Let the Girl’s Weekend Begin…

November 26, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Christmas, Daddy-O, Family Ties, Food, Movies, Recipes, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Alex is disappearing for most of the weekend since it’s Grey Cup time again.  The girls and I have the weekend planned.  We’re going to make Chocolate  Crunchy Shortbread Cookies, have an indoor picnic complete with Pizza and “Home Alone” tonight, and tomorrow we’re going to the movies with Grandma to see “Moana“.  Should be a great weekend, me and my big-little ones 🙂

Last year I found a copy of my Mom’s Shortbread recipe around the house somewhere.  I was so happy that I finally found a copy of the most incredible Christmas Shortbread that I had been searching for, forever.  My Mom can no longer bake or cook, or for that matter, even hold a coherent conversation any longer.  She can’t tell me her recipes because she doesn’t remember them.  Somehow, after I found the recipe I misplaced it, and it made me very sad – sad to the point of tears, over a stupid recipe.

So I searched the internet and stumbled upon the ‘Robin Hood Flour’ version of “Melt in Your Mouth” Shortbread Cookie. The ingredients, from what I could remember, were similar.  Damn they were good.  I cut up pieces of Dairy Milk with Crunchy (available at Walmart in the British Food aisle) and put them in the mix.  The cookies lasted until Tuesday. Except for the chocolate, they were my Mom’s recipe.  Mom used to shape the cookies into crescent moon shapes and after they were baked, she dipped half in melted chocolate.  Mom also sometimes added finely ground almonds to the dough.

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Ingredients:

2 cups (500 ml) Unsalted Butter

1 scant cup Sugar

3 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup Cornstarch

4 oz chopped Chocolate (if using) or more

“Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take your butter out of the refrigerator about an hour before baking so it will be nice and soft. This will make it easier for the sugar to mix in with the butter or shortening.

Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until very light in texture, about 5 minutes.

Creaming butter with sugar adds air to the batter, increasing volume to help better mix the flour into the butter mixture.

Add sugar and continue beating until sugar is completely combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine flour and cornstarch in a separate large bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined.

Flour straight from the bag may be compacted. To loosen it, scoop it out of the bag with another container or spoon before pouring it into your measuring cup. This will help you get a more accurate measurement. Level it off with a knife to make sure you have just the right amount.”

Chop the Chocolate Bar into smallish pieces and mix them into the dough.

cookie and chocolatebatter 2

“Place ball of dough by heaping  tbsp (15 mL) on prepared baking sheets 2” (5 cm) apart.  Press down with a fork.

making cookiesmaking cookies 2

Place your cookies about 2” (5cm) apart to allow for spreading

Bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden.  Remove cookies from baking sheet and cool on wire racks.”

baking

cookies

Keep the dough in the fridge between baking and use a second cookie sheet – let the first one cool off completely before you use it again (put it in the fridge), this will help prevent spreading.  Take the cookies out a minute or two before the time they’re done to avoid brown edges.

You can either scoop out balls of dough, round them, flatten them with a fork or roll the entire batch into two logs and slice when chilled (this method is easier for decorating).  You can pre-cut chilled logs, wrap well and freeze for 2-3 months – you can have cookies whenever you want 🙂

I rolled two logs, put them in the fridge and let them chill for an hour then cut them when ready and prepared the next tray while the first was in the oven.  The prepared tray was put into the fridge until ready to bake.  This greatly reduced the spread.

Makes about 45 cookies.

Should be a good weekend 🙂

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Time For Thanks Giving…

October 5, 2016 at 12:03 am | Posted in Daddy-O, Depression, Food, Recipes, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Fall is here and even though we can still wear shorts and t-shirts, it’s turkey time again. Actually, wearing shorts the second week of October isn’t all that unusual.  In Southern Ontario where we live, we often get an ‘Indian Summer‘ – a blissfully warm few days of gorgeous sunshine which follows the first frost of the season.  I haven’t noticed any frost lately, but it has been quite cool.  This past Summer was so hot, the cool weather was a blessed relief.

