Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thanksgiving/My 23rd Birthday

I realize that this is about 3 weeks late, but we have had SO much going on that I haven't had the time or energy to sit down and write about it. (Post about what exactly has been going on to come soon)

My birthday was Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving. The day itself was pretty low key which was ok with me. Dan worked in the morning and had an eye dr. appt. after work. He got home around 1:30 in the afternoon, and we went to Souper Salad for lunch. Then, I remembered that I'd been wanting to go to Buy Buy Baby for a few weeks, but have never gone because it's so far out of the way from everything else over by Chandler Mall. But on my birthday, we were going to be going to dinner with my dad and step mom, who live in Chandler not too far from the mall. So I decided to take advantage of being in the area, and we went check out Buy Buy Baby. Dan didn't really want to go looking at baby stuff (not that he doesn't care, but he kinda doesn't lol, and just likes me to pick out whatever stuff I want), but since it was my birthday, he tagged along with me and took a pit stop in the glider section.

We went to Tia Rosas in Gilbert (our new favorite...we think we even like it better than the Mesa location) with my dad, step mom and my brother. We had an enjoyable dinner together and then returned to my dad's house to open a couple of gifts. Generally I get mostly cash for my birthday because everyone knows I am a crazy woman who does 3 am Black Friday shopping. This year was very much the same. I got 1 or 2 things, and the rest was cash.

Thanksgiving was the next day. It is usually a somewhat stressful holiday for us every year because we have so many places to go throughout the day and family we don't want to leave out. But this year wasn't too bad in the end.

We always start Thanksgiving at my mom's. We eat there usually around 11 or so when my grandparents get there with the food and everything. The other thing about Thanksgiving at my mom's, is that it's also a birthday celebration. My birthday is on the 24th, my younger brother's birthday is the 29th, and my grandma's is the 30th. So we always have an ice cream cake and open all of our gifts together on Thanksgiving. For this reason, we generally spend a little more time at my mom's.

We then make our way to Dan's family celebration which is always held at his grandparents in Mesa. All of his aunts, uncles and cousins gather together for football in the front yard, board games, and other fun activities.

After a few hours with Dan's family, it's on to my dad's for our 3rd Thanksgiving dinner. (Thankfully Dan's family has a buffet style meal so we can just eat what we want and can handle) Thanksgiving at my dad's wouldn't be complete without Thanksgiving Trivia, and sitting to look through the Black Friday ads after dinner. This year, I looked through the ads myself for a little while, but we were able to have many good laughs during trivia. Can't wait for Christmas Trivia!

We returned home around 11:20 that night, and waited a few minutes before heading to our local Wal Mart to pick up a few Black Friday doorbuster deals at midnight. Dan had never experienced Black Friday of any kind before, and didn't really want to go, but he didn't want me to go by myself that late to Wal Mart. I think by the time we left Wal Mart (around 12:45 am), he was glad he went to experience it. You can read about his experience here

Overall it was a successful Thanksgiving shared with our families, and it was fun to catch up with everyone. Round 2 of the holidays comes next week...Christmas!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We Got the House!!!

After a week of waiting (which we were told would be 1-2 days, go figure), dealing with agents that are not the easiest to work with, and battling 2 other offers along the way, our offer was finally accepted on the home we loved most!

Dan and I have been looking for houses for over a year. Trying to see what was out there, get a feel for different areas and neighborhoods, etc. to try to figure out where we were supposed to be. Where it was that we were supposed to raise our family.

Our original plan was to purchase a home right away as we moved from Tucson back to the valley. But when the stars didn't quite align for that to be able to happen, we found the rental we've been living in for the past 5 months. All in all, I think it was better that way because we didn't pay rent in Tucson at all, so this was a good chance for us to get used to paying all bills, including rent.

Even back in May when we first starting looking at becoming pre-qualified, we talked to a few different lenders who all said pretty much the same things. We knew what we needed to do if we wanted to buy a house, and so we started working towards it.

When Dan was offered the job he has now at the bank, he said that he didn't know why, but he really felt like there was a reason he needed to work there. As things have unfolded, his bank has been absolutely crucial in helping us get to the point we needed to be in order to get pre-qualified. Not to mention the fact that because they're so small, and they all know Dan from working in the same branch with him, it has been such a smooth and easy process almost the whole way through. I still think there is more to why he works where he does, but I also believe this was one reason.

Dan has also said the whole time, since probably a year ago, that he really felt like once we were prequalified and seriously looking at houses, we would find one and then BAM it would be ours and we'd be closing all very quickly. He said that all these months of looking and working toward it would end very quickly when we did finally find "The House".

And so it has, so far...

We were pre-qualified 2 weeks ago tomorrow. We went the very next day (Saturday) to drive by some houses we'd found online and do our usual peeping tom routine, looking through the windows and backyard, etc. It just so happened that one of the houses we were going to look at was having an open house. So we went in, looked around, didn't really love it but we were ok with that. While we were there, the realtor who was running the open house started talking to us about some other homes in the neighborhood (which we were also going to look at) and said that he could take us through them too. So we did. We walked through probably 6 or 7 houses that day, and came home knowing 100% that we were not going to play the short sale game. There was no way we could risk waiting for 4-6 months to hear anything when there are plenty of bank owned homes out there now.

