Saturday, May 31, 2008


Keeley woke up this morning crying. Let me rephrase that. Keeley woke up VERY EARLY this morning crying. It was a cry that got me out of bed in 4 seconds flat and had me running down the hallway to her room, stabbing myself in the eye as I tried to put on my glasses at the same time.

The dreaded fever and coughing. The snotty nose. The flu. I picked her up and she snuggled right in. It's going to be a long day.

As I lay on the couch in the wee hours of the a.m., with a hot sweaty 2 year old snuggled on top of me, there were two things running through my head. One - please don't throw up on me. Two - I've been doing this mothering for quite some time now and it got me to counting.

16 years 6 months and 15 days.

That's how long I've been on this ride. No wonder I'm always tired.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Emma is my niece. I think everyone should get a shout out once in a while.

Top Ten Reasons Why Emma Rocks

10. She has a smile that lights up a room.

9. She will one day design a gown for me to wear to my high school reunion, and it will make me look 10 years younger than everyone else.

8. She loves movies.

7. She gives THE best hugs...and I don't even have to ask!

6. She ALWAYS asks me how I'm doing.

5. She has Grandma Watt's fingernails, long and graceful.

4. She puts up with two younger brothers.

3. She has the singing voice of a Canadian Idol.

2. She is the queen of one liners.

...and the #1 reason why Emma rocks is....

She made me an Auntie!!

I'd love for others to add to the list!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I had the pleasure of paying $1.37 per litre for gasoline today. As one is pumping liquid gold into their 12 year old inefficient minivan, one gets to thinking. Not a lot of thinking time, mind you, as it doesn't take long to pump $30 worth of gas.

And I thought that the time has come for a bit of economizing.

I've been on quite a few 'money stretching' websites, all promising to help me get out of debt and actually have a savings account by reusing my coffee filters. I'm all for stretching a dollar, but I'm not convinced that reusing a 1 cent coffee filter three times will allow me to retire in Florida.

I think I do pretty well feeding, clothing and sheltering a family of 6 on one income. We eat way too many hotdogs and boxes of macaroni and cheese, and way too little steak if one was to ask my husband, but on the whole, all the basic food groups are met each day. But between the rising gas prices and the increased cost of food lately, it's time to draw up another 'list'....the Mahoney Economiser.

1. Milk

I shocked the family last shopping day by informing them I would no longer be buying so much milk. We've been going through 5 gallons a week. I told everyone I was only purchasing 3 gallons on my Friday shopping day, and if we ran out before then, I was not going to be buying more. They looked at me like I had just grown a goiter on my neck.

But numbers talk. $3.89 is the cheapest I can purchase a gallon of milk out in these parts. So when I told them that we're spending $77.80 a month for milk, practically 1/5 of our grocery budget, it began to sink in. The lesson being that we're probably going to be without milk in the house for 2 days a week, but everyone around here knows to step away from the crazy lady spewing numbers out her goiter.

2. Hot Water

This family likes to be way too clean. Patrick's the only one doing his part on this one and we can all stand to take note of his valiant efforts to use as little hot water as possible. Some 'green' person on the radio was going on about how his family uses a timer to make sure everyone only takes 5 minute showers. That got me to thinking. I was thinking that's really stupid. A hot shower is about as close as I'll ever come to a spa treatment in my lifetime, and I'm not willing to give that up yet. I think I'm going to leave this one to Patrick.

3. Children

Ha...who am I kidding.

4. Entertainment

We will no longer be renting movies. With the start of warm weather, we are now going to set up our lawn chairs on the front lawn and watch a movie through the neighbour's window on his big screen tv.

5. Holidays

I think we may have to postpone our 2 month trip to Europe. Oh, wait, that's my alter ego's life. Sigh. This year we're planning on driving far enough away from home so when our vehicle breaks down on the highway, it makes for a great story. 'Cause us Griswolds don't have enough of those. I have no idea how that's economizing, but, hey, it may be another great chapter in my future best seller.

