Family Pictures!

Thanks to my awesome brother Jonathan (who, sadly, now resides in Texas, which is not close at all to Washington), we have new family pictures!


I might be biased, but I don't think you'll find cuter kids anywhere!


I'm waiting...

I am not the world's most patient person.

But I am especially not the world's most patient person when I have a gift I'm excited to give. To Tom, in particular.

Which is funny because he is not the most exuberant gift receiver. My kids will "ooh" and "aah" and squeal like nobody's business, but Tom is good with a heartfelt thank you and he moves on.

But I'm horrible at postponing giving gifts to him.

So my current dilemma: I made a photobook for Tom for our ten-year anniversary later this month. The shipping guidelines advise 1-5 days for production and 1-5 days for shipping. So, like the awesome planner I am, I ordered the book last Thursday, 11 business days before our anniversary.

And it came today.

I ordered it Thursday (afternoon, too--like 2:30), they shipped it Friday, and it was on my front porch this afternoon.

So now, I have to wait TWO. WHOLE. WEEKS.

Or break down like I usually do and give it to him early.

(Also, it is a good thing he doesn't read this blog, or then the surprise would be ruined.)

(Watch, he will probably pick this week to start reading my blog. That would serve me right.)


What's your problem?

I pride myself on being able to do things.

I may watch numerous youtube videos to see how it is done. I may have to call my dad and have him walk me through things. But I get them done.

When the pipe that fills the water heater started leaking, did we call a plumber? No, I called my dad, and then I replumbed the line.

When the handle to the driver's side door on Tom's car broke off, did we take it to a shop? No, I watched some youtube videos, ordered a replacement from Amazon, and replaced it.

When we moved into this house and the water dispenser on the fridge was nonfunctional, I figured out why and fixed it.

I've changed headlights, repaired a washing machine, rewired a lamp, and fixed a broken seatbelt, just to name a few. It's not that I'm an expert at anything, I'm just not afraid to try and I'm willing to put in some time to get to the bottom of the issue.

So when our garage refrigerator stopped working, I figured I could figure it out. There was a excess of frost building up on the back wall of the freezer, but the fridge and rest of the freezer was not nearly cold enough. There was so much frost built up that the evaporator fan (the one that blows all the cold air around) was frozen in place. After giving it a good defrosting, things seemed to be doing better, but within a few days it started acting up again.

My google searching (that's a lie, I use swagbucks as a search engine) led me to believe it was a default in the defrost heater, the thing that routinely melts all the built up frost in your freezer. But of course that part is no longer manufactured for my refrigerator. The other two components of the defrost system (the timer and the thermostat) were available for purchase, but I didn't want to buy them without making sure that they were the culprit.

So, I called my dad and borrowed his multimeter, sure that one of the three things would show evidence of malfunctioning.

But they don't.

They all check out fine and now I'm back to square one with no idea how to proceed, apart from calling the appliance recycling people to come pick up the beast.

And as frustrated as I am that I'm down a refrigerator (and a freezer), I'm more put out that I can't solve the problem.


And the fun is over

Ella asked me the other day, "So what else are we doing this summer?" and the answer was "nothing."

While we still have at least 6 weeks of summer before school starts up again, I feel like summer is over. Tom has the majority of July off from work and we've been living it up. We did Wild Waves (water and theme park) a trip to the Oregon coast, a family reunion at Lake Cushman, bought a play set for our back yard, and celebrated the fourth of July all within a couple of weeks.

And now we're done.

I mean, sure, we'll spend a night at Grandma's house here or there, camp in the back yard, and play with friends, but our big, anticipated trips and events are all done and over.

And it makes me sad.

(But at least I'll have more time for blogging. I'll be posting pictures from our trips in the semi-near future.)


Had I known

Impressively, I have six kids and last month marks the first time time that anyone in this house had to go to the emergency department.

It was a Saturday evening. Morty was playing out back but snuck around to the front, climbed on a bike (without a helmet) and fell off, cutting his forehead on the pavement. The cuts were deep, but not long, just two maybe quarter inch cuts a quarter inch apart (not unlike the back view of a staple). Because they were relatively deep and, you know, on his FACE, we decided medical attention was for the best.

