Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tortes: Our "Eating In" experiment so far

We're almost three months into our year of "Eating In" and we're finally in a good groove. The first month I craved fast food and going to restaurants, but now I don't even think about it. I definitely feel like I need to start preparing some meals to keep frozen for those nights I don't want to cook, but so far I've really enjoyed cooking something different every night and playing with new recipes.

One new thing I've been trying to implement in our dinners is having more vegetarian meals. I always struggled cooking without some sort of meat because I worried that Big Papa wouldn't be satisfied without it. I'd hate to see him still hungry after dinner. But deep down I knew that it would be healthier for both our bodies and our budget if we only had meat 3-4 times a week. The first few weeks into this I struggled to find recipes that looked filling and delicious. Tofu just isn't my favorite and fresh produce can cost so much. But now, and mostly thanks to the wonders of beans, we've got quite a few recipes that we want to become staples in our cooking.

Here are some of our new favorite vegetarian meals (see Mom, I posted the links for you so you don't need to search for them yourself :) ) -- oh and did you know that chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same thing? What a concept!

Falafel pitas with cucumber-yogurt dressing
I've never had falafel until this, but we ALL loved it, even Goober. I always am intimidated by recipes that involve making patties and cooking them in some oil, but these were really easy to make.

Corn and potato chowder
Warm and delicious for fall evenings!

Pasta with chickpeas and broccoli rabe
Nice, light pasta dish. We just used regular broccoli florets.

Pasta with eggplant-tomato sauce
The eggplant gives a really yummy texture to it.

Skillet summer vegetable lasagna
So good, but a little pricy with all the veggies and ricotta. Still though, so yummy.

Pasta with chickpeas and garlic sauce
We had this last night. You blend the chickpeas after cooking them and so they make a sauce for your pasta. We had broccoli in it instead of tomatoes because it's what we had on hand. It was delicious!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tortes: The first post!

Well, I didn't make a torte, but I made a DELICIOUS apple pie. We had Big Papa's Mom visiting us this weekend, and so I thought it would be fun to have a special treat. I used my favorite cookbook (allrecipes.com) and found the top rated recipe for apple pie. Instead of coating each apple with cinnamon sugar, you pour some caramely goodness over the crust and apples. The caramel on the crust added just a little crunch to each bite and really brought out that great, rich flavor. It was ooey-gooey and oh so yummy! I'll definitely make it again!

Grandma and Goober reading books! Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What we've been doing!

Lots of playing!

Since the weather's started cooling off, we've been enjoying exploring the local parks. Our little Goob loves the tunnels, slides, and swings. She also likes the eat the sand and the wood chips, so that makes life interesting.

Mommy took my wood chip friend :(
Getting ready!
Crazy post slide face.

Lots of dancing!

Lots of cooking!

Our "Eating In" challenge is going very well. I've been playing with new recipes and baking a lot more bread which, thanks to my beautiful kitchen-aid, is much easier to do (thanks Mom!)

Lots of learning!

Big Papa is busy learning the law while Goobie is busy learning... well... everything! She says "Hi", [da] (for dog), [ba] (for ball), and [An:n] (for food-- yeah, that's a stretch). She isn't super chatty, but we catch her "reading" out loud to herself,  playing with sounds, and starting to sing. She's getting really good at mimicking actions and knows how to pat her head, touch her ear and nose, and rub her tummy when we ask her too. It's pretty incredible to watch how quickly she learns.

Her crib after her "nap"
She's also learning how to be a little trouble maker. One day she seemed to be having a hard time going down for her nap, but she eventually quieted down so I didn't think anything of it. When she woke up I found that she had figured out how to pull her toys from her toy box into her crib. We've since moved the toy box further away so that nap time really is nap time.

She's also climbing. Yikes. I walked into her room to see that she had climbed from her chair on top of the AC vent, pulling pictures off the wall! This girl has no fear!

Looking at the plants and flowers!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Three Tips of the Day

Torte tip:

When your wife makes a delectable cheesecake for her birthday celebration, be sure to have company over, soon, or consequences could be disastrous.

Tort tip:

Don't let your five-year-old move a plastic chair at an outdoor dinner party that may or may not be soon-to-be-sat-upon by an older gentlewoman with a brittle hip. That's potential Battery, baby! Also, don't leave Torts case readings till the third day of a three day weekend...

