Friday, April 30, 2010

Manohman.

Whew. Wow. Gee Whiz. Gosh. What a day! Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that that one showing turned into THREE by the end of the day, keeping us away from home from 11:30 till 7!! What. a. day.

No offers, though :) I have to say, I'm actually not surprised or even really disappointed. I would have been shocked, quite frankly, and a little freaked out if we'd gotten a serious offer that fast.

But this has been a wonderfully encouraging confirmation that the Lord is moving us in this direction. At every turn, He seems to bless this decision. It's a very peace-inducing experience.

If you want to see the listing, here's a link.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

PANIC ATTACK!

THE REALTOR JUST CALLED!! FIRST SHOWING IS TOMORROW ALREADY! AND THERE"S NO DOORKNOB ON THE BACK DOOR YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*screams*

I really thought I'd have more time than this. Help.


Wondering about prayer...

Question: when you feel that the Lord puts a particular person on your heart to pray for during a morning prayer time, let's say, do you then go to that person and tell them so? Perhaps ask how they're doing, and how you might pray more specifically for them? Or is this something that may seem... invasive? I don't know. Is it perhaps to close to standing on the street corner to pray? Ought the promptings of the Holy Spirit to pray be kept "in your prayer closet"?

My first inclination is to go and talk to the person. I know how loved I feel when someone tells me they've been praying for me. But then, we've already well established, on this blog and elsewhere, that I'm far from normal, so perhaps I'm not the best judge of how the average person would respond. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Isn't it amazing what a wide-angle lens can do?

I know you're getting bored of seeing pics of our house :) But here are the OFFICIAL ones. I took that first one myself :) The tulips and muscari were blooming a couple weeks ago and I just couldn't resist that orange and blue! Who could?

Flickr Account


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So, wouldn't YOU buy this house??

We did actually tidy away some more boxes and cleaning supplies after I took these shots and before the realtor took his "official" pictures. The listing will be up tomorrow!! I'll post a link, so y'all can all go and check it out and vote for it, or whatever these sites have you do... If you want to see some pics of how far we've come, go here and here.

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LOOOOOOK!!!

A sneak preview, more pics later today...

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Monday, April 26, 2010

"Home" again :)

The wedding went well, with only it's fair share of the typical last-minute wedding disaster type things (gale-force winds, missing garters, runaway tulle/tablecloths, flat tires, volcanoes in Iceland, etc). I'm sure pictures will be up all over Facebook in the next few days and I'll try to swipe some to post here for your enjoyment :)

But now we're back... "home". Or what is, for the short time remaining to us, our home. Or at least, our house. I'm relying more and more on the Home that is my husband and my children and the Lord in our lives. The physical Homes in my life do not seem as dependable and safe as they once did, in so many ways.

On a more cheerful note, J did an amazing job of "renovating" our shower while I was gone! We finally gave up on the extensive renovations we've had planned since we first moved in and instead went for a cheapo fix that actually ended up look muchmuch better than I expected! Pleasant surprise-- thanks, J!

In anticipation of showing our home to complete strangers and asking them to pay us money for it, can y'all give me some opinions on a few things?

1) Bookcases. We have five large bookcases in our living room/dining room area. Is it worth packing up all that now and moving the cases out to the garage? Are bookcases/books a visual distraction that might take away from the room itself? They're certainly not "decorator books", if you know what I mean....

2) Wall art. I don't have a lot, but my sister keeps saying it should all come down and be packed away. But then I feel that the walls look so bare and forlorn... What do you think?

3) Bathroom stuff. Do you think it's worth the hassle of digging stuff out of a box every day to clear off the bathroom shelves and cabinet? I agree that it's a bit unsightly, but how important is that?

4) Peeling paint. Which is worse, trim paint in the kid's room that's been abused by rocking chair legs and other items of furniture being jammed up against it, or a potentially unfinished re-paint job on said trim? I'm worried that I may not get time to actually finish it once I start, but it does look pretty bad right now... Oh, the paint is already purchased, by the way. I bought whole gallon to do touch-ups around the house.

If you need to see pics to make a judgment, let me know and I'll dig up some camera batteries from somewhere and post some later today...

Thanks, y'all!!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

A quick update, before I go out of town for the weekend!

A little more info for you about our plans...

As you know, we've begun the process of putting our house on the market here in the Shen Valley. We're waiting the the house is officially listed before contacting the realtor in Orlando, but we've been spending hours every day on Trulia.com and Realtor.com browsing the listings and getting a feel for the market in the area.

Some time in mid-May, we'll fly down and actually take a look at some houses and (hopefully) make some kind of final decision by the end of May. We'd like a closing date here in late June ad there in early July. That would be ideal. Of course, you know how these things go... Y'all can pray for us that the Lord would work out the timing...

