Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Man, my posts have such appallingly obvious names, I'm just too lazy to think of something creative..

I mentioned Joe spent the weekend hunting; he went with a buddy from work and they were gone Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday hunting duck and geese. They didn't see the grizzly bear I mentioned in my zoo post, but they DID see bear tracks - good thing Joe is handgun-happy, so besides their rifles they had plenty of protection! They didn't have incredible luck, but Joe DID shoot two ducks, of which he just brought home the breasts (whew, I was kinda worried I'd have the task of plucking a duck - ick!). He found a yummy-looking recipe, which we made last night with the 4 breasts, and sure enough, it was delicious. Delicious if you like duck, I suppose, I hear there are people who don't. It's simply duck breast sprinkled with lemon-pepper seasoning and wrapped in bacon (make sure you soak the toothpicks in water before cooking) and then baked for 20 minutes. For those who were wondering why they're so dark, they're not burned - duck is just closer to a red meat than to chicken. Yummmm! We finished our elegant meal with sundaes from McDonalds and a trip to the play-place :)

Monday, September 28, 2009


Some very awesome person dropped off a yummy-looking plate of cookies on our front door Sunday afternoon, and I am trying to find out who to thank - and also who to trust. There was no note with it, but since it was Sunday and all I'm guessing it was someone from church, but that's just a guess. It could be some neighbor who secretly hates us and was trying to poison us (that was Joe's idea, I already had a cookie halfway to my mouth), and then I'd be really sad we ate the anonymous cookies (though at the moment I was mostly sad to put down my morsel). Soooooo, does anyone have any info? Anyone else get chocolate chip cookies on a green plate with a flower design? Or, even better, make such cookies? Let me know, I'm dying to eat them!


We knew we'd have a lot of spiders in the house when we moved in, since it had been vacant a while, and not exactly in perfect condition. We sprayed the more dubious locations and corners, set sticky spider traps, and try not to be TOO untidy or bug-friendly. To make sure the traps aren't getting full (seriously, LOTS of spiders) and missing some of our 8-legged "friends," I check them periodicly. Plus, morbid curiosity, I HAVE to know what was crawling under my bed that is now no longer alive - mwahahahaha! THAT IS... until I saw THIS BEAST. Easily the largest spider I've seen outside of a cage! 1" body length. That's an average-sized house spider to the right of it. I am SO glad we live in Colorado and this is as bad as it gets, though I'm certainly not happy to find "as bad as it gets" was crawling through my living room...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's a zoo!

Patrick really has a great grasp of different animals and the noises that they makes, so I've been thinking for some time that we should go to the zoo to check out these animals for REAL. This was a good weekend to go since Patrick and I found ourselves with extra time on our hands while Joe is off hunting ducks and geese, plus the weather was beautiful and who knows how much longer that will last? So off we went this morning! We were some of the first to arrive, and throughout the day I made a mental list of things I did right and things to do better next time.

RIGHT: Arrive early. Better weather, better parking, better to not skip lunch (and definitely better than paying for lunch at the zoo!)
WRONG: Don't pack enough snacks. Lunch is a loooong ways away, and fruit snacks just don't cut the mustard.
RIGHT: Decide what you do and do not need before you go in, and empty your bag accordingly. We applied sunscreen before we left, so the bottle stayed in the car. It was already warming up, so the sweater did, too.
WRONG: Don't decide you don't need diapers. You DO.
ALSO WRONG: Don't bring the things you DO need in a purse. Bring a backpack, it's nice to have both hands free.
RIGHT: Knowing that walking is great exercise (and is great for wearing kids out for naps), and deciding Patrick should walk around the park himself instead of dragging my huge stroller around with me, or paying to rent one.
WRONG: Thinking this "walking" thing will pan out. I walked, he clung on to me like a spider monkey. It was all I could do to get him to get off me long enough to take a picture of him. My back huuuuuuurrrrrts!
RIGHT: Knowing when to get out. I'm all for getting your money's worth, but don't push it - you don't want to end the day with memories of overwrought toddler tantrums! So even though we missed the fish and snake exhibits, which I knew he would normally love, I knew neither of us would love it by the time 1:00 rolled around and those fruit snacks were long gone. Next time!

