Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Toddlers: It's All About Finding Strange Things in Strange Places.

At first it was pretty cute. Picking up things, wandering off with them and stashing them for later. The attention span and short term memory skills of a toddler definitely leave a lot to be desired because 10 seconds after Colt puts something somewhere that information is completely gone. Gone until I, the unsuspecting mother, happen upon it some time later.

Take, for instance, this morning. In a desperate attempt to make it to work on time (which I didn't...) I was frantically searching for my shoes. Colt thinks my shoes (well, all shoes really) are amazing. "Shoe" is one of the words he recognizes and can actually pick them up and say, "Shooo". Totally cute. Only not really when you're running around frantically searching for your own footwear. And where were they you ask? Right where he left them! In the bottom cupboard next to the Rice Crispies. Why didn't I think to look there first?

...and the plastic bumper for the shower door? It was missing for a fairly long time when I found it just night before last wedged into one of the jets in the tub.

...my favorite plastic coated wire whisk? In the toilet.

...my toothbrush head? On the stairs up to the kitchen.

...my hairbrush? In my closet.

...his favorite bath time toy, Mr. Ducky? Under our bed.

and the list goes on and on. For many more months I'm sure.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

When It Snows It's Chicken All They Way!

Snow - how wonderful! Right? Right. That's exactly what I was thinking on the drive home from work (which I almost didn't make...) in my incredibly low, over-powered, rear-wheel drive vehicle. There was fun to be had despite me not driving for a week straight...

So, we forgot all of Colt's winter gear at daycare the Friday that it snowed. That made playing in the snow pretty difficult until Taylor suggested putting his Halloween costume on him. It worked perfectly! The puffy chicken costume with fleece pants and a built in hood was awesome!

 Just chillin'...

Things were going pretty good until the "Great Face Plant of 2010". That pretty much ended the snow fun.

So cute!! Seriously.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fox Hunt! (Like, Who DOES That?!)

Ok. I have to let you all in on the frickin' coolest thing I've ever done on a horse!! (I mean it!) Robbie, my dear neighbor with some serious cajones invited me to go on a local Fox Hunt sponsored by a real, live hunt club out of the Fraser Valley in Canada. They host a couple of hunts in our area a year and so I thought to myself: "Self: Doesn't running full throttle across hundreds of acres of fields, through creeks and woods all the while dodging obstacles, scaling jumps and trying to keep up with the hounds while perched precariously on horseback sound like the time of your life?!" To which my self answered, "Hell yeah!"

So, I had NO IDEA what to expect. Well, I had an idea. I looked at the hunt website and I knew it involved professionals (like full-on red hunt coat professionals caring fox hunting horns which they blew every time we took off after the hounds), hounds, no fox (it's a drag hunt, or "scent" hunt), a bit of courage (on  my part) and hopefully, a whole lot of fun. Then, of course, I had my dreams about the hunt - you know, like someone yelling "Release the hounds" or "Cheerio" or something in a wicked English accent. And, for the most part, it was what I had expected. Except, add a huge rush of adrenaline as we prepared for the first leg of the hunt. Luckily, as we were milling around waiting to start, there was this lovely man who delivered the much needed shots of brandy on a little platter he was carrying. Let's say a toast for a little liquid courage!!

There he is now: my new best friend!

Ok, here's us before the first run. Picking up on the "What the hell have I gotten myself in to?" look I'm sporting? If I'd only known....

And then, just like that, they "release the hounds", without as much hoopla as I had hoped, and certainly no one yelling "Release the hounds!!" like I'd hoped. The horses that knew what was going on got all excited. And still, we sit there...

Then, all of a sudden, I hear this trumpet bugle and the hounds yelping and I see flashes of horses take off through the field. GAME ON!!! Our group (the second group) takes off like lightening. What an amazing rush of adrenaline! I haven't been that terrified/excited/out of my mind in a long time.

Here we are topping the first hill at a dead gallop:

...and this is us after we hold up after the first big run. Notice the expression? Nice.

Even after a few good runs, through the woods, over a creek, over a bridge and about 5 miles in to it, Jazzy was still, well, jazzed!

..another shot of us hacking down the road to prepare for another mind-blowing run.

Looks awesome, doesn't it?
The lady in the front it carrying the hunt horn wrapped around her if you can see it. And even though they didn't say, "Release the hounds", there were a significant amount of "Tally-hos" and the token man with an English accent.

So frickin' awesome! I can't wait for the next one!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Well, Now THAT Makes a lot of Sense....

So, we're watching the football game last night. (And by we me, I mean Todd was watching it and I was doing my best to control my adult-onset-ADD by picking up what tidbits I could in between the laundry, sweeping, dishes, etc.) I'm not a huge football fan. Well, let's say if we "graded" my football know-how I certainly wouldn't be graduating with honors. Or even sometime this year. Alas, I humor Todd with my constant questioning due to complete lack of understanding. "What's that guy doing?" "Why are they stopping?" "It's not against the rules to pull hair?" "Why didn't he catch that?" "What to they talk about when they huddle?" .....ad nauseum.

