Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My New Tan

I always wanted to have a cute couples calling with Jeff. So I guess you can say being called as joint cub masters is kind of my dream come true.

Except that I don't know the first thing about the scouting program, 8-year old boys or tan shirts.

My only memorable encounter with cub scouts is the one time my mom made me go to a pack meeting where they held my little brother upside down. And the only reason I remember that is because there's a picture of it.

Oh well, take away the awards, ceremonies and cheesy cheers and you're just left with a bunch of enthusiastic 8-year olds, right? That doesn't seem so bad. Until I realize my comfort range with children is limited to the ones that are 16-months old and younger. If Eli hasn't been there, I don't know how to deal with it. And whenever I try to think back on what I was like at that age, I'm reminded I have spent the majority of the last 15 years trying to recover from and forget that time of my life. Plus I've never been a boy.

And as far as the tan shirts go...
I just don't have a lot going for me with this calling. To say I'm overwhelmed by my once-a-month-thirty-minute calling would be an understatement.

Because I spend the week before pack meeting lying awake at night second guessing all my plans. I spend the night before pack meeting counting and recounting handouts, treats and napkins. I spend the hour before pack meeting pacing the whole house telling Eli to cooperate if he knows what's good for him. Then I spend pack meeting realizing it's not really that bad.
 (Chocolate covered pretzels I made to look like crayons for our back to school pack meeting. Big hit.)
The boys are cute and energetic. They are happy to be doing whatever girly activity I planned for them. Like, for instance, tonight's activity of making cookies. It would be a lot easier for me if cub scouts were girls. If only.

Jeff did a great job conducting the awards portion for the first time, and the boys managed to stay somewhat interested in my activity for them. It's nice to have another pack meeting under our beltloops, and I'm already stressing about the next one. This calling might just be the death of me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Best Imaginary Food Never Tasted

So I gave Eli a cinnamon roll for breakfast one morning. And several mornings after that. But anyway, on this particular morning, he must have really liked that cinnamon roll.

Because he kept going back for more. And more. And more. Even though the cinnamon roll was long gone.

A little bit later, I gave him a spoon for the first time and he had the time of his life. He spent another thirty minutes "eating" yogurt out of a bowl - without successfully getting a single drop of yogurt in his mouth.

His day of imaginary food sparked an interest in imaginary things. Now when we go on our walk in the morning he pretends to move something (I think an imaginary rock) from one compartment of the stroller tray to another.

So either he's either schizophrenic or he's adorable? I'll choose adorable.

And what kind of mom would I be if I didn't video tape his first "taste" of playing imagination and put it to music to share with the world?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cabinet Reveal

The kitchen cabinets are done. If we're using the term "done" loosely. Because maybe we happened to miss one cabinet's last coat of paint and maybe the tape pulled up a lot of the paint on the edges and maybe we'll be spending the next three months scraping paint chips off everything in our house.
But if you look past all that, I think it turned out alright.
This was the first step to creating our dream kitchen. Step two is to paint the walls light blue. Step three is to install a gray/black counter. Step four is to get new floors.
I get the feeling we'll never make it past step one, but we'll see what we can muster up.

And here are a few of our mistakes because those pictures gave us a little too much credit.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Summer in a Week

My goal this week was to cram all the fun summer activities we missed out on into Jeff's one week off. Here we go...

We started off with a nice, summer walk. Jeff wanted to walk on this trail I hadn't been on before. I was surprised to find the trail took us by a pond. As soon as Eli saw the water, he started saying, "Du, Du!" (Duck.) I had to crush his tiny hopes and dreams by saying, "Oh, yeah Eli, when we went on a walk with Leslie and Izzy there were ducks in the pond, but this pond doesn't have ducks."

Little did I know there WERE ducks just around the corner! I think it's so cute to take kids to go feed ducks and I was practically shaking in joy at the realization that Eli and I discovered our very own duck herd to feed.
If they can't see the food, they don't bother waiting around for it.
But as soon as you pull out those graham crackers again, they turn right back around. They were so friendly.
We let Eli roam the trail with us. Complete with a hiking stick.
And when we got home, we had our cabinets there to haunt us.
After a day or so of painting, we spent a day cleaning up the house and getting caught up on our yard work.

Okay, this might just be the cutest thing Eli does right now. Any time I say, "Eli, where is ..." he puts his hands up like this and starts looking around for whatever I mentioned. Melts my heart.
And this is what he does when he finds a bug. He is very interested in bugs.
This is when he helped us pull weeds. Meaning he would pull the buds off that plant and put them in the weed bucket. Such a good helper.
Eli was such a show off for Jeff this week. He was so happy Jeff was home to play with him all day. One day Eli tried for about fifteen minutes to put Jeff's flip flop on. He would inch his little toes up into the shoe, but managed to get his feet all twisted in the shoe every time. Then he would grunt in frustration. Such a goof.
We spent an evening in Logan that you can read about here.
Then on Thursday we went to the Hogle Zoo.

I have a bunch of old beanie babies that are now Eli's favorite toys. He is getting good at fetching out whatever animal we ask him to fetch. He even knows a lot of the sounds the animals make. So I figured with all his beanie baby love, he'd be sure to eat up seeing these animals life-size.

Sadly, this was probably the most exciting thing to Eli at the zoo:
Although, he did enjoy his first glimpse of a monkey.

You can't go to the zoo without comparing your wingspan with a gorilla's.
Jeff was impressed and/or shocked at my measurements.
Eli's got my gorilla genes.

I thought he was the cutest little monkey at the zoo.
And then we returned to our never-ending project once again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stories of Jeff Excell - Feelings Day

It was as we were cruising the streets of Cedar City looking for the perfect sledding hill where Jeff proclaimed I didn't like to express my feelings.

"What?!?" I said, shocked he already knew me so well.
"Yeah. I never know what you're thinking. Tell my your feelings." He continued.
"Umm...well what do you want to know my feelings about?" I countered, scrambling to figure out exactly what he was looking for.

Because if he was simply wondering my feelings on sledding, I could really screw things up by babbling about how much I already loved him and how he had the best head of hair I'd ever seen and how I thought he was such a gentleman.

My dating world was suddenly turned upside down. I had always thought my ability to conceal my true feelings was one of my assets. I was never the blubbering girl crying at the movies. Or ever. I didn't cry. I didn't express myself. I was the bottle-everything-up-and-give-the-silent-treatment-until-I-forgot-why-I-was-upset type. My taboo topics were love and anger. If I felt the need to speak on either topic, I just went running and ran until I no longer felt the need to speak. It was my no-fail regimen. Until Jeff Excell came along and dared to try to get a glimpse of what goes on inside my brain.

As I was gathering my thoughts, Jeff had noticed the song that was playing on the radio - Don't Wait by Dashboard Confessional.

"Sarah, this song is perfect for what I'm trying to tell you! It says, 'lay your armor down.' Sometimes it seems like you have a wall up, but I just want to know what you're thinking. Listen to the song and lay your armor down. How about we make today 'feelings day.' We can ask each other anything today and we have to be totally honest."

That sounded like a good enough idea that would at least prevent me from having to guess at which feelings he wanted me to be spewing off.

We pulled up to the perfect hill. We joined the elementary school aged kids in New Year's sledding fun. We only went down a couple of times before we toppled off our sleds and rested at the bottom of the hill. Talking about our feelings.

Our feelings started light. Just like a game of truth or dare that evolves to only talking about your truths. Our truths were mostly about why past relationships failed and generic attributes we looked for in our future spouses. The peaceful, snowy hillside was the perfect setting to allow the depths of our souls to be spilled.

After an hour of quizzing each other in the snowy setting, I had to get back home because one of my friends was meeting up with me that evening. We made our way back to my apartment.

Just as I was getting out of Jeff's truck, he gently grabbed my arm to pull me back in.

"Wait," he said, "I want to know what your feelings are about me."

We had made it through our sledding adventure carefully discussing every feeling we had except our feelings about each other. But here it was. And I had to talk first.

" you?" I made it sound like a question in case I ended up needing to backtrack. I continued, "I have a lot of fun with you. You're one of the greatest guys I've ever met. have really great hair." There. It was all on the table. I took a deep, nervous breath as I asked him his feelings on me.

"I like you, too. There's something different about you. [Insert cute things he liked about me here.]"

We sat and soaked up that our feelings were mutual. Then Jeff piped up, "So, I want to like, hold your hand, or kiss you, but I feel like it would be weird."

I was not about to have my first handhold/kiss with Mr. Feelings with the preface that he thought it would be weird. And I was not about to give him the satisfaction of being the one to make the first move. No way. I'm an old-fashioned girl. The boy does the chasing. And the first kissing.

I reached for the car door as I said, "It would be weird today. But another day it wouldn't be weird." He walked me to my door and we hugged. Another perfect, kissless date with Jeff Excell.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

White Fright

Oh crud. Do you notice anything excruciatingly white in the picture below?
I'll continue to tell myself the reason that white drawer is just, oh so white, is because it's still surrounded by all the other not white cabinets. Because we're still going full swing with our white cabinet plans. And with each stroke of paint the pit in my stomach sinks deeper and deeper.

And when I get to the point of almost passing out, I turn to the internet to remind me of the potential my kitchen could have if this whole thing turns out:

Fresh, clean, modern, pretty. Okay, back on track. So we'll continue in our taping.
And ripping off of the cabinets.
And destroying our house. Sigh.
All for the hope that our kitchen and our bright white paint will mirror the fresh, clean, modern, pretty painted cabinets of fellow internet cabinet risk takers.
And so what if I am adding up all the money it would cost us if this whole thing becomes a kitchen nightmare? That's just me being paranoid, right? This is sure to work.
The primer is officially on all the doors and drawers. No turning back now.
Cue reassurance.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dear Sarah,

Wow, where to begin? How about this: I love you.

I admit, being married to an accountant probably isn't the most exciting thing in the world and can, at times, be very frustrating during busy season(s). I wanted to write you a short letter to tell you how much I appreciate you and your unconditional love for me and Eli.

The past two months have been long and stressful, but you always had a positive attitude and never complained once about anything. You would never complain about my late nights or the fact that you would hardly see me during the week. Instead of complaining about the garden not being watered, you would water it (even though I secretly wanted it to die so we wouldn't have to worry about it). Instead of complaining the lawn wasn't being mowed, you mowed it. Instead of complaining that you had to get up with Eli every morning because I was too tired, you just did it. Simply put: You are amazing!

I am extremely blessed to have such a wonderful wife. You made these past two months a lot better than they otherwise would have been. Thank you for waiting up for me some nights even though it meant less sleep for you . Thank you for texting me pictures of Eli during the day because I wasn't able to see him much. Thank you for making me breakfast in the mornings so I could get that extra five minutes of sleep. Thank you for keeping the house clean; I liked coming home to a clean house. Thank you for the many other things you did (listing them all would take too long) that made my days better. Most importantly thank you for loving me. Yes, it was hard working to/past midnight for several weeks in a row, but knowing that I had a wife at home who loved me made it easier.

I'll end where I began: I love you, Sarah. Thanks for everything you do!


P.S. To the general audience: I don't want to take away from Sarah's thunder, so please don't forget to read her post.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Staycation Renovation

I've already forgotten about the long nights Jeff worked over the past month. Or two. Because today he got home in time for lunch. And we get him all to ourselves for a whole week!

We've made big plans to visit a few of Utah's hot spots in a desperate effort to simulate a vacation.

How did we start our staycation? By going on a quest for a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I mean, can you think of a better way to celebrate busy season being over? I didn't think so.

This is Eli's new camera face. Like when we say smile, or when we mention Krispy Kremes, this happens. Cheese ball.

Happy. Free. Together at last and eager to get our hands on all the calories stuffed in one tiny doughnut.
This is not Krispy Kreme. Because mid-doughnut search we stumbled across Crown Burger. Which is really the next best thing to Krispy Kreme. So we settled. Again, Eli's really learning to perform for the camera.

When we're not staycationing, we'll be renovating our house. After being home for an hour today, Jeff proclaimed he "had to have a project to work on otherwise he'd go crazy." I guess curling my hair isn't as entertaining for him as it is for me.

He's going to tackle a project we've talked about doing since we moved in -- painting our kitchen cabinets white. Scary? Yes. I realize we're flirting with the possibility of completely ruining our kitchen. But I'm hoping it turns out as cute as I'm envisioning it.
Even Eli is skeptical.
And when Jeff's not staycationing or painting the kitchen, he'll be fixing all the things Eli's torn apart in the last two months. Starting with his favorite toy, the clothes dryer vent.

Eli and I are glad to have Jeff back in our lives. I'll keep you posted on the kitchen massacre improvements.