Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009!

2009 has been a super eventful year for our little family, and I'm not sure if 2010 will be able to top it! Here's a quick recap of the year for the L family:

We started the New Year with a kiss while celebrating with great friends

K started her last set of classes before her student teaching.
L ended his first peak season at
We also had our engagement photos taken by Bryan Newfield of Studio Blue Photography

We celebrated our last Valentines day as non-married people.
K visited EO with EK & R in Platteville, WI at the end of the month

Lastly, we finalized our wedding cake at Bread Art Bakery in Bayport, MN
K started student teaching full-time at Champlin Park High School, and taught 9th grade Honors English to a great group of kids.
L continues to do a great job at :-)
LKMB attended the last Twin's home opener at the Metrodome!
K attended her first real job fair at the Minneapolis Convention Center

On the 18th, we celebrated our 6th year together as a couple and the 1 year anniversary of our engagement at the Science Museum, Rice Park, and Pazzaluna.

We attended the last wedding that stood between us and our wedding in Arizona for a good family friend of L's family.
M hosted a bridal shower for me at the end of the month
K finished her student teachingK and L had their bachelor/ette parties on the same night, but in different cities. The ladies took on Downtown Minneapolis, while the guys invaded Paynesville, MN.
None of the guys would release photographic evidence from the bachelor party...
We attended the final wedding that stood in the way of ours, and had a blast at my cousin's wedding in Lake City, MN
Then it was OUR weekend! It started with the rehearsal dinner at Brines in Stillwater, MN, complete with good food, drinks, and a pinata filled with goodies for our tropical honeymoon.
After a sleepless night, and hours of getting ready and endless photos, we finally became Mr & Mrs L at the Water Street Inn in Stillwater, MN and had a fantastic reception with lots of dancing!
Photo credit: Studio Blue Photography
The next day, after opening gifts, we started our 14 hour journey to A
ruba and spent way too much time in airports. We stayed at the Aruba Occidental Grand All Inclusive for 5 nights and had a perfect honeymoon that included a life-risking jeep tour around Aruba, a submarine dive, and way too many strong drinks and tasty meals to count.

It was an amazing way to end 15 months of wedding planning!
I turned 23 and L turned 24, we tried new restaurants (such as Fogo de Chao and Heidi's), and had fun turning older. I finally started subbing in a couple of school districts and L started his second peak season at K took a trip down to Decorah, IA to visit EO with EK and R again.
These were also the months of house hunting and when I started this blog. There were lots of ups and downs during the house hunting process (scroll back through my entries if you want details), but eventually we found THE one.

We took a trip up to Lutsen, MN with a group of friends to celebrate the start of H's 24th year and had a lot of fun! Of course we made him wear a silly hat when we ventured into Grand Marais for a few hours.The next weekend, we closed on our little bungalow and officially became residents of Ramsey County! We had 9 days after closing to prepare to host our very first Christmas Eve party with both my family and L's family together. It was a success and we'll probably end up hosting again next year!

This has been one hell of a year, and I'm looking forward to what 2010 has in store for us. While it is guaranteed to not be as busy as 2009, there will still be changes and challenges throughout the year, and we're excited to meet them head on and have a fantastic year.

Happy 2010 everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Since I'm basically snowed in at the moment (L's car is too light to drive on the roads right now, so I've gotta wait to go feed M&B's cat until later this afternoon when L gets home with my car), I thought that I would share some pictures of my favorite room in the house right now- the front living room. L and I had a plan with this room, and while I'm sure it will change eventually, I'm really happy with how it has turned out so far. We decided that we wanted the room to have a tobacco feeling to it (dark browns and creams). Luckily, the room was already painted a neutral color, so all we had to do was find the furnishings to go with it!

First thing we did was buy two vine patterned armless chairs from Target. We got them on sale for $99 each (normally $160 each).

Our next purchase was a storage ottoman (my new obsession- I want them everywhere in my house!), a bookshelf and a console table from another Target collection:

This is my favorite wall in the house so far :-)

You can see the bookshelf in the left corner of the picture, next to Vine Chair #2

The latest addition to the front living room was a couch from IKEA. When we were in the store, they claimed to be out of the sofa size, and only had the love seat, so we were set on getting the love seat. Once we went down the aisle to collect our items, we saw that there were about 3 of the sofas in stock, so we grabbed the larger one instead of the love seat (and there was only a $20 dollar difference between the two sizes!)

Next, we want to get a cool rug comprised of browns and creams to go in front of the couch once we get rid of the Christmas tree.

Speaking of Christmas trees, over the last 3 years, L and I have always just gotten a little 5.5 foot tree for our apartment:But this year, we actually have room for a larger tree, so we got one that reached our ceiling!

Every year, L and I each get a new ornament for the tree, so here are this year's newbies:I continued to support Pixar this year :-)

While L continued to support his love for Star Trek:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

The Weather Outside is Frightful...

I had a late night last night (my pa needed to pick up some keys from me at about 2am), so when I got the phone call from L at 6:15am saying that he was stuck in the alleyway, I was less than thrilled to have to jump into some pants, put on my winter gear, grab a shovel and start digging a way out of our un-plowed alley. I'm really wishing that I had put a snowblower on my wish list this year... After lots of shoveling (thank goodness we're only three houses in!) and pushing, we finally got L on the road and off to work. Unfortunately, all of that work left me feeling more awake, so I made good use of the energy and finished shoveling the driveway and the walkway leading up to the side door.

After going back inside to take a 3 hour nap, I woke up to finish shoveling so that our Christmas guests can find their way to the front door (and to avoid a fine from the City of St. Paul...), and found that apparently L and I have made friends with someone who has a snowblower! When I got to the front of the house to shovel, our sidewalk had been mostly cleared by someone else, so all I had to do was finish scraping the little chunks of snow off the pavement. When I looked to the back of the house, our snowblower fairy was just finishing up our driveway, so I was able to run back really quick to say thanks (though I'm still not sure who it was, since I wasn't wearing my glasses and the lady was all bundled up so I couldn't see her face).

