Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Workout Buddy

I have always heard the advice to workout with a friend. Someone that can keep you motivated. And keep pushing you.

Basically, I would just ignore that. It was practically impossible to have a workout buddy when I exercise everyday in my living room with the Wii.

That changed now. I have the cutest workout buddy. Someone who talks to me constantly and reminds me why I'm working so hard. Someone who tries to exercise with me and brings a smile to my face even while I'm dripping sweat. Someone who wants to do push-ups with me every time I use the Wii board and giggles every time I get on the floor.


Isn't he adorable?!

Working out is definitely better with a buddy! :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Eye Opening Moments

So we met our real estate agent for first time on Saturday. We totally made the right choice. He is so kind and trustworthy. And definitely wants what is in our best interest. He was pointing out things that were wrong with the home--things that we should really consider before we buy-- instead of just trying to ignore them and push us to buy a home. So grateful for his integrity and knowledge!

I had an eye opening moment. This is not my interior design class. I know. That sounds kind of odd. But as we were looking at homes, I was looking at them from the perspective of a student and trying to figure out the principles and elements of every room. And while that is important, I can change it! I can make my home look and feel anyway I want. I realized that the perspective I need is to look at the house and see if I could really see myself living there. Can I see myself welcoming friends and family into the living room? Can I see myself waking up every morning in the master bedroom and cooking all of our meals in the kitchen? One of the houses we looked at was beautiful and I liked it because of that. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could never see myself living there. 

Another huge factor in finding our home... location. Not on a busy street. We looked at another house that I actually kind of liked and might have considered except it is right on the corner of a very busy street. We were concerned about Devin playing outside. And our realtor told us how this house would be hard to resell (and he wishes the people selling it good luck) because of it being right off the busy street. And... along with location is the school that the house feeds to. I don't want to buy a house that we are already planning on having Devin go on permit to a different school his entire school career. This requirement I think our realtor finds kind of funny but he is willing to work with it.

Finally, the last thing I learned from looking at homes on Saturday, I cannot be allergic to the house. One of the houses we looked at, that I liked, triggered my allergies. I was sneezing for seriously about an hour after we walked around it. As much as I liked the house, I decided there was absolutely no way that I was going to even consider it because I can definitely not see myself having drippy eyes and a runny nose everyday for the rest of my life. And yes, the house could probably be cleaned  and all would be well. But there is a chance that whatever bothered me would never go away-- even after a super deep clean. And I'm not willing to take that chance.

And so we will keep searching and waiting.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Our Dream Home


 I keep singing "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof. In that song, Tevye describes his dream house.
I'd build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen
Right in the middle of the town,
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
There would be one long staircase just going up
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.
And while his house might be a bit elaborate, it is his dream. 

My actual dream house where money didn't matter would probably be just as elaborate. But we live in a realistic world where money does matter so we might have to cut out the stair case "leading nowhere, just for show." ;)

Requirements:
  • 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)
  • Located in an accessible area (meaning near-ish the freeway/ trax/ etc)
  • Not on a busy street but not a dead end either
  • Previous owners can not be smokers (my allergies would go crazy!) 
    • and the house can not smell like pets either
  • We want an actual house--not mobile home or condo
  • Has to feed to good schools
  • Electric dryer hook-up
  • Kept in good shape and ready to move in 
  • The water tastes good (I will seriously ask to drink the water before we put an offer on it!)
  • Good Ward (how do you tell before you buy the home??)

Dreams:
  • 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)
  • Has at least a 3/4 master bathroom
  • There are two rooms in addition to the master room on the same level/ right by each other.
  • Hopefully another room/ den/ office in the basement.
  • Has a good storage room
  • Garage
    • at least a carport
  • A yard big enough for Devin to play in
    • and grow a garden
  • Has a garbage disposal
  • 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)
  • The family room is large enough to play the Wii 
    • and have the family computer in there
  • Lots of natural light


Friday, January 25, 2013

Finding an Agent


Next step...

