Thursday, December 27, 2007

Life's Worth Visiting in Fort Smith, Arkansas

I know we were taught at a very young age that a day is made up of 24 hours (or 1440 minutes or 86,400 seconds...) but I would place a large sum of money on the following: The days of Christmas break were 10 hours each. This is the only way I can rationalize the speed at which the days flew by. Michael and I drove up Saturday afternoon and suddenly time decided to go into a frantic fury. Next thing I know it's Wednesday and we're driving back. And I'm sad. I'm really sad to be leaving my big family (I can say that since there are 6 of us now)! We had a wonderful time and I'm already looking forward to Easter when I can see Justin & Michelle again.

Right before we took off for Fort Smith, Michael and I decided to pack up the Wii. This turned out to be an excellent decision--it received more play time this past week than it had since its arrival last Christmas. Justin really seemed to enjoy playing Wii sports and Michelle was another type of sport: a GOOD sport, so she seemed to enjoy it as well.

We also spent several evenings playing Catch Phrase, which is my new favorite "board" game. I had a blast. It was girls vs. guys and while I'd like to say the girls creamed the boys each time, it seemed like we were both pretty solid teams (or horrible, whichever you prefer).

Mom spent a lot of her time in the kitchen and everything she made was absolutely wonderful. It really was a fantastic weekend. I borrowed Michelle's book, "Eat, Pray, Love" and enjoyed it as well.

I'm so happy to be a part of this amazing family. I love that we can spend 5 days together, never leave the house and STILL have a great time. I love that my brother and I are still so competitive that we'll spend 15 minutes counting the number of tablespoons it takes to fill up a cup 60% (don't ask). I love that Michelle and Michael can talk about sports with one another because God knows my family couldn't keep up if we tried. And I love that we stayed up late one night to listen to recordings my parents made of Justin and I when we were 2-4 years old (turns out I ADORED the song "Jesus Loves Me" back in the day).

2007 has been a fantastic year and I can only imagine what next year will bring! Possibilities are endless and I can't wait to see what we all have in store for us.

One of the things I shared with my parents as a 2-year-old was the nursery rhyme, "Humpty Dumpty." After I said the entire rhyme I said, "Now I want to do the God version!" (or something...) So I shared the nursery rhyme again and added my own ending: "All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again...but God could." We all had a good laugh, but it was a great message. When life is at its worst, there IS someone that can help. He'll take the broken pieces, put you back together, pick you up and dust you off. What a FRIEND we have in Jesus!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Smiling's my favorite!

We had a walk-through of our house yesterday! It didn't take long at all and we only found a few things that had to be marked by the dreaded blue tape. Everything else is done on our side so the only thing we can do is pack and wait for close on January 4. I'm afraid the next few weeks are going to fly. I am thrilled about moving into our new home, but so frustrated about packing everything up.

It seems like it was only 2 months ago that we unpacked every last wedding gift and threw over a hundred boxes away. Oh wait, that WAS only 2 months ago. I wish we'd known we'd be moving so soon! The only thing we have packed and ready to go is the slow cooker and that is because it has yet to come out of its box.

In other fun news, our bookcase comes in today. It was supposed to be here several weeks ago but they messed up our order. And then it was supposed to come in last week but we had no power (so they couldn't use the elevator). We'll see if we have a bookcase in our apartment by 5p tonite. I'm not holding my breath. :)

I started a new book last night: Marley and Me. I believe I am the last person on earth to read this book. I kept putting it off because I KNOW it has a sad ending and do I really want to inflict pain on myself this close to Christmas? My problem with books is that I take these characters and they become a part of my life from page one until the very end. There is nothing better than starting a new book, but I feel a sense of loss after I finish the last page. I notice that I will start slowing down when I reach the last chapter because I don't want it to end. I'm not like that with movies, but give me a great book and I'll want it to go on forever.

We're having a girls night tonight with Kaitlin, Cari, and Aubrey. I'm really looking forward to catching up with them. Michael and I have decided we're going to try our darndest to sleep in tomorrow and then we will head to Fort Smith for Christmas! I can't wait--it's going to be so nice to have all of us together and to just be away for 5 days.

