Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A LONG Time Coming

I know many of you already know this, but there are many that do not so I might as well share the news with everyone…We bought a house! As of yesterday it has been made official. We receive our keys today and are so excited to be leaving the ghetto!

Our house!

This has been the longest drawn out process of our lives! I had made a previous post about being ‘in waiting’ (which most of you thought I meant I was pregnant but boy I can’t tell you how wrong you all were!) and that was an understatement.

First of all let me say that our realtor has been amazing. She has stepped up and has done everything (and more) she can to assure we got this house. We love her and highly recommend her to anyone. With that said…

We put an offer on this house the beginning of September. Of course our first offer was not accepted, so after a few counteroffers we agreed on a reasonable price and the process continued. We prequalified for our loan with a loan officer we thought would do a wonderful job. We also did MANY walkthroughs of the house as we made a list of a few things we wanted the owner to complete for us. Things were moving along. The owner agreed to complete what we asked (which was a make it or break it decision for us if he didn’t agree) and so we were just waiting for our loan to process…and we waited…and waited…and after three closing date extensions, pulling our loan from our wonderful loan officer, meeting with a new loan officer, deciding not to use that loan officer and going with a better one we closed yesterday evening (FINALLY!). We have hated the past three weeks of this whole home buying process. We talked to many people that could not believe all the problems we were running into. The worst part about it was we were helpless. We had done all we could do on our part. We have excellent credit and minimal debt (only our cars, no school debt…what a blessing!) so we didn’t understand why we were having such issues. We knew we were making the right decision because we had prayed about it. And never once were confused, only frustrated (which neither of us took as a ‘back out’ sign). I should have never prayed for patience. My prayers were answered and I was put to the test. Poor Gordon was also put to the test. But we’re a team and I feel like we did pretty good with this whole situation. We tried to have a positive outlook on things (I’m not saying I never complained…that would be a miracle. I just tried to stay positive. I knew this was all happening for a reason, although I'm not sure what that reason is yet).

Enough about the horrible purchasing process, let me tell you the details about our house! This house was the very last house we looked at on our list. Driving to the house Gordon kept saying “I just know this is going to be the one.” I thought he was saying that because it was the newest house we were looking at (by over 50 years!) and would need minimal work done (the yard needs a little TLC). As we drove through the neighborhood we fell more and more in love with the home (which we hadn’t even seen yet). The area is exactly what we were looking for… mountains, hiking trails, and rock climbing right in our front yard (or pretty dang close). The view is amazing! We are so excited to actually have a home where we have talked about living since we were dating.

The home is brand new, completed May 2008 (The original home burnt down and the owner is a builder so he built it from the foundation up. They were able to reuse the foundation which is from the 1950’s). The inside is all new…knotty alder cupboards, tile in the kitchen, entry ways and bathrooms, new carpet, and appliances. It has 3 bedrooms (one is the master with a walk in closet and own bathroom), two family rooms (one on the main level and one downstairs which is wired for surround sound and is also double insulated for noise control), 2 ½ baths, and a big laundry room. It also has a 2 car garage (which was a must per Gordon). The backyard is decent size for our dogs (once we finish the fence we can let them all run loose!). It sounds like it could be very big, but it’s really not. It’s a little shy of 1800 square feet (which is double the size of our apartment so we’re moving on up! The only downside is my cleaning duties have doubled, which means the time has doubled maybe even tripled. Goodbye Saturdays).

We feel very blessed to have the opportunity to purchase a home. It is a wish come true. I am not only excited to decorate and paint, but I am excited to not have to smell cigarette smoke in my home anymore, or be a part of situations like this, or live in the ghetto and have my husband wake up with me in the middle of the night to take our dogs out just in case (I’m making it sound like I should be carrying a gun with me for protection. It’s not that bad…).

