Thursday, May 31, 2012

Preliminary Backyard Plans

Every day Mike and I talk about our new house. We've thought and talked about nearly every room in the house, how we will use it and ideas for decorating different spaces. We're starting to get into talking about the backyard and I've been pinning quite a few inspiration pictures. The hardest part is we want less of an Arizona/desert feeling backyard, but its really hard to find a landscaper that does that. (If anyone has a good landscaper or landscape architect they can recommend, please let us know!)

I took some of the inspiration ideas I've pinned and things we've talked about wanting in our yard and made a quick illustration. I'm not an expert with these kinds of plans, so its very amateur looking, but I think it gets some ideas out there for us to start thinking about. We're heading to a big home show in early August, so hopefully we can find some companies that will work for us and maybe even some new and unique ideas for the space (would really love the faux wood decking, but not sure how that would work on a flat surface).

We have a few things that are necessary items. We still want grass so the yard feels cozy and inviting, but we also want a very large area for entertaining. The areas that are in gray and labeled "living room area" and "dining room area" would all be pavers or some kind of flooring and it would continue on to our small covered patio so that feels much larger than it actually is. We love to entertain and see ourselves hosting many parties and gatherings in this house, so we want to make sure we can move the entertaining into the backyard as well as into the great room with a nice flow. We also want a garden area and a few big lush trees (the big part will come in time). We will probably do this in phases, so the flooring and grass will be in first along with all the irrigation. The bench seating, built-in grill, fireplace and raised beds may take a while to get installed depending on cost.

So what do you think? Does the layout need more roundness to it? We don't want it to be boring feeling, but we also want it to have more of a transitional feel. Any suggestions on other things we could/should add or take away?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

House Progress: May 27

This past Friday we got our first weekly update from our superintendent and he let us know that the post-tention cables had been put into place, an inspection would be done the following week (today!) and the concrete slab would be poured by the end of this week. We were so excited about the progress, so we headed out there on Sunday after church to check it out. Its crazy that we can start to see the shape of the house and the rooms divided up.

We're learning that one of the best parts about building your own house is that you are able to see every process that it goes through. Its pretty special to us to be able to see what our lot looked like before building even started and what goes into making sure our foundation is perfect. We already have such a close feeling to this piece of land and house and its not even built yet!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Congrats to Sarah & Doug!

One of my best friends...actually, we call each other "sister friends", got engaged last week to a great guy, her boyfriend of two years, Doug. Mike and I are incredibly excited for them and can't wait to celebrate their big day with them!

I'm the one with my eyes closed and Sarah is the other blonde. This was taken in Kindergarten, we've been friends THAT long! Field trip day possibly? Wow, I was super short.

Sarah was a bridesmaid in our wedding and also sang the songs for our ceremony. She has a beautiful voice and a vibrant personality like no one I know. I can't wait to help her through the planning process and be there for her, just like she did for me. I know she's going to make such a gorgeous bride!

Congrats to Doug and Sarah!

Wedding image by Davis Photographers
Kindergarten picture by Lyz's mom :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

House Progress: May 23

We were so excited that, once again, noticeable progress has been made to the house! They installed the plumbing, filled in the trenches and evened out the area to get it ready for the foundation. We think the next step will be the post-tension rods in preparation for the foundation to be poured. We're so excited for them to start framing so we can actually see our house begin to take shape.

This is the front porch and where the three large windows will be in my office.

Here's a close up of the plumbing that they installed in the past week. We also noticed that they sectioned off some of the dirt so we can see where the house part is and where the patio and porch are.

We haven't really posted any pictures of the view from the backyard. Actually, when I imagine our backyard (I daydream about every room in our house!), I picture it like the model's backyard, but it is actually facing the other way. It throws me off every time. Our backyard is so much larger than we're used to. I hope we can handle it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Living by South Mountain

This is the road that leads up to where we are living right now. Beautiful, isn't it? I love South Mountain so much, and it actually has quite a bit of meaning for us. When I was really young, I remember driving out to ALA (the Lutheran high school I went to) with my grandparents to see my cousins play football and to take pictures of them before homecoming and prom. I barely remember being at the school, but what I do remember was the drive out there. You pretty much drive down the entire strip of South Mountain to get to the school and I remember thinking the red lights on the top were fireworks. I loved watching them, it was my favorite part of the trip out there.

