Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our Underworld Adventure

As promised, I need to tell you about our little (ahem) under-the-house adventure.
Let me just start from the beginning.
Our kitchen sink's faucet has been leaking for several months. It's gotten worse lately, and finally I couldn't take it any more, and I told Paul we HAD to replace it. So we went to town and got the new faucet. Should have been simple - old one off, new one on. The end.
Of course, it never could be that easy for us.
When we turned the water back on, the hot water didn't work - barely a trickle was coming out. We thought something was wrong with the new facet, so we hooked the old one back up - same problem. So then it became apparent that something had happened with the old line, somewhere on the other side of the shut off. Paul figured it was time to replace them. He and his dad are pretty good do-it-yourself plumbers, so they decided to tackle the project the following week.
Getting to the area under the kitchen requires belly crawling from the west side of our house, around some duct work, through a hole in the rock foundation, and finally under the kitchen. Once you're under the kitchen, you can actually sit up and have a bit of head space to work on your project. Paul got back there with the plumbing, and next time he came out, he came inside and said, "I figured out why our pipes freeze so much. There is NO insulation under the kitchen." (Our pipes freeze at least a four times each winter.) Also, he told me that the insulation under the back porch is sketchy (random pieces tacked up in random places, and half of that falling off onto the ground), and the north side is not set on a concrete piling/wall, like we had thought, but was merely set on a wall of cinder blocks, and the wind was whistling through them. (That would explain that major draft that comes from the back porch.)
The daylight is the hole where we crawl in. I'm about to crawl through the worst spot - where a heating duct makes the crawlspace barely wider than my backside, and not tall enough to get my knees under me to actually crawl. (I have no arm strength to pull myself with my arms.)
He and his dad got the plumbing fixed. The next day, Paul and I decided to tackle the insulation. We started with the kitchen floor..... Getting all the stuff back there you need (like 3 huge rolls of fluffy insulation), while having to belly crawl 20 feet is a feat in itself. We got in the swing of things - put the insulation up, he'd staple up his end, then I'd staple my end while he got the next piece ready. We were just finishing up one side, when I decided to staple myself instead of the insulation. Despite the "EXIT" written on TWO places on the staple gun, I held it upside down. I saw two staples go flying, and thought it was just because I didn't have the gun squared up against the board. So I grasped the bottom with my other hand and pressed it again.
Apparently the bright orange writing wasn't obvious enough.....
Pain. Lots and lots of pain.
And blood.
And we were stuck under the house.
When I got brave enough to take my hand off of it to inspect the damage, my finger was already swollen and turning purple. Blood was gushing from one of the holes, making me suspect I had nicked a vein. So I clamped my hand back over it and sat watching Paul finish up what he could do on his own. Fifteen minutes later, the bleeding had stopped, so we crawled out.
Of course, this would happen on the week I needed to play piano for a special at church. I made arrangements to have someone fill in for me, anticipating the worst. However, the worst was at the moment of injury. The swelling was down by that night, and I did have some bruising a few days later, but nothing what I anticipated.
We finished up the project on the following Saturday. Paul and his dad worked on a drain problem (as I said - projects are never simple), while I finished up under the kitchen by myself. (No pride or anything.) Then I cut sheets of insulation board for Paul to tack up against the concrete block wall, and handed them back to him.
This weekend is our first truly COLD spell (highs in the 20s) since we finished up, and I can honestly say, the house does feel warmer. If you walk to the bathroom barefoot in the middle of the night, you don't feel like you have two bricks of ice attached to your feet when you get back to bed. And it seems to have helped with the draft. Maybe that's wishful thinking, but at least at this point, I haven't noticed as much of one.
I think that project is completely done now. Now, on to the next one...........
I have about 20 pictures of this adventure, but after 3 days and multiple attempts each day, these two are the only ones Blogger has uploaded for me. I don't know what's going on, but I'm going to go ahead and publish this, and hopefully add more photos later.

Monday, December 27, 2010


When Paul was wasting time last week, looking at, he found another website, owned by the same people, called (Personally, I could think of about a thousand better names, but whatever.)
My brother calls such websites (and also Food Network) "food porn." I would have to agree. If you are trying to lose weight, don't click over to that website. You will gain 10 pounds just looking at the pictures. And then go eat gross leftover Christmas food, when what you're really craving is a huge hamburger smothered in cheese and sauteed onions on a toasted ciabatta bun.
So of course, Paul found something there that he wanted. Badly. Peanut Butter Brownie Bottom Cheesecake.
Like, he printed off the recipe, wouldn't stop talking about it, and was dropping totally un-subtle hints. I had tons of baking to do, so I told him it wasn't going to happen until after Christmas. And that was true - I had no intention of even attempting it, because for the first thing, I didn't even have the springform pan needed to make it in the first place.
Paul and I didn't get each other Christmas presents this year, because we bought concert tickets to see his (our) favorite violinist in February in Omaha. I kind of planned on getting him a little something, but couldn't think of anything, and ran out of time. So, on a trip to the store, I bought the ingredients for the cheesecake. My original plan was to wrap them up and have that be his gift. But then on Christmas Eve, I decided I'd just go ahead and make it. It wasn't completely finished by Christmas morning, but close enough.

This was quite possibly the richest, most decadent dessert I've ever eaten, and most definitely the richest I've ever cooked. I couldn't even finish one piece, and Paul requested I take the leftovers to my family gathering (he worked Christmas weekend) to try to get rid of them, because he wouldn't be able to eat more than one piece a day. He called it "the 12 days of Christmas."
Changes I made to the recipe:
  1. I baked the brownie crust 20-22 minutes (reduced from 25-30 min), to make it a little more fudge-y.
  2. I only used half the amount of chips on top of the crust, because my pan was too shallow - had I used the full 2 cups, I wouldn't have had room for the filling. I thought it tasted perfect this way. (As it was, I made two "tart" pans of filling-only cheesecakes.... This recipe really needs an extra-deep 5" springform pan.)
  3. I didn't set the springform pan in water. I didn't trust my old pan (borrowed from my sister) to not leak, so I set a 9x13 pan of water on the shelf below the shelf the cheesecake was on. Same principle: moist heat keeps the cheesecake from cracking. I don't really know what actually setting the pan in water would accomplish that my method didn't.
  4. Because I beat the filling too much (trying to get the cream cheese chunks out), the batter had too much air in it, and fluffed up during baking. The top also got pretty brown (presumably for the same reason), so I took it out at just over an hour, because it seemed to be set. It wasn't undone, but it could have been more done. (I read afterwards to mix on the lowest setting, and only until the ingredients are just mixed. Oops.)
  5. I only made a half recipe of the chocolate topping, because the recipe said it made so much. It was the perfect amount.
And even though my diet/excercise commitment started today, I had to have another piece. Before it went bad in the fridge, you know.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


(I was trying to make conversation with Nathan on the way home from church, trying to talk him out of the bad mood he'd been in all morning.)