My Sister passed away last week.  She died from complications during a normal surgical procedure.  Saying she and I never got along was a mild understatement.  I shed about 5 tears.  Anyone who knows me, knows that is unusual because tv commercials can make me cry. Watching a particularly heart-wrenching episode of Grey’s Anatomy makes me sob.  I was despondent when my darling Dad passed away last year.  For my Sister, 5 tears.  I am free. Enough said.

Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend and I’m hosting dinner – I’m so excited, I haven’t looked forward to anything in a long time.  I love cooking Turkey – the house always smells so wonderful that you can’t wait for dinner.

I told Lexy she was cooking the Turkey this year.  She’s a little panicked, thinking I was serious 😉

I wanted to post some of the side dishes I plan on serving.  I’ll add pictures later.  As I’ve said in previous posts,  I started this blog to record my children’s antics and to house some of the family recipes for them when they’re older.  As I found out last week, one never knows when your time will be up.

Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash

1 – Medium sized Butternut Squash, scrubbed and sliced in half length-wise, seeds removed

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

Water (enough to go halfway up the Squash in the Slow Cooker)

In a bowl, combine Butter, Brown Sugar and Pumpkin Pie Spice, mix until combine and spread over Squash halves.

Place the Squash halves cut side up in the slow cooker – cut into smaller pieces if they don’t fit properly – note they will shrink a bit as they cook.

Carefully pour water down the side of the Slow Cooker making sure you don’t pour directly on the Squash.  Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until the thickest part of the Squash is very soft when poked with a knife.

Carefully remove the Squash from the slow cooker, trying not to lose the sugar/butter mixture or burn yourself.  Note, you can keep the Squash in the Slow Cooker until you’re ready to eat, just make sure the cooker is turned off.

Using oven mitts if the Squash is too hot to hold in your hands, scrape the soft flesh into a large bowl with a spoon, careful not to get the tough skin and stir to combine all the yummy juices and spices.

I used to just use Cinnamon and Brown Sugar, but I also liked a bit of Nutmeg flavour.  Then I had a brain wave and decided to use Pumpkin Pie Spice which already has both of those plus Ground Ginger, Allspice and Cloves.  It’s a heady mixture that pairs amazingly with the succulent Squash.  Just go easy on it, a little goes a long way.  I suggest you start with 1/2 of the 1/4 teaspoon first, mix it with The Brown Sugar and sample – see if you like the flavour strength.  If not, add a bit more until you’re satisfied.  It’s so good – even Lexy likes it.

The next dish is one of my favourites and can be cooked when the Turkey is done – if your oven is like mine, the Turkey will take up the whole oven.  This dish is the ultimate comfort food, dreamy vegetables baked in herbs – amazing with gravy or on their own.  The beauty of this side dish is it doesn’t matter if you have this exact combination of root veggies, pick your favourites.

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces

2 Large Parsnips, peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces

2 Medium Red Onions, peeled and cut into quarters

1 Rutabaga (or large Turnip), peeled, cubed into 1″ pieces

4-5 medium Yellow Fleshed Potatoes such as Yukon Gold (a Canadian invention by the way), peeled, cubed into 1″ pieces

4-5 medium Carrots, peeled, cut into 1″ pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried Oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried Rosemary

1 teaspoon coarse Salt

Several rounds of Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Preheat your oven to 450F

Place all of the chopped veggies in a bowl.  The above quantities are an approximation – you will need enough veggies to fill a sheet pan completely, but loosely (to allow for flipping the veggies during cooking).

Drizzle the oil over the veggies and sprinkle on the seasoning, salt and several good rounds of fresh ground pepper, mix well to coat.

Place a length of non-stick Aluminum Foil on your sheet pan.  Dump the seasoned veggies on the pan and spread out evenly.

Place in the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes and stir. Cook for another 30 minutes or until the veggies are fork tender and not burned.  Stir and flip the veggies so they caramelize and brown on all sides.

