Monday, March 13, 2017

Charlie Bob

This is not the shortest story, and I share some personal information (which Chuck supported my sharing), but it's got a really good ending if you have the time to read. :)

As many of you know, our journey to have a baby has been anything but easy. We experienced 3 horrible losses in the span of a year and a half that were all related to the babies having chromosomal issues. We were tested for what feels like a thousand different things to find what could be causing our losses, met with specialists in Cincinnati to talk about our options (which included either a) keep trying naturally or the extreme opposite option b) do IVF with pre-genetic screening), and have just been on an overall terrible rollercoaster of the some of the highest highs and lowest lows you can face in life. After our 3rd loss, we were undecided about whether or not we would try again and risk another loss, or do an almost sure (but insanely expensive) thing and do IVF. Around that time, we decided to start house hunting. We had been talking about it for over a year, but it finally felt like the right time. And we needed a change.

Enter: Melody. (Last name not being shared for privacy purposes.) Melody was our realtor who was recommended to us by a loan officer whose number Chuck found randomly on Zillow. The loan officer told Chuck this woman specialized in finding East End homes (which is primarily where we were looking) and that she'd be great for us. Soon after, we met Melody and she was great. She is an older woman, very experienced, very honest and straight forward and VERY Christian. We got close with Melody fast and we shared our pregnancy struggles with her as we had just experienced our 3rd loss right before we bought the house. She asked our permission to share our struggles with her Bible study and some of her other friends so they could all be praying for us and of course we said we didn't mind.

It didn't take us too long to find a house, and when we did it was a partially unfinished new build that still needed some finishing touches. For everything the house still needed, landscaping, blinds, mirrors, whatever, Melody would tell us "oh I have a guy for that. I'll give you his number." Melody seemingly had a guy for everything.

Enter: Charlie Bob. (I'd like to note here that I am not leaving off his last name to protect his privacy or identity. I actually don't know his last name and now I'm thinking he may not have one, like Madonna.) Charlie Bob was Melody's "blinds guy." While we were under contract, Melody would constantly tell us, "Go to Lowe's. Ask for Charlie Bob. Tell him you're a friend of Melody's. He will take care of you." Whenever we talked she would ask me at the end of our conversation, "have you called Charlie Bob yet?" Finally, one Saturday, Chuck and I went to Lowe's and looked for Charlie Bob. We found an employee and asked about him and his response was "Ummmm, Charlie Bob hasn't worked in here in FOREVER...." I texted Melody. She responded "Oh! Ok well here is his cell number. Just call him. He'll take care of you." She always added that part at the end.

I finally called Charlie Bob and set up a time for him to come measure our windows and tell us what kind of blinds he recommended we buy. On the day he came to the house, Chuck wasn't home yet so I met with him alone and walked him from room to room making a plan. Charlie Bob was an elderly man in very worn overalls with the sweetest, realest, country accent. He told me his life story about growing up in Western Kentucky and how he knew Melody as a teenager and how he and his wife raised their kids in a small home in Indiana and moved several years ago to St. Matthews to be closer to their kids and grandkids. We talked as we went from room to room and he wrote down measurements, starting with our first spare bedroom that we use currently as an office.

When we got to the 2nd spare bedroom, he asked me "Now what should I label this room?" I casually said "well, you can just call it the 2nd bedroom I guess. We're hoping we will have a baby someday and this will be the nursery." As soon as I said it, Charlie Bob stopped in his tracks as he was lifting his measuring tape to the window, turned around and looked me square in the face, deep into my SOUL, and said "Oh. You WILL. I'm writing Baby's Room." Then he turned around and continued measuring. And he did write Baby BR. (See pic below for evidence.)

In that moment I had major chills. He said "oh you WILL" SO confidently and so sure, almost like he knew something I didn't. Obviously our friends and family and doctors had all said this to us at some point, but something about the way this stranger said it to me felt different. I thought about it for the rest of the day, and told Chuck about it pretty much the minute he got home. He agreed it was kind of eerie and wasn't sure why he would have said that so confidently, or even at all.

Charlie Bob came back a few weeks later and installed our blinds during a work day, so my mother-in-law met him at the house for us and hung out while he put all the blinds up. He texted me the next day to see if we liked his work and after that interaction, we never saw him or talked to him again.

Ok. Ready for the part that makes the story? I found out I was pregnant a week later.

