Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Justin Is Three Today!

Today is Justin's 3rd Birthday. It's hard to believe he is three already, where did the time go? Life has changed in so many ways for the better since this little guy came along. He adds so much joy, love, and boy to our lives! Sarah dotes on him and is the little mother hen, Ron adores him, and I as well. I think we all fell in love the day he was born. He has a way of getting into your heart like no other. We're so grateful to God for our little guy! I'll post some pics later today of him, (busy day, lots of painting to do!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Craft It Forward

This is how it works: the first 3 people who comment on this post receive something handmade by me. The only catches are: you must be able to "pay it forward" yourself (i.e., have a blog, post the image and continue the giving) and I'll need your mailing address so I can mail you the whatever-it-is. Don't know what I'll make yet, and it may take a while since we're moving, but it will get done!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Workin' At The Home Stead

My big accomplishment of the day was finishing painting the dining room! It's "Butternut Squash" and is a bit darker than the living room so it compliments it well. Today I worked on the wainscoat and trim, took forever! Ron still needs to do the ceiling, but I am so happy to have most of the peachy color gone! I also started cutting in the paint in the kitchen. We decided to go with white because it's a dark room with minimal light. It will have a whimsical red accent wall though which will look great with the black counters and appliances. Other than the kitchen the bathrooms and laundry room need to be painted. Luckily the bathrooms are small so they should go fast!

The first dining room I have ever had! I love how the color came out.

View of the living room through the dining room. Justin and Sarah are having fun playing with the train set Ron got Justin from Ikea.

I love the view of these three colors! Living room, hallway, and reading room.

Justin's room is painted a beautiful Robin's egg blue.

Almost every room in the house has a fan. Justin got the cool one!

Here is the "Play Room." I painted it a wonderful light bright blue. This is the left side of the room - this corner will be the computer/office area.

Here is my new sewing area, finally! It's hard to tell how big the room is from these pics, but it's large and will be plenty big for lots of work areas. This window lets in tons of light too which I love.

While I was painting Ron and Justin were busy building a shed, well, the foundation anyway! Here Justin has his measuring tape and is doing very important work for dad.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

House Progress

Well, we've been working on the house cleaning, ripping up carpets and painting for weeks now, and we're almost done with all of the necessary work needed so we can move in. All of the rooms are painted except for the kitchen, the 2 bathrooms and laundry room! The painting has been very time consuming, even though we hired someone to paint for two days. All of the beautiful trim and wainscoat takes forever to paint. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel though, we're almost there!

I didn't get a pic of the other rooms we've painted: Justin's room, the dining room - which I just finished painting tonight, and the "play" room, (what will be the office and sewing room), but will get those soon. This will give you an idea of what the color scheme is. I love how the colors are turning out, and the new flooring looks fantastic! I can't wait to move our stuff in, decorate, and make this house a home. We move in about a week, so time is flying and there is still a lot to do. This week I will be painting, packing and sewing curtains so you may not hear from me for a while as we will be super busy and won't have Internet for a few days most likely. It's all coming together though, and I'm exhausted but excited at the same time! Here are a few pics of our progress thus far:

The living room with new floors, "Barley" colored walls, and Sarah enjoying our first ever new couch!

Justin was elated to help dad in the yard for the first time.

Sarah's room: Colors chosen by Sarah - "Lime Rickey" Green and "Desire Pink".

Our bed room painted with "Barley" - floors will be finished soon.

The "Reading Room" A cozy room with a view of the trees, painted a rich, rusty brown. This room is already a family favorite. It will have book cases and comfy places to sit and read for hours.

Upstairs hallway. Both upstairs and downstairs halls were painted "Hearts of Palm" green. I can't wait until the flooring is finished up here. It will make such a huge difference.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Painting Time

Lately my life has consisted of painting, painting and more painting! I've been at the house every day this week, paint brush in hand. We had a painting party this weekend and 4 very brave souls showed up to help us out. We painted for 6 hours and got most of the ceilings and trim done upstairs. That shows how long the process is. We've ended up hiring a friend to paint for a few days because there is just so much to do. We also had flooring installed last week and more will go in this week. More pictures to come!