We would have gone to urgent care, except that the injury happened just minutes after they closed.

The doctor decided that glue would be best and got him all patched up in no time. (The gluing took no time, there was plenty of waiting beforehand.)

I knew that the ER boasts a $150 copay, so I wasn't thrilled about that, but we figured that Morty's head was worth it.

Had I known that we would also get bills totaling an additional $750, I'm not sure we would have made the same decision.

And that's WITH insurance. I can't even imagine what it would have been without. Yikes!

All I have to say is that is some expensive glue.

(PS, it's healed up fairly well. He will have a small scar, but if it bugs him, he can wear his hair long enough to cover it.)


Because I love a good birth story

And because it's somehow almost 7 months later!

WARNING: this is a birth story, so there is some mention of bodily fluids, body parts, etc. Read at your own discretion.

Also, it's long. Sorry. And all the cute pictures are at the end.

Toulouse was due December 3rd. Besides just wanting to be done being pregnant early, I was really really REALLY hoping for a November baby, as I already have one December baby. Sadly, November came and went with no baby.

Saturday, November 30th we were out and about and ended up picking up some Papa Murphy's for dinner. I ate more than I probably should have and was up all night spewing half-digested pizza out both ends.

Lest you think I'm used to that sort of thing, I'm pretty sure that was only the second time that I've thrown up since I've been married. So, yeah, not so much a common occurrence.

I still was not feeling fantastic in the morning, so I sent Tom and the kids to church without me. Knowing that would cause people to speculate (they'd been asking when I was going to pop for WEEKS) I texted several people to let them know that no, I was not in labor, not in the hospital, no little baby in sight.

I slept in, took a bath, painted my toenails and took a nap. It was divine. I had no desire to eat, though, what with the puking and diarrhea all night. I think all I ate all day was an apple. I had contractions on and off all morning.

By the afternoon, they started seeming more regular. Not wanting to get too excited (I'd had plenty of contractions before this point), I kept an eye on the clock but figured it was just another false alarm. As expected they petered off after awhile, then came back, then petered off again. But they kept getting stronger. Finally as we were putting the kids to bed, I decided that they were the real thing. We called my mother-in-law who was coming down to stay with the kids, as well as my mom who would be meeting us at the hospital.

By the time my mother-in-law got there around 10, I was ready to walk out the door. I made sure she knew where everything important was, including the kids' morning routine for school the next day and waited for Tom.

And waited.

And waited.

I'm still not sure what he was doing, but he was under the impression that we had time.

I did not share that sentiment. I considered getting something to eat, since I was now ravenously hungry, but I figured I could get around to that once the baby was born, since it would surely be soon.

Tom was finally ready and we got in the car.

Aaaand it wouldn't start.

Seeing as it's a manual transmission and our driveway has a slight slope, I was in favor of a rolling start, but he was worried that it might not work and opted for jumping it.

So, out came the mother-in-law and the jumper cables, and they attempted to get it hooked up while I waited in the car, gritting my teeth through each contraction.

And I waited.

And waited. (Are you noticing a theme here?)

I'm sure it wasn't really all that long, but when you're in large amounts of pain, everything seems to take longer. They had the cables properly attached to our car, but couldn't seem to get them hooked up to her car.

I climbed out to survey the situation. I don't know who designed her car, but it was not set up for easy jumping. The positive battery terminal was blocked by something or other and it took quite the contortionist movement to get my arm around behind it. But I did because we needed to go. NOW.

We got the car started and got on our way.

Once we arrived at the hospital, Tom was still figuring they'd send us for a walk or something, just to make sure I was really far enough along in active labor. Um, no. I was plenty far along (though, sadly I don't remember details), and they got me admitted and set up in a room.

By then it was probably one in the morning. My mom got to the room shortly before we did and I let the nurse know I'd love an epidural. I'm sure I was all kinds of polite and cheerful. It wasn't immediate, but the anesthesiologist came soon and put me out of my misery.

It was the strangest epidural I had ever had. I could no longer feel the contractions, but I still had relative control of my legs and probably could have stood up, if needed. I was a huge fan. But sadly, it didn't last. Before too long I was feeling the contractions more than I liked. The nurse noticed and gave me the drug clicker thing, but it didn't seem to help.

She had the anesthesiologist come back and give me an additional bolus, but it still didn't do much good. He left, of course. When I was still feeling the contractions a while later, the nurse asked what I wanted to do. I figured if the baby was going to be coming in the next hour or so, I could just deal with it, but when she checked me and I was SITLL at a seven (or was it six?) we decided to call the anesthesiologist back again.

He took his sweet time, but finally came back for a third time and had me sit up to place another epidural. He assured me that this one shouldn't hurt as much since I was already numb.

Um, nope. Still hurt plenty. I was sitting on the edge of the bed with Tom standing in front of me, stabilizing me and providing moral support. Except that he looked like he was going to pass out. Or throw up. I sent him to the bathroom for a breather and my mom jumped in. I'm so glad she was there.  The anesthesiologist placed the catheter, but then decided he didn't like it.

So he took it out and started over. AGAIN. And it still hurt. Once the third epidural was placed I was finally numb.

And still starving.

Thankfully Tom was not coming down with whatever it was that kept me up all night Saturday and quickly returned to my side.

My doctor, who had been on call all night, was off at 7:00am, so I was really hoping to be done by then. She had been in and out, checking on me, breaking my water (around 3-4 am, maybe?), but things were not moving so quickly.

Once we got the epidural nightmare figured out, they suggested that we add some pitocin to see if we could move me past a seven. I thought that sounded like a great idea. Because I WAS STILL STARVING and ice chips really weren't cutting it.

Things finally picked up, but then baby wasn't so happy. They adjusted me this way and that way, trying to get baby happy. I had lay just so on my right side, and I think they finally put me on oxygen which seemed to help.

Sadly, the details are long gone from my mind.

I do remember feeling like it was time to push. It was nearing lunch time and my doctor had said she would come over for the delivery (she was at her office across the street). The nurse (or possibly the resident) called her to tell her to scoot on over, and she told them to have me start pushing and she'd be there asap. After one push, however, they realized that if I started now, there was no way she was going to make it in time.

So we waited.


Once she was in the building it was only a matter of a couple pushes (two or maybe three contractions) and he was out.

12:07 pm. 9 pounds, 5.6 ounces, and 22 inches long.


And worth all the waiting.


Summer Bucket List

Inspired by this post by Janssen, I've been thinking about what I want to get done this summer. It seems like we always have more things to do than time to do them. The biggest (and not surprisingly funnest) ones are already scheduled and will happen for sure, so here are some less-set-in-stone (and mostly less exciting) goals that I want to accomplish over the next couple of months.

1. Finally get our master bedroom organized. Haha. Yeah, right. But really, it needs some serious attention.

2. Clean out Toulouse's closet.

3. Paint a dresser.

4. Finish trenching the back yard. Who am I kidding? I'll play with the kids while Tom finishes trenching the back yard.

5. Buy fruit trees.

6. Plant said fruit trees. (I dream big, obviously.)

7. Host a barbecue in our (finally mostly finished) back yard.

8. Actually use our fire pit for a real fire (and s'mores, of course).

9. Go on at least 3 hikes with friends. If you're local and want to join in, let me know. (Also if you know of any good (Seattle-area) hikes to take with kids I'm all ears.)

10. Post on this here blog at least twice a month. (Just being realistic, right?)

I love seeing people's dreams, plans, and goals, so if you post something similar, be sure to leave a link in the comments so I can check it out!

And since a blog post is only as good as the picture, enjoy this squishy boy. I know I do.



I've always liked Grape Nuts. I know some people think they taste like cardboard, but I like the way they taste. And as I've become more aware and conscientious about what I put into my body, I love the ingredient list as well. Short, sweet, and to the point with no added sugars and no unpronouncable ingredients.

Imagine my dismay, then, when I noticed last January (as in 2013) that they decided to change up their recipe in order to promote "8g of protein per serving!" by adding soy protein isolate. I'm not allergic to soy and I'm not opposed to soy in all forms, but I do have problem with messing with a perfectly good thing, and ingredients that are overly processed. Plus soy is typically genetically modified, which I don't love.

So I stopped buying them.

I complained about it to all of you on facebook and even contacted Post directly to express my displeasure at the change. All I got was a generic form-letter reply.

I missed them, but I survived. I think Tom missed them more than I did.

Then, several months ago, they added a "verified non-GMO project" (or something like that) badge to their boxes. I felt better that the soy protein isolate was at least not a GMO, so I bought some for Tom's sake, but I still wasn't thrilled about it.

I also found a reasonable replacement in a generic brand at Fred Meyer, without the added soy protein. It was/is more expensive than Grape Nuts at Costco, and didn't quite taste the same,  but I figured it was worth it.

Then, just last week, I noticed the new boxes of Grape Nuts at Costco had a new "SOY FREE!" claim on the front. HOORAY! They have reverted to their original recipe and I couldn't be more happy.

I am sure that this is all thanks to my personal, private boycott. Or not. But either way, I'm thrilled. (And eating Grape Nuts every morning for breakfast.)

(And no, this post is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or paid for by Post or Costco. I'm sure they don't even know I exist.)


Don't we all

I was cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast today while Morty and Ferdie were playing in the playroom.

Before too long, Ferdie came out to tattle inform me of something Morty was doing. It was nothing of consequence, so I responded with some non-committal comment and he returned to his play.

A few minutes later he was back with the same concern. Morty wasn't doing anything to Ferdie and he wasn't breaking any rules, so I asked, "What do you want me to do about it?"

Ferdie's response: "I want some chocolate chips."

Me, too, buddy. Me, too.


Craigslist is like a box of chocolates

You never know what you're going to get.

Or: More than you ever wanted to know about my table

When we moved into this house over a year and half a go, we had a lot more space than we had furniture to fill it. And since we'd just spent all our monies on a house, buying all new furniture to fill it was not in the budget.

But let's be honest, I doubt buying new furniture will ever be in my budget. We may be able to afford it at some point, but I doubt we'll prioritize it. Not when we can get perfectly good used furniture that meets our needs and most of our wants for a fraction of the cost.

In fact, besides our bed, (the mattress itself,) the only furniture in the house that we bought new is a bookshelf we bought at Costco right after we got married, and a cheapy dresser we bought at a liquidation store when Rico was born. The rest is hand-me-downs, craigslist, and the occasional garage sale.

I've recently been looking for a new kitchen table. We have a formal dining table, but since the dining room is carpeted and I still have two three-year-olds who have yet to figure out how to eat without half of it landing on the floor, we typically eat in the kitchen nook. The table in there is one we inherited from Tom's parents and it had been good to us, but it's never been my favorite.

And it only has six chairs.

We bought an extra chair several years ago and made do, but now that Toulouse is eating solid food, we really needed another chair and that seemed like the perfect excuse to to get a new table, one with eight matching chairs. (Novel concept, I know.)

So I started looking.

And looking.

And looking.

And apparently, I am picky when it comes to dining chairs.

It didn't help that most tables with eight chairs are super formal and huge and we wanted a casual kitchen table that had to fit in the narrow space we have. Once the formal ones and square ones  (and the freakishly expensive ones) were ruled out, the most common was the somewhat ubiquitous honey oak pedestal table with arrow back windsor chairs. And while that may work for you, it wasn't what I wanted.

So I kept looking.

And looking.

And looking.

I finally found what looked to be the perfect table, (or at least pretty darn good,) but it was in Bremerton. The upholstery on the chairs was a bit hideous, but that could be replaced. And for $50 the price couldn't be beat. Even if you factor in almost another $50 for gas. So, one day while the kids were off school, I loaded up the van and headed off.

Now I don't know about you, but once I make the trek to buy something, I just buy it without too much attention to tiny details. (Which is probably not a good thing.) In this particular case, they had all the chairs stacked up, the leaf on top of the table, and everything ready to load up. Having just driven for an hour we did just that: load up.

It wasn't until I got home that I realized that there was no way on this green Earth that all those chairs were going to fit around that table comfortably. I mean, sure, they fit well enough to have company come over and squeeze in, but for everyday? Forget about it. And the table top was not wood, despite the listing calling it a "wood table." The top was wood-grain formica.

So, I took pictures of it and posted it right back on craigslist. For triple the price I bought it for.

Before it sold, I really found the perfect table. It was honey colored (I may paint or stain it in the future), but the chairs were napoleon instead of windsor and it had legs instead of a pedestal. It also had a buffet which I thought would work nicely upstairs (no room in the kitchen for that sort of thing) and was a heck of a lot closer.

I conned my neighbor into helping me pick it up (cupcakes are a good motivator) and Monday evening we set off. When we pulled up to the senior assisted living center where it was located, the parking lot had been newly redone and was coned off. We could not park remotely close to the building. You would think they would have mentioned that when I called, (I spoke to an employee, not a resident,) because I totally could have come the next day. But no. Instead, we got to haul the table, eight chairs, and a heavy buffet not only from the back corner of the building, but across a sizeable parking lot as well.

Luckily my neighbor is buff.

And a good sport.

And then we had four tables and thirty-three chairs in my house.

(I sold the excess ones the next evening. So now we're good to go.)


I mustache you to humor me

Looking at my blog, it is quite evident that I need to update the pictures on my side bar. But then I realize that even the updates are a year and a half old.

So it is apparently time to get some more pictures of my little (or not-so-little) cuties to post here for all of you to admire. (Or ignore, whichever.) Conveniently, my favorite photographer (and cute little brother) is in town for the summer. (Before he moves off to the ends of the earth (aka Texas) for his first real-life grown-up job.)

But, until we get around to that, you can enjoy these outdated updates that were taken by Jonathan and "improved" by my other favorite brother, Grant. (Forgive me if you already saw these on facebook. They crack me up too much not to share again.)

 You're welcome.


Jumping back in

I have started lots of posts for this little blog over the last several months, both online and in my head, but failed to actually post one. I feel out of the blogging loop and not really sure that I really have anything to share, but I miss writing regularly, so we'll give it another shot. But I wouldn't recommend holding your breath.

So, I know I mentioned that I was expecting off hand in my last post (the only post on this blog in the last 15 months or so, how did that happen?) but since that was, um, last September, I should introduce you to this little guy. We'll call him Toulouse on the blog, though we don't in person. His real life nickname is another city in France, but this works.

He was born in early December, which means he is just almost 6 months old.

He was a biggish baby (9 pounds, 5.6 ounces), but put on weight like it was going out of style. He is quite the little chunker. He has a VSD like Lou's but it is much smaller and does not seem to be affecting him at all. (And hers, while still present, is not really affecting our lives much beyond an occasional check-up.)

His Mother's Day gift to me was finally cutting his first tooth. The second one finally cut through this morning, so we should be done with the whole constant gnawing and drooling thing for at least a little while.

I love this face. How could you not? Little Toulouse is just about the cutest thing you have ever seen. I probably shouldn't say this online for fear of hate mail, but I don't think you could ever meet a sweeter baby. He is happy nearly all of the time. He'll get slightly fussy if he needs a new diaper, a nap, or a meal, but otherwise he is happy all. the. time. And he started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old.

Also, his hair does that mohawk all on it's own. I love it.

His siblings LOVE him. Morty is particularly enamored and loves to coo at him in a high baby voice "You're SOOO cute!" Also Lou. I'm frequently afraid of his being smothered by her over-physical affection. Ferdie likes him, but is usually happy to let him be.

Though I have my doubts that anyone still reads this blog, thanks for checking in! Hopefully you'll see more posts from yours truly in the near future. But if not, it's because I'm munching on this cute little man!