Sunday, 25 December 2011

The tale of how alcohol made me miss Christmas dinner

I am not a big drinker. I was a bit of a drunk teenager and spent a great deal of money on alcohol and time drunk while I was seventeen.  And maybe eighteen.  Then I became a poor university student and alcohol was a luxury that I could not afford, so I rarely drank, and then got out of the habit of doing so, save the odd glass of ice wine.

Enter alcohol-infused whipping cream.
Read that line again: alcohol-INFUSED-whipping cream.
It's this aerosol can of whipping cream that has booze already in it.  Ready to go.

Tony's sister brought over a few different alcoholic beverages for our Christmas festivus today, and a can of this whipping-cream.  I had heard about it, but had never seen or tasted it.  So I did what anyone else would do: I squirted a shot directly into my mouth.  And it was good. 16% alcohol good!
I then grabbed a shot glass and filled it with the whipping cream in all its fluffy tastiness.  And then I used my finger to scrape every last smear out of the glass.  WOOT!  That was some good stuff!
I decided to try something a little different for my next drink.  I made myself a spiced rum and eggnog, topped with the whipping cream.  That is a double whammy of taste and alcohol, not to mention calorific.  Although it was light eggnog, so it's all mostly good.
Later in the afternoon, I made myself a glass of punch with vanilla vodka. The vodka had such a light taste that it seemed like I was drinking a virgin drink, so I chased it with more whipping cream.  Directly into the mouth.
My mother-in-law asked if I could make the turkey gravy, which I sort of rock at, so I made the gravy.  And had another shot of whipping cream while whisking.  No biggie.  I then tasted the gravy to see if it was good, and it totally was.  Not to be confused with the quality of the goodness of the whipping cream.  Both good in very different ways.
Then, out of NOWHERE, I got a stomach ache.  Ugh.  I fed iBean her supper, skipped out on mine and crouched in the living room with iBean.  Ugh.  Why was my tummy so mad at me?  What did I do to it??

Oh.  Right.  Alcohol-infused whipping cream.  Like half a canister-full.

Whoops.

My bad.
Or good.  However you choose to look at it.



Sunday, 18 December 2011

Penis Pointing Down

We have a housecleaner.  She works as a nanny for a family down the street and she moonlights as a housecleaner.  She usually comes once every two weeks and does a whole once-over of the house.  Sometimes, she even folds our laundry or does our dishes  We LOVE her.

This weekend, she was busy with a community Christmas party and said she would not be able to make it.  I cried a little inside, but then I thought "Suck it up, Princess!  You know how to clean the house!"  I washed the floor in our living area a couple of days ago, and I cleaned the kids' bathroom yesterday: toilet, tub (which is usually pretty clean), floor and sink.  Two tasks: done.

I went into the kids' bathroom this morning to grab a facecloth and smelled PEE. That awful stench of morning urine crustified onto something in the bathroom.  I had just cleaned the toilet yesterday, so I knew that the smell was not coming from within.  I looked around the toilet - dried yellowish stuff all around the base.  EVERYWHERE.  Frick!  So I grabbed a rag and started cleaning. I wiped the entire toilet down and cleaned around the base.  I cleaned off the stool that Keesadilla uses to reach the toilet, and then left the bathroom.

I went back in to use the facilities about 10 minutes later.  STENCH. STILL. THERE.  WTF?!  I cleaned the effing toilet already. And the floor!  So I started sniffing like a bloodhound and saw pee all over the garbage can lid next to the toilet. Double Frick!! Grabbed another rag and wiped down the garbage can, emptied the garbage bag.  Then I lifted the cannister: big puddle of yellow liquid underneath.  FUCKITY FUCK!!  How many places can a kid pee in such a small bathroom?  So I washed the entire garbage cannister and the floor beneath.   Convinced that I had finally solved the pee-problem, I left.

About 20 minutes later, Sashimi had to use the bathroom. He walked in and exclaimed: "MOMMY!  It smells AWFUL in here!"

I ran back in. Sure enough, it still smelled just as rank as before.  Did a skunk pee in here or something?  I cleaned everything! Except the bath mat.  ARGHHHH! Seriously?  I stripped the entire bathroom of every possible towel, facecloth, bath mat, or other garment that may or may not have been peed on.  I turned on the fan.  I washed the entire floor.  Again.

After I emerged from urine-hell, I asked the boys in a nice calm fashion:
"WHO PEED ALL OVER THE FLOOR???  IT IS DISGUSTING IN YOUR BATHROOM!"
Sashimi pointed at Keesadilla: "It was him.  I saw him do it."
Me: And you just let him pee all over the place?
S: Well, I told him to put his penis pointing down, but he didn't listen to me.
Me: Can you please show him HOW to point it down so that we don't have pee all over the place?
S: No, it's too hard, Mommy.

I am done with this. One brother watches as the other brother spackles the bathroom with piss and I am left to clean it all up.  I may as well just put a big effing drain in the floor and have the floor slope towards it.  That'd probably be just as useful as a toilet and much easier to clean.
Or forbid my housecleaner from ever going to a Christmas party agan.
Bah. Humbug. Urine.

Friday, 9 December 2011

All is forgiven

It's no secret that iBean is not a good sleeper. She has her moments, but she still wakes two or three (four or five) times a night.

Last night, she went six hours before waking, which is quite good for her.  I went in and nursed her, then she went back to sleep.

Three hours later, iBean woke up again.  I went in, nursed her, fell asleep in the chair while nursing, then upon waking half an hour later, put her back in her crib.  Only she was not tired.  She was WIDE awake.  At 4:30 am.  Not being one to put up with such shenanigans as waking up at 4:30 am for the day, I left her to squak and talk in her crib while I tried to catch some more z's.

After 30 minutes of quacking, I reluctantly went in when she progressed to full-on crying. I walked into her room, picked her up, and she said "Mama!" for the very first time.

I cuddled and nursed her (again) and smiled in my state of groggy bliss, forgeting all about the fact that she was just being a turd.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bedtime Cuddles

While cuddling with Keesadilla before bed, he was adjusting the covers and I got a huge whiff of something foul.

Me: Keesadilla, did you fart?
Keesadilla: No.  I think it was you.
Me: Umn, NO.  I didn't fart.  That was you.
Keesadilla: No, I think it was YOU.  I smell you ALL DAY!

No arguing that with.  Although, for the record, that bedtime bomb was NOT me.


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Is this really how it's going to be today??

Things that have happened to me today thus far:
1. Keesadilla climbed into the tub with me and peed in my bath.  Then he farted in my face.
2. My screen on my iPod won't rotate when I turn my iPod 90˚.  I've turned it on and off, resynched it. Nothing.  Friggin crappy touch screens.  It's only two weeks old!
3. iBean pooped all over the floor while naked and laying on her tummy.  Then she did a couple of 360s on her tummy. She had poop from knees to nipples.  And now it is all smeared into the carpet in her room.
4. I can't get the frickin Portable North Pole videos that I made for the boys to work.  I have all the required add-ons and plug ins and Java script yadda yadda.  But all I get is a black screen when I click on the URL for their individual videos.  So unless Santa is sitting in a black room using sign language to get his message across, I am pretty sure the videos are not working.
5. It is only 11 am.  FML.
Happy December 1st!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

First Report Card

Sashimi came home with his first ever report card.  It was a whole lot of awesome.  I just wanted to share the teacher's comments at the end (translation to follow):

"Sashimi est un élève modèle. Il écoute, il participe et il suit les consignes.  Sashimi est confiant alors il pose des questions et ose prendre des risques.  Sashimi fait de grands efforts pour parler en français et prend le temps nécessaire pour trouver les mots lorsqu'il s'exprime.  Bravo!  En mathématiques, Sashimi a une excellente compréhension des concepts des régularités et de trier des objets.  C'est un plaisir d'enseigner à votre fils."

English:

Sashimi is a model student.  He listens, he participates and follows instructions.  Sashimi is confident so he asks questions and is comfortable taking risks.  Sashimi makes great efforts to speak in French and takes the time required to find the right words when expressing himself.  Bravo!  In mathematics, Sashimi has an excellent comprehension of the concepts relating to patterns and classifiying (sorting) objects.  It is a pleasure to teach your son.

AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO GET THIS KIND OF REPORT CARD!  WOOT!
Now how do I get him to listen and follow instructions at home?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

A tale of two nights

My night:
11:00 pm - Get into bed, play around on iMovie for awhile, look at iBean's preemie NICU photos
11:30 pm - lights out
2:30 am - iBean wakes to feed.  She has a fever and is hot like bacon.  She drinks a LOT.  Put her back in her crib. Go back to my bed.
2:50 am - iBean starts crying again. Go in, give her baby advil. Cuddle her, put her back in her crib.
3:00 am - iBean cries again. Go back in to her room, pick her up and rock her in my arms.  She finally falls asleep on my chest, so I bring her to my bed.
3:30 am - My neck is killing me with Ivy propped in my arms.  I ask Tony to grab me another pillow to prop my head up.
3:30 am -  iBean moans, groans, shifts in my arms, sleeps quietly for 5 minutes or so. Repeat incessantly for 2 hours.
5:30 am - I take iBean to her room and nurse her again.  Put her in her crib.  She seems to have settled.
6:00 am - Back to my bed!
6:51 am - iBean wakes up for the day.  She doesn't know she has a fever and wants to play.  I give her tylenol.  Look for the damn thermometer.  Where the FUCK is it?!  Why can I NEVER find the stupid thing when someone actually needs it?!  Oh well, she feels like she's not quite hot-tub warm.  Probably comfortable bath warm. Around 38.5˙C. Not emergency room hot. 
7:10 am - make COFFEE.  Eat sugary cereal.  iBean munches on cereal biscuit.

Tony's night:
11:30 pm - goes to sleep.
3:30 am - Gets Sarah a pillow.  Probably doesn't remember doing it.
7:49 am - Still sleeping.

Whatever, man.  WHATEVER.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Parkwork

Keesadilla has a favourite park in town: Kinsmen Park.  It is his favourite park because
  • there are two "parks" within one large space
  • there are usually not very many kids there, so he gets the park all to himself.
It is not my favourite park because
  • it is not within walking distance of our house
  • it is in the middle of some cosmic wind tunnel
  • there never seem to be any other kids there, so no other parents to visit with.
  • there are too many fallen leaves for iBean to put in her mouth, then choke on, then barf up later
But once in a while, I indulge Keesadilla's persistent requests to go to Kinsmen park.  Today was one of them.
Today was my lucky day, as there was reading material for me when I arrived:

  Are kids really still graffitiing about Michael Jackson?

Hmm...bitch'zs. Is that like a boring bitch that makes you snore?

Your mom's vagina brought you into this world. RESPECT THE VAGINA!

I have no words.  This offends me as a grammar nazi.

Do they mean Pension of dicks?  Or Prism?  Or Prison?  I need some context here, people.
Graffiti irritates me.  So what if "Mort was here!!" And I know how to have a good time by myself, I don't need to "Call Jessica for a good time!" But grammatically errant graffiti pisses the hell out of me.  I took these five photos with my phone, but I could have taken a whole roll of film (am I dating myself by saying that?!). There were apostrophes where there shouldn't be, the classic your/you're debaucles and some strange punctuation usages making me think the vandal may have been Spanish. Don't forget the anatomically lacking penis and testicles, lacking so much that the artist had to write "penis" next to it, lest the observer think it is a rocket or a nose with hairy eyes.
Graffiti also pisses me off because although Keesadilla cannot read, Sashimi is starting to, and I don't want to have to explain to him why the word vagina is plastered all over the park. 
RESPECT THE VAGINA.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Bazinga!

I am not very artistic.  There.  I've said it.  I can draw stick-men like nobody's biz-NESS, but when it comes to actual, you know, art, I am not so good.

My husband, he draws good and stuff.  He actually took art in school, and by school I mean high school.  He still has a folder of all his sketches and dot-a-ma-thingies pointillisms and that sort of thing.  He does not do much of it anymore. He doodles for the kids and can draw a mean dinosaur by Sashimi's standards.
And when it comes to carving pumpkins, he rocks.

For Keesadilla, he carved his Backyardigan pal Pablo:
Hi, I'm Pablo!

Sashimi did his own pumpkin this year, start to finish, by himself.  He even added a little scar under the eye much later because he thought it would be spookier:
Definitely getting the art genes from his father!

And then Tony did a pumpkin for himself:


Dr. Sheldon Cooper - one of the most brilliant minds of the 21st century

Did I mention that he did this without using a stencil?  Who's one of the most brilliant minds of the 21st centur NOW?!

Coolest AND nerdiest pumpkin you will ever see. 

Bazinga!

Monday, 24 October 2011

My Killer Macaroni & Cheese

Apparently, one cannot describe one's macaroni and cheese as "killer" without one's peeps asking for the recipe.

As my family knows, I am not much for recipes.  It used to drive me crazy when I would get a recipe from my Baba only to discover a few years later that she doesn't actually use that recipe anymore because she had "improved" it.  Now I understand. Recipes for me are "guidelines" that are meant to be toyed with and continually improved upon.  Cooking is an ART. Many times my mother-in-law has asked me what I put in my chicken gravy and each time the answer is different, but the end result is always a fantastic gravy that my kids (and husband) could drink from a cup.  Sashimi actually asked me for a mug when I made some last weekend, but that is another story.

So here is the Basic Macaroni & Cheese recipe, followed by the alterations I have done to it.

2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk - don't be fat conscious, use 2% or whole milk ;)
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook the pasta in boiling water until almost al dente.  You want it to be a little firmer than normal because you are going to be cooking it further in the oven.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped onion.  Fry the onions on med-low heat to really soften them up and carmelize them a bit, it takes about 10 minutes.  Add flour to the onions and butter - this is your roux.  Add the milk and whisk over medium heat until it boils and thickens.  Remove from heat. Add 2 cups of the cheese, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour over the macaroni and mix well. Pour into a greased oven-proof baking dish (a 9X13 works) and top with remaining shredded cheese.  Bake at 350˚F for 20 minutes.

What I have done to make it KILLER:
  • Add paprika, ground mustard powder, parsley and granulated garlic to the white sauce (before adding cheese).  I really don't measure.
  • I may use more cheese than the recipe asks for.  Again, I go by looking.  Considering how much I like cheese, I'd say that's a safe bet.
  • If your kids are fussy over onions, you can put them in the blender or magic bullet to make them into a purée before frying them.  It will affect the frying time, but then you keep the onion flavour without having your kids turn their noses up at the sight of something NOT macaroni-like on their plate.
  • If you really don't want to use actual onion in the sauce, you can add onion powder when you play around with the spices that I mentioned above.
  • Whole wheat pasta is healthier, but I have found that for this dish, my kids will gobble up white pasta over whole wheat.  They eat WW spaghetti all the time, but I think the WW is too different from classic Kraft Dinner, and they are not so willing to eat it.
  • If you want to sneak some veggies into your kids' bellies, add half of a roasted butternut squash to the cheese sauce just before you season with salt and pepper.  Use a hand-blender to blend the sauce.  The squash goes really well with the sauce and is completely undetectable by kids. Trust me, I've done it and my kids are none the wiser.  
  • Want a different taste? Fry the onion with diced BACON and reserve 4 tbsp of bacon drippings to mix with your flour instead of butter.  You can top it with chives before you pop it into the oven. Isn't everything better with bacon?
There you have it!  Play around with this and make it your own :)

Armpits

My kids love Kraft Dinner.  They love it so much that they ask for it on a regular basis and will not eat homemade macaroni and cheese (even though mine is KILLER). 

Tony and I are very conscious about eating real food and as much homemade as possible, so making Kraft Dinner just eats me up inside, particularly since my homemade macaroni is KILLER.  So I went out on a limb this weekend and tried something new: I bought alphabet pasta: the teeny little noodles that go great in homemade soups. I put them in some chicken soup and the kids loved them, so I thought I would make some homemade macaroni and cheese using those tiny letters.  I made the cheese sauce with sharp cheddar, some spices and half of a roasted butternut squash, which gave the sauce an amazing colour and did not really affect the cheesy taste. 

The result was KILLER.  Sashimi was skeptical, but he tried it. Once he tasted it, he asked for more.  Then another bowl full.  He looked at me in all earnest and said: Mommy, this is great! It tastes like armpit...it tastes like armpit macaroni!"

*Insert WTF?! face here.*

Then I realized what he meant: "Elbow macaroni?"

Sashimi: Oh yeah, that's what I meant.

It seems I make good armpit pasta.  Who knew.

-----------

Did I mention that my homemade macaroni and cheese is KILLER?

Monday, 3 October 2011

Oh PlanetBox, I heart you

We generally try to stay away from pre-packaged foods and opt for homemade and fresh foods instead.  Packing a lunch for Sashimi used to entail looking through the cupboard for containers and their matching lids, put all the food in appropriately sized containers, then trying all sorts of configurations to get the damn things to fit in his lunchkit, then realizing that one container just won't fit and resorting to unpacking his lunch, changing containers and trying the whole process over again.

Now, I have a PlanetBox.