Now, I'm not claiming an immaculate conception or anything because we obviously know how we got pregnant. But for two years we tried to have a healthy baby and couldn't, and then suddenly Charlie Bob shows up at our house and BAM. Without doing anything different than what we've been doing, we are blessed with a chromosomally, as far as we know from tests we've done so far, healthy baby.

So that is the story of the magical Charlie Bob. Chuck and I are convinced that Charlie Bob is our Clarence (from It's a Wonderful Life.) We're convinced if we tried calling him again, his number would be disconnected. We're convinced that Melody has a direct line to God, that she asked him to send us help, and He did. He sent us our guardian angel, who apparently is an older man named Charlie Bob who wears overalls and does a seriously great job hanging blinds.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chuck Turned 30

A couple weeks ago on February 17th, Chuck turned 30.

I tried to make his entrance into a new decade special and memorable, starting the night before his birthday when after everything he did I would say something like "ohhhhh it's the last teeth-brushing of your 20s!" which may have been more annoying to him than memorable but, it was fun for me! But in all seriousness, I did try to make it as fun and memorable as I could because he deserves a memorable goodbye to one decade (which was pretty amazing for him) and a big welcome to the next decade (which will probably be even more amazing.) Also, he's just pretty great and I really like him and planning celebrations for people is my love language.

On his birthday, he had to go into work for a little bit that morning but I got him to leave by lunchtime and we met up with his sister Shannon and 2 of our nieces to start the weekend of celebrations.

With a couple of hours to kill before our dinner plans, we weren't sure what to do so we ended up at a bowling alley where I obviously let him beat me 3 games in a row since it was his birthday. :)

That evening, we met up with our family at a Hibachi grill, where we surprised Chuck with our group gift of a ping pong table that was not only already purchased, but already set up and ready to play on in our basement because our awesome dads snuck in and set it up that morning while Chuck was at work!

As you can tell, he was pretty excited.

Then it was on to the next surprise location, Great Flood Brewery where a bunch of our family and friends were waiting with beer, cake, balloons, and some I Heart Chuckie stickers- a throwback from when Chuck ran for Class President as a freshman in high school and handed out stickers with that slogan on them for his campaign. (Yes of course he won the election, and stickers were soon banned from Eastern High School because those things were on EVERYTHING in the building.)

Henry got to stay out late and party, too!

Of course the celebrations didn't stop there, because there's always a party after the after party! A bunch of friends came back to our house from Great Flood to help us break in the new ping pong table. We played from about 10:30pm until 3am so I'd say the table got broken in pretty well. We created a bracket and held the very first tournament on the table. And because our basement is still mostly empty because we need a lot of furniture in our house and furniture is expensive, all our friends got to sit on the floor when they weren't playing! (sorry, friends)

The tournament came down to the final 2....

and the birthday boy emerged victorious! (Please pay close attention to the region names and ignore the fact that we don't know really how to draw a bracket for 13 people.)

Even though his birthday was technically over, I had one more surprise for him on Saturday which was to go to Breakout Louisville with some of our friends I had convinced to celebrate Chuck's birthday for a second day in a row. Breakout Louisville was SO. MUCH. FUN. and we all wanted to go do another one as soon as we were done. We broke out of our room but with only 4 minutes to spare. It was way harder than I anticipated and also way more fun. We felt just like Nicolas Cage in National Treasure.

And that pretty much sums up his birthday weekend! I'd say it was definitely one to remember.

Oh and if you're wondering if I spent all of his birthday reminding him of things like "awwww, first french fries of your 30s!" the answer is DUH.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Every year I try to come up with a new year's resolution. Most years I fail to come up with anything. Years when I do think of one, I usually fail at keeping it. Sure, "watch less TV" sounds like a great idea on January 1st when you're motivated to be a better version of yourself in the new year. But then you get home from work on January 2nd and start to make dinner and you're too tired to read and mentally exhausted from the workday so end up vegging out on Friends reruns and have no regrets because Friends is the all-time best show ever.

Here's the thing, I LOVE watching TV. Chuck and I love finding a new show to binge watch and discuss and talk about with friends. (Just started Narcos and we are already obsessed.) It's just something we enjoy doing together and always have. So why would I make a resolution to stop doing something I love? I feel like a lot of people do that. And the point of new year's resolutions isn't to make yourself miserable. It's to make yourself better and enjoy your life more!

