this week

This week. THIS WEEK MAN.

You know the saying that like… comedy is tragedy plus time? So many things have gone awry this week that it’s ALREADY funny, and the week isn’t even over. No need to wait for the tragedy to become comedy when your life’s disasters are on a 24-hour news cycle! Fair warning: a lot of the things that went awry involve a great variety of bodily fluids. The amount of time I spent this week cleaning up pee and poo and puke…!

But we’ll start with me. Last week I bought myself some new baking sheets. I wanted to make cookies for the Thursday Treat (it’s A Thing now) this week, but all my old, crudded up baking sheets were different sizes and thicknesses, so it was almost impossible to figure out cooking times. I just wanted baking sheets that were the same size and the same thickness that would conduct heat in the same way. I’ve finally figured out my oven’s quirks (after only 11 years in this apartment): it runs a little hot, especially on the right side. So I have to rotate whatever I’m cooking laterally halfway through in order to achieve a consistent bake, or roast, or whatever. ANYWAY. I got these new baking sheets so I threw the old ones away. However when I was carrying them to the door, I dropped one. On my foot. No big deal, right? Except the way I was carrying it, it hit my foot on one corner. If it had landed flat, or one the edge I’m sure it wouldn’t have been so painful or dramatic, but all the weight of the thing concentrated on that one corner was just beyond! I’m sure there are mathematical calculations you could do with the weight of the sheet and the height from which it fell to figure out the psi or whatever, but all I need to know was that it HURT. I hobble-ran around the house yelling the kind of nonsense non-swears you yell when you are around little kids: “FRIBBIN FRABBIN JACKALOPIN FLUFFERNUTTER!!!!” The top of my foot swelled up like a gross ballon and started to bruise almost right away. It’s been a few days and the swelling still hasn’t gone down completely and the bruise is spectacular and encompasses the entire dorsal area (yes I googled that so I wouldn’t have to say “top of my foot” again). It goes from arch to arch, toe to ankle, purple and green and yellow. It’s quite a treat.

It’s worth mentioning that this is the same foot that developed plantar faciitis last summer, but I don’t have pain from that anymore because acupuncture cured it? I’m a believer now.

Ok. So. The other thing? I swear to god it’s been one kid or another, one animal or another with the bodily fluids ALL WEEK. It’s mostly blurred together into a haze of scrubbing and wiping and rinsing and sanitizing and washing. Nicky’s hair still smells pukey (after MULTIPLE washes!) and I have never been so goddamn happy to have in-suite laundry in my entire life. It’s also really brought to the forefront my & Taylor’s different parenting styles: when a toddler is barfing and screaming and barfing my go-to plan is to just hold them in place where they are (be that in a high chair, in front of the fridge or next to the front door) until they finish barfing so you only have to do crime scene cleanup in one spot, while Taylor’s natural instinct is to grab them and run? where? the bathroom? I’m not really sure, and I don’t know that he does either.

It’s also worth mentioning that I have an old baby wipes box of latex gloves to wear when I’m changing the daycare kids’ diapers (as per health authority regulations) and WOW have they come in handy this week.

Thankfully out of our family only Nicky has gotten sick (so far…). I think it’s actually been a few years since we’ve had a vomitty disease that’s stricken multiple members of the family, which is kind of incredible considering. Just in case anyone else gets hit we’ve all cancelled all of our weekend plans to have sleepovers, go snowboarding, and do Korean foot-peeling masks with our sisters. Ballet class is still on for now; we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, if no one gets sick I guess I can spend this weekend working on my endless closet-rearranging scheme. So far I’ve emptied my craft closet, sorted out a bunch of old paint cans from the kitchen closet, and put some crackers where the paint cans used to be. Soooo it needs a bit more work.

The acorn is actually a candle jar; the netting over the bottle was from a package of garlic? I think? Or maybe shallots. Either way it’s repurposed. Also I just realized now that the diamond pattern of the net matches the diamond pattern of the acorn top matches the diamond pattern on the wooden coaster, and yet I had them grouped together? The subconscious mind is WILD.

