Valentine’s Day, early edition

Jesse and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early this year because I have to work on the actual day.  We went out to Sakana Sushi (always fantastic food) and then we saw John Wick: Chapter Two.  I really liked the movie though it was super loud.  I mused to Jesse after it was over that I never realized how many assassins were in New York.  It felt like every extra on the scene was an assassin.  The body count was much higher than the first film.

It’s been warmer the past couple days and the boys have been outside to jump on the trampoline several times now.  Ezra in particular is loving it.

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We’ve had more contractors over to bid on landscaping and hopefully we will pick a cheap but competent company.  The most difficult part for me is that we don’t really have a set design for the front yard so it can be hard for me to articulate specifically what we’re looking for.  I’ll try to remember to take before and after photos.  The bummer is we got less back on our tax returns than I was hoping for so some of it will have to go on the credit card.  The good news is we have plenty of room on the card, the bad news is the card was so close to being paid off and I wanted to keep it that way.

I actually cleaned the bathrooms on my weekend!  It’s really amazing because I HATE cleaning bathrooms, especially the toilets, and that lack of love definitely showed.  They were pretty gross but now they are gleaming and I’m not *quite* so freaked out when Leo touches the toilet.

I was in a minor accident on my way home from work on Wednesday evening.

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As a result I had to bring my van into a collision repair shop and am now riding a rental until the van gets fixed.  Which apparently is going to be about 11 days because they had to order in some part.  Trying to wrestle the car seats into a sedan was a trip.  I’d honestly never had to move/install Leo’s car seat before, even when it belonged to Ezra.  Jesse has always handled that.  So I moved Ezra’s seat first and got that installed, put Leo in Ezra’s seat and had Ezra sit in the front seat while I tried to install Leo’s seat.  It took me forever!  I was all sweaty and probably swearing and these guys are just standing around and no one offers to help.  I ended up getting the seat installed ok but then I wasn’t able to tighten it much.  Jesse finished off the job when he got home.  Thanks, honey!

We have someone coming to get the chickens and the coop.  One of the contractors, actually.  I mentioned we were looking to get rid of the hens and he said he’d take them and now he’s planning on coming out tomorrow and that will be the end of our chicken saga.  For now, anyway.  Maybe if we get a house on a plot of land we’ll look into it again.  For now my mini homesteading dream is done.  Well, apart from some garden boxes we’ll put in.

I was cleaning out the fridge and we’ve had these bottles of fermented drinks in the fridge door for probably about seven months now and I decided it was time to get rid of them.  They were taking up valuable real estate!  I had grabbed a couple out of the door but then I remembered the hard work fermenting them was and didn’t want to waste it.  I hadn’t been drinking them because I’m not sure what the sugar content is and I’ve been trying to stay low carb lately but the past few days had not been low carb so I thought I’d crack a bottle open.  That particular bottle happened to be our homemade ginger ale.  It was so tasty!  Super bubbly and EXTREMELY ginger-y.  I guess I’ll keep the bottles awhile longer yet.

Leo has been super cute thinking he’s hiding from us.

He’s very stealthy, right?!

Shit just got real, yo

The Ezra train of destruction rolls on.  On the plus side, I was finally able to locate Ezra’s baby clothes (they WERE in that tub in Ezra’s closet).  Ezra was helping me sort through them but after awhile got bored.  He likes to close the door to his room when I’m in there so I can’t see what he’s about to get into.  I kept sorting through clothes until I got worried enough to go see what he was doing.  I should have checked sooner.

We keep our eggs in the cartons on the kitchen island so they are easy to access.  Ezra thought so, too, because he had thrown all the eggs on the floor for the dogs to eat.  I would hazard that there were 14 or more broken eggs on the floor.  Can’t be sure because I don’t know how many the dogs ended up eating.  Mommy was MAD!  Ezra had an extra-long time out that day.

The next morning, Jess and I were in bed and Ezra went upstairs for about 5-10 minutes but he was laughing way too hard for someone who didn’t have access to a computer or tablet (they were in time out from the prior day’s egg throwing). I got up and the dogs came downstairs with what looked like vomit on them, but also kind of smelled like vanilla. Ezra had squirted grainy mustard on them and then rubbed them down with a sample size of the vanilla lotion. I think I traumatized Luca with the bath as he’d never had one before.  (Note to self, work on bath manners with the dogs.)

