The Father's Day Disaster

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I pride myself at being absolutely on top of holidays. I have my gifts, surprises, meals, and outfit planned out three months *at least* in advance of holidays. This might be a bit extreme... but it works for me!

Except for this most recent Fathers Day.

It was an epic failure.

I planned on making this Fathers Day perfect for Ash. After all, he is the father of the year and it was his very first official Fathers Day!

For breakfast I would make him heart shaped french toast with a side of bacon and eggs. This breakfast of course would be in bed, and would be finished before he woke up so I could sneak into the room and wake him up to the smell of warm cinnamon and bacon.

We would then shower him with well thought out gifts that would let him know how much we loved him, and a card filled with words of affirmation,  proclaiming he is the best dad and husband alive.

It was all a great plan.

Until it didn't happen.

The week before Fathers Day was absolutely crazy to say the least, we were still figuring out what to do with out flooded carpet, scrubbing grout, cleaning, and fixing our sprinkler system. I planned on grabbing all my Fathers day supplies on Saturday, the day before Fathers Day, because I knew Ash would be busy at the house so I could grab everything without him suspecting anything.

Just as I had planned we went to our house to work on some things. After we were done, we were SO hungry that we decided to go home and make something... I decided that I would just go out again later in the evening to buy the supplies.

We spent some time together then Ash sat down to play some games with friends and relax. I decided it was the perfect time to go to the store. My plan was working out perfectly. I was cutting it close, but it would be just fine.

I put Harper in her car seat and we drove to the store. When we got there I took her out, sat her on my hip and we went  to find a cart. As soon as we got inside the store I smelled something iffy. My first instinctive thought was to check Harper's Diaper.

Sure enough as I reached down to check I felt warm goop on my fingers... I then looked at the white sweater I was wearing... and was dismayed to see that it was COVERED in poop. Harper had chosen the perfect time to have an explosive diaper.

I never forget to grab Harper's diaper bag, and ALWAYS carry an extra pair of clothes. I was set! I walked out to the car and to my dismay discovered that the ONE time I forgot to grab her diaper bag was tonight!

I couldn't put her back in her car seat to bring her home because I would get poop all over it, so I decided the only option I had was to walk into the store and buy a new outfit, diapers, and wipes. I found each item extremely quick. You can imagine my relief. I just had to buy them then run into the bathroom to change her. Then I could proceed to buy what I needed for Fathers Day and go home.

The store was pretty packed, I am guessing I am not the only one who had procrastinated for Fathers Day. I went to what *appeared* to be the quickest register. There was only 1 person in front of me... who just happened to have 98 chapsticks she wanted to buy (I know because I heard the register clerk count them.) He proceeded to ring her up, when the manager walked over and insisted that she count them again just to make sure his count was accurate.

You have got to be kidding me.

She proceeded to count them one by one... I sat in my feces covered sweater, holding my feces covered child and tried to smile at all the people who looked my direction.

FINALLY after what seemed like an hour the manager said, "Alright so we have 98 chapsticks."

Really? I thought to myself. You wanna double check those again?

Thankfully she didn't.

I proceeded to buy my items and rush to the bathroom.

As my luck would have it, the bathroom had a line... so I ran out to my car.

FYI: I have a compact car. Compact meaning it is snug. But since it was filled with stuff I needed to move to our new house, snug seemed like to large of a word to describe it. I sat in the one available seat besides my own and attempted to change Harper's poopy diaper while she stood up.

She bounced those chubby legs so much that she sent the poop that was left on her bum bum onto the parts of my white sweater that were still white till I felt like I had no white left. It was dark too which didn't help, and my car was at the very end of the parking lot so I locked myself in due to being paranoid that some creep would jump in my car cuz I was parked in timbuk2, limiting my already small space and making it that much tighter...

Rant over.

20 diaper wipes later I had her bum... my car... her legs... my arm... her car seat... my face (okay so that's an exaggeration but you get the idea) cleaned.