We're not going completely blind into home-buying in Orlando, thanks to friends who know the area and an awesome website, that I highly recommend to anyone moving out of state, called city-data.com It's a forum where you can ask and answer questions about various cities ad neighborhoods all around the country.

Due to recommendations from all of the above resources, we are looking for a home in an area outside of Orlando called College Park. It sounds like everything we're looking for. One friend (who lived there for many years) says it's the kind of place where everyone knows your name. Here's how a very kind and articulate poster on City-Data describes the neighborhood:

Come to College Park. You'll be right at home here. My wife and I bought a bungalow in College Park four years ago and love it. The neighborhood was Orlando's first suburb (just 1 mile from downtown), so there's every type of house style, and it's not cookie cutter by any imagination. A 1940's-era three bedroom can be had starting in the low 200's. The neighborhood is very stable with long-term homeowners, so there aren't a lot of foreclosures. Prices have been going up lately. There are no HOAs to tell you you can't plant a vegetable garden in the front yard of your $1mil+ lakefront home. Seriously, there's a house right across from Lake Ivanhoe on Poinsettia Avenue that has rows of beans, collards and tomatoes tastefully planted and staked next to their vintage Porsches.

There's a farmers' market on Edgewater Drive every Sunday where you'll be surrounded by other moms wearing their babies in a Moby wrap. You'll also have the other extreme of yuppies pushing a Bugaboo $troller, too. Princeton Elementary is one of the best schools in the city, and Edgewater High is finishing up a massive renovation and expansion of its campus. The Ivanhoe Row antique district on the western part of College Park near Florida Hospital is home to Ethos Vegan Restaurant, vintage boutiques and office/work space for media professionals and artists. Next to Ivanhoe is the Loch Haven Park cultural district, which may be high priority if you're homeschooling. The science museum/planetarium, Shakespeare Theatre, and Orlando Museum of Art are all located in Loch Haven.

If you like places with a sense of history, College Park has that, too. It's the only neighborhood I know that holds an historic home tour every year. Most of the streets are brick and lined with mossy live oak trees. This is the type of neighborhood new urbanists try to replicate in the burbs. The diverse housing stock from $1 million homes to $900/mo. rentals ensures every type of person who wants to, can afford to live here.

Crime is limited to some property crime that subsided when the police arrested several teenagers last summer. The mayor and other movers and shakers live in College Park, so you know the police will clamp down on any shadiness.

Commuting to anywhere in Orlando is a breeze with easy access to I-4 and the 408. Winter Park is a 10-minute drive at worst on city streets. If you need to go to Whole Foods, add another five minutes to get to the far east side of Winter Park.
It sounds wonderful :) The problem is the pricing is riiight on the edge of what we were hoping to find. I'm just praying that the Lord will lead us to a house in College Park within our price range in the next few weeks, no matter how improbable that seems right now. I know He knows where we should be, but right now, the best we can see, College Park is the place for our family.



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Well now. That wasn't so bad. The realtor did his walk-thru this afternoon and now I feel a little like someone who goes into the dentist office expecting several extractions and a root canal and is instead sent home after a brief cleaning with a new toothbrush.

He basically said that our asking price (that we dreamed up based partly on "market research" (ie; too much late night Googling) and partly based on wishful thinking) is actually quite reasonable and ALSO that houses in that price range are still a pretty hot commodity right now. Or at least, "hot" in comparison with the rest of the real estate market, which as we know is about as hot as the Antarctic right about now. He seems to be pretty positive about our chances of selling and recommended some things for us to invest in as we're putting it on the market and going through all the necessary paperwork.

1) The shower. Ugh. That shower is my Achille's whateveritis (J would be appalled, but I'm pregnant and I just can't think of the correct body part right now). It's dark, gloomy and full of mold that seems to resist every know mold-removing substance. I've tried EVERYTHING, including nearly straight up bleach. I suspect that the mold itself is quite dead by now (it's not spreading, or anything) and all that's left is a stain on the grout. Mr Realtor suggested that we simply scrape out all the old caulk/grout/whatever and re-do it. That is quite do-able and affordable. I can wield a caulk-gun with the best of them. Although I will "let" J do this one. Also, we'll be replacing the shower light fixture (also cheap and something J can do) and the linoleum (yes, linoleum) that's covering the walls above the shower surround and the ceiling. Presto-chango! A new-ish shower for less than $150!! Hurray! Now why didn't we just do that four years ago????

