30 May 2011

Another Home Fiasco Turns Sweet

One of the oddities about starting medical school as the first class to enter a campus is that housing in the area does not function like housing in an establish college community. Apartment complexes in Lebanon, Oregon do not yet offer Fall/Winter contracts, or prepare for apartments to be vacated and occupied again come August. There is no on-campus housing either, but luckily for us Cascade Ridge Apartments is a relatively new complex that is across the street from the school.

Scott and I decided a few things early on:
- I am willing to pay more for the possibility of seeing Scott more often during the grueling hours of medical school by living in close proximity
- It's better to rent and get an idea for the area instead of buying right away (even though, as many have told us, the market is hot here right now)
- Once an apartment comes up in our ideal location, we need to snatch it

And snatch it we did! In fact, I think we have the best set-up in all of Cascade Ridge! But I'm getting ahead of myself...

An apartment opened up to be moved into in the middle of May. We signed a lease without seeing the place, because we were assured we would receive a model quality home. We were given a time frame to move in. About a week before the move I contacted Cascade to tell them that we had booked a moving van in that time frame and were planning to move to Oregon on Tuesday. They responded with the go ahead. My mom graciously offered her services as driving companion as we had a two vehicle caravan going to Lebanon. Thanks Mom for flying down!

Scott arrived first, of course, even though he was driving the larger vehicle laden with all our belongings. When he walked into the office to introduce himself as the new move in, he was told our apartment wasn't ready! Complications! A few members from church were here to help us move everything out of the Budget van, which was due back on Friday. After some discussion, management decided to let us move our things onto the hard floors of the apartment. 

Carpets would be cleaned the next day, and two days from move in we would be allowed to... well, move in! It was stressful, for sure, and not what we had planned! But Cascade Ridge management did all they could to help us get everything worked out. The carpet cleaner came and fixed some stains on the beige carpets, CR's maintenance guru came up to fix creaky floors, and the corporate office sent us an apology gift for our troubles.

We're actually quite pleased with the outcome. We ended up with the best situated apartment in the complex! We love the L-shape layout with open kitchen, dining room, and living area. We have a beautiful back porch view of a grassy meadow (as opposed to the alternative views of development or other living spaces). We were able to locate a very nice/inexpensive hotel in the area for future visitors. Not to mention, I told Scott how excited I was to use my "Home Fiasco" label again on my blog. I didn't think that would happen again after bats and ants! Plus our apology gift from corporate has gotten us a smidgen closer to making our apartment more cozy! Here's a little sneak peak:

27 May 2011

We've Arrived

Voici the Matrix and Budget moving van, all shiny from Oregon dew (read: torrential downpour) in front of our new place, Cascade Ridge Apartments.

As my Tom Tom would say, we have arrived! It was a long trip from Sacramento to Lebanon, Oregon and unfortunately became a little bit longer upon arrival. That story will be told in due time. I am excited to show you pictures of our quaint little farm town, soon to be college community! For now we are trying to get comfortable with the community, the rain, and our lovely apartment.

18 May 2011

Preserving Memories

My parents are moving from Sitka, AK to “the lower forty-eight” as we like to call it. They haven’t really decided where they’ll root themselves yet. A a big factor in that decision surrounds the fact that Scott and I have no idea where we’ll be ten years from now. What can I say? I’m the princess/ bulls eye for parentals!

Well when I got a box in the mail from my mom a week ago, I could tell that she’s packing up anything we might find important. In my box she included corded ropes from graduations, pictures from band trips, and my binder covers from junior or senior year. It was a fun little trip down memory lane, but the pictures aren’t really keepers. Plus I’m not a scrapbooker, or hoarder for that matter. That’s why I blog! It’s my journal with pictures.

So here are some pictures from my past:

In 8th grade I went with the Blatchley Middle School jazz band for the first time to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Michele Gauker and I would switch every other song on the piano.

There’s me in the front. About a week before this I had been to Portland, Oregon with my mom to be diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Prior to the trips I had been doubled over sick and lost about twenty pounds of athletic muscle. I learned later that friends had thought I was anorexic.