Then when I was a bit older, I always thought the red lights spelled out the word "love". Somewhere I heard that if you are at the right angle, that is actually true. My mom just thought I was seeing things, but it sounds like maybe I was right!

And of course, on April 24, 2010, Mike and I went hiking up South Mountain and right next to where the red "love" lights are, he proposed. That was one of the happiest days of my life and I love that it happened in such a special place. We went back to take our engagement pictures there and used one of them on our save the dates.

Things are going well living out here by the mountain. We quite enjoy our space at my parent's house and I've been getting into better eating habits and started working out a few days a week. We can hardly believe it has almost been a whole month since we moved out of our house. We'd be completely happy if the rest of the summer just flew by like this past month. :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Leila's 11th Birthday

This past weekend we celebrated our niece, Leila's 11th birthday! Saturday she had her birthday party with a few friends from school. Brooke and I took them out for a "Girl's Day" complete with shopping, a fancy lunch, cheesecake and pedicures. It was so much fun, I'm glad I got to be a part of it! Then yesterday we had a family party for Leila at my parents house (our house too, I guess). It was a really fun day, here's how it went.

The night before, my mom and I made a surprise birthday cake for Leila. Well, my mom made the cake and I made the mini bunting for the cake topper.
We had a little frosting and sprinkle stealer on our hands. Good thing we got pictures before he could reach the cake!

We had a really delicious lunch complete with all the birthday girl's favorites - ribs, homemade mac and cheese and corn on the cob. After dinner we sang to the birthday girl and had cake. Birthday candles seem to come in a 10 pack, so she now only gets a candle for each year after 10 (plus we didn't want the bunting to catch fire!).

The birthday girl got to open her presents and was so shocked and excited that she got an iPhone! She had been hoping for an iPod touch, but just couldn't believe she got an iPhone. My parents got her a new swimming suit for the summer, we got her the blue case for her phone and she also got another suit and gift cards (the girl loves to swim!).

We also spent quite a bit of time yesterday at the pool and just having fun and being silly.

What do you think, could we pass for celebrities? ;)

After a long day of swimming, having fun and eating sugar, we were all tired out. We spent the afternoon snuggling and watching movies before heading to dinner at Arcadia Tavern.

Leila had so much fun celebrating her birthday and so did we. We love that girl so much!

Friday, May 18, 2012

House Progress: May 16

This past Wednesday we stopped by our house to see the progress before meeting up with friends for dinner. It's funny that every time we turn into our neighborhood to see the house, we get so nervous and excited about where they are at. They know our timeline and what they are doing, but there's this tiny fear that we'll get there after an entire week and there won't be any changes.

Fortunately, they had made some more progress since the weekend before! They started digging the trenches for the plumbing. My future office is just a big hole right now, but its progress and its a good sign that they will start installing things soon!

Things have been going well, we've just missed having a house, but we know it will all be worth it when we move into this one. It's been really great splitting grocery, dinner and dishes duties with my parents. It's really made life easier! We also joined a gym, there is one right down the road from my parents (my dad has always gone there and my mom just joined too!), one down the road from Mike's parents for when we live there and one about two miles from our new house. We're hoping this time we can keep up with going and really stay motivated to get in shape. My mom and I have been going together to classes and just to work it, it's been really great having a workout buddy! I think I'll need to find one closer to Gilbert once we move.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Things I'm Afraid to Tell You

Recently, I've ran into multiple blogs in my Google reader that have posted a list of "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You". It started here, an article that faced and exposed the truth that a lot of blogs and bloggers talk mostly about the "icing" in their lives and not the "cake" or the real parts. The blog world (along with Pinterest) is full of beautiful, styled images and less about real life. So, Ez from Creature Comforts posted this in reponse to the original article and started a chain of bloggers willing to list a few "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" and about the reality of blogging and how we should not compare ourselves to others because their reality may be different than what they show on the outside. I find this is totally true in real life as well. So many people are afraid to be real and show their true selves because of some kind of feeling that they have to have their life, marriage, kids, etc appear flawless. That in turn makes others around them feel this need to measure up to them and compare their lives to others when in fact, things may not be as peachy as they appear to be.

