Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Turn Me On Tuesday

Here we go with things I am currently loving now.

1.  Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Our church just wrapped up a study of this book.  I really can't say much other than read it.  I promise you will love it.  Or it will make you uncomfortable because it makes you aware of certain things in your life.  But uncomfortable is good, promise.

2.  The 5000 Year Leap

The 5000 Year Leap (Original Authorized Edition)

Our financial advisor recommended this book to us.  It is about what principals the US was really formed on and how far we have fallen from this.  That we have moved from a land of freedom to a land that is giving away our rights out of fear.  I have to admit, a little slow going compared to CIA novels, but very, very interesting.

3.  Italian Sweet Cream creamer

Italian Sweet Crème Liquid

I totally drink coffee for the creamer.  I even drink decafe because I don't drink coffee for the caffeine.  This one is super yummy.  I probably should invent some type of desert with it because I love it that much.

4.  The Olympics

I love the Olympics.  Back when we didn't watch tv, we made a small exception for some of the Olympics.  My hands down favorite summer event is gymnastics.

Here is a picture of the men's gymnastics team.
U.S. gymnasts Danell Leyva, left, John Orozco, forth left, Samuel Mikulak, right, Jonathan Horton, second right, and Jacob Dalton, center, pose for a team photograph along with coaches Kevin Mazeika, left, and Tom Meadows during the Artistic Gymnastics mens qualification at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Aren't they just a cute group of young men?  Lots of things in the Olympics impress me, but watching these young men perform in so many different ways is amazing.  My favorite is the floor routine where they go running as fast as they can and throw themselves up in the air and do flips.  I can probably still somersault if I try really  hard.  Also, I have a special spot in my heart for the young man on the right of the coach.  They did an interview with him over the weekend, and his mom and dad are white.  I have to admit that every time I see an older black man I always think of Moyz, and it was neat to see his parents and hear their story.  He sounds like an exceptional young man who has overcome a lot.  

Chris was equally amazed at their abilities, and probably just a tad envious.  

5.  School Supplies
Crayola 64ct Crayola Crayons  - 64ct
I think I have mentioned before how much I love school supplies.  I don't know what it is, but when they come into stores I just love it.  I will buy 10 packages of 24 count crayons.  I do this for several reasons, 1. they sell them for under 50 cents a pack, 2. we go through a lot.  But I also buy notebooks, pencils and pens, and every time I am in a store I drift through the section in case I missed something the first time around.  Maybe it reminds me of new beginnings from when I was young and excited about the next grade?  

Of course, now my kids see all the cool notebooks and want to buy the ones with fancy covers instead of the 15 cent plain ones.  I usually let them pick out one or two fancy ones and then the rest are plain.  But then I let them decorate the plain ones with permanent markers.  And if there are any left when they go 75% off after school starts we pick up more.

Is anybody else in shock at how much a quality school bag costs?  We make our kids have theirs for several years.  And I won't allow them to pick out one of the cheap ones with a picture of a transformer or something equally dumb because they are usually made out of the cheapest material, and then the next year they decide to out grow whatever they were interested in the last.  

Owen's bag was originally seventy dollars at ShopKo.  Now, that store is generally more expensive than any other one unless you get stuff on sale.  We ended up getting his back pack for $20 bucks. It was originally on sale for $30 but then we had a coupon as well.  Who in their right mind would spend $70 on a school bag for a kindergartner?  I don't spend $70 on a purse for myself.  

That's it for this Tuesday.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

What's Around You?

I saw this quote on another blog and found myself laughing out loud:

"Before you diagnose yourself with depression, make sure you aren't just surrounded by a**holes"

And then I found myself trying to make something up that I could tell my kids when they asked me why I was laughing.

But isn't there a giant grain of truth to it?  Like maybe I should really look at my life and perhaps all of my friends aren't crazies who drag me down, but where in my life have I surrounded myself with crap that makes me feel like I am losing my mind?

Maybe it's Pinterest in your life.  You know how it is, you have boards and boards of stuff that you were inspired by and have pinned.  And yet you haven't done a single one of them and you wonder who these perfect women are that have the time/money/patience to make gummy worms from scratch or to spend hours felting rocks just because they are pretty?

Maybe it's the design magazines/blogs you read that constantly make you unhappy with the state of your house.  And that life would probably be a lot better if you had $4,000 to buy that designer chair, or maybe even just $400 for the knock-off of it.

Maybe it's facebook and all of the posts that people leave.  The ones where they rant on and on about the glory of God and all things happen for a reason, and you just want to punch them in the face and say that it absolutely wasn't God's will for bad things to happen to you or your family member. Sin isn't from God, people. Or maybe you just want to punch them in the face because they constantly post dumb stuff about the weather and how great their family is, when you've seen how they act together and have a pretty good idea that all is not roses and ponies at home.  I hate that, or did, I no longer have a facebook account, and I don't miss it at all.

It may even be the fact that people go on and on about what a good mother you are with all of those kids and what you really want to say is that you make mistakes and yell at your kids and threaten that if you have to get after them in Target they will all regret it. And that you use tv to get small moments of sanity.

Why can't we just be honest with ourselves and others?