Place in a serving bowl and enjoy.  Try not to eat too many before they get to the table.

The veggies will hold in a covered dish on the stovetop for 4-5 hours if you want to make them in advance.  They can be served at room temperature.

Turkey Stuffing (for inside the bird)

My Mom’s recipe, it flavours the bird from the inside and tastes incredible.

1 Package Pork Sausage (Maple Leaf makes a great Pure Pork Sausage just for this purpose)
2 Slices dark Rye Bread (Dimpflmeier makes wonderful Rye but regular sandwich bread or pre seasoned turkey stuffing bread is also fine for this)
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Large Onion Diced
1/2 tsp Poultry Seasoning
Ground Black Pepper
Garlic Powder

Sauté the diced onion until barely translucent. Add the minced Garlic and sauté for a few more minutes. Remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl, place the Pork Sausage, and the sautéed Onions and Garlic. Add 1/2 Tsp. Poultry Seasoning, several rounds of freshly ground Black Pepper, and 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder.

Tear the bread into bite sized pieces and add them to the mixing bowl. Mix the mixture thoroughly but not too much that it all breaks down. Form into a loaf and stuff into the cavity of the bird (make sure there are no giblets in there first!).

When the Turkey is cooked, remove the stuffing – it should come out whole like a meatloaf. Slice and serve with dinner.

Dressing – for Outside the Bird

ingredients1 loaf Turkey Stuffing Bread (if you can’t find the pre seasoned bread, use a loaf of white bread and make sure you have lots of Poultry Seasoning)

Poultry seasoning (if you don’t have pre seasoned bread)

1 large onion diced

1 large clove Garlic, minced

2 half sticks unsalted butter, cut into slices – half for inside the mixture, the rest on top

4 packages OXO Chicken Bouillon powder and hot water prepared to package directions, set aside – note, you may not need all of the Bouillon; or you can use boxed low sodium Chicken Broth (Campbell’s)

Water, enough to fill the pan half way up the loaf

Saute onions until translucent and then add garlic. Saute for a few more minutes until the garlic is softened.  Remove from heat.

Make the bullion as directed on the package in a measuring cup.  Alternately pour a cup of boxed Chicken broth into a measuring cup.  Set aside.

torn-breadIn a large bowl, tear 1/3 of the loaf into small, bite-sized pieces.  If you used regular white bread, sprinkle liberally with Poultry Seasoning, then proceed to the next step.

If using the pre-seasoned loaf, scatter half the onion mixture over the bread.  Sprinkle some of the bouillon liquid or Chicken Stock over the bread and onions until the bread is just moistened.  The bread should hold a shape if you squeeze it in your hand, but it shouldn’t release any liquid. Add a few pats of butter. Mix to incorporate.

onion-bread-and-chicken-stockTear another 1/3 of the loaf and add the remaining onions and garlic and more bouillon or Chicken Stock as above.  If using the unseasoned loaf, add another round of Poultry Seasoning.  Mix.

Tear the remaining pieces and repeat as above.

Tear two pieces of Aluminum Foil and overlap slightly.  Dump the mixture onto the centre of the foil and shape into a loaf that will fit into the baking dish with some room on the sides of the dish.

ready-for-the-ovenPlace pats of butter all over the top and wrap the foil around the loaf so that the opening is at the top.  The dressing will steam in the oven, so the water can’t get in it.

Fill the pan with water, half way up the foil making sure water can’t  get into the package.

Place, covered, in a 350F oven for half an hour.  Remove lid and open the package for browning.  Place in the oven for another 1/2 hour.  The dressing is done when the top is crispy and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle.  So good with gravy 🙂

What to Do When Dad Goes Out With the Boys? Girls Night In, Making Cookies!