Toddler tip:

If your toddler is bored, resist the temptation to let her play with an opened bag of fish sticks - no matter how secure the twist tie seems. Your vacuum will smell like sea-food.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just pictures this time

(because I know there would be some very unhappy grandparents if I didn't put some pictures up of the Goob after posting such a long, wordy post)

At the Children's Museum

Flying! Maybe she'll be a pilot like her uncle!

Or maybe a dentist?

No, no, gardener!

Loving all the new toys to play with.

Having fun!

The Splash Pad

Watching the other kids playing.

She's all smiles!

Getting wet is so funny!

She's our brave little baby!

Beginnings and Lists

Yesterday afternoon Big Papa headed out the door and began his life as a law school student! Orientation is all this week which includes a pass/fail introduction to law class. He enjoyed the first meeting, but was mortified when he told me that his phone went off during the President of the Iowa State Bar's remarks. "I can't believe I'm that guy!" he kept saying. Oh well, everyone needs to have an embarrassing moment like that now and again :)

Today was my first day trying out my new life as the wife of a law school student and I have to say, I did pretty well for myself. I've organized my cleaning schedule and set some goals to help myself stay productive and happy. I'm doing things like:

  • Zone cleaning: Everyday I clean a different "zone" in the apartment -- one day is the bathroom, while another is dusting and vacuuming, etc. Rather than cleaning the whole apartment in one day and getting frustrated doing it by myself or feeling guilty when I don't finish it all, I only have to clean one zone each day. Once my chores are done, I'm done! It only takes about 20 minutes each day and the house stays clean and neat = happy me.
  • Menu planning: We've set a goal this year to "Eat in" meaning, we won't be eating out at restaurants for a year. I'll blog about this later (and our reasoning behind it) but it requires me to plan, plan, plan! We brainstormed tons of recipes together last month so I can pick meals off of a spreadsheet each week. So far things are going great and I'm enjoying planning healthy meals for our family (though I did make this brownie thing yesterday with sweetened condensed milk that's already gone, oops)
  • Exercising: Eventually I'm planning on getting a pass to the University gym so that I can go in the evenings while Big Papa does some studying at home, but today I did a yoga video and went on a long walk with Goobie. If I've learned anything about my personality this past year is that if I stay inside all day and don't do much, I get grumpy. I need to exercise for my own sanity and for my husband and daughters sake. Plus, exercising is apparently really good for your body -- what a concept! :)
  • Singing: After my senior recital, I pretty much stopped practicing. We moved cross country, had to get settled in with my folks, then moved again. I kind of lost the motivation to keep trying. Once we got settled here in Iowa, I realized that I was really missing that side of me. Now I've made a goal to sing everyday -- I love doing it, and my sweet Goober loves it to (she particularly loves lip buzzing with me). I feel so much better about myself when I keep music in my life because it is a huge part of who I am.

I know that things will probably need to be tweaked every once in a while since we can't completely plan our future, but so far I am really enjoying the goals that we've set as a family. We love our life here and are so grateful to have the chance to be where we are. We love:
  • Our apartment: not only does the layout and space rock, we have an assigned parking spot, laundry just down the stairs, central air, and in house maintenance that love our cute Goober. Oh and I'm kind of in love with our new shower curtain.
  • Our new ward: In our church the congregation we attend every Sunday is called a "ward". Ours is made up of all the married students going to the University. There are probably about 50 families, most of them with at least one member of their family in grad school. They are some smart cookies! We have felt so welcomed and have already been invited to dinner multiple times. Not only does Big Papa have quite a few built in mentors to guide him through law school, I have quite a few built in friends to do play groups, go shopping, or just spend time with while our hubbies study. Hooray for support groups!
  • The downtown area: Lots of fun shops, a great public library, and a splash pad that Goobie has already really taken too. Who knew Iowa City was such a cool town!
  • The Children's Museum: So stinkin' cute. We'll definitely be back!
  • The parks: It seems like the park district and community take great pride in their public areas because every park we've been to so far has been gorgeous. The playground equipment all looks fresh and new and the landscaping is beautiful and very well cared for. We've gone for quite a few walks around here and still can't get enough of the parks!
  • Hyvee: I worried that I wouldn't find a replacement for my favorite grocery store (what can I say, there really is a family feeling at Macey's), but Hyvee did it! It's pretty old school since all of workers are dressed in black slacks and white shirts with name tags (yes, they kind of look like Mormon missionaries), and everyone is helpful and friendly. It is more pricey so today I went to Walmart for most of my things and then hit up the Hyvee for my produce. I do love Hyvee...
My list of things I'm not loving so far is very short:
  • The flies: They are everywhere. It's gross.
  • Milk: $3.50 for a gallon. Oh 3 for $5 creamery milk, where did you go?!
So yeah, we're happy and alive! Well, we'll see if Big Papa is still alive tomorrow after his first big study session, but I'm pretty sure he'll survive.