Sashimi's lunch for tomorrow: A balanced lunch made in less than 5 minutes.
Each side compartment holds 3/4 cup, making it the perfect size for fruit or veg. 1/2 cup is equal to one serving, so if you fill those, that's three servings right there.  The large compartment is for your main, which today for Sashimi is Dempsters Ancient Grains wraps filled with jam and pea butter (his school is nut-free), 10-grain mini muffin, a pepperoni stick and a few BBQ Crispers.  The long compartment just above has a cheese string (the only kind of cheese he will eat) and another roll up. And in the tiny middle compartment, Skittles.  That compartment is just the right size for a few chocolate chips or smarties.  A small amount of sweets goes a long way for kids.

And then, when I close the lid, all the compartments stay separated: no mixing foods!

Closed for fridge-time: foods stay segregated

The box is made out of high grade stainless steel, and has specially shaped magnets that stick to the outside.  They have about a dozen different designs.  I bought 2 different sets (I think one was included with his box, and the other cost $2) so Sashimi can choose which ones to use.  His only complaint was that they did not have dinosaur magnets.

Then, when he is ready to take it to school, it goes in this insulated carrying case:

There is room for a water bottle and a larger item (like a large fruit) or ice-pack in the exterior pouches

There are also a couple of round containers that fit inside the Box, if you want to take dip for your veggies, or a larger one if you wanted to take a yogurt parfait or pasta salad.  Sacha likes neither of these, so the containers are not used much right now.

The whole ensemble set me back about $55.  That being said, I never have to look for containers, never have to buy ziploc bags or saran wrap, it is easy for Sashimi to open and close (unlike when he would have to ask for help with various lids and baggies). I don't have to worry about whether the plastic has BPA in it (no plastic = no worries) and I can get a clear visual every day that his lunch is well balanced and healthy.

And it comes home pretty much empty every night.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Why Daddies Shouldn't Dress their Daughters

WTF Daddy?! These are supposed to be PANTS, not 80s-style baggy leggings...

18 days

18 days can change your world.

Day 1: Ivy was born at 32 weeks 5 days gestation, weighing 3 lbs 9 oz. She spent the first 2 hours of her life intubated, then simply on room air.
Day 4 & 5: Ivy spent most of her time in phototherapy to keep her bilirubin levels down.
Day 5: Ivy nursed for the first time.
Day 6: her IV was removed as she had been taking her NG feeds so well that she did not require TPN (the mixture of lipids and proteins that preemies get via IV) anymore.
Day 8: she was prepared for transfer to a different hospital since she was doing so well. On day 9 we flew in an airplane, her in her isolette, to a NICU closer to home.
Day 15, her NG tube was removed as she was nursing full feeds at every feed.
Day 17 she failed her carseat test. That was the only fail Ivy had in the NICU.
Day 18, she passed her carseat test and she was discharged, weighing 4 lbs 0.5 ounces and only 35 weeks 2 days gestation.

I have a friend that I have never met in real life. She started commenting on my blog about three years ago, and I started reading her blog. We started writing back and forth and we are facebook friends.
I knew how much she and her husband wanted a baby. They struggled with infertility for a couple of years until she finally was able to get pregnant. Her writing exuded her elation over the pregnancy and she was counting down the weeks until she would be a mother.
Suddenly, at 30 and a half weeks, she went into labour and delivered a beautiful baby girl, Rory Rose, in an ambulance en route to the hospital. Miraculously, the baby not only survived, but was thriving. Having had a preemie myself, I was so excited to be able to share that experience with someone. I gave her tips that worked for me, and offered to send her copies of my preemie books (as I was no longer using them). She posted photos of the two of them doing kangaroo care, and of her reading a book to her while they bonded skin-to-skin. After seven days of bliss, Rory became seriously ill with what the doctors said was necrotizing enterocolitis.
Day 9: Rory crashed twice, requiring CPR both times to be revived.
Day 10: Rory seemed to settle into a groove of stability. Her bowels were still questionable, but she was stable. The doctors advised that they would do surgery when she was strong enough to be transported to another hospital and handle the surgery.
Day 12: Rory was improving and surprising doctors left, right and center.
Day 13: The doctors noticed that Rory had suffered a brain bleed and that there could be brain damage.
Day 15: Rory’s brain bleed was very severe and half of her brain was dead. It was also swelling and putting pressure on the other side of her brain. There was nothing the doctors could do for her other than manage her pain. She opened her eyes and looked at her mommy and daddy for about 15 minutes that evening.
On day 18, Rory went to be with Jesus.

I cannot help but look at my Ivy and feel both blessed and guilty. Ivy had such an easy NICU experience that I took for granted. I never once thought that anything bad would happen. I did not know that NEC is not uncommon among preemies. I knew that preemies were more susceptible to brain bleeds, but I never even contemplated the idea that it was even a risk for Ivy. I guess with all the trouble I was having with my own health, I just assumed that Ivy would be fine no matter what, and I was determined to get her out of the NICU and home as fast as we could.

In 18 days, your world can change.
I wish that every preemie baby could go home with their mommy and daddy in 18 days. I wish that Katie could have held her sweet baby girl without all the tubes and alarms and nursed her to chubbiness. I wish she could still be reading her stories while she made sweet sleepy sounds on her chest. I wish that she would have been able to arrange all her clothes in her closet by age and by colour. I wish that she would have been able to try on her cow-print cloth diapers on her and squeal with delight when she saw how cute they were and how big they would make her bum look.

I wish she would not be going home to a baby’s room filled with hopes and dreams that will never be fulfilled.

I’m so sorry.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Off to school!

Today was Sashimi's first day of kindergarten.  And his first ride on a school bus.

I have been quite calm about the whole thing because I have been longing for a break during the day from the constant loudness and wrestling and fighting (and loud shreiks of laughter when they are being naughty).  And now that it is quiet in the house, I am not really sure what to do with myself. Yes, the house could be cleaned, and yes, I could be doing lots of one-on-one stuff with Keesadilla while iBean sleeps, but today, I am doing nothing.  I am just taking this whole experience in and realizing that this is the new status quo.  There will be lots of time to clean.

He has been ready for this for so long!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

It's been a productive morning

When Kees was hungry this morning, he kept asking me for different things to eat, none of which we had in the house.

So I got busy:

Buns, Banana-Oatmeal (and chocolate chip) muffins, chocolate-chip cookies in about 2.5 hours.
Boo-ya!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

It's canning season!

I took an interest in canning last summer.  My mom used to can all sorts of things when I was a kid, ranging from homemade pickles, to jams, to canned vegetables, to soups.

I started last year with jelly.  My first ever attempt at canning was making nanking cherry jelly, which turned out so well I hopped right into more jellies and jams. Last year, the total cups of jelly/jam canned was roughly 60.  Some in pints, some in jam jars that hold one cup.  By this summer, about 10 cups remained, mostly of strawberry jam, which seems to be the least favourite at our house.  Or maybe I just made the most of that kind last year.

Last year, Tony got into making pickles: he made regular dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, and curry pickles, which were killer. Those curry pickles were so amazing on burgers I can't even explain it. He also made some pickled beets, and I made about 24 quarts of salsa.

This year, the running total is getting to be ridiculous: I have done 8 cups of strawberry jam, 18 cups of saskatoon jelly, 18 cups of cherry jelly, and nearly 30 cups of raspberry jam, the boys' favourite.  All of the berries are local, all of which were picked by our family. I also made some cherry bbq sauce (5 cups). We have apples waiting to be processed, too. They are good for eating fresh, but there is no way we can go through all those apples! Jelly-time is looming.

Now, jam and jelly time is almost over and we are heading into regular pickling and canning. We picked about 10 lbs of string beans from our garden last night.  That's right, 10 lbs.  That was from approximately half our plants, and this was not the first picking.  I picked nearly as many last weekend! I am not one for canned beans, so I am trying to flash freeze them, and Tony wants to make some dilly beans.  I have also got into pressure canning, which opens up so many possibilities, like soups.  I have done beef barley soup and a mexican-inspired meatball soup.

All this canning is fantastic, but I am quickly realizing that I need more space to store my canned goods.  I have no cold storage room, and piling jars all around my basement is not ideal.  We also have to store our potatoes at my mom's house in the winter because she has a cold room that will preserve them, whereas if we kept them in our house, they would spoil by November, I am sure.

I never thought I would ever be so domestic, but I am loving all the home-grown and homemade foods so much.  It takes time and dedication to make all these goodies, time which could otherwise be spent knitting or relaxing, but we reap the rewards all year on our toast and at the dinner table, so it's definitely worth it.

Especially when Sashimi tasted some store-bought jam and said "What's wrong with this jam?  It's no good."

Monday, 22 August 2011

Fat Girl Vs. Anorectic Girl

So many people have commented on how quickly I slimmed down after having iBean. Yes, I am thinner now than I was before I got pregnant with Sashimi.  I am currently the same size I was when I graduated from high school. If i walked around with an FAQ on my back, one of the questions would be "Do you work hard at it, or do you just have good genes?"  The truth is, although in this particular instance I have not had to physically work hard (thanks to my friend thyroiditis and his sidekick breastfeeding), my relationship with food and my body has not always been so easy.