"Hey, Nathan, guess what I just saw at that house? I saw a fat cat!"
"A fat cat?"
"Yes! He was gray like Brutus, but he was FAT."
"Fat like Simone?"

(Tee hee! That's just for you, Carlsie.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 Rhodes Report

This is our Christmas letter, for those of you who don't get it..... or who won't get it until after Christmas, because I was so late getting them out.

With just a few days left until Christmas, I (Rachel) can’t believe I haven’t even started this letter. It just seems like things keep popping up! (As if the excuse of having two boys isn’t enough!) Case in point, right now, we are in the middle of a “home improvement project” that has become way more complicated than it was supposed to. (Nothing is ever simple around here.) Original project: take the leaking faucet off the kitchen sink, put on a new faucet. Well, in that process, something happened with the hot water line, so we didn’t have hot water to the kitchen after the new faucet was in. So Paul decided it was time to replace the old water lines to the kitchen. In crawling under the house, he found that there was virtually no insulation whatsoever under the north end of our house (no wonder our pipes freeze!). So by the time it’s all over, we will have not only a new faucet, but also new lines to the kitchen sink, new lines to the bathroom sink (in fixing one thing, we broke something else), and lots of new insulation under the kitchen and back porch.
It has been an eventful year. Some things are the same: Paul is still working at AGC (11 years). I still stay home with the boys. I still did baby-sitting one or two days a week, although it was a lot more sporadic than last year. We still are on the praise team at church. We still live outside of Ottawa, and we still drive the same cars and have the same pets. We still did a garden, and it still did poorly (too much rain!) - although my fall re-plants did great.
If I could choose a theme for the year, it would be God’s provision. We had so many unexpected expenses this year, with doctors bills, hospital bills, dentist bills, funeral travel, home project emergencies, car repairs, and other things. It seemed like when we needed the money, we got it just in time, whether through Paul having overtime at work, or me babysitting. I am so grateful that God has done this, and that we can go into the new year with all of our bills paid. (I’m also looking forward to actually having some room to breathe on the next paycheck!)
Paul lost two grandparents this year. In January, Paul’s grandmother (Doug’s mom) passed away. In August, his grandfather (Janice’s dad) passed away during a surgery. Both were well into their 80s, and had lived full lives, but still will be missed. We traveled to Colorado for his grandmother’s funeral during the coldest week of the year, and then to Medicine Lodge during the hottest month of the year.
My own grandfather had a major stroke in May following knee replacement surgery. He again proved his stubbornness in recovery, and was back home within 2 months. We are so proud of his progress, as he is almost back to normal, only occasionally having trouble with his speech.
Besides the aforementioned house project, we also had to replace our outdoor cellar entrance this summer. All the rain, plus constant freezing and thawing all last winter, had caused one rock wall of the entryway to cave in. We had to wait until September for it to be dry enough to start the project, but now our new entrance looks SO nice, and is so much better at keeping any drafts (not to mention critters!) out.
As I mentioned earlier, we’ve had a chunk of doctor and hospital bills this year. In April, Jacob had a surgery to find/retrieve an undescended testicle. (There is an upped cancer risk if everything is not in it’s proper place.) The full name of the surgery was 1st Stage Laparoscopic Right Fowler Stevens Orchiopexy. Despite the long name, it’s a fairly minor surgery. However, since he had to be anesthetized, and he was only 6 months old, it was kind of worrisome for us as parents. He had no problems at all, and was back to business, trying to crawl that evening.
Both boys had emergency room visits in June, one day apart. They contracted The Stomach Bug From Hell. Nathan threw up every 10 minutes for 6 hours, so after consulting with his doctor, I took him to the emergency room. He received an IV of fluids and anti-nausea medicine, and was a total champ about the whole procedure. The following day, Jacob started with the same thing. He wasn’t getting sick as often, but after not having a wet diaper in 9 hours, the doctor thought he should go in for fluids as well. But the emergency room doctor was nervous to do an IV on Jacob because he was so young. They gave him an anti-nausea pill, which pretty well controlled his throwing up, but it took him a week to get fully re-hydrated (which you tell by the amount of wet diapers). Paul also got the Dread Disease - on Father’s Day. My birthday was two days later, and by then, all I wanted was to NOT have to see any more poop or puke. Then Jacob got thrush (basically a yeast infection in his mouth) due to his weakened immune system, which took a month and several trips to the doctor’s office to finally cure, with antibiotics and home remedies.
We thoroughly enjoy having two boys. They make us smile and laugh so much. They have just started playing well together and wrestling. But it is crazy here some days. Nathan had just grown out of the phase where he had to pull every toy out, and then Jacob grew into it…. I had a blissful two or three months when the house actually looked presentable most days. But now, that’s just a dream. I’ve decided that trying to clean house while they are awake is like trying to bail water from the Titanic with a teacup, so most days I don’t even try. I wait until they are asleep, or a day that Paul is off to distract them while I get stuff done.
Nathan turned 3 in September. We are constantly impressed by his vocabulary and his ability to use it - until he gets upset, when he reverts to tears and whining/yelling. He is fully potty trained now - he has been sleeping in underpants for a couple months now, and it has probably been a month since his last wet night. He loves his wooden train tracks, the sand pile, and “Daddy’s tractors.” (Daddy has all the fun tracked tractors, 16-row planters, and big combines with 16 row-headers that Nathan isn‘t quite old enough to respect on his own.) He loves when we go to my parents to help work cattle, and acts out sorting cattle when he finds a stick (“Get down there!”). And COMBINES! Nathan managed to hitch a ride 8 separate times with different farmers during the harvest this fall (always with Daddy or Mommy and sometimes brother also). He still points out the fields he “helped combine.” Nathan is Mr. Eagle Eyes - he is constantly pointing out things outside and from the back seat that we hadn’t noticed. In September, he started Cubbies, the preschool part of the Awana program at our church, and is doing well in memorizing his verse every week.
Even though I was more experienced as a Mommy when Jacob was born, I was still exhausted all the time. He didn’t start taking naps until he was 5 months old. He’d take little 20 minute naps here and there, but otherwise was not happy unless he was in my arms. And of course, his naps didn’t coincide with his brother’s at first! (No wonder I got nothing done!) He started sitting at 6 months and crawling shortly after. He started pulling himself up to stand at 7 months, and then immediately started climbing…..everything! He has crashed so many time off so many different places; you think he’d learn. Jacob took his first step at 10 months, and was walking on his own by the time he was 11 months. He turned 1 in October while we were in Colorado visiting Paul’s grandpa. He said his first real word a couple weeks ago - hot. He does say Mamamamama and Da (which may or may not actually mean Mom and Dad). He doesn’t talk, but babbles and “sings” a lot, and “talks” to us with lots of uh, ah, and eh’s. Jacob loves the dog and cat, and gets excited when he sees any animal. He likes his toys, but I think he prefers dragging anything and everything he can get his hands on out of the kitchen. He also has a habit of putting everything in his mouth, which I really hope he outgrows soon.
Other significant celebrations were Paul’s 30th birthday in July - which we celebrated with balloons, a “Happy Birthday, Daddy!” poster decorated by Nathan, and a huge cookie-cake - and our 6th anniversary in March - which we celebrated with a blizzard, a sick child, Paul working, and me getting my car stuck in a snow drift. Lovely times, both. We got to go to Silver Dollar City with Paul’s family, the first weekend of May during SDC‘s 50th anniversary celebration. We took a trip to Colorado in October to see Paul’s grandfather, arriving just in time to see the first snow in the mountains. Nathan still talks about everything he saw on the trip. On our way home, we stopped to see my sister, Carlsie, in Ness City (Western Kansas). The first weekend of December was our church’s annual Bethlehem production - we had new roles this year: I organized meals for 100 volunteers each night (with fill-in roles in the stable and marketplace), Paul was a “wise guy” (instead of a Roman Soldier), and the boys were adorable Bethlehemites.
That is our year in a nutshell. We hope every one is doing well and that God has blessed you as much as He has us. We look forward to what He is going to do in the coming year!