Then I was getting out of the shower to hear Jesse yelling at Ezra. Ez had grabbed a full treat bag off the counter and flung it all over the kitchen floor. The dogs were ecstatic. I think we had more than four time outs that day.

The next day Ezra went out to get eggs from the coop and didn’t come back inside with them.  I went to check on him and he had smashed them into his sandbox (which was also filled with water) and the dogs were snapping the remains out of the water.  Another time out.

The day after that I went outside because I had spotted Ezra with an egg in his hand coming back from the coop area.  He looked very guilty and when I asked if there had been any other eggs he copped to smashing them in his sandbox again.  I gave him another stern talking to and he said, “I won’t ever do that again,” and I said, “I find that hard to believe because that’s what you told me after you smashed eggs yesterday!”  Then later on that day he brought in two more eggs, though he had rinsed them in his sandbox water first.  So either we need to be super diligent about what he does when he’s outside, or we need to put a lock on the coop door so he cannot get into it.

Some people are saying that Ezra is acting out because there is a new baby on the way, but really I don’t think he registers much along those lines.  I think, and Velvet agrees, that it’s just because he’s three.  I don’t know why they call it the Terrible Twos.  He is much more inclined to mischief and pushing boundaries now than when he was two.  I don’t think he’ll get too jealous of the baby until it’s here and taking up our time.

Along the baby front news, my stomach was moving around the other day and I asked Ezra if he wanted to feel the baby move and he agreed.  He put his hand on my belly and quickly took it off again.  I said, “You have to leave it there for a minute,” and put his hand back on my belly.  Pretty soon Leo was rolling around and Ezra exclaims, “That’s magical!”  It was way cute.

I had an ultrasound a couple days ago and Leo is measuring over 7lbs.  His femur is measuring at 40 weeks, and head and belly at 38 and 37 weeks I think it was.  So far, so good.  He’s just going to be another big kid.  I’m not focusing too much on his purported weight right now as I know that late-term ultrasounds are something like 60% accurate.

I have been reading up more on shoulder dystocia and talked to my OB about it and she sounds super confident about handling SD so if it comes to it she has steps in place on how to manage it.  Apparently at her other practice they had 1-2 SDs a week so she’s had her fair share of working with it.  Not sure why she didn’t mention this a couple weeks ago when she was freaking me out with worse-case scenarios.

I worked a little on training the dogs with regard to Sit, but am not counting it toward the 1,000 Treat Challenge since it wasn’t the skill I’m wanting to work on.  However, I did find they both need major work on Sit.  Both of them will Sit and then almost immediately go into a Down position instead of staying in Sit.  I have some good ideas from my training forum on how to combat that.

I also spent time sewing the freaking dog bed again.  They love that bed so I don’t know why they insist on chewing holes into it and pulling out stuffing!  This time around I actually took out the pillow and sewed that first, then sewed up the cover.  It pretty much took the entire length of the Labyrinth movie to do.  There was a small hole on the fabric side of the bed but decided to let it go because I was too tired to mess with it any longer.  Yeah.  Hindsight is a bitch.  This morning I came upstairs and there was a small amount of fluff on the floor.  Looks like they chewed through the pillow in that area!  Jesse says to just let it go and if they don’t have any stuffing then we’ll throw out their bed and that will be their punishment, but I don’t think dogs think in consequences like that.  So now I have to do more sewing.  I hate to sew.

We represent the lollipop kids...  Ezra, after dunking his head in his sandbox.

We represent the lollipop kids… Ezra, after dunking his head in his sandbox.

Dehydrated liver treats? Sounds yummy, right?

Jesse and I have been going back and forth whether or not to keep Luca because let’s face it, Luca’s a little crazy.  When people come over he jumps all over them whereas Benny gets really excited as well but then very quickly goes and lies down.  Luca nips at our hands while walking past, and he’s not great in the car (Benny has his issues too; face biting, anyone?).  But how can I get rid of Luca when he gives me this face?