T-4 hours until guests start arriving for our first ever K-L combined Christmas Eve party! I'm super excited :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Home Sweet Home

It's amazing how quickly a strange house can start feeling like one's home. We've only been living here for about 2 days, and while there is still the random noise that sounds every once and a while that makes me jump, this house feels like it is ours.

Here's an update on what has been going on with us the last 5 days:

Monday- We were scheduled to close at 8:30am at the Roseville office. It had been snowing a bit the night before, and since we were driving there during the morning rush hour, traffic was pretty horrendous. We somehow missed our turn, had to turn around, drive in even worse traffic, and were about 10 minutes late. Apparently everyone was running late, because after our mortgage broker's assistant, the seller, and our closer we were amongst the first there (we were still waiting on the listing agent, the seller's daughter, the seller's closer, and D- our realtor). After everyone finally arrived, I was able to supervise L sign his name an ungodly amount of times (one time our closer had L make his middle initial more clear- it looked like a C rather than an A), and there were even some documents for me to sign as well (I haven't had to sign anything since we decided to use D as our realtor). After all the documents were signed by both L and the seller, we had to wait on TCF to fax something over to the office for about an hour. While this is something that could have upset some people, that hour turned out to be a great time for L and I to talk with the seller and his daughter about the house and the area. After, L and I realized how sad the seller must have been- he'd lived here for over 44 years, raised his daughter, and eventually lost his wife while living in this house... Anyways, we got the keys, celebrated at The Olive Garden down the street, and then made a couple trips with my parent's Ford Excursion from the apartment to the house with the help of B.

Tuesday- I don't know how we though that we'd be able to move by only using the Excursion and be done by Monday night. Thank goodness we had the common sense to rent a moving truck for Tuesday. We ended up having to make two trips with the moving truck (luckily the house is only about 13 miles from the apartment). B was a Godsend on Tuesday. We definitely would not have been able to get nearly everything in and out of the truck without him. I also want to thank H and K for bringing over pizza for lunch (we probably wouldn't have eaten all day if it hadn't been for you two!), and for assisting us in loading the truck. While moving the furniture out of the apartment, we found out very quickly where our rodent friends enjoyed hiding when we let them run around (under both beds, the couch and behind the bookcase were lovely guinea pig and rabbit droppings- gross.). I guess that's what happens when you don't move your furniture for 3+ years in a tiny apartment... By 8pm, we had unloaded the truck for the final time, and L and I treated his parents and B to a well-deserved dinner. After returning the rental truck, and picking up L's car, we created a nest of blankets on the floor of the back living room, let out Dwight and got about 4 hours of fitful sleep.

Wednesday- L came home early from work (he wasn't feeling well), and it was a good thing that he did. My task for Wednesday was to completely clean the apartment so that it was in showing condition. I thought that it would just take a couple of hours on my own to get it done. Little did I know... even with our combined forces (yes I put the sick hubby to work), it took us over 3 hours to clean the apartment. After all of our hard work, we went to Target to pick up some stuff for the house and ended up getting a new console table and bookshelf for the front living room, and some other odds and ends that we had already realized that we needed (for me, the most important item was the step stool that enables me to be able to actually put things away in the kitchen, as the cupboards go all the way to the ceiling...). It was a long day, and turning on the space heater and jumping into our freshly made bed, we finally got some much-needed rest.

Thursday- I spent the WHOLE day unpacking, and I felt like I hadn't gotten anywhere. I woke up with Luke at 5:45am, and couldn't fall back asleep, so I spent that time putting together our new furniture and setting up the front living room. Now all we need is a couch and a large mirror and that room will be complete. My reward for finishing that room was a Christmas tree when L got home, so now our house smells like Christmas!

Friday (today)- Put more stuff away, moved all the empty cardboard boxes into the garage (recycling comes on Tuesday) and we finally got a visit from the Comcast guy, so now we're back online with the rest of the world. I walked about a mile around the neighborhood looking for a mailbox and finally got our Christmas cards sent out (if you don't get one in the next few days and attended our wedding, let me know, as I don't have your most current mailing address...)

The rest of the weekend will consist of working for my parents and continuing to unpack so that we're ready to host the first ever Christmas Eve party attended by both of our families :-)

P.S. I applaud you if you actually made it all the way through this post! Now that we've finally purchased our first home, I'll be writing a lot about cooking, DIY renovations, and just life in general. I'm also hoping to start using my camera to it's full potential and start documenting photographically, so be looking forward to that next week!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

U-Haul or We-Haul?

The biggest debate that we've been having around the apartment as of lately is how exactly are we going to actually move all of our stuff? We are fortunate enough that my parents own a Ford Excursion that will help us move our boxes and smaller items, but we were trying to figure out if it would still be beneficial to us to rent a moving truck for Tuesday. Technically, 90% of the large items in our apartment were brought here in the Excursion, so theoretically, we should be able to move everything the 12.1 miles it takes to get to the new house. That being said, to actually be able to move all of the large furniture pieces would take trip after trip, and since we live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the weather can take a turn for the worse with little or no warning. So do we really want to get stuck taking multiple trips in the middle of a blizzard (even though the forecast is calling for cold, but partly sunny weather that day)? Probably not. After comparing the costs and reviews of trailers vs. trucks, u-haul vs. budget, we've decided to rent ourselves a 16' moving truck from Budget Rental (they seemed to have the best reviews/deals compared to their competition). As long as everything is going according to plan, all of our boxes will be moved in after we're done scrubbing and disinfecting every surface imaginable in the house. The next morning we'll pick up our truck at 9am, and with the help of some muscle, we'll attempt to get everything else we were unable to load the day before to the house in one load.

