Saturday, February 28, 2009

We're Buying a House!

The short version is that we are buying a house on Val Vista and Queen Creek, 4 houses down from my sister. We close on March 27. It's about 600 sf bigger and has a pool.

If you're really interested, here's the long, long version. Last summer, when the market started getting really low, we and Susanne and Greg started looking at lots. We have been talking about wanting to live next to each other for awhile. Our dream would be to build custom homes next to eachother. So, we found a neighborhood that we really liked. However, after really looking at finances, etc, we realized that even with the price of lots coming down, we probably wouldn't be able to build for awhile. We decided to put that idea on hold and start looking for a house in S&G's current neighborhood. At least we'd still be close until we could realistically buy lots and build. Right around September, S&G's next door neighbor moved out unexpectedly. We had our realtor look into the property, and it turned out that they were going to be going into foreclosure. We were excited because it was the floorplan we wanted (the same as S&G's, plus it's a corner lot with a gigantic back yard). The process was that it would go to a trustee sale (an auction at the trustee's office), and if it wasn't purchased, then the bank would foreclose. We approached the owners to see if they would be able to do a short sale and avoid the foreclosure. It turns out that they just couldn't do that because they were also going into bankruptcy. So, we were going to try to go to the trustee sale and buy the house. It was set for early October. Well, due to the bankruptcy, the trustee sale kept getting postponed and postponed, every 2 weeks. There was an automated recording that would keep up informed of the status of the trustee sale. Every 2 weeks I would call, and it would say that it had been postponed due to bankruptcy. So, we waited and just figured, when it happened it would happen. We weren't in a huge rush. Well, in the meantime we've been keeping our eye on other properties in the neighborhood, just in case. We even went to look at a few. There had been a house just 4 houses away from S&G's that had been in short sale for about 6 months. We hadn't really thought too much about it, because it looked from pictures that the pool took up the whole back yard without any room for grass for the kids. Well, about a month ago, Greg ran into the next door neighbor and he told Greg that they were trying to work things out with their lender to redo their loan so they could get back into the house. So, at that point, we weren't sure what was going to happen. But, we really thought with their financial situation, the likelihood of the bank working things out for them was small. Okay, so here's what finally happened. A week ago, the house that was 4 houses down finally went into foreclosure and was listed at $50K less than it had previously been listed when in short sale ($100K less than the original listing 6 months ago). We thought that we should at least go see it at that price. After seeing it, we really like it, and decided that we could probably put some grass in the back for the kids. Well, apparently lots of people had that same idea, because within 24 hours of being on the market in foreclosure, they had 5 offers and had accepted one. That was on Friday a week ago. But, we thought, that's okay because we still think we have a really good shot at the next door house. So, we were getting ready to leave on Monday for Disneyland, and on Sunday I called the automated recording to double check on the next date for the trustee sale on that house, and to my shock, it said the sale was cancelled - not postponed, cancelled. So, we called our realtor to look into it. On Monday, while we were driving to California, he called us back to tell us that the next door house was indeed out of the picture. The owners were able to get their loan reinstated and were no longer heading to foreclosure. We, of course, were happy for them, but a little bummed. Plus, we knew the other house was already pending. But, we trust the Lord's plans for us. So, we just asked our realtor to keep an eye on the pending house in case anything fell through with that deal. Well, while we were at Disneyland on Tuesday in Toon Town, we got a call. The people whose offer had been accepted ended up getting a job transfer and were unable to proceed with the deal. So, all interested parties were told to submit their highest and best offer by 4pm. We were assuming that some of the other people who had originally put in offers would try again. So, while at Disneyland, walking between Toon Town and Fantasy Land, we gave our realtor our offer to submit. Apparently, Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth, because the next day, as we were driving home, we got another call that our offer was the one accepted! We had to stop at a rest stop and hook up the laptop to Juan's cell phone to get internet and send an email saying that we accepted the terms of the few changes made to the offer. We went into the office and signed papers Thursday. The inspector is going to the house on Monday, and we should close in 30 days. Crazy!!!

