We bought a house!

We are first time home owners!  And we did it all from over two thousand miles away.

What a rollercoaster this process was. I was super surprised that the part I thought I would love—the actual house hunting—was the worst aspect for me. When it got down to the nitty gritty though, we had some amazing professionals on our team who worked super hard behind the scenes to pull it all together in less than 30 days. 

Our realtor was a good friend of mine who has been building me up and encouraging me for almost four years now. She is a rockstar. When we told her we wanted to buy a house in North Carolina, but do basically all of it while we were in Arizona, she didn’t bat an eye. She was down for the challenge. 

My parents, who coincidentally LOVE “window shopping” for houses were game to go look at houses for us. They looked at neighborhoods, the condition of the property, the drainage of the lot—all of the things you can’t change and all of the things you can’t see in the photos.  

Our realtor took us on video walkthroughs so that we could get a feel for the place as well. We talked over all of the positives and negatives. We searched for over a month and we fell in love with multiple homes. We were so ready!

Finally we found The One and we got an accepted offer. It was smooth sailing from then out (for us, not so sure about everyone else on our team, haha!) and we were so excited to close and get our keys just four days after we arrived in North Carolina. 

Since leaving Arizona, everything has been a little crazy for us. We got in a car accident and my car was totaled, but because we were under contract on a house, we could not buy a car until we closed, otherwise it could mess up our mortgage. Luckily we were able to close just a week after the accident and our insurance was understanding so they let us keep our rental car a little longer than normal. 

We were also super lucky because we closed on our house on a Friday and got our keys the same day, which doesn’t always happen in North Carolina because of the legal process here. 

Even though we had no furniture, food, or toilet paper, we booked it to the house as soon as we got the call. Just thirty minutes before the courts closed, our realtor called us to tell us that the house was officially ours! We drove through the rain and pulled up outside just after five. Will even insisted on carrying me over the threshold. It was amazing. 

We spent the evening at the grocery store buying toilet paper and frozen lasagna, and then back in our house to just soak in every foot of its perfections. 

We are so excited to make it our own. To fill it, and decorate it, and host in it. It is our favorite investment, and we are so very happy. 

Until next time,
Jamie out. 

We bought a house! We bought a house!

my car was totaled on our cross country move

On the first day of our cross-country move, in a small town in New Mexico, my tiny car was rear ended as we were attempting to pull into a restaurant for dinner.  

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

Earlier that day

We were in Arizona for four months, exploring and working and living in a hotel.  We booked it out from North Carolina in June, driving our two tiny cars packed to the brim across the country over three and a half days in order to get a good hotel room.  We were able to snag a suite, with a kitchenette, separate bedroom, and couches for comfy movie nights.  I took advantage of our space and went through a full workout program during our stay.  I worked out five days a week for about an hour every day and got some abs by the end.

When it was time to leave, we were definitely a little sad.  We had made great friends and connections, not to mention all of the authentic Mexican food and National Parks to explore.  If you have been following my blog you know all about our adventures and how much we loved our time in the desert.  Granted, my whole family is in North Carolina and we have an incredible support group on the east coast, so we were definitely excited to head home as well.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

We weren’t able to leave town until the afternoon.  We packed up our cars, checked out of our hotel, said goodbye to our friends and had a quick lunch at Subway.  We sent texts to all of our family and friends to let them know we were hitting the road.  I promised my mom I would let her know once we arrived at our hotel for the evening.  Then we set off into the desert, going through our last border patrol check and peacing out toward the mountains.  

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

We stopped in a tiny town in New Mexico and pulled into a parking lot to check our map and decide where to eat.  We settled on a nearby local restaurant that had great reviews online.  After turning back out onto the 25 mile per hour road, we drove a little ways and then turned left on another road.  We stopped, with our left blinkers on, intending to turn into the restaurant’s parking lot.

That’s when I got hit.

my car was totaled on our cross country move

Suddenly my head flew backward and my car lurched forward and my heart and lungs seemed to compress in my chest behind the tightened seatbelt.  My arms were glued to the steering wheel and as I began to comprehend what had happened, and my car lurched forward again, I slammed my feet on the brakes in a feeble attempt to avoid hitting Will’s car, which was directly in front of me.

Luckily, I didn’t hit Will.  He waved to me, indicating he was going to pull into the parking lot.  I rolled down my window to look back at the driver who hit me to see if he was okay.  He was in a huge truck.  My tiny Mazda hadn’t stood a chance.  

I shakily yelled back at him, “Are you okay?”  But I doubt he heard me.  I waved at him a few times, and indicated two or three times that I was going to pull into the parking lot to get us out of the road.  I tested my car and it seemed okay to drive, so I cautiously pulled into the parking lot and to the side to stop.  Will ran to my window and immediately asked if I was okay.  I started crying, I think simply from adrenaline and shock.  Also just because I cry over every strong emotion.  I got out of my car and we hugged.  That’s when we finally looked around for the other driver.

He wasn’t there.

Another shock.  It was a hit and run.  And it had happened to me.

The witnesses outside were shocked as well.  The restaurant owners brought us water.  A paramedic heard the crunch of my tiny car as it was hit, so he and his fellow paramedic came immediately and called the police for us.  

my car was totaled on our cross country move

Guys, I want to emphasize something right now.  Every single person we encountered on this journey was amazing.  They answered our questions, helped us however they could, and were on our team.  Even though we went through something hard (although unfortunately not uncommon), we did our best to treat everyone with respect while at the same time emphasizing our situation and being proactive in getting everything accomplished.  

We were in the middle of/on the first day of our cross country move.  We were not from New Mexico, we had no permanent address, and we were two thousand miles from our destination.  

As we waited for a tow truck, a truck pulled up and a man and his son got out, heading directly over to the police.  There was a small dent in the front bumper of the truck.  I nudged Will, who was on the phone with insurance.  

I want to protect involved individuals, so I’m not going to hand out specific here, but let’s just say that the dad of the driver who hit me deserves an award.  They came back, and we shook hands, and they apologized, and their insurance has been the bomb.

What a crazy rollercoaster of a night!

The tow truck driver, on arrival, inspected my car and told me it was okay to drive to Las Cruces.  Will asked if he could drive my Mazda for me and I took his little Fiesta.  We stopped for a quick dinner, got a hotel room, unpacked my car, and then went to the ER to get me checked out.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

I got x-rays of my right wrist and they did an exam but determined nothing was broken or bruised.  They gave me a shot for pain and a prescription for muscle relaxers, and advised that I not take more than half a pill at night if I was planning on driving the next day.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

The following day was Friday and insurance claims adjusters don’t really work on the weekend.  We had one day to get everything sorted out, otherwise we were going to be stuck in New Mexico all weekend.  

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

To make a long story and a long day a lot shorter, we were able to meet with an insurance claims adjuster that afternoon and after working with us for a few hours, he determined that my car was a total loss.

Not to be dramatic, but literally six years to the day after I bought her, my baby died.

my car was totaled on our cross country move
Throwback to the day after I brought her home.

On one hand this was much more convenient.  We didn’t have to figure out how to get my car repaired and then to North Carolina, or how to get to North Carolina and then repaired.  Having it be a total loss meant that insurance could give us a check and a rental car and we could drive off into the sunset.

Which is pretty much exactly what we did.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

It was a bitter sweet moment, and I may have shed some tears as we said goodbye to my Mazda and peaced out in the HUGE Ford F-250 rental car (the only car they had on the lot for us).  At least we knew we could fit all of the stuff that was inside my car into the truck.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

We stopped and indulged a little for dinner at Cracker Barrel, drowning our sorrows in comfort food and consoling ourselves that the total loss was ultimately in our favor because we could finally get back on the road.

After dinner we drove a couple hours into Texas just to get somewhere.  I took half a muscle relaxer once we got to our hotel room and we went to sleep almost immediately.  It had been a crazy 28 hours.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

The rest of our trip was absolutely uneventful.  We ate dinner one night at the fanciest Panera I have ever seen.  We still listened to podcasts and stopped for Subway, gas station dinners, and tiny donuts.  Will drove the truck (and LOVED every minute of it) and I drove his car.  We took a different route home than we had planned in order to save some time.  Our favorite hotel was a La Quinta somewhere near the eastern border of Texas.  Our room had crazy tall ceilings and was exceptionally nice.

All in all, even after arriving back home in North Carolina, purchasing a new car, and other grand adventures we have been on since coming back, we are grateful.  We don’t know God’s purpose yet in the accident, and maybe we never will.  Sometimes everything isn’t about us.  Maybe it is about someone we encountered along the journey.  

Or maybe for us, it was about having each other and learning to cope together in a stressful situation.  Having Will by my side through all of it was the greatest blessing.  It was much less stressful to go through it with him and while I would rather never total a car again, I would gladly say I’m excited to do life with my husband, especially during the rough patches of life.

Until next time,
Jamie out

a cacti goodbye to Arizona

Arizona, what do we say?  We had an absolute blast.  Four months is just not enough time to really explore and get to know you.  

For our last Saturday in the desert, we drove out to Saguaro National Park to see the nation’s largest cacti.  Little known fact, they are actually called saguaros.  Will had the great idea to drive out to see them around golden hour and sunset, and then to have a farewell dinner in Tucson.  

We stamped our National Parks Passports at their visitor center, drove a dirt road loop, and took photos on the side of the road as the sun dipped below the horizon.

Instead of embellishing this experience with words, I think that I will allow our photos to do the talking this time around.  If you find yourself in Tucson at any point in the future, Saguaro National Park should be high on your list of things to experience.  

A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona // Saguaro National Park

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and let us know in the comments!  If you haven’t joined the family yet, hit that subscribe button and we’ll see you next time!

Until then,

Jamie out.

Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona

Our four months in southern Arizona are over!  We will always have our memories, and I have a couple more blog posts lined up, but our extended honeymoon has come to a close.  That being said, we spent much of our time in the desert exploring.  Here are our five favorite things we did while in Arizona this summer.

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

We went on a really long hike

We have already blogged about our Grand Canyon experience, but if you missed it, here are some sunrise photos, and here is the complete story of our hike.

The Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list for a while.  It is one of those things that you sit and dream about, like Rome, or the Great Wall of China, or Iceland.  It is a destination I was dying to experience.  And boy did we experience it.

We got up at three in the morning to drive to the National Park and arrive in time to watch the entire sunrise over the canyon walls.  We then spent the next seven hours hiking along the rim.  Clearly it was a dream come true for this hike loving, National Park exploring, photography enthusiast couple.  The Grand Canyon is so much more than just a giant hole in the ground.

Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona

We made reading a priority

Back in North Carolina, life and busyness got in the way.  We were often running around and stressed, trying to be at every event, plan a wedding, work 50 or more hours a week, and sleep when we could.  Arizona has been much more relaxed and manageable for us.  One thing we were able to really enjoy was making reading a priority.  

Most nights you will find us reading a good book in bed before turning out the lights.  The weekend usually involves at least a few hours of dedicated book time.  And the goal has generally been to read one book a month.  This is something that I seriously hope we can continue once we get back to North Carolina.

Books I have been reading: the Harry Potter series.  

Books Will has been reading: the Inheritance Cycle, “Just Walk Across the Room” by Bill Hybels and “Ghost Soldiers” by Hampton Sides.

Chiricahua National Monument

We made some friends 

I have always said that it is the people that make or break a place.  Well the people in Arizona have absolutely made it for us.  The community we have experienced, the church family we found, and the friends we made have not only made these four months in the desert so much sweeter, but have made saying goodbye so much harder.

From the movie nights, hiking trips, lunch dates, and hotel breakfasts, we had an absolute blast with everyone.  

Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona

We toured a mine and ate really good food

On one of our first weekends in Arizona, we visited Bisbee, which you can read about here.  We didn’t quite know where to go, where to eat, or what to do.  After a few hours in the hot weather, we drove back home.  But ever since then, we had a hankering to tour the Bisbee copper mine.

The weekend of Will’s birthday, a couple we met took us to the Queen Mine Tour and followed it with dinner at Cafe Roka.  I definitely recommend both things should you ever find yourself in southern Arizona.

We wore our jackets, hard hats, and flashlights in the mines and rode a train to the very back.  Our tour guide showed us how miners would drill, what drills they used throughout the years, their dynamite techniques, and other mining habits to include how they went to the restroom.  I got to demonstrate for everyone.  Who thinks this should be our Christmas card photo this year?

Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona

After our tour, we went to the historic district for our reservations at a seriously delicious Cafe Roka.  We all ordered the filet on a bed of mashed potatoes and veggies.  The starters, salad, soup, sorbet, entree, and dessert sampler platter left nothing wanting.  We had a fantastic time and will definitely come back the next time we are in Bisbee.  We highly recommend it.

Coronado National Memorial

We explored a cave

Our absolute favorite adventure, despite having hiked the Grand Canyon Rim Trail, was exploring a cave in Coronado National Memorial.  It was so cool!  Caves and caverns are super fascinating, a little scary, and very very fun to explore.  This cave in particular was at the end of a short hike up the mountain and was not guided.  We climbed down a hill of rocks at the cave mouth (which distinctly reminded me of the movie “Descent,” although I tried not to think about that) and then used our headlamp and flashlight to explore its depths.  You can read more about that here.

Will and I are so excited to head back to the east coast and North Carolina!  We are seriously looking forward to seeing my family, eating my mom’s cooking, hanging out with our Taco Tuesday crew, and reconnecting with our church fam.  

Have you ever been to Arizona?  What was your favorite part?  If you enjoyed this post, give it a like and don’t forget to join our family by hitting that subscribe button if you haven’t already.

Until next time,
Jamie out