Friday, February 20, 2009

How to get a toddler-free weekend:

Just don't be there when Grandma shows up to drop her off!

Of course, this works best if Grandma also happens to live an hour outside of town, your toddler is sleeping in the back of her car, she has only minutes left before she has to pick Grandpa up from work.... and you're hopelessly unable to get out of your office in time to relieve her.


I'm sure when my mother envisioned spending a Friday with her precious granddaughter, taking on a sleepless weekend didn't enter the picture.

I'm pretty sure, when she asked what to do with her at the end of the day.... and I told her "No problem, drop her off at home her Dad will be there".... she believed me.

And the plan would have worked .... If I had remembered to tell him.


Never assume your spouse will be where you expect him to be at any given time.

JUST because he took off work to stay home with our feverish, vomiting son, doesn't mean he will STAY at home with said sick child.

Silly me.

So when my Mom showed up to drop the princess off after a day at the Conservatory with Grandma & GG & Auntie P & Cousin M, the Dad was no where to be found.... not even answering his phone!


And with no time left to wait for me, she left to pick up my Dad & head home with my baby in the backseat. I have no idea how my Dad felt about that.... but I'm calling him an accomplice in the kidnapping.

My husband's reaction, upon hearing the news that we would be without our toddler due to his negligance (I'll just forget about my lapse in not informing him here), his reaction was an extremely loud "WOOOOO HOOOOO!!"

(this means we get to sleep in tomorrow!!)

Mwahahahahahahaha.... (this means my parents will be roused out of their sleep by our darling toddler at her regular, evil, early-morning hour)

Plans to drive out to their place and pick her up were pending our figuring out weekend hockey schedules. Saturday (isn't this convenient) is the double hockey line-up, followed by an evening hockey-parents party.... Sunday is the free day.

Seriously? Oh someone is smiling down on me.... I have, potentially, TWO toddler free nights?? In a row??

We could do anything we want! It's so liberating... we could... we could.... Oh shit, who am I kidding.... we have no life.

I think I'll go clean her room... it's so much easier when she's not there undoing each piece as I go.

I know, I know.... the wild life I lead....

Although that parent party could be ALOT more fun with the prospect of actually getting to sleep past 6:00am the next morning ;)

Thanks Mom! :D

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Ah well, we had a good run, but I suppose all good things must come to an end....

I'm trying to remember the last time the kids got sick. It's been ages.... they just never get sick - colds & sniffles and the odd fever, like all kids, but not really sick. I don't even know if I've had my youngest into the pediatrician for more than a well-baby visit.... I probably have - you don't go almost 3 years without getting sick at all but I know it's certainly been over a year since any of my children have needed a prescription for anything.

I know that because they ALL have prescription medication right now - and the pharmacy had to add the "new" insurance to their files.... the new insurance that my husband's company got just over a year ago!

Yep, it was a good run.

Until Mr. Streptococcus found us....

It started Sunday with my younger son complaining of a sore throat.... and he had a fever. He wasn't complaining much - but he never really does. I know by now to pay attention when that one fusses.

I was concerned enough to get him into the Pediatrician Monday morning - where my nagging doubt was confirmed and his throat swab turned up a positive for Strep throat.


Then I picked up my daughter from daycare Monday after work.... and she greeted me with a wide open mouth, pointed inside and declared "My mouth is sick!". Which, I suppose, is two-year-old-ease for "I have a sore throat"

My oldest has been battling a bit of a cough and also pronounced a mildly sore throat when he was coughing.


So this morning included another trip to the Doctor for throat swabs on those two. Hers was positive, his was not - but with two siblings in the house with Strep throat, the Pediatrician decided to err on the side of caution and put him on the antibiotics too.

I'm grateful that he's saved me a third trip back sometime later this week.

So here we were, on a Tuesday, with the whole family at home. The kids think it's great.... just a nice long extended weekend for them.... Mom & Dad are a little stressed though. Missing work for sick kids isn't good for anyone.

It's my busiest season at work, so Dad called in yesterday and again this morning to accommodate the doctor visits. I finished up around noon today and relieved him so that he could put in the afternoon at least.... and tomorrow will be mine - although only until he gets home from work... I'm going to have to work tomorrow evening regardless.

And then, hopefully, life can return to normal.

