Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Only in Kansas

I've determined that only in Kansas can you have snow, followed by almost 70 degree temps, followed by a tornado, followed by snow again, all within about four days - in December.

Doesn't that just make you yearn for the normal unpredictability of June weather? (Not the reason I have the lovely picture of June's green grass over on the left. But you can enjoy it anyways.)

Last Friday (the day after Christmas), we had unbelievably gorgeous weather with sunshine and temperatures that soared up to 68. (The night before Christmas Eve it had snowed.) The snow melted, and even though it was muddy, it gave me a chance to go outside with Nathan and relieve some of the cabin fever he's had.

I knew it was supposed to cool off over night from Friday to Saturday, but when I stepped outside to feed the dog right before I went to bed (at 3 AM - Paul was working nights, so I couldn't sleep), it was still 65 degrees.

On a whim, I decided to get online and look at the weather. I was startled to see an angry red line of thunderstorms stretching from Nebraska, clear across Kansas and into Oklahoma. I thought it would be wise to put my car in the shed since on the 6 o'clock news they'd mentioned a chance for hail.

When I came back in, I read what they were saying on the live blog for that station. They said that even though we were in a tornado watch, things had settled down and they were going to quit live coverage. So I went to bed, thinking we might get some rain, but it was nothing to worry about.

I was awakened just over an hour later to the sound of a freight train - the house was shaking and popping. I knew the storm had hit, so I laid there and waited for it to die down - usually after a few seconds of the initial blast, it will start raining and the wind dies down. But after several minutes, the train-like sound was still going on, and Nathan woke up. As I headed upstairs, I noticed all the windows on the east side of the house were moaning and whistling (the storm hit from the west).... If that tells you how strongly the wind was blowing. I let a startled dog inside and peeked out the kitchen window...... To see that our well house was gone. (That's the reason for the picture above - it's the only one I could find for a "before".) The bench swing that I've been nagging Paul to take inside for the winter was blowing almost straight out from the branch it swings from.

As I rocked Nathan back to sleep, the noise died down. I peeked back outside, and decided there was nothing I could do about it, so I went back to bed.

In the morning I went out to survey the damage.

Let me just point out that that well cover was no small thing - it was probably six feet across, and close to four feet tall (not counting the frame that went up to almost 7 feet where I hung a flower basket). It was made out of 2x4s and 4x4s, so it was heavy. (As I learned when trying to drag the pieces out of the driveway.)
But it did give me the chance to look down in the well - something I'd never done before because it would require sticking my head into the spider web-y well house.

This is the only damage I saw to our actual house. (Our the shed in the dog's pen had some damage.) But I decided to call insurance anyways, and they're going to send someone out to look at our roof..... This is the second 80-mph wind storm we've had from the west in the last 6 months (and several neighbors had to have their roofs replaced after the first one). So I figured it wouldn't hurt to get things checked out.

But that piece of flashing landed several hundred yards away - across two fences and in the pasture.
Then by Saturday afternoon it was snowing again.
But by Monday, it was up to 60 again. And yesterday was warm, but then the temperature plunged during the afternoon, and today it's only in the 20s.
Only in Kansas!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Pictures

There's so much I want to write about, but I lack the initiative. So I'll just let the pictures do most of the talking.
And I just decided that rather than having to decide which pictures to use (because if I use all of them that I like, this post will be fourteen miles long), I'm just going to make a slideshow over at my other blog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Everything in the Refrigerator Stew

We had this little dish quite often growing up. It was delicious, and never the same twice.
I don't know where my mom got the idea, but she started keeping a rubbermaid container in the freezer, and whenever there was a little of something leftover from a meal (or after rewarming the leftovers), she's throw it in there. When the container got full, she'd add a little water and simmer the frozen chunk down.
I keep saying I'm going to do that, and make Paul experience this memory, but honestly, with only the 3 of us, leftovers usually disappear pretty well. (There were at least 5 of us home for most meals when we were growing up, with us being homeschooled - so one serving of leftovers wouldn't go too far.)
I made a semi-kinda-like-this recipe yesterday.... Here you go:
Potato Soup Version
a couple of potatoes
a chicken breast
minced garlic (the dried kind)
dried onions
sour cream
bacon bits (the "real" kind, not Bacos)

Cut up and boil the potatoes and chicken. Add the garlic and onion while cooking. When potatoes are tender, drain off some of the water. Add a couple dollops of sour cream and some bacon bits (since salad weather is long gone). Salt and pepper to taste.
Today, for leftovers, I added a little milk, a little more sour cream, and threw in the tater tots from last night's meal.

So it's not quite as unique as Mom's stew, but it was definitely comfort food for a cold, cold day.

The 2008 Rhodes Report

(For those of you that didn't get it in the mail, I thought you might like to read our Christmas letter.)