Paul, Rachel, Nathan, & Jacob

The photo uploader is being stupid. I've tried twice to upload photos to this, and it sat an loaded all night, and never finished, and the next time, it said it uploaded them, but they aren't here (obviously). I'll try to upload Christmas pictures of the boys sometime today.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I've Been Up To

It took like two weeks to finish the project (the delay, in part, due to me inserting a 5/8" staple into my finger). But I think we're done crawling under the house. All the gory details later.


[Nathan coming down the stairs with all the money from his piggy bank in a cup.]

Nathan: I got my money. I give it to the guys, and put it in the bucket.

(He wants to give his money to the Salvation Army. We've really tried to teach him about giving this Christmas, and what they use the money for.)


[Nathan decided to skip his nap Monday. After a meltdown, when it was too late to make him take a nap, but too early to put him to bed, I put on a movie to help him chill out.]

Nathan: [when realizing his eyes were starting to droop] Ooh, I sleepy! I gotta get to work. [hops up, and starts running around in an effort to stay awake.]

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I'm So Behind!

I apologize all the time for lack of writing. Really, I think of stuff all the time that I want to write about, and I have about 147 pictures I want to post, including pictures of our vacation and Jacob's first birthday - TWO MONTHS AGO. But I just don't think of it at convenient times.
Right now I'm in the middle of trying to get Christmas cards sent out (I've got the cards bought and the letter almost finished), and we're in the middle of a plumbing and insulation project under the house (a week and a half and counting....).
Well, both boys are fighting over a toy while on my lap, and I have gifts to wrap. We are doing seriously minimalistic Christmas this year, so whereas I've only bought 8 gifts, I only have about 3 left (total; that includes individual gifts for the boys). We've talked about buying them more, but then it becomes about the STUFF, and I am trying to avoid that.
Anyhow. Need to turn the TV off and get on things. I'd like to get the kitchen clean today, for the first time in about two weeks.........

Friday, November 19, 2010


My friend April isn't new to blogging, but rather I am new to reading her blog. April and I lived together for just three months back in the autumn of 2000, while I was going to school in Kansas City. We lost touch, but then found each other on Facebook and have started keeping tabs on each other again. She has some wonderful thoughts, and if you read my friends' blogs, I encourage you to read hers (she has two).

And in other "blog link" news..... The deadline is coming for some of you. After so long of not posting anything new, I'll delete the link. Harsh, but true.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stuffed Meatloaf

(And I would like to point out, in case I don't made it clear, that even though this is under the "Rachel's Recipes" category, it is not my recipe.)

Working on the church cookbook had it's advantages and disadvantages.... Advantages: Getting to read and re-read all those delicious recipes. Disadvantages: Getting to read and re-read all those delicious recipes! Depending on what I was working on, I would be craving Texas Caviar, Shrimp Etouffee, Monkey Bread, Double Chocolate Mint Dessert, Corn Casserole, or any other number of things by the time I stepped away from the computer.
One last-minute entry I got was from my friend Sabrina from church. "Stuffed Meatloaf." It got my attention, because we love meatloaf around here, and stuffing it..... Even better!

2 lbs. ground beef
2 large eggs
½ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup onion
¼ cup bell pepper
1 tbsp. parsley
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. basil
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 cup ketchup

Stuffing options:
4 oz. Deli ham or pepperoni slices and 8 oz. mozzarella cheese
Cooked bacon slices and American cheese
Swiss Cheese and mushroom slices
Spinach and ricotta cheese

Oven 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together except ketchup, and stuffing options.
Form meat mixture into an 8x10 rectangle.
Lay meat on top and then cheese (or whatever using for a stuffing).
Roll up like a jelly roll.
Place in a loaf pan and coat with ketchup.
Bake 1 ¼ hours
Drain fat. Cool 10 minutes; cut into 8 slices.

I made it two Saturdays ago, and had to make it again this week. Different variations, however, but still.... Pretty delicious.
The first time I made it, we used pepperoni, packaged bacon bits, and shredded cheese (about half Italian blend shredded, and half colby-jack shredded). It was really good, but we shouldn't have bothered with the bacon bits, because the pepperoni flavor took over.
This time, I actually fried bacon (Farmland spicy bbq version), and used American cheese (about 12 slices). I loved it this way. My only screw-up was that somehow I set the oven at 450 instead of 350, and didn't realize it until it had been in an hour. No damage other than a well-done top.
And I refuse to use simply ketchup on top of meatloaf. And despite Paul's repeated requests, I won't use barbeque sauce either. I use ketchup mixed with dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Don't ask how much, because I don't know. It's how my Mom did it, so it's how I do it.
And if you try this recipe, a trick to rolling it up: I used a smallish baking sheet with sides, lined it with wax paper, then pressed the meat into it. I arranged the toppings, then picked up the edge of the paper to help me start rolling it. It really helps make it into a neater roll without mangling it.
Oh. And we don't do green peppers in baking. Bleh. Fajitas: yes. Anything baked, boiled, or simmered: no.
The only thing I don't like about this recipe is that it uses two pounds of my precious ground beef. But it makes a big loaf - we have had two meals of it (with green beans and noodles), and there's still some left over. (And that's why I guess I don't mind using two pounds of meat for one dish.)
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! I would like to try all the stuffing options, but I doubt I'll be able to pull off the non-carnivorous options with the males in this household.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Random Thought

I told the story of Nicodemus at Cubbies last night. All through preparing it, I had the hymn "Ye Must Be Born Again" (by William T. Sleeper) stuck in my head. I've known the song forever, and probably learned it as a child.

A ruler once came to Jesus by night
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain,
“Ye must be born again.”

