Friday, February 27, 2015

Boys & their toys

Have boys, they said. 

It'll be fun, they said.

{ok, we didn't get a say in the whole boy:girl ratio, but work with me here}

Boys are awesome. Our boys are awesome. They are loud. They are hilarious. They are adventurous & cute as puppies when they are up to no good. You know that saying 'silence is golden'? Nuh-uh. If the house is quiet it's a telling sign they are up to no good...True. ALL true.

Another truth about boys - they make your toilet smell like an alley behind the local pub. No lie. 

We do toilet checks on the hour every hour - or after each pit stop, to comply with standard OH&S recommendations. A wet toilet floor is a slippery toilet floor, & no one wants to land in someone else's pee. Or even your own pee.

I was aware that the younger (& not so younger) male species may need reminding to refine their aim. I was prepared for drips on the toilet seat & few a strays on the floor. What I was not prepared for was the proverbial showers that would dry in yellow droplets all over the seat & lid. Neither was I expecting to regularly find Lake Bonney on our toilet floor. I kid you not. I had no idea that so much wee could come from such a small person in one trip.

With four boys taking regular jaunts to the lavatory, one of whom has a low capacity, hyperactive bladder meaning he is nearly always busting straight off the mark. Some days I clean the toilet floor more than I load the washing machine.

Over the last four months or so it seemed to exacerbate, likely due to the school holidays & with now four boys using the commode on a rotating door basis. Fed up with having to resort to a towel to clean up the initial mess, going through rolls of toilet paper & bottles of disinfectant on a weekly basis I called all the boys to a toilet door meeting. Mum was serious.

Rule #1

When you go to the toilet, hold your penis! 
Many times I had busted Jack just thrusting his hips forward & then refining his aim as he went. Which was never successful, & often by the time his aim was on target he'd run out steam, so to speak. By then it was too late.

Rule #2
Put the toilet seat UP!

You can't drip wee on the toilet seat if it isn't in your way. {I didn't bother asking them to put it back down once finished. I learnt long ago to pick my battles & right now putting the seat down is very low on the list of parenting warfare.}

Rule #3
Watch where you are weeing.
How do you know if you are meeting water with water when you are staring at the ceiling or looking over your shoulder? 
To reiterate - hold & watch, from beginning to end.

Rule #4

If you make a mess, clean it up. If you need help, ask.

We went back to basics, even though we had covered all of these back at the beginning when they first began running around in jocks. With these rules {verbally back in place} I was hopeful. 
Hopeful my days of soggy socks from stepping in some one's wee were over. Wiping seats, behind lids, walls & floors with disinfectant could be done less than five times a day. Minimum.
For a few days it helped. Lake Bonney never returned & but for a few splashes here & there, it seemed they were taking their responsibilities as boys seriously. Then every now & again I would find a puddle returned, or the beginnings of a yellow shower over a seat that hadn't been lifted. I was able to rule out Ben from the offending list. That still left Jack, Blake & Will. It appeared each of them were guilty, in random order, of breaking one {or all of} the toilet commandments.

Through constant reminding & follow up checks, we're slowly getting to a clean & visitor safe lavatory. Most of the time anyway. If they make a mess they do clean it up - to the best of their ability. The seat & lid now both stay down, so if they need to pee they lift both instead of aiming over the seat. Every boy is holding their hose & watching where they are aiming - a big win.

Seriously, I never imagined getting boys to use & leave the toilet in a clean state would be such an on going drama. We were not lazy with their toilet training or have low standards of personal care & hygiene. It just seems that they are too busy & find the need to vacate their bladder a time consuming interruption to their days. So it was done as quickly & as haphazardly as possible. After all there are soccer balls to kick, bikes to jump & scooters to ride. Who has time to go to the toilet anyways.

In a predominantly XY gene'd large family two toilets are not a luxury.

They are a necessity.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The best chocolate chip cookies EVAH!

We all know I love me some chocolate chip cookies. Over the years I have tried & tested all the cookie recipes - brown sugar or white sugar, eggs or no eggs, condensed milk or no condensed milk. 

Countless hours in the kitchen & I have the recipe down to perfection.

Out of the oven they are super fudgey. I recommend taste tasting the cookie dough prior to cooking - roughly every seven balls rolled & placed on the tray for optimal quality control.

