Monday, June 30, 2014

Books I love - It's All Too Much

As we've been going through, organizing, and getting rid of stuff for this move, I've been rereading one of my favorite books - It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. It's helped me get rid of a ton of extra stuff we don't really need. I first read this book a couple years ago, and have reread it several times since. I love it.

Peter Walsh, the author, is a professional organizer. He used to be on the TLC show Clean Sweep. Did you ever watch that show? It was one of me and Alyse's favorites.  They would come help people deeply declutter their houses. Not hoarders - just normal people whose houses had normal stuff in them. They'd pull everything out and sort everything into three piles: trash, yard sale, and keep. A lot more stuff went into the yard sale and trash piles than into the keep pile. And at the end of the show, you'd get to see the nice, new, decluttered rooms. It was super satisfying.

In It's All Too Much, Walsh helps you do the same thing with your own stuff. He doesn't just tell you how to organize. He helps you understand your relationship to each of the things you own, and helps you overcome all of the excuses you have for holding on to unnecessary things. He helps you own your stuff, rather than your stuff owning you.

Each time I've read this book, I've been so motivated afterwards and been able to get rid of a lot of stuff that had built up over the years.  And each time I've used the advice from the book to really purge our house of unnecessary stuff, I've felt so good afterwards and like a literal weight has been lifted off my shoulders. With all that unnecessary stuff gone, I feel lighter and freer.

I really recommend this book, especially if you have any kind of cleaning/organization inkling right now. It's amazingly helpful.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our Last Weekend in California

This is the last weekend we have in California before we leave on Tuesday for North Carolina.

On Friday, Jason and I had a "Toy Story 3" party with some of our friends who hadn't seen it before. It was fun, and it was great to be able to hang out with those friends before we leave. Then Jason and I stayed up late (very late) (really, very late) getting organized for our garage sale the next morning.

After going to bed really late, we got up really early to set the garage sale up. It went from 7 to about 11, and was a success! We had a lot of people come by, and they bought a lot of stuff. What people didn't buy, we donated afterwards. We were able to get rid of a lot of stuff that we now do not need to move across the country.

Ellie, when she came out, was funny. She was putting stuffed animals everywhere. Then she got a book, sat in the animals, and "read."
Our friend Sara came by and painted Ellie's face and arms. Ellie was very excited about it. She liked naming all of Sara's paint colors.
Sparkly strawberry!
That afternoon, Jason's mom threw a going-away party for us. Some more of our friends were able to come, and we got to hang out with them for a little while and say goodbye.

Isn't this cake awesome? It's sunshine, lollipops, and a rainbow.

Today we went to church at Jason's parents' ward (congregation) (we're staying at their house this week, and it's easier than going to our own), which was really good because we were able to say goodbye to the people there, too. The closing hymn of sacrament meeting was totally appropriate. It was "God Be with You Till We Meet Again." It goes:

God be with you till we meet again; By his counsels guide, uphold you; 
With his sheep securely fold you. God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again; When life's perils thick confound you, 
Put his arms unfailing round you. God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again; Keep love's banner floating o'er you; 
Smite death's threat'ning wave before you. God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet, Till we meet at Jesus' feet, Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again. 

As we were singing it, I kept thinking about all of our family and friends who we'll be leaving here in California. This song was perfect. It was very comforting because I know that God will be watching over them when we're gone.

This afternoon after church I drove to my grandparents' house and went through pictures with them. Afterwards I came home and we had dinner with Jason's family, but Ellie wasn't feeling well. When I was gone they had taken her temperature and she was 101 degrees. She was sad and not her normal self. :( After I got home Jason and his brothers and dad gave her a priesthood blessing, and afterwards it was like a light switch had been flipped. She started acting more normal almost immediately, and has been getting better and better ever since. She's a different little girl right now than she was this afternoon. I love the priesthood. :)

Tonight Jason and I are going to go clean the apartment, and then tomorrow morning we pick up the truck to load. So that's what's up next!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Captain's Log, Week 218

What Ellie said this week

One morning, when Ellie woke up, she told Jason: "Hi Dad! I had good dreams. I had dreams about horsies." (this is the first real time she's told us what her dreams were about.)

One night for scripture study we told Ellie the story about Jesus walking on water. The next day we were at the beach with my friend's family. Ellie and I were playing in the shallow waves, and she told me: "I'm walking in the water like Jesus!"

We were walking back to our apartment from our car and Jason was carrying both Ellie and Zelda. Ellie threw her arms around Jason and Zelda and said "My girls!"

We were playing with chalk, and Ellie said about one of the pieces: "Ooh, it's a shiny one! And I'm shiny too."

Zelda was crawling across the carpet, and Ellie told her: "Crawl to mommy!" So I went and sat next to Zelda, and then Ellie presented Zelda to me with her arms spread out and said, "Here is Zelda! Pet her!"

What we did this week

Soooo many things. It has been crazy as we've been getting ready to move. Jason had his last night of work last Friday night, which was great. Then on Saturday we took the girls over to Jason's parents' house, and Jason napped while I went to my cousin Shelley's baby shower. It was so cute! And they had this little station set up where you could make headbands, which I thought was a great idea. I got to hang out with my grandma and some of my cousins the whole time, and it was really fun.

On Sunday we went to church, packed some more, then went to Jason's parents' house for dinner.

On Monday, we...packed. I don't really remember what we did specifically on Monday, but I'm sure there was packing involved. 

On Tuesday, we got to see my friend Lizi and her family!!!! They were in Oceanside with her family for vacation, so we met halfway at San Clemente Beach and got to spend an afternoon with them. It was so fun. Her kids are so big! And adorable! And her baby girl has bright red hair, which I totally didn't even realize. Ellie loved playing with her kids and playing in the sand and the water, and we loved getting to hang out with them.

Me and Lizi!!! The black corners are cause my camera shutter wasn't open all the way, but we didn't realize at the time. :)
Ellie and Katie got along great with each other. At one point they were both screaming and running around in circles, and just having lots of fun.

It was seriously so great to see them. I wish all my friends could live close to us, haha. :) And right now we'd all be moving to North Carolina. Yeah, that would be ideal.

On Wednesday we hung out at Jason's parents' house most of the day while our car brakes got fixed. Well, the rotors got fixed. They were warped. The car was at the shop a long time, but the fix was cheaper than we were expecting, so woohoo!

This is the girls watching the gardeners outside our apartment this week. Ellie, really loudly (the window was open and the gardeners could totally hear her) kept saying, "See that guy? See that guy? See that guy, dad? He's sweeping." She talked about him for like ten minutes.
She was watching TV like this. Because...because.
This is the basil plant we planted last summer, as a tiny little basil plant we bought from the produce section at the grocery store.
Zelda on the screen wanting to come outside. She kept squishing her face on the screen, but I couldn't get a shot of that. It was really funny.
Zelda and her papa taking a nap.

Yesterday we went to my dad's office and picked up our keys for our house in North Carolina - woohoo! We then had lunch with my dad, then came home and packed more. And then my mom and Stefan came over! They were in town for just the afternoon and last night, and they stayed here and we got to see them and it was awesome! They watched the girls for us so that we could go to the temple, which we're really grateful for. There's a temple in Raleigh, but we don't know how long it will take to find a trustworthy babysitter in North Carolina, so we really wanted to go to the temple before we moved. So that was great. :)

If there are any gaps in this weeks narrative, just fill them with "We were packing." Because that's what we were doing almost the whole week, and still are. And I actually have to wrap this up so I can go do that right now, lol.

Have a great weekend! :)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Captain's Log, Week 217

What Ellie said this week

Ellie was running and tripped and crashed, and I asked her, "Oh no, are you okay?" and cheerfully she replied, "No, I'm not." She did that a couple times this week.

Another thing she did a couple times this week is yell "To infidimy [sic], and beyond!" and then run straight into the front door and fall down.

One night she walked up to me while I was eating my dinner of salmon. Ellie: "I need some fish in my mouth." And then she opened her mouth wide until I put a piece of fish in.

Ellie: "I need to give her a little hug." - runs up and gives Zelda a hug and a kiss

What we did this week

The biggest news this week is - we bought a house! We closed on the house that we put on offer on about a month and a half ago. :D We are so happy and excited and relieved that the whole buying process is over and we now officially have a place of our own to live when we move to North Carolina in two weeks.

So, this week has been pretty busy considering we're getting so close to moving. Saturday for me was all about finishing scanning my grandparents' slides and pictures, so that I could give them to them on Sunday.
All those white boxes on the table are carousels of slides. I scanned eleven carousels. And lots of boxes and bags of printed pictures. All told, it was about 8,000 images.

Sunday was Father's Day! And I just have to say, Jason is the best dad in the world. I am so lucky to have him as my husband as the father to our girls. He is so wonderful and loving and hardworking. He is so good, through and through.

When Jason woke up Sunday afternoon (he worked the night before), we headed over to his parents' house for a bit to see his dad, and then we went to my grandparents' house in Seal Beach. All of my aunts and uncles and cousins came over for Father's Day, and it was great to get to hang out with them.

Zelda and my cousin's son Chase - he's so big! This is the first time we've seen him for a whole year!
Ellie was totally talking to and socializing with my cousins' girls, who are a couple years older. It was really cute, and they were great with her.
These two are funny to watch together. :)
This is the newest member of the family - Emma! She is only a month old, and so cute.

The next day, on Monday, we went over to Jason's grandparents' house and had lunch with them and swam with them in their (heated - woohoo!) pool. It was so good to spend time with them.


Other than Father's Day and our visit with Jason's grandparents, this week has been all about moving. We've been doing more errands/appointments, sorting things to keep and to garage sale, packing up boxes, doing the last-minute things needed for the house to close, and on and on and on. We did tons of laundry this week, because we washed all of the baby clothes that had been in storage, and then we sorted them into keep/garage sale, the girls can wear it now/they'll fit into it later.

So, my anxiety (if you remember, a long time ago I talked about how I have anxiety problems sometimes) has been really under control for a long time. Like, I've been totally fine, very little anxiety, for a very long time. But man - it has really come out this week. Majorly. Just major anxiety. Some periods of some days have just been gut-wrenching anxiety. And the signs of my anxiety have popped up again - I have un-listened-to voicemails and unanswered emails (those two things are always the first signs). Now that the house closed I feel a lot better - I guess that was a big part of what was worrying me (sometimes it's hard to pinpoint the cause until it's passed). But still, I'll be glad when we've reached North Carolina, and our moving truck has reached North Carolina. Then all my current major worries will be over.

Our brownies in a cup. They were all right. Each mug was a different recipe, but they were both kind of shrug-able. We probably won't make them again.

One thing that unexpectedly helped with my anxiety one night this week (strangely enough) was watching World War Z with Jason. We made brownies-in-a-cup before the movie, and then he sat on the couch and watched it while I half watched it and photoshopped pictures at the same time (so I could just photoshop during the scariest attack-y bits). For some reason I felt a lot better after watching it. I guess it was somehow cathartic, lol. :)
So that was our week. This next week is going to be crazy as we fit lots of last minute stuff in. Somehow we'll get it all done! :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Captain's Log, Week 216

What Ellie said this week

Ellie held up a baby doll and told Jason, "It's like you, daddy!"

This one was from two weeks ago when we were driving to James's baby blessing. Diana and James (Jason's parents) were driving in our car with us, and Diana was driving. At one point Ellie yelled, "Too fast, papa! Too fast poppy!" (We were going the speed limit.) Later, she told Diana, "Good driving, Nana."

Zelda was in her pack n' play and was standing up holding the edge, babbling to us. Ellie ran over to her and said, "Hi Toy Story 3 Zelda! It's Zurgy Zurgy Zelda."

That same day I was trying to put Zelda down for a nap, but she was standing up in her pack n' play and kind of crying. Ellie started telling her, "Go to sleep, Zelda! No whining! Go to sleep!"

We were looking at a Winnie the Pooh "I Spy" book. One of the pages had a ton of bees.
Me: "Look at how many bees there are!"
Ellie: "Four many!"
Me: "Like 'too many?'" (too/two)
Ellie: "Yeah!"

Ellie, playing with her Buzz: "His name is Buzz Lightyear! Coolest toy ever!" ("Coolest toy ever" is line from the movie.)

Ellie, after she tripped: "I dropped myself."

Ellie broke a couple more eggs out of the fridge yesterday.
Me: "Ellie, was playing in the fridge good, or was it naughty?"
Ellie: "Um, I love you."
Me: "Was playing in the fridge good, or was it naughty?"
Ellie: "Um, I'm hugging you."

Zelda this week

She's totally standing for seconds at a time all by herself, multiple times a day. Her two front bottom teeth have also come in more. And she's continuing to dance really enthusiastically when music comes on, which is just my favorite. :)

What we did this week

Lots and lots of moving stuff.

On Saturday afternoon we went to my dad's house to hang out with him. The girls had tons of fun playing with him and with Kingston (the dog). We played both in the house and in the front yard, where Ellie ran around with King and helped Grandpa water all the plants. For dinner we all went to Chipotle.

On Sunday we went to church, and then afterwards went to Jason's parents' house. Ellie did pretty good during sacrament meeting. Zelda's beginning to get a bit trickier, though; she need more entertainment than she used to, and at the same time I'm trying to keep her from eating Ellie's papers/toys.

Ellie with her nursery teacher, Maria. We are going to miss Maria; she is so sweet and wonderful with Ellie!
At Jason's house we got to hang out with his parents, Tyler and Sarah, Michael and Shelley, and all th babies/toddlers. It was super fun. 

This is the funny baby cage we made for Zelda and Everett while we all ate dinner. Ellie wanted to get in, too, which was fine with us. And when Emily got there, she wanted to join all the rest of them inside. It was great!

Monday was a big, exhausting day. While we've lived here in California we've been able to store some of our stuff at a storage place my dad owns in Long Beach. It's about a 45 minute drive from where we live. Since we're moving in a couple weeks, we needed to go get all our stuff, and Monday was the day that worked. So, we drove over and picked up Jason's dad about noon (he came to help us), then met up with my dad (and another guy from his office who also came to help), then drove all the way out to Long Beach.

Once we got to the storage unit we looked in a couple of my dad's units, then drove on back to our unit (we got to ride on a golf cart. Woohoo! I love golf carts.) and unloaded it into the storage place's moving van. I actually didn't really move anything; my main job was keeping the girls from touching any spiders, spider webs, mouse droppings, etc. I was keeping them arachnid and virus free.

After we had unloaded most of our unit, we found something odd - the back wall had a small mountain of dirt on the inside. I mean, just a ton. And it didn't look like an animal burrow, plus concrete was broken up. The only explanation that kind of made sense was that some of the recent earthquakes possibly lifted the back wall, and when it crashed back down it forced some dirt inside.

Ellie, on our drive back from the storage place. She was exhausted. We all were.
Once we loaded our stuff up, we drove all the way back home, and Jason and his dad carried all the stuff up from the truck, up our stairs, into our second-story apartment. And then Jason and I drove back to Long Beach to drop the moving truck back off. And then we drove back home again. Jason's parents' watched the girls for us while we dropped the truck off, which was a big help.

Monday was long, and a lot of hard work, but we definitely had a lot of help (my dad, Jason's dad and mom, and Jason from my dad's office), and we appreciated it.

Tuesday was a major sorting/organization day. We had a ton of new boxes in our apartment with stuff in them we hadn't seen in ages, and we went through as many as we could to sort into keep/garage sale categories. And a ton is going into the garage sale we're having at the end of the month. We're getting rid of as much as we can. Tuesday night we went back to Jason's parents' house, to store some of the garage sale stuff in their extra bedroom. And the girls got to play with Nana and Papa again, and they loved that. :)

Wednesday we did more pre-moving errands. We went to the DMV where I renewed my license (I passed both the visual and the written test again - whew!)(also, California friends, the Santa Ana office is way better than the Fullerton one), my dad's office to sign some papers for our house in North Carolina, and then back home so Jason could go to a dentist appointment. Then we went back to my dad's office because the papers actually had to be slightly different than they had been earlier.

Our second trip to his office that day was more fun, because we got to spend more time there. We got to use his office's shaved ice machine for the first time, and it was great! It worked awesomely and they had all these different flavors. They even had Tiger's Blood, my favorite! Ellie loved the shaved ice, and the free bagels, and the water cooler.

One really cool thing that I picked up at my dad's office on Wednesday was a slide scanner - he ordered it so that I could scan all of his parents' slides, and I am working on it! I'm finishing scanning their last printed photos, and I'm also scanning all of their slides and negatives right now. It's a ton of work, but I really want to do it, and I am so happy to be able to get all of the slides, too! So, scanning for hours has also been part of the routine all week.

And that's what we've been up to this week! Basically, we are just busy busy busy lately trying to get everything done before we move! Tonight marks one week until Jason's finished working. Also, his sister Tiffany and her girls are coming out next week and we are so excited!

And for one last thing, here's a video of Ellie playing and the girls "helping" me sort through stuff this week:

Friday, June 6, 2014

Captain's Log, Week 215

Sweet baby James :)

What Ellie said this week

Ellie was coloring in a dinosaur coloring book.
Ellie: "I'm coloring the dinosaur pages!"
Zelda crawled towards her.
Ellie held a marker out to Zelda and said: "Here Zelda! Heeere!"
Zelda took the marker.
Ellie, to me: "I found a little baby!"

One morning Ellie had dry oatmeal in a bowl and was eating it. Then she started playing with it and made a huge oatmeal mess everywhere. After making a big mess, she got up and walked like five feet away, then turned around and looked back at the mess.
Ellie, to us: "Hey, did someone knock my cereal over?"
Me, disbelievingly: "Did someone knock your cereal over?"
Ellie: "Zelda. Zelda knocked my cereal over."

Ellie was playing with toys and talking and I was half listening to her.
Ellie: "Mommy, the dinosaur's missing. The dinosaur's missing. The dinosaur's missing from his head."
When she said the last sentence, I finally looked over, and she was holding the head (and only the head) of a very small dinosaur.

Ellie, singing: "Under the seed! Under the seed!" ("under the sea")
As she was singing "under the seed," I pulled up itunes and played "Under the Sea" for her, which she liked. After it ended, she immediately said, "I want the 'Friend in Me' song!" (meaning "You've Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story.)  I played it. She got really excited.

She sang that line - "You've got a friend in me!" over and over and over this week. Here's a clip of her singing it:

She sang it everyday just over and over and over. It was funny and cute.

Oh yeah, speaking of Toy Story, she definitely called Zelda "Zelda Zurg" once this week.

Ellie, playing with two grapes she's making "talk" to each other.
Ellie as one grape: "Hey! What are you talking about!"
Ellie as the other grape: "Strange little man."
(She repeated that over and over. Both lines are from Toy Story.)

Ellie, looking for Zelda: "Zelda! Zelda!"
She tries to open the door to get to Zelda in the other room, but can't. Then: "Where's my baby?"

I told Ellie she needed to take a bath. Her response: "Mommy, I'm all done with bath, since I'm so clean."

Zelda's advancements this week 

Zelda has started doing so many things this week. My favorite is that she's started dancing. If she's standing up (holding on to something) when music comes on, she'll start bouncing up and down. It's sort of amazingly adorable. Here she is dancing:

(Um, you should really watch that video. It's adorable.)

She's also getting really good at just standing. Several times this week she's let go of whatever she's holding and just stood there, balanced, for a couple seconds. This morning she stood by herself for probably five seconds! And she's started saying "Dadada" as well, which Jason likes. :) She still pretty much just gibbers, but that's a sound she's doing really well.

She's also getting two teeth all of the sudden! We only realized this afternoon. I feel like Ellie didn't get teeth until a lot later, so we weren't expecting them at all.

What we did this week

Most of what I've personally been up to this week has centered on a trip that I made last weekend. Last Saturday the girls and I drove out to Seal Beach to visit my grandparents, and with my grandma's help I loaded up the trunk of my car with tons of their pictures. The trunk of my car was filled with boxes and bags of pictures. And this week I've been scanning them. Scanning and scanning and scanning. And I've actually been able to scan most of them! I should be done in the next couple days, and then I'll go back for more. :)

Other things we did this week: Last Friday we went to the park (Tri-City) in the evening. Ellie had a lot of fun; some other kids (a couple years older than her) made friends with her and played with her and wanted her to follow them all over the playground. It was fun to see her interact with them; when she first started playing with them, one of the girls ran up to the other girl and asked, "Who's your new friend?" And Ellie leaned forward and yelled "Ellie!" before the other girl could answer. And then a couple minutes later, she held up her fingers to them and said, "I'm three!" which also made me laugh. (She's been working a lot on holding up fingers this week. She's trying hard to control how many fingers she holds up. And however many she manages to hold up becomes the answer to whatever question you asked her.)

Ellie looking up, when the girls were above us on the play structure and calling "Ellie! Ellie!" down to her.

On Sunday we drove out to Lake Elsinore for Baby James's baby blessing! It was a very nice blessing and Ellie and Zelda were pretty good in church. After sacrament meeting we went to Michael and Shelley's house for lunch.

Playing with Nana :)
Everett's getting so big! He got his first tooth and started crawling this week!
The grandpas :)

On Monday night we got to have dinner with my dad. It was fun to hang out with him and Ellie is always happy to get to play with Grandpa.

And...that's pretty much everything we did outside of the house this week. :) We've mostly been just getting ready to move. Doing errands, packing up, sorting stuff, selling some stuff on craigslist, and, like I mentioned, scanning tons of pictures.

So, that was our week! Now go back and watch that video of Zelda dancing!