November 28, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Posted in Christmas, Daddy-O, Family Ties, Food, Movies, My Kid is a Donut, Recipes, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Toblerone Shortbread Cookies to be exact…

Alex is off for his usual boys weekend involving much drinking, debauchery and Football, so I decided to make cookies with the girls and watch a Christmas movie (Santa Claus is Coming to Town) while drinking Hot Chocolate.  I dunno, but that sounds like a pretty good night to me …

Back to the cookies … I had a copy of my Mom’s Shortbread recipe around the house somewhere.  I found it after we moved my Mom from her Apartment to her Long-Term Facility this Summer.  I was so happy that I finally found a copy of the most incredible Christmas Shortbread that I had been searching for, forever.  Somehow, between then and now, I’ve misplaced the recipe and it made me very sad – sad to the point of tears, over a stupid recipe.

Last weekend I decided to try the Robin Hood Flour “Melt in Your Mouth” version because the ingredients, from what I could remember, were similar.  Damn they were good.  I cut up pieces of Dairy Milk with Crunchy (available at Walmart in the British Food aisle) and put them in the mix.  The cookies lasted until Tuesday. Except for the chocolate, they were my Mom’s recipe.  Mom used to shape the cookies into crecent moon shapes and  after they were baked, she dipped half in melted chocolate.  Mom also sometimes added finely ground almonds to the dough.

img_2090

Ingredients:

2 cups (500 ml) Unsalted Butter

1 scant cup Sugar

3 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup Cornstarch

4 oz chopped Chocolate (if using) or more

“Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take your butter out of the refrigerator about an hour before baking so it will be nice and soft. This will make it easier for the sugar to mix in with the butter or shortening.

Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until very light in texture, about 5 minutes.

Creaming butter with sugar adds air to the batter, increasing volume to help better mix the flour into the butter mixture.

Add sugar and continue beating until sugar is completely combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine flour and cornstarch in a separate large bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined.

Flour straight from the bag may be compacted. To loosen it, scoop it out of the bag with another container or spoon before pouring it into your measuring cup. This will help you get a more accurate measurement. Level it off with a knife to make sure you have just the right amount.”

Chop one and a half of the regular sized Toblerone Bars into smallish pieces and mix them into the dough.

cookie and chocolatebatter 2

“Place ball of dough by heaping  tbsp (15 mL) on prepared baking sheets 2” (5 cm) apart.  Press down with a fork.

making cookiesmaking cookies 2

Place your cookies about 2” (5cm) apart to allow for spreading

Bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden.  Remove cookies from baking sheet and cool on wire racks.”

baking

cookies

Should be a good night 🙂

We might save some for Daddy when he gets home … maybe …

Last year we made a batch for the girls to take to their School’s Christmas party.   They didn’t contain either of the chocolate types because of potential allergies. After baking, the girls frosted them.  They were a big hit.

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Superman’s Last Flight…

September 9, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Posted in Daddy-O, Family Ties, Toeses and Noses | 2 Comments
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DadI lost my Dad yesterday.

He had Metastatic Prostate Cancer which spread to his bones, and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

It was quite a shock, how quickly he left us.  It still seems surreal and I’m still numb.  Just a week ago I was with him and I was taking him for a walk around his new home – a long-term care facility – in his wheelchair.  He winced when we went over even the smallest bump in the pavement.  When we went from the sidewalk to the pavement, he groaned.  He stopped speaking.  He was so thin.

He never complained though.  It wasn’t his style.

Two weeks ago he would talk rather animatedly when my Brother and I came to visit.  He had many things to tell me.  I wish I stopped to listen.  At the time it seemed repetitive.  He would start a sentence and when he got to the end, he would begin again – very nearly saying the same exact thing over again.

I would love to hear his voice again.

Mom would pester him.  In their room she would wheel him beside her chair – she barely able to move him because she’s frail herself but she had to look after him – that was her job.  They were four weeks short of their 56th Wedding Anniversary, and he two months shy of his 92nd Birthday.  He died on my Birthday – nearly at the same hour at night that I was born.