Choosing a real estate agent.

Um... has anyone looked into finding a real estate agent before?? There are about a million people to choose from. Seriously. We know two people in our ward right now. I found out the one my brother worked with. I found countless online. We were suggested another one by our loan company.

How do you choose one?

I wanted someone that I could trust and feel comfortable with. Someone that knew what they were doing and made sure everything was filled out and signed completely accurate. I would really like someone that shares our religion. But how do you find out if someone is LDS or not simply from looking at pictures online and hearing their voice on the phone?

Casey asked his mom for a recommendation. She works in a real estate office. And... well... we went with her suggestion. I talked with him yesterday. He sounds amazing! And my mother-in-law knows him personally. So we know that we share the thing most important, our religion. And I'm sure whatever home we end up buying will be because it feels right. How do you explain that to someone who doesn't get it? But he gets it.

Our loan officer called and talked with him earlier this morning. The loan officer told me he was very impressed with our choice of real estate agent. Hopefully that is a good sign, right?!

We are going to meet our real estate agent tomorrow and look at some houses.

I'm so excited!! This is becoming more and more real. :)

Pre-Approval


About a month and a half to two months ago, I never thought we would be where we are today. Buying a house was the absolute last thing on my mind. We both kind of just thought we would wait until after Casey finished school. And I was definitely not about to move because I hate moving so we were planning on living in our apartment for at least a few more years.

We have two bedrooms. And completely covered parking. We live close to Trax so Casey can take it to work and school. We love our ward. Yup. Totally content just to stay where we were at.

But Casey and I both kept thinking about the idea of buying a home. We never talked about it. And I pretty much didn't even acknowledge my feelings. I just didn't think the time was right so I kept ignoring it.

Then randomly in the middle of December we both turned to each other and stated how we should buy a house. I was shocked. I was trying to get myself ready for this conversation and was ready for Casey to shoot down my crazy idea. After all, buying a house, was crazy, right?!

Apparently not. Because Casey was preparing himself for the exact same conversation with me.

And we just kind of ran with it; trusting that Heavenly Father knows what He is doing and we are both being guided to find our home.

I started looking at houses online. We went and talked with a couple of different credit unions about getting a loan but I wasn't impressed and it just didn't seem right to pursue it with them. Finally I confessed my crazy idea to my mom and she found some great websites. (My mom is seriously the BEST googler ever! Seriously! How she finds everything she does, I have no idea!) But one of her suggested websites talked about applying for grants--which we qualify for. I didn't even know such a thing existed.

So I called to find out more information about the grants. And then we were considering getting a loan from this place that I kept talking to. But I was still hesitant. I asked my brother where their mortgage was from. Looked up his place online and randomly picked one branch to call. Not the closest branch to our apartment either. The one that I just liked for whatever reason.

I was still debating about which place to apply for our loan at. After all, this is a huge commitment! And it seemed like most of the decision and appointment scheduling was becoming my responsibility because Casey was all of the sudden so busy with the new semester starting. So I filled out an application at both places with our credit being checked at both. I was sent our credit report scores (which is really good!) and then I didn't hear back from either place. I kept leaning towards the place my brother went with but I couldn't decide.

Why were they not calling me back? It was so weird. About a week went by and then I had Casey try calling both places. And I just decided to go with the place my brother did. I don't know why. We still had not met either company in person--just long phone calls. But it felt right. And this whole process is a matter of trusting the Holy Ghost and the promptings we are getting. So we just went with it.

We met with our loan officer. And we were approved for about a million and three quarters dollar home. Gasp. What?! There is NO way we can afford that. Turns out they put in an extra zero and had wrong numbers. So all of the numbers were reworked. And we just got our pre-approval letter yesterday.

*squeal* This is really happening. We are really in the process of buying a house!! :)


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's Still For Him

When I started my biggest loser journey in January 2011, my motivation was complete for my unborn children. I wanted to have a healthy pregnancy. I did it for Baby Bunny. And my pregnancy went great!

