Friday, November 30, 2007

Can You Hear Me Now?

Thanksgiving is over. Traveling is done. About 1400 miles on the road proved to be safe once again. And I am glad. God is good.

After arriving home safe and sound, we were hit from within. We got sick. Or, at least I did.

I am nursing a bad cold and cough that has paid me with a hefty dose of laryngitis. Or something like that. I cannot speak. I cannot speak sweet nothings to my hubby. I cannot speak babytalk to my baby. I cannot speak Toddler. I cannot even speak English. I call the homes of my family and my husband's family and all the kids want to get on the phone and hear me talk. Or make noise. Or whatever it is my voice is doing. They ask if I'm tired or sick or something. Or if my voice hurts. Or if I just got out of bed.

Actually, I feel almost fine. Except for a slight lingering cough. Oh, and for one other thing: no body hears me. My voice is so pathetic.

I tell my son to not touch the computer after I catch him chewing on it. He flips the "online" button to off.

I tell my daughter not to touch the cereal one more time. She takes the container and spills it all through the house, ending finally in her brother's room. I can't count how many times I've vacuumed Frosted Flakes in the last week.

I tell the baby when he's crying that everything is fine. He only cries louder.

I tell the dog to come. She runs the other way.

I tell my husband the garbage is full and would he please take it out. The garbage sits for another day in the corner of the kitchen.

And then I come to my computer to turn it on. And does that listen to me? Nope. Nothing. Zilch. Won't flicker. Won't do anything. So then you can't hear me either.

So what do I do? I get up and pick up cereal. Or hold a fussing baby. Or take the garbage out.

And then when I get really desperate, I smack the computer, punch the "power" button and the light flickers. Wow. Who knew that was a proven technical support method? Thanks to the good friend who told me to do that. (You know who you are.)

My computer is back! I can write again! I can speak without my voice! Finally, someone listens!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Alex Daniel

Look who was 5 months old the other day? Yeah, I'm always a day late and a dollar short but at least I'm a strong believer in better late than never.

And, oh yes! he is as fun in person as he looks on camera. Always ready for a smile, a hug, a cuddle and a little one-on-one time saying "ba-ba-ba-ba-ba!" For giving us such a hard time the first 4 months of his life, he has definitely made up for it now. A very happy and content baby but still loves to eat when he's hungry. (read, starving.) As you can tell from the pictures, he is never late for a meal.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Update in Pictures

Since I promised a certain grandma that I had a post already to put on here today of some certain grand children, the following blog is a fulfillment of that promise.

As a side note, a certain husband surprised his certain wife with a new camera! Our old one was despairing of life itself and making it sorely difficult to capture Kodak moments. I am enjoying our new Canon PowerShot SD750 and am realizing just how fun and easy it is to take pictures again. For those of you that have bemoaned the fact I hardly post pictures anymore, hopefully you'll see a few more around here than you have in the past. Now that I can actually take pictures and upload them without banging the camera or the computer just to get the "upload pictures" button to actually work or threatening to manually dismantle that thing we called a camera, I think you just might be able to finally see more picture updates.

Typical hair day.
Sisterly love.
Almost as big as my sister.
Hitching a ride.
True manhood. Camo pants. Cowboy boots. Biking.

Yes, she does sit still sometimes.
Celebrate Autumn! Make pumkin muffins!
Brothers for keeps.
Life is so serious.
But, I'm still cute.

That To-Do List... Again

Okay, so I remembered my to-do list again. This time, I decided to revise it and make it a little more like something the average person could get done in one day.

So it goes like this:

Get up (check)
Make lunch for Hubby and Son (check)
Find Son's only winter coat - it could be any where in house (check)
Remember forgotten spoons for the lunch box before Hubby drives off (check)
Drink coffee (check)
Check email (check)

Do you get my drift? This is actually a new version of a to-do list; more accurately, we could call it a "it's done" list. My long and endless and never getting-anything-checked-off-to-do list was really depressing me. So, instead of dealing with the depression, I dealt with the list.

No seriously. I mean, yes seriously.

But, in all honesty, my plans today include laundry (and all that entails) and painting the window trim in our dining room. After that, I will be a happy person for actually getting something finished. Done. Completed. Checked off.

Did you notice a very important aspect to my day? Above in my "it's done" list, I mentioned packing lunch for Hubby and Son. Of course, the "Son" part is singular and not plural and since I do have two sons, you will be wise to remember that it's only one son that is with his dad today. But still. Since the other son was up most of the night (don't ask why because I just honestly do not know and if I did, I would make sure that doesn't happen anytime soon again), I should have several hours filled with the prospect of work completed because that son is now finally catching up on a sleep. (Wouldn't that be nice to catch up on that?)

As for that girl who's arm falls out of socket, yes, she is here today. (Read previous post.) But, we are treating her carefully. I decided to put a "Fragile: Handle With Care" sign on her and maybe a couple "This Side Up" signs on her as well. I'll wrap her in "Caution" tape, bubble wrap her head (not her face) and give her some Sleepy Time Tea.

If only I could funnel her energy and use it on my own to-list.

Friday, November 16, 2007

On Being a Superhero and a Supermom All in One Day

I really shouldn't be here. But I am.

Today just has been too original and unique to not blog yet totally mundane and normal all at the same time.

It started at nap time. NO. It actually started first thing this morning. Janae asked for milk. No big deal, she can have milk. BUT, I told her to be patient and wait. She kinda waited and was kinda patient until she threw herself on me and in no uncertain terms demanded milk.

That was it. And that was how my day started. I should've known then that this was a day unlike any other.

After crying and sobbing and throwing a fit for nigh up to all of 15 minutes (or was it hours? I can't remember), I declared a state of emergency and got my tape ready to strap her to a chair until she'd agree to no more tears. And no more throwing herself. Just like that, she dried her tears, wiped her face and happily went on to the next thing.

Wow. And I didn't even have to use the tape!

So, our day went on as normal. By lunchtime, I had unloaded the dishwasher, loaded the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen, made our bed and decided by about 1:00pm to get dressed. After that, we ate lunch and then loaded the kids up and ran to my sister in laws house to drop something off. I definitely hadn't had a very productive first half of the day but I promised myself the last half would be better. (And then I sit here.)

No big deal. All seemed normal. All seemed right.

We get home. Landon doesn't want a nap and is letting me know that. I promised Janae she could feed the dog so she precariously spills a cup full of dog food in the dog dish. Alex is screaming in the middle of the living room waiting to nurse. Landon still doesn't want a nap. Alex continues screaming. Janae finds out she has to take a nap too and decides she doesn't want one either. She joins in the screaming and crying.

Okay, this is where it gets exciting so sit down if you're not yet and hold on to something stable...

I take my daughter by the hand and we calmly walk towards her room like any normal mother/daughter duo would. Suddenly, Janae lets her legs go under her resulting in a position that put her in the vicinity of needing to be dragged if she continued to hold the hand of her walking mother. I, not wanting to give in to her resistance of going to bed, continued walking. She continued balking. As we both walked and balked, something happened.

But, at that point, I had to attend to Landon. And walk past Alex who was still screaming. Landon didn't want his nap and Alex was screaming louder. Above the boy's din, I thought I could here wails of their sister coming from the other end of the house. Before I began to manually pluck out my hair, I was able to get Landon calm and down for a nap.

And Alex was still screaming when I walked past him.

I went to Janae's room and found her in there. I was surprised she stayed in her room considering her balking while I was walking her to her room just moments earlier. But I noticed something strange.

I noticed her hand was not grand. Her arm showed a tinge of harm. Her tears were of pain and fell like pouring rain. I knew something was wrong; the day would now be long. I was not a nurse. Nor was I a maid. But, I knew right then that my daughter had Nursemaids Elbow.

The phone was near and from there I spread my fear to the dad of my child that is sometimes bad. (It's my child that is sometimes bad; not her dad. He is good and acts as he should. Thought I'd make that clear incase you had a fear and thought our dad was sometimes bad...) Many miles separate us and for that reason I had a fuss. What would I do to my child that was only two and had a elbow hanging loose?

Remember also that the baby was still screaming and that there was no way Toby could come home from his job almost 2 hours away. I was in a bind and about to lose my mind. At least what was left of it.

So, I tucked Janae in bed, propping her elbow carefully and went to feed our starving 18lb. 5 month old baby boy. While nursing, I looked up a site Toby had used in the past to correct this problem once before. I read the instructions, stories and testimonials. Looked at the diagram. Decided to do my best -- especially after evaluating the situation and the fact that my daughter was in pain.

Our nurse friend left on vacation this morning. She couldn't set it.

The chiropractor was out of the office. He couldn't set it.

It's Friday and the ped. was sorely booked. Not like they couldn't have worked us in but at 45 minutes away, it would've been a long and painful ride with a screaming baby, a screaming kid and a child that needed the nap he didn't want.

So, in the best interest of my child, I did it. Yes, me. I set her arm. And it went in just like they said it would. "Pop." Totally fine. Seconds later, she was reaching for things with that arm that before she wouldn't even move. Touching my nose and laughing.

And just now I looked and found this:

Before I did the maneuver, her hand lay painfully on her belly and could not be raised at all. Now she has her arm comfortably pulled up and her hand tucked by her face. Sleeping the way she normally does.

So, yes. I feel like a superhero.

But, I won't feel like a supermom until I get this done:

And that's only about half of it. But, at least my child is happy and not in pain anymore, my baby's tummy if full while he sleeps contentedly and my son is sleeping peacefully in the nap he didn't want.

Now to get to that laundry...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Things I Hope You Never have to Do, Say or Think

It's a bad situation if you have to tell your son to get out of the fridge. Literally, "get out of the fridge." And then he steps down and gets out. Literally. I mean, it's good that he gets out but the fact that you have to tell him to do that, is probably not a good thing.

Hopefully you'll never have to say that like I did today.

It's a rather pointless situation if you have a fire safety guy over to your house and while he's there, you put a pot of water on to boil and you unintentionally put the pot on the wrong burner. That is just not a good thing. I mean, it's like saying, "Hey, we play with fire at our house! C'mon over and show us how to stay safe!" I happened to do that just last night when he was here and came into the kitchen to find a flaming red burner in one corner of the stove with a cold pot of water sitting in another corner of the stove. Duh. That was really dumb. Good thing we had the fire safety guy over. It also didn't help that I had several candles burning around the house while he was here. I think I was really helping him prove his point for the need for high quality heat and smoke detectors.

Hopefully you'll never be as clever as I was. I'm sure Mr. Fire Safety felt his visit to our home was well worth his effort last night. (Now those people know what live flames can do to their home.)

It's a despairing thing to have to have such intelligent conversations like this at your house:

Mom: What are you doing up there? (son is precariously leaning over the deck rail with a tool in hand.)
Mom: Oh.... (mom dashes to said son upon seeing that said "tool" is actually a kitchen gadget.)
Mom: We don't cut the deck with a cheese slicer.
Mom: The cheese slicer is not for cutting the deck.
Mom: No, it can't take the deck off the house.
Mom: We just don't use the cheese slicer for cutting the deck.
Mom: Don't ever try it again.

Hopefully when this happens at your house, you will save your cheese slicer in time like I did today.

Other things you'll hopefully never have to say in one day:

Don't throw your food across the room.
You only need to cry like that if someone is chopping your foot off.
That smoke alarm is your friend.
Don't spit on the baby.
If you pull her hair, I'll pull your hair.
And no, I won't spit on you.
You both stop spitting.
If you spit again, I'll put tape on your mouth.

And hopefully by the end of the day, you'll have not completely lost your sanity. Because what the kids didn't try today, they'll be sure to try tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next time you turn your back.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blog: No Time To

I just can't figure out it out. Everyday I read blogs written by mothers with lots of kids and almost always, their blogs are updated. Daily. Sometimes several times a day. And the part I can't figure out is the how-do-they-have-time-to-do-it part.

I have only 3 kids. Some of these women have 3 times as many as I have. Others have twice as many. Some have as many as I do. But they all blog daily. Or several times a day. Or at least several times a week. Plus besides having kids, they do tons of other things like.... home school, have a clean house, cook 3 times a day, decorate their house daily, sew all the time, paint anytime they want, live frugal, and never seem to be tired. I do none of that. And yet my blog goes for ages without having any sign of present life. That just seems wrong. I don't get it.

I reconcile myself with the fact that I do have three kids. And this is the first time I've ever had three kids. And it wasn't long ago that I had the third one. So, life is relatively unique, unusual and unrelenting.

Exciting too is another way to look at my life; never a dull moment. Not that those other moms don't have exciting lives but apparently I haven't figured out how to balance exciting with blogging. It's a mystery to me.

--- Like this morning when I opened the fridge and found a cell phone in there.

--- Or, going to church without a hem.

--- Nursing my baby all night -- and not just every 3 hours but rather for 3 hours at a time. And then for 3 more hours at a time. I'm tired and drained by morning --in more than one way.

--- Making a meal for a family and not getting the potatoes in the oven until an hour after we should've. (and we were going to serve the meal hot so an hour makes a big difference. Especially for potatoes.) Oh, and then the oven started smoking and Janae started hitting Alex with a horse and Landon threw a temper tantrum (I could almost safely say that was a first for him) and the phone rang twice with calls from friends I rarely hear from and the hubby was late coming home from work and was hurrying to get ready for jail Bible study when he finally did get home and I strapped Janae down in a chair just to keep the environment safe -- as well as the baby -- (she thought it was funny to be strapped to a chair...) and the baby needed to nurse and the house smelled like it was on fire, thanks to the oven, and the baby was screaming and the clock was ticking and the potatoes weren't getting done and I was running late with my screaming and hitting kids.

It just never slows down. It doesn't help either that I'm tired lately. Not just the oh-it-would-be-nice-to-take-a-nap kind of tired but the I-need-to-sleep-at-some-point-in-this-24-hour-period kind of tired.

So I drink coffee. Not just for nostalgia or for the smell or because I like aerosol bottles of whip cream to swirl into my coffee. I drink it because I need to. I used to not understand why some people talked about needing coffee. Now I can't understand how people live without coffee. Literally, that's my lifeline.

On a more positive and sweet note, Toby has been romantic lately. And I always like that. The good and romantic husband he is, Toby has thoughtfully considered the plight of his wife and her unquenchable need for one-on-one time with her spouse... especially at the beginning of the day. Not that he's not usually romantic, it's just that this romanticism is a rather new found routine he's settled us in. But, he is a morning person and I am a night person. Actually, right now I'm a anytime person -- as long as I got sleep at the other end of the clock. The morning setting is so fresh and sweet and new-dayish. There's something about facing the day ahead with the one you pledged your life to at your side. But I'm so tired in the morning and so can't keep my eyes open. He lovingly pleads me out of bed and tantalizes me with hot cups of coffee fixed just right.

And then he says (after I'm standing groggily in the kitchen) that it was my choice to get up and he's glad I made the right choice. (I'm thinking, "CHOICE???! You call that a choice?) I'm still glad he's so romantic and good though and helps me stick to my plan of getting up even if I only did get 3-4 hours of sleep the night before.

We sit on the love seat (a fitting place), and enjoy our steamy and creamy bean juice. We read the Bible, talk about the day's plans, discuss our kids and then pray. It's been a wonderful start for both of us and for me, this is the ultimate of romantic. I mean, I like flowers and that kind of thing but I LOVE one-on-one time just talking together. No kids, no distractions, no phone, no blog...

Okay, that last one was just plain mean, wasn't it? I do enjoy a good blog moment when it hits but I'm glad to sit quiet with just Toby and not think along blog lines or anything else.

By the time he leaves for work, Janae and/or Alex are usually up and BAM! just like that, the day starts. Tired or not, I'm still the mom.

So, that’s what is going on here, on the other side of my blog page. Countless times I can sit down with my laptop only to have to jump up, set the laptop down, hop/skip/run/fly to the other end of the room and rescue a baby from his sister. Or dash to the door where my two toddlers just escaped from. Or save a young man from being bitten by his sister. Or set up a train through the living room and dining room. Or make a snack of crackers and cheese and "neg nok" (egg nog). Or give coffee to my two year old. And by the time I find my laptop again, I've lost my blog moment.

And then nap time comes and I breath a sigh of relief (or is it exhaustion?) and tuck my children all soundly in bed. But, if one goes right to sleep, another one will insist on taking no nap that day. If the older two do go to sleep, the baby will decide that today is the day he will nurse through his entire nap. Or else. And if all three of them sleep, the phone rings. Or I decide to blog. But, rarely do I nap anymore because as soon as I go to sleep, within 10 minutes someone will wake up. It’s as if an alarm goes off or something. Now I know why my own mom used to talk about only getting 10 minutes for a nap. She always said it was just enough to keep her going through the rest of the day. That is so true for me. Plus, it’s all my kids will let me have and at this point and I take every second I can get.

So, if days go by without an updated post on here, know full well that life is just too exciting to have a minute to sit down and blog. And not only is my blog being neglected, my pillow is too.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

5 Years Ago Today...

A courtship began.

He was single; I was single.

He wanted a wife; I wanted a husband.

He "risked, reckoned and rested his faith" by asking my dad. (an excerpted quote from the letter itself.)

I rested in the risk he took to reckon his faith.

We began a week of emailing 6-8 pages a piece a day. Never talking on the phone until our relationship was several days deep. Every discussion was documented in those emails.

Okay, it was such an intense beginning, it caused us to get married a mere 3 months later.

He never told me once that he loved me... until he asked me to be his wife. I loved this part about him. And I'll never forget the first time he said, "I do love you." It was immediately followed with, "Will you be my wife?"

Do courtships like ours ever end? After 3 kids, 4 houses, 4 vehicles, 5 year's time of trial and error, I don't think so. We only love each other deeper.

5 years ago today, we fell in love for the first time, ever. And we stayed that way.

Happily Ever After is nice.

This Is The Way We Go To Church

So, my husband is the Sunday School Superintendent at our church. That means that every Sunday, he opens the service (after 2 songs) with a devotional that correlates with the day's lesson. So what. It's really no big deal. Except for one thing: we have to be about 15 minutes early. Yes, early. Every Sunday. Not just when early might happen, but every Sunday.

Did you get that yet? Early every Sunday. Not on time. Early.

Okay, I think you understand that I said early.

So, we left this morning to get to Church early. We had done an impressionable amount of preparation before Church since we were planning on having company for dinner. We even had the table set and everything. All was ready. And we were still early. We were half way there when suddenly, my husband moaned and gasped and sighed and slammed on the brakes all at the same time as he swerved on to the shoulder...

"I FORGOT MY BIBLE!" he groaned.

We turned around and went home, passing several fellow church members heading to church themselves. Wonder what they're doing? I'm sure was heard in every vehicle we passed.

So, we get home and we get the Bible and we leave for Church again. The kids were counted for, the diaper bag was counted for and the Bible was along this time.

We made it to Church. Toby and Landon ran into the building while I unfastened Janae and Alex. We were still early so everything had turned out fine. Technically, this should be the end of the story, right? Well, it's not.

I stood Janae on the ground and happened to glance at my dress. My dress that I had made a couple years ago and never worn. My dress that wasn't wrinkled or anything when I put in on that morning. "How convenient" I had mused earlier as I rushed around getting my family ready for Church. My dress that was supposed to be finished. And what should I find as I stood in the Church parking lot but that my dress was missing a hem. THE hem.

There were no extra hems in the van or in the diaper bag and I knew I couldn't borrow one from anyone at Church. So, I went home. Again. And I got a dress with a hem this time.

So, tonight when we leave for Church the first time, you can bet my husband will double check for his Bible and I'll be sure to check for my hem.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Becoming a Man

He's got the leg cross down and everything.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

On Outfits and Outlaws

Last week took an exciting turn of events for us. We embarked on a fast trip to Montana to visit family from Toby's side. His dad grew up in Sidney, MT. and many of his family members still live there and in the surrounding area. So, the last minute people that we are, we decided to set sail and see the world beyond our immediate horizon.It was a blast to say the least. And never a dull moment. From the 8 kids, 8 and under in our vans for 18 hours at a time to the way Aunt Lois laughed when she tried to tell us a funny story, we just really had a good time. Montana is a unique and rugged countryside. It almost feels like you step into a different country when you cross the great divide that is called South and North Dakota and enter the rough land of eastern Montana.
We were greeted by gigantically antlered deer, roaming the dark desolate highway as we sailed 70 mph in the pitch dark of Halloween night.
At one point after I had driven over 12 hours, I decided to look out the wind shield. The roads were so helplessly straight and boring, you could safely activate auto-pilot on your vehicle. Actually, I had been looking out the wind shield but had hardly looked up out of the wind shield. And what should I see but the Big Dipper straight ahead, just a couple feet off the road. I mean, it was like right there. Bright, obvious and straight. (I've always seen it crooked.) My mother-in-law commented that this was big sky country; my sister-in-law asked if that was the same big dipper we could see in Nebraska. It was that much different; you had to wonder if you had actually seen this Big Dipper before. There were so many things about this land that were unique and the more we drove into it, the more I noticed things I had never seen before. Such as 3 rows of cowboy boots all belonging to one person.
The night was so dark as we traveled west. I had never seen such darkness before. When we finally got closer to Montana, we reached a location that happened to have the moon on it's horizon. The moon was hazy, only partially there and barely off the ground. Even in it's vertically challenged state, I could hardly understand how it could shed that much light on the earth below. I think that's how desperate Western ND and Eastern MT are. They just don't have many conveniences out there -- except for a vivid view of the Big Dipper. After arriving at Toby's aunt and uncle's house (who so kindly hosted our entire 3 families and made us all feel right at home), I made the mistake and happened to ask out loud how far away Walmart was. Uncle Johnny said 80 miles; Ellagene said 50 miles and Lois assured with complete confidence that Walmart was only all of 45 miles away. Not wanting to be outdone by his sister, Uncle Johnny admitted that it just depended on what side of Sidney you came from (Sidney is a very small town) and Ellagene seemed to concure that maybe Lois was right but she really thought it was more than 45 miles. Then, they all three began to discuss at the same time when they had been there last, why they went, where they were travelling to when they went and finally, one of them admitted he had never actually been there before. A sister pointed out immediately that he had indeed been there and then launched into a story that surrounded her brother being at this Walmart, while he objected the entire time then finally admitted that he had been there once. Not wanting to be outdone by another sister, he quickly told me that he still couldn't remember being there even if he had been there like Ellagene said he was. Lois finalized the conversation with, "Really, Walmart is only 45 miles away." I snuck away quick before they began to argue again. That was the gist of every conversation. I finally understand now where Toby gets this tendency. I never have won an argument with him. Even when I am right, instead of admitting my rightness and his wrongness, he'll just say, "That's what I'm saying." It's very confusing. I've always told him that even when he is wrong, to him he's still right. I know that sounds complicated and maybe confusing but the fact you can't understand it, is probably a good thing. It also confirms that you are not a Nelson and don't hold title to this interesting and sometimes strange family. Not only do the Nelson's have a related blood line, they also have a related language. To put a plate under a soup bowl brings "sturbility," not stability. To own a Reverse Osmosis water system is to have a "OR system," not a RO system. Before I get myself in trouble naming too many Nelsonisms, I'll stop right there. This side of the Nelson's never surprised me on our whole trip because Toby's dad is notorious for changing words and even making some up. But, I didn't know this was such a strong Nelson trait until we went on this trip. This may sound scary to a non-Nelson but it doesn't really get that scary unless you find yourself saying phrases that sound just like a true Nelson. I was making a clear point about a deep, theological topic the other day and launched into a Nelsonism. My sister-in-law asked me to interpret what I said and say it in English so she could understand what I was saying. That was a scary feeling. I was intrigued with the way Montana was. The native tongue (though English) was unique. One day Lois was talking to her son, Bo on the phone and made reference to his arrival. She wondered if Bo and his friend would come in one outfit or two. I could not understand why anyone would need to share a change of clothes with their friend and both wear it at the same time. This I had to see.
When Bo showed up in his own car and his friend came later in another car, I realized outfit meant vehicle. But, not only does it mean the rig you drive, it also can define any electronic device, the clothes you wear and/or anything else you wish to call outfit. John and Lois did a tremendous job of showing hospitality and making us all comfortable and insuring that we felt at home. After driving 18 hours straight, I thought to myself as we neared their house, "All this driving and I don't even get my own bed." I didn't miss my bed in the least when we stepped in their lovely home. They were so loving and kind. If Sidney Montana ever opens a potato products factory and Aunt Lois runs it, be assured that each potato will be peeled and carefully sliced or diced by the woman herself. She has OCD (Oppressive Compulsive Disorder) when it comes to potatoes. Well, not quite to the extent that you're probably thinking but I couldn't believe how that lady would stand there for literally hours on end slicing potatoes in perfect slices. She said it was therapeutic. Someone told her she had an interesting therapy. She fixed the best meals I have had in a long time but seemed to somehow balance hosting and cooking with mingling in the crowd and visiting. Both her and Ellagene did an amazing job at rocking the babies to sleep and keeping up on the cooking and cleaning. Once, Gail, Ellagene and I all hopped in Ellagene's F150 outfit and headed to the Pamida. I couldn't believe the sky rocketed prices for such a primitive town. And the gas prices too. With oil rigs more prominent than green grass out there, no one could understand why gas was so high. Other prices were noticeable as well. Like, they told me that it's not unusual to find a gallon of milk at a convenience store for over $5. Wow. The morning we left, a couple cousins and an aunt put together an amazing breakfast at a early and ungodly hour in the morning. We were told it was going to be a quick breakfast of fruit and muffins but they meant more than just fruit and muffins when they said fruit and muffins. Fancy little quiches, hot ham, a large selection of cold cereal, several bowls of berries and fruits, huge muffins, cold juices and hot coffee greeted us when we stepped into the Church basement they hosted us in. We could hardly believe the incredible effort they all had gone to, just to see us. It was a nice start to our long trip home.
It was a fun trip though the hours in the van were incredibly long -- 18 hours out there; 15 coming home. We left Wednesday and came home Saturday. Crazy, I know, but it was well worth any effort. After 5 years of being in this family, I was so glad to finally meet the rest of the bunch. It was also a relief to find out that my own husband is only one of a kind. And to also learn that he's not as worse as they get. :) I haven't laughed so hard at the simple natural abilities of anyone in a long time. His uncles about take the cake over anything -- except for their sisters. L to R: Ellagene, Johnny, Lois, Nels. Seated: Gary. (Nels is Toby's dad, incase you can't see the similarity.

L to R: The Toby Nelson Family looking normal. Or, would this be us looking abnormal since we normally never look like this in real life?

I just went away and came back and found this: gtyguy5ujon4idf hfhgtyrrvhgrhbghyhfg. A guilty face on a cute little boy said it all. I wonder who he is related to...?