ok. so im not dead. i repeat, we are all alive.
not like you would know it with my complete lack of posting here. its not like i forgot about it, the problem was, i was just so far behind, that i never had enough time to catch it up! and since i use this blog as more of a personal and family journal, i didnt want to just forget about the past, and start from where we were currently, i wanted to actually CATCH UP. the problem was, the longer i waited until i had enough time to catch up, the more time went by and i REALLY needed time to catch up!
but here i am, sitting in the customer lounge at DCH honda of temecula, getting my oil changed, with nothing better to do (i did bring my new parenting book, but this actually sounded more intriguing to me then my book- even though its overdue from the library!). so i figured i had enough time to type out my last year and a half! get ready for a long one...
my last post was caden and rylans second birthday (forever ago!!!). right after that was ethans 1st birthday at the end of september! sorry i dont have any pictures to post cause, remember, im not at my home computer. we had a small party, family only, over at guajome park in oceanside. it was simple and fun! playing with all the boys around the park, opening presents, and eating cake. the cake part was ethans favorite, of course, and manages to smear it all not, not only himself, but my mom (grammy) as well!
october was mine and chris's birthday. chris surprised me with tickets to see 'Wicked', down in san diego. we made a day of it, doing some shopping in PB, getting lunch at our favorite sandwich shot (EZ-J's!), dinner at Kitima's (my fave thai restaurant in Hillcrest), Wicked, downtown, and extraordinary desserts afterwards. it was a great day!
november was, well, november. i dont really remember much (this was two thanksgivings ago!). december was christmas- and my most memorable moment about that was playing football with the family on christmas eve. my lovely husband decided to tackle me (for serious!), and i split open my absolute favorite pair of jeans at the knee!!! granted, they were only $3.99 (the best deal from the best store EVER!), but to this day, i still wear those jeans and think of that day. we had a great time as a family, its been a long time since we all played football like when we were kids!
christmas was great- we did christmas morning at OUR house for the first time. both the zeltners and the craigs came over, so we didnt have to go ANYWHERE! the boys favorite gift was their new red scooters, and ethan got his first bike (or trike, i should specify). they were so cute coming down the stairs on christmas morning, in their little blue snowflake pajamas!!! christmas morning is the best.
honestly, i dont really remember much about that following jan-may, it was just a combination of having three very active toddlers (now that ethan was walking so well), taking care of grandma, (who was getting more challenging by the day), and my now exponentially growing business. my first christmas season as a photographer, i was averaging 15 shoots a week!!! i was still charging very little, but since i was soo busy i was actually making a decent amount of money. i think i paid for pretty much all of christmas that year.
now that chris was out of the police academy, and got his first (small) raise, and not having to pay for rent since i was taking care of grandma, we really set our sights on getting out of debt, with the hope of eventually buying a house. the market was really dropping, and it seemed like the perfect time to buy our first home!
we spent the next 7 months saving every penny we could, trying to get out of debt (the police academy really got us in some decent debt, after buying all the supplies, and hardly getting paid), and with me making money with my photography business as well, we made some real headway. in 7 months, we paid off a total of 17k in debt (between credit cards, cars, etc).
in the spring and summer of 2010, we had some fun though as well! we went to the lake in june, yosemite in july, and i went to visit my dear sweet best friend shawntae berry, who lived in colorado. she had just had a baby and i surprised her with a visit!
i was absolutely LOVING my new photography business. i was working really hard on expanding my skills, upgrading my equipment (chris bought me the brand new canon 7D in april, and a 24-70mm 2.8 L lens to go with it!), and i really think i was improving. as i continued to get busier, i raised my prices once, and then again in august of 2010. i redid my website, then redid it again, trying to get more and more uniformed ('branded', i guess you could say). its been really healthy for me in more ways than one. its a great creative outlet for me, gives me a little bit of time for me to get away for the craziness of the boys, some socialization time, as well as the opportunity to make some money in the process.
in august, my mom decided that she wanted to move grandma in with her. at this stage, grandma was becoming a lot more work (complete diapering, very physical labor picking her up and showering her and all that), but at the same time, i didnt think that we had saved enough to buy a house, so i fought to keep her for a few more months! we agreed that i would take care of grandma until the end of the year (in exchange, i would be making less money for taking care of her, since my older brother was in need of some help for school, that way we would both be able to get the help that we needed).
just so we could find out a little bit more about our options, chris and i decided to stop by a chase bank to see what kind (if any) house we could afford. and it was amazing!!! we went in with our financials (W2's, acct statements, etc), and after talking with her for half an hour or so, we ended up leaving with a pre-approval letter to buy a home!!!! it was absolutely shocking, cause i had no idea we were on a position to do so, let alone a pre approval letter for $300,000!! we were really excited. it also helped us get down to business, as we needed to save over $10,000 in just a few months for our down payment.
as we began looking for homes, we started considering our options. in oceanside (basically the most affordable city in san diego county), 300k would buy us about this....