Yesterday, however, I was so on my game. After a touchdown play the replay showed the ref running in from off screen and calling the touchdown. The receiver who caught the touchdown was number 81, so I say to Todd:
"Did you know that TO (Terrell Owens) is also number 81 and he's a receiver for the Cowboys?" to which he replies:

"Yes. That's true. And do you know who wears number 85?" and I say:

"Duh. Chad Ochocinco." (For those of you who don't know, Ochocinco is not his real last name. Well, it is now since he changed it from whatever his name was to Ochocinco - which literally means Eightfive.)

Anyway, about to thrill him with my VAST knowledge of the game I continue:

"And that referee, LJ (the one who came in to the screen during the play who's name I was sure was, in fact, LJ, since it was written on the back of his jersey) he's been in every game I've seen this season. He's hard core!"

And, after a brief silence in which I'm sure he became very disappointed in my football knowledge, he says:

"LJ is the Line Judge. They have one at every game."

Wow. Now that makes sense! I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Self Cleaning Cycle on an Oven. Does Anyone Even Use That?!

I never had - until the other day. It's such a fancy feature on those new-fangled appliances and those who know me, know that I'm pretty adamantly opposed to high-tech features. But, our oven has suffered it's fair share of cooking accidents, run overs and, yes, even explosions.

Last week I threw some red potatoes in to bake while I was out working in the barn. They were smaller than typical baker potatoes, but I still guessed they'd need a good hour or so in the cooker. About 30 minutes later Todd hollered out the back door, "How long have those potatoes been in there?", to which I replied, "Oh, only about half an hour. Why?" "Well, one of them just exploded, so I shut the oven off." Exploded? Hmm. Even at 30 I'm still learning" a) 350 degrees is too hot to bake potatoes. b) 1 hour is too long to bake potatoes at 350 degrees and, most importantly, c) the tin foil you wrap potatoes in (which I didn't use..) helps hold the potato shrapnel in so your oven won't look like mine did.

Following the Great Potato Incident of 2010, Todd prepared a lovely dinner of grilled shrimp and quinoa. He tossed the shrimp in olive oil and spices and broiled them on a cookie sheet. Half way through the operation the olive oil started dripping off the flat cookie sheet, producing enough smoke to fill the house, setting off all three smoke alarms! (Incidentally, Colt obviously inherited my fear of fire and launched in to a full on body shaking, paranoid melt down!)

Something drastic had to be done post-potato explosion and olive oil disaster. So, the other night (after another smoke-out, 3-detector alarm) I pushed the "self clean" button wondering what it might do. The oven took charge, locked itself, set the timer for three hours and began heating to a temperature I'm not entirely sure was safe. I could see little embers glowing in the bottom of the oven! And the door was locked - I couldn't even shut it off! (Then I began thinking I should have read the manual first..) Smoke started rolling out the top of the oven filling the house and setting the detectors off again and the heat coming off the oven drove the inside temperature up to almost 80 degrees! We removed all the batteries from the detectors and opened all the door and windows in the house for the three hour cleaning cycle.

I'm happy to report that after a few olive oil induced smoke-outs, the potato explosion and the possessed self cleaning episode, all the crap in the bottom of the oven was reduced to ash that I wiped out the next morning. The oven sparkles now! I can't believe what a good job it did! I'm so sold on the self-cleaning cycle. And I'm even considering easing up on my technology ban.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

And The Fun Continues!

From Crater Lake we headed south in to California. The Lava Beds in N. California were awesome and we were able hit a lot of the caves formed thousands of years ago by lava flowing underground. Colt seemed to enjoy all the spelunking we were doing!

We could definitely tell all that stimulus money California received didn't go towards road repairs! Take a look at the 14 mile road we took out of the Lava Beds Monument:


We hit up Lassen National Park which turned out to be exactly what the guy at the dump station had described: a little Yellowstone Nat'l Park. It was so beautiful and reminded me a ton of Yellowstone (where we were scheduled to visit a few days later.)

I had to put this picture in because on our way out of Lassen Park we stopped for what looked like a "medium difficulty" hike. We ended up completing a hike I think was more like summitting K2. I guess a hike titled "Summit Lakes" really means summitting something. Crazy how descriptive that was. Anyway, we get to the top and there is this pristine lake that the baby wants a piece of. So, I strip him down and wade in. We were having a lot of fun...right up until I dunked his junk in the glacier fed waters! I didn't realize at the time how painful that must have been and was quickly reminded of it when he started screaming and scrambled for shore. We headed down the mountain after that!

Of all of the cool things in an RV, Colt definitely fixated on the driving area. His main focus was pulling on the steering wheel, rattling the keys and adjusting the stereo volume.

...more fun to come!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ok..FINALLY! Vacation Stuff!

Just a little late with the vacation updates. Most people have heard the stories, but here are some of the highlights:

First stop (after Todd's maniacal 8 hour driving binge) was a nice, homey rest area with signs everywhere stating "Keep Your Animals In The Vehicle!! MANY DOGS HAVE DIED HERE." followed by a sign depicting (which I wish I would have taken a picture of) a dog jumping over a small wall to it's death. That was awesome. The views were nice, but kinda made me nautious.

Day #2: Crater Lake. That's a look of joy, isn't it? "Take one more picture. I dare you." doesn't it? I'm actually thinking, "One more mile in that hell wagon and I'm going to kill something." Incidentally, it was my birthday that day and Todd surprised me with a bottle of Crater Lake wine and some earrings I love!

...ahh...that's better! One big happy family at Crater Lake.