2) Paint the roof. Now this one has no easy answer. I mean, this house is seventy-some-odd years old and the roof is tin and rusty. Bottom line; it needs to be professionally scraped and painted. J is tossing around the idea of doing it himself, but I have a feeling we're going to end up having to hire someone. He just doesn't have the luxury of taking a week off to paint our roof right now. I wish... Know any painters in the area you'd recommend?

3) The back deck. Now this one is embarrassing. That deck is one of the veryvery few things in the house that looked better when we first bought it than it does now. Someone had painted it years before and there were remnants of primer and paint hanging on in scraps and shreds and I had the brilliant idea of simply sanding it down and repainting, rather than stripping and scraping and treating it with a real deck stain and sealer, like we shoulda done. So we did. Bad idea. It is now, once again, covered with the shredding remnants of paint and primer, only there are a whole lot more remnants now than there were then... So. We gonna be doin' a whole lotta scrapin' in the next few weeks.

Anybody wanna come help out? Sofi will make you lemonade. Pink even!




Monday, April 19, 2010

Two completely unrelated topics

1) When I was pregnant for the first time, while still in college, one of J's good friend's (at the time) girlfriend (now his wife) said to me "You're so cute-- look at you, you're all belly!" At the time I just grinned and didn't think too much of it, but now, pregnant with my third, I finally know EXACTLY what she meant. Some disgustingly lucky women have a cute little pregnant pouchy thing down below their still-slender waists, right up till the last few weeks. My sister, for example. If you've seen her while pregnant, you know what I mean. Me on the other hand? I am "all belly". This basically means that at some point early in the second trimester, my belly begins to consume the rest of my body to the point that at around 28 weeks I begin to resemble a kindergartener's pot bellied, four-limbed representations of the human race. That is why you will never see pregnant pictures of me on this blog.

2) The realtor is coming tomorrow to see the house and talk with us about Price and Marketing and all those other scary things. I am freaking out, people. It's one thing to have friends and family into my perpetually unfinished Project of a house. But having a guy in whose sole purpose and mission is to critique the Market Value of the last five years of my life... That, my friends, is intimidating.

Do any of you have any tips on selling a house? Other than the traditional vanilla on the warm burner or bread/cookies/pie in the oven?


Thursday, April 15, 2010

This old house...

It's going to be very emotional for me to sell this house. This is our first real house. Judah was born here. Literally. Right here on this very spot on the living room floor. I have poured my heart and soul into reclaiming this place from the hell-hole to which it had sunk under it's previous owners. And it's CUTE. It's a super cute house. It has a big front porch, roses growing up the front, a wood stove, wood floors and a blue and white kitchen. It's tiny, but well-laid out with nine-foot ceilings that make it seem bigger than it really is and keep it surprisingly cool in the summer. It's like a little European cottage-- complete with an herb garden and fish pond out back.

Perhaps I shouldn't worry about who will live here after we move, but I can't help it. We've lived here so happily for so long, and so much of what this house is now is also uniquely Us, it seems almost like inviting strangers to live with Us. Live here and judge us. Because, in addition to all it's cuteness, this house is also... hmmm... Well, there's almost no closet space, only half the windows have been replaced, the painting is perpetually unfinished, the bathroom remodeling died out about $500o short of finished and there are only two small bedrooms. But there's a blue and white kitchen! With plates on the walls over the cabinets.

I'm worried that some set of careless college students looking for a place to store their beer will end up here. They'll scuff up my floors, ground out their cigarettes in my flower beds and scrawl graffiti on my beautifully glazed walls.

Or maybe some modern, childless Artists will move in and frown upon the wood stove and cozy cottage feel, and will paint black and white stripes over my blue glaze and tear off my toille wallpaper. They'll rip up my roses and plant... exotic grasses, or something.

But maybe, just maybe (please, God...) A nice young couple with a baby on the way will find our house. They'll keep the swings up and add a slide and a sandbox. They'll put up a toy shelf in my old studio and fill the woodbox up. They settle into this cozy cottage and in the spring they might paint the back bedroom pink, or blue, and buy a rocker for the porch.

They might even have a rich relative willing to help them pay our asking price!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The other half of the story

I expect many of you assumed that I'd be back to my regular blogging schedule after the announcement of our new pregnancy. No doubt you've been disappointed. However, perhaps a few of you may have notice that I mentioned that news was only half the story of my blog silence. How brilliant of you :) I am now at liberty to share the other half of the story with you all.

About a week or so before we found out we were pregnant, we got confirmation of something we'd seen coming. The school where J teaches is not able to pay his salary for next year due to low enrollment numbers. Essentially he's been "downsized" out of a job. Sucky economy finally hit the Shen Valley. So there you go.

