Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Enough animal crackers to feed an army.

We have an absurdly large canister of animal crackers in the back of the minivan.  To say it is a life saver, is an understatment.

There is no top left on the bad boy due to being used so much.

This absurdly large canister of animal crackers comes in most handy when we are at Walmart way too long, everyone is having a blood sugar crash, and we're still twenty minutes from home not to mention I will still need to put the frozen chicken in the freezer, where's the milk? and ohdearLord could the macaroni and cheese boil any slower. 
Just eat some animal crackers and to hold you over.

With that explaination said, onward!

The following are pictures of Ethan in the 'way back' of the minivan.  Ernest and Eleanor get the captains seats.  The bench in the back is free game for Ethan and all of his 'can I bring this into the minivan' modgpodge of stuff found back there.

Hey Ethan!  What?  What!  WHAT!?!

Mom, I'm hungry, and tired.  The animal crackers aren't cutting it. 
 Are there any more juice boxes?

We're getting pizza?  Woo hoo, I'm in a much better mood!

Goof to the left.

Goof to the right.

Oh sweet deary, I love this child.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ernest in the winter

When Ethan was a baby, I took him to Walmart in a diaper and a blanket.  I was a little embarassed that I had him dressed so inappropriately, so I put a hat on him.  True story folks.
Now, it takes me forty minutes to get the kids fed and out the door if: nobody takes a bath or shower,  I eat standing up, and Eleanor isn't hungry. Sigh. 

This is a picture of Ernest at Sam's Club.

You are one cute kid in that little hat of yours.
He is also wearing: a onesie, a long sleeved shirt, thick socks, winter coat on the side, and a one piece fleece outfit. 

And by golly, Sam's Club shopping carts ROCK!  Two kids in the front, come on

This is the set up for "going outside to play". 
The ensemble includes: onesie, thick socks, sweatshirt, pants, fleece hooded one piece outfit, coat, mittens, and the tail end of mom's sanity.

Plus a diaper change.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why yes I've been to Africa

The year: 2004.  I was living in eastern Washington off the Puget Sound (like, in the movie Twilight?  Yes.)  I had a friend who wanted to stop by Applebee's and wish some dude happy birthday.  We get there and there's a long table of guys hanging out for said dude's birthday.  I make my way to the end, where there was one seat left.  I don't remember what we were talking about before, but this big guy named Ken mentions he's going to Africa on a missions trip.  His comment caught my attention.  Africa?  I've always wanted to go there.  There's just something about it.  If you know what I mean, then you know what I mean.  His group was still forming and he said "You should come to one of our meetings and check it out." Instantly, I remember thinking "I'm going to Africa."

Months go by and we are doing fundraiser after fundraiser.  Sending out letters for donations.  Getting word out that we were needing help getting there.  Funny thing is, I remember going to these missions meetings hungover.  Talk about a double. faced. life.

No joke.

There were many ducks we had to get into a row before we could even leave the country.  Passports, paperwork, proof of this that and the next.  And many immunizations.

My story about the immunizations:  I needed a typhoid fever vaccine.  At that time, they were only available for one hour on Wednesday mornings.  I waited until the last Wednesday before we left to get it.  I needed a TB vaccine.  They stick a needle in you and make a bump.  Come back in three days and if they bump is gone, you pass!  I had to take it twice because I forgot to go in to have the bump checked.  Let's just say, the devil (lower cased on purpose thankyouverymuch) didn't want me on that plane.  The blessing in it was, however, all of my immunizations were covered by my insurance.  Wow.

I eventually get my act together and make it to Africa.  It was completely life changing not only because "Oh wow, I've been to Africa and it so National Geographic" but because serving others changes a person.  It's Africa, they wear flattened coke bottles with strings on their feet as flip-flops!

Enough of the hardcoreness (yes, it's a word), on with the cool pictures!

Bush pig hunt! 

 Some hunters went and shot a wild pig out in the middle of nowhere (as in, walked through a desert, a swamp with snakes, and a jungle to get to a wild pig that made Pumba look like a poodle) and I got to carry the gun and pick flowers.  I'd never even touched a gun before until this moment.  Was the safety on?  Was it loaded?  I have no idea.  If it works for them, it works for me.  Crazy!


This little guy tastes like chicken.  They tied his tail around his neck then carried him on the back of a motorbike to get him to us.  Chicken, people!  Monkey tastes like chicken!

Our empty truck that we filled with fence posts. 

Our filled truck.  To the right, you can see the pile of fence posts we left behind after the truck was full.

Digging Fences
One of our jobs was to dig holes to put up a fence.  Here's how it's done:
1. It's a two man job. 
2. "Lucky" gets to use a pick to dig up the dirt. 
3.  "Fool" lays on the ground and digs out said dirt using bare hands. 
4. Communication is key.
5.You and your partner take turns being Lucky and Fool. 

Once, when I was just about to put my hands down in the dirt, a village girl pulled my hand back and said something in a panicky voice.  No bueno, ese.  Whatever homegirl takes seriously, I most definitely will too.  Turns out it was a centipede that proved to contain a nasty toxic bite.
Where's the Orkin man when you need him?

In the end, we were able to put up hundreds of fence posts and complete the project. 

Crystal's Baptism:
On our way to Africa, I told Ken I wanted to be Baptized sometime in the future.  Maybe when we get back, or the next time our Pastor does a baptism.  Ken said "Well, why not just get baptized in Africa?  There's a river." (Upstream, there were piranhas.  We are, thank the LORD, not upstream enough from the ocean and the water was too salty for them).

I had been baptized before when I was kid and received Christ into my heart and dedicated my life to the Lord.  Since that moment I've rededicated my life about five or six times since!  I'm glad this past time stuck.  However, I wanted to tell the world "Hey! I'm a new creation!  Out with the old in with the new!"

Freshly dunked. 

See the smile?  I was so happy.  That's the smile of gal who is washed clean.  Almost like you just took a bath in Scope and you have that ahhhhhhhh feeling all over.

Reading the Bible to a village boy.  He didn't speak English.

I had never understood what the big deal was with communion.  What's with Jesus' last supper that we have redo it one Sunday a month? And why didn't Jesus have shrimp alfredo and Oriental Chicken Salad instead of a stale saltine and some watered down box wine?  Or at least some chocolate?

Lord, how I appreciate communion now.  Sacred is the tip of the iceberg. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I am up to five vitamins per day.  FIVE.  I had to do some research on vitamins because while, yes, it is wise to ingest vitamins, I'm also supporting a whole other form of life (ie: Eleanor) so I had to double check if I needed to up or down my doses.  That said, this is what I'm taking for a "lactating female ages 18-50".  Got it? Here we go.

D3- 400IU from my prenatal, 1000IU from a softgel.  My prefrence is a softgel form because I feel like they break down easier in the stomach and more of that vitamin goodness is absorbed instead of ending up in the sewer.  I recently read that if pregnant or lactating, 4000IU should be taken.  Hopefully I'm getting the rest in the form of food.  And sun.  I'm pretty pasty this time of year, so maybe not the sun.

Fennel- simply put, it's good for Eleanor's belly and keeps her from getting gassy.  I am not willing to go a day off of it to test to see if it's working or not.  All I know is, she isn't gassy.  Sold!

Fish Oil- My mom is borderline diabetic, on cholesterol and blood pressure meds. People in my family have had strokes.  I like red meat.  Houston we have a problem.  Fish oil to the rescue!  Doododoodoooo!!!!  300mg per day of DHA is what I'm rooting for, not necessarily Omega-3 fatty acids.  There is a difference but it involves a lot of big words and it's past my bedtime so I'm not going there. My prenatal vitamin has scored a zero in the DHA section, so I take 300mg in a softgel form.  If you are burping tuna after taking fish oil, store your bottle in the freezer and take the pills frozen.  Wha-bam, no more fish breath.

B12- Don't take your B12 with an antacid (Tums, Mylanta, etc) because it will inhibit it's absorption!  Also, put the pill UNDER YOUR TONGUE before swallowing! My mom mentioned my aunt takes B12 "for energy".  If all I need to do is take a simple $4/bottle pill for some added oomph to my day, sign me up.  Sure enough, signs of a B12 deficency are memory loss, fatigue, and depression.  These are also the signs of an overworked underpaid mother of three young children.  I started taking B12 just in the last week and haven't noticed any amazing differences in my energy levels but only time will tell.  One pill = 500mg and the bottle recommends taking one to three a day.  I'm just getting started so one a day is good enough for me.

Prenatal- generic and boring.  I'd love to try Supermom vitamins but they are a bit out of my $4/bottle budget. 

One last thing, I have a sneaking suspesion that my thyroid has gone caput.

Low thyroid levels (hypothyroid)

Moms who are hypothyroid have low thyroid hormone levels and elevated TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels. Symptoms include cold intolerance, weight gain, dry skin, thinning hair, poor appetite, fatigue, depression and reduced milk supply.

This was a simple copy and paste from the website KellyMom

Here is my hypothyroid reasoning

*Kendall is tired finding my hair all over the place, but it could be stress and post baby hormones. 

*I'm cold but, hello, I live in Minnesota. 

*My scale is my enemy. 

*I'm going through moisturizer like nuts but I also have the heat running. 

*I'm tired but I have three small children.

*One of the reasons I quit nursing Ernest was my milk was dwindling, although I was also pregnant with Eleanor at the same time. (Tandem nursers, unite!)

