The Griswold’s

The weather is finally starting to cool off! The leaves are changing into amazing fall colors and our tiny town looks like a post card for mountains in the fall. Except our house. Our house looks like the leaves have come alive and attacking our yard  getting ready to suffocate our house.

We’ve tried staying up on them. Its impossible if you have a day job to keep the leaves cleared. You can try in the morning only to come home to more leaves just to repeat this process 2-3 times a day. No thank you! So we are waiting till they all fall to do it all at once. Actually we are waiting till this weekend so we can start putting up Christmas lights. I don’t know if Pat knows this yet. But that’s my plan.

When Pat and I first got together he did some lights. Nothing special. I’d say sorry but I’m fairly certain he doesn’t read this. Not testing him, just saying.

When we bought our house… he turned into Clark Griswold and went nuts. Our bird house is 100 years old so we don’t have outlets like you would need to actually be Clark. But Pat was determined and for our first Christmas in our first house we had cords coming out of every window in the house. We had at least 6 blow ups and every studio, garage, tree was covered. It was amazing.

Our second year in the house I was pregnant. Well Rylan was born on the 16th but leading up to that I said no lights because I didn’t want the cords. I didn’t realize he would take it as a challenge to see how many lights he could put up without having to use cords through the windows. Again, it was amazing.

I believe last year I threw a fit over the lights. I say that like I forgot… I for sure threw a fit over the lights. We had waited too long in my opinion to put them up and I didn’t think it would be worth it. I said no. I didn’t want any lights. So when I went out-of-town and came home to lights the week before Christmas instead of being excited…I cried.

Here’s why I cried. I had said no I didn’t want the lights up. Rylan was almost 2 and not listening very well. I had a melt down thinking that no one listens to me about anything. Feeling like my opinion didn’t matter and that the rules that I set in place with Rylan or the house all only mattered to me. It was dramatic and ridiculous but it was how I felt and I can’t even say I don’t still feel that way a little bit.

This year I’m determined to enjoy the lights. Its thanksgiving weekend and I want to join him and his excitement over the lights. I think we may have ruined a few blow ups but we will make it work. I keep telling him I’m going to help this year and I can’t tell if he’s ready to let me help or planning to do it while I’m at work. Fingers crossed right?

We used to have a place in our town where you could get out and walk around and see different light displays. It was magical. I want our house to be that house one year. It’s a long way off and I have a lot of work to do on our back yard so that it doesn’t look like a scary kidnapping trap but once we get it done it could be so great.

We could have candy cane lane, and snowman village, and new age crap with minions and movie characters, even a whole section for the vintage plastic light up molds.  I have big visions for it but we’ll see. This will be my first year of actually helping and quite possibly my last.

So my minimalist ideas and goals go straight out the window when it comes to outside decorations. I wish I could decorate inside but I can’t. We do a tree but other than that you could walk in our house and not know if its December or June!

In other news I have given up on the book Fall of Giants. I loved it and feel like it’s a great read if I had the time to devote to it. I’ll pick up again after the new year but right now I’m needing an easy mindless read I can put down for weeks and pick it up and not be confused or have to retrace the last two chapters. So I’m reading nothing. Well I’m reading note for the Les Mills classes I’m teaching but that’s all I have time for a this moment.

I finished the  series Gilmore Girls. Holy freaking crap!!!! I adore that show and am so said its over. Although I’m not devastated because if you’ve seen the end you know that there is no possible way someone could end an entire show that way. If you could you are an A hole. That’s right producers I’m calling you out. Add more episodes or forever be categorized as a dick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LITERALLY Sick of Summer


“I want to punch you” my sister-in-law Jen says to me one day while I’m whining about being  a parent.

“I know, I know, we have it really good I’m just saying this is way harder than I thought it was going to be”. I try to justify myself.

My sister-in-law is the best. I scored big time! I’m not just saying that incase she’s reading this either its the truth. Anyone who knows her can vouch for that. Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.

She’s also totally justified in wanting to punch me for complaining. My husband and I live in our home town where we were born and raised.  When we first met I lived on “family hill”. My grandparents live right next to my parents, and I lived 3 houses down. My husband lived on “family court”. Lived in his parents down stairs close to his aunt and uncles houses but also one street over from my  aunt and grandpa. I swear our town is not as po-dunk as I’m making it sound.

Anyway when I went back to work after Rylan was born I was blessed with not having to find child care. Rylan was with my mom on Wednesdays, Thursdays my grandma and mother in law would share the day, Fridays she was with my dad. I’m shocked my sister-in-law still talks to me actually.

