Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And the Verdict Is...

...corroded battery cables!

It's one of those "mixed feelings" diagnoses. On the one hand you feel stupid that you didn't just clean them while you were taking apart the battery thing to begin with. On the other hand, you're glad it was only a $75 repair bill.

Of course, the $75 tow bill isn't pretty.

Drama Day

See my sexy man
working on our van?
The car it wouldn't start,
So he took it all apart.

Actually, what really happened is that when Ben and I got in the van the morning to take him to work, we turned the key and nothing happened. This isn't the first time this has occurred this week, either. It was deader than dead Sunday morning, too. Both times, not even a click when you turn the ignition. No clock, no interior lights, nothing. I had changed the front blinker lights the night before, so I worried perhaps it was something I did, maybe it was the rain the night before... who knew? But Dexter came and jumped it for us with his diesel-powered monster truck and we let it run for about 20 minutes before turning it off, and it took us everywhere we needed to go without incident for the past 3 days.

Until this morning.

We had another rainstorm last night. Maybe that was it, I don't know. But this time calling Dexter wasn't an option and we figured we could handle this ourselves. We could get the battery out, take it around the corner to Auto Zone, have it charged and tested, and if necessary buy a new one and stick it in. Not an easy task, really.

Here's a picture of our battery:

So where is it, you might wonder? What you see on top there is the fuse relay box. It must first be unscrewed. There's just one bolt, so you wouldn't think this is hard. But that would be assuming too much. After turning it for about 5-10 minutes trying to figure out WHY it wasn't going anywhere, Ben had the brilliant idea to try turning it to the right instead of the left. (Haven't these people ever heard of righty-tighty-lefty-loosy?) Success. The fuse relay box is sitting on top of this bar that is also bolted onto the car and ALSO has to be be removed. Then, one you have removed the bar, you have to hold the convoluted tangle of hoses out of the way that are attached to the fuse box while someone else finagles the ratchet in there to unscrew the battery from the car. Then you have to pull the battery THROUGH the convoluted tangle of hoses to get it out.

After we got the battery out, I strapped it onto the back of my trusty bike and rode around the corner to Auto Zone. It only fell off once on the way. They tested it at Auto Zone and told me the news. The battery was good. Fully charged. Not the problem. They did clean the connections for me just in case. So I strapped it onto my bike again and came home. It only fell off once on the way back. Ben and I got it back into the car and everything put back together. Just in case, we tried to start the car. Success!

So we called my neighbor to see if she'd help with Connor while I drove Ben to work and then took the car to the mechanic. Yes, she would. We get Connor settled, the girls locked in, and Ben and I get in the van to take him to work. But we decide to switch his keys for mine so we can leave mine with the mechanic. Oops. Now the car won't start again. Not even a click.

So now we are stuck with this... get the car to the shop. Fortunately, Kevin (our ward's stay-at-home dad) was also willing and able to take Ben to work. For which we are very, very grateful.

Keep in mind that all this drama (which took a total of over 3 hours) is taking place after 2 consecutive nights of VERY interrupted sleep for me due to children (mostly Connor who is teething) and on the very day my dear "Aunt Sally" came for a visit for the first time in TWO YEARS.

So once Ben got off to work and the car got towed, I did the only reasonable thing I could think of: I ate leftover brownies for breakfast.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mr. Independent

I was just realizing that I haven't posting anything lately, and so I started looking back over my past week or so to see if there's anything I missed. Aside from Connor's current teething woes (poor fella!) and our house search (more to come on that) I realized I had taken some cute footage of Connor's new independent eating escapades.

It's all Papa's fault, really.

While we were in SC Papa was sharing his ice cream with Connor, and he let Connor hold the spoon himself. This isn't a huge mess when it comes to scooped ice cream - it's pretty firm and Connor can't do much damage. But what about baby cereal or yogurt? Ever since we got home, Connor isn't happy being "fed" anymore. He's got to do it himself like a big boy. Yea. This can be quite an undertaking when it comes to the clean-up department. However, like any good mom I'm willing to let him give it a shot. (It's not like I have a choice, really...)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I turned around this morning, and there he was - dressed up in girl clothes by his sisters. Poor little guy. Green is definitely his color though....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime...

...when all the leaves are brown?

The weather was so hot here for so long that when the wind finally started to blow and the rain came down, it brought the dry, crunchy brown leaves with it. My back yard was covered like it was October! So, what did we do?

We raked them into a big pile and let the girls jump into them. It ended up being almost as tall as Kelsey!

(She said she was screaming because she thought there was a spider on her.)

Friday, July 17, 2009


A wonderful thing happened here yesterday afternoon - RAIN!!! It cooled it off from 104 degrees to about 86. And finally, for the first day since we got home (and at least a week before we left!) the temperature was only going to be around 90 today. So of course, we couldn't stay home.

But what to do?? Ben had the van, the girls are getting tired of the parks close by, and I was itching to go to Hobby Lobby anyway to get a couple things, so we planned our adventure and off we went on our bikes!

Our first stop was Hobby Lobby. It's less than 1 1/2 miles away, and once we got up the first big hill it was pretty smooth sailing from there. After 45 minutes of indecision and second-guessing i the store, we walked out with my $3.28 purchase, and we were off to the "big rocket park". It was another mile away, but that's nothing on a bike, right?

And here are the pictures for the day! This is a fabulous park. The down side is there's no swings for Connor. The upside is everything else. They've just redone it and it's this huge rocket ship with 2 amazing slides coming down from 3 stories high. I love to go down it - Connor doesn't.

Kelsey got stuck on the rock-climbing wall. I had to go save her after-taking a picture, of course.

See? Aren't the slides huge?

What it is with boys and their sticks?!

The mulch for this park is made of old shredded tires. I was worried it would be really hot, but surprising enough, it's not. And there's plenty of shade under the massive play set, so it wasn't very hot at all playing there! Though Kelsey's white shorts did get a little... spotted... with gray.

Connor really loved looking down on me. What a big boy!

The girls wanted me to video them in their "cock pit" station getting ready for their "launch". So I did. They told me all about how they had to get ready to take off by making sure there was enough "high speed", "air", "cabin pressure" and "stand up room". Kelsey sure does crack me up.

All in all it was a perfect morning. Except for the part where we had to bike home. My legs were killing me! I am so not used to this anymore, and it was more than 2 miles home. I will be sore tomorrow!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Memory Lane

While at my in-laws in SC we picked up a few picture "gems" from days gone by. A couple are so funny I just had to share them here!

Mike had gotten some Bubba teeth. I think that explains it all. Isn't Olivia just as kissable as they come?

I'm not sure what's going on in this picture - it looks like they're all trying to be scary monsters. Well, Kiersten and Olivia are. Jared is giving the camera a look that says, "Idiots, aren't they?"

You guys grow too fast!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Candid Cook

I was talking with my sister Gwen a couple of nights ago and she pointed out that home cooking is becoming one of those "lost arts". So many of today's moms were raised by working mothers that made convenience food, and now they don't have a clue where to start when it comes to cooking on a regular basis for their families. I don't do fancy, but I do fix things my kids will eat. I'm also cooking on a budget and trying to eat healthy. Aren't we all??

So I've decided that I'm going to do a regular cooking blog. Since it's about more than babies, I've started a new blog with a new name. I am at:

I'll be making improvements over the next couple of weeks, but I am also posting lots of new stuff daily. Please check it out and I hope you like it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Recently it has been more apparent to me than ever that my second daughter, Kelsey, marches to the beat of a different drummer. She's somewhat of a goof, and definitely full of charm when she wants to be. She can also make me crazy when she's in the mood to whine and be dramatic. For example, ever since we got home from vacation she has been making a big production at bedtime because her bedtime is about 30 minutes before Olivia's and she doesn't want to go. She's full of excuses: scared of the dark (it's still light outside), her leg itches, she had a bad dream, she just "wants me", and so on. It's really, really getting old.

However, as much as she can make me crazy, she's also really good at making me laugh. Today I was heating up some leftover pizza for her and Olivia for lunch. There were 4 slices left, so when I bagged it up I put the 2 cheese on the bottom and the 2 pepperoni on top. Of course, when I took them out today the two slices on the bottom had little pieces of crust stuck to the cheese from the slices that had been on top. Kelsey was standing next to me watching me make it, and suddenly she burst out: "Is that the only way to do it? Are you out of your mind?!" I laughed so hard I couldn't stand up straight. I love that crazy girl.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mary Poppins "Bags"

Several months ago I was going out with some friends to get ice cream after a church function. Since I didn't have pockets in my skirt and there was no need for me to bring license or car keys, I simply slipped a $5 bill into my bra to pay for my ice cream later. I confess. This isn't the first time I've slipped a piece of paper into my "spare pocket" for safekeeping. What's the big deal, right?

While in SC I noticed that both of my southern-dwelling sisters have a similar habit. They keep their cell phones tucked inside their bras. This is an inconvenient habit at times, such as when my sister Beth let Connor play with her cell phone and he drooled all over it. Unaware of it's condition, she simply tucked it back in her "spare pocket" and it soaked her shirt. (The phone was really, really wet!) Or like the time when Gwen had her phone on vibrate and when it went off she thought a roach had gotten on there and it freaked her out. (Oh, how I wish I had been there to see that!)

But then, while relating these things to a friend who shall remain nameless, she told me about her mother-in-law. Apparently, she is a rather buxom woman who often tucks her car keys or other items into her brassiere. On one particular day, she was looking for something she had tucked in there and couldn't find it, so she did what anyone does while looking for something they can't find in their purse: she started taking all the items out. She took out her wallet, her keys, her change purse, her cell phone, a coat rack, a lamp, a large plant, and a tape measure. My friend told me it was like watching Mary Poppins...

So, lest I become Mary Poppins myself in about 30 years, I solemly vow to reserve my bra to hold only those items that it was made to hold.

Last One, I Promise!

Ok, so I wasn't going to post any more pictures of our trip to SC, but then Jess sent me some from the 4th of July (our trip to EdVenture and hanging out at my in-laws' house) that I just had to share! It just wouldn't be fair of me to keep them to myself, and this way you can all admire her prowess with the camera as much as I do...

Kelsey gets her shopping gene from her Noni (Ben's mother)
Jayce looks like a bag-boy in this picture, but really he's trying to patiently wait his turn to be the checker. He is so dadgum cute!
What's going to work? Teamwork!
Two peas in a pod

Our group picture - Connor just refused to look at the camera... Jayce fixed the problem. No one noticed but his mother - they see everything!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Temporary Insanity

Due to a bout of temporarily insanity, we decided to try to drive the 1,100 miles to Oklahoma in one day. In reality, two weeks is a long time to be gone from home with 3 small children, and Ben and I desperately wanted to be back in our own bed. So we got up at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday and hit the road about 2:00 a.m. The timing was perfect - Atlanta at 5:30 a.m., Birmingham at 7:15 (since we crossed back into the Central Time Zone) and Memphis at 11:30 a.m. Nice. Ben drove most of it, and I tended to the kids. See what a good Mommy I am? Connor loves Tootsie Pops. He should be on a billboard: "Friends don't let friends eat lollipops". Silly kid keeps blinking when I take pictures from up close.

This is how Connor sleeps during the day. Pulls the blanket right over his head and crashes. I think he takes after his Auntie Janice.

The girls got snacks from the vending machine at the Arkansas welcome center. Arkansas also has the distinction of having the most disgusting bathrooms I've seen in quite some time.

However, they did have some rather nice, tall sunflowers.

Kelsey had powdered donuts for her snack - can't you tell?

Did you know sugar is a sedative? (Don't worry, I gave her a pillow after I snapped the picture.)
According to MapQuest, it's a 17-hour drive. We did it in 20.5 - not bad.

At least, it wasn't bad until we hit Little Rock. The kids were starting to get antsy, it was around 2:00 or so and just off the interstate was a large city park. We thought we'd stop by and let them play for a while to get their wiggles out and spend some time outside the van. We didn't reckon on the fact that it was about 100 degrees outside, and all of the fun playground equipment was in the full sun. We did find a set of baby swings in the shade, so Connor got one and we squeezed Kelsey in the other. Then Connor got his first motorcycle ride...

But when it came right down to it, we didn't last more than 20 minutes in the heat. We loaded back up in the van, and started looking for a place to eat dinner. Since we'd had breakfast at 6:00 and lunch at 10:30, supper at 4:00 was right on time. Unfortunately, 4:00 also marked the limit of Connor's patience with the van. After a couple of hours of Connor screaming, some traumatic potty stops for the girls and general frustration by all, we finally moved Connor to the back row with his sisters and popped in the modern day babysitter - a DVD.

There they sat in general contentment till we finally got home about 9:30. It's good to be back!

Random Pictures from SC

The newest addition to the Chesley household: the furry one, Sally!

How do you like his boots?

Kristi & Kiersten
Jenny's kids and mine (minus Connor) at the pizza joint in Folly Beach - what a great day we had! From left to right: Olivia, Tanner, Hollis, Kelsey, Anna, and Emma.
Hollis loves the camera!
Kristi & Mike
Lovely Kiersten growing up so fast!

Ben never lets me take pictures of him, but Mike got a couple for me!
See how I adore him so??
Connor wearing Uncle Mikey's watch. On his head.
Kiersten snapping pictures, too!
Olivia and her friend, Calysta
Olivia kept getting red-eye in the pictures because she never looks straight at the camera, so I told her to look straight at me this time. This was the result...
Kelsey, Jared, Olivia, and Calysta
Jared & Kiersten
The (older) grandkids. Connor was probably missing because he was in a "mood".