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12/10/2012

Our Crazy Life! (and video tour of the house!)

Hello! It feels good to be blogging! We sure have had a whirlwind over the last 2 months.
First and foremost, we are in the house! Woo hoo!! We sold our lease to our apartment, hallelujah, so we were able to close super quick on the house. Getting a mortgage really sucks, let me tell you, but it is worth it! So right off the bat...here is the video tour of our new house.
Disclaimer, I filmed on my phone, which led to super annoying black bars on the sides of the video, I am sorry! Also, as usual I sound ridiculous on the video, so feel free to mute...

With both of us working full time jobs, and carpooling, and moving and changing wards, and Thanksgiving, it has been nuts!
Jobs are going well. I adore being a teacher, and I've had the opportunity to move into all of the classes, and work with the older kids. My favorites are the 4 year olds and I hope to someday teach in there! Until then I will continue to "teach" (aka make really cute bulletin boards and create a lot of foot/hand prints) the little babies, who I love!
We went to Colorado for Thanksgiving, and though it was a quick trip, it was great to see the Bunch family, and spend time with my parents and siblings. Nicole and I went Black Friday shopping, from 7pm Thursday night to 6am Friday morning. It was an experience. My smokin deal was all the Harry Potter DVDs for 14.95. Then we went to Victoria's Secret because if you spent $65 you got this really cute tote filled with beauty stuff, and it was a nightmare. Hundreds of psycho girls, trampling, pushing, screaming, climbing on counters and throwing yoga pants, I literally thought I was going to die. BUT I got my tote and my beauty stuff and made it out alive, barely.
We just went to our second Sunday in our new ward, and it will take some adjusting. We are definitely the youngest couple in the ward, and there might be one other couple without kids. But we asked for it, we moved to a family neighborhood so we are sure getting a family ward! People have been kind and welcoming, so it will be fun to meet new people and get used to that.
So here are some pictures from the last few months. I will be much better about posting now that I finally got that video up.
We are headed to North Carolina for a Very Thomas Christmas next week and we are super excited!!
 Halloween at work
 Our Witch's brew for Halloween
 Boise State game with Ross & Chelsey in November

 Lily's First Snow
 Christmas Downtown

10/07/2012

Our House!!!

As many of you have heard, Jared and I are buying a house! A lot of you have asked about the details, and for a lot more pictures, so I've put together a tour in pictures if you will, and will do my best to explain. There are mostly empty rooms so it's hard to tell dimensions and things like that.
First off, some initial info. The house is located in Southern Boise, which is a big location change, because we are in very northern Boise. It is in a neighborhood with all brand new houses, and in the middle of the neighborhood is a huge common area with a big grass field, basketball courts, and a pool. That is only about 2 blocks from our house, and there is a cute path that goes through the middle of the neighborhood to get you there even quicker. 
This house is brand new, never been occupied, it has been used as a model home for the past year or so. Because it's a model it is outfitted with a ton of "upgrades". So if you were to build this house, you would pay the base price, plus extra for every upgrade you decide you want. But because it's a model, we are paying base price, and get all the upgrades free (at least a $15,000 value!!)
It is 1950 square feet, 2 car garage, 2 stories, 3 bedrooms plus an office, and 2 1/2 bath.
We have put an offer on the house yesterday and should hear back by Tuesday, but we aren't worried because there are no competing offers and we offered full price. 
The backyard is not finished, that is the big project with this house. It needs a fence, sprinklers, sod, and other landscaping. For right now it opens into a big (ugly) field, that will eventually be developed. It is not a huge backyard but it is a decent size for a brand new house, most have barely any yard at all! Plus with that big common park so close, it doesn't even matter, we have a ton of space there that we don't have to take care of!
Ok so here is the walkthrough. Feel free to skip my commentary...
Front of the house
Doorway
That is the front door. (notice the GORGEOUS thick plank walnut wood floors...upgrade!!)
When you walk in, on your right is the "bonus office room" where we would put an office and eventually a piano
Then you walk a few steps...
and it opens up into this Great Room, where the Kitchen, dining room, and living room are all open
Upgrades in here include the walnut wood floor, the dark cabinets with the crown molding, the pantry door, and the black appliances. Sp the kitchen...
the cool pantry...it has a counter in there with outlets so you can keep your toaster and other appliances out, but not in plain sight. LOVE that!
Then there's the kitchen and the dining room, the view from the living room
and the dining room, and that's the sliding door to outslide.
Then here's the living room.
So then if you walk along the left side of the living room, there's a door to the laundry room. One of my favorites about the house. It's a decent size, with hanging space and a counter. I am trying to convince Jared he should build a Laundry chute!
Then past the laundry room, if you take a few steps and turn right, is the master suite. It's cool because you can't see the door from the living room, it's tucked away, it's like totally separate from the rest of the house.
In the lefthand corner of that picture is the opening to the master bathroom, with his and hers sink, the updated cabinets, the upgraded back splash, and the upgrade around the mirror, it's like it's framed!
and the master shower, and the European style linen shelves that I love. BUT The only thing I don't like about the house is right there. I wanted a tub in the master bath so bad! But I will have to settle for one upstairs, and learn to love the big shower.
Oh there's also a door to the toilet, but I left that picture out, and straight back from the bathroom is the closet. THE closet. This sucker is huge.... and there's this cool extra storage space in the one corner. Our friend David suggested we turn it into a panic room with a false wall.... hmmm there's an idea.
Straight in
to the right
to the left
Ok so then let's go back to the front door, where on the right is the office, well if you go left, there is the half bathroom, again, I left out the toilet picture, but we have the framed mirror there too!
a coat closet and the door to the garage, then the stairs (upgraded banister)
 There are two bedrooms up here, one at each end of the story, both looking like this, just basic smaller bedrooms,

