And Five Months Later…

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in a nutshell: we moved. unpacked boxes, filled dressers and cupboards. re-arranged the contents of said cupboards and dressers several times! unpacked more boxes. moved furniture, moved furniture again. set up electronics. cleaned. cooked. walked to and from school every day mon-fri. spent the afternoon helping L with her homework and policing the gaggle of kids that have adopted our driveway and front yard as their new favorite place to play. cleaned some more. got to know the neighbors. made friends with some of the women in the neighborhood. made friends with some of the women from church.

i suppose that i left out a lot of things that happened in the past 5 months, like lugging things up into the attic storage, collapsing boxes,making awesome home made Halloween costumes (Holly Golighty and the Red Dino-Ranger) and trick or treating, hosting Thanksgiving at our very own house for the first time ever, driving out to Colorado and Utah for the holidays, and Jim’s awesome new job working from home.

There are a few things that we have learned about being homeowners in the past few months, the number one thing being that yard-work, especially raking, never ends.

it has been a very busy five months!

20130116_135720 jamie pole lillys room

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Its the BEST time of the day. I just put the kids to bed and have a couple of hours to myself. Its nice and quite and I have HouseHunters playing on the tv set, and I just finished looking at the pictures of the house online again. Our closing date has been pushed back one day because the earliest that the seller could get the movers scheduled was on our closing date. We didnt mind pushing it back one day.

All of our paperwork is in and has been passed on to the Loan Underwriter. Now we will wait.

In the meantime, there is plenty to keep us busy. Ive scheduled a date night for Jim and I this weekend. Since we are Foodies, we usually try to find a new and locally owned restaurant to try out, which is great, but I think that this weekend I would love to do something different. Mini Golf, Batting Cages, or I would LOVE to go to a shooting range- but unfortunately, I dont think it is likely that any of those will be open for our timeline! Oh the choices!

Coming up, I still have to enroll L in 1st grade (yikes!), and Jim is going out of town for several days to complete some work certification training. While he is gone he will be missing both our SEVEN year anniversary, AND my birthday!  Of course I was dissapointed, but really, we can celebrate those days anytime, plus, it means he has to get me a better gift, right? Right??

So, on to the down time, and I’m going to spend my time these next three weeks(HOLY CRAP!) enjoying Montgomery and the wonderful people that I have crossed paths with here!

Its the BEST ti…

Look Ma! No Floaties!…(wait a minute, I cant swim!)

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Both of the children are becoming proficient swimmers! We spend a couple of hours between 1:00 and 4:00 at the pool most afternoons and it has done wonders for both children! L and J both started out clinging needily to Jim and I or sticking to the steps.

 L now can swim really well, although if she gets out of her comfort zone she still becomes a little panicky. She dives to the bottom of the pool to collect the coins we throw in for her, and is officially a fish! She loves wearing her goggles, and loves practicing with underwater tea parties! I think that the most progress I have seen from her has been when she has seen other kids doing things that she couldnt do, then copying them! Which is fine by me and not surprising, especially when I remember that at 15 months she was SO READY to walk, but wouldnt do it until she saw another child her age who was walking by himself! She is my suntanned little mermaid!

Little J is a powerboat! He finally (with more help from Jim than I) realized that with his floaties on his arms, he WILL NOT SINK! He zooms around the pool, and like his sister, is an expert  when it comes to cannon-ball jumps! He has been working hard to patent some super hero dives of his own!! I think my favorites are the HULK and the Red Power Ranger! However, this afternoon, the fearles terror showed me a NEW trick…one that had nothing to do with floaties on his arms!

 As we reached the pool I began to set up our area. I had brought some strawberry popcicles that I wanted to disperse quickly before they melted in my bag. L ran and jumped immediately into the water(before I had had a chane to put sunscreen on her! arrghh!) I told her to get her tushie out and dug in the beach bag for the sunscreen.  Another splash. Probably L, but when I heard J call my name and I looked for him, there he was in the pool, SANS floaties!! MAD dash to the edge, and by then I had seen that his legs were kicking, arms flailing, but his mouth and nose were staying above the water. The “let them learn by experience” part of me hesitated about a millionth of a second to observe the scene before I had reached him. There is something about the way a child clutches and holds you when they have just experienced an intense fear! Or is it how it feels when they clutch you after they’ve scared the living dayights out of you? Either way. Whew.