My eating is so much different now than when I was a teenager.  I used to eat compulsively and was 155 lbs at my heaviest.  Not huge, but not small either for a short girl.  I would polish off a ring of sausage as a snack, or a large bag of tostitos and salsa. I drank a lot of coke and tequila (not together). I liked adding those flavoured creamers (try 7 or 8 of them) to my hot chocolate. Then, at 17, I overheard a boy refer to me as  "cute, but chubby."  All I heard was chubby.

I started exercising regularly.  I made a rule that I was only allowed to eat thin soups for lunch - no more sandwiches or other unnecessary bread consumption.  I would only eat a banana for breakfast. Doing this helped me lose nearly 25 lbs in 6 months.  Then my dad was killed in an accident, I dropped another 5 or 7 lbs in a matter of days.  I went shopping for my grad dress (for my American friends, grad dresses here are equivalent to prom dresses) about a month afterward and was completely thrilled when I realized that I fit a size 4.  I had never been a size 4, and the rush of seeing such a small dress on my body was something I cannot explain. By the time I actually graduated, the dress was slightly too big, and I could have easily worn a size 2.

When I moved out on my own to attend university, I remember thinking these exact words: "When I am on my own, I can lose as much weight as I want."  That is scary to think of now, but I distinctly remember thinking it. I started keeping a food journal, documenting everything I ate, whether I had a bowel movement, how much I exercised, and how much I weighed. A typical day would read:

Breakfast: banana. Lunch: mini pita with cream cheese. Supper: salad with salsa and light ranch.  Tae-bo one hour. No BM. Weight: 103 lbs.

There were days when I ate out at a restaurant.  Those days, I usually just drew a big angry face and took ex-lax when I got home (I have no gag reflex, it seems, as I tried to purge and it never worked.  A blessing in disguise). A couple of my friends from high school saw me and commented on how they coud feel my spine when they hugged me.  I just told them it was stress, all the while masking my extreme delight in being so thin.  I should also mention that I was amenorrheic for about a year.  It did not bother me at all.

In the spring, I started seeing a psychologist (for another matter) and through therapy, realized that I had an eating disorder. Meanwhile, my physician had put me on an anti-depressant that had a side effect of causing increased appetite - I think she suspected something was wrong as well.  At first, I would put the extra food I craved in my mouth, chew it up, and then spit it in the garbage.  Gradually, I started to see how deranged this was, and  started swallowng the food.  I managed to put on 10 lbs over  the four-month summer break, followed another 10 lbs during my two-week séjour in France. I returned home no longer fitting my pants and with significantly larger breasts (much to Tony's delight).

The guilt I felt over eating what I felt was too much (what I now realize was eating normally) took a few years to subside.  Tony was a very positive support for me, and I purged my closet of all my skinny clothes, so I would not put them on, feel them cutting into my flesh, and revert back to old ways.

Now, 10 years and three babies later, I like to think i have achieved some sort of balance, somewhat shaped by the fat girl and anorectic girl constantly dueling in my head.    My weight stays pretty constant. I eat what I want, all the while watching portion size and making sure that I am getting lots of fruit and veggies.  Sometimes the anorectic girl wins, and I order salad at a restaurant when I really wanted pasta.  Other times, the fat girl wins when I eat a big piece of pie for breakfast or eat two handfuls of cookies while watching TV.  But they play a zero-sum game.  If one girl wins, the next time she will lose.

Time had been kind to me, as I really don't think about these things anymore.  I enjoy my life and food on my own terms, exercise when I want (or have the energy) to do it.  In becoming a mother, I have seen my body do incredible things and I have more respect for my body.   When I see myself in the mirror, I like what I see just as it is.**

---------

**Okay. Maybe not the acne. But I guess that's what concealer is for.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

My Awesome Twin Nephews

Last year, when I miscarried my twins, one of the first people we called was my sister-in-law.  She has identical twin boys who survived twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and now have cerebral palsy.  Their story is not as grim as that sentence sounds.  The boys are now 2 1/2 years old and are ridiculously sweet and exceeding doctor's expectations every day.  She recently started blogging, so if you are so inclined, check her out: My Loves My Life.  I love being able to read about the boys and their accomplishments on a regular basis.

Stop by and say hello :)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Do bears poop in the woods?

Whenever Tony wants to answer "yes" to an obvious question, he always retorts with  "Do bears poop in the woods?"

Yes, bears poop in the woods.  But not today.

A friend of mine (and neighbour) had told me that she had found bear poop in her yard a few days ago.  Since we live in an area close to the river, it is not uncommon for wildlife to muck about our yards.  She had a bear living in her yard last summer and it had to be trapped and relocated.  She was not impressed with a new bear friend moving in.

We live in a col de sac, up the road from my friend (who lives on a river-front lot).  We have never had much more than deer roam our yard and decimate our shrubs out front. Today, however, I would have gladly taken the deer.

While making supper, I hear Sashimi call out: " Mommy!  There's a bear in our yard!"

Incredulous, I say "Are you SURE? No, there can't be."

I looked out the window, saw nothing, then ran outside to check it out.  Smart, I know. Sashimi and Keesadilla both screeched at me "GET BACK IN THE HOUSE!!  THERE'S A BEAR OUTSIDE!" but I figured it was probably just a big dog or something.  I scoped out our yard, then walked to the end of the driveway to see if I could see anything. Then I heard something clanging on a chain-link fence.  I looked over to a neighbour's house, one yard between us, and a bear popped up and looked at me.  HOLY CRAP IT'S A BEAR!!  And I a pretty sure the bear though "HOLY CRAP IT'S A HUMAN!" because we both bolted a lightening speed.  He scampered back under a bush and resumed clanging on the fence.  I dashed into the house and cried "You were RIGHT! It IS a bear!" Then sat down and hyperventilated a little bit before resuming making supper, which was probably burning on the BBQ by then.

Me: Well, I have to go finish bbq-ing supper.

Keesadilla: NO!  Don't go outside!  There's a bear in our yard!

Me: The bear is gone, now. Don't worry.

Keesadilla: I don't want to the bear to come in my house and my yard!  Hmph! (arms crossed and stern expression).

Me: Kees, bears can't open doors.  It won't come in the house.

Keesadilla, grabbing his lightsaber: I gonna shoot the bear, Mommy! (makes shooting sound effects for enhanced effect).

Sashimi: You can't shoot a bear with a lightsaber.

Keesadilla: YES I CAN!

Me: No, you can't.  And you are too scared to go outside and shoot it anyway.  The bear can't get in our backyard where I am cooking, so it's ok.

Sashimi: But you're cooking fish and bears eat fish!!  What if it comes to our yard to get the fish?

Keesadilla: YEAH!  WHATCHA GONNA DO MOMMY?!?!

What did I do?  I called Sustainable Resources to report a bear and a very nice officer came and talked to me about it.  I think he may have thought I was cute because he gave the boys free passes to the minigolf course for "telling your mom about the bear" and then gave me one, too.

The minigolf course is not in bear territory.  Otherwise I don't think Keesadilla would go.  Unless he golfed with a lightsaber.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Old School

Sashimi was watching Teletoon when Space Jam came on.  He had never seen it before.

Sashimi: Daddy, is this old school?

[caption id="attachment_692" align="aligncenter" width="277" caption="Are we old enough that this is now "old school"??"][/caption]

 

 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Wordless Weds: Lady Chubbington

[caption id="attachment_687" align="aligncenter" width="584" caption="Mommy doesn't feed me fast enough. I do it myself."][/caption]

Friday, 5 August 2011

Autopilot

Being a mother is hard.  Being a stay-at-home mother is hard.  Even if you plan it, you have 40 weeks (give or take) to prepare for it, becoming a mother is a rapid blaze that quickly consumes every nook of your existence.  Before you know it, the life you had no longer exists and you are hurled into a new being where you are nothing if not a mother.  I can say I am a teacher, I can say I am a pianist, I can say I am a dancer, but these are all superceded by the overarching declaration: I am a mother.

I always knew that if it was at all possible, I would stay home to raise my kids while they were young. I was blessed with a mother who stayed home until I was 8.  I have fond memories of being pulled in a wagon with my sisters to the library, of making cookies, of playing dress-up with the clothes in our tickle-trunk, and of playdates with other kids whose moms also stayed home.  I wanted to give my kids everything I had as a child, and that included having a stay-at-home mother.

I did not realize how much that would mean for me.  How much sacrifice that would entail. Before I was a mother, I used to think babies slept most of the time, that they kept themselves occupied fairly well in a playpen, that they went to sleep with a smile on their face.  I would have plenty of time to keep up with my piano, I could do my masters by correspondance, we could take mini-vacations and leave the baby with grandparents.  No problem.

