Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Stomping Grounds

Since I accepted a job roughly 2 months ago at Penn State, we've been looking online every day for a place to live in State College. At first we were hoping to rent, but the rental market here has very limited options for families with pets and to rent a nice place costs about as much per month as it would cost for a mortgage payment.  So just last week we once again began entertaining the idea of buying a place.  Tara is 35 weeks pregnant, so she was in the no-fly period, so I had to fly out alone to find us a house (and attend a research conference).  Not an ideal situation for finding a home.

I flew out to State College and looked at a few places, but there was no one clear place that stood out.  The next day I got a call from Tara at 7am EST (i.e. 4am PST), which totally surprised me.  I asked her what she was doing up so early, and she responded that she couldn't sleep around 3am, so she'd gotten up and started looking online for houses and noticed that a new house had just come on the market.  She thought it was perfect, and that it would likely go fast. So I alerted our real estate agent, and he was able to get me in to see the house that day.  I had to miss the formal lunch for the research conference so that I could see the place, but it turned out to be worth it. We really liked the house and made an offer on it that same day and that evening the offer was accepted.  So after waiting months and months to find a place, when the right place came up, we were able to act quickly and lock in.  We feel very blessed.

Interestingly, the house appeared to be owned by an LDS couple, which is pretty uncommon for a place like Pennsylvania.  We figured this out because there were pictures of Christ and of the Salt Lake City temple on the walls. Prior to their ownership, the house was apparently owned by Jay Paterno (the son of former PSU football coach Joe Paterno).

In unrelated news, I also attended an accounting research conference at Penn State.  It was a great conference, and at the end, they had a nice activity where we went out to a nice range and got to shoot clay pigeons.  The weather was perfect, and we all had a good time.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Party at the Maulers

To celebrate the end of our time here in the PhD program together, Landon hosted a nice party for everyone in our program.  It was scheduled early enough that all the little kids were able to come and play.  We had a great time hanging out. We'll miss being around all these guys.

Here's Tara, Dave's wife Rachelle, and their baby Joseph.

The kids really loved bouncing around on the indoor trampoline. Here's Aria and Dave's daughter Anna.

Zade and Dave's son Ben enjoyed the tramp too.  Especially when Landon would sneak up on them and fire bouncy balls at them.

Here's Phil and Landon with a small army of children.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Aria is now 5

At Aria's request, we celebrated her 5th birthday by going to Funtastics. 

I tried teaching the kids how to hold a golf club...

But they quickly reverted to their own personal styles.  Aria's was the most interesting to watch. She held her club like a sickle and swung it at the ball like she was going to harvest wheat.  

The kids also had fun going on the rides, like the dragon ride, a mini roller coaster, and a jumpy castle.

They even had mini go carts for little kids.

She did a great job zipping around the course, and every time she drove by where we were cheering her on, she'd look at us and give a big smile.  However, a few times she spent a little too long looking at us and not enough time looking at the race track and almost drove right into the wall.  :)  

For dinner we ate at Sweet Tomatoes, Aria's favorite restaurant, and then came home and had cake, which was decorated just as Aria requested.

Her cake looked so delicious, that Azure tried licking it.  After we shoo-ed her away, Azure was not pleased.  Her scowl reminded me of the one my dad makes when he's not pleased with something. :)

The next day the kids had fun at home making necklaces.  They've really gotten into playing with beads recently.  If you look carefully at this photo, you may notice Zade has a black eye.  Apparently he and Aria was squabbling over something and she clocked him with a sippy cup.  Hopefully it will heal soon.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

10 Year Anniversary

To celebrate our 10 fabulous years married together, Dane and I decided we needed to do something memorable, so we drove to Las Vegas.  My parents and my sister Sharalee joined us.  We had fun seeing the sights together, and my family even watched the kids for a day and night so Dane and I could celebrate our anniversary alone.  We spent the first two nights at the Circus Circus Hotel, then Dane and I spent one night alone and one night with the kids at the Treasure Island Hotel.  For our Anniversary Day alone, Dane and I went to the Las Vegas Temple, shopping on the strip, dinner at the Treasure Island buffet and then a Cirque du Soleil show called Mystere at Treasure Island.

My sister Sharalee and I are both pregnant and expecting boys. 
 Our due date is only a few days apart.  It was fun to be together!

The kids enjoyed riding some of the rides at the Adventuredome inside Circus Circus.

Zade thought that he would like the frog hopper ride, 
even though I worried that it would be too scary for him.

It turns out I was right.  A look of terror overtook his face the moment the ride had its first drop.

Aria, having had more worldly experience, knew that she would not like the
 frog hopper ride and chose the helicopter ride instead.

We enjoyed walking the strip where we stopped to look at the shops inside the Venetian Hotel.
Zade and Aria thoroughly enjoyed the attention of Aunt Shara, and Grandma and Grandpa.

Grandma even planned an Easter egg hunt for the kids inside the hotel.

We enjoyed the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel.

We visited the Silverton Hotel and saw stingrays fed by a diver, and a mermaid waving to the kids.

 One evening we had the dinner buffet at the Flamingo Hotel. 
 It had the best gourmet dessert bar one could ever hope for!

 We visited the 4 level M&M store and the Coca Cola store.

Unfortunately, as my parents and sister were driving back to Utah, they were hit by car on the freeway which pushed them into another car.  Their car was totaled, and both my mom and sister were taken to the hospital to be checked out.  Everyone is okay, although still store.  My dad has since bought a fabulous new car, which he made sure had a 5 star all around safety rating.

On Easter Sunday, the kids had fun collecting candy that was stashed all around the living room.  Aria wore here new Easter dress and bonnet, purchased for her by Grandma Debenham

Tara's Birthday
Rather than merely celebrate my birthday on a single day, Dane was kind enough to turn it into a week long celebration.  On Tuesday Dane put the kids to bed while I went clothes shopping at Kohls (I found nothing and have since given up on trying to purchase any clothes, until after giving birth.)  On Wednesday Dane put the kids to bed while I went to Heavenly Feet and got a back, foot and leg massage, which was very relaxing.  On Thursday, Dane put the kids to bed while I watched the movie Breaking Dawn, and on Friday we all went to Macaroni Grill and then came home to eat a miniature birthday cake.  What a great week thanks to my loving, and thoughtful husband!