We saw some wonderful stuff, though - most of the animals were out and active! This grizzly bear was captured near where Joe is hunting this weekend.

HA! Just kidding! At least, I think I'm kidding...
A gorgeous cheetah. It is always surprising how beautiful all these animals are in real life, that's one big reason I wanted Patrick to see them - so he knows it's not just pretty pictures!
The bar height is perfect for kids... most kids. It was right in Patrick's way, but he managed.
THIS is what we really came to see! He smacked his lips (his elephant noise) the whole time we were watching them, and we were there a long time!
Mid lip-smack. Although I was the one carrying him, his was very good to point out each and every animal to me (and the strangers around us).
Monkeys. Although I always enjoyed monkeys the most, he was a lot more impressed by other animals, from elephants to giant elephant shrews (they looked like rats with elephant trunks - NOT impressive, if you ask me!)
If I ever have hemorrhoids this bad, kill me.
OK, kidding again. It's a female monkey whose butt swells when she's ready to mate. I definitely hope she's ready to mate, because this badonkadonk is about to explode!
For the cost of $2 I got a glorious 2 minutes of rest on the train ride. Patrick looks like he's taking a moment to absorb all the crazy things he's seen so far. Like that monkey - sheesh!
The one and only picture of us together, I felt bad stopping anyone to snap a pic of us - everyone had their hands even more full than I did! Apparently the Zoo is THE place to take your kids on a Saturday, and most people packed WRONG and brought everything but the kitchen sink.

We missed the hippos, who were not to be seen anywhere in their cage, but this hippo sculpture was even better. Patrick was dying to pet and kiss the animals (even that grizzly!) so before we left, he got his wish. Smoooooooooch!

Next time I think we'll still leave the stroller at home, but I'm taking Joe! He can carry Patrick a lot longer than I can. I'll be the one with the backpack :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Just call me Chubbs

Things are starting to get geared up around here in preparation for labor and delivery! Some things are big house things, like finally getting the bedrooms painted so we won't be living in a fume-induced coma being unable to open the windows because it starting to get COLD. Well, we could open the windows, but we haven't bought a new furnace yet (the existing one puts out so much CO2 that it was registering at dangerous levels in the kitchen, approximately 3 rooms and 1/2 flight of stairs away) and I'm just not going to let all the hot air I've accumulated through countless crock pot meals, baking extravaganzas, and unnecessarily long laundry drying times escape. That's just wasteful (unlike my 3 batches of cookie bars and super-hot clean towels). Some other things are small, like getting out and sorting through all the new baby clothes so I know exactly how long I can avoid doing laundry after we get the new furnace and I have the baby (I have 24 sleepers*, so that should last a solid 2 weeks [counting on blow-outs and projectile spit-up and such...]). One thing that is considered necessary during this preparatory time is visiting the doctor more often. This doesn't feel necessary to me - first they check blood pressure, which (for me) illicits "wow, you have really low blood pressure!" every time. Yep, still good. Then they check the baby's heart rate as it's tumbling about in my stomach and, I'm fairly sure, internally bruising my organs, and lamely ask "so are you feeling baby move?" What? You didn't see that knee sticking out of my side?!? Preeeeetty sure the kiddo's healthy. Maybe you could look in on my liver, though, I think it's been reloacted in the last 5 minutes. Coming up is the weekly "check" to see how I (if I am a cervix) am progressing, which is just ridiculous - being dilated/effaced COULD mean I'm closer to being in labor! ... or it could mean I just have to waddle like a penguin for 2 weeks with a baby fully engaged in my pelvis while I wait for stupid labor to start. WHO KNOWS. So why get my hopes up? ANYWHO, the best part of any checkup is seeing just how much you weigh these days - I certainly don't mind gaining weight (bring on those 3 batches of cookie bars!), it's mostly baby anyway (plus 14 cookie bars), and this is such a transitory period that 5 pounds here or there won't matter in the end (50 pounds, I could see some concern...). However, my doctor feels otherwise. Last week, for the second time, I've gotten raised eyebrows and a heavy sigh after stepping on the scale! Ok, it's one thing if I have gestational diabetes/was overweight to begin with/have gained more then the recommended amount overall, but none of these apply to me! In fact, it just makes me want to slap some heavy-sighing nurse (who IS overweight) because this is less than I gained last time and nobody made a peep... and I don't think they were wrong to not make a peep! So keep your breathing to yourself, or feel free to hand over my chart next time and I'll record my weight so you don't have to be so dismayed that I put on 6 1/2 pounds in 2 weeks (not unreasonable). That's what's going over here! Painting, baking, and ranting and raving - sounds like fun!

*Why would someone have 24 sleepers, for crying out loud? Well, lots were presents, lots were hand-me-downs, and lots were poor judgement on my part as to how long a newborn stays in 0-3 month clothing. Still, I feel that it's 99% unnecessary to put an outfit on anyone under 3 months old (the 1% is church and sheer satisfaction of seeing the cute outfit you were gifted on the baby for at least 5 minutes before they poop on it).

Monday, September 21, 2009

MORE Weekend Warriors!

I feel like we've won the visiting jackpot! All these weekends back-to-back-to-back of getting to see our family, it's starting to seem like the norm, but I swear it's not - sorta like having money is the norm after you win the lotto, but winning the lotto is definitely not normal. Perhaps with our new location it could become the norm, though... mwahahaha! Anyhow, Joe surprised me Friday morning by having the day off work, so he and Patrick and I loaded up the car and headed to Grand Junction (where we were planning on spending the weekend anyway, just not such a nice long weekend!) for my new niece Amelia's baby blessing. We arrived to quite a packed house, since Kari and Jonathan were there (obviously) with Amelia; Elsha, Brian, and Kalena now live there; my crazy Grandma Gustavson has been living there quite a while now; our uncle Mark Gustavson was visiting from California (and though I have no photos of him, he looks a lot like my dad. Patrick immediately took to Mark and seemed to adopt him as Grandpa Gus #2); and Eric, Amy, and Espen live in town and visited most of Saturday and Sunday! So we had lots of adults and 4 babies under 2 years old! We tried to get a decent picture of the "older" cousins together, and here's roughly how that went:

Close! At least everyone's on the bench...

Uh-oh, things are falling apart....
Quick, Brian! Sit them back down again!
Now THAT's not bad... you're just all looking the wrong way! Well, maybe next year...
Now, let's bring in the newborn and try it again!
I imagine Espen is thinking "excuse me, buck-o, this is my baby that I'm trying to hold. You need to scoot back because she obviously wants to be on my lap."
Patrick doles out some consolation pats for the wailing baby. She seems consoled, don't you think?
Even trying smaller groups with more adults wasn't very successful. You need a lightning quick lens to catch them not in motion!

Espen slowed down and Amelia calmed down for a nice snuggly hug. Awwwww :)

But watch out! Crazy Grandma is trying to eat Amelia! And Amelia's trying to eat grandma! Quick, find these girls a snack!

Grandma gives up, but Amelia seems to have acquired a taste for sweaters.

Amelia is a huge fan of her bouncer, and when she wasn't in it, the big kids were ALSO a fan of the bounciness! Kalena and Espen battled it out for the throne...

If you won't move I'll just have to SIT on you! And you don't know where this diaper has been...

Sometimes Espen won and could bounce to his heart's content

Sometimes Kalena won and busted out her celebratory supermodel poses.

On Sunday we all got dressed up, including Amelia, who wore her mother's blessing gown.

Here's one proud grandma! She thought this day might never come, much less come in such an adorable package.

Two proud parents, plus one tired baby. Good work, Kari and Jonathan!

Two parents and two proud grandparents; Jonathan's mom and step-dad were able to visit for the weekend as well (though they didn't stay in the House of Craziness like the rest of us).

All in all, it was really an incredible weekend! Good thing more babies are on the queue so we can do it again soon! Haha!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weekend Warriors

Once again, wonderful weekend company! Kari and Jonathan came up with their sweet new baby girl Amelia and we spent TWO night AND TWO WHOLE DAYS (ho, ho! Moving up in the world from two whole meals!) together doing... well, not much. Still, we had a fantastic time doing it. On Friday both our husbands went to work and we chilled all day, managing to get dressed and do our makeup approximately 15 minutes before they got home, but I did water the lawn that morning, so when they asked during dinner what we'd done all day we said "yardwork!" HA! So sneaky :) But our ensuing laughter totally gave us away. With newborns, the "to do" list gets a little more simplified and "painted the house" suddenly turns into more mundane things like "fed the baby and changed diapers." We did LOTS of mundane things, like shared our toys with the baby.

Had yummy snacks

Found important body parts, like be-boos

Shared our feelings

Had a playdate with Eli. Well, ignored Eli during a playdate.

Tried on the snuggly with Pound Puppy, to make sure it would work with Amelia

Posed for some grown-up (but not in that way) photos before our wonderful weekend was over :(

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Little man

Patrick has a personality that's even bigger than his noggin', and that's saying quite a bit! Here's what he's up to these days:

-Working on words. So far he says hot, hi, bye, mama, dada, gamma (like grandma, not like gamma rays), all done, and one. We get a kick out of every single word!

-Reading books - preferrably anything with animals or trucks, but Hop on Pop is one of his favorites, too.

-Shutting doors. That game could last hours... unless mom fails to re-open the door. TRAGEDY.

-Peek-a-boo in his close; since it's a sliding door he can work, this game really could last for hours!

-Unloading - pots and pans are the best, but the fridge door is pretty good, too.

-Stacking, which is best after unloading the fridge. If you ever need your salad dressing on top of your miracle whip on top of your butter, you know who to call.

-Taking care of his toys - he likes to feed them during mealtimes and snacks (even if the toy is an airplane; I guess they get hungry, too) and put them down for naps.

-Mowing the lawn - he wants to do this EVERY DAY... and most nights.

-Watching his favorite flicks. His new monster truck videos rank REALLY high up there!

-Perfecting his tantrums, a highly necessary skill as a toddler. I LOVE his tantrums, especially in public - they make me feel like I'm an awesome parent who totally knows what they're doing... HAAAAAAAA! Not. Mostly I ignore when possible, reprimand when necessary - is that the right philosophy?

-Sticking to an all-liquid diet as best he can. We think he prefers his nutrition from a straw cup because he's an on-the-go guy and smoothies are portable, or maybe because his new-tooth-per-day hurts to chew on, or maybe because I just make awesome smoothies (that's it, right?), but it is really a chore to get him to sit down and eat a meal. We tackle the chore at least 3 times a day every day, but he's still pretty sure meals were meant to be blended.

-"Driving" dad's car in the driveway. Mom's is a distant second; I think it's because dad's is RED and mine is gray. All red cars prompt "dada?" and "brrrrm, brrrrm!" but he could care less about the gray ones :(

-Being crazy and (to me, at least) devilishly charming. I can't help but love him :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I am so out of breath these days, even typing is winding me! I don't remember Patrick taking up this much space where my lungs should be! I bet Joe *huff* things I'm *gaaaasp!* faking because yesterday he textured *whooof* 2 ceilings, painted two doors, and *hhhhhuh* did tons of other fatiguing projects while I prostrated my out-of-breath self on the *wheez* couch, cheering him quietly. Go *cough*wheez* Joe!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

You're fired

Lately Joe's been hacking away at the Forbidden Forest and it's produced TONS of dead branches (not to mention a fence behind it! You can see all the way to the edge of our yard now!) so we figured the best way to dispose of the scraps would be to burn them. We have a fireplace in our living room, but it's still a bit hot to be lighting toasty fires inside, and we've been wanting a fire pit for our patio so we picked one up on Friday! We enjoyed the fire sans toddlers on Friday with Elsha and my dad, then Joe and I lit it up again by ourselves Saturday evening for after-dinner s'mores.

Joe tried to escape the camera (see, adults don't like to be photographed!). Can't blame him too much, though, we were pretty grubby in our yard-work clothes.

Patrick enjoyed his s'mores in the raw.

He liked the fire pit box more than he liked the fire pit! Perhaps because the fire was HOT (he is very adamant and very serious about things that are HOT, and he will tell you about it)

Mmmmmm, toasty! Looking forward to more burning bushes to come :)

Short but sweet

We've had a couple weekends in a row where people have visited us (or been visited by us) and each time has been really short! It's just reinforced how happy I am that we live here because it makes short visits so much EASIER - if someone's in Denver it's tough to justify an extra hour of driving north to Fort Collins for a short visit - they really have to like you and dedicate their weekend! 3 or so weeks ago Elsha and Brian spent a quick night here after their car bit the dust (so long, Camry, it was good while it lasted); 2 weeks ago my dad drove up Friday morning to return my car that Elsha and Brian borrowed after their car bit the dust and then flew home that afternoon (see? QUICK!); last weekend Joe took Patrick for the weekend and went to Craig to visit his parents (I meant to post about that, but we'll suffice it to say I had SUCH A GOOD TIME without them!) while I worked on/destroyed the house; and this weekend Elsha came up with with her daughter and my dad for company since she had some business to attend to, partly pertaining to the dead car. I guess I should be thankful for our new location but also thankful the Camry died; we would never have had this much company without it! *I doubt Elsha and Brian feel nearly this thankful that they're down one car.* As it is, we've had a great time with all our guests, and are looking forward to yet another quick visit next weekend from the Phelps (my little sis).

This weekend was awesome since it was one of the longer short visits - we actually ate more than one meal together! While Elsha and my dad took care of her errands, the cousins took a quick dip.

Patrick watered Kalena, Kalena watered the lawn.

Watering himself

Working together to fill up that cup! Trickier than it seems, it seems....

Explaining the inner workings of the hose

Enjoying refreshing hose water yet again.

Kalena was so busy "working" she hardly had time to look up for the camera.

Of course, no pictures of my dad or Elsha; adults seem a lot less willing to be photographed (especially with Elsha's infected Quasimodo eye). Next time!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Losing your mind is REALLY ANNOYING

This week, it seems official: I'm losing my mind. Need proof? I was vacuuming the stairs with the hose attachment and still managed to suck up the internet cord with the base of the vacuum, chewing it up to an unusably demolished pile of wires. That definitely slowed my blogging! For the regular 10 a.m. park schedule I headed to the park I had written down and looked at repeatedly while following directions, only to notice as I pulled up that this park was scheduled for July 1st. It is neither July, nor the 1st, so we had a day all by ourselves at the wrong park. I re-read the park directions (but not the date) so meticulously because yesterday I was invited to a playdate out of town, so we were meeting at a girls' house in town to caravan. I was packed and prepared with snacks, juice, sunscreen, the camera, cute outfits, even makeup and curled hair, and I drove around for a solid 45 minute trying to find her house, ultimately missing the playdate, all because I wrote down directions and then proceeded not to follow them. That sounds like stupidity, not losing my mind, except that I followed all the direction except where to come from - I had glanced at a map to see the layout of the roads and noticed her house was just off a major road that I live just off of as well, so I took that road instead of taking her directions and then tried to pick it back up without making any changes - that's just CRAZY. Kind of like ME. Please come back to me, common sense! I miss you!