Friday, August 27, 2010


For as hot of temperatures as we've had this August, it has also the month that we've run the air conditioner the fewest amount of days. We just turned it on today after a 3 day stretch of having the windows open. It got down to 67 in here one night - I'm pretty sure it hasn't been that cool in our house since March! We had another 3-day stretch about 2 weeks ago that we enjoyed some temps in the 80s as well, where we opened up the house.
As far as I'm concerned, perfect weather would be low 80s during the day, and 50s at night. I am pretty sure I could live with that year-round. At the very least, it would be nice to be able to enjoy temperatures like that as an actual season, rather than a 1-2 week hiccup between freezing and sweltering.
We got our electric bill today.... Victory! It was $10 less than last month. I wasn't really trying to get it to be less, I just didn't want it to go up any more - it was pushing $300 real hard. So at the beginning of the month, I put a piece of paper over the screen of the thermostat so we couldn't see the temperature. I think we tend to get hung up on what it says the temp is, versus what it feels like. I left it on 78, and was pretty successful at getting Paul to leave it alone. We have been running fans constantly - we started doing that because our ceiling fan in the living room died, and due to the fact we have/had over $2000 of medical bills to pay, we can't afford to replace it right now. (We probably could have, but coughing up a hundred bucks for a ceiling fan seems unnecessary when you have a floor fan.) You'd be surprised how just having air moving makes it feel so much cooler. What really is driving the bill up is having two window units running all night and most of the afternoon in the boys' rooms. There is no ductwork to the upstairs, so we have to have window units for the boys in summer, and portable heaters in the winter. I forgot how much power they took until I saw the jump in our bill the first month after we got Jacob's installed. Yowch. But given the fact that it can get up to 90 up there, they are a necessity, not a luxury.
Anyhow. Just felt like spilling about that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

So Tired of This

I remember hitting this point with Nathan. I don't remember how old he was, but it seems like he was about the same age.
I'm at the point that I am so tired of being the only one that can get Jacob to sleep. The only way he will go to sleep is to fall asleep nursing, but he's figured out that if he nurses, he'll fall asleep, so he doesn't want to do that. So what results is that he'll nurse for about 4.3 seconds, then yank off (which feels like he's going to tear my nipple off), and bend over backwards in my arms until I put him down. But then after I put him down, he wants to be picked up. Then he squirms to get down, so I put him down and walk away. Then he starts crying, so I pick him up and try it all again. Do this about three times, then go up to his room and try it again in the cool and dark. Same deal. So I put him into his bed awake.
He's been screaming for over a half an hour. Screaming. Not just kind of meh, meh crying and whimpering. We're talking, if it was me, I'd have given myself an aneurysm already. I could go up there and try the whole routine again, but the result would be the same. I could go be a human pacifier for an hour, but as soon as I try to put him in bed, the screaming begins again. (I tried it yesterday.)
I'm tired of it. I'm counting down the days until nursing is over.
I want to know what parents do to get their kids to fall asleep like you see on funny video shows - where they're eating supper and falling asleep at the table. My boys have never, ever done that. Even when he's exhausted, I can count the number of times Nathan has fallen asleep in front of the television on one hand.
Granted, after going through this exact thing with Nathan, he goes to bed pretty well now. But I remember it took several days of letting him cry (scream) it out - for 45 minutes. But it really wears on you.
Some moms may disagree with my approach, but the alternative is to let him stay awake all afternoon, because that's what he wants. Naptime is a non-negotiable around here - I'm the adult, and I know what they need even if that's not what they want. If I were to let him stay awake, I don't get anything done, because he wants to be held all afternoon.
Maybe I'm selfish, or maybe I'm just doing what I have to do.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I've come to realize in the last couple weeks that I am vulnerable to temptation. On nights like these, when Paul is working.... I usually give in. I have no adult here to distract me, to keep me accountable. So I give in. And it seems like once I give in to that first little bit, it snowballs, and then I can't stop.
I'm talking about eating! (But isn't the above true of anything we're tempted with?)
I don't know what it is about Paul being gone nights, but I get an epic munchie attack almost every time. And I shouldn't, because 9 nights out of 10 he's gone, I'm busy from the time he leaves until I go to bed - either doing housework, laundry, playing with the boys, getting them to bed, or exercising. When he's home, we do lazy stuff - like play games or watch movies - but I am not nearly as tempted - at least not until he breaks out the cookie dough ice cream! Maybe it's because he's home, and I know he knows that I'm trying to not munch, so I feel held accountable. (Not that he cares - he'd tell me to eat it if it sounds good and not feel guilty.)
Anyhow. Just thought I'd spill that while I made sure Nathan was asleep, before I started my exercise video.


