Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Our New Home

The biggest reason why I have been such a slacker with my blogging is because we bought a house and moved in! I had planned to blog about April next, but really April consisted of moving into our new home. So for now, this post will tell you the story of how we found and purchased our new home. Since I am a bit long winded, I am just going to post pictures of our place throughout the post so you can see what it looks like and how we have started decorating it.

Jacob's Room
To start off our house story, we need to tell you how it all came about. We actually found our house in March. As many of you may know, Scott and I have been saving up for a house basically since we moved to Utah. You may remember that our move to Utah was very sudden. Scott had been working for Microsoft and though it paid well, it was a very high stress job. So he started to look for another job, and the market wasn't very good. So we decided to pray and fast about it. The very next day, he got an e-mail from a company in Draper, UT saying that they still had his resume on file and would love to interview him if he was still in the market for a job. Scott and I had hoped we would end up in Utah eventually, to be a little closer to his family, but we never imagined we would end up here so soon. Well, he interviewed and at the end of that week he had the job and we moved three weeks later! It was crazy fast. It seems that when we decide to move, it happens fast for our family.
Jacob's Room (from another angle)
I put cute name sickers on the boys doors!
Anyway, we had been hoping for over a year, that by this April we would be ready to buy a house. When we moved to Utah, we had incurred some debt, because the move was so sudden, I was just starting my last quarter of school and we were pregnant. So it seemed that  between those three things, it was hard to get out of debt. But we worked really hard, payed off our debt and started saving. This last April marked two years since we moved to Utah. With Jacob on the way, we really wanted to be able to get a bigger place, and we were ready to settle down into a place we could call home for a very long time, if not forever. As it got closer to April, and Jacob was born, we started to question if we really had enough in savings to start looking. So we decided to meet with a financial adviser. We met with him mid March and he said it looked like we were ready and we should start seriously looking.

Alexander's Room
Well, we were so excited to start looking right away! We had been house hunting for fun online for months, so we had an idea of what we wanted in a house. Ideally, we hoped for a five bedroom house in American Fork. We wanted a five bedroom house because we hope to have four kids (though we may have more than four, we know we want at least four). When we first started our online house hunting, we thought we might settle for less, but then we decide we really wanted five so that if we wanted to, we could stay in our home forever, and only have to move if we wanted to. We decided American Fork would be a nice place to live because it is exactly half way between Orem (where Scott's parents live) and Draper (where Scott works). So with these ideas in mind, I called a friend who works in real estate for a recommendation on a real estate agent.

The upstairs bathroom, kid themed :)
We called our agent, Rod Adams, and he said the first thing we needed to do was start our pre-approval process. So we got all our paperwork together that weekend, and submitted it to a financial guy that Rod recommended, Shane Barker. We submitted it the following Monday and got approved that day! We were excited to get started, so we planned to start looking on that Thursday. Rod had set us up with an account, so we were able to request showings and leave notes about what we liked about the houses we saw. Well, Monday we were pre-approved and Tuesday our new home came on the market. Since we had been looking online for months, we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted. When we saw this house online, it was perfect! It had everything we wanted. Five bedrooms, a fireplace, cute little book nooks for the kids, a nice kitchen, and most importantly a huge downstairs area. We left these kinds of notes for Rod, and on our first day house hunting, he took us out to see it.

Our bedroom
On that first day, we saw four houses total, and this was the second house. Rod explained that with the housing market the way that it was (a seller's market), we were lucky to find such a nice house right away. He explained that if we didn't put an offer on the house, it would be gone by the weekend. Our first reaction was to put an offer on the house. We just both loved it so much, and with all our online shopping, we felt like this was the house. It had everything we wanted and was in our ideal location, American Fork. So we told him we wanted to put an offer on the house. As we drove to see the next house he told us that we were looking at a house payment of $1400 or so. That seemed a little out of our budget. We were hoping with the good interest rates, we could keep it less than that. So we told him we would have to pass on our dream house. Well, we saw four houses total that day, and the other three houses didn't even compare with this house. And a few of them were really run down. We left our house hunt sad. We were so sad that we couldn't afford our dream home.

Our living room upstairs
The next day, I was talking with a friend who works with loans. She told me that she thought we could afford the house if we just applied for a different kind of loan. After talking with her, she quoted us a house payment of around $1200. That seemed much more doable. It was still a little higher than we were hoping for in the begining of our search, but then again, we have never had a house payment! So I started talking with Scott at work, and Shane who was doing our loan. Shane said that we could get much closer to $1200 if we went with the other type of loan. Scott and I started talking more and he agreed that we should go ahead and place an offer on the house. So I called up Rod and set up for him to meet Scott and I at our house that day to place an offer by the end of the day. Scott left work for a little bit to sign papers.

Our kitchen and bar area
It turned out, that I was stressing out my poor hubby, and I had no clue! I thought he was all "gung ho" in buying the house, but in reality, he was just trying to support his wife. When he walked in the door to sign the papers, I could see anxiety written all over his face. He had told me while at work, that he was questioning if this was the right decision, so I told him to come home a few minutes early so we could talk it over. Unfortunately, he walked in the door only moments before Rod did. It was just long enough to realize that he was super stressed about this decision. So, we didn't sign right away. I wanted to be sure that he wanted the house too and felt good about it. So we talked it through with Rod and each other, and in the end, Scott agreed that he loved the house and it was at least worth trying for the house.

