Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Predictions

I always find it hard to try to predict what will happen in the next year.  It seems like there is always so many unexpected things that happen during the year.  Have you ever heard the saying "If you want to hear God laugh show him your plans"?  It's amazing how my predictions for 2012 differed from what actually happened during the year...  but I keep thinking that the older I get the more I should be able to predict what is going to happen in my life...  WELL!  Here is my best try...

In 2013....

  • I will start working as a Material Capacity Planner in January at Swagelok.  This prediction I feel pretty confident with.
  • We will get to move into our new house in late March/ early April.  Our current move in date is March 28th.
  • We will get a new big screen tv, refrigerator, washer and dryer... and if all goes well we will also get a dining room table...
  • I know that Cody wants a pool table... so we will see if that addition is added to our basement as well.
  • In June, Hannah and Kyle are going to get married.  So in the months before the wedding I'm sure I will be spending time with Hannah doing all of the "bridal" things.
  • We will be building a deck and landscaping our yard during the spring/summer. 
  • Cody and I will celebrate our 2nd year of dating!
  • During the 4th of July weekend Cody and I have tentative plans to go to New York City and the Finger Lakes with one of Cody's best friend and his girlfriend.  Then we are going to go to Hancock for Kelsie's birthday.
  • Later in July I am going to switch positions at Swagelok and start working in Customer Service. 
  • We will probably get two male kittens after we get home from Hancock... We want an orange cat and probably a cat that is a different color.  We have been joking that their names will be Timon and Puma from the Lion King.
  • I am going to guess that we will probably go on another trip sometime throughout the year, because that is what Cody and I love to do.  I'm not sure where we will go, but I wouldn't be surprised if we did go on a trip at some point.  Personally I'd love to go on a cruise if we can swing it!
  • I'm also kind of thinking that there could be a ring involved at some point in 2013... but we'll see.
  • I would expect us to stay at our house for Thanksgiving...  I am really excited to host our first party at our house.  I just hope nothing gets broken or spilled during it!
  • Also we will have our first Christmas in our new house!!  Yay!!  :)

I guess time will tell how true my predictions are... I feel like I should be pretty close this year!

2012 in Review

Since it is the end of 2012, I thought that I'd look back on the year and talk about everything that happened in 2012.  After that I am planning on writing a blog about my 2013 predictions.  So here are some of the highlights of 2012...

Cody and I celebrated our first Valentine's Day together! These were the beautiful flowers he had delivered to me.  We still have this vase at our house now.

This was the wonderful dinner that he cooked me while I was in class.

In 2012 we went on our first cruise.  We went to the Grand Caymen Islands, Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan.  We loved this cruise and we want to go on another one really badly!  I can't wait until we go again.

I graduated from BGSU after 5 long years!!

Thanks to everyone that came to watch the ceremony and then out to dinner later.  I really appreciate the help everyone gave me moving out of my apartment, and then into the house Cody and I were renting.

Right after graduating Cody and I moved in together for the first time.  We lived in our 3 bedroom bungalow.  It was very nice for us while we were there, but with the amount that we paid in rent it made sense to move out and into our dream home after one year.

I went to China with my dad!  We had a great adventure and I realized my dream of climbing to the top of the Great Wall of China.

Right after I got back from China... Cody and I promptly went to Niagara Falls.  It was Cody's first time in Niagara Falls.  We did the tour under the falls. 

On June 4th I started at Swagelok as a FSG Scheduler.  This was my first rotation at Swagelok.  I reported to Jevon Reile.  I met a lot of people at Swagelok in 2012.  I participated in the Step Challenge and I walked over 10,000 steps a day for a couple months.  I lost almost 20 lbs. during these couple of months, but unfortunately I've gained about 10 back since the challenge has ended.

Cody and I celebrated our one year anniversary together on June 20th!  It was truly a wonderful a year together.

After attending so many country concerts last year... I finally went with Cody to a concert that he was interested in... the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Hannah picked out her wedding dress!  And then we all picked out our bridesmaids dresses.  I can't wait for this wedding in 2013.

My cousin Aaron got married.  His ceremony was in a beautiful church, and the reception was gorgeous.  Jacqueline's dress was very pretty.

Here is the updated sibling photo.  Too bad Uncle Timmy wasn't there to be in it as well.

Here is an updated cousin's picture.  Except Raquel wasn't there either.

