Saturday, March 16, 2013

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes!

As you can guess, I've been a bit busy with tax season.  It's been crazy and I've been wanting to blog, but I usually have to work a while in the evenings once I get home and there just isn't enough time!  A lot has been going on here in the past few weeks.  First of all, for anyone who hasn't heard, I PASSED MY EXAM!  I honestly totally thought I had failed it.  I had to get a 75 and I got an 81!  When I first opened the score (I had to wait for it to come in the mail), I couldn't read it.  I mean I opened it to read it, but I just forgot how to read for a minute or something.  I was searching all over the page for a score and in that moment it seemed like there were so many words on the page.  When I finally found the 81, I couldn't believe it.  I jumped up and down and freaked out all by myself, since Bryan was at work.  Actually, Finn gave me some excited jumping.  So he celebrated with me ;)  I still have three exam sections left, and today I got my authorization to test (basically my application was approved) for the next two sections I'm going to take.  I scheduled my next exam for May 24th, so I'll have about six weeks to study once tax season is over.  Then I will take another in July probably.  I am excited to get them over with and hope these next tests go as well as the first one did.


A few weeks ago, Finn graduated from Obedience I!  I didn't get to go to his classes much since they were at 5:00 PM, but Bryan said he did pretty well.  The only thing he wasn't too good at was staying still and sitting when someone approached him and Bryan.  He just gets too excited!  He has been doing really well on his walks with Bryan, actually walking off his leash most of the time.  It's still a lot of work, but it's nice to be able to mold a dog from the beginning.

Speaking of our more difficult dog, Charlie started a new class yesterday.  It's called nosework, and it is his calling in life!  His trainer kept telling us he should go to nosework because all he ever cares about is sniffing things.  In our previous classes, other dogs play with toys and balls during our training for purposeful distraction.  Charlie?  All he wants to do is sniff!  He doesn't care about anything else.  So during yesterday's class, the point was for him to be able to sniff out treats in a box that was surrounded by other boxes that were empty.  He did SO great!  After a few times of learning what he was supposed to be doing, he sprinted right to the box faster than any of the other dogs had, even though our trainer had tried to trick him.  Finally our sweet boy is good at something!  ;)
He's a blur!

Found it!

This box was all the way at the back and he sprinted past all the others--he can't be fooled!
A couple weeks ago (yes, everything happened a couple weeks ago), we had a hangup with our mortgage financing.  Long story short, they wanted us to bring $10k of our own money to the table on top of what we're borrowing.  If we had $10k, we wouldn't have to borrow any money!  Our mortgage broker, who is a friend of mine, worked hard to find a solution for us.  He ended up finding us a new, local bank that would process the loan as-is.  They had more stringent qualification requirements, but we passed and everything seems to be going smoothly now.  We are having our inspection done next Thursday, which I am so excited about.  I can't wait to get back in the house and take some measurements.  I need to be able to buy furniture!  We are still set to close on April 18th and it cannot come soon enough.
Active under contract---still ours so far!
I'm trying to think of what else has been going on.  A couple Saturdays ago, Bryan and I took a concealed handgun class.  We haven't taken the paperwork in to get officially licensed yet, but it was fun and I learned that I shoot better left handed (my left eye is dominant)!  I am excited to get out and shoot again now that I know a little more about what I should be doing.

This Tuesday is our second anniversary.  It's so crazy that we've been married for two years already.  Time has flown by--but I suppose we've been busy!

Dad and his boys

Finn is a happy boy!

This happens...a lot

Charlie looking very pensive

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Woah, it's almost March?

