Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our New Baby

It's official. Brad and I are now responsible for a little life, other than our own. We now have a cat. :) Meet Dora...

My brother and sister-in-law may as well be the cat whisperers. They have rescued many cats and Jessie, being a licensed vet-tech, has a HUGE heart for anything furry. Dora showed up on their doorstep a while back and after unsuccessfully trying to find her original owner, they took her in and gave her the name Pandora. Unfortunately, they already had three cats...and those other cats didn't take too kindly to her.

John had told me that they were trying to find a new home for her, because she was basically living in fear of the other cats and that she would probably do much better in another home. I thought about it, but wasn't a huge cat person, so I sort of brushed off the idea and tried to forget about her. On Halloween I went over to John and Jessie's house to see my nephew dressed up in his peanut costume. It was that night that I saw firsthand what Pandora's life was like. The other cats were very mean to her and she was one stressed out little kitty.

I went home that night and told Brad that my heart was just breaking for her. Brad, who has a HUGE heart for animals, suggested that we take her in. I wanted to, but we had two big hurdles to get over. 

1) I am allergic to cats. Whenever I would touch a cat, my skin would break out in a rash. And I had never been around a cat long enough to know if I had any more allergies (sneezing, coughing, etc).
2) Our apartment complex doesn't allow animals, unless you have a note from a physician stating that you need a pet for companionship. Legally, they have to allow "companion pets." Since we don't NEED a companion pet for mental or emotional reasons, we sort of felt like it was wrong to ask our doctor to write a note.

A few days later, the nurse from my doctor's office called to give me some test results. So, for some reason I got really bold and asked her if they had ever written notes for companion pets. She said, "Sure! I'll have the note ready for you at 8am tomorrow." WOW! I also asked what she thought about my cat allergy. She said that I most likely have an allergy to all pet dander (I even get itchy sometimes after petting my parents dogs). She said that most likely, if I live with a pet, I will get used to and become immune to their dander. She thought it would be rough at first, but that I'd eventually get used to the cat.

After I got off the phone with her, I called Brad and he said, "Call your brother and tell him we want her!" So I did. That night, they brought Pandora over. Jessie had told us that she would probably hide for a few days, because she was in new surroundings. When she figured out that we were nice and that there weren't any other cats around to attack her, she'd probably warm up to us.

Well, it didn't take long and she was on the couch wanting to be cuddled! We have definitely fallen in love with her!

My allergies are doing great. I am careful and make sure to wash my hands before touching my face and I have taken a few doses of Benadryl to help with the itchy skin and itchy eyes, but other than that, I seem to be doing well. Oh, and it just so happens that Dora (as we call her) has a favorite spot on the couch. And it happens to be my favorite spot on the couch. :) We'll see how that pans out....

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Birthday Boy and Halloween

October 19th was my hubby's 28th birthday. TWO YEARS FROM THE BIG 3-0! I try to remind him of that quite frequently. :) This year, Brad wanted something simple, so I made him dinner and dessert. Not too exciting....but the recipe I made for dinner was delicious!

Our dinner was delicious. I got the recipe off of Pinterest and it came from this website. It was so easy. I took a package of frozen chicken, a can of black beans,a can of corn, a brick of cream cheese, a can of green chiles and a can of rotel tomatoes and threw them all in the crockpot on low while I was at work. I came home, shredded the chicken, and VOILA! You can put it over rice, in a tortilla shell, or use it as a dip with chips, like Brad and I did. It was yummy!


Oh, and I made Brad birthday brownies. Oh....and my nickname for him is Stinky. Kind of embarrassing...

About a week and a half later, we celebrated Halloween! Brad and I aren't super into Halloween - we don't really dress up or party. But, I did go see my nephew Cooper for his first Halloween. He was, of course, ADORABLE! His prenatal nickname was "Peanut," so that's what he ended up being for his first Halloween. John and Jessie played along and dressed up as a box of cracker jacks and a snack vendor. It was very cute!

My brother - the cracker jack!


 The whole family...

Mom and Dad stopped by as well! Cooper was already tired, obviously....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

40 Days of Organization

Recently I was reading this blog and loved her idea of delving deep into her house and organizing things. The idea is called "40 Bags in 40 Days." Last week, I got the itch to make my own list of things that I wanted to get to a good place. So, I sat down, numbered a piece of paper from 1-40 and started writing. I didn't stop - even writing things that were "okay." By making this list, I was committing to [everyday] picking something off of the list to get done. The idea is to get your house deep cleaned and organized without feeling overwhelmed. It's just one thing everyday - and hopefully that one thing won't take you more than an hour. 

Here's my list!