So what if we quit making resolutions with "less" or "stop" in them and instead made resolutions with "more" and "start" in them? The less and stop resolutions seem harder and you're almost setting yourself up to fail from the start.

How about....

Take more pictures. Call more people on the phone when you drive. Go to more concerts. See more movies. Start a book club. Start a wine club. Start writing a book. Go on more spontaneous weekend adventures. Play more games. Watch MORE TV. Eat more vegetables. Try a new food. Read more books. These all seem easy!

So I've given this a lot of thought, and I am feeling pretty confident about my ability to actually keep my 2017 new year's resolution which is to.......

Eat MORE donuts.

What's your new year's resolution?

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Post About Cookies

This blogpost is all about cookies.

On Friday, I hosted my 4th annual Holiday Cookie Swap Party. I hosted my first Cookie Swap in Boston with some of my girlfriends there, and it was so much fun that I've continued it every year since. The idea is this- you bake one kind of cookie. Invite your family and friends to make one type of cookie and bring it to your house. Everyone swaps cookies and then gets to go home with a variety of cookies after only having to make one! Whoever came up with this idea is genius.

Of course, you also have to test all of the cookies during the party and then vote on them too. Or is that just us?

This year we made everyone go around and say which cookie they brought and what it was. People got really into it this year as far as trying new and more difficult recipes. Some turned out really well, and some... not so much. Whether their cookie turned out great or not so great, everyone seemed very stressed by the whole process this year. I have a feeling people may not be as adventurous next year.

Baby Henry got to join us at the party even though he didn't get to try any of the cookies. :( Maybe next year, Henry!

And while we're on the subject, can we talk about how freakin' cute Henry is ALL THE TIME?!?!

After we ate entirely too many cookies, it was time to vote. This year we voted on Best Looking cookie, Best Tasting cookie, and a booby prize for "Aw, at least you tried. Maybe baking isn't your thing."

Of course there were prizes.

And the winners were.... Jennifer for best tasting- SHE MADE HER OWN CARAMEL. WHAT?- Anna for Best Looking -she made the polar bear cookies - and Laura for "aw at least you tried" because her cookies somehow became one giant cookie that was kinda collapsed in the middle and may or may not have fallen apart if taken out of the pan. It's ok. She owned it.

We had such a good time, and even though I was awake with a stomachache most of the night from too many sweets and felt like I had a hangover the next day, it was totally worth it. I can't wait to do it again next year!

(The group minus one- Pat had left already when someone said "hey we should take a group picture!" If I knew how to photoshop I would put her in but just imagine her standing to my right.)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Five Fall Must-Haves

I love Fall. Who doesn't? I've seen all these online lists and magazine articles lately like "Fall Must-Haves for 2016!" and "Fall Fashion Trends!" I laugh when I read these articles because my own personal Fall fashion trends and must-haves are a little different. So I've decided to create my own Fall Must-Haves list for fun. You're welcome.

#1 - The Grey Sweatshirt
 By far the most exciting part of Fall for me is the day I get to pull the ole grey sweatshirt back out of the closet. When I was 13 I bought a grey sweatshirt from Walmart for $5 in the boys section. I wore that grey sweatshirt every Fall and Winter until I was 26, when I finally upgraded to a new grey zip up hoodie from Nike.

Nothing to wear and leaving in 2 minutes? Throw on the grey sweatshirt! Wanna lay on the couch and be lazy? Throw on the grey sweatshirt! Cold? Throw on the grey sweatshirt! It's perfect for every situation.

#2 - Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix

Ok- I'm not all into the Pumpkin Spiced Latte and pumpkin beer and pumpkin EVERYTHING, but I AM into the Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix. Mix this stuff up for pancakes (my personal preference) and throw some chocolate chips in.... HEAVENLY.

#3 - Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. A lot of the show's episodes were filmed in Fall (it's set in Connecticut) so it just feels right to curl up on the couch and watch episode after episode of it once it's actual Fall. Right now is also the perfect time to watch it as the 4 new episodes come out on Netflix on Thanksgiving weekend!