Two years later as a sophomore I went back to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. This time not only as a piano player, but I also traveled as a Vocal Jazz singer.

I'll spare you the close up, since my Crohns diagnosis called for a prednisone prescription. I gained back the weight I lost... and some!

Then there's my junior/senior handmade binder cover:

Complete with Sitka sunsets and youth conference photos to keep me spiritually energized for the year. Not to mention the much needed happy face band-aid cut out and a faddish monkey cartoon. Perfect!

Last but not least included in my mother's package was my swimming instructor photo from the summer of 2006 when I taught Red Cross Learn-to-Swim lessons at the Community School's pool.

It was a challenging summer, as I had graduated from BYU-Idaho, traveled on a study abroad to France, and was desperately wanting to move on with my life. Limbo is universal, Younglings. Not only is it universal, it is reoccurring!

That about wraps up this flashback session! These memories are officially preserved electronically and can now be physically lost in the move to Lebanon, Oregon.

16 May 2011

Not-So-Extreme Couponing

I started using coupons a few months ago when I moved into the Chandler house and started benefiting from their Sunday newspaper inserts. I'd been following couponing for about a year since Provo had some great resources available, not to mention amazing stories! Back then I felt limited in my couponing quest without a printer (I now have one) or a newspaper subscription.

When I started using coupons and teaching Martie about the budgeting benefits of shopping sales, Curt requested to stock up if I ever saw a sale for paper products. Martie loves Charmin! I don't blame her! Living in her house for six months, I am now a convert. So I watched The Krazy Coupon Lady site for the yellow box symbol, signifying that Charmin had gotten to a good enough deal to stock. That deal didn't appear until two weeks ago. Good timing, considering we are packing up for the move.

I told Big Curt, ordered from a coupon clipping service and insert shipping service, and prepared for my haul. With coupons and gift cards towards your next purchase at Target, the deal included 24 Double Charmin rolls, 8 large Bounty paper towel rolls, one single Bounty roll, and Charmin Freshmates - normal retail around $31, all four for $15.

The deal isn't Extreme Couponing by any stretch. In fact, I took Scott with me to push two carts around Target, and he really wasn't impressed with the amount spent. But Curtis and Martie now own a Matrix-load of tp at half the price they normally pay, and I have more experience for my couponing resume.

I am excited to bring my coupon skills to Oregon, mostly because I think shelves will be better stocked with sales items, as opposed to Elk Grove where couponers abound! Images dance in my mind of the stockpile I could accumulate in my Cascade Ridge apartment! These skills will be priceless during our medical school years.

13 May 2011

Justifying a Habit

This commercial came on the other day, RIGHT before Scott left for one of his THREE weekly sessions of basketball at our church court. (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday for sure, sometimes Wednesday too! Don't let Scott tell you otherwise!)

↵ Use original player
← Replay

Needless to say, Scott felt a little more justified in his playing schedule knowing that it is supported by the President's family. Michelle said one hour a day!

11 May 2011

Go Green!

While we do recycle a little in Sacramento, "Go Green!" actually refers to a new feature at the Chandler and Kartchner home to help with discipline.

A few months ago Martie took the boys to a movie by herself. Jackson was not having the best day. You can tell because he starts sticking to a strict pattern, not able to go with the flow, and then when that gets frustrating throws tantrums. Reasoning always fails. Well, when I came back to the theater to pick everyone up, Jackson was crying and obstinate. It was raining, and we couldn't leave until Jackson was more calm and buckled up. It was chaotic!

After we finally arrived home, I decided that we needed a method to help us when we are away from home. When Jackson is at home, he is really good about knowing when he needs time in his room to calm down. He'll put himself in "time out!" Away from home, there is no place for time out. I remembered that my mom had told me how visuals sometimes help kids to understand when they are approaching trouble. One visual that she saw that worked well was a stoplight.

It works like a charm, even from day one! If Jackson is being a good boy, he is on green and when he does something good he can put a marshmallow in his happy jar! He LOVES marshmallows, and I can't believe how patient he is to wait for them until the end of the day! If we can tell that Jackson is approaching a melt down, we tell him, "Uh oh! Is Jackson on yellow or green?" Yellow means that if things continue as they're going, Jackson might have to turn over the red sign and lose a marshmallow. By the time it gets to red, Jackson will put himself in time out (if we're home).

