Drum roll please....

This is the house. I LOVE the front porch!!

This is what you see when you walk in the front door.

The hallway to the left as you walk in the front door. Peachy huh?

The first door down the hall. The purple bedroom...not sure if we'll need it that color.
The last door on the left. HY'S ROOM!! ( It's light blue...and I really like the color)
The bathroom at the end of the hall. I like the tiles. Derek's not a fan. Am I crazy?
The master bedroom down the hall and to the right. We've got a master bathroom ( about the same size as the hall bathroom) and a small walk in closet on the left hand side :).
The kitchen.
The very unfinished basement. Nice that they left us a picture. :)
The garage... They also left us a speed limit sign. Interesting. Yeah we're going to ask the police to come get it.
So this is the end of our tour. Back to the front door.

There you have it.

It's crazy what you notice when the previous owners (and their things) are no longer in the house. Like how much precision painting was done.

All the trim is painted like this...
In fact all of the baseboards were painted the same way.
All of the doors were painted with the same precision. Sometimes with the paint on the outside...

Sometimes with paint on the inside (that's the light blue paint on the inside)

They also did some interesting painting with the vaulted ceiling. That's the wall that spans the living room to the kitchen. Where the half wall (with the arch in it) connects with that wall they changed the paint.
This is under the arch on the dividing wall...
Apparently that is where this wall becomes a part of the kitchen.
We are not that precise in our painting. These features of the house will not remain.

Another thing about the house is that the previous owners really liked shiny gold.

We are not as big of fans. These will probably change slowly over time.

And can anyone help me out with this?

This is right outside our back sliding door on the side of the house. At first I thought they were making a dog run. But they didn't have a dog and they had poured concrete under it. Any ideas?

But I can't wait to see what happens with these...
They are fruit trees!!! Two pears, one peach and a cherry!! I have a lot of studying to do!!

We interrupt this highlight reel to announce that history has been made. At around 12:00 EST Barack Obama was made the first African American president of the United States of America AND at around 5:00 MST Derek and Sunny Tangren became FIRST TIME homeowners!!!!

Pictures to follow...promise!

Church History Sites

We went to Orchard Park, New York ( that's near Buffalo ) for New Years so we could spend it with my sister's family. My parents usually travel through Canada but since we never got Hyrum's birth certificate ( although I'm sure we ordered one ) we drove state side which takes longer and has much more lake affect snow. ( Sorry about that everyone ) But one of the bonuses is that you pass Kirtland, Ohio on the way. And in Orchard Park you are only an hour and a half from Palmyra. So we took advantage of both opportunities.

Derek spent a year and a half working for the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation and learned just about everything there is to know about church history sites but had actually visited very few of them. We were excited to change some of that.

The day after New Years we headed to Palmyra. We stopped at the Hill Camorah first. They suggested that we go to the Palmyra sites before we took time in the visitors center at the Hill Camorah because the other sites were going to close an hour before they did. We turned to bundle the kids back out to the cars but one had wandered in to see the Christus and the rest had followed. We caught a quick picture of all the grandkids and were glad we did because we never got back with them.

We hurried off to the Smith family farm first. :)
There is something to be said about being there. Walking on the same paths, and being in the same air space where incredible things happened. There is a feeling. There is just a feeling that remains.
The frame home

It was cold but we trudged through the snow to the Sacred Grove as well. We couldn't miss this experience despite the cold and the snow.

Bundled Hyrum
From there we headed to the Grandin Printing press in downtown Palmyra. At this point Hyrum was beyond done but we enjoyed our visit anyway. But we didn't get many pictures.
Proof that we were there at least. :)

Derek wanted to go back to the Hill Camorah to get a picture of the Moroni statue at the top so we put Hyrum in one of the party vans ( aka my sisters mini van with a movie playing and cousins to talk to) and headed back. We tried to drive to the top of the hill but the road was blocked off. Me not being disuaded headed off across the bottom of the hill to get some video of the statue from the bottom. Derek, thinking that I headed to the top, started up the hill in the snow wind and cold. I got back to the visitors center and my dad said that he thought Derek was with me. I ran out into the darkness, retracing my steps screaming his name. But the swirling wind and increasing snow made any hope of him hearing me vanish. Meanwhile Derek had reached the peak and not finding me near the statue began to panic, and didn't even take a picture. When we finally reconnected he was mad at me for running off and I was mad at him for not taking a picture.

Then on the way home to Michigan we stopped at Kirtland. We began our visit at none other than the Kirtland temple which if you don't know charges $2 for a tour. We walked around in thier museum for awhile and Hyrum dressed up as a little pioneer ( isn't he adorable )
Then headed off to see the temple
After their very accurate but not really complete tour we headed to the church owned sites in Kirtland. They were about to close up in less than an hour but these wonderful missionaries stayed to give us the tour, that incidently didn't cost us anything. :)
Newel K Whitney Store (where the school of the prophets was held)
Newel K Whitney's house ( where Emma and Joseph lived upon arriving in Kirtland)

Both visits were way too quick and we promised ourselves that we would come back when the weather was nicer and when we could stay longer.

So while I was in Michigan...we bought a house!!!