More posts to come including:
  • Eating In: brilliant or crazy?
  • Torts: where Big Papa learns lots of new words
  • Apartment Safari: observing the wild Goober in her natural habitat

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Goobie!!!

We made it safely to Iowa! Along with all the craziness that comes with moving into a new apartment (post on that later), we celebrated a big birthday. Our little Goob turned 1! I can't believe that she is that old, it's too weird. It's been fun to watch her develop into a sweet, but very feisty little girl. We love having her in our lives and are so grateful that she's such a goober!
Just a few hours old.
Now a silly toddler!
My parents helped us move into our new place and decided to stay until her birthday. We had cake and Goobie had fun playing with the frosting on her mini cake. It was a fun little party with all of us, including Big Papa's family via Skype, watching her enjoy her special day!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

St. Louis and BIG news

Last weekend we took a quick trip down to St. Louis for my cousin and his wife's wedding reception. We didn't see the arch or even go into the city, but we did do some pretty great things!

Goober tried out a baby rocking chair at Cracker Barrel and loved it.

She also slid down the slide and learned how to climb up it.

We gave our child a sugar high by giving her a lollipop, ice cream, and a piece of cake at the reception (don't worry, not all at the same time)

But the big news is... our little Goobie has enough hair for pigtails!!! Yup, she's adorable.

Our next blog post will probably be in IOWA!!! This summer really has flown by.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Garage Sale, Tissues, Cell Phones, and Beach Boys

Looking a little nervous surrounded by so many animals!
Part of the deal we made with my folks when they offered to let us stay with them this summer was that we would be in charge of a few garage sales.We had a smaller garage sale last month and sold a lot, but were hoping to sell the majority of the things at the neighborhood garage sale this past weekend. After having three kids, two wedding receptions, and moving a few times, there was a lot of stuff to sell. Tons of books, piles of stuffed animals, and lots and lots of vases. I think the only truly shocking thing we discovered amid our sorting was how many candles and candle holders my mom owned -- and she can't even smell, she just LOVES candles.

Now that the sale is over and pretty much everything left has been donated, we've been able to relax a bit more. Our Goober has been doing some cute new tricks and dazzling us with her spunky personality. It's fun to see her go down to the basement with me and start playing with my old dolls. When she sees them after not playing with them for awhile she gasps and gets a big smile on her face. She's too cute.

Although she does love her dolls, Goobie prefers another toy. Sometimes we forget to close the doors to this big cabinet/wardrobe thing (we call it a shrank -- it's German), and so the little Goober explores what's inside. Instead of looking at different things though, she always goes for the little travel packs of kleenex. She carries them around and plays with them. Big Papa even wrote a song called "Me and My Pack of Tissues," though we can't remember it now -- so sad, it could have been big. I didn't worry about her eating them until I discovered the remains of one of her tissue friends all over her crib. Poor little pack of tissues! 

And now, for your viewing pleasure: Two short films.

1. Singing along.

2. Chatting on her "phone".

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Prologue to 1L

Getting ready for law school is much like getting ready for marriage or a baby: nearly everyone who's done it has loads of advice to give, and they look back on their experiences with either fondness or shuddering whispers. It's taken me nearly a year of asking attorneys about law school to keep from plunging into either self-doubt or ballooning overconfidence after every conversation with a Juris Doctor. Law school is what you make of it, I've decided, and I want to enjoy the learning experience as much as possible and not waste my time worrying about all the million things I don't know. Still, I think a good deal of the practical advice I received is worth following, but some of it still doesn't make sense. The following is a list of most common mentionings of law school grads that'll probably make more sense once I'm in the thick of it:

1. Start studying for the final during the first week of classes. In fact, worry more about the final than being prepared for class every day.

