Saturday, June 15, 2013

July 15

That is a big day for our family, July 15, the day our Arizona house is set to close for the tentative new owner.  We had to accept a low ball offer, but it will make such a difference on what house we can buy here in Wyoming and our month-to-month finances will be freed up quite a bit.

Please cross your fingers and say a prayer that all the inspections go well and everything proceeds with no problems for us.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Harder

Man, when we bought our house in Arizona over 8 years ago I thought it was tough because it's in a tiny little town of about 1,200 people and there were less than a handful of houses to pick from and two of the first ones we made offers on decided to withdraw their houses from sale.  I figured this time around being in a city of 50,000+ it would be super easy...WRONG!  The housing market is booming here, and never really saw the economic recession the rest of the country experienced.  Houses are priced high and they go quick.  The houses that we have been looking at literally go within a two week window.  A few times by the time our agent sent us the listing and we went and did a drive by, the house was already under contract.

We thought we might have a unique opportunity to get a "fixer-upper" at a good deal, but found out that the banks basically won't do it.  It's a HUD home where the previous owners had an FHA loan and foreclosed on it.  As they left the property they did extensive vandalism and basically took a hammer to the upstairs drywall, broke several of the doors, and took out all the appliances and some cabinets in the kitchen.  There is one bank in town that will do a special loan where you can buy a property that needs work and they finance the contractors to fix everything for you.  It's incredibly frustrating because we could have done the work ourselves and saved a ton of money.  Now it's not a good deal because we still would have to pay back the money for the contractors, and who knows how much a contractor will charge.

Another point of frustration was today when I went to look up the number for our banker and saw on the website that the interest rate jumped from 3.5% when we did our pre-qualification work to 4.1% now.  Now I am totally scared that it will keep rising and we missed our opportunity to have a low interest rate.

I hope that we will find a home soon and get our foot in the door on making an offer!

Just because...

Just because it's been almost a month since my last post.  Here is a recent picture of Katy.  She is at that stage of conquering everything.  She isn't walking just yet, but doing everything else, so probably on the verge of those first steps.   Since she is on the go it is difficult to change her diaper, get her dressed, and put her shoes on.  She has two bottom teeth and is currently fussy/not sleeping through then night/runny nose, so we are pretty sure new teeth are on the way.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Back to crocheting

I have been really busy since we moved here and haven't had a lot of time for crafting.  I did complete a project for my Magnificat Mom's group that I have been attending since I moved here.  We compiled care packages for the ladies who help watch our kids while we do our Bible study or other activities.  I crocheted book marks for them.




Here are the pattern pins:


Monday, May 13, 2013

Awesome

I had an awesome Mother's Day yesterday, I feel so blessed.  Dustin and the kids gave me a gift card for a spa here that he researched and heard was the best one.  He said I could get a mani, pedi and facial, or trade for some of their other services.  I am so stoked for that!

We went to breakfast with the intentions of going to church afterwards.  It ended up being brunch and we missed all the morning masses since every restaurant was packed to the gills.  It was a great breakfast though and we decided to try and catch a movie as a family afterwards.  We went and saw The Croods, which turned out to be a really great movie.  Katy did awesome, she was not freaked out by it at all and even took a pretty good nap on my lap.

We came home for Austin to nap, then we went to a park that we heard about that turned out to be great.  It's at the foot of the mountain and has a series of trails with one leading to an incredible waterfall.





We unfortunately took the stroller for Katy which was not working on the dirt paths, but Dustin was awesome and managed to get it down the paths. Next time we will definitely take her in the backpack instead.  We played at the creek for quite a while before coming home to a nice dinner on the back porch.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Slacker

Yes, it's May 10th and I am stuck on K of the A-Z Blogging Challenge from April.  Oh well, I just don't have a whole lot of blogging time these days.  Things are going well though, here are a few quick things going on for us:

  • We got pre-approved for our home loan today, so we have 90 days to find our dream.
  • I had a fun day with my real life and blogging friend Brandi.  She came to my city today and we shopped, went to lunch and took the kiddos to The Science Zone.  Austin and Marlee were adorable, they held hands most of the day, and had a great time together.