“Ye must be born again,
Ye must be born again,
I verily, verily, say unto thee,
Ye must be born again.”

It wasn't until tonight, while singing it in the shower, that I realized.... That song is not Scripturally accurate. Twice in John 3, Nicodemus asked, "What do you mean?" If he had to ask Jesus twice, apparently it wasn't "words true and plain."
In our church, there are three "camps" - there's the Hymns Are Gods Chosen Music, the Hymns Are So Old and Irrelavent to Today, and the Why Can't We All Just Get Along? camps. I happen to be part of the last (and I'd say a majority of our church is, too). Even though I'm the worship leader, and 97% of the time, we only do new worship songs (meaning, songs less than 20 years old), I love the old hymns. But I think if someone is going to talk about praise and worship songs being "not Scripturally accurate," that they need to hold their hymns to the same standard. Just because the Church has been singing a song for over a hundred years doesn't mean that the writer couldn't have been just a bit off when he wrote it..... just looking for words that made him feel good, or even for words simply because they rhyme.
And, as an aside - I'd like to point out that I try to only pick out songs that do line up to the Scriptures. There are some I really like, but that aren't accurate (These are the days of Your servant, David, rebuilding the temple of praise. -Days of Elijah) and some that just don't make sense (You are beautiful my sweet, sweet song. -You Are So Good To Me) Some say, "Well, these new worship songs just say the same thing over and over." Well, the original praise and worship songs, the Psalms, do the same thing. Psalm 136, for example: Your faithful love endures forever...... 26 times. (I feel justified when we sing "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever." ☺)
Anyhow. Just a little thought/rant.

And I would like to point out that Jesus did make Himself perfectly clear, later into his conversation with Nicodemus. I think maybe His seemingly strange and evasive answers were to draw a thinker like Nicodemus in, to listen to the heart of His message, which was this:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Daylight Savings Time, How I Hate You.

I think Daylight Savings Time should not be used any more. Really, the reason it was implimented was to use less electricity and get more productivity during World War II. (Am I right on this?) But I've heard that nowadays, with current technology, it does nothing.
Nothing, that is, except completely screw with my children's sleep schedules.
My kids are very solar-minded. (Or whatever you want to call it.) They won't go to bed at night if it's still light outside, and they wake up as soon as the sun begins to light the sky. So you can see why I hate DST. In the summer, it's light until 10 PM for a few weeks. And then in the autumn, after the time changes, they are completely thrown off. Jacob woke up at 5:15 on Sunday.
Add to the Jacob sleeping complication, that he still wants to nurse if he wakes up. So when I go and pick him up, he does somersaults in my arms to try to get under my shirt. This had better end soon. I'm tired of the 2 AM screaming fits.
In other news: I got to enjoy my first taste of wine (or any alcoholic beverage) in four years. That's right: four years. I've either been pregnant, nursing, or "trying" (not preventing) since December of 2006. Actually, I guess we "tried" all of 2006, too, but things weren't happening on their own.
Our friends Josh and Tara came over for supper and brought over a nice bottle of wine. It was really tasty - Paul even said he liked it, and he doesn't like wine. I love the taste of wine, and really enjoyed it. I had two glasses! (Such a lush.)
(And for those of you that know us well, and know we aren't "preventing" - certain female hormonal events are presently occuring, so it's obvious I'm not pregnant, and thereby safe to have a drink.)
I'd like to announce that I would call Nathan completely potty trained. Ecstatic! Although, I told Paul I'm not sure I should consider any kid completely trained until they can wipe their own backside (properly!) and button and zip their own pants. But he's staying dry at night now. Back in.... August, I think, he suddenly started staying dry at night. I bought a package of pull-ups for nighttime, and three months later he still has nearly a dozen left. About two weeks ago, he asked to wear underpants at night, so we let him. Saturday night was the first time he'd wet the bed while wearing underpants. (Which resulted in a 2 AM complete stripdown of him and his bed. Lots of crying.)
We inherited a "project" from my grandparents. They had a calf born to them that was absolutely tiny; she barely came up to your knee. They thought she was about a month premature. The vet thought it could be that, or possibly that she was a dwarf. Either way, she wasn't quite "right" but displayed an incredible will to live. They started her on a bottle (she sucks with her tounge sticking out the side of her mouth), and after about a month, offered her to us for the boys to help take care of. I was excited to get into the "cattle business" but apprehensive about taking a calf with problems. She was recovering from an eye infection when we brought her home last Saturday (a week ago). We made up a nice pen for her in our unused dog pen, and turned her loose. She seemed to enjoy the tall grass. So after letting the boys talk to her through the fence, we went inside.
Just before bed that evening, I took Nathan out to feed her a bottle. As I shone the flashlight toward her pen, I noticed something large and red on her back. It was blood. Our dog had gotten ahold of her through the fence and ripped off large chunks of her skin from her back and the back of one hip. I was very angry at the dog. But he didn't act vicious toward her - I think he truly thought we had brought home the calf to be a snack for him. (She was smaller than the dog.)
I treated the wounds as best I could, and she really didn't act like they bothered her. The one on her hip that I couldn't cover with a bandage wrap got infected a little bit, but a vet that goes to our church said it wouldn't be a big deal, and told me how to take care of it. By Friday, the wounds looked pretty good, considering, but she seemed to be weak, and have trouble getting up. Saturday night when I went out to feed her her nighttime bottle, she was stretched out on her side, and pretty unresponsive. The inside of her mouth was cold. We brought her inside for the night, hoping that she had just gotten chilled and that spending the night in the warm house would revive her. But really we knew better. She died during the night on Saturday.
I know it may have been inevitable; that she may have died anyways, no matter what I had done. My parents aren't even sure it was the wounds from the dog.... She just wasn't "right," and it could have been the eye that was infected when we got her. But when something dies on your watch, you still feel responsible.
However, it made me realize how much I missed doing chores. Don't get me wrong - I didn't care for bundling up the boys every morning and taking them out in the cold, and trying to get them to keep their gloves on while I tended to the calf. But I liked having something to do, and something to take care of. Paul and I are talking about buying some bottle calves, if we can afford them after we finish paying hospital bills.
Anyhow. I am totally in a bloggy mood today. Later, I will try to upload some pictures to show what we've been up to. But first, I'm going to feign productiveness and see about cleaning that kitchen.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kind Of

