Monday, March 29, 2010

The Booger Monster.

Seriously, now, let's talk a little booger talk. (Those squeemish or otherwise adverse to bodily function talk, exit stage left.)

Booger monster? Booger fairy? Booger maker?

 I'd like to think that my child is not a freak of nature in the fact that he produces some of the hugest, monsterous, sticky, nasty boogers on this planet. I have read and re-read the "Your Baby's First Year" book, scanned the appendix, looked it up in the index and (sadly) spent some time researching it on the internet. And nothing. Nothing about the big boogies. Am I the only person to have experienced such enormous boogers produced by such a tiny baby? I mean, really, I'm kinda worried he'll pass away in his sleep due to his airway being so constricted due to aforementioned blockages?! (Not that I should consider he can also breathe from his mouth, right?) These monsters appear nearly daily and require quite the extraction procedure, let me tell you. Because, really, who wants to see a booger-infested infant? Let alone hold one. I'm not talking runny nose here...I'm talking full-on boogers.

 Now, those who know me well, know that I am a picker. And by that I mean scabs, nails, boogers, the skin around my nails, black heads, pimples, bites, bumps and anything that looks suspicious that might pop up on one's back. Or anywhere else for that matter. I know. TMI. (Too much information). I was probably the only teenager known to mankind who was excited when they got a zit. I, of course, always suffered the consequences of picking - red, blotchy face and a scab that took forever to heal (due to more picking, no doubt.) I have been and probably always will be a picker. Not that I've seen any postings for PA meetings. (Pickers anonymous). Don't judge. And these days I don't (according to my standards) produce a lot of things that need picking. So, now that we've got that out of the way...

  I feel as though it is my parental responsibilty to remove the boogers from Colt's nose. Although, yes, his fingers are appropriately sized for the job and mine are a little more, uh, robust, ...I just can't seem to stop myself. Plus, he doesn't even know how to do it himself. When my nails are long it really isn't hard at all. The problem arises when they're bitten back (we already discussed my picking problem) and the nail just won't reach. I won't terrify you all with tales of me going at him with the tweezers. I've stopped that routine altogether in fear of gouging his miniscule brain with the tweezies. Anyway, he's totally on to my nose-picking attempts. He outwardly objects, shakes his head around and if he could walk, he'd probably long have run away. do we stop them from growing? Where are they coming from? It's not like he's exposed to a bunch of dust, dirt or any other booger-making matter. I'm at wits end.

  So, the fact is that I'm afraid to use the tweezers, I won't do it while he's sleeping (who wants to wake up screaming with your mom's finger driven 1/2 way up your nose? about a serious therapy bill in your 30's.) and he's too on to me to do it when he's awake. My real concern, however, is that I'm going to make his nostrils huge. The simple mechanics of the operation are obvious: he is small and I am not. His tiny nose is no match for the diameter of my fingers.

  I shall sit back and reflect on this now: Does my compulsive need to constantly clear his nostrils of accumulating boogers out weigh his need to be left alone and develop normal-sized nostrils? Should I stop worrying he'll lapse into unconciousness due to lack of oxygen? ...And the resounding yes I hear you all laughing is enough. His nostrils will develop to the size they should, given there is already not too much damage done.

  I will still get the ones that hang out though. That you can be sure of.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Making of a Rollover

We don't have a camcorder, so here's the best I can do! He is so funny too...he only goes one way (from front to back and only to the left) and he does is so quickly now you can barely catch him on his stomach!

Too funny. I hope he learns how to do the other side soon... I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How To Tell You've Gone From Hot Mama To Just Mommy...

I was thinking the other night there are just sooo many things that are different in my life post-baby. Todd and I have an amazing life, with an amazing son and an amazing support system. But, things just aren't what they used to be. They're better. I've begun to tabulate the entirely true, somewhat hilarious differences.

  1. Pony tails are so in-style right now. All other 'dos are just asking to be pulled at.

  2. Earrings - no more. See Rule #1: just asking to be pulled at.

  3. Sleeping past 6am? History. In fact, isn't that some mythical tale that only comes true when you're in college?

  4. Purse size. Current volume is pushing the cubic feet mark. Case and point: I used to be able to carry my wallet and chapstick in my purse. My new-improved mommy purse (thank you Amy!) inventory includes: wallet, chapstick (2), lip gloss, keys, cell phone, gum, bottle of Tylenol (need I explain?), travel wipes, spare diapers (2), day planner (things are a little busier than they used to be), reusable fold-up bag, bib and string of what my parents call "chain link." (The plastic linking toy thing.) If neccessary I can also fit a bottle (complete with rice warmer - thank you Alisa!), change of clothes, hat and slippers. My family can overnight with this purse.

