life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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A Tribute to 252

Yesterday, Dayne & I said goodbye to our apartment. Our itty-bitty, practically-on-top-of-the-Rt.-30-bypass, faces-the-garages-and-garbage-dump, beautiful, lovable, first-married apartment. The place I moved into mostly by myself (I dutifully carried my TV down the hill and up the stairs in the summer heat, wondering if I was going to make it). The place where I lived as a single gal for a month before we got married. The place where I had my bachelorette sleepover with some of my best girlfriends. The place Dayne tried to move his stuff into and it didn’t fit at all because I had already filled every nook & cranny with my stuff. The place where I got ready with my bridesmaids and out-of-town friends for my wedding. The place we came home to after our honeymoon. The place where we unwrapped all of our wedding gifts. The place where we fought, made up, loved each other, and lived life for the first nine & a half months of our marriage.

I took this from the car yesterday when we had finally loaded up the last of our stuff. Our apartment is the 2nd balcony up, to the left of the entrance. I came home to this, to my husband, everyday.

We both love our new house to pieces – we really do – but when we were locking up the apartment yesterday, we both got a little emotional (I, perhaps, got a lot emotional). It’s hard to leave memories behind, particularly if they are emotionally strong memories.

For me, it’s hard to think that someone else will be living there in that space, since it was the birthplace of the most amazing relationship I will ever have in my life. Dayne says we will make lots of memories in our new house, most likely more amazing memories than anything we’ve experienced thus far. He also says it’s our first real home. I agree with him. But I still think you will never get your first year of marriage back (although some people would argue that’s a good thing), and Apartment 252 held all the special memories of that time.

I’ll miss all the sunshine that streamed in, but I get to keep this guy 🙂

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Our President’s Day Getaway with a Surprise

Over President’s Day weekend (February 18th-20th), Dayne & I ventured on a little getaway to Absecon, NJ (pronounced ab-SEE-con, not AB-se-CON, like I originally thought). We arrived typically late (thanks to me) on Saturday night to Clarion Inn & Suites and unpacked our bags in our jacuzzi suite. The suite was spacious, the bed was comfortable, the jacuzzi was suh-weet!, and the bathroom was okay. Unfortunately, I took zero pictures of the suite.

On Sunday, we headed out to the Atlantic City Aquarium, home of the stingrays you can pet and absolutely nothing bigger than a seaturtle. It was fabulous. We love going to places like that.

Us at the Atlantic City Aquarium, 2/19/20.

We have a tradition (Dayne hates when I use that word, since he claims nothing we do has actually been repeated enough to become a tradition) of buying magnets from everywhere we go on vacation together, so we picked up this little guy:

He is proudly hanging on our fridge with our Aruba and Bushkill Falls magnets (3 whole traditions!).

After the Atlantic City Aquarium, we had lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s and then did some outlet shopping. Dayne got a few new work shirts from Eddie Bauer, and I finally got new black heels for work (my old ones were completely falling apart) and a couple pieces of work clothes. Shopping at the outlets was exhausting because: 1) neither one of us likes shopping, and 2) it was SO cold & windy & FRIGID that day. But it was fun to be together and to get something accomplished.

One of my goals for this trip to Absecon/Atlantic City was to finally eat at The Melting Pot, which we did that night, even though we weren’t very hungry. Being not-so-hungry is both good and bad at The Melting Pot — good because you won’t spend as much money (it is expensive), but bad because everything is so freaking delicious. We split a cheese fondue as an appetizer, then a salad, and finally a mixed entree of shrimp, filet mignon, chicken, sausage, and veggies rubbed in some cajun spices and dipped in this amazing fondue that I cannot even describe to you with justice. I also had a perfect glass of white wine. The saddest part is that we could not fit dessert (chocolate fondue) in our bellies.

The damage. Taken after everything was eaten because I could not stop stuffing my face & enjoying myself long enough to take a picture beforehand.

Blissfully fondue-d in a little corner at The Melting Pot.

Our getaway was simply lovely. While the hotel was mostly not relaxing (there were no noise barriers at all, so falling asleep with doors slamming, kids yelling, and people dropping dumbbells in the room above us was incredibly difficult), the temporary relaxation of sipping sparkling white wine in a warm jacuzzi tub in the evenings made up for it.

The reason I chose to take pictures at all during this trip, besides wanting to have something to remember it by, was also to document that on Sunday, February 19th, 2012 (the day when all these pictures were taken besides the lighthouse one), we found out that our offer was accepted on a house.

So… we are under contract on a house! While it is exciting and worthy of celebration and even worthy of describing the God-ordained details to you, there is so much involved in the process (still) that I don’t feel like divulging any of the details is quite appropriate yet. But we are in the process, and we just had our first home inspection, and we are throwing a lot of money around, and I may be developing an ulcer, and we have started collecting boxes because we’ll be moving pretty soon if all goes well.

With so much going on, and with both of us working full-time, I have had little time to blog. Today, I stayed home from work because of stomach pains (see aforementioned possible ulcer) and finally had the time to gather my thoughts and pictures and put together an update. I desire to blog more, but the days have been so fast-paced, tiring, and uncertain that it becomes quite difficult. There is still lots more I could write about, and I would love to document the whole process on the house so that other future first-time homebuyers could learn from it, but we’ll just have to see how frequently I get a chance to blog. Otherwise, there will be bigger updates like this a little less frequently.

We’re doing well, we’re happy to be in this stage of life and in the process of buying a home, and I will do my best to keep this blog in the loop of any updates. 🙂 Thanks for reading!


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What I Just Learned from Calling 13 Apartment Complexes

1) Leasing offices: don’t hire people to answer your phones who can’t answer the phone with a cheerful, helpful demeanor. If I sense a negative tone of voice before I’ve even said anything, I scratch your complex off my list.

2) No apartment complex wants an apartment opening up in the winter. Because nobody wants to move in the winter. This makes trying to find a 6-month lease that ends in December/January pretty difficult (and will probably make our house hunting difficult as well).

3) Apartment availability is usually only known about 60 days in advance, with rare exceptions.

4) Shoot earlier than you want to move – because there is the “turn-around” time once the previous tenant moves out for painting, carpet steaming, and general prepping. A lot of complexes gave me a move-in date of mid-July when I said I was looking for end of June/beginning of July availability.

5) Leasing offices: Answer your phone. It helps. If you can’t answer your phone, at least give me the option of leaving a voicemail rather than listening to your phone ring endlessly. Not professional.

6) Really? Your leasing office doesn’t open until 11:00 a.m. on a weekday? Everybody else is at work; where are you?

7) One apartment complex not only answered all the questions I asked, but also emailed me information and called me within an hour to confirm an appointment we set up for Saturday. If you come across as highly organized, I’ll be impressed.

At least Dayne & I have a few choices – I’d say 6 out of 13 look like safe bets. Waiting to hear back from 2 of them, so maybe we’ll end up with 8!