Friday, December 12, 2008

Questions There Aren't Real Answers To

Chad and I have been married for more than three years now. In those three years of marriage, we have only spent one Thanksgiving together. Our first Thanksgiving I spent in North Carolina, while Chad sat aboard a plane bound for Utah, so he'd be back to work at Best Buy on Black Friday. This year, was reversed. Chad stayed in North Carolina, because he hasn't been working long enough to have accumulated any time off, and I few out to Utah to spend a few days with my family. It's beginning to feel like Thanksgiving isn't a real holiday, since we never spend it together. Anyway, my trip to Utah left me with a series of questions:

Question One - Why is it that around the Holidays I begin to eat just for the sake of eating?
Not hungry? No problem. Consume massive amounts of calories anyway. Thanksgiving dinner was amazing, but that wasn't the only calorie fest I indulged in on the trip. There were episodes involving spinach and artichoke dip, my mom and dad's amazing chicken salad that no one else can make just right, about a dozen Costco poppy seed muffins, Stephen's peppermint hot chocolate smothered in whipped cream, Cafe Rio (oh how my heart had missed thee!), and at least an entire jar full of chocolate/macadamia nut/caramel clusters (I want to personally meet the person who created these and not only shake her hand, but give her a hug), and much more.

This is our pretty Thanksgiving table, although I never got a picture with all the food on it . . . sad day, but it was yummy:

Here's my dad carving the turkey:
Question Two - Does every family have those relatives who are just crazies?

These are two of mine. I love them dearly, but I affectionately refer to them as the crazies:

During dinner I had a laughing fit that I had to try to conceal when crazy on the left decided to begin impersonating her dog. Yes, she was barking at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Luckily, I wasn't sitting across from Jared this year. The last time this happened, I wasn't able to control myself because every time I'd look at him it would set off the laughter again. She also had some interesting comments to make about the school where I teach . . . but that's a story for another time.

Question Three - Why doesn't my family live closer?

Spending time with my Mom, Dad, Bryan, and Jared was wonderful. I love them all so much, and it is very hard being so far away. We had a great time, though.

Jared can always make me laugh. This kid has the best sense of humor, and he always has cool, new music to share.

Even though this picture is terrible of me, I have to post it, because this so sums up the fact that brothers will always torment sisters, no matter how old they get. Constantly trying to pester, but out of love. I am going to miss Bryan so much when he leaves for Iraq after the new year.

It was so much fun to have time to spend with my mom. She didn't have to work the entire time I was there, so we had a lot of time to be together. Best of all, we got to exercise our traditional, yearly, eight hours of insanity: shopping on Black Friday. I think the lady who scowled at all us suckers, waiting in line at Kohl's, put it best: "Nothing in this store is worth waiting in THAT line for." You were right lady. But wait we did. Why? Because it's just wrong not to.

I am so glad I had the chance to spend time with my family. The only thing missing was, of course, the Chadwick. Things just weren't quite the same without him.

Question Four - Isn't it amazing how some friendships are made to last a lifetime?

I've known Callie since the sixth grade, when she forced me to jump off the rope swing at Lybbert's Pond. I've known Crystal since the seventh, when Callie introduced us. We've made a lot of fun memories together over the years. From school dances, to dancing the night away in Mexico, I always smile when I think of these two. It's always fun to get together to catch up. It's even more fun now that she has two adorable daughters. It was great to play with Aubrey and Olivia. I feel so blessed to have such good friends!

Question Five - Why is it, when I WANT it to snow in Utah, it doesn't?

Because North Carolina is my home now, I've adjusted to the fact that my days of white Christmases are pretty much over. There might be one fluke Christmas where I luck out and see a dusting of white, but chances are slim. As much as I complained about the snow in Utah, I do like a white Christmas. Since I won't have one of those, I was hoping for some Thanksgiving flurries. I got nothing. Nada. It wasn't even COLD while I was there. What's with that?

Question Six - How awesome is my husband to let me leave for a week to see my family?

Question Seven - How much more awesome is it that he missed me while I was gone?

As much as I loved spending time with family and friends in Utah, I really missed my husband. It was pretty hard to fall asleep without him beside me, not to mention the fact that I just enjoy having him around. I was so happy to see him again when he picked me up from the airport. I figured he would probably have enjoyed bachelorhood a little too much while I was away, but by some miracle he missed me too! I am so thankful for him and all he does for me.

It feels like my Thanksgiving trip just ended, and already we are getting geared up for Christmas. Time sure does fly! I know I've slacked as a blogger lately, but with Christmas approaching, that means there's a new year just around the corner. One of my resolutions? More blogging!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Not My Most Shining Moment

I should have known when I left for work this morning that things were just not going to go my way. The sky looked gray and solemn, so I figured we were due for some rain. It proceeded to begin snowing. Which made me want to vomit, because it forced me to recall some horrific driving experiences in Utah. (Luckily, it didn't stick . . . much to my students' dismay, and my extreme pleasure.)