After we got past the “WHAT ON EARTH WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?”, I moved on to the “Can you believe you SWAM?”, the “all by YOURSELF!”, and the “you were keeping your mouth and nose above the water!”! Then we moved on a little further to the….”Im so glad youre alright, you scared me to death, look at me, I’m still in my dress and I’m soaking wet!”

The little devils thought that it was hilarious!

 

p.s. Once we move to our new house(YAY) and I find the box that my camera is packed in  i WILL have pictures!

Auburn

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True to form, I am spending about a month between posts. At least my inconsistance is inconsistant, I suppose! Well, my big news is that Montgomery is out! After weeks of househunting and walking through at LEAST 80 houses, J and I decided that something needed to change. We raised our preapproval amount and spent about another week of looking in Montgomery before we began talking about Auburn.

The discussion began after James had spoken to some co-workers about his plans to register for classes. After he explained his degree course he learned that the local college has a very poor IT program, and that the degree would take much more time to complete attending that campus than we were willing to take. He looked into it and found a great program at a university 45 minutes east of us, so we started to talk about moving out that way. The downside- Jim would have to commute to work or to school wither location or anywhere in between. If we picked a town inbetween to move to his commute wouldnt be nearly as bad, but as we researched more and more it became apparent that the schools in montgomery and our halfway point were not what we wanted them to be. When we researched Auburn, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the city has some of the best schools in the state! After some debate we decided to focus our search there!

My first day of house-hunting i looked at four homes. None of them felt right or stuck out to me. I felt discouraged and bega to feel afraid that we had made a mistake in moving down here, in taking this job. I knew as soon as I saw our home in MD that it was where we were supposed to be, it was just the right place and there was no denying it. I had been waiting for the lightening bolt feeling to come that I had felt in MD and it wasnt coming. I knew that I would know when we found it, but since i couldnt feel it were we in the wrong place? Or had I missed it?

I went home discourraged and then Jim and I scheduled another househunting appointment with the realtors. The morning of our appointment we drove out to Auburn. We looked at a model home and then an occupied unit in a newer development. I liked the model, but hated the lot and the lack of trees on the second house we saw.  The next house was in an established neighborhood. I was looking at the information from the houses we had just seen as we drove to the next stop and as we turned a corner I looked up and saw trees and a kid playing with his dog. All of the sudden I had this feeling like something was telling me, “this is it!”. Since we were still driving I looked around for the for sale sign and when I saw it I just felt right. I felt like I was home, I just felt like that was it! The feeling was so strong that I felt like it had smashed me over the head! Image

I looked at Jim and told him “I think this might be it, it feels right” I even tld him that part of me felt like we didnt even need to look at any more houses, that we had found our house. As we walked through, everything was perfect. There was a fireplace, a fantastic kitchen with a window over the sink looking into the back yard, a deep freeze, a big and fenced back yard ith blueberries and rosemary growing already! It had lots of mature trees, a nice big garage, big closets and a lot of storage. Magnolia trees, a camellia, citronella, rosebushes, everything that i had hoped for! ImageIt was located on a cul-de-sac, within walking distance of a park and the elementary school, within walking distance of downtown even! We scheduled another walk-through with the in laws the next morning to get their input and they loved it too and thought that it looked like it was in good condition. We made an offer. It was countered. We countered the counter and the seller agreed to accept 190,000, pay for a home warranty, 3,000 in closing costs, and leave all of the appliances! Considering that the original asking price had been 226,900, we were thrilled! A week later we drove to the house again for the home inspection. Everything went well and when we asked the seller to fix a few minor things she agreed.

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Soon we will be home-owners.

Unrelated tidbit of information…

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L has lost 2 teeth since we have left MD. Now she has lost a total of 4, her bottom 4 front teeth! She looks great with her jackolantern smile! She has two empty holes where her bottom ‘fangs’ as I call them used to reside.

I pulled the second one out yesterday, and the tooth fairy brought her two dollars! (while I was lucky as a kid to get two quarters!)

I think that pulling her tooth out prompted the morbid dream I had last night. While flossing my teeth, one of my back molars came loose and was dangling by a thread. While pulling it out, the one in front of it came loose. While I tried to push it back in, i knew it was useless and removed the second. The two teeth were huge and bloody. I remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I held the teeth wishing desperately that I could replace them, and my mind raced thinking of potential remedies: caps, crowns, dentures, implants. It was a terrible dream.

