Monday, January 31, 2011

Monitor Watching Haiku

Napping, watching, breathe
Baby laying still for now
Red flash, awake, sigh

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Double Digits

Miss Emma is a whooping 10 months old. She's actually 10 months, 5 days, but I just returned from a work trip so was just able to snap my monthly picky sticky picture today.

And, goodness, it took me 27 pictures before I got one decent one. Emma spent the other 26 trying to pull the picky sticky off her onesie. Sure was easier when she was just a blob, though I wouldn't trade that smile (or the two pearly whites on the bottom, thanks for noticing) for anything.

Things haven't changed that much since 9 months, other than the full emergence of the aforementioned mentioned teethies. And today I noticed that I must have a woodchuck for a daughter, because there are bite marks ALL OVER her crib. Guess I need to get a protector of some sort.

Emma continues to be extremely mobile - crawling and pulling up on everything - but no steps yet. My guess is that she'll walk before 12 months, but we'll see. She's able to move around pretty well while standing up by using the furniture for support. Her favorite thing is to crawl as fast as lightening over to my purse when I've forgotten to zip it up and pull as much as she can out before I can get over there to rescue the purse.

Naps continue to be bad for us. Today it was two 1-hour naps. Last week I thought we'd made a break through as she was taking close to two 2-hour naps. But I should have known that all good things come to an end. But at least her night sleep is good, and she's regularly going at least 12 hours without waking.

Feeding wise, Emma is increasingly loving table food. Today for lunch she had some puffs and teddy grahams, followed by yogurt, some pureed veggies, two full slices of ham, crust off my pizza, and some more teddy grahams to top it all off. We still do baby food but try to work in table food whenever we can. And still at 3 nursings a day.

And I've started thinking about the first birthday party! What fun! We will hopefully be moving in to our new house around that time so it will be pretty chaotic. I'm thinking a cupcake themed party since someone already gave her a birthday dress with cupcakes on it and, well, I love cupcakes.

That's all for now, folks. Can't believe January is quickly coming to an end. Take care.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Long Anticipated House Post - Part 2

If you missed the riveting Part 1 of this story, you can read it here.

When I last left you, the closing had just fallen through on a house we'd been anticipating moving into for the past three months. We were definitely disappointed.

That evening, I decided to do a quick search to see what the current inventory of houses for sale looked like, something that I'd been doing regularly even with a contract on a house (I just can't help myself). Lo and behold, a listing I hadn't seen before popped up.

It was for a 5 bedroom/2.5 bath house that would be close to 4,700 sq ft once the basement is finished (as a comparison, we currently live in a 1,000 sq ft condo). It is in the most "exclusive" neighborhood in the city - which we're talking about a small town here, folks, so that's why I put that word in quotes. But, the few $1 million+ houses in the city are in this neighborhood.

But this wasn't a new listing. So, you ask, why did it just now appear within my search terms? Because it had just been reduced by $80,000! And, when it first went on the market almost two years ago, it was over $125,000 higher than the current list price. Holy cow, that's a lot of money. Guess we should be thankful for a bad housing market!

Hubby and I decided to go see the house. What's the harm, right? Hubby reminded me several times beforehand that we were just looking and that we should still be in the mourning process for the old house. "Right, right," I replied.

So, we go see the house. And we fell in love! The house is just perfect for us. While there are definitely some upgrades that we'll do (mainly the kitchen - it has great cabinets, but needs new countertops - and then finishing the basement), it is in perfect move-in condition. It has space for hubby and me to both have an office. And a GIGANTIC room over the TWO CAR garage that will be an unbelievable playroom for Emma.

Everything we were "giving up" with the old house - a garage, an eat-in kitchen area, a big master bedroom, a big master bathroom, closet space, an extra bedroom or two - is just perfect in this house. And, unlike the other house where we were going to spend at least $35,000 just to get it ready to move in, all we'll do is change out the carpet in the bedrooms and paint. And, voila, we'll move in.

Other pluses of this is about a 3 minute walk from where Emma will go to Kindergarten through fifth grade. Yes, folks, I'll be able to walk my daughter to school which charms the pants off me. The school has a great playground, which we'll get a lot of use out of. And the house is about a 5 minute walk to the swimming pool that we'll join. While it isn't right off the main street like we wanted, it is only a little over a mile away, so still walkable.

And the other upside to this story is that we made an offer on the house around 8am the next morning and the whole negotiation was done by about 4pm that day (and we got it for even less than list price for a total of $135,000 less than when it was first listed). So totally opposite from the long drawn-out process we'd just gone through. The appraisal and inspection are already completed and we are scheduled to close on February 18th.

We are so excited about this house. For some reason, I guess because of the weird process with the other house, we never let ourselves get too excited because we felt like it could fall through at any minute (and we were right). And while something unexpected could still happen, the odds are really good that this will be our house in a month and a half. Yay!

Now, we just need to sell this darn condo (but that's another plus...if we had closed on the first house over Christmas, we'd already be paying two mortgages. But now we have a little bit longer to try to sell our condo. Glass half full!)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Long Anticipated House Post - Part 1

Please try to contain your goes.

As a recap, we had a contract on a house in Salem, Virginia that was in the perfect location for us. Just steps from the main street, shops, restaurants, etc. The house was a nice old one - built in 1928 - and had loads of potential but was going to take quite a bit of money to shape it into what we wanted. We figured we have to put in close to $35,000 right from the start and probably around $100,000 over the whole time we lived there. But we expected it to be our long-term house so that was ok.

It had been For Sale By Owner for 2 years...that should have been the first clue.

We first put the contract on the house in September and were scheduled to close a few days before Christmas. I won't even get into how long and drawn out the process was and how it seemed like the sellers could care less if the house ever sold. Just take my word for it. Very strange process. Very strange sellers.

We got a call a few days before the scheduled closing from the closing agent (who also served as the sellers' lawyer since neither side used Realtors) saying that the sellers needed a few more days to move their stuff out. Ahh, ok. As if three months wasn't enough. But we went with it.

We then got a call on the Friday before Christmas saying that it was taking a really long time to get the information from the sellers' bank as to what he owed to pay off his mortgage. And the settlement statement couldn't be written without it. Closing would probably have to be delayed even further. Ahh, ok.

Well, I will make a long story short for you. Ends up, the seller had STOPPED paying his mortgage in 2008. Hadn't paid property taxes during that time either. AND had two liens against him, each for $30,000. Can you believe it? We found this all out the day before we were scheduled to close. With all of that, there was no way the seller could close and pay off his mortgage. Which means his only option is a short sale and we want nothing to do with that. It can take 60-90 days just to find out whether your offer is accepted. And we're done dealing with this seller.

So we walked away. Tears definitely flowed. Not so much even for losing out on the house. But for after months of frustration to have it fall through at literally the last second. Really unbelievable.

Stay tuned for Part #2 with a happier ending!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Merry (a few days after) Christmas

We had a nice visit with the family over Christmas. Loads of cousins equals loads of fun, noise and craziness. And we even had a white Christmas which is rare in our neck of the woods. Here are a few pictures we captured of Emma's first Christmas.

Crawling down the hall first thing Christmas morning at Grammy's house

Emma's one present from Mommy and Daddy...wonder what it is????

It's a...Rocking Horse!

Family Portrait

P.S. I have a big update on the new house front...will save for a post in the very near future. Let's just say when God closes a door it's awesome to see him open up a window!