He was my Superman.  Cancer was his Kryptonite.

us

L-R: My Brother Rob, My Mom, Me and my Dad circa 1968 at our old house on Langley Ave, Toronto

He loved his family.  He was an amazing Grandfather – when my girls were small they were a bit shy when my Parents came over because my Mom would squeal and try to smother them in kisses and hugs; my Dad was the patient one.  He would get down to their level, on one knee, smile at them and talk to them very softly.  He would always win them over and they would go to him, they were Poppy’s Pets.  They adored him.

My daughter Lexy has his smile.

He was a family man.  He couldn’t catch a break when my brother and I were young.  For many years he could only find occasional work – a typical story for a blue-collar immigrant with a grade school education.  On my second birthday he finally landed a full-time job making $1 an hour – a veritable fortune.

My parents didn’t have a lot of money when I was a child – though it never felt like we had to do without – my Dad made a lot of the furniture pieces they needed.  I’ve inherited some of them.  For years I’ve had a three-legged, kidney-shaped table in my living room that my Dad made – I always tell the girls to be careful with it because it is older than I am.  They were always skeptical, but someday they’ll understand.  I hope the piece survives long enough for one of them to take it when they get older.

My Brother Rob is sitting on the 3-legged table as my Dad was putting it together

My Brother Rob is sitting on the 3-legged table as my Dad was putting it together

He didn’t sweat the small stuff.  Somehow everything would work itself out.  He’d been through too much in his life to let many things bother him.

He was always proud of my accomplishments especially when he walked me down the aisle when I married Alex, though his feet hurt so much in his rented shoes that he wouldn’t dance with me.

He was funny.  He had a lot of corny jokes which we always laughed at.

He was proud of his Danish heritage.  He was one of the few people I know who could stomach Akvavit.  It’s hard thinking of him in the past tense.

I promised him that we would move him to a facility closer to where we live.  We had it planned so that the girls would be able to see my parents more – that we could visit a couple of times a week.  He really wanted that.  I knew he was sick, but I didn’t expect him to go so fast.

There are so many things left unsaid.

I love you, Dad.

Andy - November 2, 1923-September 8, 2015

Andy – November 2, 1923-September 8, 2015

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Ativan…

April 24, 2014 at 1:25 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Daddy-O, Depression, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | 1 Comment
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untitledThis post has been kicking around in my head for a while now. It may come out as a jumbled mess, or it may come out as a coherent thought, regardless, please bear with me.

I had another argument with my eldest daughter tonight, of course just as she was supposed to go to bed.  She’s entering that ‘Tween’ stage and feels that her parents are against her and obviously don’t understand (or listen to) her.  I know this, because she keeps telling me.

I have a great relationship with both of my girls.  When Lexy was born, nearly 11 years ago, I didn’t think it was possible to love someone so much that my very heart hurt just looking at her.  Four years later I had the absolutely exquisite pleasure of having her sister and again, I didn’t think it was possible to love yet another person as much as I loved Lexy.  I learned something that day that I often told my two girls – your heart and capacity to love doesn’t divide among the children you have, it multiplies by the number of children you have.  My children are my world and I would step in front of a car for them.  It’s really a no brainer.

Lexy started keeping lists of the number of times we, her parents, have disappointed her.  Mind you, we’re not talking about huge disappointments, but little things – like saying we’ll go out for ice cream on the weekend and then something comes up and we can’t.  The last argument we had, I asked her to stop making that list because it hurt me very much.  Do we not take care of you? I asked her that night.  She wasn’t doing it to be mean, it was her way of dealing with the disappointment.  We take care of our children.  They are always fed, always have clean clothes.  Their vaccinations are up to date and they get a flu shot every year.  We don’t go out for a fun day as much as they would like, but those are material things that they need to learn come second – one’s basic human needs come first.

I like to think that I have instilled in my daughters some good, basic human decency.  They know it’s wrong to tease, or make fun of another person.  They know words hurt.  They know we expect them to be kind and helpful and polite young ladies.  They know we expect them to do their homework when they come home and not wait for Sunday night.  They know it’s wrong to lie and to steal.  The few times I’ve caught my youngest in a lie (her latest was when she said she was good at school when she was actually in trouble with the teacher), I’ve told her that it makes Mummy very sad when she lies to me.  That makes her sad too, because the last thing she would ever want to do is hurt my feelings.  I know I’m her whole world.

