Saturday, July 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Our closing Thursday went GREAT. It took 3 hours because the closing attorney was really long winded, but everything went smoothly from the seller and the lender. We got the keys, had the electricity turned on and spent the rest of Thursday trying to dust and vaccuum out the tons of spiders who made this place their summer abode. We have our air mattress up for now, and it has been pretty exciting being in our own place.

There is tons of work to do to put this place in order. On Friday, we moved all of our stuff inside and spent the day putting it away. Without bookshelves and dressers, that mostly meant deciding which closet to stack the different boxes and suitcases in. With the unit being absent for a while, everything needs a good clean. I wiped down the essential surfaces but am going to put off the less necessary things like scrubbing the tub, washer and dryer, dish washer and such until we come back in late August to stay for good. We´ve also had a number of little chores like putting up the shower curtain.

Micah replaced an electrical breaker for the a/c that was the wrong amp and fixed an outlet that wasn´t working. he´s so handy. We made a priority of putting up blinds on our back door. I am very proud to say that I installed these blinds all by myself. Okay, maybe I had Micah drill the holes, but everything else I did!

Marty and Charlotte gave us this bed from their storage on Friday. Yay! Our first piece of real furniture! It´s in the second bedroom so if people come to visit in the next few months, we will have a place to put them. It still needs pillows and a blanket, but it´s better than nothin´!Eventually, probably a few months after the baby is born, this will be a nursury and we will take out the bed and put a crib and a glider in here.

Here, Micah begins hooking up the TV system that were also a gift from Micah´s parents. I think Marty has been waiting a long time for an excuse to replace theirs with a nicer one :)

It has been really fun to notice the charming little details that make this place homey. For example, this tree in the patio out back right outside the kitchen window is going to be perfect for a birdfeeder. Micah´s also excited about all the wall space in the stairs. He thinks we´re going to put up tons of framed pictures. I think we´re going to hang a 2´x3´ Jackson Pollock style painting that I have in my Dad´s garage. We´ll see who wins.

So all in all, we´re very happy and are trying to make this place comfortable. It´s been exciting but tiring and we are all pretty pooped out.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Visiting the Haley's

This week, we visited Chere (Micah's sister) and her husband and 3 kids out in Charlotte, NC. My greatest regret is that I never got out the camera to take pictures of all of us together!

Chere's kids are awesome. Her youngest 2 1/2 year old was really cranky last time we saw him from being sick, but this week he was really fun. He was smiley and playful and cute. We brought Sammy and were a little bit worried about them, but they did great together. Her daughter is such a nice, spunky young lady and her son is funny and sassy. It was great to spend the week with them. We were pretty relaxed and watched movies, played games. They live on Lake Wylie and so we swam a couple of times and went out boating. Micah wake boarded. Unfortunately, it was a crazy hot week and even the lake water was super warm, so we didn't do that much outdoors.

Micah continues P90X. I keep discouraging him because he spends an annoyingly long amount of time each day on exercise, but it is definitely showing some results.

Here we have his before picture and his 60 day picture. Only 30 more days to go! The tan doesn't hurt either...

And while Micah grows gradually thinner and more muscular, I am becoming chubby and round. Here is my 16-week picture. Chere was able to pass along some maternity clothes. Thank goodness! I had finally gotten to big for my jeans and could only wear my baggy T-shirts. I've developed a nice little pooch. Hopefully this Tuesday, we will find out the gender. They usually check during an ultrasound that is given at 18-20 weeks, but because I will be moving to another doctor in Atlanta after this visit, they might go ahead and to the fetal anatomy survey a week and a half early. IF the positioning of the peanut is agreeable and the parts are developed enough, it is probable that we will find out the gender. It will be easier to tell if it is a boy, for obvious reasons. We would be excited either way (though last week after visiting Chere's, Micah decided that boys are more fun...), but it would be exciting to know.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Heart New York

This week we visited Darlene, Erik and Brooklynn and had a great time seeing New York City.

We spent plenty of time experiencing public transportation...

Seeing some shows...
And checking out the basic touristy sites.

We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was HUGE. We barely explored a portion of it before we were museumed out.

But at least we got to see a hyper realist work by Chuck Close and some of Georgia O'Keeffe's "Flowers".

We also stopped by and checked out the Manhattan Temple. It was way fun!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Last Week in Pictures

We didn't do too much this week. After the exciting 4th of July that we enjoyed preceeded by the Crazy house-hunting trip to Georgia, we spent this week resting up.

