Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Birthday Boy

Devin's Birthday Cupcake
(on his actual birthday)
Devin did not like eating it.
Or even playing with it.
He would rather feed it to us.
After attending church,
we celebrated his birthday with just the three of us.
Opening his presents from us.
Devin liked reaching in the bag and pulling toys out.

Eating lunch at his birthday party.
He ate chips mainly.
And loved having his own plate instead of just putting the food on his tray.
Opening presents.
Giving the bunny a hug.
One of my favorite pictures (right).
Devin is talking on his phone. :)
The Baby Bunny birthday cake.
He didn't like this cake either.
He threw it on the ground.
I gave it back to him and tried to make him eat it.
He cried and I gave up.
Happy Birthday Devin!
We love you so much!
Our lives have been so blessed this past year.
You bring so much love and laughter to our home.
We are so grateful to celebrate life with you!

It is amazing to think how much he has changed since his BIRTHday!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

its a start!

Hello pre pregnancy pants! :)

Not all of my pre-preg pants fit yet. This one was a bit bigger and I had to wear it with a belt before. (No belt required in this picture.) But... its a start! I'm making progress, ever so slowly!!

And I love how Devin couldn't resist joining in the picture! He saw me standing there and he saw Casey taking a picture. So he walked over with his fork and joined. Because naturally, every picture should be of him. And I especially love how he smiles on command for pictures! Such a cutie! :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I am a FACS Momma!

Last night, I was a very lucky girl and had two escorts to our apartment building ice cream social. One escort held my hand and the other was tethered to me with his lion backpack/ leash.

It was nice to meet people in the complex! One super cute girl asked me if I used my degree at all. I immediately responded, "Yes!! Everyday!" as I looked at Devin. I know she meant the question to mean am I currently teaching and using my degree in the way it was intended but that wasn't the question.

It made me think. Do I use my bachelors degree anymore? Am I really using it everyday? Were all of my classes and textbooks and fees and labs and scholarships and the time spent for nothing?

I love the quote that says, "When you educate a man you educate an individual; when you educate a woman you educate a whole family."

But more than educating a family, I really use my degree everyday of my life. Seriously. The knowledge I gained while studying for tests and completing projects made me who I am today. And my degree was definitely not for waste. If nothing else, I learned how to learn when I was in college. That skill alone is completely invaluable!

I loved my family finance class and now love budgeting. I love being in charge of our money together and knowing where it is going instead of wondering where it went. Our budget is what is allowing us to buy a home right now! And living in our budget means knowing how to save money and distinguishing between wants and needs.

My interior design classes were extremely time consuming. But I learned so much! And trust me, I am already grateful for the knowledge. It made our apartment more homey instead of just a place to live. Once we move, I will really be using my interior design skills. I get to plan and paint and decorate. It will be amazing having color on my walls and finishing the basement anyway I want. Our home will truly transform from government owned fixer-upper to a place of beauty. A place of peace and shelter from the world. A place of laughter and hugs. A place that is ours.

One of my hardest classes and lowest grade at BYU was in my food science class. I worked so hard and crammed so much before tests. Luckily I was married when I took this class because Casey became my study buddy and quizzer. If it weren't for him, I am sure I would have done much worse! Surprisingly this is also one of my only books I ever refer back to now. Not because I care to review the chemical structure of foods. But because I want to know why certain ingredients affect recipes the way they do. I want to know how to modify recipes to make them healthier. I love figuring out why a recipe failed and how to improve the next attempt. I am constantly try new recipes--in fact it is rare that we eat the same thing twice. Along with this is making meal plans for the week, knowing how to have everything ready for dinner at the same time, and eating healthy but enjoyable meals. This is still a work in progress but I'm so glad for the foundation I have!

Then there is sewing. I have not followed a pattern to complete a project for a while now but someday I will! Sewing was not my favorite section because it was so time consuming. I would spend countless hours in the sewing lab. But I still use the basics constantly. I altered Casey's work shirts, mend holes, make baby ties, create homemade mittens, sew blankets, pillows and hooded towels.