After this week, my posts will be a bit sparse for awhile (we'll be canceling the Qwest internet we currently have and then once we're settled in, well be giving Comcast a go), but once we get the internet up and running again, I'll be able to update y'all on decorating progress I'll be making over the holidays, and how hosting our first Christmas in our new home goes!

For the next 5 days, please keep you fingers crossed for Monday to be a smooth and successful closing day! L and I definitely appreciate it :-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I 'm starting to realize how the number of major changes that I've been through has been relatively few. This move into the new house will probably only be my 3rd or 4th major change in my life, and as I sit on the couch in my living room, I'm seeing that leaving this crappy apartment might take more of a psychological toll on me than I had originally thought. Every year, Luke and I discussed moving to a new apartment, but then when June would come around, we'd sign the intention to stay- not wanting the uncertainty of whether or not we could find a place to live by the time our lease was up, if the new place would accept our zoo without charging us an arm and a leg (our current apartment manager could care less about how many animals we have, and doesn't charge us a pet rent), etc. We figured that the only way that we could really move on from this place was if we bought a house where we can do whatever we want and now that part is coming true. There have been a lot of really great memories here (our first home together as a boy/girlfriend couple, engaged couple, and married couple, introducing M and B here, finding Darla the guinea pig, graduating from college, L getting his first grownup job, me getting into grad school for teaching, plus many many more), and it will be sad to leave them. The prospect of not having to hear strangers walking above my bed, or their shitty, loud, bassy music that they play at all hours without considering who might be sleeping keeps me packing! Thinking forward to all of the new memories we'll make in the new house makes me happy, so I know that moving is the right thing for us.

That being said, we've only got FIVE more days until we get the keys to our cute little bungalow! Only five more days until we are no longer residents of Hennepin County (a first for the both of us)! Only five more days until we can keep or cars parked in a garage! Only five more days until we have our own deck! Only five more days until we have 2 bathrooms! Only five more days until we pack up all of the stuff we've accumulated over the last 3 1/2 years into a truck and start our lives in a new city. Only five more days :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Getting there!

A s of right now, L and I are 14 days away from owning our first house! That's right, after viewing dozens of houses, writing up 3 purchase offers (one of which was a short sale going nowhere, and the other sellers bailed out on the sale), we are going to be closing on our home on December 14th.

Everything has been going very well with the negotiation side of the process and it looks like we've come to a final agreement on the price, closing costs (which the seller is going to pay), and he has agreed to complete the electrical repairs that we asked to be done, along with handing over a certified check for $500 to complete the other repairs that will need to be done in the spring! Today was spent gathering L's pay stubs, account summaries, and signing document after document before going over to D's to have him help us scan and send to our mortgage broker. Basically, all we need to do now is wait for our financing to go through and then we'll be all set to close!

I've also become much more excited about the upcoming holidays, as it looks like we might even be hosting Christmas Eve in our new home!

Everything is moving so quickly- so many boxes to pack and so little time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Inspector Gadget

Land I are still in the negotiation process with this new house, but we've been able to agree on one offer so far, but that is pending the inspection and whether or not there is more work that needs to be done on the house resulting in us asking the seller to either fix it or take it off the purchase price. Inspector M was great today and we still feel comfortable moving forward with attempting to purchase this house. This is the furthest we've gotten in the house buying process, and we've got a pretty good feeling about this one. We're meeting again with D tomorrow morning to write an addendum, but we most likely won't have any new information until after Thanksgiving. So, until then, have a happy and safe holiday, eat too much food, and check back next week for a (hopefully) positive update!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


...that the third time's a charm! We definitely didn't think that we would find another house so quickly, but after looking at 3 houses yesterday afternoon, we walked away knowing that we wanted to put in an offer on the second house we saw and didn't even need schedule another viewing.

Time line went something like this: 10am- D asks if we would like to see houses that afternoon, we say yes. 12:30pm- see first house, disregard it at once. 1pm- see second house, talk about wanting to put in an offer right away, but should see other house just to make sure. 1:30pm- see third house, reconfirms that we really liked second house, decided to put in offer on second house. 6:45pm- arrive at D's house, 8:30pm- purchase offer sent to listing agent.

L and I are taking the uber-cautious approach and aren't going to disclose many details about it or get to hyped up about the house until we finish the negotiations, etc. So, in the meantime, keep your fingers crossed that this all works out for us!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back to Square One

F uck.

After some back and forth negotiating on The Cottage house, the sellers have decided to cancel their listing.

What is wrong with people?? Why can't they figure out how much they can actually afford to sell their house for before listing it, and before negotiating with a potential buyer? They've wasted a week and a half of our time- time that could have been spent looking at other houses and not getting our hopes up.

This feels worse than the let down we got with the LYH. We actually truly believed that we would be moving into this house before Christmas, but instead we'll be putting up a little tree in our shithole apartment for the 4th year in a row.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Purchase Offer #2

A s promised, here's an update from today's house hunting Monday:

While we were looking forward to checking off a few more potential houses on our "must see" list, neither of the listing agents got back to D, so we just went to go see The Cottage this afternoon. I had been a bit worried that I wasn't going to like the house as much as I did 2 weeks ago, but after walking into the living room and and strolling around the rest of the house, I knew that this was still the house. D had us go through without him following so that we could be sure that this was the house for us, so L and I had a good chance to talk through the house without worrying about out opinions being swayed one way or another by someone other than us. The house has to be what WE want, not what other people want, so this was a good move on D's behalf.

After we walked through, we decided that we wanted to put in an offer tonight, so we walked through one more time with D and looked closely for things that would need to be fixed and to make sure the water pressure was good and that the gas stove worked. The stucco is in really good shape and the only major fix that needs to be done is that the roof on the garage needs to be fixed, as the shingles are at the end of their life (which we can use to our advantage for negotiation purposes). We left D that afternoon only to meet up with him again after a quick dinner at 7:30 and after signature upon signature we were finally done and the purchase agreement is ready to be sent in tomorrow morning (which is contingent upon the cancellation of the prior purchase agreement we sent in 2 months ago for the LYH). Since we will be dealing with real people instead of a crappy bank, we're hoping that we'll hear something before the end of the week and that our first house will be closer than ever.