The next day (Sunday), we met up with this realtor again to look at a few more houses. We ruled a handful of them out. But last on the list were 2 homes in Castlegate, a neighborhood that we had previously completely ruled out. We drove through this neighborhood almost a year ago for the first and only time, and agreed we didn't feel quite right about it. Something felt weird about that subdivision. So ever since then, we've just ignored any and all homes that have come up in there. But Saturday night, we drove through just for fun, and had a totally different feeling about it. This time, it felt the most right. It felt the most like us of all the neighborhoods we'd looked at.

So Sunday we decided to walk through a couple houses in Castlegate that looked like beautiful, nice homes. Sure enough, we loved them! I originally liked one more than the other, simply because it was huge! It needed some work (new carpet, paint, some patching of a few small holes, a new door jam, etc.) but it was 3000 sq. ft. for $110,000! How could I pass that up?! Well, I could once we found out there were a bunch of other offers on it that we just waiting to hear back from the bank. Dan and I agreed that we didn't love it enough to fight for it, plus it did need some decent work.

The other home we looked at in Castlegate was Dan's favorite from the first time he walked in. It is just over 2000 sq. ft. and the asking price was just under $100,000. This home literally looks brand new. It would not surprise me at all if no one has ever lived there. It was built in 2007. The carpet is brand new, the paint looks brand new. There are no scuffs on the tile or walls or anything. The kitchen appliances are new. The backyard is a good size, and it also has a pretty large front yard. I think that was part of what made Dan love it so much, a big yard has always been at the top of his priority list and plus, who wouldn't love a brand new house? One that won't require anything to move in except a couple of ceiling fans for the bedrooms. (Whoever owned it took them before they turned it over to the bank) It is a 4 bedroom 2 bathroom home that is 2014 sq. ft and just east of Ironwood and Ocotillo. This will make Dan's commute to work about 10 minutes shorter (only about 20 minutes instead of 30), and put us closer to everything and everyone than we are out across from Johnson Ranch.

We decided that we love the Castlegate subdivision and felt that is where we needed to be. We went through the home once more a couple days later, and submitted our offer last Wednesday 10/27. We were expecting an answer by Friday, as the banks generally move pretty quickly. Then we learned of the sluggishness of the selling agent. She moves at her own pace, and doesn't care how long anyone waits. We didn't hear anything more until Monday of this week, when we found out there were multiple offers on the house. Apparently since we put in our offer on Wednesday, there were other people who submitted offers also. We had until the end of the day to submit our best and final offer. We sent in our best offer that we were comfortable with and willing to pay and still have a chance at getting the house. We expected an answer either that night or the next day, but of course, it never came. So we just waited...

We found out yesterday that the woman from Fannie Mae who makes decisions on the homes was out sick...she was expected back either today or tomorrow...
We weren't expecting an answer until Monday with the rate everything had been going.

Then my phone rang at 8 am this morning. It was our realtor with "good news"!

The bank accepted our offer out of the 3 that were submitted! The house is ours! (Well, as much as it can be until we're holding the keys in our hand) We have a closing date of December 16th, or hopefully a little bit sooner, depending on how quickly our loan is processed at Dan's work.

My goal was to be moved before Christmas, so we can set up our Christmas decorations (even if it is a little late) at our new house! Sure enough, if everything goes according to plan (which I'm not holding my breath...this is the home buying process...) we'll be able to do just that! Also, our lease here is up on Dec. 31, so it'll be perfect timing for us to clean up this rental and move out without having to rush or pay another month's rent. The timing couldn't be more perfect, and we couldn't be happier!!

Here's a picture of the front of our new home!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baby Sale!

Last week on my way home, I stopped at Target to pick up shampoo, a shower liner, and a few other basic necessities. Well, each time I go to virtually any store, I can't leave without glancing through the baby section.

So I meandered through the aisles of baby gear and accessories and caught a glimpse of what looked like a sale tag underneath the display of the crib I'd been wanting. I stopped to take a closer look and saw that not only was the crib $20 off, but you got a free mattress when you bought the crib!

I realized what a great deal this was, but didn't give it too much thought because I didn't know that we had an extra $250 to spend that night. Not to mention the reason why I'd been holding off on buying the crib up until now, because if/when we move in a couple of months, I didn't want to have to move it. I went on to work, but I just couldn't forget about it.

I came home and told Dan about the sale. He agreed that it was a great deal, but asked where we would get the money from. After figuring out a way to make it work, we headed out to Target to take a look. By the end of the night, we came home with this...
and this...
Also as part of this big baby sale Target was having, they had a smokin' deal on the swing and bouncer that I wanted. The swing was $7 off (not that much I know, but just wait), and then you got the $50 bouncer for free when you bought the swing!! I couldn't believe it. I called my mom, and she almost couldn't believe the deal either. She told me to call my grandma and let her know, because she knew my grandma would want to get something bigger like that for my shower and she is always ones for big bargains.

So I did, as soon as I got home from work (before we left to get the crib), I emailed my grandma and told her about the swing deal. Being that this was all happening Thursday night, and the sale was only good through Saturday, I needed to get on it quickly.

My sweet grandma emailed me back the next morning and said she would go to her Target in Surprise, AZ that afternoon to check it out. Friday night, while I was at work, I received a call from my grandma saying that her Target was out of the bouncer and asking if I could check at my Target and get it if they had it. So I did.

I went at 9:30 on Friday night and picked up both the swing and the bouncer for $135!
What a deal huh?

