Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lately: family, vacations, politics, etc

Here's what we've been up to the past few weeks. It seems like life continues to just get busier and busier, right? I've heard that lessens once you have kids.

First things first: click here. And also here.

-My dad turned 70 on July 8th. Normally my family gets together to celebrate everything, but we weren't able to do that for my dad's birthday. My siblings and I felt bad about that so my oldest sister (Baby Kate and Baby Kynlee's mom) planned a surprise day trip for my dad. We sent him on a train trip to Santa Barbara with my mom, and then we all surprised him and had lunch, walked to the pier, rode surreys, and ate cake and awkwardly sang "Happy Birthday" on the side of the beach. I channeled my inner Steven Spielberg and made a video out of our trip, which I've embedded here. By far the sweetest moment of the day was when Baby Kate saw her Grandpa for the first time. She had been so excited to surprise him and practiced yelling out "Surprise!" and "Happy Birthday, Grandpa!"  but when she saw him she was overcome with emotion and it looked like she was going to start crying.

-A few weeks ago Keith and I went to the Midwest with his parents to visit his mom's parents. They live in Iowa and we spent time there, in Kansas City, and in Omaha. Aside from the fact that I got the world's worst sunburn, we had an amazing time! I'm so thankful that I love all of my in laws and that they've all welcomed me into the family so warmly and so quickly.

Grandma and Grandad's house. No this isn't a movie IT'S REAL LIFE.
While we were out there we saw baseball games, ate BBQ, saw thunderstorms, played cards, ate lots of delicious home cooked meals, and came home with tired bodies, full bellies, and warmed hearts. Keith's grandparents own lots of farmland (soybeans and corn) and are related to like, half of Iowa. I knew the Midwest was beautiful but it has been many years since I've been out there and I think it was approximately every 12 seconds that I'd exclaim, "Look at how pretty {the clouds, the fields, the animals, the sun, etc] is! We saw lots of wild animals: a turtle, a badger, deer, fireflies, a weasel, and like a billion different species of bird. I also went golfing for the first time and there are videos of that which will never see the light of day.

On this hole I basically made it onto the green on my first try. I think if you're being technical I made it onto the rough, but you know what? I don't care. Also if you look closely you can see my sunburn. And please ignore my hideous shirt. I bought it at Wal Mart at midnight right before our trip because I thought I needed a collard shirt for golf. #idiot

We have way too much fun with Snapchat's face swap (my name is notthatjuliet)
-I've been trying to pay way more attention to the news surrounding the impending presidential election, and to be honest, I'm kind of embarrassed for our country. I'm also curious: what criteria do you use when deciding whose name you're going to mark on your ballot? I don't like to discuss politics much but I find myself extremely curious about the reasons people have for choosing their candidate. I've heard excellent reasons and I've heard really stupid reasons, and I'm curious about yours.

-Lately Keith has been cracking me up slash flabbergasting me. He'll say really funny things sometimes (like, every time we watch The Bachelorette) and then he'll do something that makes me like... question everything (like when I found his clothes in the freezer for whatever reason). I'm trying to document everything so I can do an entire post about how funny men are. Because the world needs to know how little he cares about whether or not there's clutter everywhere but how seriously he feels about folding/hanging his clothes up right after they're finished in the dryer.

-I can't get enough of Netflix, lately. I was binge watching Pretty Little Liars and finally got to season 6 but then I started watching Orange is the New Black from season 1 and also bits and pieces of The Office (for the billionth time) and I can't gush enough about how awesome Netflix is. I don't even care that they raised their price. $10/month is pennies compared to the entertainment I get to have on a daily basis.

-Also maybe I should find better things to fill my time.

And that's it for now. Thank you for your time, good day.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

When Nebraska gave me a second degree burn

*Warning: This post contains far too many pictures of my legs*

At the end of June Keith and I went on vacation to the Midwest with his parents to visit his mom's parents. The trip was a ton of fun and I came home with a renewed appreciation for two things: weather with little to no humidity and sunscreen.

About halfway through our trip Keith, his dad, and I went to Game 3 of the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. I'll be honest with you: I didn't know the College World Series existed until a day or two before we went, but I love baseball so why would I turn down the chance to go to this game? Plus, Keith had bought me a shirt specifically for the occasion and I how rude would it be to let that shirt go to waste?

I bought that hat right before the game because it was only $5 and tbh I only bought it because it says "Cats" on it. I had no idea Arizona's baseball team is named the Wildcats.
Our seats were perfect, and by that I mean our seats were in the shade. It was a beautiful day, it was an exciting game, and we had ice cream at 10am so what wasn't to love?

