tub storage

Blythe loves her bath time. I do not love picking up all the toys after her though, so yesterday I decided to try a little solution I had seen on Pinterest. If you need a quick fix like this, it was quite simple and cheap. 

If you're interested, these are the supplies you will need:
*Shower curtain rod*
*Shower curtain rings* 
I got ones that had little hooks on the end, which worked well. [$2 at Dollar General]

I snapped this picture of the tub as it was when I walked in the bathroom: 

Blythe helped me gather the supplies

Then I simply had to install it. It seriously took less than five minutes.

I left the rod low, so that she'll be able to get the toys. I suppose you could put it higher up if you wanted to.  [And no, I did not have to install all the lovely handicap bars: they came with the house ;). Though I will admit I did like them when I was very pregnant!]

The basket I got were a little bit larger than the ones in the project I saw on Pinterest, but they were a dollar each and I liked the colors and she has quite a few toys. They worked perfectly.

In one basket are her tub blocks. I found these "vintage" tub blocks on Craigslist a month or two ago. I was so excited because Kali and I loved our tub blocks when we were little, and the kids still love playing with them at my mom's. I don't think they had ever been used because there weren't any teeth marks on them! Blythe has already enjoyed them [this is only about 1/4 of the huge bucket I got of them!]

In another basket I put all her containers that she loves to drink out of play with. 

Another one contains her letters and numbers. 
 And the last one contains all her "animals" and boats etc. 

At least that is how they are organized for now, I'm sure they will be rearranged shortly by some chubby little dimpled fingers. It was cheap and easy fix, and I like how it turned out.

Now onto today's project…
teaching Blythe how to color. 

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it's not what you know...

Warning for my sister: this post is about snake killing and contains some images at the bottom. [she can't handle anything snake related, so if there are others of you out there like her, consider this your warning too]. 

You know that old saying right: It's not what you know, it's who you know. 

Yesterday afternoon this played out in my life a bit. You see, it was a warm and breezy afternoon. Blythe and I were taking advantage of the sun on our toes and sat outside on the sidewalk throwing rocks and leaves for awhile. And then Blythe got this bright idea to go in the back yard and swing. 

Of course I obliged her and we headed to the backyard. Everyday this week we've done this in the afternoon: She swings and I pick up the sticks and branches that the storm blew off the night before. We've been having a lot of rain and thunderstorms and wind, and this has allowed me to keep up with what has been left behind. 

So there we were, Blythe swinging and squealing and waving at cars as they drive by, and me walking around picking up sticks and limbs and occasionally stopping to give her another heave-hoe. I was walking over to the side of the house where we get a lot of sticks from our neighbor's Chinese Elm tree [I only know what type it is because I was raised by my father, and he has said that if he ever becomes president (Lord help us all, right ;)) one of the first things he would do is require all Chinese Elms to be cut down. That's apparently how much of a nuisance they are: my tree-planting father wants them all cut down! But I digress]. I bent down to pick up a stick and in my peripheral saw a little slither action. 

Now I'm not like my sister when it comes to snakes: do I like them crawling on me? No. Do I want them to startle me? Of course not. But do I mind small, harmless ones like a garter snake? I don't. So I was just going to pick up this little garter snake, maybe even throw it in a jar and let Blythe watch it or bring it to our little buddy Wyatt or something. 

And that's when I realized my mistake. What I thought was a garter snake was really the little, tiny tail of another five or six foot of a rather girthy black snake. I didn't hike my skirts and run away screaming, mainly because I wasn't wearing a skirt, but I was sufficiently no longer enjoying my warm and breezy afternoon.  I actually stepped around and watched where it was headed. My fear was that it was going to slither into the crawl space beneath our house, which has been my one peace of mind with all the tornadic weather we've been having, since we don't have a basement. I thought, "If that thing goes down there and a storm blows through, I'm really not going to want to jump down there in the dark, even in the worse case scenario." So I watched the path it was taking from about two feet away. It didn't, and I don't think it could have, enter our crawl space. 

And then I took action. I grabbed a shovel and with all the bravado I could muster…  I gave Blythe another push, then promptly walked over to our backyard neighbors where I saw two of my former students, one of which I just knew was a snake-killing machine: after all he once survived when his truck broke down on a scary gravel road by using his library book to build a small fire to make it through the frigid night [yeah, don't worry, I didn't buy it either ;)]. It's not what you know, it's who you know, right?!

He grabbed a board out of the back end of his truck. His girlfriend informed me while we tromped back to my yard, "He doesn't like snakes at all." This could be interesting. 

"Uhh, this is a pretty big snake," I warned him.

"Oh great." 

We gave poor, oblivious, yet contently happy and swinging Blythe another push as we walked by. We couldn't find the snake. My saving grace started poking the bushes, but not in the manly way I thought he would. It was more poke and LEAP back, poke and LEAP back. And then we heard the rustle that proved he had found our amphibious friend. 

WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! He had it pinned. I trotted off to get a shovel, while his girlfriend went to entertain my abandoned daughter. 

"Hurry up with that shovel, would ya…." he said as I came around the corner. The snake was mad but not dead. I passed the shovel to him while simultaneously taking control of the board that was pinning our nemesis. In a swift chopping motion, the shovel came down. The snake promptly began to curl itself around the the shovel, nearing the handle. 

"Ughh I hate snakes," the tough boy muttered as he continued to stab at the wilting creature. 

Snakes ability to be dead, with their head separated from their body, yet still slithering may possibly be what ranks them so high on most people's "least favorite" lists. 

I exchanged the board for the shovel, and we congratulated one another on our kill. 

"That is probably some endangered one and your dad is going to arrest me now." I ensured him I would take the fall if it came down to jail time. The things I do for my students, I tell ya. 

We rounded the corner of the house to retrieve our respective ladies. I was about two paces ahead of him when I heard, "WHAT the HECK!?!" I whipped around to see him pointing his board at the tree I had just traipsed passed. And I will admit I let out a little girlish whelp when I realized he was not pointing at the tree but at another, even larger, black snake, its body writhing among the tree bark. 

I immediately pictured snakes just dangling from the tree tops, about to fall on my head or into my daughter's swing. My eyes darted from branch to branch, and then back to the largeness of the fiend gliding down my tree. 

"What is going on?" I thought this kid was going to swoop in and rescue my yard from all scaly souls, yet the more he talked, the less sure I was of his shovel wielding abilities. "I'm not messing with that one." It raised its head off the tree as if he heard his enemy forfeiting the battle. 

"Brent will be home any minute. He hates snakes but he can probably handle this one. It's okay." As I am reassuring him that he won't need to mess with it, the thing promptly turns, its body forming a giant U, and heads back up the tree. My tree. In my yard. Where my daughter plays.  "Uh-uh. Oh no. You're gonna have to kill it now. It can't go back up that tree." 

"Are you being serious?"

"Yeah. Seriously. Kill it now." 

"What am I supposed to do?!" 

I make the motion of a giant baseball swing and tell him he better hurry. "Just kind of flick it off and then attack!" 

He turns the shovel so its broad side is lined up with the snake. Now, I've never actually seen this kid play baseball but I've always heard he is a decent player. After I watched him take a swing at that snake, I have no doubt about his skills on the diamond. I think it was dead before it hit the ground, but for good measure he started hacking at it. 

Brent rolled up about this time and grabbed an ax. Both snakes were dead but squirming [again…just gross], so Brent made certain we could sign over their death certificates and totally severed both their heads. 

We thank my students, my saviors, again and they quickly jaunted back over to the snake free-ness of the yard from which they came. 

I sent my dad a picture, and he quickly responded:

"Black rat snake. Harmless."

"Well they are now." I hastily typed back, still envisioning hundreds more roped around my branches. "Tell me this: why were there TWO!? Did they make babies in my yard?!" 

"No. They mate in the fall. Out due to high water and warm weather." 

I guess everyone is supposed to know this. 

I'm just glad I knew the big kid in the baseball hat that was outside at the right time.
And I'm glad I knew my dad who has so much critter knowledge he can [almost] appease my fears in case I run into another one. 

It's not what you know, it's who you know.

My phone buzzed one more time.

"Next time scoop it into a bucket and I'll come get it and relocate him." 

I think I'd rather be arrested. 

I didn't even get the whole snake in the frame!

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a conversation, round ii

I've come to this blog to document a conversation between my husband and I before [see HERE for the true story of Whoppers]. Hopefully after reading this you'll understand why he seriously makes me laugh all.the.live.long.day.

Recently Brent put in a new shower in our bathroom in the mudroom. Yes. He put in a new shower, so this post will prove he is not only FUNNY, but also HANDY. Double bonus for this lady right here. Anyway, because it is a small shower, we were very limited on options and we had to get one that has clear glass, not  the speckled/variegated/flecked [you know what I'm trying to say] glass like I wanted. I didn't want the clear glass cause it gets all spotty from the water [yes, even though I don't care if my bed sheets look like THIS, I don't like spotty shower doors…double standard?].

Okay, so our shower door gets spotty, I mention the fact that I should get one of those squeegee things that cleans it…

Brent: No, we don't need one of those. Why don't we just treat it with Rain-X like you do on the car windshield? The water would just roll right off then.

Kels: That's actually not a bad idea! Wait…. did you see that on Pinterest or something? Are you a closet Pinterest-er?

Brent: Pshhh. Who needs Pinterest? I came up with that on my own! I'm gonna start my own pin board that's like the anti-Pinterest where you DON'T share your secrets.

Kels: huh?

Brent: Yeah. Like I'll pin something like:
"Just made a new recipe that would BLOW YOUR MIND…oh, but you can't have it!" 
Or "I got Sharpie out of my sweatshirt! Bet you can't do that, Sucka!" 
… "I turned my sunburn into a tan in TWO HOURS with ONE INGREDIENT!! But I'm not sayin' a word." 

I could tell his wheels were still turning, but I was laughing so hard at this point that I think he figured he'd stop while he was ahead. This proved that he actually does understand Pinterest enough to make fun of it, though.

We may have to try this Rain-X thing though, and apparently if it works I cannot put it on Pinterest.


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not inherited

My mom is an ironer. She irons everything, and irons it to perfection. By everything I mean: everything! One [I think] crazy example of this is the fact that she irons bedsheets and pillow cases. This baffles me: You never even see the sheets because they are hiding under the duvet. Yet she keeps on doing it as if she enjoys it! 

I hate ironing [can you tell?]. I don't like figuring out how to maneuver shirts and pants at odd angles to ensure their are no ironed in creases where there shouldn't be. I also don't like the idea of it all: in a few short minutes/hours [depending on the material], the said shirt, skirt, pants will just be wrinkled again. Sigh. 

But I do iron our dress clothes when they desperately need it and our portable steamer or spray bottle just won't do the trick, or when my straightener just won't force that pesky collar to lay down. 

My sister, however, clearly inherited the ironing gene from my mom. Once when I was visiting I was going to be taking some family pictures for them. She proceeded to pull out a couple outfits for the girls and IRON them. I'm talking a 12-18 month old's outfit. A child that will race and fall and roll and inevitably wrinkle clothes in 2.3 seconds. [I have yet to iron one of Blythe's outfits, can you tell?] 

I bring this up because the last time we had visitors I obviously washed the guest bedding after they left. However, this was right around the time I started to repaint my living room/dining room, and the guest bedroom became a catch all for a bit, so the bed didn't get remade right away and clean sheets laid around awhile. I finally got around to making the bed, and the sheets were horribly wrinkled. I will admit, I normally try and make the bed right away so they don't wrinkle so bad. However, as I pulled and tucked the sheets in I couldn't help but laugh at the thought of my mom walking in at that exact moment: 

She would have been mortified. [And is probably mortified right now while reading this! :)] Even I will admit that this looks pretty messy, and worse than normal since they sat for so long. But they are clean, so in the long run, does it really matter?

And once the duvet was on you can't even tell. If you plan on visiting us, I guess this is your warning that your bed will be wrinkled but clean!

Maybe I should just do this ^^^ with my ironing board. It would serve two purposes then: 
1. Welcome people, obviously. 
And 2. Be a sign to my guests that their bed may have a few wrinkles, if I've used my board in this way.  

What about you? 
Are you an ironing fiend or do you find the 
thought of ironing sheets and pillow cases as overkill? 
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First let me say THANK YOU to those of you that hopped on the Ebates wagon and said I referred you. You're awesome. If you don't know what I'm talking about, see yesterday's post HERE.

Now for what I came here to talk about:

My husband's incessant drumming.

And I don't use the word incessant lightly. 

Okay, you know when you're dating and it's all rainbows and unicorns and Care Bears? [Well if you were a child of the late 80s early 90s anyway].  When Brent and I started dating I noticed that he "played drums" on nearly anything: the table, his leg, the couch, the dashboard/steering wheel combo, my shoulder…you get the idea. And it was SOOO CUUUTTEE. Ya know? Like dreamy, really. Totally. 

But now? Well now the drumming just hasn't stopped. 

Mainly in the car: for some reason beyond the power of my brain to understand, the dashboard and steering wheel and console make the BEST non-drum drums. In the middle of a conversation all of a sudden Brent is going to town on those bad boys, lost in the rhythm. I don't know if I'm annoyed by the drumming, the fact that it somehow takes possession over his very soul and therefore his ability to listen to me [probably that one], the sheer force by which he pounds the steering wheel which I know one day will snap off, or it is my complete lack of rhythm which results in jealousy? Regardless, the drumming continues. 

And continues. 

And continues. 

If you see Brent driving down the road and it looks like he is in the middle of a concert, he probably won't see you wave, so don't be offended that he doesn't wave back. 

If you are sitting at the table with Brent and the timer to the microwave goes off, don't be surprised when he starts banging out the beat to the beeps.

If you're hanging out and he notices that the pen he is holding makes a unique sound on the table, don't worry when gain front row seats to the concert that ensues. 

Mostly I don't care…

…but sometimes I just want the drumming to stop! 

However, I think my daughter may have caught the drummin' bug already. 
"You talking about me?!"
But I still love my drummin' man

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a semi-selfish request

It's only semi-selfish, I promise!

About two or three months ago my friend Carrie wrote THIS post about ways she saves $$$ online. That is when I joined Ebates.com. I was little like, "Is this right? I just do what I normally would do but earn cashback?!" But it's true…that's all you do.

Basically you just have to make sure you go to the Ebates site, then select the store you are going to purchase items from from their list [like Amazon, or Target, or Penneys…basically ANYWHERE you shop online, except Etsy and maybe a few others], and it redirects you to that site. You then earn a certain percentage of cashback when you make purchases. It's super easy. The hardest part is remembering to go to the Ebates site first [but I think you can somehow sign up for a toolbar or something so it automatically does it?].

 I don't do much online shopping [or any shopping in general these days], but when I do it's nice to earn a little cashback as well. In the two short months I've had it, I've earned about $3! Like I said, I don't do much online shopping, but a free $3? I'll take it!

Also, while I was typing this up I noticed that AT&T is on the ebates site, so I'm going to try to go through it next time I pay my bill and see if it counts?

Another nice perk is that when you sign up, you'll get a $10 giftcard to a store of your choosing after you spend $25 online. Awesome.

Why am I being so nice and letting you in on this great secret?
If you sign up and then fill in my email as your referral [kelsey.irwin [at] gmail [dot] com ] then I get some cashback points! Win! Win! Win! We all win!

Here's the link: EBATES.com Just click the little green "sign up" in the upper right. And don't forget to fill in the "referred by" section!

[By the way, for you frequent or even semi-frequent flyers: I *think* Southwest and American Airlines are on the list]

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graduation and reality

This past weekend was Torri's high school graduation [she's like my little sister, for those of you who don't know]. 
Believe it or not, I kept it together [somewhat]. 
I reserved [some] of my tears for the privacy of my own home. 

It was also a great weekend, in part, because Kali and fam were back [she is my for real older sister]. 
So we used the occasion to snap some pictures.  

Nana and Papa with their girls
Blythe with Torri [after T has sweat and chased kids around all day :) ] 
Torri's older sister, Paige, and bro-in-law, Dan. Ummm, Paige isn't supposed to be in college or this pretty. She's supposed to be about 7 years old. Mmmmkay? 
All the "sisters" [and my first baby nephew! ]

Paige and her "boyfriend" Brent [yes, Paige, I will always leave that in parenthesis]

Two beautiful girls, inside and out 

A spontaneous game of hide and seek ensued

One of my favorite families [who color coordinate quite well]

My daughter missed the memo to throw her hands in the air in celebration

Strike a pose! 

 And here comes the "reality" portion of this post. We really wanted to get a shot of Torri with the three girls. Torri planted herself and grabbed Blythe, Caroline [age 3.5] was trying her hardest to cooperate, and Ellie [age almost two] was trying her hardest not to. I just kept clicking pictures to document this valiant attempt by a lot of people. Poor Torri was wallered by the end of it: 

"Ellie, go over here…it will be fine"

"No, Caroline, you need to turn this way."
"really, Ellie, it's okay" 

"Just keep looking over here,  Torri, we'll get something"

Ugh, we're missing one? 

"See, Blythe, this is how you do it."

"But I don't WANT you to TOUCH me!" 

"Okay, Okay…I won't touch you, Blythe."
"Maybe if I move over here…"
Oh hey, is that Ellie's hair? We're getting closer. 
"Just work with them, Torri." 
"Caroline, that's a great pose…I mean, the one legged look is REALLY working for ya,… but there is one problem."
"Are you not having fun anymore, Torri?" 
"Caroline, just stop touching the rest of them, okay?" 
"Stand right here…"
"Umm, Torri, my daughter's dress is riding up." 
"But I just want to HUG Blythe in the picture!"
"Oh, hey! There's Ellie!"  
"Keep smiling, Torri…"
Blythe: "Let me outta here!"
"Ellie, we're trying to take a picture, not do somersaults." 
"Okay, you're all in the picture! Quick, everyone look this way!! Dan get out of the way! Caroline, smile! Look at me!!" 

"Umm…Caroline? I see your foot. Where did you go? And Dan, you're still in the picture. "
"Okay, we're getting closer. I think we may actually get this. Caroline, I  can't see you! Dan…. " 

"Alright… this is gonna happen…"
"Ellie, just turn around and we'll count it."
"Torri, not you too!" 

Yep, that's pretty accurate. 
And here are some other "outtakes" from the day:

"Oh hey, let's all look at Kali and laugh cause she's pregnant!" 
It's amazing we got what we did 
Because it is seriously next to impossible. 
Although Blythe and Ellie stick pretty close to their Papa

Everyone is looking, some semi-smiles happening…we'll count this one as working. 

Caroline and Ellie are working, but Blythe just isn't so sure about her cousins
This picture is so near perfect-- if only it didn't look like Blythe were in pain from being nearly choked out. 

"But see, I'm not choking her, I'm just hugging her." 

And even in the imperfection of this picture, I LOVE IT-- Caroline is just being her sweet self, Blythe and Ellie are giving each other a look like, "this is MY papa, you got that?", and Dad's just along for the ride. Oh and Blythe is holding a leave in her hand, because whenever she is with Papa, she is carrying some sort of something she collected from the outside. 

"Hey man, I'm done with pictures! Got it?" 
 And then we all got a bright idea: Let's just try and get a picture of the three girls! 
Well that went a little something like this: 

More choking

Oh…so close! Come on, Blythe! Get your head in the game. 

And we're done with that attempt. Maybe next year? 
Oh wait, there will be another baby to add to the mix. Sheesh! 

We will take what we got! And who cares about the pictures when you're surrounded by these cuties anyway?! As Caroline would say, "For realzies!" 

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