Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wishing I had some water

Okay, so I may have poked fun about a week ago at people who were prepared for all sorts of various emergencies that could arise at some point in their life.  And while I do think that some of them (perhaps many) have taken things a bit too far, I have to eat my words just a little bit.

On Thursday, my father in law and hubby were running some lines for the dishwasher and doing other various type things like that of which I have no knowledge.  This went on for several hours.  During which the water was turned off and we had none.  And of course, wouldn't you know, every kid in my house had to pee or poop or do both.  I will include myself in this because I had a bunch of iced tea.  We drank all the water from the fridge and were left with nothing.  Nothing to drink, nothing to flush with, zip, zilch, nothing.

And I swear to you, the first thing that popped into my head after the annoyance with everyone needing to pee, was that "those crazy survivalists would have been just fine".  And I desperately wished that I had some stored water around the house somewhere.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't such a huge deal to drive to the nearest gas station to borrow their bathroom, but it did make me feel like I was unable to handle a real emergency.  Thankfully, we got the water back on that night and it all worked out okay!  I am sincerely hoping that I don't start to get survivalist tendencies "just in case", it's easy to think , yeah, I should have some of x, y, and z to be prepared, but I think easy as well to cross over to the crazy.

If I start talking about the best types of guns and ammo to store around your house, someone stop me!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kembia's New Do

Yesterday I spent probably between 3-4 hours getting what I consider to be Kembia's first "real do".  The puffs that I posted before I kind of feel like they are a cheater hair style!  I believe that this is called a two-strand rope twist.  It is stinking adorable.  I go between thinking she looks like Snoop Dogg and Medusa.  While both sound terrible, I just want to squeeze her!

We did it in 4 separate sittings, and all involved lots of candy eating, otherwise known in our household as bribing.  Funny thing about Kembia and her hair, if you give her candy she doesn't scream when you touch it.  Without candy, bring on the lungs.

My right wrist was killing me, I think it's still sore.  And I realize that it isn't all nicely parted and looking all cool that way, but I have to start somewhere!  I am really hoping that this lasts at least a week because if not it might just be too much work for days less than that.  I am super excited to see what it looks like when we undo it.  If I remember I will post a picture of that too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I was going to post a bunch of pictures, but it just seemed like a lot of work this morning, and since I am already frazzled from Ava almost missing the bus, I just can't handle the extra "work"!  So instead of a photo dump, you get a brain dump!  (Lucky you)

Moyz has a little extra weight to him, like all 19 months old should.  After a bath one day we were looking into the mirror and I said "Moyz, you have man boobs".  Kembia happened to be in the room and then she proceeded to walk around the house repeating boobs over and over again.  Oops.

Speaking of repeating things, that girl is on fire with her words.  I am so proud of her, and Moyz  apparently doesn't want to be left behind because he is quickly keeping up with her.  It is so much fun when the kidlets are talking.  I forget how cute and proud it makes one feel.

Truitt is officially done breastfeeding, which is both sad and nice.  Nice because now I don't have to spend oodles of time trying to feed him while he looks around and gets distracted, but sad because it was so nice to snuggle with each other, and also sad because formula costs a lot.

Owen busted his bottom lip straight up the middle, so now he resembles just slightly lips like Angelina Jolie, only in a more disgusting, bloody way.  We cannot get that puppy to heal.  Going on 4 weeks and it is still split.  Part of the problem is that he is rough and keeps re-opening it.  I keep telling him to put chapstick on but he forgets a lot.

Ava turned 9, which I cannot believe.  She is literally turning into a young lady before me.  Pretty soon we are going to have to go bra shopping, which almost makes me want to hyperventilate because I feel like she is so young, but it is going to be necessary real soon.  And the last time I passed through the bra section for girls in Target, they were all padded.  For real.  Padded.  Don't the designers know that they are kids?  They do not need padded bras.  I could probably tangent about this for a long time, but I will spare you.

And the hubs and I refinanced the house under the Harp 2.0 program which allows those who are current and not in danger of losing their homes, but upside down on their mortgages.  30-40% of Americans are upside down on their homes right now.  If that is you, I would highly suggest doing this.  It is a straight up refinance, with no negatives affecting you at all.  We went from a 30 year (of which we have paid for 5) at 5.75% to a 20 year at 4.375%.  We will pay off our house 5 years early, and a much lower rate (saving big moola in the long run), for $13 more per month than what we are paying right now.  We were very tempted to refinance to a 15 year mortgage (that would be our Dave Ramsey class kicking in!), the rate was an amazing 3.5%, but we would have to pay an extra $140/month, which doesn't seem like a lot, but we still feel like we are trying to budget and get the best handle on that.  I would check it out if you are upside down,  it does depend on the kindness of your bank since they are not legally required to do it.  But if you can save money and you lower your rate, why not?  I will also add that you might want to hurry, rates have gone up slightly the last several weeks.

Oh, and only 3 more days till my new appliances!  And a good thing too because my fridge continues to leak like crazy.

Okay, that's it for now!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Survival 101

For probably the last 6 months or so I have had this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I need to be more prepared for emergencies.  For example, last fall a storm hit our city, I don't believe it was a tornado, but there was tornado-like damage done.  Our street was the worst affected and made the state news.  Our house was the only house on the street that didn't have any severe damage, I think God was blessing us since we had new babies.

The lights were going on and off, imagine me in the basement with no lights and babies.  Trees were literally ripped up and thrown, our garbage cans were whisked across the street and halfway across the lot.  A neighbors tree had a 2 foot diameter and was ripped up like it was a toothpick.  I didn't even have a flashlight with me.  I just grabbed them and ran downstairs, where we proceeded to do nothing.  because we couldn't, even if we wanted to.

This has nothing to do with the crazy 2012 Mayan doomsday stuff which I believe is a bunch of bologna.  But it has everything to do with being able to take care of my family in a real emergency where maybe we didn't have any electricity and couldn't get to a grocery store, etc.

We would be sorely lacking.  Not much for food, 2 tiny little flashlights, no candles, no matches.  You get the picture.  So, using my BFF Google, I started researching.  and here is what I discovered: There is a giant paranoid population in the good ol' USA.  And these people are READY.  (I may not know what exactly they are ready for but they are ready.)  They have plans and backup plans and food to last for a year and 5 different ways to start a fire.  They have "Bug Out Bags" if you need to high tail it out of your house.  They know 30 things to do with a bandanna, and that the Leatherman Wave is by far the best multi tool on the market, though perhaps a little heavy.

And it's starting to make me paranoid.  Like if something actually happened and now I have to defend myself and my kids and my home, and what am I going to wield?  A BB gun?  Sorting through the crazy, I did get a bunch of good ideas on things to bulk up and have for your home, and stuff for emergencies and a list of things to keep on hand that would be useful.  But still, now I feel a little like I need to run to Walmart and buy 20 pounds of rice and beans and water coolers and canned foods and oatmeal.  Nothing that parishes too quickly, plus I will need flashlights and batteries and a radio that I can crank with my hand or use solar so I can listen to what is happening in the world.  And the list goes on.....

Anyone else feel this way?  That you would sorely be lacking in an emergency?  And that you need to do something RIGHT NOW OR DIE?

In case anyone is interested, I went to "The Survivalist Blog" and got a lot of my info.  Here's the link:

I suggest reading some of the comments under different posts.  People are fascinating, some of them I would love to meet, although I may be a little afraid of them!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Naughtiness and Duct Tape

Ava and Owen were doing the dishes on Saturday morning.  They can have issues getting along.  I sat at the kitchen table and watched them hit and kick each other, and then one said "I wish you were dead", to which the other replied "I wish you were dead!"  I was a little peeved.

So I ran downstairs and grabbed a roll of duct tape.  And we duct taped Ava and Owen together at the arms over their sweaters, and around the calves over their pants.  We explained to them about how we should never wish the other person dead and that they would miss each other terribly, and because they couldn't get along they now had to be forced to be together and figure out how to make it work.

They overheard me telling Chris that I thought they should stay taped together when I went to someone's house for a couple of hours.  This sent them into a fit of crying that pretty much lasted as long as they were taped together.  (About 40 minutes.)  We made them fold laundry and pick up stuff around the house as one unit.

I almost couldn't handle watching them!  I had to leave the room and laugh.  There is a good chance that this punishment is going to stick with them and be a good reminder as demonstrated in the following picture:

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Demise of a Fridge

Basically as soon as we moved into our house 9 years ago, I felt that our fridge was dying.  It made weird noises and didn't really seem to be as cold as other people's fridges even though I had that baby cranked up to the coldest option.  Well, its hung in there quite well over the years, but is now officially on its last legs.

For the past month or so, there would be occasional pools of water on the floor and there isn't an ice and water dispenser so there was no where for the water to be coming from except the cooling system.  This is not a good sign.

The past week it has been happening a lot.  To the point where on Saturday, my ever frugal husband said "We need to look for a fridge, like today."  So, we spent the majority of Saturday on the net trying to find the best deals and looking on Craigslist.  I really hope that you live in an area where your Craigslist rocks.  Ours sucks.  I think people are trying to get wealthy off of it.  They are asking for almost the full price for a fridge that is 3+ years.  I don't think so.

And can I just bemoan how expensive appliances are?  I had no idea.  This is the first time in my adult life, that I have shopped for appliances.  I was shocked.  Currently we have an 18.2 cu ft. fridge.  Given the large size of our family and the fact that I have to cram all of the food in there, we wanted a bigger fridge.  And I wanted one that had the double doors that you open all fancy like.  Do you know how much they cost?  At least $1000 on sale.  What?

We also have an oven that is kind of broken.  I say kind of because it does cook, but the double glass section on the front is only one due to the fact that I dropped a glass pan on it from the cupboards above and it smashed the first panel of glass.  Plus it cooks things in about half the time, and unevenly.  So my mind got moving.  Here's the deal, we have committed living in this house for the unforeseeable future.  We knew that adopting would put us into that position, plus when you add in that we are quite upside down on it, are butts aren't going anywhere fast.  Since we could be here for quite some time, we didn't want to get any new appliances as "intermediates".  And since we wanted stainless steel, we knew that this would require getting a stove and range as well.  Our appliances are currently an ugly cream and black, and so we wouldn't just get a fridge without the other part of it.

Did you know that stoves are like $700?  This is adding up quickly.  Plus, we had decided that since we have this many people in our family, it was time to buckle down and get a dishwasher, because it seems like all I do is wash dishes.  And dishwashers aren't exactly cheap either.

After what seemed like hours, we found a package that was fridge, stove, dishwasher and above the stove microwave/range hood.  After all the rebates, etc. it is costing us $2,800.  Now, I should probably clarify that this is a more upgraded set, but oh my word, I have to admit a little hyperventilating set in.  We actually went home and thought about it and checked in other stores to make sure that we were getting the best deal, but I have to admit the night before we bought them my dreams were filled with appliances and agonizing over what color options and the fact that we were spending so much money.  Yikes.

So they are coming on the 30th, and we are hoping that our fridge can make it for 2 more weeks, otherwise we are going to be living out of a cooler with ice.  They'll set them up and take our old ones away for recycling which is a bonus since we won't have to do it.

And now I will have enough room for all of the food my family requires.  Still, I was hoping that Craigslist was going to work out, and of course, we had definitely NOT planned to drop $3,000 randomly one day.  But I have to admit, it will be great to have a dishwasher and humongous fridge and a stove (it's a convection oven too, which I guess is an awesome thing.  Of course, pretty much anything will be awesome after the beast that I have been using!)  So glad that we got our state return back because it will cover just over half of it, so we don't have to dip into savings too much!  We don't plan on getting our adoption refund at all, (even though we should eventually), it's easier that way.  When we started our adoption the refund didn't exist, and so now it's  just a bonus.  But, we don't want to ear mark that money for anything in the event that it takes months and months to come.  Which is more likely than not, although I am praying that ours moves quickly.  Although I have my doubts because I forgot to put or SS numbers on the receipts and you are supposed to do that in case they get removed and separated from your file.  Oops.

I will post before and after pictures so you can see the difference.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

We Eat Squirrel

Okay, so technically when I say we, I mean my hubby and kids.  For real.  Squirrel.  As in, the cute, little bushy-tailed creatures running around in your back yard right at this moment.

