Monday, April 26, 2010

Ode to Utah

As Erin mentioned, I was in Utah last week for my older brother, Ryan's, graduation. Although it was not so much fun to be away from Erin I did have a blast and LOVED seeing my family. The week was mostly graduation commencement, a really long convocation, awesome food(thank you Molly) and lots of fun with the fam. It is sometimes hard to be away from the place that I called home for 24 years and the fond memories I have there so I decided to put together a little tribute to Utah and some of the things I love about it.

But before I do I want to say a big CONGRATULATIONS to Ryan for graduating from BYU in history and Britney for graduating from cosmetology school. I am so proud of you both and know how difficult it is. Love you both.

OK so now to what I call "Ode to Utah"

First off...The beautiful mountains

Next..The Mountain of the Lord. I miss having a temple so close.

Friends and COSTA VIDA!

The recent addition of In N Out Burger. Double double, animal style with fries and a strawberry shake.

Macy's grocery store and GRANNY SYCAMORE"S BREAD! YUM!

And of course FAMILY!

Here's to you Utah!

Garden Update

So as near as I can figure the last pictures of our garden were taken on April 9th. I just took these pictures so you can see exactly how our garden is doing. We are obviously having so much fun with it and are just now beginning to reap some of the fruits of our labors(literally). I would encourage everyone to start a garden if you haven't already it is so easy and so rewarding.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


For those of you who don't know, Justin and I have become big fans of Dave Ramsey. Who is that? Only the second best thing to ever happen to us. Dave Ramsey is an advocate for financial fitness. My dad bought tickets for Justin, Katie and I to go to one of Dave's Total Money Makeover Live events in SLC last April. We went - and it was LIFE CHANGING.

Dave has a few taglines. One is "we tell you the same thing your grandpa would, except we keep our teeth in." He's formulated a series of baby steps that, if you follow them with GAZELLE INTENSITY, you will quit throwing out your money and can instead be building wealth/college funds/retirement. These steps are based on common sense rules like "don't spend money if you don't have it" and prioritizing appropriately between needs and wants. There are rainy days, and you need an emergency fund for when that happens. No, Christmas or new tires do NOT count for emergencies. Stuff like that.

Well, between the two of us we estimate that we had about $10,000 in debt (mostly student loans/the rest of my wedding ring). Since neither of us was making any money until September, it wasn't until then that we could really throw money at this thing. We've been taking every bit of available money to do it. We have a card table for a dining room table, we don't have a tv, we only have one car, we just inherited my parents' old computer so we wouldn't have to buy one, we're sleeping on a double bed inherited from my old bedroom set so we wouldn't have to buy a new mattress/bedroom furniture. We did purchase a couch (and paid cash for it, thank you very much) so we have something to sit on, but we've been trying to "live like no one else so later we can LIVE like no one else."

So we've been hucking tons of money at this debt. When Justin's car was in a wreck, the money we got from it went towards the debt, our tax returns = debt, etc... Hope you get the idea. We've been getting excited because we both get paid at the end of this week, and we knew we'd be able to finish the last $630 dollars on the $5,500 student loan and then we'd be DONE!!

Received the following letter in the mail from Justin's student loan people:

Why we are contacting you
We are pleased to inform you that the remaining balance of your student loan has been forgiven. This is our way of thanking you for taking care of your loan obligation in a diligent manner.
What this means to you
Within 2 to 3 weeks we will send a document confirming the paid in full status of the loan.

What?!?!?!? Did we really just read that right? WHAT A BLESSING! What a wonderful, wonderful letter to open! We feel like we've been working hard for the right thing and praying that we'd be able to push push push, and then this happens! Prayer works! Miracles happen!

So for all of you who know the Dave Ramsey radio show (talk radio, in GA it's 640WGST on AM radio), Fridays are always Debt Free Fridays, which are the days when people who've been working the baby steps get to call in and scream as loud and proud as possible, "we're debt free!!!". Everybody listen up, because on Friday May 7th (we have Relay for Life this Fri-Sat and can't call), the Michael/Andrea Houghtaling and Justin/Erin Badger family are going to be doing the first ever 2-generation phone call to scream "WE'RE DEBT FREE!"

And then we're going to dinner at Carrabba's :)

You can do it too! You're going to LOVE it! Go to for more details.

PS - Dave's coming to Atlanta in October and Justin, myself, Dad, Mom, and Claire are all gonna be there!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Distance makes the heart grow fonder

Or is it stronger?

Not sure, and not really sure how I feel about that phrase. Justin's brother Ryan graduated from BYU this week. Yay! So Justin went out to celebrate and support. He left early Wednesday morning, and is currently in the air on his way back to me. Having him gone for a grand total of 96 hours has not been the most fun I've ever had. Luckily I have a full time job and have had lots of extra stuff going on this week after school, so I haven't even gotten home until between 8- 10:30 each night. You'd think that you'd be tired after such long days.

Unfortunately, I can't sleep :( The best part of every day hasn't been there, and I think I just felt restless without my favorite friend. So I decided to do a shout-out blog to my dearest, darlingest sweetheart.

I know a lot of you may know Justin. Let me tell you, if you ever thought he was a great guy, if you ever thought he was a hard worker, if you ever thought he was a fun friend, uplifting, charismatic, talented, etc... I can assure you that he's all those things and more.

A lot of people say the first year of marriage is very eye-opening and even a difficult adjustment. Let me say that it's been eye-opening, but an absolute pleasure! I've realized that Justin is not only as good and wonderful as I expected he would be, but he's been so much more. He's a very kind, caring, compassionate husband. He's so thoughtful and patient and works so hard to do sweet things for me on a daily basis. He constantly surprises me with sweet things and takes time to do little things like pack my lunch, do the dishes, take out the trash, move the laundry through, or just text me to say he loves me.

We've talked a lot about how fun marriage is. Sometimes it feels like we're playing house, sometimes it feels like a dream, sometimes we're the best of friends hanging out or playing games or watching tv, sometimes we're an old couple just snuggling or holding hands, sometimes we feel like parents who get excited when their kids (our plants) start sprouting or blooming or who feel sad when other plants seem to struggle with their growth, sometimes he's my late-night talker or my problem solver, sometimes he's my therapist, sometimes my cheuffer, sometimes Justin's the best chef I've ever had, my housekeeper, my garbage disposal, my cheerleader, my leading man, my partner in crime, my comforter, my dream maker, my comic, my muse, my handy-man, my gardener, my competition in Settlers or Backgammon, my inspiration to be kinder, my mail man, my carpenter, my shoulder to cry on or the one who picks me up when I'm down.

i LOVE being married to this man. I absolutely think I get to be touched by an angel every single day. I'm so grateful that we belong to a church that teaches that we will be able to be husband and wife literally for forever. What an absolute blessing.

I'm sorry to be so sappy. It wasn't until I realized Justin's coming home that I realized how much I've missed him :(

I like to say that sappiness is happiness.

Clearly, I'm a happy girl!!! :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quick yet vital blogging question

So, obviously I'm not the world's best blogger. Getting better though! So to all of you out there more well-versed in blogging than I: HOW DO I MAKE MY FAMILY/FRIEND BLOG LINKS SORT BY HOW RECENTLY THEY POSTED? That would make my life so much better.

In advance, I thank you SO much for answering this question. And if somebody already answered it, well I want your comment too! I might be too much of a novice to get their idea and yours might actually work for me!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

We LOVE gardening!

About a month ago Erin and I decided we wanted to try to have a little garden out on our balcony. However, we ran into a little problem...we hade never gardened in containers before. So we got a little creative and purchased a few bins and topsy turvys and a LOT of soil and started off. We now have 7 different vegetables, 3 different fruit, 2 different herbs and 5 varieties of flowers.

We have loved planting the seeds and watching them grow and just ate our first strawberry the other day. We practically treat the plants like our kids and hurry home from work each day to see how they are doing and water them.

Here are some pictures for you and we will be sure to keep you posted on their progress.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Last 9 Months...

So to catch you up on what we haven't been posting: Erin teaches math. Some days are great, some are not. And some are really not. Definitely more difficult than she anticipated. Weekends and holidays are wonderful. Justin is enjoying his work at Gallopade and Delta more and more, but is still searching and applying for every relevent full-time job.

In the fall: Justin was the lead in a local play. He was Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun. It was actually b/c of the show that he got hooked up with Gallopade International (thank you Mr. Delorenzo!!) Erin coached jv volleyball for SMHS. For Thanksgiving we went to Hilton Head Island with Erin's family. Tons o fun! Over Christmas we flew out to Utah to go to a friend's wedding and to see family and friends. After a quick 3 day stay, we flew to Missouri for Christmas. Again, tons o fun! Yay for having such fun families!!! (and families-in-law!) For winter break we tried to go back out to Utah again but the flights were terrible b/c of 2,000 cancellations in ATL from snow, plus the holiday weekend, so we ended up in the Seattle airport for 13 hours on Valentine's day, and finally got on a flight to SLC and immediately hopped the last flight to Pocatello to visit Justin's grandparents. For Spring break, we have done a lot of resting and went to DC for one day. School gets out May 28th, Erin is excited, and we both miss the days when we both got to sleep in together or stay up late b/c we knew we could sleep in. Ahhhh, to be an adult... Here's some pics of the highlights of the last many, many months (in reverse order b/c I'm too lazy to rearrange all the pictures):

For our 1-year anniversary we went to an AMAZING seafood restaurant in Atlanta. SO good!

Post-dinner: yummy!

Eating crawfish in Savannah GA

More crawfish On the plane to Savannah, most AMAZING stand-by story ever and we ALL made it and sat next to each other: miracles happen!

Happy Valentines Day from Justin. Delivered during school while I was teaching, I started to cry and my students' lives were changed. The girls wanted husbands to do sweet things for them, and the guys wanted to be those kinds of husbands:)

Justin and Reese at Christmas. She definitely remembered him!
Fishing over Thanksgiving. Didn't catch anything, but had fun trying!
Trying to learn to cast :)

At the beach over Thanksgiving
Annual first day of school tradition: Chick-Fil-A breakfast in pj's!
Part of our birthday present to Katie on the last night we saw her before our move :(
We're cool.

Me and Reese before we left (she didn't quite remember me at Christmas)

Justin graduated in May
Yep, we're the fun couple!

Museums, memorials, and monuments, OH MY!

This week is Erin's Spring Break, and we decided to celebrate our 1-year anniversary by going to DC for a day trip. (Oh the blessings of flight benefits).

We got up bright and early, headed to the airport, flew to DC, took the Metro into the city, and walked over 9 miles checking out the monuments, memorials, and museums. It was a glorious, splendid day and we had a lot of fun walking all over the place. Here's some of the highlights:

Waiting for the Metro outside the airport
Vietnam War Memorial (Justin said at night it's cool b/c there's metal slabs that reflect the light and make it look like the soldiers are walking through rice paddies)
Washington Monument (WAY taller and wider than I ever thought)
Jefferson Memorial (Monument?) across Reflection Pool
Lincoln - GREAT man!
In front of the new WWII Memorial right in between the Washington and Jefferson Monuments
Justin is an ant compared to this monster.
Arlington Cemetery

Hope Diamond (this was the BEST Smithsonian!)
A 30-room dollhouse. It was ridiculously huge and meticulously detailed.
The Fonze's (sp?) jacket

Kermit the Frog!!!
Some beautiful building in downtown DC.
We saw this house and realized we'd forgotten our eggs and t.p. Shucks. Maybe next time...

Overall, SUCH a fun trip. We were definitely tired after walking around all day, but it was good exercise and good practice. We're hoping to do the Susan G. Komen 3-day (you walk 60 miles over 3 days as a breast cancer fundraiser), and it was a huge reality check of what it'll take to walk 20 miles a day. Augh! Made me think twice about it... Has anybody ever done the 3-day? Advice?