Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Video Round-Up

There's a few videos I've seen lately that I've really liked.  Here's one about gender stereotypes from Pantene:

And here's a very poignant one about what example we set for our children:

Here's one that pretty accurately portrays parenthood!

And here's a fun Christmas video from a pretty cool family:

Can't leave out us teaching Dutch how to "Cheers!"

And, last but not least, my little Dutchie attempting to play in the leaves:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Game Day 2013

I thought it might be fun to have friends over to eat, drink, and compete in games for a few hours, so this weekend we hosted a game day. Since we have a lot of game room equipment, a few games were a given to be included in the festivities - pool, ping pong, shuffleboard, and a card game of some sort.  After some deliberations, we chose "war" for the card game and also added battleship, trivia, and Mario Kart (on N64). Then, the preparations began!

All the competitions were individual, and you could opt out of 1 or 2 games if you didn't feel like competing in them.  After getting everyone's preferences ahead of time, we drew up brackets.  When players arrived, they were first greeted with a "Gear Up" table.  On it were placed name tags, head bands, arm bands, eye black, athletic tape, silly mustaches, athletic cups, a penalty flag and challenge flag, and gatorade.  We also offered a shot of liquor in case anyone needed liquid courage!

  Forgot to take a pic before anyone arrived, so half the gear is already gone!

Once they geared up, they were directed to the garage to participate in the mandatory competition - darts! Each player threw three darts and recorded their score on a chalk board.  After everyone threw, the player with the lowest score was required to wear a turkey hat!  But, this competition was ongoing, so everyone was allowed to come back and throw again throughout the day to try and improve their score.  If you no longer had the lowest score, you could pass off the turkey hat to the person who then claimed the lowest spot. At the end of the day, the person with the highest score won a prize.

Meezy's new 49ers dart board got some use

Poor turkey hat wearer, Brian

From there, everyone began their tournament play! Each game area had a posterboard with rules and the brackets on it.  Meezy and I wore referee shirts and went from station to station throughout the day, making sure everything ran smoothly.  (We also competed in a few events ourselves).  Each regular tournament game was a shortened version, but the championship match being full length, and then we added optional play where participants could make it a drinking game! 

Shout out to my sister for her great artwork!

When each champion was crowned, they were given a trophy.  Second place finishers even got something as well - their prizes were more like stocking stuffers, and some were funny or weird, but they were still appreciated!

Disregard the plates in the back - those are mine! From L to R, shuffleboard, war, ping pong, pool, battleship, mario kart, and trivia. (Forgot to take a pic of the 2nd place prizes).

2013 Game Day Billiards Champion close-up

Overall, Game Day 2013 was a great success, and we had many requests from people asking us to host it again in the future.  Some suggested they wanted it to happen even more often than annually, so maybe we'll consider a spring event where some events take place outdoors.  

Sharon, Stari, and Tiffany enjoying the war area

Intense trivia matches taking place

Katie M got the prize for "best geared up" participant!

No question who the big winner was - Justin took home three trophies!

My only regret was not taking more pictures!  We had an awesome spread of food available, and lots of exciting matches happened, so I apologize for not documenting that better.  It was a very fun and hectic day, but I'll do better in that area next time!

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Life Lately

I could probably write a dozen posts about all the things going on lately, but I'll just do a condensed version of everything and cram it into one!

Work: If you have heard anything about the real estate market this year, you know that it's been one for the record books.  Supply hasn't kept up with demand, so buyers are having to move quickly, make very strong offers, and sometimes face a lot of competition.  I've been working with a lot of buyers lately, who usually don't have time for showings during the typical workday, so my nights and weekends are full!  It's not uncommon for me to be up at midnight, answering emails, researching properties, scheduling showings, etc. It's stressful, and Meezy has had to be a single parent a lot, but it's important for the growth of my career and for me as a provider.  November has already been a great month, and will continue to be, which is good because we're going to be spending a lot on repairs (See: Home).

Friends: It's been tough to find time for friends (See: Work), but I have squeezed in a few opportunities. In the past couple of weeks, I got to go to a birthday party for my good friend's son, a baby shower for another friend, dinner with a friend visiting from out of town, dinner with my bestie, football watching with one of our favorite couples, a neighborhood chili cook-off, a ladies movie night (About Time was awesome), and we'll be hosting a get together for friends later this month.  It's important to keep up a social life so I don't end up hating my job!