I sat her in her car seat and headed home. I was much too tired, frazzled and discouraged to go back into the store and get everything else. I just wanted Ash. And I was covered in poop...

I needed a shower.

I drove home holding back tears as I realized that by the time I drove home, got Harper to sleep, showered, and drove back...the store would be closed.

I ruined Fathers Day.

The one day I wanted to make perfect.

I walked inside feeling extremely defeated, Ash saw me and asked what was wrong... all I could do was cry and point at my poop covered sweater saying "I ruined Fathers Day... I need to go back... You need to have the perfect Fathers Day!" He took one look at my feces covered self and proceeded to burst into a fit of laughter.

This did NOT make me feel very good and I was convinced that life as I knew it was over... so I left him and his laughter in the living room and got in the tub with Harper so I could clean us both off.

A little while later the amazing Ash came and checked on me. "You okay?" he asked. I proceeded to break down and vent about all the wonderful plans I had and how now he would never have a good memory of his first Fathers Day and that I had ruined everything when I just wanted to show him how good of a dad he had been to Harper and husband to me... etc etc. In a way only he can do, he smiled and told me that it was okay and he was the happiest guy alive. He told me that I made him feel like a million bucks every day and he didn't need presents to know that I loved him. He told me if I felt that bad about it that I could make it up to him on Monday.

I love him.

Me and Harper finished out bath, got in jammies, and snuggled up to the best Father and Husband in the entire world and fell into a deep, sleep, feeling very very blessed.

Because we are.

For My Dad

Sunday, June 15, 2014
Daddy,

Do you remember those times you used to take me to the hardware store on the weekends? I wanted to go down every isle, every time, but my favorite was the one with all the nails, screws and bolts. I would stick my arms, elbow deep, into those buckets and let the cold metal pieces slip through my fingers.

Thank you for taking me with you.

I've never met a braver guy than you Dad. You were always my superhero. No one else could compare, how could they? You were obviously the strongest, the bravest, and the smartest.

Thank you for being my hero.

You called all seven of us kids buddy. But that didn't change the fact that every time you said it to me, I felt like the best buddy you ever had.

Thank you for being my friend.

I looked forward to Saturdays. Saturdays meant that it was time to work. There was always a new project to be done. My favorite was painting. You taught us how to cover every inch of that wall in a beautiful, even, clean layer of paint. As we painted you would play some good ol' rock and roll on the radio. Every time I hear old rock, I can't help but think of you.

Thank you for teaching me to work.

Every silly song I wrote, every piece of paper I filled, every cookie I baked, you encouraged me. You made me feel like I could sing, like I could write, like I could be anyone I wanted to be, even when I didn't.

Thank you for believing in me.

You taught me how to climb mountains, literally. From the time I was extremely little you took us on mountain adventures. You taught me how to navigate a map, read a compass, start a fire, survive if I was lost, and climb higher when I felt like giving up. Those trips taught me that there was no mountain to high, or rocky, or steep, that I couldn't climb it.

Thank you for pushing me to be better.

There were so many times I asked you what you thought of my outfit: church, the first day of school, homecoming, prom, the first date... I always wanted your approval. Without fail, every time you would look at me and say, "Buddy, it looks great."

Thank you for helping me feel beautiful.

I always knew you loved me. No matter how annoying, or disobedient, or stupid I sometimes was, you were there. When I had nightmares in the night, you were there. When I was sick or in pain, you were there. When I foolishly got my heart broken, by the boy who didn't care... you were there.

Thank you for being there.

I was convinced every night that someone was going to break into our house. I know I am probably the most paranoid person you know, and I'm sorry for the amount of times I asked you if all the doors were locked... I just had to double check. The truth is, as long as you were there, I knew I didn't need to be worried.

Thank you for protecting me.