I have really appreciated reading a few of them and one of my favorite party blogs was motivated and inspired to completely change their blogging format. I'm sad because I loved seeing all the beautifully styled shoots, but I COMPLETELY get it! When we started Heirloom's website, it was more in the form of a blog and we felt the constant stress and pressure to post something amazing every week. It was way too stressful and completely unnecessary for us to feel that way, so we are in the process of changing it to be more of a website with a blog component where we will be posting REAL work.

After reading multiple posts with people's lists of "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" and random comments from friends over the past few months (things like, "you're so good at this, I'm terrible at it" or "you seem to have everything so put together"), I was really inspired to write my own. I really don't have many readers, mostly family and a few close friends, and I don't have ads or anything special about our blog, but I thought posting this out there in the open would bring some reality to those few readers and myself. I'm actually pretty nervous to post this, but here it goes.

1. I have a growing fear of something bad happening. The biggest one lately is that something bad will happen to Mike since he is driving so late at night for work. Some nights I'm wide awake, looking at the clock and hoping he's ok. Most nights I try to pray for his safety. I sit there and fear that I'll wake up and he won't be there in the morning, but every morning he is there, safe and sound. I really would love to get rid of this fear, it eats away at me some nights.

2. Designing for myself is one of the hardest things ever. I actually hate it and wish I could hire someone else to do it for me, but I'm too embarrassed to admit that to another designer. Sometimes I'll spend hours trying to design a new look for our blog and end up hating everything and I end up going with something so simple and boring and never really liking it. I get mad at myself for not knowing what colors and styles represent me and end up just giving up.

3. I'm incredibly sensitive with certain things, but am learning how to deal with it. I've always been very sensitive and caring for other people's feelings and feel incredibly guilty when I think I've caused someone to be upset or mad, even when I did nothing wrong. I also get really hurt when I feel like I am helping someone out (which I like to do and it gives me happiness to do that), but when those same things aren't reciprocated back to me when I need them most, I get upset and over analyze things. Which is odd, because when someone does try to help me, I feel guilty and bad that they are spending time on me. This really makes no sense, but I'm trying to put others' emotions to the side a little bit and let them deal with that while I deal with my own.

4. Procrastination is something I deal with every day. I have so many things I'd love to do and try and places in life and my health I'd like to get to, but I just seem to always put them off. In turn it makes me feel guilty and overwhelmed with everything around me...yet I do nothing about it. Its a silly cycle and I don't understand it.

5. I have a quickly growing desire to have a baby. No, we are not pregnant right now. Yes, we would like to be, possibly in the next year. Everyone says to enjoy your married time together, and we have been and do, but I can't help but have a desire to want to have a baby. Yikes, that is scary to admit! Another confession, Mother's Day was really difficult for me this year. I felt so selfish feeling that way, but I couldn't help it. All I could think about was how I'm the only one in our families that doesn't have a baby or one on the way and how badly I wanted that with Mike. Those feelings had nothing to do with "everyone else has a kid, so I wanted one too" though, but more about wanting that connection and relationship with a child and my husband and us having our own little family. This all seemed to really hit me after we signed for our new house and cancelled our Europe trip.

Wow, it feels good to get all those things out there and I realize that I have some things to work on. Guilt, fear, worry, comparison and anxiety are things I struggle with and have been trying to deal with and pray about. I encourage you to make a list of things you hold inside that you would be afraid to tell others. Even if you don't blog them or even tell them to anyone else, it really does feel great to get those things out there and give ourselves a necessary reality check.