Jen lives in Chico and while she has family there (aunts and cousins) they all work full-time and don’t have the luxury of taking entire days off during the week to help her. So yeah, she’s allowed to hate me.

Friday of this week I got a sore throat. Like couldn’t talk, kind of sore throat. It quickly escalated to a runny nose and into body aches, hot and cold flashes, and an 80 yr old smokers cough.

I was pretty bummed it hurt so bad to talk because I was really looking forward to calling my best friends and singing Phoebe’s rendition of “Smelly Cat” in my sexy sick voice.

Not only did I have it but Rylan got it too. Which meant our weekend and the first Sunday football of the season was spent in bed being taken care of by my husband. Thanks to the TV in my room I got to watch my Raiders win. Thanks to DayQuil and Alieve I didn’t have to watch my Niners lose. I beat my other sister-in-law in fantasy so, you know, glass half full.

But come Monday Rylan and I were both sick and my husband had to go back to work. Never had I wanted to parent less in my life. I finally got a glimpse of what Jen deals with on a regular basis. Rylan couldn’t go to school because she was sick, my parents were both at work, Pats parents were both in Chico (well-played Jen haha), and I wanted to die. Not to mention no one wants to babysit a sick kid.

Of course my kid is sick but also has energy to run from her bed room to the living room, grabbing a bite of food, then back to her room to watch her show on her iPad. Yes she got it all day because I was dying. No mom shaming or Karma’s going to bitch slap you with my cold/flu.

Any way we survived on power aid, Dora the explore an over the counter medication. Oh and an offensive amount of essential oils. If you even walk by our house right now you might sneeze, feel, relaxed, and have your mood lifted all at the same time! Maybe give it some time though we were all just sick.

So ending the summer with the worst cold in history and sending Jen my sincerest apologies and promises to help more in the future. More trips to Chico, more taking her kids when I can, more nights out without the kids when she’s here. That last one just makes sense with so many babysitters in town we can have some much needed fun.

Side note: looking for cute sister-in-law quotes or pictures on Pinterest to add on here…. there aren’t any! They are all so mean! Once again bragging about how blessed I am. But thank you Jesus for two great sister-in-laws that don’t make me post horrible thing about them. So you got a picture of Rylan and her cousins instead.

 

 

Are You Ready For Some Football?!?!

ITS HERE ITS HERE ITS HERE!!!!!!  Football season is here ladies and gentlemen!!!!

If you aren’t a football fan its cool, we can still be friends. Here’s why. Football season is so much more than amazing chances to be competitive and feel truly apart of a group. Which is one of the things I love about. I love rooting for the same team, trash talking, getting dressed up, and cheering like we have any effect on the outcome whatsoever.

But more than that I like getting people together to watch the games. Unless it’s a really big game because all the men around me think I talk to much. But otherwise its fun to get groups together to watch the games and talk. Make good appetizers and have a few drinks.

Really any excuse to have a party or get people together is good with me. Part of the glory of having a tiny house is that we don’t have a lot of room to entertain. Our living room is good for football if all you want to do is sit and watch the game. So bright side we usually go to other peoples house for the games.

For a long time it was my brother-in-laws house. It was a blast. Then we had Rylan and while we could still go over there and tried a few times, it didn’t work out with an infant. She would cry when everyone would scream and yell. Which was a lot. As she got older I worried about the F bombs that would fly around game time.

I’m over that now. She knows not to talk like that and will soon understand that football means she gets to hang out with her friends and eat good food and have fun. Or relax at home if that’s what we are doing.

So yes we love football in our house and everything that comes with it.

But wait there’s more!

Football season is also the season of fall and winter! I’m talking orange and brown leaves, cooler weather, sweaters, RAIN, Halloween, and the best of all… Thanksgiving.

So extremely grateful for thanksgiving. It’s like Christmas without the pressure of gift giving! Not to toot my own horn but my family has the best thanksgiving set up in the history of combined families. Every year my grandma does it at her house the Sunday before Thanksgiving so we all get to spend the day with the other side of the family and she is guaranteed to have all the kids, grand kids and great grand kid there with her. Beep beep beep beep!

Any way all of this is what football season means to me.

Not to mention my new introduction to fantasy football! What?!?! Yup that’s what I said. I’m in a fantasy football league with some girlfriends. A little friendly competition and yet another incentive to watch the games is right up my alley. I couldn’t have said yes fast enough.

Speaking of being competitive… Yes I am. Not with everything but with a lot of things yes. Mostly with things outside my control like fantasy football. I’m nothing compared to my husband and his friends. They take competition and superstition to a whole new level!

No joke. One year I invited my friend who I hadn’t seen in years over to hang out with me while we watched a playoff game. The Niners lost and they will not allow her to come over any more. On top of that I’m not allowed to bring anyone new to the house during important games. NO joke! It’s literally talked about at least a few times a year. Football and Baseball!

So while Sundays are a day of rest and family… in our house that means family, football, and food. Trying to keep it healthy this year so swimsuit season next year doesn’t suck!

Let the games begin!

 

 

Sweaters in 110 Degrees

I hadn’t planned on writing anything today but the most amazing thing happened to me!

I went into Ross and guess what was there?!?! SWEATERS!!!!!

Oh yes that makes me incredibly happy. Like celebrate with champagne and dancing happy.

I love sweaters. Cold weather clothing is by far my favorite style. Even when I was skinny it was my favorite. Which is saying a lot because most skinny people like to live in bikinis. Not me. Even way back then I used to love covering up.

Of course it has to be cute cover up clothing. I don’t love baggy sweatshirts. Oh wait, yes I do! Again they have to be cute. But if I had to pick a uniform it would be sweatshirt and shorts.

Which brings me to my favorite weather. As a Pluviophile I love the rain but I also find joy and peace when its overcast and right around mid 60’s. Like cold enough to put a sweatshirt on but still rock some cute shorts.

Not the ass cheeks hanging out shorts that are going around now. I don’t care how hot you are or how amazing your ass is, I don’t need to see it in the grocery store. I give you a high five for working hard to get that has but I’m pretty sure Citizens, True Religion, or even Ivanka Trump has worked extremely hard to make ass covering shorts that will look cute without making me cringe.

Sorry that was an inevitable tangent.

Shorts and a sweater weather is the dream weather, and wardrobe. So while this trip to Ross made me feel incredibly happy for about 20 minutes it also was depressing.

It’s August. It’s the start of August and hotter than hades in this tiny little town we call home. It will be like this for a while and while I’m enjoying this summer way more than any other I still am not the biggest fan.

So continuing the quest to enjoy the make-up melting temperatures with more lake trips, a romantic golf trip up to Sequoia Woods with my hubby, pool parties, and sugar-free popsicle I’ll also be getting excited that even though it’s not here yet those sweaters are starting to hit the stores and that means it’s coming. Not as fast as I’d like…. but its coming.

Pluviophile in the world

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A Pluviophile is someone who loves the rain and finds peace and joy in the rainy days. This is me through and through. I love the word, I love the meaning, and I love my rainy overcast days.

Some days are hard with a toddler. We are teaching her how to be an adult. How to deal with frustration, how to soothe herself, how to recognize when she’s wrong and say sorry, and while she’s learning and so excited during the day to do things on her own there comes a point in the evening when she becomes my velcro baby. All she wants is her mama. Its hard when there are things around the house I need to get done and I find myself frustrated and growling (wow wonder where she got it).

She’s always been a good sleeper. The last two years she’s fallen asleep in bed with us and we easily transfer her to her crib. She loves to snuggle and get “comfy cozy” as she calls it. She’s just like me in that she needs something on her. She wants ALL the blankets on her even when its 110 outside. So we use the sheets and her thin baby blankets that she wasn’t into for a while but are making a huge comeback. Once she’s asleep we put her in her bed. Easy peasy.

The last week all she wants is me falling asleep in her toddler bed with her. Cramped because it’s still the length of her crib I shove myself in to snuggle her. I’m not going to lie the first two nights it was pretty comfy and special to hold her like that then escape to my own bed. It was like she was my tiny baby again.

Tonight it was hot and cramped. Have you ever waited for a toddler to fall asleep? It’s physically painful. It’s staying really still and keeping one eye closed. Its repeating “its night night time, close your eyes and relax”. Its getting poked in the eye because she’s making sure you are going to sleep too. Its feeling her start to drift off and moving at a glacial pace to get your arm out from underneath her without waking her up. Its hitting the floor like a bomb went off and crawling out of the room like a ninja when you hear her move before you’ve made your escape. Then that satisfying feeling of silence in the house.

Isn’t that the literal part of being a pluviophile though. Learning to find joy in the rainy days of life. Learning that tonight was rough and there were tears and raised voices and what that really means is we have a family who’s growing and learning together. Everyone enjoys and “likes” pictures of the sunny times that are easily captured by the camera and looks good to post. I do it too. I get a good picture and post it despite the fact that there were tears and flying shoes not even 30 minute before the smiles and posing. We do this because that’s what we want to remember. No ones wants to look back and remember the tears, yelling, pouting, and flying shoes. We want to remember that even though everything went horribly wrong and we all fought that we pulled together and were able to smile through it. Sometimes those are the best memories when things fall apart and come back together.

I’m thankful for my little family, in our little house, in our tiny town that’s hotter than hades right now. I’m thankful she still wants to cuddle with me for now because I know the days are numbered. If it was truly raining I’d be happier but I’m thankful our town cools off at night and I’m able to get cozy under a sheet and still snuggle with my husband.

Not every day is going to be my ideal rainy day. Some days we are going to melt and get sunburned. That’s why there is soothing lotion and essential oils to help us recover and get back to the lake.

To Prep or Minimalize?

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That is the question!

I’m not a prepper myself but my coworker Terri is. Its no shock that this debate comes up a lot. I’m trying to be a minimalist, she’s a prepper…. we have lots to talk about.  I’m ultra fascinated by prepping. I have a lot of weird things I get fixated on so just add this to the list. I love the idea of being prepared and after talking to her I am happy that we live close enough to each other that I can crash her house if crap really hits the fan (she hasn’t invited me but I can assure you that’s where we are going).

This is not a new theory. People have been starting to prepare for the worst for sometime now. I’m pretty sure there was a reality show of people who built bunkers for preppers. If not I watch too much reality TV and have imagined it.  You could spend an whole workday on Pinterest getting prepper ideas and tips (not that I have… not the whole day anyway).  Watching the news and thinking about the state of the world makes me want to build my own bunker and start prepping for the worst.  When I think of “the worst” I don’t really think hiding… I think Hunger Games. I should really start running more. At least be able to run to Terri’s house.

So while I’m on my minimalist kick Terri and I have had conversations all around getting rid of things and having a nice clean look and living simply. Terri is much cleaner naturally so I’m sure her house looks great all the time. It’s taking some serious work on my part. But that lead us to the question: Can you prep and stay a minimalist?

Sounds like something on Shark Tank.

How do you do it? How do you live with just your essentials and still stay prepared for a disaster? I guess it depends on what you are prepping for.

Currently Terri is prepping with at home survival in mind. So she’s preparing for power outages and injury care, and being able to stay home and be self sufficient. In a case where everyone is fleeing she’ll be fine staying home for long periods of time. With me, uninvited, showing up on her doorstep. I may have to get some weapons or start stashing cash on my own so we have something to contribute so she’ll let us in. An incentive to help keep us alive.

She’s educated me on some prepping things I would have never thought of. For instance she keeps cases of water in the basement (water bottles) that she rotates through so they don’t go bad down there, but that she’s always fully stocked. Forget Shark Tank lets just fund Terri to figure this out for us! The list of things she has stocked includes gallons of water, cases of the water bottles, canned foods, frozen meats (would only be a problem in the summer, winter we get snow), paper towels and toilet paper, bathroom essentials and a box of paper goods so there’s not need to do dishes. Again add me to your head count Terri! She’s also fully prepared with big rubber maid containers full of first aid supplies band aids, suture kits and a whole other list of things I would not know what to do with. May need more than money for her to let me in.

So she’s got a lot of stuff to store and manage which leads us back to the original question; how do you have a minimalist lifestyle and prep at the same time?

Here’s my thoughts.

If you have a basement or garage or a legit bunker, first let us know where you are so we can head that way during the crap storm. Second, you are pretty much set. You have your basics in your living space and your disaster kits in your storage areas. Then you can make your house nice and minimalistic with only the essentials of everyday non apocalyptic living.  I’ll have to check with Terri but I’d think you would want to plan ahead with that too and make sure you have space if you need to stay in those spots or make sure you can easily get your stash to your living space without dying.

If you don’t have the space there are “minimalist” prepping ideas you can make. You can do “mini prep kits” and keep the essentials you’d need in a large trash can or one of the big totes that store ridiculous Christmas decorations (that’s what we have them for, not sure what the real purpose is). Keep all you can in those so you have a mini prep kit you can keep it behind the garage or find somewhere it fits without being distracting. Also keep in mind the smaller the kit the smaller your survival time and its good to have a plan on what do to when that kit starts to run low. Don’t find Terri though I’ve already called dibs on that prepper.

Keep in mind we are mountain people and have no clue what this would look like for people in the city or in apartments. Also we are not experts or anything and are COMPLETELY unqualified to be considered a “source” of any kind. This is for fun for us because we’ve been talking about it lately. If you die in the zombie apocalypse its not our fault. We wish you luck and may the odds be ever in you favor.

 

Raining Cheerios

When is the best time to travel long disftance with a toddler? Answer: NEVER

Okay that’s a bit dramatic but seriously after 3 1/2 hours in a car with a 2-year-old thats my current suggestion.

Rylan has always been a good traveler. She would fall asleep in the car and be good till we got wherever we were going. Before she was 6 months old she had been to Santa Cruz twice, San Jose, Tahoe, Bucks Lake, and I feel like there was more but I’m recovering from traveling right now and can’t think. She is still a fairly good car kid. Around town she falls asleep when its nap time and transfers so great! My kid is amazing overall but that’s probably my favorite thing about her. If she falls asleep in the car 9 times out of 10 we can pick her up and get her in bed with out a fit or her waking up. Its like magic. (knock on wood…. seriously, please).

We normally travel with someone. Pat is always with us or my mom likes to plan stuff for us to do together. She’s WAY better at making sure we get to do fun stuff than I am. Especially in this heat. I have 0 motivation to do anything other than complain. Anyway this trip I decided to go alone. Pats family has a cabin at Bucks Lake. Right on the water and drop dead gorgeous view and adorable true cabin feel. They all go every year in July and my poor hubs can’t go in the summer because of golf course grass or something. I swear I’m a decent wife!

This year they planned the trip and I looked at mine and Rylans schedule and yes we could make it happen for a little bit. Not realizing that the road was closed to get there and we would have to drive an extra hour and half on top of the already 4 hour drive. Awesome. So to make the trip less cringe worthy my mother in law and I drove 3 hours to stay at her brother’s house before waking up to travel the last 2 hours.

We left on a Thursday night because we wanted to get there, sleep, wake up and finish the trek to the glorious Bucks Lake. If you’ve never been there I’m not exaggerating how amazing this place is. Add it to the bucket list STAT. So we load up in the car and Rylan is super excited to see her cousins and has no clue the amount of time her tiny bum will be strapped to that seat.

The first hour and half we listened to Toddler Tunes. She did great. Sang her songs, ate her fruit snacks, and was doing fine. My head was starting to hurt from wheels on the bus on repeat but overall was feeling pretty proud of myself.

Then things started to change.  *dun dun dun* She threw her water, which I can not reach while driving. She wanted the iPad, which we do not give her in the car because she’s never wanted it and didn’t know it was a thing until recently. No iPad meant she had to do something and asked for Cheerios. High fiving the crap out of my future self I had packed snacks and had them in the front seat ready to hand her pre-meltdown. Sounds like a good idea right? WRONG!

Still mad over not getting the toys of her choice and me not pulling over every 5 seconds to pick up all the things she threw, she took the open bag of Cheerios and dumped it all over her lap.

“Seriously Rylan?!?! You know better!” I swatted towards the back seat while trying not to swerve on the freeway.

Then it happened…. it started raining Cheerios in my Yukon! Yup you read that right. from all angles cheerios were flying! Down the back of my shirt, bouncing off the windows, even flying towards the windshield only to land down in the air vents.

Determined to make it to Oroville without stopping, I just stopped yelling. I stopped swatting at her while driving down the freeway cause, well… I choose life. I waited it out and was thankful that I hadn’t stocked the reachable ice chest with anything alcoholic. (I would never really drink and drive especially with my child in the car so hold the AA emails) But after experiencing a car cheerio rain storm I’ll also be withholding my judgement on drunk moms.

We made it to Bucks Lake. Right when we got there I could breathe easier. I opened the car door, took a look at that gorgeous cabin and lake, and took a deep breath. Then I put a beer in the freezer. That’s one thing I can appreciate about summer, when its miserable out (anything over 75 degrees) there’s always a gorgeous lake just sitting there waiting for you to come and join the higher elevation, and take a deep breath.

Of course Pinecrest is also beautiful and only a 45 min drive.

I’ve listened to podcast and read blogs on traveling with kids and tips to make it go faster and this trip has led me to give you advice of my own. Mother to mother. Are you ready, cause it’s really good advice? You should write it down. Here it is: Let dad drive and put on a sleep mask and noise cancelling headphones with a good audio book!