  • Austin wrapped up swim lessons yesterday.  He passed all but one of the criteria and they recommended that he is ready for level 2.  
  • He is playing soccer on Monday and Wednesdays and is loving it. 
  • I am loving the Magnificat Moms group that I joined through the churches here.  One of the ladies who happens to live just down the street had us over for lunch last week.  Her third oldest son is turning 5 next month, so he and Austin really hit it off and had fun playing together.
  • I finally made it to all three Catholic Churches here.  They are all wonderful and a huge improvement from where we came.  
  • There is an awesome little park a few blocks from our house that has a little creek that Austin loves to play around.  He could throw rocks and sticks in it all day long.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

A-Z: K


A-Z: KAIBAB INDIAN RESERVATION



From November of 2004 to July 2012 I worked for the Kaibab Paiute Indian Tribe as their Water Quality Specialist.  It seems like a lot of time in the US that the Indian Tribes got some of the most useless land when it came to establishing reservations, but not in the case of Kaibab.  They have over 120,000 acres of beautiful land in northern Arizona.  I feel very fortunate that I got to work there, and had the opportunity to see the areas that some tribal members haven't even been to.  To learn more about the Kaibab Paiute Tribe visit their website.


Me teaching a water quality lesson to the Paiute youth.
My Dad at the Kaibab Fishing Pond
My nephew at the Kaibab Fishing Pond


Every year they host a powwow the third weekend of August that is free to the public.

video

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A-Z:J

A-Z: JALISCO


For our honeymoon we went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico which is in the Mexican state of Jalisco.  We stayed at the Riu Jalisco Resort.  I did a post all about our trip last year in the A-Z Challenge for V, you can find the link V is for.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A-Z: I

A-Z: IOWA


I am from Colorado, but my four siblings were born in Iowa as well as my Mom.  My Dad was born in West Virginia, but moved to Iowa when he was young.  My husband was born and grew up in Iowa.  When we were in college we hung out among mutual friends, but when we finally had a personal conversation he told me he was from Iowa and I asked where.  He said "oh, south central Iowa" just kind of shrugging it off since usually when you tell someone a small town in Iowa they glaze over and are like "yeah, that's nice" and have no idea where it is.  I asked him where since my family was from south eastern Iowa and we drove through all of southern Iowa to get there.  He told me Centerville and I said "oh, that is on Highway 2 right?"  His eyes got all big and asked how I knew that.  I explained that we would often stop there for breakfast since it was a couple hours away from our relatives in the Fort Madison area.  He was totally impressed that I had been there and actually knew his home turf.

I have been to Iowa numerous times to visit family.  The summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school I spent a month in Iowa with my cousins in the Montrose/Argyle area.  The whole month was about fishing, swimming, and demolition derbies.  Life is slower there, but definitely in a good and wholesome way.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A-Z: Hawaii

A-Z: HAWAII


I went to Maui, Hawaii in 1997 with my oldest brother as his gift for my high school graduation.  We of course didn't have digital photos back then, and I didn't want to take my photos out of the scrapbook, so I just took photos of the pages to share.

Beautiful sunset over Kaanapali Beach.

The first photo is my brother, the second is me at the luau we went to and the third was at dinner the first night we were there, we watched whales breaching in the bay while we ate.  

The top photo is some of my souvenirs, the second is from one day it poured rain so we found an arcade and played all afternoon.  We won a bunch of drinking glasses, then had to figure out how to pack them to get them home.

We went to the luau and as we were sitting there waiting for it to start I was eavesdropping on the conversation at the table behind us.  I came into when a woman asked a man "...wow, so what line of work are you in?"  He said with a bit of a southern draw "I'm in the music business."  She asked "Have you won any awards or anything?"  He said "Well I was the 1992 new country male vocalist of the year."  My head flipped around and I stared at him trying to figure out who he was.  Tracy Lawrence just cut his mullet hairstyle, shaved and was not wearing a cowboy hat so I could not recognize him.  When we went to get in the food line I asked the lady from his table what his name was and she said "I think his name was Tracy Lawrence or something, but his wife is a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader."

My brother went up and told him I was a big fan and asked if I could get my photo taken with him and he was very nice and allowed it.  Everybody always said I should have gotten his wife in the photo as well.

Me, my brother and his friend at the luau and the flowers and trees at our condo.

The first one was heading into the luau and the second was looking back at Maui as we went out on a whale watching cruise.
I wanted to go to a black sand beach, but found out that the sand wasn't very soft.
The first two are whale watching and the third is watching the sunrise over the clouds from Mount Haleakala.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A-Z: G

A-Z: GRAND CANYON




We just moved from northern Arizona and lived pretty close to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We visited numerous times over the 8 years that we lived there and enjoyed sharing the experience with our guests.  The Grand Canyon is amazing and we observed that it seems the first time someone experiences it, it is so overwhelming that you really have to visit a second time to really be able to take it in and appreciate the magnificence.  That is unless you are my Dad, his response after visiting was "well, it was something to see... but I would have rather gone fishing" 







Saturday, April 6, 2013

A-Z: Florida

A-Z: FLORIDA



Florida is a fun state that I have been to twice besides a layover once in Miami. The first time was when I was 14 and it was the summer before my freshman year of high school. My oldest brother Doug took me and we spent a week together doing all the Orlando attractions- Disney, Epcot, Universal Studios, NASA, Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach. It was the first time I ever flew and I remember it was a 4 hour flight. We stayed in Lakeland with our Aunt and Uncle. When the end of the week came my Aunt invited me to stay three more weeks so I could spend the fourth week with my cousins who were coming from Georgia to spend a week at Cocoa Beach. I accepted and stayed the rest of the month.

My Aunt and Uncle owned a print shop at the time so I would go to work with them and learned about the business. During that time my Aunt asked why I had never had my ears pierced and I explained that my Mom didn't really want me to have it done until I was at least 12, and then I just hadn't done it. One day I was helping her employee and she came in and goes "Sarah, I need to run an errand, want to come with me?" I said I wanted to stay and help with the project and she insisted that I come with her. We walked down the shopping center their store was in to a jewelry store that was one of her clients. We went in and I was thinking we were taking an order or something and she asked the lady how much it was to pierce ears and could she do mine right then. I had no time to think about it, we just did it.

The second trip was with my brother Doug again the summer after I graduated from high school. He has a friend who was an actor and he was performing at a theater on Sanibel Island so we flew to Fort Myers and traveled to Sanibel to see Forever Plaid. Sanibel was wonderful, and I would absolutely love to go back there some day. The house we stayed at was right on a bay and my brother's friend said the day before we got there dolphins swam right up to the deck. Sanibel is a shell beach and you can find all shapes and sizes. The best time to get them is after midnight since the sun bleaches the shells. We went out at about 1:00am with flashlights looking for shells of all colors.




Friday, April 5, 2013

A-Z: Estes Park

A-Z: ESTES PARK



I'm sticking with Colorado for one more day, I'll head to somewhere else tomorrow, I promise!

Once again I have been to Estes Park numerous times so it's almost hard to capture it all in a short post.  My first three visits there involved staying at the YMCA of the Rockies which is a neat place that accommodates groups.  The first trip was for my Mom to attend a PTA type conference.  The other two were school outdoor ed trips.  The first was for all sixth graders from my school and the second was a special trip my high school science teachers developed to honor the top science students and was by invite only.  It's such a great area and allows easy access to Rocky Mountain National Park.

In middle and high school I took several trips to Estes for school sports events.  In high school I was a football manager and remember that the field there often had elk droppings on it because herds would come down and bed on the football field at night.  I remember playing basketball there my eighth grade year which ended up being the reason I ended up quitting basketball.  I was never a great athlete because I was in a car accident when I was 11 that damaged my right leg. The night of the Estes game my coach benched me the whole game until the last 10 seconds, then put me in just to be able to say he played me.  I was already mad afterwards when we got on the bus for the long ride home, and the coach had the nerve to come to me and say he was sorry he didn't play me longer, but if my older brother ever came to watch me play to let him know (my brother was a stud and played for basically all the same coaches who adored him) and he would play me more so "Georgy" could watch me.

The week before our wedding we traveled from Arizona where we lived to Denver to make all the final preparations.  We decided to take one day that week as a break and not do anything wedding related to keep our sanity.  We drove to Rocky Mountain National Park with my Mom and Sister and did some serious hiking.  I remember that we came upon a herd of elk who were bugling and it was incredible to just listen.