The last part of my major was child care. Do I use this? Yes! Child care is more than merely babysitting and more than watching the TV together. I am meant to teach Devin and it needs to be on an age appropriate level. We are learning and growing every day. I'm really looking forward to when I can teach Devin preschool, just like how I taught preschool at BYU and as a student teacher. We are going to do experiments and go on field trips. We will have dramatic play and stations. We will have activities to go with the children's book. But forget the future. I'm teaching today; I'm teaching every hour of every day. Devin is learning about the Sacrament and how to count. He is learning his colors, shapes, body parts, etc. And he helps me pack boxes and do the laundry.

So yes. I truly am using my degree. Constantly. It blesses my life. It blesses my family. It blesses countless others.

I am a Family and Consumer Science Momma!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Full Speed Ahead

Our loan officer just called me. Good news. Everything is approved!! :D  Yeah! 

My credit score had to be pulled again. Long story short, before our loan would be approved, I had to be removed from an account. I freaked out because I knew that it would affect my credit and we were in danger of my credit dropping low enough that we wouldn't be approved for the loan. So we kept waiting and praying. I just found out that my score was definitely affected. But not how we thought. It went UP!! How... I have no idea! Our loan officer has no idea and is equally as shocked.

More good news. Our grant is approved!! We don't know how much yet. But it is approved! We are now just waiting for paper work from the city. We absolutely, drop dead have to have it turned in this coming Monday. But we really, REALLY need it to be submitted sometime this week. Ideally tomorrow or Thursday. Once all of the paperwork is submitted, it has to then sit for 10 days with the government. So even with everything being submitted this week, we still won't take possession until the second week of July. The reason we desperately need everything turned in sometime this week is so we can have one Saturday to clean and make our house livable before we move. We will be praying that the city provides the needed paperwork sooner than later!

Interest rates are still going up. Drastically fast actually. I can't remember when we locked in our interest rate but it was about 2-3 weeks ago. In the past few weeks, interest rates have climbed 0.75% and rising. Ouch. That's steep. We were hoping for a slightly lower rate but are becoming more and more grateful to be locked in where we are!

So the moral of this story... we will be home owners in about 2 weeks!! AAAAAHHHHHHH!!! 

The other moral of this story... we need to keep packing!! I think we have too much stuff.

The above was published at 4:14 pm. 
It is now 4:37 pm.
I have one more update!!

The city just called me and said that we were approved for the entire amount! $5,000!!! :D :D :D AND... they have all the documents ready they just don't know where to send them. I called my loan officer. He is going to call the same person city person and get the documents sent to his email. All of our paperwork should be submitted tomorrow! Which means... (1) prayers are answered and (2) we will close on July 10th!!!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Greatest Power

Yesterday was a special day. A historic day. An inspiring day. We were blessed with the opportunity to watch a Special Broadcast: The Work of Salvation. And we were doubly blessed because we were actually able to watch and listen and feel the spirit. Mr. Devin slept through the first half and then sat quietly and ate granola bars and snacks for the rest. If you didn't have a chance to watch it last night, I hope you will take the time to do so. It was very touching and uplifting!

Most of the meeting was about missionary work--sharing the thing that I love the absolute most with those that we love the most. Pres. Packer spoke about how to teach. And I absolutely loved this quote!! I decided to make a printable to have in our home. Because sometimes I need a little reminder that being a stay-at-home mommy is the greatest thing I can ever do. Teaching Devin is more valuable than anything the world could give a working woman.

"I have come to know that everybody is a teacher. In the church we talk about being called to a position and being set apart to teach Sunday School or any other Priesthood auxiliaries. The Priesthood, I think, sometimes prides itself with having the power to doing the teaching. They don't come near the power that's given to a mother. The greatest teaching in the church is done by the mothers." --Pres. Boyd K. Packer (Special Broadcast: The Work of Salvation. about 1.37:30- 1.38:30)

I just love this!!
The power of mothers... and the ability to teach!
A good reminder of my worth.

