Pre-Visalia/Bakersfield Trip

It is pitiful how little I've done today concerning work. Such is life when you can work from home! And on top of that, it is just hard to apply yourself after over a week of being in vacation and doing absolutely nothing but enjoy yourself. Am I right or am I right?

What I have actually done:
- Fed Dianna
- Looked for houses
- Looked for new cars
- Fed Nike
- Put away the stuff in our suitcases from Santa Barbara/Bakersfield
- Thought about how I'll have to repack it for the wedding in Visalia
- Fed Dianna
- Put Dianna in her walker, where she promptly fell asleep
- Talked to the Mr. during his break in class
- Looked for more houses
- Looked for more cars
- Overthought the possibilities for one very promising house (sight unseen)
- Fed Dianna again
- Put her to sleep

And now here I am. It's a long list of nothing and I'm hoping I can get some more done this afternoon, maybe. But I've really got to hope, because we're going to be leaving for California soon and I don't like to have the things I haven't done hanging over my head during a vacation. Who would want that at all?!

So here's my new productivity list for the next two days:
- All the running around needed at work
- Homework
- Laundry
- Clean house
- Pack for three days
- And something else I'm forgetting...

The Best Surprise Ever

Our little family drove into Las Vegas around eight o'clock last night. Right away, we called my parents, because even though I'm a big old grown-up, my momma still likes to know these things. After being on the phone with my mom for less than five minutes, it was apparent that she wanted to see us--it was Easter, afterall.
So, we made a mini-detour and visited them from the car. I couldn't really get out of the car. In the final hour of our approach into town, Dianna began to go absolutely stir crazy. From shotgun, I grabbed bags and her walker and stuffed them into my seat. I then wedged myself into the middle of the back seat between the baby carrier, more bags, and Nike laying on the floor beneath me. Like I said, we visited from the car. Chris got out to, of course, grab the food my parents had packed for us. We made one more stop to Chris' parents' house then headed home.

I'm not going to lie or even downplay it: I was so excited at the prospect of just being back home. So the Mr. took the baby out, a few things we'd pack, then I could wriggle out. I rushed to the door and the first thing I noticed was a box for a memory foam mattress topper.
Our eyes bulged. And I mean bulged. Suddenly, unpacking the car was not quite so important and we rushed inside. We didn't even get upstairs for minutes, though. From the moment we opened the door, we saw more of my parents' work. They had cleaned our home from the bottom up. Our floors were spotless, our trashcans emptied, our tables positively shining. Uh...speechless? Yes, we were, huge smiles and all.

Up the stairs, which were also clean, we found that all our laundry had been done (bless them!). All our clothes were heaped on the carpet by the laundry room, and it was all gone. Then we discovered that our bedroom had gotten an entire makeover. Not only was there a new mattress topper, but also a whole bedding set, curtains, and storage bins in the closet. And our littlest one got her room reorganized, too.

We felt like we had been visited by the house fairy, that HGTV had snuck into our home, and that we had such amazing parents who would do something so kind, helpful, thoughtful and so so so generous. I kept racking my brain for what I had done to nurture this, but it just comes down to my parents being who they are. For a while, we just stared at our new home in awe, thinking of the time and money it took to do all they did. It took a minute or two to absorb everything and fumble for our phones to call my parents to basically yell "THANK YOU!" in their ears and "Oh my gosh, it looks so great. It is so nice!" and "Oh, the memory foam! Thank you!"

An hour or two later as we lay in our new bed, we looked around still giddy, still unable to control our huge ear to ear grins. Nevermind the trip to California! It felt worth it to go just to get this surprise at the end. Before we passed out, the Mr. said, "I'm glad we made that mini-detour to see your parents!"

My parents are amazing, and I am so thankful for them.

Sad News About Our House

Earlier this week while we were out shopping on State Street in Santa Barbara, we got very very sad news.

About a year ago, the Mr. and I started house searching while I was still pregnant with Dianna. We found the perfect place about a month of looking non-stop: a two-story, three bedroom, two and a half bath home with handscraped hardwood floors in 70% of the house and cathedral ceilings.

My big brother helped us by getting approved for a loan and we made an offer quickly. And it got accepted! Problem was that it was a short sale, meaning that the owner of the house was paying a mortgage that was way more than the place was worth and appealing to the bank for help. We were shooting for about a three month wait to close, because we were told that had been the average time.

By August of last year, we couldn't take the wait anymore and talked to the owner about just moving in while we waited for the deal to close and paying him the amount of money our mortage would be. Who would turn down extra money like that per month? So we've been living in our home for about eight months and have come to truly love it.

Earlier this week, we got the news that the short sale was simply not going to go through. Our landlord/owner of the house was decent enough to call and let us know what was going on. Needless to say, but we were heartbroken and by then just wanted to go back to our cottage. Now, we're basically in limbo until we get back home and can figure out more of what we may do. Luckily, the Mr.'s parents recently have gone through legal battles over the many homes they own and will be able to hopefully guide us through this house purgatory.

There is something supremely wrong with all the nation's banks right now and our little family is only getting a very, very small taste of it. We're really just sad that the house we've made a home won't last us much longer.

Broke Back Mountain

We went to a working ranch/farm/resort today called Circle Bar B Stables in Goleta. Just a few minutes off the highway and ocean, we drove through a winding dirt road, passing creeks, gorgeous trees, and countless avocado trees.

