Sunday, October 4, 2015

Never a good time

There is never a good time for a cold.

Sitting at work on Friday afternoon I started to feel seriously feverish. By the time I got home I was running a major temperature.

Trouble was it was a good friend of mine's 40th birthday. And I promise his wife that I wouldn't miss it.

So what's a girl to do? A trip to shoppers drug Mart and buy enough cold medication to start a meth lab (a delightful description provided by a coworker).

Took a bunch of DayQuil and some Tylenol and hoped for the best.

As luck would have it the DayQuil and Tylenol combo bought me a good couple hours.
Party was a lot of fun but I only ended up staying three hours.

Saturday morning I woke up feeling even worse. But I have the bomber game to go to. It's the second last home game of the season and I didn't want to miss it.

So falling back of my wonder mix of Dayquil and Tylenol I made it to the game. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Edmonton has been having a really good season so it was questionable whether we would beat them.

Given the way that we played we had no business even being in the lead for a while. Plus our kicker was playing unbelievably horrible. Add to that two overturned calls on the same play and it was a really odd game. In the end it came down to the last second of the game and Edmonton kicked a field goal for the win.
Regardless of the outcome of the game it was great to hang out with the girls.

By the end of the game I was starting to feel feverish again. Fevers are so weird, you're running a temperature but yet you feel so crazily cold. I put on a onesie, a wool shawl and curled up under a blanket.

At some point in the evening my fever broke and I started peeling off layers.

It is now 9 o'clock in the morning and I am still trying to muster the will to get out of bed. I am working from home tomorrow because we have a warranty appointment for the house. So at least I can remain in sweats one more day.

Colds Suck.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


As a kid I never paid attention to fences. Ever.

Well I take that back, I did pay attention to some regard.  My parents had a really big pie shaped lot and had 4 neighbours that they shared a fence with behind them. 

I always walked or took the bus home from school. But if I hopped the fence of the one neighbour behind us, it saved me a 15 min walk.  He never liked it though and would always yell at me if he saw.

So that is the extent of my fence experience.

What I now know as a adult is that fences are bloody expensive. You wouldn't think so, just being wood and all.

Between paying for a guy to come out and drill holes/install posts and all the wood (Brad did the rest of the work), it was about $2000 to get the fence in.

We have been in the house a year and it's nice to finally have the fence up.  Next is getting the deck, sod, hot tub and stone fire pit. Hot tub might be next year though. Can't wait for our tiny oasis to be finished.

In the pic below the fence is slanted. All the fences are that way to incorporate the grading slope.  Kind of looks odd to me, but all of the fences on the entire street are built that way.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hunger pains

Over the past little while Logan has been complaining of hunger pains. 

That in and of itself is not groundbreaking because he's a 10-year-old boy and 10-year-old boys tend to eat everything. The pains would come and go and seemed to dissipate after eating, so we didn't think much of it.

Last Friday night he started complaining that it was really hurting.   Brad took him to Children's emergency and they did a blood test; his white blood cell count was through the roof. It was shortly thereafter that they diagnosed him with acute appendicitis.

Trouble is, the operating rooms were full with other life threatening emergencies and there wouldn't be one available Saturday afternoon.

Logan and I went up to the children's ward to wait for his surgery. They got him hooked up to some morphine and gave him Popsicles for pain. I have discovered that morphine and Popsicles heal a lot of things.

One of the lovely side effects of appendicitis is that you get really sick, poor kid was throwing up all night; which is less than ideal if you are having abdominal pains!

He did manage to freak the night shift nurse out. In the children's ward (and other wards as well I assume), they turn off the nights at night.

Logan started getting violently sick so pressed the call button for some help.   The nurse came in with a wee little flashlight. Logan had a roommate and they didn't want to wake him up. Although if someone was getting violently sick 3 feet away from me, I'm pretty sure I would wake up.

When the nurse moved the light over to Logan's bed he let out an audible gasp.  For the first time I looked down at the bed, sheets and floor. It had been dark so I hadn't seen it previously.

Everything was bright red. Scary red.  But then it dawned on me and I shouted out "RED POPSICLES!!"  That calmed us both down considerably.

In the morning the surgeon came to see us. A physical exam reconfirmed the initial diagnosis. Surgery was set for noon.

I was so impressed with Logan. He was tough. As much pain as the kid was in, he never cried. The only exception was when they were wheeling him in for surgery and the orderlies set him up in a staging area. He and I were left to our own devices for a few minutes. Logan let his guard down and confessed he was nervous.  Hello Kid!!! Adults get nervous of surgery!!! Totally normal.

The second the orderlies came back though, the tears stopped.

While Logan was in surgery, Brad was trying to find me. He had taken Zach home for the night. HSC is connected to Children's and is a total labyrinth. Brad, who I now affectionately refer to as Magellan was completely and utterly lost. I had to text him pictures of signs so he could find his way to the surgery waiting room. He finally arrived, exasperated with a useless map in hand.

Surgery was fast, about 45 minutes and Logan looked great and was resting.