#4 - Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha

When Starbucks releases their Pumpkin Spiced Latte, most people go nuts. I am not one of those people. I personally think it's kinda nasty. What I DO go nuts over though, is the Salted Caramel Mocha, usually released at the same time as the PSL. Chocolate, caramel, and salt all in one delicious warm cup. Yes, please. This year they have the Salted Caramel Mocha Frappucino. It was just OK, so I'd stick with the hot version if you're going to try it.

#5 - Capri Blue Volcano Candle

Forget the pumpkin spiced or apple or cinnamon candles. It's all about the Capri Blue Volcano Candle. This is the best candle to ever exist, it smells up your whole house, and it is the perfect background smell for watching football, watching Gilmore Girls, laying on the couch in your grey sweatshirt, or any other Fall activity. When I searched Google for this picture, I found the candle for sale on Amazon and found a review of this candle that is too funny not to share:

"I remember where I was when the smell hit me for the first time: a mere 18-year-old who was lost in the world without a friend, without a purpose, and without a girlfriend. In a world full of uncertainty that one smell became truth to me, and that truth was: this is no ordinary candle.
That candle was Capri Blue’s Volcano, which is one of the greatest creations ever--comparable to mankind, penicillin, and the iPhone.
Since the discovery of smell as a scent, Capri Blue has been mastering the art of good smells that captivate and enslave your nostrils without apology.
Since my first purchase of the candle, my life has started to improve significantly: I have made friends, my grades have improved, my dad finally told me that he is proud of me, and my restraining order from Stacy has been lifted."

 So those are my top 5 Fall Must-Haves. What are yours?

Monday, August 29, 2016

We Bought a House

Last week we celebrated our 4 year anniversary. In 4 years of marriage we've lived in: 3 cities, 5 apartments, Chuck's sister's basement (for a summer when we moved back from Boston) and now, at last, A HOUSE. We close on it TOMORROW and move in this Saturday!

Image result for moving ecard

We have been casually looking at houses on Zillow for probably a year to get an idea of what we like and don't like so when we went out with a realtor to actually look a couple months ago, we knew exactly what we were looking for. Funny enough, the house we bought is not really what we were looking for. But we walked in and fell in love with it and think it's the perfect house for us where we are in our life right now. It's a ranch. It's a new build. It has a finished, walk-out basement. The kitchen is the definition of the Heart Eyes Emoji. The yard is small. There are built in bookshelves. We CAN. NOT. WAIT. to move in and be homeowners for the first time!

Like I mentioned, we have lived in 5 apartments in our 4 years of marriage. Two in Boston, two in Seattle, and one in Louisville. As we leave apartment life behind, maybe (hopefully?) forever, I thought it would be fun to look back on the apartments we've lived in and some of the ugliness and prettiness that sums up apartment living.

Our first apartment was in Eastgate, a students only apartment building on MIT's campus. We really wanted to live in Eastgate for our entire time in Boston, but the building is in such high demand we didn't win the apartment lottery and only got to live there for our first summer as we were subletting from someone. You might look at Eastgate in this previous post and wonder why we wanted to live there so badly with the 550 square feet, scary hallways, broken ovens and cockroaches. Ask me sometime in person and I'll tell you the difference in rent at Eastgate vs the rest of Boston and you'll understand. Also, the views of the Charles River and Boston were pretty unbeatable and Chuck's walk to class took approximately 30 seconds.
Our fancy AC unit in Eastgate

After one summer at Eastgate, we moved to our "Married apartment" in Central Square. We loved that apartment. It had the fun speaker system to talk to people at the front door that Chuck would sing into and entertain passerbyers with, a nice kitchen, a parking spot in the garage underneath the building, and some of our friends upstairs and in the buildings next to us.  We also had a lady next door who I liked to make up stories about to entertain Chuck with pretty often, including the one time I tried to convince him she had been killed by her creepy cat because a pair of her snow boots sat outside her door untouched for 3 weeks straight.
Small but cute!

In our short 6 month stay in Seattle, we lived in 2 different fully furnished apartments. The first one we lived in we rented site-unseen. Online it all looked great. In person, while clean and cute, it smelled basement-y, had lumpy floors, had plumbing issues, and no cell service on account of we were in the basement of a house. Also the lady in the conjoined apartment smoked outside her door aka outside our door and the smoke crept into our apartment. Fun times.
We had to sit in that exact spot on the counter to get cell reception.