Well, I'm posting more frequently than I have in the past, anyway.  A lot has happened in the past few weeks!  To start, the last time I posted was January 29th.  On the 30th, Finn had his Wednesday night obedience class.  It starts at 5, so I usually don't get to go.  I left work a bit early that day because I figured it would be my last chance to go before the craziness of tax season started.  I met Bryan at the training center and found a surprise.  Finn had thrown up in the car on the way to the center, which is only about five miles from our house.  We figured he just must have gotten carsick, so we went inside.  He threw up again not long after we got inside, so we got sent home!  We don't want to get any other dogs sick.  Well, I rode home with Bryan because we figured if I held Finn in the front seat it would be better.  He threw up while we were driving, too.  All over Bryan and me and the car.  When we got home, we cleaned up and went back to get my car.  Came home to another pile of puke!  So that was all quite the experience!  He was totally fine after that, so he just must have had a little bug or eaten something that didn't agree with him.  The joys of (dog) parenthood!

I thought I'd give you an idea of what I sweep up EVERY NIGHT before bed.  Finn sheds so much every day, and apparently so does our rug (thanks to Finn).

Me and Charlie hangin' out on the couch

On Saturday, February 2nd, Bryan and I went to a Blazer game.  We hadn't been to one yet this season and we had a great time!  We sat in the 100 section, which is way closer than we usually sit.  It was fun to be closer to the action!  We met up with our friends Rich and Katie at PF Chang's before the game for dinner.  They live up in Oregon City and we don't get to see them too often, so it was great to catch up with them.

Not a very cute picture, but you get the idea.

Blazers win!!!

Right around this time, we also joined a gym.  We have been slowly getting more and more out of shape since our wedding, and we decided we wanted to make a change.  I have always felt that a gym is kind of a waste of money, so it was hard to pull the trigger.  We have actually been going about five times a week since we joined, so it has been good so far!  We hope we can stick to it, because we are already feeling much better.
Finn decided to destroy one of my (favorite) shoes this week.  Ugh!!!
 I've recently started using an iPhone app called Food on the Table.  I have never been very organized about meal planning or grocery shopping, and this app has seriously changed my life.  There is a huge database of recipes that can be searched by main ingredient, diet requirements, etc.  Once you pick your week (or as long as you want) of recipes, it creates a shopping list for you of all the ingredients you need.  We have saved money at the grocery store and actually had meals ready to cook every day the past few weeks.  I know it's silly but I am loving it!!!  

 Valentine's Day was a Thursday, so we didn't do much.  Bryan found a neat recipe for making pizza dough out of cauliflower, so we made homemade cauliflower pizzas.  They were actually SO good!  And didn't have any bread whatsoever.  We aren't completely changing our diets, but we are trying to be a little more conscious about eating healthy, so it was a really cool dinner.

It actually looked quite a bit like pizza, but fell apart a bit when I took it off the pan.
This past Saturday, we went up to Beaverton to my aunt and uncle's house for a birthday party.  I hadn't seen my grandma in a while since she moved to Redmond, and we haven't really been to a family get-together (besides Christmas) in a while because we usually have something else going on.  It was really fun to hang out with family, especially my baby cousin Ian.  He is so cute!

My boys snuggled up on me
 On Sunday, Bryan and I met up with the realtor we have been working with to look at a couple houses.  I don't know if I've mentioned before, but we have been looking at houses off-and-on for a little while.  We have officially outgrown our 956 square feet and are itching for more space.  Bryan's parents generously offered to loan us a down payment since we plan to keep our house as a rental property rather than sell it, and we are SO grateful.  It makes it possible for us to get something now rather than having to wait another year to save up the money ourselves.  Ever since I finished school, we have been using most of our extra money every month to pay off debt, so we don't have a huge savings account balance.  Anyway, we actually made an offer on a house yesterday, and after a few counter offers, it was accepted today.  So we are under contract!  We are SO SO SO excited!!!  The house is in West Albany (actually in the same neighborhood I lived in from second grade to freshman year of HS).  It has 1708 square feet, so just a mere 752 more than our current house.  It was built in 2003, so we are excited to do away with some of the "old house" problems of our 1973 house.  Our estimated closing date is April 18th.  We requested a longer closing so that it would be after tax season is over.  I will have to take a week off of work to move and get our house ready for renters, and there's no way I could do that during tax season.  
Here is the link if you want to check it out:

I have started working Saturdays and longer hours during the week, so I have no idea how my blog posts will go from here on out, but I will try to stay somewhat updated.  I am supposed to find out my CPA exam score this coming Monday, so I may have a happy blog post or a depressed one (more likely the latter).  Cross your fingers for me!!!