A lot of fantastic and huge things happened in 2012, but I think the one thing that is going to impact us the most in the future is that Cody and I decided to buy a house together!!  We are so excited about our new house!!  We can't wait to get to move into it next year!

In Thanksgiving Cody and I went back to Las Vegas.  We stayed in a hotel that was in the middle of the strip.  It was so nice to stay in a central location.  While we enjoyed our trip... I have a feeling that it is going to be quite some time before we head back to Vegas again.

While we were in Vegas we also got to see Criss Angel!!  I've been looking forward to seeing him for so long.  We were both fans of him and it was cool to go to the show.

We also went to the brand new buffet at Caesar's Palace.  It was a 20 million dollar buffet!  It was delicious!!!  They had all the King Crab legs that we could eat!  They were freshly steamed and very good!!  They also had some fabulous dumplings that were super tasty.  One of my favorite parts was their crepe maker!  Yum Yum!

We went on a night club tour as well.  We went to 3 of the top night clubs in Vegas.  Drinks are expensive at them!!!  But the nightclubs were pretty cool to experience.  I had on a new pair of high heel shoes, and my feet were dying by the end of the night!

Last but not least we got to go to the Hoover Dam.  It wasn't too far from Vegas and it was cool to see it.  There was an area that was really suspicious about the place...  not a whole lot to do there, but it was still neat to say we've been there.

Overall I'd say that 2012 was a pretty awesome year.  I can't wait to see what 2013 brings!!  I'm going to post my 2013 predictions soon!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Building a house!

Yes it's true!  Cody and I are going to build a house.  We are building with Ryan Homes in North Royalton, OH.  Our expected close date is March 26th but the actual date might vary.  Now we've been getting asked the question... why are you doing things out of order?  I mean technically you're supposed to get engaged/married before you buy a house...   but to us... it was either we could have money for a wedding or a house down payment.  With all the rent that we are currently paying we decided that it would be better to put our money towards a house now and then get married afterwards.  Some have asked... why not finance the ring?  Well... the mortgage company won't let us.  They don't want us to get any new debts which would make our debt to income ratio go up.  They told us not to finance anything until after we close on our house in March.
So what made us decide to build?  Well... honestly it wasn't that much more than buying an already built house.  At first we were interested in looking at already built houses, but we quickly realized that there wasn't anything that was exactly what we wanted.  We've been watching HGTV shows for the past year or two, and we know that renovations always take more time and money than you ever expect.  We wanted a house that was energy efficient and that had all new updates on it.  Also having a home that is just ours was very appealing.  SO that is a big reason why we decided to build.  Also, we got a pretty good deal on our house from Ryan Homes, and with interest rates at 3.125% we thought we'd be a fool to pass up on the opportunity! 

 We are building the Palermo model.  And please ask Cody on how to pronounce it correctly, because I always butcher it haha.  We are building Elevation A which will be similar to the picture up above, but we are going to have an all brick front (pictures below).   Here is a view of the floor plan that we decided on and our options.

Here is the floor plan of our main level.  I tried to help you see which options we picked, if it's not in red then it was standard with the house.  I'll start with the kitchen.  This was one of our biggest upgrades.  We have the kitchen that is highlighted in red.  Just place that kitchen in the picture above instead of the kitchen that is currently there.  We added on the morning room with the gourmet island.  I guess that this is the most popular upgrade that Ryan Homes has, because you can not get the extended kitchen or gourmet island without it.  I'm not sure if you can read the dimensions or not, but it is increasing our kitchen size from 9'8" X 15'4"  to 18'6" X 15'4".   The Ryan Home rep we were working with told us that he had only sold one house in our development without a morning room addition. 
We did decide to do the granite counter top upgrade.  This was something that we really debated on.  First we debated on whether or not we wanted the granite countertops... and we quickly decided that we did.  Then we really went back and forth between two granite colors.  The other color that we were going to go with is the granite that our selection is under in this picture.  We both originally really liked this color that we ended up picking the best, but we thought the other would go better with our cabinets.  But in the end we decided that this color did have some brown in it, and it would match our appliances... so we are hoping that this ties in well with the rest of the things we picked out!  I'll be anxious to see how it looks when it's done, but I have faith we picked out the right color...