Greetings and Merry Christmas! We hope this finds you all well as you prepare for special times with friends and family during this wonderful time of year. I just love Christmas - not because of the cold weather or the presents, but because of the warm times with those we love.
This year has gone by especially fast, it seems. I wonder why? We have loved every minute of being parents to our incredible little boy. (Okay, so there were a few screaming fits we would have rather done without. But still….) Where to begin? We’ll start with things Nathan likes: being outside, books, milk, pretzels, being naked, Brutus (our cat), any “KEEee” (kitty), wheels, the dishwasher, the fridge, Hercules (our dog), and ice cream. Things he doesn’t like: …………(had to think) vegetables and being told “no.” That’s about it.
Nathan got his first teeth in February, took his first step in July, said his first words in September, and got his first molars in October. He’s a handful, always getting into things and trying to figure out how they work. He babbles incessantly, talking and pointing, like we should know what he’s talking about, but does have several words he says now you can actually understand (at least we can) - Daddy (his first word), tractor (his second word), hot, light, out, kitty, Herc (“Esh”), down, truck, hi, bye, dog, cow (actually, that one is usually just “MOOOooo” and applies to anything with hooves), thanks, ball, car - but has yet to say “Mommy” definitely. Go figure. We found out in October that Nathan has an eye condition called “Duane’s syndrome” which is when the nerve that controls one of the muscles to turn one of his eyes never developed properly. Basically, his left eye can’t look left, but there is no problem with the actual vision. He just compensates for the lack of eye movement by turning his head further to the left when he’s looking at something to that side. We thought it was a lazy eye, but we were so glad to find out otherwise, because we did not want the constant fight of trying to keep glasses on a toddler.
Probably the grossest thing we’ve had to deal with in regards to Nathan was what he puts in his mouth. (Not diapers, which is what most would say.) Things I’ve dug out of his mouth include: a dirt clod, a beetle, a wad of dog fur, and the winner: a chunk of dead mouse…. That the cat had eaten, then thrown up behind the couch where I didn’t see it. And why our son thought it looked like something that should go into his mouth is beyond me! I tell everyone that story so that they have to be grossed out as much as we were. (We still gag at the thought.)
Paul will begin his 10th year at the glass plant here soon. He actually got a promotion over the summer. He had applied for other departments within his shift, but after doing lots of fill-in work for his department supervisor, he was asked by the plant manager if he would be interested in being an actual supervisor. When we first talked about it, he said he didn’t want it, because there was too many hassles and not enough compensation. But a few months later when there was an opening on another shift, so we talked about it again. He decided he was ready for a new challenge, so he applied. After over a month of waiting, we finally got word that they had chosen Paul for the job! His actual title is Cold End Supervisor, and the easiest way to describe what he does is that he oversees everything in regards to the glass once it comes out of the furnace. He says he enjoys the challenges of figuring out the best way to do things or solve problems, but hates the days where he feels like he’s babysitting a bunch of grown men. The recent quest for “alternative energy” has actually helped the company; they are producing huge orders of TCO, which is the glass that is used in solar panels. Their plant has one of the most efficient means of production for this product.
I actually did start a babysitting job myself. It’s a pretty nice set-up, because they bring the boys out here when I watch them (two mornings a week), so it doesn’t take much effort other than making sure they don’t kill each other. J Dallas turned 3 in July and Andrew turned 1 in November, so having them plus Nathan tumbling all around the house makes it kind of interesting some days; it feels like all morning I‘m saying “share“ or “don‘t throw“ or “let‘s go potty!” I clean house for the same family once a week, also. Three partial days a week is just enough work it keeps me busy (and not wanting to clean my own house), but it gives us some “fun money” to go on dates and things like that. (And when gas was $4 a gallon for a while, it helped pay for a $70 tank of gas on occasion - we are SO glad it’s back down!!) I thought once I was a stay-at-home mommy, I’d have time to do all sorts of stuff: that my house would be immaculate, I’d have gorgeous flower beds and a vibrant vegetable garden, and with all my leftover time, I’d have time for reading, sewing, and other artsy stuff I enjoy. HA!
Paul and I are both still on the praise team at church. We love the ministry. I use Paul to give me feedback as to how the congregation seems to receive new songs - where I sit at the piano, I actually face away from the congregation, which helps with nerves, but makes it hard to tell how people are responding. Nathan loves the music, but hates being separated from us, so we’re working on teaching him he can sit in the pew with one of the grandparents. Nathan loves watching Paul play the violin, and has recently started showing interest in the piano - probably just because he can bang on it, but sometimes he sits on my lap while I play at home and grooves to the music.
In March, Paul and I will celebrate 5 years of marriage. It definitely does not seem like it has been that long. Our 15-year friendship prior to marriage was a wonderful foundation. And now we have a beautiful son (I can get by with calling him beautiful for while longer, can’t I?), and a great house in the country. We feel so blessed.
We had another bad year for the garden. It was a combination of several things - an unusually cool spring, a hail storm in June with 80 mph winds that pretty much destroyed the garden, and then the dog…. Always the dog….. I’m guessing he probably ate half of our corn. (How his digestive system survived, I have no idea.) After we found the first chewed-up watermelon in the yard, we threw up a fence around that end of the garden to save those at least, and ended up having a fairly good crop. Next year we’ll have to put a fence around the corn as well. Stupid dog. I did manage to put up some green beans, corn, pickles, spaghetti sauce, pears, and plum sauce and jelly - all from what we grew here.
I love working outside, but it was fall before Nathan would let me do anything outside without having to hold him with one arm while trying to weed or water with the other. Once he could walk around on his own, THEN he was happy to let me weed while he went to investigate that stick, leaf, or rock. That’s part of why the garden suffered, I’m sure - the only time I could weed was once a week (if that) when my friend Carrie came over to help me. We’d leave her older kids in the house with the babies and go work out in the garden and have some mommy gab time. Maybe next summer I’ll be able to get everything I want to done…..
We were able to take several vacations this year: In June, we took a weekend trip to southern Oklahoma to see our friends the Esbenshade’s and DeLong’s at the Golden Harvest Day - a wheat harvest, baling, and plowing done completely with antique farm machinery. On the way home we stopped by for a couple days with Paul’s family that lives west of Wichita. In July we went to Springfield, MO, for our long-time friend Caleb’s wedding. Then in October, we went to Colorado for a family reunion of Paul’s Rhodes grandparents - their children, grand-children, and three great-grandchildren - 14 of us in all. It was a really good time of relaxing and getting to know each other better. On the way home we spent a night in Colorado Springs to see the sights and visit Paul’s best friend Seth, and then spent the next night in Ness City, KS, to see my sister Carlsie, where she is the English teacher at the county high school.
Well, I look at this letter, and apparently I’m rambling - on and on, just like I talk. Now you have an idea of what’s going on with us. We hope you have had as abundant of a year as we have, and we wish you all the best for the coming year.
All blessings and peace to you!
Love - Paul, Rachel, and Nathan

What Do You Do When Your Pipes Freeze?

I've had several people ask me this question, so I thought it might deserve it's own post.
I'm not sure if there is a way you are SUPPOSED to do things, but I'll tell you how we deal with it when our pipes freeze.
Well, I do know one universal thing you're SUPPOSED to do: do all you can to prevent it from happening.
Well, we tried it. In the weeks after Nathan was born, Paul and his dad and my dad did lots of plumbing work, rerouting some pipes and in general fixing the (half-ass) job that the people before had done.
(And just so you know, if it's in parenthesis, it doesn't count as saying it.)
And all last winter, we never had any trouble with the pipes. I counted part of that from me being home all the time, so the house was warmer and the water was being used all day.
So what we do is this: wait.
We put Nathan's room heater in the bathroom and opened up the cabinet doors so the warm air could get to those pipes. We turn the taps on so they're open, giving the water the chance to flow (if you can get a trickle, a lot of time, that will flush the frozen-ness out). But it didn't seem to do anything this time.
The tub opened up just before we went to bed Sunday night. The bathroom sink was working when Paul got up for work Monday morning. Sometime mid-morning the toilet started working again; about the same time, the tub's cold water came back on. But we didn't have hot water in the kitchen until this morning. (Which provided a lovely excuse for me not cleaning the kitchen!)
The other thing you do is this: pray!
When after about 5 hours of running the heater and having the taps open and nothing was happening, we discussed running in to Orscheln to get a milk barn heater to put in the cellar, but we decided that that would probably warm things up too quickly, causing pipes to break. Which would not be cool.
But we are fully operational now, just in time for the freezing rain that has started.
Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Oh NICE."

(Said in the tone of Lurenda, who is mimicked by Lena.... And apparently I say it more than I realize.)

It is absolutely frigid outside.
And I'm not just griping because I hate winter.
I'm saying that because today's high was 11. With a 20 mph wind. Do you want to know what that feels like outside?
Like -10.
That's 40 degrees below freezing.
When we woke up this morning, all was peachy. It was cold, we knew, but we brought Nathan's little heater down and ran it in the bathroom while we got ready for church. As long as you kept your slippers on, it wasn't bad.
I was putting makeup on (for once!) and all the sudden I got an odd feeling........
Let's just say "major digestive issues."
But since it was too late to back out of my responsibilities, I manned up and we went ahead and went to church. Luckily, it wasn't the kind where it's constant churning and discomfort, but rather the kind where you feel fine one minute, then the next you're sitting in the pew wondering if there would be any graceful way to make a hasty exit.
I made it through church. It was a great service with five special musics. We did worship last, and I thought it went very well.
We came home. I got Nathan put in bed for his nap, took off my stockings, and then it struck.
And afterwards, I went to flush the toilet, and.....
No flush.
No water.
The pipes had frozen.
Luckily, not all of the pipes, though.
The toilet is frozen.
The bathroom sink is frozen.
The cold water to the tub is frozen.
The hot water to the kitchen sink is frozen.
But the washing machine is fine. Which baffles me, because it's pipes are right in the same wall area as the bathroom sink.
But at least we can "flush" the toilet using a bucket of water from the tub.
But I'm still cold.
My feet have felt like ice cubes ever since we got home.
We've got the wood stove going, and the thermostat set on 74 (an obvious sign I don't feel good), but the house is so drafty, it just doesn't feel warm - the drafts push all the warm air to the south end of the house.
Which is where I am right now. Right next to the wood stove.
And I'd just stay here a while longer and get warm, but looking at the screen is giving me a headache.
Really, the whole point of this post is just to complain.
So humor me. Show me some pity.
Or at least pretend to.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Family Christmas Pictures

Taking pictures is always an adventure when it involves more than one person. Because trying to get everyone to smile at once is nigh to impossible. Especially when one of the people is only 1 and is teething. And someone else needs a nap. (That would be me.)
Here's the process.

