Friday, November 14, 2014

Monday Memories

Monday my school district had the day off to observe Veteran's Day. Luckily, Dan also had the day off, so we were able to spend some much needed time together running errands, visiting friends, and just simply spending time together. It was such a good day, that I honestly forgot to take pictures until dinner that night.

That is one happy boy there! He was seriously in heaven!

But let me start at the beginning. 

The day started off rocky. I had been up most of the night with some sort of tummy bug. Luckily after a small breakfast in the morning I was feeling better, and we headed out to my alma mater, UCF, to buy a flag for our front yard. When we got to campus, Dan was excited to play this game Ingress (it's like a combination of geocaching and capture the flag). The boy is obsessed. So we took our sweet time getting to the bookstore. Once there, were were a little disappointed by the flags they had in stock. We asked if the bookstore closer to the arena would have anything different, and they said it was a good possibility because it was the larger store. Rather than going back to the car, we decided to walk to the bookstore. Then it started raining, and I was already trying to figure out how we were going to get back to the car without getting drenched. Dan was willing to walk all the way back and come pick me up, but we both quickly realized he would never be able to find his way back to the car on his own. So, we sucked it up, and walked through the rain. It ended up not being a big deal. Fun actually.

We left campus and started heading towards Altamonte for my surprise. I've been having a lot of headaches lately, but I'm only allowed to take Tylenol while pregnant. Let's just say that Tylenol is never enough when you're use to much stronger drugs for migraines. The doctor recommended seeing a chiropractor or getting a massage. So, Dan took it upon himself to contact someone we met at friends wedding and make an appointment for me as an early anniversary gift. To put it simply, it was amazing! If frequent massages will keep the headaches at bay, sign me up!

For lunch we headed over to Chick-fil-a, and for the first time in a long time, I was able to finish my entire meal! Didn't quite finish my milkshake, but I'll take what I can get. Then we visited both of our mothers' offices and said hi to our former co-workers. I had my first experience with a stranger (well, stranger to me, she knew Dan) rubbing my belly. It was a full-on belly rub with kissing. I was told my face turned bright red. I don't know if I'm ever going to get use to people rubbing my belly....

Once my mother-in-law got off of work, we headed out to 4Rivers Smokehouse. It's a local barbecue place that has practically turned into a franchise in the last couple of years. Dan's never been, but had heard great things about it. He was totally jealous when I went without him a few months ago while at a work conference. So I promised him for his birthday we would go there for dinner. From the moment he smells hit his nose, he knew it was going to good. He tried a little bit of everything from everyone's plates at our table. I think it has officially become his new favorite restaurant. Too bad the nearest location is over an hour away from us.

Monday was seriously one of the best days we've had in a while. We didn't think about work. We didn't stress about how messy our house was. We simply enjoyed each others company and spending time with friends and family. 

Those are the good kinda days :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Year Three


Today's the day to stop what we're doing, to ignore the demands, to put the world on hold.The day to remember how it all began. It's crazy to think that we've been husband and wife for three years already! It seems like just yesterday. And at the same time, I can't remember what life was like before "us." 

Three years down, many more to go! I love you! Happy Anniversary!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Random Musings

The urge to write struck me today, so I sat down and decided to write what popped into my head. Nothing specific. Nothing crazy interesting. Just my random thoughts.

Powderpuff is approaching quickly. Find a t-shirt design that pleases very picky and opinionated teenagers. Check. Make sure all students have insurance so they can practice. Getting there. Schedule a practice date that works for the team. Practically impossible. Remember to put camping chair in car so I have somewhere to sit while I babysit cellphones and drinks supervise practice. Check. This is the one duty of being junior class sponsor I could live without doing.

Progress reports are due this Friday. As in students are taking them home this Friday. Which means I'm being bombarded by questions from students about where they currently stand. And what they can do to improve their grade. In just a few short days. Seriously? How about doing all of the required work when it is first assigned? Now I just need to get my pile of papers graded.... arguments can be made that grading is the worse part of teaching....

Why can't students simply read their textbooks like you ask them to? My sophomore AP students are driving me bonkers! Typically test grades improve as the year goes on because students start to realize that they can't simply rely on lectures and powerpoints to gain knowledge for their tests. However, this bunch of kids doesn't seem to understand that. They think that if they keep doing what they are doing they'll miraculously get different results.

We're hosting a casual housewarming party at our new place this weekend. The only problem? Our house still looks empty and like a bomb exploded all at the same time. The hubby and I have made a to-do list of everything that needs to be done. We've decided to focus on one room in the house each night, and we can't go to bed until it's finished. We'll see if our plan works. If not, people might be eating BBQ off of unpacked moving boxes Saturday....

Tomorrow is our third wedding anniversary. We don't have anything special planned. Dan already got his gift (a new grill) a few weeks ago. And he surprised me Monday with a massage. I'm looking forward to a relaxing evening at home cuddled up on the couch. After he hopefully gets off of work on time. And after we clean the designated room for the night. Then it's totally time for couch cuddles.

I feel like I'm in that weird in-between stage where I don't fit into most of my clothes, but I don't exactly have a baby bump. It's a little annoying. Went shopping last weekend to find some new clothes, and found plenty of shirts to work through the winter, but no pants. Do you know how hard it is to dress for cooler weather when all you have is two pairs of jeans and a bunch of skirts? Maybe I should just invest in some tights/leggings.

I swear my cats are like children. They whine when you don't pay attention to them. They will practically jump in front of your face to make you pay attention to them. They don't always seem to remember the proper way to go potty on their own. They make a mess when they eat. And heaven forbid you try to have a conversation on the phone without them all up in your business, nuzzling the phone in your hand, and meowing when you don't acknowledge them.

I'm starting to get hungry. I ate a snack after grocery shopping this afternoon and thought I'd wait for the hubby to get home from work before making something for dinner. I know we had planned on eating separately - thanks to his schedule we're never quite sure what time he'll be home. Well, he just called to say that he's on his way home (90 minutes after he's suppose to be off of work) and told me that their last call was at Pizza Hut, and they were given free pizza while there, so he's already eaten. Guess I need to start thinking about what I'm going to make for myself tonight....

Saturday, November 8, 2014

First Home: What We Learned

We've officially been homeowners for two months now. Throughout the home buying process I would share little updates here and there, but never really went into much detail. I think I was afraid of jinxing it. So many things were going wrong as it was, I didn't want to add bad juju on top of that. So, since I'm not quite ready to share pictures of the house, I figured I'd share some of the things we learned about buying and moving into our first home.

#1 Don't even think about changing jobs.
After we had already been pre-approved for our mortgage, Dan had the opportunity to interview for a new job. We mentioned it to our banker during one of our many meetings, and we seriously thought she was going to have a heart attack. We knew not to open or close any accounts during the home buying process, but no one had told us that you can't look for a new job. In the end, the new job never came through, so crisis averted.

#2 Find a Realtor who has time for you, and one you trust.
When we knew we were ready to start looking for a home, we reached out to a local real estate company. They had signs all over the county and listings galore. Left a message with the receptionist and waited. After playing phone tag for nearly two weeks, we realized that either they weren't interested in helping us out, or they were simply too busy. I ended up calling a company down the road from our apartment and got connected with a Realtor who just so happened to use to work in for the same school board I did. It was nice to have someone who understood our schedules/needs and made every effort to accommodate those things.

#3 Be prepared to compromise.
When you sit down and think about what you want in your dream home, the list can be pretty long. We knew that we needed to have a list of "must haves" and "would be nice" list. It made it easier to narrow down our options before making a trip out to see the house. What were our must haves? At least 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, space for a small office, within 30 minutes of my work and 45 minutes of Dan's work, a garage/workshop for Dan, and although it could be a little outdated, it needed to be move in ready. The would be nice list? A little bit of land, but in a neighborhood, no tile in the main living areas, a house with character, nearby grocery stores/shopping, fireplace (yes, even in Florida!), and a separate laundry room. Did we get everything on our list? No. But we did manage to find most of them in this house. The compromises? The "office" is currently in the master bedroom, the living room has tile that needs to be replaced, and trips to the grocery store now take a couple hours.

#4 At times it will feel like nothing is happening. Then, it happens all of a sudden.
It took nearly 6 months of waiting from the time we put in our offer to the time we closed. We knew that the home inspection and appraisal could potentially cause some set backs, but those were easy to handle. What took forever was the bank! It seemed like every week the update from our banker was the same - no new news. And then, out of the blue, the bank said yes, and they wanted to close within 24 hours. One day! Yeah, that just wasn't possible for us or the sellers (who had already moved out of state and needed time to sign/fax/mail paperwork). So a week later, with the ink dried on the paper, the house was finally ours.

#5 If the house is staged, it will look completely different empty.
I know this seems obvious, but our house seriously looked gigantic when the former family moved everything out. Add to the fact that all the furniture and art work they had hanging hid some of the imperfections on the walls and a lot of the dirt/grime, we learned new things about our house every time we visited. We also quickly realized that the furniture we had in our 1100 sq ft apartment was not going to fill our new 1900 sq ft home. But that's okay, it means I have an excuse to shop!

#6 You don't have to have a credit score to buy a home.
Does it make it easier? Sure. But it's not required. I didn't have a credit score before buying this home. The tricky part was that Dan did have a credit score. So we had to search for a special loan that would allow both of us to be on the mortgage. I had to contact my utility companies for letters of recommendation and submit those to the bank. Did not having a credit score add more to our list of things to do? Absolutely. Would I rather make a few extra phone calls and send out a few more emails to avoid the hassle of being in debt? Absolutely.

#7 Give yourself a lot of wiggle room.
This applies to both money and time. We knew that there would be a possibility that we'd have to come up with some money for closing costs. So, once we knew we were going all-in with the home buying process, we stopped buying all the extras and started putting more money into our savings. Not only did we need to save for closing, we also had to keep in mind that we'd need to rent a moving truck, feed all of our helpers, and buy supplies to fix a few things that popped up on our home inspection. Besides having a cushion of money in our savings account, we did everything we could to make sure that we had time on our side. We started looking for a house at the start of the year knowing that our lease was up at the end of October. It worked out perfectly that we had a month after closing to clean the house while still living in the apartment, and then a month living in the house while cleaning things up at the apartment before our lease was up. I don't even want to think how high my stress levels would have been if we had to do everything within a week.

#8 If you feed them, they will come.
Need people to help you paint? Need people to help you move furniture? Need people to help you clean up the messes of the previous homeowners? Make sure you have food! If you promise your helpers with food, they're more inclined to help. Pizza is the easy way to go, but since the nearest pizza place is 30 minutes away, we also did a lot of crockpot meals like bbq pulled chicken and meatball subs. Easy meals that feed a lot of people without breaking the bank.

#9 Don't worry about nagging.
During that period of time where we were waiting to hear from the bank, I felt bad for emailing our banker for an update. I felt like I was nagging them. I mean, if they had an update, they would let me know, right? But I realized quick that you can't think of it as nagging. A simple email that says, "Hey, any updates this week?" isn't nagging. It's making sure your banker hasn't forgot about you. They are juggling quite a few loan requests, so a simple email is just a gentle, and sometimes much needed, reminder. If your banker won't reply to you, ask your real estate agent to make contact with them for an update. Also, quick tip: to keep everyone in the loop, make sure you email everyone on your team any time you have an update.

#10 Become friends with your insurance agent.
Our insurance agent is amazing! We found her through a referral service and she has been a life saver! We called her and gave her a heads up that we were looking to buy a home soon, and she gave us all sorts of advice on what could be deal breakers in a home for insurance companies. Because we gave her enough of a heads up, she had plenty of time to shop around and find us the best deal. And, besides our real estate agent, she became another advocate making sure that everything was being done correctly.

I'm sure there were many other lessons that we learned along the way, but these are the lessons that stick out in my mind. We're hosting a little housewarming party next weekend, so I'll try to snap pictures of all the rooms for a little house tour post that is long overdue.

Any other tips for home buyers? What were some of the things you learned along the way?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Little Addition

Things have been crazy busy lately, and I've definitely been neglecting this little blog of mine. I've been getting the itch to write lately, but something always seems to get in the way. Unpacking boxes. Laundry. The never ending piles of papers to grade. Growing a tiny human...

We're excited to announce that our family will have a little addition to it next Spring!

I'll share more details later, but for now, here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions we get from those we share the news with: 

Are you having a boy or a girl?
It's too early to know. I have a feeling it's a girl, but not 100% positive. Most of the old wives tales hint towards a little girl. But we won't find out for sure until sometime in early December. 

Do you want a boy or a girl?
Ultimately, we just want a healthy baby. I know people hate that cliche answer, but it's true. I'm the older sister, so I always thought it'd be cool to have that older brother to look after me. So a boy would be nice. But, Dan's family is nothing but boys, so it'd also be nice to inject a little bit of pink into a very non-pink family. Either way, we're excited to find out in December what this little one is.

How are you feeling?
I can't complain too much. I've heard horror stories of other pregnancies, and mine has been pretty easy going. No real morning sickness. Some heartburn here and there, but I've figured out those trigger foods and avoid them. Actually, I'm avoiding a lot of food. I seem to eat a whole lot less than I did before (not that the amount of food I ate pre-pregnancy was exactly healthy....). I take a few bites of food, and then I'm satisfied. Or, my stomach tells me that if I eat any more I'll regret it later. So, small and frequent meals/snacks have become my new standard.

Do you have any names picked out yet?
I'm starting to believe we won't have a name picked out until the baby arrives. Dan and I can't agree on anything! We know names we don't like, but can't seem to agree on names we do like. At this point, we agree that it'd be nice to include a family name somehow (probably middle name). Other than that, we're waiting to find out if it's a boy or a girl before we try to pick out a name again.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Just One: The Other Side of the Glass

"Birds, Butterflies, & Bugs"

We were worried about the cats adjusting to our new home. So far it's been a pretty easy adjustment. Cruz has had the easiest time. His favorite thing about the new house? Being able to sit up on the window sills and watch all the wildlife outside. He seriously gets all worked up every time a bird flies by or a squirrel runs across the yard. Sitting on the other side of the glass, he's so eager to chase every creature that's out there. But, when we let him go outside, he turns into a little scaredy cat and jumps at all the new outdoor noises.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Feels Like Home

We finally moved into our new home last weekend! Although the house has been in our name for nearly a month now, we took our time moving all of our stuff over from the apartment. But things have been a little chaotic this past week. Boxes still waiting to be unpacked. Living out of suitcases. Not sure where anything is. Figuring out all the quirks about this house. It hasn't exactly felt like "home" yet.

Until today!

A cold front came through this weekend. In Florida terminology, that means it felt a little like Fall. We were able to turn off the a/c, open up all the windows, and just enjoy the weather. My mom brought my grandmother and uncle out to the house, and we sat on the back porch just enjoying the view and conversation. 

After they left, Dan told me that for the first time, this house actually felt like home. And he was so right! I don't know if it was the weather. Or the fact that we were able to have guests over without bribing them to move furniture or clean walls. But despite the fact that the house looks like a total mess, it truly felt like home today.


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