It's so amazing how God worked the timing out. The very same weekend that the next door house fell through, this house came up at a way cheaper price! After sitting and waiting for 5 months, this all happened within a few days. And after thinking we didn't have a chance with all the offers already on the table, that fell through, and we were able to get in and get the house. God's timing really is perfect! I also think He knew that this was going to be way less overwhelming of a house for me. It's in great condition with only a few things to be fixed up, painting, pool fence, etc. The next door house would have been a much bigger undertaking!

We are so excited to be living so close to my sis and her family. The cousins will be able to see each other all the time. We can be such better help and support for each other. They have the swingset and we have the pool. We're all set!! We're also across the street from the neighborhood park. We'll be closer to most of our friends. The only drawback is being further from Juan's work and church. But, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I'm going to take pics when we meet the inspector Monday.

We will probably try to rent out our current house. Let us know if you or anyone you know may be interested!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Day Party

Susanne and I threw a Valentine's Day party for the kids and some of their friends on Saturday. And, what is more fun than kids in costumes? So, we decided to make it a dress up party. It was so much fun. The kids spent a lot of time just playing outside in the yard on the jungle gym, throwing leaves, and playing sword fight. We also had some fun and games. The bigger kids played valentine's bingo with conversation hearts and then made their own valentines. The little kids did a foamie craft and then did a heart hunt (like easter eggs but with paper hearts). And, what would a valentine's party be without treats. So, they enjoyed plenty of homemade cupcakes, homemade lollipops, and some fruit with scrumptious fruit dip. Delicious!! I think everyone had fun and it may become an annual event! Catia was dressed up as a super sweet lovebug (tutu courtesy of my friend Miss K) and Dominic was a pirate (although he says instead of being a bad pirate that steals money and jewels, he is a good pirate that steals hearts and kisses.) All the kids were so cute!

Valentine's Day Party

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Catia's first sentence...

and, boy, was it ever a sign of what's to come. So, Dominic and Catia are in one room and Juan and I are just across the hall in Dominic's room. Next thing, I hear Catia crying and she's on her bummy on the floor. So, I pick her up and ask her what happened, not really expecting any answer. She talks a lot, but mostly just one word at a time or maybe two words occasionally. Well, here's what she says. "Digga push me"!!! Digga is what she says for Dominic. Juan and I looked at each other in complete disbelief and started cracking up. We can't believe she said a complete sentence, and more than that, her first sentence was telling on her brother for pushing her. haha Well, we got the real story out of Dominic and he really didn't push her. He was holding her hand trying to stop her from climbing somewhere she wasn't supposed to, and in her zeal, she pulled against him, but ended up falling. So, to her, it was Dominic's fault, even though he really was trying to help. Too funny! I guess this is what I have to look forward to as I have a second full blown chatterbox. Thankfully, Dominic does a really good job at telling me the truth, even when he knows it's going to get him into trouble. Hopefully, I can instill that same truth telling into Catia. Now, I've just got to work on the tattling! :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

7th Anniversary

Monday, Feb. 2nd was our 7th anniversary.
In Dec. of 2000, I was home for Christmas from my job in California. I was hoping for a ring for Christmas, but honestly didn't think it would happen then. Juan was in his last semester of college. We always said that we would wait until we were done with college to get married - we just didn't expect it to take Juan 8 years to get it done! haha After 3 changes in his major, and major life changes personally, he was finally about to be done. I had left for California two years earlier, knowing that the long distance would be hard, but that we could sustain knowing that it was temporary and that we would get married when he finished school. So, the November before that Christmas, Juan was visiting me, and I was asking him what he wanted to do while he was there. He kept teasing me and telling me that he wanted to go out to a nice dinner and propose. He said things like that several times over the course of a few months. By the end of that, I was getting pretty irritated, as you can probably imagine. I didn't want to even talk about it unless it was happening. So, I leave for Arizona for Christmas and one of my friends said that she hoped I came back with something sparkly! Well, her wishes worked. Apparently, Juan had sold his truck to buy my ring and was trying to figure out when to propose. In my family, at Christmas dinner, we stand around and pop English Christmas crackers and then all go around and read the funny jokes out loud to everybody, with our silly paper crowns on and enjoy the little trinket that comes out. It turns out that Juan had been carrying the ring around in his pocket for about 3 days, not sure when he was going to propose, and had shown it to just about everybody (even when I was in the next room). So, everyone thought that he might propose during Christmas crackers, as if the ring was his trinket that came out of the cracker and then instead of reading the joke, he'd propose. But, he decided at the last minute that he didn't want to have all of that pressure of doing it in front of our entire families. That night, I went back to his house and we were just hanging out in the dark watching some silly show about dinosaurs on Discovery, and this is how the conversation goes...
J: "I love you" M: "I love you, too" J: "Enough to marry me?" M: "Maybe" (in a snotty tone of voice - think back to how many times he teased me about proposing - I just wasn't in the mood for that again) J: gets down on his knee, pulls out the ring and says "I've been waiting for the perfect time to do this, but I realize that anytime I'm with you, my perfect girl, is the perfect time. I love you, will you marry me?" M: I, of course, was freaking out. I really couldn't believe it was happening, and was feeling terrible about my snotty "maybe", but then said "Of course, yes!!!!"
So, that's our engagement story. Silly, but perfect for us. Now we always joke about how we got engaged in front of the dinosaurs in the dark! But, hey, that's us!