I thought this one sentence was a good stand alone quote too.

As was this one. :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I wrote this the day after Devin's birthday (June 10). I have still not taken his 12 month picture with the bunny because I haven't felt up to the fight to lay on his back. Hopefully when Casey comes home we can get the picture! :) Until then... here is all of his data!

Weight: 22.5 pounds

Height: 30 inches

Clothing Size: mostly 6-9. Some 12 month, some 18 month.

Diaper Size: three

Milestones: imitates speech sounds, stacks up 3-4 blocks at a time, gives hugs to us and his toys (and brings me the toy so I can give it a hug too), waves, the phrase "out of sight, out of mind" doesn't mean much anymore because he knows where I hid the item, throws full blown temper tantrums, is working on running, turns pages of the book, goes up stairs

Eating: Devin is completely weaned. It took some work getting there but now loves cow milk. He eats three meals a day though lunch is more like a snack. And then a couple of snacks in the morning and afternoon. He is becoming really picky and basically only likes "kid" food. He loves yogurt, scrambled eggs, SpaghettiO's, French fries & veggie straws.

Sleeping: he goes to bed around 9 pm and sleeps until 7:30-8 am or so. He will take an hour or two nap before lunch/ late morning. And another nap the same length before dinner/ late afternoon.

Communication: he communicates. But not with words. Sometimes it sounds like he says words but they don't seem to mean much or be consistent. And he is starting to throw tantrums. Not the ideal form of communication. I just ignore him while he does but he thinks he is communicating. He responds really well to what I tell him though.

Likes: he still loves spoons! He wants to explore and check everything out. His favorite toys are random household items for example an empty container and lid will keep him occupied for a LONG time. He likes learning to do things for himself and insists on holding his on fork/ spoon to eat with sometimes. He loves his cell phone (which was my mother-in-law's first cell phone. The thing is a brick. haha!) and playing with Casey's old "doll" aka "Friend." He loves chasing McQueen all over the house (we have a car that goes by itself if you shake it. He will now shake it and drop it then follow it. Very cute!!). He LOVES reading books both with us and by himself!!!

Dislikes: Having his diaper changed--no idea why he isn't a fan right now. He dislikes most food we eat which makes for a long dinner time trying to figure out something he will eat. He doesn't like having to be inside all day--we have to go on outings.

Nicknames: Buddy, sometimes we call him Baby Bunny. He knows his name and answers to that the best.

Most Memorable Moment(s): We attended his great-grandfather's funeral and all of the grandchildren/ great grandchildren sang a song. Devin sang his little heart out during it and then was pretty quiet the rest of the time. Watching him crawl up the stairs like a pro but then thinking he can walk right down them--he has no fear of height!

Hardest Part: I didn't think babies could/ would throw tantrums this young but Devin already has it down. It is also hard having such a curious boy because everyday we find more things to baby proof.

Lisa's Favorite Part: It completely amazes me what he knows. He picks up on the little things I do everyday and then I love watching him trying to copy it. He totally cracks me up when he "talks" on the phone. Apparently, I listen with the back of my neck instead of my ear. I also love watching his curiosity, even though it requires constant watching and baby proofing and is sometimes frustrating. I love watching him learn!

Casey's Favorite Part: I love playing tag/ chase with Devin. It is fun playing with him.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Quiet Book for Toddler {printable}

UPDATE: This is by far one of my most popular posts... and even though I'm not regularly blogging right now (because my life is so busy with two Little Loves and family history and etc), I thought I would mention that I have started an Etsy store selling other Quiet Books, LDS File Folder Games, etc. This quiet book will always be free and I hope you will continue to use and love it! :)

Etsy Store: LivingOurDreamLife

UPDATE: This is now availabe to download as a PDF... all ready to print! Go to {Living Our Dream Life} facebook page. PLEASE LIKE THE PAGE! Then go to the photo album called {Freebies}.

{Living Our Dream Life} facebook page

Before Devin was born, I made several church bag activities (most of which I never posted on the blog--sorry). I had plans. Devin was going to sit quietly and look at the activities and we would all listen to Sacrament meeting and be uplifted. We would never eat cookies or play with cars at church. Well, allow me just to say that my super curious one year old has a very hard time sitting for three hours. And it does not help that my ward has Sacrament last so by the time we get to that meeting, he has already been sitting on our laps for almost two hours. (Yes, we keep him on our lap. I know he would rather go play. But he is not allowed off our lap. And he knows that and doesn't fight it too much anymore. He rose to our expectations. However, even with expectations, he can still only last for so long!) Yesterday, I bribed Devin to stay with us during Sacrament meeting by feeding him cookies and he played with a tractor. So much for my ideal world.

My church bag activities were not working because they are meant for preschoolers... if not older. He doesn't understand how to put the Popsicle stick puzzles together or how to read all of the photo books I made him. I needed something simple and on his level. Something with few words and lots of pictures that taught the purpose of the Sacrament. The main goal was to have the flip book teach--not just entertain. I searched the internet. I found nothing created for an early toddler. So I decided to make my own.

We will probably save this mini quiet book for only during the Sacrament itself. I want it to be more than just a snack to him, which means I need to teach him. We weren't sure how long to have Devin wait to take the Sacrament for the first time because we didn't know if he would get it yet or not. Yesterday I decided Devin gets it. He knows that sunglasses go on my face and he tries to put any sock he finds on his foot. He knows we talk on phones and touch the spoon to the plate before we put it in our mouth. If he picks up on those things, I know he is paying attention to us taking the Sacrament as well. I was whispering to him yesterday while we all took the Sacrament what we were doing and why. He began whispering back to me (I have never heard him whisper before). It was like he was reciting back to me what he learned--even though I didn't understand what he was saying. Hopefully this flip book will help him begin to understand the why better and connect my whisperings. 

I took some of the phrases from lessons in Behold Your Little Ones (the nursery manual). Others I just made up. I figured that manual is designed for early toddlers and more on the level of my curious child. (even though he is not old enough to go to nursery--I try to convince the nursery workers to let him come early. He walks, plays with toys and sits to listens to stories at the library so he could sit for nursery lessons too. But they won't go for it... not six months early at least.) The pictures are mostly from the Gospel Art Book. And if the cards seem repetitive, it's on purpose!! I'm hoping hearing similar things over and over will help it sink in better.

I printed the pictures at home on cardstock. I did not want to put them in a photo book. I wanted this to be different and I already made several church photo books. (But you certainly could print them off at a picture place and do the book option if you wanted!) My cards are 3" x 4" with a hole punch in the top left corner and a ring. Plus they are hard laminated for heavy duty/ still-puts-everything-in-his-mouth use. You are welcome to save the pictures and print the book for your own personal use. But please refer back to this post instead of uploading them again yourself.

UPDATE: This is now availabe to download as a PDF... all ready to print! Go to {Living Our Dream Life} facebook page. PLEASE LIKE THE PAGE! Then go to the photo album called {Freebies}.

I know this one is a bit wordy.
And he probably won't totally understand.
But I wanted it in there so I could remember to whisper it in his ear. 

Example of the last two pages:
Both of these pages are also in Devin's flip book.
I put them before the last page of "Jesus loves me."
But I didn't really want Devin in everyone's book.
And printing out Devin defeats the personalization purpose!
You will have to make your own mommy/ daddy pages.
Or just leave them out... :)
The font is called "Hank BT" --in case you want your pages to match.

UPDATE: This is now availabe to download as a PDF... all ready to print! Go to {Living Our Dream Life} facebook page. PLEASE LIKE THE PAGE! Then go to the photo album called {Freebies}.

UPDATE: This is by far one of my most popular posts... and even though I'm not regularly blogging right now (because my life is so busy with two Little Loves and family history and etc), I thought I would mention that I have started an Etsy store selling other Quiet Books, LDS File Folder Games, etc. This quiet book will always be free and I hope you will continue to use and love it! :)

Etsy Store: LivingOurDreamLife

Sunday, June 16, 2013

One Year Later

Devin has certainly changed in the past year.
And so has Casey.

