Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hubby Turns 30!

Heck yes! My amazing husband turned 30 in July, and it was party time in the Gehman household! He didn't want some big crazy event, and after less than 6 weeks in our new house - I was in no shape to host.  So, the Phillies hosted for me! 

We pulled together about 20 family members and friends and had a Phillies Tailgate party.  It was a test of my sanity and coordination at times, but we had plenty of food, plenty of beer, and a great time! Blueberry muffins were the breakfast food of choice since this shindig kicked off about 9am with our carpool into the K Lot! We grilled dogs and burgers, had condiments, pasta salad, and birthday brownies! Yes, we even sang happy birthday and made the birthday boy blow out a candle! A keg from Victory was the way to go, and for those that know my husband it was no surprise! 

 While I love these people, I couldn't afford to pay for every one's tickets - so I provided food, booze, and games and tickets were their choice.  Some people chose to buy real seats, and about 12 of us did SRO (that's Standing Room Only for you non-diehards).  SRO provided some great photos, and I'm not going to lie - these are some of my favorite moments of the day! 
Would I do it again?  In a heart beat!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Homeownership - It's Official

 I have promised several people a recap of how our home purchasing process went, so here it is.  Now please remember that my feelings today are much different than they were the day we closed and the day we made our initial offer.  I have written and revised this post as my feelings and emotions changed, because it is better for all involved (mostly the damn banks).  

In July of 2012, a house came on the market in our dream neighborhood, it was big and had room to host family dinners, plus a two car garage, and less than an hour from my parents! It was a little out of our price range, but we kept our eye on it for several weeks.  

September 2012, our world came crashing down and I was in no place to look at houses, I just wasn't ready to move on.  Thankfully my awesome husband understood and we put things on hold. 

November 2012 - We decided we were ready, and began the pre-approval process for a mortgage, found a realtor in our area, and started to look.  Oh lord, did we look at some winners and some losers.  A few met every "cute" requirement but were impractical.  One was very safe (read: you looked at the police station from the front door), but had nothing else going for it.  No rush though, we had no home to sell and the timeline for leaving the rental was very flexible. 

December 1, 2012 - Kevin and I came home early from a weekend trip because the dream house was back on the market, and somehow within our price range.  Kevin had seen it pop up online, and while we were out of town my awesome cousin drove up to write down the agent's information so we could send it to our realtor. At the time, we didn't know it was a short sale, just that we were going to tour it on the first day back-on the market (with a new bank). The tour wasn't long, another couple came in just after us, and it was less than 24 hours before Kevin and I had costed out repairs, upgrades, and what we could afford.  Oh yes, we wanted this house - and badly.

December 3 - We put in an official offer with what seemed like a billion dollar deposit, every piece of paper I've ever touched, and finalized mortgage approval.  And then, we waited.  and waited. and waited.  It only took 4 days for the owners to accept our offer, and we thought we were done with the hard part.  Try again Jess, this was just the beginning. 

December 7 - May 1 - Yes, that would be 5 months of waiting, form completing, and wishing I could strangle BofA.  I've never had such strong feelings for a bank like I did during this process, but oh good lord.  Even after being approved by our bank and our agents bank, BofA had their own approval process that Kevin and I had to meet.  After e-signing almost 40 documents, the bank then decided that for 2013, they were no longer accepting e-signs and Kevin and I had 24 hours to physically sign the documents and fed-ex them to California.  That might work for normal people, but remember I work days, my husband works nights, and I think our Real Estate Agent was ready to throw us overboard.  About once a week (or more), BofA would need us to read and sign something.  And then send it back within 24 hours.  Some things I understood, others seemed frivolous and confusing.  Just sell us the house, we know it's vacant, we know you don't want to own it! Cue, frustration - tears - anger - and disappointment.

May 1 - We finally get a settlement date, all of the paperwork is signed, and Kevin and I are headed to Home Depot.  You see, we had only given ourselves about 2 weeks from our May 17 settlement date to our move-in date of 5/25.  That meant we needed to order and get the carpet measured right away.  Carpet is measured and ordered within 24 hours, and the order is also placed for two new french doors to replace the rotting ones that don't really lock (oh yeah, this house was a real winner).

May 16 - we are supposed to close tomorrow - I am mostly packed at the townhouse, parents and family are ready to help, and my phone rings.  The owners and their agent missed a portion of some document that stated they needed to bring $5,000 to closing.  They don't have $5,000 - we aren't closing tomorrow and BofA is considering walking away.  This means Kevin and I have spent 5 months planning for this house, we are packed and ready to move, we bought carpet and doors, and might lose this house.  How is it fair that we might lose the house because the seller's agent didn't read properly?! Our agent attempts to find a middle ground - Can she pitch in the money; Can Kevin and I split the cost with her; something.  Did we really want to spend another five thousand dollars, no - but we also weren't sure that five thousand dollars was worth walking away over.  Not that there was much time, BofA gave us 24 hours. Commence an exhausting, stressful, and sleepless night.  

May 17 - We aren't closing today, but they have moved closing to next Tuesday, the 21st.  Well - I don't get my hopes up this time, and we enjoy the weekend with family.  Except every time I see something in my parent's house, I think - Oh that would look so cute above the door in the new house, Ugh.  Maybe, if we have a new house?

May 21 - The good news is, our phones didn't ring last night and we haven't been cancelled yet.  Except our agent is out of town on vacation, so who the hell knows what is going on.  But seriously, it happens.  We get the keys, sign our lives away, and head for home.  Head for home at 2pm, and Kevin has to leave for work at 2:30.  Oh yes, let the joys of second shift home ownership begin.