This is the cabinet that comes standard with the house.  This is going to be in our bathrooms and laundry room cabinets.
This is the cabinets that we will have in our kitchen!  These cabinets are actually in the model home in North Royalton, and we both really really liked it.  They were a little bit pricey so we almost passed on them, but we got lucky!  Dad came with us to sign our papers and he got Ryan Homes to throw these in for us!  Yippee!  I think our kitchen is going to look a lot nicer with these cabinets.
Remarkably, Cody and I almost agreed upon every feature, color, and upgrade that we put into our house. The one thing that we debated on was the fireplace. We could have either gotten a stone fireplace or a regular fireplace that had a marble trim around the exterior. I really really wanted the stone fireplace because I thought it looked 10x better.  It was a little bit pricier though, and we were trying to figure out how to cut some costs in our budget.  In the end we decided not to skimp and we got it.  It was something that I really liked a lot, and I'm really glad that we got it.  I think it's going to be a great feature in our living room.  The fireplace is going to be gas so we won't have to worry about getting wood for it whenever we want to start a fire.  It is going to be entirely made out of stone, including the mantle.  Right now it's Christmas time, and I can't help but day dream on how I'm going to decorate my mantle next year!  As a matter of fact... I'm getting annoyed by how small the house we are living in right now is.  Before, it was the perfect size for us, but now that we know that we are moving into a much larger house in a couple of months... we are both feeling like we are cramped now (but then again that could be because all of my Christmas decorations have moved in this weekend haha).

Here is our second floor.   It has 4 bedrooms and two baths with the laundry on this floor.  We decided to get an upgraded bathroom.  We got an upgraded shower that is 5 ft by 5 ft and it has nozzles spraying down from both directions.  Also, our walk in closets are going to be huge.  They are actually the largest closet combination that Ryan Homes offers, and we are just lucky that it happened to be in the model that we liked.  We poured over 100s of different home layouts from a lot of different builders before we decided on this one.  Originally we wanted to have the closets seperate from the bathroom, but we quickly decided that it might be more convenient to actually have it in the bathroom, because we both get up at different times for work and now we won't wake each other up getting clothes in the morning.  The model home had a wonderful bonus room on the second floor, and we liked it a lot.  But at a price tag of $10,000 we decided that this was one of the things that we could live without. 


Instead of doing the bonus room upstairs we decided that get the media room done.  Believe it or not those rooms weren't too far off in size, but the price difference was huge.  I think it must have been that the foundation would have had to be added for this room to build the extra room anyway, or maybe it was just a lot more construction to get another room upstairs instead of just extending the basement.  I think I was the most excited about our kitchen, but Cody was the most excited about the basement. We decided to finish the basement, get a powder room, and the media room.  Cody already has plans for a pool table, a tv, and a bar down there.  We are thinking about putting our current furniture down there and getting new furniture for the upstairs.  We are anticipating spending a lot of time in the basement.  I am thinking that the media room is going to be a room that we won't neccesarily use heavily right now, but down the line I think it will be a nice playroom.


Here are some pictures from the day that we put our sold sign on our lot.  It's amazing how quickly we decided everything for our house.  Ryan Homes doesn't waste any time.  I think we drove out to North Royalton everyday for a couple of weeks picking everything out.  We finally put in our final upgrade/option changes in today!!   This is John, our sales guy, helping us plot out where our house would be.


Here we are putting on the sold sign!


On our left a house is already built, but then to our right all of the lots are not built on yet.  There is a family that bought the lot next to ours and they are going to be done building that house within about two weeks of our house so we won't have much construction around us at all which is really nice.  When we've drove by our house we've seen a lot of kids playing in our neighbor's house (to the right) and we talked to John tonight, and he told us that our neighbors to the left of us have daughters in middle school and high school.   We are excited to get to meet them, and hopefully we will get along good.  It might be odd though, because we are probably going to be closer to their kids age than theirs, but hopefully it will all work out fine and it won't be an issue.  There was one couple that we saw right around our age filling out their loan application so I'm sure that there are going to be people of all ages in our area.  We were happy that there are still a lot of houses to be built in this area, because hopefully some younger families will move in and our future kids will have kids their own age to play with (which will be quite some years down the road by the way...)

Here is Cody with the view of the neighborhood behind him.

All of the empty lots.  I'm sure I'm going to look back at these pictures later on and think how crazy it was that all of these were empty at one point.

Here is Cody marking off where the house would go.  He and John were putting out little flags.  This is just approximately where the house will be, but it was cool to get a feel for what our yard will be like.