After work today, I went to the DMV to get my driver's license.

That was the plan.

Chad took the test yesterday. He passed it with flying colors. 100%. Not a single question missed. His exact words were, "That test was a joke!"

I failed the test.

Yes, that's right. Failed it.

I am completely mortified.

You could only miss five questions, and I missed six. It felt like an out of body experience. I am not the kind of girl who fails tests. I'm not the kind of girl who doesn't do well on tests. I thought I was going to cry.

It reminded me of my freshman year at BYU, when I took my first Physical Science test. I remember waiting at the bottom of the stairs in the testing center, watching for my student number to pop up on the screen with my test score. When I found my number, and saw my corresponding score, I thought, "Oh, I must not have the right number." Yea. A quick look at my ID card confirmed that, yes, I did have the right number, and, yes, I was a loser who had bombed her first test.

As I drove away from the DMV, I wondered if it was criminal for me to be driving at all. I mean, clearly if I can't pass a simple driving test I have no business being on the road.

Oh, well. Life will go on. The only problem is, I still have to get a North Carolina driver's license. What happens if I fail the test a second time? I don't know if I can live that down!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Scoop

It's been too long, my friends. Things have been so crazy, I haven't known where to start with blogging, and so it's been pushed to the wayside. But, since this is supposed to be a kind of pseudo-journal for me, I figure I best sketch out what's been going on. Sorry it is picture-less . . . if you choose not to read this, I forgive you.

The House.

The improvements are continuing. The house is full of surprises. Some surprises are good, like finding a silver tea set in a closet we didn't know existed. Some surprises are bad, like finding out there is no wall behind the mirrors in the bathrooms. Regardless, we are trying to get more of the many projects finished. The electrical work is now completed. Our laundry area has been framed. The plumber has been frequenting our future residence over the past couple of weeks. The popcorn is now off the ceilings (aside from two rooms that have decided to be impossible). That, in itself should have been a post of its own. I would like to find the person who decided to spray that on my ceilings and hurt them. Even though I've hated every moment of working on them, it has made such a difference. We wore masks, so don't worry, we shouldn't end up with cancer. Even though the ceilings aren't completely finished, they look so much more modern without the cottage cheese effect. The wall paper is all down (aside from the bathroom that makes we shake my head every time I walk into it). I have told Chad no matter how much I beg and plead, he is NEVER to allow me to put wall paper up ANYWHERE in my house. I hate it with such a passion, I can't even express the loathing I feel. I can't wait until we get to start painting and doing things that really make the house look different. So much of what we've been doing is prep work so it's messy and doesn't feel very rewarding. I'm ready to move in!

The Car.

We bought our first car together! We now own a 2009 black, shiny, NEW, Mazda 3. We knew this was the car for us after first test driving one in the Spring. We've been looking at every car imaginable since, but nothing was as fun to drive. I've been having a great time driving it back and forth to work, and we've both loving the fact that the gas mileage is amazing. We still love Mr. Four-Runner, but he won't be getting as much road time now that we have a fuel-efficient vehicle. Ask us how much we love the Mazda after we get our first car payment . . . hmmmm. We still need a name for our new, black beauty, so if you have any suggestions, they'd be much appreciated.


We're both sick, and I pretty much lost my voice on Friday. I try to speak and no noise comes out. Try teaching high school students without being able to raise your voice. Or really talk at all. Yea. We spent today trying to recover, and didn't work on the house at all as a result. Hopefully we'll be well soon, and we have Veteran's Day off on Tuesday, which will be spent working to try to make up lost time. Wish us luck. I'm going to take a sick day on Monday, so hopefully by Wednesday I'll be able to actually talk to my students.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I am Proud of My Hubby

For many reasons. Yesterday, I was most proud that he schooled a bunch of punks in a dodge ball game.

Chad's work has an industrial league dodge ball team. My husband, being the ultra competitive sports nut that he is, of course plays on this team. Now, I have watched my husband participate in many sporting events, and I love watching him. There is something about seeing him hit a baseball, or shoot a basket, or swing a golf club, that makes me think: Wow. There is hope for our children. (There is no disputing the fact that I have zero athletic ability. Zilch. None. Unless they get a few of his genes, our kids are doomed to be the last ones chosen for any kickball team, at any elementary school, in this country.) Having said that, I am not going to lie. When he told me he was going to be playing dodge ball, I really wasn't that excited to go watch. I mean, really. Dodge ball? I figured I would spend the time watching the clock tick slowly by, hoping the game didn't go too long and force me to miss part of this week's episode of The Office. Little did I know, being bored was not on the agenda.

If any of you have seen the Ben Stiller Flick, this image may seem familiar:

You probably thought, like I did, that this was an exaggerated parody. No, my friends. No, you were mistaken. This is a very accurate representation of dodge ball teams that actually do exist. I witnessed one for myself last night, when the little bank took on their arch nemesis: The Good Fellas.