Friday, October 22, 2010

We're having a...

I know this is a little late in being posted, but for those of you who have not already heard...

We're having a baby BOY!

We went in for the ultrasound last Thursday (the 14th) and he looked so wonderful! It was so exciting to see a baby inside instead of just a small gummy-bear like shadow. He is growing very well and was even a few days above average in his weight. The tech said everything looked great, the only thing she wasn't able to see was his feet because he had them jammed into my cervix the whole time. His little legs look so long and crammed in there already! From this ultrasound at 18 weeks, it looks like he's going to take after his dad in height, but we'll see.

The tech looked at all of the organs and everything like usual, and then told us to just tell her what else we wanted to see. When we asked if she could tell if it was a boy or a girl, she went right to it, and pointed it out to us. Dan squeezed my arm and was so excited to hear he was going to have a little boy. I had a feeling since the beginning that it was a boy, but never had anything more than that to go on. Turns out, my gut feeling was right!

Probably the neatest part of the entire appointment was at the end, just as she was getting ready to turn the machine off, she was holding it still over his little face so we could see him. He had been squirming around so much during the entire ultrasound, but had finally settled down right at the end. Then, just before she turned it off, he looked at us and smiled, then yawned a HUGE yawn. She was able to take a picture of his little smile real quick, so I have it in a little frame next to my bed.

This ultrasound made it so much more real, and made us so much more excited. We were already overjoyed to begin with, but seeing our little boy in there, and having him look at us was an unbelievable experience. We can't wait for him to get here!

(If you tilt your head to the left, or counterclockwise, you'll be able to see his nose and mouth, and his hand over his eyes)

(Side profile)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Baby Update

I had my monthly OB appt. last week. I obviously had one last month too, but it was pretty uneventful so I didn't really have anything to post about it.

This time, I was finally able to hear my baby's heartbeat again. That sound is honestly music to my ears; I don't know if I can think of a better thing to hear right now. The first and only time I had heard the heartbeat before this was when we had the first ultrasound done, and at that time it was at 175 bpm at 7 1/2 weeks. Last week, at 15 1/2 weeks it was down to 136 bpm. It was so neat to hear and kinda cool to hear how much slower it was this time. All that means is that the baby is getting bigger and the heartbeat is slowing down to a child's rate instead of a tiny embryo's. They said the heartbeat was great and sounded good.

Other than that, the appointment was pretty uneventful. I knew that at my next appointment, we would be doing the ultrasound to find out if it's a boy or girl. According to our schedule of appts. that ultrasound should have been scheduled for the end of October. But, since I am very anxious to find out and we will be out of town for almost a week, and really just have a lot going on at the end of the month, I decided I would ask my Dr. if we could do it in 2 weeks instead of 4. Turns out she's going to be out of town and is getting married, etc. at the end of the month too, so it worked better for both of us to move it up a little. She said the ultrasound should be done between 18 & 20 weeks, and in 2 weeks I would be just a day or 2 shy of 18 weeks. (At my first appt. last month, she said they try to do it between 16 & 20 weeks, so I think I should be fine). She told me to just schedule the ultrasound for the end of the week so I will be just a day or 2 shy of 18 weeks and it should be all good. She also said if for some reason we can't see everything we need to, we'll just do another ultrasound after we all get back into town.

So, the moment Dan and I, and probably a lot of other have been waiting for is finally scheduled! We are having the ultrasound on Thursday October 14th at 10:10 am! Which yes is 1 week from today. I am so excited and can't wait to find out who it is that's growing inside. I'm so excited to see the little human inside of me that doesn't look like a peanut anymore like it did on the first ultrasound.

If you haven't already, and you'd like to, post your vote as to which you think it will be at the top right of the blog. Also, if you're interested, I have set up a baby website where I am uploading all of my baby bump pictures as well as many of the ultrasound pictures and post any new updates about the baby/pregnancy. The website is if you'd like to check it out.

Stay tuned next week for an update on if it's a little boy or a little girl that will be blessing our lives shortly!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Garage Sale Find!

This morning, for whatever reason, I woke up fairly well-rested with Dan at 7:15 am. He was getting ready to go to work for the morning, and I decided that I would go around to the hundreds of garage sales out here on Saturdays.

I didn't really have anything specific in mind that I was looking for. Of course, I knew any real cheap baby stuff would be good if it was in good shape. Otherwise, I was just going to see if I could find any hidden treasures.

I got out at one of the first sales I went to, and then the next probably 25 after that, I just drove by slowly and kept going when I didn't see anything of interest. I was starting to get a little disappointed at my lack of garage sale luck for the day, but I decided I would go through one more subdivision and then head back home.

Boy am I glad I did...

The first and only sale I ended up driving past had something I've been searching for months for. You may or may not remember the table we bought from Craigslist back in January. I posted about the refinishing we did to it shortly after getting it, as we were planning on it being our kitchen table after we moved out of Tucson. Up until now, we have been using it as our kitchen table, but have had an office chair and a folding chair as the chairs since it didn't come with any.

I've been searching Craigslist since January for a certain style and design of chairs that I wanted to go with it. I've found a few sets, but they have all been well over $100 for a set of 4. I also knew that if worse came to worse, I could either buy new chairs from the store for about $150 each, or just buy a new kitchen table and chairs set from Craigslist and use the table we refinished as a scrapbooking table or whatever. This has been my plan for the past few weeks, as now we have a baby coming and need to have an actual kitchen table with real chairs to sit in.

