Sunday, April 18, 2010


ADVISEMENT! This post is long, but awesome and full of awesome stories and pictures and WORTH IT! :)

As some of you may know, we recently went up to Richland, WA for house hunting purposes. We had 2 1/2 days to find a house, put in an offer and get the paperwork started on our first home. It was a lofty goal, but we'd done every ounce of research we could from 2 states away and we were READY for the challenge.

We arrived at the Tri-Cities Airport on Tuesday at about 2:30 and by 3:30pm we were looking at houses. We saw 13 HOUSES in one afternoon/evening. Our agent had snacks and water in the car and we just pushed it! We saw a lot of great houses, took a zillion pictures of each, pages of notes and kept it all neatly in our 3-rin binder with page covers. Our level of organization may have been unprecedented in the history of the Becca.

At any rate, 34 week preggers Becca was THOROUGHLY exhausted by the time we finished our search at 8:45pm. I went back to the hotel and collapsed while Jonathan got us something to eat. From there, we stayed up late and went through the process of narrowing 13 to 3. From henceforth they shall be dubbed, "Best House," "Best Price," and "Best Neighborhood." Now, this is not to say that each of the others was not a good house, price or neighborhood, but these were the things that most set apart each from the others.

In the morning, without our agent, we decided to go back through the neighborhoods and decide if we could get a better sense of where we wanted to be. Afterall, we've always said that neighborhood was VERY important to us. In doing this, we felt pretty strongly about "Best Neighborhood" house and concluded that unless we went to the other houses and felt very strongly about them, this would be our choice.

We met with our agent and started out the morning at "Best House." And, it was awesome. The house really was rad. 4 bed, 3 full bath with a large downstairs bed/bath perfect for guests. The laundry room was upstairs with all the bedrooms eliminating the need for carrying many loads of laundry up and down stairs regularly. The yard was FANTASTIC on (I think) something slightly over a quarter acre. The front of the house was adorable AND it had a "Bonus Room" (separate from a living/family/ or formal dining room, all of which the house had) that could be a play room or even an extra bedroom should the need for family or guests arise.

BUT, despite this house's awesomeness, it did not inspire, and so, we moved on. To "Best Neighborhood." This was the house I thought we would put an offer on--so why was I so irritated when we got there? I'll tell you why. The house had a hot tub. Did it come with the sale? Nope. It had a swingset in the backyard. Did it come with the sale? No, sir. It had a nice fridge, washer and dryer. None of which made the cut. YET, this house was the most expensive. As some of you know, I pay full price for NOTHING. I MUST have a deal, so to pay the most for something when they weren't even giving me the whole package was seriously disturbing to consider.

We went to lunch with our agent to mull it over.

To "Best Price." This one was one of Jonathan's picks and the day previous, it had been one of our last houses and I wasn't terribly impressed. So, when we got there and I was floored, needless to say, I was surprised. I LOVED the kitchen! It also had a great yard, but what's more, immediately behind the yard was a quiet street and then a large community park. So, when the kids are littles, they can play in the good sized backyard, and then when they're more school-aged, you put in a gate in the backyard which opens them up to an entire park for a backyard. All of which is visible from the kitchen window. Love. PLUS, as its title would suggest, this house had the significantly best price, which clearly is an advantage of its own.

Conflicted. I didn't know what to do. I thought I was pretty sure about the "Best Neighborhood" house, but now I had a new host of worries. Was it irresponsible to buy a more expensive house when this house was also good and at a lower cost? Where I thought I had a decision, I now felt like I was back at square one, but without any more tricks up my sleeve for coming to a better conclusion. BTW, Jonathan felt exactly the same as I did. We were worn out, frustrated, and afraid that after everything, we'd leave from this trip no sooner to finding OUR HOUSE than when we got there.

All of this had been done with a serious amount of prayer. We truly believed (and still do) that the Lord would guide us in making this decision that would affect our family in so many ways. Jonathan looked up phone numbers for the Bishops of the two wards (for "Best Price" and "Best Neighborhood") and called them, but was able to get a hold of neither in the middle of a workday on a Wednesday afternoon.

