property virgins.

Well guys, I've been keeping a secret from you.
Last Sunday we put in an offer on a house...
...and by Monday evening, lo-and-behold, we had a deal!
We agreed upon a contract, signed, dated. {gulp.}
I was 'the excited one' up until Sunday afternoon, when 'we're really doing this' sunk in.
Now, Aaron & I have reversed roles for a bit.
I'm pumped, don't get me wrong. But the emotions that go along with this process are quite unique.
I've told others that we haven't exactly wanted to tell others {but, apparently we have been. some.} until we were more secure in our financing, until the inspection went well, and really, until we nearly had keys in hand.
{...like an expecting couple, waiting until the second trimester.}
It just feels like something could still go wrong at any minute.

I'd been worried about student loans {good debt. schmood debt.} and Aaron still being in school. But, when our loan officer told Aaron that he had never seen a credit score that high in someone his age, that's when it hit me -- this was going to be our home. sweet home.

It's been all God's timing...the opportunity presented itself to us and just could not be ignored. All of the pieces of the puzzle, the low interest rates {4.75%!?!}, the builder incentives, the "buyers market" right now, the federal first-time-home-buyer tax credit... just made it possible, economy what-it-is, for us to take advantage of these circumstances.

The builder, yes builder, this home is brand spankin' new... {holy cow} threw in lots of upgrades:
tiled backsplash in the kitchen, changing out the countertops, sodded backyard, garage door opener, fence, 2" faux wood blinds, oh...and ALL of the appliances in the kitchen. {major point on the pro's list. for sure}. Not to mention, they're covering $5,000 in closing costs.

Things we love about this home:
- tall 10" ceilings.
- large kitchen with a center island & pantry {unlike any I've seen at our price range. Most of the other places didn't have much more storage than we do now at our apartment.}
- master bath with separate jacuzzi tub + shower
- detailed woodworking on doors {random detail, but I love it.}
- ceramic tile
- gas fireplace
- huge garage
- huge closets
- bay window in the guest bed room
- "mother-in-law" plan
- landscaping
- and lastly, Real estate 101 - location location location. We may not be here for an extremely long time, so resale is definitely a consideration. I have no concerns about that in the future.

...I mean, how could we not put in an offer on this?
You're getting excited along with us, aren't you?!

The only thing we weren't crazy about, and hadn't planned on - our new pad is definitely in a "cookie-cutter" neighborhood. In the end, we realized that this is our first home - and we wouldn't be able to check off every single item on our wishlist. you learn that pretty darn fast.
But we were able to get the things we really wanted. We decided to go with an 'awesome inside' in exchange for maybe not being able to pull up in the driveway of a 1920's bungalow. We'll keep that in mind for our next big move, and maybe even have the time and equity to complete the restoration that we've always wanted to attempt. In the end, we still have major pluses... safe neighborhood, close to shops and restaurants, excellent school system, well-lit 'family-oriented' community, and sidewalks.

Someone once told us that buying your first home was as stressful as planning a wedding.
...They didn't come to our wedding.
I don't mean that to sound pretentious, I mean to say it wasn't as hard and stressful as I'd anticipated. maybe because we've been slowly saving and looking and learning the market fo a while now. {and I'm just a nosy person who likes to peek inside others' houses.} In the end, really, it's a lot of fun!

I'll post more pictures as we get closer. The inside is still "under construction" currently. But, we'll keep you posted on the progress...

- the future homeowners


economy tip #472.

So, earlier in the week, we took out some of our staff for ‘Administrative Appreciation Day’ at this great Mexican restaurant, 1492… did you know that you could enjoy a 25$ meal @ this fine establishment for only ten dollars?
I learned a fabulous new secret from Marsha, one of my co-workers –> restaurants.com
You type in your zip code, and you have all of these wonderful options – they’re all local places, no chains – fun places in OKC like Fish City Grill, Sala Thai, the Prohibition Room, Galileo's...
They offer ‘$25 gift certificates’ for only $10 on-line. You have to have at least a $35 dollar check, and no alcohol is included. But, basically you save $15 bucks on a really nice dinner out.

We’ll try and test it out this weekend…somewhere in between touring homes (both for us and for Aaron’s parents), going to see the Lion King, and having my brother in town!

…No thanks necessary, now just go out and enjoy a great meal & this beautiful weekend!


weekend get-a-way.

Brace yourself...
I didn't take many pictures during our little weekend trip.
We just needed to sneak away, just the two of us.
we didn't slow down much...

