Friday, May 27, 2016

College Nationals Begins!

It's the first day of college nationals!! I'm so excited! The whole family is coming into town today and Jack's first game is at 2:30. We've been anticipating this for almost a year when we found out nationals was going to be in Raleigh for the first time. Jack's team is the 3rd seed overall and the games are going to be epic!

Jack's first game today will be lives streamed at 2:30 here:

You can keep up with his scores and schedules here:

Today and tomorrow is pool play and then after that it's win or die.

Go Jack Go USA Wilmington!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dresser Make Over

This is a big week! I'm in full preparation mode for nationals this weekend, getting my work squared away and the house ready for family to stay for 5 days. I'll post tomorrow with nationals details for anyone that wants to keep up with Jack's team. 

I've gotten in a crafty mood recently and I finally turned my eyes to this dresser that I've had for.....a year?? I think? It was a free curbside find and it has sat in our foyer in the same curbside condition ever since. It's been good for dining room storage but I doubt it will stay here forever. It's a bit too big for the space. That being will likely stay here for another year before I figure out where it's going to go.

I decided to try my hand at chalk paint. I've heard all about this Annie Sloan chalk paint. The problem is it's hard to find and it's kind of expensive. I found a boutique in apex that carried it but when I got there the store had moved to north Raleigh. I decided I wasn't making that trek so that's how I landed on a new Valspar version that is being sold at Lowes. 

It had mixed reviews. The Annie Sloan die-hards didn't like it but other people who were trying to be unbiased seem to think it was OK and worth a shot. I decided to go for all black.....not my typical paint go-to, but I want to do super fun gold/brass handles.

So, the first thing you have to do is clean the dresser. This was gross. Note to self....clean anything you find on the side of the road BEFORE bringing it into the house. Not a year later. 

There were two pretty big chips that needed to be filled in with wood putty before starting. 

Wood putty and sanding got it good enough for me.

The real appeal of this paint for me is the lack of required prep work. No sanding or priming required which sounded amazing! I don't like sanding and priming is boring so if I could cut that step out and still get it to look amazing then I was all for it.

The paint was pretty easy to work with. It took two coats to get good coverage. It dries in a super matte finish...very much like a chalk board. Once it's painted it's time to apply the wax. This is where it got weird. I wish I had read about the waxing before I with with Valspar. I looked online to find out how long I should wait before waxing. There were a lot of complaints that the wax STRIPPED the paint off. Seriously. I just spent all afternoon putting on two coats of paint and this finishing wax was about to strip it all off? The valspar reps claimed user error and said you need to let the paint cure for 24 hours before waxing it.

So, 24 hours later I cautiously applied a super thin coat of wax. With the Annie Sloan paint you put on the wax and buff it off. With the Valspar you put the wax on super thin and gently wipe it away. No buffing. I found this to be super tedious. If I rubbed too hard it stripped the paint. It's like the wax softens the paint. Crosby hairs would get stuck in the wax and if I used a finger nail to get the hair out the paint came off. If I rubbed to hard or too fast with the cloth, the paint came off. Super annoying.

I did get into a rhythm and it turned out OK but the finish is still super matte and it still leaves white streaks if someone touches it or puts something on it.

They wipe right off but I'm still not convinced. I might try another coat of wax or I might just poly it even though the wax it supposed to do the trick.

I feel like this picture doesn't really do it justice. Justice is the wrong word because it doesn't really deserve a lot of justice at this point, but it doesn't represent it well. I'm hoping a coat of poly and some slick new handles will be a game changer. As for the paint....I'll give Annie Sloan chalk paint a try but Valspar didn't win me over with this go around.

As for handles, I'm thinking something long, like these.

 What do you think?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Camera

Derrick and I got a new camera! Derrick got me a really nice point and shoot about three years ago and I wore it down. It had been dropped and banged around and generally used to death. While on my bike trip with Jay it officially bit the dust so I looked into making an investment in a nice camera. We wanted something that would last a long time, take really nice photos, easy to use, and be an upgrade for my real estate photos. We landed on the Canon Rebel T5 and it came in one day early on Monday!