Day one of actually camping at a campsite. Those are newly purchased camping chairs because me, being ever-so prepared, forgot to pack the ones we already owned. I also forgot extra diapers and salt and pepper, but that's another story!

OK. This is our (and by that I mean Todd's) first attempt at emptying the poo holding tank. Went pretty well by all accounts. I say that because I was inside with the baby and dog avoiding the pouring rain that had started and lasted two more days of our trip.

...and I did manage to get a great picture of the Poo Monster from inside the RV. Man, whatever you do, don't go out there!

This is where the other fellow dumping his poo tank convinced Todd he'd just come from the best National Park ever!! and we deviated from our plans and headed south in to California. Next stop: Lassen National Park!

Granny Panties! Where Function Meets Ugly.

I'm just going to come right out and say it: I bought granny panties last weekend. I bought granny panties in a multi pack at Costco. At this stage in my life I've over the cute little Victoria Secret undies for a few reasons.
  1. Although cute, they creep. Seriously. It's like my butt has developed some voracious appetite for underwear. Next thing you know you're wearing a thong that didn't start out as one.
  2. What's the point? Underwear should serve merely to protect me from the bladder infections I develop if I either don't wear them or wear poorly fitting (see #1) underwear. Plus, cute underwear have "that effect" and with a toddler, quite frankly, I'm just too tired.
So, even though Todd commented, "Granny Panties!" when I opened the box, I'm sticking with my choice. In fact, I like them so much I might get another pack tomorrow!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Voyeurism: Not Just For The Crazies!

OK. We have a lot of chickens. And by a lot, I mean we're down from our all-time summer high of 75 to a much more manageable 20 laying hens. Which means we have a lot of eggs too. The layers laid more in the summer (more light, better mood, more food, ya know - all the things that would make me happier too), but now that we're entering winter and the days are getting shorter our eggs are kind of in short supply. We only get 12 a day now!
And the average person would say, "My, your cholesterol must be through the roof eating all those eggs!" Well, don't worry - we hatched (he he. Get it? Hatched?) the perfect plan for egg liquidation: A trip to the hardware store, some plywood, paint, ice packs and and a camping cooler and you've got a shanty-town roadside egg store! We started a couple months ago (but, remember? no internet for so, so long...) and I'm totally hooked on the roadside egg stand. I mean, this is better than reality TV. (Well, it has to be since I gave up watching The Bachelorette after Ali chose Roberto instead of the obvious choice Chris from Cape Cod. What was she thinking? Anyway.)
Seriously though, Saturday we wound up with four dozen extra eggs so I put them out about 8:00am and went shopping. And they were all gone when I got back about 12:00! We sold out. Doors closed - out of product. And, get this: people are actually dropping off empty egg cartons now! We have repeat customers! Satisfied, loyal, repeat customers that have to be surveying our house constantly just waiting to pounce on the egg stand! Not once have we had someone take eggs without paying - and people can be trusted to make their own change! We actually put money in the jar to start with so people can make their own change and the system is working!
I can't profile our customers yet, but I have seen this one guy in a small dark car stop for eggs twice now. I'm considering setting up a command post to monitor the purchasing a little closer 'cause, you know, a "sign-in" sheet would just be creepy.

Todd and I both agree there's only one way to address this demand for eggs: We need to buy more chickens!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

But I'm Not Dead Yet!!!

...I KNOW what you were thinking: "Where has Rikki been?" Well, let me tell you the sad, sad story.....

First of all, I'm almost ashamed to say it out loud, but we don't have the internet at our house. I know, I know. Prehistoric. Caveman. Deprived. Call it what you will.

The real story is that ever since we had Comcast internet I can't bare to settle for anything less than ultra-super-duper-extra-fast cable internet. And dial up is our only alternative. That, and I'm too cheap to pay for satellite internet. Comcast stops 1/2 mile down the road and 11 telephone poles the other way. We live in the Comcast "dead area". True. Sad, but true.

 Then. Listen to this: they blocked my blogspot.com access at work!! I know. Heinous. What were they thinking? That I'd get more work done without my blog access? Now I just spend hours loafing around pining for my internet access. Can't they see the monster they've created? It's all their fault! And, to make it worse I don't even get the giant exclamation point and the warning "Accessing this site may negatively impact network performance. The Requested Internet Site May Have No Business Purpose." "Click here if you have a business reason to use this site."
No, I don't even get that - I just get the slow ascent of the green bars at the bottom of the page, leading me to believe it's loading, and then after 10 minutes I get a "Timed Out. The site or network may be too busy at this time. Please try at a later time or contact your system administrator." System administrator? Are they joking? I can't tell our IT guy that "Weird. I can't log on to my personal blog account any more during company hours. Can you look in to that for me? Yeah. Thanks. And, while you're at it, let's not mention any of this to my boss, K? Great..."

 Anyway, being the genius that I am (and by that I mean "Hey. It's only taken me 4 weeks to find a loophole in the system) I've found the way around!! I go to a different computer, log on as myself, then go to the blogspot.com webpage and log myself in!

 So, it's official: I'M BACK!! And there's so much to tell! More vacation pictures, pictures of the baby, and sooo many stories!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baby Containment: A Necessary Evil.