My desk the other day while I was working on a tax return.  I just thought it was funny!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Finn is Six Months Old!!!

Our little Finn is six months old today.  It has been really fun raising Finn since he was just a baby.  Really fun, and really challenging!  Getting Charlie when he was two years old was so much easier!  Of course that brought a host of other behavioral problems, but all in all it was easier.
Anyway, Finn has grown up so much since we brought him home, which was almost four months ago.  He was nine weeks old and weighed nine pounds.  Now he weighs 28.6 pounds!  The first few weeks were pretty rough.  We knew we really wanted to crate train him from the start, so he used Charlie's crate and started from day one.  We didn't really know what we were in for, but it was awful!  He had never been away from his mom or seven siblings, so he cried all night.  It was really sad, but we knew it was best for him and us in the long run.  On top of all of that, we were of course potty training.  So every two hours, either Bryan or I got up to take him out to go potty.  That was REALLY rough!  The crying only lasted a few night, and it got less and less every night.  We continued to get up several times in the night for Finn to go potty because we really wanted him to get the hang of it.  We figured if he never got used to pottying inside, then he would figure it out a lot quicker.  He really only had accidents inside a handful of times because we were so diligent, and he was potty trained in record time!  (I can't confirm that, but I'm pretty sure he's an all star.)  Our work schedules are pretty opposite which isn't so great for us, but it meant that one of us could let him out most of the time.  Special thanks to Grandma Joy and Madeleine for helping out when we couldn't do it!
The day after we brought him home

Just this past weekend, we finally moved Charlie's and Finn's crates out of our bedroom.  Our room is really small, and they took up a lot of space!  They have adjusted nicely to being in a separate room from us (Charlie always was beforehand), and I love being able to walk to my side of the bed!  When I woke up on Monday morning, I was instantly very aware of how alone I was.  It was really weird, but I am looking forward to no longer hearing Finn's random barking at nothing and smelling dog in my bedroom.
Finn is still your typical crazy puppy, but he has learned a few things since he's been here.  At first, he chewed on EVERYTHING, so we bought him a playpen to stay in when we weren't home (or just wanted to get something done!).  It allowed him more space than his crate, but there is still only so much he can chew up.  He has, of course, managed to chew through our laptop charger, tear up our rug, and empty the stuffing out of a few dog beds.  For the most part, as long as we keep our eyes on him, he knows better now.  He still can't help himself when he sees a stuffed dog bed; his beds are all now made up of piles of blankets. =)
Finn as a sheriff on Halloween, when he was 13 weeks old
His favorite toys are stuffed animals with squeakers, and he loves unstuffing them, as you can probably imagine.  He has grown fond of chasing a ball, and he'll bring it back, but doesn't like to give it back to you.  We're working on that!
We were playing ball when Finn lost a tooth--oops!
He has now been to two obedience classes, and tomorrow is his third.  Bryan has been a great trainer for both Finn and Charlie.  (Charlie has been going to reactivity classes and is doing AMAZING!)  Bryan has been diligent about practicing Finn's new skills (waiting for his food, sitting, laying down, going to bed, waiting at a doorway), and walks him every day he can to practice loose-leash walking.  Finn is improving and we are proud and amazed at how smart he is!

