Friday, August 31, 2012

Vegas Adventures Visitor #2 - Kyle!

Who was visitor #1? My dad! He came to visit while we were moving in and we basically put him to work. He drove from California and will be with us about once a month, which is amazing! LOVE YOU!

We have known Kyle a long time. I met him in 6th grade and Troy met him in church around the same time. Kyle was our "one degree." Kyle was there when Troy and I finally met at church youth group right before the start of junior year of high school in the back of a church van. That sounds bad, but it was all very innocent. Mini golf. Kyle was also the best man in our wedding. I hadn't seen Kyle since WAY before Avery was born. Troy saw Kyle last summer when he was in Colorado for part of his training. They did man stuff. Hiking. Camping. You know. General man merriment. Kyle and Troy still talk about the summer of their junior year in college when Troy when to California they somehow managed squeeze rock climbing, surfing and skiing (or in Troy's case snowboarding) in one week. Apparently they spent a lot of time in the car jamming to Rascal Flatts. Harmonizing. I'm serious. I love them :) Kyle had never met Avery until last weekend. Anyway, so now you know the background.

Kyle flew in on friday morning on Allegiant Air from Colorado. 113$ ROUND TRIP! That is straight up crazy. He is (successfully) convincing us to fly out and visit him before next summer. Especially at those prices. Hello cheap weekend trip!

Anyway...he flew out early friday morning and arrived at the house by about 1230. Apparently he and Troy took a few wrong turns on the way home from the airport. He better figure that out before other people fly in. It was his first time driving to and from the airport so I guess it's excusable. That's a lie. He picked me the dark, it was almost 11pm. So it was his first time in the daylight. So that's excusable?? We'll say it is.

Unfortunately for Kyle, we arranged to have our security system put in that day. For whatever reason, I am really uncomfortable having work done on the house when Troy isn't home and I am alone with Avery. The guy was here installing the system for about 4 hours. Which means the guys were stuck home with me and Avery. So we hung out, caught up, and Avery and Kyle played on his ipad together.

We had some friends over for dinner (we grilled and made teriyaki steak kabobs) and had game night. If you haven't played "Who, What, Where" you are missing out. It is like Pictionary but WAY better. Take my word for it. Get it. It's hilarious.

We also played a game called "Awkward Family Photos." You have seen the website...

Here is a sampling of what you might draw on the "subject card" (from

Everyone gawks and laughs at the picture and then a number is rolled. The number on the die from 1 to 20. A question along the edge of the game board aligns with a number. The questions are "what did someone say right before this picture" or "what could make this photo more ridiculous" or "what product is this photo an advertisement for." And everyone submits a response. The person whose turn it is, selects the best answer (it's more than likely the funniest answer) and you get points based on if your answer is picked or the selector can pick who wrote which answer. It's great.

On saturday morning, the guys went out with Optimus to Red Rocks, to check out a hiking trail and camp site. We went to an AWESOME restaurant called the HashHouse as well. No joke, Troy and I are taking EVERY SINGLE PERSON who visits us here. The food is awesome. Quality AND quantity. Each dish is enough for 3 people and is between 10-14$ per entree. It's awesome.

Saturday night, we went down to the Fremont Street Experience. They do ziplining down the middle of the street and have live music.

You can buy girly drinks and walk down the middle of the street.

You can buy random stuff. My favorites were this onesie:

And these GIANT balls. So to speak. On a necklace.

There are people dressed up like famous people. We saw Stevie Wonder, Spongebob, Michael Jackson and Elvis. And a man who had a puppet/ventriloquist. So creepy. The puppet talked to Avery. Troy stopped because she was entranced and I was all "dude keep walking" like a ventriloquist without my mouth moving because I was afraid of offending his career. Ugh.

When we got there, Kyle was like, "I always feel like when I come to Vegas, I'm going to see someone I know." And me and Troy were like, "oh okay, whatever, where's the beer?" Then what happens?? We are in a crosswalk with our drinks and "KYLE!!" Are. You. Kidding. ME? Someone from where Kyle went to college stopped him in the middle of the street to chat. It was crazy.

THIS PLACE is also there. If you weigh 350+ lbs, you eat for free. There is a scale in front of the door to go inside. We peeked in the window and it's HILARIOUS. You go in and put on a hospital gown. Rather than a bib napkin or something. All of the servers are wearing nurse uniforms. I can't take it. SO FUNNY! Does anyone remember seeing the news report a few months ago? About the person who actually had a heart attack while eating there? No lie, I actually want to eat there to take pictures and say that I did it.

On sunday we went for a short hike with Avery at Mt. Charleston. It was pretty. I forgot to take pictures :( And about 20 degrees cooler than Vegas. Optimus loved it and so did Avery. We wore her in the Ergo carrier on our backs.

Then we ran out to REI. Troy and I are going to be taking advantage of some of the outdoor activities and escape the heat with the hiking and need to invest in a nicer outdoor carrier. We put on some carriers and carted Avery around the store for a while and picked out a book of trail maps.

THEN WE WENT TO TRADER JOES!!! And bought about 5 bottles of 2 Buck Chucks. A 7$ HUGE bottle of olive oil, some super awesome organic fruits and veggies, and frozen sweet potato fries. I have tried other brands of sweet potato fries and want to like them. But I can't. Trader Joe's Frozen Sweet Potato fries are the best on the market. I'm going on record. It's on the internet now so that means it's official.

Then we hung out sunday night and chatted after Avery went to bed. Until 430. IN THE MORNING! Why don't those "good talks" ever happen on a friday or saturday when no one has to be at the airport at 6 in the morning? Or at work? WHY??

So monday was bad. Troy went to work. When Avery woke up at 730, I got up and immediately went to a friends house for the morning until Avery's nap. Because I would have had an unsupervised child while I slept on the couch if I had not had some accountability. So thank you Chelsea for that.

Overall, we had a great visit with Kyle and can't wait to see him in Vegas again in November.

Who is our next visitor??? I DON'T KNOW! Is it you? Give us a call! We even do transportation to/from the airport. You might get lost, but it will be a free tour of the strip! Win win!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Troy Wears His Sunglasses at Night...

For your listening pleasure while reading today:

Part of in-processing to the new base included several appointments for Troy. He had a dentist appointment and an optometry appointment last week.

On thursday (his birthday), he had his optometry appointment.

Wednesday night, he went to bed before me to read a bit while I was facebooking, craigslisting, and blogging. I went up to get ready for bed at 1030 and Troy was sitting in bed, with a lamp on, and reading a book.

Oh yeah (the most important part), and he had on his SUPER SEXY military issue sunglasses. Not regular glasses. Sunglasses. Picture this, but with the dark lenses.

I almost peed I was laughing so hard.

Troy was all "What? You don't like my new look?"

I was like, "Why?" (gasps for breath) "Dear God, why?"

He was like, "Well I have to wear glasses for my appointment tomorrow at Nellis. Which I am driving to, of course. I took my contacts out and wanted to make sure my sunglasses are the right prescription for the drive. Reading and driving are pretty similar, right? This is my test run!"

Sidenote: Troy is part vampire. If he is not wearing sunglasses, even on a cloudy day, he dies. The world actually ends for him. I have seen him wear old man sunglasses OVER his eyeglasses when he lost a contact in the ocean and didn't have a back up pair. I wish I was joking. The boy takes eye care VERY seriously. Especially in the car.

I tried to take a picture of him reading in his awesome-sauce sunglasses, but he wouldn't permit photos. He was worse than KStew with her cheating scandal going on. Instead you will just have to imagine it. It was awful I tell you. Awful. I don't think the government could pick less attractive glasses for their service members.
I'm starting a petition about unacceptably unattractive eyewear.

If your spouse has military issue eyewear, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page with a place that you have spotted them wearing those monstrosities. I'm interested. Has he worn those sexy things to bed? Troy taped up a pair on the bridge of the nose and wore them to a youth group Halloween party as a nerd. It's true. If you have the photo, please shoot me a message. You know who you are - FSBC youth...called out.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Avery and Granddaddy Time

As I mentioned last week, Troy's Dad was in New Mexico with us for his graduation. Avery and her Granddaddy had a grand ole' time together.

Isn't that precious??

I also got an adorable video when he didn't know I was filming. He may actually be finding out right now as he reads this. This video is adorable. Avery is laughing super hard. There's just something about men playing with babies!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Troy's Birthday and God's Miracles

Today is Troy's 27th birthday. Well, technically it was yesterday. But I am writing this post now and posting it tomorrow. 27 is a funny number to me. Troy and I are pretty close in age. His birthday is August 23rd and mine is a little over a month away on October 4th. Then we will both be the same age again.

I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but recently, I am always forgetting how old I am. I ALWAYS knew my age before because there were milestones to reach.

18? Piercings, tattoos, voting, cigarettes. In order of importance you see ;) I kid, I kid.

21? Obvious. Hello.

25? Rent a car. Not that this is particularly awesome. But still a milestone.

I keep wanting to tell people that I am 25 because I forget how old I am. Time speeds up the older you get and again with the more things/people/animals that you are responsible for taking care of. It totally sucks. And is awesome at the same time. Truly. The things that cause your life to speed up and pass quickly are the exact same things that make you want your life to slow down so that you can remember them and enjoy them. SAVOR them even.

When I hit 26, all of the sudden, it's like my brain went into age denial. I cannot remember how old I am. I literally have to think of my birth year, think of what year it currently is and do the math. The other day I wrote 2011 on a check. I'm not kidding. So I still get my age wrong on occasion.

Now that 27 is approaching quickly, I realize that 30 is looming. Big and scary. I remember that when 20 came, it was AWESOME because I only had one more year to 21. Which EVERYONE does the countdown for. 26 came and I still rounded down, knowing I was closer to 25. 27 is RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE. It's round UP time. Oh no. 30 to me is scary. I have no idea why. In my mind, I thought that I would be done having kids when I was 30. Which may or may not happen. If you are a close friend and I have cried on your shoulder, you know that I have a heck of a time getting pregnant and then staying pregnant. Ugh.

It is an absolute MIRACLE that there are so many healthy and normal people walking around. So many steps have to occur with the the just right timing and in the just right order. And the intervention of God. It's absolutely incredible that there are people walking around, talking, inventing, growing, and making more people. The biology of growing a human is so complex, it's a wonder that babies are born everyday. It's absolutely incredible.

I look at Avery every day and think of what a miracle she is. How special she is. How God has blessed our family in ways I can't even fathom. Whenever I think "why isn't this easier?" or "why isn't this FUN?" or "why won't my body work the way it should?" I remind myself of everything horrible that Troy and I have been though and how if all those awful things hadn't happened, I wouldn't have my perfect beautiful angel in my arms. When I hear people say, "everything happens on God's time" after something awful happens, I want to punch them. Looking back, that is SO true. More true than I want to admit. When I look back, I realize that a series of unfortunate events lead to the most precious, beautiful thing in my life. I continue to tell myself that now. It's easier to cope with now that I already have a baby to comfort myself with.

Troy was a blessing to his parents 27 years ago and finding him was a blessing to me. Thank you so much to Troy's parents for raising such a thoughtful, generous, understanding, loving, and God fearing man.

I say all this, because I am an impossible woman. I say the wrong things, I am impatient, and I hate bacon. Sacrilegious, I know. Troy knows all my insecurities and he manages to say the right things, be patient with me, and loves bacon dipped in ranch (I can literally think of nothing nastier). He is confident in God's plan for us and our future. We met through divine intervention at church youth group when we were 16 and like to joke that we were "womb mates" because our parents knew each other when our mommas were pregnant at the same time with us.

Happy (belated) Birthday to best husband, father, and man I know. I love you.

You're closer to 30 than me. Na-na-na-na-boo-boo :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Failed Sales Pitch

We were warned by some friends about the vulture salesmen in the neighborhood once you move into your house.

The day DIY almost ruined our marriage, the doorbell rang 4 times. I thought that was impressive since we were only in the house from 10 to 5. We had technically owned our house for over a month before we moved in, so it made me wonder how many people had gone by our house and rang the door bell before someone actually answered it. I kept thinking (after our friends mentioned the doorbell ringing) that because we had waited over a month to move in after the closing date that maybe they would have all given up after almost 5 weeks of no response.

Apparently not.

We had 2 different security system companies, a woman who wanted to build us some custom closet organizers, and a man who wanted to install our blinds and do our landscaping. If you read the disaster DIY post, you can probably guess that we WERE NOT up for friendly visiting and listening to people try and sell us some stuff. Or have time. They are lucky I answered the door at all, frankly.

The second day we were putting up ceiling fans and I left after about an hour and was gone at Costco for 3 hours and then came back for about 2 hours. I was at the house for a total of 3 hours that day and the door bell rang 3 times. It was a landscaping person, a person selling water conditioners/softeners (who we actually called the next week and bought a Puronics water system), and repeat security system person from the day before. He apparently didn't get the message that we were busy and not ready to have a conversation yet.

Brian, who ended up calling later for the water purifying stuff, was great. I came to the door and said hi and he IMMEDIATELY was like "I know that buying a new home is an incredibly busy time, but I wanted to leave you my card. I sell water softeners and conditioners, please call me at your convenience for an estimate and demonstration of our Puronics water system."

Short, sweet, to the point, and not pushy.

Mr. Repeat Security guy needed to take notes.

I answered the door and recognized him from the day before. He apparently did not get the message that we were busy and not ready for sales pitches and conversations when we could barely deal with the problems we had created for ourselves inside. Mr. Oblivious had brought a trainee with him, hoping to intimidate me into hearing his schpeal and letting him in, but if you know me, you know that I don't intimidate easily.

This is how this conversation went.

Natalie: Hi. I remember you from yesterday.

Mr. Oblivious: Yeah, I thought I might have better luck today.

Natalie: You won't. We are still handling some things inside and aren't ready to talk to anyone. Our movers are coming soon and we need to handle as many of the interior projects as possible before the furniture arrives. Please come back in about 2 to 3 weeks. As I stated yesterday.

Mr Oblivious and really stupid who is about to put his foot in his mouth: Can I speak to the decision maker in the house instead?

Really? Like I don't make any decisions. Like my husband makes all my decisions for me. It's more like the other way around. No offense honey. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

Natalie while raising eyebrows and pursing lips: That was totally the wrong thing to say to me.

Mr. Oblivious and try to back out of his words while removing his foot from his mouth: What I meant was the person who you make decisions with.

Natalie: Oh honey, it's too late for that. You obviously aren't married or you would know that if the wife don't approve, it don't happen. Don't bother coming back. We are done. Thanks.

I promptly shut the door in his face without a good-bye.

I told Troy what happened immediately and he BUSTED up laughing because he knows. "Happy Wife = Happy Life." Learn dude. Learn.

Can you believe that? I don't know who trained HIM but he certainly shouldn't have had a trainee.

Lesson 1 to all sales people. DO NOT INSULT YOUR INTENDED CLIENTELE. You will not make the sale.

PS. CPS security in Las Vegas...train your people better. That was awful. You would have gotten a call back if you had been polite. We went with the polite retired Air Force guy from ADT. Who came back EXACTLY when we asked him to. Not the next day. Better luck next time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Graduation/Troy and I Clean Up Nicely - Who Knew?

Troy finally graduated from his training program last thursday evening. It was epic. I was so proud. I cannot even tell you how nervous I was when Troy decided to make a career change. He was doing GREAT at his job in Dover and even won the Junior CGO of the Year while we were there. He loved his job and really enjoyed his deployment.

I should have known that Troy would be successful at anything he put his mind to. Sorry I doubted you babe. We still struggle with the decision, but felt a little better about it after graduation was'll see why :)

The day started with the planes in a static display out on the flight line. The guys in the class could take their families out and show them the planes and talk about the different features. They were bigger than I thought. I wish I could show you pictures, but I'm not allowed. I got a great one of Troy and his Dad. If you want to see them, leave a comment or shoot me a facebook message with your email address and I will get them to you.

After that, there was the Winging Ceremony. We were so lucky to have family come for it! Troy's Dad and Aunt Kathy drove our other car ALL THE WAY TO NEW MEXICO from Washington DC. Troy's Dad pinned Troy's wings on and that was so special for them. I'm really glad he could be there because even though I have been there to support Troy through this last year of crazy, it was really his Dad that motivated him and inspired his passion for the military as a young child.

This is Troy's Dad, Aunt Kathy, and Troy, who is clearly making a face at Avery, who is not in the picture. Haha.

Group shot! I love Avery's curls. I cannot express it enough.

Troy waiting at attention for his turn.

The moment of truth! Troy's Dad pins on his wings! Tear.

This is right after the winging. Family photo! You can't tell from this picture because I actually put some effort into my hair, but it SERIOUSLY needs a cut and color. Like, it hasn't been done since April. Thank GOODNESS Aunt Kathy let me swipe her curling iron so I could hide the fried, dead ends.

AMERICA! Good picture in front of the flag.

Troy and I cleaned up for the Graduation dinner.

There were 6 guys in Troy's class with a 100% average. Troy was one of them. So all 6 guys won the "Academic Ace" award. The most number of guys to win it at one time. Ever. Congrats to all those studs!

There were also 2 distinguished grad awards. Congrats to those guys! Those are given to the 2 people who are "all around awesome." Troy got the award for the "Top Gun." This is how it was explained to me. There are weapons on the plane. They are scored based on the amount of time from "desired impact time" to "actual impact time" as well as hitting the target. Troy won that award. So proud. So proud (and surprised that he won) that I almost didn't get a picture. I shot up out of my chair and fumbled with my camera all "wait wait, stand there for a second and smile!!" after they had already separated and Troy was on his way back to his seat. Embarrassing....oh well. I wanted my picture, darn it!

And here is a close up of his nice, new, shiny wings. Pretty huh? Again, I love me some instagram.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Sorry for my brief absence from the online world. Our family has made the final trek from Alamogordo to Las Vegas and are now here to live for real. Until our next PCS. Ugh. The thought makes me depressed. Anywho...

Last week, I shared with you all our new and updated to do list with all kinds of purchases crossed off. To make the wait for the reveal a little longer, here are a bunch of pics of our purchases!

First up on the list: BLINDS! Which if you read the post about Troy and I putting them up, you know how that went. We survived to live another day.

Next on the list - FANS! We purchased 6 of these and installed them. Somehow. Haha. These are the 3 extra bedroom fans. They are in the upstairs guest room, Avery's room and the downstairs guest room. I love how the edges look burnt. It moves some serious air. It's great.

I have neglected to take pictures of the family room fan, but it is also ORB and huge. With a giant light. A boob light similar to the one below. You know what I am talking about.

We purchased 2 of these. They are in the loft upstairs and in the master bedroom. Some of you may have noticed that we chose to mix metals. We have ORB curtain rods, door handles and hinges. Then we have the stainless steel appliances, bathroom fixtures, shower surround, and 2 fans. It's all good baby. You may not have even noticed if I didn't mention it.

This is 8 X 10 wool rug that I found on one of the "girly" trips that I took out shopping. I love that the pattern is pretty traditional but the colors make it much more modern. The picture is really true to the colors as well. It's like a slate grey blue color. The tan/off white pattern looks really great with the tile in the family room. It's shedding a bit, but with the dyson that Troy got me for Christmas, it's fun to pull that bad boy out and go to town. So far, it's hiding Optimus's dog hair pretty well.

This picture is a dual show. At center stage we have our charcoal grey sofa. In the supporting role are the curtains. Oh the sofa. We were pretty set on getting a sectional. But then I got all practical and ruined that plan. I was like "we already have a sectional upstairs in the loft. If we get another one and then we move again there is NO way that 2 sectionals will fit in our house." So the compromise was that we would get a sofa and 2 recliners. WELL, OMG! Troy wanted 2 of those recliners that look like they totally eat you when you sit in them and have tons and tons of padding. I just prefer the more tufted/neat and tidy look. Well then we got all awkward because if you have been furniture shopping before the sales people are like VULTURES. I was glad we were arguing a little bit because they got really uncomfortable and left us alone. HA! We ended up compromising on a sofa and loveseat combo in a color I wanted and ALL of the seats recline. Including the middle seat on the sofa. The loveseat also rocks. EACH seat! Both sides rock independently of the other AND recline. With a button. It's pretty awesome. They are heavy. Oops. Poor movers.

The camera/light is totally blowing the color out weird so they look greenish, but I promise they are dark grey. And very pretty. Say "Hi" to my Dad. He came to visit.

Here is a picture of the curtains with the only picture we have hung up in the house. The curtains are a light blue color with silvery light grey leaves on them. The picture my Granny Tucker painted and it goes perfectly with the colors in this room. We haven't hung it at all since we got married so it was a nice surprise to pull it out of the picture boxes and see that it now fits perfectly somewhere in the house. And it's meaningful. Which I love.

These are the dining room curtains from HomeGoods. For $14.99. Ok folks that is just stealing! How pretty are those? And CHEAP! Major win for me at HomeGoods. I LOVE THEM! Especially since the next set were much more.

Now you can't tell from this picture, but that is actually 2 windows. I have 4 of these panels from World Market. I could have put all 4 panels up, but then all the fabric would have bunched up and you wouldn't have been able to open them at all. The windows are pretty narrow and there is about 10 inches of wall between them. Instead of just hanging 2 we decided to go with 3 to make the window look bigger from the inside of the house by hiding the wall. I'm pretty pleased with how that turned out.

Backstory on the curtains: I found those at World Market last summer. They are the extra long 105 inch ones...which retail for $42.99 per panel!! HELLS NO! So I went home and looked them up on eBay and someone was selling them for 80 dollars for 4 PANELS! YES PLEASE! I snapped those things up faster than Avery grabs for crackers. They are perfect because those are tall and skinny windows. They are 104 inches from the top of the window to the floor. Meant to be? I think so. And a great deal. Ebay swoops in and steals the win from HomeGoods.

This is the upstairs loft. The curtains I got at Walmart about 4 years ago and they hung in our family room in Dover. We had them in the dining room in San Antonio. Reuse people! Wahoo! This is actually a pretty dark room, even in the middle of the day, so I am glad they are sheer.

CRAIGSLIST!! I LOVE YOU! I got this for $30. I talked the lady down $5. So proud. My mom has had this EXACT table for as long as I can remember. She has refinished hers in the last 5 years or so, so the weird orangey color is out. I will be doing the same. When I saw it listed I was all "hey Troy look! It's my mom's coffee table." He was all "SOLD!! I LOVE THAT TABLE! GET IT NOW!" Dang ok. So I snapped that up. The other one is currently being used as a TV stand for the loft TV (that used to be in our room).

I cannot express to you how amazing these adirondack rocking chairs are. I sent an email to my Grandma hinting that I needed a housewarming gift/birthday present. To my shock and surprise, she agreed and bought them! HOW AWESOME IS SHE? The answer is, "The most awesome."

It's true love. Really. My mom bought me one and my grandma bought me one. A PAIR. They are gorgeous. Look at that tufting. Look at the color. Look at those legs. Have you ever seen a more gorgeous pair of stems on chairs? I haven't. They are some good looking ladies. However, they are shorter and squattier than I anticipated. As a result, they may have lost the coveted in-front-of-the-eBay-curtain-windows spot. The windows are so high I feel like the juxtaposition of the tall windows and short chairs may not be the way to go. I will let you know where they land. For now, the adirondack rocking chairs are sitting in the windows facing the grey ladies. Having a face off over who is the best. It's a tie. I can't decide. It's agony.

Oh the legendary barstools. You may have missed the post about them. They almost didn't come home with me because Troy didn't approve of the "hideous things." Yeah right, I do what I want. Look at them! They are lighter than the cabinets, so the color pops when you turn the corner into the kitchen. The legs completely match the cabinets so they look like they are floating. And because of the color of the chairs, they are making the backsplash pop too! They are totally flirting over the top of the island and granite countertops all "oh hey, how YOU doin?"

One of these things is new? Can you guess which one? Troy and I were pretty much in agreement that even though we needed to replace our electric dryer for a gas one, we wanted the set to match still. Mission accomplished. The one on the right is the new dryer. We are thrilled with it so far.

BABY GATES! She's a nutso about the stairs. It scares the bejeezus out of me. She is into everything. Seriously. She's a little scary. She's all climbing in the dishwasher, climbing on the back of the toilet, climbing in the cabinets. She's a climber. It's a problem. I really love the gate so far. We'll see how it goes. The gate has these knobs that screw open to tighten to the wall. A friend told us that she had this gate and you end up screw the knobs very tightly into the wall and then one day, your kid gets the Hulk like strength and pushes the gate over, taking dry wall with it. Hopefully Avery won't be a superhero and that won't happen. We'll see.

So that's the new stuff. We still don't have things on the walls and are unpacking the last few boxes. I will get you some updates soon my blog stalkers. Talk to you soon!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

2 Minutes in Avery's Brain

Where's my milk? Where's my mom? MOOOOOOM! Why don't I have my milk yet? Oh there it is. I want to brush my teeth. All done. Where's mom's phone? Where's dad's phone? OOO the remote! BUTTTTTONS! Elmo! I love dancing. Haha Elmo's funny. Dancing! REMOTE! Where's my mom? Oh there she is. I'm hungry. No not for that. MMM cheeeese! I love cheese. NO I WANT CHEESY CRACKERS! NOW! And milk. Where's dad? Where's my dog? OO I want to play in the dog's water. BATH! MOM NOOOOOOOOO I WAS SPLASHING GIVE IT BACK! OOO Elmo! I need to push buttons. Mom, lets read. Mom? You can't go in the bathroom without me! I want to flush the toilet. THE BATH! I want a bath now! No don't close the door. What's this thing? Buttons? I need milk. NOW. Not in THAT cup. More crackers. Now. I want to go outside. Oh it's hot. I need some milk. I wonder how rocks taste. Kinda yucky. It's hot. I want to go inside. Where's my mom? Dad? Where is your phone? Book? I want to turn the pages!! ME! Mine! I want to sit in your lap. But only for a second. Where's my milk? Where's the remote? BUTTONS! Elmo! Dance! Oh I want to climb in the cabinet! Pots and pans make the the best noises! I need to see them all! Take them all out! And I'm done with this. My eyes hurt. I'm hungry. My diaper is wet. MOM! Oh there you are. Let me sit here. MILK NOW!! Pick me up. Hug me. Put me down. NOW! I want on the couch. Haha, I'm standing on the couch and you're not watching...OOO I'm caught, I'm sitting I'm sitting. What now? Milk? Nap? Wait no! You tricked me. Oh my bed is so comfy. There's bear bear. Paci? Oh hi bed.

Seriously this is my life. All day long. All day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Monday: The Day I Learned About My Husband's Non-Patience with Non-Living Things. More Specifically DIY Projects. And My Inability to Shut Up.

My husband is SO patient. With me. Most of the time. I'm weird and quirky. I like things how I like them. I honestly don't know how I got so lucky to find such a wonderful and sweet guy to tolerate all of my weirdness.

I have never met this tool throwing, cursing, exasperated, sweating guy until when tools were involved.

I have never seen this side of him. The most "DIY" thing we have ever done is put together an IKEA bookshelf. Actually, that's not true. In Dover, we installed a storm door that had a doggie door cut out of the bottom. Prior to the doggie door project, I was convinced that Troy was Superman with a power drill because he's a guy. Apparently that's not how a man is made. By their ability with power tools. I'm pretty sure that I blocked out doggie door installation from my memory because it was so unpleasant. This memory came raring back full force on our first day of "get-as-many-home-projects-accomplished-as-possible-before-the-movers-come-on-wednesday."

Picture me wondering why "this" isn't working or why "this" isn't going faster. Then Troy muttering why am I so impatient under his breath and it escalating to huffing breath and tool throwing and marching around the side of the house to pull a "Tebow" and kneel in the side yard, asking God for strength to finish without killing his wife. That's how the doggie door install went. We finished, but I forgot about this incident from July of 2009 until halfway through our first day of inside-our-new-house-work.

We Troy woke up Monday morning after our all of our shopping on sunday and was very optimistic. He was feeling confident that we could install ALL 12 of the blinds, ALL 6 of the ceiling fans, seal ALL of the grout, and seal the granite in one day. With a 15 month old. I knew better. And probably so do you. Especially after reading this list he wanted to accomplish. He's goal oriented and ambitious. Two of the reasons that I married him. However, neither one of us had EVER installed a ceiling fan or a set of blinds, but it couldn't be rocket science. I was feeling confident that our learning curve would increase exponentially after the first installation of each was complete.

Troy decided to start with the most basic ceiling fan that comprised 3 out of the 6 fans that we had purchased. My job was to open all the fans in the rooms in which they belonged and distribute the blinds in front of the windows they had been cut for. I finished my job while carting Avery around the house with me. I went up into Avery's room (where Troy was working on the first fan install) after about an hour and Troy was still bent over the directions, holding the ceiling fan mount in his hands.

Natalie: What's going on? The directions say that the fan installation should take about an hour. It's been over an hour. Shouldn't you be in the next room?

Troy: Really, Natalie? Why don't you just beat me while I'm down? I don't think I can do this. There is no "outlet box" to mount this to. *throws screwdriver onto the ground and throws the mount like a frisbee*

Natalie challenges Troy's manhood, thinking anger will motivate him (boy, was I wrong): Are you kidding? Jared installed 5 of these. Nate installed one and so did Dan. You can't do this? Do you need a help from a girl? Do you need to call Jared and get over the phone instructions?

*Disclaimer: Ok, I was totally being a bitch. I know. But we were on limited time. We were stressing. But my job was done. My next job was to watch Avery so that Troy could be successful at his job. Which he clearly was not. Anyway...

Troy: Natalie, you are not helping. Maybe it's just this ceiling outlet in the bedroom that sucks. I'm not totally convinced that it's designed for a ceiling fan. It might be designed for just a light. No fan. I'm going to try the one in the loft that is definitely already wired for a fan. That might be easier.

Natalie while snapping her fingers and stomping her feet: Good idea. We've been here an hour and nothing is done. Keep moving, keep moving, chop freakin' chop.

So we go out into the loft and I start taking blinds out of the box to figure out screwing them into the window. The directions are WORSE than Ikea directions. You know what I am talking about if you have put something together from Ikea before (image from Apt Therapy).

In the meantime, Troy has figured out how to mount the loft ceiling fan. Then he drops a curse word. Again.

Troy while climbing down the ladder: The screws are too soft. I totally stripped it and NOW I can't get it mounted all the way in the ceiling. Awesome.

He proceeds to unscrew the whole thing using a wrench. His arm is falling asleep. It takes 10 minutes because the screw is so long. He gets the mount off the ceiling and gets another screw and tries again. And proceeds to strip it with the drill. He curses. I laugh. I guess that doesn't help. Oops. Troy quits with the fans and decides to join in on the torture with the blinds. I am still staring at the horrible faux Ikea directions for the blinds.

The way they go together, there are two metal clamps that are shaped like a C. The "back" of the C sits flush against the window frame and then the "top" of the C screws into the inside of the window at the top and the side screws into the side of the window. The the blinds click/slide into the C. it comes. Not only have we not put in a SINGLE ceiling fan, but now we are having difficulty with the blinds.

Our issue was screwing in the screws on the top of the C that screws into the inside frame at the top of the window. Because it's shaped like a C, that means that the bottom of the C is in the way of screwing in the top.

Troy was swearing and throwing things again.

Troy: You are SO cheap!! It was $99 to have Lowe's come out and measure and install the blinds. BUT NOOOOOOOOO you wanted to save a buck and now we are wasting a whole day!!! This agony is worth $99!

Then I said the wrong thing. Well I actually started saying the wrong things about half a page up.

Natalie: I wanted that money for a rug and throw pillows!!

Troy: Oh, the necessary things in life.

So little does Troy know...

Swear swear, stomp stomp. Troy stomps down stairs to get his phone.

So what does he do? He calls Lowe's. He asks to speak to the window treatment department and talks to the specialist person.

Troy: We were in yesterday and had blinds cut. Can we hire someone now to come to our house and install them?

Dude: No, you have to do that at the beginning because we measure them. If anything goes wrong, or the measurements aren't correct we are responsible. But since you already measured, had them cut, and took them home, we won't install them for liability issues."

Then Troy got desperate.

Troy: What if we sign a waiver so that you aren't responsible if the blinds don't fit?

Dude: Sorry, no can do.

Troy: So you're saying we f***ed up from the begininng?!!

Dude: Well yes, but I can't say that.

And then I'm pretty sure that Troy hung up on the guy.

Back to the drawing board. And I'm pretty sure it merits a mention that Avery was napping though all this, by the way (I put her in a pack and play under the stairs storage area all Harry Potter style) because she can only sleep in the dark.

Then I did the bitch thing again. I was like, "Jared installed ALL THE BLINDS in their house by himself. We can totally do this together." He made a face. And possibly a hand gesture.

Lesson to everyone: You truly do not know your spouse until you complete attempt home improvement projects together.

Troy finally figured out how to use the drill extender to drill through holes in the bottom of the C to get the screws flush with the metal. The day was saved. Thank God. There really is a very steep learning curve once you get the first one installed. VERY steep. Like Troy was installing them so fast, I couldn't get the blinds and all the hardware out the box for the next window before he was done with the previous one.

We ended up getting all the blinds installed in less than 2 hours. The first one doesn't count because it took an hour and 15 minutes. Ooo that looks so bad when written out. So a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes for 12 blinds. We have two more coming that are custom ordered. From 10am to 330pm we got all the blinds in. We spent the first 2 hours messing with the first fan that was a total fail. Then we spent another hour with the loft fan and THAT was a total fail. Then we spent an hour and 15 minutes arguing about the first set of blinds and then called Lowe's. After getting a "you are on your own" lecture from Lowe's, it was 1:30pm. That's when we starting rocking and rolling. We were done by 3:30 with blinds.

Then we moved onto hanging curtain rods on the sliding door off the kitchen and the big window in the family room that has a custom blind set coming. It was very important to us to have something covering all the windows on the first floor before we left to drive back to Alamogordo because all of our stuff would be inside and we didn't want any creepers looking around. Goal accomplished. With a very little yelling. I think Troy was feeling bad. I was too. Extra effort was made to be nice.

True story, we didn't have a tape measure. Who does that?? The inexperienced people right here (points at self, Troy should have known better). Troy fashioned a crazy craptastic one out of the extra long curtain rod box. And our first attempt to hang the curtains level was a fail. It's ok. If at first you fail, try again. And try we did. After some more yelling and tool throwing. We bought spackle. Don't worry.

Overall, it was a stressful day. Troy and I NEVER fight or talk to each other like that. Home-ownership just brings out the bitch in people, I guess. When we got back to our lovely hosts' home and told them our progress for the day, they thought we did great with our productivity. Especially while chasing a 15 month old up and down the stairs. Ugh. Read my lips writing: BABY GATES.

It's this exact situation that demonstrates why we have a pre-lit Christmas tree. We disagree on exactly how the lights should look, how to string them, how dense they should be, where they should sit on the branches (all over versus strung on the ends of the branches), and the color (white lights TROY, he always wanted colored ones...ewww). We learned that after the first 2 years of marriage the day we put up the tree has nothing to do with the "spirit of Christmas" but rather a giant lights argument. Our tree is the best $100 dollars we ever spent. Christmas literally got better. Because we didn't walk past the tree making adjustments to the way we wanted it to look while making sure the other one wasn't watching. And it would end up looking a hot mess. He wanted a pre-lit colored lights tree. EWWWWW. Troy would beg to differ. He would have spent the $100 on blind installation.

I actually learned a lot from this horrible day. It was our first time doing DIY anything. I love DIY blogs. Young House Love is my absolute favorite. I now know that they are liars. HUGE! Or the most polite people ever and just put on a happy face. There is NO way to DIY anything without something going wrong. Or at least not going the way you expected. You cannot be that cheery about DIY. I just cannot be that positive when things don't go the way you envision! Why can't everything go perfectly and exactly the way you plan??? That, my friends, is the reality of DIY. SOMETHING will go wrong. SOMETHING! Get ready for it and plan on it. Except for that you can't because you never know what it will be.

Things I learned on day 1 of DIY:

1. Don't challenge your husbands manhood by comparing him to the success of others DIY projects. It's not nice.

2. Use a tape measure and a level. Always.

3. Pilot holes are your best friend.

4. Sometimes reading directions is not helpful. If you are doing multiples of something, make your errors in a room that you don't frequently enter and hopefully no one will notice your practice project.

5. If your spouse yells or curses or throws things, it's (90% likely) not your fault. You'll only make it worse by yelling back and taking it personally. Stay calm and drill on.

6. If you have young children awake while doing these projects, close drill bit cases, extra hardware bags, and the tool box. Then you won't be tempted to jump off the ladder and almost die to prevent your child from trying to eat a drill bit.

Oh don't worry. There's more. Troy brought Jared over that night to get a fan tutorial. And we got all 6 in the next day. And I made it to Costco. It was love. We had a GREAT day. We definitely learned a lot on day one. Just because things went poorly. So day one: massive fail in communication and support. Day two: success because of day one's failures.

Troy, I love you so much. I will promise to be more patient with you. You are always so patient with me. You humor my weird and quirky and silly personality traits. Thanks for putting up with me. You're the only one who does. You know the saying, "a face only a mother could love"? Well my mother has told me that I am emotionally draining. And you put up with me anyway and want to make more babies with me. I got me a good one, I tell you. Hands off ladies, he's mine.

Anyone else have a horrid home improvement story? Or just a great story about a stupid fight with your significant other? Fight about Christmas lights?? It sure would make me feel better right now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Just In Case You Missed Us - Instagram Roundup

I already shared the pictures from our drive here. But here are the rest. For those of you who don't have smart phones with an Instagram app. I understand. That's not a dig. I just want to share :)

Curtains from HomeGoods. I LOVE THEM!

SUCCESS with blinds. Winning. Only barely. Post about that tragedy coming tomorrow.

The Santa Fe plank doors. I may have hugged them and petted them for about 10 minutes when we first walked in. There may have been a few kisses. Open mouth. I am obsessed. They add SO much character to an otherwise cookie cutter house.

Curtains and rods from Target. We also installed the fan. It's ORB. And gorgeous. It moves some serious air. Which is great. It was 111 degrees on saturday. Gross.

Wednesday. Moving day. I was so thankful for great movers. They were awesome. They unpacked everything and nothing was broken. Nothing. A few scratches, but nothing significant enough to file. God is good!

We went to Buffalo Wing Wings. Avery ate celery. We tried to get her to chow on french fries. She ate them, but enjoyed the celery more. Whose child is this? I keep telling myself that her teeth were hurting so the celery stalk felt nice on her gums. I hate celery. It tastes like it doesn't belong in your mouth. It's stringy and watery and weird. French fries are golden and delicious morsels of potato from heaven.

Adirondack rocking chairs. Does life get better than this? I think not. The arms are a perfect width to hold a mason jar of sweet tea, a beer, or a cup of coffee. It's amazing. They were perfect because we put them together thursday night and our new couches didn't get delivered until sunday morning. We watched the Olympics from these in the evenings until then. And I watched the news in them in morning while I drank my coffee while everyone was sleeping. They are gorgeous and comfy. I cannot say enough good things about them. Thank you Grandma!! I love my presents!

Baby gate. Enough said.

Hanging out while having a drink and watching the Olympics. Adorable.

We took a trip to Sam's Club with my Dad, aka Grandpa Geno. He decided that Avery could not live without a bigger-than-Avery hippo. She loves it. It looks like she is about to cry, but that is actually her "effort face." She is picking it up (it's rather heavy) and grunting while gritting her teeth. She's a lady. Basically. My little piggy grunter.

Optimus enjoying some of my girly-purchases. Throw pillows. I'm addicted.

Avery finally fell asleep on the way back to Alamogordo. We had been driving for about 11 hours and she finally fell asleep for about 45 minutes until we pulled into TLF. I love this picture. Look at those eyelashes and the rosebud mouth. LOVE.

That's what you missed on Instagram. You can find us at BarnesDailyCircus.