Once I brought Sashimi home, I realized that form of parenting was not me.  I breastfed, I was a baby-wearer, I never left him with anyone (other than Daddy, and only between feedings). I washed diapers, I played with him, I made home-videos with him, I packed him in my arms while making supper and folding laundry.  We talked about going away for a few days once I was done nursing, but that day never came. He self-weaned at 14 months, but by then we were still co-sleeping nearly everynight and as much as he was attached to us, we were attached to him. Attachment parenting went both ways.

iBean is only 7 months old and still nursing.  She requires assistance multiple times each night to go back to sleep, always needing her mother. The boys need us everynight to help them go pee and cuddle them back to sleep.  Every night, we do the grand bed shuffle. Every morning, my husband and I wake up in separate beds. And right now, more than ever, I feel like we need to get away.  We need to just be a couple again, not Mommy and Daddy.

And more than that, I need to feel like myself. Who is this woman who starts her day emptying the dishwasher, getting breakfast for the kids, yelling at the boys to stop fighting at the train table, not fixing her hair, not putting on makeup, cleaning up poop, pee, puke, and is in her pajamas by 6:30 every night? I don't know.  She somehow took over my body 5 years ago and pushed me out. Someday I will have the time and energy to kick her out and let myself back in.  Now is not the time. Mommy still has to run the autopilot in my body just to survive the exhaustion of raising my kids, because I don't think Sarah could handle it alone.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Money...that's what I want

"I LOVE MONEY MONEY MONEY!!  I want to have ALL the money when I grow up so that I never have to work!"

Sashimi had been starting to think that money just appears whenever you swipe the stripe.  It started with the purchase of Angry Birds.  Then Angry Birds Rio.  Once he had passed every level on those two games, he started asking for a new game. Every day, Sashimi would get bored and ask that I buy a new game. We told him no, since the games cost money and we did not want to waste our money on something he would get bored of in a matter of hours.  "That's ok," he said.  "Just give me your credit card number and I will buy it."

A few days later, he was pining over some Angry Birds stuffed toys (thanks to the plug on the game's home page).  I told him that if he wanted a stuffy, he could help me sort the bottles and take them to the depot and I would let him keep the money.  In the meantime, we went out for Mother's Day Brunch, where the lucky kid found a $20 bill on the floor under our table.  I told him he could put it in his piggy bank, to which he replied "Now I don't have to sort bottles AND I can get my Angry Birds stuffy!" Money, in his eyes, was something that just HAD to be spent.

The tipping point came when he became obsessed with a toy he saw on TV.  A toy that cost quite a bit of money.  A toy that I was not willing to go out and buy just because.  So he ran to his piggy bank and dumped it out.  He wanted to use his money to go out and buy it himself.  We counted his money: $4.67.  Definitely not enough.  He thought since it looked like a lot (there were a lot of pennies) that SURELY he could buy it and have money leftover for candy, too.

Sashimi does have a basic understanding of numbers, so we went to the store and looked at the prices on a few toys. All of them were more than $4.67.  He was devastated.

Tony and I decided to start giving Sashimi an allowance in exchange for doing some chores.  He gets $5 every time Tony gets paid.  The first allowance, he was jonesing to spend.  He spent it on crap. Then Tony got crafty.  Being the vigilant investor, Tony told Sacha that every time it was allowance day, they would count his money in his piggy bank.  If he had not spent his money, Tony would give him an extra dollar as a reward for saving his money (interest).

Today was allowance day.  Tony gave Sacha his allowance (and he cried out "Yea!  MONEY MONEY MONEY!") and we counted his money: $29 and change.  We told him that he had enough money to buy something if he wanted.  He looked at Tony and said in all sincerety: "No, I like money more than toys."

**Good thing, because that toy he wanted is not even available anymore (unless you want to shell out $300 on amazon.com.  WTF?!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

It's berry season, bitches!

Every year I take the boys berry picking at a local U-Pick garden.  They have all sorts of veggies, but we go for the strawberries and the saskatoons.

Every year, I have grand ideas about how the kids are going to love this organic experience, eating berries off the plant, be good little boys and help me pick berries while dreaming of the goodies we can make with them.

Every year, this is what I get:

Is it unreasonable to make your kids walk 20 km home if they are too muddy to get in the car?
Is it unreasonable to make your kids walk 20 km home if they are too muddy to get in the car?

I actually had to get a Mexican worker, who speaks little English, to hose Sashimi down before I would even THINK of letting him into the car. Even then, mud like that does not rinse easily, and I had to strip him down to his underwear (to his great embarassment) in the parking area before letting him in.

Oh, and I should mention that Sashimi DID have shoes on when he arrived.  Rubber boots, actually.  But he told me they were giving him blisters, tore them off, and found gigantic mud bogs to jump in.

Will I learn my lesson by next year?  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Where Willy Went

[caption id="attachment_669" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My two bookworms"][/caption]

iBean, at 6 months, is just as in love with books as her oldest brother was.  Keesadilla likes books, but has never been as enamoured with them as Sashimi and her.

Tony came home from the library last week with a new book: Where Willy Went: The BIG Story of a Little Sperm. I thought it was a joke, but it isn't.  Honestly, it is a great book for kids around Sashimi's age who cannot stop asking questions and want the real deal, not some story about a stork or a cabbage patch.  Sashimi already knows about sperm and eggs and how the whole thing works, so this book did not really add anything other than great humour and funny pictures.  But we have read it at least once a day since we borrowed it just the same :)

**I realize this is NOT wordless, as the title claims it to be. FAIL! but I had too many people ask me about this book to leave you hanging.  Sorry for the Epic Fail.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Night I was 13...Again

When iBean was in the NICU, I saw that NKOTBSB (New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys, for the non-followers) was touring and that they would be in Edmonton.  I told Tony about it. He asked "Do you want me to buy you tickets?" I replied with "I am just giving you information.  What you choose to do with it is your choice."

Well, he bought me tickets.  Pretty good tickets.  As my friend and date Sara pointed out, we were close enough to see their armpit hair.

[caption id="attachment_656" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Take it off Donnie!!"][/caption]

I had bever been to a "screaming" concert before.  I had been to Sarah McLachlan, Lilith Fair, Avril Lavigne and various other girly-artists.  But this was a whole other level of cool.

[caption id="attachment_657" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Opening mash-up number. Let the screaming begin!"][/caption]

I screamed and danced and sang along.  I went crazy (mild understatement) when Donnie came into our section and held my hand and sang "Tonight."

[caption id="attachment_660" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="OMG HE'S COMING STRAIGHT FOR ME!!"][/caption]

Their setlist was about two dozen songs and nearly as many costume changes.  We did not get out of there until after 11 pm, at which point I was not really sure if I would need hearing aids for the rest of my life. Or whether iBean would be screaming in the hotel room for my sisters, who were babysitting her, since I had been gone for five hours.

[caption id="attachment_661" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="BSB Ballad-a-thon. Be still my heart."][/caption]

But it was all worth it.  iBean slept the entire time I was gone.  And I got to experience being a 13-year old again, with significantly less acne and no worries about the legal issues of the Kids & Boys being over 18 while I wasn't.

[caption id="attachment_659" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="We're all legal, now!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_658" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Right Back Atcha"][/caption]

The T-shirt I bought says "Once in a lifetime."  I would not complain if it was twice.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJs6yGedpvM]

Monday, 11 July 2011

Thyroid. The First.

My appointment today with my doctor went much more smoothly than I thought.  I did not get all the answers I was looking for, but here is what we have for now:

  • My thyroid is underactive right now.  It has been a bit all over the place (it was hypo in January just before I had iBean, then hyper in April, now back to hypo).  It is not uncommon in postpartum women for the thyroid to be a little wonky, so my doctor put me on synthroid and we will be monitoring my TSH, T3 and T4 (and thyroid antibodies) to see if this is a permanent thing or if it will resolve and resume normal functioning.

  • I have protein in my urine.  Again.  After having iBean, over the course of my hospital stay the protein had pretty much gone away, but now it is back.  Weird, right?  Right.  My doctor thinks so, too.  That, along with my high blood pressure, convinced him to refer me to an endocrinologist in the city.  I am an interesting case, or so I have been told.

  • My doctor changed my blood pressure medication.  Tony is filling that prescription as I type.

  • I have to go back for more bloodword next week to test for all sorts of other things related to kidney functioning and the endocrine system.

  • I produce roughly 2.5 L of urine in a 24-hr period.  Apparently this is a-ok.

  • I weigh less now that I did before getting pregnant with iBean.  I gained 40 lbs while pregnant with her and managed to drop it ALL in 4 months.  I think the hyperthyroidism had something to do with that, but I am currently at a weight that I have not been since I was 19.  Not sure if that is good or bad.  Definitely need to invest in a belt or smaller pants.