Again, keep your fingers crossed for us! We could use all the luck we can get right now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reason #234343908471...

...for wanting a house:

I can't stand apartment living anymore. I've spent the last 5 years sharing walls with strangers who don't seem to realize that there is someone living on the other side of the plaster and paint and drywall. Despite everything that goes into building a wall or a ceiling/floor, the ones here are very thin and our neighbors also don't seem to realize that as they play their music or video games past 11 at night. I wish that I could go back in time 3 years and tell my past-self to make sure to rent the apartment on the top floor, not the one on the 2nd where I've got neighbors above, below, and to the side of me. Right now I am supposed to be sleeping (fortunately L was able to fall asleep before the neighbors got home), and have a potentially difficult sub job ahead of me in the morning, but it looks like I'll be running on fumes and coffee to make it through the day.


Keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes well on Monday, and that we only have a couple more months of apartment life left.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Moving On

Here's a quick update on where we're at with the house hunt:

Last week, we went out with D and were only able to actually look at one house. Luckily for us, this house (which I will from now on call The Cottage) has nearly everything we're looking for in a house! There is a lot more living space with a half story upper level, 2 bedrooms on the main floor, and a finished basement and it has 3 bathrooms instead of just the 1 compared to the LYH, PLUS it's not a short sale (yay!). We were almost considering putting an offer in on it that night, but decided that the smart thing to do would be to sleep on it and at least look at a few more houses the next week. All through out the week, all L and I could do was talk about what we could do with the house and what we like about it compared to the LYH that we are starting to give up on. The LYH has definitely lost it's charm to us ever since we found out that it would be a ridiculous amount of time until we hear anything about it.

Today we went out again with D and were able to take a look at 3 more houses that we were fortunately able to cross off our list of possibilities (it makes the hunting process SO much easier!). One house had the residents there while we were looking due to some miscommunication on their listing agent's behalf, so it was awkward having the lady following us the whole time and not really giving us a chance to look on our own. Needless to say, we will not be putting an offer on that house. The other two houses we saw were okay, but they didn't top The Cottage, so it looks like we'll be meeting with D again to go see 2 more houses and then see The Cottage one more time and then we'll decide if we want to put an offer on it that night!

Wish us luck...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Farewell to my Fursister 8.12.1996-10.22.2009

My fursister, Moose passed away this morning at 1:02 am in the company of my dad at the ripe old age of 13 years, 2 months, and 10 days old.

I went home to do laundry at about 12 today, and Moose greeted me at the door as usual. She hobbled outside several times and ate her lunch and scarfed down a treat afterward. Just before 6pm, after running a few errands with my mom, and finishing my laundry I was getting ready to leave as I noticed Moose trying to get up the bottom 2 stairs to settle herself down on the landing. She was having a really hard time getting up those stairs. I lifted her up onto the landing and put a blanket on her (over the last year, Moose had gotten very thin and got cold easily). She seemed tired, so I sat with her for awhile. As I stayed near her, I could hear almost a thumping sound that was occurring as she was breathing. She also couldn't seem to get comfortable. I continued to pet her, and I tried to give her another treat, which she proceeded to spit out. That's when I knew that she wasn't her old self. She NEVER would spit out anything food related unless it was an unpeeled grape or a pretzel. After staying a bit longer, I had to go home, but not much later I got a call from my mom saying that she and my dad didn't think that she was going to last through the night.

I spent the next 6 hours periodically bursting into tears over the thought of loosing Moose. In my household, we were brought up with the mentality that Moose was our sister. She did everything and went everywhere with us. She always just wanted to be one of the girls and be where the people were. Loosing her is like loosing a sister. She always made sure that she showed us how much she loved us (Even after that one time up at our old cabin when I accidentally slammed her tail in the door- yet afterward she still came up to me, with her bloody tail wagging and licked my face).

My dad called me just after she passed on. I hadn't been able to sleep all night, so when I heard my phone go off, I knew what had happened. He was face to face with her when she went, so she wasn't alone. Getting that call from my dad was one of the most heartbreaking things that has ever happened to me. I'm pretty sure the last time I heard my dad cry or get choked up was when his mother died about 13 years ago, so to hear his voice cracking on the phone made it even harder for me to hold it together. L has been amazing this evening. Even though he has to be up for work in just a matter of hours, he woke up with me and comforted me until I was ready to make some phone calls.

Over the last couple of years, we've all felt like Moose was living on borrowed time. We were all hoping that she would choose to leave us on her own without us having to make the decision of whether or not we needed to bring her to the vet, and in the comfort of the only home she's ever known. While her joints were often stiff, her eyesight was going, she was partially deaf, and her hips were starting to get sore, she always had a healthy appetite and was still able to somehow steal bags of bread and treats off the table. Going home for dinner is going to be difficult- the first time at my parents house without Moose is going to have a dreadfully empty feeling to it.

I found a poem by an unknown author that made me feel a little bit better about the situation (though just burst into a new batch of tears rereading this):

When tomorrow starts without me,
And I'm not there to see;
The sun will rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
Remembering how I'd lay my head
In your lap that special way.
I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too.

But when tomorrow starts without me.
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name
And petted me with her hand.
She said my place was ready,
In Heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.

But, as I turned to heel away,
A tear fell from my eye,
For all my life I never thought
That I would have to die.
I had so much to live for,
So many sits and downs to do,
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.

I thought about our lives together,
I know you must be sad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.

Remember how I'd nudge your hand,
And poke you with my nose?
The frisbee I would gladly chase,
The bad guy, I'd "bark and hold".

