Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Brief Art Quiz

What is this?

What does it do?

See how close to a 4 year old's mind you can get!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

We Interrupt the Happy for a Little Whine

Before I start this post, let me say, I am so grateful for the surgery. I am beyond thankful for good medicine and delighted that the growth was benign.

But I am getting rather tired of recovering. I have discovered this spring what an impatient person I am. The recovery is no exception. I would like to be done with it now.

I miss interacting with my kids the way I used to.

I want to be baking.

I'd like to be able to reach for things.

The state of my house is driving me batty.

I hate the way the kids can get on my last nerve so quickly.

I want my energy back.

I'm tired of how whiney I am.

I know it's temporary but it feels so long.

I can only imagine how someone with a serious illness feels. So, if this experience gives me a little more empathy, than maybe it is worth it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A whole Bunch of Nothing


I had my six week visit with my surgeon this week. He gave me the OK to drive. Woot woot. So now I am back where I belong, screeching "It's the pedal on the right" at hapless seniors who treat the highway like their driveway. It's bliss.

Speaking of the surgery, last week I noticed that one teeny end of the incision had a small infection. I decided to do what any prudent blogger would do, I tweeted about it. The answers were rather unequivocal. I got me to a Dr. posthaste. Thank-you to my fellow bloggers for cyber yelling at me. I got some antibitics and it cleared up.


Does anyone know any good knock knock jokes? I am trying to teach my children the art of joke telling. I know all kids have a wacky sense of humour but this is stretching it.
knock knock.
Who's there?
Red light.
Red light who?
Red light banana. AH HAHAHAHA.

ALL THE LIVELONG DAY. Please help me. Please.


If you live near a Bass Pro Shop, I TOTALLY recommend their summer camp. We killed nearly two hours and everything was free. The boys had a blast and because we went on a weekday, it wasn't crowded at all. PLUS, now we are edumacated about camping. Which is as close to camping as I hope to get.


Spud has his heart set on having a Larryboy cake for his upcoming birthday. I have trouble with frosting a 9x13. So, I had come up with the brilliant idea of having a photo cake made with a printed pic of Larryboy. Only it turns out that they can't because of copyright stuff. So, what now? Ideas? Or am I going to be fussing with fondant in a couple of weeks? Which should be good for a week's worth of posts.


We had our first meal out on the deck today as it was finally warm enough. Hallelujah. Carrots and peaches just taste better when one is sitting drenched in the sun. PLUS, it's very nice to have the mess my children make while eating confines to the out of doors.


This has become my children's new favorite clip. If you've got any bored pre-schoolers lying around , call them over. This is another one of those things that I do not understand at ALL, but it works like a charm in the house of geek to get them smiling and laughing their heads off.

For more posts worth reading, please visit Jen at Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

At Least They Have Their Priorities Straight

Travelling with the boys in the car is NEVER boring. Exasperating, occasionally, hilarious, generally, LOUD, always, but never boring.

Case in point.

Sprout: When I grow up I am going to marry a princess. But we are not going to live in a castle. We are going to live next door to mommy becuase then they could look after me.

Spud: I want to marry a princess too but I am not going to live in a castle either.

HG: Where would you live?

Spud: M&M's. Beucase then I would always have something to eat.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Your Secret is Safe with Me Mom

Sunday was not only Father's day, it was also my mom's birthday. How old? I'll never tell.

Cause she'd kill me.

Anyway, I don't talk about my mom much, but really, the woman is full of bloggity goodness. Especially around technology. Mom and technology are basically oil and water. Only worse. She is very intelligent and articulate woman but when it comes to gadgets and gizmos, well, it ain't pretty.

For example, as part of my brother's job, he's been on TV a few times over the past few years but she has never seen him on it. Why? She cannot turn on their TV.


Now granted, because it is a satellite system it requires two remotes, but she has yet to turn on the TV in their house. Unless my kids are there and then they help her.

She has asked for a dictionary for this birthday and I will happily get her one as it will take WAAAY less time for her to open the dictionary and look the word up vs trying to find it online.

Waaay less time.

But all joking aside,

My mom is truly one of my favorite people. We seemed to skip a lot of the mother-daughter tension that often exists and she is one of the people in this world that I am closest to. This parenting thing would have been unbelievably daunting without her support, encouragement and advice.

Her sense of humour is unparalleled, which is why I feel comfortable mocking her technical illiteracy as she gives as good as she gets. She is a superb seamstress, a great cook and the woman could still fit in her wedding dress if she so chose.

Her kindness, discipline and gentleness have helped shape my siblings and I into who we are today. I can't imagine life without her and I'm so blessed to have her as my mom.

Happy 29th birthday mom. May you have many many more!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hats, chefs and Cookies


I am looking for a new hat for summer. The one I currently wear is ten years old and used to be Way Cooler's. I'm thinking this may not be my best fashion choice. But, fashion choices are not really my forte. Since my sister-in-law has not been successful in getting me on What Not To Wear yet, I need your help. Is this suitable for a geeky 36 year old housewife? And please do not suggest I just look in Target as I might burst out sobbing.


There are no Targets in Canada. No Chik Fil A, no Sonic, no pit BBQ, no Victoria's Secret, no Trader Joes, no Clubhouse crackers, no Wal-Green's, CVS or any other drugstore where couponing is an art form, no Luby (please forgive me my love of the mediocre cafeteria) and no Ro-tel tomatoes. It's like living in the frontier. Only with McDonald's.


I've been watching a lot of food network lately, (it's either that or a M*A*S*H DVD.) I have come to the conclusion that I would like Way Cooler to grow up his hair long and curly and know what extra virgin olive oil means. Maybe I've been watching a little too much Richardo and Chef at Home.


Speaking of Way Cooler, he has gotten on a whole foods kick as of late. So, my foodie friends, who has a killer recipe for baked beans? He'd like them to taste as close to pork and beans as possible. But from scratch. Good luck to me!


Spud finished kindergarten on Wednesday. I'd like to write a post about that, but I am still in denial that he will no longer be home with me much come September. I've always had them around Spud did not do pre-school, and his Kindergarten was 2.5 hours when he normally would have had quiet playtime. Having him gone all day? It's going to be an adjustment to say the least.


And by all day, I do mean ALL DAY. Our city has a bazillion schools in the central part. That's where either older people live or young professionals who can pay a zillion dollars for a 50 year old home. (Around here you pay a premium to live close to the downtown.) The rest of us live on the outskirts where there are no schools. So our kids are bussed in. Spud will spend 45 minutes on the bus. EACH WAY. So, he will be gone from 8:00-4:30 or so every day. I do try not think about that either.


A recent conversation with Sprout.

HG: Would you like a Rhubarb cookie? They're really good.

Sprout: How do you know? Have you had one already?

HG: I had one yesterday.

Sprout: How was it?

For more quick takes, visit Jennifer at Conversion Dairy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How To Help Surgery Edition

Throughout this whole surgery we have been utterly blessed with really great family and friends. People have come out of the woodwork to give us a hand. They've blessed us in some really creative ways as well. So I thought I'd share some of the practical ways that people have helped us and give you all some ideas for when you need to help someone.

1. Bringing meals. While this isn't all that new or novel, it has been very helpful. We have TOTALLY appreciated all the meals we have received. One thing I have learned from this is to send meals in disposable containers. While it isn't earth friendly, it is husband friendly. Husbands (at least mine) don't always know what containers belong to us and what belongs to the nice lady who sent the casserole. And then they forget to return them. Which isn't a good thing. Once I am well I totally plan to stock up on aluminum pans and plastic dishes.

2. Childcare. Because of the sternal precautions and the strong drugs, I couldn't really be alone with the kids. Some wonderful women have taken my kids, fed them, played with them, even made cookies with them and returned them happy and tired. If you can offer this to a friend recovering from surgery it is HUGE!!!