I feel lately like I’m being pulled in several directions at once and I’m certain that if someone lets go, I’ll go flying.  As expected, my children are making demands of me (as they should).  My husband makes demands of me (as he should).  My job makes demands of me (sometimes to the detriment of my family). My parents need to make more demands of me.  I just can’t always deal with everything at once.

My parents are elderly.  My darling Dad turned 90 last November and he’s sick.  I’m not entirely certain with what though, it’s very confusing talking to my Sister who seems to be the only one who knows what’s going on.  About a month ago, she told me that my Dad had Cancer and they thought it had spread to his bones.  He had been having trouble using his legs and last year he had quite a lot of Prostate trouble, but that biopsy came out clear.  My Dad falls down a lot and his legs lock up so much that he can’t get himself off of the floor.  My Mom, who is 88, cannot lift him, nor help him up when he falls down.  They have to call my Sister when something happens as she is the closest in distance to them.  The last time my Dad fell, my Sister had to carry him to the car.

My Dad has always been my Superman.  Cliché as it is, that’s always the way I’ve felt about him.  Now it seems as though Superman has traded his cape for a walker.

Last weekend was Easter and my family and Brother went to my parents’ house and I cooked dinner for everyone.  It was delicious and my parents were so proud.  When we were leaving, I went to say goodbye to my Dad and he was lying on the couch – but not the way he normally lays.  His head was at the opposite end of the couch, he didn’t have a pillow – he was lying with his face directly on the couch.  I could tell that he was in a lot of pain, you could see it on his face.  He seemed … so… frail. I kissed his cheek and told him I loved him.  He’s so skinny now, he’s even lost his little pot belly that he had for years.

My Sister also told me that my Mom has Alzheimer’s.  I think she was speaking broadly because as far as I know, my mom hasn’t had any formal testing for this, but there is definitely something wrong.  She forgets words.  She knows what something is (i.e., a cup), but can’t get the words out, then she gets frustrated and calls herself stupid. She definitely is showing signs of Dementia.  She’s forgotten how to use her stove.  She used to bake a cake weekly so that my Dad would always have something to go with his afternoon coffee yet I had to show her three times how to turn on the oven when we were there.  As I was leaving, she told me she forgot again and wasn’t that stupid? She kept telling me over and over how delicious the ham was and she’s never had anything so wonderful.  I told her that I’ve made that for her several times.  She argued that she’d never had it before…

Thankfully they are moving from the large house and property they’ve lived in since 1989 and will be living in a much smaller apartment, closer to my Sister, where they can be cared for.

It’s been rough lately.  I’ve been going to work just to escape it all.  At least when I’m concentrating on putting a proposal together, I’m not thinking about everything else that requires my attention.

Hopefully now that this post is out of my head, I will be able to sleep.  The Thyroid medicine I’ve been taking has been driving me crazy with the Insomnia.  I’m dead tired at night, but do you think I can sleep?  I hope so tonight.

I need a beach.

Thank you for listening … 😦

May Your Life be Filled With Happy Monkeys

October 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Posted in Caityisms, Daddy-O, My Kid is a Donut, Toeses and Noses | 1 Comment
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My kid’s a donut.  Today is picture day at her school and all week we’ve been reminding her that she needs to smile in her school picture.  Last year’s photo, while cute, was pretty serious looking.  When I asked her why she wasn’t smiling in the picture, she told me she “forgot how to”.  So this year, we changed it up and Lexy had a plan…

“Smile like you’ve just got a new monkey!”

Just that sentence elicited the response we were hoping for … a big, beautiful, Caity-smile.

Every night this week we’ve practiced ‘smiling’.  I’ve told her she doesn’t need to shy in front of the camera, that everyone will be nice to her and we all want to see her most beautiful smile.  “But Mummy, what if I forget how?”