Our friend and Sarah's dance instructor Erin busting a painting move

Ron patching holes in Sarah's room

This woman has sniffed way too many paint fumes!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Justin's Socktopus

I finally finished Justin's socktopus! I love the little face and "hat" which is actually the footed part of the sock. Of course he doesn't like it. Usually the things I make for him that I think are really cool he dislikes. "Don't like it ma ma" he says. Well, you can't please all the people all the time I guess.

Now I'm working on a hanging system for his Niger batik. It's a cute dark blue batik with giraffes and elephants on it. I made a casing for it yesterday and I have a wooden dowel I plan to put into the casing. I have a plan to buy some hemp and beads to make a cute hanger for it. I'll be sure to post a pic of that when I'm done. Next, curtains for his new room!

I just might nab this and put it in my room!

The Fourth Big Change of The Year!

Well, it's officially official: WE'RE HOME OWNERS!! A while back I did a post titled "2008 - The Year of Change." I outlined three major changes we had experienced in 2008 and left one more to be announced. At the time we were still in escrow on the house that would become our future home. Now, after over 100 days in escrow, (I need to get the official count!), the day has finally come! On Friday the mortgage became officially ours, and today we will get the keys and have the title transferred into our names. The fact that we are home owners feels surreal, and I don't think it has truly "set in" yet. It seems like an eternity ago that we began house hunting, although it was only around a year ago. It has been an arduous process, painfully slow, and one that has tested our patience beyond what we thought we could bare. Thankfully we serve a God who is able to take us beyond ourselves and lift us up to heights we could not attain on our own strength.

I recently told a friend that buying this house was like a birth. From the start the whole process was uncertain and seemed impossible. The home was a foreclosure, which means it was bank owned. The bank is down south in the LA area, so communication was difficult from the start. The market, as we know, is a tough one right now, and dealing with banks is even more challenging. When we put our bid in on the house, (the one and only bid), the bank responded immediately with a yes. However, as time progressed further contact proved to move at a snail's pace. One time it took us nearly 4 weeks to hear back from the bank. Labor had slowed to a screeching halt and it looked like we were headed for a C-Section. Then, miraculously the bank replied with another yes and things kept progressing.

The biggest road block we ran into was the fact that we were using a FHA loan, which requires certain health and safety standards. (Also which by the way only requires 3.5% down.) Foreclosures, (or REO's), are "as is" sales, meaning the bank sells the house as is and won't do any repairs. When the bank initially accepted our proposal they failed to notice that we were doing an FHA loan. The problem for them was that now they were in contract with us and since there were no other offers on the house - we were their best bet! I firmly believe God didn't allow them to see that we were doing an FHA loan. This house was for us, and nothing was going to stop that inevitability. An FHA appraiser had to come out to the house and assess the property. She found several major issues that needed repair and which added up to thousands of dollars. Our hearts sank and we worried that there was no way the bank would agree to fix these repairs. Our mortgage broker even told us that it probably wouldn't happen. Things slowed down yet again, and the bank wasn't talking. We had no idea if they would honor their agreement to sell us the house, which would include doing the needed repairs. Our mortgage broker told us that "This is a game of cat and mouse. Whoever backs down first looses." I told him firmly that we weren't backing down anytime soon - he doesn't know us very well!!

Then miraculously the bank signed the paper work and approved all of the structural repairs: Foundation work, plumbing, electrical and some other miscellaneous work. The total came to twelve thousand dollars. Once again God had come through for us. He provided an amazing contractor for us, one who was willing to comply with the bank's budget and get the work done on time.

One of the most amazing things about this house is the rock bottom price. The bank who owns the house is from Southern California, so they are unaware that we have an insulated market here. They priced the house way below current market value, at $175K. So we got the house for a super low price, considering the fact that it is nearly 2000 square feet. It was actually appraised at about 50K above the selling price! Then with the repairs added we got the house even cheaper. Also, the bank paid for 10K in closing costs, so if you deduct the closing costs and repairs we actually bought the house for around 155K!!

Now the cosmetic repairs are taking place. We're painting walls, ripping out old carpet and making the house livable. We finally get to bring the baby home!! It's been a long process, but now that the house is ours I can say it has been completely worth it! God has given us an amazing gift. One which we can share with our friends and family for years to come.