Friday, November 30, 2012

A Renewed Tradition

One of my 101 in 1001 goals was to begin a new tradition. Now, since starting a family, this one can be checked off a million different ways because lots of traditions begin when you begin a family. But I hadn't pinpointed exactly which tradition I wanted to be sure to keep up over the years, nor which one I wanted to share as the ONE that completes the item on the list. But, yesterday it finally came to me. The best traditions (I think) are renewed traditions.

I've already purchased several things for Charley for Christmas. And I've sent Santa a list on her behalf for some of the other things I think she'd like. But one of the things I purchased for Charley this year is this Melissa and Doug puzzle.

It wasn't something I set out to find or something that she just had to have. But I saw it while doing some online shopping, it was a good price, and added it to my cart. Charley has one other Melissa and Doug puzzle that has the knobs like this one that she really seems to like, so I thought she might like to have another one. Done. Purchased.

And then yesterday, I was thinking about traditions within my own family. I realized that my parents, or, um, Santa has given us a puzzle for Christmas every single year for as long as I can remember. I think it was sort of their way of continuing to shop in the toy section every year even when we'd outgrown that section of the store.

Back when I was in school and had those glorious weeks off after Christmas I would always assemble my puzzle then. Now that I'm an adult and days off are hard to come by, I usually use New Year's Eve or New Year's Day as my puzzling day.

New Year's Day 2010. Salsarita's, my phone and a puzzle sounds like a perfect day to me!
 So when I remembered that tradition I thought to myself that I would start it with Charley this year and I should get her a puzzle. Then I remembered I already had purchased her a puzzle and it was like  the circle was complete. I'm renewing this tradition with my own child(ren). Thanks Santa. Santa: I hope you were planning on keeping this going this year now that I've officially proclaimed it's a tradition.

Do you have a gift tradition like this one? Maybe the repeat gift every year in your family is beef jerky or a tin of popcorn or a fuzzy steering wheel cover? Tell me! I love hearing about other's traditions!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Division of Labor

I am stealing this idea from Laura at The Diniwilks. I think it's not going to look good for me once I get it all written out, but, in an effort of full disclosure (would you like my social security number too?) I figured I should let you know how it really is at the home of Charley and her parents.

Child care: For the most part, this is me. I made all of the decisions on baby stuff to buy and what not to use. I run things by him on occasion, but for the most part he practices a "you did the research and I trust your judgement" type thing. It was a joint decision on who keeps Charley during the days while we work (hi sister!) and whose insurance she goes on (mine, cheaper). He takes her to my sister's in the morning, and I do the afternoon pickup. We both change diapers and feed Charley. I do all of her doctor's appointments. I take more control over dressing her. Occasionally I have to revisit some already decided things with him like not forward-facing her car seat until two (, also, internal decapitation. I feel very strongly about this one).

Time off: We both work M-F 8-5, but for the meantime I've worked out a 4:00 leave time. With the drive to get Charley in the afternoons, we normally get home around the same time. So in the evenings, we pretty much split it all. I start to feed Charley while John eats (he eats fast) and then he comes and finishes while I eat. It's a toss up on baths and bedtime stuff, although I more often take the bedtime routine because I like it. On the weekends, we try to do the thing where we each get a morning to sleep in, but usually we both get up anyways. We often have plans to do stuff without the other, so I think it's pretty even who stays with Charley and who goes out to golf, shop, etc.

If Charley is sick, it's a toss up. I have to take a vacation day or one of my (coughcough) personal sick days if I need to stay home. John can sort of work from home, so if he stays with her he can still maybe get some of his work done. Neither of us have a good option in this case to be honest. Come on workplaces! Give the families a break!

Food: We each do grocery shopping - it just depends on who wants to go or has the time. Sometimes we like to go as a family. As far as cooking, I've mentioned before how John does the majority of that. But lately as we've been living with my parent's for a week now (oh! did I forget to tell you that?) it seems like I've done the majority since I've gotten home first. John cooks better stuff and is less stressy about doing it, so I still prefer him to do it. We are all equal opportunity eaters. (Except for vegetables, Charley and John can have at those. I do not need veggie equality.)