One last thing--I have to brag on my husband. :) Michael called on Wednesday and told me to go to Utica Square and kill a bit of time before I came home. I asked why but of course he said, "Oh no reason, just don't come home yet." So I drug myself to Utica (I just hate that place--HA!) and checked out a few of the stores. When I finally came home, he'd surprised me with approx. 150 white chocolate dipped pretzels--my FAVORITE! He'd gone to the store to pick up the ingredients and had hand-dipped each and every one. It was such a sweet gesture. What a great guy! (I think we have 15 left--oops!)

I highly doubt I'll post again in the next few days, so MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family!

Monday, December 17, 2007

On the 5th day there was light. And it was GREAT!

If you were to tell me that our power went out a week ago today I wouldn't believe you--it truly feels like it has been a month. I never knew how much I loved electricty until I went without. Kait was nice enough to let us stay at her place 2 nights, and we decided to brave Monday and Thursday night at the apartment. I know a lot of people can claim they've slept in 40 degree temperatures--I'm not sure how many of those people can say they did it INDOORS.

A lot happened last week but before I get to that I'd like to recount the previous weekend. Michael's parents drove up from Coppell to celebrate Christmas with us! They arrived late Friday night and stayed with us for the weekend. We celebrated Christmas on Saturday morning and had an absolute blast. One of my favorite gifts they gave us was a Wii game: Dancing with the Stars. It is quite entertaining and I'm not terrible at it, which tends to make games more fun! :)

Sunday our power went off for about 5 hours so we took off to have breakfast and show his parents the house we fell in love with last month. They were a little unsure about it beforehand but genuinely seemed to like it once they saw it. The weather was getting pretty terrible so they left early Sunday afternoon to head back home. The power came back on so we spent the rest of the afternoon being lazy and playing the Wii. I received a call from Shelley reminding me about the Ben Lee concert on Sunday night--I quickly got dressed and met up with her and her boyfriend. It was WONDERFUL! There were probably 60 people there and it was so neat to see/meet Ben. We had a fantastic time!

The weather kept getting worse and I woke up to a call from my boss on Monday saying we would not be going to work. I was excited for my 3-day weekend but it was shortly after the call when the power went off... again. Argh.

Let's jump ahead to Thursday! Well I guess before we jump ahead I should let you know that Michael and I changed our minds about building a house. We were all set to do it and then the builder announced a great new price on the house that is already built. To build the exact same house in the same neighborhood would cost almost $15k more, which we both felt was ridiculous. So after a lot of debating, number crunching, budget editing, praying, etc., we decided that buying the house now was in our best interest. Ok, back to Thursday. We called our realtor and told her we were ready to make an offer; we met with her at 5:30p, made our offer, and then hung around south Tulsa while she met with the builder. She called us back about 9:30p and said she was ready with his counter-offer. As we walked into her office, I received a text from Kaitlin announcing that she and Steve were engaged!!!! I was so excited for her and so disappointed that I couldn't hear the story immediately (I'm sure our realtor would understand, but I also knew she would like to get back to her family and her home that actually HAD power sooner than later)!

Our realtor announced the builder's counter-offer, which was almost exactly what we (realistically) wanted. We told her if he would go down to what we wanted (not our first offer but what we decided we'd be comfortable with), we'd sign right then and there. He decided he would do it, but only if we moved up the closing date 3 weeks! We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, grinned, and made a deal! Long story a little bit longer.... Our closing date is January 4--less than 3 weeks! We're a little petrified but SO EXCITED.

What an awesome day! I called Kait as soon as we left our realtor's office and heard the wonderful engagement story. We are so excited for the two of them--what a fantastic couple! I can't wait to see them both in person and also see the beautiful ring!

Michael and I had enough warmth from excitement that we braved the nite in the apartment. We'd decided we would go home to Fort Smith for the weekend and left early Friday afternoon to get away from Tulsa. We were not in my parents' home an hour before we received a call letting us know that our power was back on. We still stayed the nite with my parents, had a fantastic homecooked meal, great company, and a warm night's sleep. Came back Saturday to clean up the apartment and relax before work started. Yesterday was spent shopping for refrigerators, window treatments, washers/dryers, and pricing sofas. We walked away with nothing but received a lot of great information for the near future!

Sorry for the long post but so much has happened this week! We're really excited to have power again and feel so sorry for those that still don't. It was a very humbling experience for us. Throughout the week we realized we were so fortunate to have friends with warm houses, transportation, winter clothes, etc. This was a headache to us but an absolute nightmare to others. It also reminded us to remember the real reason for the season, and that the light of the world is not the man driving around in a white PSO truck (though he WAS pretty close to an angel).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh the Weather Outside is FREAKIN' HORRIBLE!

