Wednesday, February 25, 2015


So, we took back our expensive purchase and returned with a much cheaper alternative.


Gin, our new betta Fish!

Isn't he gorgeous?
Kevin fell asleep on the way to the petsmart, so Grig and I debated different fish for a while. Ichimaru Gin, or Gin for short (pronounced with a hard g, like goat), was our compromise. Kevin woke up just in time to agree to our choice. We showed him the other fish, and he pointed to the one we'd already picked out. I guess that made it unanimous. 

He is a crowntail betta, also known as the Japanese fighting fish or, more correctly, the Siamese fighting fish. 

Gin seems to be happy in his new home. We put a few rocks on the bottom and some fake plants. Though this picture makes him look too big for the container, the curve of the vase he is in just makes him look really big. The vase is pretty large for a single fish. He seems to love it.

Kevin has had a few exciting weeks, but we're finally starting to feel settled in. He also has picked up a new sport. He is pretty good at serving ping-pong balls at his grandparents' home.

It has been warm around here lately, so the dogs have been shedding. We've been getting tired of dog hair around the house, so I gave the dogs a trim yesterday. 

Here are the dogs before:
And after:

Arkhon doesn't look all that much different, except that you can see his brown half-circle on his back better. Dakota, however, always looks a lot different after a haircut. I only trimmed their fur down to 1/2 an inch, because we're still supposed to get more snow, but they seem a lot more comfortable in the house. Less hair makes us happier too.

We are getting a new housemate this weekend. 

Grig's sister is coming to live with us. We'll have to choose a pseudonym for her too. Well, actually, we'll let her choose her own. Kevin's grandmother is driving her here and their going to stay for a little while. Kevin is going to love having his grandma and aunt around the house!

It will be fun to have company for a while! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Broken Pane of Glass

When we found out we were moving, we decided to commemorate the event by telling Kevin he could have a fish.

Last night, we went to pick one out.

We may have gotten a little excited. In just a couple of hours, we had picked out a ten gallon tank, and everything that went with it, and spent almost $70. We almost bought the fish too, but the employees at Petsmart told us that it was a good idea to run the tank from 24-48 hours before we put the fish in so that some healthy bacteria could build up.

However, last night when we went to set up the tank, it turned out that there was a large crack across the pane of glass at the bottom of the tank.
Link to this image

We were pretty disappointed. We had been getting pretty excited about our new fish, and it was frustrating to not be able to start the process last night.

However, it kind of turned out to be a blessing. The more I thought about our purchase last night, the worse I felt. Finally, I realized we were probably being over-exuberant. We had gone to purchase one fish, a beta or a gold fish, and we had been about to purchase 3+ (much more expensive) fish with a ten gallon tank. Grig and I talked about it, and we decided to just return the ten gallon tank and purchase a much smaller tank with a single fish.

I felt better once me made that decision.

It's not that we don't have the money right now, but we are trying to save up as much as possible for things that we're going to need to buy throughout the year.

A single fish will make Kevin happy. It was just Grig and I that wanted a larger tank and cooler fish.

We can probably get one at some point, but for now, we don't need to spend so much money. Simple is often better.

If it weren't for a broken pane of glass, I think that we would have made a pretty big mistake.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mormon Monday: Pure Hearts Reflected

In church on Sunday, we were talking about Matthew 5 and how Christ's law transcended the law of Moses. One scripture in particular made me think.

We were reading Matthew 5:8 which says:
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
The teacher in class provided the question, "What does it mean to be pure in heart?"

People in class gave some interesting answers. They said things such as child-like, innocent, and without fault.

These were all really good answers, and they started me thinking. I began to think about things that were without fault. A song came to my mind. It was a song I had heard in the MTC when I had played the piano while a girl sang it.

I can't find it, or remember what it is called, but basically the song was about how we want our souls to be a reflection of Christ, so that when people look at us, they will see Him. It was a beautiful song, and I wish I could remember what it was called.

Here is a song similar to it. I also really like this song.

I was thinking that I have met people in my life who seem to glow with an inner light. When you look at them, you just know that they would be great people to be friends with. It really seems like you look at them, and the Savior is reflected in their faces.

I want to be so clean and pure that when others look at me, they can see the Savior in reflected in my features. When my soul is pure and free of guile, then I feel that I will be on my way to being more like my Savior.


*Edit 2/24/15*

My cousin knew which song I was thinking of. It's called, "A Window to His Love."