6. The Minivan

I shall drive the hunk of purple metal until it will go not a metre farther. I shall resist all shiny ads coyly displaying beautiful 7 seater passenger vehicles. I will not be swayed by the words 'sto and go' and 'working radio'. I will only drive it when reallllly needed, and tell myself this is to save money on gas, not to lower my carbon emissions, 'cause I'm really not into that. And for all you greeners out there, don't bother leaving me nasty comments about how I don't care about my children's future. After you have convinced all the wealthy and famous people to stop flying their private jets to some far away island 6 times a year and close up some wings in their fancy mansions, you can get back to me.

I'd love to hear about other people's economizing strategies. I'm all ears and a goiter.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Most days I complete a myriad of mundane chores without complaint.

Most days I stand around for many hours doing "nothing" while supervising little ones at the park, in the yard, on the school ground.

Most days I make children breakfasts, pack 4 lunches, make children lunches at home, prepare snacks, make a home cooked meal for dinner, empty and load the dishwasher twice.

Most days I take care of an 8th month old puppy who loves socks, plastic toys and playing chase.
And on most days, I appreciate the ability to do it all.

Today was not most days. I woke up this morning to a news report stating that the average take home pay (net! not gross) of two parent working homes in BC is $75,000 a year. Perhaps that's what put me in a funk. Staying home and taking care of my family is not an inexpensive endeavour. Not 'working' costs us plenty. In fact, we would be farther ahead if we were both working and bringing in the exact same amount of money that Heath does now - because we'd be in a lower tax bracket.

The daily struggle to make ends meet can get a person down. But then I got a frantic call from an aunt looking for her nephew....who had been at my house hanging out with Patrick all afternoon. And moments like this can pull a person out of their funk. I'm able to be at home to supervise my kids, and know where they are. It's hard to put a price tag on that.

This has been a difficult post to write. I've written and deleted a hundred lines. Not working right now works for our family. It's our choice, one we make and struggle with on a daily basis. Others make different choices for different reasons. I've been on the other side and know how hard it is to work and have kids. The guilt, never enough time in the day, laundry at 9 o'clock at night, packing lunches when all you want to do is go to bed. But loving your work at the same time, getting to interact with adults, lunches without children, feeling like you're making a difference in the world, accomplishing something. And that almighty paycheque every two weeks.

I was introduced to a few people this weekend, and when they asked what I did, their eyes glazed over with my answer. I wanted to yell, "I USED TO WORK!! I WAS GOOD AT WHAT I DID! I MADE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD. I CONTRIBUTED TO SOCIETY! I'M GOING TO GO BACK TO WORK AGAIN! HONEST!! PLEASE LIKE ME...DON'T WRITE ME OFF JUST YET." Sigh. Exit stage left.

Well, with the thought of being at home for the next little bit, I shall pull up my socks and write myself my own stinking paycheques. I shall make them on Mondays, and....heck, I think I shall get paid every Monday since I am the boss. All you working stiffs may get paid with real loonies, but I shall be paid in hugs and kisses and the honour of bandaging Keeley's scraped knees with bandaids and kisses.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cystic Fibrosis

The 3 girls and I went on a Walk for CF today. What a beautiful day to support Eilidh's good friend, Melissa, and Melissa's cousin Emily. Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that has no known cure and a shortened life span. You can find out a lot more about CF here:

On our way to the walk, Kaitlyn asked me, "What exactly are we going to do? Just walk?"

"Yes," I replied. "Walk, and support Melissa."

I was close to tears as I watched Eilidh and Melissa walking hand in hand along the dike in Pitt Meadows, the shining sun making their hair glow. Two young friends out for a walk. Eilidh innocent to Melissa's daily struggles and the road that is ahead of her. It was a moment in time that will be forever etched into my memory.

There are many 'walks' out there....walks for various types of cancer, juvenile diabetes, lupus....even the SPCA. I think perhaps that because of this, we tend to ignore them unless we personally are affected. But as I walked with the girls alongside Melissa's mom and many other friends out to support these two families,
Kaitlyn's question echoed in my mind. "What exactly are we going to do?"