Blake provided a good example for us in this department. I just had to update some pictures before we visit Darlene and Erik in NY next week and have even more stuff to share.

Just thought that you might want to see how well Sammy and Pumpkin have been getting along. They get a little snarky once in a while, but overall, they are making progress. They play wrestle together and now they can even both receive attention simultaneously without growling jealously at each other!

Here, Sammy enjoys our little peanut's first gift- a blanket from Grandma Farr. It's very light and soft and she said she was aiming for a gender-neutral pattern. I think it looks great!

Here, Dad plays games on his iPad with some kid while LeAnn looks on cheerfully waiting for the 4th of July fireworks. Meanwhile, a child catches Micah's head on fire with a sparkler.

I mentioned how lovely the Southport parade was.

Particularly enjoyed the clowns, who sometimes threw candy which I shamelessly ran out into the road to gather, pushing aside all the small children.

I also enjoyed the bands. I didn't know that NC State had a bagpipe band! I have much more respect for Paco's school of choice now...

On the other front, we have gone into a binding agreement with one townhome (listed at 64K, accepted our offer at 50k) but still plan to make another offer on the similar townhome listed at 45k. We first offered 31k just to see how desperate they were to sell, and after a painful week of waiting they finally told us that there had been another offer and they want out highest and best offer. We are going to offer 40k, but buying this place would be more complicated because of loan restrictions and so we might not really save much money if we get it for just a few thousand less than the other place. So, the good news is that we are under contract with one place that we love and have 10 days to back out if the other bank accepts our 40k offer for a nearly identical place. Yay! We won't be homeless!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July

Well, most notable news of the last week: We made offers on 2 properties. They were in the same complex (pictured previously) and virtually identical, but one had a much higher asking price. Both were foreclosures, so that explains the price difference-the banks who own them just listed them for the amount that the previous owner had owed to recoup lost profits from the defaulted mortgage. One place we offered $50k with them paying us $3k for assistance with closing costs and the other we offered $31k with us paying all of the settling costs.

50k is slightly higher that the comparable units that have sold in the recent months, so we wouldn't negotiate much higher, but the 31k we are hoping we might be able to get for around 35k. We put both of them out there just in case the cheaper one gets snatched up and are currently waiting to hear back.

While in Atlanta shopping around, we came across an unfortunate snag in our financing plans-there is a federal law preventing lenders from giving mortgages to occupant-owners without charging less than 5% of the purchase price for closing costs. unfortunately, when trying to get a loan for less than 50k, most lenders' standard closing costs exceed that 5%, simply because 5%closing costs would need to be less than $2500 and the lender would barely make a profit. For some BIZARRE reason, the government set this rule only to "protect" people who buy homes that they plan to live in- it does not apply to investors who buy a property intending to rent it out. This helped us understand why so many great condos that are on the market for less than $50k aren't selling-it's extremely difficult to buy such a property if you don't just have the cash sitting around. So, we have got my Dad on board to be an "investment buyer" who can be approved for the loan to try and get around the red tape and then we can work it out with him. Much better option than us spending $15k+interest more than the place is worth just so that we can have our name on the loan.

Bureaucracy is alive and well.

Fortunately, our frustration wore off by Monday and we were able to enjoy a wonderful 4th of July here in Wilmington. We went across the Cape Fear River on a ferry to enjoy a pancake breakfast and parade in Southport. It was very hot, but overall a nice experience. Dad and I each won $100 in gift certificates for answering trivia questions about politics and history. Then we had a fun activity at the church with barbecue and games and headed downtown for fireworks. The fireworks over the USS North Carolina were lovely and we got home easily without a lot of traffic- we definitely parked in the right spot, south of the real congestion.

Sammy stayed here in Wilmington while Micah and I were in Atlanta Tuesday through Saturday of last week and has been markedly more cuddly since our return. I missed his cute fluffy presence a lot, but I think that he bonded with LeAnn and Blake and Pumpkin, so it was a good experience for him. Here's a picture of a trip down to the beach in the past couple of weeks. We found out that Sammy can swim pretty well and isn't afraid of the water or the sand, but he doesn't like the waves very much.

In other news, peanut is growing and is now the size of a lemon. I am definitely feeling it, although it still isn't that obvious that I'm pregnant. I have given up on all of my pants that button and I feel the need to inform people that I am pregnant so they don't assume that I'm just fat.