So, I went back to California, gave my resignation and moved back home in March. We started wedding planning. We had picked the date 02-02-02, because Juan thought that was the coolest date. We were looking at that time frame on the calendar, sometime in January or February of 2002, and when we saw that date on a Saturday, Juan said it had to be that day! I just hoped we could find a place we liked available that day. Of course, we did.

We were married at Camelback Inn in Scottsdale at 1:00 in the afternoon. It was a little chilly that day, but we loved it! We were surrounded by about 275 people that we love, and committed that day to love God and each other and to try to be the kind of husband and wife that would glorify Him. I think it was a beautiful ceremony - very personal to us. The party was fun with great food, and then off to a great 7 day honeymoon in Florence, Italy!

Seven years and two children later, I am so thankful for my wonderful husband and blessed life. Marriage is super hard work and not for the faint of heart. Praise God for sustaining us through this journey and I am looking forward to a long, wonderful road with my sweet Juan.

Sorry these pics are fuzzy. I scanned them in, so the quality isn't great. But, I thought I'd share a few memories from the day. I had to include my sweet niece, Lauren, who at 15 months was the perfect flower girl! Oh yeah, for those of you that have never seen Juan with long hair, enjoy the pics!! He actually has beautiful hair when it's long, seriously!

Date Week

Stars on Ice night

Lion King night

Beautiful tulips from my sweet husband for our 7th anniversary!

Juan and I actually had three nights out this week with no kids. I think that's a first!! Monday night was our anniversary. We were both really tired, so we just went to dinner and came home early. On Thursday night, we went to see Lion King at Gammage with Juan's sisters, mom, and a family friend. It was the second time we've seen it on stage. The first was in LA about two weeks before we got married. We love it! We think most of the singers were better when we saw it in LA, but it's still amazing. On Friday night, we went to Stars on Ice with my parents, sister, and niece. All in all, a great week!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Here Birdy, Birdy!

Yesterday, I decided to let the kids make pinecone bird feeders. You know, the kind you used to make in girl scouts. We covered them in peanut butter and then rolled them in bird seed and hung them in the trees. Dominic had a great time with the project and was so proud when he was done. Catia just wanted to eat the peanut butter and ended up getting a few pieces of bird seed, too. haha Well, hopefully the birdies will think they're as yummy as Catia did!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kids First Snow Day!

Mommy and Catia
Mommy and Dominic (with Catia crawling in)
Dominic with his evil laugh as he is getting ready to hit me with a snowball.
Catia getting ready to eat snow off her glove.
Catia's first snow angel.
Dominic's first snow angel

Daddy and Catia falling off the sled.
Daddy and Dominic sledding.
Catia getting ready to head to the hill.
Dominic getting ready to head to the hill.

On Sunday, we took the kids to Flagstaff for their first trip to the snow. The snow wasn't great, as it was 47 degrees, but they still had a great time. It was a bit too hard and icy for building a snowman, but it didn't stop the sledding, making snow angels, or throwing snowballs (Dominic's favorite part). Catia mostly loved just sitting and trying to eat the snow off of her gloves. Even though we drove nearly 6 hours round trip and had a huge diaper blow out (that's a whole story all on its own - ugh!), it was still a beautiful day that Dominic (maybe not Catia) will remember.