Until today...

I pulled up to this sale, and was immediately in disbelief. The exact style and design of chairs I've been wanting for our table were sitting out on the driveway for sale. 4 of them. In black, just like our table. I ran across the street and up the driveway to see they were priced at $10 each! $40 for the set of 4 chairs!!! I couldn't believe it. They were used, but still in good shape. Honestly they just need a little touch up and they'll be good as new. Even if they were a little used...they were the chairs I'd been wanting forever... 4 of them for $40...and we've been sitting on a folding chair (which hardly works at a counter height table) and an office chair for 3 months now.

I paid them all the cash I had ($20) and luckily the lady was super nice and said she'd hold the whole set for me since she knew I'd be coming back for them and that I could just bring the rest of the money then. I had to wait until Dan got home from work with the Trailblazer so we could go get them, but as soon as he did we ran right over. I was so excited.

They look SO good with our table, and I'm so excited that it actually looks like we have a kitchen table and chairs set instead of just random stuff all thrown together.

Here is a picture of the table with 3 chairs around it. (For now, with the placement of the table, that's all we can have. Eventually when we move, all 4 will be used :))

(I know it's a little dark, but don't worry. There will definitely be more pictures to come when I get a tablecloth and some halloween decorations put together on it :D)

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Favorite Thing About Sundays

Dan and I were called a few weeks ago to work in the older nursery. We were actually excited because we really do love being in nursery and love those kids. We were in the nursery before in Tucson for about 9 months and loved it. I mean come on, when 2/3 of your Sunday meetings include playing with toys, coloring, eating snacks and blowing bubbles, what is there not to love?

While I love those little ones in our class, and have a lot of fun with them each week, I do have to say that this is my favorite part of our Sunday meetings...

I absolutely love watching my husband play and interact with these children. He has such a sweet spirit about him that draws the kids to him and are they are so comfortable with him. Many of our screamers settle down within a minute or two after Dan holds them, talks to them and sits down to play with them. He has such a love for children and I have never met a kid, of any age, that has not been completely enthralled with him. Kids love him. They think he is so fun and are just drawn to him.

This has always been one of the things I have loved most about Dan. His love and knack for children has always been one of his most attractive qualities. The fact that he doesn't mind when he has kids climbing all over him, and has no problem sitting down, kicking his shoes off and playing whatever toys or books they're interested in at the time. He makes it so fun for them.

It makes me so excited to see how he will be with the baby coming. He is going to be such a wonderful dad. I have a feeling when it comes time for "play time", whether it's a boy or a girl, Daddy will be their first choice of play time buddies.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I received a promotion at work today.

I have been somewhat expecting it, because I knew they were going to be looking for at least 1 person to promote within the first month or so. My boss has asked my opinion on many things and has left me in charge of things many times when he has to leave for a while. I am the oldest employee in the store and the one with the most experience.

So, it wasn't a complete surprise; but I wasn't expecting it today.

I won't have too many more duties than what I already do, which is just about everything. Only now I will make more and will be given the responsibility of opening and possibly closing the store on my own from time to time.

I'm kind of excited. I have really enjoyed getting to know my boss and his wife. We have a pretty good friendship and it makes working so much more relaxed. This job really has been just what I was looking for. It's a great extra income for the extra things we like to buy occasionally. It will also be wonderful when it comes time to start buying baby stuff.

We went to Texas Roadhouse tonight for dinner to celebrate. Then to continue our family night, we went to Target to get me a body pillow for sleeping. Last night I was in so much pain with my lower back, I could hardly move. Hopefully the body pillow helps.

It made for an exciting evening and a gave us a reason to celebrate.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I went to Superstition Springs Mall today (for probably the first time in 2 or 3 it's changed a lot since I worked there in high school). I went to pick up a few things at Clinique that I've been out of for a while since they were having a bonus! (Spend $21.50 or more and get $60 worth of stuff free!) I love Clinique bonuses!

Dan came and met me for lunch in the food court. But after he left, I walked over to JCPenny to look at some baby stuff. Since I never get to the mall, I wanted to take the opportunity to look at some of these stores in person instead of just seeing everything online.

I browsed through some sale racks, and saw a ton of cute stuff of course. But since we haven't found out whether we're having a boy or a girl yet, it makes it kinda hard to buy clothes...

I looked around a little more on the other side of the baby section, just mainly getting ideas of all the cute stuff I'll want to buy as soon as I do know what we're having! the back corner, on a small clearance rack, I found these 2 things!
They were both things that I thought could be worn by either a boy or a girl, which is pretty hard to find anyway. Plus, the prices on them was something I just couldn't pass up!

I have usually have mixed feelings about "Baby's 1st..." things because they will probably wear them once or twice, and that's it. But since this was a bib, I figured you can never have enough bibs, no matter what they say on them. And, even though this bib has an adorable bow on the side, I decided we'll either deal with it or cut it off if we end up having a boy.

The shorts were just adorable. And while they were probably meant to be boy shorts, I thought since they were khaki, and they didn't have anything particularly boy-ish on them, I could definitely put them on a girl with maybe a longer shirt and be ok.

Now for the deals...

The bib, was originally $9.00. I paid $1.97 for it!

The shorts, were originally $36.00. I paid $2.99 for them!!

Full price, I would have spent about $50 for these 2 things, and today...I spent $5.19!