Having this visual in the house makes it easier for all the kids to understand the consequences of behavior even when we're out doing errands! Even Sterling and Kaden want their own stoplights so they can know when they are doing good! Jackson LOVES to be on green and he will quickly change what he's doing if you suggest that he might be changing to a different color. We have one stoplight ring in both Martie and Amy's home to help continue the encouragement no matter where the boys are. I think this method is a keeper!

What you need to make your own stoplight:
Red, Yellow, and Green construction paper
a small bowl
a hole puncher
a binding ring
a pencil
a thumb tack for hanging

Use the pencil and bowl to trace circles out on the different colors of construction paper. Cut the circles and stack them uniformly. Then use your hole puncher to cut out a hole through all three and slip your binder ring through to keep the circles together. The binder ring helps so that you can easily flip between colors if behavior calls for it.

Hang the stoplight ring low, so your child can easily see it.

We also have a clean canning jar, which we decorated to keep Jackson's daily accumulation of marshmallows. Having this incentive helps to solidify the idea, but may not be necessary.

09 May 2011

Under My Umbrella

This last weekend we went down to Visalia to celebrate Ella-Bella's first birthday! Ella is a miracle in our lives, and we were so excited to go down and spend time in Visalia before leaving for Oregon in a week. Saturday was also my brother Matt's (30th!) birthday. So I told him we were having a proxy birthday in his honor, and I sure hoped he liked the rainbow theme that Sara picked out.

Actually the theme was umbrellas, because in the fam when someone says "Ella" it's typically followed by the echoing "ella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh!" from this song. Umbrella themed things are hard to come by, says Sara, so the theme expanded to spring rainbows. So fun!

Me and the birthday girl

Sara made a rainbow layered birthday cake

I helped out with a very important task. The mother of the birthday girl wanted this shabby chic party to be complete with canning jars of white wild flowers topping each table. Sara had seen some flowers around Visalia that she thought would work and asked if I would go out and pick these wild blossoms. So I drove around to the various fields and store fronts to pick some flowers. I didn't feel bad. CVS had a whole hedge of rose bushes that were PLENTIFUL! Plus, Visalia seems to have these grass bushes on every corner, in front of every store, with random white iris type flowers poking up.

Right when I brought back two grocery bags full of flowers, we realized that the Radmacher's (Sara's amazing parents) have these BEAUTIFUL snow pea flowers in their back yard. They offered all the white flowers therein for the party. All put together, we had some beautiful bouquets.

The secret to these flowers, the Radmachers said, is to plant the snow peas in the fall, and in the spring they will bloom to their full purpose: gorgeous flowers! Snow Pea Flowers are now added to my list of future garden features.

Happy Birthday to Ella and Matt!

Happy Mother's Day to my mom!

Thanks to the Chandlers and Radmachers for a wonderful birthday and Mother's Day weekend.

06 May 2011

Move to Lebanon Scheduled

While we were in Maui, we finalized a rental agreement in Lebanon, Oregon where Scott will be enrolled in medical school. The apartment complex, Cascade Ridge, is one of the newest complexes in Lebanon and is located across the street from Western University's campus.

Picture of Western University COMP NW campus, in final construction phase

I definitely planned that on purpose! The med school advice that Scott and I have heard so far suggests that during the first two years of school I wont get to see Scott much due to studying habits. So to encourage as much time as possible with my husband, we chose Cascade Ridge.

We haven't seen the apartment yet, but we have been ensured that after the current occupants move out the apartment will be white glove cleaned and brought back to model apartment quality (if bringing back is needed). I'm a little nervous since the campus is new and housing has yet to be defined and reviewed, but I have had some relief in seeing pictures, floor plans, and complex ammenities. Plus you can't beat the location! If we decide after a year that we'd rather live nearer church friends or in a complex with a basketball court (Scott's suggestion), then we can always move.