Stay tuned for more details on my fascinating case.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Abnormal

My doctor's office called me back.  He wants to see me on Monday regarding my labs.  There were abnormal results.

Isn't that just the crap on my sour cream sundae.

But on a cuter note, here are my boys in the aftermath of their injuries:




[caption id="attachment_650" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Gap-toothed Keesadilla"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_649" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Hop-Along Sashimi"][/caption]

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Hypertension. Still.

As I alluded to in my previous post, I was in the ER myself yesterday.  I had been on a waiting list for an ambulatory blood pressure monitor to determine what my numbers REALLY are, and the nurse from Chronic Disease Management called me to say I could come and get hooked up.  Since I was planning on heading up there to weigh iBean (who turned 6 months), I thought it would be a two-birds-with-one-stone thing. The boys were still in Edmonton with Tony, so it was just us girls. After the hospital, I thought we could go to the swimming pool or something.

I arrived at the hospital and went to CDM. The nurse took my blood pressure before attaching the ambulatory monitor to me.  My reading: 166/112. Huh?  "Are you feeling alright?" She asked. I felt fine.  I was very relaxed, only having iBean in the house with me for 24 hours was like a free vay-cay. No reason for it to be so high.  So she took my pressure on the other arm: 158/108.  Not much better.

"I really don't feel comfortable putting this monitor on you if your blood pressure is so high already," the nurse said.  "I think your doctor is in the ER today.  I will let him know I am sending you down there."

So off we went.  Down the blood pressure path again.  My doctor ordered a myriad of tests (all of which I have been previously subjected to) and put me back on the last blood pressure med I had been taking.  He then directed me to the lab, where I had some blood taken (five or six vials), a urine test AND they sent me home with two 24-hr urine collection tests.  That's right. Two.

At this point, I am resigned to my fate. My bloodwork has been consistently good, my organ functions have always been good (even at my worst state in the hospital). I know that my preeclampsia was so bad that I was at risk of having long-term hypertension as a result, but I really wish there was something more.  When I explain my condition to people (including doctors) they are floored that my pregnancy blood pressure problems persist even when there is no baby in my belly. How can that be? There must be something else wrong with you.  You don't feel it when your blood pressure is that high?  Do you have double vision? Headaches?

No.  I feel nothing.  If I was not so diligent about my blood pressure readings, I would honestly have had no idea I was hypertensive at all.  I am an active otherwise healthy person whose blood pressure can climb so high that it is a wonder that I have not stroked out.  And I feel nothing.

How is that possible??

Where is House when you need him...

 

Oh - and iBean weighs 13 lbs 7 oz ;)

Lemons

As my sister pointed out to me, my kids are lemons. "Didn't you get the extended warranty on them??" she asked.

Tony says that extended warranties are for suckers.  In this case, we totally should have.  Or perhaps purchased some sort of Child Injury Insurance that pays Tony's salary every time he has to take time off when one of our kids injures himself and ends up in the ER.

Last week, I posted about Keesadilla's tooth.  Well, the tooth ended up dying, turning grey, and wiggling in his mouth.  If we could have just gotten the darn thing out ourselves, but that was not the case. The root was too long. So we managed to get an emergency appointment at the dental surgery clinic for Wednesday morning (6 days after the original break). Those 6 days and nights were unpleasant.  Advil around the clock, alternating with Tylenol when the pain started kicking back in well before we could give him another dose. Not to mention night time, when the drugs would wear off while he slept, causing him to wake up sceaming in pain and it was all we could do to coax him into putting more medication in his mouth.  One night, in fact, this process took two hours, during which iBean also woke up and thought it was morning what with all the noise, and Sashimi thought it would be great to start having full-on conversations with us while tending to his little brother's screams.

Tony left work early on Tuesday, drove the boys to the city, 500 km away, went to sleep, woke up the next morning, brought Keesadilla to his appointment for 8:30 am, Kees was put under general anaesthetic at 9:15 am (by Tony's cousin, who happened to be the anaesthesiologist at the clinic...small world), was awake again by 10:15 am, and the boys made the obligatory pit-stop at Toys'r'Us before leaving the city and being back home by supper.

Both boys slept like rocks last night.

Today, 19-toothed Keesadilla was back to his 3-year-old antics, and it was a hot day.  We were invited to a friend's house for the boys to play on their enormous inflatable water-spray-slide thing.  It was seriously cool. Until Sashimi jumped from the top into the water, landed on his foot funny, and crawled out crying.

He would not put any weight on his foot. There was a distinct spot that was inflammed, and his foot was all red.  The mom, who is a nurse practitioner, looked at it and when Sashimi was still complaining about it 15 minutes later, she told us we should go to the ER and have it looked at.

All I could think was: You have GOT to be FUCKING KIDDING ME.

After making arrangements for iBean and trying to get Keesadilla to stay with a sitter (he refused), the boys and I treked to the hospital.  Again.  Wasn't I just there yesterday?  Oh yeah, I have not told that story yet (that's another post for another day).

I picke Sashimi up like a man carrying his bride over the threshold and put him in the car.  I had a stroller in the trunk, so I figured that could be my make-shift wheelchair. After two hours in the ER, we had a verdict: a cracked growth plate in his foot. The crack did not go all the way through the bone, so it was not very visible on the x-ray (there were three people looking at it). Since we do not live anywhere near a pediatric hospital, the doctor told us that they did not have the right size of walking cast for Sashimi.  They would have to make him one out of what they had.

He is casted from toes to half-way up his calf, although the cast only runs on the back of his leg.  A tensor bandage wrapped around his leg holds the whole thing in place. They said that once it feels better, he can put weight on it and use crutches for extra support.  Have you ever seen a 4-year-old on crutches?  Let's just say that their coordination skills are not developed enough to really use them properly.  He tried and tried, but it was so much work he just collapsed into my arms and asked me to carry him back to his chair.

So for now, this means no more going for walks during the day, no park, no splash park, no pool, no running around outside.  In July. It's like that Simpsons' episode where Bart breaks his leg and thinks Flanders murdered his wife.  Only with not so much attitude.

Or maybe that will come.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Damn Spammed

So it was brought to my attention by the lovely Jen that my old domain cheezewhizandmustardDOTcom has been taken over by spammers.  So, if you had the misfortune of receiving any strange posts in your readers (all dated July 1), please disregard them.  They are not authentic Cheeze Whiz and Mustard.  Only I am cool enough for that.

I have updated my feedburner feed, so that should be working again, as does the wordpress feed. I hope that fixes the problem.  Well, not the problem that SOMEONE took over my old domain name and filled it with junk.  But at least now I have redirected you on the straight and narrow (and cheezy).

 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Strawberries

Last spring, I planted 14 strawberry plants in my yard.  They were each one small root and stem.  I let them do their thing all summer, letting the runners go mad.  In the fall, I looked closely at what had progressed: once I separated all the runners that had started growing on their own from the mother plants, I counted my new strawberry patch: 60 plants. I rearranged them all in a row and covered them with straw for the winter.

This year, I have again been letting them do their own thing, tending to the flowering ones and trimming the runners somewhat.  Some plants did not survive the winter, but many others sprung up in their place. Everyday for the past week, the boys and I have checked the patch to pick the ripe berries.  Most days we get about 6-10 ripe berries.  Yesterday, we got this:

[caption id="attachment_635" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Nothing better than home-grown berries"][/caption]

So we washed them up and sliced them for the boys at supper time.  Red smiles for everyone!

[caption id="attachment_636" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pay no attention to the Kraft Dinner in this photo..."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_637" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Teeth are nice and juicy red from home-grown strawberries"][/caption]

Friday, 1 July 2011

And that's why you listen to Mommy

Sashimi & Keesadilla have a habit of  ignoring me.  They love to listen to me when I say things like "Who wants a freezie?" or "Anyone want to have a bubble bath?"  When I say things like "Don't do that!" or "Someone is going to get hurt!" or "Stop smelling each other's bums!" no one listens.  It's all fun and games until someone farts.

Or breaks a tooth in Bouncy World.

Bouncy World is a place where the boys take all of the couch cushions off and place them all around the living room.  They then bounce from cushion to cushion.  It is the closest approximation they get to having their very own jumpy castle.

Normally, Bouncy World is risky, but only risky in the "have your parents sign these waivers" risky.  Not "please leave your Alberta Health Care Number with the cashier for when she inevitably calls 911," risky. This time, Sashimi decided to create "Bouncy World Table Jumping."  It sounds dangerous already, doesn't it?  No amount of motherly warnings could deter these boys from this amazingly fun game.