No, this photo has not been photo shopped. This is the real deal. The Good Fellas have been undefeated for three seasons. They have routine practices. They have uniforms. The majority of them have purchased sneakers that match the dark, and intimidating colors of their uniforms. They wear sweat bands and arm bands. They mean business. To them, dodge ball isn't a game--it is a way of life.

That is why, I had to stifle just a few giggles while watching. I had to try not to laugh while bandanna boy did a special spin move. I had to bite my cheek muscles to keep from grinning when little man with the head band bent low to the ground, swerving with insane motions to avoid being hit. Their performance reminded me a lot of this:

Pretty soon, I wasn't stifling giggles, I was trying to keep myself from running on the court, approaching one member of the team, and letting him know that I was about to "pop his jaws" as Nana would say.

And their name choice? A bit confusing. They weren't "good" fellas at all, but probably need to think about changing their name to "poor sport, potty-mouthed, going nowhere, potheads."

My favorite moment of the evening, however, was when one "good" fella decided to show the referee the bird. This, of course, brought shocked outcries from my mother-in-law and myself, at which point one of the good fella's mothers explained that "They needed to be able to voice their opinions, and it was the referee's fault." Right. Wow. Good parenting skills lately. And I was wondering where these kids got their social skills from.

The only thing that kept me from physically harming these individuals (other than the fact that I was scared about them retaliating under the influence of alcohol and other hallucinogenic drugs) was realizing that these people don't have real jobs. To them, this is life. The fact that my husband's team is beating them at what we consider to be an amusing past time, is to them detrimental.

In the end I was still glad we kicked their butts! My husband's underdog team beat the evil giants fair and square. Way to go, guys!

Newest Dilema

My Fellow Bloggers,

I need your advice and expertise. As you know, Chad and I recently purchased a house. Well, the home improvement projects are up and running (a post and photos of the progress to follow) which means the decorating wheels are already turning for me. We need to choose a room color for the guest room, which I would like to coordinate with the main bathroom in the house, since this will also serve as the guest bath when company comes. After looking at paint colors, I've finally decided I need to choose the bedspread first, and then go from there. So, after looking through a couple catalogs tonight, I've narrowed it down to two, affordable, and beautiful, options. I need your help deciding which I should go with.

After spotting these two gems, I realized color choices were no longer going to be my main problem. The bigger issue was going to be what feel I wanted for the room. What emotions did I want to spark in the hearts and minds of my company?
The first bedspread's description boasted that it would "bring home the beauty of nature," but the second one's promise that it would "capture the spirit of adventure" was also tempting . . . either way, there is no disputing that each of them features a "stunning panorama" which "exudes a cozy lodge feel."

Choice A:

The advantage to selecting this one, is I already know someone willing to part with some decorative wall art that will coordinate perfectly. (Does your offer still stand, Wendi?)

Choice B:

At first, I was so struck by the fact that Choice A actually existed, that I overlooked this one. On closer inspection, I didn't know how I could have missed it! How charming to think that each time I walk past my spare bedroom, I could envision scenes from The Man From Snowy River. Maybe I could even store a copy of the film on DVD in the room, so guests could enjoy it before dozing off, and basking in the "adventurous" dreams this decor is sure to inspire. I'm not sure what wall art I could incorporate, although I'm sure my "My Little Pony" collection is still buried in a box somewhere at my parents' house.

So, please, dear readers, take part in my poll. I just CAN NOT choose between these two enchanting room themes. After laughing over this together, I think I have convinced my sister-in-law, Lauren, to buy whichever one I don't. That way, we can swap whenever we are craving a change.

Sadly, someone must purchase these . . . the catalog also included a bear scene of "Playful cubs romping in an alpine meadow as mother bears look on" and a scenic lake scene which portrays a "picturesque lakefront cabin" creating "a cozy rustic retreat." Wow. Kitsch at its best.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Funny Thing of the Week

Conversation that goes like this:

One of my kids - "Mrs. Reese, do you have any kids?"

Me - "No."

One of my kids - "Do you want any?"

Me - "Yes, I definitely do, someday."

Kid - "Well . . . GO FOR IT!"

Followed by raucous laughter from the class and myself.

Sometimes, I love my life. My students are so funny.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my madre's birthday. If I still lived in the same state she does, Chad and I would be driving to her house for dinner and German chocolate cake with homemade icing. (Mom, I hope Dad made you a cake.) Because I not only no longer live in the same state, but now live across the country, that is not possible. Instead, I will call her on the phone tonight and give her my birthday wishes long distance.

It was kind of a serendipitous moment today when the poem we read in class reminded me of my mom. My class is taking part in Poetry 180. Billy Collins, the former poet lauriate of the US has put together a list of 180 poems (a poem for every day of the school year) for high school students. I won't force you to read the poem, but if you want to, feel free to follow the link. The conclusion of the poem just reminded me so much of my mom, and how she was when I was growing up, particularly when I was an adolescent. My mom always gave me my space, let me be independent, and figure things out in my own time. Even so, she was always on the sidelines as my cheerleader (sometimes a silent one in the background) waiting to help me when I needed it.
My mom is an amazing, talented, hardworking lady and I love her. Happy Birthday, MOM!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Positive Energy . . .