This concept blows my mind. I'm so used to class preparation as the very best way to be prepared for finals, as it seems reasonable that a teacher would test students primarily on information at least somewhat linked to classroom discussion. Apparently there is so much material for which law students are accountable that the professor can't hope to cover it all in class.

2. Buy class supplements (the right ones) as soon as possible.

Since when aren't $500 textbooks fat enough to have all the stuff you need to do well on exams? Here, I did a little homework. So law school texts aren't written like traditional textbooks with analytical/historical breakdowns of topics written by the author. From what I understand, the books, at least first year books, are filled with case after case argued at the the highest courts in the land, with very little in the way of explanations or indications of why the case is important or what lines of argument deserve the most study. The point, I believe, is to learn the law by studying how its been interpreted more than simply memorizing statutes, and to learn how to pick out important stuff by...well...reading a lot of stuff and trying to find the important bits. And I guess this is where the supplements come in--they outline what you should be learning from big cases and provide explanations and stuff. But a professor may agree or disagree with what's written in those commercial supplements, or may expect more detailed knowledge on this or that, so either the teacher or his/her past students should know which supplements are best.

3. Be prepared to spend all day and night at school.

This rather unpleasant bit of advice is fairly straightforward, but I've never had to study that much before, so I have a hard time imagining the need to keep a sleeping bag in the library.

I'm curious to see how actually being in law school will change the way I think about the above-mentioned advice. The next few lines are the pieces of advice that I think will be the most important for a guy like me:

1. Try to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

Since I'm really doing this for my family, I think it would be awful of me to ignore them for the next three years in the name of better grades. Besides, I think I'd go nuts without spending time with them--I really do need my dear wife and a daily dose of adorable daughter--and they need me, too. Furthermore, if I don't make myself exercise, study the scriptures, eat healthy foods, and relax once in a while, I'll turn into a fat law zombie that no one will want to hire, anyway.

2. Have fun.

Honestly, if I can't find some way to make learning to think like a lawyer fun, I'm probably in the wrong place. The trick will be to avoid comparing myself to other students (your final grade is determined by how you measure up to your classmates), going to get help often at the study center, meeting with professors, and keeping in school in balance with the rest of my life. I think finding good study buddies will help, too.

3. Stay organized.

I think my wife will have to get me started on the right track here...I'm kind of a mess.

So there you have it. We're T-minus 2 months or so till we start student orientation at Iowa. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying working for a software start-up in downtown Chicago doing pretty stress-free work in a fun office. It's fun carpooling with the CEO and VP of Sales, neighbors of my wife's parents who got me the job, and really great guys.

Next post from Big Papa will probably be about the Alumni/Networking dinner in a few weeks--hobnobbing with U Iowa Law Grads who made it big in Chicago.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Goob can Move!

So it's root, root, root for the Cubbies!

On Friday we went to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field. It was a first for both Big Papa and our little Goober. We had a great time riding the train into the city, taking the Subway (or the EL when it gets out of the ground), and watching some baseball. Even though they didn't win, we still had lots of fun!
First Happy Meal!

Ready to take the Subway

Amazing seats! Thanks!

Our little family ready to watch the game!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hungry, Hungry, Goober

Lovin' dinner time!
Our little Goober loves to eat. I've known that about her since she was just two days old, which for me, a new to nursing mommy, meant a really long night of soreness and pinching pain. But we figured that whole thing out and she became a nursing champion. For her first six months of life she only had breast milk and would eat every two hours during the day. She gained weight super well and would get lots of compliments on her "comfy" physique.

Once we added solids, I worried because she just wasn't interested. Rice cereal -- yuck! Pureed peas -- blech. But, we eventually got her eating sweet potatoes, green beans, and yummy pureed fruits to great success. Now, as a nine, almost ten month old, she won't touch the pre-mashed baby food, preferring to eat "big-girl foods". This is just fine with me -- she has eight teeth and can handle a little chew/mash action, and saves us money not having to buy all those jars! Some of her favorite foods are:
Oh, and did I mention she loves mashed potatoes?