Home: Let's just start this section off with a Sigh. Deep breath. It's a good thing this month has been successful for me with work, because it's not so good on the home front. First off, we have scheduled foundation work for next week.  We knew it was needed when we bought the house, and negotiated a lower sales price because of it, but it's time to pull the trigger on getting it fixed.  That's not cheap, but it's necessary.  Next, we think we have a leak somewhere around our pool.  The water level is dropping way too quickly, so we have to pay a company to come out and test for leaks (which isn't cheap), and then see what it's going to take to repair.  Next, we think we have a leak somewhere around Dutch's bathroom. There's a mildewy smell when you walk into it, which my sister experienced when her shower had a leak and all the sub-flooring had rotted.  I'm worried we have something similar, so we're going to get a plumber out to check. If there's a leak, it won't be cheap to fix!  After all of this is taken care of, we have to get new tile installed in Dutch's bathroom. Part of the floor was disturbed when we removed a closet and opened up the wall to install a door, and we need to get it repaired.  Can you say epic home improvement expenses?

Family: I haven't spent a lot of time with my family lately because of work, but there are a couple notable things to mention. My nephew proposed to his girlfriend, which was very exciting! (Short summary: Camden Yards, ring in a baseball, personalized jersey, family hiding in the dugout. Awesome).  He and his fiance will be visiting from DC over Thanksgiving, and I'm happy we'll get to spend time with them. We're planning a family whirlyball gathering over the holiday weekend.  We'll also take a short trip to Amarillo to catch up with Meezy's family.  

Health: My health has kinda sucked lately.  I feel like I have a perpetual cold, and despite increasing my walks with Dutch, I've gained a couple pounds.  Quite disappointing.  Meezy and I are in the midst of a plank challenge, though, so that's cool. Every day in November we plank twice a day, slowly increasing the time each day.  We're up to a minute now, and it's definitely getting easier each day.  I think we'll try a different challenge in December. Wall sits, maybe?   

Meezy: Man, I owe this guy big time. He has been incredibly patient with my work schedule lately and has taken on way more than 50% of the parenting responsibilities. We haven't gotten to go on a fancy date in a while, but we have been able to sneak in some weekday lunches while Dutch is at daycare.  It's nice to be able to take a break from work and spend some time with my love.  My favorite time with Meezy lately has been when we swap stories of the adorable stuff Dutch has done.  We're just so in love with that kid.

Dutchie: By far, this is my favorite topic to write about! The kid is just blowing my mind with how much he learns. He understands so much, even if his vocabulary can't quite convey it yet. From being able to name tons of different animals, to recognizing multiple alphabet letters, I'm just in awe of him. He has also recently learned that we have nicknames for our doggies, and he grasps that they have multiple names. That probably sounds silly, but I'm impressed by his understanding of that. When Casey goes outside to use the bathroom, he exclaims, "Good job, Pitties!" (We used to call her Pretty Casey, which we shortened to "Pitty" for some reason).  Dutch has also mastered the use of the Ipad and Iphone, and can, within seconds, open the camera app to take a million selfies or open the youtube app to watch videos. We also have a Monkey Preschool Lunchbox game on our devices that he can easily navigate to and play entirely on his own. He says, "I see cars!" or "I see big truck!"  I think the maximum length of his sentences is about 3-4 words, but that's pretty good for a 20 month old. I could go on and on!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hutch Makeover

As mentioned in previous posts, the people who owned our house before us loved the antique look. Everywhere you turned, they had used the same color scheme - on doors, on molding, on walls, on the kitchen island, on the hutch, etc.  I think it would've been okay on something here or there, but because it was so persistent, it just made everything look dingy.  We are slowly painting over it everywhere we can, and the latest accomplishment was the built-in hutch in the breakfast area.  My pictures aren't awesome, but hopefully you can see the change from "dirty-looking" to fresh and clean.  I used a cream for the majority of it, with tan as the accent color.  Here's the before and after:

Also, the walls in the kitchen were covered with a weird textured wallpaper.  It was another look that appeared dingy to me, so instead of taking down all that wallpaper, I painted over it with a tan color to make the texture less noticeable.  It is a subtle difference, but definitely an improvement:

October at the Arboretum

Before Halloween, Dutch and I joined my sister and her kids and went to the Arboretum to check out the activities and to take some pictures. It was a beautiful day, and the kids had a great time.  I'm hoping to buy a membership for the coming year, because I think Dutch will enjoy it even more as he gets older.

For Halloween, Dutch dressed up as Dennis the Menace.  Not gonna lie, it was pretty easy to accomplish since he already looks like him and we had the items in his wardrobe!  All we had to make was a slingshot.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Exceeds Expectations

Back when I was a new auditor, we used to get performance reviews after each engagement.  The way it was set up was that you reviewed your own performance, based on your perception of how you did, and then your senior reviewed your performance, and you see if they lined up.  The options to choose from were something like, "unsatisfactory," "needs improvement," "meets expectations," and "exceeds expectations." I would laugh because "expectations" was such a funny concept.  If I expected myself to do a phenomenal job on the engagement, and I did, then I would select "meets expectations."  But, that doesn't sound like the best review you can give.  So, should I select "exceeds expectations" instead?  Then I'd be saying I did even better than I expected to do - but why would I have expected myself to do anything less than the best I could??  It could go on and on.

I used to tell my senior that he should just lower his expectations of me, because then I would always exceed them.  For instance, if he would just expect me to show up drunk to work, I wouldn't, and then I would be exceeding his expectations.  He should expect me to work 6 hour days, because when I worked for at least 8 hours - BOOM, exceeded expectations.  I just think it's a rather silly review method, because is the point to have high expectations and the person meet them, or is the point to have high expectations and the person exceed them?  Wouldn't you then start having high expectations for them and they'd only be able to meet them in the future?

The reason this came up recently is because I was meeting a mover at a client's house to give them access. My clients have already relocated to another state, and I'm trying to make this process easier on them.  The mover called me the night before and said he'd be at the house at 9am. It's a 30 minute drive for me, so I appreciated the heads up.  I got to the house at 9am and waited.  And then waited some more.  And then a little bit more. He finally showed up at almost 10am.  I've done enough moves and repairs and remodels to know that contractors are notoriously horrible at being on time.  I get that.  But, when I saw the moving truck, I just had to laugh:

"Dedicated to exceeding our customers expectations"

So, what you're saying is, I should expect you to be 2 hours late.  Then, when you're 1 hour late, you still have exceeded my expectations!  I totally get it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

October 15th was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  I'll be honest, it was a tough day for me.  The 16th was as well.  I would say that I've handled my miscarriages pretty darn well, considering the circumstances.  I'm not going to rehash all the details - you can read them here.  But, there are still times where they cross my mind, and I get choked up.  These past two days were especially emotional because my dear friends, Brandon and Ericka, have been in my thoughts.  I talked about them last month, when the well we helped build in their honor was completed.  They are ready to share their story with the world, and I would appreciate you taking a few minutes to read it. It can be found here.  

As a reminder, I am always here if you or someone you know needs a confidante.  You're not alone, it's okay to grieve, and it's okay to talk about it.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I bought a cool shirt for my German friend, Kim, last month, but I didn't want to post about it until she had received it!  When she was here visiting, we saw a shirt in a souvenir store that had a Texas flag on it, with the word HOME in bold letters, written across it.  We tried to buy it for her, but they only had kid sizes. She was pretty bummed.  After she returned to Germany, I started searching the internets for that same shirt in adult sizes.  I found one, but didn't get around to purchasing it yet.  As fate would have it, I went to Dutch's My Gym class and a girl was wearing this shirt:

Perfect!!  It was way cuter than the one we had seen in the souvenir store, so I found out where the girl bought it.  Check out The Home T.  They offer shirts with your state's outline, with "home" written inside of it. I bought one for Kim, and one for myself!  She was pretty happy:

I think the shirt is such a cute idea for friends or family who have moved away from a state they love, or who really think of a certain state as their second home.  Not gonna lie, some of the states' shirts really make me laugh, though.  Like, seriously, check out Wyoming's shirt.  Who knows what that is referring to??  That's gotta be confusing.  Lol.  I almost pulled the trigger on this shirt too, but refrained:

They've got another cute one where you can get your state outline with just "y'all" written inside.  Check it out!  Great gift ideas...for someone else or simply for yourself!

Monday, September 16, 2013

She's Baaaaaaaaack!

Our wonderful friend from Germany, Kim, came back for another visit last month.  It's hard to believe that it has been 4 years since she was here the first time, as our foreign exchange student. She's in college now, so she could only stay for 3 weeks, while on break from school.  We are happy with any time we get with her, though, so we packed as much as we could into those 3 weeks!  Here are some highlights from her visit:

Waiting at the international arrival terminal is actually a really fun thing to do.  I love seeing all the reunions of people who obviously haven't seen each other for a while!  Our situation was no different.

Kim got to meet Dutch for the first time.  She had been anticipating this meeting for quite a while!  She treated him like her own little brother, and I'm pretty sure she was smitten.  She helped us take care of him, and they had an awesome time playing together. It was very sad to think about them not seeing each other again for a long time.

We took her to some fun spots around town that were great photo ops.  The BIG signs around Dallas, the Trinity Overlook Park, and the Texas flag on the side of the highway in Grand Prairie made for some good shots!  Other notable activities were visiting the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM and taking a quick roadtrip to Winstar for gambling!

One weekend we took a trip to Austin so she could visit some of her friends who go to college there.  We had a great time shopping, sightseeing, and partying on 6th street. We couldn't let her leave Texas this time without riding a bull!

Last, but not least, she spent a lot of time trying to beat the Texas heat in our pool!

The time definitely flew by, and we are hoping we can take a trip to visit her in her hometown next year. Until then, Auf Wiedersehen!