Boy would we have the best wrestling matches known to man. It was all us kids against you. Do you remember how we would all climb on your arm and attempt to hold it down? Even with every single one of us pushing our weight down on you, you were still able to lift us all up. I always was in awe of that. My dad had to be the strongest guy alive, I'm still convinced that he is.

Thank you for being strong.

Every morning when we woke up, before you took off to work, we would gather as a family and kneel on the stairs to pray. I looked forward to that more than you would ever know. You taught me that it was important. You taught me to trust God. You taught me that I was never alone.

Thank you for having faith.

Then there was the day I came home with a ring on my finger. I remember showing you and seeing that maybe you weren't quite ready. Because as much as I sometimes talked back, or the times I was lazy when you wanted me to get something down, I knew you were going to miss me. I didn't think it was possible dad, to love another man as much as I love you. How could I ever find someone as strong, and brave, and amazing as you? I never thought it was possible until it happened. Some things you can't believe without seeing. Just know you will always be the first man I loved.

Thank you for giving me away.

Dad...

If I could even wrote 1/100th of the memories I have with you, or lessons you have taught me, I would. But I can't. There are too many to count. You have filled my life with moments that I wouldn't trade for the world.

I am the luckiest girl alive to have you as my dad and I mean each and every one of those words.

Happy Fathers Day Dad!

I love you.

Natasha

How I Flooded My New Home

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
There is no better feeling than purchasing your first home.

There is no worse feeling than flooding that house a week after they hand you the keys.

Yes, me and Ash single-handedly flooded our very own home.

We have always been VERY careful with our money. Besides the essentials (food, water, diapers, gas, rent/mortgage) we really never spend extra money.

So of course we decided to clean the carpets in our new house by ourselves, instead of hiring someone else to do it.

We borrowed a carpet cleaner from a friends dad. After receive pretty vague instructions on how to use it, we started our project.

We soaked those carpets with chemicals, I'm talking soooaaakkked. We then rinsed them with an equally disastrous amount of water. We then left the house convinced that when we came back the next day that the carpets would be all dry and smell like roses in a field of happiness.

BIG MISTAKE.

We came back the next day to carpets that seemed to have gotten WETTER and not dryer overnight (...how is that possible?!). We decided that the best solution to this problem we created would be to re-clean every carpet, but this time leave all the windows open.

Operation soak the carpets in buckets of water, then rinse the carpets in even more water, commenced yet again.

This time though, we left the house with all the windows cracked open. We knew when we came back in a couple days that the carpets would definitely be dry.

A couple days later we returned. As we opened our front door, the most vile, nasty, vomit-inducing smell hit us like a ton of bricks.

(Noooooo!!)

Every inch of our carpets was emitting the most foul mildew stench I had ever smelled. I began to full on panic.

"I knew this was a bad idea Ash! I knew we should have hired someone. Now we are going to have to pull out all these carpets and spend 2000+ on new carpets. Ash we just bought a house! We can't spend 2000 on new carpets!!"

I began to Google every possible solution to our problem. What I thought would help me find a magical remedy for mildewing carpets, only led me to a ton of sites telling me that if we were to leave soaked carpets overnight for more than 24 house we were destined to have a mold filled home, that we had pretty much flooded our own home, and that if we were smelling mildew it already means you have mold growth.


Now you should know that I have a tendency to assume the worst possible case scenario when placed in a high stress situation. I know, its a problem. But, I was convinced we had already grown a mold market.

"Ash! We cannot live here. We need to leave immediately. I will not bring my child into a moldy home. I cannot do it. You can die from mold Ash! We have to tear out all the carpets now!" I exclaimed.

Poor Ash. He just sat and listened to me rant about the worse case scenarios for a good 2 hours. Finally the germ-a-phobe, anxiety ridden side of me calmed down and I took a breath. "A happy wife makes for a happy life, calm down," I told myself three times fast in my head.

"You know what Ash? This will be such a fun experience to go through together huh?" Who gets to say they flooded their own house"

Ash looked at me with a look I presume meant either "my wife is a mental roller coaster," or "I am so glad she no longer thinks she is going to die from a mold overdose." Probably both. "We'll have someone come look at it when it dries, until then let's not worry" he told me.