I learned pretty quick that first day a loose toddler is a dangerous thing. The only thing he was really interested in was pulling the cigarette lighter out (they still make those?), putting it in his mouth, grabbing at the swinging keys and pulling on the gear shift. All things that are cute maybe when you're parked, but they become dangerously unnerving when you're actually driving. So, I let my inner engineering spirit loose and we ended up with this:

Which is the table lowered and covered in cushions with Colt's car seat belted to the cab-over ladder I found stashed in the RV. Pretty neat, huh?  Things were going really well until 20 minutes in to it what I can only term "catastrophic failure of the engineering design" happened and he and the contraption both went ass over tea kettle on to the ground. He was pretty shook up, but the only real damage was a skinned up left nostril, which scabbed over really well and makes him look like a real bad-ass. It also went pretty well with the steering wheel imprint on his forehead from the day before. The scab is nearly gone and you can't even really tell it was ever there.

Good news though: I was able to beef-up my design and we have had 12 consecutive crash-free days. Score.

Week Two of Roadtrip America is Winding Down.

Thank God. Perhaps two weeks of motorhome camping with a toddler and a 90 pound dog that constantly sheds is NOT for everyone? I'm just saying.

First, let me just clarify things having not posted since the fateful "OMG, I forgot my pills" post: We were able to stop that Sunday in Bend and (oh so thankfully) find a pharmacy that was able to call Haggen in Ferndale, have them fax down  my prescription, fill it for me and send us on our way in less than 30 minutes. Because we all remember the trip to Mexico which landed us in the delivery exactly 9 months later? We were also able to pick up all the important things we forgot. Like lawn chairs, popcorn and diapers.

We are currently stopped in some po-dunk town in the north eastern pan handle of Idaho. We were headed to Coeur d'Alene, but 10 miles into Idaho on I-90 the baby started the beginnings of an all-out meltdown (who doesn't like to spend 5 hours non-stop in a motorhome??) and my OCD got the best of me. I forced Todd off the highway in some even smaller town who's only export was obviously gravel, and at the first sight of a wide spot in the road screamed "Pull over!! I need out of this f***ing motorhome. There's shit everywhere!!" So, we all imagined I'd handle this trip well, right? Because I'm adaptable. And easy going. And not at all the neurotic person that wakes up early just so I can vacuum before work, right? Right.

So, before the prison cell on wheels had even come to a stop I busted out the side door with Griz right behind me. As far as I was concerned, the baby could fend for himself. After a brisk 50 yard walk or so I returned refreshed; feeling better than I had all day.
But, not before I muttered (under my breath, of course...) that, "If all I had to do was drive all day and stop for gas I'd be fine too." Because I'm not at all at fault here, right? For planning this trip? Luckily while we were stopped we were able to track down that pesky propane odor which, you guessed it, turned out to be propane! Fun, huh?

If I haven't said it before a hundred times, I will say it again: Thank God Todd is so patient. I would have left my ass that first night by the sign showing the dog jumping off the cliff. Really. He thinks things are funny and never gets stressed out. Which came in handy when I stormed off from our campsite in Cody carrying my blown out stroller wheel, walking to WalMart for a second time because "surely someone there can fix it." And, when I returned an hour later with blisters and a still blown out wheel, he grabbed it and had it fixed in 20 minutes. And didn't even say "I told you so."

Anyway, the walk did me good. So did the top to bottom motorhome cleanup I did roadside in that po-dunk town. I picked up the toys, did the dishes, cleaned up the cage we built for the baby (more on that later), swept the floor, organized the overhead cab, put away some clothes and voila! we were back on the road. Only this time I was driving. And I pulled over at the first exit I saw that had somewhere to stay. It's an RV park near the highway (I can hear the cars as I type), but the showers are free (and showers when you're camping are rare and altogether amazing), our neighbors are alright, and we have full hookups - including WiFi, which is the first time we've had that this entire trip!

So, all is well. The trip has actually been a lot of fun! I have a ton of pictures to download and even more stories to tell (who doesn't want to hear about me performing a 10 point turn in the 30 foot motorhome when I accidentally went down a dead end street?). I'll post when I get a chance. If all goes well we'll hit Washington tomorrow morning, camp somewhere near the Cascades tomorrow night and then be home Friday sometime. Sweet.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day One of Cross-Country Road Trip....

So, we rented this 30 foot RV and we're (as in myself, Todd, Colt and our 90 pound German Shepard) are headed through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. So far, our trip has involved the following:

  1. Water pouring from our "clean water supply" every time we turn right. We still have not identified the problem, but we're down to 1/4 tank of water.
  2. A mishap at our very first rest stop that involved a curious baby pulling himself up on the driver's chair, slipping, falling and becoming lodged near the gas pedal. He was scared shitless, but the only actual damage was a small road-rash on his forehead from the steering wheel. Oh yeah, did I mention he's teething? That's been exciting.
  3. During my behind the wheel session we stopped for gas....I'm pretty sure they were thrilled with my back and forth maneuvering while paying customers were stacking up behind me honking. Ten minutes and $100 in gas later, we're about to pull out and witness a huge T-bone wreck right at the gas station. Todd took over driving and has been ever since.
  4. Two full campgrounds and no reservations landed us over-nighting at a rest area near Crooked Gorge, just outside of Bend, Oregon. There were signs all over that said, "Warning!! 300 foot cliff ahead. No pets allowed. Many dogs have died here. Put your pet back in the vehicle." ...and then there was this HORRIBLE illustration of a dog jumping over a small wall to it's death. Seriously.
  5. Overnight the temperature dipped to, seriously, 30 degF and we woke up about 3am freezing to death. So, Todd fired up the generator (our neighbors must have LOVED that) and we turned on the heat. The baby was frozen and the dog had made himself to home on the couch.
So, we're parked at a Starbucks in Bend (a much, MUCH needed caffeine break) googling campgrounds for the next 13 nights. I'm sure things will turn around from here. And, I've discovered I've forgotten to pack many necessary items. Like lawn chairs. And birth control pills.  Anyway - more updates as we hit more wi-fi hot spots. We're outta here because I'm sitting in Starbucks writing this with a huge pee-spot on my back from a backpack baby's diaper blow out. This is awesome.  :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another One From the Blonde Archives... "But you look so different with your clothes on."

