Two hours!

Lately Leo has taken to say “Two hours! Two hours!” to just about everything and I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean. I get him up from his nap, “Two hours!” Well, that one makes sense. He shows me his dirty hands, “Two hours!” I tell him to come in for dinner, “Two hours!” It’s “two hours” for almost everything and I’m never sure really what he is getting at.

We signed up Ezra for Spring soccer this term. He hasn’t been on a team sport before so it should be interesting to see how he does. The weird thing is, there is no practice, it’s all games. Not sure how they are to learn the rules of the sport if there are no practices.

We came home from a shopping trip the other day to find Keiko pawing at something in the corner of the rocked lavender bed area. Turns out it was a very healthy vole. It looked super soft and I wanted to pet it but it was in turns hissing at Keeks and eating a dead leaf so I decided it probably wasn’t for me. Keiko didn’t seem to know what to do and Jojo was walking over so I picked her up and put her in front of it. She was in stealth mode immediately but didn’t attack it! I was like, it’s right there! And she seemed like she wanted to stalk it. There was literally nowhere for it to go, it didn’t have a hole behind in but no one was taking action. I decided to bring out Benny.

Benny has several times stolen kills from the girls and eaten it but he’d never killed a rodent that I know of. I let him out of the house and he immediately started chasing Joline and when I finally got him back it took awhile before he figured out what I was pointing him toward. I kept tell him, “Get it! Get it!” and it must have taken a swipe at him at some point because he yelped and pulled back. But eventually he bit it and took it out of the corner it was in and he ate it on the front lawn.

I praised him thoroughly and put him back in the house when he was done. I wouldn’t want him killing rabbits or the cats, but rodents cause sickness and holes in our yard so I am very ok with him taking them out of the equation.

We get to see the play Hamilton tonight! I’m excited because I like seeing plays but Velvet and her crew are EXCITED!!! I haven’t really listened to the soundtrack aside from a song or two I’ve heard while with Velvet so it’ll be all new to Jesse and me. We’re getting all dressed up and going out to a nice dinner first. So fun!

A-camping we will go, a-camping we will go, hi ho the dairy-o, a-camping we will go

In case you couldn’t tell, we will be camping this season. We’ve been kicking around the idea of getting either a bigger tent or a camping trailer. A tent would be MUCH cheaper but not nearly as comfortable. A trailer would be MUCH more expensive and we’d need a new rig to pull it, but light years more comfortable. The Subaru and my van can only haul about 3500 lbs.

Jesse had been looking at new trucks and I kept shooting him down because finances are already tight as it is and I didn’t want to tack on another $375+ in auto payments. However, there was an end-of-the-fiscal-year sale going on and, well, we ended up trading in the Subaru and getting a new 2017 Nissan Titan SV.

It’s a very nice truck with a fairly large seating area for the boys. It will be a tight squeeze to have Benny in the cab but it can be done. Most likely we will tie down his kennel somehow in the back and have him travel in that when we go on long trips.

We ended up leasing the truck instead of financing, mainly for money reasons. It would have been $585 a month to finance this thing and it’s only $407 to lease. It’s still a bunch more than I want to pay at all but it’s a solid vehicle and we’ll probably buy it out at the end of the three years so we’re not too worried about going over the standard 12k/year mileage cap. Did you know a good portion of people swap out their vehicles after three years? This is according to the salesmen and I haven’t looked it up but it could be true. They said we are the 5% who keep cars longer than three years. I think it just makes sense to get a vehicle you like/need and then keep it indefinitely. Otherwise you’re just always paying someone to use their car.

At this point we still have to determine if we’re getting a trailer or another tent. Why get a truck if we’re not getting a trailer after all? MONEY! Jesse has a promotion in line but until we know exactly how much he’ll be taking home everything else is kind of up in the air. We might just do tents this season and then have the truck ready for next year. No way to tell at this point. Also, even if his promotion comes with an increase (c’mon big money!) it might make more sense to try and pay off credit card debt.

Dad and Dani came to visit over the Easter weekend and it was so nice to see them! We decorated eggs, had the egg hunt (which may have been perhaps the second Easter egg hunt Ezra has ever participated in), and celebrated Danette’s birthday. All in all a good time was had.

A couple weekends ago we went for a drive to Bridal Veil Falls and ended up at Strawberry Reservoir. The falls were supposed to be closed off for the season and while we saw people hiking around the barrier we didn’t think it was safe.

Bridal Veil Falls

At Strawberry the ice is still thick and people are ice fishing. Some had makeshift shanties, others were just out in the open. Jesse and the boys went out on the ice but I was too afraid so I just stood back and took photos. I kept fearing they would all plop through the ice.

I mowed the backyard for the first time this season. It looks so nice and clean cut! Apparently I cut it a wee bit too short but I think it’ll be ok. There are a few patchy areas we will need to work on and there are some random weeds already growing through but we’ll take care of that as well.

We are planning on making a vertical hydroponic system this spring. It’ll probably start out with only a couple PVC pipes this season and then maybe go larger next year. Or who knows, maybe we’ll get all the pipes that will fit on the frame and just go crazy. All I know is that I want to grow lettuce and strawberries and these systems seem to do well with those. We were going to plant veggies in the bed against the house in the backyard but the cats have been using that area for a litterbox for half a year now so we’re thinking just to grow flowers in that bed and not food. I’ll definitely include photos once the system is up and running.

Ezra has lost his second tooth.

He’d been wiggling it around for about a week and he was terrified to let me touch it because he thought I was going to try and pull it. It was to the point where it could lie down flat straight out and I kept telling him, “Just yoink it out of there!” Two days ago he was showing me how loose it was and he’d taken about five steps out of the kitchen when he said, “Oh! That was easy!” and he’d pulled out the tooth.

We put the tooth in a bag and we were going to put it under his pillow but did not end up doing so because the bag was pushed to the far corner of the counter and forgotten. Yesterday morning I showed Ezra the tooth fairy had left some quarters with his tooth. The tooth fairy, you see, had forgotten to remove the tooth when leaving the money. Probably because the tooth wasn’t under his pillow and she was so frazzled by the sight of a lone tooth in a Ziploc bag on the counter. So now Ez wants to make a necklace using his lost baby teeth. Yep.

Not done yet

“Not done yet. Not done yet!” is one of Leo’s favorite phrases lately.

He is currently building a tower with Duplo blocks and when I told him it was a wonderful tower Leo said, “No! Not done yet!” Ok kid, ok. He will be sitting on the toilet and yell for me to help him. I come in, “Ok, are you ready?” and without fail he answers, “Not done yet!” I think he likes that he learned a new phrase.

Jesse and I moved the trampoline onto the grass for the season. We had the sod laid last year and didn’t want to interfere with the settling in so we’d had the trampoline on the brick patio but we actually want to use the patio this year and the grass seems plenty settled. The kids are happy about the move because now they can lie under the tramp and it’s a nice shady, sheltered area.

We’ve been checking out tents and tent trailers for the upcoming camping season. Haven’t landed on anything yet. Ultimately we’d like a small trailer but then we’d need a truck to pull it; the van and Subaru cannot tow much weight. We really like the Nissan Titan trucks and they are having a 2017 sale to get rid of last year’s models, but that would put us at another $365 a month and would be super tight on the finances. Who knows, we’ll see.

This May will be Jesse and my 10 year anniversary! Holy crap, right?! We have a fun Vegas trip planned and Dad and Dani said they would come and watch the boys which is totally awesome because Ez will still be in school. Of course, we’re trying to pay off debt so it’s not the best time to be going to Vegas. But the on the other hand, you only have your 10 year once, gotta live it up!

We are actually going to see some shows this vacation! And I’m going to sit by the pool and soak up the sun! It will be awesome! EXCEPT! Las Vegas has implemented these shitty “resort fees”. That is on top of the regular hotel tax. Generally it’s about $40 per night and it goes toward getting wifi, access to the gym, and a couple other things. The only added thing I want is wifi. It’s not like I use the gym and I don’t care about the other perks. I don’t need access to print an airline boarding pass, I don’t read the newspaper. And I KNOW they aren’t paying $40 a day for their wifi fees. So you think you’re getting a great deal with some room promo rate and then the resort fee could actually be a higher cost than the room itself. Oh well, we’re already booked but it just really irks me.

I’ve been doing some weeding around the yard and while I hate weeding the ground is really soft right now so the weeds are pulling up pretty easily. The thing that gets me is that our landscapers put down weed barrier fabric and then proceeded to get dirt on top of the fabric. I know that some dirt gets on there or leaves break down or whatever, but we’re talking a LOT of dirt. They were just a crappy cut-rate landscaping company. I would NOT recommend JB Lawn Works.

I started making kombucha again. I’m in this weird zone where I think that eating keto and implementing aspects of fasting is really what works for me, but I also want to incorporate kombucha and sourdough bread and other fermented items. Unfortunately, I think those two paths are divergent. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. But anyway, I’m sipping the results of my first bottled booch from this strain of scoby. Pretty pleased with the result so far. It’s a bit sweet so I can probably let the next batch brew longer. I mixed the booch with a wee bit of grape juice before bottling. Leo liked the flavor well enough that I gave him home in his sippy. I won’t give him much starting out because I know it can cause tummy distress until you’re used to it.

I’ve made pork rinds the past couple days.

You take pork rind pellets and either fry them or bake them. I’ve been frying them in bacon fat but will probably start baking them. The great thing about making your own (aside from knowing the exact ingredients used) is that you can flavor them however you want! I created a mesquite/bbq rub the last time I made these and there are all sorts of other seasonings with which to dust them. (As an aside, do you know how hard it is to not end a sentence with a preposition? I was going to say “to dust them with” but that wouldn’t have been proper.)

 

So fresh and so clean

Well, I finally figured out what was going on with the images in WordPress. My images were too large so even though they uploaded they couldn’t be edited. I fixed it by shrinking the images by 50% and then uploading. Now I can edit the images again. Of course, now that they are smaller images they aren’t doing that weird thing where they upload sideways so it’s a moot point. But still good to know.

Poor Leo was sick last night. And I do mean SICK. Multiple pukers, it came on so suddenly. He seems all good today but last night he was such a sad panda and kept saying “Oh boy, oh boy,” so pathetically with his head resting on the toilet seat.

Jesse and I watched “Life” last night.

It was thrilling but I kept shouting directions to the cast and they never did it! I’m telling you, I could save so many fake movies lives if only they listened to me.

I feel like we’re getting into the home stretch with potty training Leo. He does so well when he doesn’t have anything on his lower half, no accidents. He does really well when he’s only wearing pants with no diaper, pull-ups, or underwear. The problem is if he is wearing anything that resembles a diaper he just doesn’t think about it and will pee. Now, this is probably not a bad way to go, to put him in underwear and just let him pee so he feels all wet but the problem with this method is that I am the one who has to clean up pee puddles! All in all, I think he’s on track. Boys usually take longer than girls and he’s not yet three so it’s not like he’s behind in that sense, either. I’m just eager to be done with it.

Jesse and I cleaned up the office yesterday and made room for the computer desk and accessories from the downstairs living room and then cleaned up the downstairs living room and it looks AMAZING. Seriously, it’s just so spacious and empty feeling now, I love it. And the office room is looking really good. The downside is now that it is an official office, we no longer have a guest room where we can throw our spare mattress. But we have a huge living room area where we could put it if it comes to it. Guests would just have to ignore the cats and perhaps dog that would sleep with them.

I recently finished a 30-day squats challenge where I had to do 100 squats daily. I only missed one day. It doesn’t seem likely that I will be doing it again any time soon. I mean, I’m proud of myself for sticking with it but I’m fat so it’s not like I’m seeing results from it. I really need to get back to keto. Every day I say, “Today’s the day,” but then it doesn’t happen.

We’ve been really monitoring Ezra’s screen time during the school week and as a result he and Leo have been playing together a ton, it’s very cute.

Ezra has decided he would like to do Tai Kwan Do so I am looking into that for him. The local rec center has classes so we’ll start him out there. We also need to get him into swim lessons. It may be a busy spring.

It’s a beautiful morning!

Well, it was more beautiful yesterday, but today ain’t too shabby. We haven’t had much in the way of snow this year and it feels like the reservoirs aren’t going to be as filled as they should but it’s been nice for driving.

We bought Leo a little toddler bike complete with training wheels, it’s frickin’ adorable. I would show you pictures but WordPress is being a pain in my ass and not allowing me to edit images, so no photos for the time being.

We’re trying to get Ezra more pumped about riding his bike but it’s been somewhat of a struggle. We purchased his bike last fall and he didn’t have much time with it before winter set in. We’ve got him out on the street in front of our house a couple times and we took him to the school lot to bike on since it’s level and broad but he wasn’t feeling it. That seemed to change last Saturday, though. He was much more willing to actually get on his bike and ride it around. He has training wheels on it currently that aren’t set correctly (in my opinion). The training wheels are both touching the ground so there is no balancing being required. I suppose at this point I should just be grateful he’s riding at all. We’ll give him a few days just practicing the mechanics of it but those bad boys are going to get adjusted.

I didn’t have training wheels when I was learning to bike and sure I fell off a fair few times but that’s part of the process, learning how to fall. Ez is WAY scared of falling.

Leo really seems to like his new bike…until he stops himself with his pedal brakes. He goes forward for a few strokes and then pushes backward which brakes the bike and he can’t get started again without a push. A learning process, to be sure, but he gets all frustrated and then doesn’t want to ride anymore. He spent more time running after Ezra than he did riding his own bike. Oh well, baby steps I guess.

The plan is to get Jesse and myself our own bikes and then bike the heck out of this year. I’ve been looking at some different bike models and am pretty sure I’m going to get some kind of cruiser/hybrid. I need that wide seat and I definitely don’t need 21 speeds at this point. We bought a toddler trailer last summer while on vacation so for longer rides Leo will have the best seat in the house. With Jesse pedaling him, of course.

A couple of us have colds again. It seems like we get rid of illness only to get something else a week or two later. I blame the elementary school. Kids and their germs, man.

I’ve been working to get the house more in order, specifically the soap room. Really it’s a catch-all kind of room and I’ve been trying to reorganize it. I’m paring down on the clothing and shoe sales and I’ve sold off a bit of the soap stuff. Really I could try to sell the soap molds but I still have this idea that once the kids are both in school I will soap more and I don’t want to have to buy all those products again. So for now everything is just sitting in the back room, taking up space.

I haven’t done the VIPKID teaching since December. I had decided to take off January to focus on my health but then decided I hated getting up at 3am so I haven’t gone back to it. I’ve done a couple mortgage signings and did an auto inspection but nothing too busy this year. That’s another thing I can do when both kids are in school, build up the notary business. Right now I cannot take a lot of jobs that come my way because I’d have to find a sitter for Leo. I’ve also applied for a couple virtual assistant jobs but then I got to thinking that we have a pretty packed summer and I’d keep having to take time off work, so it’d probably be best if I didn’t find anything new until the fall when school starts again.

Ezra has been having some behavior problems at school lately so we’ve been working with his teacher to curb those impulses. I would say the main issue is his lying. He will do something, you’ll see him do and call him on it, and he will immediately deny he did whatever it was that he did. So we’re working on “owning” the issue and not just issuing a blanket statement of deniability. It’s been going ok so far. We cut out his screen time and now he has to earn his time through stickers for good behavior at school. Each sticker is worth 10 minutes with a max cap possible of six per school day. I will say he and Leo have been playing a ton more together and running around now that it’s not tablet time all the time. With spring and summer just around the corner, it’s nice that we have parks close to us and a trampoline and grassy yard for them to play on.

We lost Grandma Baugher this month. She was 96 years old and was an amazing woman. I remember fondly the times we spent with her and grandpa at their house in the country. I will miss her but am glad she’s not in pain. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.