When we went snow tubing I sunburned my lips and for WEEKS nothing helped to heal the dry, peelly, chapped and PAINFUL mess. Last weekend in desperation I went to Sephora and spent TWENTY-TWO DOLLARS on this Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm. I said that if it didn’t completely heal my fried lips in ONE DAY I was returning it, and guess what? IT TOTALLY WORKED. I started using it on Saturday afternoon and woke up Sunday morning completely restored, goddammit. So if your lips are dried, fried or generally a wreck I recommend this. You’ll love it, and I’m sorry.

This week’s Thursday Treat: brown butter & toffee chocolate chip cookies. I wanted to try a new recipe so I googled “best chocolate chip cookie bon appetit” (I’ve had really good luck with recipes from them) and this was the result. Ironically (?) this recipe ACTUALLY comes from a baking blogger from Nanaimo, BC, which is 12 minutes from my hometown of Nanoose Bay. WHAT R THE ODDS. My grocery store didn’t have any Skor bars but it did have bags of Skor toffee bits so I used 80 grams of those, and 50% cacao chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate wafers (i… dk what those are). These came out delicious, and I got to use my new baking sheets! I also used an ice cream scoop to measure the batter for the first time and why? have I not always been doing this? You should do it too; my scoop is from Crate & Barrel and it works great.

Nicky is no longer drinking formula at all, so this week I washed and cleaned our beloved baby bottle machine so we can sell it, and with the counter space freed up by its absence I spent a glorious afternoon rearranging the kitchen. The toaster and bread box are with the coffee maker in a breakfast-slash-sandwich zone. The coffee maker is next to the sink so you can refilled its water reservoir easily. The stand mixer is closer to the stove which makes sense because most things you mix, you also need to cook. The space makes so much more sense now and is so much more ~visually open~ (sorry). I need to get a second or bigger utensil holder and I want a different breadbox; there’s nothing wrong with our current one but the steel doesn’t go with my current ~aesthetic (again, sorry) and it has a big dent on the top where someone (me…) dropped a jar of salsa on it the first week we had it. I would love one that was wood or white, but I also want a drop-front and a flat top so I can store stuff on top of it. The same one we have now comes in white, which would be perfect EXCEPT it’s not really available here? You can get it on UK sites for £31, but here in Canada I can only find it from sketchy resellers for $160, or $100 + $60 shipping. So the search continues.

OH! As part of the kitchen & pantry project I made labels for all my salts this week! Except this isn’t all of them, I need to get more of these jars (from the dollar store) for the rest of them. I have the labels all ready when I do though

You would never guess this guy has barfed over one hundred thousand times this week.

snowy day

I had a surprise day off today, probably the last in a while, so I decided to make the most of it and take Nicky out for an early morning snowy day walk. For some reason late February snow always surprises me but I think it happens here pretty frequently so idk why that is! It’s actually snowed like three times in the past week but today is the first “real” one.

Nicky staying cozy in his stroller with the weather shield on!

This week’s Thursday treat was cupcakes, at Gwen’s request. I used this recipe for white cake, but halved to make 12 cupcakes. I topped them with this cute Fairy Tale sprinkle mix from Sweetapolita and they were a big hit with all the kids.

This boy loves his apples.

spring is springing

this famous Skinnytaste bagels

Nicky’s fave lunch right now: peanut butter sandwiches cut into “coins”

it was my birthday this week

dolly slumber party

Spring is starting to happen outside, and inside I’m getting a little bee in my bonnet to do my version of spring cleaning, which mostly involves rearranging things. Right now I’m obsessed (OBSESSED) with turning my kitchen closet into a pantry, which means I’d have to move all the tools and brooms and cans of pant into what is currently my craft closet, and move all my craft supplies… where? What I really want to do is put proper storage in the hallway and have my craft supplies there. Unfortunately I can’t afford to buy a bunch of cabinetry at the moment but I also haven’t been doing much crafting so I might just put it all in some big Rubbermaid bins temporarily.