Then, things changed. We moved seats and sat directly behind the dugout and directly in the aim of the blazing Nebraska sun. Things were fine until about the 6th inning, when I started to feel a little uncomfortable. It was about that time that I realized I wasn't wearing sunscreen on my bare legs, and I started to notice a little red tint. I put a shirt over my legs for the rest of the game but it was too late, I was already screwed.

When your legs are already this red after only a few hours, you know you're going to have a bad time.

They were super red but not all that painful yet so I wasn't too concerned. Idiot. The next day we went golfing and I made sure to wear sunscreen but did you know the trick to getting sunscreen to work is to reapply it if you're going to be in the sun for more than an hour or two? We were outside for like 5 hours and I was wearing shorts again, so I got a sunburn on top of my sunburn.

That night, my legs looked like this:

I got the original sunburn on Thursday, we went golfing on Friday, and by Saturday night I started quite literally feeling the burn. On Sunday morning when we were on our way to the airport I started seriously considering the least painful way to actually saw my legs off. I  even had A BLISTER. It's small, but it's there.

The most pain was when I was standing still or when I tried to sit down or stand up. Walking wasn't all that bad and sitting wasn't too bad, thankfully, because we had to be on a plane and in a car for almost all of Sunday.

On our way to the airport I noticed that my legs had started to swell. Like, pretty bad. Like, to the point where my ankles were hurting because my socks and shoes felt too tight on my cankles.

We finally made it off the plane and through the 5 hours car ride to Keith's parents house where we were staying that night, and after letting a cold towel soak on the worst part of my burn for an hour, I went to bed. The next day I survived another 5 hour car ride and for the next few days I just tried to keep my legs elevated and away from anything that would possibly touch them.

They started to get splotchy...

And a blister popped...

And then I started to peel. When it first started peeling I was like, "These are the most amazing peels I've ever experienced. It's just like when I used to peel glue off my hands in elementary school!" but then 7 seconds later I was like "MY SKIN IS ACTUALLY ON FIRE I LITERALLY JUST FLAYED MYSELF." It was horrible.

So now it's been 2 1/2 weeks since the initial sunburn and it's almost gone. My arms finally look normal again and my legs are only a little painful and the skin is almost done flaking off. I swear, I'm exfoliating them every day and moisturizing them but the flaking just will not stop!

The moral of the story is that you should always wear sunscreen even if you're in the Midwest. When people first saw the burn on my arms they were like, "OMG where were you that you got this awful sunburn??" And when I'm like, "Uhh, Nebraska and Iowa," they're like, "......."

And if you ever get a sunburn make sure you have aloe vera gel, ibuprofen, and people around you who can put up with incessant whining and pieces of your peeled thigh skin all over the place.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Solar Water Heater

I know I'm not alone in loving a good long soak in the tub (especially if there are bubbles or bath bombs involved). But I'm also not alone in knowing there's nothing worse than turning on the hot water faucet and being disappointed by the lukewarm water that comes out. Lukewarm bath water does nothing for tired, sore muscles or a stressed body.
And what about your laundry? I'm sure you're aware that hot water kills more germs than warm or cold water, and I really love pulling my sheets and towels out of the washer/dryer with knowledge that they're rid of the germs they had when I put them into the washer.

Same goes for dishes. We have dogs, and I've seen my husband let the dogs lick dishes after we're done eating. This would bother me one hundred times more if I wasn't sure I'd be able to get all of the germs off with some dish soap and hot water!
BUT, all good things come with a caveat, right? It's expensive to maintain a hot water heater! I'm even more aware of that since we own our home and all maintenance costs are up to us and us alone. For this reason, we try to be as green and economical as possible (especially during this drought which California is experiencing):
-Composting. Did you know most things can be composted? I didn't know this until I really looked into it. Most of the things we throw into the garbage can be used to fertilized our soil! Things like coffee grounds, eggshels, and the excess of vegetables that we aren't going to cook can all go into a composting bin!
-Turn the lights off. In our home, a light is only turned on if the room it's in is being used. Otherwise, there's no need to waste electricity! We've also tried to cut down on the amount of lights we turn on in a utilized room, as well. We really don't need three lamps turned on in one room when we're watching tv, playing with the dogs, etc.
-Carpool. We live in a mountain town, and the big-box stores are a good 20 minute drive down the bottom of the hill. Instead of just making these trips as we feel like it, we'll make a list and go when we're already going to be "down the hill" for something else, or carpool with another family who needs to run errands as well! This cuts down on exhaust from our vehicles and money spent on gas to power our cars.
One of the newest ways to get your home eco-friendly is by utilizing solar water heating by SoCalGas! This company utilizes the most natural element there is - sunlight - to heat our water and save our planet and our wallets. You can visit SoCalGas's website right now to learn how you can incorporate this amazing system into your lives today! 

This post is sponsored by SoCalGas but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.