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.


There should be a title here

If you have not seen Atomic Blonde, I highly recommend it. We saw it last week and it was great! Charlize Theron hadn’t been in much lately but she’s starting to crop up again. She plays a kickass MI6 agent set in 1980s Berlin right before the wall comes down. The movie has a great soundtrack as well. Two thumbs up.

Jesse and I have been talking about how to get better quality meats/seafood into our diet. Pretty sure we’re getting a quarter cow and half a pig from the farm nearby. We’re hoping to get a deer or elk this fall as well. We just purchased a case of wild-caught salmon from Zaycon that should be delivered in November. We’re kind of talking about maybe decreasing our protein intake as well, at least from animal sources. That idea freaks me out a bit because I love my meat, so that is just a tentative idea for now, but something like Meatless Mondays might be doable. I’ve been fasting fairly regularly lately so that has really cut back on food needs around the house. Now that I think about it, simply fasting decreases my meat consumption, so Meatless Mondays might not need to happen! Huzzah!

I’ve been watching a lot of canning and dehydrating videos again. I remember my grandparents giving us canned food for a snack and it was always way tasty. I would like to do that for my kids as well. One problem is that if your land doesn’t provide the produce it’s usually cheaper to just buy whatever the canned item is from the store. Cheaper but not necessarily better for your health. So it may be time to hit up some farmer’s markets and see what they have. Or at lease keep my ear to the ground for some great sales. Canned cherries have been on my mind a lot.

We’re having game night at Velvet’s this week and the potluck theme is “salad” so everyone is to bring a salad of some sort. I didn’t want to bring a lettuce salad because I figure someone else will have that covered so instead we’re trying our hand at a marinated cauliflower antipasta salad. Fingers crossed it turns out ok.

We’re going to see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets tonight. The trailer looks good and it’s gotten pretty good reviews. Velvet and I are on this app called Meetup and we joined a group where they frequently give away free advanced screening tickets to upcoming movies. That’s how I see the majority of my films now. Usually you watch the movie and once it’s over you can give them your feedback. I think the studios do it to get soundbites to use and also to gauge interest as to how many theatres it should go to. Pretty fun.

You’d think our yard work would be over by now, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. Little things are still cropping up that need to be managed. And how the heck do we have weeds already?! They told us that a healthy lawn will block weed growth, and yet here we are. I’ve reached out to Jonathon but haven’t heard back yet. Such a surprise.

Ezra has made friends with a couple of the neighbor girls. I only know one of their names and while they’ve been at our house almost every day this week I don’t know that they know Ezra’s name. It’s always, “Can *he* play?” To be fair, I don’t know if Ez knows their names either. One of them lives two house down from us and all I know about the other one is I’ve seen her around so she must live in one of the houses in the culs-de-sac. Parenting at its finest, folks.

Kidney stones

I had my CT scan and it turns out I have a very large kidney stone.  Kind of crazy and I had ruled it out because I don’t have any pain but apparently it’s in a position where it doesn’t cause pain.  They said they don’t know how long it’s been there, could be years could be months, and I definitely cannot pass it on my own so I have to have a surgery to remove it.  I find it interesting they call it surgery because no cutting is involved.  I don’t have the right kind of stone to be able to use that ultrasonic wave machine to break up the stone so they have to go in with a laser to shatter it and then vacuum it out.  I’m not looking forward to that at all because I have to be put under and after having had my trauma with Leo’s birth I am super sketched out about that process.  Jesse says it’s silly because it’s not the anesthetics that caused my heart to stop, it was blood loss, but technically we *don’t* know what caused my heart to stop.  Most likely it WAS blood loss.  But there is no way to know for sure and I’m scared I won’t wake up from what should be a very easy procedure.  In any event, I have it scheduled in a couple weeks.

We put down payments on the windows and our deck finally and are trying to work out landscaping.  The people we hired to do the job have been kind of shady so we had another team out to bid on it a few days ago and are waiting for their quote now.  We’ve simplified the design but they are a larger firm with more overhead so not sure what it’ll all come out to.

Ezra had end of the year testing at his preschool at got a 166/167 which is apparently fantastic.  I guess they test at the Kindergarten level and he’s already where he should be by the end of his Kindergarten year.  His teacher told us we should get him into a dual-language program, the Gifted and Talented program, or skip him a year.  We’re looking into our options.

We’re still looking at kittens on KSL.  I see some that are cute but it seems like these people are all trying to get ride of 6-week kittens and I’m thinking they should be at least 8-week kittens before they leave mama, at the earliest, right?  Jojo is going to be PISSED when we get them.  She already hates Benny, she’s not going to want to share us with other animals.