It should. Tomorrow will be better.... my younger son will have been on his antibiotics for the required 24 hrs (plus) so that he can return to school and daycare - and his big brother isn't actually sick, despite the medication... so they can both go in tomorrow.

I'll have tomorrow with my baby girl and then she'll be good to go again too.

I'm going to look on the bright side, enjoy the stolen day with my daughter and make the best of my forced time off. Maybe we can paint our nails and find that "missing" Candyland game board (that I'm fairly positive can be easily located under her bed!). Maybe snuggle and watch a movie.... Hey! I could have NAP tomorrow!

Maybe I haven't given "home with sick kids" days their due after all ;)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Birthday Magic

My little man turned 8 last weekend. He waits for his birthday to arrive with more anticipation than any other day in the year.... even Christmas doesn't compare for him.

Maybe it's the "middle-child syndrome" .... but I think, what he craves more than anything, is that one day when the world revolves around him - and he's so genuinely sweet and charming that we try to make it as important a day as possible.

Whatever color cup he wants (ahead of those other two head-strong siblings), whichever seat in the van.... first in line, first one served.... you know - birthday boy all the way.

And the grin he sports all day is worth the effort!

This year, I struggled with what to do for his party.... he wanted to return to the dinosaur water slide park they have a local hotel (we did that last year), but I don't want to repeat birthdays.... I wanted something new (at least to our family) and different - each birthday should be a different memory....

So I chose a magician: Ryan Price Magic.

A comedy-magician, with a show targeted to the 5 to 8 year old set. Eight might be a little old for a magician - but I thought it would be a perfect fit for our 8 year old. His sense of humour is around the 6 year old level and his sense of wonder is delightfully immature for his age.... we have an absolute riot just watching him take in slap-stick style cartoon shows like the bugs bunny & tweety show.... the belly laughs are too much - he gets our whole family going!

It just felt like it would be a good fit..... and it was!

The magician was wonderful! He had the kids laughing the whole time.... and my little man above all! The birthday boy got to be the main assistant in the show and he revelled in the lime-light.... that beautiful grin never left his face and the infectious laugh kept escaping and talking all us adults along for the ride - what a great birthday!

The magician closed out his party performance by creating balloon creations for all the children (it would be an insult to lump these in with the mundane balloon animals we've all seen 100 clowns churn out!). Each one was a work of art taking several balloons to complete.... he made a road-runner and a daffy duck for my boys and the mini-bug bracelet that my daughter asked for.... fishing rods complete with fish on the end of the line, goofy hats in the form of various animals.... they were something to behold!

He also provided all the goody bags for the children. It was the easiest party I've planned in a long time - the guy did it all! And my son was absolutely thrilled with the entire affair - and that was what it was all about, after-all.

I would definitely recommend Ryan Price Magic to any and all looking for a birthday party solution - you won't be disappointed.

As for me, I can't thank him enough for the smiles on my son's face and for making his day the roaring success that it was!

Happy Birthday Love!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Golden Boy

My son is GOLD.... or at least his research project is!

They recently had the annual "Project Fair" at school.... I remember these as Science Fairs when I was in school, but over the years they have morphed into a mix of research projects, heritage projects and the ever-rarer, true science displays. There were actually only 2, true "Science Projects" in his entire school.... I guess, over the years, fewer and fewer kids (read: parents) have been willing to go through the rigors of hypothesis, method and.... and whatever else a science project entails - so they've opened up some "softer" categories to keep the volume up at these school displays.

(And thank Goodness they have, because I'm SO not up for hypothesis, method and .... and whatever else that sounds like waaaaay to much work for me!)

Thankfully, my son chose to do a research project on fossils.

They actually make the parents sign a waiver saying that we give our kids permission to participate.... because, we all know, there's a lot of work involved in projects.

And I'm still trying to decide, at least at the elementary level, just who's responsibility all the work for these projects actually is.... I mean, what child in grade 3, 4 or 5 is actually capable of the hours of disciplined WORK needed to complete a project?

He had lofty goals of doing the internet research for his fossil project, but when you sit a 9 year old in front of a computer and hit "surf", it's not long before the boring reading involved with "how fossils are formed" quickly dissolves into watching youtube videos of dinosaur combat....

And so the "research" only happens with mom or dad in constant attendance - driving the searches and pointing out information that should be printed or saved for reference.

