own, but for the purposes of this assignment, and my own understanding. He takes his anger out because he knows it's safe, his brother will still love him and play with him after, and he's closer to his brothers size which makes it less scary.

What I'm going to be doing to help break this habit is using a mixture of Time Ins, time outs and verbal cues. Time Ins are when the person in charge takes the miscreant away from the scene of the crime and spends solo time. Calming him down, talking to him and basically making him pay attention to what I have to say by removing all distractions. Time outs are solitary, 1 minute alone in his room to think about what he's done. For my own parenting, I prefer Time Ins, I only use time outs when I'm beyond mad and just need a minute to myself. (Children are born knowing how to push their parents buttons). The verbal cues will be simple like, hitting hurts your brother, not nice to hit things like that.

I'll be starting this all today, and update with how it goes!

Psychology Assignment 2

So it has been one week since we've started training the cat to give her some more exercise. It's been going well! I started with blowing a whistle, shaking a treat bag and rewarding her when she gets to the top with two kitty treats (not sure if I mentioned the amount before).

After one week, we've cut the bag shaking out. Now we blow the whistle, and reward her with only one treat when she gets to the top. She seemed to be a little confused at first, with the missing sound of the bag, but when we blow the whistle she'll react as planned.

I'm a little amazed at how easy it has been to teach this old cat new tricks. She's got a bit more spring in her step too, and doesn't spend as much time napping under the bed. Hopefully when we keep this up, she'll feel young again (and not look so much like a pudgy raccoon).

Psychology Assignment 1

For the next 7 posts I will be completing an assignment for school. It has to do with psychology in my life and how I perceive it. So please, have patience with me. I will get back to our regular scheduled blogging about random things shortly! Thanks guys!

Classical Conditioning

A quick definition of classical conditioning is: two stimuli are presented together over and over, until the response given to one becomes associated with the other.

We have two cats, Goblin and Tootsie, both are pretty good cats, but Gobber's has become a little lazy in her old age (14 years old now). So our task for the next week or two is to see if we can train her to run up and down her kitty climber when we blow a whistle.

She usually runs up and down it a couple times a day, but I want her to get up it 4-5 times a day for some exercise. I'm starting slow, by rewarding her with a treat each time she does it.

The way the sequence will work, she'll be at the climber of her own choice, I'll blow the whistle and shake the treat bag, when she gets to the top she'll get a treat. We'll repeat this for a week and then try it without shaking the treat bag.

I'll update next week!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Semester 2!

So I've now finished the first three weeks of Semester 2. This program has a pretty heavy course load, but I'm finally working at the Hospital so it's sooooooo much nicer!
I have class Mondays from 8am-12pm, an hour break, 1-3pm, an hour break and then 4-5pm (communications, which I loathe, but it's an easy credit and I have no choice lol). Tuesdays I'm off! Wednesdays I've got clinical at the hospital on the dialysis unit from 7am-7pm, it should be pretty interesting! Thursdays I've got class from 8am-12pm, a two hour break then class from 2-5pm. Finally on Friday I've got class from 10-11am a two hour break and then class from 1-5pm. (Classes are a mix of lectures, seminars and labs). It's going to be fun come exam time.... :(
In total I'm taking 8 different classes. The labs are pretty fun, skills lab is great, we get to learn and practice everything before we have to do it on real patients, mandatory pass for tests and exams though, if you flunk one you're out of the program.Mister M is back at school and he is loving it. He has had some issues at his after school program though. There is a little girl (a year or so older than he) who is a bully. She's been calling him chubby, and making up rhymes about him. It's gotten worse with winter because he has a puffy coat to keep warm and she's an obnoxious little brat and uses that as fodder. I finally had enough and went to talk to the program ladies. They had no idea, so they said they would keep an eye on it (back in November). It started up again, but this time Mister M was brave and was able to tell the ladies himself (with some support from mama bear of course). They had a meeting with the brat and Mister M and it seems to have resolved itself. I'm still keeping a close eye on the situation though. I will not tolerate a bully of any sort... especially one who's targeting my kid. D-Man has finally completely accepted his daycare lot in life. He fusses when I drop him off but there are almost no more tears, and he's made some little friends which is super cute too. He's starting to talk more now, and clearly. I was a little surprised by how long it's taken him to start, Mister M was talking at 6 months old (didn't crawl or walk until after 1 though) and D-Man is way more physical. He still babbles a lot, but he's getting real words in there now!
I'm pretty sure I've lost my mind... I went out, and as a spur of the moment surprise bought the boys a drum set and a guitar... it's loud lol. They love it, Mister M is the guitarist and D-Man the drummer, they have quite the little jam sessions!We're moving March 1st!!! (well we get the keys then, but we'll be in Jamaica until the 4th lol). We've found an awesome house to rent! It's got three bedrooms, kitchen, living and dining room. Full bathroom, backyard, deck and GARAGE!!! It's a side split house, so the basement has a small two piece bathroom, storage, laundry room, back entrance and rec room which we are turning into a bachelor apartment for my brother. He'll share the kitchen and shower with us, and I'll share the laundry and storage with him. It's perfect, and the landlords are awesome. The rent is good too considering we get a whole house (and rent in Peterborough is on par with Toronto for some reason) $1280++ a month which I've budgeted to be about $1700 a month (any extras going into the emergency fund). I can't wait to get in and start decorating! The landlords even said they would pay for all the paint and supplies if we do the work which is perfect! The only downside is it's across town from where we are now, putting us out of Mister M's school zone, but since I drive him there and back every day I don't see how him staying there would be a problem.