Thursday, May 28, 2009

Moving forward

Our due diligence period ends at midnight. We've decided not to back out. Of course, there could still be problems at any point and end the deal, but probably not on our account. That's just what our real estate agent told us. He was trying to give us the "just so you know" talk, but it only freaked me out. I was grilling him asking if he knew something we didn't, but he apparently was just trying to be fair and inform me that there are "always risks." Then he launched into a speech about what a nice house it is and what a good deal we are getting. Sigh. We've been very very busy getting estimates and talking to the mortgage broker and the real estate agent (who give conflicting advice sometimes and make our lives more difficult) but we think that all in all, this is a good deal. It's just going to be a stressful few months. Even if and when we close on the house, we will still have to deal with contractors and repairs. The good news is that we don't need a new roof. But there will be lots of electrical updates. And we are getting a new AC and furnace. The AC unit in the house works, but it is 35 years old (!). The furnace just doesn't work at all. The dishwasher and stove work, but they are really old, so we might see if we can manage to get new appliances with the renovation laon. We'll see. I have to give my Dad and my stepmom a big thanks here, since they have been VERY helpful with getting contractors out and getting us estimates. My dad has even met some of them at the house for us. I don't know how we'd be handling it if we were having to deal with all that, too.

On the Roxanne front, she's a little wild child lately. Her sleep is a wreck, and she's waking up two or three times a night (or more...). I'm thinking maybe she's getting her molars starting to come in. She hasn't cut a new tooth in MONTHS, and since she's had 16 teeth for so long, I'm thinking her molars will probably be a little ahead of schedule, too. Although teeth aren't really on a schedule... She's been very very physically active lately, and continuing to enjoy her new found jumping, running, and climbing skills. Last night I left her in the living room for about 30 seconds while I got some water, and when I came back, she was standing on the desk chair. When she saw me she giggled and made her "OH NO!" face. But she certainly didn't sit down... I had to put her back down on the ground, and of course she got very upset with me. She is a stubborn thing. We also went for a walk on Tuesday, and she learned the word "splash," along with the corresponding action. I thought it was cute at first, but Roxanne and I were walking Katie, and stopping every ten seconds to step in a dirty puddle gets old fast. Even Katie got annoyed. Justin and I think she's pretty much learning a new word every day, but she doesn't necessarily retain the words. She repeats it back when you teach her, and she uses it correctly for as long as she's in the pertinent situation, but you have to remind her of the word the next time it comes up. Does that make sense? So in a way, it's kind of like she's just mimicking our words, but she shows understanding of them, not just the ability to pronounce the words. Like with "splash;" she repeated the word to me a few times, and then every time we got near any water, she would dip the toe of her shoe in or jump in and go "plash, plash, plash," over and over. Anyways, it's fun to watch.

Alright. I'm off to stare at listings for appliances on the Home Depot website. Ugh. We have to have the finalized estimates to our broker by the middle of next week. Who knew buying a house was so scary???

Monday, May 25, 2009

Holding Pattern

We had a nice long weekend in Birmingham (and the surrounding areas). We visited lots and lots of family, and it was really nice. I got to meet a lot of family for the first time, and Roxanne did, too. She was on good behavior for the most part, although she got off of her schedule and had some rough spots when she got over-tired. We stayed with Justin's Aunt Barbara and Uncle Frank, and they spoiled us. Roxanne had a lot of fun playing with them both, and trying to find their cute little kitty, Cocoa. Cocoa was smart enough to stay under the bed whenever Roxanne was on the loose. Roxanne LOVES cats. I really hope we can get her a pair of kitties at some point. She would be in heaven.

We went to Justin's (maternal) Grandmother's house on Sunday afternoon, and we had a mini family reunion. Justin's Mom and Terry came out, too, and Roxanne had so much fun with everyone. Justin's cousin Laura and her husband have a baby around Roxanne's age, and his cousin Brandon and his wife also have a baby around Roxanne's age (as well as an adorable new baby that Roxanne wouldn't stop kissing), so Roxanne was in good company running all over the place. She also got to meet her Great-Aunt Deb, and Mama Lee (Justin's grandmother) gave Roxanne a Glo-worm. It has officially joined the ranks of her favorite loveys. She even manages to hold it with her babies. So yes, it was really a nice visit.