Life isn't perfect, and thats ok. :)

Image via Creature Comforts

Friday, May 11, 2012

House Progress: May 11

Less than a week later and the ground is leveled and the concrete form boards are put into place. They're getting ready to start installing plumbing and electrical. The utilities box is so lonely standing there on the right side of the house. This phase was really exciting because as we were walking around the dirt, we could almost tell where we would be standing in our future home. We started to get the feel for how the house will feel in our actual lot. We're pretty excited with this progress and the visual signs that things are moving along. The rest of the neighborhood is going up fast as well. Both the neighbors next to us are almost done with framing!

A few more images from our visit:

We've been doing well so far, living at my parents' house. It's finally starting to hit us that we are pretty much homeless. We spent today running errands around our normal shopping spots in Gilbert, so it made us feel a bit like we were doing our own thing and had quality time together. I think we'll need to do that from time to time. :)

This weekend we are celebrating Mother's Day with our families and as we were shopping for cards (I'm kind of embarrassed I'm not making my own), I saw one that was for a husband to his wife who don't have children yet. Really, do I deserve a card already?! I guess it could be considered a pre-Mother's Day card? Maybe this will be the last Mother's Day that I get stuck with the cooking and cleaning up. :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

House Progress: May 6

It's finally happening, our new house is finally in the beginning phases of being built! We met with our superintendent last week and he explained a few of the processes that would be happening. Yesterday we headed to the lot expecting it to be a dirt field and they had already built the trench and filled it with water. The land out in Gilbert and specifically where we are building is very soft because it is old farm land. That means they need to take extra measures to make sure the foundation doesn't crack, etc. This also means we can grow pretty much anything in our soil and it will do well! Can't wait for that garden in the backyard. :)

We're going to try to make it out to our house for all the major steps in the building process and take pictures at the same spot every time. Eventually we'll turn the images into a book or frame them in a timeline layout.

Here's a few more images we took of the site yesterday.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The newest baby B!

Last night, Mike's brother and his wife had a beautiful baby boy! We already love him so much and can't wait to love him even more, play with him, watch him grow and of course, spoil him like every aunt and uncle should. :)

One Door Closes...Ready for the Next One to Open!

It was a weird feeling saying goodbye to this house. It wasn't only our first house together, but I bought this house and lived in it by myself for about two years. To buy a house at 23 years old is a huge thing. It was one of those things that made me feel like an official, responsible and successful adult. While living in this house I got engaged, planned our wedding, got married and celebrated our first anniversary. We even talked vaguely about how the 3rd bedroom would someday be a baby's room and how we would arrange it and if it would logistically work (w/d and the garage is right next to it). Basically, we had general plans to stay in this house until our little family outgrew it.

Apparently our plans were meant to be changed. The housing market was going up and building our dream home in our dream neighborhood actually started to fall into place. We realized that the time was right and even though we loved our house, we were ready to move on and put all our energies and efforts into building our family's "for the long haul" house. This meant canceling our two-week Europe trip, sticking to our strict budget (as Dave Ramsey would say, we are "living like no one else, so we can live like no one else") and rooming with our parents while we wait for our new home to be built.

Nobody really tells you this, but selling a house is completely stressful. We have an incredible realtor, our buyer had an great realtor and everything went very smoothly, but it is full of making grown-up decisions and covering all your bases. The whole packing up and moving thing was kind of a drag as well  – totally different than moving out of an apartment! Fortunately, we were able to focus on this process and make sure everything happened as it should. How do people with children move?! I have a newfound respect for my parents who moved with us six times before we were even teenagers.

As we finished up last minute touches and clearing out what was still left from moving over the weekend, it all kind of hit us that we were turning the page to a new part of our lives. We are older now, closer to starting a family and have even learned about a few things we would do differently next time around. This really is a monumental time for us.

So, here's to the summer, when we will be watching our dream home get built (digging starts next week!), continuing to follow that budget and keeping our marriage strong and sane while being shuffled around over the next few months.