Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011...Hello New Home!

I got the keys to our house this morning... and it is even more perfect than I remembered :)

Here's the official tour of our empty home. Maybe I'll do another one after we get settled.



It still doesn't feel real. That house is ours? Really? We're so excited!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Love Technology


only 6 more days until I get to see this cute face in real life
(but who's counting, right?)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Merry Christmas!


I hope you have a very Happy Christmas filled with joy, family, and love. Since we are cheap skates and don't send out Christmas cards--this will have to do :)

We're having a blast spending time with Landon's family in Texas and I'm already dreading going back to real life in two days (ugh!)

But the good news is, Landon surprised me with this baby for Christmas:

Wohoo!!! I'm so excited to learn how to sew and make curtains, skirts, pj's and just be all crafty :)

He also surprised me with home decorations--meaning I get to buy paint, fabric, knobs, lamps, rugs, etc. to make our house cute. I'm so lucky!

I loved having Christmas on Sunday this year. It was so nice to go to church, renew my covenants, and focus on the birth and life of our Savior. What a perfect day :)

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Golden Ticket

I am a very happy girl and feel so blessed to be where I am in life.

But I have moments I find myself STILL wanting MORE. What on earth is my problem?!

Why is it human nature to not be satisfied with the now? Why are we constantly searching for our "golden ticket" that we don't stop to enjoy the chocolate! (loved this analogy from President Uchtdorf!)

Within two years, my biggest dreams have become my reality.

I have always wanted to graduate from college. I've always wanted to have a loving husband. I've always wanted to have a house. Three years ago I used to say "I can't wait to be married" or "I'll be happy when I'm done with college" or "I can't wait to get out of this crappy apartment and actually own a home." And now that I've finally reached my "someday" I'm still finding myself saying "Won't it be nice when..." or "I can't wait until..." STOP IT HANNAH!

I saw this quote today and it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."

Wow. I am totally short-changing myself by worrying about the future instead of enjoying the beautiful life I have been given now.


Right now is perfect. Right now is my golden ticket :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

If You Need Me

As we were going to bed last night (and cuddling, of course) Landon kissed me goodnight and said, "I'll be right here if you need me."

Such simple words, but they brought me to tears. The realization that no matter where I am or where life takes me, if I need Landon-he'll always be right there.

There's nothing more comforting than knowing we do not have to go through this life on our own.

Life is hard. Everyone has trials. Everyone hurts. Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth and sent us here to learn and grow-which means going through tough times. But, in His ultimate wisdom He sent us here as families so we don't have to go through the tough times alone.

Whether it's your sister, your mom, dad, uncle, cousin, husband, daughter, or even just a friend, there is always someone who will be there to help bear your burdens and ease your pain.

And even if you truly feel all alone and feel there is NO one on this earth that can help or understand you, you are never alone. Our older brother has been there and has literally felt your pain, sorrow, and suffering of every kind. He will always know how to help and heal us. All we need to do is turn to him, and He'll be there if we need Him. Always.

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Traditions.

This is technically mine and Landon's third Christmas together, but I feel like it's the first year where we've actually been able to establish some of our own little traditions.

I just love the holidays and love family traditions. It's what makes your family unique and they create the best memories. It's also something you get to look forward to every year :)

So after making a successful gingerbread house from scratch, we decided we are going to make this a yearly tradition. It was a lot of hard work, but it was totally worth it! It was good ole fashioned quality time if you ask me :)

Our second yearly tradition is an elf named Christopher. My mom heard that Landon grew up with elves and wanted us to have our very own elf too. He started out on our mantel and then we woke up one morning to find him like this:

It's always fun to wake up every morning and see what Christopher has been up to :)





Landon told me that the elves that he grew up with would leave little notes (I didn't know this detail...woops!) so I guess Christopher was a little shy this year...but I have a feeling he'll be leaving notes and maybe even getting a little more mischievous next year.