Our dining room
After Rod left, I kept asking Scott how he felt. And surprisingly, he felt at peace. So did I. Scott's main concerns were that it was all happening so fast. He had envisioned finding a house, having his parents look at the house, checking out the ward, and THEN placing an offer on the house. Well, with the housing market the way it is today, that simply couldn't work. Scott recognized it and ultimately trusted in me. So we placed the offer. As time went on, we talked about placing the offer. We said that if a bidding war started, that we would walk away from the house. Although we loved the house, we just felt that it was at the top of our price range for a mortgage payment. We had offered the asking price, and asked them to pay closing costs. Well, we placed the offer on Friday, and they had until 5:00 pm on Saturday to get back to us.

The downstairs/basement bathroom
The whole day (Saturday), we basically told ourselves that we weren't getting the house. It was just such a nice house, and the market is crazy right now, so we didn't want to get our hopes up. Rod was texting us to keep us updated with the progress. He said that seven other showings went on after us. As the day went on, it got closer and closer to five and we still hadn't heard anything. Finally, Rod texted us and told us we might not hear back until later because the owner is a BYU coach and was working that day.

My craftroom (downstairs)!
Anyway, at about 6:00 pm on Saturday, Rod called us back. When he called he asked me if we had been praying about the house (we had told him we were LDS earlier). I then told him that we had been praying about it. He responed, "Have you been praying that you would get the house or wouldn't have to get it (he knew Scott was nervous and stressed about the payments)?" I said, "We have been praying that if the house is right for our family, that we will get it. And if it isn't, we will get outbid or it just wont work out." He responded, "This is evidence that prayers really are answered." At this point I was dying to know and I said, "Oh will you just tell me already! You're killing me!" He then said, "You got the house! But it is interesting how it all happened. I had told you that there were seven other showings on the house. Well, offers were coming in left and right, and investors were actually waiting to meet with the owner once he finished coaching at BYU. But because he had worked with me before, he decided to go with you guys!" It was a miracle indeed and an answer to our prayers.

Your guest bedroom is all set up (downstairs)!!!
It truly is amazing how it all happened. We had prayed and fasted many times for help to get out of debt so that we could get a house. We had prayed many times that we would get a house in April. And though we didn't start looking until the end of March, Heavenly Father still came through and provided us a house by April. It really felt like it was meant to be our house. We got pre-approved on Monday, Tuesday this house went on the market, we saw it on Thursday, placed an offer on Friday, and the offer was accepted on Saturday. So only a week and a half after we met with our financial adviser, we had bought our house! It all happened so fast, and yet, it all felt so right.

Now that we have been in our home almost two months, I have to say that we couldn't be happier with the decision we made. The neighborhood and ward is amazing! Every time I take the boys on walks, people stop to chat and say hi. Our next door neighbors helped us move in, late on a Friday night because they saw us unloading the truck. It just feels like we are supposed to be here and that Heavenly Father saved the house for us. We have truly been blessed beyond belief!

Okay, so now I want to tell you about some of the things that I love about the house. The first thing we both loved aobut the house was the downstairs! As you can see from this picture, it is really spacious! We bought a sectional couch and split the big room into a family/movie/office room and a playroom. It is so nice to have a place where the boys can play and make a mess, and I don't have to worry about cleaning it the moment someone comes over!

Our deck!
The path leading to the park!
Another thing I love about the house is the location. Obviously, I mentioned we like that it is in the middle of family and work, but there are a few other perks. It is right next to a park! Our back yard is fenced with a gate that opens to the park. It is so nice being able to go play at the park and hear little league games going on during the evenings. We also just love having a back yard! It is so much fun for Alexander to be able to have a nice, safe place to play in, where I don't have to worry about cars or traffic. We love the deck too! We can't wait to have barbeques in our back yard. We have been busy trying to clean up some of the many flower beds that line our entire fence of the back yard so that we can have flowers and a vegetable garden. I have planted some flowers in our front garden, but the fruits and veggies will have to wait until next year because the previous owners let the grass get out of hand in the back yard beds. Oh the fun of home ownership!

We also love that we are only half a mile from the Mt. Timpanogos Temple! Both Scott and I received our endowments in that temple, so it is very special to us. We have actually been taking the boys on Sunday morning walks to the temple and that has been super fun! Alexander already knows what "temple" means because when we drive by I ask him, "Where's the temple?" and he points to it! With my love of the temple, it is so fun being able to share it with the kids and have one so close!

Okay, so just a few more things that I love about the house! One thing I love about the house is the jetted tub upstairs! Although we only have one bathroom upstairs, it is so amazing to have a jetted tub of my very own! Love it! I also love the kitchen. It is super spacious, and cute! Another thing I love is the fireplace! I really wanted our new place to have a fireplace, because I just love building fires during the cold wintery months. I am also excited to hang stockings above the fireplace at Christmas time! Exciting! We both also loved the cute little book nooks. Alexander seemed to know exactly what they were for on day one, and loves to read stories there. Oh! Another thing we love about the new place is our huge storage area. Even though we don't have a garage, the storage area lines most of the basement and is easily the size of our old one car garage. I am looking forward to building up our food storage now that we have a place to store it! But mostly, we just love being home owners and having more space. We have more than double the space that our last apartment was and our mortgage payment is under $1200. It is about $100 more than rent was at our old place (if we went month-to-month). So that it exciting! I am also loving that Jacob has his own room. He seems to be sleeping so much better now that he has his own room, and I am too!

Well, like I said, March to April was a bit of a blur as we packed up all our things to move to our new home. We moved in on Friday, April 26, 2013. We are so glad to be here and are excited for all the adventures we will have in our home. Tune in next time for Amazing April :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Marvelous March

Well, it looks like I have been a slacker when it comes to blogging, once again! I guess being the mother of two boys under two doesn't give me as much time for me as I would sometimes like. They are completely worth it though. I have to say, that though some days are super hard, I can't imagine my life without these two sweet boys, and my amazing husband, Scott. I truly am blessed beyond belief. Well on to the blog! I figured that since it has been three months since my last post, I might as well recap the last few months for you. They have been so much fun, that I will have to break them into a few posts; so for now, we will start wtih the month of March.

We already talked about Jacob's baby blessing, so the next fun thing to recap is Pi Day. As is tradition (or as is becoming tradition), we went down to Orem to the Village Inn Cafe for Pi Day. We met up with Russ, Diane and Amy and enjoyed a nice piece of pie. They have like a zillion flavors of pie and I always have such a hard time deciding. This time I decided to go with a lemon pie. I can't remember what everyone else had, though I remember the chocolate mint pie was popular with the girls. Anyway, we all enjoyed our pie and decided to let Alexander try some too. He was really enjoying the pie until Mommy ruined his fun and gave him a taste of her lemon pie! Oh my goodness his face was priceless! I tried to get a picture, but it was pretty hard to catch him in the moment. We look forward to many more Pi Days and priceless photos of our boys enjoying some yummy pie.

March also brought St. Patrick's Day! This year, St. Patrick's Day fell on a Sunday. We didn't do too much out of the ordinary this year. We just enjoyed time at church and went to Russ and Diane's for dinner. When we got there, Alliyah and I made green cupcakes with green frosting. It was super fun! Alexander really enjoyed eating them too. Below are a few pictures of all our fun on St. Patrick's Day:

Another fun thing that happened in March was that Scott and I celebrated our third anniversary! It is crazy to think that we have been married three years already! My how the time has flown! So much has happened over these last three years. It is crazy to think that we already have two bouncing baby boys! They do bring us so much joy. And even with the chaotic days that sometimes come with raising children, I have to say that we still haven't gotten over the "Honeymoon Phase." Sometimes I wonder if it will ever end, and yet, I hope it goes on forever! I just love Scott so much and feel so blessed to be married to him! Anyway, for our anniversary, we had Scott's parents come and watch the boys and enjoyed our first date night since Jacob's birth. We enjoyed a nice dinner at Olive Garden and had dessert at a cute ice cream shop called Sub Zero. During dessert we spent time just recounting the many things we love about each other. The list went on so long, that we had to cut our time short and head back so I could feed Jacob. It was a simple anniversary, but I loved it. It was so nice to just spend time together and remember all the reasons why we fell in love and are still falling in love.

March also brought Easter! Easter was a fun time for our family. In the morning, we opened the easter baskets with the boys, and then we went to church. We had an enjoyable day at church, and then spent dinner with Scott's family. We went to Jim and Janine's house (Scott's grandparents). Russ, Diane, Amy and Alliyah were also there. Since it was still pretty chilly, we decided to have an indoor Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. It was super fun. Of course Jacob couldn't really hunt the eggs, but we still hid some to help him find them. Xander was pretty good at hunting the eggs, but we still had to help him find the harder ones. The funny thing that happened that day was that Scott and I hid an egg near a duck and a monkey toy. Well, it turns out these toys frighten Alexander with the noises they make, so when he saw the egg was near the toy, he backed away and cried. We knew he didn't like the toys, but we thought he might get brave and get the egg. We had no idea it would make him cry. Poor little guy! He has suck sneaky parents! Anyway, it was a really fun day. Scott's parents got Alexander and Jacob some fun water and sand toys for a water and sand table they bought for them, as well as a bubble maker. We let Xander and Alliyah play bubbles at Nana and Papa's house, but Xander got to see his sand table on another day. One other fun thing that happened was that Jacob rolled over from his tummy to his back for the first time on Easter! It was pretty exciting to see him roll over. It was also kind of funny because Alexander rolled over for the first time on Thanksgiving. So it looks like all our kids will have to roll over on Holidays! Below are some pictures of our Easter fun:

Well, that about wraps up March! Hopefully I can get us caught up soon. Tune in next time for Amazing April :)