Here I am holding the sold sign.  :)


From where I was standing to where Cody is standing is how deep our yard is... not too shabby.... I think we should have a decent size backyard once the house is up.  We are planning on putting in a nice deck that first summer after we move in (Ryan Homes doesn't have a deck option).


Here is the color our front door will be.


This is our shutter color.  It is a little bit darker blue than the front door.


Here is our siding color.  I think the picture doesn't look like it did in person.  In person it was a little bit darker than this.


Here is the front door, shutters, and siding together.  We are going to have white trim with this.


Here is everything together.  Ryan Homes already had "pre-set" home colors for you to choose from.  We actually went to a model home in North Ridgeville a few weeks ago and we looked at the colors then.  We decided that we liked the solid red brick color, because it looked clean and uniform unlike some of the other brick styles.  And then based off of the brick we liked we picked out a color scheme that went with it.  I'm glad that we looked at this ahead of time and had an idea, because tonight when we went to our coloring appointment John told us to pick out the siding color that we liked and then to pick everything off of that.  However, I feel like that would have taken us FOREVER to figure out what we wanted, because there were a TON of siding colors to pick from...  and we were really more worried about what the brick on the front would look like more so than the siding.  I think it was easier to pick out the brick that we liked and then the siding instead of the opposite way...  But never the less we were very quick about it tonight, because we already had an idea about what we wanted.  Like I said, I'm so thankful that Cody and I are one in the same.  Everytime that it came to picking out a color we were both intune and have the same taste so it was very simple for us to pick it all out.  I don't feel like either one of us felt like we were giving in or having to compromise at all... we both just liked the same things and it made the process that much better.

One good thing that we found out today is that we are the first house being built in the new part of the development so we had first choice on the colors that we got to pick.  I guess the people next to us or the people across from us can not pick out the same model with the same elevation, and people picking out different models can't have the same colors that we picked out if they are within a certain amount of houses from us.  Our development was primarily partial stone houses.  Originally we were going to do that as well, but after driving around the neighborhood we were shocked that there were almost no brick houses there.  So we inquired on the price and realized that a house with a full brick front wasn't too much difference in price from a house with partial stone.  So that made the decision easy for us. We just wonder what our neighbors are going to decided to do.  It would be funny if all of the new houses going up in our area had brick on the front, but since our house is the first one in the new section our house will be the first one with brick on it.  :)

 Here is the color of the banister for the stair railings going up and downstairs.

Here is the carpet that we are going to be putting in our basement.  We opted for a step upgrade in the carpet, because the base options that they gave us weren't too appealing.  They gave 5 standard carpet colors, and the carpet wasn't very soft... so we decided to upgrade the basement carpet.


Here you can see a prime difference between the standard carpet and one level of upgrade.  To the left is the upgraded carpet that is going to go up in our entire upstairs.  To the right is the standard carpet option that will be in our dining room.  Since these carpets are going to be next to each other we wanted them to look similar and blend a little bit.  We liked the carpet on the left the most, and we were lucky to find a standard carpet that sort of matched it.


Here is the linoleum that is going to be in our bathrooms and laundry room.  We could have had linoleum in our kitchen as well, but there were not any linoleum samples that we liked for the kitchen so we upgraded to laminate flooring for the kitchen, powder room, morning room, and foyer on the first floor.


Here is the carpet in our living room.  This was a level 2 upgrade or higher than the upgrade level of our upper floor and basement.  We wanted the nicest carpet in our living room.  It was amazing the carpet color and texture differences they offered at the various levels.  We both really liked how this carpet felt, and how easy it would be to maintain.  The carpet where we are living right now is really light, and you can really see wear on it... so we wanted a carpet that wasn't going to show that.
Here is a close up. 
Here you can see the carpet that will be in the office and the laminate flooring that will be on the first floor.  We actually really liked laminate flooring better than hardwood floors.  I think they will be easier to maintain and honestly I think they will look better longer.  We did not like the hardwood floor samples we saw at all, and this looked just as good to us... plus it was a whole lot cheaper!

Here are all of our flooring choices.  And I hope that you enjoyed looking through our housing options.  We can't be more excited to continue on with this process.  It has been very tiring and intense so far.  We are expecting them to break ground on the house in the middle of January and we will keep you posted as further developments arise!