Some other traditions we've established are putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, making homemade fudge, blasting Christmas music all day, and watching a Christmas movie every night.

But... we want to establish more traditions based on the true meaning of Christmas, like visiting live nativity scenes and reading the account of Christ's birth from Luke. It's so easy to get caught into the "santa" side of Christmas and all the hype of presents and spending money... and I don't want our family to lose sight of what Christmas is really all about. What a wonderful blessing that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that he was willing to send His own son so that we can return home again.

I love that Landon and I are establishing our own family with our own little traditions. I know there are some "Miller" traditions that I may have to put up a fight for when kids are introduced to the picture *cough, stockings at the end of your bed on Christmas morning, cough, cough*

Oh, I just love Christmas more than anything. It brings family together and helps us remember what matters most - family & the gospel. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nightmares

Before I even say anything, I just have to say that I know what I'm about to say is completely ridiculous (say that ten times fast!)

I have nightmares and have trouble falling asleep at night thinking about how empty our house is going to be. (I told you, ridiculous I know!)

But really, every piece of furniture we have has been given to us. It's all mis-matched, outdated, broken, etc. We don't even have a dining room table, night stands, end tables, etc. We only have one little couch.

Honestly, we'd probably still be sleeping on our air matress right now if a family friend hadn't given us their old one for $20 bucks (true story...we slept on an air mattress the first year of our marriage!!!!)

you can't even tell it's just a blow up with a little foam pad on top, all in a bed frame :)

I just want our house to be cute and feel like home, but honestly it's going to be empty. I have some homey-ish decorations (curtains, frames, signs) but that was only enough to fill our teeny basement apartment, not a huge house.

this is pretty much the extent of the "decorations" in our apartment

I shouldn't even be complaining, because I really am SOOO grateful to have a house, I'm just stressing about what we're actually going to be putting in it. I'm SO jealous of girls that are just naturally crafty and have an eye for decorating... because I really don't have it.

Exhibit A: I don't own an iron or an ironing board.
Exhibit B: I don't own a needle/thread/sewing machine
Exhibit C: My dad had to sew a button that fell off my pea coat for me. This was a few months ago.
Exhibit D: I had a hole in my skirt, so I taped it. True story.
Exhibit E: I just learned what Modge Podge is like a month ago

Oh heavens! I guess the root of my nightmares is mainly the fact that I'm not a homemaker, and I REALLY want to be that girl. So bad.

Anyway, I decided I might do a video tour of our house when it's empty... so that way it will look intentionally empty. Because if I wait until our stuff is in there... it will still look empty, but not on purpose!

And don't even get me started about the 3 empty bedrooms upstairs. I told Landon we're going to feel awfully lonely in that house...but I know a really great way to fill it up ;)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Perfect Weekend

This weekend wasn't anything special, but it was perfect.

Friday we went on a walk after work, ate dinner, and started the movie It's a Wonderful Life-my all time favorite Christmas movie.

Saturday morning I made french toast. I'm such a good little wife huh? This is only the second time I've made Landon breakfast since we've been married... and the first time was last weekend! woops! My mom and dad sent us a package with stuff to decorate our apartment--including these adorable Christmas plates for a Christmas breakfast. Aren't they cuties?

Then we went up to Kalama to be with our family. We ate lots of yummy food, went to see Santa, watched a few movies, and just hung out. We love being so close to Uncle Rob and his family!

their puppies are so snuggly and like to be inside Landon's jacket :)

I am not a cat person, like at all, but man I love Emma's new kitty!

Sunday we finished It's a Wonderful Life (of course I cried like a baby at the end), went to church, went on a walk, ate dinner, and watched Elf.

I just love being lazy with my best friend. It was just what the doctor ordered after a hectic month at work, and considering how hectic life is going to get in the next few weeks too.

So here's what we'll be up to this month:

We leave for Texas this Wednesday morning. So excited to spend time with family and have two weeks to just hang out with my bestie with no work! wohoo!