  5. Periods. What are those? You know you've gone full circle when you're more worried about getting one these days than missing one... definately one of the cooler aspects of being pregnant and breastfeeding.

  6. Bras with prints on them. Because nursing bras, although functional, are just not very sexy.

  7. Excess abdominal skin and it's super-cool self-folding action. Just one more reason to sit up straight. And do Pilates.

  8. The sweat that forms where my boobs rest on my ribs. Enough said. Sad, sad, sad. Nothing Bellevue Plastic Surgery can't fix. Not that I've checked in to it. Twice.

  9. Clothes with barf on them. Previously I had only experienced this the morning after a really good dorm party.

  10. Friends. Not so much. The ones with kids, yes. The others. Well, they usually stay up past 7pm. And we don't. Maybe on Fridays...right.

  11. Having a meal together. Good luck with that one. (Actually, since Colt's started going to bed at 6:00 we've been able to enjoy quite a few nice, quiet meals together. I think we're the exception though.)
  12. Mom-mobile. Taking the subwoofer out of my trunk to fit the stroller in was one of the first of many blows to my ego. I swear I'm only one more kid away from a minivan. And the thought makes me shudder.
But, seriously, I wouldn't change it for the world.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh, The Things We've Done!

I was sifting through pictures to post on the blog and I am just amazed at some of the before and after pictures of our house. The work seems endless, but in reflection, we've done so much! (Not without a ton of help!!)

Dining room before. Todd spent two days with a pry bar scraping up the underlayment so we could put our wood floor down. And the nasty yellow paint with the red under it? Yuck.

Much better. New floors and paint.

Kitchen the day we got the keys. Dingy and broken cabinets, non-functioning stove and dishwasher. No fridge. That yucky yellow paint and enough grease on the cabinets to make me think they only deep fried things.

Kitchen after. Resurfaced cabinets with new drawer hardware, pot rack, ceiling fan, flooring, appliances, lights and new stainless steel countertops.

Back of house when we got it. Overgrown lawn, railing piece missing, deck in disrepair.

Back of house now. New deck addition, lawn under control, garden installed.

Pic from original deck. Overgrown lawn, no garden, no fence, no barn, no garden.

We started with the barn....

Inside the barn...

Put in the garden and sided the barn...

getting closer....

Jazzy finally had access to the barn with temporary fencing..

...and we finally finish with the 3 rail wood fence run outs and corral.

...all that was left was to hang the dutch doors and get her a friend!

We have several more projects planned for this summer (fence front yard, install gate, redo driveway, resurface deck, lengthen driveway to barn, finish barn slider door, and so on and so on) but really we've accomplished so much already! Looking back at the pictures when we purchased the house makes me wonder what we were thinking!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

This Little Piggy Went to Market...

 This whole herd of little piggies is going to the market. Soon. Very soon. As per the previous blogs addressing my concerns entering the pig pen, I no longer set foot in there. I did, however, manage to snap some pics of the beasts through the electric fence. (I did feel a little bad when the sweet little black one came wandering over to sniff me and got too close to the fence, got shocked and took off squealing. Little, tiny bit bad.)
 They're monsterous! The pics don't do them justice! I bet the big boy weighs at least 250lbs. Maybe more. I hope he doesn't mind that when he turns away Todd and I stare at his rump thinking "Man. That's a good looking ham!"

Here's the little guys the day we brought them home:

...and here's the beef cakes now:

That's one lean, mean, organic cereal-eating machine!!

Pigs have been very intriging animals to raise. Judging by the above picture you can see they don't really care that they're wallowing in the mud. (Hence the term pig-sty.) The strange thing is that their house is clean. I'm talking immaculate. Not your everyday barnyard shelter. Organized, groomed, set up and...clean. Very strange. And although I find them aggressive and capable of knocking me down and disposing of the body, Todd finds them playful and intellegent. When they were smaller they loved being scratched on the head and ears. (They still do, but secretly I'm afraid to get that close to them.) The love their backs scratched and the oink and grunt when they see us.
I've heard that pigs are the most intelligent animal next to dolphins....and I'm kinda starting to believe it!

"What are you looking at, chump? Come in here and say that to my face."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh, They Grow Up So Fast.

So, I know everyone thinks their kid is the cutest..but, seriously? Ours is the cutest!

