Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The flooring project actually happened.

When we moved into our current house three years ago, we knew one of the major things that needed to be done was the flooring situation. We had wall to wall carpet in the dining and living rooms that was gross. It was so, so gross. The listing said "newer" carpet and when we initially looked at it, it was fine.

It was only after you move your stuff in and realize there is a smell to the carpet do you understand that you now have a flooring project on your hands that you didn't anticipate.

You may remember my first post about the carpet and the Lump Under The Carpet, and if you don't, click HERE to read that super fun story. We ended up ripping the carpet up in both the dining and living rooms because there was hardwood under there. After lots of research, and Matt doing copious amounts of math and whatever else he does, we decided it would cost us more money to find the specific type of wood (and bizarre size of the planks used), and renting a sander to refinish the current floors. Which honestly? I was OK with not doing because the logistics of moving ALL of our furniture to other places in the house for several days to properly sand and stain the floors was a project that even I wasn't up for.

Our next option was to put new wood flooring down. We had almost 900 square feet to cover considering we now had to do my office which is off of the dining room because while that floor was decent, it would make the house look weird to have so many different types of flooring. So for consistency sake, we decided my office now had to have the same flooring as the dining and living rooms. It's a lot of stuff.

By absolute chance we were at Home Depot one day and they had a ridiculous sale on a laminate flooring that matched the current trim in the house and they had the EXACT amount of boxes we needed. And I mean exact.

It's basically fate.

Matt went back up there and for $700, bought all of the flooring and padding we needed. We really thought we would be spending well over $1200 for flooring so this was too good of a deal to not take.

I got super excited about the flooring. For a WHOLE MONTH while it sat in the garage.

Here's where we talk about my absolute biggest pet peeve, the thing about Matt that drives me right over the edge sometimes: he has no sense of urgency. Ever. While I appreciate that he can be really "go with the flow" and laid back, I am the absolute opposite. If I have something I know that needs to be done? I do it. I get it done. Start a project? You bet your ass I'm going to finish it. After a month of the flooring sitting there, I finally started hauling the boxes into the house myself and moving furniture and that weekend he got the hint and started. But it's like cripes, man- if we've paid for it, let's DO IT.

(Also? There was a huge gap between the bottom of the trim and the floor because of the carpet that once was there. So Penelope, being an active crawler at this point, was having the time of her life picking at the stuff and insulation behind the dry wall and trying to eat it. I think if he was constantly redirecting a baby from the wall every waking moment, this project would have been done sooner, but because it's me handling it, no big deal. *sigh*)
Anyways. So after moving furniture, the flooring project started. It took him two and a half days and on the first day/night he worked on it for 12 hours. I will insert here that I am over the top grateful that he knows how to do stuff. He just knows, and he knows how to do an amazing job. I often joke he does a way better job for everyone else and half asses it for me but totally not the case with the flooring. It was a trying weekend since Penelope was a bit of a bear, the big kids were home, and absolutely nothing in this house is level or square so he was getting pretty angry at points.
I also have to share this photo of Penelope during the project because her face here basically summed up how we all felt about it. Having your house tore up for any length of time really wears on you. It just really does.

But it's finished. And we re-arranged the furniture getting rid of the ridiculously huge wedge piece of the couch so the couch could be put in a different place. (Which, I remember buying this couch and telling Matt let's not spend money on the wedge. The wedge doesn't matter. He insisted we buy it. Guess what he's really angry that we own? The wedge. Men, the wife is always right.)
 Now our living room looks SO MUCH bigger. And brighter.
Penelope has so much more floor area to play in, and that's been so great. The other bonus is that this year, we can put our Christmas tree literally anywhere else other than in front of the only heat vent in the living room! YAY!
Not a bad shot of the flooring. It's not as dark as I thought it was going to be (yay) and it's not as light as the stuff we picked out in our old house (also a big YAY).
And my office! I decided to not have my desk right under my painting, and have the treadmill in front of it. I have more room but also? I can watch TV from my desk. Oddly enough? I'm way more productive and I don't feel disconnected from everyone else like I did having my back to the door.
I also took this opportunity to show Matt how over full my bookshelves were. But hey- this is my view from my desk!
I have my desk top Edward Cullen doll on my desk, but you see that naked section of wall? After lecturing me about not shoving my bookshelves full of books, he promised he would put more shelves here.

I know. It was exciting. He bought the shelves and brackets that weekend but you know, I had to wait a few weeks before they got put up. *sigh* But they ARE up now and they are SO pretty. My office is basically a library. It is so great. I'll have to take a picture of them so you can see how pretty they are.

Anyways. So the flooring is done. We can cross that off of our list. Things that still need to be done?

  • Roof
  • Windows in front porch
  • Downstairs bathroom upgrade/remodel
  • Kitchen back splash and floor
  • Upstairs carpeting replaced (because it is just as gross as downstairs and every room is a different color)
Obviously? We have a LOT more we want to do. It just all takes time and money, both of which we pretty much don't have. I'd love to do the upstairs carpet but the logistics of moving all of that furniture downstairs? Oh my god. Again, even something I don't want to do. But if we ever re-sell this house, it absolutely has to be done. Has to. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Penelope's First (Legit) Birthday Party

I know Penelope turned one at the end of April but we had her first actual birthday party last weekend. Which is hilarious because that is also the week I decided I would start moving her nap time to the exact time the party was.


Because I'm a freaking genius. Honestly, you'd think I was a first time mom.

But we improvised, and by that I mean, we made Matt get up with Penelope so that she'd think her nap was in the morning again. This was a genius plan until around 4 p.m. when we all remembered why she needs the afternoon versus the morning nap.

Needless to say, from 4 p.m. until her bed time at 7 p.m. it was a bit of a nightmare.

I have to mention too, that despite knowing her party about a month in advance, I waited until the day before to get her a cake because I can't keep the days of the week straight anymore. I totally forgot to order one and by absolute pure luck, the grocery store had a non-cartoon themed cake on clearance because the next day, her party day, was the "sell by" date. Win.

And you know what? That cake was still damn good. Even though I hate buttercream. Blech.

But we had her party at a local restaurant and decided to order pizza and have some fruit since she likes both of those things. Like a moron, I realized three days before that nowhere in the invitation did I ask people to RSVP so I had zero idea of who was coming so I ended up ordering far more food than I needed to.
I also realized that while doing Penelope's first year book (which I totally finished the night before her party, and that's OK, it's still considered a win, lambs) I hardly have any pictures of her and Matt.
Also, I need to try so much harder at getting pictures of her multitude of hilarious faces. I keep saying she will probably end up an actress because she can do the facial expressions of ten different emotions in the span of a few seconds. It's like Tyra Banks was giving her lessons like on America's Next Top Model or something. 
Penelope enjoyed the cake. She enjoyed the food, as well. She didn't so much enjoy everyone singing happy birthday to her, she actively tried to slide as far down into the high chair as she could.
Lots of super fun gifts, including a baby doll that she adores. She recently started hugging and loving on random stuffed animals and one of Olivia's dolls, so it's nice she has her own. Every morning after we get dressed, she crawls over to her doll and hugs it, then gives it the bottle. It's kind of adorable. She got some cute outfits, puzzle, book, bubbles, water toys, a new handmade sweater and teddy bear, a cool chair, and some other fun toys. I know she won't remember her first few birthdays, and that's OK. I just feel like such a loser for being so depressed this last year and hardly socializing with anyone so admittedly, almost nobody has gotten to know Penelope. And that's fully my fault. I'm going to try really hard to be better with fetus four when she gets here. Hopefully.

So yes. My next birthday to celebrate is Matt's, but that's only a few weeks after I give birth (hopefully) and then it's Olivia's. Which again, I feel bad because we're now in that weird stage where you don't want to "compete" with other families yet you almost feel like you have to? She has gotten invited to some seriously major parties and it's like, what the hell, parents?! So now she has unrealistic hopes for her birthday and I feel terrible. I have to figure out a happy medium that is realistic for a birthday that happens about a month after I give birth. Yikes.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Crafty Saturday: Thank you cards

I was looking through a mommy group I belong to on Facebook this week and the topic of thank you cards came up. I was really surprised at how many people said they don't send them because they are pointless and nobody cares.

That's totally not true. I totally judge you based on whether or not you send a thank you card. I have some friends who never, ever send them and I love them all the same, and I have some who send them for everything and I love it. I love getting any kind of mail that doesn't require me to pay a bill. I think it's especially pertinent when you mail a gift or something to someone not local. Did they get the gift? Did they like it? I feel like it takes less than a minute to write out a simple thank you and it can mean a lot to someone. Sometimes I just have a crap day and getting a thank you puts a smile on my face.

With Penelope's recent birthday, Olivia's dance teachers final year, and some other things we've gotten lately, I realized I was totally out of thank you cards. I made a quick dozen to have on hand because I'm hoping (hint, hint) that I'll get some cute baby gifts soon so I want to have some on hand.
Even better? I'm using up scraps because my box is FULL after finishing Penelope's first year book so it's time I use them up. All of my scraps are basically what I make cards from so it works out perfectly.
I also decided I need to find some more stamps that work with my Stampin Up scallop punches because those are easily my most used punches. I even used up the rest of my green and white polka dot washi tape on the envelopes, because I'm not a fan of naked envelopes. I have this urge to buy more washi tape but alas.. being broke is preventing me from that.

The cards themselves took me maybe 15 minutes to make all dozen of them, and I was able to spend another 15 minutes writing out all 12 cards for thank you's for people. So in half an hour, twelve people will know we got the gift, we love the gift, and we appreciate them thinking of us and being generous.

It's truly the least we can do.

Friday, May 20, 2016

28 weeks

Now that I'm getting bigger, the pregnancy updates are a bit more fun. I mean, I at least feel pregnant versus fat and and sad.

28 weeks

This week I had my glucola test for gestational diabetes and I totally passed. It was a bit harrowing though because it doesn't matter how many times I've done this, you are just never ready for the disgusting drink. You can sip it, you can chug it, it doesn't matter because it's foul and nobody enjoys it. Apparently, Monday was THE day to do this because the waiting room was full of other ladies doing the test at the same time so honestly? We could have clinked bottles and chugged in unison. Instead, clearly a first time mom chugged hers like I have never seen done before and seemed OK. I chugged mine in under two minutes (a personal best) and I was immediately regretting it. Several others followed after me, we all bring out empty bottles and timers back and wait out the next hour before our finger poke to see who was going to get the all clear. 

Within minutes of sitting back down to watch an hour of Flip or Flop on HGTV, I hear the tell-tale noise of someone gagging. I don't look because if I look, I know I will gag and I'm already on the brink so I'm trying to not look, I've started humming to myself to drown out the noise and it's no use. The first one to drink the drink ran to the garbage can and proceeded to throw up. Which is bad enough, but this office is in the lower level of a building so there are no windows to crack and now we all smell her vomit despite the fact a nurse came out to grab the can and change it, and bring her back because she now probably has to come back a different day. 


But I'm not sitting there breathing through my mouth, face tucked into my sweater, eyes closed, doing everything I can to not vomit in solidarity. I don't do well with bodily fluids anyways but vomit is like my achilles heel. I'll vomit on command if I have to. I just don't do well. It was literally the longest hour of my life. 

Finally I got called back there and it was the best feeling to have clean air. Sure, it smells like band-aids and first aid cream, oddly, but it's better than vomit. I got my finger poke and I'm totally not diabetic. As it turns out, I am anemic, which is basically my normal but I still have to sit through the "how to get more iron into your diet" despite the fact I take a prescribed supplement and eat as many iron rich foods as I can. 

Everything else appears to be right on track, though. I'm developing varicose veins on my legs so I look like I have old lady legs... at age 34. It's super cute. She said they might go away but probably not so just enjoy them. Awesome. Other than that, cervix is still closed (yay!) and things are fine. Fetus four hardly moves at all, which apparently isn't concerning to my doctor at all, but it's kind of a let down for me. I really enjoy feeling the baby move, kick, push, all of that and the fact that this is my last pregnancy (no, seriously, it is), I'd really like to be able to enjoy that. But... apparently not. My only hope is that maybe I have just a super chill baby and this won't be such a nightmare when she's born? 

She's still nameless. We have it narrowed down to two ideas, though: 

Eloise Barbara James
Lucy Louise James

After a quick Facebook poll, we eliminated Sophia even though it was popular among Facebook voters. I decided I don't like writing a cursive S, so it's out. 

We're firm on the middle names, it's just the first name we're stuck on. We're 50/50 on Eloise or Lucy so yeah. Thoughts? What's your vote? Fetus four cannot be named Fetus Four and my mom would like me to stop referring to the baby as fetus four, so help us out. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lit Cube: Through the Looking Glass, May

I know. I can feel your judgment through the internet, lambs. I know I said I was going to cut back and I was going to just say no to book boxes but truly. I tried. I tried REALLY HARD.

We can all blame LitCube because their theme for May was Through the Looking Glass and you know I love Alice in Wonderland and I just... I couldn't even help myself.

I had a mini freak out moment on Monday when I seen that people were getting their boxes and I never got a tracking number for my box, and I panicked that maybe I missed the deadline. Thankfully, I'm just a whackadoodle and my box came on Tuesday. And it's gloooooooorious.

Let us all just take a minute and hold the squeal we want to let out for just a minute longer. And now LET IT OUT.

The box itself contains two 5x7 prints (by Star in my Pocket, $12.99 value), a super delicious cookie by Sweets by Steph ($2.50 value), a shirt with one of my favorite lines ever ($19.95 value), and a adorable bookmark, also a Star in my Pocket item ($3.25 value)...
a super cute makeup bag which is exclusive to this box ($12.99 value)...
an exclusive Through the Looking Glass pocket mirror ($8.99 value)... 
and of course, the book Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons ($18.99 value) which came with a letter from the author. Admittedly, the problem I've always had with LitCube is that the books are either unexpectedly really good or they are so bad that they end up in my did-not-finish pile. This one has some pretty mediocre reviews on Goodreads, with more than a few people saying they didn't even finish it, so I'm worried. It's combining the classic story of Alice along with Disney characters so it sounds sketch as hell. I guess we'll find out. I probably won't get to this in May, more likely in June, but we'll see. It's not very long so maybe I can fly through it. Either way, I'll let you know. I feel like if LitCube just bit the bullet and went with books that are mainstream and popular and/or anticipated, this box would be ridiculously over the top amazing. The swag is always so great and fun.. it's the books that are so damn hit or miss.

The next theme is Roaring 20's and no lie, I'm worried but I'm in. Dammit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Out Rider

Somehow in the night, my laptop automatically updated to Windows 10 and it is really making me unhappy. So bear with me and let us all hope this post looks OK once it's published because nothing looks the same.

I shake my fist at you, Microsoft!

Out Rider (Jackson Hole #11) - Lindsay McKenna

With her return to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, New York Times bestselling author Lindsay McKenna shows how love can find a way out of the darkness… 

A fresh start—that's all Devorah McGuire wants. As a former Marine and current Ranger with the US Forest Service, she's grown accustomed to keeping others safe. But when the unthinkable happens, she can only hope that a transfer to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, will allow her to put the past behind her for good. 

Dev's mentor at Grand Tetons National Park is fellow canine handler and horseman Sloan Rankin. He shows Dev the spectacular trails, never knowing the terror that stalks her every move. Despite her lingering fear, Dev feels an attraction for Sloan as wild as their surroundings. 

With Sloan, Dev can envision a new life—a real home. Unless a vengeful man fresh out of prison succeeds in finishing what he started… 

I don't care how many books I read, what genres I read, or how much I love a certain book- romance is and will always be my absolute favorite genre. I'll read just about anything within that, except historical is kind of meh for me, but I'm not turning it down when I'm in the mood. Yes, I realize so many readers roll their eyes when you say romance is your favorite but I really don't care. It's always entertaining, I always fly through them, and I just really adore Harlequin. It's probably best I don't work for Harlequin because I know I would get literally nothing done. Not a stinking thing.

But let's talk about this book.

You should know going into this that I haven't read any of the other Jackson Hole books but you can bet your bottom I'll be ordering some soon. I've read a few books by Lindsay McKenna and I really enjoyed her writing style so when I was offered this to review I absolutely jumped on the chance because believe it or not, NONE of my local book stores carry her books. NONE. NONE, I tell you. Not even Barnes & Noble, which is a rant for another day so I rely on online ordering to get her stuff and I'm terrible because I often forget. I'm getting old and these babies are eating my brain, I just know it.

I absolutely loved Out Rider. It's a modern time, western romance kind of. It's set in the Grand Tetons National Park and our heroine, Dev, works in the forestry service as someone who essentially finds you (with her dog, Bella) should you wander from your camp site. She's moved there for a fresh start after a hellacious experience at her previous assignment where she was attacked and almost raped by a co-worker, after being stalked. Her supervisor basically did nothing, so reeling from the trauma of that in addition to her time as a Marine (You see where this is going? Because military romance is  my FAVORITE so I love the cross over here.), has made her a bit jumpy and more reserved when it comes to men.

Enter Sloan, not a pretty boy but handsome in a rugged, works hard kind of way. Also a veteran but from the Army branch, he has built a life doing work for the forestry service but also as a farrier in the area, but is fresh off of a divorce from a really terrible marriage. He's reserved by nature but he's leery to start a romance, even with Dev, based on his experience.

Things are moving swimmingly, Sloan is showing Dev the ropes and knowledge of the Grand Tetons but nothing is as it seems. Dev's stalker, Bart Gordon, has followed her unbeknownst to her, and plans revenge on her after she got him fired from his previous job. This book reminds me so much of Linda Howard books, and she is hands down my favorite author, so I devoured this book in a matter of hours. I want anything and everything Lindsay McKenna does because I really enjoy her writing, I love how she crafts a story, I love how we're mixing subgenres, and if you're in the mood for a decent little romance, you've got it. You don't need to read any of the other Jackson Hole books to read this one, they very much are stand alone and I think you'll enjoy it.

You can find your own copy of Out Rider on Amazon right now and it's under $8 for the mass paperback. What a steal. In the meantime, check out Lindsay McKenna's extensive writing catalog on her website to find some other books of hers you'll love as well. You can also follow Lindsay on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with new books!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Connected Underneath

I have so many posts for you this week, including Penelope's for real birthday party and my 28 week update, but I haven't felt super great and I'm just... I'm overwhelmed with life, lambs. So we're going to pretend today is really the start of the week because I dropped the ball yesterday. Whoops! But let's start the week off with a book review, shall we? 

Madena, New York. A small town like any small town: everybody keeps an eye on everybody else's business, nobody recognizes the secrets that connect them.

Teenage Persephone trades sex for the tattoo sessions that get her high enough to forget that her girlfriend doesn't love her and she isn't sure she loves her dad. Theo used to be the high-school bad boy who could never have the respectable girl he adored from afar now he owns the last video store in town and worries wretchedly about the daughter he never understood. Natalie, trying so hard to grasp the last shreds of respectability, would do anything to forget the baby she gave up long ago, including betray the baby's father. And wheelchair-bound Celeste who has never had a life, desperate to connect, watches and makes up stories and finally understands that things have gone terribly wrong and she stands at the heart of disaster.

Connected Underneath is a lyrical, scalpel-keen dissection of ties that bind and those that cannot hold. 

What a perfect book if you're really in the mood for a short story. It's not a short story per say, but it comes in at 195 pages so I flew through this in the evening while Matt watched his dreaded Star Trek on Netflix. 

Admittedly, this book is kind of... strange. It's narrated by Celeste, who is wheel chair bound but hasn't always been that way. It's been a gradual deterioration of the leg function, and her aide says she really needs to get out more. Celeste isn't inclined to do that since she has an entire world she watches through the vent in her kitchen. She sees Persephone, who is adopted by Theo, and she never knew her birth mother. She's pretty sure she's a lesbian, but she has sex with a man in exchange for tattoos all over her body, which is a really bizarre form of self mutilation for her (kind of). Little does Persephone know, her mother is closer to home than she realizes, and Theo made a promise to mom Natalie to never reveal her identity. Which is just really sad that after all this time, Theo still lets that woman walk all over him with nothing in return but yet- here we are. 

What's really strange about this book is that it isn't one that I would have picked up and devoured based on the cover, but yet... the story is kind of bizarrely addicting. It's like how we spy on our neighbors to see what's going on. We might not know but based on what we see we form an opinion and go with it. Celeste sees herself like Persephone but they go about their journey to feel anything in totally opposite ways. I finished this book in just a couple of hours because I want to know what happens to Celeste and Persephone. Even from early on in the book you feel like we're working up to something big, like a train wreck that you know you're coming up on and you can take a detour but you find yourself driving towards it anyways. I have to say, this would be an EXCELLENT pick for a book club. There is so much meat to this story, so many what if's and discussion points, that despite it being a shorter book you could really discuss this for awhile. 

You can find your own copy of Connected Underneath on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble. Linda Letgers also has a website you can peruse, too. I'm really interested to see what she does for her next book because this one was written really well and you felt like you were sitting right there with Celeste at her table, listening to her recount the neighborhood gossip. Those are the books I adore, the ones I forget I'm only reading and not listening to in real time.