Tuesday, November 29, 2011

First haircut

Even though I was strongly opposed to cutting Owen's hair (I love his little whispies and the baby-ish feel they give to him), I decided he needed a little trim, as some of the hairs on the side and back were getting a little out of control.
I definitely had mixed reviews on getting it done. On one side (Dada, Mitchell, Marci, etc.) they were shouting for a hair cut. On the other (Me, both Grandmas, Kim, etc.) they were saying not to get it cut. But I did it. I took him to get his first haircut by Miles's cousin's wife, Annelise. And while I think she did a good job, I'm kind of sad about it. And for the record, I only cried on the inside.

Owen is not a fan of having towels wrapped around him, so she did it without anything (resulting in baby, fine hairs all over Owen's clothes, the chair, and floor).He was also not a fan of sitting on the chair for long, so I pulled out the big guns (a dum-dum). It worked for a little while, but he kept wanting to share it with Sophia. So we moved into the front room so they could be distracted by watching Tangled. He was pretty good after that.
Here is the result:
While they were watching the movie, Sophia was patting and playing with his hair. It was really cute. Maybe she's a hair stylist in the making?
And some pictures I took after his nap:
I asked her not to cut it too short and to keep it longish in the front so he would still look like my baby. I think she did a good job. Thanks, Annelise! :D

Housing Drama

Back in September, Miles and I were searching for some homes on the MLS site. We saw this awesome home up for short sale for a great price. However, Miles found out it was already under contract. A couple weeks later, he discovered the deal had fallen through due to the buyers not getting approved for their loan. We went out to look at the house on my birthday. It is amazing.

Here are the stats:
5100 sq feet
3 floors
Main and second floor finished (3100 sq ft)
Basement with walk-out unfinished (2000 sq ft)
6 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
Very large master bedroom with *huge* walk-in closet, and large master bath
Granite counter-tops
Laundry room
2-car garage with lots of extra storage space
Cold storage in basement
Etc, etc, etc.

Here are some pictures.

I liked this shot with Owen running through the kitchen. I loved the dark wood flooring. Obviously the teal cabinet would need to be taken care of...

A view from further back. I really love the archways.
Facing the other way into the living room area. The door leads to a deck outside and view of the golf course.The spacious master bedroom with a door to the master bath.The super amazing, huge master closet. You can't really appreciate the size from this shot.
Pretty much it was an incredible price for the square footage and over all home package. We decided to put an offer in right away. Unfortunately, we got thrown into having a real estate agent pushed on us. We wanted to do it without one to save on closing costs, but they told us we "couldn't" do that and that the bank "would NOT" work with anyone who did not have an agent. So we went ahead and accepted an agent from the seller's agency. This agent of ours, however, failed to get our offer in quickly enough. Therefore, another offer came in just after ours and before either had been sent to the bank. They told us we should revise our offer to our "best and highest" offer and they would decide between the two. So we did. We went with asking price (knowing it had been pre-approved by the bank) with the sellers paying 6% closing costs. After some anxiety-ridden days, we found out they were taking our offer to the bank.

We figured everything would move fairly quickly since the bank had already approved a very similar offer before. Also, we thought they would be incentivized since we told them we could close before the end of the month (October). However, we didn't hear from them for quite a while and it wasn't until we were in the middle of our trip to London that we got the "your offer has been accepted" email. We were really happy and excited to move forward when we got home.

Once we were home, we proceeded with the home inspection. The results were pretty much what we expected. There was a *lot* of little things that needed to be taken care of, with the possibility of a few extras we weren't expecting that would cost a bit, but not too much. We were still pretty comfortable with the situation, and knew we would just need to put a little work and elbow grease into making our home functional and just the way we wanted. However, the inspector also noted some "sloping" in a few rooms in the house and specifically in the master bedroom. In his report, he merely said, "Have someone come look at it, if it bothers you."

Miles and I talked about it, and we wanted to make sure it wasn't anything concerning. We figured it was most likely just poor workmanship due to when the house was build (between 2005-2007 during the housing boom when anyone who could breathe and stand on two legs was hired as a construction worker). A man came out to take a look and after a bit, he discovered that where the floor was sloping in the master bedroom along one wall between the bedroom and bathroom and bedroom and closet, that it was a load-bearing wall for the outside wall to the second story. By doing some investigation downstairs in the basement, you could see that they had not built the proper supports for this wall from below, causing it to slowly slope downward by about an inch over the past five years.

Here is a picture showing where the top plate was missing going across the top. Instead there are some small pieces of plywood, which is not enough to support the upper 2/3 of the home.
We informed our agent and asked for an extension with the bank on our due diligence deadline. During that time (when our agent was worried that we might not go through with the offer) our agent went in to assess the problem and hired someone to "fix" it. He sent us some pictures showing where they were missing some of the supports in one area and had had them put in. In his mind, all was well.