Wow, such a simple solution.

It was about that time that we discovered a special setting on the carpet cleaner that sucks up all the water from the carpets (wouldn't that be nice to know three days ago). Maybe we could save our carpets after all. We sucked all the water out of our carpets till we could only feel a tiny hint of dampness under our feet. We then proceeded to spray them with vinegar to remove the scent of mildew. We left feeling very hopeful that the carpets would finally dry this time.

Well good news.

THEY DID!

It took about a week for the mildew scent to finally leave, but it has and we are thrilled.

Now we are just hoping that no significant mold growth has occurred underneath the carpets in the carpet pads. After we get that checked, we can finally move in our new home!

*Fingers Crossed!*

Oh how fun it is to be a Craig!  

Our Love Story

Sunday, June 8, 2014

[In celebration of our 2 year anniversary today, I wanted to share our love story with you! I have had many requests to write our love story. So for all who are interested in how we met and fell in love... here you go!]

HOW WE MET

His side of the story:

I first saw Natasha during one of our church meetings. This was about six months before we ever officially met. I was immediately attracted to her, but never made any attempts to talk to her or to get her attention. I could tell by watching her that she was a little bit quiet, but I wasn't sure if it was a shy, sweet, quiet; or a bratty, stuck-up quiet ;P.

After first seeing her, life went on pretty normal for me. I was dating here and there, going to school at Utah Valley University, and working as a personal trainer for Gold's Gym. A bit before I met Natasha, I was dating a girl who ended up making out with one of my best buddies, so I ended it with her. I'm a spiritual guy and believe very deeply in prayer, so I decided at this point to start asking God what he thought I should do in regards to my future. I asked God to help me find a good girl who would love me, take care of me, and be good for me.

A few days later I was at church. During one of my classes I decided to go get a drink from the drinking fountain. As I was walking down the hallway, Natasha rounded the corner and was walking straight towards me. My heart was pounding and I tried to build some courage. "Say something smooth, say something smooth!" I told myself. Then as we got close, and were about to pass each other, our eyes met and I said "Hey." "Nailed it." I thought to myself. But I really knew I nailed it when she got a shy smile, looked down and said, "Hi..." back. "She wants me," I told myself. From that point on, I could not get her out of my mind. I was filled with this in-explainable feeling, I knew I was supposed to be with her. 

I went on vacation with my family the next week and thought about her constantly. I Facebook stalked her till 2:00 in the morning. It took me forever to find her, because at that point I still didn't know her name. But finally I found her. I showed my sister-in-law and said, "Check out the girl I'm going to marry."

The following night, our ward had a get together that my buddy convinced me to give the spiritual thought at. He told me that Natasha would be there for sure and it was a good chance to get her to notice me. When I got there, I could not see her anywhere and was really bummed out. To my surprise, she was there. After I gave the spiritual thought, I saw her sitting with some friends... she looked like an angel. I, to that point, had never had any issues approaching girls, but boy was I nervous to approach her. I chickened out and had my buddy Ricky break the ice. We started talking and spent the rest of the evening getting to know each other. Before I went home I asked her out to a Jazz game. I had great seats and I'm still convinced that's why she said yes!  


Our first date was a breath of fresh air. I felt so strongly that God told me to marry her even before I knew her name... She was perfect and since that date, except for one exception, we have been together every day since. 

There couldn't be a happier guy. Sure we have our fair share of struggles, but Natasha has helped me to become a better man, and that is what it is all about: learning and growing together; figuring out the journey one step at a time. I am in love with the most beautiful girl in the world and I thank God for her and my sweet baby girl every day. 

Her Side of the Story:

I first met the amazing Ashton Craig at our church's Sunday night activity. I got to the activity a few minutes late so I had to stand pretty far in the back. They had just announced the spiritual thought, I remember listening to it, and thinking it was really good. I did not recognize the guy who was giving the thought, other than the fact that I had seen him walk into the room from the bathroom a couple minutes earlier.

After the thought, everyone mingled and I went over and sat by one of my friends. A group of guys approached us, in the group was the mysterious spiritual thought guy I had seen coming from the bathroom. He showed lots of interest in me and I remember thinking it was cute how nervous he was (he talked to me for a good 5 minutes about Jeans!).

We talked until midnight and he asked me out to a Jazz game that was being held that following Tuesday. To this day he'll tell you that I only went because he ha second row seats, but that is not true! I went because I had so much fun with him and wanted to get to know him better.


Our first date was amazing. We instantly clicked and it felt like I had known him forever. I remember feeling like I could be 100% myself with him. Everything was so natural and right when I was with him. He asked me out again for a group date game night a couple days after. We watched a movie after playing games, and near the end of the movie he kissed me for the first time. It was during that kiss that I knew he was more than just another date or person in my life. I felt so strongly inside that he was going to be special. After our second date, we never spent a single day apart. We were with each other every single day from that day on! 


I am so grateful for the amazing man Ashton is in my life. He has made me a better person. We have been through so many experiences that have reiterated that we are meant to be together. 





THE PROPOSAL

Ash planned the most gorgeous and perfect proposal for me. He had been very sick the previous week and so we were unable to go on a date he had planned for us. On April 3rd, he called me at school and asked if I could go out that evening to make up for the previous week. I said that I would love too. 


                                                                                                                                        When I got home there was a dress, shoes, necklace, earrings, a rose, and a note laid out on my bed. The note said to be ready by 6 for a very special evening. We had talked about marriage a lot, so I thought maybe tonight was the night he would propose, but I was not sure because he planned really sweet dates for me a lot and I thought maybe this was just one of those!  

                                              He picked me up right on time. We drove to the most beautiful french restaurant, La Caille. I could not believe how nice the restaurant was... there were even peacocks on the lawn! We walked around the gardens for a while before going inside to eat.


Ash had reserved an entire room just for us. There were candles all around the room, and rose petals all over the floor. Our table was in the middle of the room decorated perfectly.

After we had finished eating the waiter walked over with a silver platter. On the silver platter there was a note and a rose. He handed me the note and I started to read. In the note Ash told me how he had known he was supposed to marry me before he even knew my name (he had never told me this previous). I looked up after reading to see Ash on one knee. He then asked me to marry him, and I said YES!!




WEDDING 

We were married June 8th in the Mount Timpanogos Temple, it was an amazing moment for both of us. We had a luncheon after our temple ceremony, and a beautiful reception later that evening. Watch our wedding video here.



Modest is NOT Hottest:

Sunday, June 1, 2014
Growing up in a materialistic world is a challenge, I won't sugar coat it. Pretty much all of my self esteem issues can stem back to those moments I unwisely compared myself to some unrealistic expectation found on a magazine or makeup add, of what I should look like.

The fashion industry called for shorter shorts, and lower necklines; a bigger chest and thinner legs; perfectly shaped eyebrows, and a pencil thin waist. I was told constantly exactly what I needed to look like to be hot, to be desired, and to be sexy to my male counterparts.    

Well, there was one problem. I, being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, believed in modesty. And pretty much 9 out of 10 outfits on the ads around me were anything but modest. This being considered, you can imagine my happiness when I first heard the phrase "Modest Is Hottest" at my Young Women church meeting. The idea that I could be modest AND hot was pretty appealing.

Or so it seemed.

It's been many years since I first heard that phrase, and I would like to share something I have learned after a combination of mistakes along with a whole chunk of trial and error on my part:

Modest Is NOT Hottest.

I'm coming out and telling you something I was never told, because it is something that needs to be understood.

