Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hooray for Tax Returns!!

We just filed our taxes online using TurboTax. Super easy, I love it. It took us about 30 minutes total and our return is going to be TWICE as much as we expected! Yahoo!!!

This is very good news because now we'll have a LOT more elbow room as we continue our "house-hunting". We're still sticking to our original price range, but now we'll have a little extra for things like a new couch or fresh paint if it's needed.

Speaking of house hunting, I think I'll stop talking about it for a while. Not to keep you all out of the loop, but it's too "up and down" and annoying/confusing. A couple days after my last post where we "lost" our first choice, we signed an offer for another house. Before we even had a chance to submit it, my dad (our realtor) talked to the selling realtor and found out it had also just been snatched. Soooo, we're back to searching online, making more trips to look at homes and trying to find new options. I'll let you know when something happens. :)

In other random news, tonight my little brother Kevin will be having his Eagle Court of Honor. He finished all his paperwork and had his final review the night before his 18th birthday! (Talk about cutting it close!) Anyways, we're really proud of him. Good job bro!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Read the post below. The offer on the house is no more. Yesterday, the same day we put our offer in, someone else put an offer in - for cash. Soooo, we're not getting that house. Silly me, I definitely got way too excited because now I'm extremely bummed. I should have known it was coming. We'll keep looking around I guess.

The Waiting Game (& Some Great Deals!)

We are sitting in limbo on more than one thing now. First of all, I said a few days ago that Justin's car was finally going to start getting repaired (it's been a week). Wellll, maybe not. From the initial "look-over" by the mechanic, the repairs may be close to $6000. The car is only worth about $3000, maybe $3500... So now we're sitting around waiting for all the right paperwork to be submitted to find out if they're just going to total the car. Fortunately, we still have the rental car until a decision is made. After that, we're lucky enough to be able to borrow my mom's car for a little while.

Short side-story: My dad had a little seizure around the beginning of the month and legally, he's not allowed to drive for 90 days afterward (in case he were to have a repeat seizure and cause an accident). Therefore, my parents have an extra vehicle until April 7th. We have a friend/neighbor who, for a living, shops for cars at auctions and resells them. He's the one that got me my trusty Mazda when I got my license. We're probably going to have him look around for a good car for us, but since we can borrow my mom's car for a little while, we don't have to rush and we have a little extra time to save up a little more money.

OK, limbo item number two.... Drumroll.... WE PUT AN OFFER ON A HOUSE!! I mentioned that we had started house hunting and although we didn't anticipate putting an offer in this soon, that's how it happened. Let me explain. :) We've been very casually looking around Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek for the last several months. We actually only ever looked online, that's how casual we were. Someone suggested we look in Maricopa, AZ; a pretty newly booming town about 30 minutes south-west of Phoenix. We looked up houses online and you wouldn't believe the house you can get for the money out there! Nice neighborhoods, parks, community pools, clean, the "oldest" house we found was built in 2004...

So, more about the house we put an offer on. It was actually the first house we looked at in Maricopa and after about 20 houses in between, it was the last house we looked at. All within one week. It has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 2181 sq ft, 2 story. It's a short-sale, which usually take months and months to process, but this one already has the price approved at $105,000. They had a buyer back out, so it's already been through all the bank processes. Hopefully it won't take forever to hear back from them.

So, now that I've gotten myself and hopefully all of you excited, cross your fingers, wish upon a star, and PRAY. We'll keep the blog updated. It may be a little while until we hear anything though. (Where's the medium ground where you really really want it to happen, but you tell yourself don't get your hopes up too high?)

PART II of my post title: Great Deals!