The big moving day is Saturday. My mom and I are ‘prepping’ the house on Friday with a good cleaning (carpets included). We’ll set up the kitchen and bathrooms, and then Saturday we can finish up. Don’t worry; this whole moving thing will not interfere with our Halloween plans (although if Gordon had his way he would let it) or baby shower plans (which I’m co-throwing with Jodi). Busy, busy weekend ahead…Let the craziness begin!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Party Time

This weekend Gordon and I were super busy…having so much fun at our Halloween parties. Our good friends the Purser’s had what might be the best Halloween party I have ever been to. Where is the best place to have a Halloween party? A mortuary. And that’s where their party was. The owner of the mortuary said they could have their party throughout the entire mortuary as long as they cleaned up. Although we had access to the entire mortuary (except the embalming room which was off limits…there were bodies down there!) the main party place was the grieving room. There were so many great costumes, and some really excellent “couple” costumes which included: a bumble bee and flower, polygamists (that’s a triple costume), Buddy Elf and wife, Grandma and Grandpa, Tree and Tree Hugger (my favorite), the Shrek family (their little boy was the donkey…so adorable!), and last but not least Little Red Ridding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf (that was our costume). There were other great costumes there such as the Joker, a mechanic (with real grease and everything), and a puppy dog (which was an 8 years old costume but a 20 something year old showed us it can be used at any age). There were many others there that had great costumes too, but those were the most memorable. This party was so much fun. The party games could not be topped by any other party. We took a tour of the mausoleum in complete darkness. The only light was when we needed to head up the stairs! Marc made our tour that much scarier by telling us some real ghost stories from the mausoleum…needless to say my eyes were closed 80 percent of the time. The party was a success for sure. Yummy soups and treats, and great company. We made a lot of new friends that night too.

Marc & Katherine as Buddy the Elf and wife
(they made these sweet costumes!)
Shelly(the mechanic), Katherine (Buddy the elf's wife), & me
The Big Bad Wolf (Gordon) and Little Red Riding Hood (me)

Along with the mortuary Halloween party, we also attended the Fraga annual Halloween extravaganza! My dad’s side of the family goes all out for Halloween. It’s one of our favorite holidays. This year was no different. In fact, I think it was one of the best family Halloween parties yet! The clubhouse was decorated wonderfully. They always seem to amaze me with how much detail they put into the party décor. Every wall had a spooky mural on them. There was not one corner undecorated. The décor theme was from the movie Hocus Pocus. My two aunts and a cousin were the Sanderson sisters Winnie, Mary, and Sarah. They were the host of the party. Their costumes were amazing (surprisingly I did not get a pic of them). My cute little cousin Zoe was Danni. My cousin’s husband Brian was the Joker, but not the Joker everyone else is for Halloween. He was the Joker at the end of the movie (the Dark Knight)…the nurse Joker. It was a great costume, but not one of his best. Every year he custom makes his costume. Last year he was Alien, from the movie Alien. It was the most amazing costume I have ever seen! So amazing that he sold it for over $1000 on eBay! He’s very talented. My dad and Brenda were ‘two peas in a pod’. What a great newlywed costume. Gordon and I just reused our costume from the night before (and will continue to use it for the party we have on Halloween too). The kids played lots of fun Halloween games and got some really fun prizes. My nephew is too cool to play any of the “kid games” and is also too cool to dress up. Why is it that dressing up is so fun when you’re little, then when your pre-teen or early teen age it’s not cool, then the older you get it’s cool again? I remember all of those stages, and I’m glad to be back at the ‘it’s cool again’ stage in my life because I love to dress up and I love Halloween time.

The entrance to the clubhouse...spooky!
The witches "brew station"
Fourtune tellers
The image on this TV changed all night long
Each table was decorated like this
My dad & Brenda
Cute little Zoe

I’m excited for Halloween this year and can’t wait to see some of our other good friends, the Cantwell’s and Kilgore’s, costumes at their party on Halloween. Maybe we’ll revamp our costume a bit to make it even that much more exciting.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Instead of Laundry, TV

For about a year Gordon and I have not had TV. We have a TV. It’s brand new, flat screen/body with all the bells and whistles. We just refuse to pay for TV reception. When we first got married we had free TV, or what we now think may have been stolen TV. That went away a few months after we had moved into our apartment (which was one of the most devastating days of my life. I thought something was wrong with our TV). People ‘praise’ us for this. Really we should not be praised; we’re just broke and cheep. When we say that to people they say “Well TV is fairly inexpensive. Basic cable is only $20 a month” to which we reply “We actually really like not having TV. We have made more use of our time.” People do not get this. Especially my parents. I understand why. I use to live for TV. When I’d get home from work or school that was the first thing that I did: sit down in front of the TV only to break for dinner and then bedtime (sad, I know). Now I don’t care. Well I can’t say I don’t care entirely. I do have some shows that I love/have to watch (Desperate Housewives, Gossip Girl, The Hills, The Office, 30 Rock). Some of these I watch online. Others we watch at our parent’s houses. So instead of going to our parents to use their washer and dryer like some couples, we go over to use their TV (they love that we come to visit too). We also get the added bonus of dinner. Why stop?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