This morning we went to visit Justin's (paternal) Grandma. We had a nice visit with her, but Roxanne had a meltdown towards the end of it. She was just so tired, after two days in a row of little to no napping... You can imagine. Before the meltdown, Roxanne enjoyed herself tearing all over the house (running in circles) and smiling and chatting. She is learning to be social, and she is really getting good at giving kisses when we leave. She gave her Grandma Lilly several kisses when we were leaving, as well as her favorite new salutation "bye bye baby!" shouted as loud as possible.

Tomorrow we have some contractors going to the house to give us estimates on repairs, so we should probably know by the end of the week if we are going to buy the house or back out. Right now, we both feel very very torn about whether or not we want to keep pushing. I mean, we want to, but we have to be careful. We really don't want to get in over our heads... It's going to be a tough few days. But of course, getting a fourteen thousand dollar grant shouldn't be too easy... Then it really would be too good to be true. We're trying to keep pushing through, keeping our chins up, and making things work. Sigh.

We hope you guys all had a wonderful three day break!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More hoops and more hoops

We had the inspections today. Justin took the day off to take care of everything (and then came home and crashed, since the poor guy is suffering from a nasty cold while dealing with all of this) and I'm just trying to catch up. The long and the short of it is not really anything all that surprising. Basically, there are some repairs needed, which we knew, but we are just going to have to get repair estimates and then crunch the numbers again to see if things will work. When you think about the fact that the house is sixty years old, it's not surprising that there are things that need updating/replacing, but I wish they would have been smaller things. Like light fixtures and wallpaper. :) Overall though, the house is in good shape, and it has good bones. So we don't think we are going to throw in the towel, but I'll keep you posted. As I'm sure you've noticed, we kind of already love this house and we really want to make things work. Plus, if we get these things fixed before we move in, the house will be in great shape! We'll see. We've already got a tentative time for a roofer to come out and do an estimate early next week, but my Dad got a preliminary estimate from him, and I was pleasantly surprised at how low it was. I thought a new roof would just be devastatingly expensive. I guess when you aren't buying a mansion with adobe tiles on it, it's not as bad as all that. Let's hope the other necessary repairs are similarly not-scary expensive...

Monday, May 18, 2009

The babies

Mother of Multiples

Mimi gave Roxanne another baby doll when we saw her on Thursday night, and now Roxanne has to carry around that one and the other one. At first, we just thought it was funny, but now it's just getting annoying. She literally wants to carry both of these baby dolls at all times. This morning I made her leave them in the car while we ran into CVS because I was already late for work and didn't have the time to get the stroller, etc. She cried for the entire time we were in the store, saying "babies peez! babies peez!" over and over. So yes, I am heartless. It was pitiful. She shows a little bit of preferential treatment to the newer baby, giving it more kisses than the other one (Justin says it's because the newer one is more tan) but when it comes time to ham it up, she will throw either one down and then go "Oh no!" with a shocked expression. She was doing this in an elevator at IKEA yesterday, looking to the family sharing the elevator with us to share her concern.

Her facial expressions are getting outrageous. She does things like stand on the couch (against the rules) and then looks at me and Justin with her eyes wide and her mouth set in this weird grimace, like "oh my, do you see what I'm doing?!" She uses the "oh no!" phrase a lot. She's like a little comedian. Fortunately, she has also started using "please." It's not quite as common for her to say it when she is sleepy and grumpy though. Like the other day when we were in my favorite new used bookstore near Emory and she was in her stroller. She said "wanna walk" and when I didn't immediately respond, she started going "WALK WALK WALK WALK WALK" at the top of her lungs. When I gave in and let her out, she pushed her stroller around the store like a maniac and I tried to hustle out of there as quickly as possible. I don't want to turn into one of those moms I used to see pre-baby and think "she has no control over her child." Wait, am I already there?

As for the house, we are still in a holding pattern more or less. We are scheduled to have the two necessary inspections on Thursday, and the appraisal is scheduled for Friday. We're a little worried we might end up having to move them back (which would be a big problem since we only have a total of 15 days of due diligence) because of the dingleberry seller's real estate agent. He is supposed to get the water turned on, but on Friday and on Monday the water people showed up to turn it on and he hadn't followed protocol so they had to leave. I'm not entirely sure what the problem is, but I think it has to do with winterizing, and him basically not showing up to meet the guys at the house. Ugh! But the electricity is on and the gas guy is supposed to be there tomorrow to hook that up. All of the utilities have to be turned on for the inspections. So the water situation has to be resolved ASAP. Our agent promised to do as much as he can to annoy this guy and get it taken care of. The gas and the electricity are in our names, so that was easy, but the water had to be handled by the seller so that we wouldn't be responsible for changing the toilets out (low flow toilets are a requirement in Dekalb County now). Anyways, this is boring, but the long and short is that we hope to at least know if we want to go to closing by the end of the week. I had to spend my whole Saturday in Lawrenceville for a homebuyer's education class. Snoozefest! It lasted from 9:00am to 5:00pm. At least it was free, and I got free lunch from Honey Baked Ham! I got some good information, but overall it was kind of boring. Well, that's not the right word. It was just long. And a lot of people in the class kept doing that annoying thing where they were asking REALLY specific questions about their situation that clearly did not have anything to do with anyone else in the class. That wouldn't bother me normally, since I tend to be sort of nosey and interested in other people's lives, but we were running late all day (due to some late classmates...rude!) and I got tired of hearing about pit bulls and not being able to fix your car in your driveway due to the neighborhood covenance. But the class was required for our loan program, and at least it's over now! Justin spent the day with Roxanne, and I think he gained a new found respect for my daily life (and the hardships involved).

OK, I'm going to go find the camera and upload a couple of cute photos of Roxanne and her babies. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Officially under contract... and baby's baby

Yes, we are officially under contract. I've been working to get the utilities turned on in the house so that we can have our inspection done next Thursday. The appraisal is scheduled for Friday. After those two things are done with, and have favorable outcomes, it's just a waiting game. Tentatively, we will close on July 8. Of course, they could come to the inspection and point out something horrible, so we'll see. But we hope it works out.

Roxanne has recently taken to her baby doll (used to be mine). She has been wanting to take it with her places and she loves to hold it nice and snuggled up to her. She likes to point out (and name) her facial features, like her nose, eyes, mouth and ears. She also knows hair, but I haven't started on things like "cheek" or "chin." Maybe I should... She likes to cover the baby up with a blanket and then pat it while saying "nigh-nigh." Which is her way of putting the baby to bed. Today I gave her a baby wipe and showed her how to give baby a bath, and she really loved that. She got a little carried away with it and gave Josh a little bit of a bath, too, but he didn't really mind. She just got his arms. She tried to pull his shirt up to clean his belly button and got very irritated when he got upset and ran off. This, and the fact that she tried to tickle a random lady in the store the other day, lead me to realize that her sense of "personal boundaries" is not exactly well honed yet. I never thought it would be much of an issue, since most toddlers I know are terrified of strangers, but Roxanne is not exactly that way. I mean, she's shy at first around people, but when she gets cranked up, she will run up to random people and stare at them. Don't worry, this doesn't happen often, since I don't make it a habit to allow this sort of behavior, but sometimes it's just hard to avoid. Like at the Farmer's Market, when she wiggles out of my arms and bolts into the cheese aisle. Sigh.

OK, I'm exhausted. It's been a long week. We had dinner tonight with Justin's Dad and Susan, Kaitlin and Jamie. It was lovely, and Roxanne had a great time. But I'm full of food and margarita and seriously sleepy. It's way past Roxanne's bed time, and I can hear her and Justin upstairs reading their story. Between the cinnamon ice cream she had and all of the attention from her adoring relatives, she was pretty wound up when we got home.

Happy almost weekend!

Monday, May 11, 2009

As promised...

  1. One of the windows and the closet door in what we hope will be Roxanne's room. Can you see the glass doorknobs? All of the doors except for the ones in the bonus room/soon to be man-cave have them. I love them!
  2. View of the living room from the dining room. Can you see Justin's expression? So funny. On the right side of the photo you can see the door leading into one of the bedrooms, which I think we will use as a guest bedroom/craft room.
  3. One of the bathrooms. It's dirty, but the tile is gorgeous and in great shape.
  4. This is taken inside what we think will be the "master" bedroom. You can see it has 2 closets and it's across the hall from the room we think will be Roxanne's. That's Justin's stepmom and his Dad in the doorway, and if you look closely, you can see Roxanne passed out on Jim's shoulder.
  5. This is the old thermostat on the wall of what will maybe be Roxanne's room. We don't think it actually does anything anymore, but I guess we will find out at the inspection...

New Layout, and a phone call from the agent

As you can see, I changed the layout of the blog. I like this one better. Let me know what you guys think. I just wanted something a little easier to look at and hopefully would stop cutting off my photos...

The agent just called Justin and told him that the bank officially accepted our offer and that we should get our binding agreement within two to three business days. I'm still not going to say it's our house until we spend hours signing our names at closing and get the keys handed to us, but I'm still relieved. In celebration, I'm putting up a few more photos of the house. Some random things from the inside that I love.

No news still...

Oh wait, I sort of lied. We had a fun baby milestone today. This evening, Roxanne started jumping all by herself. I mean, she's always enchanted by jumping on a couch or in her crib while holding onto the railing, but tonight she started jumping up in the air with both feet off the ground and NOT holding onto anything. I guess that's kind of a weird milestone, but it looks so cute. She jumps four or five times in a row before really getting off the ground, and each time, I feel like I might have a heart attack watching her narrowly avoid a spill. But she giggles and giggles and giggles and is so proud of herself, I can't bring myself to get involved.

And her other obscure milestone is that she now recognizes Elmo. She watches short clips of Sesame Street on, which is the website I use to watch my favorite TV shows (30 Rock, The Office, and Bones... I know, the last one is kind of dumb, but something about it is charming to me. Don't judge.). We watched several clips with Elmo in them, and Roxanne learned to point to him and say "elmo!" She surprised me when we went to Borders yesterday evening (we were looking for this awesome magazine called Atomic Ranch that's all about Mid-Century Modern homes and decor) and she found an Elmo toy. She pulled it off the shelf saying "elmo!" She carried him around for a while until Justin distracted her with some of his smoothie and I wrangled it back to the shelf. Pretty sneaky, but she already has an Elmo doll at home.

The photo above is a nicer photo of the house that I took on Sunday. I don't know why all my photos get cut off every time I upload them. It's totally annoying. If you click on it though, it will open in a new window and you can see the whole thing. When the real estate agent called today, I was so excited because I assumed he was calling to tell me we had the binding agreement and were under contract, but nope. He was calling to tell me that he hopes we will get it this week... ???? I asked him what the seller's agent told him in terms of how long this usually takes with this bank, and he said 5 to 10 business days. Which means it could possibly be next week, since our written offer wasn't technically completely submitted until Friday of last week. Aack! I just can't help but be worried that they are dragging this out because they are looking at another offer, or just making sure another one doesn't come in... I just don't have the right temperament for this business. Either way, just keep everything crossed. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

No news yet...

We've had a busy morning, since we got to the zoo before 9:00am this morning. I dragged everyone to the "Little People Live" show there. It was pretty cute, and Roxanne's first experience with giant characters wearing costumes and dancing and singing. It seemed to scare her a little, but a few times she got up and danced. Then we went to brunch to celebrate Mother's Day since tomorrow will probably be a mad house everywhere. Justin has been trying to get baby to nap for about an hour... It's not working.

We haven't gotten the official word on the house still, since we apparently missed one spot for our initials when we went through it with our agent (he missed it, too, it wasn't just us...) so the bank sent it back via e-mail on Friday. We sent it back really quickly, but we still haven't heard anything back. I'm guessing they are really busy over there with all of the foreclosures... Hopefully Monday...? The other hurdle we have to deal with is getting them to turn on the utilities for us to get the inspections performed. Ugh. On the up side, we are going to the house tomorrow morning for another visit and we will take measurements of the rooms and I'll try to remember to take more pictures. I just wish we were already under contract. This process is so annoying.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Here's some photos...

I don't have a lot of photos of the house, and as you can see, I put a unicorn over the house numbers, just as a safety precaution. If we buy it, I'll add more. It's a ranch, so just one story. It will be nice to not have stairs... The house is much more attractive in person. The yard has been landscaped (although it needs some refreshing) and it's gorgeous. There is a "workshop" in the backyard that takes up like half of the yard, but we would like to some day rip it out. Half of it has electricity with heat and an AC unit... But the backyard is fenced.
The other photos are some from our visit to Greenville. Downtown Greenville has a lovely big park in it. We had so much fun on our visit.

Family visits... and house news

Justin's Dad and Susan have been visiting, so we've been (happily) getting to see them these last few days. Roxanne is in heaven with all of the adoration. On Sunday, we went to Justin's mom's house for a big birthday party for his sister Kaitlin (Happy 20th birthday Kaitlin!) and Roxanne got to see four different grandparents (Grandma Dawn and Crapaw and Mimi and Grandpa Jim), her great uncle and great aunt (Barbara and Frank), three of her aunts and two of their boyfriends (Kaitlin and Jamie and Jessica and Wes and Jessica G.), her cousin (Mary Ansley), and of course, Chloe the dog. She ran herself ragged, and had a meltdown at the end of the day. All that showing off can take it's toll on a girl. :) Tonight Grandpa Jim and Mimi came over with a lovely dinner of lasagna, salad, bread and wine. And delicious zucchini bread. We are all stuffed. They brought Roxanne a super cool wooden ABC toy, and she really enjoyed the toy and the grandparents.

In house news, we are probably going to be under contract as of tomorrow. I say probably because we still haven't gotten the official word, and as unlikely as it is, I can't help but think that maybe someone swooped in with some fantastic full price offer in cash or something. Buying a foreclosure that is owned by a bank and handled by an asset manager in Texas is a little frustrating. Everything takes forever. But assuming the contract comes back OK tomorrow, we are going to try and get an inspection done on Sunday. As long as the inspection and appraisal are OK, we really want to buy this house. It's wonderful. Well, for us it is. It definitely needs some updates, and there isn't a fridge, but there is nothing that we saw that was horribly wrong. And my Dad was nice enough to come out with my stepmom and his contractor friend and give it a good looking over before we even made an offer, and they gave it great remarks, so we think the inspection will probably be OK. But like I said, I don't want to jinx it. If everything works out (please keep your fingers crossed) then we should close by early July. It's going to be a stressful couple of months! But we are excited, and I'm mentally decorating and Justin and I are spending time dreaming about what we will do to the house when we (someday) get money to fix it up. The house is 1650 square feet, and it has 4 bedrooms, 2 tiny but full bathrooms, a living room and a separate dining room, etc. etc., and it was built in 1949. I'm most excited because there is a fireplace for Santa and an attic to store Halloween decorations. Oh, and a giant laundry room. Right now, our landlord is apparently fixing our washing machine but he didn't put a note on it, so Justin found out that it wasn't in operating condition when he put a load of Roxanne's clothes in and all of the water came flooding out of the back. So now her soapy wet clothes are orphaned. Ugh.

Anyways, we hope everyone has been having a nice week, and I'll try to keep updating about house progress. If I don't post for a while, it's probably because the house fell through and I'm weeping for days. I know everyone tells you not to get attached, but it's tough!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Baby talks-a-lot

Roxanne seems to be in a vocabulary explosion right now. She says "juice," "nice," "all neen," which is her version of "all clean" after a diaper change, "pee pee" and "poop." She also says "cheese." That is an important word... She is also very adept at mimicking. She will often repeat a word after you, although she doesn't necessarily use it again on her own. She says "Ella" a lot, but I'm never entirely sure if she is talking about her cousin or just saying the word. My favorite new one is "nice," because she says it when she is gently stroking the dog, or when Justin pats her, or some similarly "nice" situation. It's so cute. It comes from me and Justin trying to teach her to be gentle with animals (and people). She always seems very proud of herself when she does it. As far as the "pee pee" and "poop," I've just been trying to get her used to those words in terms of her diaper and/or the potty. She actually peed in the potty the other morning, but don't worry, I don't think it's a sign that she's a potty prodigy, I'm just letting her have fun with it. She always goes pee right after she wakes up, so I've been trying to let her sit on the potty then, and she loves it, but when she actually has to go, she screams and wants to get down, at which point she promptly pees on the floor. But the other morning, the shower was running when I put her on the potty, and sure enough, she went! I'm going to store that information in the back of my brain to bring back in a few months when we really start potty training. I want to get her her own potty, but I'm going to wait. I am still hoping we will be movign sometime soon, and I just don't want to bring more stuff into this house unless I absolutely have to.

And yes, things are still moving on the house, and we are now up to roughly a 30% chance that they will work out, but I don't want to jinx it. So I won't elaborate. Unless you are my mother or my sister or Whitney or Sarah. In which case god bless you for listening to me drone on about every mundane detail about this house and the process we've been going through to try and buy it. If we do buy it, I'll put memorial bricks in the backyard with your names on them. You are martyrs. :) And just because I'm totally in love with it, I will say that it's in Decatur, but not in the city limits. It's right outside of the city limits. It's roughly a 7 minute drive from where we are now. I know that because I am stalking the house and drive by it at least two or three times a week. I have also already mentally decorated it, and Justin has decided which walls we are going to tear down. It's tough to go through this process, since you don't want to get too excited about a place because the likelihood of things falling through is so high, but then again, you don't want to buy a house that doesn't make you get excited... Keep your fingers crossed for us! Oh, and if anyone wants to sublease our beautiful apartment, please let me know. For real. If this does work out, things might get sticky with our landlord...

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!