Here is a video where someone sings it. It is written by Julie de Azevedo Hanks.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Some of My Favorite Things About Our New House

I was just thinking that I should write down some of the things that I like the most about our new house.

I love how much room there is. The bedrooms all feel really big, and having a yard is the most wonderful thing ever! I love the trees on the property.

Interestingly enough, I also love having things to fix up.

The house is in decent shape, but I'm really enjoying having things to do. It's nice to be able to improve and organize our new home without worrying about damaging it or losing our deposit. There is still a lot to do, and that is exciting for me. It keeps me up and away from the computer. A lot of my goals before involved doing things on the computer, and that was boring for Kevin and not so good for me. I still have goals on the computer, but I also having things to do elsewhere that help me move around more and spend more time with my son.

Today, I dug up all of the thistles in the yard using a trowel and my hands. My fingers hurt afterward, but Kevin crashed as soon as we came inside. He is taking his second nap in two days.

This outside things really is fantastic. Kevin stopped taking naps a couple of months ago, but I guess now we're properly wearing him out during the day. We're also wearing out the dogs. Arkhon is conked out right now too. The weather is telling me that it's 55 right now, but it feels like 75 to me.

Today, we also discovered sidewalk chalk. We've had a box full since we've gotten married, but I didn't want to get in trouble for coloring the apartment sidewalk, so it's just sat in our closet. Now we have our own cement, and Kevin and I drew pictures of Superman and traced Kevin's outline. He love that and I had a good time too!

The dogs look smaller in this house. Arkhon especially looks like a much smaller dog. In the other house, I couldn't believe how big our puppy was getting. However, in this house, he looks like a small, medium-sized dog.

I love all of my cupboards and drawers. There are so many places to put things, that I am having trouble knowing what should go where. I'm figuring it out, but it's an exciting challenge.

I love having extra counter space in my kitchen as well. It makes me pretty happy. I now have places to cook and mix things on, and Tuesday we had a family gathering here. We were able to put the food buffet-style on the counter and people could dish up from there. That was fantastic! Our fridge is also much bigger.

However, probably my very favorite things is not having any cockroaches! That is the most amazing thing of all. The house just feels so much cleaner because of that.

As far as least favorite things go, that would have been the fact we didn't have hot water for a few days, but now that we have hot water again, I don't have very much to complain about. Maybe the fact that there is so little grass in the backyard is kind of sad, but that is something we are planning to fix this spring.
It looks much better with the leaves raked up.
So many exciting things to work on! I am so happy right now! Yay for life!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Our Third Annivesary

Today is the third anniversary since we've been married.

For our anniversary, even though it's Book Review Wednesday, I'm going to have a flashback to how my husband and I first met.
Engagement photo
It was the year 2011. I had returned home from my mission a year or so before, and I was getting settled into college. In fact, I was only a few semesters away from finishing. I was working at a gas station/farm store, and I was really enjoying working there. I enjoyed my co-workers, and the customers were almost always very nice. It could be slow sometimes, but there were always things to do, if you were willing to work.

I tried my best to be a good employee and made some good friends there.

One of my coworkers and I were talking one day, and I was telling her how, when I worked for a veterinarian, my boss had called me the "Cat Whisperer." My coworker laughed. She told me how she knew this kid whose nickname was "Catman." He was actually the roommate of the guy she was dating. She told me she was going to set us up on a date.

Weeks passed. After a while, I finally met this "Catman." My coworker's boyfriend, "Catman," and a couple of others came to invite me to go with them to the drive-through to watch a movie. Unfortunately, I couldn't go that night because I had to study for a bunch of tests, so I had to decline.

My first impression of him was that he was shorter than I was expecting, but not bad-looking. I wasn't sure how interested I was, but I was willing to give him a shot.

More weeks passed. Finally, "Catman" decided to take matters into his own hands. So, like a white knight on a noble steed, "Catman" mounted his bike and traveled over two miles to come and ask me out on a date.

I was busy organizing some shelves when he walked in, so I didn't see him at first. the people I was working with showed him where I was.

He invited me over to his place for dinner and I accepted. I found out that he actually lived at the apartments that my aunt and uncle owned.

That night, when I showed up, he had pulled the kitchen table and chairs outside and placed them underneath strung up lights that lit up the area nicely. He told me the lights were already there, but it looked awfully nice.

