Thursday, October 22, 2009

Diary of a Germ Battling Mother

The Princess complained of a headache when I put her bed. Hope she's not coming down with something.

Started the day at 2 am with The Princess coughing on my face. And crying. The heat radiating off of her body reminded me of my days driving around in the old Eggplant.

Coffee was my friend today.

The Princess took her temperature every 8 minutes today. Then started crying that she was going to miss Halloween for sure. Every 8 minutes. I assured her that Halloween was still 2 weeks away. Every 8 stinking minutes.

Note: Rum does not taste good in coffee.

Phoned the doctor at 9 am. Receptionist laughed at me when I ask if there were any available appointments. Headed to the walk in clinic. Waited for an hour and a half in a room with no toys or books due to H1N1 flu scare. The Princess had to wear a face mask and was sure she was dying. The Monkey was sure she could climb the walls. Got up 3 feet. Not bad.

The Monkey felt warm when I put her to bed. I sense some deja vu in my future.

Started the day at 2 am with The Monkey coughing on my face. Thank goodness for Lysol.

Baked Halloween cookies with two sick children. That was fun. As Mom would say, "I'm sure that earned some time off purgatory." Three days at least.

Ate two germ laden cookies. Drank rum to kill the germs.

I spent the morning circling the parking lot of clinic in a vain attempt of a parking space miraculously appearing. Lack of sleep forced me to call The Husband at work to make the decision for me to return home and try again later.

Wanted a Timmy's double double but couldn't decide whether it was worth spending the $1.53. Husband wouldn't answer his phone.

I need sleep.

I comforted The Monkey while she cried inconsolably tonight. "It Hurts. Hurts!" she cried every time she tried to take a breath and started barking like a seal. Started crying myself, wishing I could take away her pain. I wonder how mothers caring for chronically ill children do it day in and day out...see their child in pain and feel so helpless. I could hardly keep it together for 10 minutes with my child in pain. Must remember to say a prayer for all those mothers . God give them strength.

Husband got home late from work. Wanted to scream but then he showed up with beer.

I love him.

Kids seem to be on the mend. Not sure what's worse; sick kids sweating all over me for 18 hours straight or entertaining almost better children who have had no human contact but with me for five days. I took a match to Candyland last night after they went to bed. I have no guilt over this.

Managed to hammer my hand while creating a graveyard in our front yard today. My hand looks like it belongs to the dead witch on our front lawn. But....when The Princess looked at our masterpiece, she told me it was going to be the best Halloween ever. My hand will heal.

The Eldest says she has a headache. I wonder if almost 18 year olds still wake up their mothers at 2 am to tell them they're sick.

Note: Buy lottery ticket tomorrow. Need vacation.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cherry Blossoms in October

The Eldest has been busy.

While I can only injure myself with toilet paper, The Eldest is able to create a wearable dress out of it.

I bring you, "Cherry Blossoms in October".

This project was for her Fundamentals of Fashion Design course. She had to create a wearable garment using materials not normally fabric, zippers, buttons, etc. allowed.

The Eldest took her inspiration from a few places. She loves cherry blossoms. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and her grandma is fighting this disease. She used Purex Bathroom Tissue, as they are currently donating money to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation*. The Eldest loves pink and wanted a soft 'cherry blossom' pink. She chose to colour white bathroom tissue instead of using the limited edition pink Purex bathroom tissue. She coloured the dress with diluted food colouring sprayed on with a spray bottle

Now all that's left to do is try to find my house underneath all the mess created along with the dress.

* I'm not getting paid to advertise for Purex. But if for some reason the Purex company is using Google search and falls upon my little blog.....uhm...."Hi! Love your bathroom tissue! Thanks for donating $$ to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. My mom thanks you. I thank you. My 3 daughters thank you. My sister thanks you. My nieces thank you."

Monday, October 12, 2009


Woe to the mother who takes the time to shave her legs in the shower while simultaneously owning 40 (give or take) puzzles all meticulously kept in individualized ziplock baggies.

Mistake #2? Leaving the 15 year old in charge.