They can diagnose an appendicitis in about 85-90% of cases with a physical exam and a blood test. An ultrasound will increase that accuracy to about 99%. However in emergency situations you don't want to have to waste days waiting to have a test done.  So even though they weren't a 100% sure going into surgery, we knew something was up because of his white cell count.

So it was a relief when the surgeon came out and told us that it was definitely his appendix. She told us it was very inflamed and was surprised Logan hadn't been complaining more.

Remember back at the beginning with the Hunger Pains? Yeah, those weren't hunger pains. Yikes. 

Back up on the ward, Logan and I took a nap. About 2hrs later he and I both were woken up ( I spent the night at Children's and neither one of us slept a wink) by the sound of whining.

The other 10-year-old beside us had also had his appendix out the day before.  He was sore, but didn't want to take the Tylenol. For kids, Tylenol comes in a liquid form that they administer in a plastic syringe thing. It's not a needle but rather more like a squirt gun that helps to avoid spilling (and allow for more accurate dispensing) than if they used a spoon.

No word of a lie, for an HOUR we heard...

Kid: "I don't wanna to take it!!!!"
Mum: "But you have to buddy..."

On loop.

For an HOUR.

Logan was trying so hard to be polite, but he'd had enough. He whispered, "Mum can we got for a walk?", I asked him if he was up to it and he assured me he was, so up we went.

3 laps around the ward and a reprieve for the endless acetaminophen war in our room. Nice.

Over the course of the day, Logan looked better and better. Yes he was sore, but he was in good spirits. The soreness was better than the shooting pains he'd had before.

He started on food Saturday night.  His nurse asked him what he felt up for and offered up tummy friendly suggestions like soup and toast. Logan's request? "Got any meat?...."  

think he was half expecting them to be able to whip up a Rib eye steak for him.

Early Sunday morning we were told we'd be released. Only to find out that the doctors forgot to sign the discharge form and had to be called back in.  By the time we then got out it was mid afternoon.

There was lots of love waiting for Logan. His friend Seth came over to check on him; Alex from his hockey team came over with a care package; his friends Connor and Rylan made get well cards, it was all so very sweet.

Logan stayed home Monday and Tuesday, but by Tuesday night he was getting cabin fever and declared himself well enough for school.

He hadn't had any Tylenol for awhile, so we checked his incisions and all was healing well (he has two pin holes in his abdomen and a few stitches in his belly button).

So back to school he went. I called the school and got him exempt from Gym and Cross Country for the rest of the week.  Kids are amazing, every adult I know would have taken the week off for sure.

So while I didn't expect the weekend to go like that, I am relieved that we came out the other side of it with Logan happy and healthy.

And in case you ever forgot...Hospital food still sucks; never request meat.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Back to school

I decided not to post a Back to School pic of the kids on Facebook.  Some of my friends don't have kids ; some by choice and others not by choice.

Some of those friends have told me that certain times of year they avoid Facebook because of the massive influx of offspring photos. Two of the worst times are Back to School and Christmas.

So I avoided posting the boys pics on Facebook or Instagram.

But this is my blog and I can post whatever I want, so here is grade 7 for Zach and grade 5 for Logan:

And here is me after they headed off to school:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Officially the end of summer


Summer is over.

I took Friday off to take the boys back to school shopping as I hadn't yet had a chance to. Talk about a wake up call.

Zach is no longer in kids sizes.  Not even close.  To get jeans that fit him for length, we have to go up to mens sizes, he's now a 30 long.  But the waist size doesn't always match up with the length.  Add to that he's a size 9.5 men's shoe. 

Holy Crap!  

He doesn't care though.  Whatever it takes to get in and out of the mall as quickly as possible is fine by him.

Logan on the other hand has an image to maintain you see.  This requires significant attention to detail.  He wanted to get lime green high tops.  But lime green high tops are in short supply, so he ended up getting some black and purple Element high tops and adding lime green laces which was deemed acceptable.

I hate shopping with my boys.  I know I should love it, but it's always such a complete gong show.

Logan is very concerned with things being fair to the point where he mentally tallies the bills... Sheesh.

We headed out to the cabin Friday night. It's our annual unbirthday weekend. We get together and everyone gets a gift (small, goofy or handmade) and we have cake.

The boys and I had made some gifts when we were at the cabin in August. Mum and Dad loved them. Zach got a cool pair of sunglasses and Logan got neon laces for his shoes. 

We have been doing a lot of yard work at the cabin, pushing back the forest edge to make a yard.  We have also had to cut down some trees to make way for the cabin additions. Cutting down a tree leaves you with lots of branches and leaves that can't be chopped into firewood.

We had been just piling up all this branch-leaf detritus and had been slowly burning through it for campfires.

Then we had an idea... Why not drag it all up into the field (which had been plowed for a new crop so it was all mud) and torch it all at once?


What we didn't realize that the branches had settled, and dragging them in the half tons "fluffed" them up. So what looked like a small pile turned up being 4 half ton loads.

Since it had rained the previous day, it took awhile to get it lit, but once it did... Woo!  The heat coming off it was insane! We knew we had to wait until it all burned down, so we sat around it and had a campfire. Zach got us telling stories (where one person starts a made up story and then next person continues it). It was a lot of fun. 