So, I finally have nothing else to do on the computer. So this will kind of be an update.... Meaning, I have so much to write on (It's been like a month and a half, somehow), but I know that one the boys will inevitably have a crisis with much screaming and drama before I'm done, so I'll get pulled away.
Let me refresh my coffee.....
Ah, coffee... How I have missed you. About a month ago, I woke up with a major craving for coffee (hence the Norwegian egg coffee recipe). I usually have a cuppa decaf about once a week, when we eat breakfast at Burger King or wherever on our way to church. (Despite trying everything - getting up earlier, fixing it the night before - every single time we try to eat breakfast at home, we are late - and since I lead the praise team, I can't be late. So we resigned ourselves to the fast food dollar menus.) I haven't been drinking "leaded" coffee because of nursing.... Jacob was apparently very sensitive to any trace amounts of caffeine - even as little of a half a can of pop would affect him. So I'd given it up. But the last month, I have been tired all the time. I know it's my bad sleep habits (averaging 5 hours or less whenever Paul works nights) - combined with still having to get up once a night with Jacob - and compounded by the fact I gave up naps in order to exercise. A year of this finally hit me. So I started drinking real coffee again. Jacob was on his way to being weaned, so since he wasn't nursing as often or as much, I managed to sneak in some morning coffee.
And - cue fanfare and drumroll - Jacob is weaned! The plan was to wean him two weeks ago, while we were on vacation. I figured all schedules and "comfort zones" would be out the window anyways, so it would be easy. But he came down with a virus the day before we left, and ended up with a high fever for three days. He refused to eat, or even really drink, the whole time, so I had to go back to nursing. So the "coming back weaned" idea got thrown out the window. But then... It just kind of happened. I was expecting lots of drama - with Nathan, I had to do a very deliberate step-by-step weaning, cutting out one nursing at a time, with much screaming at every stage. But Jacob was much more laid back (and maybe I was, too). I tried putting him to nap without nursing, and it worked. But then the next day, I did nurse him. And then I had Paul put him down at night, but I'd nurse it in the middle of the night. I kept changing it up. Really, it was centered more around what I needed (when I got full and uncomfortable), and he's just kind of went with it. The middle of the night is the hardest for him to give up. And, honestly, the hardest for me, too - it's much easier to give him what he wants to make him go back to sleep immediately. But in the long run, I know it's in his best interest to say no, so.....
We took both boys in for their yearly checkups on Tuesday. Nathan is 40 inches and 40 pounds. Jacob is 28(ish) inches and 24.5 pounds. She said they both look perfect, and I would have to agree. I fibbed slightly on how much Jacob talks. He does say "Dadadadada" and "Mamamom," but not often. I didn't want pressure to take him to speech therapy. He can hear fine, and he understands us - if you tell him to go give something to Daddy, or close the door, he will. And I have been paying attention this week: He "talks." You can't understand what he's saying, but it's obvious in his mind, he's talking. And whenever you hand him something, he always says, "Das." That's "thanks."
While we were at the doctor's office, we took him next door to the county clinic to get his next round of immunizations. We'd gotten a postcard in the mail, so I figured it had been two months. They looked at his records, and told me it was a week too early, so we couldn't do it. But they told me that he needed six other shots, plus his flu shot, to get him caught up. This kind of irritated me.... We can inject him with 7 shots for 10 different diseases, but we can't give one shot one week early. And they got huffy when I explained how we do immunizations: we aren't anti-immunizing, we're just anti-all-at-once immunizing. We get, say, the DTaP vaccine, and go back every two months, until we've completed the regimen. Then we get the MMR and go to completion on it. They will get all of their vaccines eventually, but I see no need to do all of them before they're 2. They like to tell me that I'm endangering any child they come in contact with, which is a bunch of crap, because the only child I'm endangering is my own. If other children have had their shots, there's no way they could pick something up from my child - that's the point of having them vaccinated, isn't it?
Anyhow. Sorry about that little rant. I just get irritated when people think they know what's better for my kid than I do. And: I do not judge anyone who goes ahead and gives their kids the vaccines at the recommended time. I figure you've researched it, and you feel fine about it, so it's your choice. Respect my choice, and I'll respect yours.
(Said crisis has occured. Back in a few......hours, probably.)
Okay, so that didn't take as long as I figured. I allowed myself to be distracted by the dirty kitchen and actually loaded and started the dishwasher.
Exercise and housework have been on hold for the last couple weeks, since we left for vacation. Obviously, I couldn't do P90X while we were in Colorado... I resolved to exercise and eat healthy. I did neither. I did hike one day, shop another, and another day I actually walked one lap around the lake at city park, and jogged another lap... A feat in itself - jogging 1/2 (or more) mile at that altitude (about 4000 feet higher than home). I admit I was pretty proud of myself for that one. Need for caffeine during driving led to buying of "meals" at fast food joints (rather than just a sandwich with water), which led to fries..... Not cool.
We got home and I exercised Monday and Tuesday, then I realized that I had a week and a half to finish the church cookbook. So every spare moment was spent at the computer, editing, reediting, and double checking that I got all the recipes in correctly. (I hope I did.) I printed it off yesterday, so I hope it's all right. I also exercised yesterday. *gasp* I have really got to get back to it. It's surprising how much jiggly stuff returns after just two weeks off. (This sweet tooth lately hasn't helped....)
The house also was severely neglected in that time. I'm pretty sure I didn't do a thing from last Wednesday until this Monday. It was BAD. So bad that Paul picked up two rooms without me even hinting for help. It's on the way back, but you know those piles that appear everywhere when you don't get stuff really cleaned for a while? Yeah, I've got about three of them I still haven't managed to get to.
Well, I came to a conclusion on what to do about Cubbies. We have one boy who comes, who by himself isn't a problem, but combined with several other rambuctious/disruptive boys (including my son), becomes a problem. Even though our Pastor has agreed to pay half the book cost (which brings the cost to the family to under $4), his mom still hasn't purchased it. In Cubbies, the book and working on it at home (especially the home work park) is required - 3 and 4 year olds can't learn stuff in an hour and a half once a week, so a parent has to work with them at home. I'm wondering if habitual lying is a part of their house.... I'm not sure how old this boy is - I'm wondering if he even knows. He has told me he's 4, 5, and 7. He's told me he's in kindergarden (which means he shouldn't even be in this class), and he's told me he's not in school. He's also said his mom said "no" about getting him a book, but then later he said his mom was going to get it for him. It really makes me feel for him. We met the mom the first week he came, but now she doesn't even come to get them. She has a friend/neighbor come pick them up (there's about 5 kids in the family), and the friend sends a little sister (about 2nd grade) in to tell him it's time to go. I made the sister go get the adult - I told them it's a new rule (which it is). Then I told the friend that we needed the mom to come in next week to talk to us. I'm going to have to put the ultimatum down that if he doesn't have his book by the end of the month, he can't come. This isn't a free babysitting service. I'm hoping and praying that she'll come see us with purchased book in hand, so all this will be moot.
Well, Jacob's poopy (again), and I have got to get bills paid. It's the 4th of the month, and I've only paid car insurance (and only because it was due the 2nd). The only thing that motivates me is deadlines, and they are fast approaching.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sorry. (I'm always apologizing.)

