Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mourning happens

I've been struggling with writing this post for a few weeks now.
My grandfather is dying.

In the last few years he has battled different cancers. At first it was prostate cancer. He would get sick, and then start to do better. Get sick and then start to do better. And then it was bone cancer.

When sweet husband and I found out we would be leaving Texas, we made plans. We would take a month of leave, and road trip to Idaho to visit our grandparents and show off the new baby.
But, plans change. Our baby stayed inside a little longer than we expected, and instead of a eight-ish week old, we had a four week old. I managed to come down with mastitis the week after his birth, and then struggled to stay healthy enough to move. We spent four weeks visiting my parents, where I battled exhaustion, sinus problems, and general malaise.
We never made it to Idaho.

This is the type of crisis where you lean on your friends and family that are nearby. I had just left all of mine.

The first time my mom called to let me know what was going on, I spent the day on the floor. I had cried all I could. I didn't have the energy to get up. I just laid on the carpet in my messy messy room and nursed the baby.

I'm not going to lie. Some days are just hard. It's hard for me to be so far away. To think of how I could have driven up so easily just a few months ago, and now it's just not an option.
I find myself crying for my boys. They will never get to go finishing on grandpa's boat again, or drive in the truck with him. My heart aches for all the things that they will never be able to share with him.

I don't have the same circle of friends that I had in Texas. I don't have a support system here yet. We're still looking for a church. We're still learning the area. We're still coming out of transition.  It's a lot to handle all at once.

I'm mourning. I'm mourning for me. I'm mourning for my family.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Guidelines for a Great Tutorial

As a self proclaimed DIY addict, I look up a lot of tutorials.

In the last week my tutorial searching has included:
How to use a spiralizer.
How to diy Chalk paint.
How to replace baby swing battery.
How to make carrot rice.
How to paint an area rug.
How to build a bench.
How to build a sofa.
How to build shelves.
How to install shelves.
How to deal with metal studs*.

As you can see, I average more than one tutorial per day. While it may be crazy, it does put me in the perfect place to judge a good tutorial from a bad tutorial.

1. Music.
If you're making a video tutorial please DO NOT add music. If you absolutely positively must have music, make it instrumental. Nothing makes me turn off a tutorial faster than having music come blaring from my speakers. I don't care how great the song is. It ruins both the song and the tutorial for me.

This is kind of along the same lines as those irritating blogs that used to have music play in the background whenever you went to their page. Please let me pick my own mood music.

2. Blabbering.
I understand you feel funny talk to a camera. It can be a little uncomfortable, I get it.
But I didn't not tune in to hear you spend 3 minutes talking about why you chose the shorts you're wearing, to paint your picture frames. Unless the outfit directly affects the project, it doesn't matter.
Reminding people to wear close toed shoes while mowing = GOOD.
Reminding me to put my favorite comfy shorts on before I glue rocks to something = BAD.

On that same note, I don't need to know what you ate for dinner or how many hours you slept last week, unless of course, that is the subject of the tutorial.

3. Experience.
Experience is ALWAYS important. Do NOT make a tutorial for something you've never done before. Please, wait until the second time.
If you absolutely, positively must make a tutorial for something you've never attempted before, mention that at the beginning, AND do not edit the final results. Let your viewers decide whether or not they need your guidance.

4. Know your tools.
This goes hand in hand with experience. When you're explaining the tools, make sure you know what they do and how they work. This may seem like a given, but I've found several tutorials of people who have never used the tool they are showcasing.

5. Vocabulary
Don't be afraid to use the common layman's terms. There is a very high probability your audience isn't completely versed in the technical terms. Break it down for us. We'll appreciate greatly!

6. Don't Skip Steps.
If you're doing a photo tutorial, this is big. If you skip a step, your audience is going to be lost and/or confused.

7. Revisit.
Don't be afraid to revisit your tutorial and tweak things a little. Whether you found a misspelled word. Or discovered a better way of doing something.
Trust me, it won't be unappreciated!

*The studs in our walls are metal, not wood. I found this out while installing curtain rods.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Playing Catch Up

I have been rather negligent in my blog keeping over the last few months.

First thing first, my last post was about reaching the 40 week mark in pregnancy, Baby Luke (AKA Star Wars) was born four weeks later, in our living room. Following in the fashion of his brothers, Luke did not to wait for a birthing professional to join us. Our midwife arrived in time to help with the clean up though!

To celebrate his first week of life, the army gave us official orders when Luke was eight days old. Three weeks later, our house was empty, we had all been screened for overseas travel, and we said "goodbye" to Texas. We were able to spend a few weeks recovering and visiting family before flying out to our new duty station.

We're making progress getting settled into our new place. The "box decor" is still predominant in our downstairs living area. The fact is, we have too many books. I know. I know. I too, once thought that there could never be "too many books". Now that I face the task of finding homes for these books, I realize the truth. I won't tell you exactly how many boxes of books we have still waiting to be unpacked, but I will say if each box was a year, our boxes would have no problem visiting a bar… On the plus side,  they wouldn't qualify for social security yet.