I watched Casey become the Daddy I always dreamed of for my children.
He is horsey, book reader, and tag player.
He turns diaper time into a giggle outburst.
And dinner into an airplane contest.
He even has a way of making bedtime fun.

I am so grateful to have such a wonderful husband by my side.
He is my cuddle buddy, tear wiper and constant listener.
He turns clean up into a break for me.
And makes breakfast on Saturdays.
He even has a way of looking for the good.

Devin and I are so blessed to have such an amazing man in our lives...
...for all eternity!!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Home Inspection = Miracle

We took a giant step forward yesterday in the home buying process! Our home inspection was completed and along the way we witnessed many, MANY miracles. This house is definitely an answer to countless prayers.

Miracle #1. All of the utilities had to be turned on in our name yesterday by 1:30 pm. I found this out Thursday afternoon (the day before) at 4:20 pm. I was able to make separate phone calls and play the phone jail game with each to arrange the electricity, gas and water on in order for the inspection. I called the water last and normally when the phone call was winding up, the company representative would ask if I had any other questions. Not the water. Instead she told me that if I had any other questions, I would have to call back tomorrow because it was now 5 o'clock and they were closed and hung up the phone. Seriously, I just felt so blessed that I was able to talk to all three, start new accounts and make arrangements to have them on. (And in case you are wondering, I didn't have any other questions for the water company.)

Miracle #2. The gas company told me that they would come sometime yesterday between 7 am and 6 pm. I explained that it had to be on by 1:30 for the home inspection. I finally convinced the phone operator to leave a note on our file but he told me that it was no guarantee. I was promised to have it on sometime yesterday no later than 6 pm anything earlier would just be bonus time. We prayed and prayed and knew that somehow it would work out. I called back this morning a handful of times to check the status. And every time, I was told that it was on the technician's list but there was no way of determining when he would get to it. Our real estate agent called me at 10:49 am. He was out at our house and the gas was connected. We felt blessed and grateful to have prayers answered.

Miracle #3. In order to have the water turned on, someone with a key to the house has to be home. Our agent is the only one who has access to it right now. I was able to make the appointment for 1:30 pm but the water company told me that if we were more than 5 minutes late from our appointment time, they would just leave and we would have to reschedule. We are blessed with truly an amazing Realtor!! He baby sat our house nearly all day. He was there in the morning to deal with the gas. He was there right after lunch to deal with the water. He was there all afternoon to follow the home inspector around (I think). I know it is his job but still. He has put his life on hold so many times for us. Today was no exception. We thank him profusely but somehow our thanks doesn't seem to equal everything he does for us.

Miracle #4. So this is not directly related to the home inspection. But still a miracle none-the-less. The two missing papers were submitted electronically from our grant application last Monday. And no one committed mortgage fraud in the process. We don't know if we will get it or not. But everyone is beginning to think that we will. On Tuesday, we found out that the city person dealing with grants sent it to their underwriting process. We will keep praying and waiting and trusting.

Miracle #5. This is a HUGE miracle. Our house had the appraiser come out this past Tuesday. Good news because it was another step forward. The only problem was he appraised it at far lower than our offer. Under normal circumstances, this would actually be a great thing because the seller would generally allow us to lower our offer and only pay what it is worth. But we are not dealing with normal circumstances. We are dealing with the government. And it is a nightmare. They would not allow us to have the home for the lower amount but instead insisted that we have to pay the difference between the appraised value and our offer with cash. There was no way we could put that much cash plus our closing costs and down payment. Just not going to happen and would have to just walk away from the house. Our agent debated and debated with the appraiser because quite honestly, the appraiser valued the home way too low. Comparable houses have recently sold in the same neighborhood for way more than our offer. The appraiser finally agreed to change the value he placed on it which will allow us to keep the house and take out our loan.

There are so many, MANY more miracles... the type of loan we choose... the basement is not finished because we would just have to redo/ fix it anyway (more on that later--the finished floor needs A LOT of help before we can move)... the government refunding us a winterization fee they made us pay (seriously?! It is the middle of summer! The pipes won't freeze--we were glad to find an honest way around that huge chunk of change)... the location of the house... 

And I know we are going to see even more miracles because (1) it is not move in ready right now and somehow will have to become that way quickly (while considering affordability) once we take possession, (2) we still don't have a closing date because the title company is in no hurry to respond, and (3) other things that we don't even know yet but will be miraculous when they happen--like having our grant approved.

We just feel so blessed and keep moving forward with faith, knowing that somehow everything will work out. :)
picture source
(and it has a free printable)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

M&M Missionary Printable

So for the past couple of hours (seriously) I was working on making a "Get Well" present for my sister's missionary companion. The reason it took so long is because I searched and searched and could not find anything I liked. I wanted to use M&Ms because we already had a giant (Sam's Club sized) bag. It had to be a ziplock bag topper because I didn't want to have to pay to send the entire giant bag. And somehow the colors needed a prescription with each. I kept searching. Nothing.

Finally I decided to just make my own. Please feel free to use for your struggling missionaries who need a pick-me-up from home as well. Just save the bag topper/ label to your computer then resize it.

If you want the ziplock bag topper to fit on a sandwich sized (or probably snack size) bag, it needs to be 6.5" wide (the direction the font can be read) by 5" tall. You will fold it in half on the center line. (Yes, I know it is sideways right now... that is the easiest way to make a bag topper in Microsoft Word.)

And in case you just want the prescription label without the bag topper... (You could glue it on to an empty RX bottle filled with M&Ms.)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

HONESTY --the best policy

We went under contract. The loan was being processed. I had turned in almost all of the papers for our grant and it was being reviewed with the missing papers. I thought everything was moving along smoothly with buying our home.

Yesterday our loan officer called me. The first thing he said was he had bad news. My first thought was interest rates had spiked super high and now we won't qualify for the loan because we have not locked in a rate yet. But I didn't jump to conclusions and just listened to his explanation. It turns out it had nothing to do with interest rates. It was the grant.

I still have to turn in two papers for our grant application to be complete. The first was Casey and I had to sign the copy of our taxes. Easy. We just didn't think to sign it because we submitted everything electronically and assumed the electronic signature would show on the printout. The second is a form called the buyer/ seller certification.

The buyer/ seller certification.

Generally, it would not be that hard to turn this in either. The seller signs the form which states we are applying for a grant. Truthfully, I don't even understand why the seller has to know this because it doesn't affect them at all but that is the city's rule. But our situation is different. There is no seller--our house is government owned. And everyone involved on the government's side of things refuses to sign it. My agent has talked to countless people trying to find anyone who will sign the form. And no one will sign it. They even emailed our agent part of their rules & regulations handbook which states they will sign absolutely no forms other than their own contract.

Everyone knows this. All loan companies know this and there are some of our loan forms that generally the seller will sign as well. But they don't even try to have them signed when the seller is the government. So... everyone knows this except the city we are moving to.

The city will not accept the form without a signature. Our loan officer has talked to the person in charge of the city grants over and over. The city claims that they have never had a problem before even with other people applying for the grant with a government owned house. The form has always came back with a signature. The loan officer pursued it and tried to understand how government owned houses had a signature in past cases. Finally he was told by the city that they don't check it. As long as there is some form of ink on the seller's line, they don't care.

Lovely. If any of us were willing to scribble something on the line, we would qualify for the grant. But our loan company and agent are both extremely honest--a characteristic trait that is absolutely needed in this home buying business! And we are not willing to commit mortgage fraud either. But because all the previous government owned houses grant applications came back with something scribbled on the line, they refuse to accept ours without it.

I don't know how things will work out right now. But I do know that we will be blessed for being honest. On Monday, we are going to pursue calling other city offices, including the major and city council, to hopefully find a way around the required seller signature. We should be able to write on the line "government owned" and have that waive the requirement. 