I get back December 27th...I can't miss the end of the month at work, ever :(

I get the keys to our house on December 31st! Since Landon will still be in Texas, I figure I will keep myself busy and clean our house from top to bottom and move all the little things.

Landon gets back January 3rd (hallelujah!!)

We officially move in the 7th!

SO crazy. I can't believe it's really happening, but we are STOKED.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving in a Nutshell

Thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite holidays, I'm just not a huge fan of turkey and since my parents are from England, it just wasn't a huge deal growing up. Sometimes we'd even go out to eat on Thanksgiving which was fine by me :)

But lately, I've started to like Thanksgiving more-mainly because it brings family together and it's a time to reflect on how blessed we are. This year we were lucky to have Landon's dad and brother visit us and we went to Washington to be with our family.

Some of the other highlights of the week were:
  • Bringing in Christmas and putting up the Christmas tree first thing Friday morning and of course blasting Christmas music :)
  • Flying to McMinville to go to the Air & Space Museum. We decided this day was "Landon's day" because it was a perfect day for him. Flying, looking at airplanes and space shuttles, and we ended the day by eating at Outback-his favorite restaurant.
this is the airplane Landon wants to build. this baby would get us to Utah in 2.5 hours!

oh I just love him :)

this was in the children's discovery area :)
  • Making a gingerbread house from scratch. We made the dough, rolled it out, cut it out, and baked it. This was an all day process and took us 8 hours but it was definitely worth it. Our apartment totally smelled like Christmas too :)
We love having family in town and getting to visit with family. Only 10 more days and we'll be in Texas for Christmas. Wohoo!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Simultaneous

Lately, I have let myself become overcome with stress instead of being grateful for what I have. I have chosen to view my life in terms of what's wrong instead of what's right.

I heard those quote recently and it has stuck with me.

"Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend...when we choose not to focus on what is missing in our lives but are grateful for the abundance that is present -- love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure -- the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth."

So, now is the time for me to adjust my attitude.

The thought has been pressing on my mind how POINTLESS it was for me to go to school and here were my reasons:
  • I don't even get to teach. In Oregon they require you to have a masters, and even then people can't find jobs.
  • I have almost 40k in student loans people. That's a LOTTA money for something I don't even get to use.
  • The job I have now definitely doesn't require a diploma of any kind
  • I am now having to work at an office (not my ideal work setting) to help pay off our loans. If we didn't have these loans I would most likely be a stay at home mom in the near future. My dream. My ultimate dream and biggest desire of my heart (read all about it here). And these dang student loans are standing in my way. We don't want to take 20 years to pay them off --we want them gone NOW which means chunking away my entire paycheck each month to pay them off within 3 years. And guess what? If I didn't go to school these student loans wouldn't exist.
Bad attitude, right? Don't worry, it's since changed to this:
  • Who knows, maybe Oregon will change their requirements and I will be able to teach someday? Or maybe we won't live in Oregon for as long as we think?
  • Or maybe we stay in Oregon and raise our kids here. Since the school system is a little crappy here, I will be able to use my education to supplement my kids' learning and make sure they're on track.
  • I made some GREAT life-long friends in college and had some amazing experiences. I learned and grew and became a better person.
  • Education and a diploma are ALWAYS a good thing, and I am so grateful to be prepared and have mine because you just never know.
  • The things I learned in school will help me when I'm a mother
  • And last, but definitely not least, I met this boy while I was in college:
Yep, I need to stop complaining and start realizing that Heavenly Father DOES have a plan for me, even though I may not always see the immediate benefits.

I am truly so blessed. I have a loving husband who is my best friend. I have the best family and friends that will always be there for me. I have a job. Landon has a job. We have a warm place to sleep. We have food & clothes. We have love. We have the gospel. We have each other.

So, lesson learned. Choose to view your life as all the abundance you have instead of lack of abundance. You really can look at your life either way, but why not choose the happy version?

P.S. Thanks Landon Dean for holding me as I cried with my bad attitude. And thanks for helping me see the happy version of my life. You're my rock :)

P.P.S. Love this new Taylor Swift song. It accurately describes how I feel most days and how it all changes when I get to be with my Landon :)


Friday, November 25, 2011

Two Years.

These past two years have honestly been the happiest of my life.

Happy Anniversary to the boy who makes me laugh so hard it hurts, who loves me no matter how clumsy/forgetful/slow I can be, who makes me want to be a better person, who is my best friend, who still gives me butterflies, who wakes up 20 minutes early every morning to snuggle with me, who is literally my other half, who is smarter than anyone I know, who dances with me in our kitchen to no music, who loves so deeply, who has integrity and stands by what he believes no matter what, who calms me down when I'm freaking out, who follows his dreams and inspires me to follow mine, who thinks I'm beautiful just the way I am, who runs to the door and kisses me when I get home and immediately my whole day is better, who is always there for me and stands up for me, and last but not least...who makes my life even happier than a fairy tale.

I'm so grateful for eternal marriage and that I get to keep this boy forever. I just simply can't get enough of him. He is my happy :)


Year two was a big one--we graduated from college, moved to a new state by ourselves, got "real" jobs, and bought a house... we'll see if year 3 can beat it because I have to say year 2 was a good one.

Happy anniversary my sweet Landon Dean!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The House Story

Skip this post if you don't want to hear all the boring details about buying our first home... but I just HAVE to blog about this because it's a huge milestone and I just want to remember everything. This blog is for me :)

6 months ago we were in Utah, living with my parents & living off student loans... basically living off NOTHING. I never ever thought we'd be buying a home 6 months later. It's so crazy how quickly life happens and how fast everything changes.

I always thought that you needed 40k to buy a house, no other loans, and a honkin' salary. It seemed SO far away and out of our reach but Landon and I started looking at houses for the fun of it this summer just so we could get familiar with what was out there. It was fun looking through the pictures and communicating with our realtor, Jennifer. Jennifer didn't care that we weren't going to be buying anytime soon.

Well 2 months ago, we decided to go out and start looking at the homes. Unfortunately, Jennifer took 2 months off to be with her little boy (which I totally respect, family=first) so her co-worker took over for a bit. I'm not going to say much about him, but let's just say he tried to push us into making offers on multiple homes when we just weren't ready. Then he dropped us and we had to wait almost a month for Jennifer to come back. Ugh.

So we waited and waited and finally Jennifer got back 2 weeks ago. We were SO happy to have a realtor back that actually cared about us and wasn't pressuring us at all. We looked at over 20 homes and liked a few of them. Originally we were thinking we'd buy a home this spring or even next spring, but we decided to take the "time frame" off ourselves and just wait until we found the perfect house.

Well on Friday (in the rain & the dark) we found the one. I had always heard that when you walk into "the one" you'll just know... and it's totally true! We walked into the house and it just felt like home. No other way to describe it.

We looked at more homes the next day, but just kept thinking about our cute little blue house. While we were driving Landon said, "I think if we want that blue house, we're going to have to make an offer this weekend." My heart stopped. I couldn't believe it was really happening, but I knew he was right. I immediately called our mortgage guy & double checked that we were good to go. I couldn't stop squealing.

Saturday night, we prayed about it and we just had an overwhelming sense of peace.

Sunday morning we woke up and saw that our blue house was having an open house... GREAT! I didn't want other people walking through OUR house and falling in love, because I knew they would. Our realtor emailed me and told me that someone was submitting an offer and that if we really wanted it, we'd have to put an offer in today. We rushed to the blue house, walked through it a second time and still loved it. We went and knocked on a few neighbors doors to ask about the neighborhood. We still loved it. At this point, we knew we were going to have to miss church (GASP!) and make a huge purchase on the Sabbath (GASP, GASP!) but... we just knew we had to do something or else our house would be taken.

We drove right to our realtor's office and spent the next 2 hours going through the paperwork and deciding on our offer. Jennifer is so amazing and even thought to call the listing agent and ask what the sellers wanted... Did they want to give up the fridge? When did they want to move out? Were they expecting to pay closing costs? Do they want to keep their washer and dryer? We totally wrote our offer catering to the seller's every need. The other offer they received was turned down, so we knew this was our chance.

Our offer was submitted around 4 pm and we told them it expired at 9 pm. The next five hours were seriously agonizing. I just felt sick and had a million knots in my stomach. Our realtor would email/call letting me know she hadn't heard anything. 7pm rolled around, 8 pm rolled around and my heart just hurt. I knew there was no way they were going to accept it and we weren't going to accept a counter. We were totally bummed.

8:45 pm our realtor calls us to tell us that the seller had THREE offers that night and that the listing agent sent her a vague email saying our offer was the only offer that got a "response" and that he would be emailing it over shortly. We had no idea what on earth that was supposed to mean and assumed they were going to give us a counter. Immediately we were frustrated...what more could they want?! UGH!

8:55 pm our realtor call us to tell us that they ACCEPTED OUR OFFER on one condition... they want the option to try to find a home by November 30th. Our close date will stay the same (January 6th) but if they haven't found a house, they will rent it back and live in the house until January 30th while paying for our mortgage. No big deal. We couldn't believe it! Out of four offers they chose ours and we are going to be home owners! Their realtor told our realtor that our offer wasn't necessarily the highest but it was the cleanest, most fair, and most flexible. BOOYAH! So grateful we have such an amazing realtor that helped us write the perfect offer!!!

That night we watched Aladdin to try and calm me down. I was SO worked up and Aladdin is my go-to movie when I'm either upset/excited/scared and need to fall asleep (I watched it the night before we got married hehe). Anyway, I just couldn't fall asleep. It all feels so unreal and I was just way too excited to calm down. I just kept thinking about how I want to decorate and imagining our lives in that home.

So there are still a few milestones we have to get through until the home is officially ours... home inspection & appraisal... but if everything goes according to plan we will be moving after Christmas.

Okay so here's the part where I'd normally post pictures of the house BUT... the people who live there now are umm, a little old and their decorations aren't the most "modern"... When I saw the pictures of the house I was originally unimpressed :) But it really is a gem. So, you'll just have to wait until January and maybe I'll even do another "video tour" of the place.

However I will tell you some of the key features :)
  • 2,140 sq feet. 4 bedrooms (upstairs) 2 full baths upstairs, half bath downstairs
  • It's in a culdesac and in a really good neighborhood about 5 min from where we live now
  • Entry way has formal living room/dining room
  • The kitchen is big with lots of counter space
  • The kitchen opens up to another dining area and a living room with a fireplace and vaulted ceilings
  • Upstairs has the 4 bedrooms that are all really good sized and the laundry room is upstairs which is PERFECT because I fold laundry in our bedroom.
  • The master bedroom has a walk-in closet (HORRAY!) and the bathroom has two sinks (HORRAY!) with a skylight
  • Hard wood floors & brand new carpet
  • Good sized backyard with the cutest little toolshed that matches the house
  • The owners are very particular and the home truly is in PERFECT condition. The only "improvement" we will need to make is to take down some lovely wallpaper in the kitchen & maybe replace some door knobs.
It was by far the best home we looked at and I'm just so glad it's going to be ours. We drove past it tonight and just can't WAIT to make it our home.

Right now, we barely fill up our 1000 sq foot apartment because we just don't own very much stuff, so the house is going to feel very lonely/empty for awhile...

I still can't get over the fact that Landon and I are building a home together. A home is where a family goes. I can't wait to fill up those rooms... and I'm not just talking about with furniture ;)

Okay okay... you deserve a few pictures for sticking around until the end :)




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