So here's the view from the doorway of the far bedroom. The stairs come up at the far left, then the first bedroom is at the end, then the lefthand door is the bathroom

and on the left (in the previous picture), before you get to the other bedroom is loft area. They call it a playroom, which it would be perfect for, but it could be a craft room (!!), an exercise room, anything we want until the future kiddos need a playroom. I LOVE that space, it is so unique!



 And that's it! phew! We could not be more excited, and we will keep everyone updated on the offer acceptance and other details as we move forward!

10/03/2012

Teaching & House Hunting.

What a fantastic past few weeks we have had!
2 Days after we got home from our cruise, I was once again despondently searching for jobs online. Though just the day before I vowed I would never look on Craigslist again, I did it, and I found an ad for an infant teacher in a daycare, and just like the bajillions of other applications I sent and email and attached my resume.
Two hours later I got an email back, and when it wasn't a scam (like 99.999% of every other job on Craigslist) I allowed myself to be a little excited. The lady said I looked like the perfect candidate and she wanted me to come into the daycare to fill out an extended application and to meet me.
So happily I found that the daycare is barely 10 minutes from our house, went in, and the director was very busy, but she said once she looked at my application and it looked good she would call me to set up an interview.
She called me 3 minutes after I left and set up an interview for the next day, where she offered me the full time teacher position in the infant room.
BUT it gets better. The head teacher in the infant room has been working there 6 years, and it just so happens that she put in her 2 weeks just as I started, making me the senior teacher, which means the infant class is now "Ms Shannon's Class", it's my classroom, and I'll be the head teacher! What a wonderful blessing this job has been, plus I absolutely adore it, though this week all the babies have been sick, which of course lead to all the teachers getting sick, including me.
I am so grateful for this opportunity, and to be able to work with such wonderful little ones every day!
Also, Jared and I finally took the plunge into Iphone-dom, and we are so happy! My Iphone 4s and my case that I'm in love with were two pre-birthday presents cuz...oh ya, my birthday's on Saturday!

Then this past weekend Skyler was able to come out and see us. We haven't seen him in like 6 months and have been missing him like crazy! We just hung out like the good old days when he lived with us.

Then Sunday night we went to Jared's 2nd Cousin Tara's house for dinner, and we celebrated a bunch of birthdays and Great aunt and uncle Jean and Loy getting their mission call to the family history center in Salt Lake!

Annndd for the other part of my title. We are house hunting...like for a real house. Our lease is up in December, and rates are SO stinking low right now, renting is such a waste! So we have been researching and finding houses we like, and we've seen a few houses with our realtor so far. We LOVE one that we saw last night, but we are taking the process slow so we can make the right decision, and it is so nice not to have to do it on a time crunch. We are so excited to have a place to call our own, with lots of space and lots of bedrooms and of course, top of my list, is a gorgeous kitchen. This means moving again in the next month or two, but I love change, and I am excited to move somewhere more permanent than living lease to lease.
We'll be sure to keep you updated on that, it is a fun and exciting and scary process! But we are so ready for a house!