We can move in anywhere from May 13- 23. As luck, or divine intervention, would have it, seminary (Scott is a teacher) ends May 13. Graduation for seniors is Sunday, May 15, after which we will no longer have any pressing obligations (besides family requests) to stay. Moving day is currently scheduled for May 17, which also happens to be the first public touring day of the campus!

I am anxious to leave and set up my own house again! The Chandler's have been so nice to let us stay in their house and we really haven't ever been uncomfortable here! But my own kitchen and my own laundry are calling me! I'm excited to decorate and investigate our new town. No good news yet on jobs for me, but I would guess that search will be easier when in Oregon. We will keep you updated!

04 May 2011

Glee Conundrum

I have a love/hate relationship with Glee. For those of you unfamiliar with Glee, you must not watch much TV or hang around teenagers. The show follows a group of fictional high school students who are a part of a glee club, New Directions. Each episode they take popular tunes, or a theme of classics, and mix storyline and song to create the ultimate high school musical.

What draws me to Glee is the music. I think I would have loved to be a part of something like this glee club when I was in high school. I practically lived in a musical. I sang in choir and Vocal Jazz and often ate, drank, slept music (my parents said I would sing in my sleep). So how could I not love episodes like Glee's Born This Way, featuring these three songs!

I Feel Pretty/Unpretty

I've Gotta Be Me
(videos aren't available any more, and it was as much about the dancing as it was about the song!)

As If We Never Said Goodbye

Goosebumps! Quite literally.

Brings back memories of musical theater sets and band room lunches. Of course, in our high school, participating in music was semi-cool (dare I say!). So I wasn't necessarily really making a Glee kind of statement.

But that's the problem with Glee, is that they try to make a statement. To make their scripted musical story lines, Glee takes current events and twists them in a way that lacks any sort of value. The best episodes of Glee are the ones where they don't take on any political or social stance, but are just silly... supported by backup dancers and melody of course (case in point: tater tots)! However, when Glee approaches a topic of interest in their episodes, I generally find myself at the end of the episode contemplating whether or not the show is worth watching anymore. Do I really want to support a show that teaches drinking, sexuality, relationships, or religious freedom in the way they do to teenagers? There is more drama and perversion than truth, and I doubt that today's teens possess that clarity.

I've encountered this conundrum before when a group of friends and I followed Gilmore Girls obsessively. I loved watching that show! My conversations were always wittier afterward, though I do recall my brother suggesting I was just talking faster. Well, several seasons down the line the writers of Gilmore Girls changed and they introduced adultery into the show. It went downhill from there, plot-wise, and at the tipping point my group of viewers decided to abandon the show. Having watched a few of the final episodes, I don't really feel like I missed out on much.

So here lies my conundrum - if I had "left" Glee six months ago when Season Two began and episode plots turned terribly sour what would I have missed out on? Plot wise? Nada! But I would have missed those three songs and other gems! Glee has me (and most likely others) in a musical bind, and I think they know it!

02 May 2011

SMF Ad Space

On our way home from Maui, Martie and Curtis had quite the adventure which involved transfering to our flight, but in first class.

Yes I really did document their First Class smirks! I'll let them tell you the whole story in person, but the moral of that story is "Don't fly American Airlines." Hawaiian Airlines rocked our socks off, even in coach. They served the best spinach fritata that Scott and I had ever eaten, and that was their complimentary meal!

We all arrived at the Sacramento airport (SMF) at the same time, and though Scott and I like to travel carry-on, we all waited for Chandler luggage to spin out on the conveyor belt. As, I waited, and woke up more from the long flight, I saw how genius the SMF airport was to bring in more revenue through ad space!

In the baggage claim area, there were hanging pendant ads and conveyor belt ads. Of course, as a marketing major, I just have to commend the person who, probably while waiting for their luggage, had this inspiration -  "Hmm... where can I find blank space that thousands of people will stare at for long, waiting periods of time? Oh, of course! Baggage claim!"


These ads were for a local casino resort. I can guarantee you that every person waiting to pick up bags that day read those ads as they circled their way around with no luggage on them. Do you also see the amazing art pillar of vintage luggage? Beautiful!