The vast majority of our baggie contained puzzle collection ranges from 12 piece to 50 pieces. All of our children have loved puzzles throughout their toddler and preschool years. I also used them when I worked with children with autism. Since I had to travel to children's homes and schools for their therapy, I always carried a box/bag of stuff to use. Puzzles in those flimsy cardboard boxes don't travel well, so I kept all our puzzles in baggies. I labeled each bag with the puzzle name, how many pieces, and a picture of the actual puzzle cut out from the side of the original box.

Nowadays, all those ziplocked puzzles are contained in several plastic bins that sit in our craft and activity cupboard. Having puzzles in baggies is a space saver too. The only problem lies in having The Monkey live in our house.

I suppose I should be grateful that she only took out one of the containers filled with puzzles. We only have about 15 puzzles worth of pieces to sort through.

I asked her what she was doing as she stood at the living room table, mixing all those puzzle pieces together with both hands.

"It's food. Here. Have one."

Imagination is a good thing. Right?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Google Street View Freaks Me Out

Google and Twitter are starting to freak me out a wee bit.

After spending far too long perusing our neighbourhood on the newly released Google Street View in our area, I discovered The Eldest and The Boyfriend pictured hanging out at the local pizza place. And then walking up our street.

Kind of creepy.

And after posting a silly little comment on Twitter about a radio station stating some tummy tuck jeans were literally flying out the doors, I had two plastic surgeons from Georgia and the United Kingdom start following me on Twitter.

I admit to being a tad paranoid. I also admit to feeling slight relief that there is no bear scat pictured on our front lawn. A lot of dandelions, but no bear scat.

And for some reason, all this transparency is making me feel like I need to remind everyone out there in those there internets that a large black dog lives in our house.

This is where she sleeps 85% of her life.

That would be our front door.

The other 15% of the time she spends sharpening her teeth and practicing her ninja moves in front of the mirror. As you can tell by the picture, she is a svelte fighting machine.

Don't be fooled by the drool.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Can't Believe I'm Hitting 'Publish' On This Post

I feel the need to post a disclaimer. The post you are about to read is evidence that this little blog has hit rock bottom. I'm sorry. Oh, and just be grateful I didn't post the close up pictures.

I googled bear poop images yesterday.

I actually typed "What does bear p " into the google search engine and the rest of the sentence "What does bear poop look like?" popped up. I felt some vague relief that I'm not the first person to search the annals of the web for such information.

Which of course leads me to the riveting question I know you're all asking yourselves.

"I wonder why Colleen hasn't finished writing that book?"

Yes, well, clearly I've been busy.

When I drove up to the house on that fateful day, I couldn't help but stare at the large mound of brown on the lawn.

So you don't think I'm exaggerating, here, my friends is proof.

Proof that I'm not exaggerating about it's bigness and proof that yes, my neighbours think I'm an idiot. Why do they always come out of their house when one of my kids is screaming or I'm taking pictures of crap on my front lawn? It's like the cosmos are working against me.

So, obviously, a bear is roaming our suburban neighbourhood. And, also obviously, that crap is still sitting on my front lawn. I've been really busy. And I don't do bear scat.

Yes. Google taught me something. It's called scat. Bear scat.

I will never be able to use my "Scat the Cat" felt board story again. I will no longer be able to listen to scat music without picturing bears crouching in the forest, and I would also advise you not to google the word scat.

Google also taught me some things I really didn't need or want to know.

Just trust me on that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Aging Boy

I saw the play Mom's The Word: Remixed at the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island this weekend. Go see it if you live locally. If you live outside Vancouver, look for it when they start touring. As long as you don't mind seeing the odd middle aged woman streaking across the stage, it's a must see for all moms. I laughed until I cried. And sometimes I just cried.

The timing was perfect for me as I'm in the throws of reminiscing about motherhood and all it's highs and lows. My little baby is turning 15 in two very short days. 15. He's growing a mustache and half the time I don't recognize him when he walks around the corner and catches me off guard.

Where did my little boy go? The train loving, dirt digging, pokemon and digimon addicted, read me 118 books in one sitting little boy.....he's gone. I used to catch glimpses of him. Here and there. A smirk. A laugh. A whine or two.

But that little boy has been gone for a while. I've known it in my heart. In two sleeps, my son will wake up and make me feel that much older. Oh, how my heart hurts about it. Time keeps on slipping slipping slipping.....

But I'm the mom. I'll put on a stiff upper lip. I'll serve him Panago pizza as requested and bake him his chocolate cake. I don't even get to go birthday present shopping because he wants cash instead.

My little boy. Turning into a man and saving up to buy his own laptop.

Motherhood. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes you laugh until you cry. Sometimes you just have to go have a little cry all by yourself in the bathroom with the door locked and the water running so no one hears you and then go bake a chocolate cake.

Friday, October 2, 2009

PlayDough = Hours of Non Screaming Fun

I love play dough.

I love making play dough. I love playing with play dough. I really love it when The Princess and The Monkey are playing with play dough.

Ah. The quiet while they create.

Of course, The Princess would have to make something with flowers. I think it's the law.

Yes. Those are rocks in The Monkey's creation. I'm pretty sure it's the law that anything she does requires rocks.

Although I love the real deal, I do find that I'm way too lazy to rework single drops of warm water into the name brand stuff that has dried out because some child who may or may not live in this establishment left the lid off the tub.

Plus, my anal retentive gene wants to stand around and freak out every time a child lets two name brand play dough colours touch.

Enter home made play dough.

I actually went to college to learn how to make play dough. You can't hold an Early Childhood Education Certification in your hands and not know how to make play dough. Again. It's the law.

But I have to say, I paid good money to learn how to make really crappy play dough. I learned what I really needed to know just like every other highly qualified Early Childhood Educator does; on the job.

Here's the recipe I learned. Easy. Inexpensive. Safe for anal retentive people who worry about colour smooshing. Plus, the kids can help with measuring and stirring until it's time to cook the dough.

The Best Play Dough Ever

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
food colouring
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Mix dry ingredients together in a cooking pot. The thicker the bottom, the better.
Mix wet ingredients together.
Slowly pour wet into dry while stirring with a whisk.
Cook on stove over low/medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until dough loses stickiness and comes together in a ball.
Turn out onto counter.
Knead until smooth.
Store in zip lock baggy or air tight container to keep fresh.

This recipe is very easy to double, triple, etc. I usually triple it. This makes the perfect amount for kids to share and still have a good chunk each. The most expensive part of the recipe is the cream of tartar. But it is a must! I always purchase cream of tartar in the bulk food section. Much much cheaper than buying a box in the baking aisle and it works just as well for the play dough.

I love play dough. Creativity, fine motor skills (it's how all my kids first learned to use scissors.....huh.....maybe not such a good idea to have taught that skill to The Monkey), mixing colours, sharing toys....the possibilities are endless. Sometimes we add glitter to our play dough. Other times I might put out a handful of birthday candles for them to use. Chop sticks? Toothpicks? Tongs? I love opening up the kitchen drawers and pulling some stuff out for them to experiment with.

Do you like play dough as much as I do?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nothing Says Lovin' Like Chocolate Chip Cookies In The Oven

My Grandma S. always arrived for a visit with a pan of homemade, baked from scratch goodness in her hands. Growing up, we visited my grandparents on Vancouver Island every summer. There was always dessert after lunch and dinner. Always. Whether our grandparents were visiting us, or we were visiting them, we always hoped it involved my grandma's chocolate squares or her chocolate chip cookies.

Both are manna from heaven.

When I was betrothed, those were the first two recipes that I copied and put in my recipe box. Those two recipes have been made countless times in my past 20 years of marriage. The Boy is always begging for chocolate squares. I am always begging for the chocolate chip cookies.

And so, I give you,

Dorothy's Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup shortening or 2/3 cup margarine (I always use margarine)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup raisins (optional....I never put these in, but if you're serving them to my dad, you'll hear about how they are not really his mom's cookies without raisins in them)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix margarine and both sugars together until creamy and light.

Add vanilla and eggs. Beat well.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt and soda together.

Add dry ingredients to wet. Mix well.

Stir in chocolate chips (and raisins if you're baking them for my dad).

Eat copious amounts of cookie dough.

Drop rounded spoonfuls of the dough that you haven't eaten onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

Cool on wire racks.

I've tried a lot of different chocolate chip cookie recipes. For me, this one is the perfect marriage of sugar, salt and chewiness.

And when you eat one, you'll feel like this: