Friday, June 30, 2017

I Have a Problem Finishing Things + The Book That Changed Everything

First off, I should clarify---I don't have a problem finishing ALL things.

For example, I have no problem finishing books. Or an entire bag of Costco-sized Hershey's kisses by myself. Or following through on commitments I've made to people (usually).

No...what I DO have a problem finishing, however, is anything to do with tidiness or hands-on projects in general.

In school, I used to take art classes (before I stopped, at 16, because I was seated next to basically the most amazing artist of all time who actually later on to become a professional, so...yeah. #iquit #iknow #comparisonissues). Whenever I was in the middle of a project I actually cared about, I would always take the project home and work hours and and hours and hours on it, but then have to turn it in unfinished because I just kept wanting to go back and fix things.

I've heard that having a problem finishing tasks is a hallmark sign of a perfectionist, and I can totally back that up. However, for years now I've really worked hard to combat my perfectionist tendencies and just get stuff done already, especially when it comes to stuff around our home (following the mantra of "Good enough for now is better than not done at all").

But it's still something I struggle with.

Moving into a house where I now have months' worth of projects ahead of me is a new playing field for me, though, and because it's so new, I've found myself regressing to old habits, which translates to starting to work on one thing but then convincing myself that do that one thing perfectly, I need to do this other thing first, but then to do that, this needs to be cleaned, and oh wait, I don't have the right products, so maybe I can start looking for the perfect-sized container for that other project instead...

On and on and on.

It's meant that our house--already in the natural disarray from moving--was actually getting worse instead of better because I would unpack half a box and then leave stuff thrown all over other stuff in my quest to do it all perfectly.

So yesterday, I forced myself to stop for a second and breathe. And when I did, I started thinking about a book my sister recommended to me (thanks, Sarah!) that I read about a month or so ago that I think has changed forever the way I think about housework and tidiness in general.

And that book is this:


It's called How to Manage Your House Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White (that's an affiliate link, by the way, although this post is by no means sponsored--I just am obsessed with the book is all), and its premise is that it's the one book on how to organize your home that's written by someone who's not naturally organized.

I've been battling my slob-like tendencies for years (ask any of my college roommates or my mother), and although I made substantial progress a few years back when I got rid of a large chunk of my possessions, housework and being tidy do not come naturally to me.

However, this book made some excellent points that I remembered as I sat looking at all the stuff everywhere the other day:

1. Oftentimes, your house stays messy because the thought of tackling it ALL seems so overwhelming that there never seems to be a good enough time to start because you won't get it all finished like you want anyway. The author makes the point that a lot of people with slob-like tendencies are actually perfectionists or highly creative people, which is why they love the idea of a good "project" but have a hard time with actual maintenance. But, as with any good "project," a true perfectionist wants to make sure that once that project gets done, it gets done to perfection, so she keeps putting it off and putting it off until that elusive day when she'll have time to tackle it all, and do it all perfectly.

To combat this tendency (which I totally relate to), she outlines a simple 28-day plan to get your house under control that even the most cleaning-averse person can get on board with. Basically, it's that for week one, you just worry about doing your dishes---ALL of your dishes, every day. On the second week, you worry about doing all your dishes every day, and then you start picking up and putting away clutter that's in your bathrooms every night. And so on and so forth. 

Because the tasks are so straightforward, it's hard to talk yourself out of it, and once that first day is done (which will always be the worst, because the dishes/clutter/whatever will have had time to pile up), then it's much easier to maintain.

This plan also makes it seem doable to clean up a disastrous house because it forces you to just focus on doing a few things and then adding to them over time, rather than trying to tackle the huge, daunting thing at once.

2. When she talks about decluttering a room, she tells you to not sort things into piles but rather to take the item where it belongs right then and there. This is counterintuitive because it requires more time and energy in the long run, but she makes an excellent point--most of us organize things into piles but then get interrupted to go do something else, and then by the time we get back to the project with all the piles, they have all merged together and morphed into bigger piles with non-related stuff and then the whole process starts again. But, if I take something to where it belongs right away, then at least I've made that progress no matter what, even if I get interrupted in the middle.

For unpacking our house, this has been key. At first, I started out with the piles, but I was ALWAYS getting sidetracked, so I just forced myself to start taking stuff to where I wanted it to go right then so that I wouldn't keep making things worse.

3. I'm not sure if this is said explicitly in the book or not, but it's kind of the feeling of it, and that's the concept of just sticking with one thing until it's finished, rather than allowing yourself to view THE WHOLE MESS and get overwhelmed.

So yesterday, I focused on our kitchen. Rather than get sidetracked by all the boxes still left in the bedroom or the fact that our exterior shutters are currently red, white, and blue or on the downstairs bathroom that I still need to do the finishing touches on (pictured above), I just focused on the kitchen. 

I methodically went through each box that was still in there and put away the things one by one. If I didn't know what to do with an item, I didn't leave it until later, but I decided right then what to do with it, even if it wasn't "ideal." Good enough for now is better than not done at all

And even though not all the kitchen is done (because I had to make dinner and wanted to spend some quality time with Raven once she woke up from her nap), I still had gotten a noticeable amount done because I hadn't let myself get sidetracked by anything else (and the project even earned me a "Wow, Wifey!" when Matt get home).

Anyway, this post ended up being a lot longer than I planned, but if you've ever found yourself struggling to keep your home in order, I HIGHLY recommend this book. (I've included some affiliate links to it here, but whether you buy it or just get it from your library, it's definitely worth your time to read it!).

For reference, the paperback edition is on the left, the Kindle edition on the right.

What are your best tricks for keeping yourself on track?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Reasons I Already Love Living in a House vs. an Apartment (+ a few drawbacks)

I know we've only lived in our new house for a grand total of about 72 hours, but there are already sooooo many things I'm loving about living in a house vs. living in an apartment.

It's funny, because Matt and I had not planned on buying a home this early on---we'd planned to stay in an apartment for another two or three years or so to save up more money for a down payment and figure out what our next "big" move in life was going to be. But one day, when I sat down and actually figured out how much we'd paid in rent over the last six years (never do this to yourself) and also talked with Matt about how our plans as of now consisted of us staying put for at least the next five years, we decided that it actually made more sense to buy rather than rent.

And now here we are, in our first place---and even though there is still a delirious amount of boxes to unpack and put away and untold decisions to be made about where this stack of binders should go or this set of brushes, I am still really appreciating already some aspects of home ownership.

 Who knew that our garage would be one of my favorite things about the house?

Here are a few things I'm currently digging on:

1. Our garage

When we made a list of priorities we had when it came to looking for a house, a garage was a "want" but not a "deal breaker" if the place didn't have one.

Now that we have one, I'll probably never be able to go back.

Not only is it great to have an outdoor place that shelters our cars from the elements (I'll be loving the garage even more come winter! No more scraping snow every time we want to leave!), but I've loved having an extension of our house that's still outside where Raven can zoom around on her tricycle without actually being out in the full sun or too close to the street.

The biggest reason I love the garage though is for the storage.

Before, whenever we had huge items (from a storage shed we'd bought at auction or just pieces of furniture that were for "later," like a twin-size bed for Raven when she transitioned out of her crib), we just stuck them in our second room (aka, Raven's room). We almost always had SO much stuff in that room that she could never even play in there, and I just had gotten used to the idea that there are rooms in your house where the closets won't hold the big things so they're just doomed to sit out in plain view and clutter everything up.

But now! Now we have a magical place called a garage that can store the crib we just broke down so that Raven can transition into that twin bed we'd saved in her other room for so long, and we have shelves and shelves of space for our outdoor tools and flower pots and bins of girl clothes that Raven hasn't grown into (or has grown out of).

It's basically amazing.

2. The basement

While the basement gives us extra square footage (which is a huge bonus in and of itself), it's also waaaay cooler than the upstairs (without the need for constant A/C), so it's a great place to hang out when you want to escape the heat.

Also, one of those "bonus" rooms we got downstairs has been converted into a playroom for Raven, which is fabulous--all of her toys can stay contained to one specific place in the house, and there is actually room for her to pull out all the little chairs that go with her table (rather than having them too squished against the wall to get out easily), as well as ample room for us to one day add a little bookshelf to create her own little reading nook.

Before, I always had to watch Raven pretty closely because her toys were located next to things like our t.v. and piano and bookshelves, but now that she has a designated playroom with only child-safe stuff in there, I feel fine going down the hall to be in our office (another bonus room!) while she plays or even going upstairs to work for awhile.

 The current chaos of our kitchen. But what I really want to appreciate about this view is that, someday, if we wanted, we could actually CHANGE stuff about this place. Like, replace that range that has the gas knobs at the perfect place for Raven to play with them and maybe even add a backsplash or something. NUTSO!

3. The fact we can actually customize everything.

I'd lived in an apartment of some sort or other for about 12 years previous to now, and so I just got into the thinking pattern that walls are always white and can't be changed and that we have to be super paranoid about every last nail hole and ding we make because it will likely come out of our deposit later.

One thing I've actually liked (in retrospect) was that we had to/chose to change some of the paint colors before moving in, which immediately made the space feel so much more like "ours" and also totally changed the feel and look of several rooms of the house, which has been really fun to see. I've always been a sucker for a good makeover, so it's fun that we can actually really do some of our own now (even if they won't be that drastic or fancy because our budget is still pretty limited).

4. All the storage space

In our new house, we have five bedrooms, and in each of those five bedrooms, there are two closets. Additionally, we have a laundry closet, a coat closet, a linen closet, and a big space under the stairs (not to mention that blessed garage!). Before, I felt like even though I'd purged a ton of stuff, I always had a hard time keeping things looking really neat and tidy and uncluttered because there simply wasn't a place to put everything.

Now, we have ample space to put everything we currently own, and some of our closets are still basically empty. It's a good feeling!

5. The yard

I always knew I was going to be excited about having a yard, but now that we have one, my enthusiasm has only grown. I find myself planning out flowerbeds in my head and the future layout of a particularly large section in our side yard that is basically just a big bed of bark at this point.

I know that this eagerness will likely fade a bit over time, but I find that I'm excited to weed and plant things and pick the ripe raspberries on our bushes and prune back the rosebushes and apple trees. I've always loved the idea of gardening (and really didn't mind weeding or planting or mowing the lawn as a kid), but now I can actually put all that natural affinity for it to good use.

6. The area + neighborhood

We still haven't had a chance to meet hardly any of our neighbors, but we've already had a few people come by to welcome us to the area, and everyone we've talked to so far has seemed to really like living here.

Additionally, our neighborhood is SO QUIET compared to where we were in the city. Sure, there are still loads of kids and teenagers around playing or biking outside, but whenever I go outside, I can basically just hear the sounds of the breeze blowing down from the canyon and the birds chirping from our trees. There are hardly any cars driving by at any given time, and the whole place is just pretty tranquil.  (Plus, we're right by the canyon, so there are opportunities galore for future picnics and hiking opportunities.)

Also, when I was going out to get the mail today, I had every single person who passed by me (whether on foot, in a car, or even driving a bus) wave at me and/or say hello. Coming from a place where that happened maybe about a third of the time with people you didn't know, I like this area already!

 I've got big plans for this side yard---think more fruit trees, raised beds for vegetables and herbs, and a sandbox for Raven!

But, as with all things, not everything can just be roses and friendly neighbors and fresh paint on the walls.

Some of the drawbacks to having our own house:

1. The never-ending list of projects

Right now, this list pretty much just excites me, but I know that in later seasons of my life when things get more busy, I will probably be pretty stressed about how there always seems to be something that needs fixing or updating or replacing or changing.

2. When something breaks, we're in charge.

Yesterday, while rearranging our fridge, one of the shelves on our door completely broke (not just got pulled out---broke).  In the past, things breaking just meant a call to the property manager, who would come over and fix it within a day or two. Now, any repairs means time and effort and money on our part, which are not always in full supply.

So far, with just a minor broken shelf, I'm not too worried, but this is one aspect of home ownership I'm not so much looking forward to.

3. Distance from "the city"

Although Logan is not considered a big city by many standards, it still is big enough to have plenty of restaurants and shopping centers and big-name stores and things to do. Here, where we moved, we have four places to eat (two of which are fast food and none of which is a real formal sit-down place) and just one local grocery store, whose prices are not nearly as budget-friendly as the places over in Logan. Because of this, I will likely save the local grocery shopping for "emergencies" (like when we run out of a critical ingredient or just need bread late one Thursday night or something), and do most of my grocery shopping over in Logan every week or two.

4. The initial cleaning we had to do upon moving in

One glorious thing about apartment living (if the apartments are run by responsible, good managers anyway) is that when you move in, the apartment is usually pretty spotless. Although the former tenants here had done a decent job of getting every last bit of their stuff out and vacuuming floors and such, there was still a lot of stuff that wasn't done, such as none of the cupboards or shelves in any of the house being wiped down or dusted (and some really, really needed it). So, on Saturday, I not only had to bust out some major elbow grease to thoroughly scour our old place, but I also was unable to really start putting things away here because I had to clean everything first.

Overall though, we are loving the new place, and I'm excited to start sharing some more "finished" pictures with you (though we're not at all close to that yet!).

Just a nice view of one of the many projects on our to-do-soon list: stripping the paint off the front door and repainting it and the shutters.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Best Moving Tip I Ever Got

Well, it's almost here---The Big Move is TOMORROW.

Kind of crazy.

Although I'm no stranger to moving (I've moved over 15 times since graduating high school), this move feels more momentous. For one, it's our first time moving into an actual house. For two, moves are a lot harder once you're married and have kids and just have all the stuff that accumulates with that (this is only the third time that I've moved since getting married, and my first since having Raven).

Through all those moves though, the best tip I ever got came from my mom before our last move, right before we moved into this apartment, and that's this:

Buy one of those cheap packets of multicolored dots (I just got one pack with 3 different colors, but you could go crazy and get six or nine different colors, depending on how specific you wanted to be).

Designate a color to each area of your home. For example, we designated that pink would mean kitchen, orange would mean upper living area (master bedroom, Raven's room, front room), and that green would mean downstairs/garage.

Then, as you're packing, put a colored dot on each box to designate where it should go in your new place. That way, you save yourself a ton of time having to label everything like crazy, plus you save yourself sanity points by not having to constantly direct your movers as to where every last box should go (and usually, everything ends up in the right place, if you've prepped your movers as to what the dots mean).

Obviously, the more dots you have, the harder it is for people helping you move to remember what they all mean. If you wanted to get fancy, you could make a colored key chart and hang it up right by the front door so people could check it as needed. Since I'm a bit lazy and hate making charts unless absolutely necessary, I just took out a marker and put an initial on each of my stickers (such as "K" for kitchen, or "MB" for master bedroom) and am hoping that after being prepped on what everything means, people will be able to figure it out.

We did this before our last move, and it helped soooo much when it came to getting everything organized. Even if boxes ended up being put in the wrong place, we could quickly relocate them without actually having to open them up and dig through them right there.

Also, because I had a bit more time to prep before this move, I also went ahead and did the usual labeling process for what was actually IN each box for my own benefit. However, last move, I hardly did that at all, and it STILL was a pretty slick process that saved us tons of time and energy!

Some other things I've done this move to try and make it as smooth and stress-free as possible:

* As soon as we knew we were likely moving (so, the day we put an offer on the house), I started packing and gathering boxes. At first, I only did 2-3 boxes a day, but when we closed on the house, I started doing a bit more. Now, with less than 24 hours to go, I don't have all that much stuff left to pack, which is why you can find me blogging today rather than packing.

* Because I started packing everything so early, it gave me a lot of time to declutter in the process. I've donated 3 big loads of stuff in the past month, which makes me feel lighter on all sorts of levels (not to mention saves me the stress of having to pack all those unnecessary things).

* A couple nights ago, so about 4 days out from the move, we packed a suitcase just as if we were going on vacation with all the underwear and socks and clothes we would need for the upcoming days, and then we packed up all the rest of our clothing. This cut down on needing to figure out what we were going to wear every day, and it also meant we could knock out the clothes earlier and have fewer last-minute things that needed packing.

* Yesterday, we started using paper plates and silverware and such so that I could start packing up the dishes.

* Today, I'm doing all the laundry so that I don't need to worry about it for the first week of being in the new place (and so that I don't have to transport a bunch of dirty clothes, which has always bugged me).

* Several weeks ago, I made a list of things I needed to do before we moved, such as calling the gas company, setting up a new utility account, transferring over Internet service, etc. I also made a list of the most important things to change our address on (obviously, all my 20+ magazine subscriptions were at the top). Every day, usually while Raven eats lunch or has just gone down for a nap, I check the list and knock off an item or two. (Note: this has also helped me to continue sleeping well since I'm not worrying over whether I'm forgetting something important.) Also, as the mail has been coming and I've noticed correspondence that has come from places that I forgot to put on the address-change list, I put those things right by the computer so that I remember to change the address the next time I log on.

However, one big thing I wish that I HAD done earlier but didn't was book our moving van. I reserved a moving van a week before our move but just received a call yesterday that they actually didn't have any vans available for us that day and that we'd need to use a small trailer instead (which necessitated us needing to find a vehicle to tow said trailer). This incident alone was enough to cause me the heart-palpitating, rip-out-hair stress I'd been trying so hard to avoid. So, note to self---book the moving van as far in advance as possible. It's easier to simply cancel a reservation than to try and get one so close before the move. (Big thanks to our friend Rob though for sharing this Seinfeld clip that made my morning a little more bearable.)

 We did, at least, sell that stupid bird cage before we moved. It is no longer cackling at me from the kitchen every time I try to squeeze by it.

What are your best moving tips?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

12 Things on Our Summer Bucket List

Even though moving (and everything that goes along with it) is foremost in our minds at the moment, I've still been trying to plan out some fun things we can look forward to this summer so it won't just be house-house-house all the time (which is kind of what it feels like right now).

After dropping a bunch of our savings and such on our new home, we don't have a ton of money to spare, but I'm hoping we can budget and cut other expenses in order to be able to do some of these things I've planned (and luckily, many of them are free!).

(Note: all of these photos were taken at Raven's first "real" trip to a splash pad, which we took a few weeks ago. While she took quite awhile to warm up to the whole idea, she was pretty into the whole thing by the end!)

But without further side notes or explanations, here are 12 things on our bucket list this summer: 

1. Go to all the splash pads in Cache County (there are four)

Logan is a little late to the splash pad phenomenon, but luckily for us, there are four other towns in the county that have splash pads that are free and available to the public summer-round. (At least, there are four that I'm aware of. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong!)

The one we went to in these pics crosses one off the list (the one in North Logan, which kind of could count as Logan having a splash pad, if you don't want to get too technical), and there's another one in the same town as our new place, so if we somehow can't make it to all four, we should be able to at least make it to two. 

 Edit: An astute reader pointed out that there are at least 7, possibly 8, splash pads in Cache Valley, giving us all the more places to explore! For a list of at least seven, check out this link that she shared with me.

2. Try out a new restaurant

A couple years ago, Matt and I set the goal of trying to eat at all the locally-owned restaurants in the county (and one day, I plan to do a blog post about them all). Since we've been really watching our budget lately and since we're kind of terrible at planning date nights, we haven't tried out a new one in quite awhile. I plan to rectify that soon.

3. Have a Sam's Club family dinner date

Every time I go to Sam's Club for groceries, I get a massive craving for their hot dogs and frozen yogurt, but since my cart's already loaded and Raven's usually already ready to go home by that point, those cravings have remained unsatisfied for months. It's time to change that, friends! (And besides, it's basically about the cheapest "dinner out" we could do, so there's no excuses.)

4. Buy a kiddie pool for Raven to enjoy in our new backyard

I have been wanting a yard for a loooooong time, and it's mostly because I really, really want Raven to be able to have her own outdoor place to play that doesn't require us to take a 10-minute walk to get there. We haven't had very many experiences with taking her to go swim or to water activities thus far in her life, and so she's kind of tentative around the whole idea of them most of the time (until she gets used to it, that is). I'm hoping that if we buy her her own little pool, she'll warm up to the idea of playing in water more.

5.Visit my friend at her new house

One of my best friends bought a house about a month before we did, and I'm dying to see her new place. I haven't been great at regularly keeping up with my closest friends from childhood and high school, but we do try to at least do planned get-togethers a few times a year, so I think this summer is as good of a time as any!

6. Go down to the Children's Museum in Salt Lake

Basically, Raven's never been, and I think she's finally getting old enough to actually "get" some of the activities that kids can do there. Also, my brother's been raving about this place in Salt Lake that sells pupusas (which I crave like crazy since I spent a year and a half in El Salvador), so we might be able to hit two birds with one stone there.

7. Go camping (Raven's first time!)

My mom and stepdad have been great about planning a family campout for the past few years now, but since they always rent a campground that's been super close to us (like, within 10 minutes driving distance), we've always just gone home to sleep at night (I know, I know...). This year, we'll be a *bit* farther out from the campsite (about 35 minutes), and since Raven's never been camping, I figured we'd better have her official initiation into the Camping Club before she gets too much older. 

 8. Watch the solar eclipse

My brother-in-law and his wife have planned a backyard campout up in Idaho to watch the eclipse in August, and as of now, we plan to be there!

9. Take a weekend trip down to Capitol Reef

Out of all the things on this list, this is the least likely to happen since it would be the most expensive, but we'll see if we can swing it. A few years ago, I went on a big bucket list kick and wrote out a ton of things I wanted to do in my life, one of which was visiting all the national parks here in Utah with Matt. Since I've never been to Capitol Reef, I've been wanting to go for awhile now. We'll see if we can make this one a reality by the end of the summer. If not, then maybe later in the year I hope!

10. Go on a new local hike

We've been on a few of the major hikes around the area, but one of the great things about living in Cache County is the easy access to soooo many outdoor things, and I feel like we've hardly scratched the surface. I don't know if we'll do a super easy hike so Raven can walk the whole way or if we'll borrow a hiking backpack so we can carry her, but this is a fairly easy adventure that I know we'll be glad we did.
This is where I stopped paying attention to where I was standing and got a nice cold blast up my back

11. Check out an event at the library in our new town

I'm hoping to get involved in our community and feel like a real member of our new town as soon as possible, so I plan to scope out the library for free events and attend at least one or two (if not more) this summer. Raven and I are already in the habit of going to the library every week, so it would be fairly easy to slightly alter the time to accommodate a storytime or a mommy-and-me play group or something.

12. Take Raven to an amusement park

This one likely won't happen until September (when my mom and stepdad said they had discount tickets for us), but I'm still counting it because it will likely still feel hot enough to be summer at that point! Raven's never been to an amusement park and my mom has already said she might come with us, so that way, we'd get to ride some of the "big" rides ourselves AND have the fun of watching Raven try out all the kiddie rides, too. I can't wait!

What's on your bucket list for the summer? And especially for you local people---anything in Cache Valley or Utah that would be great for us to check out?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Daddy Day

Matt and I aren't so great at getting gifts for each other for any holiday other than Christmas...although this year I did, at least, order him a gift for Father's Day from Amazon (though it didn't come in time for him to open it today...sad day...).

And because we're basically poor from having just bought a house (and all the expenses that have come along with it), we didn't get gifts for any of the other fathers in our life, either.

But that isn't to say that we want this day to pass without acknowledging the good men in our lives who have raised us, who have made us who we are---

To my own dad, who has always believed I was capable of anything (and who has often believed in me much more than I've believed in myself), who has taught me to think deeply and to forge my own path, even if it meant being different than those around me...

To my father-in-law, who we are hugging extra tightly and holding extra close lately (as we almost lost him this year), who makes us laugh and gives the best advice and has just such a reassuring feeling about him all the time that "everything is just going to work out" (which Matt has inherited, thank goodness)...

To my stepdad, who has stepped in more times than I can count to give us a hand when we need help (like yesterday, when we started painting our house), who has gone out of his way to make us happy and well-cared-for, who once drove me on the eve of my wedding an hour and a half out of his way just because I was too upset (about something housing-related, not wedding-related) to drive myself...

And finally, to the father of my baby, our precious girl, who has been my partner through thick and thin and who is the best possible role model for our daughter...

A happy father's day to you all! One day a year isn't nearly enough to show you how much you are loved and needed, but hopefully it gives us all the extra reminder we sometimes need to tell you so!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Aaaaand...We're Officially Homeowners!

Well, it's official---as of this afternoon, we legitimately are the actual and legal owners of something other than a car.

It will still be a couple weeks before we actually move everything in, but we're pretty darn excited (in case you couldn't tell!).

The main reason why we're not moving in right away is that we want/need to change some of the paint choices, starting with the front door (which was painted using interior paint and therefore bubbled upon coming into contact with direct sunlight, as you can see below). The house also has some unfortunate choices for accent wall colors on the inside that I just didn't want to live with, so we're taking a weekend to paint and will start leisurely moving things in bit by bit.

Although we're sad to say goodbye to the good people and the good neighborhood we're leaving behind, we are eager to see what this new chapter in our lives brings us.

(Stay tuned for plenty of in-progress and eventual before/after pics in the coming weeks!)

(This is the best selfie we got of the three of us...
and you can barely even see the house in the background. Oh well.)

Now we just need to hope that all this excess excitement carries over into excess packing and painting energy...

Hey, I can dream, right? 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Trying Not to Stink at Waiting...and Failing.

On a scale of one to Freaking Out, I am currently at "out-of-my-mind-and-making-cookies-all-the-time" (which, for the record, registers somewhere around an 8.2).

You see, we were supposed to close on our new house last Friday.

Then we were supposed to close again today at 4:00.


It's looking like that won't happen either (although it *could* change if I get The Call in the next four minutes...which I doubt).

The fact is, I am not great at waiting, at least not when the situation is out of my hands. If you give me a situation that I have at least SOME control over, I can be a fairly reasonable individual when it comes to the whole patience-in-waiting game.

When I have done literally everything I can, though, the best that I can, and then it's all up to some force other than my own will, well...that's when we get trouble. Like, I-just made-my-fifth-batch-of-cookies-in-a-week-and-a-half trouble. And done all the dishes. And taken Raven to a nonexistent play group in the rain (for the record, the play group usually does, actually, exist---but due to the rain, we were the only ones there today).

Basically, I've done anything I could think of that had nothing to do with the new home because now, I'm starting to get a teensy bit nervous...what if our best wasn't enough? What if, by some sick twist of fate, this doesn't actually end up working out, even though everything seemed to fall so perfectly into place so that it would, in fact, work out?

I'm trying to work on being a more patient wait-er. To be better at not losing hope or getting super frustrated when things don't work out in the timeline that I expected.

I've been trying to be better at embodying this quote (one of my favorite of favorites) about patience (from one of my church leaders, Dieter F. Uchtdorf):

"[P]atience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!"

I am doing great at the not-passively-resigning myself bit:

I just need to work on the whole "bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed" thing.

So I guess I'll just be over here, waiting.

Waiting to (hopefully) close on a home.

Waiting for my body to return to normal so I can (hopefully) get pregnant again.

Waiting for the day when my need to bake ALL THE COOKIES isn't present every second of every day.


But man, is it hard sometimes.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Are We Still Pretending This is Actually Just 10 on 10?

(Because you all should know by now I'm incapable of narrowing it down to just 10 pictures.)

 1 // Yogurt face. Also, I live with two people with ridiculous eyelashes. That's all.

 2 // The obsession with dandelions continues.

 3 // We started pulling back all of her hair into a ponytail for the first time, and I died a little inside because it makes her look SO MUCH OLDER. Don't mind me sobbing over here in the corner.

 4 // I mentioned this already on my Instagram, but baking has become both a problem and a lifesaver around here lately (thanks to the kitchen being slowly conquered day by day by moving boxes). If there are two things that will get me through this move, they are a regular stream of baked goods making their way into my belly, and a few emergency runs to the store for Diet Dr. Pepper.

5 // We have recently entered into a voluntary hand-holding stage, and I'm not minding it at all. Not even a bit.

 6 // File this under "Toys we got for free or next to nothing that are her favorite things ever." (And note that ALLLLL of the stuffed animals must accompany her on her "grocery runs" as well as her naps. Because we can't let any of them feel left out, naturally.)

 7 // Starting to comprehend early on the all-too-true statement of "Too many books, too little time."

8 // I'm eager to move and explore a new area, but I will say, I'm gonna miss going to see the ducks every day. Correction: I'm going to miss RAVEN going to go see the ducks every day, because somehow, they just never seemed to get old.

9 // Surprise visits from grandparents are her favorite. Non-surprise visits from grandparents are her favorite. Basically, ALL THE GRANDPARENTS AND ALL THEIR VISITS ARE HER FAVORITE.

 10 // I call this section, "Cuteness overload of Daddy and Baby Girl." Because these two are buddies, and they adore each other.

11 // Although I have faithfully gone to pretty much every twice-weekly play group there is, we might be nixing the Wednesday one at the park because it is JUST TOO DANG HOT already. #thanksfornothingjune (Just kidding. I love June. But it is way too hot to be going to that park...)

12// Nothing is as fun as bouncing on Mom and Dad's bed. NOOOOOTHIIIIING.

13 // Rule #1 of Raven's tea parties: all plates must be allotted exactly one animal cracker. Rule #2 of Raven's tea parties: No tea will actually be served, but either milk or, in desperate situations, water or lemonade will be accepted. Rule #3: Cookies are to remain on their plates until one has had time to forget they are there, and then come back to them again, happily surprised. 

Oh man, it's been a good month.

And, to finish you off on an even higher note, I present to you: "Raven politely asks not to be tickled."


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