We went back to our hotel to weigh options while our agent nervously chomped at the bit wanting us to put in our offer before the end of the day (because we were flying out the next day). After much prayer, concern, a few tears and a LOT of confusion, we decided we would go back by the houses and talk to the neighbors; find out what kind of people lived there and if we felt like we could fit in to the neighborhood. I remembered once at BYU when I was looking for an apartment (incidentally, the apartment where I lived when Jonathan and I met and started dating), that I went to the complex even though I had been there before and had rejected it, so that I could talk to the residents and see if it felt like a right fit. Because I met the neighbors, I knew it was the right place for me. I bought a contract, moved in, met the sweetheart of my life and happily married well over 4 1/2 years later. BUT, I digress. My point is, we wanted to meet the neighbors. Then Jonathan asked, "What if we meet the only punk neighbors on the whole block?" I said, "Jonathan, if it's right, God will lead us to good people."

We decided to go first to "Best Neighborhood." We drove by the house, loved how cute it was with the pink blossomed trees lining the street in front of it and admiring that it was only about 4 houses down from an adorable community park when Jonathan spotted some people getting out of their car in the driveway and thought he preferred talking to someone outside rather than knocking on their door, so we pulled over. I was finishing some things in the car, so he jogged over alone to talk to the guy about the area. The guy was a guy about our age who said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I don't live here. I'm just visiting. This is my parents' place. I'll get my mom." A pleasant looking, middle-aged woman came out and started telling Jonathan how GREAT the neighborhood was and what a great place it was to live and raise kids. About this time, I walked up and almost immediately noticed a big block "Y" in the back window of the son's car. Almost interrupting I asked, "Are you LDS?" to which she said, "Yes. I was wondering if you were. Actually, my husband is the bishop of the ward here."


They invited us into their home and spoke of their WONDERFUL ward with a large active youth, primary program and 2 nurseries. They spoke of the wonderful young families who live right there on that street with children in similar age to our own. They said how excited they would be to have us in the ward if we chose to live there.

We left their house with joy in our hearts and gratitude for the Lord's tender mercies that led us to these good people and our obvious decision.

Jonathan asked if we should go meet the neighbors at the other place at which time I said, "Why tempt God?" We had already received our answer, our witness, and now even, our sign. :)

We put an offer in on the house.

The sellers were in England and it was already the middle of the night there by the time we put in our offer here, but we woke up the next morning to a counter offer which we immediately countered and they immediately accepted.


Now, for some of you nay sayers, yes this house was the most expensive, but it was still CONSIDERABLY less than what we were approved for and is still a price range where we feel comfortable and will not overly strap our family for financial resources. AND, we didn't pay full asking price at case you were concerned.

And it's almost ours. We LOVE it already. It's funny to think how trying it was to come to the decision when now we feel like it was so obviously the right choice all along. How blessed we feel to be able to get into a house, and even more so into a house that we love in an area we feel GREAT about (literally about a half mile away from the Columbia River Temple and in great school districts). We KNOW the Lord was with us and guided us and led us to wonderful things. Our hearts are full of gratitude.

Now, without futher ado--


28 days

(This post was written 8 days ago and then I delayed posting it because I wanted to make sure everyone had seen the post about the house. Current status? T-20 days 'til due) And...OOPS... I had pics to go with but now I'm in Nevada and the pics aren't on this computer. I promise I'll post belly pics--eventually.

No, this is not a movie about rehab.

THIS! Is 36 weeks pregnant! I have 4 weeks from this day--28 days--until Mr. James is due to arrive. While it may or may not BE 28 days, my body, that feels like it's closer to 9 1/2 months pregnant than 8, will be more than ready to welcome little man into the world in 28 days.

I think it's all part of the divine Plan. We are BLESSED to be so supremely uncomfortable by the time the baby is ready to be delivered that we are willing to go through AN-Y-THING, even labor and delivery, to not be pregnant anymore.

So, I'm grateful to be uncomfortable. Maybe it will give me the strength to deliver this little guy. After all, this is the next great adventure--having a baby WITHOUT an epidural. Yup, you read that right. Assuming no complications or emergencies, I will be drug free (it's the way to be [a la many years of Red Ribbon Week in elementary school]). So, wish me luck. In 28 days (more or less) I will NOT be pregnant anymore. YAY!