Saturday, July 31, 2010

Great Free Coloring Pages

I've mentioned before that I'm a Crayola loyalist. I'm also on their email list and got a new email with some links to neat coloring pages. I went to their site and looked around and found some great things I didn't know were there!

Take the time to check it out, they have language arts, math, science and social studies pages that are educational and free to print out. There is also a section with some great pages for younger kids. Fun stuff!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh, Baby

I'll be 23 weeks pregnant tomorrow. Conventional wisdom holds that the first trimester is filled with exhaustion and nausea, the second trimester leaves you feeling more energetic and excited, and then the third trimester reverts back to exhaustion and discomfort. In honor of nearing that milestone, I've put together a little list

You might be nearing the third trimester of pregnancy if:
  • You keep crackers and a jar of peanut butter on your nightstand because you get hungry at night
  • Your bladder has taken it upon itself to get you closer to a newborn sleep cycle by waking you up 2 to 3 times a night
  • When your stomach and your bladder cooperate and let you sleep, baby decides to "kick" all night (seriously, those aren't kicks--I'd swear she's doing jumping jacks in there)
  • Rolling over in your sleep no longer happens--you fully wake up and the process of turning from your left side to your right side resembles a doing 3 point turn on a narrow road
  • The baby has grown enough to squish all your internal organs, but your skin hasn't yet accepted the fact that it needs to stretch, so completely inflating your lungs or holding your bladder for 2 straight hours are both out of the question
  • Your belly now forms a "shelf" (perfect for balancing a glass of milk for oreo dipping)
  • You suddenly think of 20 projects that need to be done RIGHT NOW. This is that "nesting instinct" everyone teases about and contrary to popular belief, it may have nothing to do with cleaning (I sew instead)
  • You notice your husband starting to nest (I never recognized this before since we had always just moved and home improvement projects really did need to get done, but now I see he's doing the same thing I do with sewing, only he focuses on woodworking projects)
  • You are grateful for all of these small discomforts...each day and each increase in discomfort means the baby is getting bigger and better able to handle life "on the outside"
And because my friends are all currently 2,000 miles away, here's the belly shot they've been bugging me for

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fee, Figh, Foe, Fum....

Didn't post yesterday because I spent a good chunk of the day getting ready for, going to, and researching details about Sedona's speech evaluation. We had been referred to a speech therapist at the rehab center when she went for her 3 year well check. I felt like her speech wasn't quite where it should be, but I wasn't sure if she was just at the tail-end of the normal range or if she was actually delayed. Her understanding, ability to form sentences and vocabulary are fine, but she's actually WAY behind on the pronunciation part. This is slightly fascinating because I understand her perfectly well and didn't actually hear all the errors she's making until I sat through the evaluation and really paid attention to the sounds they were testing her on. I think it's almost like I've learned a foreign language...she's very consistent in the sounds she uses, so I have no problem with it, but they're the wrong sounds, so people who aren't around her a lot will have a harder time understanding her. It's also slightly annoying because I've been asking about her speech (to every doctor she's seen, at well and sick visits) for at least 18 months now and just kept getting brushed off even though she never spoke for them.

She cooperated with the speech therapist wonderfully and even asked to go back today, so I think that's a good sign. Out of 61 sounds they tested on her, there are 38 she can't say correctly, so she's got a bit of work ahead of her. We'll be starting with therapy twice a week and we'll scale back if she picks it up quickly. We're starting with the "f", "v" and "th" sounds and she's already figured out how to make the "f" and "v" sounds consistently, but it's going to take her more work to put them in a word (she wants to use a "p" sound instead of "f" and a "b" sound instead of "v").

I'm glad we got in for an evaluation now instead of when she's older and I'm glad she's able to easily communicate with Josh, Sierra and I (usually one of the three of us understands her and can translate if there's confusion). Also glad she seems eager to work on it. Sierra has told her this will help her talk better so everyone understands her easier and she actually seems to like the idea and to want to get started making progress. It's gonna take a lot of work to get her back up to average for her age, but there are sooooo many worse things in life than pronunciation problems, I'm glad it's an easy, if time-intensive, fix.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back to Quilt Piecing!