Yeah...that's right we BOUGHT a HOUSE!!!

In the last two or three months we'd made offers on two houses but before they could accept or deny ours they got a better offer. Then the last house we looked at they got a better offer than we could make before we could even MAKE it. I wasn't too terribly excited about them but Derek was. (seems we have a bit of a differing opinion on what what makes the house perfect) Because of this Derek insisted that he was NOT going to look at houses while I was gone. I told him that he should because the perfect house could come on the market and we'd miss it. As it turned out he was so busy with work that he didn't have time to even look at the emails our Realtor sent every morning of the new listings. But I kept looking...

Then the interest rates dropped to under 5%. I began looking more carefully and looking at higher priced houses figuring with the rates so low we could afford a bit more.

On the 17th this house came on the market that looked interesting. I showed it to Derek and he agreed that it was interesting so I emailed our Realtor to get Derek in to see the house. So on Saturday the 20th he saw the house after first calling me to ask what I wanted him to look at. I gave him a detailed list; how many cupboards and drawers in the kitchen, is the light and fan in the bathroom on one switch or two, is there a linen closet, coat closet, game closet, measure the living room, bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, how many drawers and cupboards in the bathroom, does it have a hand towel ring, color of paint in the rooms, what is the thermostat set at, what do they pay on average for utilities etc... Derek called me back afterward with a positive report and we considered if we wanted to make an offer and what it would be. By that evening we'd made the offer.(they had until Monday to give us a response) Monday night at 9 pm (11 Michigan time) Derek called to say they counter offered. I didn't want to pay more than what we offered but we decided to sleep on it. The next day he headed to Michigan before the sun was up. When he got to Michigan we were off to try to get Hyrum's pictures taken with Santa (more about that later) and a stop at the store before heading finally home to my parents house. Then our Realtor Sandi called while we were at the store to see if we'd made a decision regarding the house and to let us know that she was heading out of town for Christmas in an hour. We didn't know what to do. We had kind of decided to counter offer but logistically we didn't have time to get home print sign and fax a counter offer to them before Sandi had to leave. Derek called her back and told her the situation, she told us that they couldn't do any lower than what they'd counter offered so it was a done deal. It was over! We went home very disappointed.

Then a half an hour later Sandi called back and said that someone had taken a cut somewhere and that they'd lowered thier counter offer to just about what we were going to counter offer. We accepted. So on Christmas eve we came officially under contract. Merry Christmas!!

Then after Christmas we arranged for an inspection and started to get everything going with financing. On our way to New York we looked over the disclosure and read through the loan application. We got there on New Years eve. Then we signed the loan papers...

And set off to try to find a place that could fax it which was still open on New Years eve. Not so easy. And HOLY COW I had no idea it cost so much to fax things!! Wow!

So after walking through with the inspector the day after we got home rushing around to find a plumber before due diligence expired and making a list of everything I want to do before we move all of our things in we close on the 20th of January ( if all goes well) and we'll be home owners shortly thereafter. Oh My!

Do these look like people that know what they are getting themselves into? Didn't think so!

I'm not going to even attempt to give a week by week travel log of my 6 week vacation to Michigan. I'm sure that most of you are HEAVING a sigh of relief and taking your cursor off the close icon. But I have to record some things...SO I will just do some highlights and not necessarily in order. And I'll start today or it will never happen...

In many ways this trip was a memory trip. Reliving memories surely but my intention was to CREATE lasting memories and memories that will be impossible to duplicate. The one that jumps to the forefront is "Making Grandma's cookies"

I asked my mom awhile ago to describe her great Grandmother Francis Pearl Perry Atwood, who was the woman who brought our family into the gospel. One thing she mentioned about her was her soft molasses cookies that she made all of the time. My mother loved those cookies and always wished that she could find the recipe somewhere but had never been able to find it. That fascinated me and I wanted to find it too. I wanted to have a real live culinary connection to this revered grandmother. I looked online but not ever having had the cookies I was at a loss. I was in charge of making all of the Christmas treats this year and suggested to my mom that we try to find the recipe and we set to looking online together. The one my mom thought was the closest was a recipe that had been handed down the submitters family for 175 years. So we made up the batter and set it to cool in the refrigerator until we could get to making the cookies. In the meantime a big storm was headed our way and we picked up my grandmother ( my mom's mother) on Saturday night and brought her to our house so she wouldn't be alone during the storm. Sunday morning we were informed that church had been canceled due to the weather and we had a cozy day in the house. We decided to make the cookies. We started to roll them out and my mom periodically walked into the other room to ask my grandma if she remembered this or that about the cookies. Soon my grandma came into the kitchen to help.

As we three generations of women stood in the kitchen rolling, cutting, talking and tasting the cookies I realized that these cookies were "grandma's cookies" to every one of us.

We ate them at the Christmas eve party with my mother's side of the family and my Great aunt Byrdie ( my grandmother's aunt) said ( when she tasted the cookies ) "These taste like my mother's cookies" SUCCESS!! She also commented later how horribly dry they were but hey it is a work in progress.

They are just cookies surely but they are "grandma's cookies" and five generations of her living posterity enjoyed them on Christmas eve...for perhaps the last time all together in life.