Let's see what happens, let the adventure continue!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My husband's driving standards

We have a new roundabout in town.  From what I've heard, nobody in our quaint little town was very excited for this new feature to our infrastructure, but it came in with a bang.  Kendall says roundabouts are mostly used in Europe but I wonder if he gets that European Vacation.

A few weeks ago, on our way to my sister-in-law's house, we were able to try out the new roundabout.  The one we spent all summer watch being constructed.  Ethan was excited and apparently so was Kendall.  We enter the ring of fire and Kendall layed. on. the. horn.  Like, one big honk the whole time we were in it. 

me: What are you doing!  You're going to get us in trouble!  What if a cop sees us?  This is so embarassing.

Kendall: What?  I want be sure people see us.  They don't all know to yield.

Ethan was in the back laughing the whole time, and Kendall had a big stinkin' grin on his face.

A few days later we went through three of those bad boys in place at a nearby Walmart, and once again, Kendall layed. on. the. horn.

me:KENDALL!  This is so embarassing!  We're going to get in trouble!

Kendall: People need to be sure and see me.  Plus we have the rightaway.  It's a matter of safety.

Are all men like this?  The whole time he's honking the horn and has a big grin while I'm sinking lower into my seat.  We were all laughing, especially the boys.  Ernest even said "Weeeeeee!"
Today's fiasco-
It's a Sunday and we needed to go to the ATM while in the 'big town'.  Our driver's side window has a broken motor and needs some repair, so we don't use it.  As a matter of fact, right now there is tape on it holding it up.  We keep it classy.

Instead of driving up to the drive through, opening in the door to use the ATM, then carrying on our merry way, what does he do?  HE TURNS AROUND IN THE DRIVE THROUGH AND BACKS UP TO THE ATM.

I cannot make this stuff up folks.

me: You're going to get us arrested!  Isn't this illegal?  Why can't you be normal!  YOU ARE GOING TO HIT THE WALL!!!!!!!!

Kendall: Pipe down woman, I've backed bigger trucks up into smaller spaces.

Then, he rolls down my window from his side, asks for a $20, pulls forward to turn around then we drive off.

Once again, that mischeveous stinkin' grin on his face.

Watch out for the minivan with the 'Don't Mess With Texas' bumper sticker on it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Three in diapers

When Ethan was a toddler I was the mom who would look at the mom's with three or *gasp* four children and say "I could never do that." "How do you handle all three of them at the grocery store?" "How do you have room for them?" "I would have to have at least four years between kids if I ever even think about having another child."

All the while God is rolling on the floor laughing His butt off at this chick who thinks she's in charge.  Clearly, homeboy upstairs has a different plan.

At night, we have three in diapers.  Good-nites if you want a more technical term.  But three.  Three.

That chick who was uncertain on having even two children total has three in underwear that go in the garbage the next day. 

I cannot believe it.

A four year old who will be five in May
A twenty month old who will be two in June.
And an almost five month old who will be one in October.

There's a miscarriage in there as well, so we'd have a four, two, one, and a newborn.

This is why my kids go to bed so early.  This is also the reason I have cut out all evening commitments during this season in my life.  I'm an early bird who's brain ceases to work past eight at night.  That said, my children are in bed by seven.  Yeah, you heard me, seven.  Sometimes earlier and maybe Ethan can stay up later.  Maybe.  I'm tired.  I give give give all day long, and I'm tired.  I'm not complaining, but I do want to relay the message that it does take a toll on a woman's brain capacity.

Sorry if you didn't get a birthday card or if the Christmas cards I sent out were from 2009 and Ethan's a toddler in the picture.  Whatever.  Be glad you get what you get.  I'm going to bed.

*Note: while typing this, Ethan stuck his head out of of the bedroom door and said "Mom, just to let you know, I'm taking care of Eleanor."  He's probably saying shshshshsh to her and bouncing her in her bouncy chair.  God bless that boy.
Ernest and I January 2010, my Texas homestead

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SassyFrazz Giveaway- VeggieTales DVD for Easter!

VeggieTales is one of the small amount of movies/shows I'll let Ethan watch.  It has harmless vegetables and wonderful moral stories.  321 Penguins is actually our families favorite cartoon.  They are all under the "Big Idea" productions umbrella.

My friend Sarah over at SassyFrazz is giving away Big Idea's newest dvd.  Enter to win it! 

Frozen Falls before and after

Audra has some sort of program on her computer called "lightroom".  If I were super cool and tech savy I would know what she is talking about.  Either way, here are the pictures.

Minnehaha Falls- BEFORE

Minnehaha Falls- AFTER

I want to go put on an extra pair of socks when looking at these pictures.  Brrrr

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Frozen Minnehaha Falls

"Mom, are we on the blue line?" This is the all important question coming from the backseat four year old copilot.  Whenever we travel anywhere beyond Walmart, Ethan gets his very own printed out map from mapquest showing we are 'a' and we are traveling to 'b'.  That way I can reply with "No, we are still moving down the paper".