Disclaimer: I am in no way a quilting expert. I have learned solely from trial and error (emphasis on error) and reading on the internet. I have only made 4 quilt tops and have hand quilted 1 top and machine quilted 4 tops. I am not saying everything I do is the right way to do it, just sharing what I've picked up so far. You'll probably learn best by trial and error too ;-)

Well, getting horrendously sick at the beginning of this pregnancy put a bit of a damper on my quilt making plans. Then, we actually moved to Montana and I realized we need those quilts even in July!! I finally had Josh set up my sewing table for me and show me where he had packed all the pieces to the quilts and I got to work on finishing them. We went through my fabric bins and found scraps big enough to use for the border of the spindrift quilt and I also got started on finishing out the piecing on the scrap happy quilt. Here's what I have so far on scrap happyEach of the blocks and the sashing in the rows are sewn together, but I haven't yet ironed the seams or joined the rows. This is 5 rows and there are 15 rows total (and in that picture, it's laying on my queen size bed...it's gonna be huge!). And I don't think I ever posted a picture of what my edge fabric was going to be on this one, so here's that (Sierra helped pick it, I think she did a good job!)

I'm planning to have the scrap happy top completely done and ready for quilting by the end of the week. It'll be interesting to get the backing for that one just right, it's the biggest quilt I've ever made and I'm pretty sure I'll have to piece 3 strips of fabric together to cover the back. I'm also pretty sure I'm going to hand quilt this one. I can't come up with a quilt pattern that compliments the quilt and can be done somewhat easily on my machine. What I have in mind would require so much starting and stopping, I think it'd actually be harder on the machine. Still mulling this over though.

The middle of the spindrift quilt is completely done, once I get the borders on (which will only take me a day or two...I'll post about it when I do it) it will be ready to quilt. I am planning to do that one on the machine.


Quilt Step One: Planning
Quilt Step Two: Cutting Fabric, Preparing Machine
Quilt Step Three: Piecing The Quilt
Quilt: Piecing, Continued
Quilt: More Piecing
Quilt: Scrap Happy Blocks Pieced
Quilt: Spindrift Pieced
Quilt Step Four: Sashing
Quilt Step Five: Border

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pits are the Pits

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a random tidbit about armpits.

I read recently that armpit stink is actually caused by what you eat. Now, traditionally, the theory is that armpit stink is caused by bacteria. So the logic was that since the entire surface of your skin is covered with bacteria, your whole body would smell like armpit if the traditional theory were true and instead the stink must be from your diet. While I agree that your diet has some affect, I have to call BS on de-bunking the bacteria theory because you also sweat in all different places around your body, so if it was purely diet that caused the stink, the rest of you would still smell like armpit.

In reality, there are two kinds of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine glands. Eccrine glands are all over your body and functioning from birth while apocrine glands are mostly in your armpit and groin area and become active at puberty (how many babies do you know with armpit stink?). The sweat these glands release is different. In particular, apocrine glands release sweat that contain proteins and fatty acids (eccrine gland sweat does not). When bacteria on the skin metabolize these proteins and fatty acids, an odor is produced. While I can totally agree that diet may play a part here, the reality is that the type of glands and the bacteria are quite important as well.

So where am I going with all this? A handy little tidbit that can help you out on a hot day. Let's say you're at work or a friend's house, or driving to the store and you suddenly realize that...well, you STINK. Running to the bathroom and splashing water on your underarms or wetting a paper towel to wipe them down won't do anything. Killing the bacteria will. If you carry around hand sanitizer, a little bit on your fingers and quick swipe across the 'pits will kill the bacteria and kill the smell for a while (the little alcohol wipes work just as well). This probably isn't good for your skin, but can definitely save your pride. I've been known to toss the bottle of Purel at my poor husband after a hike to avoid stinking up the car, and I've used this trick quite a bit myself (come on, I'm from Texas....does any deodorant hold up to those 105 degree days??).