 Now, Brad and I have only been living in our apartment for a little over a year, so it was kind of shocking to me how many spaces needed deep cleaning or serious organization. Some of things I wrote down weren't terrible and to the naked eye may not be a problem, but that's because they don't look close enough. :)

After I made my list, I actually got started and started cleaning and organizing the outside of my fridge. We had a lot of old Christmas pictures and the top of the fridge was pretty dusty...

This is a picture of the THIRD clorox wipe I used to wipe off the top.

Here's the front of the fridge after I wiped it down and organized important pictures, etc. I wish I'd gotten a before picture...it was so disheveled!

I had kind of gotten into the mood to organize after making this list and knew that I wouldn't have the opportunity to clean in the following few days (due to weddings, etc). So, I decided to get a head start and not get behind. I went ahead and organized our medicine cabinet in the main bathroom and our pots and pans cabinet. Then I deep cleaned the microwave. The medicine cabinet is the only place that I got a before picture of...sorry!

Pots and Pans "After" Picture

Medicine Cabinet "Before" Picture

The Medicine Cabinet "After" Picture

The microwave "After" Picture
I saw a post on Pinterest that said to fill a bowl half full of vinegar and the rest of the way with  hot water. Place it in your microwave for 5 minutes on high. Then wipe it down. Our apartment smelled a little bit like vinegar for an hour or so, but all the baked on stains in the microwave wiped away like nothing! It was great!

Here's my list after I finished my first few projects. It is a nice feeling to see some of those red "X's" on that sheet! I have a ways to go, but I'm excited to do it all!

I guess I forgot to mark off the microwave... :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Am No Longer A "Name Twin"

Some of you may not know, but my husband's sister and I share the same first name. I think it was kind of weird for Brad in the beginning - the name that he used when referring to his older sister that he loved/teased/etc was the same name of the girl he was dating. They are spelled differently - I am "Stacie" and she is "Stacey." Needless to say, his friends gave him lots of flack about it. Brad's side of the family has come up with many ways to differentiate between us. The most common one is just calling us by our first and middle names. I'm Stacie Marie and she is Stacey Lynn. Stacey's boyfriend would always call me "Future Stacie." :)

Anyways, when I got married, I obviously changed my last name to match my husband's. Since Stacey Lynn was unmarried at the time, there were officially two "Stac-ie/ey Salinas'." Multiple people added me on Facebook, thinking I was the "original" one and it made for a lot of confusing conversations, trying to explain to people that we are related, but that I'm not the one they're looking for. (Sigh....)

WELL.....now I am alone in my name again. Last weekend, Stacey Lynn got married! Her last name is now Withrow. It was a beautiful, unique, private ceremony. The bride, wore a pale green (almost seafoam) dress. It was beautiful!

Brad's cousins, Casey and Jeremy, came in from the East Coast to celebrate, so Brad was in hog heaven. They were ushers at our wedding and Brad has a very special place in his heart for them. We had lots of fun, hanging out with Brad's family and partying the night away!

Brad and his grandma Dee

Me, Brad, Stepmom Wendy, Brad's Dad, Stacey Lynn & Gary

Gary and Stacey

Stacey Lynn, Brad and their mom, Cheryl

Stacey Lynn, Brad, and their dad, Larry

Gary and Stacey cutting the cake - they had an xBox cake on the left and a Hulk Hogan cake on the right!


Brad's cousin Jeremy warming up on the dance floor!

Jeremy and his girlfriend Danielle, showcasing Jeremy's signature move!

Brad, me, and Danielle trying to lift Jeremy up - not successful...obviously.

Brad, Me, Danielle, and Jeremy

Jeremy and Casey were so funny - constantly getting Grandma Dee on the dance floor!

Grandma Dee and Casey "taking pictures" of Jeremy's moves!

Aunt Cristie and Father-in-Law Larry warding off the paparrazi!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

One Year Down

Hi all -

Over the last few weeks, I have done many things that I thought to myself, "I should blog about this." But, alas, I have not blogged about any of them. Sometimes I feel caught in a pickle - do I let life get in the way of blogging (therefore, not posting for awhile) or do I let blogging get in the way of life? Hmmm...we'll let the philosopher types mull it over. In the mean time, I'll just say sorry for keeping you all waiting to hear more about my mostly mundane, sometimes eventful life. :)

The biggest thing that has happened over the past few weeks is that Brad and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Sometimes it feels as though time has just flown by and other days, it feels like I can't remember my life before we got married. For our first anniversary, we kept it low key. We had dinner at the Upstream, watched a movie at home and ate a slice of cake from the store (since the top of our cake wasn't kept for us!)

Over the last 12 months, we have had our ups and downs. I've laughed, cried, thrown fits, thrown dishes, been blissfully happy and slightly enraged. We jam packed a lot of feelings, learning experiences, and love into the last 12 months. Overall, I'm happy and totally love.

Now, I do not claim to be a marriage expert, but I do feel like Brad and I have learned a lot this first year. So, is this a doctoral thesis on marriage? No. But it is the random list of advice that came to my head when I thought about what I'd tell a girl who's about to get married. :)

I can't believe this has been over a year ago...
1) Show your husband respect, (even if he's not acting respectable). I never realized how even the most seemingly insignificant behavior or words, could tear my husband down. In a book called Love & Respect, it talks a lot about a man's deep need to be respected. You can love a man all you want - love him to death, but if you don't respect him, it's all null and void. I used to say that I couldn't stand those women who talked down to their husbands in public...but doing it in private is just as damaging. If/when your husband isn't acting respectable, treating him with disrespect won't remedy the problem. It will only make it worse. 

2) Space is okay. In the first few months of marriage, I thought that if Brad needed time away from me, that meant that he....didn't love me/didn't want me/wasn't happy/etc.... Space is good. I need it, but I never thought that Brad needed it too. A dear friend wrote in our wedding card, "When you're in a disagreement and it starts to escalate, take a 20 minute break. Come back together to discuss it again. If it escalates again, take another 20 minute break. Take 20 minute breaks until you can find a solution without yelling, name-callling, or disrespectful behavior. It won't be easy (my husband and I took 20 minute breaks for 3 days straight one time), but it saves a lot of feelings from getting hurt." We don't use this method to the "t," but the concept is one that we have benefited from.

3) Make time to relax and have fun. Brad and I found that we were so busy and always tired. Before we got married, I had taken a second job to help pay for the wedding. After the wedding, I had planned to quit, but then it was the holidays and I thought I could use the money to pay for gifts, etc. It's a vicious cycle and you seem to always "need the extra money." We argued more often and let a lot of things get away from us. Once I quit my second job, we learned to say "no" to a few things and we carved out specific time every week to spend together, we got along so much better.

4) Whenever you think about how much you love your spouse, tell them. Brad does this a lot for me and I try to do it to him as well. I have gotten several cards over the last week from Brad "just because."

5) Surround yourself with people that support marriage. Sometimes people with negative views towards marriage (or just differing views) tend to insert their opinion into YOUR marriage. It's uncalled for, and quite frankly, very rude. Those people need to be drop-kicked in my opinion. Anyways, make sure that the people you're talking to are actually safe to talk to about your marriage and that they understand your commitment. Stop people from saying disrespectful things or things that tear down your spouse.

6) Flirt often. This is just fun and builds confidence. Enough said.

7) Consider your spouse's background. Often times, when your spouse is really upset, but it seems odd to you or like an overreaction, it usually has something to do with their background. Brad and I found that talking about our childhoods, past relationships, etc, helped us to understand where our sensitivities lie. Before getting frustrated, consider trying to understand what in their past could be contributing to this overreaction.

8) "Counseling" isn't a curse word. I'm not ashamed to say that Brad and I have seen a professional counselor together. We went originally as a supplement to our pre-marital counseling, but it turned into one of the BEST things we've ever done. It sort of couples with number 7 in learning much more about your partner's triggers and the best way to communicate. I dare say that Brad and my marriage would be much much different, and a lot less enjoyable, had we never gone to counseling.

9) "Don't go to bed in the middle of an argument" is sort of a crock. I was adamant when we first got married that we'd never ever go to bed angry with each other. Maybe in a perfect world that is the goal, but unfortunately Brad and I are human. It happens...and it actually gives a little perspective to arguments when you've had a full night's sleep. I mean, honestly, who is very nice or understanding when they're tired?

10) Don't commit to something without talking to your spouse. Oooooh...this got both Brad and I in trouble on a few occasions. We learned quickly that we are no longer two single people who make solo decisions about scheduling. We are, as the Bible puts it, one. On a couple of occasions, we both committed our night to some event and when we came home, we realized that we'd double booked! We have a calendar on our fridge that we track things on, as well. That definitely helps!

Now to indulge a bit of nostalgia, here are some photos from our wedding day!

Many more cheers to many more years!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Go Big Red!

Well, I can't believe it's that time of year again! On Saturday, we watched the Husker's football season opener. They played in Lincoln against Tennessee-Chattanooga. My parents hosted a party at their house - but last minute, my dad got invited to actually attend the game, so we missed him there! So, altogether, it was me, Brad, my mom, my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, and my aunt Janis, uncle Rich, and cousins, Josh and Kyle. It was a lot of fun! Also, we learned that we don't know how to cook for smaller groups of people. We had enough food to probably feed the entire football team if they had stopped over after the game!

Lots of food! :)
Janis, Rich, Josh, and Kyle

Thought this was so cute! My aunt Janis got this for my nephew, Cooper.