*whew - if you made it all the way to the end, you are a saint. *

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fast Any Night Dinners

After requests from a few friends, here are 6 of my favorite quick dinner ideas.  These friends somehow think I've got my sh*t together, which is flattering and an enormous joke all at the same time.  After living with two men, working late evenings, and hubs who needs re-heatable dinners (for 3 - 11), we've gotten our fair share of successes and failures.
  • Fake chicken parm
  • Chili and cornbread
  • Chicken Caesar salads
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches 
  • Frittata & Toast
  • Enchiladas 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Is 27 Too Old to Play Dress-up?

Kevin and I visited friends that live in the Bloomsburg area (for those of you not from PA that's here). 
Anyway, while we were there we made a trip to the mall to check out a kid's museum/activity center.  And let me tell you, it is possible that the 27 and 29 year old (that would be Kevin & I) had as much fun as the two year old.  Because really - when she tells you to put on the hard hat, you do it. 


Love you little one!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Breakfast Food Obsession

Time to come clean about my obsession.  Breakfast food.  I could eat some form of "breakfast" three meals a day and never get tired of it.  Pancakes, French Toast, Waffles, Eggs - I'm not picky, really.  

I mostly blame this on my mom, because she loved to make breakfast for dinner - breakfast at noon on a Sunday, any excuse for Brunch or "Brinner" was a win in our house! I think if Kevin realized how often I eat breakfast for dinner while he's at work he might be shocked, but what he doesn't know can't hurt him, right? It just seems so easy to mix up two eggs and some vegetables in a pan and make an omelet - one dish (maybe two if I use a real plate vs paper), and a spatula! Waffles are a bit more complicated, but I have gotten really good at making a batch of 20 and then freezing them.  So, a few mins in the oven and some syrup - DINNER! It's also a great excuse to drink coffee with my dinner, something I usually struggle to validate. 

Case in point... iPhone food photography at it's finest (completely kidding, I am not a food blogger or a food stylist and my food only looks pretty when Instagram filters are applied). 

So, when your husband (or significant other) is away, what is your go-to food?!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Trips I'd Love to Take

Money & PTO were not an issue, these are the top 7 vacation destinations on my list! (Note: these are all within the States, I'll save international goals for another post. 

1. Vegas - Gambling, Shows, Hoover Dam (I am such a nerd)
2. Alaska - wildlife, glaciers, Juneau
3. Hawaii - yes please
4. Texas - friends, scenery, the ALAMO
5. Yellowstone - hike all day, drink all night
6. Colorado - Denver/Breck/Vail - I cannot ski, but I'm okay with that.
7. Maine - Lobster. Hiking. Relaxation. Jordan Pond.

Yellowstone - Courtesy of

Out of that list, I've only ever done Maine before.  And that is a trip I would take every year if I could - the peace, the hiking, the LOBSTER, oh yes please.  My parents chose to do Hawaii on their own about 15 years ago, and I can't blame them.  With my geo-geek dad, they had a wonderful time exploring volcanoes, taking helicopter rides, etc.  I feel like people are shocked that I am 28 and have never been to Vegas, but when you turn 21 after the rest of the planet, everyone had already done Vegas.  And, I somehow don't have any friends living there (hello, hospitality industry?!).  Don't worry though, I'll make Kevin take me soon enough.  

We've been talking about taking a cruise (another thing I've never done), and an Alaskan cruise sounds like so much fun!  Texas is on the list mostly because one of my bests lives there - and I would love to visit her and that ginormous state! The rest are just trips on my list - ones that I would love to take with my husband, and do our usual.  Our usual being, the cheapest means of travel, finding a hotel that I can use my wonderful Hilton Employee Discount at, and taking a billion photos.  Kevin and I both have the same travel style - we need a little down time, some historical options, outside activities, and great food!  
This is my idea of heaven.. Hello South of France

How about you - what are your dream trips?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homeownership - What We Bought/Got

After 3 1/2 years of marriage and two rentals - we finally bought a house.  Except this isn't just any house, it's the FOREVER house.  Both my parents and my in-laws still live in the homes we grew up in.  Kevin's parents moved into their house when he was two and mine moved into our house three years before I was born.  And while I understand that jobs may change, emergencies arise, etc - Kevin and I both LOVED growing up in the same house our entire childhood.  And it's nice now too, to go back to the same home that we learned to walk in, tie our shoes, and got ready for every first and last day of school.  

We have a long way to go with this crazy house, and a few projects already completed that will grace this blog over the next few weeks.  But for the time being, here are the basics! 
  • Two story home, built in 1988
  • Our dream development - the same one my Aunt & Uncle have lived in for 22 years
  • Great school district, close to shopping, parents, and work 
  • Walking distance to a park with tennis courts, basketball courts, a pond, running trail, etc. 
  • Four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a living room, sitting room, dining room, and eat-in kitchen
  • My husband's dream 2 car garage, and a small shed for outdoor toys
I've got a few photos ready to go, but we'll stick with recapping the downstairs for now.  I'll tackle the upstairs in a whole different post so as to not overwhelm you with the mess we purchased.

After looking back at some of these pictures, I'm not feeling so bad about the current state of our house! We've officially lived here for the entire summer (Moved in Memorial Day Weekend), and it feels more like "home" and "ours" with every little project!