3. Care packages. These were SO nice. Magazines, a movie, chocolate, lip balm, toys for the boys, all things that were readily used and I wouldn't have bought them otherwise. The boys each got a colour changer lightening McQueen car. They have spent hours playing with them, and it made them feel rather involved as they got something from mommy's basket. As well, the giver of one basket included a box of Dilly bars because they heard that Way Cooler liked Dairy Queen. It was a BIG HIT with my busy caregiver.

4. Library Slave. A lady from my bible study group works at the library. She has volunteered to pick out and drop off a selection of books every week or two and take in the ones we are done with. THIS IS HUGE. The boys and I are HUGE fans of the library, their dad, not so much. Plus he has a lot on his plate. I had just assumed that our library days were done for three months or so. To have this lady do this for us is a wonderful treat. PLUS, it is like she has gotten into the mind of my boys. They adore the selection of books she's brought us thus far.

5. Hospital Parking Pass. We were given one for the week of my stay. SUPER DUPER GIFT. It made Way Cooler's life so much easier and it saved us the hassle of having to go get one ourselves. If you can afford it, this is a GREAT gift.

6. Sports guests. Because having a soccer ball kicked into my chest would be a VERY, VERY bad thing, I have to skip the boy's games. Plus, Way Cooler signed up to coach Sprout's team long before we knew about the surgery so now Spud had no one to be at his games. Enter a wonderful Uncle and some dedicated grandparents who ensure that Spud has someone cheering for him Every.Single.Game. It's awesome. Maybe you could go to a game or two and cheer on a little one whose parents are not able to.

7. One last thing. PLEASE do not make us sick. I have never been a germaphobe, but this experience has made me VERY leery about being sick. Sneezing hurts. A LOT. I am doing my level best to avoid illness. So please do not bring your sick kids to visit or come see us when you are ill. Getting sick only makes me sore, a cancer patient could get even sicker. We'd love to see you, but not when you are sick.

What about you? How have you helped someone or been helped?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Me and the Clampetts

When Way Cooler was growing up his family lived on a lake. Every morning they woke and looked out back to see clear blue water, hills covered with deep green foliage and the flight of numerous waterbirds.

Now Way Cooler wakes and looks out back at this.

And this.

He cries a lot.

Aren't our back-yard neighbours (both sets of them) KLASSY?

That first photo? The dead sod? Well, it IS good to see it finally laid out after two years of being rolled up and sitting beside the house, but I have a funny feeling that unless Benny Hinn pays a visit, that sod is gonna stay dead. Just a hunch.

The rest of the yard, last year they sprinkled some grass seed. And walked away. No water, no fertilizer, just the seed VS the weeds. Guess which won? Oh, and I did mention no lawn mower? You could have hid a body in the mess back there. Maybe that was the point.

And as for the fountain, well, that broke in snowstorm. Six months ago. I'm giving them one more week to fix it and then I am over to set it up right. JUST KIDDING.


Well at least we can pretend it's a lake.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What's Up, Doc Edition.

I totally stole this off of Janet's blog. Which I feel entitled to, being an invalid and all.

Joining... The human race. After three weeks of recovering I am itching to get back to cleaning, cooking, and playing with my kids.

Sitting... and sitting and sitting some more. There's been more sitting in the past three weeks than in the past six years.

Reading... Some really bad books. I have been having a string of bad luck picking them. Any suggestions? I'm not rally looking for deep at this point in my life, just a plot, some well developed characters and no moralizing. Is this too much to ask?

Drinking... Lots and lots of ginger ale.

Wondering... Why TV is such a vast wasteland.

Planning... To never let some snake oil salesman cut me open ever again.

Enjoying... Being mobile and semi-pain free. Also REALLY enjoying the sunshine and the fact that there is no more snow in the forecast!

Learning.. more about narcotics, drug interactions, and pain relief than I ever thought possible.

Passing... This on to you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Now I Know Who Pulls That Cord

After my surgery I was in the hospital for about 5 days. Most of it was pretty boring. I slept, took medicines, had my vitals taken, threw up and slept some more. And that's about it.

However, I do have one story.

I was (and still am) on something called sternal precautions. Basically it means that I cannot lift, push or pull anything over five pounds. At all. I also cannot use my hands to get up from a chair, get into a tub or do anything that exerts pressure on my sternum. Good times.