9/17/2012

Caribbean Cruise 2012

Warning-this will be a long post...as this is my own personal account of what happened on our fabulous trip, I want to remember all the important stuff...you know...for posterity.
Ah what a wonderful world we live in where for a moderately priced ticket one can board an insanely sized boat, travel to far off places, eat to our heart's content, and party all night long. We had a wonderful experience with our Carnival cruise. This was the test cruise, neither of us were sold on the whole "cruising" thing, thinking we were "all-inclusive" people (we still have yet to test that theory), but we are definitely Cruising people.
Saturday September 1st we flew into Miami. Because of the 3-day weekend the city was crazy! We sat in traffic for almost an hour just to drive 6 miles from the airport to our hotel in Miami beach. Haha...oh I slipped...our "hotel"...I meant our bed. Because really...to call the place where we stayed a "hotel" is an insult to the beautiful resorts that surrounded us. Though because this wasn't the climax of our trip, all we needed was a place to sleep, so it worked fine. When we got in our room, there weren't towels we went down to the lobby to ask the Cuban receptionist for some, and he ran to the back room, and came out with a towel draped over each arm. At first I was convinced he had grabbed those from a stack of dirty ones, but was a little comforted when I took them and they were warm, right out of the dryer, so I convinced myself they were clean.
Regardless, we strolled on the beach that night, and spent the day on the beach all Sunday, and enjoyed delicious Cuban food for dinner.
Monday we woke up, caught a cab, and headed for the Port of Miami. This is quite a sight for someone who has never seen a port before. The cruise ships are so gigantic, it seems silly, but it just boggled my mind. It took a little while to get through security and to board, but finally we were in. They ushered us to get some lunch, while our room was still being prepared, which seems like a good idea in theory, until 3000 hungry people just waited in line for 45 minutes and are now rushing the buffets. So we ate a little, then wandered around and found the big Theater and hung out there until we could get into our room. We totally lucked out there. Ours was one of only 4 handicap rooms. Though that may give you a laugh, we just got assigned an open one, and the handicap rooms are like twice as big as the normal ones, so we were happy, plus we were on the same deck as all the food and the pools.
We got our bags delivered, and I unpacked them (I'm really into making hotel-stays as homey and comfortable as possible, which means taking advantage of the drawers and cabinets and closets). Then we headed outside to watch us embark! It was so cool, everyone on the ship stood at the railings and waved to passengers on other ships as we started off. Then there was this live music show on the deck where the band and singer were going to entertain us. So we changed into swim attire, started sunbathing and waited for the show. I then figured out that there is a stigma for people that perform on cruise ships for a reason. The live singer was just horrible. She kept singing these previously wonderful songs and it was so loud we just had to escape. When we finally did, we vowed not to listen to her ever again. (to be continued...)
That night we continues to explore the ship, and went to our first dinner. We picked late dining, thinking there would be less kids, surprisingly we didn't see many kids the whole trip. Anyway dinner was totally charming. We had a team of 3 waiters serving us who quickly learned our names, and the food was even pretty good. After showing my enthusiasm that night for this molten chocolate cake, the waiters teased me about it the rest of the trip... We were supposed to be sat with another couple, but they never showed up all week, so we had a nice quiet table just the two of us and it was some of my favorite time of the day.
Then we attended the first show in the theater, where our cruise director "Sparkles" came on stage and started trying to shmooze us over to buy stuff. Then they did a sampling of the comedy and the live shows. Then....the live singer came out, and proceeded to ruin some of the same songs she had ruined earlier in the day, we were trapped! We couldn't just walk out of a show! But we did. Everyone was drunk, and talking, we were the least rude. trust me. Then that night we went to the hopping "Point After Night Club" and danced! We had so much fun, even if we were the youngest, and only sober people on the dance floor. Everyone was having a blast, and it was so cool that this night club was on a boat. Crazy.
Tuesday was a day at sea, which consisted of pool time, tanning time, and a ton of people watching. I don't know about other cruises, but Carnival is a par-tay boat. From the minute you step on, to the minute you step off, it is about FUN and of course FUN equals booze, and expensive booze at that. This made for great people watching. The weather was perfect, it was amazing to be surrounded by the ocean, and music was playing and we laid out just relaxing and watching people almost the whole day! That night was elegant night for dinner, and meeting with the Captain. Well that night we also hit really rocky water, and though my seasick patches work well with normal movements, I found out they don't work so well on really rough water, so I made my way to the middle of the boat and convinced myself not to throw up after downing a few dramamine. It worked! And though I a had very little appetite for dinner, I was able to make it through the night just fine.