The Best Evah Chocolate Chip Cookies

175 grams Unsalted butter, softened
3/4 tin Condensed milk
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 cup Caster sugar
2 cups Plain flour
250 grams (or so...) Chocolate chips (white, milk chocolate or dark - or all three)

Preheat oven at 170 celcius & line two baking trays with baking paper.

Cream the butter & sugar together in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat in the condensed milk (feel free to be quite liberal here, often I put in nearly all of the condensed milk. The more the merrier) Beat for two minutes.

Sift in the plain flour & baking powder together, gently stir with a spoon until just combined. Add the chocolate chips & combine.

Place teaspoonful balls on the baking trays 2cm apart. Once all the cookie balls are on the trays gently roll each one between your palms, then flatten slightly.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden.

Remove from oven, cool for two minutes.


Makes approximately 44 cookies {depending on how much of the dough you ingest for quality control & the size of your cookies}

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Who knew I had so much time on my hands to waste

It's not very often I say this, but Doug is right. I have little to no self control when it comes to technology & social media. I know I read a lot & my Facebook app is opened several times a day. Ebay is my friend & Pinterest an enabler. I don't watch tv, because I don't have time too. I'm too busy flicking through watch lists, re-pinning two-minute-hairstyles-for-long-hair & liking statuses.

On a bad day, it's really bad. A quick ten minute check of Facebook, follow a few links, catch up on a blog or two & hello it's time to pick the kids up from school. The floors still need sweeping. Dried weet-bix super glued forever more to the breakfast bowls. Washing to be pulled out the dryer {& dumped on the precariously balanced, gravity defying folding pile}. The coffee ring stains on the table next to the laptop & butt imprints left on the warm seat tell the tale of a less than arduous day.

This is only the beginning. A browse through Ebay, looking at furniture on the cheap I could revamp or fitbits to get me motivated on the whole 10,000 steps a day thing. Which isn't happening as I check out the local real estate to see what's happening on the market in the general area we live, before jumping onto a parenting forum & stalking the TTC* & HPT, OPK & BFP's** forums. We aren't ttc ourselves, putting a definite stop to my own POAS*** addiction, it's been years since I've stood next to a window, turning a pregnancy test this way & that looking for the faintest sighting of a second line. But I can & will stalk every other woman who is desperately hoping to see the feintest of feint second pink line that speaks to the whispers of life. Praying faceless strangers who understand their tight grip on hope can also see that miraculous second line, affirming it's positive status. There's nothing like seeing a photo of multiple positive pregnancy tests that go from 'just maybe' to 'you are thoroughly up the duff'. Gives me goosebumps & a fair case of envy every time.

At the end of the day, I like to finish up with a quick flick through Pinterest at 11pm, before turning out the lights...At 1am. After the muted glare from my phone has woken Doug. I'm thirty two years old & still shouldn't be allowed to control my own bedtime. Then of course, I can't sleep with my thinker set to 'redesign-the-whole-fricken-house' mode.  

I'm not starved for social interaction, I get my grown up conversation every morning & afternoon at the kids school & when Doug gets home from work in the evening. There's no coherent conversations in the morning between us. Given I go to bed at stupid o'clock & Doug gets up for work at ridiculous o'clock, our morning interactions are usually limited to Doug kissing me goodbye with sweet whispers of love & have a good day. In response I smear the dribble from the pillow all over my cheek, mumble something about putting the shoes in the shower before stumbling my way up from slumber to coherently forming sentences that bumble along the lines of "love you too, have a good day. See you tonight." By the time the kids are ready for school I am more than ready to start talking to people over the age of ten & stop saying things like "have you brushed your teeth yet?"

"Socks & shoes, guys, let's go, come on!"

"Ben, stop talking to Jack about your clash of clans base."

"Jack! get dressed!"

"Is your bag packed? Diary, lunch box, drink bottle, homework."

Once Ben, Rianan, Jack & Blake are at school, I return home with just two of our little minions & flick the kettle on, ready for some more social interaction. Because that ten minutes outside the classroom was only a warm up.

All is not lost, some days I don't even turn the computer on, & the days that I do, my hours are interrupted. I get up to do the basic daily essentials our big household & little people require. But many minutes, many times a day are sucked into that blue void. Because people.

We all have our vices. Since the age of sixteen months mine has always been that I talk too much. Now I get to natter away even when there's no one at the table with me.

The lingo
*TTC {trying to conceive}
**HPT, OPK &BFP {home pregnancy test, ovulation predictor kit & big fat positive's}
***POAS {Pee on a stick} a ovulation predictor or pregnancy test, either either