Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Amazing Grout Cleaner


I tend to be a little skeptical of these miracle cleaning solutions that I see online. Unless someone I know has tried it, then I try to stick with things I know. However, our new house has tile counter tops and floors in several places and the grout was giving me nightmares. So before I went out and spent money on a cleaner I figured I'd actually try one from materials I had on hand. And it worked!



My inspiration came from this blog post. I will say I didn't follow it exactly. Instead of measuring it out, I just added bleach to a bowl of baking soda until I had a consistancy that I liked, although it was really close to the same proportions of 1/4 bleach to 3/4 cup baking soda. I scrubbed each line with a toothbrush, then let it sit for 30-60 minutes (I went and did another chore). Then I wiped everything down with a wet rag that I was continuously rinsing out. Once I felt like I had all the mixture cleaned away, I went back over the counter with just a safe, all purpose cleaner just to make sure I had gotten the bleach off.

I like this mixture for two reasons. First, I feel like the graininess makes a big difference in actually scrubbing out the dirt and grime from the grout with the toothbrush. The cleaning mixture was definitiely coming out pretty gross. The second reason I like it is because the bleach works to remove the stains and get it back to the light color it is supposed to be. While I was working Brett kept asking "Are you sure that this is going to be worth it?" and I am happy to report that it worked so well that once it was all cleaned off and dried, we both decided it was totally worth it. Now the next step is to tackle the floors in the kitchen, entry, laundry, and bathroom. So lots of work to come!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Anniversary Date: Baby Free for the First Time




We had quite the glamorous day on Saturday for our fifth anniversary. Most people spend most of the day cleaning their house, right? Oh that's just us?

But really it was a great day. We woke up at our normal time (having a baby will do that to you) but brought the baby back into bed with us for some family cuddles. We are always pretty strict about Corinne not sleeping in bed with us, but I do love when we have the chance for Saturday morning cuddles. And I can't help thinking of what it will be like in a few months when my baby bump transforms to a baby and all four of us are hanging out.

Unfortunately we have to all eat eventually, so we had to get up and get going on the day. The house we just moved into has had renters for at least the last decade and is a little worse for wear. Brett and I both get a little anxious when there are obvious things that need to be taken care of, so we had decided earlier in the week that Saturday was going to be our deep cleaning day. I mean like baseboards, walls, grout, everything deep cleaned kind of day. I'm so happy with the result and it really made a big difference in our ability to relax over the rest of the weekend. And I am so happy with the cleaner mixture I used on the grout that I'm pretty sure I'm going to write a whole post about it. I'm seriously in love.

Once Corinne woke up from her nap and was ready to play, Brett took her to run errands while I got ready to go out for dinner and they returned with flowers. I've never been the kind of girl that needs flowers and gifts, but as I get older I appreciate fresh flowers in general more and more, but even to the point where I sometimes just buy them myself to have in the house. It was a nice little surprise.


But now to the good part! Our first date without a baby! We have been so lucky to have formed some really great friends here that we have felt comfortable enough to leave Corinne with during some important doctors appointments. And luckily they were willing to watch her for us that night too so we had the chance to go out to dinner. We headed to downtown Laguna Beach and went to an amazing little Italian restaurant just one block up from the waterfront. We had just enough time to walk through the downtown shops and watch the sun set at the beach after dinner. As much as I felt like I was missing an appendage, it was so nice to just be Brett and Robyn for a while instead of Dad and Mom. We definitely need to do things like this more often, especially before we jump back into having a newborn again.

We picked up Corinne in time to get her down for bed, grabbing some frozen yogurt on the way. We tag-teamed Corinne's bedtime routine, each of us getting in some baby cuddles and reminisce even more about how far we have come in the last five years and our incredible little family. Once she was down, we finished off the night with stuffing our faces with frozen yogurt and watching some TV.


To me, it was the perfect way to celebrate the life we have after five years of marriage. We didn't ignore our normal life, bur instead celebrated all parts of that life. The daily grind, the baby, the routines, and feeling so peacefully content and happy with where we are and where we are going.

Friday, September 23, 2016

5 Years: What We've Accomplished


Tomorrow is our five year anniversary and its crazy. The last five years has gone by so fast, and yet we have been through so much together that it feels like life has always been this way. Some people tell us we are crazy for having gotten married so young, but it has made such a influence on our relationship and given us the chance to grow and change together. Here are some highlights:

We started a family with one perfect little girl and a little boy soon to arrive.

We graduated from college. Me with a Bachelor's and him with a Bachelor's and Master's.

We moved to two different states in order to get the right internships and jobs to help Brett land a good career path now.

We lived down the street from family, a full road trip away, and everywhere in between.

We watched hundreds of movies, attended a few concerts, and had a few too many road trip sing-a-longs.

We cultivated new hobbies and loved them together.

We made countless friends.

We endured nights up with worry, tears, or baby cries.

We enjoyed quiet Sunday afternoons full of smiles, laughter, and dessert.

We celebrated our successes, our joys, and each other.

We become "we" more each day. Growing, learning, working, loving, planning, and dreaming together to create the life that we want. The life that we love.

The full and happy life I'm so grateful we get to live every day and for an eternity to come.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

101 in 1001 Update

Does anyone remember a few years ago when everyone was doing their 101 in 1001 lists? For those of you who don't, it was a list of 101 goals to accomplish in 1001 days, or just over 3 years. I loved this idea, so much in fact that I even made a whole page on my blog dedicated to my list of 101 things. Well here I am just a few months away from the end time on my 1001 days and looking at what I have done is a little bit of a mixed bag.

The hardest part about this project for me was not making edits to the goals once I decided on them. I decided not to change them for two reasons. The first is that there are 101 goals on this list and that is such a large number that even if I don't reach them all I should still be proud. Another reason is that while life changes a lot over 3 years and its okay (healthy even) for priorities to change, I also believe that its important to have reminders of these things you wanted to accomplish because you never know what you will be able to do and you may surprise yourself.

That all being said, it was hard to look three years in the future and know what life would dish out to me. For example, nowhere on my list did I include having children, even though I desperately hoped to have a child (or almost 2!) by the end of my 1001 days. Some things in life you can want and work for as much as you can, but you don't always have control over them. Same thing with buying a home, this would depend on what job we got and where in the country it was, and what do you know, we moved somewhere that's really expensive so it was out of reach.

All of this being said, I feel pleasantly surprised with the things on my list I accomplished, and okay about the things I didn't. Going through this list for the first time in a while gave me the perfect amount of motivation to finish out these last few months strong and some things to think about when setting a new batch of goals.

So here it is, and feel free to check back in on the 101 in 1001 page to see updates in the future!


Personal

1. Decide 101 things (April 28, 2014)
2. Finish and upload my blog remodel (April 28, 2014)
3. Send 30 handwritten notes/letters
4. Organize my music
5. Get a passport
6. Write in my journal twice a month for a year
7. Put $10 in savings for each completed thing
8. Reach 100 blog followers
9. Read The Book of Mormon
10. Read the Doctrine and Covenants
11. Read the Pearl of Great Price
12. Read the Old Testament
13. Read the New Testament
14. Keep a gratitude journal
15. Blog every day for a month
16. Attend the temple once a month for a year
17. Be featured on another blog
18. Make a blog calendar (done March 1, 2014)
19. Get a job for our Seattle summer move
20. Meet up with an old friend
21. Make a new friend

Marriage/Family

22. 2014 Lee Family Reunion (April 2014)
23. Take family pictures in Seattle
24. Have Family Home Evening every week for 6 months
25. Go on a date twice a month for six months
26. Celebrate 3 years of marriage
27. Celebrate 4 years of marriage
28. Celebrate 5 years of marriage
29. Create a working list of names, addresses, and birthdays
30. Start a new tradition
31. Take an updated Tingey family picture
32. Spend time with every sister and sister-in-law individually
33. Organize something nice for my parents
34. Organize something nice for my in-laws

Home

35. Move to Seattle for summer internship (May 2014)
36. Move to our first semi-permanent place
37. Make a picture gallery wall
38. Plan and host a dinner party
39. Pick a wedding picture to enlarge
40. Have houseplants
41. Create a home library/office
42. Stick to a weekly cleaning schedule for 3 months
43. Display some of Sierra's pictures

Adventure

44. Visit Camas
45. Visit Rathdrum
46. Go on a beach vacation with Brett (does it count if we moved to a beach vacation location?)
47. Hike Mt. Timpanogos
48. Visit the Ape Caves at Mt. St. Helens
49. Visit Glacier National Park
50. Go to a Mariners Game
51. Visit Arizona
52. Visit a Museum
53. Go 3 camping trips
54. Go on 10 hikes
55. Fly on an airplane again
56. Go to a farmer's market
57. Hike the "Y" with Brett
58. Go to a rodeo/fair
59. Go into Canada
60. Swim in the ocean
61. Ride a Ferry
62. Watch a meteor shower

Create

63. Make an indoor herb garden
64. Sew a bedspread
65. Crochet a blanket
66. Print photo books up to present
67. Make a Lee Family sign
68. DIY 3 other projects
69. Buy a nice camera
70. Learn how to edit pictures

Health/Fitness

71. Get cholesterol down to health levels
72. Run a 5k
73. Run a 10k
74. Run a half marathon
75. Try a regular yoga schedule for 3 months
76. Follow low cholesterol diet until Anniversary
77. Re-evaluate cholesterol diet after doctor appointment
78. Finish #1800 minute challenge
79. Wake at 6 every day for two weeks
80. Not drink soda for 6 months
81. Whiten my teeth

Intellectual

82. Buy at least one book from Powell's Books
83. Start Student Teaching
84. Finish Student Teaching
85. Graduate from BYU
86. Start drawing again
87. Read 50 new books
88. Reread 5 favorite books
89. Start a book club--found one to participate in
90. Memorize a poem
91. Read the Lord of the Rings
92. Learn a new skill

Food

93. Make a meal from Pike's Market (Or other farmer's market)
94. Go to 5 Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives restaurants
95. Consolidate and organize recipes
96. Try 20 new recipes
97. Create my own recipe
98. Decorate a cake for someone
99. Cook my way through a book/blog
100. Create a good menu planning system
101. Plan a month's menu and stick to it



Monday, September 19, 2016

Summer Reading Report and Handling Failure


My summer reading was an interesting experience this year. I had all these plans of reading a thousand books and being all awesome with it. Basically I just wanted to be like Janssen over at Everyday Reading (seriously, mom goals). But in reality I had a hard time getting motivated this summer. I was a brand new mom, trying to stay active and yet having a hard time finding the energy. 

Initially I started out strong. I read The Big Short in just a couple days and loved it. I put The Importance of Being Little on hold, checked out the audio book version of Brooklyn, the hard copy of The Goldfinch, and got the Read Aloud Handbook back off the shelf. And that's about where it ended. 

I was really excited about both Brooklyn and The Goldfinch. I had read lots of reviews for The Goldfinch and my book club read Brooklyn the month Corinne was born and people loved it. I tried to read them both, and just could not get into either of them. I can't even tell you what specifically turned me off, but I was just so bored. So bored and discouraged that I took a break from reading in general for a couple months, something I normally hate to do, but this time it was good for me. 

Eventually I read a couple YA books that had been sitting on my shelf for a while. To be honest they were pretty terrible. But they did their job. They were quick, easily accessible, and got me back into the habit of reading. I was able to get that series under my belt and remember how it felt to finish a book even if I didn't particularly like it.

About a week after I got that boost I got the email saying that The Importance of Being Little was ready for me at the library. I picked it up last week and I have to say that it's been great so far. Its great to get reading a book about education and back into a groove with what I love. 

Overall this has been a surprisingly good experience for me and its reminded me of a few things.

One: It is okay to take a break from something. As cheesy as it sounds there is a time and a place. For a few months I was just really not in the place to leisurely read a bunch of books. 

Two: I don't have to love everything. For some reason I decided a long time ago that I was going to try to finish all the books I start. While I am not going to start quitting all the time, I think it’s important to give something a try, but if I really don't like it then I don't have to dread or stress finishing it.

Three: I need variety. I loved learning so much while in school, and a large part of that was all the different nonfiction books that I read. Since graduating I have tried to incorporate nonfiction books into the rotation and it’s worked really well. And beyond that I have tried to make sure they are about different topics as well, which has kept the variety coming and helped me feel like I was learning.

Four: If I truly love something, I will eventually come back to it. Reading is a hobby that I have consistently stayed with throughout my life. Others have had longer breaks, like fitness or my renewed interest in sewing. If something I'm doing isn't bringing me joy, stepping away from it for a while can help me decipher if its the activity that I don't enjoy or if I just need to get myself re-centered before jumping back in.


So who knows what I will read over the next year or so, but I have a renewed excitement for whatever it ends up being. And I’m glad to get my groove back!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Labor Day Weekend 2016

Labor Day Weekend is supposed to be a weekend where you take a day to rest and enjoy a final fling of summer. I love Labor Day because it tends to bring people together with nostalgia and excitement. The BBQs, the beach days, staying outside until bedtime because the weather is just that perfect temperature. Before I moved to California, Labor Day always came with the first smells and feelings of fall, one of my favorite times of the year.

This year we got to celebrate our Labor Day with a BBQ and church friends, I went to a movie with my book club even, but it was also a weekend full of tons of work. We moved into a new house!






Our apartment has been great to us. Its more space than we have ever had, our master bedroom never felt cluttered because there was actually room for our furniture, and we had two bathrooms. Some of the downsides come from general apartment living. Things like living on the second floor, having to battle for parking, the constant noise, lots of smoking, drunk parties, and unfortunately lots of cops visiting different neighbors. Not that all of our neighbors have these lifestyles, but it is a high concentration.

A few people at our church let us know that a different family was moving out of the house they were renting and that we should jump on the opportunity. We looked into it and it was one of those opportunities too good to pass up. Its a three bedroom house in a family friendly neighborhood that is made affordable because it has been split into two units. The doorway to the master bedroom has been closed off and the owner of the house actually lives in the "mother in law suite" created by the original master suite. He spends a lot of his time traveling and managing the other properties he owns so he won't be around often, but needs a home base that he can come back to. This means that we get the remaining two bedrooms along with the kitchen, living room, and yard for nearly the same rent we are paying for our apartment. And I seriously cannot wait to get settled and cozy in this new space.

We spent the weekend moving in boxes, cleaning and playing with furniture arrangements and even though it was hard work, it was so fun and exciting. Moving in at the start of fall gets me really excited for the holidays too. There is something about a new place to live combined with having an active little baby that makes me excited to decorate and make a home rather than just a temporary  pace to live. It will be a slow couple months building up to get everything settled, but I am looking forward to the process!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Where Did My Baby Go?


My infant is gone. That little smooshed face, and chubby body that just laid in my lap or on a blanket all day. Suddenly I look at Corinne and there is this active little baby that can't sit still and loves the world around her. She's seven months old now and so much has changed. Before we get into that, enjoy some "Best Of" outtakes from the last couple months.



The last several weeks she has exploded in her growth and development! She rolls all over the place, has started scooting on her little bum, and has the cutest little bounce when she gets excited. The world has never been so exciting to me until I got to see all the things that catch her attention. Right now its textures and sounds. The dump truck driving past the window during breakfast, kids outside laughing. The feel of grass, or our textured duvet cover. But my very favorite is when Brett comes home from work. From the moment she hears the door and keys rattle, she perks her little head up and waits with such anticipation on her face. Then the instant Brett walks through the door she immediately starts bouncing and giggling. It kills me every time.

Corinne has the cutest little personality as well. She still is our easy little baby, not very high maintenance, but is getting silly! When there are other babies around she just wants to play with them. I think that is her main motivation to becoming mobile, she wants to keep up with the girls that are a year older than her. When she really gets silly and brave she will "climb" all over me, which mostly involves flopping around until she has covered every inch of me and the couch, while sticking her tongue out in every new position. And the dancing! She loves it when we turn on music and get to her level, usually on our bed, and help her do some pretty cheesy and awesome dance moves. Naturally, it ends in mountains of giggles from all involved.

Some things are the same. Her eyes are still blue and we still can't figure out what color her hair is. Brown? Auburn? Is it even going blonde? Who knows. And the chubbiness is still here. The cheeks that are so big that when she smiles her eyes almost disappear. And the thighs that are so chunky and lovable that she can't wear clothes with elastic at the leg holes. Haha!

It all comes down to how much joy I am getting from watching this little girl flourish and grow. Lately every day has been a new adventure and it makes it so much easier to look forward to tomorrow and work through the typical mundane motherhood tasks. This really is my favorite.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Classic Summer Fun at the Fair

I have so may memories of going to the fair as a child. Some of the memories are distinct, others are just a blur of childhood. I grew up in a small town, my dad is from an even smaller farm town, so between our county and visiting my grandparents, we were at at least one fair a summer. My family went to concerts, demolition derbies, rodeos, carnivals, and anything else we could.

Since Brett and I have been married I have been dying to go to the fair with him, but it never worked out for some reason. But each summer that it didn't happen just renewed my motivation to take my children to the fair. There are some things I know are going to be lost on Corinne at such a young age, like Disneyland or nice clothes, but I was so excited to take her to the fair for the "traditional family activity" factor. Creating traditions with our kids is one of the things I have looked forward to and enjoyed the most.

We knew that Corinne's young age meant we wouldn't be going on rides, or staying out late for the concerts or rodeos (we really need to relax and do a babysitter someday), so we went on a Saturday afternoon. We just took our time walking around all the exhibits, taking breaks in air conditioning when needed, and enjoying the fair food! I l.o.v.e. fair food. Seriously. Fair food and sports arena food are my weaknesses. I was talking (out loud) about how excited I was for my funnel cake for weeks, no joke.
And of course we had to play carnival games. Wasting a few dollars on carnival games that you know are rigged against you is fine once a year for the experience. Especially when you actually win! I won this terrible little turtle, and for some reason it is one of Corinne's favorite toys these days. We don't understand it, and yet its funny that she loves it so much.

So until next year, and hopefully all the years after that.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Baby Lee On The Way!



And Its A BOY!

We are so excited to say that we are expecting another baby to join our family in February! We have already announced to most of our friends and family on Instagram, but for some reason I wanted to wait until we new the gender to blog about it. We cannot wait for February to come and all the adventures having two babies will entail.