Sometimes it seems that there's not very much we can do. Donating money, yes, but as you hand over what seems like a paltry sum of money for the cause, it doesn't feel like you've really done much. Sometimes, just being there is what you can do. What you're going to do. Being there, understanding, learning. Just being the friend who will hold someone's hand as they walk down a path very different than yours.

We all support different causes. Autism is at the top of my list. I'm sure most of you reading this have a cause that is close to your heart. And that is so fantastic. But would you do me a favour? Click on the CF link and take 2 minutes to learn what CF is. That's all I'm asking.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Really, really, really.

Conversation between Eilidh and Kaitlyn in the van yesterday. They were discussing boyfriends.

Eilidh: "Eric really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really likes me. But not super really. He can't like me super much. We're in kindergarten."

She's got it all figured out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I've reached a new rung in the supervisory world.

For those of you that know me (haha, yes, very funny, I'm well aware that if you're reading my blog you know me - it's been a long day and it's not done yet). Ahem...those of you who know me are well aware of the many levels of supervision I've been involved in. I started out supervising assorted siblings, moved on to the supervisory world of babysitting and then made my way into the supervising of 22 children at a time in the ECE world.

As time moved on, I gave up that role to start the supervision of my own brood, and somehow along the way helped to supervise assorted other children, with nieces and nephews thrown in for good measure. What can I say? I like to drink at the end of the day.

My life of supervisor branched out to the supervision of children with autism, and on most days this would somehow include various children at school. Along with this role came the supervision of other therapists.

Now, I'm just the taskmaster of four children and a husband. It's plenty on my plate and I hadn't asked for more. But life has pulled me up another rung, and I have been handed another supervisory position - I am the newly appointed Supervisor of the Boyfriend.

Shoot me now. I have not enough strength. I have been given no manual for this new position, no rules, no job description. I've looked on eBay, Craigslist and, and although you can get a manual to repair your 1972 shotgun, there are no manuals for boyfriend supervision. Oh, wait....maybe that is the manual.

For all the men out there, you know why I'm stressed. For all you women, do you have any suggestions for wrinkle cream?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lily Maid

Well, it does look rather relaxing. She's dead though. She's not getting up to do any writing.

Bits and Pieces

There are no less than 38 single socks in my sock bin. I find it odd that I've counted them, and find it odder still that I cannot throw any of them out. I think I'm suffering from the phobia, "lostasockaphobia" - the fear that if you throw out a sock that has been missing its mate for 4 years, its mate will show up the next day.

I think 2 year olds should sleep past 6:15am.

I'm not a morning person.

The thought of a steaming cup of coffee in my hands is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning, not the thought of lovingly picking up a 2 year old out of her crib. Some days I feel guilty about that. Not this morning.

I'm reading a book about how to become a writer, and it's really poorly written. I'm not just saying that. She lost me at the part where I'm supposed to lie down on the floor, cross my hands across my breast like the Lily Maid of Astolat, meditate for 20 minutes, then get up and write. "It really works." Uh, huh....

I have no idea who the Lily Maid of Astolat is, but I'm guessing I don't have the look or breast size to pull it off.

I recently finished reading, "A Thing of Beauty", by one of my favourite authors, A.J. Cronin. He writes the most brilliant descriptions of people. One of my favourites from this book -

"The drinks were brought by a strapping young woman with bare red arms and round full breasts which swung under her blouse like young coconuts."

You can't help but stop and visualize that. Come on, admit it, you just did.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Heebie Jeebies

I woke up this morning with a killer headache and a feeling of dread. The headache I ignored but the feeling in the pit of my stomach wouldn't be hushed. As I readied things for our planned trip to Stanley Park, morbid and strange thoughts kept popping in my head. Is this my last day on earth? Please God, don't let that be the last leg hug from Keeley. Are we going to wish we had never decided to take this trip? Is this the last time I'll let the blasted dog out to pee on the sidewalk? (He's becoming incontinent. If he makes it to the sidewalk, it's a good thing.)