I don't have time to hand-dye cool looking linens for my kids or make my house exactly how I want it because I am too busy raising 5 kids, which involves things like wiping butts and boogers off the wall and keeping a whole bunch of kids from physically attacking the others at times.  I would love to do all of the things that I have pinned  but when my kids go to bed I am just so darned tired that all I want to do is sleep.

I have come a long way with not putting up a front about how my life really is.  It used to be that when I was asked how things were going I would say good.  When a lot of the time that was a big fat lie.  I don't answer good anymore if it's not true.  I also don't ramble on and on about what currently sucks in my life, but I give a short, honest answer.

Life is too short to be fake.  Take me or leave me the way that I am.

It seems with all the time spent on the internet we are used to seeing people at their best and think that is how they always are.  Nobody wants to post the crap in their life.  So instead, everyone feels that they just don't add up to all the rest of the people that they have only blog stalked on the internet and never met in real life.  We end up feeling like less of a person because our blog "friends" have their lives together and our underwear has holes in them.  I think that us women need to give ourselves a break.

So that's what I am encouraging you to do- a hopefully small encouragement for the day- really, I swear it is!  Take a peek at all the stuff/people in your life and do some re-evaluation occasionally.  I think it will do us all wonders.

smart kid

Um, I am going to go with a big yes on this one!

Friday, July 27, 2012

10 Crazy Kids in an Itty Bitty House

This week we had some friends over, see their craziness here.

Between us two ladies, we have 10 kids.  Now, I should probably preface all this with the fact that I used to be the mom that hated having play dates for her 18 month old because it was really just an extra kid to watch, and why ever would I want to do that??

Can't you see God just rolling his head back and laughing at my life now?  I can.

The best part about having play dates when your kids are old enough, you know, to actually play, is that the Mommas can get a moment or two to actually talk like adults.  And let me say how much I like to be an adult.

Plus, I have come a really long way compared to my former child-phobic self.  The kids ran in and the kids ran out (remember the worms crawl in and the worms crawl out song?  yuck)  They ran up the stairs and down the stairs.  Where, I am ashamed to admit looks like I should be on an episode of hoarders.  I'm working on it, I swear.  But honestly, I can barely keep the upstairs level of my house clean and it is just so much easier to ignore the basement.

The best thing, aside from us girls just chilling and chatting to the best of our ability, is that one of the boys told Owen that "your mom makes the coolest food ever".  Which made me feel like mother of the year, because I loathe lunches with a passion.  I can never, ever figure out what to make, and my kids seriously only want ramen and mac n' cheese, which isn't happening.  So gold star for me for that day.  And the lunch fare?  Pizza potatoes.  Put potatoes in the oven, cook for an hour, take out and add cheese, pepperoni and pizza sauce and walla- super awesome lunch fare according to the kiddos.  And not bad for the adults either.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Broken Nail Polish

Nope, my kids didn't do it, but they probably would have.  Just got back from Walmart which probably ranks right up there in my top 10 hellish trips.  Where my kids noticed a beautiful display of nail polish.  And then some other kids promptly knocked it over and broke all the bottles and spilled everything while my kids watched.

Can I say how relieved I am it wasn't me?  Mostly because for the last 15 minutes we had been in the store all three of the babies were crying and whining, Owen was running around like a mad man, and Ava was irritating Owen.

I am so tired I can barely function right now.  So instead, I am threatening my kids that we won't go to the beach tomorrow with our friends if they don't get their act together.  It's mostly working, probably because all of the babies are currently sleeping, and if I was smart I would be too.  But alas, now I have to unpack $200 worth of groceries and clean the house that I left a disaster when I went out this morning.

I hate days like this.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I have a yeller (and a biter)

Look at this kid.

So cute right?  Well, let me just say that the above mentioned child is NOT the same kid that we had when we left to Montana.  Some time in the 10 days that we were gone he decided to "flourish".  (See my attempt at a Made By Girl artwork in the back?  Not my best, but we had people coming over and I had to do something or they would see preggo Jess there, not a good alternative.)  He found his lungs to a remarkable degree that I have not often found in children.  And he found his teeth.  

None of my other kids were yellers or biters to the level that this little man is.  And I guess I get it.  He needs to yell above the noise created by his two year old holy terrors that he calls family.  Not to mention the bigger two kids.  And I suppose he bites because he can.  I should put that on a t-shirt for him.

But seriously, he turns red in the face and holds his arms all wonky while he lets us know how he really feels about the subject.  He also loves to yell when other people do it.  Kind of like a "look, I can do it too!"

Plus, while we were gone he decides to pull himself up into a standing position and walk around furniture.  They had to lower his crib while we were gone.  Before he could roll over, he just wouldn't.  We had maybe seen him do it less than 5 times.  Now, he is on a mission and finally realizes this whole mobility thing kinda rocks.  I think full on walking isn't too far down the line because since we have been home he will get himself to a free-standing position in the middle of the room all by himself.  My teeniest baby is growing up.  (That's how Owen referred to him when he first came home and couldn't keep all the new baby names straight!)

Here is an example of Truitt.  And we totally tried to get him to do his copy yelling thing, but it's not quite up to par.  He probably was annoyed that I kept shoving a camera in his face.  Still, it's kind of funny, and almost all the kids make an appearance, so someday, when they are all out of high school, we can look back on this and they can bust a gut laughing at themselves!

Not to mention that yesterday, all was quiet, never a good thing in a house with 5 kids, and when I went to hunt my little tribe down, I found Truitt playing in the toilet.  I cannot even try to explain my level of disgust at this.

Welcome to 3 toddlers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Turn Me On Tuesday!

So I thought that I would try something new.  Every Tuesday I am going to post some things that I am loving.  Several blogs I follow have done stuff similar to this and I always love it because I find out about new things/ideas without having to search hard.

Without further ado, here is my first week:

1.  Garnier BB Cream

Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector B.B. Cream Light/Medium
I am very low maintenance when it comes to make-up.  For the longest time I was a mascara and eye-liner girl.  Then the eye-liner slowly got dropped from my routine.  I have never done anything with foundation or powder or anything of that nature, mostly because I could never find a product that matched and I was too cheap to spend $35 on something from a fancy store.  However, I love the polished look of someone who has just a little bit on, like you can't even tell that they are wearing anything.  Due to a slight case of Rosacea, that is almost never me.  But one day I got a good coupon in the mail, and thought, what the heck.  And I bought this in light/medium.  Oh.my.word.  Love it.  I would wear it everyday except I don't like to wear stuff like this in super hot weather.  I put it on over my moisturizer/sunscreen.  It makes a world of a difference.  I probably will forever have this in my very limited arsenal.  $11.99

2.  Burts Bees Lip Shimmer

Still on a make-up kick- I truly swear to you I am low maintenance!  I happen to love a little color on my lips if I am going somewhere and not just kickin' it in my house.  But full on lipstick seems too heavy, and lip glosses can seem to "I am pretending to be a teenager with all the shine and goop".  In Montana my aunt had this in the color fig.  It is the perfect color- slightly more than your lip shade, but not too overwhelming.  And apparently in Montana it is THE hot seller.  I had to go to 3 separate stores because it was sold out.  I also just recently bought plum, which is a darker shade, I have a weakness for a dark plum-y lip.  The above shade Rhubarb is their number 1 seller according to the website, so I may have to give that a whirl as well, although the cap is kind of an intimidating pink for me.  $4.99

3.  Acrylic Paint Kits

Complete Acrylic Painting Kit.Opens in a new window

I'll admit it, I am a wannabe artist.  I cannot for the life of me come up with anything on my own, I can however copy exceedingly well.  I recently bought a set of acrylic paints on clearance at JoAnn's for $6. (At the very least of if I flop, then I can use it for homeschooling Ava under art) The one above is $25 at Target online.  Mostly I did this because I have a frame on a wall in the kitchen that had a picture of me when I was pregnant with Owen on it (it was never on display, thank goodness!), I had it because I wanted the frame there but not the picture.  I needed something fast, and I decided to do something similar to a Cocoa and Hearts painting seen
here.  I am going to be 100% honest with you.  I really like Jen's blog Made By Girl, she is super trendy, lots of good ideas, and I love it- a christian.  However, her artwork for a small painting goes for $90.  And it is essentially strokes of a paintbrush in a row with different colors.  A great way to do a color scheme, but I won't pay $90 for it.  I can, however, do something similar.  And so I will.

4. Greek Gods Honey Yogurt


It looks like this, only with honey in the title.  This is serious yogurt, super thick and a very unique taste.  The best way to eat it is a dollop or two with blueberries on top, don't eat too much as it is extremely thick, a little dab will do you.  It rocks.  That is about all I can say about that.  $4.99 for a tub.  Too expensive to feed to your kids!  

5.  Paris Hilton Perfume  (This specific one below, not all of them)

Eau de Parfum Spray for Women

Okay, so before you all drag me out behind the barn and shoot me for such a seriously faux pas, just go and smell it, okay?  I smelled this on a woman that I passed one day several years ago, and I had to stop her and ask her what it was.  She very quietly said that it was Paris Hilton perfume.  To which my jaw hit the floor and I said something intelligent like "really"?  Anyway, as ashamed as I am to admit it's beginnings, I love this perfume.  So much so that it has become my signature scent.  A 4 piece gift set at Target is $32.00  Just so I can have some dignity left after this post, I also love J'adore, and Pleasures, both of which are considered high falutin' types of perfumes.  There, now I respect myself a little bit more!

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Wheat Berries (That just sounds wrong!)

Once upon a time, you know, before baby fest 2011 and we went from 2 to5 kids, I used to make my own bread.  I did this because 1. it was cheaper and 2. it tasted better.  Plus, if I am honest with myself, it kind of made me feel good to be so Martha Stewart about something.  

Then everything went crazy at our house and making bread is something I no longer had the time for.  Did I mention it was by hand and not cheating with a bread machine or mixer of any sort?

Shoot forward in time about 7 months or so and I read a couple of Survivalist blogs and start freaking out because I have about 5 cans of food in my pantry and if the end of the world as we know it happened my family would starve because cream of mushroom soup and tuna aren't all that great together and are really hard to stretch to feed a family of 7.  I learn that wheat berries will store for 30 years in the right conditions and are what flour is made of anyway.  Plus there are tons of ways to use them and they are super beneficial if you sprout them, and since I have been trying to be on a get-more-healthy kick, I considered myself sold!  Lo and behold my local Walmart (sigh) has them and pretty reasonable too.  So I buy 25 pounds of wheat berries.  And then I buy a couple more sacks of wheat berries.

