Monday, March 25, 2013


In December Ian and I decided to list our basement on Airbnb. We learned about Airbnb from some friends who have used it when traveling in Europe. We were originally just going to use it to find places to stay for our upcoming trip to Europe, but after learning more about it we realized that we have a great space in our house that is rarely used and could be a potential money-maker. One of airbnb's enticing lines to draw in potential hosts is: "Live a richer life: You could be making money with what you already have."

I was pretty wary at first. I was worried about the safety of our family, theft, vandalism- normal things you might worry about when considering opening your home to strangers. What finally made me feel comfortable with it is the fact that Airbnb has several steps users have to go through to confirm their identity including creating a detailed profile. I figured that if you know someone's name, phone number, occupation, and have picture of them they are probably not going to do anything nefarious while staying with you. Ian also installed a new door lock with key-pad entry so that instead of handing out keys and facing the possibility of people losing them or not returning them we just program in a new code for each guest and then wipe it as soon as they leave. The best thing is that we can choose to accept or decline anyone's reservation request. If you seem creepy on your profile then I don't want you sleeping in my basement.

Since we started hosting in December we have had about about eight or nine bookings. The shortest being one night and the longest being nine nights. We have had a medical student, a man who was obviously going through a mid-life crisis, a philosopher, a few conference goers, and some people just passing through Salt Lake. I tend to be a pretty shy person, so it's been an interesting experience to welcome people into my home while acting like I'm outgoing. One of the most interesting things for me, which I didn't expect, is that I worry about the people who stay with us. For example, Mr. Mid-Life Crisis decided to come to Utah on a whim to try skiing for the first time in his life. When he didn't return when he said he would I seriously thought about calling Snowbird to see if there had been any major accidents on the mountain that day.

Overall the experience has been good so far (knock on wood). It's definitely been a nice way to make some extra money for our Europe trip. It's also been fun to meet people from all over the country and world. It has definitely expanded my world view in a few different ways. Here's to more great guests!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kill Your TV

Ian and I recently banned Aven from all screen-time for one full week. She had been acting irritable and whiny when it was time to shut off a movie or game and had also been throwing some pretty major tantrums about it. Here's what we learned from our week of no screen-time:

1. Aven can be downright pleasant most of the time. Apparently watching TV brings out her worst behavior.
2. As a parent, it was really hard to be "on" all the time. There were some nights when Ian and I were both so tired that our normal reaction would have been to put a movie on for Aven so that we could collapse on the couch, but we stuck with it.
3. Aven LOVES creative play and it was so much fun to watch her use her imagination.
4. Aven loves to interact with Etta.
5. When she doesn't have a show to distract her, Aven never stops moving. Ever.
6. We don't need screens to survive our kids. Aven is really good at playing by herself when nobody is available to play with her.
7. The sounds of Aven and Etta talking, laughing, and playing are far more entertaining and delightful than any movie or show.
8. We won't stop watching, but we will give a lot more thought to what and when we watch from now on.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Etta Gets Tubed

After five ear infections in three months it was time for Etta to get tubes in her ears. I think she just wanted to be like me since I have tubes in my ears right now too. I was very nervous before the procedure because the thought of her getting anesthesia scared me. We encountered many great staff members at Primary Chinldren's over the course of our three-hour hospital visit. The further into the process we got the more comfortable I felt. I realize that it was a very minor, routine procedure, but as a parent it's nerve wracking to go through. She handled it all like a little champ.

Etta in her hospital jammies.

Ian playing the video game system in the waiting room meant for children who are about to have surgery.  I kicked him off- the mean wife that I am.

Cuddling with my babe before surgery.

In the recovery room sporting our matching ear tubes.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Laughing & Splashing

Here is an awesome video of my girls laughing together. Sorry it's sideways, deal with it.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Aven Discovers

Today Aven and I met friends at the Gateway for a Happy Meal and some fun at Discovery Gateway Children's Museum. I hadn't taken Aven to Discovery since she was about 18 months old, so this place was a whole new world for her. She easily could have spent all day playing at the water feature, but she enjoyed just about everything she tried.

Shopping at the Neighborhood Market. The little girl at the register (who we didn't know) was the self-appointed cashier and Aven and Alyssa listened to her and did everything she said. So cute I almost went into a cute-induced coma.

They BOTH wanted to drive. Good thing there were two steering wheels!

The water feature was the definite favorite of the day.

We were on the news!

She looks like such a big kid here- she's growing up at warp speed!