Sitting so politely in puppy class just a few weeks after we adopted him
Our newest challenge with Finn is his poop-eating hobby.  He loves to eat Charlie's poop, and it's so gross!  Per vet and trainer recommendations, we have tried putting certain products in Charlie's food to make his poop taste bad, but nothing has worked.  He has even started trying to bring poop inside the house!  And succeeded once!  He has most recently tried to outsmart us by setting the poop by the door where we can't see it, waiting at the door, and when we open it to let him in, grabbing the poop and sprinting past us.  Sorry for the grossness--just thought you could share in our pain!
It isn't always fun, but we love our pups and can't imagine life without them.  (Okay, when I'm sweeping up piles of dog hair every night and lint-rolling myself both before leaving for work and after arriving, I can imagine it a little bit.)  They are so fun though, and have such funny and unique personalities.
Dad and his boys
Jasmine loves Finn!

Catch-Up Continued (Computer Problems!)

March 19, 2012--our first anniversary.  It was hard to believe it had been a year!  We didn't get to do anything really special, but we got to spend the day together since I had a final that evening, and we did dinner a few weeks later.

In April, Bryan started his new position at UPS as a pre-load supervisor.  He had been a pre-loader (loads the trucks in the early morning) for four years at this time.  The supervisor position is great experience for him and got him off of his feet most of the time.  He had to start working earlier, though--2 AM is his normal start time now.  Yuck!  Around this time, he was also re-hired as a permanent part-time employee at Costco.  He worked as a seasonal employee during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, and he had been crossing his fingers for a re-hire for a few months.  What a blessing to our part-time incomes!

On June 17, 2012, I graduated from OSU with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy.  BEST DAY EVER!  I was (and still am) so excited to be done with school!  (My grandma and me at graduation--I don't have my graduation pictures on this computer so this is taken from Facebook!)

The following week, on June 25, 2012, I started my new job as a Staff Accountant at Kuenzi and Company in Salem.  It was exactly the job I wanted, and such a blessing because most similar jobs are in Portland, which would require a move (or an unfavorable commute).

We completely overhauled our front yard in late summer.  It was a lot of work (shout out to my dad again!), and the transformation is amazing!


On October 3, 2012, we adopted our second baby, Finn.  He was only nine weeks old when we brought him home, so was truly a baby!  We learned a lot about puppyhood that we didn't experience with Charlie.  It wasn't always fun, but we are proud that we made it through and have managed to train Finn pretty well on the basics.

Last Tuesday, I took my first portion of the CPA exam.  There are four parts, so I've still got quite a way to go, assuming I passed the first test!  There is a lot of information to know, so it's pretty overwhelming.  Either way, it was a good experience.  I have to wait until February 25th to find out my score, though!  That is what triggered me to start blogging again.  Once I finished my studying frenzy, I figured I could catch up.  And now that I'm caught up, I will try to KEEP caught up!  We'll see how it goes!!!

I am starting to feel the beginning of tax season.  I have been assigned new projects every day, and I have to admit, I kind of like it.  We just came off of a few VERY slow months, and while it was nice (especially while studying!), the days are much more interesting when there is work to be done.  I am feeling good about my progress work-wise at this point, which is good.  I feel relatively confident in my abilities and have gotten lots of good feedback from the partners and managers at the firm.  Of course, there is always MUCH more to learn in the accounting world, but it's nice to feel comfortable-ish in what I'm doing.

This last weekend was busy for us!  I spent most of my free time studying before the test, so it was nice to have a weekend to catch up on some housework and actually have fun!  We laid low Saturday morning; actually, Bryan got up with Finn and 
let me and Charlie sleep for a few hours on our own.  Finn is ready to start the day with crazy hyper-ness at 7 AM every day, and I needed to catch up on some sleep since I slept horribly in the weeks leading up to my exam due to stress.  Anyway, Saturday afternoon/evening, we went to our friends Rob and Monique's house for dinner and to hang out.  We had fun and got our fill of one-and-a-half year old.  Their daughter Bellamie is so sweet; we had a great time visiting with her and playing Play-Doh.

On Sunday, Bryan had to work, but we were able to go to a church small group in the evening.  Family friends of mine, the Stavroses, recently started a group at their house, and since we've been wanting to join a group, we decided to join them.  We had a lot of fun and hope we can go regularly, even though Bryan works on some Sundays.

Now some Christmas pictures for fun: