topgolf

About a month ago, I went to Topgolf for a team building event with my coworkers. I had expected it to be fun, but it was waaayyyy more fun than I could have ever imagined. And this is coming from someone who has only played golf once in her whole life and didn’t enjoy it at all. I came home and immediately told Josh we needed to go together sometime. This past Friday I took off work to spend the day celebrating Josh’s birthday and I was so pleased when he chose Topgolf for one of our fun activities! For those of you that haven’t been, there are over 100 climate-controlled hitting bays spread between three different levels. Each bay has their own little putting green, set of clubs for men and women, and a screen that tracks each player’s score/number of balls hit. There are several targets spread across the field that you try to hit your ball into. Depending on what game you play, you might have to hit it into a specified target or into specific portions of a target. We chose to play the signature “Topgolf” game where you just hit your ball into any target you can, but the farther the target you can hit or the closer to the center of the target the more points you get. We loved it so much, we played for two straight hours. Sometimes, I would get in a groove and be able to hit multiple balls in a row into “far” targets and sometimes I would miss a few swings then barely get it a few feet away. For someone who is not a golfer, I was super happy with how I played. I have to say, I kicked Josh’s butt on the first couple of games, but he came back strong at the end and beat me in the last couple. We can’t wait to go back!!   

 

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Surprisingly, the food at Topgolf is scrumptious (I say surprisingly because most “sporting” venues seem to mostly serve microwaved hot dogs and plastic cheese). We had the jumbo pretzel board. It was a huge amount of food and I fully expected us to take half of it home, but we demolished almost the whole thing! The jumbo pretzel board (to me) is like the ultimate appetizer. The warm pretzel was larger than my head. No kidding. The pretzel holes were filled with jalapeño sausage, genoa salami, prosciutto, pepper jack and cheddar cheese, blackberries, apples, red grapes, and candied pecans with sides of PBR cheese sauce and horseradish Dijon mustard. The pretzel had a great crunch on the outside, but was soft on the inside. The fruit was that perfect bite of fresh to cut through all the amazing fat of the meats and cheese. It was just delicious and I would happily order it again and again.    

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We went before lunch on a weekday and were able to get a hitting bay right away, but would definitely make a reservation for any evening, especially on the weekends. If you’re ever in need of a fun date idea or just a great time with friends and family, I highly recommend Topgolf!

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catching up

It has been a LONG time since I’ve posted, yowza! We have been deep into purchasing our new house, cleaning,  moving out of our apartment, cleaning some more, and fixing up our house. I thought it might be kind of fun (or at least interesting/informational) to do a little break down of what we personally went through in purchasing our house. I think I talked about it in my previous post, but here’s a little recap- we originally found a house that we thought was going to work out great. It had 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a full basement, and a detached 3 car garage. There was so much room to make ours, with what we thought would be some minor improvements and updates. We made an offer on the house. Once the offer was made, we began working with our bank. I had to provide proof of insurance, our last two months bank statements, proof of employment, proof of earnest money, etc. It seemed like so many things! It is no joke buying a house! On top of all that, we had to schedule an inspection and appraisal for the house. I am so so thankful we did an inspection because the house was in way worse shape than we even realized- the chimney was crumbling and needed to be torn down and replaced, the foundation of the garage had shifted and one of the walls had cracked so much you could almost put your hand in it, the grading in the yard needed leveled so water wasn’t pouring towards the house when it rained, the roof was in bad shape, and the ceiling in the garage was so full of mold that it was falling down and the garage door wouldn’t open all the way. It was just such a disaster. I don’t know how we didn’t notice some of these issues when we first walked through, but it was a lesson learned for sure. We were able to walk away from that house because of the inspection being so bad and weren’t penalized, thankfully! Back to the house hunt we went. And we found our new home so quickly! We went to an open house to see it- honestly, I had pretty low expectations from the pictures and didn’t want to get my hopes up after what we had just been through with the other house. Walking through it, though, I just fell in love. It’s nothing grand or spectacular, but it was exactly right for Josh and I (and of course, Rocko). The house was built in 2002 (unlike the other house built in the 1960s, I think), so that made me feel better already. It was built on a slab, so we wouldn’t have to worry about water in a crawl space or basement. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a 2 car garage…exactly what we were hoping to get, but hadn’t been able to find in our price range. The house is on a corner in the neighborhood and the neighborhood is basically a giant cul-de-sac, so there is no through traffic, which is wonderful!! There is an open, empty field behind the house, so we don’t have to worry about more people or houses behind. I knew as soon as we left that we were putting an offer on it. Of course, it can never just be easy- we put an offer in on that Saturday knowing that offers were being accepted until that Sunday evening. The seller was elderly and had gone out of town to visit family, didn’t own a cell phone or a computer, and the weather ended up being very snowy/icy and unsafe to drive back in. But, we didn’t know any of this had happened! We didn’t hear anything all Sunday night or Monday morning. I worked myself up so much, I had a stomach and headache! Why do I do that?? I knew in my heart that everything would work out, that God was going to provide for us no matter what, that if this house fell through there had to be a better one out there for us. I finally reached out to our realtor when I still hadn’t heard anything around lunch on Monday. He explained that the seller had been out of town and unable to look over the offers, but was meeting with their realtor right then to make a decision. I was so anxious. Just a bit later, I received a text message that our offer was accepted and we got the house!!! I was SO relieved and excited! And so we began the process all over again of moving forward with getting a house- I had to compile previous bank statements, proof of home insurance, proof of earnest money being received, and proof of employment. There were also several phone calls back and forth with the bank about our different loan options and monthly payments dependent upon what our down payment would be. I finally got everything together and sent off to the bank for the mortgage department to begin their part of the process. And let me tell you, it seemed like that would never end. Just weeks and weeks of waiting after rushing around getting all that paperwork together. The weeks slowly went by though and we finally closed on the house in April. Closing on a house is a whole other kind of stress. There are pages upon pages upon pages for you to sign. Not to mention the large amount of money being taken out for the mortgage on the house. So. Much. Money. In the end, for us, it is worth every penny. We still had possession of our apartment until the end of June, but as soon as we had the keys to our house, we began cleaning and moving stuff over. We just couldn’t wait to be in our own space again. I spent an entire day at the house sweeping, vacuuming and shampooing the carpets, cleaning the toilets, sinks, and showers, wiping down the insides and outsides of the cabinets, and wiping down the appliances. For the next few days, I packed my car with as much as I could and stopped by after work to drop it off. Taking a smaller amount over at a time was great because I could unpack everything right away and put it in its place, I didn’t have to just throw a bunch of boxes wherever they would fit to worry about later. That illusion quickly came to an end that following weekend though. Josh’s parents came in to town to help us pack up a uHaul and move everything out. I really don’t know how we would have done it without them…although I can guarantee it would have taken at least twice as long and would have been much more stressful. We were both really grateful to have them both there helping. I was just throwing stuff in whatever box or container was available with no organization at all. Moving so quickly meant that we did exactly what I was trying to avoid haha- boxes stacked up randomly and furniture stored wherever it would fit. I am the type of person that really doesn’t like things not being in their place, so I had to rein myself in not to stress out too much. We had about two weeks before some of our friends were coming to stay with us, but that gave us an extra little push to actually unpack everything, organize, and settle in. When we did our original walk through during the open house, we knew we wanted to replace the flooring eventually, but we didn’t think there would be much other work for us to do right away. Once we got in, we realized we actually wanted to do quite a lot. Even though the house is “young” (17 years old), everything was original- it needed new appliances, new paint, new light fixtures and blinds (they were all covered in a dirty, dusty goo), and new curtains. Whew, isn’t buying a house so much fun?? Really, isn’t it?? Despite all the stress of house hunting, a bad inspection, closing, cleaning, moving, unpacking, painting, replacing things, cleaning the apartment, decorating, more painting and unpacking, rearranging, this house has been such a blessing for our little family. We’ve been able to share our house with many visiting friends and family (honestly, more people have been to/stayed at our new house than the house we lived in before for 3 years!) and now this adorable little house has become our home.

y e l l o w s p r i n g s

Spring is F I N A L L Y in the air! I think it was the nicest weather we’ve had of any weekend this year! So, we took major advantage of it and went to a new (to us) hiking spot. I was recommended Yellow Springs by a few people. I didn’t realize there were a few parks over in that area, but I narrowed it down finally to Glen Helen Nature Preserve since that’s where the actual the Yellow Spring is. Josh and I were both awake around 5 am. For no reason. Because of this, though, we did some laundry, roasted our veggies for the week, and made eggs Benedict for breakfast all before 8! Which meant plenty of time for hiking around the nature preserve. It was about an hour drive, so we ended up getting there around 9:30. We started off by the Trailside Museum and took a loop around. The whole reason we went was to see the Yellow Spring. We never found it! Honestly, the trails were not marked at all and they kept breaking off in separate directions and we had no idea where we were from looking at the map posted up by the museum. We probably should have prepared better. On our loop around, we saw some pretty little falls, lots of green shoots starting to grow, and lots of pretty little purple flowers blooming on the trailside.

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We tried taking another lap around to find the Yellow Spring, but we ended up going way more south down the Upper Birch Trail (I just looked it up online to know what trail we took) and coming back up the Talius Trail. I loved hiking along Yellow Springs Creek. It was so relaxing hearing the bubbling and gurgling of the water over rocks mixed with the chirps of the birds in the trees.

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When we reached the end of the Upper Birch Trail, we literally had to climb over the railings of the bridge, walk across the road, climb back over the railings, and continue on the Talius Trail. This trail was definitely less maintained and traveled. There were lots of deer tracks (sadly no deer) and brush growing up on the trail. It wasn’t a bad hike, but I was feeling pretty over the whole thing by this point. I’m not sure I want to go hiking there again. There are definitely plenty of other options in Yellow Springs that I want to check out next time though.  

Thankfully, we found our starting point shortly after I was feeling grumpy and made our way up to Yellow Springs Brewery. I really enjoyed this cute little microbrewery located right off the Little Miami Scenic Trail. They have a huge patio full of seating – open to adults, kids, and pups too! Inside, there is plenty of seating at tables or the bar, they have local art showcased on the walls, as well as lots of their merchandise. Josh tried the Boat Show IPA. He really liked the light, citrusy taste especially after hiking for hours. We shared a yummy cheese plate (a “lunchable” style package of cheddar, cajun cheese curds, and colby with crackers) from Youngs. After the Boat Show, Josh ventured on to the Captain Stardust saison which he also enjoyed.

Since we had only had cheese (and beer for Josh) for lunch, we thought it might be a good idea to stop at Young’s Jersey Dairy on our way home. Of course, we only got ice cream! What could be a better lunch than cheese and ice cream?? We split a double buckeye sundae- a scoop of chocolate peanut butter, a scoop of peanut butter cup, whipped cream, fudge sauce, peanut butter sauce, Reese pieces, and a homemade buckeye. You can never go wrong with any combination of chocolate and peanut butter. Delish!

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We will definitely be heading back to visit Yellow Springs and Young’s to check out all the fun activities they have available!

house hunters cont…

It has been a crazy whirlwind these past few weeks with house hunting. The week we put an offer on the original house we found, I tagged along for the home inspection. And it was a disaster. I have no idea how, but there were several big issues that came up- issues that we definitely should have seen when we first looked at the house. The detached garage had a huge shift in the foundation and the back corner blocks had separated from each other so bad that it would likely need torn down and rebuilt, the chimney was crumbling and needed completely rebuilt, the shingles on the whole back side of the roof were awful and needed replaced, and the yard needed regraded so that water wasn’t pouring towards the house when it rained. After not much discussion, we decided that the house just wasn’t worth paying market price for and then having to put tens of thousands of dollars into it just to make it livable. It was a major lesson to learn. I’m thankful we found out about all the issues before we owned the house, but it kind of sucked to be back at square one in finding a house. That Friday, our realtor let us know there was a house in a nice area that was a steal of a price that we should definitely check out. It was such a hot property, we actually put in an offer on the house before even seeing it. We knew that it was a long shot for us to actually have it accepted, but we thought it was worth trying anyways. When we got to the house, there were already 3 other sets of people in the house looking at it! We liked the house, especially the huge yard and the 2 car garage. We didn’t get our hopes up though because there were already 5 offers on the house Friday night with 12 more showings scheduled for Saturday. Since we knew it was such a long shot with that house, we decided to go look at another house on Saturday. The pictures online had made the house seem just ok (you know you can never trust those, you have to see the house in person), but once we got inside, we actually really loved it. The house was built in the early 2000s, so there were already less concerns about certain issues than the houses we looked at previously that had been built in the 1970s. It was by no means a perfect house, but with a few updates and decorating, we could definitely turn it into our home. So, we were crazy and put an offer on that house too. Two offers on two houses in two days…I mean, why not?! Offers were open on the “Friday” house until Saturday evening and for the “Saturday” house until Sunday evening, so then we just had to wait. I hate the waiting game. It’s the worst. We found out our offer was not accepted on the house from Friday, but Josh and I were both ok with that. But, I honestly worked myself sick with worrying so much about getting the house we saw Saturday. I just wanted it so badly and I knew it wasn’t for certain we would get it because there were 4 other offers on the table. We had hoped to hear back Sunday night, but the weather was really bad and the realtor and seller weren’t able to meet up. I didn’t sleep a wink. I was such a mess at work on Monday, I could barely concentrate. I finally had to just sit down, say a little prayer, and know that God had a plan for us and everything would work out how it was supposed to. And about an hour later, I got a text from our realtor that our offer had been accepted on the house we wanted! There had already been an inspection done from a previous offer that fell through, so we didn’t have to worry about that. I ran around like crazy the next few days (it seemed like it lol even though I was really just looking stuff up online) getting information for the bank together- confirmation of earnest money being received, work history, bank statements, proof of home insurance, etc. Everything seems to be in order now and we’re in another waiting game until our closing in April. We can’t wait to be out of this apartment and into an actual house that we can make our own!

house hunters

I don’t know about you all, but I totally forgot how stressful the house hunting process can be. Josh and I contacted a realtor around the start of January. The lease on our apartment doesn’t end until June (in case you didn’t know, it’s basically impossible to get out of a lease unless you join the armed forces or die), but we just wanted to get ahead of the curve. We knew it was too early to put an offer on a house if we found one we liked, but at least we would be able to look at what kind of styles of houses were available and get a feel for the neighborhoods around us. We saw probably 8-10 houses over a couple of weeks- some we really liked and some not so much. And I started panicking. Because there were only a couple houses a week popping up on the market in our price range and in areas we felt comfortable living. And every house we liked had an offer on it within a day or two. There was no way a decent house was magically going to sit on the market until March-ish when it would be ok for us to put an offer out. What if there weren’t any houses coming on the market in March? What if we had to settle for a not-so-great neighborhood or house? Tons of scary thoughts went flying through my mind. In reality, I know I was worrying over nothing. We could reasonably keep looking into April and still close in enough time to not renew our lease. And if we still couldn’t find anything, worse case scenario would be renewing our apartment lease month by month. It definitely wouldn’t be ideal, but we wouldn’t be homeless.

Fast forward to the middle of February. We ask our realtor to go look at a house over the weekend and we end up really liking it. After talking with our realtor (who is really so helpful and knowledgeable), he assured us he could get us to close on the house and get possession in April, but not have to make our first mortgage payment until June when our lease is up. An answer to our prayers (and all my unnecessary worrying lol). We put in an offer and after a couple days of negotiating back and forth, our offer was accepted! We’re currently waiting on our inspection to occur and our loan paperwork to go through. There are still a lot of things that need to happen in the coming weeks before closing, but we’re staying positive everything goes through and getting so excited at the idea of having our own little home to fix up and make ours! 

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you won’t always be motivated

Happy Wednesday! I’m going to be honest, it wasn’t a great night for me last night…I was abruptly woken up in the middle of the night to Rocko heaving loudly and throwing up all over our bedroom carpet. Not once, but twice. A few hours apart. Hearing that heaving noise will wake you up real quick! Needless to say, I didn’t get a very restful night’s sleep. I’m feeling tired, grumpy, and my neck and head are arthritis achy from non-stop rain the past 2 days. I don’t have much motivation today to get moving or go to the gym. Thankfully, Wednesday’s are usually rest days from the gym for me. But, it got me thinking, what if it wasn’t a rest day? I’ve noticed more recently, I’ve not had much motivation to work out at my gym. Part of it is the weather has been very cold, very windy, snowy, and dreary. I think it’s hard for anyone to want to be out and about in weather like that. I think another part about not being motivated is the people at the gym are really nice, but they’re not my gym family from home. And I understand they never will be. But, it’s been hard for me not to compare everything back to my home gym because that’s what I’ve known for the past 4 years. I struggle to want to go to my new gym because I don’t quite feel like I belong or like it’s my home. Another part of not feeling motivated is that I commute a little over two hours total back and forth to work. Before, I had about a 7 minute drive to work and a 20 minute drive to the gym and spent 2-3 hours almost 5-6 days a week doing accessory work and participating in the class workout. Now, I have just enough time to make it to the class workout maybe 4-5 times a week. How my time is spent is different and will continue to be different because I’ll always have a longer commute to work. I won’t be able to spend any extra time at the gym because I won’t be able to free up the time I have commuting to and from work. And really, after already spending about 10 hours away from home every day for work, I don’t want to be at the gym a lot of extra time. I want to be home spending time with Josh and Rocko. A few times the past couple of weeks, I did something I’ve never done before. I drove right past the gym because I just didn’t feel like going. I wanted to be active, but I didn’t want to be gone from home another 2 hours. Instead, I went home, did a quick 15-20 minute workout, showered, and had the rest of the evening free to spend with Josh when he got home from class. A year ago, the thought of skipping CF class would have driven me insane. The thought probably wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. Now, the idea of getting a good workout in anywhere, especially at home, is super appealing to me. We’ve started looking for a house which has made me become so excited at the idea of having a home gym again, a place where I can come straight home after a long day of work, get a good (quick and free!) workout in, and be done for the day. I’m trying to take it one day at a time and figure out what this new stage of life is for me. I know I won’t always be motivated and that’s ok. I don’t have to be. I’m just trying to love and accept who I am each and every day.

new year

I’m sitting here sipping my Earl Grey tea, wondering how it’s already been over a week into the new year. 2019 is already going by so fast it seems!

For the past few years, I have been into making resolutions and setting goals. Usually it was something fitness related (get a bar muscle-up), but sometimes it was budget related (don’t eat out as much) or even “diet” related (drink more water). As 2019 was fast approaching, I started thinking about what resolutions or goals I could make for the year. The more I thought through things, the more I began to notice my heart just wasn’t in making any resolutions. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making resolutions. They can be super productive and encouraging and were just that for me for a long time. Recently though, it’s just seemed to become more restrictive (don’t do this, don’t do that) or discouraging for me (you’ve really let yourself down- you didn’t drink enough water today or get a muscle-up).

2018 was such a monumental change compared to my previous years. I started a new job- not just once, but twice. Josh and I moved to Ohio. We’ve grown closer together and learned how to rely on one another for help. I feel as if I’m in a completely different time of life, a different mindset than I’ve ever been in. After hearing the idea on a few podcasts I listen to, I really started to love the thought of picking a word for the year. A word to help set the tone for the year, a word to come back to whether I’m struggling or having a great day. After a few days, I finally settled on my word. I want 2019 to be the year of being present. I want to be present in the good, the bad, the sad, all the moments I possibly can be present in. I want to come home after a long day to have a nice dinner with Josh talking over our day, not engrossed in our phones or worried about the laundry list of chores to be done. If I get a flat tire, I want to be present in recognizing I’m in a sucky situation and that’s just how it goes sometimes. In the middle of a workout, I want to be present in my breathing, my form, how hard I’m pushing myself and that I can make it through. If I’m watching an episode of Kids Baking Championship, I want to be present in the fun and impressiveness of the young bakers instead of scrolling through Instagram or checking emails. I want to walk outside and take a deep breath of the cold, fresh air, to be present in knowing God put me on this beautiful earth to enjoy His creation. The little moments are what make our lives unique and interesting and ours. I don’t want to let them slip by because I was too distracted by unnecessary things. I hope to enjoy exactly where I’m at each and every day. So, here’s to a brand new year and a year of being present!

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