Set the camera up. Start the timer and run for your seat. Then you realize one of us took up too much of the allotted frame.
Try it again. But someone forgets to smile.Change scenery, because in front of the wood stove was getting too dang hot. But then the cat knocks over the camera. So we set it back up and hold him so that he doesn't do it again. But end up cutting the top of our heads off.Then we figure, if the cat's going to be in it, we might as well bring the dog in.
Chaos. And missing top of heads again.
But a good smile from Paul!
So in the end, I do what any sensible mother would: pick out the picture that I look the best in, and use it for our Christmas letter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Card Photography

Paul really likes messing around with the new camera. I showed him what macro was, and it turns out he has an awesome eye for it. Just call him Macro-Man.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Yeah, I Know....

It's been over a week.
I had a post about Bethlehem I was working on, but then Nathan pushed a button and published it before it was finished. And then had a screaming fit when I took him away from the computer. And when I tried to edit it I deleted it. And Nathan was still screaming.
So I gave up.
I've been busy! I made over 8 dozen cinnamon rolls yesterday for Paul to take to work this morning. Four different kinds, with four different frostings. Apple with caramel frosting, chocolate chip with powdered sugar frosting, pecan with maple pecan frosting, and regular with cream cheese frosting.
Paul called at 10:30 and said the plain ones were all gone before they even went out on the floor at 7 AM. I told him it's all in how you market them. Because I could have just put "Plain" on the label and they would have had some leftover like last time. But plain sounds boring. So you mention "Cream Cheese", and they're all over them.
But he'd better not bring any home, because my ability to resist junk food is at an all-time low. I'm just munchy all the time.
Paul has worked every day since last Sunday. He worked Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights - got home at 8 Thursday (his "day off" which he slept the first half, and left for my cleaning job just as he got up, so we only got like 4 hours in the evening together), and then he had to leave for work again at 5:30 Friday morning, and works all weekend plus Monday. So working 8 out of 9 days, 12 hour shifts each day (but he's gone 14 hours or more with driving and getting there early/staying late to wrap things up)....... I'm ready to have him around again - looking forward to next weekend! The paycheck should be good.... He really wants a new TV, so I think that's why he's so willing. I told him we'd get it with a tax return, but this overtime will probably be as much as our tax return would be!
We still have to go Christmas shopping. The plan is to go Tuesday.... I hope.... Every other time we've talked about going, something has come up. We need to get on it, though - only a week and a half before the big day, and we've still got to buy presents for...... Oh, everyone.
So much for a quick post to tell you I'd post soon. Back to cleaning the living room then on to my walking video, wrapping the few presents we HAVE bought, and folding laundry, and trying to find the house under the mess!

Friday, December 5, 2008

New Camera!

Paul and I decided that this year, rather than get presents for each other, we'd buy a big present together for both of us.
I've been hacked at our digital camera for a while.... It takes forever from switching it on to being able to actually take the picture (very bad when trying to photo a little boy!), and goes through batteries like crazy. Plus there's no zoom.
So we decided to get us (and we all know it was really for me) a new camera.
It came yesterday, and I love it! We love it!!
I was helping decorate for a wedding reception last night, so Paul came and picked up Nathan on his way home from work while I finished up, and I sent the camera home with him. When I got home, the TV wasn't on. The computer wasn't on. Paul was sitting on the floor messing with the camera - still. He'd messed with it for a while at the church.
I think I'm going to love it.

Chowing down!

Blue color accent setting.

Messing around with the macro setting. I love macro photography!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I was sorting through my clothes closet last week, actually organizing everything into folded piles instead of a big heap (an endeavor that will last....oh... a week). As I was folding my pajamas, I noticed that 4 (out of 5) nightgowns that I have are the same color. Three of them were gifts. (And the fourth I bought because I had forgotten to pack pj's on vacation and it was on clearance.)
Is light turquoise a popular color for nightgowns or is this just a major coincidence?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Look Good/Feel Good Campaign

After about a month of feeling fat and ugly, I finally decided to do something about it.
First I tried shopping for new clothes. I haven't bought any new clothes for quite a while, like since June. But this attempt at boosting my self-image failed miserably.... First it made me feel completely cheap for not wanting to spend $40 on a top. Then it made me feel dreadfully out of fashion, because even if I did spend the money, I'm not sure I'd know how to wear these cute sweaters that are popular this winter. Then it made me feel like a freak of nature, because once I decided to buck up and just spend the money, I couldn't find anything in my size. Well, at least not anything I'd be caught dead in. (And that's saying a lot!) (PS - why do they even make mini-dresses in size 17?)
Next I decided to try exercising. I do like exercising. Once I get to doing it regularly, I feel much more energized. So I found a Leslie Sansone walking video that I really liked - it's a 4 mile walk/jog, a 50 minute work out. I did it for 8 days in a row, and was feeling pretty good about it, so when we were out at my parents' house on Wednesday, I smugly stepped on the scale.
WHAT THE.....?!?!?!
I had gained 7 lbs from when I last weighed myself. ARGH!!!
But - a lovely side effect of exercising is these little things called endorphins. They make you feel good. So even though the scale hasn't shown that I've lost any weight (I'm blaming it on the "muscle weighs more than fat" theory), in my mind, I've lost a bit of flab around my "muffin" and my belly.
My next venture in self image is what I call my Look Good/Feel Good campaign: If I put a little effort into how I dress, even for every day around the house, I feel better about myself. So I went through my closet and took all of my regular t-shirts and put them in the back corner of the closet (you know, the kind you get free for volunteering/buying something/souveniers, and are usually two sizes too big). Same with my old jeans. They are designated for cleaning/painting/gardening only. I put my "good" jeans (and even a couple skirts) and my nicer fitted t-shirts right up front for every day. Because, honestly, I dress up so little that I have clothes I have had for at least 5 years that still look new because I never wear them. (I know I have a sweater that I still wear that I've had at least since the winter I was going to school in KC.... 8 years ago. But that's kind of normal for me - my theory is why get rid of them if they still fit??)
But with this Look Good/Feel Good thing, I'm not the only one that benefits. My husband likes it when I look nice. Not that he says anything when I'm lounging around in my holey pajama pants and stained t-shirts, but he does notice when I have something on that accentuates my figure. So I feel good on two levels: I feel like I look nice, and I feel warm and fuzzy because my hubby told me I look nice.
I'm still going to excercise. I would like to lose about 15 pounds before I get pregnant again. I'm not sure of the likelihood of that, because even though I've given it my darndest with diet and exercise, my weight hasn't budged (more than a 3 or 4 pounds in either direction) in 3 years. And it doesn't move even when I'm not dieting and exercising, so maybe this is my "natural" weight.
But I'm definitely not going so far as to putting on makeup every day. That is beyond trying to look nice, and gets into the "self-inflicted torture" range.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nathan's One-Year Photos

I'm finally getting around to posting Nathan's one-year pics - almost 2 months later! I put all of them up on my other blog.
Some of them the color is messed up... I adjusted them so they looked better on my screen, but then once I uploaded them, the colors looked washed. You can view some of the originals, plus more of Lurenda's work on her page -

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I didn't want to brag about this too soon, lest I curse myself. But I think it's safe to announce now:
Nathan is FINALLY sleeping through the night.
Not "sleeping through the night" as defined by the baby advice columns, which is "sleeping at least 7 hours in a stretch." (Why they call that "through the night" is beyond me.... That's only like 2/3 of the night.)
I don't know what happened - it was like a switch was flipped from one night to the next. He went from waking up crying (and screaming if you tried to let him cry it out) between 2 and 4 every single night (no matter what time we put him to bed), to sleeping through 'til 7:30, and waking up happy and jabbering. And he's been doing it for two weeks.
A couple times, he's woken up and cried a bit, but fell back asleep before I could even get myself out of bed. And two more mornings, he's woken at 5 AM, but one of us took a sippy of milk up to him and covered him back up and he went back to sleep.
I had forgotten how great a full night's sleep felt. The first several mornings, I'd hear him, open my eyes - and it was light! Oh the bliss!
In other Nathan News:
He's got two molars fully in. He's working on more teeth - we can tell from all the chewing and slobbering, but I can't tell if they're his top molars or his bottom canines. They all look like there's something right under the surface.
He hates vegetables. (Any other Mommies have some tips for getting him to eat them?) He will occasionally eat our homegrown sweet corn that we froze (probably just because it's so sweet). Otherwise, I have to sneak them in under some garlic mashed potatoes or in some fried rice. I've tried serving them to him first when he's hungriest, and it's hit or miss (usually miss).
He's got quite a vocabulary! I didn't realize until I was writing our Christmas letter, but he's got about 10 words now... Let's see: hot, light, Daddy, kitty, hi, bye, out, tractor, Herc ("Ush"), dog ("arf"), cow ("MOOOooo"), and down. Not that he says them all all the time, but he definitely knows what they mean. (He also knows what "STOP" means, and will look at you and try it about three times more after you say it to see what you'll do.) This morning, I said, "Let's go change your diaper," and he headed for the bathroom! He knows what "close the door" means, and will do it when you ask him to. And he will go get his shoes when you tell him to, if they're not put away. And - Paul's so proud of this - if his little cowboy boots are out, he will go get them rather than his tennis shoes.
(I realize these may not be big accomplishments for a 14-month-old, but they fascinate me!)
And another thing Paul thinks is hillarious: If Nathan can see my belly or my back under my shirt when we're playing around, he will push my shirt up and blow on my belly (like we all do to babies' cheeks and bellies). Except he hasn't quite figured out the blowing, so he will just put his open mouth there, which kind of tickles (partly because I'm anticipating him biting me). I don't know where he learned that from - Paul does it to me occasionally, but I think Nathan just learned it from us doing it to him. I tried to get him to do it to Paul, but he wouldn't. Maybe it's just Mommy's deliciously squishy belly. (He thinks hitting it and watching it jiggle is fascinating. Lovely.)
Well, enough bragging. The baby video is almost over, so I'd better get back to entertaining.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Survey Sez:

So.... What's the most favorite of all pies?
Leave me comments and let me know.
And those of you that don't leave comments here, leave me a comment on Facebook. ( I just learned yesterday of two more readers that I didn't know about.)
I'm trying to decide what type of pies to make this holiday season. I may send several to work with Paul at Christmas, but don't know what people like.

As for me.... My favorite would be apple pie. (Made from scratch, none of this canned pie filling.) Warm, with vanilla ice cream on top.
Oh my. Now I'm slobbering.

They Let Me Down. But Should I Really Be Surprised?

Paul and I have been watching the show Chuck on NBC since it started last year (which may have actually been this year, the way they do their seasons).
We have really enjoyed it. The premise is the main character - Chuck - unwittingly becomes the CIA's most valuable asset. An old college friend who works for the CIA, thinking he was going to be killed, sent Chuck the file with all the secrets - "the Intersect." Chuck views the file, and all the secrets become trapped in his head. The real Intersect is destroyed, so only place that these secrets reside are in Chuck's head until the CIA can build a new Intersect.
That sounds really confusing, but it's the base for the story involving this geeky Chuck who is part of the "Nerd Herd" at the local Buy More. Every episode he works with his two CIA protectors (one posing as his co-worker and the other as his girlfriend), trying to be smooth and savvy, but always messing things up, yet somehow always emerging victorious.
Several times before, they've had episodes where there was the opportunity to take things further than I like, with Chuck almost going to bed with his "girlfriend" (who he actually is in love with). But they always took the high road. But I guess they assume that since he's a nerd, it's expected that it's not going to be easy for him to "get some," so it's acceptable for him to not have sex.
But last night, his old college flame was back in the picture. And they slept together at the end of the episode. They glorified it with the orchestra music in the background, like we were supposed to be happy for him. But I was so disappointed. Because until this point, it had been a great show.... Very little, if any language, occasional social or special occasion drinking. He lives with his sister, who is living with her fiance, but they are not main characters - that part of their relationship wasn't glorified. Until last night.
I was just so happy for once that there was what I would consider a family-friendly show, where I wouldn't be ashamed to watch it with my children. Or my parents. Or my in-laws.
But really - what should we expect out of Hollywood. They are the ones pushing agendas. By making it appear to be "normal" for people in their shows to be sleeping around, using drugs, and having abortions, it de-sensitises our youth, and makes them feel as if it is normal, things they should be doing as well.
I hope that this was just a detour from the how they intend for the show to be. I hope they get rid of this new girl, because I really don't like her. (I have a soft spot for Sarah, the "cover" girlfriend.)
Then we can get back to the endearing, innocent Chuck.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Guarantee You Will Want to Puke Before You're Done Reading

This evening was the grossest experience I've ever had as a Mommy. By far. But not gross as in something I had to clean up.........
I was hurrying, trying to get supper ready before Paul got home tonight. The house was a disaster area - Brutus had found a mouse at like 5 this morning, so I'd pulled everything away from the walls so that he could get behind and under furniture to catch it; then I went back to bed. Shortly after I got up, since Brutus hadn't found it (he would have let me know by bringing it up on the bed - he'd done it before), I pulled the piano out and there was the mouse! Brutus immediately caught it and I picked him up and threw them BOTH outside.
Then Nathan and I left. I did my cleaning job in town, then headed out and spent the rest of the day at my parents' house painting my little sister's old room. It took longer than I anticipated, so I was later heading home than I had planned.
Anyways. We got back home, and like I said the house was a mess. But apparently it looked like a playground to Nathan, because he ran around playing tag with the dog, squealing happily. He'd found a styrofoam coffee cup and was carrying it around, chewing on the lid. Which was fine, as long as it kept him happy and out of my hair while I was cooking, because I also needed to get started on some friendship bread for Paul to take to work for his shift in the morning.
I don't know if Nathan had made a noise, or was being suspiciously quiet, but either way - I went in to check on him and noticed he had something in his mouth. The styrofoam cup was still in his hand, so I figured it was a chunk of that. I put my hand under his mouth, and he immediately spit the contents into my hand. But rather than the white styrofoam, it was something black. Baffled, I examined it closer. Was that..... fur?
Oh no.
I looked around behind the couch, and there was the rest.
The rest of the mouse.
And not only was it a dead mouse, it was a mouse that the cat had eaten, then he'd thrown it up.
And Nathan was chewing on it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Male Readers Beware:

This is a commercial for OxiClean. (or in my case, the knockoff counterpart)
You don't want to read it.
So don't tell you I didn't warn you.
So since the male readers are no longer reading.....
Ladies: OxiClean. It's your friend.
My sister had told me I had to try it, so I bought some and followed the directions on the container, attempting to remove some dirt stains from some of Nathan's clothes. It did an okay job - I'm not going to say great, though. So it remained unused, forlorn and abandoned on the shelf above our washing machine.
Until this week.
My doctor told me not to expect a period until after I weaned Nathan. Well, 5 weeks to the day after the last time I nursed him, "The Visitor" shows up. And this visit is like none I've ever had before.
Let's just say that my precious underwear collection would have been severely depleted after the last couple days without this magic powder.
The recipe (don't follow the container directions): One scoop of OxiClean to about 1/4 of a mop bucket of hotHOT water. (Our water heater is set to the "Not Quite But Almost Boiling" setting.) Throw in your garments. Let soak overnight, or all day, or just in general however long you leave them in there in case you are like me and forget that you were intending to do laundry for three days running. Even though I've been stepping over the sorted piles in the bathroom, somehow that didn't remind me. Probably because I was either going to the bathroom to take care of certain things (ulgh), after which I needed to console myself with chocolate/salt/anything unhealthy, or else I was going in to change Nathan's diaper, which resulted in a screamfest, due to his diaper rash, after which I need to console him with chocolate/salt/anything unhealthy.
I seem to get distracted. Anyways.
After soaking, wash and dry your things as usual. There may be some very faint spots (which you only notice on close scrutiny, because you're writing a blog about it), but not enough that your husband will notice, gag, and request that you throw them away.
Speaking of my husband: he's a saint.
I've known this was coming for about two months.... I have been breaking out worse than I ever had in my entire life, and I have been a complete b[ee with an ]itch. For two months. And Paul hasn't said anything.
Although, when he heard me say from the bathroom, "IT'S ABOUT FREAKING TIME!" he didn't ask what it was about. But I'm pretty sure he said a prayer to heaven. "Thank You, Lord. Just one more week."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Buckle Up, America. It's Going to Be a Long 4 Years.

First off, I'd like to say: God is in control. He knew the outcome of this election even before time began. It's in his plan.
That being said.....
It's not going to be easy. Not only did voters elect Barack Obama to be our next President, but we also gave Democrats an even bigger majority in Congress. So now all of these insane policies on taxing, health care, and abortion will become law without even flinching.
The biggest thing that rankled me about this whole election was the obvious media bias the whole way. It was hero worship, rock star status for Barack Obama the whole way. He was black. It would be historical to elect a black President. Therefore we must vote for Obama, despite how weak and shallow his policies are. Beforehand, it was his policies for change. It wasn't that he was black, they said - because we can't make race an issue. (Even though when you say you don't support him, that supposedly makes you a racist.) But now that he's been elected, there's no mention of those policies, it's all about that he's black.
When I turned on the news this morning, there was nothing about Obama's plan for the economy, it was all about the "Legacy of Desegregation" in our country. And how hard it is for black people to be accepted, even still.
I'll admit, there are still racists. I'm not one of them. But I do not think blacks are opressed. Our government does everything to make sure that they are not! I'm proud that a bi-racial man from a broken home could grow up, graduate from a prestigious college, and go on to be elected as the next President of the United States. Only in America! Why not make a big deal about that? Why not inspire kids all over with this story of hope? Nope. It's just about that he was black, and blacks are so opressed in our country.
But I digress. Back to the topic: our next President.
I don't know how many comments I've heard about "Glad I voted for the winner." You don't win anything if they win. It's not a game. It's not a bet. It's not a horse race. If their policies are bad, even if they win the election - you lose. It's your money they're spending with all these new ideas for taxing people that actually work, to pay for healthcare, food, childcare, cell phones, computers, and cars for people that don't feel like working. Because they should be able to enjoy all the priveledges as people that work their butts off.
Don't you agree?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Random Thoughts on Abortion

While I was whipping up some biscuits and gravy for Nathan and I's breakfast this morning, I had a thought strike me about abortion.
Partly, because I recently researched Obama's stance on abortion, and I am passionate about voting pro-life, even if it would mean voting for a Democrat. I can not, in good conscience, vote for someone who thinks it's okay to destroy the life of another human being.
A lot of people support abortion in the case of "necessity to protect the health of the mother" - a very obscure term. What kind of health? Because the research I've done shows that "dangerous pregnancies" (ecoptic) usually naturally terminate, often before the mother realizes she's pregnant. Are we talking about mental health, then? Social health? I think many of the cases they are talking about "health" is defined as "any time it would be easier for the mother to not have the baby just then."
If that's the case - where do we draw the line? "It's not convenient for me to have a baby right now." What if a mother of a four-year-old decided it wasn't convenient for her to be a mother any more? It's holding her back from her potential... She can't go to school because of this little one.... She can't get the job she wants.... No man will date me when I tell him I have a child.....
If it's okay to kill a baby before it's born, why not after it's born? Why not at any time that it's not convenient for this life to go on? If a baby isn't born perfect, it may have trouble in life.... Wouldn't it just be more humane to kill it right then to have it suffer?
I was sent a link on abortion. If you have any doubt about the fact that a baby is indeed a baby, even from the moment of conception, you need to watch this video. After it ends, there is an option to view another video. Watch it. That is where you'll be convinced of the truth.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No Apologies

Now that this race is down to the wire, if you're even considering voting for Obama, you really need to check out what this guy stands for.
Two biggest in my book:
  • Socialism.
  • Infanticide.
"Spreading the wealth around." My husband will work his butt off, then be taxed to death so those who don't feel like getting up off the couch can still enjoy the same priviledges he does. And don't even get me started about the government being in charge of healthcare in this country.....
And if I knew nothing else about him, the fact that Obama SUPPORTS partial birth abortions would be enough for me to vote against him.
Once again, don't be swayed by the media's portrayal or by his smooth talk. Do your research and make an informed decision.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Eye Doctor Visit