Jesse is taking the boys with him in August to go see an eclipse or star show of some kind, I can’t recall.  I don’t have the time available to go with them so I will be staying home.  I have to say, I’m looking forward to that.  I get the house to myself, peace and quiet, and aside from fearing death at the hands of thieves I think it should be a relaxing time.

We have the family trip to Oregon in August as well.  It’s going to be a good month!

Leo has slowly started to string more words together.  Generally I still cannot make out what he’s trying to say but I like that he’s attempting it.  We’re still having some issues with Ezra not listening to us and general zaniness but I don’t think it’s anything serious, I think it’s because he’s five.  He learns so quickly!  He was singing whole strings of verse to me the other day.  Doesn’t quite have pitch and tone down yet but the memory retention is on point.

I started fermenting vegetables in a quart mason jar the other day.  I included onions, garlic, carrots, cauliflower, and asparagus then filled it with brine (salt water).  I don’t know how it will taste but when I loosen the lid ring to release the gasses it smells awesome!  I do believe I will start another kombucha batch either today or tomorrow.  It’s been so long since I’ve made it I’m going to have to look up the recipe to see how much sugar to water to use.  On the fence about starting sourdough bread again.  On the one hand I know fermented food is beneficial and fermented dough is easier to digest, but on the other hand I’m trying to eat low carb and even fermented bread is probably too much starch.  Will have to think on that.

Have I mentioned before that I think I want to get into flipping houses and owning rentals?  I totally want to do that.  I think owning property is a great investment for retirement.  I told Velvet she should get in the property flipping with me.  She’s done a lot of work around her house and would be helpful in this endeavor.  She seemed interested but neither one of us will have the capital to purchase property anytime soon.  I’m just getting a wee bit tired of what I’m doing for work.  They work itself is ok, I just don’t necessarily like having to deal with the public.  I’ve been doing in for over eight years now and it’s getting old, you know?  Working with my hands, painting, puttying holes in walls, it’s much more visual the stuff you get accomplished.  I think I would like that.

The poo saga continues

When we last left off, Leo had shat on the living room carpet upstairs.  I worried he would do it again as he loves to take off his pants and diaper and sometimes I’m just not paying attention.  I’m happy to report he has NOT pooped on the living room carpet upstairs again so far.  However.  He *did* poo on his bedroom carpet the next morning!

Ezra heard Leo moving around in his room so he opened the door to find him having just left a deposit on the floor.  *sigh*  We’re going to have to duct tape that kid into his diapers.

Lately Leo has been getting out of bed at night and turning on his light to play and “read” his books.  We go in an turn off the light and put him back down but it generally happens several times a night.  A few nights ago we decided to take out the bulbs in his bedroom light.  This was after several iterations of him getting up and we were all getting quite frustrated.  Us because we wanted him to sleep and him because we kept turning out the light.  After we took out the bulbs we heard him immediately pop up out of bed and scurry to flip on the light.  He was such a sad baby when the light didn’t work.  Cue the tears which I let go on for a couple minutes before I got up and led him back to bed.  He got up again to try it and after a few attempts I finally just let him cry it out and then he put himself back to bed.  I don’t think he tried the light at all last night.  Victory, sweet victory!

The new Nintendo came yesterday and it took so long to get hooked up and then to go through all the settings I didn’t have much desire to actually play anything.  I did install Mario 3D World and it was SUPER frustrating.  I kept accidentally jumping off cliffs.  It was hard for me to jump on the bad guys because I couldn’t get lined up correctly.  I’ll download a couple more games today and give it another go.  The handheld controller is kind of tough to get used to as well.  And it just came with the one controller so now I’m trying to figure out if I should get another gamepad controller or the Wii style controllers.

I’ve been slowly selling off components of the soap company.  Our back bedroom is so full of oils and butter and soaps and packaging material, it’s ridiculous.  A few people have paid me online for their things but then haven’t picked them up yet.  Come and get them!  I mean, I am selling this stuff for a reason, to get it out of the bedroom.  I don’t want to turn into a glorified storage facility!  I need to reach out to those folks again to schedule a specific time to come over…

Mary has been watching the boys for half days this week since our normal sitter went camping for their spring break.  The boys have loved having grandma watch them, and so have I!  You know what she does?  She cleans!  That’s right!  She has done some dishes every day, wiped down the kitchen, cleaned the upstairs bathroom!  It’s like a friggin’ cleaning angel visits us every day, it’s wonderful.  Most especially because I’m lazy and while I love a clean house I’m not too motivated to make it so.

I’ve been having this weird medical condition going on since September where randomly I’ll have blood in my urine, and we’re talking A LOT OF BLOOD.  I’ve gone in a couple times (once to the E.R.) but they haven’t been able to figure it out so finally my doctor ordered a CT scan of my kidneys/bladder area and some kind of scoping thing where they camera around the bladder to check for polyps or cysts or just whatever.  I’m not in pain, no fevers, everything else seems to be working appropriately.  It’s mystifying.  A couple people we know said that blood in the urine was one of the first signs of their cancer but when I mentioned that the doctor didn’t seem to think that was the case.  I go in for the CT tomorrow so fingers crossed they figure out what’s causing it.

Spring has sprung

Spring is truly here!  Our backyard fruit trees are beautifully blossoming and are so pretty to look at!

We are only going to be keeping the one pear tree (white flowers) and cutting down the apple and peach as they are too close to our back fence line.  But we have another peach tree planted in a barrel so hopefully in a few years that will begin to produce.

Our landscaper was out to the house recently and it looks like we will finally get started on our new yard in about a week.  Here are some “before” photos of the backyard.

We are going to have a mulched play area for the kids and some garden boxes along the back of the yard and then the rest will be sod.  I have been imagining it for a LONG time now, super excited!

Leo has been pretty consistently telling us when he has to pee for about the last week.  Sometimes it’s because he wants to get in the tub and we usually try to have him go before getting into the bath and other times I think it’s because he genuinely realizes he has to pee.  Anyway, the other night he had just gone and I gave him his potty treats (three jelly beans) and I was getting dinner ready when he came in from the living room to show me his masticated jelly bean on his finger.  I think I said something like, “That’s nice,” though I might have also said something like, “Cool!  Eat it up!” and went back to making dinner.

A few minutes later I looked into the living room and thought there had suddenly sprung a bunch of dirt piles on the carpet.  Except it wasn’t dirt.  It was poo!  I hadn’t put Leo’s diaper on because he had just peed and I figured he was good to free ball it for awhile.  That jelly bean on his finger?  Yeah, that was poo.  I’m really hoping I didn’t tell him to eat it.  *shudder*  So Jesse got Leo into a bath while I cleaned up the carpet.  Good times with a toddler!  I guess the lesson here is if your kid hasn’t pooped all day you should either have them wait longer on the toilet or diaper up after getting off.  Probably both.

For the past year or so we’ve blocked off one of the bookcases upstairs.  I’d been using it for a shipping station and general catch all for all the crap I was too lazy to put away.  Well Leo has very easily been able to get past the gate for awhile now so I finally cleaned out all the things (sales have been really slow lately, anyway) and we took down that gate.  It’s crazy how open the living room feels now.

We moved the printer downstairs and got a new shelf for above the TV and the Xbox is on top of that now, and we rearranged all the cords so there is just the singular power cable cord plugged into the wall.  Leo has been leaving that alone so far.

I was working a case at work the other day for a handheld console that had 1k games preloaded onto it.  One of the games was Super Mario Bros., the original.  It got me to thinking how much I loved those old games growing up and while they were challenging it’s not like the overly complicated games available today.  These years past I’d bought either the PS or Xbox consoles but had drifted away from Nintendo.  I don’t know why, because I’d always enjoyed their games.  I toyed around with which console to get, the older/proven Wii U or the brand new Switch.  The Switch had a lot of points going for it but in the end I decided to go with the Wii U because they already have a HUGE stable of games and the tech is solid.  And it was about $100 less.  It should arrive soon and I’m excited!  Granted, I play video games maybe once a week so it’s kind of a silly purchase but I think we’ll all make use of it.


Did you know I made it 36 years without having a cavity that needed filling?  That’s right!  My teeth rock!  But alas, all good things must come to an end.  I am scheduled to have my first cavity filled in a couple weeks.  I’m a little freaked out by the thought but am pretty sure I can handle it.  I mean, I handled c-section recovery and also dying after childbirth with relative ease, what is a cavity filling compared to that?!

Since September I had lost about 40 lbs on the ketogenic diet, which was great.  The trouble is, it’s hard for me to stay on it.  I miss the crackers, chips, sweets.  Pretty much everything that got me here in the first place.  I’ve fallen off the wagon the past couple months and as a result am up 10 lbs again.  Today I start once more.  Wish me luck!