It was sitting on the front porch when I got home from picking Leanna, Kevin, and Ellie up from the airport so Ellie was my first muse.

The only toy we have at our house is a toy tool box and tools. Go figure.


In general Crosby has been our test subject though as we've been figuring out all of the settings.

Derrick is the worst.  In the best way.....but seriously. I was practicing with the camera and getting shots like this.

Derrick picked it up...tried to take a picture but had to stop because he didn't know where the clicker was....then pulls this out!

That is the exact same time of day! His looks professional....or course. First try.

We've been having fun with it but I think Crosby is over it and ready for us to try our skills on something or someone else.

Classic Crosby wink caught on camera. This happens multiple times a day.

So far I'm loving it! The pictures look great and the camera is pretty easy to use. I'm excited to test out the sports mode at nationals next weekend. We tried it in the house and this is what we got.

Clearly there is room for improvement.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Beach Nationals 2016

Jack's not the only one in this family going to nationals! Derrick and I just got back from a weekend in Virginia Beach playing in the 2016 beach national championship. It's an eensy bit less of a big deal than Jack's nationals :) There is no sort of qualifying sectionals, no regionals, no qualifiers at all. It's only the 2nd year of beach nationals so they are still getting it going. For now, we can just sign up with a pick-up team, and go.

Since it's nationals the team had to have matching jerseys which is a little annoying because it's only one weekend but Alison is t-shirt maker extraordinaire and came to the rescue for our team.

It was funny because it was at this stage that 3 different sets of neighbors came over to see what we were doing. We do things a little differently in this household I guess.

Derrick was able to pick up for a men's team from California which was exciting. Beach is so fun and I didn't want him to miss out when I got invited to a women's team. 

As a nationals event the organization was great. About a mile length of Virginia beach had two fields per width of beach all the way down. There were food tents, bleachers, a showcase field, vendors, and score keepers. 

The weather was absolutely gorgeous although I think I'm at least two shades darker now. Derrick toughed it out his tank top jersey for the first game before resorting to wearing a long sleeve underneath to keep him from getting burned.

I try not to talk politics on this blog ever, but there is a lot of crap going on in NC that I don't agree with. All of the NC players wore rainbow sweatbands in a small protest of HB2 and as a gesture to the LGBT ultimate community. We gave each team we played two wristbands at the end of the game to give their MVP and by the end of the tournament the teams we played had heard about them and were so excited to get them. I was proud to be a part of it.

Exhausted but smiling after a fun day one. Free BBQ and a showcase game followed by watching the Flyers and eating Ben and Jerrys.

Team shot at the end of Sunday. Our team was a hodge podge pick-up team and we ended up holding seed. We didn't win a lot of games but it didn't take away any fun of the tournament. 

Derrick's team ended up tying for 3rd overall which was amazing! It was nice because there were 6 rounds of games each day but we only played in 4 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. Our byes were pretty staggered so we were able to watch each other during our byes.


The only let down of the weekend was our hotel. It was kind of crappy and than on Saturday night, after a full day of games on Saturday and before an 8:30 game on Sunday, the fire alarm went off at 4:30 AM.  And it wasn't a drill. We woke up grumbling and searching for shoes and started heading down the 7 flights of stairs. Around the 4th floor we started smelling smoke. It was pretty scary. Fortunately it was just a small fire that the firemen put out quickly but we were evacuated for over an hour. We were pretty tired on Sunday. 

I can't wait for next year and hope we get an opportunity to play. It was really an awesome weekend. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

4 Year Anniversary Trip

We've been married four years! It seems like forever but then it also seems like it's flown by. We've gotten into a bit of a tradition (does 2x equal a tradition?) of going on a trip every other year for our anniversary. Two years ago we went west to California, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite and it was amazing!

This year we're ramping up for a busy summer (is anyone surprised?) so we decided to keep it a bit more local and do a long weekend in Asheville. Derrick typically takes the reins on traveling and books our adventures and accommodations. I love it. It's such a process to figure out travel time, where we're staying, what we're doing, and he does it so well. I love not having to worry about it...I just get to enjoy it and know he made all the right decisions for an awesome trip.

Thursday was our anniversary so we hit the road Wednesday afternoon, dropped Crosby off with Derrick's mom (Thank you!) and continued on to the Doubletree by the Biltmore. Ever since my dad and I stayed at the Doubletree on a daddy/daughter New York trip it's been my favorite hotel. Probably has something to do with the free cookies. Derrick knew this and booked us for 4 nights!

For our anniversary we had the best day ever! Let's see if you agree. Derrick found an escape room company in Knoxville. We hadn't done an escape room in months because we'd already done all the local ones in Raleigh but we always try to find one when we travel. Well....Derrick found four! And then we added on a fifth so that we could completely round out there rooms! Five escape rooms in one day!! We were a little rusty on the first on and missed getting out by 30 seconds but after that we got continually better. The manager was so impressed with our brain stamina that he came out to meet us and give us free t-shirts. Derrick and I work really well together in these escape rooms. I think it's because we both buy in so completely. You ready for this series of pictures as proof?

The casino room was definitely our favorite and it didn't hurt that Derrick knew all the rules to the casino games so we got through the first part in under 8 minutes. The game master came over the intercom just to tell us we were crushing it. 

We did get a lunch break in between room 2 and room 3. I was able to grab this sneaky picture. Can you spot him? The Slytherin? There's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin. clearly we geeked out on our anniversary day.

We fancied up a bit that night by hitting up Chestnut for a late dinner. It's a local place in Asheville and it was delicious with perfect portion sizes. It actually allows you to save room for Then we promptly passed out from brain exhaustion.

The next day we were scheduled to go white water rafting but we had to re-schedule to Saturday because the minimum number hadn't been reached. We met Derrick's dad for a delicious breakfast as Tupelo Honey and then visited the Biltmore Gardens.

Not a bad view out of your backyard. I could probably sell that view.

The most beautiful greenhouse in the world.

I thought these were hundreds of little meerkats until we got closer. Not meerkats...just roots. I still think they look like meerkats.

That's a maple to the left. I hope our maple doesn't get that big. Our house will disappear.

After the Biltmore we found a local bouldering gym and got in a workout. It was pretty good but it definitely made us realize how spoiled we are by our local gym.

We met Blue for dinner that night and killed some time walking around. We came across this drum circle. Just a lot of drummers jamming with a huge crowd around them.

And Mom! I forgot to tell you! Look who it was smack in the middle of the drum circle! (The rest of you don't know him and I just forgot to tell mom about it so....forge ahead).

And, you know, because we can't help it, we did another escape room that night! Blue had never done one so we found one in downtown Asheville. It was not your typical escape room and it wasn't our favorite but it was still a good time and even better that Derrick got to wear this cool top hat!

Saturday was the highlight of the trip! Besides seeing Blue of course...she's always a highlight. We went white water rafting on the Chatooga. We went with the Nantahala Outdoor Center and they were excellent! It was a very early morning because we were two hours away and had to be there at 8:00 but the trip was spectacular and so worth it.

The river is in a nature preserve and the preserve has limited it to only three commercial rafting companies allowed permits on the river. They also require that groups are spaced out so that when you're out there on a trip you won't see any other rafters. They want visitors to really feel secluded and immersed in the amazing nature and beauty surrounding them. It was truly amazing. The entire 12 mile route probably had 30-40 rapids including some class 4s and an awesome class 5 sequence. The guides were so good and made us feel so safe even though it was actually a pretty dangerous environment. They took every safety precaution. Our adrenaline was pumping but we never felt in danger.

It was freezing when we got there and we were pretty nervous about that, but they had wet suits for us to wear and rafting jackets. Thank goodness! We were able to enjoy the whole experience without shivering the whole time.

Cute outfits.

They make a lot of money on these pictures but, the photographer does bring his kayak the entire way and we couldn't not buy one as a memory. We selected this one that we thought really captured the trip for us.

This should help you.

This trip was amazing. It was so refreshing and nice to get away and the rafting was such a cherry on top for us. We're already talking about going back with family or friends.

Congratulations for making it this far if you did! This was a monster post but it was about monster love. Happy Anniversary Derrick! I love you! Can't wait to see what you plan for us for year 6 ;-)