Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our First Home!!!

Folks, it's official. 
Ummmm...... I am excited. I mean..really, really, really, really super excited! We feel so lucky. In more ways than I can list off. But heck, who am I to hold back. 
So, here's our quick story! AMC and I had this whole 'Crossley House Buying Game Plan' pretty much figured out: save enough money and buy a steal-of-a-deal home. (And when I say steal, we really were thinking a $50k foreclosed diamond in the rough, of course. A beautifully, well-taken care of model home that previous owners simply couldn't afford anymore for some reason or another.) 
And pay for it in full. Up front. No biggie.
Right??? "What a sweet game plan" is probably what you must, huh?!
Reality check. The real estate market isn't quite that bad. We can occasionally be dreamers and completely unrealistic with our goals when left to ourselves.
As we searched (A few times each day because we were that excited and knew at any moment we could happen upon the one) we were beginning to realize the reality check with the unfortunately semi-stable market.
Okay, not a problem. A couple $10k more into the budget and we would still find a beautiful home to love, expand our family in, and where we could live happily ever after.
It's true.  Well, I take that back. Only to the cheap people with slightly unrealistic dreams. Pictures will be deceiving, sellers will lie through their teeth, real estate agents will be selfishly mean, foreclosed homes will be completely trashed, neighborhoods will be trashy.  It was tough. A few hugs from my mom calmed my discouraged heart. It had been months and we just hadn't found the right home yet. I was questioning how I would know that I had found the right home? I liked a lot of houses. And all of them were in okay neighborhoods. Despite the way I'm sounding picky...I really wasn't. I didn't have high expectations. I just wanted to find a spark. I wanted to feel excited--not simply okay.  I knew I could find it...if it was the perfect home for us. We prayed and prayed to have the Lord guide our decisions about the houses we would search. And, it happened. We walked into the home and both of our eyes lit up! It was beautiful, it was open and spacious, it was updated, it had the perfect size backyard, it had a gameroom that I thought wouldn't be possible within our budget. It's perfect! For us. We felt strong "YES's" and strong "NO's" towards every home that we looked at during that last trip. Gosh, I feel really loved by Heavenly Father for making this last house hunting trip so easy for us. He didn't have to. I'm sure other homes we looked at could have worked out just fine. But, He knew what we needed help to take the next step in choosing a home. Each time I thought about how I felt, and that those feelings didn't come from me caused my heart to ache and tears  to fill my eyes. An ache that was accompanied with the reality that He is there. He does want my heart/faith to strengthen in Him. I think that He must really love to know that I really need Him.
Say hello to the newest addition to our family.

Who would've thought that signing a contract binding me to a ridiculous amount of money towards a home, could make me loose so much sleep. In the good sort of way. 
Why I feel the need to stalk instead of sleep is beyond me.
And to search a 5 mile radius for cute shops, Targets, and Sonic drive-in's. It's all true. 
Maybe, hopefully, once we move in and begin making the house our home I can finally join AMC at night: knocked out enjoying his restful dreams for nearly 4-5 hours before I could even think about finding my yoga breath to let me sleep.
For now, I am too excited that I just don't mind.
Yours truly, Me 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hawaii, Part 3 (the last one...I promise!)

Well hello Mr. Kamehameha Bus Stop. We hung out by your side while we waited to hop on The Bus to tour your beloved island's terrain. Aaron and I still miss your bus driver's hesitating glances as we loaded on bag after bag just below the sign that reads, "No suitcases allowed on The Bus". Yes, it's true, you remind us that we saved nearly $450 by avoiding car rentals and insanely expensive parking fees.
But you are so not worth it.
My favorite beach stop!!! Waimea Beach. AMC is sporting his thuggish swag near the sign that had printed, "DANGEROUS SHOREBREAK!"
AKA: "Come...and play in the most fabulous waves crashing near the shoreline!"
Waimea Beach is famous for the thrill seakers who jump the cliffs/rocks into the ocean. Oh snap! There goes my boy!
Oh, how I wish his lack of anxiety was more contagious... What a champ!
Tree 90x, anyone? He just doesn't stop, does he?
HAHA. So, I initially took the photo that you see below...being partially oblivous to what effect he was going for. AMC: "Janene, you didn't get the ground in the photo, right?" Don't hate.
I lived in small house right across from Hukilau's beach. This made the Hukilau Cafe a 20 second walk from home. I was always jamming to my man Jack Johnson's songs. Was 'Banana Pancakes' not the best song ever? He was talking about Hukilau Cafe's famous banana pancakes! I was so bummed that the Cafe was closed when we had plans to go for breakfast. Next time...
For those of ya'll who are LOST fanatics: This spot is from the scene when Sun gets married to Jin. This was sentimental. We had the best few months watching LOST on Hulu. My heart aches right now as I realize how much I miss Jack and Kate and Sawyer,etc...
Shaved Ice! Matsumoto has the most yummiest on the island. It's a fun place that has the walls plastered with photos of celebrities sipping on their delicious shaved ice. We could not stop thinking of how it was the best we've ever had until we got the last slurp of the ice-cream/shaved ice mix. Pina Colada and Strawberry mixed stole my heart.
Halieva has a fun street to cruise for yummy foods and neat tourist shops. I just love the North Shore
Stand Up Paddling! This was the actvity that I was most excited to do! He's not naked, I promise.
I may have fallen a time or 2..or 3...or 4. Who's counting anyways?
Warrior One pose. I felt so rad and so coordinated.... Just up until I lost my balance the second after he snapped the photo.
Yours truly, Me