On our way to see Disney on Ice, we decided that we'd make a day trip of it and see Minnehaha Falls frozen over.  The temperatures that day were in the low 30's so it wasn't too cold out for a brisk walk.  The steps leading down to the falls were gated off because nobody wants to shovel five stories of steps for the tourists these days.  It was fine because I had Eleanor in my Sleepy Wrap under my coat with two little boys itching to make a run for it after the hour and a half drive down to the falls.

I am a 'falls' lover.  If you ever see a minivan half on the road half in the ditch with some crazy lady taking pictures of water trickling out of the sides of a mountain with a almost crazed look in her eye, that would be me.

Hey, at least I'm willing to admit it.

Let's start with Cheeks McGoo over here. 
Here is a picture of her in post-milk coma. 
She is wearing: a onesie, fleece pants, fleece shirt, fleece coat, alpaca wool shoes, and a hat.  After being bundled and snuggled to me, we kept each other mighty warm.

Brotherly love.  Ethan is instructed to hold Ernest's hand whenever we are a.) in a parking lot or b.) walking on ice and mom's hands are full.  That day we did both and they both saved each other from slipping. 
 Win win baby.

On the other side of this wall there is a mega drop because the river runs underneath this bridge
(aka: "inquisitive slippery toddler death pit").
  "Hold on to him!"

The guys. 
 The boys doesn't stick around me too much whenever dad's around.  That's okay, us girls like to have our own time together thankyouverymuch.

The falls are beside Ethan's head.  There is a mega drop beyond that fence.

See my red glove holding Ernest's head.  If I can't look directly at him, I'm going to hold him by the head to make sure he doesn't try to go all Houdini on me.  (Note: I still can't believe I have three kids.  Wow.)

Throwing snowballs over the sides.  Those rocks are great barriers if there is no snow for anyone to step up that brings them up to if not higher than the top of them.

Minnehaha Falls in early March. 

Isn't it gorgeous?  The puffy part is the actual falls.  The icicles are just leftovers that froze.  I'm sure there's a super cool technical term for it but I'm not thoroughly educated in the field of "frozen water fall".  Give me a few more winters out here and I'm sure I'll have a masters in it.

Infantino Diaper Bag Giveaway

I know you know someone who could use a cute new diaper bag.  Sassyfrazz is giving one away!  AND it's an Infantino brand, which is way better than the bags given at the hospital. 

They don't giveaway diaper bags at hospitals anymore?  Ok, well that's one of the highlights of having a kid is all the free goods the hospitals give you! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal 3/7

In my life this week... focusing on arising early to start my day with a skip.  It's good to workout the body and spirit before daybreak.

In our homeschool this week... consistanly work on the violin with Ethan, continue our kindergarten books, playdoh and spend time outdoors.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...  Mothers of Preschoolers on Tuesday.  Catching up with my beautiful friends Friday night for Ladies Night Out. Homeschool Co-op on Friday morning- yes! 

My favorite thing this week was... a birthday party for a sweet little four year old.  Time spent together as a family is absolutely priceless and hands down my number one priority.  Plus Ethan saying he wants to be married to me.  Swoon...

What's working/not working for us... workbooks are coming a long nicely to enhance penmanship.  I'm big on "nice handwriting" as a goal for my children.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have... I'm really wondering if I should go ahead with signing up for Starfall.  This website has helped immensely with his counting and phonics skills.  The kid can can count in 10's up to 100.


From The Homeschool Chick.

Pictures from Disney on Ice

Waiting for the show to start.  This is at 6:30 at night, we were having the boys lay low and not walk around or exert too much energy so they could make it through the show.

Clap Ernest!  He was an active participant.

This smile says it all.  He had such a wonderful time.

Nothing hotter than a man holding two babies.  Ooh lala!

Ok, this man's getting annoyed that his wife keeps taking pictures of him holding two babies. 
But I love it!

Enjoying the show.  I'm so glad I ented this contest EIGHT times to win these tickets. 
Worth every second.

Eleanor slept for about an house in my Sleep Wrap, then woke up about half way through the show.  She did exceptionally well and didn't get cranky until the grand final.

We made it!  9:00 at night and everyone's tired but so happy.  This is a picture of our whole family (infact, I think it's the first picture of all five of us including Eleanor!) with the ice rink and stage behind us.

Shout out to SassyFrazz for hosting the give away. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'll be married to you

"Momma, when I grow up big, I'm gonna be married to you."

"But I'm married to daddy.  God will let you marry a nice, sweet girl.  She's going to have a heart for God and love you so much.  Then we'll both be married."

"Oh, but I'll still buy you some flowers.  Okay?"


Thank you Ethan for making momma cry in the middle of Walmart.

Two year old Ethan wanting 'up'