Well friends, my post a few weeks ago declaring the "great weather of Tulsa" can now be considered a bold-faced lie. Absolute fabrication. The most common term I have heard the past few days about Tulsa is that it is a "war zone." To any of you NOT living here, I'm sure that sounds a bit exaggerated, but it is indeed a wreck. Michael and I have been without power for over 48 hours now and the apartment is a cool 50 degrees. Kaitlin offered her apartment last night so we were able to sleep (and wake up!) in comfort. Poor Thumbs had to rough it at our apartment--I now know that her extra layer of skin (or in her case, extra 25 layers of skin) is a complete blessing. :)

My fingers have turned blue from keeping them crossed for so long. We're really hoping the power comes on today but we've been told it could be as long as a week before we see the light (harhar). I'm off to lunch with Michael--I will write more about our weekend in another post but I wanted to dedicate this one to our wretched weather. If you haven't guessed, my mood is sub-par.

Oh how I wish we were back in Maui!

(Images were taken by 2 of our friends. Click on each picture so you can really see the grossness):

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I have a green Thumb(s)

Obviously, Thumbs did not receive the memo that the green stocking is MINE! :) Michael and I came home to this last night and thought it was pretty funny.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A House Hunt and a new TV

Michael and I both thought our lives would calm down after the wedding. We quickly realized, however, that neither of us like the slow-paced life much (although he handles it a lot better than I do). We ventured out a few weeks ago to look at an open house in Jenks and fell in love with it immediately. Unfortunately, our bank account did not fall in love with the house and it has more say in what we can and cannot do. We promised ourselves not long ago that when our lease was up in May, we would be moving into a house. The apartment life is not the life for us. We really enjoyed the realtor that was showing the house and gave her our information. And then we had a glooorious idea: what if we BUILT a house just like this one? And in this same fabulous neighborhood? And move into this fabulous house in May?! I just love when those light bulbs go off above our heads.

Still holding onto that idea, we researched everything we could about owning a home, as well as several different banks and mortgage lenders. We finally settled on one and were approved last week! Our next plan was to meet with the realtor on Saturday (2 days ago) and pick out our lot. I brought my camera so I could photograph "the one," but alas, the lots that were provided for us were all in Country Woods II (we prefer Country Woods I). We're supposed to hear back from our realtor in the next few days with more lot choices, so while we were both a little sad on Saturday, we are still very excited to hear our options!

The picture below is the house we visited and fell in love with several weeks ago.

The next 2 houses pictured below are both in the same neighborhood. We love the brick/paint/shutter ensemble on both houses. It's a bit hard to tell in the pictures, but they are both so beautiful!

We woke up yesterday to one of the largest Sunday papers I've seen to date. Gotta love the 40 bajillion ads/coupons getting everyone ready for Christmas! Michael came across an ad that was too good to be true at Best Buy so we hopped in the car and got ready to welcome the newest member to the Haynes household: a 46 inch LCD HDTV (I was a little disappointed we'd only ordered 3 stockings for the two of us and Thumbs). We arrived at the store and quickly noticed the deal WAS too good to be true, and, in fact, was not good at all. Michael was severely disappointed and we left immediately (literally--I had to take 2 steps for every 1 of his just so I could keep up). When we were back home, we noticed that the TV we've looked at for several months was ALSO on a huge sale. After making a list of pros and cons (Michael's pros outweighed his cons 25 to 1), we had a severe case of deja vu as we drove BACK to Best Buy. 30 minutes later, we were proud owners of a beautiful new TV that will arrive on Thursday. The key to this good deal is that we do not have to pay interest until 2011, which is the only reason I decided we could afford said TV. I'm not sure if I've ever seen Michael so excited (he promised his love for me was greater than his love for our newest addition, but I'm not 100% convinced).

Come May, we will have a glorious house that will be adorned with a gloriously huge piece of electronic equipment in the living room. You are all invited to come over and enjoy both, but you might have to sit on the floor since we really don't have any sofas. (Hmmm... perhaps we should have invested in those first?) Oh well, I guess you live and you learn, and you sometimes make allowances to see your husband smile like a giddy school child as he dances in the Best Buy parking lot.


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