Friday, December 28, 2007


WE miss you carly, ALLOOTTTT!!!!


a couple of weeks ago we watched my little brother for 13 days while my parents were overseas visiting my sister. although he is a little older since this picture was taken he had two "famous" quotes.

1st: my boppa, grandma, riley, me, & ryan were sitting around the dinner table after being trapped on the farm due to our first ice storm of the winter. boppa had just said, "its real nasty out there, the ice is real bad" there was a slight pause and riley said (like he was 75 years old) "i've seen worse" when he's only 12!
2nd: as some of you know ryan took his state of iowa exam while we were watching riley as well. ryan was especially nervous for the test, as was i. it lasted 4 hours. sometime during the test i looked at riley and ask "do you think ryan will pass?" riley looked at me serious as could be and said "no, he's not. he wasn't comprehending what he was reading. " i kinda sat there stunned, and one second later he looked at me (before i had a chance to say anything) "and yes, i am serious." i couldn't help but getting a good laugh out of it, and so did the rest of the family! but yes, ryan did pass the VERY first time, and ryan hasn't let him forget it! :-)

venting our childlike anger

a few weeks ago ryan had to get some colored copies made. Going into copyworks he had in his head it'd probably cost around $30 dollars. It was 5:00 am so he didn't really have any other options. He needed 3 appraisals copied, which are multiple pages themselves. he had them copied and was told the bill was $290.00! he must of looked like he was going to faint because the store clerk immediately could tell he wasn't thinking it'd be that much. since only a few of the copies were colored she was able to knock it down to $130.00. since then ryan has boycotted copyworks. he has taken the $1.25 colored copy personal in a way only Ryan can :) ... in the meantime we found this youtube video of this little kid getting VERY mad he can't make it down this slip 'n slide. he goes this fist like motion toward the slip 'n slide ( click below to see the clip then continue with the story) SOOOOOOO...going back to the story a few days after the copyworks episode we were driving by it and ryan did the "fist" ever since then if we get mad or frustrated we pull the "fist" enjoy!

(its the last kid on this little segment with the slip 'n slide!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Letter 2007!

  • Merry Christmas!

    Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

    The verse listed above was our motto verse of the year. For us, 2007 was a year of working hard, making sacrifices, building a foundation for our entrepreneur future, and completely relying on God’s strength. Even then, to be completely honest, we sometimes wondered if we bit off more than we could chew. However, we serve a Great God and no prayer was left unanswered.

  • Ryan: (written by Ashley) In February Ryan turned 26, and celebrated his second year with Heartland Appraisals. He is still in training (under Keith) until the end of December. He passed the State of Iowa Board exam just a few weeks ago! (his first time, yahoo!) In June he took on a part-time job for Real Estate Service Group managing 70+ apartment units in Boone. When he’s not out appraising or remodeling houses, you can find him playing 6 a.m b-ball with his father-in-law & friends.

    Ashley: (written by Ryan) Ashley probably learned more than she ever wanted to on remodeling houses, putting in long hours and being my little encourager. I couldn’t have done any of it without her optimistic, loving, and “go get it done” spirit. When I stayed busy with my various jobs she was busy mowing lawns & shoveling snow for our duplex’s, not to mention painting, tearing out carpet, and learning how to “do the books.” One of her newest hobbies is online karaoke. You can easily find her singing her little heart out!

    Random things we learned this year: (in no particular order)
    Make sure the paint can lid is on tight before you move it
    At 3:00 a.m. its best to use a flashlight when you use a table saw outside(so your neighbors can’t see where the noise is coming from! :-))
    We have amazing friends & family who we couldn’t have finished the remodeling projects without!
    Ashley is a walking advertisement for “grease lightening” cleaning product which gets ANYTHING OUT
    Ryan can sing every word of the lion king Broadway soundtrack
    Financial Peace University is changing our lives (
    God is faithful
    We went to Lowe’s more than the grocery store in 2007
    If you have a trampoline in your yard you’re a hero to everyone 10 years and younger!
    While Haley lived with us for three months we couldn’t believe how many sandwiches she could pack down!

    Our remodeling Secret Weapon:
    Ceramic tile $0.08, Air gun nailer $40.00, fire place $90.00, having a mom who works at Lowe’s …priceless! :-)

    We would love to hear from all of you, and the blessings you’ve had throughout the year! May God’s grace and love, through His Son Jesus Christ, be with you this holiday season and throughout the New Year.Much Love,

    Ryan & Ashley Houck
    311 South Walnut
    Ames, Iowa 50010

    515-291-7926 Ryan Cell
    515-291-4944 Ashley Cell
    515-233-2748 (Home)

Monday, November 26, 2007

listed below

for the past few weeks i've really gotten into reading, below are just a few postcards.

post secret 3

post secret 2

my websites

so something i find completely interesting, and addicting is a website called, here are just a few

Thursday, October 11, 2007

new updates!

hi friends & family!

my goal this week is to update our "blog" so check back in a few days!

Ryan & Ashley

Monday, September 3, 2007

nursery duty

We had nursery duty at church today with some friends. We each had a child to “man.” Ryan was lucky and got this sweet adorable little girl who was an angel. Her name was Leslie (like from the sound of music) he tried to pronounce it but it came out as leslie, lesel, lesiel until us girls (who are very familiar with the movie) corrected him. :-) Ryan has self admitted he is terrible at remembering a new name especially if he doesn’t already know someone who has the same name. For instance when we first started dating he didn’t already know another Ashley, and he had to think a minute every time to remember my name. (he told me this after we were engaged.) so to remember this little girls name, later on that day he shared with me how proud he was for remembering her name. I asked him how…and he responded "I thought of something it rhymed with, weasel.” :-)

Sunday, September 2, 2007


had it a little over a month, love it!

"about me" -Ashley

this is a little paragraph "about me" ryan's coming soon...

i am a down to earth girl who grew up on a farm and fell in love with a simple, hard working small town boy. i truly believe a smile can change someone’s day. I love getting up in the morning. i love chick flick films. Fall is the best season, period. i love surprising ryan, although i don't like surprises myself. I have small feet. My husband is my best friend. i really miss my sister who is living overseas. i love deep conversations. My family is very important to me. My boppa (grandpa) is one of my best friends. I am a very black & white thinker, which is both good and bad. I got my moms laugh, and my dad’s opinionated thoughts. I am always thinking. i am starting to really like reading. I have been blessed with the best husband. I love bonfires. I could spend hours reading quotes. I love to be around people, but don't like big gatherings. I research the heck out of anything new I try. A good song is an amazing find. When I was five I stole a piece of bubble gum from the grocery store and my mom made me go back and apologize. in some areas of my life I am anal on being organized and others I fly by the seat of my pants. I’ve been a waitress for eight years, and somedays I like it. I have a lot of friends but only a few close friends, of which I’d do anything for. I start listening to Christmas music as soon as it gets below 40 degrees. I love getting a hand written note. I love making someone’s day. i love to day dream about our future family, but am not ready for motherhood just yet. I have to do things in order. I am a creative thinker. I don’t like heights, but I did as a kid. And most of all I love the Lord.

Monday, August 13, 2007

4 thing i bet you didn't know about the houck's

1.) Ashley is a walking advertisement for a cleaning product called Grease lighting, you can only get it at lowes, its the BEST.

2.) Ryan doesn't like ice in his pop. he'd rather have it VERY cold from the fridge

3.) since purchasing our two rental properties we disagree about 95% of the time, but don't make any decision unless the other is on board 100%

4.) we are obsessed with the Lion King soundtrack. it has to be playing for us to clean.

Don’t pray for a lighter load. Pray for a stronger back

Monday, August 6, 2007

life after august 1 2007

To say the past year has been tough would be an understatement. Trying to get two businesses up and running (Appraising and property management) to a point where it’s making money is not easy, nor should it be. Nothing easy doesn’t come with a lot of work, a lot of prayer and a lot more work! Ryan & I joked a lot this past year how we’re living our dream and nightmare at the same time. Last July we bought 628/630 garnet. We lived in one side and completely remodeled the upstairs. I don’t think anything was the original when we moved out. It took us 11 months to complete with putting in 85 plus hours (between our jobs and the duplex) for the last month and a half. Including an all-nighter the night before the new tenants moved in. We certainly couldn’t have done it without our family & friends who REALLY stepped up to the plate and helped us out when we needed it the most. There were many times Ryan & I questioned our sanity in doing this. Then this June we purchased another duplex located right behind the east Hy-Vee here in Ames. So, that’s where were at right now. We’ve learned so much this past year about ourselves, God’s grace, love, and working hard for your dream. Was it worth it? All the late night hours, time and commitment? Absolutely.

helping grandma

ryan & I helping grandma around her house. we ended up trimming bushes and we even got some kringla!

kitchen/living room wall removal part 2

tearing out the wall to make a breakfast bar

getting ready for demo...

breakfast bar looking good...



added a deck

tile floor

laying the ktichen floor

my friend from work (jen) and I "buttered" the tile for ryan.


hallway before

hallway after. took out a closet, put in a door, and a deck out the back.


living room before/after

living room (from the other side)

how the carpet looked when we bought the place

how the windows looked when we bought the place.

finished, WOW!

upstiars bath before

bathroom before


bathroom after

bathroom before

bath after

kitchen/living room wall removal

the wall before. separated the kitchen and living room

making the marks

checking them twice

starting demo

the hallway looks WAY different!

closet removeal

closet before

starting to tear it down

hallway before

look, its getting longer!!

picture from the hallway (we expanded the hallway to have a deck off the back)

new closet semi-finished

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I know, right?!

okay, as many of you have noticed we haven't posted anything in AWHILE. we are STILL trying to get our Internet hooked up to our new place. (hopefully by MONDAY, the latest) i have ALOT to update, so please check back soon!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

we moved!

well, we just moved! so it might be a few weeks til i am able to post something new. after we get Internet hooked up at our new place, i have alot of "catching up" to do. by the way, our new address is 311 South Walnut Ames, Iowa 50010.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ryan's new part time job

for those of you who don't know, ryan got a part time job taking care of 75 rental units in Boone for a company called "Real Estate Service Group" ( he works roughly 25+ hours a week and really has been enjoying it. check out the website if you'd like to take a look!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

New obsession!

as many of you who know us well, know that we love diet mountain dew (Ashley) and mountain dew (Ryan) however, within the last month we gave up buying pop (in an effort to save up money for our down payment on the walnut street duplex) that's right, we gave up buying that's not to say we didn't put some cans in our pockets when we went to our parents houses to visit :-) so we tried to come up with a good substitute. we thought of water, but seriously, who are we kidding? we knew we couldn't quit drinking pure sugar to nothing. so we opted to try crystal lights...and i gotta say we are now addicted! if you haven't already, give 'em a try!

Pirates of the Caribbean at World's End

to say the least, ryan was EXCITED to see Pirates of the Caribbean at World's End is putting it lightly. we went and saw the movie Friday night with the hendersen's. Ryan bought the tickets on Wednesday night and was getting the "in" from the movie employee about what time we should get there etc... keep in mind we got tickets for the 8:00 show. Ryan wanted to east supper @ 6:00 at the subway right next to the theater so he could scope out the line from there. to make a long story short, we were the first ones in line for the movie, which was GREAT by the way and had even better seats! ;-)

rummikub game!

the other night some new friends of ours (the Lisa & Jordan Damhof) invited us over for pizza and game night. and we played rummikub, our new favorite game. it was a fun night and very relaxing --just what we needed after our stressful week with the duplex!

goodbye to the hall's

so i realized its been awhile since our last post. so here is what we've been up to the last couple of weeks.

last week we met up with our old neighbors Jeremy & Amanda Hall. For those of you who remember they lived below us at Gilbert and got married just a month after us. we would hang out with them, grill etc. well, jeremy finished up with his master's program at ISU and they are moving to Carson city. so we got together with them one last time before they left. we ended up going to Flatheads this tiny little restaurant in st. anthony iowa. its the type of place where everyone knows everyone and they look at you right when you come into the door. had a good time there then we broke in our fire pit with some good ole' smores. it was a good night, and we want to wish jeremy & amanda the best of luck!

Monday, May 14, 2007

mothers day 2007

for mothers day this year it was pretty low key. on saturday night we went to radcliffe to spend the evening there. we brought a pizza and just had a good time talking, visiting with Ryan's parents & grandma and looking at all the work ryan, jon & kathy had done. They had just put 19 windows into a rental the houck's own.

sunday evening we headed to the huhn farm and had a bbq for supper, and talked awhile. then headed over to boppa & grandma's to say hi as well. overall a great mothers day

311/313 South Walnut

the house pictured below is our new duplex. we officially take ownership june 30. We will be moving there sometime in june. both sides are two bedrooms, one bath. we are REALLY looking forward to not living in a "work in progress!" this place will actually feel like a home, and we might actually be living there longer than one year! more pictures to come once we take ownership!

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