3, MAX 4 small bedrooms
around 1500 sq ft
older home, not a super nice neighborhood, with much older schools
a neighborhood with a lot of minorities, therefore higher crime rates, and even worse school records.
as we continued to look around, in vista, escondido, san marcos, we had the same options, and some even worse. then chris suggested temecula. so i started to look and see what kind of house we could get for moving 30 minutes north and slightly inland....
4-5 decent size to large bedrooms
2200-3000 sq ft
MUCH nicer neighborhoods with great HOA amenities
newer, nicer communities
GREAT schools (the temecula school district is one of the best in the state!)
lots of church members and really strong wards.
so after seeing the HUUUGE differences in what we could buy and general cost of living, we decided to look for homes ONLY in temecula. we found a lot that we liked, and almost immediately had several offers accepted. we narrowed it down to two houses, one house was HUGE, 5 bedrooms, huge yard, newer, nicer, but NO Hoa amenities (pools, parks, etc), and a second house that was quite a bit smaller (2200 sq ft), 4 bedrooms plus a loft, smaller yard, but in an amazing community called paseo del sol. paseo del sol has 5 pools and hot tubs, numerous parks and tot lots, basketball courts, tennis courts, and miles of gorgeous trails. we decided to go with the smaller house, thinking that it would be better to have all the amenities while the boys were still so small.
we began the process of escrow, and what a nightmare it turned out to be!!! we had problem after problem, would solve one issue and then three more would pop up. when we had the house inspection, everything was great. then we had the appraisal- which is where we hit our biggest snag. the house didnt appraise for what we bought it for- which made me nervous- thinking it was already worth less than we bought it for and we havent even moved in yet? that started a huge doubt in my mind... and i just couldnt feel good about the house after that. i had always liked the house, but was never like- "oh my goodness, its perfect, i have to have it!", like so many people had told me i would feel when i found "THE" house. i looked at it kind of like wedding dress shopping- i would instantly know that it was 'the one'. on paper, it seemed like a great house, but i just never felt all the good about it. i LOVED the community, just not the house. i setted for the house, BECAUSE of the great community.
after the house didnt appraise, we had some problems with the seller (he had agreed to pay the closing costs, but now didnt want to since he now had to lower the price of the house). since we had already given our 30days notice at the house we were renting, i knew that we had to find a house ASAP, or we would be homeless!! so i did one last look on the MLS, and saw a new house that had just popped up and caught my eye. it was a house in the same community, but much much larger! instead of 2200 sq ft, this one was 3000 sq ft, 5 bedrooms PLUS and office. it wasnt on a culdesac, like the first, but was listed for 300k. on a whim, i called me realtor and asked her to put together an offer for us. it was a bank owned house, which normally takes weeks, or even MONTHS, assuming you even hear back at all! i figured it was a long shot, but i thought id try. Marci, our realtor called us back the NEXT DAY- telling us that our offer had been (amazingly) accepted!!!
we hadnt even seen it in person, so we went up the next morning (just myself and marci), to go and see the house. and it was AMAZING!!!! it was huge, with big huge tall ceilings, big bedrooms, a huge sideyard with RV parking (already concreted and fenced). it was excatly what we were looking for. nothing had been upgraded (original1996 white tile kitchen, linoleum kitchen and bathroom floors). that was perfect for me, since i didn have to pay for someone elses upgrades, i would be able to get the biggest house i had seen in our budget, and then take the time to upgrade and change it exactly how i wanted it. only downside, it was further away from the tot lots, and not on a culdesac. but IMMEDIATELY, i knew that this was the one.
we cancelled our first escrow, (which was scheduled to close in 2 days!!!), and began a new escrow with our perfect house. i now knew what everyone meant when they said, when you find your house, you will KNOW!!!! i got the perfect house, AND in the neighborhood that i wanted so badly!