Look who's sitting up? And the smile? Melt your heart. The sitting is new this last week and unless he gets a really good stance to start with he usually ends up tipping over.

He is SO all smiles - all the time! This age is so far my favorite!

I can hardly believe he was ever this little:

...and that was three months old....what about this one?

Just over a month old! We had to roll up a burp cloth to keep him propped up! Now his chunky rear-end gets stuck in the chair when you lift him out and you have to pop it off of him. It really amazes me how fast he's growing! Sometimes I think he doesn't look the same at night as when I dropped him off that morning!

Coop This.

Todd has been working on building our "hoop coops" for nearly a month now. They're a revolutionary design that allows the chickens to be on fresh grass every night. They are hoop shaped (hence the name), made with rigid square hog panels set on a light weight wooden frame. A tarp covers the hoop shape to provide protection from the weather.

The back end has two wheels mounted to the frame so that when the end with the door is lifted the coop can be wheeled to it's new location with fresh grass. They are totally enclosed and will serve as the chicken's house at night time, while they are allowed to free-range and forage during the day.

The bottom is wrapped in small mesh chicken wire to prevent anything from reaching in a grabbing the chickens.

This is Todd's patented design for their feeding system.  It's a 3-inch PVC pipe the runs from outside the coop (near the door), down at a 45 degree angle and then flattens out and runs about 3 feet down the side of the coop. The top of the flat portion is cut out so the chickens can access their food from there. Genius, don't you think? The PVC cap is removable from outside and you just dump a scoop of food down the chute.

This particular hoop coop is designed for our broiler chickens - those are a breed of chicken we will be raising soley for meat. They mature in about 3 months and never lay eggs. We have 25 broiler chicks arriving next weekend and this summer will end up in the freezer.

The other coop is designed exactly like this one, only it has a roosting box with six roosts connected to the backside. It is for the laying hens, which have already arrived and are currently in their "brooders". They'll stay in the brooders under lights (to stay warm) until they are bigger and have feathers to keep them warm.

Cuties, aren't they?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sometimes it's the Simplest Things.

I'll be the first to admit that sometimes fairly obvious things elude me. I appear to have this facade of intellegence when in fact, deep down, I often times have those typical blonde moments. Occasionally I will have a revelation. These come when I finally (at the ripe age of 30) realize something that is otherwise totally obvious to everyone else.

Take, for example, my sophomore year of college. I was driving around thinking about the Arctic Circle. (Don't ask. Just go with it.) Then, I started thinking about Antarctica. Then I realized Antarctica is just like the Arctic, only with Ant- in front of it. Then I realize "Ant-" is like Greek for "the opposite" of something. Then, like a bag of bricks, it hit me:. The Arctic is North, and the Ant-Arctic is directly opposite it. So, really, when they teach you opposites in fifth grade all the other kids caught this one. Me? 20 years old.

Yesterday at work I was training with my boss on an instrument I haven't operated yet. It's basically a big box with a very sensitive detector that operates under conditions where it generates an argon liquid plasma at about 10,000 degrees Kelvin (like, way hotter than Farenheit) and we aspirate a solution into it. The super-hot plasma blasts the electrons off the atoms and as the electrons relax back to their ground state they emit little pockets of energy called photons. We are able to detect some of these photon's energies in our visible light spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, etc.) The detector "sees" these energies, what we call wave bands, and the photomultiplier tube multiplies the millivolt reading it detects that corresponds to that particular elements and can tell us how much vanadium or iron or molybdinum is in the sample we analyzed. This procedure is called emmision spectroscopy. Bare with me.....

So, we're analyzing an "unknown". One of these sludges an engineer brings in and says, "What the hell is this?" We do the analysis and see that our sample contains traces of the following metals: Iron, Nickle, Manganese and Molybdinum and Chromium. Bare with me....

My boss explains to me that the presence of Iron means something is corroding the steel pipes and clogging up the reactors. Then, in what I think is a leap of shear genius, he explains that based on the ratios of the remaining metal concentrations he can tell what kind of stainless steel is corroding, helping the engineers to pin point where the problem is.

Ok, a little background: Steel is not an element. It is made up of mostly iron, along with about 2% carbon. It is magnetic and rusts easily. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is mostly iron, a little carbon and at least 10% chromium. Sometimes other elements like vanadium, nickle, manganese and molybdinum are added to improve hardness or brittleness. Just from the little addition of chromium, steel is turned to stainless steel. It is not magnetic and will not rust. Crazy, huh?
So, I question my boss. "How does that work? How can just a little chromium keep it from rusting?" And his response was, "Well, it's just like the chrome bumper on your car - it doesn't rust because it's plated in chromium."

Jigga what? Forget the fact that I'm working with a nearly $90,000 instrument and we've just covered aspects of pysical chemistry few understand - my chrome bumper is plated with chromium? A metal I've been dealing with most of my post-highschool life? Analyzing on nearly a daily basis? Looking at on the periodic chart, having now idea what it looks like in real life? And its sitting right there before my eyes? Everyday? Get it? Chrome (like chrome bumpers, wheels, door handles, etc.) is really short for chromium, a trasition metal with a lustry finish that, when detected in our samples, indicates stainless steel degredation? How wacked is that?

...and I don't even want to know how many people already new this.....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

....And Our Latest Addition....

Meet Mike.

Mike it the latest addition to our ever-expanding farm family. Because, really, who doesn't need a miniature donkey?
Now, before you go saying, "What in God's name does a person need a miniature donkey for?" let me tell you the story of Mike and then you'll see how you could end up with one too.

So, I always thought miniature donkeys were the stinking cutest things ever. And those who know me well know that I love all things small: animals, imitation fruit (you know, the kind you put in a dish on your coffee table), cars, toys....people. Anyway, I digress....

When I was living in Wyoming there was a couple that advertised "guard donkeys" for sale. I was thinking something that looks over your house, like a guard dog kinda. Todd informed me they probably meant guarding livestock. Whatev. I'm thinking "how cute would that be?" So, I go around saying how I want a miniature guard donkey....and Todd arranges for us to go look at one last week. I keep saying, "I really don't want one. Really. What are we going to do with a donkey? Really?"

However, when we get there I can obviously see he needs a new home. He's in a muddy pen, dirty and wet, with about 10 other miniature animals (now, she's probably a real nutcase, right? Not like me with more of a, um, fascination with all thing miniature). And Mike  is being bullied around my these tiny horses. He's so passive, unassuming and patient. Obviously lowest on the food chain.

And then she tells us how she came across Mike. And it was over from there. Mike came to her from her friend, who's neighbor had lost their house. They moved out and left Mike behind without food or water. The neighbor couldn't care for him, so she called her friend with other small animals and he was rescued. The woman we got him from was unable to keep him long-term and needed to re-home him. So, that's the story of Mike. That, and he scares the crap out of my horse and the neighbor's horses. And he likes to bray (that's donkey for winnie) at 5:00am. Oh well.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Big Moments!!

 This weekend was full of SO many new, cool things! Let's start with Colt's MAJOR milestones! I just can't believe how cute and wonderful he is. He's getting such a great little personality and is getting really good at grabbing things and pulling them into his mouth.

 Starting at about three months he slept through the night for the first time. I didn't, however, because I was up all night wondering if he was still breathing because he wasn't waking me up all the time. I think I spoke to soon about "how amazing he is - he already sleeps through the night!" because not a week later we were back to up 2x each night. Well, thanks to a genius plan by my friend Kristin who swore it really worked, we have a baby who has slept through the night since last Wednesday! After reading the material she sent and thinking it was very counter intuitive, Todd and I gave it a try. And it was amazing. He slept 12 hours. And has every night since. So, that's major milestone #1.

 Milestone #2 came yesterday. I had Colt on his stomach for some tummy time (he's sooooo close to crawling..) and one second he was propped up on his arms, then the next he was rolled over!! He wouldn't do it again and hasn't since, but I'm considering that a milestone!!! Houston, we have movement.

 Here are some more pics of the cutie-pie! I'll try to keep posting current pictures because he's changing so much now.

This one is from about two weeks ago, when he was about 5 months. I can't believe how much he's changed since then!

Some tummy time!  Doesn't he look so mischieveous?

How can that just not melt your heart??

Todd hates pictures of him when he's covered in food, but I think this one is just so cute! This was his first helping of rice cereal. And, although it doesn't look like he got much in his mouth, he did. He loves to hold the spoon himself (he can't scoop up anything and usually ends up putting it too far into his mouth and gagging - so I usually muscle the spoon away from him.) Cereal time is generally always followed by bath time!


Can You Say Freak Show?

I had to include this as a post because the small side-bar picture just didn't do it justice. I realize it's unusual to find one dog that likes to ride on a 4-wheeler, but two? Griz loves it - my dad even custom built the box on the back so he can "ride comfortably." Lucy, our friend Stephanie's dog, obviously also likes to ride on the 4-wheeler. Classic. In case you were wondering: Griz and Lucy are dating. She brings out the puppy in him.

Colt didn't object to it when I was pregnant and he doesn't seem to hate it now either!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

You Learn Something New Every Day.

Night before last Todd was entertaining Colt by grabbing his toes one at a time and doing the "This Little Piggy" thing with him.  You know: This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none. And this little piggy cried wee wee wee all the way home. And now, having reached adulthood, I find several things seriously wrong with this nursery rhyme:
  1. Crying "wee wee wee." Did he pee on himself? How did he know where he lived in the first place? Didn't he leave in a trailer? How could he see where they went?
  2. The one eating roast beef. Gross. Although, if you'll remember correctly our pigs did eat the raw turkey neck at Christmas, remember? Still. Come on. Gross.
  3. The one that went to the market. I had always assumed that by saying he went to the market one meant he was shopping for produce at, you know, The Market. Not so. He went to the market to be slaughtered. And we tell our kids this like its funny? Not funny "ha ha", funny creepy.
So now I have to seriously reconsider even telling this nursery rhyme to our son. When you break it down they're kinda creepy.
  • Wee Willy Winky? Pervert. Why does he care where your kids are?
  • Hey Diddle Diddle. Diddle this. The dish and the spoon? Running? Right.
  • Jack Sprat? Weird. I guess opposites DO attract.
  • Jack and Jill? SURE they were fetching water. 'Cause that's what kids do nowadays.
  • and I could go on and on. Seriously?
What kind of nutso turns pig slaughtering into a fun rhyme?

Monday, March 1, 2010

When it Rains...

Flash back over ten years ago:

 After purchasing my first motorcycle (a cool maroon-ish color Honda) and finally building enough strength to heave it onto the center stand (because what good is a motorcycle if you aren't strong enough to put it on the kickstand?) I was ready for my maiden voyage.
  I distincly remember my first ride on the freeway: my dad and I were taking a left turn onto the Sunset on-ramp. I was so nervous to get on the freeway considering the majority of my riding experience up to that point included parking lots and country roads. My dad assured me it would be alright - just take it easy, keep up with traffic, don't get caught in the grooved pavement (it can tip you over), don't get in the left lane, we're only going two exits then we're getting off, stay right behind me, don't forget to turn off your blinker (they're not self-cancelling), if we get separated I'll pull over and wait, look out for loose gravel and bridge decking and good luck. Right.

All that went out the window. Because, as we headed on to the on-ramp, there was a Jeep completely engulfed in flames pulled off on the shoulder. Right on. 'Cause that's not distracting....

 After that, we planned a long weekend trip to Winthrop to visit some friends. It was early summer and the weather was still unpredictable. We headed out under cloudy and very threatening skies. It wasn't long before it just started to pour rain on us. Let's just say I wasn't really dressed for the occasion. Jeans and a cheap leather jacket do nothing to combat road spray. As we head in to hour #2 of our voyage my dad (riding ahead of me) pulls into a gas station with covered parking, stops, looks at me and the following conversation happened:

Dad: "I thought we'd stop so you could put on your rain gear."
Me: "I didn't bring it."
Dad: "What?"
Me: "I didn't bring it."
Dad: "Why?"
Me: "I didn't think it was going to rain."
Dad: "But it was raining when we left."

Point taken. I rode the remaining 100 miles in the pouring rain without even so much as a mumble about how totally uncomfortable I was. I knew there was no sympathy coming from him, considering he was the one who bought me the rain gear in the first place.

Flash forward: Last weekend.

 Gone are the days of the Honda, replaced with (what I think) is a much cooler, faster and louder Harley Sportster. Gone also are the days of a motorcycle that doesn't leak oil. The Harley (as cool as I may think it is) has a serious piddle problem. Friday afternoon I had to deliver the bike to a shop on South Lake Samish. (A good 45 minute ride from home.) And it was pouring rain. We've had the warmest, dryest February that anyone can remember and I had to ride my motorcycle in the flipping pouring rain. So, half way to the shop, absolutely drenched (not wet, drenched) I think to myself, "Wow. I should have worn my rain gear." Then I start laughing outloud to myself. Thank God my dad wasn't following in the car. He would have reamed me about how dumb that was.
 We arrive and I strip off my chaps which have protected my legs somewhat from the rain, but my crotch is absolutely soaked through. It looked like I pissed myself.
 And Todd says, "Why didn't you wear your raingear?"

Why didn't I wear my rain gear? Even I amaze myself sometimes with the stupid things I do.