"There's a difference between being strong-willed and being always right. I'm always right."

(Paul and I were discussing when one spouse calls the other strong-willed. I'll leave you to decide who said this one.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


"I don't drink pop much at all anymore. I pretty much just drink natural stuff. Coffee. Tea. Water..... Beer."

-one of my parents' neighbors when I offered him a pop while they were filling silo

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Remind Me Why We Keep Pets?

I took the boys out to play in the sand pile on Monday, and within about 5 minutes of getting out here, I felt like killing every animal on our property that we pay to feed and keep around.
First off - we had to buy a tarp to cover the sand pile, because our cats thought it was their giant (pardon the term, but it so perfectly applies) "shitterbox." This spring, when we were out there every day, we would have to scoop out no less than a half dozen piles of poop, plus who knows how many pee deposits we missed. After finding one pile that exploded into wiggling tapeworms upon touching it with the shovel, I immediately sent Paul to the store to buy a tarp. The tarp is the same width as the sandbox, so covers it well, except at the corners where it's anchored. So if the stupid cats can find more than 3 square inches of sand uncovered, they will take a dump on it - and usually because the sand target is so small, they end up pooping at least in part on the tarp. SICK.
When I lifted the tarp, a big fat mouse ran out from under it and hid between the wall and the ladder. It startled me, but didn't bother me too badly.
I quickly started scooping and flinging the poo before the boys got in. Due to the heat, it had been probably a week since we'd been out there, so there were about 4 piles - thankfully all dried up. I missed one turd on the side the boys came in from, and Jacob was just getting it to his mouth as I grabbed his hand. SICK. (And that boy has an unnatural fascination with putting anything that is totally un-appetizing into his mouth.... dirt, sand, hair... you get the picture.)
The boys climbed in, and Nathan pointed out a toad. I shooed it over the edge. Then I found another one, and shooed it likewise. I kept wondering how those toads were sneaking back in, after about the 5th time of shooing one out, and then from beneath Nathan's foot a huge one squirmed up out of the sand. It was really big - it looked like I feel after conquering a Chipolte burrito. I shooed it out, and it waited politely under Nathan's little picnic table for us to get done out there so he could wriggle back down in the sand.
I glanced over, and I noticed that the mouse was still hiding between the wall and the ladder. So I went up to the house and carried Brutus outside and put him right in front of the ladder. Then I took a stick and pushed the mouse out toward him. Brutus looked at it, sniffed the ground, and walked off. The mouse ran back to the sand pile, so I picked Brutus up and threw him onto the mouse, thinking if it scurried away from him, Brutus would take up chase. Nope. He sniffed the mouse again and just sat down. The mouse scurried (more like sauntered - cocky little bastard)along the wall, so once again, I picked up Brutus to throw him toward the mouse. Brutus sat down at the end of the wall.
The dog came trotting up to see what all the comotion was about. The mouse hid again - UNDER THE CAT. I moved the cat so the dog could see the mouse, but when I said, "Come here, Hercules!" the stupid dog ran off. Then came back, then ran off, then came back, then ran all the way off. Like he was saying, "I know you want me to come, but you can't make me come. Ha." The mouse escaped into the dog pen.
I was thoroughly peeved at both of our pets then (the outdoor cats avoided my wrath by staying out of sight). And I kid you not - 10 minutes later, Brutus comes wandering up, and starts sniffing around. He came up to the ladder and crouched down, and started stalking the trail of the mouse - all the way up to and into the dog pen. A few minutes later, the dog came sniffing around and followed the trail as well.
If I had had something to throw at them other than a small child, I would have. Sometimes I hate our pets.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome to the Skin Show!