Housecleaning: John and I have very different styles when it comes to housecleaning, therefore he ends up doing more. Much like with anything else in his life, he has no patience. So, if a counter top is cluttered or a floor is messy, he must clean it now and he doesn't much care if while "cleaning" he puts things in their appropriate place. No drawer or closet is off limits. I however, can deal with some clutter and general mess until I get the time and the urge to do it RIGHT. I like to wait for a weekend or a nap time to do it. But, since Mr. Impatient has been shoving stuff into drawers all week by the time Saturday gets here, I end up doing nothing, or undoing John's doing. Make sense?

To break it down further- we both do laundry. John is better about actually putting stuff away. I am better about actually hanging or folding things immediately to avoid wrinkles. We both do dishes, but I think John does them more. John takes out all trash unless it's a solo stinky diaper which I will take out as they come. Both do floors. John does bathroom cleaning. I LOATHE that, and my arms are just too weak to wash those shower walls. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) John makes the bed more often. I rarely even do that. Sorry, Mama!

Pets: John has always been the pet take-r care-r of-er. He bathes the cats, brushes the cats, feeds the cats and de-pee and poops the litter box for the cats. I just take cute pictures of them. I'd say that's about even, right?


House decorating: I'd love to be able to say all me and call it a day. For the most part, yes, I can say that. But for whatever reason, he DOES have an opinion on some things. What? No. Just let me do it. Gahhh.

Yard work: We didn't really have a yard at the townhouse, especially after we got rid of our tiny bit of grass in lieu of pine needles. I did all the flower planting and upkeep and most of the flower watering. John did mulch or cut the weeds. When we do have a real yard, he'll also be doing the grass cutting unless he outsources the job to my dad and his wide array of lawn equipment.

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That's not even a lawn mower, but he does have lawn mower equipment too. I just needed a picture, and this seems lawn mower-y, right?

Communications: I do the majority of the communicating. Since John is very anti-Facebook or social media, I handle and friend plans that comes through there. I send the Christmas cards and all that. John does handle communicating with his own dad and family, but even that's pretty rare. We both are in constant contact with my family.

Finances: We have a joint account and a joint savings. Once we get settled in the new house and figure out our new budget and all, we've considered getting our own accounts for our own fun money. But, while we are still saving like crazy there is no room for fun money so no need to open those accounts yet. I have always done the budget and kept track of the bills and all. Recently, John has been interested in actually knowing how much we have and what we have to pay and how much should we transfer to savings, etc. We have a shared google doc that outlines all of that for us that we both access all of the time. I don't mind sharing the information with him, but now it's a lot harder to make secret purchases without him knowing. Not that I EVER did that though, of course.

Activities: Me. All me. John is not so much an activity person. I keep thinking this might change when we have a bigger kid, but for now, any family activities are planned by me, and a lot of the time John doesn't even attend. Ha! I'll take my sisters or parents or something.

Who wears the pants: John. (okay, stop your laughter. You all know how we women do. We let them take the pants wearing fame, while we really are sewing the pants behind the scenes. Like, sure, you are wearing the pants, but you better wear the pants as I (secretly) say or else I'll sew the next pair a little too snug for your liking.)

Heh. Once I got it all written out, it looks fairly even. But, I do think that I have a husband that does far more than most do, and I know I am spoiled. I like it and love him for it. I can't wait for him to anonymously comment on this. My guess is he'll comment on the fact that I claim I secretly sew the pants for the pants-wearing, but yet I cannot even sew and he can. It's a metaphor John, a METAPHOR!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Blathering

Hey! So, a lot of my (few) readers know me in real life. Mainly because I share my blog posts over on my personal Facebook page because my Mom wants me to. It's how she knows there is something new to read, and who am I to not do as my Mama told me? Anyways, so yes. Many of you know me from school, friends, work, or whatever. So, you will totally not be surprised when I tell you I flew away for the weekend to meet 50 something strangers of which I had met exactly ZERO in person before. Yeah, that's totally the Lacey you know, right? [If you don't know me, then I'll spell it out for you...that is definitely not something I would normally do.]

But, I had gotten to know 2 other bloggers really well over the past year or so (or at least as well as you could over the internet) and really wanted to meet them in person. Couple that with the fact that I love to travel and see new cities and The Blathering was in New Orleans, a city I'd yet to visit, and the fact that I really have never done anything for JUST ME, and I was in. I told myself, "I'm just going to do this." And I did.

The Blathering
I stole this picture from another attendee. I never even took my real camera out of my suitcase the entire weekend.

First things first though. So, besides going to meet Heather and Laura, there were going to be 57 other people there that I should probably get to know as well. No problem since they were all bloggers and I most likely read all of their blogs, right? Um, no. I read exactly zero of their blogs when I signed up for this. So I had about 10 months to get to e-know 57 people. And I tried, I really did.

But, I pretty much failed. Turns out that yes, all of them started as bloggers, but apparently blogging is falling by the wayside* and Twitter is where it's at these days. Most of them tweeted way more often than blogged so if I wanted to get to know them I'd have to join Twitter too. I love social media, so even though I had plenty on my social media plate I added a helping of Twitter in too. I didn't want to be the only stranger girl in New Orleans in November.

Without drawing this out much further, I hate Twitter. It's basically a bunch of private chats, only they aren't private and can be between multiple people at once, and they are all listed BACKWARDS. So a normal conversation between people I was trying to get to know looked like this:

Twitter Person 1: Good night! Bye!! @xoiufg @orwelktj  #somethingwittywrittenwithoutspaces
Twitter Person 2: Thank you so much for laughing at my jokes. I'm going to bed now. @xoiufg @orwelktj #somethingwittywrittenwithoutspaces
Twitter Person 1: HAHAHAHAHAHA! YOU ARE SO FUNNY! @xoiufg @orwelktj #somethingwittywrittenwithoutspaces
Twitter Person 2: Dumbbell didn't work so I had to knock. @xoiufg @orwelktj #somethingwittywrittenwithoutspaces
Twitter Person 1: Dumbbell who? @xoiufg @orwelktj #somethingwittywrittenwithoutspaces
Twitter Person 2: Dumbbell. @xoiufg @orwelktj #somethingwittywrittenwithoutspaces
Twitter Person 3: Who's There? @xoiufg @orwelktj #somethingwittywrittenwithoutspaces
Twitter Person 2: Knock Knock. @xoiufg @orwelktj #somethingwittywrittenwithoutspaces

Dumb I tell you. Dumb. But apparently I'm the minority on this because all of the rest of them love it. And love it so much that on our name tags for a BLOG get together  they included our twitter names instead of our blog names! Crazy, right? I think they should rename this gathering from The Blathering (Blog Gathering) to the Twithering.

Another stolen picture. Thanks Laura. I didn't even ask if it was okay!
I'm basically failing at getting to "know" anyone before we go. And then life happens and it goes by so fast and then it's the day before I leave and I know nothing about no one except for a few of them that still blogged. But don't ask me their names or what they did or looked like. My memory was definitely on overload. MAX CAPACITY.

I get there, find my e-friends and we go downstairs to the hotel bar to meet others and decide what to do about dinner. I am SUPER overwhelmed when we get there. I can usually fake it 'til I make it, but there was very limited personal space, very loud volumes, and very many people I did not know. I tried though, really. And then, Laura, Heather and I broke off from the group to go to dinner on our own to get to know each other better before we dove in headfirst to all of the group stuff the next day. It was lovely. I love them even more in real life than through the internet, if that was even possible.

We had just officially "met" hours before this. Don't we look like friends from way way back? No awkward spaces between us or anything!
And now, it would seem appropriate that I do a rundown of where we went and what we ate and what we saw. But, I feel so incredibly repetitive doing this because Heather already did it for me. And you know what? I did not leave her side the entire weekend so everything she did, I did. Except for sleeping in until 9 on Saturday morning. I woke up at 7:30 due to a phone call from my lovely husband who didn't know I was in a different time zone.

And speaking of sleeping...I did not do too much of that. You see, our hotel was at the corner of loud and louder streets, meaning there were drums, (YES DRUMS), tubas, car horns and sirens outside of our hotel window at all times. And the hotel is well aware of this as they issue ear plugs to all of their guests. Obviously, the appeal of this hotel was their location. The ear plugs helped, but I still struggled to fall asleep each night. And those ear plugs? They didn't drown out the sound of my phone ringing at 7:30 Saturday morning! JOHN!!

I'm doing a terrible job of explaining all of this. I make it sound like it was awful. No sleep. Strangers. Crazy city.

But it was far from all of that. In fact, it was extremely fun. And even though I may not remember that I met you or what we talked about (again, information/faces overload) I enjoyed meeting every single person and chatting with you. I couldn't believe how pretty Arwen was. Or how Maggie and Megan weren't vegetable lovers either! And Sheila was so funny. And there were so many more that I talked to, but I was too ashamed to re-ask their name. I am so terrible with names that half of the time I don't bother to re-ask because chances are, I won't remember the second time either. So, all of you nameless people, I loved meeting you too!

Hey look! All people on the internet aren't creepy and/or weird. There are actually beautiful and nice people on the scary internet, too! But yes, we can be weird too.
I ate gumbo and liked it. I even had shrimp and wasn't totally grossed out by it's texture. I tried new beers and drinks and beignets. Twice.


But most of all, I made new friends. Well, I already considered them friends, but my Mama insists that they were strangers until we met face to face. So now, I can officially call them friends. My Mama says so.


And if life doesn't get in the way, I may even go back next year. It's in Charleston, SC next year which is driving distance for me. Plus, I have a whole year to prepare this time. I could make flashcards to learn people's names and stats. That's not creepy at all, right?

*Here is the list of things I had to Google while writing this post:

Falling off the wayside. Apparently it's falling by the wayside.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Trick or Treat

I love Halloween. I love this time of year, the extra candy, costumes, festivals and candy. Did I mention candy? And I used to love dressing up myself and going to Halloween parties, but my attention has now been shifted to dressing up a certain little girl in our home instead. John and I are costume snobs, meaning no store bought costumes in our house! No how, no way! We used to make our own (and our friend's) costumes, so we'll continue our tradition by now making Charley's.

This year, courtesy of Pinterest, Charley was a peacock.

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I had purchased the materials, but threw this together* after she went to bed the night before the Halloween festival we attended. She ended up winning her category in the costume contest, so I'd say we did pretty good! (No need to mention there were only 3 kids in her age category.)


And, the best thing is the only part that was disposable were the peacock feathers for her back. The leg warmers, solid colored onesie (which I bought here because my attempt at dying a onesie that pretty peacock blue color turned out grey) and headband can easily be worn after Halloween is over. And I like that. One reason I hate store-bought costumes is because they are so expensive for a one time use. Precisely the reason I struggle with Christmas dresses and things like that. Such a waste! 

Back to Halloween. I hope Charley has just as many happy memories of her childhood Halloweens as I have...

So, when I was little I was the same thing pretty much every single year and I never longed to be anything else. When we'd beg my mom to get us the Halloween box out of the attic on September 1st each year, I'd dig through it and find the solid black witch dresses and would immediately put them on. They were nothing too crazy; just solid black dresses that my mom made herself when my older sisters were little and the arms and neck were cut wide enough that those two dresses continued to fit throughout my entire childhood. Pair it with a witch hat and occasionally some green face paint and we were good to go. There were only a couple of years that I decided to be something other than a witch.


One year, I decided I wanted to be a clown and had my mom sew one of the witch dresses into a romper with legs. We added some patches to it from the scrap fabric pile, and I'm assuming some clownish face paint and I was good to go. 

Another year, my brother and I were feeling extra creative and decided to be serial killers. We probably had no idea what it meant, but we made sandwich boards out of poster boards, borrowed our favorite box of cereal from the pantry and duplicated the cereal box onto our poster boards with markers. Cut ourselves out some cardboard knives (okay, so I guess we sorta knew what serial killers were) and voila! Cereal killers!

(WHY is there not a picture of that awesomeness?)

And one of the last years we trick or treated, my dad was in the hospital after he was in an accident, so my mom was with him at the hospital on Halloween. One of my older sisters took my brother and I trick or treating, and we were on our own to come up with costumes during the day. My brother ended up getting some of my dad's truck driver uniforms and wore those (obviously very belted and pants rolled up, etc) to go as my dad. I found a safari looking hat in my parent's closet, and some binoculars so I put on some khakis and went as a safari person. Like, a tourist I guess? A tourist on a safari? I don't know. But it was fun!

Once we got home with our loot, we grouped all of the like candies together in the floor while sitting across from each other and started bartering candy. "I'll give you one Snickers* for a Reese's Cup." "I'll give you 48 disgusting orange/black wrapped candies for one Milky Way." And on and on.

And because I can't figure out how to end this, a picture shall do.


Happy Halloween! 

*I think this will be fun to add to the bottom of posts sometimes, because sometimes I'm so ashamed of the things I don't just KNOW and I have to Google to reassure myself I'm writing something correctly or stating correct facts. Here is the list of things I had to Google while writing this post: 

"through it together or threw it together" - I mean, am I trying to get in between the letters in 'together'? Duh!

"snickers or snicker's candy" - Does the candy belong to a Mr. Snicker, or does it make lots of snickers?

Friday, November 2, 2012

The House

It's like The Emperor's New Clothes. There is totally a house behind us- you just can't see.

It's about time for an update, yes? Let me give a quick recap of the last 6 months first so you aren't forced to go perusing through my archives. (But if you'd rather do that, feel free!)

It started here. We intentionally stopped paying our mortgage. Still gives me knots in my tummy to type that out.

Then I shared with you the new house plans we purchased that we were going to build on the land we bought from my parents. Coincidentally, it's right next door to/in front of my parent's house!

After we had the plans, we began shopping around for contractors or builders. Our plans we purchased were a lot pricier to build than the website said they'd be. We start considering other options.

concord2We find a builder local to us that has a house that has a floor plan almost identical to the ones we bought. The floor plan is the biggest thing to me in terms of wish list. Must have everything I want. This one did, so we scrapped our plans and went with this builder and their plans as they could build their house plans much cheaper than ours since they were familiar with it. (Speaking of, we have house plans for sale if anyone wants them!)

We work on financing and get approved for that. And finally, FINALLY, the building process gets started. Only 7 months after all this started.

Meanwhile, with the old house we get a letter from our current lender. Foreclosure will happen in 90 days. That was in August, meaning November we have to leave. Sure, we had hoped the process would take much longer as it had with so many other people we'd talked to, but, can you really blame them? We weren't paying and they need to try and recover some of their money. So, since the house isn't going to magically finish itself in 2 weeks, we are moving in with the parents in the meantime. I'm actually pretty excited about it!

But, enough about that. Let's move on to the fun stuff. Like, how it's going so far. This was from earlier this week and I tried to label it a bit to orient you since it surely doesn't look like much so far. But I can see it, and I can't freaking wait.

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So we have exactly 2 weeks until we move in with my parents. We'll be there throughout the holidays and the hopefully in our own house soon after that. It's looking like early February, but of course that's just an estimate. 

Lately we've been busy packing up what we don't need and moving into a storage unit. It's really hard to figure out what we won't need for a few months, so I'm being super crazy and writing down what's inside each box and numbering each box on every visible side. So, while we are living with my parents and we realize we really shouldn't have packed our swimsuits as we want to go for a swim in January, I can look down my way-too-detailed list of what's in each box, find box #33 in the storage unit and drag out our swimsuits. Have you ever had to pack for a few months? WITH a baby? It's terrifying! How do I know whether or not I'll need my Halloween costumes, you know?

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I thought it'd be best to pack Charley away for a few months, too. Don't worry, it's a climate controlled unit.
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So that's where we are at right now. We will be spending all of our extra time for the next 2 weeks packing and moving. Except for the 3.5 days I'll be in New Orleans. Which leaves us with this weekend, and the weekend of the 17th/18th to do it all. Plenty of time as long as we make no other plans. Like the playdate we have tonight. Or the other playdate we have tomorrow. Or John going to play golf tomorrow. It'll all get done. It HAS to.