This entire house process is a constant pleading with the Lord. We are praying that hearts will be softened and that through miraculous means we will be awarded the grant. He has answered our prayers before, we know He will answer them again. We just don't know how at this point....

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Under Contract

We are officially under contract as of yesterday. We received our contract papers back--signed and accepted! Which means... our home is no longer listed on the MLS. :D Holy cow... it is actually ours! Everyone else that was eyeing our home and hoping to be able to buy it will realize that it is gone now. Off the market. It is finally beginning to seem real. We are actually buying a home!!

We are still PRAYING for interest rates to come back down a little bit!!!

I am hopefully going to turn in our grant application either today or tomorrow.

And there is of course more paperwork to print off and sign (this time for the Title Company). I told Casey we are going to need to buy more paper and ink by the time this is all done! I was super impressed with our loan company--we were able to sign 98% of the papers electronically!!

We do not have a closing date. It depends on the Title Company. Hopefully we can figure that out soon but it will be in July sometime.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Floor Plan

I thought I would take you on a tour of OUR home!! It still seems weird calling it ours.... And we don't have a closing date because some of our paper work was not signed correctly. A couple of days ago we had to write "married couple" next to our names on one of the lines then initial it. We are planning on mid July... probably.... We have seen the house three times now. And each time, it is beginning to seem more real. More ours. More home. And although it was not our dream home, it is definitely becoming that as we keep seeing it and planning for it!! Plus, our home is huge!! Much, MUCH bigger than the other houses we had offers on!

Anyway, I found this AMAZING (and free) online program (which is also a free iPad app... in case any of my FACS teacher friends want to use this in their classroom... I totally would if I was still teaching!!) that allows you to build rooms and then design them. So cool! I have hand drawn countless rooms between all of my classes and then trying to arrange furniture in our apartments. We did a rough measurement when we went back to look at the house a couple of days ago. I took those rough numbers and turned them into rooms. I know that this is not entirely correct but it is the general idea of the layout.

Our home has four levels. There is the main level which is on the ground level. Our rooms are up about a half flight of stairs. Going down half a flight of stairs from the main level will be our future family room, small bedroom, and laundry/ half bath (it is unfinished though at the moment). This is located under our bedrooms. Then going down another half flight of stairs from the future family room (so under the main level) we will build another bedroom, full bathroom, storage/ pantry, and maybe an office.... Another way to think about the four levels is think of a normal rambler with a basement then lift up the bedrooms and basement directly below a half level while leaving the living room and kitchen and basement directly below that exactly where it is.

The pictures should be the same size and same scale. These two floors are about 1,000 square feet together. 

I absolutely LOVE how large the dining room is!! It will easily fit our 6 person table. And someday if we ever decide to buy a larger table, it would definitely accommodate it. For now, our computer desk, pantry cupboards and upright freezer will be along the walls.

The kitchen has tons of cupboards (which we will use for all of the kitchen appliances/ gadgets we have), a built in dishwasher, and a place for a fairly large fridge.

The front coat closet is huge! Somehow, this picture doesn't seem to do it justice.

The master bedroom is really big! I absolutely LOVE the size of our closet. Technically, it is a walk in closet but doesn't have a light in it. There is a shoe organizer/ shelves built in. We have a ceiling fan!!

Devin's closet is also really large for a second bedroom! And his room is not too shabby either. We will definitely be able to have two kids in there but seriously could probably fit three. He has two windows and they are shorter so he can look out them. He seemed to enjoy looking out the window!

Nothing too fancy about the bathroom except for having the door from the master room to the bathroom. I just assumed that houses had them. After looking at several house though, I realized that some did and some did not. I really, REALLY wanted to buy a house that had one so I'm very grateful for that door!

We have a two car carport. The back yard (weed patch--hopefully next year we will have grass!) is entirely fenced in. I love that so I can let Devin go play outside know that he can't escape! There is a decent sized porch in the front which I'm so excited to buy outdoor furniture of some sort and enjoy sitting out there.  Plus a huge tree in the front yard to shade the porch during the evening!