Luca

Luca

So I’ve decided I need to start working with the dogs again.  So far I’m using up the leftover treats we bought when the dogs were wee puppies but I’ll soon be out of that.  I was trying to think of other things we can train them with.  I’ve thought of very small pieces of cheese; should be easy enough and we have a cheddar cheese block to use.  We can boil up some chicken breast and cube/shred it.  It also occurred to me that I can dehydrate liver in our new dehydrator!  There is a butcher facility not too far from my work where we got our organs last time and I do need to reorder.  I can just order extra liver and cube into small pieces and dehydrate those!  I’m pretty happy about this because I would like to get more organ meat into the dogs and this way the treats should be long-lasting, unlike the shredded chicken or the cheese.

We bought Ezra some finger paints on Amazon and let him try them out last night.  He didn’t *quite* have the hang of how it should work.  Jesse put blobs of paint on the right side of the sheet of paper and Ez basically just ran his whole hand over the blobs to mix up the colors and then slapped his hand on the sheet to make splatters.  It was kind of a mess but I did like the finished product.

Ezra's finger painting

Ezra’s finger painting; it’s hanging upside down to dry.  The hand print slaps that have the green at the top (which would technically be the bottom), he kept calling those prints “flamingos”.

We had him naked while painting because he already had no bottoms on and we didn’t want to stain the shirt even though the paints are supposed to be washable (we need to get a painting smock for him).  By the end of the painting time he was fairly colorful so we put him in a bath.  We had also purchased some bath color tablets and he thought those were pretty neat.

bath tablets

They have pretty good saturation and Ezra liked the fizziness aspect of them, he called them volcanoes.  Of course, I could probably make something similar at home, but I get lazy after a certain point, you know?  I was going to buy bath crayons as well, but apparently those *are* easy to make, so I will look up a recipe and see what’s what.  We’re trying to find anything to make bath time more fun.  He enjoys himself once he’s in the tub, but resists the idea of a bath when he’s not actually in the water.

Our chickens are giving us about four eggs a day, according to Jesse.  Velvet is going to get her own chicks this year so while she’ll probably take some eggs off our hands until summer, we will still have more than enough for the next couple months.  Here comes more quiche, yum!  We make awesome quiche.

I got some milk kefir grain and have been working to rehydrate them and transfer them onto raw milk, but it’s turning into more of a process than I feel it should be.  Probably because I keep trying to rush the process.  In any event I’ll probably try to get some extra grains from someone who already has them acclimated to raw milk.  I want to try that milk kefir!  I’m giving the dogs the cultured milk at this stage because it’s not the quality of kefir I want and the pups appear to enjoy it very much.  The cats, not so much.  Fingers crossed I can finally get it right!

Superbowl Sunday (and I couldn’t care less)

Me:  I was going to see if the guys at work wanted to do a potluck for Superbowl Sunday tomorrow, but they weren’t there at work and now it’s too late to set something up.
Jesse:  Can you watch the game at work?
Me:  Nope, but I wanted to do the food thing.
Jesse:  But why would you bring food if you can’t watch the game?  Although, the game doesn’t start until four, so you might get to watch some of it.
Me:   I don’t care about the game, I care about the food!
Jesse:  But…why can’t you just do a potluck some other Sunday, why does it have to be Superbowl Sunday?
Me:  Because it’s an excuse to eat a lot of food!  What aren’t you getting about this?!

Men, I tell you.

So, I recently said we were eating out too much and were going to focus eating more at home, remember that?  Yeah, that night we had Chinese food.  Good times.  To be fair, after that Jesse and I discussed ways to improve our eating and we are going to start having a small mug of homemade bone broth everyday.  We will have to find a way to smuggle it into Ezra because I doubt he’s going to be down for drinking warmed, meat-flavored gelatin water (sounds tasty, right?).  We’ll figure something out.  Also, I’m going to be better about drinking my kefir and kombucha.

Speaking of kefir, I think I’m going to get some kefir milk grains.  We’ve (I’ve) been drinking water kefir, but I was reading a post by another blogger and she lays out some interesting information about milk kefir vs. water kefir.  She also has a post on milk kefir vs. yogurt that seems pretty sound.  Jesse likes a certain brand of honeyed Greek yogurt but reluctantly said he would try a kefir version.  I just need to get some milk kefir grains because you cannot use the water grain variety.

water kefir grains

water kefir grains

milk kefir grains

milk kefir grains

I’ve also been looking into straw bale gardening.  Jesse has pooh-poohed this idea, but I still may want to get a couple bales and see how they do compared to the rest of the garden we’ll be doing this year.

example of straw-bale gardening

example of straw bale gardening

Speaking of the garden, Jesse wants to move the chickens and their coop from their present location to a different area of the yard, so I’m not sure what the garden will look like this year.  He’s tried to explain it to me verbally, but I really need to *see* it to understand it, so one of these days I will need to walk the yard with him to figure out where everything is going to go.

