Monday, October 27, 2014

Hunting season is upon us!

The exclamation point would be more relevant were it Tanner typing it out. I'm a little more indifferent, as the only change for me is that I have the house to myself every weekend!

This weekend was the opening day, so of course, he was all over that. He left Friday afternoon with our neighbor and only got back this afternoon. Saw lots of elk, but didn't get quite close enough to get himself another set of antlers. Sounds like he had fun, though, and has plans for the next two (possibly three?) weekends to do the same. The weekend of the 15th, he's hoping to head out with some friends from back home who are coming out this direction for an elk or two. He's pretty excited about it.

I started hunting season off with a bang, too, in my own way. Saturday, I went over to the other side of town to see three out-of-state cousins, and one's semi-recently acquired boyfriend, who were here for the weekend. There was brunch and singing/piano-ing and picture taking for them, as it's a rare thing to have all five kids in that family all in one place. The latter turned into quite the ordeal, as trying to get four girls to coordinate clothing colors (especially when three are limited to what they had packed) and do their hair, and then finally get out to the field where said pictures were to be taken took upwards of an hour and a half. Never mind the actual posing and such. But such moments are always fringed with enough hilarity to make them utterly worthwhile. They actually came over on Saturday evening as well, and stayed for a while to chat, as Steph came down from Shelby that evening. Apparently, we all like each other's company quite a bit.

Sunday, I woke up with a doozy of a cold, so I was laid up most of the day. but that gave me ample time to work on a puff quilt for a friend/second-cousin's wife's unborn child. It's turning out adorably, I have to say. It's basically done now, except for sewing the last edge together, which is proving to be the most difficult part. So now it's being put off until such a time as I feel mentally prepared to handle it. That may be never, as my brain's capacity has decreased substantially since I first got pregnant with Wade. I've lost hope of ever regaining it.

Today (and this is possibly the best part of the weekend), I had been planning to go up to Shelby to visit my grandparents for the afternoon with Kirstyn and Amy. I had to skip out because of this cold (it isn't an attractive thing to be sneezing and snorting and sniffling all day long...makes it hard to hear polite conversation), but the plans remained unchanged for the other two. At the last minute, they decided to take Wade with them, because Grandma and Grandpa adore seeing their great-grands, and it'd be awfully unfair if they couldn't just because I was diseased. That left me with an empty house for a full six hours! Of course, that meant I got the house cleaned in ten minutes, three loads of laundry done and folded and another coat of paint put on a cupboard. On top of that, I spent an hour laying in bed just for the heck of it, which was downright glorious in itself.

Tanner got home between one and two, so of course that gave me more laundry to do, but it's not nearly so bad, now that I'm caught up.

Now Wade's in bed talking to himself, and the rest of us have shut down for the evening. Tomorrow is our official Monday, but it's looking to be a good one. Mostly because my house is nice and clean, which saves me from my normal Monday Madness.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Flies don't stand a chance around here.

The title really has absolutely nothing to do with today's post, but it's what comes to mind as I watch both my dog and my eleven month old son climb the back of the couch in pursuit of one lone fly traipsing across the window. The dog lunged for it, hit the window at full speed, and we now have an over-sized pug. Her nose must be awful sore...

On to our Wade-related news. He's walking like a total champ, although still prefers crawling on occasion. Like when he tips over and doesn't have anything to pull himself up on, or when he's trying to follow me around the garden; the terrain is apparently bumpier than a person of average stature would imagine. In fact, today while weeding, I turned around to see a crawling trail meandering through the dirt and under the (de-energized) electric fence to an innocent-looking little boy sitting in the grass, chewing on the dog's ball. Obviously the crawling thing is faster in some scenarios.

But our big news, and this is really only big to us because it's been making me crazy for the last almost-a-year, is that we quit the pacifier cold turkey, a week ago Monday!! I hadn't really been planning on it, but I came across one of his that he had bitten through, so rather than immediately throw it away, I snipped off the end and gave it back to him. He wanted nothing to do with it after that. So I quickly hid all the rest of them in a drawer, and every time he wanted one, I gave him the one that was "broken". Worked like a charm. That first night I was a little worried he was going to wake up three or four times wanting it, but apparently not having it in the first place made him sleep deeper than normal, and he didn't wake up once! I'd call this a victory.

Also, this chunk-a-lunk gained four pounds last month and is now in 18m clothes. My mind is a little bit blown.

It's fun to watch his brain growing just as fast as his body, though. I've been working on his understanding of a few basic words since he was about six months old (i.e. "No", obviously; "Stop", for those times he was determined to crawl off the edge of the bed; etc), but I've been noticing more and more that he really does understand most of what I say. I suppose that goes along with being immersed in the English language for a year...part of it is bound to wear off on a person. A major breakthrough was when I was sitting in the living room reading my Bible, and trying to teach him to sit still at the same time (practice for Sundays). I was having a dickens of a time getting him to stop trying to stand up to peer over the chair or grab for my Bible until I finally sat him down and said "Wade, Mama's reading her Bible. I need you to sit still and play with your toy for a little while, and then I'll let you down."

So he did.

It was amazing. He sat still for a good ten minutes, contentedly playing with one toy until I let him down. So since then, I've started telling him things like "Stay where you can see me", and "Come here" and he does it! This. Is. So. Cool. I might actually be able to do this kid thing!

Today's been a really warm sort of fall day...the kind that feels like summer, except that the trees keep dropping their clothes like a bunch of hussies and leaving them for me to clean up. That's what I've been doing for the last half hour or so, and I decided to have some fun when I was through and force Wade into some more cutesy seasonal pictures. Kind of odd that they're happening out of order...first winter, and then fall? That's Montana for you, I guess.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Cleaning

Okay, It's sideways, I know, and I don't know how to fix that, but it's still pretty gosh darned cute...

Anyway...Fall cleaning.

There's spring cleaning, which involves scrubbing down the baseboards in the back of every closet in the house, washing out the bowls on any tall lamps, washing walls, going through and purging your wardrobe...but lately I've embarked on fall cleaning. This is new to me.

There's nothing to do indoors, really, but the list of things that need done outside are just endless! However, I feel like this might be why I'm not minding the transition to winter so much this year. I feel all pioneer-y, actually having to get the house ready for colder weather, and it's kind of fun. Yes, I know, this won't last too crazy long, but I'm enjoying it while the inclination is here.

This weekend I've been getting back to work in the garden. It's been lying dormant, more or less, for quite a while, as the melons went kaput, the tomatoes are covered in blossom rot, the potatoes and carrots are dug, and the beans didn't really produce well (that's what I get for buying them last minute at a hardware store). But now comes the time to rip everything out, which, despite the fact that I've been nourishing this garden with my own sweat and blood since April, is incredibly satisfying.

I've ended up with roughly three laundry baskets full of corn.
Holy moly. The crazy thing is that there would have been about
twice that, had our growing season been two weeks longer.

Why is it that cleaning tends to make a huge mess first, though? The piles of corn stalks were absolutely massive, and because of my astounding lack of forethought, I had to move both of these piles over the back fence, rather than just doing it as I pulled them up.

 Aaaand this is where my tomato plants used to reside. In the ground that's all covered in weeds...I was using the pop bottles as a deep watering system, but it didn't work to terrifically. I'm gonna need to go dig those up soon.

These are the only salvageable tomatoes from my eleven plants
this year. Blossom rot is a bummer. I'll be doing some research
on that this winter, to see if I can't get them to do a little better
next summer.

This is the pile of plants now waiting for a compost bin to be built.

Oh! And here's what was supposed to be my raised bed of strawberries! Yeah, that didn't happen. Gonna try again next year, though, since we're almost for sure going to be here another two growing seasons. That means I'll actually get to reap some of the benefits!

Just 2/3rds of one row of potatoes to dig, and then I'm all wrapped up for the season, if I skip out on the fall weeding this year (which is probable).

My poor, sad, lonely, empty looking garden. 

I gotta go start sketching out plans for next year!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I guess this is it...

And holy smokes, this is my second post in a row! But to be perfectly honest, I had yesterdays completely written for a couple days before I posted, in the hopes I could figure out how to get a video of Wade walking off my phone and onto the post. Never happened obviously.


Winter seems to be upon us. And considering how I reacted to the first frost we had a couple weeks ago ("But my corn isn't done! Make it stop!!"), I was expecting this to be nigh unto catastrophic. For the last month, I've been fighting fall and winter with every ounce of my being, because I just couldn't be reconciled with the fact that all my warm weather and gardening and (infrequent though they were) walks around the neighborhood with Wade were coming to an end. I've never experienced legitimate denial before, but that was it.

I think part of it was the very idea of September. It's still warm enough to be summer, for the most part, and yet everyone's getting ready for fall. Now that it's October, which I equate with crunchy leaves underfoot and blustery days and kids walking down the road with buckets of candy, All of my angst about the "impending doom" of winter has mysteriously disappeared.

And none too soon, either, because it's been snowing for the last two hours. All over the corn that still isn't finished ripening, despite the fact that it survived the first two frosts. I've officially given up on it, and I'm probably not going to grow it again, as we seriously don't have enough time around here, and I may as well use the space to experiment with something else. Like more beans and peas.

This is the first snow that Wade has actually gotten to interact with, as he was bundled up in a car seat with a cover over the top that zipped up to his nose whenever we had to go somewhere during his first winter. To be honest, I was (and am) a little envious of that bit of luxury. So today, I dressed him up all cutesy and took him out to my now hopeless cornfield to take some pictures of him. Some even turned out halfway cute!

He was getting a little tired of this whole debacle by the end and flat out refused
to smile. It might be naptime. Too bad his sheets and mattress pad are still in the
dryer! Also too bad that he spilled half a sippy cup full of milk on them last

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Work updates and house updates and kid updates

We know for certain now that Cascade is no longer in our plans...they called for interviews on Friday, and sent out emails to the applicants that they weren't considering. Kind of a bummer, but even though I was optimistic about the whole thing, we both knew it was a total toss-up, as there were quite a few good guys that put in for it. So, we were kinda sorta halfway bummed for a few hours, but now we're making plans for fall/winter projects around the house that we wouldn't have done had he gotten the job. Among them is finishing framing the basement bedroom that was started last Christmas, painting the cabinets, possibly replacing the range hood over the stove, tearing out the remnants of the garden and tilling everything under to get ready for next year, setting up Tanner's "shop" in the garage, making the basement generally more livable, etc.

You thought our outdoor list was long?! Ha! Well, actually, it is. But in general, we tend to be overzealous when it comes to home "improvements".  Of course, then this little pesky thing called a "budget" comes into play and I get all frustrated with the slow progress, so I think up a million other, smaller, affordable projects to do in the meantime. It just never ends, but it keeps us occupied! And one of these days, it'll actually make this place start looking nicer...for now it just looks like we're in the middle of three dozen projects. Which would be true.

By the way, you know what's really incredibly cool? Since Wade has finally figured out how to put himself to sleep, I'm no longer an imperative part of his bedtime routine. I nurse him (or not, as of late...he just doesn't care about it much anymore, which means weaning is going to be super easy, although maybe a little earlier than I had planned...) and pass him on to Tanner who gets him all ready for bed, reads him a book, and tucks him in with a sippy cup.

This made life a whole lot easier when, after a work thing last weekend, Tanner's ride forgot him and I had to take off at the last minute to pick him up in Helena. I begged a favor of my incredibly sweet neighbor, and she watched him for a few hours while I made the trip so I wouldn't have to deal with a screaming child that was in the hated car seat two hours past his bed time. She was miraculously able to put him to bed with nothing more than what she called a "little tiny tantrum" when he realized I wasn't there. Ah. Life is good.

Also, our spawn is officially kinda-sorta-half-way-when-he-feels-like-it walking. It happens more and more frequently every day, and I keep catching him taking a few steps before plopping down and crawling the rest of the way to his destination. It used to take a whole lot of coaxing and a bribe or two to get him to take two or three steps a day!

Also, he likes to bite toes. Not his own, mind you. Ours. and now that he's got four very efficient teeth with which to do so, you can't just smile benignly at him as he amuses himself. Instead, there's usually yelping involved.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lookit who's a hotshot now!

You've probably all heard by now through that very convenient thing called texting that Tanner passed his Journeyman's test on Saturday! He was, understandably, giddy excited. The last five years of his life have been in preparation for this, crazy enough. Starting with a stint at line school in Idaho, then working as a gas guy over in Lewistown, just as a way to get his foot in the door, as most of their apprentice slots are filled internally. Then as a groundman in Lewistown, before he finally got his apprenticeship over here. And that lasted three and a half years!

Talk about a dedicated guy. I realized during all of this that I've literally never held a job for a full year. The longest one I've had was about ten months, and it wasn't for lack of trying...circumstances are just nuts sometimes. But Tanner has now stuck with a job that wasn't even his full promised pay for five years... just to get to where he is now. I think that's pretty cool.

I'm not sure how much this honestly effects him at work now, though. As a "hot" apprentice, he was able, by company policy, to do all but about five things a journeyman could do, but for the most part, his crew would let him do those things anyway. One thing he did mention looking forward to was not having to drive the bucket truck every day, as is usually demanded of the grunts, because they're big old clunky, loud, obnoxious things that no one really enjoys spending a large portion of their day in. And he's been driving them pretty exclusively for the last three years.

Also, (and this is not intended to get anyone's hopes up, as it's still completely up in the air) Tanner has applied for the Town Manager job in Cascade. It's a small town, which means he'd be working alone, and is what he's wanted to do for years. Cascade is even one of his top three towns, so the fact that it came open (as in the current guy is retiring...this job only comes open every 30+ years or so) right as Tanner topped out is pretty cool.

He turned in his application back in August, but they still haven't started the interview process. He's wondering if they were waiting on the results of the journeyman test to see if he or a friend of his in the same position would actually be contenders. Or it could be that the company just works at a glacial pace. He'll probably know if he even has a chance by next year. Maybe.

In other news, Wade has learned how to wave, but not in the right context. He says "Mama" and "Dada", and has actually used "Mama" to get my attention, so I think he knows what it means now. He also communicates very clearly when he wants his sippy cup, although it does tend to result in a temporary loss of hearing. His favorite toy is currently a hammer, meant to be used on a toy xylophone. He prefers to use it on the rungs of the rocking chair.

Sleeping through the night has been more consistent now as well, since he stopped expecting night feedings and learned how to put himself to sleep at nap time as well as in the middle of the night. The combination has gotten me so much sleep lately that I've started waking up at ridiculous hours with no hope of going back to sleep. That does mean that Tanner is more likely to get breakfast, though, as getting up at 5:30 does tend to give me enough time to do so.

He's also figuring out, slowly, how to walk! He can stand unsupported indefinitely, but it takes a serious amount of bribing and a willing mood to get him to take a step. I'm incredibly glad that he already responds to "No", as it will make life much easier when he takes off. I doubt it'll take a whole lot longer.

By the way...I was always under the impression that milestones were a definite thing, and I'm kind of irked to find out that there's not really a "day" that I can mark down as the first for something. He's been saying Mama for a while, but I'm not sure when it started, as it morphed out of other noises, and he only just started using it correctly a little while ago. Crawling evolved over two or three weeks...I'm not really sure what day that officially happened. And he's taken quite a few steps, but he's still not "walking", as he thinks that crawling is the better option still. Bah. Kids are confusing.

Friday, September 12, 2014

And here are the pictures I didn't put in the last post...

I'll admit it...I was honestly just too lazy to stand up, walk ten feet to my camera and get the pictures off the memory card so they could be a part of that post. But let's admit it. It was too long anyway. So here they are today. No real story line this time, just pictures and captions.

Also, they're basically all of Wade. Go figure. This is my new picture outlet now, so...

 This one is actually kind of old, but I think it's hilarious. Don't ask me why. I had laid him down for a nap, most of the way asleep, like usual, figuring he would do the rest himself. But I walked by the door five minutes later to see him seated like this, watching the fan intently. And then he gave me the look that you see here. The one that tells me plainly what a horrible mother I am for leaving him in his crib. Ah well...can't win them all...
 I swear, he would rather have a household item to chew on than a "toy". Can't say I blame him. Sure, toys are colorful, and obnoxious, noisy attention grabbers, but if you've seen one you've seen them all. Kitchen stuff though, wooden spoons, wire whisks, canning rings, and even the occasional steak knife (I joke!!) will keep him occupied for a good half an hour! I actually bought Wade his own mini wooden spoon in Portland so I could have my real one back. Of course, now he's claimed both of them as his, so I'm out $3.95 and still have to get myself another one...preferably without teeth marks.
Also, this guy is a food junkie. It doesn't matter what the food might happen to be, or even if it isn't necessarily food but something like pills or cough drops...or chunks of mud off the floor (true story). If it went into someone's mouth (or if it's the right size to put in his), he has to be in on it.  He gets very animated with his begging.
 Sometimes he even pretends he's going to die if he doesn't get any. And he pulls out the puppy eyes and flaps his arms everywhere.
 But he still gets told no. Because it's my ice cream and it's the principle of the matter. Okay, he got a bite. Just one.
 Just because he's so darned cute.

 This is "Evil Wade" stealing my toe.
 This is "Zombie Wade". If ever there was a zombie apocalypse...he would win. "Aww, you want to eat my brain? Sure, you cutie little drool-face snugglebug...I can always grow a new one."
 This is Wade really enjoying his meal. His shirt looked very similar until I pulled it off and smeared the contents all over his face.

Can you spot the similarities? They wear a very similar face as I lift the Chuckit to throw Harley's ball.

Wait...where'd it go?

Hey, there it is!