What else? I’m very keen to finish painting our bedroom, and to repaint the hallway which assaults my eyes daily with its grotesque yellow paint. I need to put up all the art I took down when I painted the living/dining room as well as some in the little kids’ room. Speaking of the little kids’ room, last weekend I finally mostly finished sorting out and organizing the toys, which had been in a messy jumble since we had the floors done (last spring…). I need to get some storage for under Gwen’s bed to sort out the last of it still but it’s already much better.

I’ve lost track of how many teeth Nicky has now. They keep popping through in batches, and he’s been miserable, but I think he’s very very close to being done? The four dreaded molars he’s been working on since he turned one (FOUR MONTHS AGO) have mostly popped out (at last check he had three) and in the meantime his canines have appeared as well. This means he’s started sleeping through the night again (occasionally) so Gwen is sleeping through the night in her own bed (occasionally). Of course nights like that (of which last night was one) mean we have mornings like I did today, when they both wake up much earlier than normal. Nicky hollered me out of bed at 6:15 and when I brought him out to the living room I found Gwen already there, watching Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron.

Tomorrow is another early morning, as I have the second of three spine injections at the pain clinic out in the suburbs at 7:10am. I’m definitely not looking forward to it but best to get it out of the way and have the rest of my (long) weekend free!

cinnamon rolls

Today for post-Lego Club treat I made Sym and Gwen cinnamon buns. I love them but YIKES if they aren’t a lot of work (the buns, not the children…). I’ve used this recipe before but always refrigerated them unbaked overnight and finished them in the morning, so this was my first time making them straight through. Even with the 2 rises it basically ate up my entire afternoon. It was alllllll worth it though, because they really are the best.


the busiest body

I’ve been taking medication for my degenerative disc disease for a week now and it’s honestly amazing how much of a difference it’s made already. It’s such a relief to get up in the morning and be able to just… get up. Easily, and with (almost) no pain. It’s incredible! I have an appointment to see the pain management specialist on Saturday afternoon for an information session, after which I can get a steroid injection into the ol’spine right away if I choose (I probably will choose).

On Monday Gwen was off school, and I serendipitously had a surprise day off work. I absolutely relish these opportunities to spend a weekday just me & the kids; it’s no secret that my dream would be to trade my work-at-home-mom life for a stay-at-home-mom one, so any chance to pretend that’s the case is a treat. We didn’t do anything special, just ran a few errands before lunch and then had a lazy afternoon at home. Nicky napped, I made fresh pasta, and Gwen took a long-overdue bath. It was exactly the day I wanted.

Days like that used to make me feel sort of desperate and sad, like it doesn’t happen often so I would always know it was just a one off, but somehow it doesn’t feel like that anymore. I’m feeling satisfied and at peace with work, something that pretty much corresponds exactly with how many kids I’m looking after who scream all day (which right now is zero). So while I still dream of being able to quit my job and focus solely on my own kids, working feels a little less like work lately, and a lot more like fun ❤️

back in action/back inaction

Last fall (on Gwen’s birthday actually) I got up bright and early and went over to the hospital to have an MRI to try and discover the cause of my chronic and persistent back pain. This was right around the time when our family doctor was moving to a new office, and I guess in the confusion the staff at the old clinic missed calling me about the results. I finally saw my doctor yesterday morning and it turns out I have degenerative disc disease.

This is actually a really common ailment that a lot of people have, especially older people, but it’s something I’ve actually been dealing with since I injured my back at 18, over two decades ago. Since then I’m been living with pain that has continued to worsen, and is now at the point where it’s negatively affecting almost every aspect of my life (for example, I can’t lean forward far enough over the sink to properly brush my teeth so I had TWO cavities at my last dentist appointment!). At the time when I originally hurt my back the doctor I saw was INCREDIBLY dismissive of me and since then I’ve been anxious about seeking help and reluctant to do so. Like I’ve tried things to get some relief, but I never knew the cause or the name of what was hurting me.