Should you want to learn more about sweat, Discovery Health has a good tutorial.

Nesting, Nesting, Nesting...

I'd say today was definitely a nesting day. Lots of cleaning and residual unpacking tasks were taken care of. Josh and I copied and organized almost 10 weeks worth of homeschool lessons (more on that later) and I got out the quilts I was too sick to finish in Texas. Pictures of the quilts coming in a few days...I think I will probably finish the tops by the end of the week. I also discovered Serving Pink Lemonade which has WAY too many super cute, awesome ideas that could keep me crafting for weeks. I'm also getting the itch to start sewing diapers (again, more on that later). But first...the quilts! We sleep with a window open so the house can cool down (there's no A/C), but by morning it's 68 in our room most days, so we're already in need of the quilts!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reverse Pet-Peeves

If I'm going to post my pet peeves about other people, it's only fair that I also take the time to tell about those things I do that drive other people nuts, right? So here goes:
  • I regularly deny my children candy because it's almost dinner time, then turn around and sneak candy for myself (like, within minutes).
  • If a medical question comes up, I cannot shut up. Granted, I do make sure my information is either very factual and evidence-based or I specify that I'm not sure of the accuracy, but still, sometimes I should just shut up. I'm getting better...I catch myself typing out long responses to people and then deleting them and reminding myself, "really Kimberly, SHUT. UP."
  • If I'm mad at you, I won't tell you that I am or why I am unless you ask. Instead, I stew about it and stay up all night plotting the conversation we should've had in my head and my side of that conversation gets snarkier and nastier the longer I stew. I know, I'm SO mature.
  • I honestly just don't have interest in having a huge group of friends. All my life I've stuck close to a small circle of people and I like it that way. My shy, loner tendencies are likely to rub off on my kids and I don't really like that.
  • I'm not outspoken and honest enough about what I think (and if you think I am......whoo doggie! You should hear the things I talk to Josh about)
  • I wish I was 2 and could stomp my feet about the unfairness of how short our lives are and it would make a difference. There's not enough time to do all the cool things there are to do and it sucks to have to pick and choose. I'm too easily fixated on what I'm missing out on when I choose one thing over something else.
  • I'm not a "good" housewife....laundry, dishes, sweeping, even cleaning off the table only happen when they absolutely HAVE to happen. To make matters worse, my tolerance for mess is much higher than my poor husband's.
  • While the laundry sits, I AM up to level 66 67 on FarmTown. That's just sad.
Alright, that's quite enough of the Kimberly bashing for one day. I would say you all could anonymously add to the list, but I can figure out where in the country your posting from (which would identify most of you, or at least put you on a very short list) so that's probably not a good idea. You know...that whole stewing and planning out snarky conversations thing...

Traveling on a Budget

One of my goals in life is NOT to be reliant on a huge paycheck. I don't want our family to ever feel like a six figure income is a NEED, because it's not. For the last two and a half years we were mostly getting by on one graduate student stipend though, so I DO like a little wiggle room to have some fun. Last summer we were very very fortunate to have a conference of Josh's happen near where his family lives and I was able to book a large lactation training in a location along the way at the perfect time to roll all of these events into one trip, plus use the money I made to fund everything. We had a fabulous time and I wrote a little bit about how we stretched that money into a 3 week road trip. Other than that, we didn't have enough income to fund a vacation budget, so we just really didn't hit the road much (unless it was to visit family or had help with the expenses) for the last few years. If the money's not there, don't spend it. Traveling will cost money, no way around it, and certain seasons in life require checking out all the cool free or cheap things in your own town rather than loading up for a road trip. That's just the way it is.

HOWEVER, now that Josh has graduated (WHOOP!) and his income almost doubled overnight, we suddenly DO have a travel budget. For now, we're setting aside $600/month for vacations. We also know our ability to travel will soon be limited by the new little girl about to join our family and the weather, so we want to stretch that money and get out as much as we can right now. So there are a few things we do to get some trips in without breaking the budget:

Road Trip: I'm not going to get into any sort of environmental argument, I'm purely talking finances here. Ever since Sedona turned 2 (which requires her to have her own seat on a plane), driving is almost always cheaper than flying for us. For long trips, I figure up our round trip gas and lodging costs, and look for the cheapest plane tickets and driving generally wins...even if you throw in extra money for wear and tear on the car. Sometimes time is an issue--a visit to see our families involves at least 6-8 days of driving time round trip, which makes flying more necessary, but if the time is there, driving is cheaper. I don't think I've ever considered flying somewhere that was within a 12 hour drive time.

Car Maintenance: I probably should be more worried about breaking down on the side of the road, but I grew up with a father who was a mechanic and we had our fair share of car trouble on trips while I was growing up. While it may have delayed us and caused frustration in the moment, it always turned out fine. I also married a guy who's proven quite competent at fixing anything that comes up and who always packs a tool kit and a maintenance manual. So, the car maintenance aspect is really all about gas mileage and not ruining the car to me. Especially with our most recent car (a 2000 Toyota Sienna), we've read a lot about how critical regular oil changes are to keeping the car running well, so we do them. Since we've purchased the car, we've driven enough to require an oil change much more frequently than every 3 months. At times, we've logged enough miles to require one every few weeks. It also important to change the air filter when it's needed and check the tires to be sure they're aired up properly. Of course, also make sure you have good tread on the tires, decent brakes, and all the fluid levels are okay.

Food: Food is a big expense on any trip. We like to eat out when we're on vacation and spend more than we typically would. Not for every meal and snack though. We generally pack a cooler and bag with plenty of our own things. On longer trips, we'll replenish at a grocery store, not a restaurant. Packing drinks, snacks and treats for the kids at home is a lot cheaper than buying it on the road. We'll often pack a lunch or the supplies to make lunch each day (usually just sandwiches and chips). If the kids are doing well, we'll eat while we drive. If we all need a break, we'll stop at a rest area and sit at a picnic table and let the kids run around a bit. It's not uncommon for us to pack a bag of powdered donuts (hey, it IS vacation, after all) for breakfast. We usually eat out for dinner unless we'll be in a campground that night.

Lodging: Speaking of campgrounds, camping is cheap. I admit, there's quite a bit of upfront cost. Josh and I accumulated our camping gear over years, usually buying the big ticket items when there were big sales or 20% off one item coupons. We didn't skimp on the big ticket items--I'd rather pay more and have it last many many years than re-buy every year. For several years, we charged everything we bought to an REI credit card and then paid off the balance each month. This earned us $200-$300 in REI dividend every year (dividend is just like a gift card). While we were on one low income, we did the same thing with a grocery store reward card to help with our daily food costs. Now we've switched to a hotel rewards card so we're earning free nights, which we're anticipating needing. I like a fancy hotel just as much as the next person, but there's a time and a place for it. If someone has agreed to keep the kids for a weekend, you can bet Josh and I will be in a fancy hotel, sleeping in and ordering room service. If we're actually on vacation, we're big fans of Country Inn and Suites, which is cheap enough to be reasonable, but has really nice beds, a pool for the kids, and has a great free hot breakfast, which saves on food costs (and besides that, if your kids are early risers, you just might get breakfast and snack time or even lunch out of the breakfast buffet). But back to camping...camping is a great way to stretch the budget. If you have an annual pass to the National or State parks that covers your entrance fee and you already have the camping gear, you can camp for about $15-$20 a night and no hotel's gonna come close to matching that. Camping also means you're likely to be away from a restaurant and probably won't be spending money on dinner. Depending on where you choose to camp, it can also double as another "attraction" to see on your way.

Choices: In the end, life is all about choices. We're thinking of taking a trip soon to a Great Wolf Lodge. The place is expensive (over $200/night), but the night's stay includes entrance to the huge indoor water park they have there. For this trip, Great Wolf is the big destination, but getting there will be easier if we stop somewhere for a night along the way. So we have a choice to make....we could stay at a typical, $80/night hotel in a random town; we could use our hotel reward points to get a hotel room free or cheap; or we could pay $15 to camp at Mt. Ranier National Park and also be adding an interesting destination into our trip. Mt. Ranier could be a trip all on it's own, but in this case, it was just an after thought...a cheap place to stay so we could better afford our main destination. We haven't made a definitive plan yet (actually, we haven't even decided for sure if we're going to go...it's a lot of driving to cram into a weekend and we don't generally push a lot of driving hours into one day). But we have choices to make about how we want to spend our money to make the trip the most fun for us while still staying in budget.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baby Update

Well, it looks like I'm going to have to add a "man cave" category to the budget so Josh can build himself a retreat to get away from all the estrogen that will be in this house. Yup, another girl on the way!!! I have to admit, I'm a little relieved. I've always felt like this one was a girl--had a much stronger gut feeling than I did with my other pregnancies. While I had that nagging doubt in the back of my mind that I could be wrong, I would've been REALLY shocked if it'd been a boy. So, it turns out the at-home test we did a couple of months ago was correct (I've read in some places that girl results have a higher accuracy rate than boy results): At Home test taken at 11 weeks gestation, confirmed by ultrasound at 21w6d gestation

I know, ultrasound pictures look a little weird, but here's what we've got for now:She kept her hands up by her face (like a boxer would) so we didn't get a profile picture, but this is looking out (like if she was laying on her left side)
One of the prettiest pictures to me...this is a cross section showing there are 4 chambers to her heart, plus we listened to each valve in the heart and everything looked great
Another of the prettiest pictures: her head and brain look just like they should at this point. She's following in Sedona's footsteps with a big ol' noggin

I also had my CBC done and that came back just fine. I was borderline low on iron, so I'll be a little more careful about my diet and my midwife will recheck it towards the end of the pregnancy so we have an up to date number before I deliver.

Now that we know it's a girl, I have more people guessing names. We will not tell a name until she's born. We do have a first name picked out though and we're closing in on a middle name. Well, I say we have a name...Sierra was supposed to be Dakota until about 2 weeks before she was born, so we could change our minds. This little girl's name will fit in with her sister's sound-wise. Since we like somewhat unusual names, I like at least one of the names to be "normal" (even if it may not be on a top-20 list). Contrary to popular belief, Sierra and Sedona were just names we liked, nothing more to it than that (and no...I did NOT know they were the names of cars until AFTER I agreed to them!). Their middle names are tributes to rock climbers who are important to Yosemite climbing history (side note: Even though we don't currently climb, Josh and I met rock climbing, then after we had each separately moved to Utah, we crossed paths again in Little Cottonwood Canyon rock climbing, then I tagged along on a climb he was planning in Yosemite and the turns that very long day took bonded us together much quicker than regular ol' dating could have. Climbing is an important part of our history, we'd like to get back to it as the kids get older and we would be happy to help them get started on it if they choose to.) Sierra's middle name is Robbin (after Royal Robbins) and Sedona's is Lynn (after Lynn Hill). That's about all the naming hints you're getting. And I haven't decided for sure, but I'd probably lie and say you were wrong even if you guessed right (though no one has yet...)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

50/50


Sedona went for her 3 year well check today. She was 25th percentile height and weight, which is on par with what she's been for a while now. She walks correctly, doesn't have scoliosis and isn't bow-legged. So yay for all that! My main question this time around was about her speech development...she clearly understands what we say and she has a lot to say herself, but I wonder if her mechanics of actually forming the sounds is a little behind. I can usually understand her, but I still find myself translating for her even for Josh quite a bit and I wasn't sure if that was just "late-normal" (both girls were late talkers) or actually delayed. So the doc made us an appointment with the speech therapist to get her evaluated next week. She said she figured it was better to go ahead and check it out because it's better to start any necessary intervention early.

Also, there are no pediatricians in town (actually, our landlord was the only pediatrician and he JUST retired), so we were at a family practice office. Since my midwife needs me to get a CBC done, I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask about that while I was there. Much to my surprise, they didn't give me any grief at all about it and didn't even make me schedule my own appointment, they just had the lab tech draw my blood right then and will fax the results to my midwife. I also asked about an ultrasound. A lot of home-birthing women skip them, but I like the reassurance that all the big things are pretty much in working order....I want to know there's a brain, 4 chambers to the heart, 2 kidneys and the bladder is open (showing the kidneys work). Also to my surprise, they had no problem scheduling that for me too. So I'm going in tomorrow afternoon and we'll all get a peek. I've been on the fence about whether to find out the gender or not (Sierra was a surprise, Sedona was not--but we kinda accidentally found out with her). Right now, I'm leaning towards finding out so that we have something concrete to tell the girls and can clear out all the girly stuff if it's a boy. If the tech can't get a really good look or is at all unsure, I don't want to know and it's highly unlikely we'd have another ultrasound, so it's a one-shot thing. So, that's scheduled for 3pm tomorrow. Anyone who'd like to place bets has about 19 hours to do so. For the record, I think it's a girl....which makes me think it's really a boy ;-)

Kid's Sleeping Bags

We ordered the girls their own sleeping bags this week. We primarily wanted something warm and relatively cheap. We ended up going with the Eureka Lady Bug Sleeping Bag for both of them. We also looked at the Eureka Lightning Bug. We chose the Lady Bug over the Lightning Bug because it's rated down to 30 degrees, whereas the Lightning Bug is only 45 degrees. Since 40 degree nights (or colder) are not at all unheard of up here, even in the summer, we figured we needed the extra warmth. Also, the Lightning Bug would have only saved us $4, which wasn't worth it. The reviews hint that there may be problems with how the bag holds up. I'll have to check back in after we use them a while, but frankly, at $30, I wouldn't mind buying a new one in a year or two anyway. Compared to what mine and Josh's bags are worth, these are a steal and I don't expect them to last forever.
So the bags came today and I got them out to look them over. The specs from the box:
  • Length: 66"
  • Width: 26" chest/ 18" feet
  • Carry Weight: 2lbs 8oz (I double checked this on my baby scale...exactly right, includes the stuff sack the bag comes with)
  • Fill: ThermaShield (polyester)
  • Cover and Liner Fabric: 68D 190T polyester taffeta
  • Zipper: 2 way (will unzip from the neck or the feet)
Another thing I read in a review was that when the hood is cinched down, the cord could get wrapped around the child's neck. This is definitely concerning, but I'm not sure of a way to definitely remedy it without losing the ability to cinch down the hood (which is important in cold weather to keep their head warm). I'm thinking of a way I could modify it to get the cord out of the way, but leave it usable---maybe a patch of velcro added to the underside of the bag and the end of the cord so it's not just lose, or maybe running elastic cord through there would cut down on the excess that was sticking out when the hood is cinched. At two and a half pounds, it's also definitely NOT light. But again, we're only car camping at this point in time. If we got serious about doing a lot of backpacking, I would probably go look for light weight down bags for them (and probably also pay dearly for the added benefit).

For reference, this is the bag I have (I don't think they make it anymore, I got it about 8 years ago), which I like because I can just pack the part I need for the weather I'll be in. Josh has something similar to this (that's not the exact one, his is even older and definitely not on the market anymore). When Sedona was just over a year old, we were camping in November and we used a down jacket as a sleeping bag for her....works great for itty-bitties. I can't remember specifically now, but I want to say we put Sierra (in a regular sleeping bag) between Josh and I (so our down bags were on either side of her). Also important to put a decent cold weather hat on them when it's really cold and there's no sleeping bag hood for them.

If you're interested in the Lady Bug or Lightening Bug but don't like the purple/pink combination, there are also more boyish versions available...they're called the Grasshopper (green, same as the Lady Bug) and the Minnow (yellow, same as the Lightening Bug).

Should the blog disclosure police get after me.....Eureka has no idea who I am and I was not provided a single thing for writing about this. Purchased the bags with my own money and thought I'd share the information ;-) All links to Amazon from this blog are now affiliate links and will provide me with a small commission if you make any purchases through them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pet Peeve Time

It's time for another airing of the pet peeves so maybe I can stop stewing over it (well, at least a little bit).
  • I get that the weather up here is typically pretty mild. I get that you can leave your dog in the car most of the year without worrying about them overheating. But I'm sorry, it's NOT okay to leave your 5 or 6 year old in the car alone. Aside from them being big enough to wander off, or accidentally put the car in gear, or be kidnapped, or be inadvertently kidnapped if someone steals your car, I assure you that the inside of your car will very rapidly warm to unsafe temperatures when it's sitting in the sun and it's 90 degrees outside. The relatively mild weather does not magically protect you from this heating phenomenon us Texans know so well.
  • Scary homeschool people. I've talked to quite a few nice, down to earth homeschoolers (really, they exist! I hope I'm one of them). What I haven't found is a homeschool message board or list serve that isn't completely overrun with outrageous, completely false email forwards. I'm not talking about people discussing opinions (which I'm WAY okay with), just generic forwards that would take all of 10 seconds to discredit. It scares me that these people are solely responsible for their children's education when they have so little discernment and/or fact-checking ability. Of course, I know plenty of teachers that pass on the same things, so it's a bit of a lose-lose.
  • Towns using a major highway as a main thoroughfare. The only highway in this area goes right through town. It's mostly unavoidable if you want to go anywhere. Every weekend, it's nearly impossible to get around because that road is so busy and there aren't many left turn lights. Even worse, the speed limit through town is only 25, which the locals (I assume) adhere to while the vacationers that are just passing through (again, I assume) try to get away with 35 or 40, so the spacing between cars is all jacked up and openings in traffic are few and far between.
  • Teenagers that think they're edgy and cool. Seriously guys, it was bad enough in College Station, but you live in a tiny town in Montana...you're about as non-scary as you could possibly get.
  • People who habitually spend money on unnecessary things then claim they just can't make ends meet. It's called a budget. Make one, embrace it, save up for the things you're going to buy. If you choose to spend $300 a month on hair/nails/waxing/make-up (or a multitude of other non-food/shelter/medical care things), more power to you, just don't turn around and complain that you just CAN'T find the money for something else you want. The money was there, you made your choice, live with it.
  • "West-Mex". What's up with that? You don't serve tater tots with a taco. I've yet to find decent Mexican food around here and I just don't have the energy to make my own enchiladas at the moment.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Success

I think
it's safe to say
Sedona enjoyed
her birthday

And another tidbit of information...pregnancy might be one of the worst possible times to royally fry the skin on your shoulders. You can't lay on your stomach because the baby's in the way. You can't lay on your back because it makes you feel icky and it's bad for the baby. Laying on either side is the only option, which requires you to just suck it up and deal with the pain of smooshing your sunburned shoulder into the bed. My arms and legs are fine now, but my shoulders are still very red. They feel bruised and are starting to blister. But all it took was some pink frosting, a jar of sprinkles, a new nightgown and blindingly shiny shoes to make a 3 year old's day, so life is good.

Monday, July 19, 2010

THREE??

I can't believe it was a whole three years ago that I had finally decided I might just be pregnant until August..which wouldn't have been anything special, but I had already been 5cm dilated and 100% effaced for weeks and my body just doesn't seem to want to hold onto babies for 40 weeks. The night of July 19, my water broke at 10:30pm. It's actually fairly uncommon for labor to start with your water breaking and when it does happen, it tends to be a trickle. My girls both like dramatics though...both of my labors started with a loud popping sound akin to snapping a carrot in half (it's audible to other people) and a gush of fluid. I sure am glad it happened at night and at home both times! Within a few hours (I was already half-way there, after all), our little family of three became a family of four:By her first birthday, she had learned to crawl, walk, say a few words, sign quite a lot of words, and eat cake:
By her second birthday, she was ready to start pre-school, saying a few more words and playing well with her big sister:
And now, she has about ten-million things to say, is fully potty trained, has no fear of actual scary things, is terrified of flies, and loves playing chutes & ladders and hi-ho cherry-o:
She has had us practicing singing "happy birthday to you" for weeks and is very much looking forward to PINK cake and candles tomorrow. She seems less enthused about the presents, but I'm sure she'll come around once she starts opening them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Darby Logger Days


We actually liked watching those lumberjack competitions that come on ESPN when we had cable, so when we heard a little homegrown version happens in the next town over every summer, we were determined to go! Darby Logger Days was this weekend and we spent the whole day out there. It was hot and sunny and I (but not the kids for some reason??) burned to a crisp. Oh so fun though!The women's single cross-cut saw competitionOne of the hot saws...chainsaw on some serious steroids
Lady doing some chainsaw carving
Sierra in the watermelon eating contest

We thought she was too young, but looks like we should have gone ahead and thrown Sedona in the 6&under category
Pole climbing competition
Sierra (blue hat) in the 6&under tug of war
Obstacle pole competition...they have to run to the end of the log holding a chainsaw, start the chainsaw and cut the end off, then run back down without falling off at all
Spring board competition...They cut a notch with an ax, put a board in it, stand on that board and cut another notch for a 2nd board, then stand on THAT board and chop the top of the log off. The guy in black is 68 years old and the guy in blue is 66Ax throwing. Try to hit the center of the target. Guy on the far right is throwing (he happens to be the son of the guy in the blue shirt above...his dad was also in the finals for this competition). I circled the ax in the second picture. For kids 12 and up, they do a tomahawk throwing competition


Standing block chop--chop the block in half
Cookie stack--cut "cookies" off the log, but keep them stacked up without touching them with anything other than the chain saw
Jack and Jill cross cut saw--co-ed teams
One of the kid's events--the sawdust pile. There were toys, candy and gold and silver dollars buried in the sawdust pile. 2-4 year olds got to go first, then 5-9 year olds joined in, then 10-12 year olds
Sedona meticulously looking for what she wanted---candy
Poor Sierra managed to dig and dig through that sawdust and come up empty handed. She had a really good attitude about it though and was just thankful Sedona shared her prizes, so Josh and I surprised her by buying her this skirt at a booth. It was only $9 and made her day
My sunburn. Ouch. It's much more red in person. My legs also burned, which is very strange for me. Maybe it's a pregnancy thing? We did buy and put on 50spf sunscreen around noon.




A Trip to the River

It's actually getting hot enough to be considered summer here, so on Friday we decided to take our van down by the river to let the girls swim. This was a section of the Bitterroot River where there's a little parking lot and pathway down to the water and boy was it packed when we got there. Luckily, the sandy/beachy spot we had scoped out was open (most of it is covered in river rock, which is nice, but more slippery for the kids). The water was COLD. And I say that as someone who absolutely loves the original Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, TX and has complained about how cold THAT water is many a time.........nah, that was nothing. This was COLD. I was smart enough not to wear a swimsuit so I got away with only putting my feet in. Daddy wore his suit and got suckered into taking the girls out into the middle. He was the favorite parent of the moment, but I was warm!

Josh helping Sedona float in the current:

Sedona refusing to put her feet back down because floating in the river is fun:

Sierra being much more cautious about floating:


We also made it to the Farmer's Market this morning, which we've missed for the last couple of weeks. There are more goodies out and we came home with carrots, onions, cabbage, tomatoes and zucchini. A few pics from the stands:


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