If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for awhile,
I'd wag my tail and kiss you,
Just so I could see you smile.

But, then I fully realized,
That this could never be;
For emptiness and memories
Will take the place of me.
And when I thought of treats and toys,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you and when I did,
My dog-heart filled with sorrow.

But then I walked through Heaven's gate,
And felt so much at home;
As God looked down and smiled at me,
From His beautiful golden throne.
He said, "This is eternity,
And now we welcome you,
Today your life on earth is past,
But here it starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last;
For you see, each days's the same day,
There's no longing for the past.
Now you have been so faithful,
So trusting, loyal and true;
Though there were times you did things,
You knew you shouldn't do.

But good dogs are forgiven,
And now at last you're free;
So won't you sit here by my side,
And wait right here with me?"
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart.
For every time you think of me,
I'm right there, in your heart.

If you've got any good Moose stories/memories, feel free to post them in the comments.

I love you, Moose. You'll never be forgotten.

Friday, October 16, 2009

How to fall out of love?

Here's the most recent email that we have received from the listing agent representing the LYH:

At this time they just let us know that they will not review the package until she misses her November payment. Thanks. Sorry for the inconvenience.

You'd think that they would give us more information than that (i.e., what does this mean?! Are we wasting our time waiting for the bank to respond?). We put in an offer on Sept. 1st and this is the first real information we've gotten so far. I know that it's not the listing agent's fault that US Bank sucks balls when it comes to timeliness and communication, but you'd think that they could give us some sort of time line and answers to our questions. Since we haven't gotten any really good answers, I took to asking a public forum on The Nest what they made of this response. Unfortunately, most of the people who responded didn't have high hopes for us getting the LYH. Here are some of their comments help you have a better understanding of what this 1 1/2 sentence email might mean:

I'm sorry to say it doesn't sound promising. I'd get back to house hunting. The Nov. payment won't be due for almost 3 weeks (and that's if it's due on the 1st), and may not be deemed late/missed until 10-15 days after that. That's a month before they'll even review your offer. Unless you're exceedingly patient, and this is the only house around that might do, I'd move on. No reason to pull the offer in case it pans out, but I wouldn't hold my breath or expect anything.

It sounds to me like they might be giving the owner another month to try to get current (or at least make a payment). Nobody wins by having the house fall into foreclosure. The bank wants payments on the larger amount (owed on the house), not a house that they'd have to sell for less, so if the owner makes a payment, they'll probably back burner the SS idea for the time being.

i think you might just have to wait a while, and then it might not even go through. are you in the situation where you can just wait and wait? if so, be patient and keep your hopes up!

if you have to leave your current place soon, i would say move on....

wishful thinking though!

In this case, it sounds like it is not truly a short sale. Or at least one that was signed off on by the bank before they put the house on the market.

When we were looking, we heard several times that a house was a SS but when we pressed the agents (both our and the seller's) for more detail, turns out a sale for less than the amount owed had not yet been approved by the bank, so once we made our offer, we would have needed the bank to sign off on taking less than the amount owed then they would review our offer.

There were others that specifically said in the listing notes "bank approved short sale." We looked at several of those but they just weren't for us.

Personally, we decided that SS were too much hassle for us so we passed on them from that point on.

It sounds like they're not looking over it until November.

We put an offer on a SS in May. We finally heard this week that the mortgage was a FHA loan, so if the seller forecloses, the bank still gets the money from the mortgage insurance. Which is why they've been dragging it out. We walked away even though we love the house (after waiting 5 months!).

In this case, it sounds like the seller doesn't have the resources to sell for less than she owes, but she has been able to make her mortgage payments on time. In the eyes of a bank, a person who makes their payments isn't experiencing hardship, which is one of the main requirements for getting approval for a short sale. What the listing agent is really saying, is that the seller will have to intentionally miss her November payment in order for the bank to even look at her application. Even then, it could be months before anyone knows if a short sale has been approved.

If it were me, I would keep looking.

At this time, we have told D that we want to continue looking for houses again and keep our offer on the LYH until a.) we get a solid response from the bank, or b.) fall in love with another house. House-Hunting Mondays is starting up again this week, and hopefully D has been able to find some decent ones along with the ones that L and I want to go check out. I feel like we need to start putting the LYH out of our minds more and more and start allowing ourselves to fall in love with another house. It's going to be hard, but we're going to have to keep that in mind as we look at more houses this week and not continuously compare the house we're looking at to the LYH.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hello, my name is Ms. L...

We're still waiting to hear back from the bank, though we did get a response from the listing agent telling us that it could be up to another 12 weeks to get any sort of answer. Apparently US Bank is not known for its speediness... While we've decided to continue to wait it out, it's frustrating because we were told 6-9 weeks initially. If there's one thing that I really dislike, it is when people underestimate things to make it seem better than it really is! Bah, oh well. If it's meant to be, then the outcome will be a good one in the near future :-)

On a completely non-house related note, my teaching license FINALLY went through and I've been starting to sub this week. I was able to get jobs for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and they were all at the school I student taught at last winter/spring for the English Department. I feel like that made my first few sub jobs much less scary than I thought they were going to be, especially since I know how that school works and I know the majority of the English department staff. When I went back on Wednesday, the teacher, whom I had subbed for on Wednesday told me that his students didn't believe him that it was my first day subbing, so that made me feel pretty good about my subbing skills! The English Dept. Leader has also put me on their preferred sub list which will go to all the high schools in the district, so hopefully that means that I'll start getting more jobs and maybe even get into the schools 5 days/week. Now, not only have I had the chance to sub in English classrooms, but I have also done emergency subbing for a French and an ASL class during the prep period (which means I get paid more!). So far, I'm really liking being a sub.