I absolutely love finding deals like this, and usually just can't pass them up! This time was no different...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

I think everyone would agree that long weekends are never long enough, however they are still very enjoyable while they last. This weekend we were able to enjoy time together as well as with family while relaxing from the cares of the working world.

Friday night, we started with this guy in our closet right by my shoes...
Since it was in the groove, we didn't really have a good shot at killing it with a shoe or anything else for that matter without risking missing and it running to hide somewhere else in the closet. So...we decided to vacuum it up. Dan is good about killing virtually all bugs, but he hates spiders about as much as I do. But he got out the vacuum and sucked it right up. Good-bye Mr. Wolf Spider in our closet.

Saturday morning, we had a meeting with the 2nd counselor in the bishopric. We were called to work in the nursery again and also asked to speak in church next Sunday. We haven't given talks in church once since we've been married. I was trying to remember back to the last time I spoke in church, and I'm pretty sure it was when I was in high school. Our topic is Elder Nelson's talk from last conference entitled "Generations Linked with Love". I'm kind of excited that it's on genealogy because I have a deep love and appreciation for the family history efforts of the church, as well as the blessings that come to the family through the temple. We'll see how excited I am though when I'm sitting on the stand this Sunday...

After our meeting, we met up with Dan's family and took all of his siblings except his sister Lacey (who was camping for the weekend), plus a few more and headed to Safford to see the Gila Valley Temple. Dan's been wanting to go for months now and we just haven't ever had a good opportunity. But Saturday was free, and it was fun to go and spend time with his family. We had fun walking around the temple grounds and taking pictures. We were going to go to a park nearby that has a lot of hands-on space like stuff, but it was closed. It was a quick trip, but still very enjoyable.

Sunday, we had fun in the nursery and then came home for lunch and a nap before our evening of family visits. We spent the evening with my dad and family for dinner. It was an interesting night considering there has been some drama on that side of the family lately and we haven't seen or heard from some of them since. It was still nice to be able to catch up and visit.

Monday we spent an hour or so at my mom's visiting with my grandparents and having lunch. They always enjoy coming over to visit for the holidays and we hadn't seen them in a while. It's always fun to be able to catch up with them and for them to see how we're doing. We hadn't seen them since I've been pregnant, so I think that was fun for them too.

After lunch, we headed over to Chase Field for the Diamondbacks/Giants game. We got tickets free from our friends Benson and Sarah Garner, and enjoyed sitting next to the suites and having the fancy restaurants outside. Unfortunately, the D-Backs couldn't pull it off and lost 2-0 in 11 innings. It was still fun to go to a baseball game for free and spend some time together.

After the game, we went to Dan's parents' for a BBQ and some whiffleball (which I did not partake in). The boys always love to play whiffleball, especially on these summer holidays. We visited with the family and played a few games before returning home last night.

Overall it was a great weekend. We're excited for the upcoming holiday season, that always seems to be kicked off with Labor Day, and to spend it with family and friends. We were mentioning this weekend how much better this season will be now that we don't have to drive to and from Tucson for each holiday when we have to be back for work the next day.

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, and good luck on getting back to reality this week!

Friday, September 3, 2010

August in Review

I realized today that it has been almost exactly a month since that last time I updated. August sure was a busy month around here. Most of it has been work related, as Dan and I are both working 2 jobs at the moment.

We are still trying to catch up on all of our bills and the higher-than-expected costs we incurred during the move back in June. It was tough right when we moved because Dan was still working for the company he did in Tucson. Which was fine, at least it was a job, however it was a 75 minute drive one way over to west Phoenix, costing about $15 in gas per day, and he was not given the "cost of living" raise he was expecting since it costs more to live here than in Tucson. So, not only was he not making anymore, but he was spending about 20-25% of his paycheck on gas. This was not conducive to our catching up.

Dan started a new job at a small bank based out of ND that is located in east Gilbert. This cut his commute time from 75 min. down to 30 min. which is about average for just about everyone who lives out where we do. He loves his job and the people he works with. It is a very laid back environment, which took him a few weeks to get used to, but makes for a much happier Dan when he gets home. This has been key for me. So often at his old job he would come home beyond frustrated and at his wits end. Naturally, he would need to vent it off to someone, which I didn't mind until it became almost a daily occurance. I can't express how much better this new job has been. Not to mention the fact that he's making about $3 more an hour and there will hopefully be room for advancement eventually.

He also started a part time job with the Town of Queen Creek Parks and Rec during mid-July. He has been refereeing/site supervising 6 & 7 year old basketball for the past 6 weeks or so, and has thoroughly enjoyed it. It's good exercise for him, and it's an easy job working with kids, which he loves. He's looking forward to the fall league of adult co-ed softball that will be starting in the next week or two. He's even making more at this job than he was at the job in west Phoenix...It has been a nice supplement.

At the beginning of August, I was hired for a part-time position at a brand-new Baskin Robbins store that was opening in Queen Creek. The store was not yet open when I was hired, and we actually just opened about 2 weeks ago. It is just a small part-time thing that has been a good way for me to get out of the house and earn a little extra money for baby stuff/black Friday shopping/Christmas. It has definitely been hard for me to tell people that I work at Baskin Robbins, when I have 2 college degrees and am a Registered Dental Hygienist. I am the oldest employee at the store, and I am 98% sure I am in for a promotion/raise in the next few weeks. However, at the same time it is hard to fathom that all my hard work and dedication to school has gotten me to Baskin Robbins, making minimum wage.
Let me explain my thought process behind getting this job for those wondering, and partially to help remind myself also. Right after hygiene school, I waited for my license to come and then immediately began putting out resumes to just about every hygienist position I could find. I submitted probably 10-15 resumes within a week or 2 and had 1 office call for an interview. I went to the interview, but was not so hyped on the office or it's practices. They never called back. I wasn't too sad about it...The day after that interview, I found out I was pregnant. I immediately knew that any small chance I had in finding a job as a hygienist would be pretty much out the door as soon as they found out I was going to need 6 months of maternity leave in less than a year. The office manager of the office I interviewed at said she had over 150 resumes that came in for the hygiene position. People who were willing to move from out of state for the job. Somehow I made it to the top 3 who got interviews, but I knew that if that was the case in her office, there was a very good chance that's how it was everywhere. She said her temp agency contact told her she has hundreds of hygienists call everyday looking for work. Then, when I was pregnant, I knew I needed to and felt good about just giving up on the search for a job as a hygienist right now. Not only would an office not want to hire me when I was pregnant, but I didn't know that I wanted to start a new job in a new office when I would only be working there 6 months at the most before going on leave. As much as the salary of a hygienist would be SO incredibly helpful right now, and as worried as I am that I will lose the skills that I worked for 2 long years to build, I felt good about that choice.
But I knew I needed something. I knew I couldn't just sit around the house all day, everyday for the next 9 months waiting for the baby to come. That's when I found the job at BR. It was just what I wanted. Easy, fun, close, flexible, and somewhere that I wouldn't feel bad leaving in 8 months or so if I needed to. So yes, I am making minimum wage, working with mainly high school students in their "entry level" job, but it's enough of a supplement for our needs and frankly is exactly the type of position I needed. I will soon be promoted to a shift leader, which will come with a pay increase as well as more of a managerial role than just a general employee who does dishes and scoops ice cream all day. It's tough. It's tough to tell people, and it's tough to hear our customers say "oh yeah, I worked at a Baskin Robbins years ago when I was in high school". But I just have to remember why I'm there and what I want out of it.

I also was hired by a company called Rise Services, which is a company my mom works with to get respite and habilitation services for my 9 year old Down Syndrome sister, Annie. Now that we live back in town, and hopefully by the end of the year will be moving even closer, I wanted to become qualified and certified to provide these services for Annie. For the past 9 years, my mom has taken Annie to other people's homes where they have provided respite (essentially babysat her) for a few hours a day. It was a great arrangement, until a few years ago when the girl my mom had been taking Annie to for years got married and didn't want to do it anymore. Since then she's gone around to different providers here and there, but it's gotten even more difficult as Annie gets older and harder to manage. My mom never felt comfortable having other people/strangers come into her home to watch Annie, even though it would have been much more convenient for her and much easier on Annie. But now that can be the case. Now, I can go to my moms and watch Annie while my mom runs errands, takes a shower, and does whatever other motherly things she needs to do around the house. I have been doing this for Annie's whole life really, but have just done it as a sisterly/daughterly duty and have never been paid. But now, I get paid by the state to watch Annie. The best part for my mom is they could even go somewhere overnight if they needed to, because Dan and I can just go stay at my mom's and Annie still sleeps in her own bed, etc. It's been a great arrangement, it's just a little difficult to do often right now because I still live 45 minutes from my mom. But soon, hopefully we will take advantage of it even more.

Essentially, this has been our August in a nut shell. A lot of working with a few small things here and there.

I had my monthly OB appointment yesterday and finally met the Dr. herself. It was a very short visit, but she did ask if I was interested in having the NTS testing done. I told her I had thought about it, but still hadn't made a decision. She explained the procedure to me and what it looks for, and told me I had until my next appointment to decide. So, this is the big question in my mind at the moment. I'm not sure if my insurance covers it. But if so, I'm leaning towards having it done. Being my first pregnancy, I want to know all I can about the baby that's growing inside of me. If there is something that isn't right, I'd like to know about it now so I can prepare for it for when they get here. I think of my mom having an Amnio done and finding out Annie had Downs. Those were some very dark days for probably a good month, followed by intensive reading and research to find out all she could about it and be as ready as she could be to care for it. I couldn't imagine if they wouldn't have known and had to try to cope with it and research the condition and everything after she was already here.

What do you think? Did you have the NTS done? Were you glad you did? Would you do it again?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

2nd Ultrasound

We went for a follow up ultrasound today after the one 2 weeks ago showed just the embryonic sac, but no baby. Last time they said that I was most likely just much earlier in the pregnancy than they originally thought. We left a little disappointed though because we were expecting to see our baby and even hear the heartbeat.
So, today we went back to have another ultrasound done to check again and try to get a more accurate date on the pregnancy. She turned the camera on, and I was slightly nervous since I only saw the same thing we saw last time but it was only because of the angle she was at with the camera. She moved it over my stomach to the other side, and sure enough, there was a small little being over in the corner, just hanging out.
It was such an amazing experience to be able to see the tiny person that is growing and living inside my belly. She zoomed in and we could even see the tiny heart beating on the screen! Then she turned on the volume and we hear that little heart beating so incredibly fast! Talk about an amazingly special experience. We just looked at each other in awe that there was really a tiny person in there living, and we were the ones who made it.
The tech said based on the size of the baby now and everything I am 7 weeks and 4 days along. I finally got passed week 6! My new due date based on that is March 19, 2011. We are so excited again and were so happy to hear our baby is alive and doing well. I go back in 4 weeks for my next appointment and will actually be meeting with a doctor this time.
Here is a picture from today of our little one!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Revenge of the Mosquitoes

Last summer, while we were still living in Tucson, we suddenly had an infestation of mosquitoes in our neighborhood.