The boys jumped from the coffee table onto the cushions, and then on cushions all around the coffee table, the same table that gave Sashimi two stitches on the back of his head this spring.  Keesadilla decided to bounce on one cushion while facing the table. He had a bad bounce.  He smacked his chin on the table, pounding his bottom teeth into his top teeth.  Instant tears.  At first, I could not see any damage.  No gushing red stuff, no pieces of tongue hanging off. Slowly, I started to see a bit of red on his bottom tooth. Then I noticed a tiny chip was missing and blood was filling a hairline crack in the tooth.  Oh crap.  Broken tooth.

I called my mom, who is a dental assistant and was working that day.  They managed to squeeze us in for a quick look at the tooth. By then, Keesadilla had stopped crying and the bleeding had stopped.  When they got him in the chair under the light, he barely opened his mouth (he is 3, after all) and from what the dentist could see, she thought it was fine, and that the sensitivity would settle down within a few days. No biggie. Keesadilla got his prize from the prize dispenser and we went home.

Well, this morning, he was inconsolable.  "It hurts me! Ma dent! It hurts! Bo-bo in my bouche!" I managed to convince him to let me look inside his mouth at the tooth.

OH FUCK.

The back half of his tooth was missing and I could see right into the middle of the tooth.  Was I supposed to see that pink and purply colour there? Pretty sure THAT wasn't good.  And did I mention it was Canada Day, and a Friday, so half the freaking town was gone for the long weekend?

Through my mom's contacts, I got in touch with one dentist who agreed to meet us and have a look, and one look was all it took: he said there was no fixing it, the tooth has to come out. The nerve is exposed and the tooth is split right down the middle to the gums. And since Keesadilla is 3, the chances of him sitting for freezing and a tooth-yanking are pretty much nil.  We could man-handle him into some sort of full-body sleeper hold and do it, but that just doesn't seem like a very good time.

Now we are waiting to hear back from a dental surgery clinic (500 km) away that does dentistry for kids under general anaesthetic.  If they cannot get us in quickly enough, we will have to go the old-school traumatic way and hold my little man down to git'er done. REALLY hoping it does not come to that.  If only he would have listened to his Mommy...

Beautiful baby teeth! Last photo I will have of them in their beautiful entirety.

Monday, 27 June 2011

It's pie season, bitches

Despite being tired, I was very wired last night.  I did some laundry, did a bunch of weeding in the yard, then collected some strawberries and rhubarb from my garden and made this:

[caption id="attachment_626" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="All the organic local goodness you can stuff in your pie-hole"][/caption]

I did not have enough strawberries to make this a true strubarb pie, so I tossed in some saskatoons and raspberries from last season that I had flash-frozen for such an occasion. I made the filling on the stove before baking the pie, just so I could do some necessary quality control (mmm...more quality control please...)

It was all I could do not to devour this baby for breakfast.  True homegrown flavour, wrapped in awesome pastry-flakiness, also from scratch.**

I don't care how many calories it is. Pie season only comes once a year.

-----------------------------

**No, making pie crust from scratch is not hard. It is necessary for delicious awesomeness.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Patience is a virtue that preschoolers do not possess

Sashimi: MOMMY!  I want a microscope game on the computer!!

K-Man: MOMMY!  I want a mmmovie!!

iBean: WAAAHHHH!

Me: FUUUUUUUCCCKKK (to myself, not out loud).

I had not even showered, eaten breakfast or taken my morning pills when all 3 kids started bellowing their requests simultaneously.  I keep telling the boys that they need to be patient, learn how to be patient, be more independent, but my words totally fly over their heads. iBean is not even half a year old, so I cannot blame her for screeching when she wants to eat or sleep.  But finding a new virtual microscope game for my 4 year old on the computer while she screams?  Not a priority.  Putting her down and letting her cry while I wait for K-Man to select a movie (which takes him a good 10 minutes sometimes)?  Not happening.

So I get 2 boys who cry and whine at me while I take care of the baby.  Then when she is fed and in her crib for naptime,  I start on the easiest of the boys' demands: movie insertion.  Sashimi is mad that I am helping his brother before him, because clearly, virtual microscopy is more important.  Although, in the grand scheme of child bran development, it probably is, it takes way more of my energy to set that up than to pop a DVD into the player.

There.  Two kids satisfied, now to find some sort of game or virtual science thing for Sacha to do online.  Ah...virtual electron microscope. Slide the petri dishes under and try to match them to their identifications.  That should appease him.  Oh wait, he cannot read.  So I start reading the information to him as he looks at the images and tries to guess what they are.  How the hell does he know what red blood cells look like??  Oh yeah, he's Tony's son.

Finally, 30 minutes and five virtual microscopes later, he wants to watch Scooby Doo.  K-Man still entertained with his choice of DVD.  iBean still sleeping.  Mommy can FINALLY make her coffee, pour her cereal and get in the shower (nearly two hours after initially flinging my legs over the side of the bed). I let my hair dry on its own - one of the obvious benefits of a pixie cut. I can style it later if I need to vacate the premise.

Now, can I get some of the house tidied before the dictator-club starts calling out their demands? Oh screw it.  I'm gonna sit and enjoy my coffee first.

 

 

Monday, 20 June 2011

Hypertension - the sequel, or rather, the continuing story

iBean will be 6 months next week and my blood pressure has still not returned to normal.  At its peak in the hospital is was 182/133.  Every medical professional I tell that to is simply amazed that neither iBean or I stroked out.  It was a pure miracle that she came out as well as she did and that despite my high blood pressure, no lasting physical damage to my body or organs.

But I am still living with the hypertension. I slowly weaned down from my 17 (!!) daily blood pressure pills to the last one, and went off that last medication 15 days ago.  My blood pressure has not spiked back up, but it is slightly higher than it was on the meds. My diastolic pressure is borderline hypertensive, depending on the time (and day) I take it.  I was originally told in the hospital by the myriad of specialists that if my blood pressure had not resolved within 12 weeks postpartum, that I would most likely have chronic hypertension for the rest of my life.  I guess that is what I have to now face.  I was really hoping that once I was off all of the meds (and when you are on 17 pills a day, it takes a LONG time to titrate down!) my bp would normalize.

I was also told that I was at a substantial risk for this whole preeclampsia thing to recur should I decide to get pregnant again.  The specialists kept using the words conception planning appointments, high risk, specialist appointments, bedrest, hospitalization, premature delivery, possible organ damage, fetal death, maternal death should I decide to get pregnant again, particularly if my blood pressure did not resolve itself.

Or maybe not. I could get pregnant and everything would be peachy, just like my pregnancy with K-Man.

But 3 of my 4 pregnancies have had blood pressure issues.  Not full-on wars like this last one, but chances are, the next one would just make that number 4 out of 5.

Giving me the benefit of the doubt, my doctor (the man is a saint) is putting a requisition for another halter blood pressure monitor and giving me some more time to see if my body will bring itself back to normal.  There are things I can do: exercise (WTF is that?!), eat less salt (moment of silence as I say goodbye to soya sauce) and eat more beets (there are only so many beets I can consume in a day without wanting to yarf).

Tonight, I went for a walk.  I was farking tired, but while Ivy napped and Tony was home, K-Man hopped in the jogging stroller and we went for a brisk walk, about 3 km. The first real exercise I have done in almost a year. The goal to bring my diastolic blood pressure down is to do 20-30 minutes of "exercise" 4 times a week.  Not just running around after kids and up and down the stairs doing laundry.  I'm talking above and beyond that.  It would be WAY easier if I had an iPod that could actually hold all my dance/trance/upbeat music. Right now it is mostly consumed by stuff to listen to in the car while chauffeuring the kids around (Glee features prominantly).

High blood pressure is supposed to be for old people.  Not 29-year old size-4-wearing mothers.

It's a good thing iBean was worth it.

iBean at her maximum level of medical interventions, about an hour after her birth.

iBean at 5 months - we're hitting the beach, ladies!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

It's been awhile

Reading a friend of mine post about her current battle with cancer rekindled my desire to journal (blog).

Not sure where this will lead me, but for now, let's just say that I am temporarily back in the house.

I have decided to post all of the updates that I had written while Ivy and I were in the hospital when she was born. If you subscribe to me in a reader, you may notice all these posts from January showing up...I retro-dated them to the time that I had originally written them.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Home Sweet Home

After 18 days in the NICU, Ivy was finally discharged on January 21. She had originally taken her carseat test on the 19th, but to our dismay, she did not pass. Part of that was because the carseat we had, although it is an infant carrier, does not have adjustments small enough for a 4 lb baby. She was swimming in it!
So Tony and I decided to go out and buy a new carseat, and to our great elation, she passed her second carseat test with flying colours. I called Tony at work and told him the good news, and he jumped into his car and drove to Grande Prairie to pick us up. We would surprise the boys when we got home.
The trip home was a bit of a muck up, not because of Ivy, but the roads were altogether NOT cooperative. Ivy slept the whole way, only starting to root around when we were about 10 minutes from home.
We walked in the door and Sacha and Kees were ecstatic! Kees ran around, dancing, wanting to show me Ivy's room all set up. He wanted to show me all of the trains (Thomas trains) that a friend of Sacha's had passed down to him. Sacha kept hugging me and telling me how much he loved me and how glad he was that we were home. It was one of the most amazing feelings I have ever felt, finally being reunited as a family.
Ivy had a good first night at home. She wakes up about every 3-4 hours to eat, then falls quickly back to sleep. Preemies need a lot of sleep for their development, and she seems to know that. She also seems to know how to let off some good burps and poops to make room for all the milk she consumes!