This was his "fix."
However, Miles and I were feeling wary about moving forward not knowing if there were other structural concerns. Finally, Miles spoke with an engineer who stated he would only be able to sign off on the areas he could see (basically the unfinished basement) and if there were any other areas of concern, he would have to cut into the sheet rock to determine if the structure was sound. Obviously we couldn't go cutting into a home that was not ours, and we were not confident that the bank would work with us, as they had already said they would be unwilling to change anything about the offer and what they would put up from their side to fix these problems.

After a lot of talking and praying, we decided to bail at the last minute on the house and rescinded our offer. It was a really hard decision, but seemed like the most logical and wise choice to make. Honestly, the house might be just fine. However, we just didn't feel comfortable going in with concerns of structural problems that could cause major problems down the road.

It's been hard for me. At one point in all of this mess, I had already started packing, believing that everything would work out just fine and we were moving within the next couple weeks. I had to unpack those boxes and realize that my visions for *four times* as much space to work with were coming to a close. I definitely grew emotionally attached to the home and all the possibilities. It's also depressing looking at the housing market again because most homes just don't compare in price per sq ft and in how new and nice they are. However, I have to remind myself that we will find something better for us, without structural concerns, and that will be good for our family. I just have to be patient and our dream home will come along....

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Owen loves balloons (or buh-buh-boos as he likes to call them). One morning while I was reading books to Owen and Miles was supposed to be getting some extra shut-eye, Miles came bursting into the room and said, "Get dressed! Take Owen outside!" I gave him a strange look and he said, "Nevermind. I'll do it." He threw on some clothes, grabbed Owen and went out. I followed quickly behind.

A hot air balloon was floating extremely low in the sky, and went right through our complex. Owen was very excited to see the larger-than-life sized balloon in the sky. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011


For Thanksgiving this year, we went to Matt and Kerry's home in SLC. Matt's parents and sister joined us, as well as a single mom and her son from Matt and Kerry's ward. We arrived earlier in the day so Owen could take a nap there and wake up in time for dinner. We had a really enjoyable day with the family and of course a FABULOUS meal. We ate a perfectly cooked turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, Ruth's Chris style sweet potatoes, fresh green beans with bacon and almonds, Pat's delicious buttery rolls, stuffing, and sparkling apple cider. It was a bounteous feast! Sadly, I only took one picture the whole day...of the table setting. Oops!

I love Thanksgiving. I love getting together with family, and enjoying each other's company over a delicious meal. I love the time we have to reflect on our blessings and what we have to be grateful for. This year is no exception, as we have much to be thankful for in our lives. I hope that I can make a greater effort to take the time to recognize my blessings each day, rather than just on Thanksgiving. You never know when loved ones will be gone, when you might lose a job, or have ailing health. And of course there are so many small things in my daily life that bring joy and happiness. Family and friends are definitely at the top.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kindle Fire thoughts

One of the guys at work had his Kindle Fire with him today. He got it yesterday night and brought it into work today. He's planning on sending it back.

Since he wasn't overly enthusiastic about it I borrowed it over lunch to play with it and see what I thought.

I don't really know where this fits in so I'll throw it in here, it was WAY heavier than I thought it would be. I have an iPad, I am used to having a little bit of weight to hold while using it. When I picked up the Kindle Fire my first thought was, "Dang! This thing is heavy for how big it is!" Spec's put it at .91 lbs and the iPad at 1.33 lbs, obviously the iPad is heavier but the Kindle Fire felt heavier in my hand than the iPad ever has. I'm guessing that this has to do with the distribution, thickness, balance and a myriad of other form factors.

It was not what I expected at all. Call me naive or whatever you want, I thought it would be a tablet with a smaller subset of features. Not something to compete with the iPad but something that would be a replacement if you were willing to give up the camera, 3G, etc.

I was way off.

The Kindle Fire is an Amazon media portal. It is tied tightly to the entire Amazon experience. It is NOT like an Android tablet, it is NOT like an iPad.

People have talked a lot about how they like what it is for the price. For me personally it is overpriced. I'm sure some of you will take offense or be confused about that statement. Let me explain myself. I don't really buy a lot of media content from Amazon, heck, I don't buy a lot of media content from anyone. It's just not really my thing. I still check books out from the library, watch most of my tv content from TIVO or other *ahem* third party providers. Spotify and Pandora are pretty much all I need for music and frankly, I would rather spend my money on things other than on media content. It's a discussion for another time but I really don't have any desire to own any media content. It takes up too much space for how often I use it. I would rather have ACCESS to media content and pay some sort of reasonable monthly/yearly subscription fee.

Overall I think the Kindle Fire is a great move by Amazon, for Amazon. Making the purchase and subsequent access of their media content as simple and easy as possible will make them a ton of money. This has always been a focus for them, One click purchase patent anyone? It provides a win for the consumer as well, I'm not sure how impactful I feel the consumer win is, time will tell. For consumers to have a simple way to access all of their media content, at least the Amazon media content, and have it be fairly seamless and simple is a win.

It will be interesting to see how the Kindle Fire changes as time moves on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book Club

My friend, Kelli Murray, invited me to her book club at the end of last year. At the time I wasn't really interested or ready to actively participate in a book club with a new baby and feeling as though I didn't have much time to read. Then, earlier this year I decided to start making time for it. I was missing reading and also it's a lot of fun to get together as friends.

It's a really fun book club where each month we take turns picking the book and hosting book club at our house. We've read some really great books, and it's also fun because we often try to make the food we serve related to the book somehow.

Earlier this year we read Water for Elephants and Rissa hosted. She did an awesome circus-themed evening.
This month, I hosted and I picked the book, Atonement. It is set during WWII in England and France. My theme was centered around French food and "atonement" food. Hence, the sharp cheddar, brie and boursin cheeses with crackers, and grapes, pears and sparking apple cider. I also threw in some chocolate from our recent trip to London.I love our book club and the girls that are in it. While I get the chance to read some great books, I have to say the best part is chatting the night away with some awesome ladies!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Unknown Struggles

Lately I have heard about numerous struggles that my friends and family members are facing. They are dealing with serious issues - divorce, depression, infertility, miscarriage, the potential loss of an unborn child, financial struggles, and so on. I am astounded by the sadness and heartbreak around me. But even more so, I am in awe of the strength that I see in these individuals. My heart aches when I hear of their trials, so I can only imagine the pain they must feel. Yet I see so much resilience, growth, and love from those who are completely justified to feel angry, hurt, sad, or upset. And at the same time, I know from my own experiences, that bitter feelings do not bring happiness or comfort.

When I recently heard of a friend's struggles, I was saddened that I was unaware of what they had been going through. I felt like a bad friend to be oblivious to their personal struggles in life. It made me want to be more observant and discerning in watching those around me. It is so easy for me to get caught up in myself and stop looking beyond to the needs of those around me. I don't want to be that way and miss out on helping and serving my friends and loved ones.

Hearing these different stories has also made me that much more aware of all of my blessings. Last night after hearing of a barrier in my friend's yearning desire to become a parent, I walked into Owen's room and watched him sleep. I was brought to tears as I felt overwhelming gratitude for my sweet baby sleeping peacefully in his crib. He is by far the greatest blessing I have ever received, and a direct answer to prayers. I am so thankful for all that Miles and I have been given and yet I wonder why on Earth we have been so blessed. And so it scares me too. I know life is not without its trials and tribulations, and cautiously wonder when our next one will come. Still, I know that they are for our strength. In hindsight it is easier to be grateful for our trials, and yet I still do not long for more.

My heart goes out to those who are suffering, whether openly or in silence. I ache when I learn of others struggles and wish that I could give even just one small piece of happiness or impart feelings of peace and comfort. But I also know it's not mine to give and that is why our Savior suffered for our sins and is there to ease our troubles and pains. I hope that I can always be mindful of the price Jesus paid for us so that we might have joys in life. And to also know that He is by our side in our trials, having personally experienced the pain they have caused.

Again, I feel so grateful for the blessings in my life. I hope that in my moments of peace and happiness that I can remain mindful of others. I am eternally grateful that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us and an elder brother, Jesus Christ, who carries us when we are weak. Our struggles are not unknown to them.

Monday, November 07, 2011

18 Months

I swore I wouldn't do it again, and yet here it is, three months later without an update. It's a good thing I keep close tabs on all his accomplishments because otherwise I'd never remember. So once again, some of these things he's been doing for months, but they are new since the last update and I want to keep a record of them.

Here are his stats from his 18 mo check-up:

Head: 19 in. (50th percentile)
Length: 33 in. (75th percentile)
Weight: 25 lbs. (35th percentile; his weight stayed exactly the same from his 15 mo. appointment. He is getting taller and leaner, which is apparent when I look at pictures from three months ago).

Eating: Owen really likes spicy food - salsa, hot and sour soup, etc. But he most especially *LOVES* mint and cannot get enough of it. He's still pretty hit or miss on how much and what he'll eat. One minute he loves something, the next he can't stand it; one day he devours everything in sight, the next he hardly picks at his food. It's kind of frustrating trying to feed him, but I just keep reminding myself...so long as he's healthy, that's all that matters.

Here he is doing his recent strange behavior of trying to lift his cup while in a bowl to drink from it.
He also loves to stick his fingers in olive holes.
Sleeping: For about a week plus, he was sleeping up to 14 hours at night. It was amazing. Now he sleeps anywhere from 10-12 hours. Naps have extended and are typically 2-3 hours, sometimes 4. In the past month or so, he has become so easy to put to sleep. We just go through our routine, I lay him down, and he doesn't fuss, whine, or make a peep. It is blissful being able to put him to bed and not have to wonder if I'll be going back again (or multiple times) to get him to sleep. He also prefers to sleep with one of his "blankies" under his arm and I cover him with the other.Language: He has started saying a lot more words. For a while he would say "Wow" (and draw it out) in a whisper as though he's in awe of something. He can do the sign for please (which he learned in one day and it made me wish we had done more signing with him) and says, "ease." He says "boo boo" for peek-a-boo, "gah" for car, "bay-ah" for bear, "pay-ah" for pear, "yee-yee-oh" for cheerio, "pooh" for spoon, "mo" for more, bye bye, etc.

He also
knows the sounds for bee, snake, cat, tiger, lion, sheep, cow, bear, rooster, horse, dog.

Knows where his nose, tongue, teeth, mouth, head, cheeks, eyes, ears, neck, belly, belly-button, arms, legs, hands and feet are.

When Miles kisses him goodbye in the morning, Owen waves and says, "bye bye." He also does this when he sees Miles kiss me (thinking he's leaving) and often any other time he gets a random kiss from him even if he's not going anywhere.

Amazingly, I can still get him to sit/stay in his bouncy chair while I shower in the morning. Although I think this is quickly coming to an end and I should enjoy it while I can. However, he's pretty funny cause sometimes he'll just choose to sit in the chair on his own, or drag it from our bedroom into the hall and lay in it.

One day we came home from a long day of playing at Thanksgiving Point. He was so tired, but I wanted him to eat something for lunch before his nap. This was his pathetic, sleepy attempt at lunch while hugging his blankie.
He pats your back when you hold him. I love feeling that gentle, tiny, hand on my shoulder.

He loves to carry things around, especially if they hang, dangle, or have a handle.
He knows where we "hide" the remote and will get it and give it to you to watch TV. He also yells and points at the TV when he wants to watch. Now he says "ee, ee!"
After he's been changed, he loves to hold his dirty diaper and throw it away.He has recently started climbing up the back of the couch to look out the window. He's quite the little monkey.
However...sometimes the monkey gets stuck....

He knows where his shoes go and will put them away if they are out or get them to go outside.

He also loves to wear adult shoes and will put them on and walk around any chance he gets.
Loves peeking slowly around corners to look at you and make eye contact. Then he laughs and quickly retreats around the corner (or under the table) and repeats. He also likes to shut me out of his room and cracks up when I open the door and say, "Hey! Let me in!" while he pushes the door shut in my face.

One day I had his old bath seat out to put in storage. He decided to climb inside. He enjoyed it for a while, until he got stuck and decided it wasn't as much fun as he thought.He can step up and down stairs by himself while holding onto the railing and can also step up and down curbs without assistance if they aren't super high.

Owen laughs hysterically at other people's pain. If he hears the word, "Ow," he automatically cracks up. This is obviously a "problem" we need to work on. Although for now, sometimes it's nice to get him out of a grumpy mood by pretending I hurt myself. He also likes funny or extreme facial expressions (ie; when I scrunch my face when opening a jar). There are also two shows he always laughs at because of this. One is when Cailou is drinking lemonade without sugar and says, "ew." Another is in a Kipper show when a squirrel drops an acorn on Arnold's head and he flinches. Again...he loves seeing people in pain. Oh dear...do I have a little sadist on my hands? ;)One time we were out grocery shopping, we grabbed an avocado. Owen wanted to hold it. Next we see, he's sunk his teeth into it. I'm not sure he was such a fan.
Here is Owen, our "super hero"!
Sometimes the super hero will attack bad guys...or maybe just any body that is on the ground he can climb on...

He *LOVES* to be outside. He will take my hand and walk me to the door and put it on the door knob.

Our neighbors have a dog and he will yell down the stairs toward their window where the dog pokes his head out and do a high-pitched yipping noise at the dog.

I loved this day. We were outside playing when a storm came upon us suddenly. It started raining hard and was really windy. He was so cute to watch him fight the wind and rain while running around the corner back to our home.
He dances to everything - the washing machine and dryer, the tub draining, drumming on the counter, beating eggs and of course music. He just loves a good beat.
Loves to read books and be read to. I sometimes read to him up to 2 hours each day.

He loves, loves, loves bath time. Some of the things he recently has enjoyed doing in the bath are: filling cups with the running bath water and dumping it on his head, biting the faucet, laying down/floating on his back, and stacking or placing his cups in a line on the edge of the tub.

He is still a mama's boy and let's be honest...the feeling is mutual.