I am trying to embrace the positive in my life right now. I've been having a kind of hard time at my job. I have one class that is beyond fabulous. Teaching them is so joyous. They are absolutely wonderful. I have two classes that are . . . more challenging. These classes inspire frustration. Most of the period is spent with me saying things like "Excuse me," "Please show some respect," "I'm not going to talk over you," and an occasionally yelled "HEY!" to get people to stop and pay attention. I am having to turn in to an edgy, Nazi, drill sergeant, and I hate it. Usually a good "teacher look" and one or two phrases like those mentioned above will whip the adolescents into submission, but with these classes, not so much. Things that have usually worked for me while teaching just aren't working, and it's leaving me unsure of what to do next.

The sad thing is, I have a lot of students in both of these classes that I completely adore. I'm just having a hard time dealing with the problems. Anyway, after waking up this morning with a tiny bit of dread about the aforementioned classes, I decided to try to be positive. On my way to work today, I was counting my blessings, because I really have been showered with them lately. Here are just a few that I am going to recount now, because I thought I was going to cry after teaching my last class today.

1. The fact that Chad and I are homeowners. How fun is it that we own a house? We've changed the locks, I've knocked down spider webs, and we are going to start tearing down wall paper this weekend. There's so much work to be done, but it's so exciting!

2. The fact that our car is still functioning. After being repaired twice, Mr. 4-Runner seems to be doing much better. I have been buttering him up with a lot of praise, so hopefully he will continue to run properly without costing us any more money.

3. All the good students I do have. And I really do have a LOT. I love so many of my kids. They are funny, intelligent, and thoughtful.

4. Fall weather. The hot, humid days are finally melting away into cool, crisp ones. I love it. We've also had a ton of rain, which I can't get enough of. Last night I fell asleep to it pitter-pattering away. I can't wait for the leaves to start changing.

5. My previously mentioned PLANE TICKET which leads to my family, a baby to hold, and Cafe Rio burritos.

There you go, five things that make me smile despite a kind of crappy end to my school day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I just bought a plane ticket online so I can go spend Thanksgiving with my family! I am so excited!!! I have been searching for an affordable plane ticket for the last few months but haven't been able to find anything. In fact, the prices have kept going up, which has made me think I wouldn't be spending the holiday with my family. Well, tonight I was talking to my grandma about it, and she suggested a couple of travel deal websites I'd never heard of before. I ended up finding a ticket price lower than ANY I have seen. Thanks, Grandma Joy!

As an added bonus, I will get to hold my sweet, little niece while I'm out there as well.


2 Posts that Have Been a Long Time Coming . . .

Ok. I've been meaning to blog. Most of you have probably thought I've died, that I've been buried 6 feet under, and are feeling sorry you didn't have the chance to say goodbye. I do apologize. But, shed no tears -- I am alive and well! I've just been slacking in the blogging department. So, without further ado, here are two tales I've been waiting to spin for you:

In Case We Needed a Reminder of Why I Hate Walmart & Refer to it as Satan's Five and Ten:

So. A few days ago, I decided to run by WalMart on my way home from school. I was behind on my grading, and decided to pick up a pocket calculator that I could take between school and home. I've been using the calculator on my computer at work to calculate percentages, but thought it might be easier to have a small calculator to use instead. Anyhow, I get to Walmart. Keep in mind, this is supposed to be a quick, run-in, grab what I need, and go kind of trip. I had intentions of getting home and getting all of my grading done before Chad finished work.

I took a quick stroll down the office supply aisle and found a calculator, but it was a little bit bigger than what I wanted, and it was $8.00. I thought it was the only choice at first, but a walk down a second office aisle explained the lack of variety. All of the other calculators were locked in a glass case. OK. When I say ALL, I'm not talking about just the fancy-schmancy graphing kind that you have to buy for high school advanced algebra classes, I'm talking about the DOLLAR pocket-sized calculators. The three dollar ones were locked up as well.

OK. I only needed a calculator to figure out percentages, so I figured the $1.00 calculator was the way to go. I mean, why spend $8.00 on something related to math, the most horrendous subject in the world, when I could spend $1.00 instead.

After asking the first old employee I could track down if they had a key, and finding out that, no, they did not, nor did they have any clue who did, it was time to ask said old lady to use the intercom for me. She did. I heard, "customer assistance needed at the calculator case." I waited. I waited some more. I went in search of another old employee. This time I found a delightful woman who got on the intercom not once, but TWICE for me. "Customer is STILL waiting at the calculator case." By this time another customer had joined me at the calculator case to wait for the key to arrive. Finally, the gem of a lady who used the intercom twice, marched to the front to personally get a key for us.