Mum and I had been taking daily walks. It's easy to just veg and get lazy at the cabin. Since it was nice weather, I wanted to get out and enjoy it.

On Sunday, we went for a six mile walk to the lookout (high point that looks down to the river). Somewhere along the walk I got bit by a spider.  I didn't notice it at first, but realized it when it started to itch.

At first I wasn't sure it was a spider bite, but come Monday morning when it swelled up like crazy, it was pretty obvious. Generally speaking I don't freak out too much about bug bites, but this one was nutso. 

My calf swelled up to almost twice the size and was super red.  I was debating how serious it was, but that's where my nurse friends come in.  They said to get it looked at if I could that night, but if not keep an eye on it and pop Benadryl. 

Check out the awesomeness...

A beauty huh? I had been marking my leg to track the redness, which was growing.

Thankfully the Benadryl worked and things are calming down I think.

Feel kind of ripped off though, shouldn't I have super powers by now? 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Pear with me

When the boys and I went to the cabin, I stocked up and bought a ton of pears. Albeit I got carried away, but in my defence we were going for a week and pears are a) awesome and b) not Doritos.

But in true pear fashion you have a 30 second window in which these suckers go from hockey pucks to ripe to mush.

We missed the window.

Once we got home I had an enormous bag of overripe fruit that was in serious danger of becoming a fruit fly colony.

Before I continue on with my pear story,  I have to catch you up on what happened earlier in the summer.

Sometime in June I bought a bottle of Vanilla vodka. If you've never tried it, save your money. It has no flavour. I had high hopes that adding it to coke would recreate Vanilla Coke but sadly no.

I was left with this large bottle of flavourless vodka. Where is the fun in that?  Enter my bumper pear crop.

I dumped the vodka into a large mason jar. I added 4 pears and a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and cloves, sealed it up and waited.

While that was brewing, I decided to make Salted Caramel Pear Butter.  I took a huge amount of pears, 10 or so. I didn't really count. 

Recipe is pretty simple, cook pears in lemon juice and apple juice until soft. Purée and return to saucepan. Add brown sugar, spices, good salt (I used a pink Himalayan) and stir... And stir.... And stir....

I have made apple butter before, but I didn't cook it down enough and it was more like a really thick applesauce. This time I did it right and waited for it to have the consistency of jam.

I was expecting to get at least 6 mini mason jars, but the more I stirred, the less I seemed to have in the pot.

End result was two tiny jars.

The butter (which is basically jam) is amazing!!!! So sweet and spicy.

Fast forward 5 days and I was ready to check on the vodka. I didn't take any pictures because it looked like a dogs breakfast and if I was going to serve it to my friends at some point I didn't want to document what it previously looked like.

When I took the lid off, it really did smell good. Again, the pitiful vanilla scent was still missing but it had now been replaced with a spicy pear aroma.

I had to filter it through cheesecloth to get all the little bits of pear, but it is now a really pretty shade of Amber.

After all that, I still had a half dozen pears left. So I decided to pull out the old reliable and made an apple pear crisp. Not fancy, but everyone loves it. Sitting out in the backyard with a dish of pear crisp with ice cream was a delicious end to the day.

Camp Preston

First week of holidays the boys and I were at the cabin.

It was a good time for the most part.  It sucked a bit because Brad wasn't there.  The fun was also dampened because my friends Courtney and Dale were really busy working the fields for combining, so I didn't get to see them.

But the boys and I made the best of it.  We did tons of activities, a few highlights were:

Bean Whips:
Hide 2 jellybeans in a plate of whip cream.  Boys have to find the beans with their hand behind their backs:

Logan won by just eating the whip cream.  Zach was trying to root around and find them, which took much longer (and was way messier!)

I have been wanting to make a life size jenga for awhile. I finally did it.  Brad cut the boards for me.  Zach and I spent a good couple hours sanding them down.  If you don't sand them, the wood is too rough and they won't slide (necessary for Jenga)

Duct Tape Wallets/Bags:
Super easy.  Download some duct tape patterns and buy fun printed duct tape and go to town...

Coffee Can Stilts:
Get two large coffee cans, drill holes in either side(with the open end down) and run some rope through. Boys walked around on them and had a blast.

Tic Tac Toe:
We went down to the river and found a bunch of flat rocks.  The boys painted them up.  In the meantime I went and chainsawed a slice of a log (Felt pretty bada$$ doing that let me tell you)

I painted the tic tac toe board and voila!

Treasure Hunts:
Go to Home Depot and get some paint chip samples.  Boys went out around the cabin and had to match the colors on the samples to those in nature...  fun!
Wacky Suppers:
Put a bunch of cooking utensils in a bag (potato masher, spatula etc).  The boys had to reach in and grab one and that became their dinner utensil.  Zach got the potato masher and Logan got a noodle ladle thing:

We did tons more activities like Mentos explosions, Egg science experiments, jelly bean races, exploding bags (Vinegar and Baking soda in Ziploc Bags... Shake and throw!), Go cart drag races...

By the end of the week, we were all pretty bagged and decided to pack it in and come home.  it was nice to get away from the city for awhile, but it always feels good to be back home.

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