So, the whole "nothing"/"not anything" post got me thinking about the other day when I was outside a store chatting with my friend (incidentally, the same one involved in the Quaalude post..) and someone I thought I worked with entered the store. I paused in the conversation with her and said, "I think I work with that guy. I'm not sure though; everyone looks so different in their street clothes."

At this point, if you're not already aware of the fact I work at an oil refinery - I do. I work in the lab testing area where we all wear dark blue, flame retardant lab jackets - not like on TV where they all where nice, white, pressed jackets. No. Ours are navy blue and made of flame retardant material - which is good, considering most things in an oil refinery are, well, flammable. There are also many, many operators of the units of this refinery. (Maybe 100 of them?) and they must all wear steel toed boots, blue coveralls, hardhats and safety glasses. And they are mostly all men. And I think dressed alike, doing the same job, carrying the same tools that sometimes they even look alike. Luckily (for me) every one's coveralls also have their name embroidered on them. This has not, however, in the past prevented me from confusing one with the other. Seriously, they all do melt in to one person that I refer to as "the operator".

For a long time terror would always strike when I would see "the operator" in some non-work situation and they would call me by my name. Terror mostly because 1.) I could never reciprocate the proper name thing and, 2.) Taken completely out of context, I couldn't usually place that I worked with them.

This in mind, consider this exchange from when I was about 20 years old, working as an intern in the refinery lab and I had gone to the mall, upon where I run in to the dreaded "operator", along with his wife and tiny baby.

Operator: "Rikki? Hey! How are you?!"
Me: "Huh?"
Operator: "What are you up to, shopping?"
Me: "Huh?"
Operator: "Oh, this in my wife, blah blah, and our baby, blah blah Jr."
Me: "Huh?"
Operator: (to his wife) "Oh, Rikki works in the lab at Conoco."
Me: Now, instantaneously recognizing that I in fact work with this guy...."Oh...HEY!!! How's it going? Sorry..I didn't recognize you with your clothes on."

**Insert foot in mouth.***

 WTF did I just say? And, judging by her expression, his wife was thinking the same thing. So, just when I expect a full-on smack down outside the Target store and envision peeling an angry new mom off my back because, really, have I just said, "I didn't recognize you with your clothes on?" Really?

I'm just going to say that the situation got really uncomfortable. Really. Really uncomfortable. So, in the only thing I could do is explain myself. Because 1.) I HAD NEVER SEEN HIM NAKED. Or cared to. 2.)At work, dressed in blue coveralls, hard hats and boots - they all look alike. I swear.

Me: stuttering, "Uhh. I mean I didn't recognize you with your street clothes on." And then, to his wife, "Really. They all look alike at work. And I never see anyone in their street clothes. So, I didn't recognize him..in his street clothes."
Operator: "Well, see ya later I guess."

So, now when I'm out in public, I don't approach anyone I think I might even work with. I wait until they approach me. And, I chose my words more carefully now. Usually.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Not Anything....Just Your Every Day Blonde Moment.

I wouldn't normally post something that makes me look foolish. Right. I would never do that. This one even made me laugh at myself!!

A few minutes ago I was leaving a comment on one of my friend's pages that read, "Not anything a quaalude won't fix, right?!" (Totally appropriate comment, don't you think?) and I just couldn't get over how weird that looked.

Not anything? Hmm. "Not anything" looks weird, right? And I just couldn't get over it. So, I sat there for about 5 minutes staring at it thinking, "There must be some better way to say 'not anything'." Why hasn't someone already invented a better word, or a better way of saying that? (Note to self: it didn't seem weird for me to spell quaalude....which I got right on the first try....that has TWO A's in a row, after a q-u, but "not anything" looked weird? I'm just saying.)

So, I rifle through my mental thesaurus and still nothing. Nothing better than "not anything." So, I moved on to my mental contraction-ator. (Self proclaimed astonishing ability where I can contract words into mini-words retaining the same meaning. Like instead of saying stove and oven, say stoven)  You get the gist...

...anyway. That is when I stumbled upon this gem: Nothing. Get it? Not anything. Nothing. No(tany)thing.
The contraction of not anything IS nothing. Genius, fricking genius.