This weekend is B's birthday, so we're off to Oktober Fest at Gasthof's tonight and the final Twins game at the Metrodome tomorrow. Happy birthday B!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Parental Opinions Count

Well, on Monday we went out again with D after a 3 week break from house hunting. We had really been hoping to hear something from the banks during that time so that we wouldn't have to make the decision whether or not to start looking at houses again, but since there has been no work from the listing agent on our offer after D has been trying to call him for 3 days, L and I decided that we should start looking again while we wait on our LYH. We saw three houses that day and walked away thinking that we had possibly found one that would get us to revoke our offer on the LYH, but that we needed to see them back to back. D is very accommodating, so he was able to set up a second showing of the new house and what I believe was now our 4th showing of the LYH for last night, and we were able to bring 3/4ths of our parental units along with us for additional opinions.

Both houses are very nice, and we could see ourselves living in either one, there is just so much more that the LYH has to offer to us, and after looking at them again (and finally being able to make it into the LYH's garage) we all agreed that the LYH is still the one and that we should continue to have patience and wait to hear what the bank has to say on our offer. While there are a lot of things that we liked better in the new house (i.e., better basement, 2nd bathroom, deck off the back), overall the LYH has more of what we want in a house, and L and I can see ourselves living in it for at least the next 10 years. It was a pretty good feeling when D had each of us put a number behind out back (1= LYH, 2= New House) for which house we preferred and every single one of us had picked the LYH as his or her favorite!

D thinks that we have about a 70% chance of getting a positive response from both banks (the seller has two mortgages) after our initial offer, and he said that he'll continue to bug them as much as possible, because for as long as it takes for Short Sale homes to go through, half of the time it's just paper work that sits on someone's desk until they get around to looking at and completing it.

Until then, L and I will continue to stalk the MLS listings in search for something we might like better than the LYH, but are going to continue to wish, hope, pray, etc. for a positive answer from the banks pretty soon!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Still Waiting

We still haven't heard anything about our offer. D had told us that we would hopefully get some sort of information from the listing agent, but no luck so far. If we don't hear anything by tomorrow evening, L and I have decided to continue our house hunting early next week just in case our offer isn't accepted by the bank and we aren't left with any other options. Who knows, maybe we'll find an even better house in the weeks to come (provided that we haven't heard about our offer on the Little Yellow House- I think I may start to refer to it as the LYH), and we'll pull our original offer off the table? While we knew that we were going to have as much patience as we can muster during this process, it's hard not to be getting antsy after two weeks of nothing.

Keep sending good vibes our way as we try to find our home!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Now, I've always been one to read through a ridiculously large stack of books in a fairly short period of time, but over this last year of grad school and working towards my Masters in Education, I haven't had as much time to read my "for fun" books. My life was full of textbooks and rereading novels and short stories to make sure I knew exactly what I was talking about as I taught them to my 9th graders. Since finishing my student teaching in June, I have more than made up for my lack of fun books, and last night was no exception. While this blog is intended for me to be able to look back on our first year of marriage and keep our friends and family updated on our house search, etc., I realize that reading is such a huge part of what L and I do together that it wouldn't be fair to me not to blog about the books I finish. Hopefully I can find some way to keep track of the books I've read since June on the side of this blog, and then I'll write about the ones that I feel deserve some attention.

P.S. While my veins weren't ripped apart during my first time giving blood, I did come out with a nasty bruise all down my forearm. Even though it was uncomfortable, giving blood is something that I can continue doing and feel good about!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Big 2-3

I've finally caught up to L for the next month and a half, and am typing here at the ripe-old age of twenty-three. Glad to say that it doesn't feel much older than twenty-two, but then again, I've had nearly a year to get used to the idea of all of my friends being twenty-three that I'd basically convinced myself that I was the same age as everyone else.

Today, I was able to spend the morning sleeping in (same old, same old for the last couple weeks of near-unemployment), and then Z (my younger sister, who also happens to be a hobo-bum during the day until she starts up with Aveda in December, and is now conveniently living a whole five-minute drive away from L and me) and I went shopping at MOA, and while I went in with the full intention of spending too much money on a dress I won't wear often enough, I walked out with only spending $18 at Ragstock. I just couldn't justify spending the money while we're attempting to buy a house, even if it was my fun money. Maybe I was too overwhelmed today, and need to take a breath and try again tomorrow? I really want some canisters for the kitchen, so perhaps I'll go get some of those? I don't know; we'll see. When L got home, he gave me flowers, a loving card, and two DVDs that I had been wanting to add to my collection for awhile. Saturday, he's taking me out to a surprise restaurant for dinner before we meet up with friends at Gasthof's, and then at RenFest on Sunday, I get to pick something fun from there for my "real" present. Dinner with my parents at the Old Spaghetti Factory was as tasty as ever, and I enjoyed the numerous framed pictures from the wedding that my mom put together for me. She even started a scrapbook and made a photo slide show DVD with music with wedding pics.

Overall, the transition from twenty-two to twenty-three has been a smooth one, and I'm hoping the rest of this year goes as well as the last one!

Tomorrow, I'll be donating blood for the first time in my life with L and B... tune in next week to see if I made it out of the Memorial Blood Drive Center will all my veins intact!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Purchase Offer? Check!

Exciting news: We put in an offer on a house!

After Monday's excursion around East St. Paul, which included going from house to house, and finding ourselves in neighborhoods that we could never imagine letting our future children run around by themselves, we decided that the Hawthorne house is definitely the house for us. D took us to look at the Hawthorne first and then we proceeded to see about 6 more houses afterward, and still nothing compared to the feeling that we got in the cute yellow house. After sleeping on it overnight, and thousands of calories consumed at the Great MN get together, we decided to officially take the plunge and meet up with D to write up the purchase offer. We got there are about 7:30, and didn't leave until after 10pm (about 30 minutes of our time there included D's 6 and 3 year old sons showing us some of their favorite music videos and rocking out to them. According to D's wife, the 3 year old has got quite the crush on me!). In the end, we decided that we would offer $10,000 less than the asking price and for the seller to cover the closing costs. Since only L's name is going to be on the loan, I wasn't required to sign anything on the purchase offer, so I listened closely and made sure that L dotted his Is and crossed his Ts while signing his life away. One of the benefits of not having me on the loan is that if, for some reason, we ever had to foreclose on the house, my credit will still stay intact and we could walk away from it and still be able to buy a new house. Or if we were to ever get divorced, my name will still be on the deed and I would still get half- bwahaha.