So I thought I'd update you all on the visit we had with the eye doctor last week. In between cleaning up poop from the boy I babysit. I was in the bathroom myself, when the three year old pushes the door open and comes in with nothing on from the waist down. I ask him if he needs to go potty. "Nope." I sit him on the toilet anyways. Two seconds later I walk out to find his underwear, wet with a little turd in them. I dumped the turd out, and made him put the underpants anyways (the wet spot wasn't very big), so he could feel how gross it is to go potty in his underwear. Not 10 minutes later, the phone rang, and Dallas ran to ask me, "Who is it? Who is it?" Again with no underwear. So I went into the dining room and found the underwear on the table, with poop smears on them..... But no poop. I could smell it. Poop smears on the floor.... But no poop. Then I found it.... He had picked the turd up and dropped it over the baby gate onto the stairs. I made him pick it up with a napkin, then clean the floor up with a baby wipe. What else can you do to make him realize how nasty this habit is???? It's obvious he knows he's not supposed to do it in his pants, or else he wouldn't try to hide it.
I think his parents are like, "Just wait 'til you have kids, then you'll realize it's not so easy." And maybe it's true, but..... Still..... Gross.
That was NOT what this post was about.
I get distracted.
We went to the eye doctor last week. They told me to plan on being there a couple hours, but it ended up being just over an hour. They dialated his eyes and the doctor looked into them, made him watch his light go back and forth - several times - then told me his prognosis. He said Nathan has what is called Duane's syndrome. The doctor explained it as the nerve that controls one of the muscles in his left eye never developed in the womb. His vision is fine, but the muscle that makes the left eye look left doesn't work. He said Nathan will (and already does) compensate for this by turning his head a little further to the left when he looks that direction. He said Nathan would not be allowed to be a Navy pilot, but other than that will have no problems or restrictions on what he can do.
Whereas I'm a little sad that he has this small problem, I am SO relieved that we don't have to do glasses. He fights anything being on his head or face, so I was not looking forward to that battle.
Anyways. Back to the current battle - keeping Dallas poop-free for another hour and a half.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rainy Day Blah

So it's cold and rainy outside. Why does cold weather always have to be ushered in by rain? I would much prefer it if the crisp fall mornings just got brisker and brisker and one day we wake up and wonder how it became winter.
So in light of the rain, I am stuck inside. I should be reclaiming my house from the post-vacation disaster zone it currently is, but I just can't motivate myself to do it.
But I am being industrious! Paul and I picked two buckets full of cherry tomatoes last night. I decided to make tomato sauce out of them, thinking it would be so easy: Wash them, cook them, mash them - poof! Sauce.
Well, the washing took like an hour. Then the cooking another hour. Then the mashing, and now we're cooking it again to thicken it up. The result: A couple pints of sauce. Seriously. Was it even worth it it?
So I thought I'd give you an update on any randomness I could think of. The first thing that comes to my mind is - what else?
He's just over 13 months old now. Where has time gone? Am I forever going to be saying this? Will I look back at my kids' weddings and say "It just seems like yesterday..."
I'm happy to say that Nathan is weaned. Despite my apprehensions, it wasn't as hard as I had assumed it would be. Over two or three weeks, we went to just nursing at naptime and bedtime (yes, it was a get-him-to-go-to-sleep crutch), to nursing only at bedtime, to nursing only in the middle of the night, to no nursing at all! Each step only took about 3 days, and then he didn't even try to nurse! Even when we were in the emergency room, he never acted interested, even though he'd only been completely weaned just a few days.
Even though I totally enjoyed nursing, I totally was ready to be done - not necessarily because I "wanted my body back" but because I had had a year of me being the only one able to get up in the middle of the night to put him back to bed. The lack of sleep got to me finally.
I still am the one to get up the majority of the time... When Paul is working, I don't make him get up - even though I was THISCLOSE to making him anyways this weekend (after the third time up in a span of a couple hours). And I still wake up even if Paul is the one to go upstairs (half the time because Paul doesn't wake up to the sound of crying - I usually have to elbow him to get him to wake up). But not having to actually get out of bed is so nice.
We've been experiencing some sleepless nights lately. Nathan will go to sleep at his usual time with no problem, but will wake up between 2 and 4 AM and be up for anywhere from a half hour to two hours. I know it's the teeth, and if I give him some Tylenol or ibuprofin, he sleeps a lot better, but I don't like doing that - I feel like I'm drugging my son to convenience myself. If I can tell he's miserable, I'll give him some, but I don't dose him "just in case."
But when he actually lets me look in his mouth, it just looks so painful! His gums are all swollen where the molars are coming in. The second one on bottom finally broke through, and I think he's feeling better. I don't know how close we are to getting the molars on top yet - he really resists me poking around in his mouth.
What else? .... He's running, kind of, now. He throws his head back and runs, but then falls flat - because he throws his head back. I guess he doesn that because it's so fun, but it's really messing up his coordination. But he always gets up with a big smile on his face, so I guess it's okay.
He's also really getting into playing games like tag and peekaboo. I live for his giggles - they just make me feel all googly inside. Do any of you other moms just get overwhelmed by how cute your kids are?
For the second year, our garden was not what I hoped it would be. I don't know what we did or didn't do, but we haven't had beans or peas worth a hoot. Granted, we had some weird weather, but still.... Frustrating. We have plans to keep the @#%&* dog from stealing all the corn next year (he probably ate half of the crop this year), so hopefully that will help. It's not a whole lot of money (even though our August water bill is usually 2 or 3 times normal) - it's just putting so much time into it, and so far, not getting much of a return.
I weeded the flower bed at the back of our house for the first time since before I got pregnant with Nathan - which was almost two years ago. It was a mess, but I really had no motivation, since no one sees that bed except me when I'm hanging clothes on the line. I mean, you can see it from the road, but we're not close enough to see that it was chock full of grass. I didn't do a great job, but I was just going for getting the majority of the bulk (and seed heads!) out.
Paul is enjoying his supervisor job. He's been in that position for almost 4 months now, and I really haven't heard him complain. He's had days where all sorts of stuff goes wrong, but doesn't come home angry - he's always been really good about leaving work at work. I'm proud of him, because he mentioned one day when things were crazy that he had been working on the line, packing the glass - which isn't his "job" as a supervisor (it's what his old position was). But I told him that doing that speaks volumes about his character to his shift - that he's not "lording it over" them, that he's not above doing "real work". I still haven't met hardly anyone on his shift, which I regret. His old shift, Paul and I played paintball 2 or 3 times with about ten of them, so whenever I'd meet him at work, there was always someone who knew who I was and would chat with me. I have been totally spoiling them, though, and making home-made goodies for the whole crew whenever they work days on a weekend (at Paul's request). Paul said this last weekend, the cookies I made were completely gone by 9 AM - all he got were crumbs.
Nathan has an eye doctor appointment tomorrow. He has a lazy eye, which I've noticed for a while, but was hoping it was just a "baby thing" that he'd outgrow. No such luck. They called to confirm the appointment, and told me to come 15 minutes early to fill out all the paperwork, and expect to be there a couple hours. They're going to dialate his eyes. I'm not excited about that, or about the procedures they'll have to do to get it to be "un-lazy", but I just want to get started on the process, and get it fixed, so hopefully he won't have to wear glasses all his life.
Anyhow. Is this long enough yet? I'm just rambling. I used to keep a journal, but haven't really since I got married. I think blogging has kind of taken it's place. I really need to get all my entries saved and/or printed out. And yes - I still journal sometimes. There are a FEW things I don't think need to be shared on the internet. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vacation Pictures

So I got a sampling of our vacation photos put up on my other blog. And by sample, I mean there's almost 50.
In case you've been over there and seen them in the last 24 hours: when I originally put them up, I had them captioned and everything, then when I hit "save and close" it closed - but didn't save the captions. So now I've just RE-done them, explaining what you're looking at.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Love My Bed

We're back from our vacation!
Did I even mention we were going? Probably not. But we were gone - for a week! That's the reason for not posting. Not laziness. (This time.)

At Horsetooth Reservoir above Fort Collins.
We left at 6 AM last Friday, and spent 12 hours on the road driving to Fort Collins, Colorado. We went out there to visit Paul's grandparents (his dad's parents) for a mini-family reunion. Both of Grandpa and Grandma's kids, and all of their kids and grandkids made it out there at the same time. We all arrived within a few hours of each other on Friday evening, and all departed within a few hours of each other on Tuesday morning.
We had a blast. It was so nice just to hang out and relax, and get to know Paul's family a little better. We were all out there together last summer, but this time I felt like we were more comfortable with each other.
The family is as follows: Grandpa Ted and Grandma Nadine, their daughter Connie and their son Doug (Paul's dad). Connie has two daughers - Amy and Emily. Amy has a 5-year-old son, Boston, and Emily and her hubby Chris have a son named Jack who is 1 1/2. Doug and Janice have Paul (obviously) and Elizabeth, and then there is me and Nathan. So 14 people in all for this family reunion.
I was fascinated by watching Nathan and Jack (who are second-cousins, for those of you who, like me, have trouble with the proper cousin-isms) play together. To me they look so much alike.

Maybe I get distracted by the chubby, chubby cheeks. But there are some pictures that they almost look like twins. Definitely like brothers, or at least something more closely related than second-cousins.

Yeah, that's Nathan on the left, and Jack on the right. Just in case they look like the same kid to you.

After we left his grandparents' house, we headed down to Colorado Springs. Paul's best friend from childhood moved out there this summer, so we wanted to stop by and see him. After a half a day in the area, we decided we'd definitely be coming back next year.... When it's warmer. We got to do a quick hike through Garden of the Gods, see some indian cliff dwellings in Manitou Springs, and tour the Glen Eyrie castle and grounds, which is where Seth works (for Navigators). Since it was only in the 40s, we didn't really get to enjoy the hiking and time outdoors as much as we would have liked.
From Colorado Springs, we headed to Ness City, KS. Where is that, you ask? It's a little town smack in the middle of nowhere. And you realize that as you drive an hour down a two-lane highway and pass no towns, and very few oncoming vehicles the entire way. My little sister got her first teaching job out there, so we wanted to stop by and see the town.
Ironically, Ness City was the vacation destination for my family many summers as I was growing up. There is a little hotel with an indoor pool that we found by chance one summer, and so we ended up coming back year after year. (Because these farm kids love their indoor pools!) Sometimes we'd stay there on our way home from visiting Mom's relatives in Colorado, and sometimes we'd go out there and stay the weekend. Us kids would hang out at the motel, enjoying the cable tv and the pool, and Dad and Mom would go for drives, visiting various farm equipment dealers and some of Dad's distant relatives.
We got a good visit in with Carl that evening before we all turned in. We all got up at 7, and she headed to school, and we headed home.
I figured up on the way home: we'd spent roughly 25 hours on the road. That's a chunk for a one-year old. And believe it or not, when he wasn't asleep (which was more often than I though it would be), this is the face he had most of the time:

And that was with a new arrival that popped out sometime over the weekend at Grandpa and Grandma's. See his new pearly white back there on the right side of that smile? That puppy popped through and I didn't even know it until one night when he was acting off - quiet and cuddly. And it's a molar! The one on the other side is just under the skin, and the in-between teeth are coming in, too. What a champ!
But that does explain the sleepless nights that began the week before we left, and continued the whole vacation (except for one blissful night). He'd wake up at night, and it would be two hours before he'd go back to sleep. He'd fall asleep in your arms, but as soon as you put him back down, he'd start crying, which turned to screaming if you tried to just let him "cry it out."
It made for some interesting sleeping while we were gone. We were in a full size bed at Grandpa and Grandma's. Now, there's only 6 inches difference in width and height than our queen bed here at home, but it makes all the difference when it comes to knees and elbows in the middle of the night. Then add to that a sleepless one-year-old. Nathan's playpen that he was sleeping in is about 2/3 the size of his crib, so when he rolled over in his sleep, he'd run into the side and wake up. Paul would give up after 20 or 30 mintues of rocking and come put him in bed with us. Maybe Paul could sleep with him in there, but I couldn't, and judging by Nathan's restlessness, neither could he. So I usually ended up getting back up with him in an hour or so and rocking him for 20 or 30 minutes more until he was finally completely out. Then when we stayed at the hotel in Co Springs, we had a king size bed, which was plenty of room for all three of us, but Nathan did acrobatics and ended up with his head nestled into my ribs (and I somehow on the edge of the bed), and his feet on Paul. So given that I couldn't roll over, I didn't sleep that well then either. Then at Carl's we were on a futon. Enough said.
So I was SO GLAD to get home to my own bed. I slept like a baby. And so did Nathan, until 7 AM.

Monday, October 6, 2008

How to Escape a Blockade

I should have learned a while ago that chairs don't work as baby gates. But our house with it's weird doorways (or lack thereof), traditional baby gates just don't work.
For the last four months, though, they've worked on the stairs. The upside down chairs trick is actually something we used with our dog when he was a puppy - we fed the cat on the stairs and put the chairs up to keep the dog away from the food. Nathan has climbed on them, but not actually shown any interest in going over them.
Until one day last week.....

This is as far as he'd gotten before... Climb up here, bounce a little, then get bored and move on.
(See why a baby gate wouldn't work? There's no wall to attach it to on the left side.)

I swear it only took him like 10 seconds to go from the floor to over the chairs.

I'm outta here!

Paul could probably rig something up with plywood and hinges, but... That would only work until he can reach over the edge and unhook it.
Really, I don't worry about him going up the steps anymore. He's a pro. It's the coming down. Especially since he thinks he can go down like a big boy now (facing forward). He's figured out how to take one step or two holding on to the wall, so he thinks he can do all of them that way. He can't.
Any experienced Mommy advice or tips?

Friday, October 3, 2008


Wednesday we were taking a stroll through the yard when Paul came across this..... beauty.

Now, maybe some of you don't know about my dislike of worms, slugs, grubs, and general aversion to anything slimy or with more than four legs. But I hate them. So imagine my reaction when Nathan takes an interest in the thing.

Actually, I was a good Mommy, and I didn't react. I told Paul that I will try not to teach our kids my quirks by observation. I will control myself in the presence of worms, frogs, and other nasties.... As long as no one shoves it in my face. Like Paul loves doing. Grr.
But seriously, I was choking back the gag reflex as I took these pictures. Especially when he got a little squeezie with it.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How to Tell You've Ticked Off a Mathmatician

I got this in an email a while back, and it makes me laugh every time I re-read it. So I thought I'd pass it on. (I hope the pic is clear enough you can read what it says.)

A check sent to Verizon from an upset customer.

The amount is believed to be $533.80 (we think).

Monday, September 29, 2008

First Trip to the Emergency Room

We took Nathan to the Emergency Room on Friday night. Probably didn't need to, but I figured better to be safe than sorry.
We put Nathan down for an early-evening nap about 6 o'clock on Friday. We were having friends over, and he was tired and rubbing his eyes (he'd woke up from his afternoon nap at 2), so rather than having an all-evening crankfest (during which I'd have to be holding him constantly), we put him down for a nap.
An hour and a half later, we woke him up so he'd be able to go to bed at a semi-normal time. I brought him down and he kind of talked (babbled) to everyone at the table. I noticed he shivered some. Then he shivered some more, and his arms broke out in goosebumps.
We took his temperature, and it was 102. It kind of alarmed me, because he'd been perfectly fine all afternoon - I'd been gone cleaning and babysitting, and he was happy and played with Paul the whole time I was gone. After I got home, he was happy, but got a little cranky (but it was normal I-need-a-nap cranky), which is why we put him down.
We gave him some Tylenol, and went into the living room to visit and play games. Even though there were two other couples and one little boy here, he didn't even try to socialize. He just sat on my lap with his head on my chest, which is totally out of character for him.
An hour later, I took his temperature again, and it was up to 104. I figured the Tylenol should have kicked in by then, so I called the hospital to get an opinion. The nurse said to alternate Tylenol with ibuprofin, every two hours, give him a lukewarm bath, or put ice packs against his chest. We didn't have any ibuprofin, and I figured if he was shivering anyways, a cool bath or ice packs weren't a good idea.
As I held him, I noticed his heart was beating really, really fast - almost fluttering - and he was panting. Dan (who's taken EMT classes) tried to take his pulse, but it was too fast to count. After everyone left, Nathan started whimpering, then all the sudden he stopped and his breathing slowed down. I thought he'd went to sleep, but when I looked at him, his eyes were half open. I laid him down in my arms, and his eyes were kind of glazed and he was floppy. I freaked out a little. But then he lifted his arm and pointed at something. I breathed a little easier.
Paul and I talked, and decided to go into town - we needed to get the ibuprofin anyways, and if the temp wasn't down, we were going to take him into the emergency room. On the way, we wracked our brains trying to figure out what could be causing the fever. We were pretty sure he hadn't eaten anything that would cause it, plus we figured if it was food-related, he'd be throwing up or something else. I wondered if he could have picked something up from the kitten I found. Had he acted in any other way like he didn't feel well, being cranky or anything, I don't think we would have worried as much. But to go from being perfectly fine, to having this really high fever and being lethargic baffled me.
When we got to town, while Paul went into Walgreens to get the ibuprofin, I took Nathan's temperature, and it was up another half degree. I also got a pulse, since he was laying so still, and it was 160/minute. When Paul got back to the car, we decided to go on over to the hospital.
We got a little attitude from the nurse when we got there. She's the one I had talked to on the phone, and she was like, "Well, did you give him the ibuprofin?" I told her we had to come in to town anyways to get it, and since the Tylenol hadn't even touched the fever, we were a little worried. But the whole time we were there, we just got this attitude behind everything she said that was like, "You guys really don't need to be here."
Luckily, they weren't that busy - there was only one other patient, so we got to see a doctor pretty quickly. She looked him over, and agreed that his heart was racing, but told us that a rapid heart beat is a side-effect of a high fever. (I had never heard that.) Then she looked into his ears, and found the problem. He has an ear infection. I was surprised, because first off - we'd just been to the doctor a week before, and she said his ears looked great, and also, he hadn't been cranky or fussy, or rubbing on his ear or anything. But I was also relieved, because now we knew there was a reason for the fever. And she said a sudden high temperature could cause seizures, especially when you try to bring it down by giving them a cool bath. (Take that, Nurse Attitude! I should have told the doctor that's what their nurse reccomended, though....)
We still didn't feel bad for bringing him in, despite Nurse Attitude's little comments. We figured it was better to go just to be sure, rather than regret it later if it was something serious (like measles or meningitis) and we went too late. Plus, being Friday, we probably would have ended up in the emergency room anyways before Monday, since the doctor's office was closed.
Oh well. I have no regrets for how we did it. The only thing I'm apprehensive of is how much they'll stick it to us in the bill. Which we probably won't get for about four months. Oh well.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Evening Walks

In two weeks, we're going to Colorado for a vacation/family reunion to see Paul's grandparents. We like going hiking in the mountains while we're out there, but that's kind of hard to do with a toddler. We decided to get a backpack carrier when I sold my electric stove. It only took us three months to get around to putting an ad in the paper, but we got it sold! So we bought Nathan's big-boy carseat (a front-facer) and used the rest of the money to buy the carrier (and a birthday present). Wal-Mart, Target, and the usual places didn't have such a thing, so we looked online.
So we looked on EBay, and found the exact same thing, just last year's model (different colors). The bidding ended in just a few minutes, so we hurried up and bid on it.
Our cost: $43. And that includes the shipping.
All that leading up to the reason for my post: My evening walks.
I figured that if I am going to hike in the mountains, I should at least be conditioned to walk in the flatlands. So I've been taking Nathan on walks every evening that Paul's at work - either right before he gets home, or right after he leaves for nights.
Well tonight, I reached my halfway point (the corner 3/4 mile away) and turned around to head back. The dog's trailing along beside me, sniffing out the ditches, when I hear a "Reeeoowww! Hiss! Hiss!" coming from a cedar tree. I go to investigate, and I find a white and stripey kitten. He immediately climbs out the branch toward me, and before I know it he's in my arms.
I carried him and/or he walked along beside me over a half mile back to the house. I kicked Brutus out and brought the kitten inside to make sure he got some food, and Nathan immediately started following him all over the house.
I know, the sight of Nathan hugging on him really makes me want to keep him. But then I remember.... Brutus was once small and loveable.
So if you want to take this cute, friendly little guy home with you, just let me know. I'd love to not have to kick him outside.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Random Photography

Because I severely lack any inspiration in the writing department, I'll just post some pictures.
Birthday present from Grammy and Pa-pa. We eat breakfast here every morning. (Yes, those tiny chairs have a "weight capacity no more than 200 pounds"!) I figure if he likes sitting here better than his high chair, it's at least teaching him to sit at a table to eat. Even if it does only last half the meal.

He's starting to give hugs. And they make my heart go all gooey. He even has started hugging the cat, and just tonight gave his friend Glenna some very sweet hugs where he put one arm around her and his head on her shoulder. So cute! (And her look of terror of "What mean thing is he going to do to me?!?!" was great, too.)

In case you need a reason, I would never eat food that had fallen on the floor in Dairy Queen. Just in case you were considering.

Apparently we practice the "move your feet, lose your seat" principle here. I went to get a drink while we were watching some TV, and he moved in. And brought the sippy with him.

My friend Carrie calls the popular baby videos "Baby Crack." Pretty much. This was the first time we put a movie on just for him. We watch tv and movies with him in the room, but he's never shown more than fleeting interest. With this one, it was complete fixation the whole half hour. (This was the day we were trying to finish up the painting and needed to distract him.)

Daddy thought Nathan needed a big dump truck for his birthday. So far, all that Nathan thinks that the truck should be hauling is himself.

First bubble bath. He was a bit freaked out at the bubbles and didn't want to sit down in them. But then I showed him how they "pop" (disappear) when you smack them in your hands and he was smacking the water all over the place and soaking me and the rug.
That's all I got, folks. Maybe someday soon I'll be inspired and have something interesting for you, "my devoted public" (as Paul calls you). Or maybe you'll have to just live with looking at pictures of my adorable Munchkin for the rest of all time.