We could only let the dogs out for just as long as it took them to go to the bathroom and come back inside because they were getting eaten alive. My poor Shadow's entire snout from eyes to nose was literally covered in bumps/bites. I would have to stand at the door with a towel to swat off as many as I could as they came inside to control the number of mosquitoes in the house.

We went to Home Depot and bought a bug zapper...and had it on in our living room overnight!

It was miserable. One night I recall turning off all the lights in the house, taking the dogs, going into our room and closing the door all night because it was the only place in the house that didn't have mosquitoes buzzing in our ears. We couldn't even be comfortable living in our own home.

It was about mid-late July that these mosquitoes quickly wore out their welcome...

Eventually after about a week or so they were gone. All of them.

I didn't know if there was something in our neighborhood that had standing water, i.e. an empty house with an unkept pool, the wash behind our house, etc. All I knew was that I was so thankful they were gone. I then began the quest around the house wiping up all the dead mosquitoes off the walls.

Well, last night we took what hopefully will be our last trip to Tucson related to our move. We had a handful of random things that needed to be donated/thrown away in the garage, and we hadn't quite cleaned up all of the dog poop from the backyard. So, when Dan got home from work, we changed clothes and drove down. We started in the backyard with the dog poop with hopes of getting it all finished before the sun was completely set, or it started or the other. We stepped out back, ready to go, when I felt a pinch on the side of my head...I scratched and was horrified at what I saw...

A dead mosquito...

I was suddenly taken back to all the miserable days and nights we had with last summer's mosquitoes. I knew we needed to make it quick before we caught multiple strains of West Nile... Here's how it turned out...

Though it may not seem like it, Dan actually got it much worse than me.

How glad we are to not have to deal with those mosquitoes anymore. I'll take our 2" long field crickets over them any day.

Good riddance mosquitoes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Ultrasound

Yesterday we went to have our first ultrasound done.

We were expecting to see our little peanut and hear it's heartbeat.
We got in, and first the tech said that because the baby is so small, my uterus was still moving away from the camera. She said to get some better pictures, she'd like to do a vaginal ultrasound.

No biggie.

We did see my uterus...and the small black circle which will turn into the amniotic sac...but that was it. She asked about my periods and whatnot, and then she said that it just looked like I was earlier than they originally thought. She said it looked fine, that everything was developing, but it was just too early still to see the baby. She said from what it looked like on the ultrasound, I was probably more like 5 1/2 - 6 weeks instead of 7 almost 8 weeks which is what they told me last week when I was in.

We then went to talk to the PA who had the results from my blood work. She said everything came back normal. No anemia, no foreign antibodies to attack the baby, no HIV...

In case anyone suspected I might have HIV?

She agreed that I was just a little earlier than they originally thought. She said it's not uncommon that women ovulate later than usual and it was no big deal. I told her it wouldn't surprise me with how thrown off and irregular my periods have been for the past year and a half. She told me to come back in 2 weeks and we will do another ultrasound, and by then we should definitely be able to see the baby and hear the heart beat. Then at the next ultrasound, when we see the baby, they should be able to give me a more accurate due date and gestational age.

So, it wasn't what we were expecting, and I was disappointed, but everything is still ok according to them. I will just look forward to August 4th when I will for sure get to see the little one growing inside of me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Big News!!!

That's right...

The much anticipated announcement that so many have been wondering about for months...

We are so happy and excited words can't really describe our feelings now! I took the test Saturday morning after discussing my increased eating habits, weird feelings in my abdomen, not to mention my being almost 2 weeks late.

I didn't think much about being late because after going off the pill last March (2009), I had only had 3 periods in almost a year. So, when I didn't get one in June, I didn't give it too much thought...until I started having some of these other symptoms.

The timing could not have been better. Honestly, I have been off the pill for almost a year and a half, and since that was our only form of birth control, I technically could have gotten pregnant anytime over the past year. I have no doubt that this came when it was supposed to. It was too coincidental that I went off the pill in March 2009, and then was so annoyingly irregular for a year that it would have been just about impossible for me to get pregnant anyway. Then, all on it's own, my body just went back to being regular this April. Normal April period, normal May period...then no June. I know that Heavenly Father was waiting to send this little baby to us at the right time so that we could put all our effort and attention on him/her and not be so distracted and bogged down with school, moving, etc. I am now completely done with school, we are totally moved out of Tucson, I had an interview for a job as an RDH on Friday, Dan just started a new job that pays more and is much closer to home yesterday...the timing really couldn't have been any better.

I have been waiting to go to the Dr. to make an official announcement to the world, and today was the day. I went and had my first OB visit/exam and it was confirmed. Without having done an ultrasound and just going on dates and what my body feels like to the Dr., I am 6 weeks along due on March 3, 2011 I have to go get blood work done sometime this week, and we go back for an ultrasound/sonogram next Tuesday!!