Then we proceeded to eat and talk. He made stir-fry, and it was delicious. For the next three hours, we just talked. I may not have been initially super attracted to him, but I'd never been able to talk to someone before who was so much like I was. We talked about everything, even things that most people would have found disgusting. Our conversation ranged from sheep, to the church, to our families, and everything in between. It turned out that he liked animals as much as I did, and he also was a writer.
Half-way through the meal, my aunt and a bunch of my cousins showed up. That was kind of funny (and somewhat awkward), and Grig realized that he was dating the niece of his landlady.

There was no 'love at first sight' for either of us, but there was mutual interest, and a great conversation. We were both super awkward, and it kind of worked for us. We ended the evening with a super-awkward hug, but because we were both so awkward, it just made us laugh.

For the first time in my life, a guy I had gone on a date with asked me out for a second date. There were no red flags with Grig, and though I didn't know for sure about him, there was no reason for me to say no to another date.

Things progressed well from there. We never were any less awkward, but our conversations always flowed smoothly. The more I got to know Grig, the more I grew to like him. Then, one day, I realized that I kind of loved him.
Wedding photo
Since we've gotten married, I've never been happier. Grig is my best friend, and I love him more than I've ever loved anyone. He always treats me with respect and he is always concerned with my needs and wants. I try my best to make him happy as well.

Our family has only improved since this little fellow was added to the family
Our relationship isn't perfect, but we're both trying our best and we're determined to make it work. We have pretty good communication, and we have since the beginning. Sometimes we still have misunderstandings, but we work through them, and doing so brings us closer.
I'm so grateful for the last three years and the love of my life.
Our family just keeps growing!
Happy anniversary, Grig! You're the best guy I know.

Isn't he handsome?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hot Water

It's strange what you take for granted.

Like hot water, for instance. You don't really think about how wonderful it is, until you don't have it anymore.

When we were touring the home, the renters told us that the hot water was finicky. They said it would be warm for a few minutes, and then would get really cold and never warm up again. Even so, we still really liked the house and that didn't really deter us.

When we tested the tub water, it was very warm and so we didn't really worry about it. The faucet was backwards, meaning that when you turn it the warm direction it was actually cold, and so part of me hoped that the renters had simply not known what way to turn the faucet.

However, after we tried to take a shower, we confirmed that the renters had been right. The water would be super-hot for about two minutes, and then it would suddenly plummet.

However, as part of our deal to purchase the home, the sellers paid for a home warranty. Using that, we were able to order a plumber to come and look at the problem. The hot water tank is actually less than a year old. That was good news, but we hoped it wasn't a piping problem.
Link to Picture
It turned out it was a fairly easy fix. The hot water tank has a tube that is supposed to go all the way down to the bottom to draw the water starting from the base upward. However, the tube that was in the tank was only about a foot long and made of cheap plastic. They replaced the tube with a much longer one made of better quality material.

Grig took a warm shower last night and for the first time there was steam in our bathroom. It is so nice to have hot water again!

I couldn't even fill up two sinks for dishes before.

We have also now had our home re-keyed. There are new locks on the front door. That made us pretty happy.

We've made a lot of improvements already. Things are looking pretty good around here. There is still a lot to do, but it's really starting to feel like home.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mormon Monday: Patience, Faith, and Our New House

We are officially moved into our new home. All of our boxes are not unpacked and I still can't find Kevin's bedsheets, but most of the essentials have been found.
Kevin loves the new house!
On Friday the 6th of February, we closed the sale, but it turned out that we couldn't record until Monday, because the seller's papers hadn't been over-nighted on time. So, we were able to sign. However, we couldn't do anything until we found out what the sellers would allow us to do. Often they won't allow you to move in just in case something goes wrong. We had been planning to start cleaning the new house that night, but we didn't hear back about what we could do until later Friday evening.  So, Friday evening we tried to finish packing everything. It was kind of stressful not knowing, but things seemed to be working out, so I had faith. It wouldn't have mattered that much except that my parents were planning on picking up a few things from Idaho and helping us move over the weekend. Not being able to even put anything in the garage until Monday would have really messed up our plans.

However, we finally received permission to clean the house and move a few things into the garage, but we couldn't move anything into the house until the home was 'officially' ours on Monday. We informed my parents.

Saturday morning we had a miracle. We had decided that we were going to have to get an extra day with the uhaul, which the website had informed me would be an extra $40. We decided we would have to be okay with that, since we couldn't empty the truck until Monday. However, when my parents went to pick up the truck, they gave them the extra day for free! That was a huge blessing.