Now that the offer has been put on the table, we just need to wait to hear back from the bank (the house is a short sale) to see if they accept. This whole process is going to require a lot of patience from us, and we need to be prepared that this might not work out in the end, but keep your fingers crossed for us!

While we are far from being homeowners, it felt really good to take this important step.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fatal Flaw

This whole house hunting thing has been a lot of ups and downs for L and me recently (though we are almost absolutely sure that we have found a house that we could see ourselves growing old in- provided that we build a second bathroom at some point down the road). D told us from the start that there were going to be times when we were going to love the process and other times when we'll just hate looking for houses and want to quit. We've been out three times and have fallen in love three times (each time stronger than the last). While driving around this past Monday, we saw some okay houses, ones that we could live in but would have to put some work into them to make them our own, and D warned us that we were probably still just going to be in love with the new #1 from out previous outing. Just after saying that, we found the house! Though, Luke and I were wary because each house we start to love has some sort of fatal flaw (i.e., Number 1 had a shared driveway with the neighbors, Number 2 was a short sale with fuses- making it hard, if not impossible to insure).

We made sure that this house wasn't a short sale, and then we made our way around the house. Even though it only has 1 bathroom, there is more than enough space to eventually put in a second one. The living room and dining room are airy with very high ceilings and the kitchen reminds me of the one my parents have. Everything about the house seemed just perfect for us, and D even mentioned that it was great seeing how our faces lit up as soon as we walked in the living room. This was the first house that I did my excited squeal in! We continue searching for that fatal flaw that seems to keep following us, and sure enough, as soon as we looked at the electrical wiring, we noted that it was fuses instead of a circuit breaker. Ugh! Not a big issue though because it wasn't a short sale, so we could negotiate with the seller that they had to replace it for insurance reasons. We took a second walk through and walked out feeling like we had never felt about a house before. For the next 12 hours, that house was all we could think about.

The next afternoon, we were scheduled to go take a second look at the house, but before we could even make it to the car, we received an email from D telling us to check our voicemail and call him back. So, L checks his phone and comes in to tell me the bad news: The house IS a short sale. The lister apologized for not updating the MLS listing, and D said that they would talk with the seller to see what they could do (if anything) about the fuses. So now we're back at ground zero- an unobtainable house that we are madly, head-over-heels, in love with.

Now, a week or so ago (when we were interested in the 1st shortsale house), L had called his insurance guy to find out if we could get insured with fuses, and he said that if it had 100 amp fuses, that he would be comfortable insuring the house. Unfortunately, we had no idea what the amps of the fuses were in this house... until now! I decided to take a few moments and see if there was any other supplemental documents that might point out, one way or the other, the amps of the fuses, and upon looking at the Truth in Housing document, I found that the fuses are 100 amps! Now all we probably need to do is double check that we can get a loan for this amount and then put an offer into the bank.

So long story short, it's definitely been a rollercoaster so far, but I feel like there is much better chance of us getting the house now!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Passing the time

We went house hunting today, but I'm going to write more about it tomorrow... :-) So instead, I'm going to post a survey-thingy about myself to pass the time:

1. What time did you get up this morning? 9:45 am

2. How do you like your steak? Medium

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Inglourious Basterds (everyone should see this!)

4. What is your favorite TV show? Hell's Kitchen

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would you? I love living in MN- I wouldn't want to leave my family and friends!

6. What did you have for breakfast? Coffee. I wasn't hungry this morning

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Italian

8. What foods do you dislike? Raw onions, pork

9. Favorite Place to Eat? currently, Chipotle

10. Favorite dressing? Creamy Basalmic

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? Ford Taurus

12. What are your favorite clothes? Jeans and a t-shirt

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Australia

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 full

15. Where would you want to retire? I would love to move to England or somewhere over in Europe

16. Favorite time of day? Evening

17. Where were you born? Minneapolis

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Hockey

19. Who do you think will not tag you back? Not doing this on FB, so this question doesn't count...

20. Person you expect to tag you back first? either does this one

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? or this one

22. Bird watcher? nope

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night

24. Do you have any pets? Lots of them: 8 degus, 2 Parakeets, 1 Rabbit, and 1 Guinea Pig

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? L & I are in the process of trying to find a house!

26. What did you want to be when you were little? a vet

27. What is your best childhood memory? the ones up at my old family cabin on Big Sandy

28. Are you a cat or dog person? I can never choose between the two!

29. Are you married? Yep! We got married on July 18th, 2009

30. Always wear your seat belt? Definitely

31. Been in a car accident? Nothing major

32. Any pet peeves? when people smack their gum. it's obnoxious!

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Black olives and mushrooms

34. Favorite Flower? I love stargazer lilies, but I'm on a rose kick right now

35. Favorite ice cream? Pavarotti from Sebastian Joes

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? I don't eat there often, but I really enjoy Sonic

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Never failed it

38. From whom did you get your last email? from D

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? target

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Not really

41. Like your job? Meh, I need a new one.

42. Broccoli? I like broccoli.

43. What was your favorite vacation? Definitely Aruba with L for our honemoon!

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? L, M, & B at Brasa in St. Paul

45. What are you listening to right now? some indie song

46. What is your favorite color? Red

47. How many tattoos do you have? just one of a turtle on my foot

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz? ugh, stop with the FB questions!