If you want to be "hot" if you want to be "sexy" if you want to be "eye candy" you will not find that while keeping your shorts long, and necklines high.
Seductive eyes and enhanced body parts are "hot". 
Exposed stomachs and push up bras are "hot".
The teeny tiny bikini your mom would not let you buy is "hot". 
Unblemished, soft, hairless, skin showing bodies are "hot".

The idea that we can be virtuous and walk around looking "hot" at the same time does not add up. 

It does not happen.

We as women want to be loved, we want to be valued, we want someone to surprise us with roses, and write us cute love songs on their guitar, we want to be in love with a man we can call our best friend. But somewhere along the way we have been falsely led to believe that in order to be loved... in order to be valued, we need to be sexually appealing and that if we are appealing, that love we seek will come to us.

I've searched countless websites that defined the word "hot" in relation to women. Adjectives like "very good looking," "sexy," "easy on the eyes," "sexy clothes," "enticing," "intense sexual desire," came up. Not once did anyone connect "hot" with the desire to take a girl on a long walk, or to take her out just to get to know her asking nothing in return at the end of the date.

So, to the girls who inch up your skirt just a little higher than you should... To the girls who pull that shirt down a little too low... To the girls who give a little more than you should be giving, thinking you will get that love you so desperately desire, only to be told "it's not you, it's me" and left wanting what you gave back, feeling confused and broken...

Please listen to me.

I was once you.

I know what it is like to enjoy the attention I would get from the boys I knew. To hear my name be whispered among them, and feel set apart from other girls.

But I also know what its like to want to know deep inside if anyone would love me for "me" and not just how I look or the shape of my body.

I once found pleasure in being wanted, in being told I was hot. I once was willing to lower my standards a little bit every now and then to get approval from a cute boy.

I regret those moments. . . with my whole soul.

Because I know something now that I did not understand then. Something that if I did understand then... Would have prevented me from even the faintest desire to be that girl everyone wanted in that way.

I know what its like to be in love with my best friend. I know what it is like to have someone love every silly little part of me, even the ones that may annoy him at times. I know how good it feels to be told I am beautiful--even if I don't think I am. I know what it is like to laugh every day, even the bad ones, because he knows how to make me smile even when I'm hurting. I know how special it is to look at the man I love and see him looking back... every time.

But do you know what else I know? I know how hard it is to watch him live in a world full of sexual pollution and immodesty. I know how frustrating it is to be a wife in a world were girls seem to dress with less each year. Because as much as I hate to admit it, I know that every single guy is going to be affected in some way by the exposure around him.

Some will embrace it, seek it, and enjoy it. They will give you attention, they will make you feel special, and they will tell you how much they want you. And they will continue to tell you everything you want to hear, making you believe that they really care. But, once they get what they came for they will be content because they did not want anymore than that.  

But girls, I can promise you one thing. The guy you are going to want to be with, the guy who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated, is not going to be found with that mini skirt and low cut neckline. Because a guy like that will be saving his eyes only for you and because he is saving his eyes only for you, he will avoid people who make that very hard for him.

Don't be one of those people.

If you aren't congratulations--you are much wiser than I was sometimes. And, if you are please change.

Please change for yourself: you are worth much more than that. Do not think for one second that your value lays in the amount of guys who find you physically attractive.

Please change for the wives: the wives around you who you frustrate greatly (trust me, you do). Change for the wife who you eventually will be... Who if you don't understand what I'm saying now, will when you get married.

Please change for him: the man you will marry. Because to catch that guy I know and hope you want to catch and the guy you truly deserve, you need to be much more than a pretty face.

Maybe the problem is that we are trying to hard to be hot when we need to work on being beautiful.

Because a beautiful girl, one that is physically a mystery is much more appealing in the long run than the girl who bares it all.

There is a time and place to be hot, to be desired and to be sexy. And its not in the grocery store, at work, or at school. A truly wonderful man, who will treat you well, and love you forever, will want you to be beautiful for the whole world to see!

But... he will want you to be hot... only for him.

Save it for him.