By this point, my plan for a five minute calculator search had turned in to a thirty minute fume-fest. I hate the fact that I am so impatient, but I am. I was very kind to the woman who helped me, because I realize it is not her fault that the company she works for is in cohorts with Satan.

When I got home, I started grading. I had calculated a total of three percentages when my purple, one-dollar calculator decided it would no longer let me use the number 7. My entire trip had been a complete waste of time. And the thought of driving back to WalMart to attempt returning a $1.00 piece of merchandise just wasn't appealing. My father-in-law found a calculator for me, which made me regret the earlier trip even more.

All in favor of K-town getting a Target?!?!?!?!?!

Some People Aren't Brought Up Right, Or Why I am Thankful My Husband is Cultured:

On Friday night, Chad and I went to ECU to see the North Carolina Symphony. It was his idea, and I'm so glad he had the inspiration to take me. We had a great time. We would have had an even better time, had the idiot behind us stayed at home.

Obnoxious Male Student, LOUDLY, on his phone: "No, I'm at a concert. No, believe me, I'm not here because I want to be! Yea, are you guys going out later? I had to pay 32 bucks to get in to this thing. I'm so pissed."

After his phone call, he then proceeded to make similar commentary to the floozy girl sitting next to him for the remainder of the concert, whilst I squirmed in my chair, trying to fight the urge to turn around and smack him.

The concert was wonderful. We had a great time and are looking forward to going to some similar things at ECU in the future. Most of all, the trip left me feeling grateful that Chad enjoys going to things like that, too, so that I don't have to force him to go unwillingly.

So there you go, two tales from my week. Oh, and on Tuesday we will finally be official homeowners! We are so excited for closing. The owners are going to pay for the minor termite damage that was found in the outdoor shed area, which is also great news!

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Good Thing About Vampires Not Being Real

Is that apparently I have quite tasty blood.

Mosquitoes have always like me.

My body right now can testify that the Southern ones actually LOVE me.

I'd hate to see what a non-Cullen vampire posse would do to me.

I am COVERED in bug bites.

One, little, phone conversation outside on Sunday night (the Reese house is a fortress that kills cell phone signals, so I've started to talk on the phone outside) and you'd think I've been tramping through bush in the Amazon.

It frightens me to realize they didn't all come from mosquitoes. It was dark outside, so I have no idea what was swarming me.

If I didn't know better, I'd say I had developed some strange disease that covers my limbs with contusions. In fact, my students probably thought so today when they saw my bare, white legs. I wore a skirt which made the red knobs all over my skin pretty impossible to cover up. Unless I wore nylons. Unfortunately, I am not the nylon wearing type. No matter how pasty I am.

So there you go. Right now I am a pasty, diseased-looking woman, who itches profusely.

With a broken car.

Excuse me while I go wallow in self-pity with a bottle of chamomile lotion.

And maybe just a little bit of chocolate.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before School Starts

Tomorrow the freedom of summer ends for me. Gone are the nights of staying up late, because now I will have to get up early. Gone are the days of wearing pajamas for half the day and not putting on makeup until three in the afternoon. I will have to be ready before seven in the morning, and I have to wear makeup so I don't scare the adolescents under my care. I am not a morning person, so these facts sadden me. I am excited to be starting my new job, but I'm also full of first day jitters. I'm trying to remind myself that I survived my first year, and survived it pretty well, but I'm still nervous. I kind of feel like a first year teacher again because I'm starting at a different school, and everything is so different, and

Anyway, all of this nervous, before school starting stuff has reminded me of the night before school starts experiences of my childhood, and particularly of my adolescence. And the back to school of my childhood would not have been back to school without new school clothes.

At the end of the summer each year, my mom would take us school shopping. This meant we got new clothes for the upcoming school year. Keep in mind, I grew up in middle-of-nowhere-central-Washington. Buying school clothes was a much grander affair than your typical car ride to the mall. We had to go out of town to go school shopping. Sometimes, that meant a two hour trip to Spokane. If we were lucky, it meant we'd get to go to Seattle where our ultra cool, trendy relatives lived. We would shop all day, and, if it was a Seattle excursion, we would play with the fun toys the aforementioned cool, trendy relatives had at night. In true Beadnell fashion, we would stay up late, drink Pepsi, and order pizza. And of course, I would always be introduced to cool music that I could take home and jam to. As an added bonus, these out of town excursions insured I wouldn't show up the first day of school wearing the same Maurice's shirt as three or four other girls.

As if buying these clothes wasn't exciting enough, my mom added intensity to the practice. Once we came home from the shopping trip, we weren't allowed to wear our new clothes until the first day of school. In my closet, they would hang crisply from their hangers. Tags still attached (to remind me of their utterly complete newness of course). The new clothes' smell spreading its joy to my closet.

Before school started, the clothes would come out, as I planned and re-planned outfits. What would I wear on the first day? Choices were limited, as a lot of my new clothes would be for the fall, and it would still be hot on the first day. What shoes went best with this shirt? I would try things on over and over. I wouldn't beg and plead to wear my new things, because I just thought it was a fact of life. I thought ALL kids had to wait to wear their new clothes until the first day of school. I don't think I fully realized that wasn't a universal rule until I got married and found out Chad's mom had no such policy.