In a mere 30 hours in Dallas, we managed to squeeze in meals at Red India, Corner Bakery, and Freebirds. We spent an afternoon strolling through one of my favorite-places-on-earth {you know, just the little dime shops of Dallas}, stopped by Mockingbird Station, crashed in our steal of a swanky hotel in Addison... and then, of course, la pièce de résistance -

The Saturday night matchup of Aaron's #1 and his #2 - KC Royals v. TX Rangers.
Melody drove up to join our little cheering section. Suprisingly, there were some mixed words from fellow Ranger fans. They weren't exactly full of Texan hospitality for the three of us. Aaron's childhood friend, Lynn, however - was. We were surprised to receive a call from her, who happened to be sitting 7 rows behind the dugout. Because they had to leave early, we spent the second half of the game sitting in their seats along the third base line! Royals kicked 'em 2 to zip. Go team.

...It was just what we needed.


disappointed to tears.

I’m crushed. I’m down. I’m heartbroken.

Tonights plans up until 3:14 PM: Come home. Print budget spreadsheets. Get pencil + paper + calculator, books, guides, websites. Get our ‘pros-and-cons’ list. Crunch numbers… and happily decide that we’re ready to make an offer on this beauty of a home that we toured on Friday night.

3:14 PM: the clouds darken, the ominous music plays, and the e-mail bing-bongs to say that I have a message from the realtor letting me know that the house SOLD on Saturday.

Oh guys… ::sigh::

It was gorgeous. I can’t even show you a link, and I was going to go back tomorrow to take pictures.
Of our house ‘wish-list’, it had nearly every one. And It definitely had the really important ones. That, to me, seemed like we we’re going to have a hard time finding all wrapped up in one shiny package.
And, it was from a builder, so it was NEW. And loaded with all these upgrades that they were throwing in like ‘tiled backsplash, upgraded countertops, and APPLIANCES!’ Those are words that every apartment-renter loves to hear.
Did I mention it was beautiful? Had a center island in the kitchen? A bay window in the guest bedroom? Huge ceilings? And a separate walk-in shower and Jacuzzi tub in the master? A gas fireplace? Detailed woodwork on the frames and doors? Landscaped? Brushed-nickel hardware? … well, now perhaps, you’re shedding a tear with me. Or laughing at how dramatic I am.
But I think every homeowner friend of ours has a story about the one that got away.
Well, my friends, if it’s taught us anything, it’s that slow and steady {and responsible, conservative decision making} does NOT win the race. Ok, I know I know, you can’t rush into a decision this huge. But, gosh, we’re gonna have to get in the game!

The timing of this for us really means a lot. The price may be a little higher than we'd originally thought, but in the end it's not more than we will lose out on if we stay in an apartment for 6 more months. I'd rather put these few thousand dollars to a mortgage. We have about 3 weeks to get into a house, and if we don't - then we have to sign another lease at our apt, or rent goes up $200 if we kept going month-to-month. Also, for us to get the $8,000 tax credit we have to be in the house for 3 years - and, brilliant, Aaron has 3 more years in school from right now! (+ we don't have to factor in appliances for this purchase, and they were contributing 5,000$ toward closing costs.) ....So, if you 'split' the difference, it would be a better situation financially if we went ahead and bought the house!

...so we talked and made plans all the way down to Texas on our 3-hr drive this weekend. I even doodled the layout of where all of our furniture was going to go…

No wonder they made an offer, they’d be stupid not to.
Can I hope just a little bit that their financing doesn’t go through? No, that would be mean and cruel.



...name them one by one...

As of late...
Things that make me smile, make me happy, make me stronger…

  • Encouragement from friends and family in lots of little ways recently. What would be seemingly small has meant so very much.
  • Having a bouquet of tulips waiting for me on Wednesday when I came home from working 9 hours and then had study group until 9 pm.
  • Having my husband remind me that Saturday is ‘Husband Appreciation Day’. :)
  • Letting go of the burden to solve the problems of others. It’s not my burden to bear, but nor is it theirs. God wants our hands up, and hand them over.
  • All the adorable babies in our life.
  • Letting go of just a smidgen of my uptightness and considering getting a dog… not necessarily for me, but if you know my husband – then you know for him. It’s just in the ‘discussion stages’, so take it easy or I’ll spook.
  • Getting my butt in gear. Getting organized {ok, you know that part was fun for me). And getting serious about studying for the genetic counseling board exams.
  • Finding out that I may be eligible for ‘loan forgiveness’ for a very large portion of my graduate school education {which is whopping by the way} as long as I am practicing clinically. …or maybe not, but fingers crossed…
  • Being proud of us for arriving at a place financially to buy our first home. Considering I’ve only been receiving real paychecks since September and Aaron’s on a stipend from school, I’d say we’ve been pretty resourceful.
  • ...and speaking of which, we toured an awesome home tonight that I can't stop thinking about - which was a great deal with so many things that we're looking for all in one house. so, stay tuned.
  • Exciting summer vacation plans. That will be just that ambiguous for now.
  • Being someone with only a patio (for now), it’s a challenge but I’m growing jalapenos and starting my own herb garden. I’m not even mrs. organic, but things like basil, dill, rosemary, thyme…it seems like I’m always buying it fresh for some recipe, so one – it’s expensive, and two, so much goes to waste that why not try to sprout a few seeds of my own?
  • On taking a little weekend trip tomorrow for the two of us down to Texas to cheer on the Royals and the Rangers, spend a little time shopping, and stay in a romantic 4-star hotel that we scored for only 70$. [Hotwire = pretty sweet.]
pretty scattered excuse for an update, but it'll have to do because we're a little pre-occupied with the aforementioned bullets above! Bon weekend!