I did what I always do when thoughts such as these take over my mind. I stopped and prayed. I'll be the first to admit that, "Letting go and letting God" is a very difficult thing for me. I'm a work in progress when it comes to stopping my constant worrying, but some prayer pulled me down from code red to code amber.

And so I got on with readying the family for the day's adventure. Heath's parents and his brother and sister-in-law were meeting us at Stanley Park to celebrate a belated Mother's Day. Heath packed up the family truckster and I organized 4 children, one with a wardrobe crisis, into some semblance of order and away we went.

And as we turned onto Lougheed Highway, the feeling crept up into my throat again. That feeling of nerves on edge, that feeling of foreboding.....

I ignored it until we got onto the #1, and then it hit me like a wave, and all I could do was pray to St. Christopher for safety on our travels. And the thoughts whirled inside my head, "Patrick was wearing his St. Christopher medal when Heath and the kids were in that car accident in Vancouver," "God, we were so blessed that you protected them in that crash." "St. Christopher, protect my family."

I calmed down. Into Vancouver we drove, pointing out all the things of interest to the kids. "Look, there's Science World" (I refuse to call it the Telus World of Science). "Yes, Eilidh, that's another homeless person." You know, real life.

Then we drove through the intersection where the kids and Heath had been in their car accident. And I got the willies. But on we went and we arrived in Stanley Park without incident. We unpacked the van and started setting up. Great spot, great weather, didn't forget anything, everything's perfect. And then I started shaking. I felt like I had just downed 3 Red Bull. I even commented to Kaitlyn and Heath that I felt all weird and shaky. It stopped after 2 or 3 minutes and I forgot about it and got on with things. We'd been at the park for close to 30 minutes when Heath decided to call his dad to see how close they were. And we found out they'd been in a car accident.

They're ok! Shaken up and I'm sure they'll be sore tomorrow, and we're pretty sure their van is toast. But get this. They were t-boned, just like Heath was, IN THE EXACT INTERSECTION where Heath's accident happened.

And then I thought about my morning heebie jeebies. And the weird shaking feeling that seems to have occurred around the time they were hit.

Now do YOU have the heebie jeebies?

Today's events got me to, really....about the power of the human mind, how little of it we apparently use, and about how much of being human we do not understand. Just where do these 'premonitions' or 'feelings' come from? I get them often, those feelings of something's not right or something's going to happen. What use are they? If I listened to my gut all the time I'd have my family all wrapped in bubble wrap and living in the basement, so at what point does a person ignore the thoughts and get on with their day, and at what time do you listen to that voice?

I had another moment in my life where listening to that voice probably saved my life. It's a great story, because I get to start it with,

"It was a dark and stormy night...."

Really, it was! I was coming home from a late shift out in Qualicum Bay, driving down a dark and winding road. I was doing the speed limit, no more, but as I came up to an S curve in the road (a spot I'd driven many many many times before), a voice VERY CLEARLY said to me, "SLOW DOWN". When I say, "A voice said to me", I mean it. It was not my voice. It was like it was coming from directly behind my right shoulder, into my right ear. And I listened to that voice, and I slowed down. And as I came around the curve, there was a car's headlights, in MY lane, speeding around the corner directly at me. I had just enough time to swerve over onto the shoulder and missed getting hit by inches. If I had been going just a tad faster, I would have rounded that curve directly into the oncoming car. I wouldn't have seen it until it hit me. There's not a doubt in my mind. I cried all the way home, with the realization that apparently I had not yet accomplished all I was meant to on this earth.

It's been a long day. A great day. My headache is gone, Heath's parents are ok, there's a lot to be thankful for...gut feelings, prayers answered, amen.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Lesson

I learned two lessons today.

1. Coveting something is a sin.

2. God had a great laugh at me today.

Keeley's ok. The livingroom window screen is ok. My Japanese maple tree is not ok.