This baby boy has been very active.  Last night he was kicking around and all of a sudden it was like he was having a seizure, kicking and punching in a fury…and then nothing.  Absence.  Totally freaked me out.  I lay there for awhile all anxious before he started kicking again and I felt relieved.  Don’t do that, baby!

And a happy new year!

Oh my, this past month has been absolutely delightful in many ways and not so much in others.  In December, I came down with a bad cold and took off about a week from work because I was so sick and tired.  I went back to work for about two days, and then it was time for my sabbatical!

Velvet took her sabbatical at the same time, so we all went to visit Mom and Jim at their new(ish) house for Christmas.  We drove down and let me tell you, I’m still not a fan of car trips.  We left at slightly different times than Velvet, so we met up with her clan that night at the same hotel.  We stayed at the Best Western and I’m not sure if it was specific to that hotel or all Best Westerns, but they had a very good breakfast spread the next morning.  None of this prepackaged bear claw crap.  Well, they did have that, too, but they also had eggs, sausage, bagels, toast, yogurt, cereal, fruit, breakfast burritos, and a waffle station.  I was impressed.

While we had a really good time at Mom’s, the sleeping accommodations left much to be desired!  (Mom, get a new mattress on that bed!)  The first night, Ezra was supposed to sleep on the floor next to our bed, but the room was too “spooky” for him to sleep on the floor, so he slept on the bed between Jesse and me.  The next night Jesse slept on the floor in the kitchen area and Ezra slept on the bed with me.  The third night Jesse and Jim pulled out the king mattress from the RV and Jesse and I slept on that while Ezra got the whole bed to himself.  To top it off, I was still fighting my cold so I was coughing all the time.

The drive home was pretty uneventful, we stayed at the same hotel on the way back.  Jesse was awesome, he drove the whole way, both ways.  We actually ended up coming home on the 24th so Velvet and the girls could spend Christmas day with Carl, who had to work over the holiday.  Jesse and I went over to his folks on Christmas day to celebrate and to pick up the dogs (Jesse’s friend had watched them and dropped them off the previous day).

We had a couple days at home to do laundry and unwind before we left for Dad and Dani’s to spend the new year.  We left around the same time as Velvet again, and we all met up to spend the night in Vegas.  Dad and Dani met us there at the casino, and some of Velvet’s friends who live in Henderson came for dinner and to hang out for awhile.  It was good seeing them.  I will say the Sunset Station casino has a very nice setup.  The have a kid place where you can drop off the kids while you gamble away their college funds.  The kid place has a large jungle gym tube system, a tv area, a section for iPads, and other stuff.  The kids all seemed like they had a good time; Ezra basically collapsed when we told him he had to leave and one of Velvet’s girls had to pick him up/drag him out the door.  I didn’t win anything but Jesse did pretty well.

The next day we headed out to Dad’s and when we got their I realized we had left our pillows at the casino, so I had to call and tell them we’d be back in a few days to pick them up.  They were pretty understanding.  I guess they have a 30-day hold policy for lost/found items.

We spent a nice couple days with Dad and Dani.  We opened Christmas gifts and went to the rec center.  Ezra loved being in the water but he wasn’t sure about the wave machine.  He actually went down the big tube slide with the girls but did NOT want to go down it again after that one time.  I went down the tube slide, too, and I think it was probably the first time in over 10 years I’d been on a water slide.  The last slide I’d ever been on ruined it for me.  It was one of those really tall slides where you basically lean back, cross ankles and arms, and it feels like when you go over the bend that you are hurtling into an abyss and you’re going to die.  And it gives you insane wedgies when you hit the water at the bottom.  But this slide at the rec center was pretty mellow and fun.

On New Years eve I truly debated going to bed about 15 mins before the ball dropped, but I kept telling myself, you’ve already made it this far!  We let Ezra stay up and that kid was bouncing off the walls, loopy sleepy.  Oh man, there was this really inappropriate moment that night, it was HILARIOUS.  And an older Ezra would never want me to tell it, but that’s the joy of being a parent, embarrassing your children.

