Sunday, March 17, 2019

No Boys Allowed

If you ever want to see my boys turn our home into a fortress, just utter the words, "Girls' Weekend." One minute into explaining that my friends were coming over to pick me up for a little trip, and all four boys urgently began crafting swords out of K'Nex, loading their Nerf guns with bullets, and building blanket barricades in preparation for the imminent feminine attack. 

Fear not, boys. My old college roomies just wanted a quick peek at our new house and then we were off to the heart of Las Vegas where we rented a hotel room, bought matching jammies, and ate entire meals without having to lift a finger for anybody else.
Day two led us to a spa. S-P-A.  Where we got a Groupon for a massage. My first massage to be exact. You know what's a weird thing? Planning to get a massage when you barely enjoy the touch of your own husband. I am not a touchy feely person. I do not like people in general to touch me. I especially do not like strangers to touch me. Yet there I was paying money for some TBA masseuse to give me a pat down.

When I called to make the reservation, I was trying to sound experienced in the massaging and spa-going lifestyle, so I was playing it cool. I impressed myself with my elegant answers and the confident way I repeated my address back to them, leading me to believe they thought I was high class. I had to keep the charade up when they explained to me that they had both male and female massage therapists and did I have a preference?

My gut said yes. I want a girl. But my cool alter ego instead actually voiced, "No." The lady on the phone even clarified as if she was surprised by my answer, validating my initial surge of panic that I probably should have a preference, but I remained politically correct and unbiased as I attempted to cooly assure her (and myself), "Either one is fine."

I hung up the phone and questioned my existence. I mean, if Jeff got a massage, I think he would get a woman. Do women get men massage-ers? That seems weird to have an unknown man massage me. But am I making too big a deal of this? It's their job. What's the difference in a man versus a woman massaging me if it's just a job. Am I making this sexual? If it's sexual, wouldn't it be weirder if a woman was massaging me? Wouldn't it be weird either way? Massages ARE weird either way. THIS IS WHY I DON'T GET MASSAGES!!!

In a tizzy, I texted Leslie and Kenz to see if they put in a male/female request or if they were rolling the gender dice right along with me. They both all caps texted me that yes I wanted a woman and I felt good about that decision. In a move that was very obviously a hi-I'm-new-to-the-spa-scene, and totally giving up my cool act, I called back and requested a woman. They almost sounded as relieved on the other end as I did. I could clearly hear the "I thought so" in her voice as she read me off that confirmation number one last time. Take my Groupon, give me a woman, and leave me alone, fancy spa people.
So I got the massage. Turns out it was not as weird as I thought it would be and I only giggled twice. Maybe I could get down with this life of luxury (supported largely by Groupon).
The robes were lush. The saunas were sweaty. The serenity was palpable. As were the knots in my back that are now obliterated into micro-toxins that were flushed out of my body with a little help from some fresh cucumber water.

Nothing says girls' weekend like a day at the spa. It's a must. Even if you hate being touched. And hate sweating. And hate seeing people swim naked. You will get over all these things in the name of saying sayonara to your back knots and partaking of the endless Instagrammable robe photo opportunities.
Morning at the spa turned afternoon at the pool. This was the highlight of my trip. Chatting poolside with a side of water slide. Oh yes. We did go down a water slide. And it was freezing. Also fun. But mostly freezing.
Then we had the luxury of GETTING READY. Without anybody tugging on our pants. Hair was curled. Eyelashes were mascara-ed. Shirts were not once used as somebody else's Kleenex. We were ready to hit the town, yo!

Trouble is, we weren't sure what town to hit. And we hit the wrong part of town real hard. It should have been a warning when we hopped in an elevator, heading straight for Fremont Street, when a fellow elevator passenger cautioned, "Stay safe out there."

We brushed off his warning with quick eyerolls, seeing as we don't drink or club or prostitute. Thanks, DAD. We're grown women. We can fend for ourselves on the streets of Las Vegas.

Then we saw the clown. Like a literal clown walking down the street. Well, I mean, not a literal clown. It was a man dressed as a scary clown not doing tricks. So a literal clown not clowning around. Followed by piles of homeless people, a band of police officers just waiting for the evening to turn, many ladies of the night, and a dancer with a ribbon and little more.

This is a good time to mention Fremont Street is never the place you want to go when you come to visit Vegas. Some things you have to learn the hard way.

This is also a good time to mention The Strip looks reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaallllll nice after you've spent some time (5 minutes) strolling on Fremont Street at 7:00 PM on a Saturday night. We felt safe on The Strip. Just to put Fremont Street into perspective.

We ate at The Factory in The Venetian followed by gelato. This is where you must imagine me doing that Italian thing where I kiss the ends of my fingers and then do a little hand explosion. You know the move I'm talking about, right? *Mwah!*
And THIS is where I have saved the treasures of Leslie's nonchalant, vogue-esque poses from our time together.

Followed by the...chalant(?), Seventeen Magazine-esque posing of...muah (said with the same kiss/hand explosion Italian thing from earlier). 

Is it weird my favorite meal was breakfast at Babystacks? Probably because it was our last meal together and we were all stalling to avoid our returns to reality, resulting in much giggling and engorging on decadent pancakes. 

I am so grateful for good friends who keep tabs on me even when we have lived far apart. It's always a party when I'm with them and I'm so grateful they came down to show me around Vegas and warm me up to the idea of living here. *Insert 25 heart emojis here.*

Sunday, February 24, 2019

That Time My House Was Mostly Clean and the One Time it WASN'T

Out house is mostly put together and it was super clean after having Jeff's family come visit, so I documented the brief clean moment. Come along for a house tour! 

This is our front door which opens up to our office/sitting area. There is a bathroom in that little nook to the right. 
You know, I didn't think I'd begin our house tour with this story, but we're here, so let's go there. Remember that bathroom I mentioned in the picture above. Quietly tucked away in a discreet corner of the house? When we were about three weeks into our time in this house, we made the regretful decision to fill both of our upstairs baths at the same time so the older boys and younger boys could clean up after dinner with minimal quarreling. 

I was downstairs finishing up the dishes while Jeff was on bath supervision. I heard Jeff tell the boys it was time to get out and I heard the water begin to drain after they had pulled the plugs. I had never been downstairs when the drains were pulled in the bath, but it sounded like a loud burst of water was falling right onto our main level. I didn't immediately think too much of it because the house was new to us and we were still getting used to the different sounds and way things work. 

I kept hearing it and it seemed to be getting louder. I stopped doing the dishes and realized it sounded like there was an active waterfall in the downstairs bathroom. I rounded the corner and saw water seeping out from the bathroom, into our office/sitting area. 

Worse yet, not only did I see water, I could see clear evidence that this wasn't just water, but toilet water all over our floors and making its way towards my two brand new rugs. 

In shock and confusion, I trudged through the toilet water to peek inside the bathroom where I found our toilet spewing water without any hint of slowing down. I screamed up at Jeff but he couldn't hear me, so I ran over to turn the water off on the toilet. That did nothing. Water was still practically shooting out of the toilet, making its way all the way into our living room and kitchen now. 

Jeff finally heard my screams and the boys started throwing every towel we've ever owned down into the flood, with water still coming. The water made it all the way into our kitchen, and wrapped around to the other side of our house INTO THE PANTRY! 

Finally the water stopped and we were able to begin damage control. With the help of every single one of our towels, two sopping wet rugs that soaked up most of the water, and bucket after bucket of mopped up water, we finally hit dry land again. It was the grossest thing I have ever dealt with. Our house smelled like a port-a-potty for 3 solid days after (maybe more, we may have just gotten used to the smell). 

Come to find out, our main line had a clog in it, so when we emptied both the bathtubs, the water had no where to go except for up the toilet that was closest to the main line. So basically two full tubs of water plus a bowl of clogged toilet remnants were emptied straight onto the main floor of our house. Right after I had cleaned all the grout on our main level, mind you. It was tragic. 

I'll have you know the rugs have been shampooed 4 times, pressure washed, pressure washed with shampoo, and then shampooed 2 more times before they were returned to their rightful locations. Though I still cringe a little bit whenever I happen to lay down on one of the toilet rugs. 

So look at these pictures and imagine the scene covered in toilet water, and then appreciate with me the fact that it no longer is a toilet overflow. 
 Here we have the living room in its natural habitat a.k.a. supporting budding Minecraft addictions.
The pantry is in the nook to the right. Toilet water was all in here all the way around the corner into the pantry. Disgusting!!

Now we can leave the horror of the toilet story as we escpae to the upstairs. Here are the beginning workings of our playroom/guest loft. Come sleep on an air mattress at our house! :)
My crowning achievement is Jeff and my bedroom. I love, love, love the way it turned out! 
The boys' rooms are still unorganized and undecorated but we have a blue wall and an orange wall to get us started. 

It's hard work to put a house together! Even harder work to put it together, have it flood, and then have to deep clean everything and put it together again!

36 in Palm Springs

All of our birthdays are in the first half of the year, so we're one right after the other over here. Next up was Jeffery!
Jonah the whipped cream monster lives for angel food cake birthday desserts.
Jeff's birthday always falls near President's Day. Since everyone had the day off, the Cox Crew and Jeff's parents came to celebrate Jeff's big day with us. We stopped for lunch at "Inside Out" as Lincoln calls it.
Then what'll you know, Vegas saw SNOW! Seeing as we don't have much Vegas experience, we aren't sure what's normal and what's not, but from what I could tell based on my Vegas contacts flipping out on Facebook, snow in Vegas doesn't happen very often. The boys even scored a snow day with this pinch of snow that would be laughable to our Utah friends!
We found out there was a free day at Springs Preserve, so we made that our next adventure spot.
With awkward smiles but good hair along the way.
Eli once joined a "No Dabbing Club" but he had to remove himself from the club because it was too hard for him not to dab. The urge is especially strong when someone says, "Smile!"
A weekend trip to Palm Springs...get it? Those are palm trees. At Springs Preserve. Palm Springs. Am I the only one laughing?
Lincoln's thumb sucking repelling "Batman Gloves" in action. Best. Idea. Of. All. Time. (and a perfect coincidence with all this snow so he doesn't look like a total weirdo out in public.)
My favorite boys with my favorite wall in our house. I painted the door black and we shiplapped this wall for our January project. It turned out magnificent-o! (Said in an Italian accent that doesn't actually sound at all Italian.)
Parks in winter. We're all about this life.
Guess what people! We're working in real time from here on out! Boo YEAH!

January Birthday Buddies

The boys have started doing this cute? thing where they shove their littlest brother into a bucket with a bunch of pillows/toys. I think it started as a nice attempt to imprison him so he couldn't ruin their Lego creations, but Jonah seems to have noticed their contraption makes a nice shelter, so everyone's happy. 
The boys have convinced him it's such a great game that now Jonah voluntarily imprisons himself and will sit perfectly content in a bucket for large periods of time. 
I turned 31! I used my birthday as an excuse to try all the things I've always wanted to try but never have. I took my first step inside a Trader Joe's and I sampled my first taste of Crumbl cookies. I also curled my hair to further convince you I was doing all sorts of things I don't normally do. 
Bada bing bada boom, next thing we knew we were celebrating this little guy turning FOUR! 
We spent the morning at the park. 

And then we enjoyed our weekly garbage man entertainment--making the morning a total birthday win. 
Once night hit, the bat wings came out. 
This Batman obsessed boy is finally on the road to being potty trained! Of all the tactics we tried to convince him it was cool to be potty trained, telling him Batman uses the potty was the thing that eventually spoke to his soul. We've had the most success we've ever had in the last month and it seems like he might stick with it after at least a year of potty training efforts. Woo-wee!
Lincoln has also been working on not sucking his thumb. We bought him "Batman gloves" (black winter gloves) that he wears, and due to them making him look like Batman, he hasn't taken them off since we gave them to him and he consequently hasn't sucked his thumb with the gloves on either. He's making big strides to be a big boy!

Lincoln is a firecracker. He loves to talk. He has a great vocabulary and speaks very well. He loves to be silly and he's always down to have a good time. He can get a little mischievous if you don't keep him busy, but he's starting to keep himself busy with trying to learn the alphabet and color and make his way towards pre-k activities.

These two have recently realized they can be friends. It is cute 10% of the time and trouble 90% of the time. If you ever hear both of them laughing, it's safe to assume they're smashing goldfish on the counter and then sliding their hand across the counter to send goldfish crumbs flying across the kitchen. 
We have tried out only doing screens on Friday and Saturday this school year with much success. Here's a weekend veg sesh in action. 
I thought this paper Carson brought home was cute.
It says, "Who! Who! What's that sownd? It's an owl! What owls eat: Owls eat fish, frogs, insects, mice. Some owls sleep during day. Owls live in woodlands. What owls look like: They have big round heads and they hav brown, gray, black and wihte fethers. I hope I get to see a real one!"

I loved the wording of the whole thing and check out that first grader's handwriting! He's such a darling student and I love everything he brings home from school.

With the church's new home-centered learning, we have enjoyed finding a system that works for us. The kids each teach a lesson one night during the week. We call those lessons "Night Light" because it's our little bit of light from Christ to end each night. Carson taught us about being "born again" in Christ and had us to a puzzle of a newborn baby (Jonah) to introduce the topic.
We had our traditional heart breadsticks for dinner on Valentine's Day. 
Complete with everyone's favorite--chocolate covered strawberries! My love language is food. 

We thought our backyard wouldn't be big enough for a trampoline so we left our old trampoline at my parents' house. Once we got to our house, we did some quick measuring and decided a trampoline could and would fit in our backyard. We got one that's a little smaller than our old one and surprised the boys with it. It's been just what we all needed to get rid of all that pent up energy!