Now I am the proud owner of about 100 pounds of wheat berries.  But to make flour you need a grinder of some sort and so I get one of those.  Now I am the proud owner of 100 pounds of wheat berries and a hand-crank grinder and guess what?  No freshly ground flour and no hand made bread.  Although I did bust out the grinder to make sure that it does, in fact, grind the wheat.  Just in case it didn't and I had to return the thing.

One of my bags-o-wheat.  

I am blaming it on the fact that my life is just too busy to  make bread, let alone grind the flour for it.  You know, because reading all those design blogs is just so time consuming.  And it's not my fault that Word World on public television is such a great show.  I suppose I could line up all my kids manufacturing style and make them all grind the berries into flour, and when it comes time to kneading they could each take a turn starting with the oldest down to the youngest for maximum kneading impact, but I am not sure that is such a good idea because Truitt just learned how to pick his nose, and I am sure this is something he learned from his older brothers and sisters....

Good thing that wheat berries last for so long, because I am not sure I am going to get around to them any time soon.  Although, now that I am thinking about it, we did get our tax return and if I bought a bread machine that would cut down on a lot of the time involved with making bread.  Hmm, I wonder if I could convince hubby that this was a good idea?  We do go through a lot of bread, so much so that Kembia and Moyz have started turning up their noses at peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Plus, I am pretty sure that I am home-schooling Ava next year, so maybe I can make her grind the wheat berries and make bread and write it off as home-ec.  Do the even require home ec any more?  Well they will at the Nelson School of Life.  I remember when they used to make classes take home the little battery powered babies that poop and cry and all that stuff.  Ava would be like whatever, I can do this with my eyes closed.   Give me three of those things to take care of and then maybe it might just be a challenge.  I always thought that they did it to discourage kids from getting knocked up in high school, but perhaps they need to up the amount of children you take home seeing as the rate of young, still in school, minor-aged mothers seems to still be increasing.  Maybe I should offer the local school a chance to send their kids to my home for that portion of the class.  It seems like a pretty good way to help promote abstinence.

Okay, back to the wheat berries.  I just learned that my uncle is a wheat farmer, and berries is a yuppie term for it.  They call them wheat kernels.  He grows wheat in Montana where I just learned an interesting fact that 70% of the wheat grown in Montana is exported.  And my awesome price for wheat that I was paying actually sucks and is expensive compared to just buying it off the farm.  But this is all okay, because if wheat berries can truly last for 30 years, they could theoretically outlive me (that's a depressing thought) and I can just bequeath them to a lucky family member, who I am sure will be more than ecstatic about the gift.  Probably, just for fun, I think I will have them go to my new niece, who currently is 1 month old.  Sweet little thing that she is.  Mostly I would do this because her parents are the yuppiest, high maintenance people I know.  And in the off chance that they are reading this blog, I love you to death! But truly, they are great parents and I really do love them a lot.  But it would be stinking hilarious to see their expressions when their first child gets 100 pounds of wheat in the event that I kick the bucket before I use it all up.

And until I either kick the bucket, or actually make bread with my wheat berries, at least I have the comfort that they last forever.  Some day, I swear I will make the best loaf of bread known to mankind and then I will kick myself severely for wasting money on store bought, laden with all sorts of preservatives and crap, bread.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Oh glasses how I hate thee....

I have been wearing glasses for about 10 years.  I tried contacts several times.  But according to my  eye doctor, I fall into the 1% or so of people my age that cannot wear contacts due to the shape of my eye not just their age.  (Tis true, the older you get, the less likely you are able to wear contacts.  How sad.)  A separate shape that doesn't have anything to do with stimgmatism. Big stinky bummer.  I would love lasik, but unfortunately, dropping $4000 on my eyes isn't in the budget and probably never will be.

I have always gone to places like Vision World, etc. where they have the buy one get one half off deals.  And it still is like $200-300 for two pairs of glasses.  Then one day I saw a friend who had on a cute pair and she said she paid $10 bucks for them.  I almost peed my pants a little.

She got them from a website called www.zennioptical.com

Most of the glasses are super cheap, like $7.  The you can pay an additional $5 get non-glare (definitely do this!), or turn them into sunglasses.  I thought I would post a few pictures of the glasses I got.  Maybe zenni optical will find my post and decide to give me free glasses for life! 

I wear this pair the most often.

I have yet to wear these in public.  For some reason they make me think of some crazy, obscenely liberal librarian.  They are much more fierce in person then on the website.  Perhaps this will teach me to buy anything zebra striped that I plan to wear on my body.  

These aren't that great, and I think I have only worn them out of the house one or two times.  Sometimes you hit a great pair, and sometimes they come home and they suck a little bit.  But at $10 it's not a big deal if it doesn't work.  I'll cut my loss and use them in the garden or to play sports.  Plus notice how they sit on my face crooked?  Apparently my ears are uneven.  And one nice lady I worked with when I used to have a job (several years ago when I thought I was going to have a career and then ended up with 3 more kids a year later...), mentioned  that they sat on my face crooked.  She then took them off my face and laid them on the table to see if one of the sides was bent.  When they looked fine she gave them back to me and told me that it must be my uneven ears.  