I cannot describe the feelings I have running through me at this point. There is so much of everything; excitement, happiness, joy, gratitude, humility, nervousness, love...just to name a few. I feel so incredibly blessed and honored to be able to nurture, love and raise one of Heavenly Father's precious children. In some ways I feel so inadequate to be a mother, but at the same time I know and have committed to do everything in my power to raise this baby the best way I know how. I know that if I can do that, He will make up for my shortcomings.

I am excited for this journey in our lives. I know that we will grow immensely from it and find such great joy in starting our family!

Watch for more updates next week after the ultrasound & sonogram! As for now, I'm off to sleep/eat. :)

Friday, July 2, 2010


It is tradition for a Dental Hygiene class to have a pinning ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments as a class with their program faculty.

We scheduled ours for about 2 weeks after our graduation with the school. It was held June 1, 2010 at the Westin La Paloma Resort. It was quite the celebration, with everything from discounted hotel rooms to $55 tickets for our guests. My class paid for all of us and 1 guest for each of us. Everyone else had to buy their own tickets.

My grandma was in town from Chicago, and was very excited to attend. I also had my mom and brother Alan come along with my sweet husband, of course. I bought a new dress and shoes for the occasion and had a very enjoyable time with my classmates and family.

It was a little bit unfortunate because by the time June 1st rolled around, I had been done with school, boards, everything for almost a month and was pretty much moved on with my life. It was nice to spend the evening with my classmates and our families, but at the same time I had thoughts of finding a house, moving, getting my license, finding a new job, my husband finding a new job, etc. running through my head all night. I tried to just let all those things go for a few hours and just enjoy the evening.

I was recognized for being the Hospitality committee chair. We watched an adorable slide show of our two years in school together. Listened to a few speeches from some of our faculty and colleagues. Ate a dinner that was very good (I'm not sure if it was $55 good, but it was good). Enjoyed the ice cream bar, as well as some dancing and catching up.

We all left around 10 pm since everyone except Dan and I would be driving back to Mesa/Chandler that night. Alan and my grandma left together, and my mom left shortly after them, probably around 10:15 or so.

Dan and I returned home, put our PJs on, and were sitting in bed on our computers (facebook, etc.) when I got a chilling phone call.

It was my mom.

Mom: "Jill? It's Mom. I got in an accident and I'm sitting in a ditch on the side of the freeway. I didn't know who else to call since everyone at home is probably asleep."

Jill: "Ok mom, it's alright. Are you ok? We're putting our shoes on right now. Where are you?"

Mom: "Yeah, I guess I'm ok. My right side hurts, but I'm not bleeding or anything. I don't really know where I am, I'm sitting in my Jeep and all I know is that I'm looking at the Toltec bridge from where I am. I called 911 like 15 minutes ago, and no one is here yet."

Jill: "Ok, we're leaving right now. We'll get there as fast as we can."

First of all, for those of you who may not be quite as familiar with the stretch of I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson as we are, Toltec is in Eloy, AZ which is about 5-10 miles south of Casa Grande. She was about half way home. This also meant that it would take us about 45 minutes to get to her.

We got in the car and drove as fast as we could without being pulled over. I called my step-dad's cell phone in the process. My mom hadn't called him in fear she would wake up my 9 year old sister with Down Syndrome who only sleeps about 4 hours per night.

He asked me what happened and I explained to him what my mom had told me.

She was driving in the right lane of I-10, after just stopping the exit previous to get gas and a Coke. Then, out of no where, there was a huge noise, almost like an explosion, and something slammed into the back of her Jeep Grand Cherokee. Due to her speed (75 mph) and the speed of the car that hit her (at least 75 mph) the impact sent her into a violent spin in the middle of the interstate. Luckily there were no other vehicles around at that point, because she said that she spun completely around at least twice and remembers seeing the headlights of the oncoming traffic behind her. Upon seeing that in the first spin, she closed her eyes, kept her foot slammed on the brake as hard as she could, and held onto the steering wheel for dear life. The next thing she knew, she was sitting in her Jeep in a cloud of dust along the side of the interstate. The vehicle that hit her...on the other side, in the median of the interstate.

The car behind her, which was a small Chevy Malibu or something similar, had a tire blow suddenly, which projected her car into the back of my mom's Jeep and sent them both spinning like tops on the freeway.

No one is really sure how it is that my mom's Jeep did not roll. If no where else, it should have when it went off the road and down into the ditch on the side of the road. It was a pretty steep drop from the interstate down into the ditch, and if she was still spinning like she was, which all the marks in the dirt and on the asphalt say she was, there should have been nothing stopping her Jeep from toppling over and rolling into the ditch.

She definitely had Angels watching over her that night...

My mom's Jeep was towed into Casa Grande and left at the repair shop there until her insurance had it towed back to Mesa. The other girls car...just had the blown tire changed, and she drove away...

We took my mom, who was very shaken up and still in a state of shock into Casa Grande and waited at iHop for my step dad to come pick her up. She just kept saying "I'm so thankful I'm alive".

We got to my mom around 11:45 pm, left for iHop around 12:30, and my step dad got there to pick her up around 1 am. Putting us all back home around 2 am.

Now, after a month and $3700+ worth of damage (luckily the girl had insurance), my mom has her Jeep back. She is ok, and is pretty much fully recovered.

It was a very scary and eventful end to the evening. We were just so grateful everyone was ok.