So, Saturday we went to the new house and cleaned until my parents came later in the afternoon with the moving van. We unloaded my parents' old piano, new washer, dryer, and dishwasher that we had purchased, and a few boxes of mine that they had brought from storage. Once the truck was empty, we took it over to our apartment and basically loaded everything up. There were a few things left when we were done, but the van was pretty much full. We had a lot of family help us out. My two younger brothers came, along with my younger sister and her boyfriend. Grig's brother came to assist as well. My grandma and grandpa also helped us out a lot, and cooked some meals for us. Everyone took turns taking care of Kevin.
Our garage full of boxes!
After we fished loading up and bought a lock for the uhaul door, we went to my grandparents' home and had dinner with them. They surprised me with a little birthday party. It wasn't my birthday yet, but my parents weren't going to be there for the actual day, so they had a cake and a present waiting for me. It was a nice surprise.

Honestly, I'd kind of forgotten about my birthday with everything else that was going on.
Happy birthday to me!
Once the party was over and my parents had left to travel back to Idaho, Grig and I were very tired. However, we mustered up some energy and went and shampooed the new carpets so they would be dry when we unloaded on Monday. Then we bug-bombed the uhaul and came back to my grandparents' home. They had kindly offered to let us stay with them over the weekend while all of our belongings were in the uhaul.

We had a nice relaxing Sabbath. Honestly, I think everyone should have a day off between moving. It makes the following day much less stressful. We went to church in our new ward and met a lot of awesome people. We even had a few volunteer to help us move the next day.

Monday, my grandma, my aunt, and I went and worked on cleaning out the old apartment. They were very kind to come and help me with it. They also loaned us their truck to put the last of our stuff in. I worked on the apartment all day, but by 2:30, we still hadn't gotten the go-ahead to move in. I was getting worried. We'd asked for help around 4:30, but if we didn't receive the official word that the home was ours, we wouldn't be able to unpack that day either.

Finallly, at 3:30, as we'd almost finished everything in the apartment, we received the word.

The house was ours! I finished up a couple more things and then drove over to meet Grig there as he got off work. We got the utilities put in our names, and at 4:30, everyone else showed up to help. We had quite a few people from our new ward, my grandparents, and my uncle's family. It went really quickly, and we were sure glad for the extra help when we had to move the piano, entertainment center, and washer and dryer downstairs. Soon, the trucks were unloaded, and we thanked everyone.

Our good friends came with our dogs (whom they had been tending) and dinner. We had a couple of problems with the new gas oven that came with the house, and trying to remove the dishwasher, but we finally quit for the night. We were going to try and finish up the other apartment, but by the time we finished eating with our neighbors, we had to get to bed. Grig had work the next morning at 4. So, we thanked our neighbors and traveled back to our new home. We set up the bed and slept in our new house for the first time!

Tuesday, I woke up at 4 with Grig and started unpacking. Then, at 8:30 a.m., Kevin and I returned the uhaul before it was due. My aunt picked us up from there in my grandparents' truck, and then we dropped her off at her house, and I went and finished cleaning out the apartment. My grandma came after a while and took Kevin, which made it a lot easier to finish cleaning. Basically, all I had left was the fridge and the kitchen floor. I finished quickly, and then I turned in our keys and said goodbye to our manager. She's been great!

Then, I went to my grandparents' home, and they loaded up the ladder and some lunch. We all drove back to our new house and they helped me clean out the rain gutters and install the dishwasher. It took a long time, and we didn't quite finish with the dishwasher by the time they had to leave. However, we got the old one taken out (which we had thought was a gas-dishwasher, but actually wasn't) and had almost finished installing the new one. We were just missing a part, which we got the next day.
The yard looks much better!
Wednesday, we finished the dishwasher and raked a bit. Kevin and Arkhon really enjoyed the backyard. Grig took me out for dinner that night to a place with really good Indian food.

Thursday, I cleaned out the old caulking on the tub rim and re-caulked the tub. We called and scheduled our internet to get set up, and that night we went shopping for a few things that we needed.
The dogs enjoy the leaf piles.
Friday, we had internet again! It was hard to be without it for a week. I hadn't realized how much of my budgeting depends on internet. In the afternoon, my grandparents came and helped us install the washer and dryer. It was sure nice to have appliances that worked! Grig also did a lot of pruning out side. We've had incredible weather this week! It's been in the high 60s. They joined us for lunch and that night we relaxed a little bit and enjoyed our new house. We also watched a movie. Grig has wanted to show me the 1962 version of Manchurian Candidate for a long time, so we finally watched it that night. It was very interesting and well-done.