I have so much to write about.... vacation, Jacob's first birthday, plus various and sundry rants that I just feel the need to go off about.
I agreed to take on creating a cookbook for our church. I thought the entering of the recipes was going to be the hard part. I procrastinated, because I was having back problems that were irritated by sitting in front of the computer. Then people procrastinated on getting the recipes to me.
I got most of them entered on our vacation last week, and thought I'd breeze right through the editing. If I wasn't OCD about grammatical matters, I'd call it finished. But I'm sorry, it bothers me that there is no continuity between the abbreviations. We've got any or all of the following:

Perhaps you don't notice the minute differences between all the abbreviations. I do; that's how I'm wired. Maybe what bothers me as much as the varying abbreviations (or lack thereof), is that there isn't even any continuity in a single recpie. I know part of this is due to my entering - I'd vary back and forth between typing verbatim what was written, and abbreviating to save time. But in my defense: over half of the recipes were emailed to me, and I just copied and pasted from the email to the cookbook document.
So I am in the middle of editing nearly 60 pages of recipes. I also am going through the instructions to make sure they make sense - and good thing, because a few of them are missing a line or two of instructions. But it will be finished by next weekend. It HAS to be... We're having a big cookbook-putting-together party at church.
So I'll be back some time after next Saturday. Thanks for sticking around, even though I've been much less than exciting the last few months.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prayer Request

I got home from Cubbies tonight, completely exhausted and frustrated. Tonight, we had a new child, which brings our total up to 9.... 7 boys and 2 girls. Cubbies is the AWANA program for preschool age (usually 3 and 4 year olds).
I am frustrated because the entire hour and a half is barely controlled chaos. I feel like I spend the majority of it yelling at one or all of the class (mostly the boys). And I'm not yelling in anger. I have to raise my voice to even be heard. The story time is spent trying to keep the children in their seats and not touching each other or sneaking off to play with the toys. I'm pretty sure that the message doesn't even get across because it's interrupted so many times. (And this is a 5-minute or shorter story time... It's not like we're trying to get them to sit still for 20 minutes.)
At our church, Cubbies is supposed to be for the children of the helpers (basically we watch their young children so they are free to help with the older children). This year, only 3 of the 9 are helpers' children. The rest just kept showing up, with no advance warning. There are only two of us to lead all of them, and as rambunctious as some of the boys are, I feel like we need at least 4 helpers most of the time. I would guess that half of the children go to church regularly, and the other half are un-churched or "barely churched". (I don't know this for sure, but it's just a feeling I get.)
I don't know what to do. I don't want to tell people that they can't come, especially when this may be the only chance that some of these children may hear about Jesus, or be able to see Jesus' love. But when you have a class so rowdy, no one can learn about Jesus, and I definitely don't feel like I'm showing Jesus' love.
So please pray for us. Pray that Nicki and I will have patience and wisdom, and pray that we will somehow get another helper. Pray that the love of Jesus will show through, despite the craziness on Wednesday nights.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Norwegian Egg Coffee

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Or something like that.
My coffee pot broke early this year. Since caffeine is [should be] a no-no while nursing, I didn't replace it, despite offers from friends and family members. But some days... You just crave coffee. On mornings like this - a cool, rainy autumn morning. (Maybe it's the weather. Or maybe it's the 5 hourse of sleep I got.)
Whenever I've craved coffee over the last few months, I've made it in the microwave - water, grounds, nuke for 5 minutes or so. Various methods of trying to strain off the grounds were only moderately successful. So I Google-d "how to make coffee without a coffee pot." And I found this recipe.

Norwegian Egg Coffee
10 c water
1/2 c coffee grounds
1 egg
1/4 c water

Boil the 10 c water in kettle. In a small bowl, mix grounds, egg, and
1/4 c water. Add to boiling water. Boil 2-3 minutes. Pour in 1
c cold water. (This makes the grounds settle to the bottom of the
(I halved the recipe (and used a small egg), since there's only one of me. And I don't need 10 cups of coffee!)

I'll admit. I was highly apprehensive of trying it. But I was desperate. And I figured: I like coffee. I like poached eggs. At the worst, it would be like mixing the two for breakfast.
I made it. I poured it. (No grounds! The egg solidifies and holds all the grounds in it.) And.....
Pretty good!
It doesn't taste eggy. And it doesn't taste like Folgers. I will be doing it again, at least until I get my coffee pot (whenever that will be.....). Although it was a little weak - even though it sounds like it should be plenty of grounds... Maybe I need to experiment with boiling it a bit longer.
And I will keep this recipe in mind for camping. I'm thinking it would be very useful since we don't own a percolater.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Nathan: What's this? [patting my backside as I changed Jacob's diaper]
Me: It's Mommy's tushie.
Nathan: Mommy. [again with the patting] What's this?
Me: It's Mommy's tushie, Bud. Is it a big tushie?
Nathan: No. It's a magic tushie.
Me: A magic tushie? Why is it a magic tushie?
Nathan: Because there's poop inside!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


After two years (or more) of fighting with Nathan about eating vegetables, HE FINALLY ATE GREEN BEANS!!!
I say it's been a fight, but it hasn't really been. There is no arguing. He just wouldn't eat them. At all. We always serve him whatever veggie we're having, and he would ignore them on his plate. If we tried to sneak something green in under a bite of something else the whole mouthful would come back out as soon as he tasted the vegetable.
I've been waiting for the age of negotiations. You know, like, "You can have dessert if you eat your carrots." Or, "We'll watch a movie after you finish your peas." He was getting close to the age where he'd understand that. But I found an altogether unexpected motivator....
"Ooh, look at Jacob eat those green beans! Jacob likes green beans!"
"I want some green beans!"
I about dropped my fork. Green beans is the vegetable we have the most often, so thereby is the one he's refused to eat the most. I kind of held my breath while he forked one into his mouth. He chewed it, laughed, and ate another.
This was last Friday. We tried beans again last night. Same response! And an even more enthusiastic response when I called them "green bean french fries" and showed him how we can eat them with our fingers. (Totally horrible table manners, but it reminds me of how Paul's grandma said she liked to eat green beans.)
I told Paul that I really feel like getting him to eat one green thing will open the door to him eating more green vegetables. Once he realizes it tastes okay even though it's a certain color, he'll be more open to trying other things that are the same color.
I think.
We'll see.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rainy Evening

After a particularly brutal bedtime, with both boys screaming and one sobbing for Daddy, I need to de-stress. It's raining, and I just want to curl up with a book. So I decided it's high time to update this thing. So I'm going to forego exercising (it's just hour and a half of it), and cleaning the dining room (for now... it's been a month since it's been clean, so tonight is the night).
Paul took a week off for Nathan's birthday, going back to work last Friday. It's amazing how in just one week, the boys got used to Daddy being home so much. Him working days last weekend wasn't as hard as him working nights and being gone at bedtime, like tonight. Even though I had a to-do list as long as my arm and one of his put together, I'm pretty sure we only got one thing done on it. We had Power of the Past, family visiting, and errands to do, so we weren't home several days. And then it rained three days, too. Oh well. He's taking more vacation the week of Jacob's birthday. We're going to go to Colorado to visit his grandfather. We haven't been since his grandma's funeral in January. Whereas Grandpa is in good health, when a loved one is 87 (?) you can't really take the time left with them for granted. If we don't go this fall, it would be 6 or 7 months until we would be able to go out there, so we are going to go now. We'll just have to make it a tightly budgeted trip.
After seeing a pretty hefty amount in our savings account all summer, all the sudden I feel like we're on the brink of poverty. We got a sizeable tax return last spring, at about the same time that the wall of our cellar entrance caved in. So we sat on the return, knowing we would have the cellar entrance replaced this summer. Because of the unusually wet spring and early summer, the work was delayed. We finally got it replaced two weeks ago. So writing that hefty check, plus paying car insurance, life insurance, car tags and taxes (all due this month), and bills to two hospitals (Jacob's surgery and the boys' emergency room visits).... It feels like our checkbook is gasping for life. God is faithful. We've subsided almost entirely on Paul's income and not had to dip into our emergency savings (at least not much....yet). I hadn't babysat since April, and all the sudden the family needs me again. Literally - the day I got the bill for the cellar was the day their mom asked me if I would be able to start babysitting again. Can you say, "God provides!"?
I love being a stay-at-home wife and mother, but it's wearing on me. Not that I want to go get a job - no, definitely not. Just the stress of being at home all the time, being the sole source of entertainment and nourishment for the boys while Paul's at work (which some days feels like a huge responsibility I'm not equipped for), being the only one that cleans and cooks (The dishes. Never. End.), and having Jacob be in an incredibly clingy stage. I think it wouldn't be as bad if Jacob didn't cling so much. And if he's not clinging, he's climbing in the middle of whatever else you're trying to do - seriously: He was IN the dishwasher tonight when I was trying to load it. I took him out, and he got right back in. And I've had to take him down from the top of the piano twice this week. The reason I think I feel stressed is that there are eighty gazillion projects I'd like to (and need to, some of them) get done, yet I can't, because I always have just normal things to do like cleaning the kitchen or laundry, and I've got toddlers hanging on my legs all the time. It would probably be better if I left the house more often, but we have lots of outdoors to play in (play in the outdoors?) here, and going shopping is out of the question (and not just because I hate shopping).
Sorry to vent that. I love my life, and wouldn't trade it for anything, but we all get in funks, eh? I know some of you working moms would love to be able to stay at home and think I should just shut up. But trust me - being at home with children all day wears on you. My deepest admiration to women who have at-home daycares - your own kids. Plus other kids. All. Day. Long. I couldn't do it.
The boys are growing up so fast. I have been in an old-picture-album (and by old, I mean the last year or two) kick. Stinking Facebook always has photo suggestions in the side bar, so I get sucked into looking at my siblings or my pictures on there for an hour at a time, or the ones on my own computer. Nathan looks like a preschooler compared to a year ago, and Jacob looks like a toddler now compared to a few months ago.
Jacob is "officially" walking; however, he still knows he can get there faster if he crawls. He is 11 months old this week. He still isn't talking inteligibly. He babbles and squeals - you should have heard the noises he was making when he saw the cows at my grandpa's house today! He does make snorting sounds when he plays with the pig in our farm animals, and makes a humming motor noise when he plays with tractors. So he's getting there. Like I mentioned before, he's a climber. He can almost get up onto a dining room chair by himself. He can get on to and off of all our living room furniture.... He crawls over the back of the couch to play in the bay window, and over the back of the chair to get on top of the piano. He can crawl over the edge of the bathtub. He did it for the second time tonight while I was putting his diaper in the pail. He's such a little daredevil. He is so smiley. And snuggly - until he needs to be off to investigate something else. But when he's mad, he's mad. He's had to cry it out a couple times this week, and it is surprising how loud he can scream. He and Nathan are starting to wrestle. My hands are going to be full here in about a year.
Nathan is treally in to talking and interacting with his toys - mostly his cars and tractors (because that's the kind of toy he has the most of, probably). The main characters are always Daddy and Mommy, although I have no idea what's going on in their little drama. I love it that he has an imagination. He also has a vocabulary. He strings sentances together very well when he's telling you about something.... I'm not sure if everyone can understand when he talks, but Paul and I almost always can tell exactly what he's saying. His word of the day today is, "Salutations!" (a word he learned from watching Charlotte's Web, but we haven't watched it in several weeks and he still remembered it). He also is really singing. Both the boys sing, actually, when there's music on, but Nathan sings to himself while he plays, and you can actually tell what songs he's singing. He goes through the day singing different Bible songs from a CD Paul's mom gave him. It makes me feel so happy to hear my son singing about God. I hope I can nurture the love for music, and the love for worshipping God.
The exercise program is going well. I'm on week 6 of P90X, and I've only skipped exercising maybe 3 times total (that includes tonight).... With the exception of week 5, which was hectic and I only exercised twice - so I repeated it last week. Total weight loss: a big fat zero. I've slimmed up some, and have some nice tone to my arms and legs, but it'd be nice to get rid of more fat around my middle. I'm doing decent (not great) at avoiding sugar and snacking, but some days it's hard - especially when I'm tired (which is always). Chewing gum helps - if I can remember to go find the gum when I've got the munchies. I'm hoping to drop some weight when I wean Jacob in a month or so - I've read that your body holds on to weight while you're nursing so that you'll always have plenty of stores to nourish your child. I've also heard that until you are getting uninterrupted sleep at night, you won't lose weight, and I can't remember the last time I actually slept all night without someone waking up. And all in all, I know weight is just a number; it's how you look and feel. I feel good (endorphins from exercise are lovely). But it's still kind of frustrating to be doing one of the hardest workouts you've ever done, 6 days a week for 6 weeks, and not see some serious results (subtle, yes... stunning, no). I'm proud of myself for sticking to it - this is the longest I've regularly exercised in a long time, and it's not an easy routine. But honestly, exercising is a big reason I'm so behind on housework - working out for an hour or more every day really takes away from my get-crap-done! time when both of the boys are napping. By the time I finish exercising, I usually only have about 20 minutes before Jacob wakes up. But I am not willing to give it up.... It's good for me, healthy, and honestly - I need to do something that is just for me.
Tonight I picked beans from the garden.... probably four quarts. That's about - oh.... 16 times more than we got from our spring planting of beans. I sauteed some of them up in some bacon grease tonight.... ♫Amazing!♪ (Come on - bacon grease is an oil, just like olive oil, but with a whole lot more flavor.... right?) Paul and Nathan picked a mop bucket full of tomatoes a couple days ago. I begged some off of our neighbor, and stole some from my parents, then picked a few more here tonight.... I think all combined, we should have enough to make a pretty decent batch of something. It will be either chili base or salsa - hopefully both. That's tomorrow's endeavor. Hopefully I'll be able to roust Paul out of bed to help me with them while the boys take naps - assuming I can get them both down at the same time.
Nathan started Cubbies in our church's AWANA program this week. He's a bit young, but given when we plan to start homeschooling him (the fall he turns 5), this is two years before he would start, so I wanted to get him in so he could finish both books. The first two weeks were a bit rough, as he was having trouble with sharing (there are 4 other spirited boys in his class, as well as 2 little girls), and with the whole Mommy-is-Mommy-but-she's-also-my-teacher thing. This week he seemed to warm up to the other leader, Nicki, as well as get along with the other boys better. I'm hoping to get things a little more structured for the time eventually - all those boys need some structure and boundaries!
Okay, I've covered the high (and low) points, I think. My eyeballs and back are telling me that tonight is definitely not the night for the dining room. Oh well. It's been a month - what's one more day?

Monday, September 20, 2010


Nathan turned 3 last week! I can't believe it. (Yes, I'm already saying, "It seems like just yesterday....")
Over the summer, he finally started answering you when you asked him how old he was. He would answer, "I'm 3!" This started in about June, but I figured in just a few months, he actually would be 3, so it was pointless to correct him. This year, Nathan finally "got" what a birthday is. I think he caught on when he helped me make a big deal for Paul's 30th. So when we told him we were having his birthday party on Friday (four days before his actual birthday), he was excited.
We had Nathan's party together with his cousin Mackenzie's party, at Power of the Past. We figure that all of our family is there anyways, with everything set up for a cookout, so it's easier just to take the party there. (And no house cleaning for me!) We ate supper, and the kids blew out the candles, just in time for a huge crack of lightening right above us. We packed up the whole party and moved it to the church. It ended up not really doing anything, but we didn't want to take the chance being under all those tall trees at the park.

The cake was a collaboration of efforts. It was Lurenda's recipe, which I baked and set up. Paul put the "siding" on, while I worked on the "shingles". Lurenda put the animals in the barnyard and piped on the doors and haymow.
Blowing out the candles (which Nathan hasn't figured out yet) at the park, right before the storm broke up the party.
On Tuesday, for Nathan's real birthday, we kept it pretty low-key. Paul and I couldn't figure out what to get him. We looked at some toys, but nothing really struck us as "right." We talked about working some more on his play house, but don't have the money to do much. We ended up getting him some balloons and a water balloon filler. I thought that was kind of pathetic, so I wrapped up some glitter glue pens that I'd bought for something else. Paul still thought it was pathetic, so when he went in to town for some errands later, he picked up a little bulldozer and dump truck (he's recently really been interested in construction equipment) at WalMart (we hadn't went there to look).
Balloons and presents first thing in the morning.
(BTW - NEVER getting balloons at WalMart ever agin. At the dollar store, they are (duh) only a dollar, and they fill them right there, so no more half-deflated balloons.)
Decorating his own "Happy Birthday" poster.

Lunchtime cupcake. I'm so lazy (ingenius).... The cupcake was leftover cake from the barn cake that I'd had to trim off to make the roof. I stuffed it into a cupcake tin and topped it with leftover frosting. And a leftover candle.

We took the boys to McDonalds for breakfast, with the promise of playing on the big slide. However, because of a rain storm the night before, they wouldn't let us go out there (tears ensued). So we took the boys to the park instead. All the people walking their dogs at 8:30AM looked at us like we were slightly off to have the boys out there already. But it was nice and cool, with no other kids to fight for the swings, or throwing rocks.

Altogether, it was a pretty low-key birthday. And that's what I want for our family. Days are special, not because we have huge parties, or spend lots of money on presents, but because we make it special by spending time together and being happy for each other.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Family Media Detox

I heard a story this morning on K-Love about a family that decided to turn off the TV, turn off the computer, and stay away from Facebook for a month. The family calls it the Family Media Detox. It was just a short blip on K-Love, so I found the family's blog online. I haven't read all of every entry, but it sounds like it was a great thing for their family.
Personally, I would love to try this experiment in our house. We may not be as bad as some, but I definitely see the potential for things to get worse. Nathan wants to veg in front of the TV for an hour whenever he wakes up, and also when he's sleepy. Being the stellar example of parenting that I am, I usually let him watch it. (However, as soon as he stops paying attention to it, I turn it off.... That ought to count for something.) Paul and I both spend too much time on the computer. We don't watch too much TV ourselves, but that's probably due to lack of choices. (We only have antenna stations, no cable or satellite.)
However, Paul isn't on board with this idea. And it's not my place to force it. So things will probably continue the way they are. Which isn't bad, honestly. I just think it could be better.
Any thoughts on this?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Harvest Hitchhikers

An Autumn Tradition Since 2008.

For once, I'd forgotten the camera. (I always have it with me when I end up not needing it, of course.) So all we've got is the low-quality cell phone snapshots.

On our way in to town yesterday, we saw a combine at the corner west of our house. We thought he was harvesting in our area, so later that evening, we told Nathan we'd go see the combine. After driving all over our neighborhood, we never did find where that combine had been harvesting, but we told Nathan we'd find a combine. We finally ended up northeast of Princeton. We've found out that anyone will stop and let you ride in your combine if you've got kids with you. (Paul and Nathan have rode with 3 or 4 different farmers over the last 3 harvests.) Although, I'm not sure who enjoys these adventures more - my husband, or my son.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Slow Down

What is it about fall that makes everyone move a little slower, breathe a little deeper, and just enjoy life?
I was thinking about this this morning, when I heard a car go by at 9:30, and realized that that was the first car I'd heard all morning (I got up at 7). Not that our road is really busy, but there's usually several more cars than that, even on a Saturday.
I just realized in the first sentance of that last paragraph, I used "this this" and "that that". Heh. (Yes, I'm easily amused.)
When I went out to the mailbox at about 10, I just noticed how quiet and peaceful it was. I couldn't hear anything but the breeze and the bugs. Everything just seemed to be basking in the coolness of the morning.
I don't know about you all, but I always feel refreshed when fall gets here. Something about the cool mornings, opening the windows for the first time in months to let the breeze blow through, piling extra blankets on the bed because it actually gets chilly at night, and the beautiful angle of the sunshine..... I don't know. I just like it. I'm pretty sure it's my favorite time of year.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Nathan: (petting Brutus) "It's Brutus milk." (points to the cat's belly)
Me: "No, Brutus doesn't have milk. Brutus is a boy. Only mommies have milk. You're a boy."
Nathan: "No. I'm not a boy. I'm Nathan."
Me: "Yes, you're a boy! And Daddy's a boy."
Nathan: "No, he's Daddy."
Me: "Daddy is a boy. And Jacob's a boy, too."
Nathan: "No, he's Jacob."

Apparently he hasn't grasped the concept of gender yet. And I wasn't up to an anatomy lesson.

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.