-- frozen peas
-- cooked carrots
-- cottage cheese
-- yogurt
-- turkey
-- oatmeal with cinnamon-sugar
-- bananas
-- popsicles
-- animal crackers
-- and of course: cheerios

Finger lickin' good!

Today was a particularly adventurous food day. I made a blackberry and blueberry smoothie for a mid-morning snack and thought I'd give her a taste. I used my straw to ladle some of it into her mouth, but she just latched right on to it and sucked it all out. At that point Goobie and I just took turns sipping our yummy smoothie from the straw (so cute). Then for lunch, Grandma spoiled us with a trip to Panera Bread. I figured I'd just get her some bread or give her pieces of the meat from my sandwich, but we decided to be brave and order her some mac n' cheese. She LOVED it.

I love that my little Goob loves to eat, but it's hard to tell when she's full. She swallows her food then opens up her little mouth like a baby bird ready for the next bite. Today, I knew that she shouldn't be eating the whole bowl of macaroni since it's portioned for a 3-4 year old, but she just kept asking for more! Her eyes are definitely bigger than her stomach.
"Mom! Do you like see food?"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hello there!

When we started this blog, I vowed I would never let it go stagnant. But, life happens, and our lives have been very busy! Ready for an update?

- Our Goober is mobile! She crawls all over the place at lightening speeds and loves walking around when holding onto hands. She has taken some steps but nothing too major (whew, I'm not ready for a walker yet!). She seems much happier now that she can get around, though it's made me realize just how non-baby-proof the world is.
With my AMAZING teacher

- I had my senior recital. A lot of hard work, long hours, and tears went into its preparation, and I was thrilled with the results. I loved being on that stage in front of my friends, family, and teachers, singing some of the most beautiful music in the world. I also was grateful to sing two duets with my handsome hubby (he's such a rock star!).  

With Cheesecake Mama's parents
- Big Papa and I have graduated! After five years of hours and hours of practicing, studying, and stressing out, we both received our BM's in Vocal Performance (isn't it funny how our lives seem to center around poop jokes, even when our baby isn't involved?).

Sorry, I had to do a BM joke. When Big Papa was filling out all of his applications for law school, he could never remember what degree he was getting. I think that most of his applications say that he was getting a BFA (bachelors of fine arts). But I always reminded him about our poop degree!!!

With Big Papa's family
Anyway, graduation was wonderful. Big Papa and I both got a bit emotional during convocation when we sang "Because I Have Been Given Much." We truly have been blessed and given so much during our time at Brigham Young University. We've had incredible teachers who've cared deeply about our progress and personal lives. We've had classes that have inspired us to be forever learning. And having had all of these things, we're excited to share what we've learned and what we've become with those around us wherever we go.

- We moved! An hour after graduation, we were feverishly packing and cleaning up our old apartment with a tight deadline hanging over our heads. With a lot of help and sweat from both our families, we were able to pass our check out appointment with flying colors -- she said ours was the best one all day.

We spent that next weekend at Big Papa's parent's house and had a nice time celebrating Easter and getting a few last minute things done. We didn't realize how many loose ends needed to be tied up before we could leave the state. Monday morning was spent running errands all over town. As soon as we finished, we said a teary goodbye to Big Papa's family.

Then, we left.

It was surreal seeing the mountains disappear, knowing that we wouldn't be back for a good long while. But there wasn't a lot of time to ponder with an almost 9 month old in the back seat, obviously equally traumatized at leaving her mountain home. She had one good day of travel, when she slept all day, but whenever she was awake she would howl. We're grateful the trip is over and we don't have to do that again (at least not for a while).

- Now we're all settled into our summer home, living with my parents in the Midwest. Goober has loved exploring the new house (much bigger than the old apartment) though we have to watch her closely as she's discovered both stairs and the pebbles in the fireplace (yum!). Big Papa and I have enjoyed jogging together every morning around a lake. I had to jog around that lake during high school, but it's a lot more fun doing it now with my husband.

That's all for now!

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's High Chair Time

We started Goobie on solid foods one month ago, but didn't have a high chair. We tried feeding her on laps, on paper towel covered carpet, on the linoleum in the kitchen, and even on the kitchen table. She sits up really well, but her curiosity about everything around her makes it difficult to keep her focused. Usually she finds a way to get back onto her tummy, getting sweet potatoes everywhere. We decided it was time to buy a high chair.

So today, I loaded up the Goober into the car and ventured to one of my favorite stores, IKEA. They have a high chair that's very affordable and compact -- perfect for our little apartment. But to get to the high chairs we had to walk through the whole store. Pretty soon I had decorated our entire apartment a la IKEA. It took all I could to not sort through the window treatments to find the perfect fit for our new place. But, I walked away and only left with the high chair and some plastic bowls and plates for Goobie.

Lookin' good!

I've got my own chair, Mommy!

In other news, it's T-minus 7 weeks until graduation. I can't believe it's finally here! It's weird to think we'll be leaving this place that has been our first home as a little family. But, we're excited and ready to take that first step in our next adventure!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My baby likes to burrow

Our little Goobie is figuring out how to move. She can turn herself around in circles and roll really well, but when she tries to move forward, she just scoots herself backwards.

Well, yesterday morning Big Papa went in to go check on her in her crib and almost had a heart attack -- where was Goobie? All he could see were blankets! He quickly lifted them up to find that she had scooted herself all the way under her covers. She was totally happy, comfy, and warm in her blanket burrow. I couldn't get a picture of her all the way in it without waking her up, but I did get this one. I'd say it's still pretty cute.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Speed and Subtleties of Sound

I don't wake up when the goobster cries at night, unless she's really howling even after mommy's done her best to console her, which is my cue to get up and do my daddy duties. It's not that I'm intentionally ignoring the baby crying--I honestly sleep through it. No, really, I do!

My voice teacher had this explanation handy. Apparently, the size of the small space between a baby's vocal folds is exactly the same size as the entrance to that specific baby's mom's inner ear. Ergo, a baby's cry hovers around an "ideal frequency" to be heard by the mother. This made me feel better, even if it turns out to be total hogwash. My wife is Programmed to wake up, and I'm not.

However, other recent events are messing with the sleep patterns of our little household..

Sleeping in on the weekends is fantastic--especially long weekends, like this current weekend we're weekending. My wife does too, although Goobie McGooberson has decided these last few mornings that 5:30 am is a fantastic time for a pre-breakfast breakfast, so poor Momma hasn't been getting her Z's, and tells me so after I wake up wonderfully refreshed around 7:30 am.

I'd like to say that last sentence was entirely true in regards to our current weekend. Nope. Not even. And why? Is it because I'm trying to use my weekendy time more wisely? Is it because I'm getting up early to hit the gym with, like, no one there but the sleepy door-watcher person and a couple juicers on the weights and marathon runners on the treadmills?

I'd like to say that one of those reasons is true.


I've been waking up at 6 am every morning since Friday to a soft, but sharp chirping sound coming from near the window. The Early Bird, you say, is visiting my apartment?

No, not the Early Bird...

At first, I couldn't tell where the sound was coming from--I got down on my hands and knees and looked under the bed. I checked all of our electronic devices. I checked Momma's sock drawer. I checked my new watch (um..it's totally analog) to see if it was self-destructing (it's kinda fancy like that).

Then Momma told me that it was coming from the vent...and then it hit me..in waves.

First, I then understood it must be our downstairs neighbor's alarm clock.

Second, that our downstairs neighbors probably aren't home, because even the most stubborn snoozers will at least hit the snooze button/turn off the alarm after at most 5 minutes of a loud alarm buzz.

Third, that our downstairs neighbors are probably gone for the long weekend to stay with family or friends.

Fourth, that our downstairs neighbors' alarm clock would thus be buzzbuzzbuzzing every morning this weekend at 6 am without anyone to turn it off. And it's not one of those turn-off-after-a-few-minutes alarms....

I checked. It turns off at around 8:34 am.

So, not only will my poor wife be woken up around 5 am every morning by the baby, but will have to wake up at 6 am, too, right after she settles down after a feeding.

But much worse is that I, too, will be sleep-deprived. For there is nothing worse than a sleep-deprived Set of parents and a happy baby. Because the parents get jealous, and people are gonna think we hate/don't appreciate our kid when she's being all cute, and we don't care.

Oh, well. I guess we'll..nap..or something.

Friday, February 18, 2011

House Hunters pt. 2

The Reveal!

After much deliberation, number crunching, and well, lots of thinking, we have decided where our little family will live during the first year of our law school adventure. Originally we were set on choosing option 2 -- the price seemed to good to be true and I (Cheesecake Mama) loved the idea of having a washer and dryer in our apartment. But after talking to the management, we found out that we couldn't apply until the end of May. They also told us that many of the residents would be staying for the next year so she couldn't really promise us any chance of getting an apartment there. We thought about putting down a deposit on another place while we waited to see if we could get into option 2, but decided that would be a very expensive gamble. So with that, option 2 left the table.

Choosing between option 1 and 3 was tricky. Both offered a lot of the same things, but option 1 required us to pay gas and electric. We are currently paying for both in our apartment and the bills can get as high as $100 a month. With that in mind we realized that OPTION 3 was our best choice! Even though the rent is higher, we would only be worrying about the electricity bill. All in all, our cost of living would end up being very similar to what we pay now, but we would be living in a bigger and better apartment very close to campus! We are so excited and can't wait to move into our new home!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

House Hunters pt. 1

I love HGTV. Property Virgins, Income Property, Sarah's House, Property Ladder -- I love them all. But the show that started my obsession would have to be House Hunters. Oh, the drama! The excitement! The choices! Big Papa and I will stay up for 30 minutes more each night just to see which house they choose. It's also fun because it allows us to talk about what we would like in our future home. We won't be buying our first house for quite a while (three years of law school, and then few more years after that to pay off our student loans and save for a nice down payment), but we like to dream, just the same.

Currently, our House Hunters skills have come in handy as we search for our own home for the next year. Come August, we will be relocating to a new city, but we need to find a place now because, like in most college towns, the nice apartments fill up by May. After lots of google searches we came up with our top three choices, which we will share in House Hunters style. Which one will Big Papa, Cheesecake Mama, and their little Goob choose to make their first law school home?

Option 1: 

Rent: $645

Size: 801 sq. ft.
Utilities paid by tenant: Gas and Electric
Amenities: Air conditioning, dishwasher, coin operated laundry, playground, pool, one block away from a park, close to bus stop.

Nice and roomy living room. 
I like the tiles!
Ooh! There's enough space for a table in the kitchen!

Overall impression: Great price, but expensive utilities. Like the location for the parks, pool, and playground, but it's a 30 minute walk for Big Papa to campus.

Option 2:  

Rent: $480

Size: 630 sq. ft.
Utilities paid by tenant: Gas and Electric
AmenitiesWasher/Dryer hookups, cable and internet included in rent, close to bus stop

Unfortunately, pictures were not available to download for Option 2, but I will describe it for you:

Living room: Very small, window blocked by the AC unit (which is optional). Vinyl floor.

Kitchen: Basic size, mini scale oven, hookups for the washer. Vinyl floor.

Bathroom: Small. Vinyl floor.

Bedrooms: Basic stuff, hookups for dryer in master. More vinyl floor.

Overall impression:  Love the price and having W/D hookups. But, it's the smallest of the three options, is much older and warn down, no AC, and the washer and dryer are in different rooms -- just a little weird. The entire apartment is covered in vinyl flooring as well so we'd need to find area rugs. It's also the farthest away from campus for Big Papa.

Option 3:

Rent: $720
Size: 900 sq. ft.
Utilities paid by tenant: Electric
Amenities: Air conditioning, dishwasher, coin operated laundry, extra storage, pool, heating and cooling paid by the complex

Nice size bedrooms.
Newly renovated bathroom!

Nice sized living space.
FABULOUS kitchen.
Overall impression: Most expensive option, but the utilities we pay would be super cheap since the complex pays for the heating and cooling. It's also the biggest with a large kitchen. This is the closest option to campus -- only a 15 minute walk for Big Papa. 

So, which option will these apartment hunters choose? Option 1 with the park and playground? The cheaper, but smaller, and quirkier option 2? Or option 3, the most expensive rent, but greatest amenities? We'll reveal their decision after the break!