Green frames.  To bring out the green in my hazel eyes.  Not that you can tell from this picture.

These ones don't have the anti-glare on them.  I forgot to- oops!  

Sunglasses.  I have never in my life worn sunglasses before because I was just too cheap to spend the money prescription sunglasses.  But now I can afford to have them, but I may still be adjusting to looking out at the world and have it be funny colored.

I had to try the whole aviator thing, I am just of the right age to have loved Tom Cruise as a pilot in Top Gun.  But that was before the whole crazy into Scientology path he went down.

So I got these 7 pair of glasses for about $80 TOTAL.  You upload a picture of yourself to the site and virtually try on glasses.  It is actually kind of fun and you will more than likely spend hours getting sucked in by seriously thousands of glasses to choose from.  And since they are so cheap, you can get literally loads of them and change them all the time.  Or if you have kids who are perhaps not so gentle on them this is the perfect thing.  It is way less painful to break a $15 pair of glasses then a $150.

Okay, seriously, this was not paid by Zenni in anyway, although it definitely sounds like it was!  If you wear glasses you will definitely want to check this out.  You will need to know the pupilary distance of your eyes to help find glasses that fit the width of your face.  Grab a ruler and measure from the middle of one pupil to the middle of the other and there you go.  I think it's done in cm or mm, not inches.  And don't worry if you aren't super accurate.  My friend's hubby is an eye doc. and he told us that pupilary distance isn't that super crucial unless you are dealing with bifocals.  But just get someone to help you and then you are accurate!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One Year Home!

Today Kembia and Moyz have been home one year.

I truly can't believe it.  The past year has flown by, and yet they have seem like they have been with us forever.  I can't even begin to really talk about everything that has happened in this first year.  I can only be so thankful for how well-adjusted the kids are.  And how healthy everyone is.

Here is a picture of Kembia 3 days after she got home.  

I remember putting her next to the formula can to help gauge her size.  At one year of age, she was 13 pounds and 23 inches tall.  She came home with a severe umbilical hernia, as well as diastasis rectii, both of which she still has, although they have gotten much better.  She had a terrible case of lice, so bad that they ended up cutting off all her hair.  She had so little muscle tone that she could do the splits with her legs sticking out to the sides.  She could crawl, and amazingly, in therapy they only judged her to be a couple of months behind her age.

And here she is today, one year later:

No time for smiling with crackers in the mouth!  Now she weights 24 pounds and is 29 inches tall.  She is happy, and sweet, and I must say, my hands down most dramatic child.

Here is a picture of Moyz in DRC:

He came home at 19 pounds and about 27 inches.  He had severe eczema, scabies, and impetigo.  In therapy, they found that he was about 6 months behind where he was supposed to be.  He could sit, but that was about it, if he fell over he would just lay there and could not right himself.  We spent the first 4 months just getting him to trust us, and had to trick him to look us in the eye by looking into mirrors.  

And here he is today:

Again with the crackers in his mouth. And he is looking down at Truitt who was desperately trying to crawl out of my lap and into the picture. Now he is 31 pounds and 34.5 inches tall.  He is very sweet, a total lover, but doesn't always realize how much bigger he is then Kembia and Truitt.  His attachment has gone so great after the initial 4 months.  When we came back from Montana, he realized that we had been gone and wanted to sit on my lap all day, but then back to his regular schedule and personality.  It was so exciting to see.  

And here they are together:

Have you ever seen such adorable kids?  (Hint: the correct answer is no!)

Our house is CRAZY, and filled with complete chaos, but we honestly wouldn't have it any other way.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First Aid Kits

I don't know why it has taken me all of my adult life to do this, but I finally created a couple of first aid kits.  One for each car and then one for in the house.  Of course, I have had most of this stuff in my home, just scattered around so when a minor owie has happened I have had to go digging through my cavernous closet in the bathroom, thus prolonging someone's pain and/or bleeding.  Having stuff in the car is a novel idea for me, and so silly that I haven't done it because there have been countless times my kids have needed a band aid or a sliver taken out and I have had to tell them that they have to wait until we get home.  Not to mention the numerous times where I have needed an ibuprofen terribly and didn't have any.

While perusing the aisles at Target I saw this cute first aid bag, and since this idea has been turning in my head I decided to pick one up.  It was only $4.69, but if you bought 3 Johnson and Johnson products it was free.  Normally I shy away from name brand because of cost, but I bought the three cheapest things which ended up being two boxes of band aids and some waterproof tape that I needed anyway, and I ended up spending $6 on those three items and then got the case free.  (This sale is going on right now in case you were wondering.)  The cases come in red or silver but red is the more emergency image in my mind so I picked that one.

Outside of Kit

Inside of Kit

Here's what I have in my kit:

-Band aids.  Lots of them.  Plain ones for Chris, boy ones for the boys and girl ones for the girls.  Target makes cute, cheap but good quality, generic ones.
-5 small gauze pads
-5 large gauze pads
-waterproof tape
-3 assorted needles for slivers
-liquid skin
-anti itch cream
-allergy medicine
-3 blister ampules

This is my house list.  I don't have any ibuprofen or tylenol in the bag because I keep those in the kitchen at the top of the cupboard next to the sink since they tend to be higher use for adults then the first aid kit, and it keeps them above where kids can get to them.  The kid versions of those medicines are in a basket on the top shelf of the bathroom closet, again to keep them out of the way of little fingers and also because they aren't high use items.  The car kits are exactly the same except they have a small ziploc baggie with ibuprofen in them.  On the outside of the baggie I wrote the dosage of the pill, what it is, and when it expires.  One thing I should maybe still pick up is a packet of those alcohol wipes.  Up until now I have thought of zero reasons to use those because they burn, but I suppose if I am going to use a needle to dig a sliver out of someone's body, I could wipe the needle to help sanitize it better then it currently is, especially if I am doing it in the car and have no other way to clean the needle or the person's body part.  

These make me feel uber organized, which I have to admit, my tend-to-be-sloppy self secretly loves.  Plus, I now feel good about not having to rifle through all sorts of bath stuff to try and find basic things that should all be together anyway.  My first aid kit before was some random crap thrown into a round cardboard box that I had from who knows what.  In it was mostly expired medicine, the bacitracin and two roles of expired rolaids.  The band aids were just floating around the cupboard, and the needle was sitting on the shelf above the toilet, because we all know that is the most sanitary place for something of that nature.  

Now I just need one of my midgets to get an owie and I can bust out my first aid kit and christen it with its first go round.  Not that I want one of my kids to get hurt or anything.  And actually, we just came back from the doctor today and both Truitt and Kembia have Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, and Moyz is just about guaranteed to get it too.  High fevers, not wanting to eat, I feel so bad for them, and nothing in my new kit can make them feel better.  Sick babies are not fun, and they are so sad and pathetic looking.  All I want to do is snuggle them but they already have fevers and don't need the extra body heat.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Target vs. Walmart

I have a confession to make: I LOVE TARGET.

Okay, there I said it.  Target is probably my most favorite store ever.  When Owen was little, he didn't know what it was called but whenever we passed a Target he would yell out "pop porn".  Nope, I didn't spell it wrong, that was how he said it when he was just learning to talk, he recognized the symbol of that store and knew he got popcorn whenever we went inside.

Most of my friends do their shopping at Walmart.  I still love them anyways.

Here's the thing, I am super affected by the atmosphere of places.  (Vegas killed me, but I seriously think that was a spiritual warfare thing going on, separate from the gloomy pyramid hotel we stayed in).  Walmart feels like a dark cavern to me.  I don't know why that is.  In comparison, Target feels nice and airy and bright.  Walmart wears depressing navy blue, Target cheery red.

I can never find anyone in Walmart to help me even though it seems like I see people in navy blue all the time.  In target, I always have good luck.  I like their clothes better, their dishes, the set up, pretty much everything.  Except for the fact that they don't sell spray paint, that makes me sad.  And also you used to be able to get a pop and a popcorn for $1, then it went up to $1.50, and now they no longer sell combos, how truly sad.

The only problem that I have is the nearest super target is about 25 minutes, and the nearest Walmart about 15.   I have found myself shopping at Walmart way more than I care to.  The other big thing about the Walmart by me, and this drives me crazy, is that the produce they seem to get is terrible.  Disgusting, half rotting, or a super poor selection.  Does anyone else have this problem at their walmart?  They are going to sell it cheap so it must be a cheaper quality?  We are big veggie eaters, and I know that if I want to have nice veggies I will have to go somewhere else.

I know several people who shop locally, organic, and all that stuff.  Unfortunately, it's a bottom line for us.  We have 5 kids and a limited income.  I can't afford to shop at the local store for the majority of our stuff.  I can't afford to get all organic, all the time, or spend $5 on grapes at our local grocery when I know that Walmart has them for $1.69.  Even if they are lesser quality.  Oh the joys of making decisions like that.  My kids ate 20 peaches last week because they were finally cheap enough to buy fresh and not in a can

The good news is for a Target loving girl like myself is that they are trying super hard to be just as competitive as Walmart for prices, and often times are cheaper because they have sales and Walmart doesn't have many of those.  Still, in the end, I shop at Walmart if I know that I am going to be spending big moola on a major grocery run.

Ah, the first world problems we face.  Who do you prefer?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Montana Round Two

Did you know that even if you are canoeing 104 miles that if you pretty much only eat trail mix heavy on the m&m's, you are going to come home weighing more then when you left?  Me neither.

So  much for my "lose weight cause I am practically starving in the wilderness" plan.

Mostly this is because we pretty much floated the first 50 miles.  I am so ashamed to admit it.  We would have gone faster but my dad had this huge canoe/boat cross and it didn't move very fast, even if you actually paddled.  So we drifted, and I tried to overcome my desire to be doing something, anything, besides sitting.  Most of the time I looked at nature, and man was it beautiful. Sometimes I read my kindle, good stories like Knights Templar conspiracies.  I had several worthy books on there too, a couple from Francis Chan (famous for crazy love) and a whole slew of classics, but nothing says Montana Outback like crazy Romans and Popes.

Also, if you and your spouse are not exactly compatible in certain ways, for example, I am firstborn, Chris is the baby, you can come up with scenarios on your own, then you may be slightly irritated with each other on an event like this.  Basically, because Chris is bigger and stronger, he sat at the back and steered the canoe.  Only he didn't really.  We would be sideways, drifting down the river and not being able to look where we are going because he wasn't steering.  And then I would say something like, please steer the canoe, and he would ignore me, so then some would say I yelled, steer the canoe!  And then Chris would say "Can't you ask nicely?"  And I would counter with "but this is the second time I asked you?!"  I discovered that not canoeing forward is a huge pet peeve of mine, ranks up their with the knife handles not all facing the same way in the block.

Anyway, here is the snake video as promised.  Mostly you can hear my voice, and a smattering of everyone else.  It's a little shaky in the beginning, but I promise it gets better.  Notice that Chester never strikes.  This is apparently because they use heat sensing to know when something is around, and since the stick is essentially the same temp as the surroundings, he could care less.

Right now, just in case you were wondering, the snake skin is sitting in a glass jar filled with salt water in our bathroom.  In a few more days we are going to coat it in glycerin and then nail it to a board, put another one on top of it and let it sit for 30 days.  Then we should have a supple snake skin to have at our house.  You want to know what the best part about how we learned that is?  At this little store Chris asked if they knew anyone who could tell him how to tan a snake skin and they gave him a phone number.  When Chris called it a woman answered and he explained why he was calling and asked to talk to her husband.  She was real quiet and then told him that actually, it was her who did the snake killing and tanning!  I laughed real hard at that one and I think that there is some serious leverage for that being a long-term teasing Chris type item.

And here is a bunch of pictures that show all the different types of environment along the way.

Well, I guess that is a fairly good representation of what we had to look at.  That last picture is actually down in the ditch of a dirt road out in the middle of nowhere.  I can promise you that our local ditches look nothing like this!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Map

I will post more snake pictures and stuff from Montana later this week, thought I would space it out a little bit so as not to bore anyone!

The map.  Oh the map.

So I bought my map and have it shipped to my house.  In my name.  I am not home when it comes, so hubby decides to open MY MAIL.  Addressed to me.  Not to Chris Nelson.  The map was supposed to be a surprise.

He opened it because he thought it was a fishing rod that I had gotten him for father's day.  But of course that was silly because I already gave him his father's day present early because I couldn't wait.

What a dork.  I never open his mail, although I just may start.  Because what if that teeny package addressed to Chris Nelson is really tickets to Italy for me?  I dream, and digress.

"The Map" is huge.  3 feet by 5 feet.  And as such, would cost a right arm to frame.  So I decided to build a frame out of 1"x4" boards.  Well actually, I call up my friend to see if her hubby has tools to build a frame.  I haul the babies over with the giant pieces of wood and her hubby helps.  More like her hubby builds it.  I held the boards while he cut, so I guess I kind of helped.  He offered to let me cut it, but I turned him down. Mostly because I was afraid that I would mess it up and look like a douche-bag (I have to admit, I love that word, it makes me feel like I am tiptoeing the line on being super naughty).  Plus, I figure since friend's hubby is a cop, he probably is the best person to do this, because cops are well trained with using their hands, you know in case they have to shoot someone, so in my book, this directly correlates with being good at frame making.

Then nice cop/carpenter hubby says that I really should back the map with something instead of directly stapling it to the frame so I didn't puncture a hole in it moving it around.  I kind of new that I should probably do this, but I was trying to avoid it.

So I went to Menards to buy this humongous piece of fiberboard.  4 feet X 8 feet.  I am trying to carry it with one hand, and  push the babies with the other.  Then I load this sucker up into the van, I wasn't sure it was going to fit, but I managed to jam it up and over the babies.  kembia started screaming the instant it went over her head.  I tried to convince her to pretend that it was a fort, but I don't think she knows what fort means because she cried the whole way home.

And I had to slouch down and half sit in the car for 15 miles because the board would go into the back of my head and I would have to sit as close to the steering wheel to drive otherwise.  So instead I pretend to be a midget and crouch underneath, hoping not get get into an accident and decapitate myself, and also hoping that I won't get pulled over by a cop for being a massive moron driving with an 8 ft. piece of material aimed at the back of my head.

I finally get home, and convince my elderly neighbor to help me cut it.  And by help me, I mean he cut it for me.  It was very nice of him, and he and his wife thought it was hilarious all the things that I was doing for this map.  They also thought my black kitchen was "brave".  Which I am pretty sure is a euphemism for "crazy".

Okay, so the map looks basically the same as when I posted a picture of it before.  But just pretend that you can tell this one is huge.

This is my crazy stripe wall, which I absolutely love and took me forever to do trying to level and move the tape all on my own.  Owen loves that we have a dead animal skull on our wall.  That's my dad's biggest mule deer that he shot.  He had the skull just hanging out in his garage (not on a wall) and I grabbed that sucker and brought it home.  I love things related to taxidermy and the like.  

Chris, bless his heart, came home and took one look at it and said it looked pretty good.  Man do I love that guy, lets his wife paint their kitchen black and doesn't haul me to my doctor and immediately start me on some meds!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Great Montana Trip

Montana.  What can I say?  Actually quite a bit.  It was super crazy fun.  And tiring, and really, really tiring.  And can I just say that the stereotypes of western states really do make sense?  I  feel a little bit bad about that, but in this case it happens to be true.

For example, we saw on 3 separate occasions, a person buy a bottle of beer and get behind the wheel of his car and drive off.  For real.  I ended up asking someone at the grocery store if the drinking laws were somehow different there.  She was sort of a mix between embarrassment and chagrin, and essentially responded that no they aren't supposed to but a lot of people do it.  Awesome.  Up until 2005, any passengers over the age of 21 could drink in the car except the driver.  And this is the state who also until recently, had a speed limit of "reasonable and prudent".  The state just this year will break over the 1 million people mark so maybe the thinking is since there aren't that many people in it they can be relaxed about safety issues?

Another fact about Montana is that there are cowboys everywhere.  And not the guys who think they are cowboys, but the real cowboys.  The ones who know the difference between a ranch (grows animals) and a farm (grows plants).  The ones who wear cowboy hats and humongous belt buckles and cowboy boots.  I maybe felt a little like an idiot in my straw cowboy hat compared to the real cowboys and girls, but in the big city in a more yuppier area like I come from, the hat just plain looks cool!  We run a little short on authentic cowboys and cowgirls where I am from.

They are also very, very nice.  The men held the door, little old ladies talked to you, and people were generally good to be around.  They gave you tips on what to do, where to watch out for super-snakey spots and things like that.

So here's a picture of me kissing a taxidermy snake.  Probably a gazillion other people have done this, but I couldn't resist.  Plus, if my mom sees it she will go berserk and that will be fun.  She told my dad that he and Chris "better man up and protect those girls".  Because apparently we can't handle ourselves.  But it's all good because I had three ways to make fire and a leatherman wave tool.  Bring it on.  (some of you may remember my little obsession with a few survivalist websites, and you technically are supposed to carry 5 ways to make fire in an extreme environment/situation like ours, but that seemed a little over kill, and I haven't hit their level of crazy yet!)

Pretty neat huh?!  

Probably the worst thing about the trip was the dirty, nasty, scummy water we drank.  The Upper Missouri river is very silty.  Technically it was considered potable water that came out where we first put the canoes in.  But it was yellow in color and had all sorts of floaty stuff in it.  And we were drinking it warm, whatever the temp of the day was, usually well above 85 degrees.  It helped that we added kool-aid and lemonade to the water.  But after a week of that, anything gets old.  Plus whatever was in the mixes made my tongue real sensitive and get bumps on it that hurt.  I think it will be a very long time before I can drink kool-aid again.  Probably several years.  And now my water bottle straw tastes like it.  I am hoping a dunk in some vinegar should fix that.

This is a canyon that we walked through.  Absolutely amazing.  We then hiked up and over it and back to our campsite.  This was definitely, hands down, my favorite walk we took, and we took a lot of them.  Not too many people go up and over the canyon and back around.  It was about a 2 hour hike and we didn't start it until 8 at night.  My aunt from Missouri was quite nervous that we wouldn't find our way back and would have to stay out in the wilderness.  One section of it got so close to us that you literally had the wall pressing up on you.  There is no way someone significantly over weight could have made it.  Not to mention all those that are afraid of small spaces.

This is a crazy turkey.  She is seriously like a dog.  She followed us around the campground the very first night we were there before we headed off down the river on our adventure.  She would come up at you and we thought she was going to attack us, but then she would just stand there so we thought might as well pet her.  She laid down and let us scratch her back.  She has been doing this for 3 years, and the DNR has named her Tetrazzini.  Terrible choice of a name don't you think?

This is Chester.  Chester is a Prairie Rattler.  He was living in that hole you see to my left, (your right) in the picture.  I say "was" because after we came back from our canoe trip, we took a bunch of pictures with him while trying not to get bit, killed him and then ate him.  He was quite a big one for that type of rattler and very close to the house.  Not safe for people or for the dog and cats that live there.  It was also one of the highlights of my trip.  Not the killing part, although I think it was the right choice, and not the eating it part, because like I already said, I wussed out and didn't do it, but because it is a poisonous snake and I love snakes.  Plus, I feel better that if you are going to kill something, you really should eat it if you can.  Soon I will post more pics of Chester and some video of him rattling away.  Nothing to make a group of grown men and women jump like a poisonous animal!

PS- I just got off the phone with the IRS because we were supposed to receive a ruling by July 2 and hadn't, and our case is closed and our adoption check will be heading our way by July 16th!  A humongous amen!  Owen said "cool, now we can get a huge pool".  I had to break it to him, no pool, but now we can work on actually getting him a bedroom.  And for those interested in the timeline, we turned in our taxes March 2, received letters from them that it was being reviewed, sent in new paperwork end of March, which they logged officially into their computer April 19th, so about 2 1/2 months from the time our second set of paperwork was sent in, 4 overall.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I'm Back!

Finally made it back.  I had a bunch of posts automatically set to go when I was gone and apparently blogger didn't post a single one of them.  Hopefully there are people still out there.  I will post about our trip tomorrow.  It was awesome, but I am so tired I could just about drop.  And the kids are all crying because they realized that Mom and Dad were gone for 10 days.  Super fun.

PS- Apparently rattle snake doesn't taste all that good but I couldn't tell you because I wussed out.