Househunting; Or, the bane of my existance

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ImageThese are my first two favorite houses. Cute and perfect.

Any guesses on what is wrong with it?Image

Since I last posted, we have done the whole crazy move! Highlights of this were: cleaning, throwing stuff out, giving things away (Who knew we had so much stuff?!?). We loaded up and drove from MD to ATL afterwhich James loaded back up and drove from ATL to MD for another two weeks while the kids and I commuted from ATL to Montgomery! I would guess that averaging out our hours driving between he and I we would be at about 60 hours of driving in the past month.

While James was in MD, (and of course at the beginning of my 3 hour drive back to ATL!) the air conditioning went out in our Jetta! With an openended quote of about $1200.00 to fix this, we decided that it was about time to buy a new vehicle, and thanks to the wonderful help from my inlaws, we purchased a minivan!

Househunting, frankly, is awful. I have walked through about a million houses. probably closer to 60, but it seems like a lot more than that! And I thought that the kids would never get tired of hiding in closets, running through the empty rooms, and exploring the new back yards. They have!

I have seen been in ugly houses, beautiful houses, houses with wonderful yards, houses with next to no yard, houses that smelled like smoke, like urin, like old people and like sunshine. Some have had horrible paint, and some have been almost perfect!

There was one that I wanted to make an offer on, I was ready, I just had to show it to James, and then I called the school district and found out it was not, as I had thought, in “THE” good school district. And that seems to be the trouble with all of them. Either their in a good school district but dont seem worth the money, or their wonderful and in a bad district.

 Image Great district, bad house…well not bad, but not worth the price. bah!

Today I am heading out to get an apartment for us to move into. Hopefully with a homebase, we will have more luck on the house-hunting!

 

And of course we had a Dud…

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After about 8 hours on the road we finally reached…somewhere. i think it may have been Chattanooga TN where we stopped for the night, but since it WAS about 2 AM I can’t say that my brain was really registering names of locations. Anyway, after a brief 4 hours of sleep it was up and back into the car for another 5 hours on the road. When we were forced to stop for gas we hurriedly ate some Arby’s roast beef sandwiches and shoved the kids back into the car for the last leg of our trip, and about an hour later our bedraggled crew climbed out of the car at our highly certified realtor’s office. The good thing about having a Realtor who has heaps of certifications is that I’m sure that their good at what they do. I wouldn’t know though, because ours was a jerk face. Between his condescending attitude, his passive aggressive comments about the fishing trip that he COULD have been on, his rant about why we should reconsider using the lender we want to use (who we have used for banking, insurance, investing, etc for the past 7 years and absolutely LOVE!), and why we really need to use a local lender…ahem, particularly the one he recommends, the way he talked to me like a father scolding his child, and…oh. The exclusivity agreement that he wanted us to sign the second we got out of the car, we decided that he wasn’t a good fit for our needs and went ahead to our hotel.

Luckliy, the Father in Law was in town for the weekend for work and the Mother in Law had come with him so that she could see the grand-babies . Both of them are familiar with the area and we drove around with them looking at neighborhoods and trying to figure out what areas we would like to be in. We spoke with a family who has been in the area, and they were able to advise us on what areas to avoid, as well as give us some good information on the school situation…which is not looking good. Apparently, the (public) schools down there are some of the worst in the entire country! So as far as we are concerned, we can have our daughter tested to see if she qualifies for the magnet schools or pay the gigantic premium for private school.

The second day was spent in much the same way. We drove through neighbor hoods with the Kim and Jim(Mother and Father in Law), and after lunch we left Jim in Montgomery where he had a few more days of work to do, and we drove to their house in Atlanta with Kim. We stopped at her parents house to visit, played Old Maid and War, took everybody to Wendy’s for dinner and went back to Kim’s house for the night to rest before our 10 hour drive back to MD.

3 days. Time spent driving?26 hours. Money spent? Couple hundo. Realtor fired? 1. Houses hunted? 0. Cost of the opportunity to get our bearings in the new city before were there for good, the invaluable information gained, smiles smiled, time spent together with family, memories made? Priceless.