Friday, March 29, 2013

Moving Day!

On the day we finally get the keys to our first house, I have been reflecting and thanking God for our blessings. It has been a long haul: I started the process with our realtor/broker back in July 2012. We planned out a savings schedule to get us to the downpayment required, we cleaned up our credit, paid off loans, filled out lots (and lots) of paperwork and took many trips to the Office Depot (because we don't have a printer or scanner). I can guarantee you that I never believed I'd be a homeowner in California. And now I am. It's blowing my mind!

My parents bought their house in 1972. It's a quick mile from the house we just bought. That makes me so happy, knowing I'll be so close. We have some nice memories in our apartment but I will be glad to move on, knowing our money is going towards something now.

I found these old images online of the house.

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Old kitchen

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New kitchen

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Old front bathroom

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New front bathroom

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Old master bathroom

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New master bathroom

While the redo might not be entirely my style, it's quality work and vastly impoved over the original! Don't you just love that old lavender bathroom cabinet?! Yikes!

Danny & I had originally thought we'd end up with a fixer-upper but the more we thought about it the less appealing that sounded. It would mean living in a remodel and also having to come up with the cash to do the fixing, too. Buying a house that already has the work done makes sense to us. We'd looked at many remodeled homes in our search and this one, though the smallest in square footage, was the best of the bunch, with high quality construction and materials that satisfied my construction-minded husband.

What I'll miss about our apartment: Our very kind and generous neighbors. A separate laundry room right off the kitchen. Air conditioning (Not that we used it but a few times ever, but it's nice to have and the new house doesn't have it). The ability to call the manager for clogged toilets and broken dishwashers. The neighborhood kids for my little ones to play with.

What I'll love about our new house: A garage (Enough said, that is going to be such a blessing!). A dedicated space for shoes & backpacks in the garage instead of next to the front door. Not having to go up and down stairs (I'm a one-story gal at heart). Adding character to our house with our own style. A yard. The ability to grow flowers or veggies. The newly remodeled kitchen and all the drawers and cabinets. Being able to walk. The library, a park, baseball fields and the lakes are all within a mile's radius which gives us a lot more options for evening walks after dinner.

What I'm not so sure about with the new house: It's on a busy street, so I'm nervous about pulling out of the driveway, the possible noise level and the fact that the kid's bedrooms are at the front of the house. Looking forward to getting a fence up as soon as possible. Parking on the street. I love to entertain and hope that our guests don't have to walk a mile to get a parking spot. The bedroom situation with The Boy and Baby D, who are going to be sharing a space from now on. We will see how that works out!

So my husband will be moving some boxes over tonight. I am going to put Post-It notes on the walls where I want furniture to be placed. This evening I'll be packing up the kitchen, computer and all of our clothes. Tomorrow Danny and his uncle will be doing all the hard work of moving heavy stuff while I get the kids out of the house for the day (why did moving day have to fall on Easter weekend?!). We'll give the apartment a quick cleaning on Sunday.

And then of course, unpacking! I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and post them with soon as I get the computer up and running!

Blessings to everyone for a Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Closing In

We're close.

We're really really close.

The paperwork (100+ pages of it) has been signed and notarized. The wire transfer of closing costs has gone through. The final walkthrough has been done. We got another look at the place, our first time back in since early February when we decided to put in our offer.

The grass is a little longer and we need to buy a lawn mower. There are fruit trees in the back that need to be pruned (I'll need to learn how to do that!). First up on the to-do list is fencing. The front yard needs it for sure and there is also a two-tier yard that will need fencing so the baby doesn't fall off the retaining wall. He certainly won't be able to go in the yard without an adult in the current state.

Source: viaJulie on Pinterest

I like this look with the mix of blocks and wood.

The kitchen is even more lovely than I remember with soft-close drawers and enough room for all of us to dance in, if we so wanted to. There is so much more storage space than in our apartment and I can't wait to organize. I'm going to have Danny install a few cabinets with pull-out drawers so we can easily reach our pots and pans and not have to unload the entire cabinet to get to anything in the back.

Source: viaJulie on Pinterest

The lightswitch for the kitchen is in a weird place though (in the hallway by the front door!) so that might have to be rewired. Fortunately Danny's uncle is an electrician.

Loving this color for the master bedroom, Benjamin Moore "Glass Slipper"

The bedrooms are tinier than I recall... not quite sure how we are going to comfortably arrange our master bedroom with our new dresser. I seriously doubt the boy's furniture is going to fit in their shared bedroom. I have a feeling their dresser is going to end up inside the closet! Unfortunately we still need the baby's changing table and the rocking chair for at least the rest of the year and they take up so much space. The Girl is getting the best end of the deal with a bedroom of her own.

Thinking of painting their yucky oak dresser this pretty blue (Benjamin Moore's "Azores") for The Girl's new room

The only storage space in the bathrooms is under the sink. There isn't even a medicine cabinet. So I think we'll do over-the-toilet cabinets in both bathrooms to hold extra toilet paper, towels and soaps. I also hate loading up the bathroom counter with toiletries so perhaps a basket per person on the shelf with their toothbrush, personal hygiene stuff, etc?