I will post more details in the next few days. Thank you all for your prayers and concern in this time.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Milk Machine Returns

So after yesterday's bump in the road with nursing, Ivy has made a full comeback. Immediately after I posted on here, her feeding went back to normal. In fact, this morning has been exceedingly good. In the last 3 feeds, she has taken in 50 mL, 45 mL and 30 mL. Oh, and did I mention that she is waking herself for her feeda and not even waiting the "prescribed" 3 hours between feeds, only waiting 2 hours between these good meals!
Ivy also gained another ounce yesterday, putting her at 3 lbs 15 oz. I think the nurses were being overly cautious yesterday, which is their job, I guess. But I am just going to leave that NG tube in for now! Don't want to jinx ourselves! And we just learned that Ivy has graduated to the next level of breastfeeding supremacy. She is doing so well that she doesn't need to be pre- and post-feed weighed any more! Yay! Crossing our fingers for a weekend discharge.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Stellar...whoops!

Little Miss Ivy has become a stellar nurser. Unfortunately, she and I may have gotten a little ahead of ourselves. After over 24 hours of exclusively breastfeeding with no gavage feeds, Ivy pulled out her own NG tube. Since she had been nursing so well, the nurses did not put one back in. Then at her next feed, she decided that she only wanted a little milk, after which she pursed her little lips together and did not want anymore! Well, in a NICU, people get panicky when a preemie baby decides not to eat as much as the doctor says she should, so in went a new NG tube. Ivy was livid, so much so that when I tried to nurse her at her next feed, she started to drink a bit and then she came off and screamed. That was the first time for that sort of reaction. I am pretty sure the NG tube was bothering her, which is not good. But as she was not wanting to nurse, the nurses got some of my pumped milk and gave her a gavage feed. It was discouraging
after such a great day and 2 nights of feeds.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Jersey Girl



Ivy is nearly 2 weeks old now. She is 3 lbs 14 oz and in the last 12 hours has really shown that she is a superstar nurser: she breastfed full feeds 4 times of the last 5, taking in even more than what the dr considers for her to be a "full feed." This improvement means she is one step closer to getting her NG tube removed. Usually oncer the tube is out, you are looking at a carseat test within 24 to 48 hours and then, if all goes well, discharge! Ivy is not on any medications, her vitals have been stable since she was extubated shortly after birth, and she is gaining weight each day. She was moved out of her incubator and into a big-girl bed (ha!) 2 days ago, since she is now able to regulate her own body temperature. I am hopeful that we can go home in a week or so.
On a crappier note, my camera and 2 lenses were stolen from my hospital room when I was upstairs with Ivy on Thursday. The camera had all the newborn pics and videos of Ivy. What a horrible thing for ssomeone to do!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Settling in

We are now settled in at the QE II hospital in GP. Ivy continues to gain weight and exceed the nurses' expectations, particularly when it comes to feeding. Ivy nurses on alternate feeds, getting every other feed from her NG tube. When she does nurse. She usually takes in 10mL from me, and then they top her up with the remaining 20 mL through her tube. I was a little discouraged that she only takes 10 mL until the nurse told me that for her gestational age, she would really only expecct her to nurse once for every 2-3 gavage (ng tube) feeds, and the fact that she takes in 10 mL each time is even better. So that reassured me quite a bit.
I am being fed hospital food for free while I am here in a boarding room. It is a new thing they are trying out for mothers who are nursing their babies in the NICU. It may not be great food, but I don't have to cook!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Waiting

We are still waiting for a plane, so I am going to go rest at Talia's until we get the call. Ivy is being transfered because the NICU here is full and she is a good candidate for transfer because she is doing so well.
She gained weight again today: she is now 3 lbs 11 oz. She is also starting to regulate her body temperature better, which is one step closer to being out of the incubator (isolette). Yea!

Transfered

I was discharged today and Ivy is being transfered to the QE II hospital in Grande Prairie. The staff had previously told me that she would NOT be transfered, but this morning, the doctor told me that they were going to transfer her to the Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton. I then said if they were going to transfer her at ALL, could it be GP, simply because then Tony and the boys could come and see us on his days off.
So as it stands right now, we are waiting for an airplane to take us to GP.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

General NICU FAQ



I have had a few people ask questions about our stay at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, so I thought I would address those here:

Although Ivy is under 24-hour care, I am allowed to visit her and be with her whenever I like and as often as I like. I spent 3 hours cuddling with her and doing Kangaroo care this morning (and nursing), then I was back there two more times, both in time for her feeds.

I am still an inpatient at the hospital because of my blood pressure, but I am hoping to be discharged tomorrow. My blood pressure is more stable now, although I am still on 2 different medications for that. At its peak, I was on a total of 17 blood pressure pills per day. That's right, 17. 3 different prescriptions, but the total number of pills was 17. Now I am down to 11. The doctors are trying to rework my medication to put me on a dosing and scheduling that will be more manageable once I am discharged. To be honest, there is one medication that I really do not think I need in the dose they are giving me, but we shall see what they decide tomorrow.

Once I am discharged, I will be staying in a boarding room at the hospital. There are 14 boarding rooms specifically for moms who have babies in the NICU who are from out of town and/or who are nursing. My name was already put on the list for a room upon discharge. While I stay there, I am responsible for my own meals and such. I am hoping they have a little fridge so I can get groceries, because I do not want to eat out 3 meals a day for the next 2 weeks, or however long Ivy needs to be here.

While in the boarding room, the NICU will call me whenever Ivy needs (wants) to eat, and I make my way to the NICU to feed her. They said if I want to, I can give them permission to take a bottle at night so I can sleep. I am not keen on that, since the goal is to get her exclusively nursing and I think a bottle will mess that up.

The criteria for Ivy's discharge are these: she must be taking all her feeds orally, either by breast of bottle, she must be gaining weight, she must have no "events" in 24 hours, and she has to pass the carseat test. Events mean instances of bradycardia and/or apnea. Ivy has had only 2 of these since being admitted on Monday, both of which she spontaneously recovered and no interventions were necessary. The carseat test is that she has to be able to sit in a carseat for 90 minutes without having any apneas or losing oxygen saturation in her blood.

So far, Ivy's nursing is going well. She gets better every time. In fact, the last time I nursed her, I thought she was finished, and when I took the breast away, she got mad and had her mouth wide open looking for it!

Ivy is going to have a bath tonight. That should be fun!

Sarah

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Feisty

There are two things that the nurses all say about Ivy: that she has gorgeous blond hair, and that she is feisty! She protests when the nurses start poking and proding, usually by swatting her arm at them and yelling. That being said, she really does not cry that much.
She had another great day today: she nursed 3 times, the evening feed being the most successful. She gets right down to business and does not muck around. Gulp gulp gulp! At the evening feed, she was wide awake, and took in about 15 mL from me, which I determined by pumping right after and I had about half an ounce less than I usually get. Pretty good for a few minutes of work!
Ivy is almost at full feeds, and once she is at full feeds, her IV can come out. I am ridiculously happy about that, because they have had to redo her IV 3 times since birth because her veins give out. And each time they have to redo it, it takes the nurses (and doctor) multiple attempts. She has very dainty veins, even for a preemie and they have difficulty threading the IV. I have the same problem whenever I get IVs put in, too.
Ivy is also back up to her birth weight now. She did not poop today, though, so her weighing may be a little off from that. All in all, her weight is on the upswing, which is exactly what we want.
She is also out of the phototherapy lights, although she may have to go back under tomorrow depending on her bloodwork. She really does not like those lights and was so glad to be rid of them.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Great Success!

Yippee! Ivy gained 20 grams today!
AND the best news was that I got to nurse my daughter for the first time. And she actually nursed. Of course, all that work tired her out very quickly, but she had some good audible swallowing happening, and I could hear her breathing between big gulps. Afterward, we just cuddled int he chair, skin-to-skin, for about an hour. She was so relaxed, I hated to put her back in her isolette. But I have to get back to my room to get my blood pressure meds and check my blood pressure. And Ivy needed to go back under the lights (for jaundice). It will be nice when I am not on a nurse's schedule for meds and assessment and I can stay with her as long as I like.