49. What time did you finish this quiz? 10:59pm

50. Coffee Drinker? Yep! And I am slowly turning L into one- bwahahaha!

So, now you know just a little bit more about me :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Meet Darla

A few weeks ago, L rescued a guinea pig from a cinder block right outside of our apartment. We had the full intentions of finding her a new home or bringing her to the humane society. After none of our neighbors claimed her, and none of our friends wanted to add to their own collections of pets, we started to grow a little attached to her. Well, now it looks like she's found her permanent home with us after dropping $100+ on her at the Vet on Monday morning. She hadn't been walking too well and favoring her hind legs over the previous week, and we found out that her back feet were completely swollen. The vet put her on two medications (can't remember what exactly they're called, but they are tutti frutti and peanut butter flavored!), and we've been administering them to her twice daily. Until her vet visit, we've just been calling her numerous nicknames (i.e., Gimpy, Piggy, Piggles, Pig Face, ect.), and now that we've made an investment in her well-being, we've given her the name Darla.

Home is where the short sales aren't?

It's amazing how quickly you can go from being head-over-heels in love with one house to falling for another. We had a successful second run with D and we are now trying to figure out how to make this new #1 our home. There are a lot of things that we like more about the new #1 than the old #1 (especially the lower price!), but unfortunately we found that the house is a short sale. I have a hard time explaining what exactly a short sale is (it's not a forclosure, but the bank has a big say in what offer the seller can accept- I think...), but we think that we might be able to at least try to do everything in our power to live there. We've gotten the okay from the loan people, and now we're waiting to hear if L's insurance guy would insure the house with fuses instead of a circuit breaker. If all goes well, then we'll more than likely start the process of trying to purchase the home. One of the crappy things about short sale homes is that it can take a long time for it to all go through. You can make it almost all the way to the end of the ordeal, only to have the bank decide that they don't actually like your offer. It can take 2-4 months (possibly even longer) before one can close on it, and the price the seller has listed hasn't even been approved by the bank yet. Ugh.

At first, I was really upset and felt let down (even though there was no reason for me to be feeling like that yet- it's just a house, right?), but now that we've talked about it more I'm feeling a lot better about it. So what if we don't close in time to get the $8,000? As long as prices stay low, that would just be an added bonus, not a necessity (and L's convinced that they'll probably extend the program). Also, if we wait a bit longer, or if we go for the house that will take a few more months than we had originally expected to take to get the house, we'll have more $$ saved up, and we won't be completely broke and will hopefully still be able to afford groceries each month! Lastly, if it gets sold to people other than us, we know that there are more houses out there, and we'll find something that will make us just as happy.

I think we'll be going on outing #3 with D on Monday, and knowing our trend, we'll probably have a new new #1 by that evening!

The hunt continues...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The First Month

We haven't had too hard of a time adjusting to the married life, especially since nothing has changed in our relationship over the course of the 3 years we've lived together (not including the dorms) except that we now share the same last name. The name change process was unexpectedly easy: First I only spent about 20 minutes in the Ridgedale Service Center (which included me stopping for coffee before getting my number) to get my drivers license updated, and then I was actually a bit disappointed that my wait time at the Social Security Office was only 10 minutes long because I had planned on getting a large chunk of Harry Potter 7 read during that time. Looking back, the whole process of becoming KL was a breeze and only once did anyone ever ask to see my ID. One other perk of becoming Mrs. L is that I am now the proud holder of my very own Target discount card! So exciting :-)

Now that L and I don't have a big wedding to be planning for, we needed to be pushing our existant energy into something else that isn't kids (We're planning to wait at least 5 years before expanding the family past the furkids). We have started the process of looking for a house, and I cannot wait to finally have my own walls, and to not have people living under, above, and to the side of me. We also are excited to have a Rodent Room, where we can feel better about having all of our pets in one place where we'll be more able to let them run around for a bit each day. At our apartment, we have heating vents that our little degus are able to get into, so it's not the safest to have them running around, even if they are supervised. I'm sure that Dwight the rabbit will be more than thrilled to have more than 3 rooms that he can hop around to! L's sister told us about a friend of theirs who has a diaper that they put on their rabbit... we might need to look into that! While he never pees outside of his litter boxes, he hasn't quite mastered the art of pooping in the box 100% of the time.

We are working with L's cousin, D, who is a Realtor and we've had the chance to go out looking once so far (we'll be going out again on Monday), and had a successful first run. Unfortunately, we've kind of fallen in love with the first house we looked at, and we need to keep our emotions in check until we've at least seen a couple more handfuls of houses. The hunting part is hard since we aren't very familiar with the East St. Paul/East Metro area, so we've been having to guess at what areas are better than others. Hopefully D will be able to guide us a bit more in the right direction by taking us to some houses that we wouldn't have initially picked ourselves! Though, if over then next few weeks, we don't really find anything that we like as much as that first house, we might consider starting the process of making that house ours! It's just East of Lake Phalen, which would put us at about a 5 minute drive away from B and M's new house, and it's right near the BCA, so if any one is ever there to get fingerprinted or have a background check run on you, you'd totally be able to come hang out :-) I'll keep this updated as we continue to search for our first home!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


We just got back from nearly 8 hours of traveling home from Aruba late last night (though that felt like nothing compared to the 14 hour journey we took to get there from Minnesota last week...). Over the last week, L and I have had a better chance to talk about our future together, the kids we will eventually have, the house we want to buy, etc., and probably only spent a total of 5 hours apart from each other (stupid Delta Airlines!). Though we have had this major change in our relationship title, there really won't be much that will change in our relationship. We've already lived with each other for over 3 years , and know that we can stand living with each other and will deal with the strange quirks we both have. Neither one of us will be jumping ship anytime soon (L had his chance while we were on the Atlantis VI in Aruba. Plus it's too expensive!), and we'll hopefully be able to keep people updated through photo albums, and journal entries on this site about our lives as newlyweds!