I was so excited for these couple of fabulous deals I got recently I had to share. :) First, a sweatery, shirt/wrap thingy for me... (I don't know how to describe it). On the clearance rack at Kmart for $1.99. I also got a gray camisole/tank top on the same clearance rack for 79 cents. Awesome! (pay no attention to my hair, it is definitely not cooperating today)

Next, I found some cute jeans for Carrie at Walmart today. They were on sale for $8, so I thought, hmmm, OK, I'll just pick my favorite pair. When I got to checkout, they rang up as $2!! Honest me, I made the lady double check. Sure enough, $2. So I went back and got a second pair with a different design. Score! Good deals make me so happy : )

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How Our 1-year-old is Measuring Up

Carrie had her 1 year check-up today. The doctor said she's all up to date with her motor and verbal skills. Everything's going good. She got three shots :( and screamed really really loud. She must have just condensed her screams though because they only lasted about 10 seconds. Here are her stats:

Weight: 18 lbs, 0 oz 7th %ile
Length: 29 1/2 in 60th %ile

In other news, we finally heard back from State Farm yesterday (the insurance of the girl who caused Justin's car wreck last week). Justin was able to pick up a rental car and they got started on fixing his car. Yeah! Hopefully this mess will be over soon.

Another random note, I think I forgot to mention something in Carrie's birthday post. We had hamburgers for dinner and I was the one who started the grill and threw the burgers on. Apparently I'm really bad at grilling burgers. I left the burners on high and the burgers on the grill for about 20 minutes. They were charcoal. 15 burgers. Crispified. I was so frustrated. Anyways, that was just another un-fun moment that made that day crazy. Luckily, our neighbors had some hamburgers we could replace our ruined ones with, so we still got to have yummy burgers (when my sister Marissa cooked them instead).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Birthday Girl!

Happy Birthday to Carrie yesterday!! January 23, 2009 at 1:07pm we welcomed Carrie Elizabeth into our family.

Where did our itsy-bitsy baby go?!?!

Coming home from the hospital at one day old.

Jump ahead one year, and tah-dah!!! - Teddy Bear Birthday Cake! Because she is often called "Care-Bear", and my little sister actually calls her just "Bear", I decided to make a teddy bear cake. I'm extremely pleased with myself! The paws and ears are cupcakes and the head I baked in a small metal mixing bowl so the circle would be smaller than the 8" round cake pan I used for the tummy.

After singing and blowing out the candle, Carrie got to dive into the head. It took about 10 minutes for her to want to do anything to it, but she finally started grabbing fingerfulls of frosting and licking it.

Total damage done by Carrie. So much for "diving in".

Present time! Of course, her favorite part was pulling the tissue paper out of the bags and playing with that.

Although she did seem to enjoy the "quiet book" pretty well. All in all, she got a couple of outfits, 2 puzzles, a few small toys (most of which were bought to stay at Grandma's house) and her quiet book, which was AMAZING to have in sacrament meeting today! It's all made of cloth, but there are plenty of interesting things to play with; beads, hide-a-flaps, zippers, buttons etc. so it's very entertaining without making any noise!

Aside from the actual birthday party, the day was pretty rough. Around 10 in the morning, I had set Carrie in front of a playhouse Disney cartoon while I was doing dishes or something. A minute later, she somehow rolled/fell into the leg of the coffee table and gave herself a nice line bruise on her forehead. Later in the afternoon we were already at my parents house and Justin was holding Carrie in the family room. She wiggled and pushed her legs against Justin sooo fast that she totally jumped/fell out of his arms and landed on her shoulder and head.

We were trying to console her and make sure she was ok, (it was a nasty fall; at least she landed on carpet). After about 30 seconds, she started to throw up! It was awful! My mom looked up falling/throwing up online and it said it's actually very common for kids to throw up once right after a hard hit to the head. Mostly because of whole body shock in the moment. Basically it said she didn't need to go to the doctor unless she kept throwing up, or didn't act like herself after the fall.

After a few minutes of sitting on my lap sniffling, she was back on her feet, running around playing. She acted completely normal the rest of the night and didn't show ANY signs of a concussion. Lucky us.

Later that evening, she took another couple hits; one by pulling a desk drawer out into her cheek and another slipping and landing with her face on the bottom step of the stairs. Hopefully this birthday will not have scarred her for life. Better luck next year.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Rain, Rain, Go Away" ... Seriously...

**Happy note at the bottom of the post**

I live in Arizona for a reason... It's warm and dry. And that's the way I like it.

The weather, however seemed to have lost that memo over about the last 4 days and it's been pouring buckets non-stop!! Now don't get me wrong, I love the smell of rain and the clean feeling afterwards, but about a half an hour rain shower can accomplish that.

As of tonight, Phoenix now has a tornado warning.... ???? Really?

