Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The heck are the Douglass' even doing right now?

Are you as lost on what is even going on in our lives as we are? Not to fret, I will now quickly and concisely lay it all out for you in a beautifully organized and prompt manner.
I'm also a huge liar.

No, but seriously. There may have been leaks and drips, but we haven't really taken a moment out to "announce" our current life decision the way you would normally expect a life decision such as this to go. Mostly because it's such a long-run based endeavor that it's kinda hard to figure out when exactly that "announcement" phase has arrived.
After we moved out of Rialto, our first obscenely large home, Mark began concocting a plan to increase, er, *ahem* create a stream of passive income. The idea is to, loan contracts permitting, accumulate rental properties and be landlord moguls. As best as I can understand it, that is.
It basically means we'll be moving once a year (ish) for the foreseeable future.

We hit our year mark in our current house around November, and we're hoping to move into our new place come the end of January.
But first we've had to put in some work to spruce the place up a bit. Without getting into great detail (of which there is plenty), we'll just say some renovations needed to be re-renovated due to questionable quality of work, as well as ridding the smell of cigarette smoke.
Thus far we have...

  • Removed commercial carpet tiling [much wailing and gnashing of teeth]
  • Removed kitchen cabinetry
  • Pulled up kitchen tile
  • Trashed pony wall
  • Knocked down kitchen soffits and superfluous walls
  • Carted the toilets (ew) and bathroom vanities/sinks outside
  • Purchased new kitchen cabinetry second-hand (and subsequently moved the entire set like, a billion times) (literally)
  • Sponge-mopped every wall with a vinegar solution
  • Scrapped the vertical blinds, ceiling fans, and baseboards
  • Rerouted kitchen wiring and plumbing
Honorable Mentions: Mark found a perfectly laid out rat skeleton in the attic and tried to preserve it to show me, but it crumbled into a pile of bones when he moved it. Alas.
And I shaved 20 years off my vitality by pruning the jungled forest of California Palms in our front yard. There's technically three of them with trunks wider than my waist (which is notably girthy) but they've gone so long undeterred that there are two mini offshoots that are practically their own shrubs now. 
Pro-tip: trim them while they're green. All the fronds at the bottom of the trunks that had died out since they were shaded so thoroughly by their sibling fronds (frondlings?) were basically like sawing through concrete. And we don't have a chainsaw, nor would I use one if we did, so I was left with my own sheer muscle power. Which isn't saying much. And it was nighttime. And snowing! Uphill both ways! Nope, too far.

We are, however, hiring out quite a bit for this project. We did our own painting in Rialto and I swore it would never again be a thing I told myself I could do. Mark was still complaining of patchy spots when we moved out of that place. #peskymemories
Turns out, efficiently and confidently managing a contractor schedule is sup totes tricksy. Still...
  • Repair garage roof
  • Remove popcorn ceiling
  • Retexture and install drywall
  • TILE ALL THE FLOOR[s]
  • PAINT ALL THE WALL[s]
  • Carpet
And then we can move in!
At some point in there we will be installing the cabinetry in the kitchen, but we're doing that ourselves. And a great many other things that we're doing ourselves. 

The drywall guys come in the next day or two, tile is scheduled for next week, I'm thoroughly panicking about all these invoices and receipts that are piling up, so really, everything's going exactly as planned.
This endeavor would be completely impossible and nonexistent without Mark. I am continuously in awe of how much knowledge he has in such a vast array of subjects, and I'm so grateful he can impart such wisdom onto our own children. I only hope they soak it up better than I do. I'm lucky enough to recall the difference between a reciprocating saw and a jigsaw, let alone operate one and skillfully build a base for a railing. Cuz that's a thing Mark can do. 
Not to mention the leaps and bounds in our growth as partners as we learn and struggle together. I mean, who needs marriage counseling and therapy workshops, just gut and rebuild a house with each other. Team-building exercise on steroids.
But also like, therapy is irreplaceable. Don't take me or these blogs seriously. 100% do not recommend. 

So basically that's where we are right now. I've been struggling with the line between including people in our lives and not making a big deal about it since it's kind of an unconventional situation. It's not your typical facebook announcement from the newlywed couple that are finally getting out of their one bedroom apartment and into their first house. Like, I don't need to make an instagram post of us holding the keys by the front door, but also maybe I should tell people what we're doing? So this here's my compromise. 
We did/are doing a thing, it's a cool thing, and I'll share pictures when we're done. TBD.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Daily Debacle

Scenario 1:

     I bought Ander some new, fuzzy, long onesie pajamas because all we've got for him right now is thin cotton and his room gets mighty chilly by sunrise. I was in a rush since I was making the quickest Wal-Mart pit stop between Fiddler rehearsals and choir rehearsals (which I was still late to anyway, doh!) and I just scanned the racks for the sizes on the hangers.
Whaddya know, the 18-month pajamas I grabbed were actually 6-9 month. But not even the biggest crisis, considering the other pair I got him that were indeed 18 month could barely squeeze on him anyway. If he hadn't peed through his diaper that night I would've been exchanging both pair.
But today, when I went to go exchange them, I noticed that he price tag on the 6-9 month pair had already been torn off and were stuffed in the bottom of one of the footies.
I thought,
"Hm, interesting, I didn't even notice last night."
At the customer service counter, she scanned the tag, scanned my receipt and then her eyebrows furrowed and she said,
"I don't see these on this receipt."

[blink, blink]

My best guess is that the cashier last night at the other Wal-Mart out in phoenix just had zero bothers to give about finding the tag or figuring out the price and, kind-heartedly, let me just walk out of the store with them for free?? I fully believed I had paid for them, fair and square, yet here I was looking like some cheater trying to scam my way into some free NINE DOLLAR BABY PAJAMAS.
I guess I don't pass off a "scammer" vibe because she just treated it like a "non-receipt" and let me pay the difference for the new 24 month pajamas and I dunno, I guess I'm going to baby pajama hell.


Scenario 2:

     I'm fighting tears because after I deposited a crap ton of checks into our checking account (holla), had my bout with scenario 1 at our local Wal-Mart, darted over to Ross to sponsor Mark's birthday gift to me, and then ended up at Fry's I bought over $200 worth of gift cards for amazon plus a bunch of people's Christmas gifts.

And now I'm home and I don't know where they are.

Somewhere in the midst of paying, making sure my kid didn't climb out of the cart, and trying to stuff the long fluttering tail of gift card receipts into my wallet I cannot for the life of me remember if they got put into a bag or whether I left them at the register, in the cart, or perhaps Ander ate them.
In any case, I had one Ross bag, and four Wal-Mart bags in my car after I got home and put Ander down for an obscenely belated nap, but not a single Fry's bag of gift cards.
I called the store immediately and went through about 5 loops of being put on hold (when will somebody tell every store that music never transfers over the line well and it honestly would be better to just wait in silence?) and here's how THAT went--

They went to check with my cashier, because for some reason unbeknownst to me, my receipt didn't actually have my register number on it.

They brought back my cashier.

He looked in the bags and checked with the bagger.

She remembers putting them into a bag and placing them "next to [my] child".

He checked the store security footage and I did indeed leave the store with them in my cart.

He went out to the parking lot to check the carts.

They were nowhere to be found.

They then told me there was nothing else they could do and gave me the number for the Kroger Credit department and so far all I've gotten was "we currently have a high volume of calls. Please email."
So scratch that, no longer fighting tears. Full on meltdown sobbing attack. Can you handle how real we're getting on this blog lately? We don't call it a "lifestyle" blog for nuthin'.
Lifestyle level CHERNOBYL. Also #dramatic


Scenario 3:

     An amazon package got stolen off our front porch and I haven't even called yet about that. Cuz I'm still calling about the MISSING TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS IN GIFT CARDS.
My husband is being unbelievably sweet about the whole thing, "it's not the end of the world," and I think I wouldn't be so torn up about it if I hadn't just spent the last couple months in a near-constant state of panic trying to earn that money in the first place.
Hi, yes, hello I need therapy.



Scenario 4:

     We're supposed to close on our new "house" (single home turned duplex) today and find time to sign for it. That's not necessarily a debacle, I just CAN'T EVEN DEAL WITH HOW MUCH IS GOING DOWN.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Nine to Noon

Things that came up at my physician's appointment this morning;
1) "Your cholesterol is high, have you heard that before?" Mm, nope. But also this is my first regular primary care physician experience in my entire adult memory. Like. It's been awhile. So, literally the only people who get updated on my cholesterol are the Vampires (United Blood Services) and I'm assuming they don't care how fat and unhealthy I am, as long as I let them bleed me dry.
Disclaimer: I am completely joking. I love donating blood and try to do it fairly regularly. Having a baby screwed that up pretty hardcore, but it's all good. Me and the Vamps are tight.
My doctor also made it clear that this cholesterol is not affected by my diet, seeing as I am in a healthy weight range for my body type, and my blood pressure and pulse are A-okay. She asked what I knew of my family history and I reminded her that I'm adopted so I wouldn't know. That basically confirmed for her that I've got a genetic issue, so I'm on a daily cholesterol pill now?
That was unexpected, to say the least.

2) "We'll get your steroid knee injection done today, carpe diem." Oh, cool, no biggie, I totally planned on getting stabbed in the knee with my 18-month old whirlwind on the loose in this cramped doctors office full of buttons, doo-dads, and hazardous material trash cans.
And yet it went great.
Granted, she gave Ander a total of three dum-dums and he literally chomped each one with his teeth. Because he has no chill.
Speaking of which, I was wearing white capris and they were using that orangey-yellow sanitizing stuff so they had me use the crepe paper covers like they give you at the gynecologist and Ander really had a hayday tearing it to absolute shreds. He knows how much I love showing off my tighty-whitey g's.

2a) "Wow, you've really got some arthritis there, how is that possible for a 25 year old??" In the middle of stabbing my actual knee bones after having "numbed" me with what I can only assume was canned nitrogen.
5 minutes earlier:
"How much pain can I expect?"
"None."
By which she meant "maybe bite down on something."

3) "How about we do a flu shot as well." Yes. More stabbing. This Wednesday needs more stabbing. After the knee injection though it was less than a pinch.
Ander kept pointing at the needle and signing that he wanted it. Blessed child.

4) "Did he just say 'thank you'?!" I mean, probably? Maybe? There's one specific saying that means like a billion things depending on which context he uses it in. It sounds like 'thank you', or 'let's go', or 'cool', or blanket which is technically 'ket ket'.
So Ander's definitely trying to talk, but even I have difficulty piecing together what he's trying to say most of the time. Our dog's name is Mor'du and it took my Mother-in-Law pointing out that he was saying "doo" everytime he heard barking and here I was thinking he was just baby-talking "dog".
I'm too dumb for this motherhood business.
But anyway, I let the doctor believe that my 18-month old said "thank you" in response to being handed a lollipop. Because I'm not dumb enough to refute that my kid is polite and adorable.
I'll take it where I can get it.

5) "Eliminate stress, have fun in the trying." We've been trying to get pregnant basically since June of this year, and I want to start this by saying I understand completely that that is well within the norms of the average couples conception period. I am well below the experience of women who suffer from syndromes and infertility and being so out of control of their own bodies. If I could just put across how aware I am that I have no right to complain.
It doesn't suck any less despite that knowledge. Mostly I feel like I'm not allowed to be disappointed every time I'm convinced I'm feeling morning sickness, or feel that lightning quickening in my breasts, or find myself four days late for my period, or any other myriad of "obvious" symptoms and then end up with another pile of negative tests each month.
It's disappointing. And discouraging. And incredibly emotional and it hurts each month it doesn't happen because Ander is one month older, because the waiting starts over again, because I want it so badly. So badly.
But my hormones look fine, she told me to just religiously take my prenatal vitamin, and to, as previously mentioned, reduce stress....and just basically NOT do what I have been doing? Obsessing, charting, planning and scheduling.
I don't know how I'm supposed to forget that we're trying to get pregnant, it doesn't feel possible. Lately, my "happy place" has been imagining being pregnant, having another tiny one in the house, being better than I was with Ander because I'm more experienced now and can draw off our experience with him to convince myself to try longer, do more more often, ask for more help, create more of a safe, clean space. When I can't fall asleep, or things are going wrong, or I have a bad day, I let myself imagine that joy of creating another life and it's been getting me through.
Obviously I need to replace that with something else. Currently taking suggestions.

I wasn't expecting to go that deep, but all the jokes and light-hearted lines I typed came out flat or slightly more than vaguely bitter, which is not how I want to come across.
I'm still hopeful, I am rationally aware of how lucky and blessed I am, it could very well be next month that I make an announcement and I'll feel a real dunce for even sending this out into the open.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Ander's Twelfth Month

If I were an educated, classy person, I would try to make some sort of reference to Twelfth Night. Merely for puns sake. But I am neither educated, nor classy, and I literally only thought of it because of the word "Twelfth". Which isn't even clever.
I digress.




Ander is one year old. I have a one year old. Living in my home. That I birthed--one year ago. I feel like the newborn stage just draaaaagged on and on, but once January and the new year hit, all of a sudden it's June, the year is half over, and my kid can climb up on the table and get into the candy bowl and start munching on foil wrapped chocolate mints (which he will, naturally, throw up later on the carpet that I'm vacuuming).





My kid does lots of things. And usually definitely not on command.
He waves hi and bye, and he blows kisses, and he asks for "More Please" in his adorable baby sign language, as well as "All Done" and "Hungry". He likes to bring books over and sit in our laps just to turn the pages. He wants nothing to do with the actual words or stories. He gives excellent high fives and is pretty much doing kisses now, too.
He loves to point at things so Mom or Dad will name them.
It started with a multi-colored polka dot blanket I had laying on his bedroom floor and while we were playing on it he started resting his pointer finger on the dots and I just happened to start naming off the colors. He'd switch to another and I'd name that color. And then he started repeatedly jabbing his finger on the same color, so I'd say the color with increasing intensity until I was shouting it and he'd laugh, and laugh.




He loves to be involved, and I mean directly involved, with whatever anyone is doing. After our thrilling lunch date with Daddy at his work, I took him to get the blood draw our doctor asked for at his 9 month appointment. Oops. That whole ordeal, getting to the lab, is a story in and of itself, perhaps I'll get to it another time.
The nurse gave me some little instructions as to how to hold Ander down for when he got stuck with the needle because surely there would be some comeuppance. Of course he would balk and scream and cry, right?
I cannot stress how unphased Ander was as the nurse stuck the needle into his vein. He watched calmly. He sat completely still, only bending his hand back trying to grab for the tiny tube curving down his arm. Not a single peep. I hadn't expected a full-scale tantrum or anything, for how well he does with vaccinations, but I figured it would hurt a little and he'd whine. I was so grateful for my strong, brave Bubba (and also that much more sure he's a Hulk baby), and the nurse was in absolute awe. "This never happens," he kept saying.





He's wearing shoes now.
Which is such a blessing of good timing since it backed up right to the usual time of year Mark's family plans the yearly Apache Lake trip. Eases this poor momma's heart that I wouldn't be trying to contain a very mobile and stubborn and headstrong (and just plain strong) kiddo that isn't wearing shoes in the harsh desert. Not that he even cares, he goes willy-nilly over rock and dirt and weeds like he's actually a Tank, as I like to call him. But at least with shoes on I'm not thinking about all the stickers and broken glass.



Oh, he's also a fish. Merman. Nbd.
We took him swimming at Grandpa Tom and Mary's and we could not keep him from diving headlong into the water. Grandpa ended up wrapping a floaty noodle around him so he could flail all his limbs as he wanted and feign swimming.
We were at my parents' near the beginning of the month and he kept popping onto his back in his floaty and all of a sudden he started giggling when that happened, so I just stood over him so his face was shaded but I didn't touch him and let him float around happily on his back.
He must think he has gills for how much he wants to constantly keep his mouth under water. Really though I think he's just trying to drink the whole pool.




He loves animals and thinks all of them are his own personal pet. It's the greatest thing in the world but I've seen him wobble up to Mor'du or Odin and he signs "please" before trying to pet them.
Everyone loves meal time because...
a) Ander can't get enough of food and all of it's varieties
b) Ander gets a kick out of feeding the dogs his own food
c) The dogs are thrilled with this new development
In fact, it may even be turning Mor'du's inexplicably cold attitude towards Ander around a little bit.





Sadly, but also pretty much expectedly, I cannot squeeze his 11 and 12 month onesies onto his roly-poly self, so we'll just have to do with these yummy photos of him in the suit-jacket and vest combo that Grandma Miriam brought over. It was worn by Mark and each of his brothers, so I'm pretty thrilled that he fit into it for a photoshoot. We think he looks like a mini-Bilbo cosplay in it and whoops, my heart is exploded. I love my little Hobbit babe.





 



Ander's Favorite Things
aka things he smiles extra wide for and does consistently enough
to make me think he extra likes it

Snuggling into mom's shoulder after sleeping
and singing little made up songs or chittering to himself

The color yellow

Cold green beans straight from the can, gogurt,
mashed potatoes, mac 'n cheese, saltines

Any and all electronic devices

Empty soda cans
(I mean, he'd take full ones too)

His Teddies:
Pooh Bear (Thanks Allie and Izzy!!), the vintage bear that
used to belong to Mark's oldest brother,
his Lamb, and Mr. Monkey


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Apache Lake 2016

Our yearly Douglass family mini-reunion was such a blast. We went last year when Ander was just around a month or two old, we were still breastfeeding/pumping and it was blazing hot. Still a good time, but can't hold a candle to all the fun we had this year.
There's far, far too much to share, so I'll try to just let the pictures do the talking (one picture, a thousand words, as they say) and share the most exciting anecdotes.








Ander was the champion of the champs. It was far too hot and bright, and much too engaging, for him to get much of any kind of nap while we were there. He got some good power naps while the boat was in motion, though. Bless him.
He swims like a fish and thinks he can breathe like one as well. If he wasn't in the water he was shoving dirt down his gullet and then casually throwing the rocks whenever Mom or Dad scolded him, like it's what he was doing in the first place.
A lot of people expressed concern for the state of the weather that weekend, considering the valley was issued an Excessive Heat Warning and the forecast bore the ominous mark of "120". We were actually cold more often than we were scorching. We had purchased a long sleeve rash guard swim shirt for all three of us in preparation for the so-called excessive heat and those were by far our best idea. Ander's teeth were chattering for a good portion of every swim session, no one suffered any sunburns (discounting a minor blotch on my upper thighs from poor sunscreen application), and the water was absolute perfection.
Nighttime was an even more pleasant surprise. We got to light a fire since we were at a campsite with a fire ring, and we even actually needed our blankets (aka bedsheets) while we slept because the temperature dipped so nicely once the sun went down.
The worst part of the night was when Mark randomly got a strange bout of food poisoning, but luckily he made it out of the tent before it made it's dramatic entrance. He felt completely fine in the morning so we were able to continue on with our trip as if nothing happened.
The craziest story by far happened our second day up there. Mark's extended family was either out on the boat or walking down to the docks, so it was just myself, Mark and Ander, Tom and Mary (Mark's dad and soon-to-be Step-Mom, respectively) at the campsite. I didn't get to watch it happen, but the group that shared the cove with us had brought a pontoon and apparently they were not experienced boaters. In attempting to come ashore and anchor the boat they lost control and crashed headlong into our shoreline set up of pop-up canopies and camping chairs.
As I mentioned before, no one was at camp and we were preparing lunch so thankfully no one was hurt. The boaters were understandably sheepish and very willing and eager to make it right. So all worked out well.

Now, this is different and new and it very well may be a one time endeavor. But I made an effort to take more videos while we were out and when we got home I edited them into a little home video using Windows Movie Maker and royalty free tracks courtesy of Youtube (because I'm cheap).
I hope it is successful in relaying the feel of our amazing, little family outing. We look forward to this camping trip every year and I can't wait for the next one.



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mini Memorial Day

Normally we're participating in a family barbeque or lake trip for Memorial day, but having just recovered from our sick week, not to mention the fact that Mark is on-call for the week of the holiday, we stayed home and had our own little mini-celebration.
Mark fired up the grill and made us some hot dog chili, and I tackled the ginormous, juicy watermelon I had purchased at Winco some days back. All the while Ander continuously muddied himself up and the dogs panted down our necks waiting for some of the sausages to roll off the grill and into their ready mouths.
My longing for a grass yard knows no bounds, but Ander doesn't even mind the dirt and rocks. I suppose I'll just have to learn from him and be grateful for the things I do have, like a huge yard to begin with, and beautiful, healthy dogs, and a beautiful, healthy family.
Thank God for blessings and thank God for America.

 









Monday, May 30, 2016

Ander's ELEVENTH Month??!

RED ALERT!!REDALERT!!REDALERT

This week is June and my baby's birthday is in June. WHAT. What. Wut. Okay, no big deal. It's fine. I'm fine. /sobs

This month we, obviously, had our Cruise. Ander was superb and did just fine at my parent's all week. He was happy to see us when we got back, but not so clingy that he seemed traumatized, nor did he forget us and shun us either. It was the perfect balance. 
And two days later he came down with his first case of anything worse than a maybe-cold. Hand, Food, and Mouth disease. He started out with a fever and wouldn't eat or drink anything, only wanting to be held all day long, and the next day had the "perfect" sores crop up on his poor little hands and mouth. His feet didn't get bad until the worst of it was over. 
Once he started feeling better we took him down to Riverview Park to play in the sunshine and work up a little appetite. 






He always knows where we hide the soda.



Arguably the funnest thing about being a parent
is watching your kid make connections on their own
and try to figure out new things.
Here's Ander trying to put the straw back in the lid,
and please note [not pictured] how angry he was when I tried to help him.



He wanted so badly to play soccer among the group with which
we shared the field. Dear, sweet child. You gon' die. 






His worst sores were on the pads of his fingers and inside his mouth. I cannot say how blessedly necessary and lucky it was that Mark happened to have that week off from work as well. I would have been an entirely different Mom without him there to help me. 

None of it gets Ander down for long, though. He's tough as nails, rambunctious, and fiesty as ever. 




Forehead, meet tile floor. Speedily. Obviously, judging by that smile (gives me life), he didn't really mind the goose-egg all that much. Mommy cried though. 

He's definitely found that baby rhythm phase, he bounces to most forms of music and has a cute head wiggle move that gets us all groovin'. 
His favorite thing is to wake up from naps and yell for me till I come pick him up with a blanket and he nuzzles right into my neck, snuggling on my shoulder for a few extra minutes. I cherish those minutes. 
He currently has his head stuck in the space between our gameboard table and the wall. So there's that.
He loves to stand in the window with an empty can of soda and watch as people and cars go by. 
He signs 'please', and might be signing 'more' but he could also just be clapping. We're not sure yet. He waves 'hi' and 'bye', and let's us know when he's 'all done', whether it's with meals, baths, or just the current situation. 
He blows bubbles in the bath. Or any water really. 
He starts clapping whenever you say, "yaaay!" or "you did it!" or "good job" and it's the cutest. I love that he congratulates himself and grabs onto your hand if you don't do it as well. 
He's obscenely bossy for a not-quite-one-year-old, I think. We end up eating more of his food than he does because he wants to feed it to us
He's kind, he's helpful, he's sweet and loving, he's the shiniest soul I know and I can't wait to know him more and more as he continues to grow up. 

I love you, my Bubba-love