And putting the project together? Oh my. I felt like a slave driver.... "here, cut this out.... what color do you want this picture on? Are you going to use this or that? .... I don't CARE if you're bored - this isn't MY PROJECT!!"

Procuring the materials to build the Diorama, actually typing the words for the backboard, making the appointment to meet with the museum paleontologist regarding our "fossil" that he wanted to display.... these are all tasks that fall on the parent of the eager project fair participant.

But there's a lot riding on the kids too:

A huge part of the score with a project is the child's display of knowledge on their subject matter. The judges grill the kids.... seeking explanations of what various words mean, why they chose certain elements for their display, why they chose their project, what they learned... etc, etc, etc....

So we role-played questions, cleared up any confusion he had on various bits of information included in the display and crossed our fingers. Not that a ton of luck was needed for this particular child of mine.... I mean seriously - they're giving marks for talking?? He's so in. If there's one thing my son excels at, it's talking, hands down. Talking and talking.... oh, and did I mention he loves to talk? Good grief.

And so all his hard work paid off, and he proudly walked out of that gymnasium with a Gold ribbon AND and invitation to the regional project fair in April!

(which should be so much easier on all of us because the project is already DONE - thank God!)

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Denny's breakfast to remember...

A friend of mine was mentioning that Denny's plans to give away free Grandslam breakfasts to everyone who comes in between 6am & 2pm tomorrow (whoa, talk about deep pockets!)

I'm trying to fathom how many people all the restaurants in the United States, Canada & Puerto Rico can mill through in those 8 hours. Minus the one lonely restaurant in Cali that decided not to play along (doesn't that make them look like the scrooges?) I can only say that you couldn't pay me enough to be a server (or cook, or busser) in any of them tomorrow! Those poor kids....

And I'm just thinking how much more exciting it would be if Denny's were a restaurant I could eat in.... but alas, they've long since been scratched off my list of acceptable dining establishments. And before you go thinking I'm some sort of "breakfast snob", I'll tell you it's for very good reason!

When we were living in Ocala, I LOVED Denny's breakfasts.... we didn't go very often but I loved the rare visits. And I'd been seeing their new advertisements for those amazing-looking breakfast skillets and working on a severe craving for a while, so my husband took me out for "breakfast" on the way home from work one afternoon....

I was soooooo looking forward to my skillet.

Until the server set it down in front of me.

Now, during our time spent in Florida, I had become used to some of the simple differences in local lingo and the minor confusions it could cause - for instance; I knew better than to order iced tea in a restaurant unless I wanted to be puckered up at the first sip.... it's called sweet tea down there (just because we, in the north, know iced tea is sweet, doesn't mean it shouldn't be spelled out elsewhere).

But no where had I ever come across "over-easy" being confused with "raw" when talking about eggs.

I kid you not, when the lady put the skillet in front of me, the whites of the eggs on top were still CLEAR. Nothing easy about that.... except maybe my stomach trying to flip... that seemed like it was going to go pretty easy (thank God it was still empty at that point!).

I had to send it back. I mean seriously?? And the server didn't even apologize or raise an eyebrow. She acted like it wasn't any big deal - like maybe they routinely have people order (or at least serve people) raw eggs?? RIGHT.....

Then before long she brought back the skillet with nicely cooked, over-easy eggs on top and all was right with in my world. And it WAS good..... at least the first few bites. But as my meal progressed and I got a little deeper into the food, I noticed that the potatoes seemed a little damp.... kinda soggy....

I shifted stuff around a little with my fork only to discover the pool of raw egg juice at the bottom of my skillet. They hadn't done anything more that flip the majority off and slapped the cooked eggs back on top of the same potatoes.

I just about lost what breakfast I'd eaten up to that point.

I don't even have words for how disgusted I was or how awful the staff at Denny's were.... and feeding raw eggs to the public?? WTF is up with that?

My husband would've blown a gasket if I'd have let him.... but the polite little Canuck in me abhors a scene... so I just let it go.

We didn't finish our meals, we just left the restaurant.... and to this day the mention of that chain causes a little bile to rise in my throat - My family will never eat there again.

So, for everyone about to enjoy a free breakfast on Denny's tomorrow - just a word of advice: When they ask you how you want your eggs, don't confuse them with difficult things like "sunny-side" or "over-easy".... just try telling them COOKED, and it may turn out alright.