Once I had my catheter removed I began to realize the full implications of sternal precautions. The bathroom door weighed more than 5 pounds. Which wasn't a problem, I could push it open with my rear and then pop it into place so that it would stay open while I was busy. (There was a door on the stall in the bathroom, so no one else had to see my bizness.)

However, one morning, VERY early, I forgot to prop the door open. I was stuck. In a hospital bathroom. Which rates right up there with the Wal-Mart bathroom for aesthetics*. I really had no idea what to do. I didn't want to knock and wake up my rather grumpy roommate, nor did I have any burning desire to stay in the bathroom any longer than I had to. My bed was calling.

Then I remembered it. The little red string in the bathroom. The one I had often wondered at when in a hospital, "who pulls this thing?" It turns out, I do. Sure enough about a minute later, in walked a spunky little nurse's assistant. And she was snapping on some rubber gloves.

When she saw me just standing there she got a rather quizzical look on her face. I smiled and told her (much to her apparently dismay I might add) that all I needed was someone to open the door.

Free at last.

*I think I may be beginning to feel a little cooped up. Or I am even geekier than I thought. I almost bounded out of my chair with joy because I spelled aesthetics right the first time. But I refrained from bounding as it is against sternal precautions.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I Think I'll Leave My Shirt Open Dr. Dearest

A week after the surgery, I went to my family doctor's office to have my stitches removed.

Side note, you know it's a big surgery when you get both stitches and staples. And neither are of the dissolving kind. More of the "hurts like the dickens to remove" kind.

Anyway, I was at the quack Dr.'s office and while he did not at all inquire as to how I was feeling after having my ribcage cracked open and my lungs dug around in, he did tell me I should button my shirt up all the way so no one else would have to see my scar.

That's about as close I have ever come to bopping a medical doctor right in the nose. (I've come even closer to bopping a certain PhD doctor, but that's another story for another time.)

I was speechless. But I am not now. So here are the things I wish I had said.

I am not covering this scar up. I need to see it. It's too important to hide.

This scar will forever remind me of the privilege I have of living in a country where excellent medical care is readily available for everyone regardless of income. It will also remind me to give to those who don't.

It's a reminder of how great it is to be a part of a church community. I have been prayed for by people I do not even know, fed by people I know slightly and friends have willingly sacrificed time and energy to help me out.
It teaches me even more about family. My parents have given up a month of their lives to take care of me and my kids and my sister willingly parenting five kids, including the three busiest boys in Canada. Plus, my brother has been cheering Spud on at soccer for oever a month. I only hope I'll be able to return the favour.

Every time I look at this scar I will remember those who have their own hidden scars and will be prompted to pray for them, just as I have been so remembered.

This scar reminds me that beauty is not about being perfect, it's about being real. My "flaws" make me who I am.

I have a 13 inch reminder of how gentle my boys can be. All three of them. I have been loved, stroked and waited on with infinite patience. I will never forget being kissed up and down my arm and being asked, "is your heart happy now mommy?" Forever happy my boy. Forever.

Most importantly it reminds me that I was not only physically broken and am now healed, there is a healer for broken hearts and souls and he binds them even better than any doctor could ever.

I can't cover that up.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I'm Baaack.

Lucky you.

After three weeks of sitting, sitting and more sitting I am back and ready to take on the cyber-world.

The real world will have to wait, I still can't drive, but you my lovelies, are about to get subjected to much more of the drivel you've come to know and tolerate.

First thing, let me say, thank-you for all your lovely e-mails, cards, prayers and kind thoughts.

Also, thank-you to everyone who has written a funny post over the past few weeks. You've kept me utterly entertained.

Second, the results are in and the news is better than we hoped for. It was not a Thymoma as we all expected. That would have been OK, but some thymomas can be cancerous, and they are often linked a rather serious disease.

So, the news was that both lumps (they found a second one when I was open) are Teratomas and these are both very, very benign. It turns out, I am just lumpy.

So, no further follow up is needed and I am now perfectly normal.

Or, as normal as I can get.