Nice storage space for over the toilet

Perfect use of space, over the door shelving!

The hall closet is a nice size, but it has mirrored sliding doors, which I don't care for. I personally don't like sliders because no matter what, they will always fall off the track. And really, mirrors in the hall? That just seems weird. I'll have to figure out something to do with those, even accordian doors would be better. Also, there is only one shelf up high and one closet bar in there. This is going to be our main storage for linens, medicines and bath stuff since space is so limited in the bathrooms so shelving will be a must in here.

Other than that, there is very little that needs to be "done" in the house. There are a few spots on the wall where the prior tenant's furniture scraped so that will be a quick fix and then I would like the living room walls painted. I am partial to Sherwin William's Comfort Gray which (accordingly to Pinterest and those I've been scoping out in "blogland") is a lovely gray with bluish-green tones. Perfect!

And a rug for the living room too, as it's all tile that flows from kitchen into living space/dining area.

Love this golden one with the large pattern. It would go nicely with grayish/bluish/greenish walls, don't you think? I am sooooo looking forward to adding color. The apartment standard "Navajo White" just isn't my style.

And of course some landscaping this summer, can't wait to give the front of the house some character with flowers.

So, it's close enough that we can now say it will be within days. We'd actually been told "keys on Wednesday" by our agent but unfortunately the lender is still reviewing things, then they still have to complete the funding (probably tomorrow) and then record it all (probably Friday). Ugh. Honestly, I am a planner and all this willy-nilly-wait-till-the-last-moment jazz has me ready to yank my hair out by the roots. What this means is that IF everything runs as the agent believes with the above schedule, then we'd be moving everything on Saturday and cleaning the apartment on Easter Sunday. We have to be out of the apartment on Sunday because it's the last day of the month and I'll be darned if we have to pay another month of rent!
So, we're close. But not as close as I'd like!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fun things, finally!!

I suppose it's been WAY too long since I posted.

To be honest, I was waiting for something good to happen. Something fun!

But well, that wasn't much likely around here, not with all of this year's drama. So add to the list my stepdaughter's overnight in the hospital for some mystery infection and extreme dehydration, another night in the ER with my dad after he had a transitory stroke and then a 12-hour stomach flu hitting every single one of us (it caused the baby to pass out it was so violent and sudden and that was another ER visit for us).

SO...another dramatic few weeks for us. And I was hoping for normal. Boring is underrated. I want boring. I really want boring!!

Thank goodness for this Elmo video. It is the only thing that will hold his attention so I can lay down. photo 804114_10200788708023508_1832470856_n.jpg
The Elmo video that we watched over and over because it bought me 30 minutes of rest time when I was laying around with the stomach flu!

Okay, enough of that. I do have a few fun things to share, finally!

We should be closing on the house in the next few days. We have the final walkthrough sometime this week and can start moving in at some point after that. The water & electric is already in our name as the current owners were having it shut off. Ack, it's finally starting to feel more real! We have quite a bit to do around here but most of the stuff is packed just not the daily things, like our clothes, dishes, food, computer, pots and pans or soaps yet. That will have to wait until the actual move-in day, we need most of that stuff until then.

Another fun thing. It was The Girl's 9th birthday this weekend.

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All three

My husband had to work overtime so I packed up all three and we headed to Balboa Park for the morning. It was crowded as there was a science fair and the St Patrick's Day parade scheduled at the same times so parking was difficult.

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The kids in Balboa Park

But a little walking didn't bother us and we enjoyed the nice day. They had a release of painted lady butterflies in the Zoro Garden that was lovely. We ate lunch at the cafe, walked around and looked at the exhibits and admired the pink cherry blossoms in the Japanese Friendship Garden.

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At the butterfly release

And walking back through the Art Studios, there was a booth with ice cream, hurray! Brownies & cream for the baby and I, peppermint-chip for The Boy and plain ol' vanilla for The Girl. It was a nice treat and something we don't usually do so that made it even more special.

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Ice cream cones!

The kids ran around on the grass a bit after they ate their cones, chasing butterflies and enjoying the grass and sunny weather.

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Running around on the grass

We headed back home in the afternoon and the baby napped and the kids watched Disney Channel until Danny got home, then we headed to Costco for pizza.

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Waiting for Dad to get the pizzas

We met the family at my parents, ate pizza and salad, drank Fresca and beer, sipped root beer floats and nibbled rainbow cupcakes (The Girl's request).

It was so great to have my dad up and about, able to eat without discomfort and socialize outside. During the last party (for his birthday) he was in so much pain from the chemo. The doctor has postponed any more treatment for two months until his health is improved. But he's off the oxygen, moving around fine and most importantly, has completely stopped smoking. My prayer for the last 30 years has been answered!

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A snuggle from Grandpa

As the weather cooled down, Danny fired up the logs and we sat around the fire pit chatting until long after the sun had set. It was a wonderful evening or as The Girl said, "The best birthday ever!".

And finally, a day to write about!

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The birthday girl with her new backpack