6 days is even a record for me.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


It's been a rough couple of days.

I'm a person who can suffer through PMS (sorry guys) without sending too much grief out to any other member of the human race. (Note: males are not allowed to leave me comments stating otherwise. Trust me on this one.)

I can cope with a migraine. Done the whole martyr thing for years, and continue on with the day and all that needs to be done.

I can adjust my day (or several) with the husband home sick.

I can ignore a screaming 2 year old who is in bottle detox.

What I have just discovered, however, is that if you mix all of the above together, it is a recipe for the Apocalypse.

And so this morning, after I sent assorted children to school and a feeling better husband off to work, I sat down to a new page in my journal to get my head in order. I tried to write, but to no avail. So I succumbed to starting a new to do list instead.

I love lists. On a bad day, I will write myself a to do list and put down stuff I've already done just so I can check something off. I like to leave my to do list with all those check marks on it out in the open, sitting there on the kitchen counter so other people in the house see what I 'do' all day long. A good to do list is a wonderful thing.

To Do - May 15th, 2008
  • kitchen

  • laundry

  • Keeley's clothes away

  • Girls room

  • Be happy

  • Eilidh - play date over

  • Eildih - dance in Abbotsford

  • Be happy

  • Kaitlyn - school function

  • Dog - don't kill it today

  • Be happy

  • Plan a wonderful, healthy warm and fuzzy dinner for my wonderful family that they can eat without you because you'll be running after Keeley while you wait for Eilidh to finish dancing way out in Abbotsford, and come to think of it, Kaitlyn won't be home for dinner either, so it's just Heath and Patrick home for dinner. I smell a box of mac and cheese in their future.

  • Brave the kids bathroom. You're only allowed three swear words.

  • Think about vacuuming. You don't have to do that, but thinking about it is a start.

  • No bottle for Keeley. There's a bottle of something in the fridge for you if you get through the day. 8pm 8pm 8pm.

  • Be happy.

I find to do lists strangely therapeutic.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Luck O' the Irish

I won tickets to James Taylor this morning. I have no idea who he is. I'm a thinkin' he's a country singer, y'all.

What struck me as funny was that the radio djs thought I sounded like a good beer drinking buddy. Because of my name. You should have heard them howl when I told them I was born on St. Patrick's Day.

Now, off to dream about winning the grand prize. A three day getaway to Campbell River Fishing Lodge. Three nights in a luxury cabin on the beach, spa treatments, whale watching....something about fishing, but I'm ignoring that part....fine dining and getting flown into the resort.

Come on...the luck o' the Irish and all....that trip is mine.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In Honour of Mother's Day

There's been a particularly irritating commercial playing on the radio this week. It's about a woman who is giving herself the perfect mother's day gift. "Dear Me, Happy Mother's Day! Love, ME! OH look! A pair of Joe flats!"

Personally, if I was going to give myself a gift, it wouldn't be a pair of $8 crap shoes from Superstore. I'm no fashioneista, but grocery store runners don't scream, "Perfect Mother's Day Gift!" to me.

Then I perused an article in the paper about the perfect Mother's Day gift. And they said it was perfume. Really? I was expecting a more earth shattering answer, to tell you the truth.

So it got me to thinking. What WOULD I give myself for Mother's Day? I couldn't come up with anything. I love receiving home made cards with so much glitter that they leave a trail in their wake, with crooked writing that says the reason the child loves me so very much is because I make them macaroni and cheese. I really enjoy the annual, "Mom gets to sleep in". But...the perfect gift? I'm sure that if you polled 100 mothers and asked them the same question, the answers would be pretty varied.

Then that shovel from my previous post showed up. PINNNGGG.

I had the answer.

I'd give myself a top ten list. Top ten reasons for liking myself and for being a great mom. A top ten list that I could pull out on a rough day of mothering and garner strength. The list would be laminated of course (for easy cleaning) and I could carry it around in my purse for emergencies.

In a perfect world, my children would write this said list, but as I don't garner strength from the fact that I can cook a mean pot of mac and cheese, I shall take this moment as my own and come up with my own list. Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.