Dustin and I decided to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in Estes Park so we could stay at the Stanley Hotel.  Dustin is interested in ghosts and haunted places and of course loves The Shining.  We didn't see or experience any ghosts, but had a nice time anyway.







Thursday, April 4, 2013

A-Z: The Big D

A-Z: DENVER

I'm a day behind, but still here.  Hopefully my A-Z monitor hasn't taken me off the list!

I was trying to decide on D, and was leaning toward not doing Denver since I just did Casa Bonita, but alas Denver is where I was born to this world and it just wouldn't be right to not pay tribute.  I was born in Denver at the former Mercy Medical Center on a sunny Sunday morning in October.  My Mom and Dad lived about 30 miles from the hospital and my Mom heard that doctors in Colorado at the time did not like to wait for natural childbirth and preferred to do c-sections, so she was in no big hurry to get to the hospital.  When they did go my Dad was driving fast trying to get there and attracted the attention of a guy who was trying to drag race him down Colorado Boulevard.  That is until he got to a red stop light, checked both ways and when it was clear ran the red.  It was a good thing too because I was born 10 minutes after they arrived at the hospital.  It happened to be a Bronco Sunday when they were playing the San Diego Chargers that afternoon and the doctor jokingly told my Mom that she was just in a hurry to she could still watch the game that afternoon.

It's hard to write a short post about Denver as I have spent a LOT of time there and love so much about it.  The museums are all fabulous- The Denver Art Museum, The Natural History Museum, and The Colorado History Museum are my favorites.  The zoo is great and so is the aquarium.  There are so many fabulous restaurants that I wouldn't even know where to begin!  My most recent trip there was in February when I visited the Pepsi center to watch my oldest nephew compete in the Colorado State Wrestling Tournament where he placed 5th in his weight category.

Denver is special to me because it makes me think of my Dad.  He was a construction worker and helped build many of the buildings in Denver.  He worked on several of the skyscrapers.  He worker on Denver International Airport in several different phases of construction.  Towards the end of construction he had a security clearance pass and took me to see it a couple of weeks before it opened.  We rode around in a golf cart underneath the whole airport and rode out into the taxi ways between the concourses.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A-Z: C

A-Z: CASA BONITA



I grew up in the Denver area of Colorado and one of my favorite restaurants was Casa Bonita in Denver.  Not at all for the food because it is terrible, but because of the atmosphere and fun activities.  The inside of the restaurant is like a Mexican rain forest, and for entertainment they have cliff divers who perform as you eat your meal.  There are also Mariachis who perform and other entertainment.  They have a courtyard area where they do pinatas and a cave that goes behind the waterfall that is filled with scary things.

Casa Bonita was featured in an episode of Comedy Central show South Park.  In the episode Kyle gets to have his birthday party at Casa Bonita and does not invite Cartman who then schemes and figures out how to take Butters' spot at the party.

A few years ago Dustin and I decided to go to take Austin while we were visiting my Mom and Sister in Colorado.  Dustin was interested in it after seeing the South Park episode.  I was pregnant with Katy at the time and got the worst heart burn after eating their food, but it was fun to take Austin and see his reactions to a place that I loved as a kid.





Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A-Z: Bryce Canyon

A-Z: BRYCE CANYON


We love the US National Park Service system and have visited many National Parks and Monuments.  Our Arizona home was in close proximity to several units including Bryce Canyon National Park.

According to Wikipedia:

"Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks."

The area was established as a Monument by President Warren G. Harding on June 8, 1923 at the recommendation of Park Director Stephen Mather.  The U.S. Congress worked to upgrade the Monument and it was deemed a National Park on February 25, 1928.

The first time Dustin and I visited the park we fortunately stopped first at Sunset Point, which in my opinion is the most spectacular viewpoint.  We were drawn to hike down in the the hoodoos and enjoyed the hike very much.  



If you visit Bryce Canyon keep in mind that you enter at the top and have to hike down if you choose to do so, and must be able to physically be able to make it back up.  There is a nice rim overlook trail that is easy that connects Sunrise and Sunset Points if you are not up for a strenuous hike up from the bottom.

Do you know the difference between a National Park and National Monument in the United States?  Generally Parks are designated by Congress and Monuments are designated by the President.