Then I wanted to loose the baby fat and eventually reach my goal weight. I attempted in August 2012. And failed. A new baby changes everything. I was tired all the time. And starving the rest of the time. I always heard that you burn tons calories when you are nursing and I believed it. And I fell victim to that theory and gained weight instead of loosing it. I wasn't ready to change and so I quit trying.

Fast forward to December 2012 and I think I made almost every yummy holiday treat you could imagine. And ate several servings of each everyday. I mean after all... I'm nursing and burning extra calories so it didn't matter what I ate. Wrong. 

I realized I had to change though when all of the sudden carrying my baby up our two flights of stairs became a burden and left me out of breath. That was an eye opening moment because I was able to run up and down the stairs when I was NINE MONTHS pregnant and not get winded.

So I jumped back on the band wagon. And exercising for the past two weeks has been really hard. Our sleep schedule was confused when we stayed awake nearly the whole night at Primary's. And then my lovely insomnia kicked in and my body had no idea when to sleep because it was awake the night before. So instead of getting up and exercising, I slept. And then I got a cold. (I swear it came from the doctor's office when I had to take Devin for a follow up to the hospital. I am never touching any of their toys or books again!!) And once again, my body is struggling to get better and once again sleep overtook my exercise time. But despite my lack of exercise, I changed what I'm eating. Out went all of the insane amount of sugary treats and in came the healthy.

And then it hit me. This is still for him! My choice to live a healthy lifestyle runs much deeper than just pregnancy. It's still for Devin.

This season on the TV series, The Biggest Loser, they are featuring childhood obesity in attempts to fight it. And as they showed all of the families on Monday, it hit me even harder. This (my choosing to be healthy) will always be for my children as well as myself.

I created this photo collage from screen captures from the
"Cut the Junk" episode.
Seeing the children ambassadors' families reminded me why this is still for Baby Bunny. The children are not the only ones overweight in their families! If the parents are unhealthy and make unhealthy eating and exercise choices, the kids do as well. The only way to truly fight childhood obesity is to start with the parents!

I have to make the change so I can be healthy and chase Devin as he crawls. And carry him and the groceries up our lovely apartment stairs without dying. But most importantly, I have to make this permanent lifestyle change so Devin can eventually learn to be healthy himself by my example!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How Could You Do This To Me?

Ever since our trip to Primary Children's Medical Center about a week ago, Devin constantly protests nap time and especially bedtime. My good little sleeper learned that if he screams long enough we will eventually pick him up and then he will get to go on a car ride and then play with all sorts of fun "toys" and nurses. (Granted, he really was in serious pain when we took him so I don't regret that at all!) But... he now uses that same screaming cry to try to trick us to come rescue him from his crib.

As he was protesting his nap time today, this story shared by Elder Todd D. Christofferson from April 2011 General Conference came to mind. (Watch the video now so you will understand the rest of my post!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr8xvw0cgw0&list=PL4E784EC0770935C0&index=4
As Devin laid screaming in his crib it was like I heard him say:
"How could you do this to me? I want to be up with you. I want to learn and play. And now you are forcing me to go to sleep, you have cut me down. How could you do this to me? I thought you were the mother here."
And I replied:
"Look, little baby, I am the mother here, and I know what I want you to be. I don't want you to be grumpy or crying. I want you to be a happy baby, and someday, little baby, when you once again go to sleep peacefully and stay asleep through the whole night, you are going to say, "Thank you, Mother, for loving me enough to cut me down."

It's absolutely terrible having to listen to him wail like he is in pain every time he lays in his crib. But I know he is fine. And I know someday he will thank me for "cutting him down" and so I leave him there to cry it out (or in his case... scream it out). Someday we will all be grateful when he sleeps easily and soundly again.

But this video goes deeper.

My car died almost a year ago and my husband totaled his car a few months ago. We have made four trips to the emergency room in less than seven months. We have all of these huge financial obstacles to face.