They Make It Hard

This is a regular occurance at our home. If it's not one, it's both of them needing your undivided attention. I understand why; they are home alone during the day and are so excited that we're home. But boy they sure make it hard to do simple things like read a book or study. As you can see from the pictures, Abbi is the most needy. It's not good enough for her to be sitting on your lap while you do these things. She has to be in your face, making it impossible to do anything else but pay attention to her. She loves it, I can tell. Briggs is a quiet attention needer (for sure not a real word). He will not whine (unlike Abbi). Instead, the moment you sit down, he's there, on your lap not giving you a moment to get comfortable first. Don't get me wrong, I love this (however, Gordon does not). But there are times that I think back to when we didn't have them and wonder what the crap I did all night long. I'm guessing that's what new parents do. I realize that we (really just me) have made them this way and I'm ok with it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Not a Day Over Thirty

Happy Birthday Mom!

You’re the best Mom a family could ask for.
There’s nothing you wouldn’t do for us.
We appreciate all you do.
We love you!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reverse Surprise Party?

My step dad Tim does everything a bit out of the ordinary, so when he told me that he was throwing a reverse surprise party for my mom I had questions, but was not surprised at his idea. Here was the plan…
My mom had made plans with her sisters to go to dinner for her birthday (which is a birthday tradition for the Burton girls). My Aunt Lyda was going to pick up her up. Instead of them leaving, the party guests would be arriving, making it so they couldn’t leave (or wouldn’t leave because the party came to her). A different idea, but it worked.

My mom was a bit confused as one by one each of her sisters arrived at her house, along with her step kids, friends, and us. She had made it very clear that she did not want a party. She wanted this birthday, the big ‘5-0’, to pass by without a notice…well she wanted to celebrate it her way with shopping and dinner in Park City although ideally she wanted to be out of the country. But Tim couldn’t let this birthday pass by without a big celebration, and I know she had a good time because she had a perma-smile the entire night.

Here are some of the highlights…

Instant old...cane and all!
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you...
She was so excited for her Rocky Road ice cream.
And her presents were the BEST!
How can you live without a JUMBO TV remote control?! Especially when your 50...
And the donut for those hemorrhoids...
Eye sight is shot too!
But these help fix that.
Her '50' care package
She had no idea she had these balloons hooked to her...Smile away MOM!
The culprit of balloon pinning (we all had our share of not knowing the balloons were on us)
We played a game if you looked at the circle someone was making with their hand, they got to punch you. Gordon out smarted us all and did this. Tricky!

It just wouldn't have been a party without one of these pics. Thanks Missy (my step sister) for ruining it!


Not Your Ordinary Weekend

Besides the BEAUTIFUL weather we had this weekend which Gordon and I took advantage of by going on a hike with Jodi and Simon, then taking the “little” ones on a walk (there is no way they could go on a hike) on a river walkway by our home, we witnessed an event that only a few people get to witness...

Our good friends the Purser’s live in a mortuary. To make their time on-call better they had a few couples over for pizza and sport watching. During our hangout Marc got a pick up call (in order to live there for FREE they pick up dead bodies during non-business hours for the mortuary). This has happened before when we were there so we didn’t think anything of it. When he returned it was with anticipation. He asked us if we wanted to watch an embalming of the dead body he picked up. We were hesitant at first, but then Gordon and I spoke up and said “SURE!” Morbid a bit, but it was so interesting! I thought I might not be able to watch, being a bit squeamish at times, but it was too interesting not to. The mortician walked us through each step. When we arrived in the embalming room, the body was already ‘set’, meaning he had rearranged the body’s features with arms crossed and face in place because the embalming process makes the person stiff and not maneuverable. The body would have been naked, but he covered it up in the spots that needed covering (thank goodness…I did not want to see a 90+ year old person naked! I’ll wait until that time comes for me and see it then). To begin the embalming process, the mortician has to find the jugular vein and drain all the blood out of the body while replacing it with formaldehyde. It was amazing to see the body go from color, to no color, and back to color again (the formaldehyde puts a bit of color into the body for that ‘alive’ look). That’s the part I got a bit woozy. Seeing all of the blood drain from a body is crazy! It’s just like the movies where you see the gallons of blood oozing out of someone…CRIMSON RED! After the formaldehyde process is over the mortician stitches the body up with what they like to call a “hidden stitch.” That was the most amazing part because you could not see where he had made an incision. He pulled the two sides of the stitch string and POOF the hole was gone and you can’t even tell where the cut was made. One of the girls there made a comment to the mortician asking him to teach her that trick so she could use it while quilting…we had to make light of the creepy situation we put ourselves in.