So I guess we’ll see in a few weeks how it went.  She’ll either have a serious face or a great big smile on her face as she envisions getting a new monkey to add to her brood.  Of course, she could also follow her Father’s advice and think of banana-flavoured monkey poop…

Another Year…

May 27, 2012 at 9:25 am | Posted in Daddy-O, Family Ties | Leave a comment
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I can’t think of anything creative this morning, so Happy Anniversary, Bum 🙂

Even though you think you were the warmer one in your tux, I still think 50 pounds of Wedding Dress and Crinoline beats you… Damn that was a hot day – it was perfect 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile so much …

It was a beautiful day, with our 2 year old running amok, Uncle Sean chasing her around Parkwood, we were surrounded by our friends and family.

Thanks for six great years, two beautiful children, and a shoulder to lean on when I need it, which is often. 🙂 Love you.

A Good Milestone

January 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Posted in CKD, Daddy-O, Kidney Disease, Transplant | 2 Comments
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Too tired to write. Tomorrow is Alex’s 2nd Kidney-versary.  I’m still in awe of it all.

For those of you who haven’t heard all the details, read this.  And this.  And this. And this (if you want a laugh).

I’ll be sentimental later…

Almost Paradise

December 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Posted in Daddy-O, Depression, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Entrance to the lobby

We just came back from vacation.  Alex and I spent a much-needed week in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic at the Bahia Prinicipe Ambar resort.  No kids.  Just us.  Alex’s Step-Mom kindly moved here for the week so we could get away.  We both desperately needed a vacation after everything we’d been through the past few years.  I was exhausted – physically, emotionally, mentally – I had not one ounce of patience nor energy left.  I needed to recharge my batteries.

The temperature hovered around 28°C all week, it was heavenly.  Although the resort is listed as 5-Star, I’d give it 4-Stars.  It was really nice, but I wasn’t blown away.  The a-la-carte restaurants were good, especially the Don Pablo and the Bella Italia, but the Santa Fe really sucked.   By the end of it, we were tired of resort food and were so happy to find a Wendy’s at the airport.  Nothing though, could compete with the view.

We sat around the pool most of the time and went on one excursion – snorkeling and Stingray/Nurse Shark dive.  The ocean was too rough to go on the other excursions we booked, including Snuba and a Catamaran sail along the coast.  It was nice just to relax – something I haven’t done in years and up until now, wasn’t sure I remembered how to do.

Just gorgeous

the beach...

The beach was beautiful and with the exception of the crazy German tourists who nearly started a fist fight when we were on the transit with another German couple who didn’t seem too pleased to be bothered by the first couple, it was a great trip.  Alex surprised me (although I knew he was up to something) with a ring.  A beautiful three-stone diamond ring, surrounded on each side with four smaller diamonds.  When I saw it, I knew what it represented – him and our two daughters, my three monkeys.

We went snorkeling, held Stingrays, swam with Sharks and Parasailed. What more could a person want? The extra surge of Vitamin D really helped – so did the plenitude of Pina Colodas. Now I get to go back to work and face a gazillion emails and get ready for Christmas – which I can’t believe is only two weeks away.

This Would be Easier on an iPad…

November 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Caityisms, CKD, Daddy-O, Family Ties, Kidney Disease, Miscellaneous Crap, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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I don’t even know where to begin with this post. I’m beginning to think that I need to purchase a timeshare parking space near the Hospital, because that’s where I’ve spent so much, too much, time lately.

Last Monday I thought I pulled a muscle in my back. Last Thursday, I was cold at work. I’m NEVER cold at work. I wear t-shirts and I’m still warm. Last Saturday the fever peaked at 102 and my side was aching. I went to the Doctors and they told me that I had another Kidney infection. Frack.

I missed taking my kids for Trick or Treating on Monday for the first time, ever. I was almost too sick to hand out the treats.