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hawaii, Part 2

The King of surfing. 
Okay my chocolate loverlies. If you love caramel or chocolate or macadamia nuts then you may understand my slight addiction to my most favorite Hawaiian treat. I am sure I brought up their amazing existance to AMC on a billion occasions. Muai Caramacs. Now that I think of it, we only purchased 14 or 15 boxes. Yikes. I take that 'slight' comment back. 
These trees were unreal! The trunks were massive. Then, from each of the large branches, there were even more branches that vertically grew back into the earth. Phenomenal.
My little Tarzan... I had so much fun watching him run up the tree like a wild jungle man. I find myself smiling as I realize how much fun we have together. 
Clearly, I'm Jane. Uncertain and clumsy. 
We walked down the Waikiki beach and it felt so good listening to the reggae music blaring from various restaurants while watching hula dancers dance away during our first sunset in Hawaii. 
Pearl Harbor. 
My heart leaped when I saw the map of the islands on the cement floor.  My great-grandfather, Forest Packard, was captured on Wake Island. He served as a POW for 5 years during WWII in Japanese camps. I loved that I've been able to read so many compilations of records and journal entries from him and those that knew him while in the prison camps. I know that his posterity has been blessed because of his faith and testimony of his Savior. I really can't wait to meet him. And I'm so grateful to know that I can. I have so much to learn.
Love him.
U.S.S Arizona
Awesome machine gun.
Boo. Japanese suicide bomber torpedo. Almost all attempts were unsuccessful. Not Boo.
Swap Meet! I saw it. Loved it. I'm pretty sure I squealed loud enough to embarrass myself in front of the dealer. Aaron made me buy it. 
Hanauma Bay. Beautiful snorkeling! We bought some snorkel gear before we left for Hawaii to maximize our snorkeling time. Total waste. I only used my pair once. And if it were up to me, I wouldn't have used it at all. I am the worst cold-water pansy ever. I have little patience for it. But I did humor AMC and we (of course!) had so much fun snorkeling and snapping pictures of each other and the tropical fish with our underwater camera. (I'll add the pictures whenever I get around to developing them.)
I fell in LOVE with my Hawaii shirt : )

Yours truly, Me

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hawaii, Part I

Timeshare presentations? I am a believer.
Okay, we weren't actually dragged into the presentation because they were 2 hours late for our appointment. And after watching 2 hours worth of America's Funniest Home Videos in the waiting room, we simply didn't have time for the lecture. SO, off we went, straight to the gift department. At that point, we just stole two vacations.
Along with a few complimentary nights in Galveston, AMC and I scored a five day/ four night hotel stay in Hawaii. But airfare, obviously a ridiculously huge expense, wasn't included. But I'm thinking, "Have a little faith!" With airline miles, Groupon gift certificates, and months and months of searching (and praying!) for other killer deals, we went on our dream vacation! Well, I say our... but I really mean my dream vacation! AMC would love to go to Italy and tour the beautiful areas of Europe. We even started learning Italian together. Ooh-la-la! That trip is now on the top of my vacation list! Is it crazy that I'm probably going to try and make that trip happen? Even maybe sometime soon? 
I'll take a vacation over any gift. Any day.
A destination in Hawaii that had my heart most excited was the Polynesian Cultural Center....a place where I had worked for five months. When I lived in Laie in 2006, I was a waitress for the afternoon BBQ's and the evening Luau's. I really loved it there. I was working with happy tourists on vacations.  ALOHA!            
AMC was laughing at himself hysterically while dancing to the men's Tahitian 'knee clap'. I do love that he is such a good sport and feels comfortable enough to look so silly and score a few laughs from me. I really love him...
This Samoan performer had me rollin' with giggles. (He was my favorite when I worked there.) He was so funny. He would stare at Aaron with intense eyes as he would crack another joke about his life, culture, and manhood.
He produced fire in about 15 seconds. Speaking of manhood...
Quirky little statues convinced us that we were in another world.
Fabulous island show complete with performers dancing on the river. How cool is that? Each Polynesian group shook their hips to their island's unique form of dance.
Tonga. I love the kicks they do with their heads throughout their dance. It made the experience incredibly authentic.
Tahiti (My favorite! Their hips don't lie.)
New Zealand (Yup. This rad dude's glare was directed at Aaron. I'm noticing a trend here.)
Samoa (Beautiful colors and spirit in their dances.)
Hardcore Figi
We then hopped to a 30 minute open-window tram tour to visit BYU-Hawaii and the LDS Temple.
Of all of the temples I have seen, to me, the Laie temple has the most beautiful and breath-taking grounds. I love the sprinkling fountains of water, palm trees, Plumeria flowers, and the pure white temple. The Spirit near the temples is warm and calming. Oh how lovely it is.
With hungry little tummy's, we made our way back to the PCC for a much needed Polynesian buffet and Luau. The poi potato was a favorite dish of mine. The poi rolls are even yummier!
Any guesses for the smokin' main entree?
Wait for it...
Kailua Pork. Props to whoever saw this pig-like-beast and knew that it would be ever-so-tasty. I tried not to think of the preparation process in too much detail.
PCC Night Show. AMC and I were grinning with astonishment! It's beautiful in every way. Look at how in sync their dancing is! Their smiles and happiness is contagious. I love the polynesian people.
(Note-Our short videos didn't come out as well. I pulled the following clip from youtube.)
Yours truly, Me