This weekend was unforgettable. I will NEVER forget what we witnessed at the Purser’s. It couldn’t have happened at a better time of year.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What A Day!

The BIG day was Saturday October 11. Most of you that live in Utah know that was the day the weather decided to get a head start on winter and it started to snow. Luckily my Dad had planned an indoor wedding, so the weather was not really an issue (except for those that wanted a snow cone…we had to stand outside and wait in line outside the snow cone stand they had set up).

Saturdays are usually a crazy day for me, and although this Saturday should not have been so crazy, it was. Jodi and I decided to add another day to our gym routine and start going on Saturday mornings. So I started off my day wonderfully with a full 2 hour workout. After the gym I started into my Saturday routine: CLEANING! Our apartment is pretty little, but it still takes me a little over 2 hours to clean. Then I needed to stock up our fridge with fresh fruit for the week to come, so I headed off to the store. Then we needed bread and I do not get my bread at the grocery store so that added on more place to go in the mix of my busy Saturday morning. I ran my errands in just enough time to make it back to get ready for the wedding. Deciding what to wear was such an issue (like it usually is). I didn’t want to be too fancy, but I also knew I had to stand by my Dad during the ceremony so I couldn’t be too casual either (such a dilemma, I know). Once I had decided what to wear, it was time to go. We made it there just in time. The clubhouse they decided to have their wedding was transformed from plain to Steelers/Packers paraphernalia everywhere (yes, it was a football themed wedding…you are probably having the same reaction I did, but it fits them so who am I to judge). When my dad saw us come in he was relieved as if we weren’t going to come or something. He was so excited and not nervous at all. Unlike Brenda who couldn’t calm her nerves. She was so nervous that she forgot her bouquet, which she realized after she had walked down the aisle. Someone went and got it for her, and then the ceremony started. It was really nice. I was so close to not crying, until I looked at my Dad when they started playing “their” song and Brenda came walking down the aisle. It warmed my heart to see my Dad so happy. The preacher kept things very short and sweet and not too serious which was perfect for my Dad. He cracked a few jokes and made us all laugh. When the ceremony was over, we did the picture thing and then had some yummy food catered by El Burrito. We mingled and met a lot of new people (family I guess you could say). We watched them cut the cake, toss the bouquet and guarder, and then we left.

My Dad with his kids
Anthony walking his Mom down the aisle
Exchanging rings
So happy!
The cake ritual
They were so nice to each other. No messes.
My sister, me and Gordon waiting in line for our snow cone.
They were delicious!
No, we're not twins!
The older he gets, the more cool he becomes (or thinks he's becoming).
My dad and his girls just hanging out.
Cute little Zoe stealing some of "Godfather's" (aka my dad) money from his money tree.
The surprise guest...

The best part of the wedding was the surprise guest. My Dad had “reached” my brother and he was able to come. I hadn’t seen him for a very long time. My entire family was surprised to see him, and I know it meant a lot to my Dad that he came. I have not mentioned my brother at all on my blog. It’s hard for me to tell you about him, mostly because I don’t really know him. He has been involved with drugs since he was 13. He has been in and out of my life since I was little so having a big brother has not really been a part of my life. He has been in and out of jail, and in and out of my life. In jail, he sobers up and he’s the brother I’ve always wanted. He’s so smart and has so much potential, but he’s addicted and it’s a vicious cycle once he’s out. The hardest part is watching what he does to my parents, especially my Mom. She has helped him out time and time again. It’s hard for me to sympathize with him because I see what he can be and I get angry. I have made decisions in my life that make me very fortunate to not have to struggle with substance addictions so I have no idea what he is going through. I only see what it has done to my family, and my brother and his family. I pray for him daily. He’s still here for a reason, and for that I am grateful. I want him to be who I know he can be, to believe in himself because we all believe in him. (Sorry for the downer story)

The wedding was a success. The newly weds are extremely happy, as we are for them. I am so blessed to have the family I have, struggles and all. Trials are what make us. And I am grateful for them.