happy easter.

Knock, knock... well, hello, come on in to our little home...
...where holidays like Easter give me an excuse to decorate with little birds.
i live with a boy, you know.
...and thanks to pictures from design blogs and magazines,
I finally know what I can do with this adorable wedding gift.
...where the easter bunny still finds you on Sunday morning (even if you're 25).
our Easter Sunday took us to the little city of Stillwater to visit this little easter egg.
Somehow, the easter bunny found us all @ Cody and Sarah's too.
We attended LifeChurch with the Chaloner-kiddos, and spent the afternoon @ Griffin's house. We didn't want the new parents to feel pressure of 'hosting', so Aaron & I took to cooking our first 'holiday meal". I have to say it was a lot of fun! Saturday, we shopped and did some pre-cooking. The 'menu' included grilled Asian steaks, oven-baked macaroni and cheese, roasted red potatoes, tunsian carrot salad, & a batch of my homemade bread. Teresa topped us off with her cheesecake with fresh strawberries!
She saved the day after I had to toss out 24 carrot-cake cupcakes the day before. two lessons learned: read the 'reviews' of on-line recipes. {they all said these cupcakes 'suck'.} and do not cook anything from food-network.com, they are not tested recipes and often very poorly reviewed. let's stick to epicurious or cooksillustrated.
...despite one bust, the meal was a big hit!

this little guy barely even knew we were there...he even slept through the drums and electric guitar during praise & worship at church. what a great quality in a newborn.

...just a simple, relaxing afternoon with close family. {& being a baby-hog.}
We missed you, family back in Tennessee!
...oh, and in case you missed it the first time: one more peter cottontail before the holiday's passed.

After a weekend like this, I can't help but be reminded that there is so much to be thankful for.
undeservedly, eternally grateful.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took up our infirmitie
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
-Isaiah 53:3-5


watch out boy, she'll chew you up...

o-oh here she comes.

Tornado season in Oklahoma.
I know it's uninteresting and socially awkward to have nothing to talk about but the weather...but, who cares. there's nothing mundane about this cloud that's happening outside our apartment.
the local news channel actually advised viewers to please stop calling 911... about this eerie {in my head, this word is always spoken from stewie griffin} looking storm-cloud. Armaggedon?
...movie-set from Indepedence Day?

This cloud reminds me of a lot of things...

...that it's time to stop counting on a full 7 hours of sleep at least one night a week, and spent a few hours of what would be shut-eye tuned to Val & Gary England...telling the kids to get their storm helmets on! {if the tornado sirens don't wake you up, the loud winds and hail banging against your windows will...or the sound of water rushing under your windowsill. hopefully, that problem is fixed for good.}

...that living on a 3rd floor apartment really bites when hazardous weather hits. these weather patterns better become between the hours of 10 and 9, or before 6 pm on a Sunday. because our safe-zone is Quail Springs Mall. go figure?! ...maybe I can bunker down in the Gap. don't be suspicous if I'm well dressed when you come to rescue me.

...that we should really get to know the nice looking Asian couple on the first floor.

...that anytime I act a little nervous about a storm, I immediately give myself away as being a non-Okie.

...that with the spring brings the 40 mph wind, so time to stop wearing lip gloss. (or ask my stylist for a pixie-cut.)

...that the house we looked at with the storm-shelter is starting to really look like a valuable investment.

...that I got away lucky last year with simply a near-miss that landed me in the back of Target store snuggled with stangers holding pillows {still wrapped in their plastic, of course} over our heads.

I actually wanted to be a storm chaser as a child. ah fearless children, no grasp on the dangers of reality. I probably have hours of footage with a dear childhood friend standing outside in dusky-green skies, wind howling all around --as we made beep beep bee boo beep beep boo {oh come on, you know, it's the news bulletin sound effects} and reported on the ominous sky into our hairbrush with a big cut-out of a '5' taped to the side. I actually remember giving our name and address, you know, "just in case this videotape is found amongst the debris and rubble where our house once stood..."

stay safe {that's indoors, my friends. ...and with your helmets on.}