We’ve been following a relaxed potty training schedule with Ezra.  Basically he just goes without pants and a diaper when we’re home because he’s really good about taking himself to the bathroom that way.  Well, NYE he was running about without any bottoms, like usual, being all crazy from food and sleepiness.  He turns to us and says something and I was pretty sure I misheard him so I asked him to repeat himself.  He goes, “There’s a carrot in my butt!” and turns around and we see he had clenched a baby carrot between his cheeks.  It was so unexpected and just to hear him say that, we started cracking up.  He’s laughing, and I’m laughing, and I had tears running down my face and couldn’t catch my breath for the longest time.  I went into the other room to tell Jesse about it and just broke down all over the place; it took awhile for me to relay the whole story to him, and by the end I couldn’t talk because I was crying and laughing so hard.  Good, unexpected, times.

We did eventually make it to see the ball drop and made all the appropriate shouting and noise makers.  We put down Ez to sleep a couple minutes later and despite all his protestations, he was OUT in about 5 minutes.  We all drove home the next morning, with a little side trip back to the casino to pick up our pillows.

For that trip we had boarded the dogs at Diggity Dog Resort and I think they have a pretty good setup there.  They said by the end of the trip both our dogs were playing with other dogs and not just cowering in their kennel, so that’s good.  It would be beneficial to take the dogs there probably a couple times a month to retain social growth for them.  We are fairly bad dog parents in that we don’t socialize them too well with unknown dogs.  You can see Benny enjoyed coming home.

It's a hard life being a dog

It’s a hard life being a dog

benn2

After we got home we relaxed for a couple days and then I had a prenatal appointment so Velvet and Carl watched Ez for us that morning.  It was great because they also brought over their unneeded bunk bed and set it up in Ezra’s room while we were gone.  We’d just had Ez sleeping on his crib mattress on the floor but had decided it was time to get him an actual bed and they had this bed they weren’t really using, so it all worked out.  He really likes the new bed and I think it will be long enough between now and when the baby gets moved into the crib (we use a bassinet/cosleeper for the first couple months) that there shouldn’t be any leftover possessive feelings toward the crib.

new bunk bed

new bunk bed

Jesse and I were supposed to get our hunter safety certification so we can go hunting, but the prior couple days my cold had come back stronger than ever and I had been relegated to sleeping upright on the couch so on the morning of the class I decided to skip the class and go to InstaCare to see why I couldn’t kick this cold.  I had been taking elderberry syrup, and the honey/lemon/ginger mix, and huge quantities of vitamin C but it just wasn’t getting any better.  Turns out the cold turned into bronchitis which may have turned into walking pneumonia.   While I could have waited out the next month or two for my body to resolve the illness itself, I opted to go with the antibiotic route.  Within a few days I started feeling better.  While I really think homeopathic remedies work for most situations, sometimes you just need modern medicine.  I ended up taking my hunter safety class one week later and I passed.  Maybe not with flying colors, but I passed enough to get certified and really that’s all I was looking for.

Our chickens had stopped laying near the end of last year and then we got rid of maybe six of them so there has been more food in the yard and not as much competition.  Yesterday morning we heard the egg song and when Jesse went out to check the nestboxes they were full!  Not sure if it’s the less competition, or they were done molting, or if the days being slightly lighter for longer is the reason (or maybe it’s all of the above) but we are happy to have eggs once again.

first eggs of 2015

first eggs of 2015

I bought some eggs from the store a couple weeks ago for a baking recipe but we are now homegrown egg snobs and very reticent to use store-bought eggs to just fry up or scramble and eat.  Yay for homegrown food!  Except we do need to get more chicken feed…

The baby is doing well, he’s moving quite a bit these days and Jesse was able to kind of feel him kicking the other night.  I’m 24 weeks now so the end is somewhat in sight.  I’m a little nervous about the whole birth process since I’m trying to go natural this time and really don’t want to end up with another C-section again.  *sigh*  I guess time will tell, huh?

We recently bought a kitchen island because we have this space between the two tall kitchen cupboards that wasn’t being well utilized.  We went to Ikea with one stand in mind and ended up buying a different one that fit the space much better.

island1 island2 island3 isnald4

Now we have more space than I know what to do with.  Still trying to figure out what to do with the drawers but I’m sure we’ll think of something.