The Slip and Slide Part Two: Poo in the Wagon

So, here's the real story about the day of fun on the Slip and Slide:

Colt was crawling around the afternoon I had the Slip and Slide out. He loved crawling up the sprinkler (while it was off) and pulling it over. When the sprinkler was on he'd crawl into the spray and grab at the water droplets. Well, towards the end of the day he got quite wet and I stripped him down to just his diaper. By the time crawled over to the Slip and Slide and sat in puddled water a couple of times his diaper was soaked and weighed about 3 pounds. So, while we were outside (for fear of an accident otherwise), I just took his diaper off and let him go au natural! It sounded like a good idea at the time...

I mean, seriously, think about it for a minute: what would your bum feel like if you had to wear wet diapers all the time. I don't know about you, but I can't stand the feeling of underwear bunching up around my legs and pinching all over, so I would really appreciate the feeling of freedom going bare would bring! Baby bliss no doubt?

Anyway, I repeat: it sounded like a good idea at the time.

He was all over the place: crawling around, onto the slide, in the garden and then, finally, his favorite: a ride in the red wagon! The great thing about the wagon is that he loves it so much that after you pull him around a little bit you can park it and he'll stay occupied for at least 20 minutes. He was so intrigued by the apple we'd picked off the tree that he was content to stay parked next to the deck as we cleaned up the remains of the BBQ.

Every once in a while I would get this whiff of dog poop, and after about 10 minutes of this, I say to Todd, "Man. I keep getting this whiff of dog crap. Do you smell that?" After a complete inspection of the bottoms of my shoes I say, "Is it on your shoes?" "Can't you smell that?"

..and right about the time Todd was saying, "No, its not me", I turn in horror and see the pile of crap that has amassed behind the baby. In the wagon. Not dog poop. Baby poop. In the wagon. Beans and corn for dinner. All over the wagon.

So, 2 jugs of bleach and a fresh diaper later I think we managed to get it under control. Here's the cool thing though - poop in the wagon has it's advantages:
  1. We were already outside. Hose the baby, tip the wagon over and hose it too. Clean up was a snap!
  2. After complete biological decontamination there was no need for bath time!
  3. I think emotionally speaking the benefits of diaper-less time definately outweighs the emotional scarring Colt will experience when he's older and reads this blog. Maybe? Right?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So, Here's the Thing About Slip and Slides...

...they sound like so much fun, don't they? I mean, who doesn't like sliding down a huge sheet of water covered plastic in 90 degree weather? Well, let me explain.
It was really hot last weekend. Hot enough for me to think it was a good idea to bust out the sprinkler and what I call the "Redneck Water Park." We had a giant piece of left over clear plastic that I thought would make a perfect do-it-yourself backyard Slip and Slide. Add a sprinkler, a couple of cinder blocks to hold it down, some soap for slippery-ness and: voila! We have lift off.

Annika and Taylor having fun on the slide.

It was hot enough out that I even donned my swimsuit and slid down the thing! Four times! I went twice on my knees/hip/back and twice on my stomach. And here's a short list of how I can definitely tell I'm an adult:

1. After only 4 runs I was done. The water was freezing and the ground was hard. I now have a complete understanding of why my mom thought relaxing at the waterslides meant laying around in the sun reading a good book while us kids ran around like maniacs. Because really, after 4 times down that thing I spent 2 hours laying in the sun recovering.

2. Sunday morning I could barely move. My hip and upper back (no doubt the points of impact) were killing me! I saw the chiropractor on Monday and have a massage scheduled for tomorrow. So far for this "free" slide I'm out $70.

3. I couldn't wait to get that thing off the lawn because there's a huge dead spot under the plastic! And I've far too many hours manicuring that lawn to have it killed by some sheet of plastic.

So, there we have it. A brief yet concise list describing the difference between a Slip and Slide loving kid and a grown up who's now going to have to invest some serious capital in Weed and Feed and perhaps another round at the chiropractor. I tell ya. It was supposed to be fun.

Griz had fun too! Although, his idea of fun is to sneak up on the sprinkler and bite it!!!

...and more biting....

..until AT LAST he makes his way to the source...

He also waits very patiently at the end of the slide for the kids to come down. Then he bites the soap bubbles...

Monday, August 9, 2010

So Many New Things!!

Sorry to all the die-hard Smeltzerville followers (like my mom and Amy..) about no new posts lately! I could go on and on about how I'm training in a new position, we don't have internet at home, or we've been soooo busy. Really, though, I've just totally let this blog get out of control! So, here is the first of a few installments of what The Smeltzers have been doing!!!

A couple weekends ago we loaded the truck with my mom, dad and the baby and headed to Wenatchee for a family reunion and an overnighter at amazing Lincoln Rock State park. Camping with a baby? Are you nuts!
 All went well except the "Little Swimmer's Episode." The event transpired after a short swimming (OK - splashing) episode which ended after we discovered the only interesting thing for a 10 month old baby to do in the swimming area is eat rocks off the bottom of the lake. The water was cold (I thought) and I wasn't too sure how the "Little Swimmer" things actually were supposed to work. I was, however, quite sure that fecal matter at a public swimming area generated by my baby would NOT have been the hit of the day.
 We headed back to the campground where Todd attempted the swim-pant extraction. (Swim pants don't velcro like normal diapers, they are really tight and you pull them on like underwear. Something I was totally a novice at. Obviously.) Thank god Todd was on diaper detail. They didn't go on easy, and they certainly proved challenging to remove once full of lake water, rocks, sand, and - you guessed it - the biggest turd ever! Only, discovery of the turd didn't come until Todd had rashed 1/2 the crap down the back of his legs. Something about the cold water just made him cut lose. For reals.
Just think: squirmy kid, wet, cold, and poop everywhere! He called in for back up, but it was too late! I arrived just as Colt grabbed his junk (which was unfortunately ALSO covered in poo..) and then began touching everything in sight. "Oh GOD! It's all over his hands!!" "Now its all over the cheerios. Gross. Somebody help me!!" were just a few things I managed to get out before all hell broke loose. We managed to subdue him, clean him (and everything else he'd touched) and recloth him. The towel was a total loss, and better off in the dumpster. And, as a veteran mom pointed out after the fact - you can just rip the sides apart - it works much better!!
Anyway, here are some pics from the big overnighter:

Still happy. Pre-pant-extraction.

Just relaxing!

Ninjas: They're everywhere. No, really, this was after Todd put the sleeping bag bands on their heads. He's imitating Colt. Or vice-versa. Whatever you please!

"Sloth love Chunk!!" Goonies, anyone?

We really did have a blast!! The drive was long and the weather was hot - but we survived!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Worst Mom of The Year Award Goes To.......

So, we're at my company BBQ last weekend and since I didn't really know anyone (Todd was meeting me there and hadn't yet arrived) I started chatting it up with a total stranger who had a kid roughly the same age as Colt. I say roughly the same age because size-wise he's a monster, and comparing kids to him puts him somewhere around 2 years. Anyway, the lady had a little girl (tiny, tiny girl, but barely crawling so I knew they were around the same age) and as the kids were poking at each other I tried making idle chit-chat. I say tried because the outcome proved less than desirable.

It started with the unassuming "Oh, she's so cute! And crawling!" and the "Oh, she has so much hair!" (Because Colt is finally growing hair, but its still really blond and you can barely see it, so he kinda still looks bald.)

Then I say, "How old is she?" and the mom says, "She just turned 9 months. What about him?" and I say, "Oh, he just turned 9 months too!" and thinking maybe by some stroke of total luck they were born on the same day, I say, "When was she born?" and the mom says "October 15th."

And I was seriously stumped for a bit because Colt was born in September and was 9 months too. But this little girl was born in October and was 9 months old? Weird. So she says, "When was he born?" and I say, "September 18th." and then I start wondering if he really is 9 months. Maybe 10? Now I'm not so sure. She says, "Then he's 10 months old." and I say quizzically, "Yeah, maybe he is 10 months old." and she says, "Oh. So, who's baby is he?"

To that I sheepishly and rather awkwardly answer, "Oh - he's my baby. And I think he's 10 months old." And my boss's boss (who is observing the conversation from behind us) bursts out laughing and nearly shoots beer out his nose.
Because that's the kind of impression I want to make: The one where I am asserting to perfect strangers and those in high-ranking management positions that I do NOT in fact know how old my kid is. Because performing petroleum laboratory testing on a daily basis does not require basic addition skills. And neither does parenting. Obviously.

And, if that wasn't bad enough - since the party was a spontaneous after work thing I came totally unprepared without a diaper bag, change of clothes or a bottle. Thank god some Mom Of The Year came through and lent me some formula and a bottle. I tell ya.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Late. Again.

OK. A small post if not to simply push the "Chicken Water Episode" down a notch on the blog page. I was indeed late to work today. Again. I'm not always late, but remember the post about me working on the Good Friday holiday and coming in 20 minutes late only to find MY BOSS running tests? Yeah. Great. It wasn't like that at all this morning, but the scrambling around this morning has gotten me frazzled! BOTH my automatic alarm clocks failed this morning and I was forced to rely on Todd's alarm (which was set for 6am - when I normally LEAVE the house!)
  1. Alarm #1: Donkey. Normally he can be counted on for a good ol' he-haw right at 5:10 every morning. No go this morning. Sick? Tired? Sick and tired of waking me up every morning? Who knows.
  2. Alarm #2: Colt. Anywhere from 5:10-5:30 he wakes up and I hear him on the monitor. Nothing. Perhaps that 3 miles of stroller walking we did yesterday while waiting on a two hour oil change really wore him out? I woke him at 6:15 as I was shoveling things into the car in a feeble attempt to get to work on time. He arrived at my parents still wearing PJs and drinking his morning bottle, but he made it there none the less.
Good news though. I was only 5 minutes late and still beat my boss here. Close call. I'll be using my alarm clock from now on. Those barnyard animals and babies are just too unreliable.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Taking One For Team Chicken.

Scene: Our house. Saturday morning, 7:30am.

It's no secret Todd likes to sleep in on the weekends. And I am so a morning person. So, early Saturday morning, I get Colt in the backpack and we headed out for some early morning chore duty. We fed the goats, horses and cows and got on the 4-wheeler and headed to the bottom of the field to the broiler "hoop coop." Because, remember? Every good story starts with "I had the baby on my back."

  (For those of you not familiar with the hoop coop, it is a 10'x12' tarp covered, domed enclosure that the chickens live in. It has an automatic waterer fed from a five gallon bucket mounted on top and we're able to feed them through a PVC tube which extends outside the coop. We pull the coop on to fresh grass every day.)

I move the coop and realize that, although their 5 gallon bucket is full, there is no water in their automatic waterer. A definite sign of a clog. The reservoir is open on the top, so I figured a leaf dropped in there and covered the 1/2" hole for the tube which feeds the waterer. I climbed up to look. Nothing clogging up there. So, we went in to the coop (remember....10'x12', tarp covered and chocked full of 25 psycho chickens - 5 of which I'm certain are roosters). I unscrewed the tube where the reservoir attached to the waterer and sure enough - no water coming out.

And this is where it gets bad. I'm not sure exactly what possessed me to perform the following action: I stuck the tube in my mouth and started mouth syphoning the chicken water. Before I could really reflect on what a terrible decision that was, a HUGE chunk of slimy nastiness got sucked in to my mouth with a rush of equally terrible, barf-inducing chicken water. It had the consistency of a tapioca pudding ball, didn't taste good at all, and I gauge was about the size of a marble. I retched and retched and couched it out, then barfed a little. Thank goodness I hadn't eaten breakfast yet or that could have been a real mess.... Water was spewing from the line, so I put it back together and water rushed in and all the chickens gathered around for a drink. Nasty. Nasty. Nasty.

Here's what I've learned:
  1. Rule #1 when I started studying chemistry: NO MOUTH PIPETTING. This applies to real-world settings as well.
  2. Chickens can survive at least a day without water. I'm projecting they could have lived another day without it too.
  3. It pays to sleep in on the weekends. And, in case you were wondering: chickens eat barf.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's The Beginning Of The End People

Monday evening after putting Colt down for the night I heard on the monitor the usual "Blah blah, gahhhh, buh buh baaaaa" for about 5 minutes, then total quiet, and I assumed he was asleep. Because that's the normal chain of events. Dinner, bath, play, bottle, book and bedtime. Bedtime meaning sleeptime. Right.

So, after all noise coming from his room had ceased I crept down the hallway and into his room to check on him. He is so flippin' cute when he's sleeping and I just love peeking in on him. Plus, now he's rolling over, scooting around and trying to crawl (be it only backwards and in donut shapes so far..) and he often time manages to get himself positioned pretty precariously in his crib and needs some straightening out.

I quietly pressed open the door and instead of a beautiful sleeping baby what do I see? I completely-full-on-awake baby standing tippy-toed hanging from the crib railing with a red face that just screamed, "Oh dear God what have I gotten myself in to now?"

As soon as he caught sight of me he burst into laughter and screamed, "Muhhha muhhha" and starting violently rocking back and forth, kinda like you see angry monkeys at the zoo doing. I realized he was stuck standing up and didn't know how to lower himself back down. So, for 10 or 15 minutes he'd been hanging there, seriously contemplating the outcome of his disastrous decision making skills.

An hour later and many times through "Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere" and "Elmo Goes to the Zoo" he managed to successfully put himself to sleep.

 And I spent all of Tuesday morning disassembling the cage, I mean crib, and lowering the mattress to its lowest position.  Good luck getting out of THAT one. Score: mom one, baby zero.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Watermelon Junky. Just Like His Mother.

Thankfully I have passed on the watermelon gene....

"I'll be taking that."

Double fisted!! Momma loves it!!

"WHAT??! No more??"

So, so very hard to crawl with Tupperware stuck to your knee!!

I am still on partial maternity leave and love spending our Tuesdays together. We took a bunch of toys and some watermelon and Colt, Griz and I spent the afternoon in the sun in the front yard!! So much fun. Griz obviously had a different idea of fun. He can not WAIT until Colt is big enough to throw the ball! For now, when Colt gets a hold of the tennis ball he just chews on it while Griz waits very patiently for him to throw it. Never seems to work out how Griz had wished....

Colt: "Hmm. This is an interesting toy."
Griz: "Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Throw it little guy throw it."
Colt: "Hmm. I wonder if this will fit in my mouth."
Griz: "Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Throw it little guy throw it."
Colt: "Hmm. I wonder how this tastes. This is so cool."
Griz: "Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Throw it little guy throw it."

....and on and on, ad nauseum.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Tooth!!

You can barely see the top left tooth busting through....

...to match the bottom two already in!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Baby Carrying 101: This Is How You Do It.

Because there's nothing like a 40 pound kid hauling around a 27 pound one.....

Totally hysterical! Taylor can barely heft him around, but Colt thinks its hysterical!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mariners Game!!

OK...Now, isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen???

Bath time!

Colt loves bath time! He has just recently discovered the wonder of "bubble chasing" and "extreme water splash", both of which are hysterical to watch! He'll chase a bubble, grab it and turn his hand around to look at it and it'll be gone. Then he'll do it -over and over and over. So funny. The "extreme water splash" is very new, probably as a result of the bubble frusteration and, although it looks like he's having a lot of fun, it always results in me having to change my sopping clothes.

Colt also took his first spin on his new scooter. He's pretty good at it, although we're still working on the forward motion....

And, we went to our first family Mariner's game last weekend! It was awesome! Colt did really well with the trainride, the long wait before the game, the long game AND the train ride home!

Colt and Grandma take in the game with their new Mariner's hats!!

That's me, my mom and Colt! #1 Fan!!! He's totally decked out in his M's onesie (thanks to Grandma) and his M's hat (freebie at the park!)

All that baseball is enough to wear anyone out!!

....and you'll notice Todd is starting the brainwashing early with the football chewy...