Once I had my first day's outfit planned, I would move on to mapping out the entire first week. That's right, I would know what I was wearing, Monday through Friday, before I even set foot in the school.

Sigh. Oh to be young again. Tomorrow, I will see my students, decked out in their first day of school attire. As for me, I haven't a clue what I'll be wearing. In fact, after looking at my laundry basket an hour ago, it became quite clear that my choices tomorrow are going to be limited to what's clean. Even so, it's fun to reminisce and remember the magic of new school clothes.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Adventures

Well, after careful consideration, we've decided to go ahead and announce to the world that we are buying a house! We are under contract and set to close by September 23rd. So, if all goes well, we will be renovating soon. Exciting? We think so!

The house needs some love (OK . . . a lot of love, but not as much love as the last house we made an offer on), but we are excited to make it our own, and we got a great deal on it (it was in foreclosure). We made an offer quite a bit under the asking price, so we were trying not to get too attached, because we knew we most likely wouldn't get it. I couldn't believe it when I called Chad on Thursday night and found out that Snow had called to tell him our offer had been accepted.

Pictures of our future home follow:

The outside of the house from the front of the lot.

House from the side (sun room/reading room side)

Other side of house and car port

Back of house and deck

Workshop and storage area attached to car port

So, hopefully you are envisioning some landscaping improvements, because I certainly am. Those will probably have to wait until the spring, because the inside will be the number one priority. Plus, I'm going to be counting on my Dad to work his expertise and give us some pointers on transforming the yard.

The inside of the house is a little over 2,000 square feet. It has four bedrooms and two full baths. There is hardwood throughout the entire home (some of it hiding under yucky carpet, and all of it in desperate need of refinishing), except in one area that we want to tile anyway.

When you walk in the front door, you are standing in a poorly wall papered entryway (think Miami Vice/1980's color palette) and to your right, you find the living room:

The door on the right is what you just entered through (the Miami Vice entryway)

Straight ahead is the dining room, to the left is the hallway to the bedrooms, kitchen, etc, and to the right is my FAVORITE room in the house, the READING ROOM!

Seriously, I am in love with this room. It is the spot that made me willing to deal with the less than satisfactory kitchen space (pictures to follow). I cannot WAIT to transform this sun room into my reading sanctuary. Just look at all of the beautiful natural light! Doesn't it make you want to run to the library right now, so you can plan what to curl up with? I KNOW!

This is me basking in the glory that is my future reading room. Notice the handy-dandy built in shelving waiting for paper backs? And how about those precious double doors leading into the living room? Charming.

The other side of the reading room

OK. Now that we've toured where we are going to read, it's time to move on to the less important features of the house: like where we will eat and sleep. Let the picture tour continue. Follow me, please.

Going through the charming double doors previously mentioned, and passing through the living room, we enter the dining room.

Not huge, but room enough for a nice dining room table, which we do not own, but someday will. Oh, and you can also get a more up-close-and-personal look at the condition of the wood flooring here. I know what you're thinking. "Have I seen floors like that before?" And the answer, folks, is yes. Yes, you have seen them. If you've ever seen a shiny gymnasium floor, you've seen the travesty that someone has put the hardwood in this house through. There is this horrid glossy varnish covering all of it, most of it put on so quickly that there are lovely little bubbles dried into it. It is shameful. But it will be remedied. Hopefully, without any swearing on my part.

Go through that swinging door (which we aren't huge fans of, but will probably keep) and you'll find yourself in the kitchen.

If you're thinking it's not too bad, I must say the pictures make it look better than it does in person. It needs some help. I think there are a total of two actual drawers (any advice, Meredith???). Although, I must say, I'm such a FAN of the wallpaper, I really don't know if I'll be able to part with it (insert sarcastic cough here).

That little window area looks into this room:

This is the only room in the house other than the kitchen with no hardwood hiding underneath. We are planning on tiling it the same way we do the kitchen, and making it into a kind of breakfast room/extension of the kitchen.

The door straight ahead leads you onto the deck out back, or you can turn left and enter the room that will be our master bedroom.

There is a closet, you just can't see it in this photo.

Through the master you can enter a Jack and Jill bath

which connects to the house's second bedroom.

This room will probably eventually be used for the first mini-Reese who joins our family.

When you leave future mini-Reese's room, you enter a hallway.

If you go directly to the left, you see the second bathroom.

If you go straight ahead instead, you will encounter the nightmare that is supposed to be the laundry area. This is going to be enclosed into a closet space capable of holding a side by side set, instead of a stackable, after we rip out a section of cabinets in the kitchen (the first project).

Remember, you are still in mini-Reese's room, looking into the hall, trying to decide where to go. Well, if you choose the right, you enter the third bedroom.