It is like I turn heavenward and say:
"How could you do this to us? We pay our tithing and keep the commandments. Why couldn't you have just told us that nothing was seriously wrong and we could have waited to see a regular doctor in the morning instead of the making trips to the expensive emergency room? Why couldn't you have prevented the accidents and made my car last just a little bit longer. How could you do this to us?"
And I heard the response:
"I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do and who I want you to become."

As we are still in the middle of our huge financial struggle, it is hard to say, "Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me." But someday... I'm sure we will. Someday we will look back on this journey and realize that it was helping to prepare us for who we need to be.



Friday, January 11, 2013

Seven Month Doctor Visit

Most babies don't have a seven month check up. But Devin is striving to be different. Besides... having to go every single month {sigh} provides great documentation for his growth.

We had an appointment today as a follow up visit for going to Primary's earlier this week. And we have an appointment next month as a follow up from today. Devin just loves his pediatrician and wants to see him.

Weight: 18.25 pounds (43%)
Height: 28.0 inches (80%)
Head Circumference: 17.3 inches (39%)

Devin's Data SEVEN Months


The typical monthly picture... with the domino of 7 on the bunny's ear
How the photo shoot really went...
He had a very hard time laying still when he just wanted to play with the dominoes!

Weight: around 19 pounds

Height: ?

Clothing Size: Mostly 3-6 months. He can still fit in the 0-3 but it is a bit tight and short on his legs.

Diaper Size: 2

Milestones: Crawls, walks while holding onto our fingers, likes peek-a-boo, picks things up with his "pincer" grasp--but he needs to keep working on that as well, drinks from a sippy cup

Eating: He has 3 meals a day and eats a combination of homemade baby food and whatever I'm eating. He eats about 12-14 T. at each meal. He also nurses about 4-5 times a day. He drinks from a sippy cup at each meal and sometimes will refuse to eat more until after he has a drink.

Sleeping: Goes to bed about 9:30 and sleeps until 8:30(ish). Then takes a morning nap for about 45 minutes, an afternoon nap for an hour and a half to two hours, and a short cat nap in the evening.

Communication: He can definitely communicate! If I ask him a yes or no question (ex: do you want...?) then he gets very excited and squeals/ pants if he wants it. If he doesn't want it, he will shake his head no. (I have don't know how he learned "no" because I never taught him it. I like that he can communicate but I was hoping to avoid no for awhile.) He also has several cries that I generally understand.

Likes: Playing with wrapping paper and bows, toys that make noise and toys that have wheels--like cars, the freedom of being able to move, exploring everything, playing with all the electrical cords, putting his binky in himself, knocking over a block tower, turning the pages in a book while I read to him

Dislikes: getting stuck or not knowing how to move from a sitting position. (If I sit him on the floor, he feels stuck and won't try to lay down so he can then crawl.)

Nicknames: Mr. Devin, Baby Bunny

Most Memorable Moment(s): watching him crawl for the first time. He pushed his purple elephant car around and made his way over to the Christmas tree (the day after Christmas). Taking him up to Primary's Medical Center (again...) during the middle of the night. We were released a few hours later

Hardest Part: Having to baby proof everything--he wants to play with everything he shouldn't

Lisa's Favorite Part: When Devin is in the middle of the floor and I am able to convince him to come to me. I love it when he comes to me! I also love it when I see him smile! I can normally get him to smile or laugh fairly easily and it makes everything better!!! :)

Casey's Favorite Part: Watching him scoot around

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year Resolution {Binder Cover}

I love the "New Year Resolution" papers that I saw popping up all over the place. This year I printed the one off from The Dating Divas for both of us to fill out. It was cute. I like cute. Anyway... everyone says that they are going to stick them in a binder and then save them to look back on. That is my plan too. But. The binder needed a cute title page. I searched the internet and could not find anything. So... I created my own. Just print it off, write your last name in and slip it into a binder.

(And one reason I love the yearly worksheet thing is because my darling sweetheart is not much of a journal writer. This way at least there is SOME memory of the year from his perspective!!)