Anyways, the real reason of my post (and sorry I've neglected you all this past week or so).

ARIZONA DRIVERS DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DRIVE IN THE RAIN! It's really not that difficult. Follow two simple rules: 1) Slow down a little, which includes allowing a little more time for braking, and 2) If your wipers need to be on, your headlights need to be on.

Rain is such a beautiful rarity here in the Valley of the Sun that it seems at the first raindrop on the windshield, people forget how to drive completely!

Case-in-point: This morning when Justin was driving to work, his car became the unfortunate punching bag of a driver who didn't follow rule number one, allow for stopping time. He was involved in a 4 car collision where the car 2 people behind him hit the car behind him which made him hit the car in front of him. (say that 3 times fast) And all when he was only about a mile away from being safely at work. Fan-tas-tic.

His back and front bumpers were beat up, and the muffler on the back was messed up enough that his car had to be towed from the scene. This means I had to drive into Phoenix to pick him up. I was supposed to be at work by 8 this morning, but I called and explained the situation. I didn't get into work until 10:00.

And the whole time I was driving to get him, and driving to and from my own work,I saw way too many stupid drivers. Going 75, weaving in and out of lanes, no lights on; and all in enough rain that I had my wipers cranked up as fast as they would go. It's like begging to get in an accident. Especially because the dirt is like concrete here and when it rains, no water soaks into the ground; it's too hard. Instead, everything just floods.

Everyone chant with me "Rain, rain, go away... rain, rain go away..." Or at least spread out a little more evenly through the year ;)

***On a very short, happy side-note, we've officially started house hunting!!! More updated info as things happen***

I'm exhausted... Good thing tomorrow's Friday :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

1988 called; They Want Their Pajamas Back

My mom kept a rare few things from when I was a baby. One thing she kept were these pajamas that I wore when I was close to Carrie's age. I had Carrie try them on last night and they're almost too small! I'm glad I found them when I did (during the recent clothes and closet re-arranging).

My brothers also had fun a couple nights ago trying to teach Carrie how to drink from a drinking fountain (my parents have one in their house). You have to watch both videos, (they're not very long) SOO funny!

Pretty good for the first try :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My To-Do List Motivator

Well, I pretty much asked for this...

With the new clothes Carrie got for Christmas and all the 12 month size clothes I've been pulling one by one out of the closet, she has way too many clothes to fit in her dresser right now. I'm pretty sure there are still 6 month sizes in there.

So for about the last week, I've put her clothes in these shelves. It's been on my to-do list since then to clean out her drawers and box-up the smaller clothes so I can put all the right size clothes neatly away in the dresser.

Apparently I wasn't getting around to it fast enough. One of Carrie's new favorite things is to go into her room and shut the door. This is what I saw when I found her only about a minute after she'd gone in there.
. Looks like I'm going to be re-arranging her dresser today :)


**After about 20 minutes of re-arranging... Wow, I knew she had some things that were too small, but I didn't realize it was THIS much! All these clothes were in her dresser and are too small for her now. Her wardrobe actually looks pretty tiny now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bow Project

You can't see quite all the details in the pictures, but you get the general idea. I'm excited to have them displayed so nicely instead of shoving them all into a ziploc bag. ;)

2010 Resolutions/Goals

As promised, here's our New Year's Resolutions/Goals

-Blog more like a conversation and less like a newspaper reporter. This probably means blogging more often.
-Meet the girls on my Visiting Teaching paper (including my companion) so I want to go Visiting Teaching.
-Attend the Temple once a month
-Cook dinner at least 4x a week. Aim for more fruits, veggies, fiber etc. Plan meals ahead of time and stick to my shopping list.
-Do my daily mini-workouts (push-ups and crunchies etc.) and go jogging twice a week. Work up to summer goal of sometime this summer, running some sort of race (probably just a 5k, gotta start somewhere)

-Workout at least 4x a week. This could include using the pull-up bar, going to the apartment gym (lifting weights) or going running.
-Go Home Teaching
-Attend the Temple once a month

-Keep saving money, paying off credit cards, and student loan
-Host some sort of Dinner/Dessert/Game Party
-Buy a house

**Pictures of Bow hanging project to come soon!!**

Friday, January 8, 2010

Let there be Light!