since we started escrow all over again, we now had 3 weeks where we were scheduled to be homeless. my amazing mother and father agreed to let all 5 of us move in (kicked poor uncle ben out of his room to sleep on the family room floor!). we did the move in 2 parts, one saturday we moved all the furniture out of the house, into a storage unit in temecula, so the entire house we lived in was empty of everything except for food, some suitcases, toys and a TV. we lived like that for a week, then made the switch to my parents house. it was definitely crowded there! but my parents and siblings tried really hard to make it work. i am so grateful for that. it was hard for me too, trying to keep the kids from making too much of a mess, cleaning up after them, and just trying to keep the general chaos and noise that we bring along with us down to a minimum!!
THEN, the flu hit. it started with the boys, each having it for a couple of days, TONS of throw up, diarrhea, overall grossness. as soon as we thought one boy was done, a second boy would come down with it, and then the first would have a relapse. we did this for a week. not eggagerating, one day we (or should i say, my mom), did FIFTEEN loads of laundry from throwup! beds, blankets, clothes, towels, sofa cushions- it was BAD!!! then i got it. and yet again, my mother was there, taking care of the boys, AND me, while i laid on the couch or floor and trying not to puke all over everything! it was a nightmare. toow about a week and a half for it to go through everybody.
meanwhile, our escrow could not be going worse. the same problems that we had the first time- and then some!-happened again. our mortgage agent person was an idiot!!! you think she would have gotten out the kinks the first time!!! and an even bigger problem, we had a $150/day late fee for not closing escrow on time. total nightmare. we were even afraid that the bank might pull out and we'd be stuck, if we didnt close soon. we ended up closing 3 WEEKS late- accruing over 2500$ in late fees, that were not our fault. it sucked- royally. at least i know next time to get a mortgage person i can trust who actually knows how to do her job!!!
so 6 weeks after being at my parents house, we FINALLY closed escrow on our new house.
and i am in love.
we moved in december 15th, just a week before christmas. by the time christmas came, i was almost entirely unpacked, set up, and even had the christmas decorations up!
our first christmas in our new home was awesome. the zeltner family came up christmas eve, and the craig fam came up christmas day. we didnt go anywhere!!! got to play with the boys and their new toys in our first home. love it.
we have now been in our home for 3 months, and i could not love it more. we have already done a great deal of work to it, and its really starting to come together! we retiled and painted the laundry room (dark brown and light sky blue, with some moulding), the laundry room (the light sky blue- we have the tile for it, but havent quite gotten there yet). we filled in a really awkward built in hole for a TV in the family room, and then painted those walls, three a pretty warm light golden brown, and one accent wall, a very dark cinnamon red. i painted an accent wall in the living room/entry way, a super dark brown from floor to ceiling (25 ft!), and hung homemade white wooden picture shelves 8 ft wide, and a vinyl letter quote in white with my favorite quote "the secret to having it all, is knowing you already do!". we have painted green stripes in the living room and dining room (the living room is green, white, and brown). we have done the entire large room with wainscoting, and 3 inch window casing on both the lower and the 6 24in skylight windows on the vaulted ceiling!). upstairs, we have painted the twins a city-themed room, dark blue on bottom, two rows of chair rail moulding, grey road in the middle, light blue on top, with the main wall painted three different colors of a sillouetted city skyline, complete with glowing yellow windows in the sky scrapers! Ethans room has been done with a vintage surf feel, with an olive green main color, with bright orange and red, light and dark blue vertical stripe sets on each of the 4 walls (each stripe set is about 3 feet wide). we just ordered a 3 ft metal stop sign for the twins room, and 3 vintage metal surf posters for ethans room. were still looking for an old beat up surfboard to paint and cut in half to mount for shelves!
next to paint is the front bedroom, right now the 'learning room', where all our educational, preschool toys go. which will be the guest bedroom soon enough. maybe? if we dont have another baby soon????
anyways, looks like my car is ready, which means i should go. check and make sure that chris is actually checking stuff off his to-do list, and not sitting on his phone playing phase ten! :) ill try and finish the catch up later (dont hold your breath!), because meanwhile, with all this house stuff, the twins turned three, ethan turned two, and we met all the awesome people in our new home of temecula!!!
if you actually read all this, leave me a comment, and maybe that will leave me pushed to to finish the post!!!