The window AC unit will go. There IS central air (we are not silly enough to buy a house without it in a place that has ridiculously hot and humid summers). And YES, that IS a vine growing through the window into the room. Think Jumanji; I did. This room will eventually be the guest bedroom.

Down the hall a bit further, and to the right, is the fourth bedroom.

Wow. The design choices. Wow. This room will probably be used as an office.

And if you continue down the hall, you're done and back to the living room again.

We are really excited to be embarking on this new adventure together. The best part of all has to be that after paying our mortgage payment and utilities each month we are going to be paying substantially less than we did to rent our two-bedroom condo from our crazy, Asian landlord in Orem. Now, that is a good feeling.

I don't think I'll feel completely un-nervous about the whole thing until the deal completely closes, but at this point the only way the deal won't go through will be because of unforeseen termite damage, or some other insane thing. We have already been pre-approved for our loan and are under contract. The inspection is on Wednesday, so as long as everything goes well, we should be in good shape.

Once the renovations begin, please prepare yourselves for boring blog central. I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of before and after shots. I'm just excited to get started. I can't wait to watch the rooms transform as we make the house our own.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cute Girl at Hardee's

Tonight Chad and I bought an area rug at Lowe's. It was $35. That's right, folks. I thought it was cute, but after I saw the price tag, it became MUCH cuter.

On the way home, we stopped by Hardee's (the equivalent to Carl's Junior for you westerner's . . . complete with the smiley faced star) and bought two double cheese burgers. We were hungry, and they were $3. Well, if getting such a good deal on dinner, after buying a fabulous rug for ridiculously cheap, wasn't enough to make me smile, the girl working the drive-thru certainly was. She was adorable. Completely darling. Really, I have never been so impressed with a fast food employee in my life. Her voice over the intercom was cheery and excited. Her expression at the window was the same. She was just so darn CUTE! I am now regretting not telling her just how adorable she really was. She was such a nice contrast to the usual person you encounter at a drive-thru: testy tone of voice that seems to be saying, "I DARE you to ask me if you can get fries with that." As we left Hardee's, I thought how sad it was that everyone can't be as happy doing their job as that girl was. Let's be honest, she doesn't have the most glamorous job in the world, but she had made the most of it and seemed to genuinely be happy doing what she was doing. Chad and I both decided if we were wealthy, we would have handed her a $100 bill just for making our night.

That's it, really, just a happy story about a cute girl at Hardee's.

P.S. Just a quick update--Chad and I have been house hunting lately with the most amazing real estate agent in existence. (Snow, if you are reading this, I really do mean that -- thanks for all your help so far.) We found one place we loved that didn't work out, which was probably for the best. It needed a lot of work and probably would have cost a lot of money to fix up. We're looking at another place right now that we really like as well. I don't want to go into too many details, because I'm trying not to get too emotionally attached to places in case they don't work out, and I don't want to jinx us. Let's just say that the current find has a sunroom that has me completely sold. It will be the reading room. If we buy it, that is. Even if this one doesn't work out, I'm sure we'll find the right place for us soon. Rest assured that I will have photos posted immediately after we actually buy a place.

P.S. Again --I still have not finished Breaking Dawn. I know, I know. It's a Stephenie Meyer. How did I stop myself from reading it in two days? Things have been a tad bit busy, and the Olympics have forced me to stay up late watching television instead of reading. I can't say no to watching Phelps go for another gold, or praying that Alicia what's her name won't fall again and ruin our chances at beating China in gymnastics. I've only got about a hundred pages to go, so be looking for a review sometime soon.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In My Possession

I thought I was the first person on the list to get this book from the library. That is why I called on Monday morning (I was in a wedding on Saturday and the library is closed on Sunday) to make sure it had come in. I was informed that I was the FOURTH person on the waiting list. That left me, of course, with only one option. I went to WalMart and purchased my copy an hour later.

If you haven't read the Twilight series, I don't know how to explain my slight obsession. My friend Laura has perfectly captured my feelings about the books on her blog here. Considering I have recently devoured about a tier of wedding cake, I think her analogy works for me.

This is going to be my last week of fun reading, because I really need to get planning for the upcoming school year which starts in just a couple of weeks. I'll let you know how I feel about the end of the series in a few days.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Good News, Sad News

Good News:

OK. One of the main reasons I've been desperately trying to finish the Italy blogs is so I can actually give an update on our job situation. As some of you know, we moved to North Carolina in June. We packed up a Uhaul and drove across country. I do not want to again relate the travesties of that journey. It was terrible. After job searching through part of July, I was starting to envision moving back to Utah, where I still had a teaching job. I didn't quit my job in Utah, because we weren't sure how things were going to pan out, and let's face it: one job with an income and benefits is much better than NO job at all. I let the assistant principal know before I left that I may not be coming back next year, but that I would let them know as soon as I could. Well, here's where the good news comes in: I found a job in North Carolina! I'm going to be teaching at a high school in Chad's home town. I WILL BE HAVING MY OWN CLASSROOM! AND I get to teach HONORS classes in addition to the regular sections I will be teaching!!! Chad also has had very successful interviews with two banks in the area, and we are waiting to hear what the actual offers may be. Things are not going quite according to plan (when do they ever), because we had talked about and envisioned ending up in the Raleigh area, but I know that this is where we are supposed to be right now. I don't feel like it's coincidence; it's been quite clear that our prayers are being answered in the way Heavenly Father sees as best. Things are finally falling into place, and I have such good feelings about my new job and where we are going to be. I have a calling in the primary now, and the kids are adorable and have the cutest southern accents alive. Our ward is completely amazing, and I feel so loved and welcomed. I could not ask to be surrounded by better people.