I took the boys and went with my sister and nieces today to the public pool - I haven't been to the pool during public hours for probably close to 20 years. A couple of private parties, but I always knew everyone.
Let's just say - I understand why my family stopped going now. After my boys reach a certain age, we won't be going to the pool any more either. I have never seen so many breasts and thighs jiggling and flopping around - and it wasn't even busy today! (Okay, maybe at Oceans of Fun the two times I've been there for Paul's company picnic.)
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a beacon of modesty, wearing high collars and long skirts. Definitely not. I wear fitted tops (several that are a lot more "fitted" now after nursing two babies), and some that are kind of low. I don't generally wear shorts in public, because any shorts look like shorty-shorts when you have a 34-inch inseam, besides the fact that I have ugly legs. But to wear essentially a only bra and panties out for any man (or woman - ew) to ogle me? Um, no. Some might argue that they can see everything when you're wearing a tight top. But it's not the same. Trust me - I have a husband.
And I especially don't understand how Christians can think that it's okay, that modesty doesn't apply to the poolside. How is it women who would be outraged if someone spied them in their bra and panties are perfectly comfortable walking around the poolside in an equal amount of fabric? Or how it's slutty to wear a cropped shirt that shows off your belly, but it's okay to wear a bikini?
I have worn a bikini with no coverup before. Three times, in my whole life. Once when I was about 10 and my (then) aunt lent me and my sister hers so we could swim in their pool, once for my 21st birthday when me, my sister, and 2 friends went to the lake for a dip (the skinny kind)(And in that case, the less you wear, the less you can lose.) And once on our honeymoon, when only my husband would see me. I felt naked, even around my husband and and friends. And I could even concede that at home, around your family is one thing - I don't always wear my shorts and tank top when I splash around in the pool with Nathan, and I took off my shirt to get rid of the farmers tan when I worked on my parents farm - where no one could see me. But I don't see how or why women would want to be that naked in public around complete strangers. I wear a bikini now, but it is covered up by shorts and a tank top. (The reason I resorted to a bikini is because apparently I'm too tall for a standard swimsuit, and I don't want to drop $80+ for a "tall" swimsuit that I would only wear two or three times a year.)
Maybe I just understand how men think and how hard it is for them to not look at women when they're flaunting their goods. That's how guys are wired. But I would feel awkward going to the pool and having my husband with me with all these women lying out in their bikinis, even in the kiddie section.
And this is not jealousy talking. I don't say this only because I would look horrible in a bikini. Even if I were svelte and gorgeous (which I will be here in a few months - I'm already seeing results), I still wouldn't be showing it all off. Modesty is modesty, whether you're big or skinny. Modesty isn't only for fat girls. "If you've got it" doesn't mean you have to flaunt it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Awkward: Talking to a Sherriff's officer on your front porch at 2 AM.
More Awkward: Talking to a Sherriff's officer on your front porch at 2 AM, while wearing only your bathrobe.
Most Awkward: KNOWING the Sherriff's officer that you're talking to on your front porch at 2 AM, while wearing only your bathrobe.