So after about a month, we moved to a different fully furnished apartment in a different part of the city where we could walk to work and downtown easily, and most importantly, could talk on our cell phones without having to sit on the kitchen counter. That was an OK apartment. The best things about it were the location and view of the mountains from our living room and kitchen. The worst things about it were the ants we couldn't get rid of and the dogs next door that barked at every sound they heard all day and night. Also we had no AC and with all those windows it got a little toasty in there during the summer.

When we moved to Louisville, we chose to live at the Meridian Apartments which were brand new at the time. I've talked all about this apartment before and how wonderful it is. We have granite countertops! The carpet is super soft! Our closets are huge! This apartment has been amazing and I really think we will miss living here but we are also ready for a change of scenery. The past two years have had their ups and downs as you know, and unfortunately now this apartment is associated with those down times. We're hoping to pack up all our belongings and leave any bad juju behind!
My favorite pic of our Meridian Apartment. So homey!

All of our apartments have had their pros and cons and while it wasn't always enjoyable sharing a wall with strangers or dealing with ants/cockroaches/dogs/cats, all of these apartments have been special to us in their own unique ways. We are so excited to move and can't wait to see what adventures are ahead for us in our new HOUSE!

Image result for ecard housewarming

Friday, August 5, 2016

Current Obsessions

Here are some things I'm currently obsessed with that I'd like to share with you so you can be obsessed too.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's twitter. 
Lin-Manuel Miranda, better known as the genius behind Hamilton and many other things he did that you had no idea he was involved with (like writing music for the new Star Wars and writing all the music for the next big Disney movie) has a twitter and it is pure gold. He makes references to Harry Potter and Friends regularly (two of my all time favorite things), tweets inspirational messages in the morning and at night, posts hilarious GIFs, and tweets about his current work, his adorable family and of course Hamilton. It's by far my favorite twitter account and he is slowly working his way to the top of the list of my favorite people who I don't actually know in real life.

Ed Sheeran on Amazon Prime Music while hanging around the house.
I have listened to Ed Sheeran for awhile now off and on, but recently discovered that his music is perfect for "house background music." You know, music you want on in the background that you don't necessarily want to listen to every song but you just need background noise while you read, clean, cook, or eat? His music is perfect for this.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
New Harry Potter story written as a play. Do I even need to explain why I'm obsessed with this right now? Didn't think so.

Summer Olympics
I. LOVE. THE. OLYMPICS. I have no idea why I love them so much, but I do. Especially the summer Olympics. I could honestly watch every sport all day every day for the entire duration of the games but unfortunately I have a job and a life and can't do that. I especially love gymnastics, swimming and track & field. Oh and diving. And the weird synchronized swimming. OH and beach volleyball. Opening Ceremonies are tonight, FYI!

Flavored Water
Chuck and I gave up drinking soda almost 5 years ago. While I don't miss it, I do miss a little carbonation every now and then. Several months ago my mom introduced me to the Sparkling Ice flavored waters and now I have an obsession with trying every brand of sparkling flavored water to find the best. I tried the La Croix in several flavors and don't care for them. Last week I bought San Pellegrino Orange flavor and didn't realize that's actually juice and not sparkling water and has 29 grams of sugar. (Why was it in the sparkling water aisle?!) So I'm sticking with the Sparkling Ice Cherry Limeade from this point forward. Until someone releases an article about why THOSE are bad for you too and then it's back to plain old tap water again.

Laser Tag. 
Our company had our annual summer staff party earlier this week at Main Event off Blankenbaker. We had 4 hours of unlimited bowling, laser tag, and 2 hours of unlimited arcade games. Chuck was in Heaven. We played only one game of laser tag at the end of the night, and then I was mad at myself for not playing more laser tag earlier in the night. Laser tag is one of those things that is equally fun as an adult as it was as kids. Who wants to go play laser tag ASAP?

Actual picture of me and Chuck playing laser tag together

And lastly,

I am not typically a summer person. I love fall the most (who doesn't?) because of all the fall things people love- the weather, football games, chili, pumpkin butter, holidays, etc.  But this year I've been all about summer. The pool, the lake, watermelon, flip flops, restaurant patios, margaritas, etc. I just can't get enough! I went to Kroger this week and saw they already have Jack-O-Lanterns out front for sale and I cringed. I'm not ready for summer to be over! Stop rushing things, Kroger!

That's all for now. Everyone have a lovely weekend!