Sad News:

Finding a job here meant I had to call and quit my job in Utah. First of all, as much as I wanted to pull out my hair at the end of my first year of teaching, I also fell in love with most of the kids I taught. I loved the people I worked with. I loved my time being a Lehi Pioneer (despite our cheesy, Mormonish mascot). So, needless to say, I cried on the phone when I told one of the assistant principals I wouldn't be able to come back. Also, none of my students from last year know I'm not coming back. I feel like I am abandoning my children. Some of my sophomores from last year had requested to have me for Junior English, but now I won't be there. While I recognize that someone just as capable as me will be hired to take their place, I still feel guilty, and I'm sad that I didn't get to say goodbye.

I'm starting to wonder how much longer we can impose on my in-laws hospitality. We are living upstairs in their home and have been waiting to see where Chad gets a job so we know where to look for a place. Since it's taken all summer just to find jobs, we haven't really been looking, which means it might take a while to find something. They have been wonderful and will never kick us out, but I still feel guilty. Also, it would be nice to have my belongings organized in my own space, instead of stacked in the garage. Last time I had to get something out of there, Chad had to help me move every box out before we found it -yes, it was the box at the very left hand corner of the pile.

For being a very independent child, I never thought I would miss my family so much, especially my mom. The thing is, it's not like I spent every day with my mom when we were in Utah (she still lived an hour away) but it was the fact that I COULD go spend time with her pretty much any time at the drop of the hat. That is not so much an option right now, particularly when I keep looking at plane tickets that are over $500 a piece. I am a bit homesick for my dad's crazy proverbs, laughing with my mom, and my two crazy brothers. Not that I don't love my family here, but I am still crying as I type this post. I've had a few such weepy moments lately.

All in all, the good news far outweighs the bad, and I feel like we're finally starting our real life together. After three years we are finally done with school and have so much to look forward to. Chad talked to someone at the little bank (where he did his internship last summer and possibly may end up working) who invests in real estate here and he told him that a house in the area was recently priced at $33,000 in foreclosure. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! It's already sold, so it's not an option, but we drove by it today just for the heck of it. It definitely needed some TLC, but it could be so adorable with just a little love. It makes me excited to be getting our first place soon. We've been planning on buying a duplex as our first place, living in one side, and making it our first investment property. If we can find a steal like the one above, we might end up getting a house (which makes me giddy with excitement) and eventually using it as a rental property later on. We'll see how things pan out, but I'm excited to start looking.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Five, Four, Three, Two, ONE!!!

OK. Clearly the Italian vacation posts have dragged on way too long. I most definitely bit off more than I could chew, was overwhelmed, and therefore ceased blogging. My sincerest apologies. So. Here come the remaining five moments in my top ten:

Five - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We stayed at the mission home while in Rome and got to attend Church while we were there as well. I love that no matter where you go, the church is always the same. Even though the language was different, the Spirit was still there. It was also amazing to see the faith of the Saints there and to hear so many neat missionary experiences. The Church is true, enough said!

Four - Nemi

We spent Sunday afternoon here and fell in love. It was so picturesque and was exactly what I pictured Italy like in my mind every time I dreamed about going there. It was beautiful and I loved it. It was an especially nice escape and change from the busy streets of Rome we had been exploring the days before we went there.

Three - Pisa

We took a day trip here and it was delightful. The baptistry was cool because the acoustics were amazing. They did a demonstration where this man harmonized with himself to prove how cool they were. I was impressed. The leaning tower? Well, it was leaning, and pretty cool to see in person.

Two - The Coliseum

From our first look at the Coliseum lit up at night, to actually exploring the ruins on foot, this structure was amazing. One of my favorite sites on the trip!

One - The Cathedrals

From the Duomo in Florence to St. Peters Basilica and the Pantheon in Rome, each of the churches we visited was beautiful.

So. Nothing about the Trevi Fountain. Nothing about the crazy, African purse men who I adored for bringing Prada into my life. Nothing about McDonalds, and how it is the salvation of the ice-starved American on the most sweltering vacation of her life. Nothing about the Trateria with the waitress from Texas who sounded like she'd grown up in Italy her entire life. Sad. But at least you got a glimpse of our experiences.

I hope I haven't lost too many readers while my blogs have been excessively boring and travelogue-ish. Forgive and forget, if you will.
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