The upshot of marrying a hunter/survival guy is that when it's the end of the world, which appears to be happening sooner rather than later, my family will still be able to survive, because my hubs will go out and catch our food for us.  As opposed to all of those living in places like NYC who depend on a grocery store for their food.  They will perish quickly if I had to guess.  But not us, no way, not the Nelsons.  We will survive and prosper on things like squirrel.

Here's the thing.  It is supposed to be extremely good tasting, even a delicacy.  And I hate to admit it, but it did smell good cooking in my over.  But I couldn't get passed the fact that it is squirrel.  I happen to think that squirrels are quite cute looking.  In that sweet, Disney type way.  But I  We have also had, what I lovingly refer to as: Backyard Bunny Chili.  I will leave it up to you to figure out that one.

Now I suppose if it really was the end of the world I would eat that baby right up.  But since it isn't yet, I think I will take a pass for the time being, although I won't write it off in the future.  I am actually at this moment taking an on-line hunter safety training course so I can go deer hunting this fall.  So you never know what may happen to me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Big Summer Plans

In June, Chris and I, plus my dad and his sister are going to canoe about 100 miles down the Upper Missouri River in Montana.  It's part of the route that Louis and Clark followed, and they say that it is so untouched that about 90% of it is what Louis and Clark actually saw.  I think that's pretty cool and I am starting to get a little pumped about it.

Here's what I don't know what to do:  how do you physically get ready to canoe 100 miles?  It's not like I can practice exactly.  Can you imagine me hauling my 5 kids to the river and all going for a ride during the day while Chris is at work?  I don't think so.  I am continuing to try and lose weight, down 7 pounds so I am happy about that.  But 18 more to go to Peru, plus my friends can't even tell yet.  How depressing is that?  Have you lifted a 5 pound weight lately?  It's heavy, and yet NO ONE CAN TELL.  It's not like I am 400 lbs so that weight wouldn't make a difference or anything.  I will be so happy the day someone says "Jess, are you losing weight?"  Because then all this crazy dieting and working out would seem a little more worth it.  I  mean, I know that it's worth it, but I want to drink a regular Coke so bad it is almost driving me insane.

Anyway, back to the canoeing.  We will carry all of our supplies with us and make camp at night.  It's downriver, so hopefully it won't be too hard to go that far.  I'm not a stranger to more extreme types of camping.  We hiked the BitterRoot Wilderness in Idaho where you go in with your bag and all your food and stuff to survive and come out two weeks later, so I do have some experience, and this won't be anything as challenging as that, but still.  It has been a long time and I am no longer 23.

Plus, we will be gone for around 10 days.  We have never been gone from the kids since Kembia and Moyz have gotten home for more than one night, and that was only one time.  We have had a babysitter (Chris' mom) at night about 3 times.  This will be a good test of how the kidlets are doing.

I'll be completely honest with you.  Even if it sets them back we are going to do it.  We need a break, and this trip is still almost four months away (end of June), and a lot can happen in terms of attachment in that amount of time.

For the most part, we are not worried about Kembia.  Moyz is a little more of where are concerns are.  We had that rough month that I chatted about recently, but he has been doing awesome the last couple of weeks, and as it seems to be, attachment isn't always consistent and one straight shot.  But I do think that it will be okay.  

Sane parents equal saner/ish kids!

Friday, March 9, 2012

My house is eating me alive.....

Do you ever get the feeling that your house is literally trying to get you?  Yeah, that feeling.  The one where you are almost paralyzed with anxiety over what exactly you are going to do with it all?  That is me, today, right this very minute.  Here is the evidence:

This is Kembia and Moyz's room.

And this is Moyz's bed, which is buried beneath 3 babies worth of clothes.  He hasn't actually slept in this bed in a couple of weeks.  Not because there are clothes all over it, but because in the pack and play he doesn't crawl out at night and wander down the hallway.  So, if no one is going to sleep in it, it has become a second dresser.  Because it takes way too much time to fold clothes and put them away, plus I only have room for one dresser for all three babies in this room.  Technically, Truitt is supposed to be in there with them, but he doesn't sleep through the night yet so he is still with us.  We figure it is better to have one baby up, then all of them.

Organizing is not my strong suit.  I recognize that this is a problem when you have 5 kids.  But somehow I cannot get my crap together and get a system that works.  I totally get it that if you do a little bit a day it makes everything work out better, but somehow I am not capable of doing it.  

Yesterday I stumbled across a blog, can't remember which one for sure, but I think it was Centsational Girl, and she had listed a chore chart that she uses.  Basically, everyday of the week had a chore assigned to it.  For example, Monday: clean toilets and bathroom, Tuesday: mop floors, etc., etc.  I seriously think I need to make a chore chart for myself.  And award myself golden star stickers every time I do it right.  And then, if I do everything I am supposed to for a week I get a treat.  Probably a mocha from McDonalds, although that would blow the whole losing weight to go to Peru thing, so we'll see what the treat is.  

You would think that after 30 years of living I could pull myself together.  I have come to the conclusion that you are either organized and tidy or not.  I am not.  I want to be, but man, it seems like a lot of work.  Although, one could argue that I am making myself work harder by not being organized.  For example, I have lost my car keys.  No idea where there are, I have ripped this house apart looking for them and no such luck.  Part of me thinks that one of the babies threw them in the garbage because they love to throw stuff in there, but it may just be that my house ate the keys. 

Check out this mess I have:

This is my "organizing center" in the kitchen.  Clearly, it is doing its job to the best of its capabilities.  Now to be fair, you see on the second cubby from the left on the top row?  That brown spot amongst the black?  That is where Moyz tipped his chair back and took a chunk out of it when he fell, so I did have to move some stuff around and pile it on top.  But still, this is a sorry state for an organizing center to be in.  My calendar which keeps me straight and where I am supposed to be is buried under that humongous binder on the left.  

I need an intervention.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Our New Cereal Rule

I am one of those people who could probably eat cereal for every meal of my life for as long as I shall live.  The sugarier the better.  If it has multiple colors or a chocolate variant of it, bring it on.  As such, I have passed this on to my kids.

But, I have come to the conclusion that it is unrealistic, not to mention that it isn't the healthiest, to feed 5 kids cereal for breakfast.  Talk about a money drain.  $3 bucks for one box that will be gone in two days and not make my kids feel full?  Or, I could buy 18 eggs for less than that and make omelets and all sorts of stuff, fill up my kids and not pump them full of artificial coloring and all the other crap on the label that I can't read and therefore have no idea what it is or what it does.  So, starting today, I broke the news to my oldest two that we will no longer be getting the "good" cereal.  Or really any cereal at all.  I am making an exception for Raisin Bran (generic) for myself for ah, how to put this delicately, the fiber.

This, of course, is going to require me to wake up earlier in the morning if I am not going to just throw a box of cereal at my kids for breakfast, and I am sad to part with the sleep.  But I am willing to bet that my kids, and my wallet will thank me.  Because as much as I love cereal, I love eggs and bacon even more.

Monday, March 5, 2012

"How come you guys have black kids?"

Hubby and I plus the three babies were shopping at Kohls on Saturday.  Ava and Owen were at my brother's and his wife's house having a fun kids night.  We walked into the store, me holding Truitt in his humongous baby carrier which I swear weighs about 40 pounds, and Chris had Kembia and Moyz in his arms.

We didn't get 50 feet into the store when we passed a black man and his two adorable kids.  I knew something was coming because he kept looking at us with a bewildered expression on his face.  And then he said "How come you guys have black kids?"  My whole body tensed up for some type of horrible exchange between us that I have heard other families have had.  I simply responded "because we adopted from Africa".

To which I kid you not, he replied verbatim, "Oh, I was wondering what kind of messed up genetics was going on there."  This man's first thought was that they were our BIOLOGICAL children.  Now, I don't know quite how I should feel about this exchange.  Happy that he thought somehow they were our bio kids, or disturbed because he thought that somehow two absolute, bright, neon-white people could have black kids like Kembia and Moyz.  For real?

He happened to be from Africa himself, and based on his accent, most likely from a British colonized country, we didn't ask, but we wanted to.  I have to admit when we got a decent amount of space away, I laughed.  I was thankful that he wasn't upset that we had adopted kids not our color.  I also laughed because my friend (you remember the one that I stalked through Target?) shared a similar story about how a checkout lady at Walmart thought that it was a recessive gene that led to their 5 black kids.

I have to admit that now that both Kembia and Moyz endlessly say "mom" over and over again like a broken record, it has made being out in public with them a little easier.  People hear them saying Mom and know they are my kids now, unlike the one lady who wanted to give all my "friends" stickers one day.  And I don't get countless "are they your kids?" or "wow, you're brave bringing your day care here" anymore, which I love.  It doesn't really bother me too much, but gets tiring to answer 5-10 people any given time going through a store.  Sometimes, I just want to get my groceries without having any explanations.

Maybe I should say yes, I gave birth to them one day, and see what people do!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mr. Truitt

Truitt now weighs more than Kembia and is in size 12 months clothes.  The same size Moyz wore when he came home.  Did I mention that he's only 7 months old?  Crazy.  I cannot believe how fast he is growing.  The kid is going to be humongous by the time he is one.

Anyway, here is a little pick of him from yesterday.  What a cutie, makes me said that he's my last baby.  Plus, I think his eyes are turning brown or hazel.  First bio kid that appears to be growing out of their blue eyes.  I maybe passed some part of my genes along after all!  He loves that doll in the picture, she has wings with crinkly stuff in them and it's his favorite to chew down on her!

He's quite the little chunk!  And getting very upset with me.  Since I have been losing weight (down 5 pounds!  I still can't quite see Peru around the corner, but we're getting there!) my milk is down and he gets very impatient if it's time to eat and he has to spend too much time trying to suck to get any, so he turns his head and yells.  So I have started to supplement formula.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I really wanted to breastfeed him until one year.  Because it's free and the best for him, but I will be completely honest, and selfish here, I am happy that I am losing weight, and so I will continue with what I am doing even if it means feeding him formula.  Still, I am already missing the time together even though we continue to do it through the night and a couple times a day.  He is still eating about every 2 hours if we are at home and he isn't distracted.  Seriously, it's like his hobby.

The other kids absolutely adore him.  Owen over-loves, Ava is a mini mother and Kembia calls him "Roo-Ree" which I think is absolutely adorable, and pretty close to Truitt if you ask me.  Moyz continues to call him "da-da" which is baby. ( "dad-deee" is daddy).  Moyz has also tried to feed him: napkins, peanut butter toast, and wood chunks from a basket, not to mention the time he shoved a recorder down his throat, which I already told you about.  I am sure there are countless other things they have tried to "feed" him. but I am not recalling at this time.

I definitely think he is going to grow up to be one tough kid.  It's be tough or perish in this house!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Hubby and I watched the movie Courageous last night.  We wanted to go and see it in the theater, but we couldn't have anyone watch Moyz and Kembia so no go.  But now it's out on DVD and we rented it from redbox which I absolutely love.

Anyway, the movie was really, really good.  As in, it made me want to be a better parent to my kids about 20 minutes into it.  I will warn you, this is a crying movie.  Or at least it is a crying movie if you are a crying type of person like I am.  Probably most of you have seen it already because you are not hermits like I am, but if you haven't, or don't know about it, the premise is that it is about these 4 men and becoming the fathers that God intended them to be.  It really stressed what happens to kids if they don't have their father in their life and how that can correspond with problems down the road.  The people who made this movie also made Fireproof and Facing the Giants, both of which I highly recommend as well.  We will definitely be going out and buying this movie.  It is rated PG 13 so watch it before you let your kids see it.  The rating is due to drugs, and the fact that the men are all police officers so there is all of the things that naturally come along with that, although no swearing or gory scenes.

And I recommend you watch it even if you don't believe in any of that God "stuff".  Because it is an absolutely great picture of how a father (and mother) should be to their kids.

P.S.  We found Owen's first crab.  He crawled into a vest that was in the hall by the bedroom and then someone stepped on him.  At least it was probably a fast death.