Colleen's Top Ten List

1. Being the mother of 4 has increased my chances exponentially of having one that will visit me in the old age home.

2. I am a GREAT multi tasker. I can do laundry, plan a shopping list in my head and yell at a kid to take out the dog all at the same time.

3. I can cure a 2 year old's boo boo with a kiss. That's power.

4. Having small boobs means that they will only continue to fall down to my elbows and not my knees.

5. All the laugh lines on my face are memories of great moments in life.

6. All the worry lines are evidence that I love my kids.

7. I can create a dinner for six in 30 minutes with 4 ingredients. And have them all eat it.

8. I can say, "I love you" with my eyes.

9. I know where all my kids are at 11pm, every single night (this one's pending change).

10. I'm still married to my high school sweetheart after 19 years, 11 moves and 4 children.

I'd love to read other moms lists. Or a list FOR your mom.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

An Epiphany

They strike at the oddest of moments. A realization that hits you like a shovel to the side of your head. Not a little plastic shovel, either. I'm talking about the kind of shovel that makes a metal pinging sound after the said head wacking.

I had an epiphany last night at 10:46 pm. Sitting on the couch, reading my latest book find from a used book store in Victoria (A.J. Cronin, one of my favourite authors). Kaitlyn finally headed to bed.

"Night. Love you," she said, and went downstairs to sleep with the spiders (that's another post).

"Night. Love you too," both Heath and I replied. And that's when I heard the pinging sound.

She didn't ask me to come tuck her in. PINGGGGG.

Exactly how long long has this been going on? I've tucked her in for years. YEARS I tell you! 16 and a half if a person was counting. I'll admit that there were nights when I covered up a sigh and groan at the nightly request. But the more I thought about it, the more I couldn't pinpoint when the requests had stopped. Then came the realization that yet one more part of raising her is done.

One of the hardest parts of parenthood is the endless feeling of the long road in front of you. So many days blending into each other, doing the same things over and over, with your brain leaking out your left ear as you listen to Barney the Dinosaur and some sugar coated children singing about remembering to brush your teeth and the thought of ramming Barney's massive toothbrush down that large mouth of his and picturing the children's horrified faces gets you through just one more video. Time seems on your side but then one day you discover that Barney is gathering dust and now you want to shove a toothbrush down Hannah Montana's mug.

Perhaps these realizations are what makes motherhood a wee bit easier with subsequent children. You know that the latest phase will eventually end. You learn to savour the moments more, enjoy the wet kisses, love being the recipient of a spontaneous leg hug, smile at walking in on the toddler who has discovered the art of undressing down to her birthday suit, laugh at the 13 year old who whines at the suggestion of taking a shower. These moments will end and be replaced with other moments, and at the end of the day, you'll be left rocking in your rocking chair knitting a pair of booties for your 18th grandchild and reminiscing about the snow of '98.

So I will savour tucking in the young ones tonight. Perhaps I will go and tuck in Kaitlyn for old time's sake, and imprint the moment in my mind. As it will be the night before she goes on her first date, this seems fitting. God help me.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Beginnings

So I have no idea what I'm doing. (Hey, that looks pretty professional. Kinda like the font in a published book.)

So I have no idea what I'm doing. (Mmm....easy to read...)

So I have no idea what I'm doing (This one reminds me of grade 9 typing class.)

So I have no idea what I'm doing. (A bit squishy.)

So I have no idea what I'm doing. (Is it me or does this one look the same as the last one?)

So I have no idea what I'm doing. (Now they're messing with me. This is the same as before but smaller.)

So I'm thinking about beer right now. (Hey! This is the same as the last one too. Now I'm getting pissed off.)

So I'm thinking that blogging is already requiring way too much effort on my part. (OOHHH!! I like this one!)

If you can readi this then 10 points for you! (I don't think this one will work. Not too many people

Help. Which font should I use? I'm taking votes help!

Man, this blogging stuff is exhausting.