It seems silly, but I'm REALLY excited we finally got a light kit for our ceiling fan in the living room. We've been living on daylight and a 3-click lamp for the past 8 months. Now that it's winter and it feels like the sun starts going down at 4:30, it's been a little dark in our apartment. The Christmas tree helped most recently, but when we took that down a couple days after Christmas, we were reminded how poorly lit our house really is. Here's before and after...

No, I'm not kidding. This is actually a picture of our living room with the new light "off". Obviously our eyes can see things better than a camera can, but still...dark.

Tah-Dah!! You'd never guess it was the same room! If you look really close at the "dark" picture, you can kind of see the outline of the big picture straight ahead.
. And the final hoorah; Our new family pictures/new living room wall! I've been so excited to get this done. I think it looks great!!

I have a new project that's in progress for Carrie's bows, but I won't take a picture of it until it's done. (You should be very excited. So far it's really cute!)

Last, but not least: A plug for Stephenie Meyer's "The Host". I wasn't interested in reading it when it came out (I think a year and a half ago?...) because I was still too into the Twilight series. However, I just finished "The Host" a few days ago and I LOVED it! One of those books that I would have been happy if it were twice as long... even though it already had close to 700 pages. Anyways, if you haven't read it, you should. :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Going on Strike Against "Being Sick"

I. Hate. Being. Sick.

Even worse, I. Hate. Justin. Being. Sick.

And the cherry on top... I. Hate. Carrie. Being. Sick.

Our super fun trip to New Mexico this weekend for New Years ended up being squashed by the sick bug. Here's how the weekend went.

We hit the road Thursday afternoon (New Years Eve) and pulled into Justin's parent's house around 11:00pm (Justin's sister Alysha and our niece Savannah were there too). Since New Years Eve isn't really all that exciting without a party and after a 7 hour drive, we all just had a glass of sparkling cider and went to bed. Oh wait... except Carrie. She had taken a "nap" in the car around her bedtime and decided that she wanted to be up and play. She (we) finally got to sleep just before 1 in the morning. I guess she just wanted to ring in the new year.

Friday was good. We spent most of the day at Justin's Grandma's eating a big lunch/dinner and playing games. Saturday was spent lounging around, Justin and his dad golfing, the girls roaming Wal-Mart, and watching Justin's dad ref a local high school basketball game.

**Weak stomaches, stop reading here** Saturday night came around and Justin wasn't feeling well. Around 9:30 that night he started throwing up. I felt bad, but pretty much all I could do was pat his back and get him sips of water. We were finally able to get to sleep for a little while when at 12:30, Carrie woke up screaming. I found her in her pack'n'play covered in throw-up... :( This is the first time Carrie has ever been sick like this. It was awful. We ALL sepnt the entire night awake while Justin and Carrie were sick around the clock. I started to keep a tally just because I'm weird like that. Between bedtime Saturday night and wake-up time Sunday morning, Carrie had thrown up 11 times, Justin, 22 times.


Carrie started to feel better Sunday and didn't throw up anymore. Justin however, kept it up through the day Sunday (at least at a slower pace). We were planning on going home on Sunday afternoon so Justin could get back to work early Monday morning. Since we didn't know if Carrie was going to be sick again and with Justin still feeling awful, we decided to stay an extra night in New Mexico.

**Side note** One of Justin's other sisters, Danielle, her husband JJ, and our nephew Logan came just for the day on Friday. Friday night, Logan was sick. It was the beginning of it all...

Early Sunday morning, Justin's mom threw up. Sunday afternoon, Justin's sister Alysha threw up. Sunday evening, it finally hit me and I threw up too! We found out later, that all day Sunday Justin's sister Danielle and Justin's Grandma were sick too. Out of all of the family who spent time together this weekend, 8 of the 11 got sick.

We were luckily feeling better enough by Monday morning to make the trip home. Only a few hours after we got home though, Justin started up again. He went to work this morning, but was very very NOT happy about it. The rest of us are probably at about 90% recovered.

It's a good thing we were able to have a little fun in New Mexico before everything fell apart. We didn't get any pictures, sadly. We also didn't have much time to concentrate on New Year's Resolutions. We'll work on that for the next post...