Saturday we finished up a few more errands and unpacked a few more things. We had some friends come over for a little while too. Grig and I remembered vaguely that it was Valentine's Day, but we're having a dual Valentine's Day/Anniversary celebration soon.

Yesterday we had a pretty relaxing day. We went to our new ward again, and had a great time.

Sometimes it has been a week that has tried my faith and patience, but things had worked out well. I'm so grateful for our new house. We're making some good improvements, and it already looks a ton better! We love it here, and we've seen so many miracles as we've been directed to move here.

Also, we bought a new movie camera! Expect more videos soon!
Our stinkers

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

More Care Troubles

So, the other day, Grig mentioned to me that the front headlight was out. However, when we drove the car later, it was back on again. We were grateful that it wasn't actually out, because at the time we didn't have money to replace it. 

However, last Thursday I was driving back from a meeting and both headlights were out. That wasn't good. We only had one working bright as well. So, that night I went and picked up two low-beams and one high beam. 

Friday, Grig went to replace the two headlights. The high-beam was able to be replaced with no problem. However, when he went to replace the two low-beams, they were both fine, but the inside of the beams was melted. 

That means another trip to the car emergency room. Our neighbor was kind enough to follow me out and drive me home after I dropped the car off. 
Hopefully, the problem isn't too severe. 

Other than that, we're starting to pack and clean. If the loan moves through the USDA quickly, we should be able to close by Friday still. We're very excited. 

We've been very blessed that everytime we've had car troubles, we've had money to fix it. This time it's the same. We got our tax returns last week, so we should be able to do what we need to do. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mormon Monday: House Miracle

So, I mentioned last week that we had bad news about the house that actually turned out to be good news.

We thought that we were ready to close last Friday (the 30th). The way it sounded, our loan had already gone to the USDA and we thought that we would be closing much sooner than we had expected.

However, when we called our lender to get confirmation and to ask a couple of questions, we were informed that our loan was stuck at underwriter and had encountered a few hiccups. At the time, our lender sent us a text telling us he couldn't talk to us about it in depth (it was too late at night), but he told us he would call us in the morning. He also told us not to worry about it.

I felt a great deal of peace, so I didn't worry about it too much while I waited for him to call the next morning. However, it wasn't until Wednesday afternoon that I heard from him.

He called back and explained that even though we were making enough that our debt to income ratio would have been more that sufficient for most loans, the USDA required that the loan be only 30 something percent of your income instead of 48%. They thought they had already solved that problem by having the company that Grig works for sign a paper saying that his average of 48 hours a week was required, but the underwriter was now telling them that they couldn't count any of Grig's overtime because he hadn't worked there for two years yet.

Before I could even start worrying about it, he told me that the loan was going to go through one way or the other, and they were willing to do a reduced interest rate  to make up for the extra hours if we were willing to bring $1000 to closing. (Originally, we weren't going to have to bring anything to closing).

On the previous Friday, we had submitted our taxes, but we hadn't quite gotten our tax returns back yet. We had been planning to pay the rest of Grig's school loans with the tax returns, but now we decided to put $1000 of it toward closing costs. The reduced interest rate had lowered our monthly payments by nearly $100, so in ten months, we'd make up for the $1000 that we were spending at closing. It is also going to save us around $20000 of interest money in the long run. Our monthly payments are now going to be only slightly more that what we are currently paying for rent.

It is a miracle. It's a miracle that we couldn't have even have prayed for, because we didn't know it was possible. We weren't planning on moving right now, but we felt impressed that we needed to do so. We weren't planning on buying a home, but we have been brought to the home that we know the Lord intends for us to purchase. We didn't know for sure how we were going to pay for everything, but the Lord has opened a way and directed us to the correct real estate agent who directed us to this incredible lender who is willing to do this awesome thing for us.

We are so blessed and grateful. I know some of these blessings have come because we are trying our best to keep the Lord's commandments and follow the promptings that we've received from Him. I know that as we've paid tithing, we've been given sufficient for our needs.

I can't even tell you how grateful I am, right now, and how excited.

The last loan went through in three days, so we should be closing by this Friday. I'm starting to pack a little bit and deep clean things in preparation.

Thank you for your prayers and interest. We know many of our blessings have come through prayers from others in our behalf.

The Lord loves each of us, and He takes care of us. Trials often turn into blessings, and we are pretty excited for this one!
We are so excited for the yard!