And then there is the two level, unfinished basement. We are already excited to be planning how we are going to finish them. But that is another post for another day... :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dream Home vs. Actual Home

When we started the home buying process at the beginning of this year, I made a list of of our dream home. There were certain requirements that it had to have and then others that we really wanted but could live without. I thought it would be interesting to compare and see if our home matches our dream home. My list is posted below in orange and the actual home is written in purple.

  • In an area where we can get one of the housing grants (not all parts of the valley offer that and some cities have stricter rules than others) YES! Our grant is being processed right now! I still need to go turn in several forms but I was told the process was already started.
  • Located in an accessible area (meaning near-ish the freeway/ trax/ etc) Near-ISH being the key word in that. Ish. It is sort of... kind of accessible/ near Trax. Which also means it is sort of... kind of far away. It is not as close as we would like. But oh well.
  • Not on a busy street but not a dead end either YES!! It is in a good location in its neighborhood. It is a small street that is off a major street.
  • Previous owners can not be smokers (my allergies would go crazy!) and the house can not smell like pets either. The house smells clean. I think we should be fine, especially after a good carpet cleaning. I think the previous owners did smoke but always outside.
  • We want an actual house--not mobile home or condo. YES!! It is free standing with it's own fenced in yard.
  • Has to feed to good schools. YES! From all the extensive research I have done on the schools, it seems to be in a very good school area.
  • Electric dryer hook-up. YES!
  • Kept in good shape and ready to move in. More or Less. There was a kid there that did wonders to all the walls with his artwork. And we know that some of the appliances need help. It will be interesting to see what else we learn about what is wrong with our home after we get a home inspection.
  • The water tastes good (I will seriously ask to drink the water before we put an offer on it!) No idea right now. I'm slightly nervous about this. The house was winterized and there was no way to tell what it tastes like. But I'm hopeful!
  • Good Ward (how do you tell before you buy the home??) Another no idea... We are praying it is though. And praying we will find life long friends! I guess I will have to report back on these two after we move in.

  • Has a small formal living room, a large kitchen and a family room all on the same level (or the family room could be down a few stairs like in a tri-level house) Nope. It does have a large kitchen!!!! No family room at all. But a completely unfinished basement. Our house was not the layout/ floor plan I wanted.
  • Has at least a 3/4 master bathroom. Nope. It is a one bathroom house.
  • There are two rooms in addition to the master room on the same level/ right by each other. Nope. It is only 2 rooms total. (I wanted 3.)
  • Hopefully another room/ den/ office in the basement. Nope. But it could because it is completely unfinished.
  • Has a good storage room. Sure-- isn't that what unfinished basements are for?! Storage...
  • Garage at least a carport. We got our at least. No garage but it does have a carport.
  • A yard big enough for Devin to play in and grow a garden. Yes. The actual yard is fairly big compared to most houses in the surrounding area. But currently it is a complete weed patch. So it will take a lot of TLC. And when we redo the grass, we are going to add a garden somewhere.
  • Has a garbage disposal. I honestly don't know right now. I would assume yes because it has a built in dishwasher!
  • No carpet in the dining room (ugh! Such a pain--that has to be the thing I like the least about our apartment right now) YES! I don't know what the kitchen and dining rooms are; I think some sort of laminate. But whatever it is, I can sweep it with a broom. I'm SOOOO grateful the dining room is not carpeted!!
  • The family room is large enough to play the Wii and have the family computer in there. Nope. No family room right now. In the future though when we finish the basement, this could become a yes.
  • Lots of natural light. The kitchen and dining room has a ton! But I think our house is just about normal on this matter. There are good sized windows in all the rooms.

It is not the house that I dreamed of. It does not have the floor plan I wanted. But it is our home. It is in a good area. And it really does meet nearly all of our requirements. And has the potential to meet a lot of our dreams. Although an unfinished basement is not "move in ready," I'm excited to be able to finish it any way I want! I can use all of my interior design skills and make the basement what we want.