When we finally arrived to the main house, we were greeted with a funny little sign that said "Howdy Pardner" with lasso-like letters. It was right about then that I realized that I was about to be transported. And I was. The men who told us what was what wore cowboy hats, dusty boots with spurs, and chaps. Skinner, our guide, (ya like that name, huh?) was a slightly portly man who you knew enjoyed every pleasure the pseudo modern life of a cowboy had to offer. My hint was the extensive Las Vegas strip club innuendo he offered up when we told him where we were from. I think he'd admit that he's had a pretty fun life thus far. But anyway, Skinner sized us up in front of him and picked out a horse for each of us.

I got Hershey. Mmm, mmmm chocolate! That's what had gone through my head at the time, at least.

But oh. I think I may need to ride another few horses in my life to get a hang of "Go" and "Whoa" and "Turn" and "Turn". Oh, and kickin' with my heels. I'm telling you that darn Hershey didn't feel a darn thing when I kicked.

We left the main stables promptly. I was pretty nervous and was relieved that my horse seemed to know to go when the others went and they all seemed to stay in a straight line. The first moment that I knew she and I would have a funny little relationship was when everyone else forged the first stream, Hershey stopped and took a drink. Then as she crossed, she stopped a second and pooped right there. Then when Grammy's horse started to eat at a pause for Skinner to talk about a tree, Hershey ate right along with it! I honestly started to get the hang of it by the last twenty minutes.

And all the while, I also got to enjoy some one of a kind views. Completely different from Las Vegas--there was just green stuff everywhere. And then on top of that, there were ocean views just beyond the mountains where you could even see ships in the distance.

And Skinner had some good timing. Just when I was thinking, "Is this ride almost over?" he turned to us and thanked us for a good ride. Right on, right?

Obviously no same-gendered relations up in here, but my back does kinda hurt now! Not a bad experience at all. Thank you, Skinner.

Flower Children

I seem to get a different flower for my hair everyday we're here. The Mr. gave me quite a bouquet yesterday, too. Walking to the main street here to check out shopping and such, he reached up and plucked a gargantuan bunch of flowers from a high trellis.

Dianna's a little flower child, too.

Santa Barbara Day 1 & 2 Recap

Alright, alright! The family went with the other Schulte's (my in-laws) to Santa Barbara for five days. Grammy found an amazing house to rent for the family with ocean views and it is absolutely beautiful. It's our first time really being here, too. What kind of excited us, and this is hilariously geeky, was that one of our favorite TV shows, Psych, takes place here. Before we go, we definitely want to see the pier where the office is supposed to be located. Yeah. Geeky.

So far, it's been so lovely and relaxed. I'm finally taking some time to write about our adventures...first day was the beach (it was Dianna's first time!), second day the Mr. and I went to an antique store (there are a lot here) and it was filled with so many more treasures than you would find in Las Vegas.

The third photo is from the Earth Day Festival. Today we've got horseback riding lined up! I've never gone and neither has John. I'll let you know how that goes.

Boy Toys

Early Monday morning at the beginning of April, we set out to Pahrump in my parents' minivan. Already having dropped off Dianna and Nike with Chris' parents, we had an entire van in the back available for the Yamaha dirt bike waiting for him an hour and a half away.

Recently, Chris' first dirtbike--a little Chinese pitbike--had its last hurrah. It was completely avoidable. Apparently Chris was doing a little jump (a no-no in any situation) and when air-bound, was so stoked that he turned to look behind himself where his little brother and friend Darius were watching. When he turned back to the front, he was already landing cock-eyed. And you can guess how that looked.

That little bike was basically totalled. There is a lot more back story there where he took it to a mechanic who screwed up his entire engine, rather than take it to his regular mechanic who knew the bike better...but in short, it was totalled.

Since then, he's been scouring Craigslist for a new bike (at an amazing price, mind you), and he found one! Realistically, he was supposed to really wait until we had some more money for it set aside. But I guess it's hard to pass up a good deal, right?

When we got to Pahrump, we called the guy who was selling the bike. Randy. He gave us the following directions,

"Get back on that main road. When you pass the Wal-Mart, check your odometer and go ten miles. You'll feel like you're leavin' town, and you are. I live up in the hills. After ten miles, you should get to some cattle guards. To the right is a road called Roadrunner, only there's no sign because some drunk knocked it over. Now you'll get to an unpaved road. Take the first left. Check your odometer again and go less than a mile. You'll pass a junk yard. You can't miss it, he even has a train caboose out there. Don't stop there he's a huge prick. Right after that junk yard, take the first right. That's where it gets really bumpy and you'll being going uphill. Just take it slow. I'm basically the only house you'll see. And the dirtbike is sitting right at the gate. Call me if you have any questions!"
As he said this, as you would imagine city folk like us were chuckling. Being from Las Vegas himself, Randy was chuckling about some of the directions, too! We got there easily enough--not including the last part. In a minivan, the last uphill road felt like we were trying to traverse a mountain. We were praying that the van didn't get a flat or just stop because of the rocks scraping at the underside of our van!

I could feel Chris' excitement mounting as we drove up to Randy and the bike. I think it took all he had to not yip like a girl  and kick his heels mid-air. In front of him was a svelt machine with more horsepower than his pitbike and the crf 50 combined. Randy took her around for a warm-up and handed her over to Chris. He went up and down the trail we had driven up twice in seconds.

Just look at that face. We obviously brought her home.

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