Now that I have a diagnosis and a treatment plan I actually feel really positively about it, and hopeful that I can finally a start living more normally & comfortably in my own body. It’s a relief just knowing, you know? Although it is becoming a little frustrating having all these unrelated health problems that each on their own would be manageable, but combined tend to ruin my life. Anyway, I’ve started medication for the pain and my doctor is referring me to both the spine clinic and a pain management specialist, so things are already looking up.

when it rains

Taylor and I bought a new dishwasher in mid-December but when the technician came (not until last week) to install it he found MOLD inside. This is not something you can fix (the mold is apparently deep, deep in the machine where you can’t see the majority of it or more importantly, clean it out) so now we’re trying to have the dang thing picked up and get refunded the not-insigificant amount of money we spent. It’s been frustrating and disappointing, as we’ve needed a new dishwasher for a long time and spent over a year researching before deciding on one what almost every review site has declared the best brand. When I found the exact model I wanted on sale $500 off it seemed too good to be true and GUESS WHAT, IT WAS. It’s been nothing but an expensive, time-wasting hassle and if I could I’d say FORGET IT to the dishwasher and put in a wine fridge instead.

Then in the middle of dealing with this I found out that Nicky’s SkipHop Tuo high chair (which I already have problems with) was recalled! So now I have to scramble to find a temporary high chair to use while I wait for my replacement to arrive. (I’ve updated my review post with regards to the recall so click here to find out if you have a Tuo that needs replacing).

In addition to this, I’ve been dealing with this frustrating tax problem for close to a year now that is honestly driving me crazy. It was my fault in the first place, like I messed up, but I’ve done everything I can to try to resolve it and it’s just dragging on forever! Plus every time a new person becomes involved it’s like they start the whole process from the beginning again and I get scary letters threatening legal action if I don’t immediately pay $30,000 (which I swear I don’t actually owe) which is… not ideal.

These things on top of our regular busy life and my tedious health woes are really overwhelming, but I’m honestly trying to stay positive and optimistic about them all. I’ve done my part (by which I mean MADE SO MANY PHONE CALLS), now it’s time for the world to do its!

Merry Croupmas Baby

how many pictures like this can I post here before it’s considered illegal?

I’ve been complaining all over social media about how we are all sick with gross colds, but Nicky took it to a whole other level this week by getting croup. I didn’t have any experience with croup (neither of the girls ever had it) outside of Anne of Green Gables (I do know not to treat it with ipecac syrup though…) so I just thought it was one of those weird old timey diseases people don’t get anymore! Apparently not, and he’s been up the last few nights, wheezing and bark-coughing. Thankfully he actually has it quite mildly and seems to be on the mend already.

I closed the daycare on Wednesday (before I knew what he had) but according to regulations children with mild croup don’t need to be excluded from daycare, so while I’m technically open today and tomorrow, all my clients chose to not bring their kids. So my winter vacation is starting early and I guess every croup has a silver lining?

Anyway. Here are a few pics from our mini Mini Christmas last weekend. Everyone being sick kind of put a damper on our plans so we didn’t go out to do any activities (except for a dentist appointment for me & the girls, ugh what was I thinking when I scheduled that???) but we still had a nice time at home. On Friday night my sister came over and we built some Christmas Lego sets and watched Riverdale, and on Saturday we had a Chinese food feast, built more Legos (we’re honestly still not done O___o) and busted out the Christmas pajamas. Only the kids got new ones this year but they might just be the cutest ever.

Calm & Bright

Gwen has a bad cough so I let her stay home from school today. Actually it’s more like I forced her to, she was very upset about not getting to see her teacher. She cheered up when she got to watch cartoons and build Lego all morning though. Now the little kids are napping so she gets to watch cartoons in my bedroom instead of the living room, which is a treat reserved only for sick days. Sym got her 1st term report card and did very well in almost all her classes, almost all As and Bs. We want her to get her biology grade up a little (right now she has a C, but she did get 80% on her final lab which is a good sign) but she got a B in math, which is a class she’s struggled in for the last six years. Nicky started walking.

It was foggy and gloomy all last week and I thought it would be better to have sunny days but the whole world is mucky and brown right now. Normally I’m very opposed to snow but this year I wish it would. Just a bit. But I’ve checked the forecast and it’s supposed to stay sunny this week, rainy over the weekend, and then even sunnier straight through Christmas. On the weekend we took the little kids for a walk through Stanley Park to Beaver Lake and it was nice enough, but I really want to see & experience some winter and not just mud and dead leaves. Taylor and I had decided to skip going up Grouse for the Peak of Christmas again this year but that decision might need reevaluation.

Tonight I’m trying out a new spaghetti sauce recipe. I need to finish a pair of shoes for one friend’s baby and start a pair for another. I got the new (tacky with pink accents) play kitchen I ordered on Black Friday and I’m in the redecoration planning stages. White everything, grey everything, silver hardware, brass hardware? I was planning on using the leftover stick-on tiles for the backsplash but I didn’t have enough so I ordered a few more- Home Depot has them individually for A DOLLAR right now, which I feel has to be a mistake but I swear they had better ship them to me! The whole project is going to take a lot of painting before I can even start assembling so it probably won’t be done until after the break, but I’m planning on sharing the whole process with you once I’m finished.

Happy December

things on my mind as we roll into this last month of 2017…

gift spreadsheets
I remember when I was a kid trying to spy over my mom’s shoulder at the hand-written list of gifts for all us kids. To stop my own kids from doing the same I made that most boring and tedious of documents, A SPREADSHEET that I colour-coded and shared with Taylor. I think this will also help us to avoid a replay of last Christmas, (I gave you my heart? no) when we kept forgetting what we’d already bought and kept buying more and ended up with WAY too many gifts.

holiday concerts
Gwen’s school concert was last night (so bizarrely early imo) and it was cute in the way that elementary school concerts are cute. Gwen did a great job and Nicky really enjoyed himself, jumping up and down in our laps and clapping, through about half of it before becoming overtired and angry. Thankfully Gwen’s class performance was early in the show so Taylor was able to leave early without missing her.

decorating, decorating, decorating
I keep rearranging the lights. I’m pretty happy with how they are now, although I feel like I need oneeeee moreeeee strand to put around the fence railing above my stairs to really complete the look outside. We’re going to be decorating the tree tonight and I think getting started on building some holiday Legos this weekend? Then there’s the holiday Playmobils as well, and the little paper houses and garlands and and and…

advent calendars
Taylor and Gwen have Lego advent calendars this year, and I really wanted one for myself but I couldn’t find one I liked. So I guess next year I will have to make my own! I didn’t have time this year but maybe it would be cool? I had a brief idea of making them to sell but the packing sounds like a logistical nightmare. Oh, I and I need to make a new regular calendar for 2018, so keep your eyes peeled for that since I’ll prob be offering it as a free download again

I typically schedule my winter vacation to sync up with the school break, and this year it’s the last week of December and the first week of January. There’s three more weeks of work left, but I can do it. I can do it. This week Taylor’s had out-of-office training and hasn’t been able to take Gwen to school so I’ve been doing drop offs and pick ups with all the little kids. It’s been… ok. Last week I had one of the daycare kids walking so Nicky could go in the double stroller with the other daycare kid, but he (the walking kid) is not yet two so it took a long time and on rainy days we got drenched. I got a stroller board for him instead and it’s been so much better not having to a) walk at the speed of a toddler, and b) wear Nicky for hours every day. I’m thinking I can start doing drop offs regularly a few days a week so Taylor isn’t always getting into the office so late, but still, I’m glad this week is over (it’s a pro-d day) and I don’t have to go down to the school for three whole days!