So this was the situation I found myself in last night. (Actually very early this morning.)
Jacob woke up, and as I stumbled to the stairs I noticed lights on the road. I peeked outside and saw two vehicles, one with flashing red and blue lights, on the road near our neighbors house. I informed Paul, who watched out the window while I went upstairs to tend to Jacob.
When I came back down a good 15 minutes later, Paul was back in bed, but the lights were still there. I stepped out on to the deck to see things better, to try to determine what was going on - Wreck? Emergency at the neighbors? About that time, the vehicle with the flashing lights pulled away and headed up the road toward our house. I stepped up next to the house (presumably to be less visible) as they drove by, trying to see what type of vehicle it was (first responder, sherriff, tow truck?). It was a Sherriff's SUV. That didn't really answer any questions, but I felt better that it probably wasn't any medical emergency with our neighbors (they're older).
Just as I opened the door to go back inside, the Sherriff's SUV reappears, pulling into our driveway. I had a serious moment of "Oh crap!" because my robe wasn't even fastened, I was just holding it closed. So I pulled it tighter (double the fabric!) and crossed my arms in front. And greeted the officer.
It was Curtis. I've known him since I was in Junior High, which made it even more awkward. (If it had been a stranger, they can tell their wife/friends about "some weird woman out on her porch at 2 AM".... But now he can tell people, "Yeah, Rachel was outside watching us at 2 AM. She looked like crap.")
It turns out a drunk had put their truck in the ditch, and then run off. So they were looking for the drunk, which is why he came back - since he saw a person, he didn't know if it was the guy he was looking for.
Which freaked me out a little bit. I double-checked that all the doors were locked, and went back to bed, but couldn't get back to sleep. And now am seriously tired this morning.

Friday, August 13, 2010


(This one's for you, Carl.)

Nathan: "I want my Sissy tractor."
Me: "Your sissy tractor? Which one is that?"
Nathan: "My Sissy tractor upstairs. I go get it."

(That's when I realized that his little skid steer loader was upstairs in his room. Carlsie usually is doing something with the skid steer when he's out at my parents, so apparently it's her tractor.)


(I actually wrote this yesterday, but due to internet problems, was not able to post it until today.)

Things I’ve learned lately: (prepare for the bulleted list, a la JC)

  • It hurts when you snap an exercise band in the middle of a set.
  • Dirt looks the same when it comes out of baby as when it goes in.
  • I’m convinced we’ve got one of the best views in the county for sunsets. Then again, maybe I just love our home.
  • I love tomatoes. I’ve been eating a whole tomato every meal, either on Mexican, on pasta, with cottage cheese….. Oh my gosh. So good.

In other news…..
We had a little scare last night. I was fixing supper, and keeping an eye on Nathan while he took a bath. Jacob heard the splashing and went to investigate. I saw him standing in there, holding on to the edge of the tub, laughing at Nathan, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. He was happy. Then I heard Nathan yell, “No, Jacob! No, no!” I rushed in to find Jacob’s feet hanging over the edge of the tub, and him face down in the water, his head lodged into the corner so he couldn’t flip over or slide all the way in. I yanked him out and comforted him - although I think he was madder than he was scared. I know they always say to never leave a baby unattended in the bath, but hadn’t really thought that him watching over the edge was a big deal. I know Jacob hadn’t been there but a second even, because I’d just stuck my head around the corner and looked in on them. But it still gave us a fright. Thank goodness Nathan is a tattle-tale. :)

Jabbering about Jacob: He’s climbing, climbing! He can crawl up into the recliner (much to Nathan’s dismay, as that is “his chair!”), and on to the coffee table. Any time he sees the gate to the stairs is down, he makes a break for it, and will be halfway up them before you can even make it over there. And obviously he can crawl into the bathtub, too. He can stand unsupported, but doesn’t think he can. If he realizes you aren’t holding on to him, he’ll promptly sit down. He still has an unnatural penchant for dirt. We were out in the garden, and I sat him at the edge while I went and messed with the hoses. When I came back, he had a huge clod in his hand and was sucking on it. When the dog trotted by, he held out the clod to him like, “Hey, man, want some?” So disgusting. He’s got 7 teeth now - the 7th came in a month ago, and we’re still waiting on that 8th. He’s got the best smile ever. He's not too fond of the pool - he's got my opinion of water. I love water, and I will get wet...on my terms. DO NOT SPLASH ME.
News of Nathan: I can’t believe he’s almost 3! It seems like only a few months ago, he was the one just learning to stand and climb. He’s got such a vocabulary, and a way of saying things that just cracks me up. One phrase he’s using a lot is, “Pretty good!” - like in response to “How are those pancakes?” One phrase he can get rid of is “Right now!” - as in, “Mommy, I want milk. Right now!” I’ll say, “Excuse me?” And he corrects (sometimes), “I want milk, please, right now.” Okay, slight improvement. He can string sentences together very well, I think, for his age. Paul and I can understand him almost always, but I’m not sure how many other people can. He’s getting very close to being fully potty trained! All the sudden, the last week of July, he was dry 6 out of 8 nights. (He’d only ever been dry one night before.) He goes several nights waking up dry before he'd be wet. He's been dry at naptime for about a month now. We were getting to the point that we’re wearing the Velcro tabs on his diapers out before he’d wet in them, so we graduated to pull-ups last night. He loves them because they've got a big truck on them. Nathan loves water. Since it’s been so hot, we’ve had the little pool set up in the yard almost constantly. If we’re outside and he suddenly feels like taking a dip, he’ll just strip down and hop in. I don’t really care, because the pool is out of the view of the road, but I’m pretty sure one of the neighbors got a full-frontal last night while Nathan was running around post-pool and I was raking the yard.
The yard. (sigh) I don’t get how it can be so hot and dry that the yard is brown and dead in huge patches, yet there’s other patches that the grass is so thick that the clippings kill it out if you don’t rake. I raked just the side yard over the last two days, and the clippings nearly filled the bed of Paul’s pickup. We’re supposed to have a cool front move down tomorrow or the next day, and the high is only going to be in the 80s. Although this has been the hottest summer for quite a while, only this week did the temperature get above 100 for the first time. Been darn close for two months straight, but hadn’t actually broke over.
Paul’s grandpa (his mom’s dad) passed away at the end of July. He went in to have his pacemaker replaced, and passed away during surgery. He was 88 and frail (but resilient), so we knew it could be any time, but still kind of unexpected. We spent a few days in Medicine Lodge for the funeral. It was a touching ceremony. They played “Taps” and folded and presented a flag to his son at the cemetery, which was probably the most emotional part of the day. It was well over 100 degrees there, so I had to spend a good part of the time at the graveside service under the trees in the shade with Jacob. Grandpa Chuck was a great man and he will be missed.
My garden is a complete failure. What didn’t drown this spring fried this summer. I didn’t get enough of anything to make more than one or two meals. Some even less (peas, beans). I had a decent lettuce crop until it seeded out, and my tomatoes look great, even in this heat, but they have yet to turn red, even though there‘s been tomatoes on them for going on two weeks now. My stupid volunteer cherry tomatoes have put on some fruit. I don’t say “stupid” because I don’t enjoy eating them…. I just hate that you let one plant grow one summer, and the next summer you have ten million volunteer plants coming up that you have to pull like weeds.
I recently discovered coconut oil, and I am in love. I originally bought it when Jacob had thrush, because it is a natural anti-fungal that is safe for babies. I made a paste of coconut oil and baby probiotics (good for fighting yeast) and rubbed it on the inside of his cheeks. His thrush is gone (for good, I hope), but I still have a bunch of the coconut oil left, so I’ve been experimenting with it in cooking. It is a good-for-you oil, like olive oil - but a whole lot tastier. Sometimes I take the lid off and just take a deep whiff… It smells so good! I’ve used it for cooking eggs, which adds a nutty flavor, and for cooking French toast, which I can’t tell any difference (so I’m not going to try again, because it’s too expensive to use if you can’t enjoy it). Nathan loves it on toast, and it is to die for on pancakes (oil alone, no syrup). The packaging suggests trying it on popcorn, so I’m going to try that soon. I even put some in my coffee - it was great, but would have been even better with some cream and sugar. I bought this brand at The Merc in Lawrence, but I’m hoping I can find a good brand at our local grocery store.
My little sister is moving back to the little town in western Kansas where she teaches, after being home all summer working on my parents‘ farm. I take it for granted when she’s home, being able to see her every week. It will be a month before I see her again, and who knows how long after that. She’s applied for the Peace Corps, so there is a possibility that in the near-ish future, it’s going to be a year or longer between her visits home.
Well, I’m happy to announce the workout is going well. I’ve been doing the P90X videos for a week now. I am usually sore on some part of my body, but most of the exercises are ones that I can do - maybe not as many reps as the instructor likes, or with perfect form, but enough that I work up a sweat (my shirt is usually soaked by the time I get done). The workout is designed to get you really toned and buff, which isn’t really the results I want. I want to be toned, but not have bulky muscles. There are some girls on the video that are very fit and can do 20 chin ups (I can do, but I don’t want to have rippling back muscles. I just want to get rid of my rippling back fat. I think there’s a diet that you’re supposed to do with it, but I’m not following any diet, other than cutting out sugar (confectionary sugars, like ice cream and cookies, not all sugars like bread and fruit)(and I make exceptions for special occasions like birthdays and church ice cream socials) and snacking. Trying to, anyways - the sugar is pretty easy (not that I don‘t crave it - I definitely do!), but the snacking, not so much. Nathan is always snacking, and I get hungry/thirsty/bored, so that is hard to say no to.
Paul is working hard. Imagine this heat, in a factory with little to no air conditioning, handling a product coming off the line that is too hot to touch with bare hands. For 12 hours. That’s his day. The air conditioning is good in his office and the break room, but that’s not where he spends the majority of his day. This is part of the reason I have a hard time sympathizing with some people when they talk about how hard their job is… It’s nothing compared to what Paul and his dad deal with (not to mention my own dad’s 20-hour days sometimes). (Unless you work with children. Then you have all my sympathies.) Paul is taking a few days off for Nathan’s birthday, so in a month, he’ll have a whole week off (one thing I love about his swing shift - two days vacation=one week off). I know he’s looking forward to that.
Well, I’ve procrastinated long enough. The house hasn’t been truly clean for two weeks, and I promised Paul it would look better when he got home tonight. I’ve loaded the dishwasher halfway, and hung a load of clothes on the line, but I’d better get going on the rest of it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Desperation No-Bakes

I had to make cookies for a church social yesterday. Well, I didn't have to, but I wanted to take something to an ice cream social, and we don't have an ice cream maker, and the sign up sheet said cookies or ice cream. I didn't have the energy to make "real" cookies, not to mention I didn't want to heat up the house (just baking a 45-minute casserole will raise the temperature in the house 2 degrees, and the a/c will run and run and not be able to catch up - I'm trying to be cheap.... Even keeping the thermostat at 78, our bill is still higher than it has ever been!).
Anyhow. So I decided to make no-bake cookies. You know, those deliciously simple chocolatey, peanut-buttery, lumpy globs of yumminess. I know there's lots of slightly different versions, but my recipe calls for 1/2 c of cocoa, 1 c milk, 4 c of sugar, and 2 sticks of butter. Add peanut butter - I didn't measure, but it had to be nearly a cup (the recipe called for 1/2 cup), then add 6 cups of oatmeal. Well, I pulled out the oatmeal, and realized I only had a cup. Oops. So out of desperation, I added crushed Chex cereal, and Cheerios.
They turned out just as good. The cookies are seriously ugly. I was in a hurry, because both the boys were throwing fits because they needed naps. (Why is it that everyone is totally happy and content until you get in the middle of a project that you can't quit in the middle of?) So I just kind of flung the mix into messy piles on the waxed paper.
But the important thing is, people ate them. They didn't eat as many as I'd hoped, because - seriously - who eats cookies when there are 8 types of homemade ice cream to sample? (Not to mention about a dozen other cakes and cookies.) But they'll freeze. And now I know that when I need to make a quick dessert for company (or bribery purposes), there's more than one way to skin a cat. (Seriously. Where did that phrase come from anyways???)

Friday, August 6, 2010

P90X.... For real this time.

Yeah. Not posting a picture.
Assuming it doesn't kill me, I am going to be F-I-T in 3 months.
Now.... MUST shower.