Wednesday was Grand Turk day, and power snorkel excursion day! so we woke up early and disembarked and waited for our guide. We had to take a bus to the bottom of the island where we were snorkeling, and the bus driver was so cool, and gave us a tour as we went. The poor island has to import drinking water. I don't think I'd like to live there...
The power snorkeling was so cool. I've never really snorkeled before, but I have found a new passion. Though the little scooter things they give you are nice, I actually prefer to snorkel just with flippers. There was a big baracuda that followed our group the whole time, and we saw a sting ray and a lot of fish. Jared was using the scooter to dive down to the reefs. We had a ton of fun and I'm glad we picked that excursion. Also here are some videos! Pardon the shakiness, and the noise, kinda hard to steer a scooter and film and snorkel all at once. Also I don't know why the color is all off...the originals aren't like that, just when I uploaded them...

video

video

The rest of the day at Grand Turk was uneventful, just relaxed on the beach, then we boarded the ship and headed out again.
Next stop on Thursday was Half Moon Cay, a private island owned by Carnival. This was mine and Jared's favorite day. I've never seen a more beautiful beach. We had to take little ferries from the cruise ship to the shore, but it was cool, we had to pull into this cove they called "pirate's cove" hidden from the beach, and walk to the beach. However, on our ferry, I saw this girl that looked really familiar, and when she shot me a dirty look, I realized it was that live singer that we totally hated. She was on our ferry! Wasn't she like working? Well luckily she didn't sing, and we got to the island and escaped.
It was just so beautiful, the water was crazy aqua and so clear, and the sand was so soft I wanted to lay in it forever! Since we only brought one snorkel, and I was dying to do it again, I rented one for the day so we could both do it instead of switching back and forth. Note to self, just invest in one, and bring it next time, it's worth it!
Later in the day Jared went on shore and I was still snorkeling and I found a barracuda all on my own, and this one was three times the size of the one I saw the previous day. he was just hanging out on the bottom of the sea, like 10 feet below me, and he had his mouth kind of open, and it was a little scary...but so cool. Then when Jared came back out I found a Stingray all on my own, and we watched as it swam out to sea. Then we just waded on the shore. it was so relaxing and so gorgeous, I could spend all day every day there.
That night, we went to this passenger talent show, where 4 brave souls sang to the audience, it reminded me of EFY. I was thoroughly enjoying it until the 3rd act, when the lady bravely singing "I will always love you" had a back up singer backstage. Pitchy...off key...too...loud...it was the live singer lady! We could not escape this woman! We did stay though, and I was oddly proud of my fellow passengers who were way braver (and drunker) than I was.
Friday was Nassau, Bahamas, and it surprised me. There we got much more of a tourist experience, and got to see the life of the island. I actually felt like I was in a foreign country. Jared and I walked to find a beach, where of course we snorkeled a bit. Then we walked around the city and shopped and totally enjoyed the experience. Jared bought me this pretty elephant bracelet that means good luck and I love it.
After we exhausted ourselves we got back on the boat and spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool, with people getting last minute vacation wasted, and talking about the 25 other cruises they had been on. I loved it. Then Friday night we went to all of the comedy shows (2 comedians, 3 acts). One of the guys had toured with Gladys Knight and the pips, for like 12 years, he was hilarious!
Saturday morning we got back to Miami, where we got through customs without a hitch, were the 3rd family off the boat, and quickly caught a cab to the airport for our long flight back home.
We loved our cruise and can't wait to go on another one. We are so happy we were able to go! Also in closing I'd like to share this video...a clip from my ever-favorite Gilmore Girls. This is all I could think of every time we ran into that live singer lady...
http://youtu.be/bCuPs7upsVI?t=3m