Tuesday after dinner Caity said she ate too much. Ok. She went to bed and from the time she lay down she started crying. Hard. Cait’s been known to pitch a fit when she doesn’t want to do something and I attributed her crying to that. I yelled up the stairs for her to be quiet, and she said “Mommy, my tummy REALLY hurtsssss.”

We went through the usual questions, do you have to go to the bathroom? Nooooo. Do you think you’re going to be sick? Nooooo. Where does it hurt? Heeeerrrrreee (pointing to the space on the right of her belly button). I tried lying with her, thinking she had indigestion an rubbed her back. She kept yelling at me that she hurt and continued crying hard. My gut told me there was something going on.

I brought her downstairs with me and told Alex that we’d probably need to go to Emerg. He didn’t think it was that bad. Then she started throwing up. Then the fever started. Then the moaning started. And the screaming. Around 10 he took her in.

The Emerg Doctor said it was probably a virus but ordered an Ultrasound just in case.

They needed a Urine sample so Alex took her to the bathroom and told her she needed to pee in a cup.

Caity tilted her head and looked at her Dad incredulously. “Seriously??”

Alex laughed and said, “yes.”

She was still a little confused, “They’re not going to make me drink it, are they??”

The Emerg Doctor said she probably had a virus, but scheduled an ultrasound for the morning. They got home around 1 am. I got about 2 hours sleep. I think.

I took Cait for the ultrasound on Wednesday. I was standing behind the Tech and could see everything, not that I knew much of what was on the screen.  We waited for the results and the ER Doctor wanted a Urology consult.  He said Caity had two Stones, one in her bladder, one by her right Kidney causing it to back up.  She was pale, she was tired all the time, she was obviously very sick.  She was so sick that she didn’t make a fuss at the hospital. She sat quietly and even napped. This is a kid who went through two boughts of Pneumonia and stunned the doctors that all she wanted to do was play.  She broke my heart several times that night.

They told us to go to Sick Kids.

Alex left work and we went down to the Sick Kids Emergency.  We spent about 4 hours in the waiting room after being told we were third in line.  Kids were running around, Parents not parenting.  Caity lying in my lap, unwanting or unable to move, sleeping.  We get a room and a while later another ultrasound.  This time they can’t find the stones, but they can see evidence of where they were – the path they took was inflamed, dilated, sore.  The Radiologist suggested another scan be performed in the morning to verify his findings.  I made Alex go home, unwilling as he was to leave his family – his daughter so vulnerable, his Wife a mess.  There wasn’t room for the three of us to sleep there and one of us needed a decent sleep.  There was also the issue of our cat, Mavvy’s Diabetes.  He had missed one of his shots already, and shouldn’t miss another.  He drove home around 2 am.  I rolled around on the reclining chair, unable to get comfy and I think I fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.

The Doctors at Sick Kids are amazing.  They treat their patients like children, not little Adults.

After a heartwrenching night filled with little kids screaming and crying from pain, the next morning we waited and waited and waited and waited for an ultrasound.  Caity was so hungry and wasn’t allowed to eat, but anytime anyone with a uniform came into our room she immediately asked for some chocolate cookies and chocolate milk.  She was feeling better but her side still hurt.  We finally had the last ultrasound and it confirmed that the stones were gone but revealed something else – possible Appendicitis.  Great.  Does this kid have to go through anything more than she has already had to deal with?

After a consult with a really cute Surgical Resident and his Attending, they determined that Caity was no longer in any immediate danger and she could be released.

We came home last night, tired … beyond tired.  One of the Doctors said we must have been exhausted … I told him, yesterday we were exhausted…

Today I sent Caity to Daycare only, so she could have a calmer day to relax.  Ha.  She was Queen of the Daycare and ordered the other two kids around.  When I picked the girls’ up, they were at the Park running around.  It’s amazing, a child’s ability to bounce back from an illness.  If you saw her now, you’d never believe she was so sick just two days ago.

I finally feel like I can breathe again.  My child is safe.  This weekend is all about cuddles with the girls and relaxing.  We all need it.  We may even go to the movies.

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