Monday, June 29, 2009

What a weekend (Wait...don't I say that every weekend lately?!)

In abbreviated form, here's the low down:



Had to pick carrots and beets early due to a mystery rodent breaking in to the garden. Later spotted mystery rodent frolicking in the grass. Identity: another blasted groundhog! This means WAR.



Jeff frosted his hair. And every other part of his body. All while painting at the house.



I am huge. See photo on left.



The stuff we had for the yard sale. Sold approximately 4% of it. Made a whopping $68.50 for all the effort. Had a 'lovely' customer who lingered forever smoking a cigarette and asking obnoxious questions and prancing around in her undersized tank top and too short shorts and lack of a certain necessary supportive undergarment. Here is a sampling from our time with her:

Lady: When was this book written?
Me: Uh, you're going to have to check the copyright date.

Lady: Oh, a scanner, where's the other one?
Me: Its a scanner, not a walkie talkie. It doesn't have an 'other one'
Lady: I know its a scanner, but where is the other one?
Me: We don't have it. (Why argue at this point?)

Lady: Do you have any small clothes?
Candi: Uh, lady, you're only fooling yourself! You are a size ten wishing you were a size four. (***She really didn't say this, but that was what we were both thinking! We may have exchanged a few eye-rolls while the lady was busy picking through our stuff***)

And after the whole ordeal, which apparently included her putting her cigarette in my lawn (good thing I missed that!), she spent a whopping 50 cents and then asked for bubble wrap.





And a few miscellaneous pictures from last week.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What happened to this week?!

No more outings for me until the baby is born, darn it! This week has been nuts. What day is it, anyway? Tuesday my sister came down and spent the day. It was absolutely glorious, but totally tiring. We started at 9:30 am, and by 3:00 pm, we had successfully made a batch of Blueberry Lime Jam, a batch of Blue-barb Jam (isn't that fun to say?!), and a batch of sugar cookies rolled in Lavendar-infused sugar. The verdict? Yum. Except the lavendar sugar wasn't exactly as potent as I'd expected. Somewhere in there we managed to talk about just about everything under the sun, and then some. By the end of the day, I felt like I was going to collapse. The next day just so happened to be a busy day too. A friend of mine has a membership to a CSA and they had unlimited strawberry picking. We went there with the kids and attempted to pick strawberries. I say attempted, because my efforts were interrupted twice due to James experiencing tummy troubles and porta-potty fears. This involved me trekking hurriedly across several muddy fields with James in tow to reach the outhouse in time, twice. Overall, it was very fun, but of course it wore me out even more. Now I have three big quarts of strawberries sitting in my fridge waiting to be made into jam. That, and I have to price a few more mountains of stuff for my yard sale tomorrow. Phew! I need to be done with all this busyness so I put my feet up for at least 2.49845 seconds before Cheepa arrives!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BIG NEWS!!!

No, I am not in labor. But, today I just cashed the first check, courtesy of our tenant's insurance company, for the damages caused. They still owe some, but it sure feels good to have some money from them. We didn't charge them nearly what we should've, but we mainly wanted to recoup our out of pocket expenses without having big issues with trying to get payment.

And.........our not-a-rental-anymore house will officially go up on the market FOR SALE tomorrow!!!!! What a relief that will be!

Toast, Anyone? (A Questionable Franch Tale)


Out West, you can find a fine delicacy served under the names ‘Rocky Mountain Oysters,’ ‘Prairie Oysters,’ ‘Calf Fries,’ ‘Cowboy Caviar,’ or by my two new favorite names ‘Montana Tendergroins,’ or ‘Swinging Beef.’ This delicacy is usually battered and fried, and served up as a tasty appetizer. Jeff and I have both had these oysters in the past, and let me tell you, they are not seafood. Click here if you haven’t heard. To be honest, they are actually not bad at all, if you can get past what you are eating. (I can’t really do that.) We have a friend out here who said he would eat them if I would cook them, but finding them is nigh on to impossible. I once asked someone if they knew where I could find some, and he proceeded to direct me to a seafood store. He had no idea what I was talking about! Last week, the subject came up with Jeff’s coworkers. Jeff informed them that he had, indeed, dined on a few calf fries in his day. Apparently, Jeff’s coworker was so repulsed that even that night, he could not eat his dinner. Instead he had a piece of toast and called it a night.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mud = Loads of Fun and Mountains of Laundry



The weekend started off innocently enough. The sun finally came out and we went strawberry picking. However, weeks of what seems like non-stop drizzle, plus a strawberry field, plus two little kids equals either a muddy mess, or a lot of fun, depending on who you ask. Honestly, I was happy when the kids found the mud puddle to play in because it kept them from trying to pick and/or eat all the rotten strawberries they could find. Why was it that they managed to avoid all the nice looking strawberries?



Katie was the first to discover the mud puddle, and soon they were squishing and splashing and getting their crocs stuck in the mud. After a while, James spotted a road cone off in the distance, and sweetly led his sister by the hand so they could go see it.



Behold, the road cone. Nothing could be more fascinating. In the meantime I was rapidly trying to pick strawberries while they were entertaining themselves.



In the end, they were a very muddy mess and required, unfortunately, the towel I only thought I had in the truck. Oops. Wipes would just have to work. The pictures do not do justice to just how muddy they were, and believe it or not, we did make an appearance at the fabric store like that on the way home. Don't tell anyone.



The end result of the strawberry picking adventure (and a while spent over a hot stove) was this: seven jars of strawberry rhubarb jam! The first jam of the season, and just in time, because we are actually getting very low.

Saturday afternoon was spent with friends, including a surprise visit from one of our Colorado compadres! It rained enough to soak our kids, and James spent his time running around after his friends and jumping on the trampoline, all while trying to hold up his water-logged and too-loose Wranglers. And while they had lots of fun, they weren't done with soggy messes just yet! Here are a few pictures of our Sunday afternoon. (Jeff spent his Father's Day putting in a new bathroom floor at the house of stress. Nice way to spend Father's Day, huh?)




In what was innocently supposed to be a romp in the yard, James discovered none other than a mini mud-pit in the yard. Faster than a speeding bullet, he had successfully covered his arms in mud. Katie met him at the mud hole and they proceeded to paint each other with mud and have a grand ol' time. When they were done, I went to spray them off with the hose, and James said 'What hose, Mommy?' Well, yes, that is a good question, James. In fact, as even my 3.5 year old knew, the hose was at the 'other house,' being used for the power washer. To quote Jeff, 'Nice, Megan, nice.' So, I used a card from my mom's playbook and made them strip down at the door. I then carried them through the house and dumped them straight in the tub. And at the end of this mud-filled weekend, this is what I have been left with:



A very dirty tub. And some very happy, albeit tired, kids.



Thus ends the longest and most rambling photo post ever.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Random Photographs



Check it out! I had to thin my beets and carrots some more, and the beets were actually 'big enough' to cut open. (by big enough, I mean the slices are somewhere between the size of a dime and a nickle) Surprise! They really do have red and white stripes!! How cool is that? I put the tiny little slices in my omelet last night, and it made me feel so clever. Except that they tasted like dirt. I am not a fan of beets, but I am determined to like them! When I get some of actual size, I am going to try roasting them. Any other suggestions? Also in the jar, Purple Dragon Carrots, which are actually....you guessed it, purple! I can't wait!



Here is the view from here. My feet? I think they are under there somewhere.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Whoa!

Only 29 days to my due date!! Can it be?

Total Sweetness

Last night we had a wonderful surprise visit from my sister Rachel and bro-in-law Phil. As usual, it was full of hilarious conversation. When they first arrived, we had just put the kids to bed. James requested kisses from Auntie Rach and Uncle Phil, and they happily obliged. All the while, Katie was busy screaming at the top of her lungs in her crib. Normally, she doesn't cry at all when she goes to bed, but she was very tired, and was ticked off that she couldn't do something-or-other before bed. She wouldn't even let me rock her. So needless to say, she was madder than a hornet and screaming LOUDLY. After a long day of cranky kids, and also knowing that she was pretty much inconsolable, I was resigned to hearing her crying till she dropped off to sleep. Not that I wanted to hear her cry, but sometimes it seems there is nothing to be done. But try telling that to an Auntie and Uncle! It is very hard to listen to a baby scream, I know, and they couldn't take it. First, Rachel came and stood by the door. Katie must have sensed her there or something, because she stopped crying. After a few minutes, Phil came over and told Rachel she needed to just go sit down. Well, let me tell you! That was just a ploy to get Rach out of the way so he could stand by the door. After much shooshing and whispering, Katie was still not asleep but not crying either. I told Phil he had better just go in and rock her to sleep. Well, he jumped at that! We could hear him in there rocking her and humming and telling her stories. It was very sweet. She took the bait and let Uncle Phil rock her right to sleep! Phil told us afterward that he told her the story of Daniel Boon, but that he didn't know how accurate it was! :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kansas Balls and Spicy Hair

Sometimes kids will say things for weeks, or months, before you realize what they actually mean. Yesterday I had the 'Eureka!' moment where I finally figured out what on earth James has been talking about. For about six weeks, James has been referring to 'Kansas balls'. I thought maybe this was something he picked up on Old Yeller, since he began saying it around the same time as he watched the movie. The context of the phrase is usually something like 'I shoot Kansas balls at you!' Or 'I'm gonna shoot that bird with a Kansas ball!' Last night, we were asking him what a Kansas ball was. 'You know,' he said, 'the things the pirates shoot!' Duh. Canon balls. Another James-ism has been 'spicy hair'. This morning he said 'Katie has spicy hair, Mom.' Every now and then he asks for his hair to be spicy. Now this one didn't take much figuring out; he meant 'spiky.' Pretty soon Katie, and even Cheepa will be adding to the verbal translation fun and I'll have to change the name of my James Commentary column!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Finally.....The Before and After Pictures!

Its Monday...

...and I am actually happy about that. After a crazy weekend of house painting, Monday seems a welcome reprieve from the weekend. I think I still have my sanity, but I could use some rest! To recap, we spend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the 'old house,' formally known as the Pit of Despair or the Rental House. We bought a sprayer (which is totally worth the money), and went to town painting the house. I shouldn't say we. I was more of the runner/helper/kid wrangler/landscaper/misc. type person. We had a lot of wonderful help, including my dad and a bunch of people from church. Oh, and our realtor came over and did some weedwacking! Yeah for our realtor! Thanks to all our helpers, we have succeeded in nearly finishing the entire house (pictures to come), mowing the lawn, doing some needed cleaning inside (light fixtures, etc.) and even one shed has been painted (except trim). I was also able to pull out all weeds, plant flowers, put down mulch, rearrange the bricks out front, and pick up a few more handfuls of broken glass. Phew! We are all exhausted, but very grateful for all the progress that was made, and for all the kind people who used their weekend to help us get 'r done!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Now is the time when I subject you to 286 pictures.....


On the left, you will note our lovely gray and red rental house. On the left, you can see an example of Jeff's new faux-finishing technique 'le Beverly Hill Billy.'



Next up we have a lovely shot of Jeff with his 'I can't believe I have the privilege of painting this house' look; on the right, our lovely model (in my childhood sunbonnet) is showing off the progression from 'le Beverly Hill Billy' to a new paint job.



Here is our trusty assistant extraordinaire, commonly known as Chappy. He and Jeff have a nice system going and they are kicking some house-painting-butt!






My yard sale HAUL!!!!! I stopped at one yard sale this morning. Do you know how hard it is to pass up yard sales?! But I was good, and only stopped at one. Boy, am I glad I did. I got all of the clothing shown above (4 pairs of shoes, 5 dresses, 12 outfits, and 5 other clothing items), all of which have no stains, and are name brand (even Gymb0ree) for...drumroll, please....$13 bucks! I am so thrilled I can't even stand it!



Here are a few embroidery projects I have going on. On the left is a project for a swap I am doing. It is going to be made into a tote bag, and is inspired by my swap partner's favorite artist. On the right is a tea towel I finished for my friend from high school who is getting married next week (!!!)


ERIN: If you are reading this, STOP HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We must not spoil the Super Secret Project Maxwell....just keep checking your mailbox!













Here is an apron I made for my friend Erin. She likes to cook, she appreciates handmade stuff, and she has a cool dog named Maxwell. Somehow this idea popped into my head and I just had to make it for her. So, I busted out the vintage rick-rack, some funky green fabric and my embroidery thread. I am really happy with it. I hope she likes it!
Good morning, everyone! Welcome to the Newspapers and Broccoli Show! Apparently the blog gnomes have visited the blog overnight because it appears I have a new header. I think I have Jeffrey to thank for that. At least, I don't think James did it, and Jeff did stay up late last night messing around on the computer. So, thanks Jeff! You have mad skillz!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

35 Days or. ???

Thirty five days til D-day, delivery day that is. At least until my 'estimated due date.' So far, my track record is early. James was 14 days early, Katie was 7. That means, hypothetically, I could have Cheepa in 21 days, or in 28 days, or something in that neighborhood. It won't be long, that's for sure. For now, I'll worry about getting the rental house on the market, cleaning my family room, having my yard sale (please don't rain!!) and maybe somewhere in there I should pack a hospital bag. I'm not sure my technique of packing my bag while in labor is going to work with this one.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More Progress Indoors and Out




Cleaning James' room out involved shoveling out massive piles of M@tchbox cars and random bits, while stepping on sharp little corners of plastic dinosaurs and blocks. James has a bit of a problem napping in his room; he gets distracted. While he is quiet as a mouse, he is really pulling out all his clothes, and toys and books and making a chaotic mess. His room reallllllllllly got out of hand. Candi, you can laugh. You've seen it. I was past caring for a while, because, well a) rental house, and b) why clean it up when it was going to happen all over again. But, I knew I had to act. This included sorting all the toys, stashing some in the closet and others in the yard sale pile. Its like lock-down now. No sharp objects, no shoelaces, and certainly no more plastic dinosaurs! I have been telling James as soon as his room was organized and clean, we would get Curi0us Ge0rge wall stickers for him. Although I am not a huge fan of the cluttered, I-live-inside-my-sticker-book look, it grew on me real fast when James saw it and jumped wildly on his bed squealing and saying 'I love my new room! Its so pretty!' and taking his stuffed animals around to see the Ge0rge stickers. It was worth the 9.99.



And outside the garden is doing fabulously! The beans are growing, my tomatoes are going wild (need to stake those buggers somehow, and fast!), peppers are coming along, and so is everything else. Check out how bushy those tomato plants are! I can't believe I started those puppies from seed! I can't wait to see how they all come out.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Katie Update

Katie had her CHOP appointment this morning at 7:45 am. Somehow I survived driving in Philly with rush hour, detours, road closings, a flooded road, and getting lost. The doctor is happy with her hip. While the hip angle (of the socket) hasn't really changed, it hasn't gotten worse (which apparently it can). The femur is growing; it is still smaller than the left side, but improving. Also, when he checked out the range of motion of her hip, etc., there was no stiffness in her right side and she had a full range of motion...both sides were the same! This is very good, and the first time that there has been no resistance/stiffness when they check her hip. Wahoo! Also, and here is where I insert the drumroll..........NO MORE BRACE!!! NO MORE BRACE!!! NO MORE BRACE!!! Can you tell I am relieved?? Although she still wears it and is mostly cooperative, she is starting to get somewhat annoyed with it. Also, it gives her a rash if don't put pants on her. He explained that if it was 'easy to do' than we would keep using it, but there was no clinical evidence that long-term bracing at this point is effective. She has been wearing it for nine months. He said that if she was showing signs of annoyance with it now, it wouldn't be long before she'd be ripping it off and chucking it out of her crib anyway. James asked three times on the way home why we were keeping Katie's brace if she didn't have to wear it any more. Since I am a Cheyney, and we are weird like that, I will be putting it in her memory box. So, overall, it was a good visit. She isn't 'out of the woods' yet, but it was more encouraging than the last visit. Thank you God!

And here are a few pictures of the alternative route I had to find when I got lost:



Its always a nice touch to see grates over the windows when you drop your kids off at daycare. Very reassuring.



The road I got stuck on also had trolley tracks, so that made for extra fun! Make way for the trolley! And at random intervals the road would split up and join back together. On the right, you will see another nice touch: razor wire woven through the decorative thing-a-ma-jig along the fence of a really old church. For all you Colorado peeps out there, this isn't even the scary part of town. You can tell I've been here a while because I wasn't even scared driving through here. Not even when I saw a really burly woman looking to start a fight with a scrawny guy under the EL.

Monday, June 08, 2009

This morning we needed to run to T@rget for a few things. James asked if he could buy a toy. I told him if he wanted to buy a toy he would have to get some money out of his piggy bank. Fortunately, he is oblivious to the whole scam that is toy manufacturing and is perfectly thrilled to pick something out of the dollar section. When I was counting out some change for him, he told me to get out enough to buy Katie a toy too. It was so sweet. I felt so proud of him. Then he asked me to pick out another dollar, because he wanted to buy me a toy too! That just about made me melt. I picked out a whopping three dollars and tax from the spare change he has garnered from Chappy, Grammy, the sidewalk, and courtesy of Daddy's desk drawer at work. When we got to T@rget I wasn't sure if he would change his mind, but he didn't. He picked out a three-pack of Squirt Guns for himself, and one for Katie. As I started to head for the other things I needed, James said 'Wait, Mommy! I want to buy you a toy too! I want to buy you that water bottle!' And he pointed out a water bottle he wanted for me. It was just too sweet. As we were heading to the counter, he told me 'Mommy, when the money-taker asks for my money I am just going to say no thanks.' I cringed, explaining to him that without paying we wouldn't be able to take our toys home. I said he would have to pay for the toys. He looked right at me and said 'No, Mommy, I will say 'No, thanks, I don't need a bag!' Duh. Every three year old I know would know to say that. Or not.

Totally changing the subject, tomorrow is Katie's appointment at CHOP. They'll do another x-ray and see how things are going. I have been praying for some sort of progress this time; it was so hard last time to hear that her hip hadn't really progressed at all since her previous appointment. I am also hoping for a release from the brace, but who knows. I have to keep pants on her when she wears it, even if its hot, because it is giving her a rash. We'll see. I will take any good news I can get!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

In No Particular Order...



James enjoying a bubble bath; Katie looking like a little cherub



And here are two things I've checked off my to-do list!! Katie's room is all organized; I've gone through her outgrown clothes, packed everything away and her room is no longer a greenhouse for my seeds! And the dress is one I actually finished a few weeks ago. It looks a whole lot cuter on her, but its done!!! My current project is James' room, which is nearly done. One thing at a time...and soon I'll have another baby to squeeze!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Crazy Times

We've spent the last two and a half months shoveling out the mess that was our rental house, all while advertising it, dealing with crazy Cr@igslist people, showing it, getting it inspected, etc.. Oh, and we tried to keep up on other stuff too, like feeding the kids and doing laundry and going to work (Jeff). After all that, we have decided to sell and it looks as though the house may be on the market as soon as today! I am relieved, and stressed too, but mostly relieved. Stressed because, hello! I am going to have a baby here in the next month and relieved because I will hopefully never have to clean broken glass and dog poop off my carpet again. Also, there is a little sadness thrown in as well. Maybe not sadness, but something. We put a LOT of work into that house. It has memories. But alas, it also has a mortgage, and needs constant maintenance, and has a big yard to mow. Until we become independantly wealthy, I think it best not to hold on to sentimental things that carry mortgages. Hello, rich uncle, are you reading this? Do you even exist?

Friday, June 05, 2009

First Words of the Day

James woke up this morning, cheerfully calling up the stairs 'Good morning, Mommy! Let's make pancakes!!!' He hits the ground running, that one. Now off to make pancakes, or some form of 'break-frast.'

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Random Bits

1. I am getting huge. Cheepa needs a name already before he is born. Its getting close!
2. James told me today 'Mommy, its right in front of your nose!'
3. Katie says 'apple,' 'all done,' 'cheese,' and lots of other new words now. And she has such a cute little way of saying them.
4. Dad is making pulled pork for my b-day party on Saturday, and I know you probably don't give a rip, but I am getting excited!
5. I have only had to make 29 trips to the girls' room today. Just kidding. More like 28. That is the one thing I miss while being pregnant, my bladder.
6. We are putting the rental house on the market.
7. Ha! Threw that one in there, didn't I? I guess I am feeling a bit ornery tonight. We have decided that the good ol' rental house is going on the market. A combination of a declining rental market, a lot of stress, profit vs. loss analysis, etc., etc., has brought us to the point that we ready to get rid of it! We will be praying that it sells quickly, as we are going to be paying two mortgages til it does. As far as the lease we have/had lined up, we are still waiting to hear back from the guy. Ordinarily, I would assume we would never hear from them again, but this guy is just on his own time schedule, and he's one of those 'do you know who I am?' type of guys. I think he thinks we are at his beckon call and he can just start the lease whenever he darn well pleases. Anyway, when/if he calls, I think he will be very angry. But hey, he never came to sign the lease and we are not legally obligated to wait around for him to make up his mind. Now, if he would like to make an offer on the house that would be a different story. :)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Pictures

Here are a few pictures of the condenser I mentioned a few days ago. That trailer is something else, isn't it?