The last two months have been filled with uncertainty, searching, praying, wondering, waiting, STRESS and not relaxing-into-this-pregnancy. It's been hard.

But on the other hand, God has given me a wonderful gift. I've seen the affirmation from disinterested third parties of what I've known about my husband since I first met him. He is a unique and talented individual, an excellent teacher, a brilliant logician and a scholar. In his job search, after a brief foray into possible computer tech jobs, locally (not successful), he applied to a dozen or so classical schools in the eastern half of the US. Almost ALL of them emailed back with interest in his resume. It's a brilliant resume-- the man's a genius. I should post it some time... Further interviews and research narrowed the field to three schools who all very much wanted him. After flying thither and yon for more in-depth interviews and visits with faculty and staff, we were able this week to decide that we will be joining Geneva School in Winter Park.

Florida.

We will be leaving behind us the family, friends and memories of nine long and happy years in this lovely city. Nine years in which we married, moved away from home for the first time, gave birth to our two child, lost two others, made dear, dear friends, helped start a church, bought a house, watched our children make their first friends, taught our daughter to read and ride a bike, bought our son his first sword (which may, in retrospect, have been a grave error on our part)... and many other wonderful things.

As we've been researching communities all over the eastern US, we've realized something about our town. There's really no other place quite like it. Despite the occasional drunken college riot ;) The unique blend of academia, suburbia and farm-land-- all in a pint-sized county-- is something we will miss indescribably. I think we will never find another town where three colleges meet and form a decent sized city in the middle of cow country, where you can bike pretty much any place you want to go, where front porches are still used as a "social scene", but the world's only replica of Shakespeare's Blackfriars Theater is only minutes away.

Ooooh, we are going to miss this place.

We are going to miss these people. All of you-- you people who reached out to a new mom who was desperate for company, you people who listened to my ranting about natural birth and decided to give it a shot, you people who entrusted your children to me for a half hour every week so I could pass on a little of the music my parents gave me, you people who prayed us through our losses and made us casseroles and laughed and cried with me over Judah's arrival. The ones we've known for many years-- who watched us grow from college kids to middle-aged parents of two three-- and the new ones we're just beginning to realize how much we like!

It's going to be a rough move. I'm glad I can finally blog about it. It's been bottled up for too long and it feels good to let it out.



P.S. More details will be forthcoming, I promise. Just wanted to get the basics down for now...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dear young man in the floral supply customer service department,

I am sure you are a very nice young man. Very nice, and also very young. But I'm mostly basing this on the sound of your voice, so perhaps I do you an injustice. However, let me just go ahead and share something with you. When your website has malfunctioned, causing me to lose an order place last Thursday for delivery Tomorrow for a wedding on Saturday; calling me "Dear" in that "calming" tone of voice is A-1 guaranteed to tick me off.

In general one should address professional women-- particularly customers, because in this economy, I doubt you can afford to lose even my small business-- as "Ma'am", or "Madam" or at the very least "Ms F." I would say that one wouldn't want to mistakenly address a young-sounding woman as "dear", just on the off chance she might turn out to be a 31-year-old professional, pregnant mother of three who is in no mood to be patronized.

Sincerely,
the woman who got a little b!!@h-y with you on the phone yesterday morning


Monday, April 5, 2010

Sharing my hunch

Well, the guesses on the post pretty much lined up with my own hunch on this pregnancy. I do indeed suspect we're having another girl :) I have to say that for the first time I don't have a strong preference, though, so if it turns out I'm wrong, I'll be fine with that. With Sofi, I really wanted a boy and with Judah (even though I knew he was a boy) I really wanted another girl! Silly me.

Now, why do I think it's a girl? It's not so much that any particular set of cravings spells "girl" or "boy" in general (although there are plenty of tales about it!), but rather which pregnancy-- girl or boy-- this one seems more like. And it's definitely Sofi's pregnancy all over again, although not quite as intense. That first pregnancy was a DOOZY, people, let me tell you. It's a wonder I ever wanted to have kids again! But that was mainly my own fault for being so darn out of shape. Word to the wise, if any of you out there are thinking about having your first anytime soon, start working out NOW and do yourself a big favor. It makes all the difference in the world.

This pregnancy is very much like Sofi's. I have wicked heartburn, a mild appetite (ate like a horse with Jude) and tend to crave carbs rather than protein. Also, I'm gaining weight like a sumo wrestler! Before I tell you how much I gained with each of the other ones, let me say right off that I lost every pound within a month of weaning (at about 15-18 months for both kids), so no judging! With Judah, a modest 30 lbs. With Sofi FIFTY POUNDS. I have a feeling we're headed down that road again. But this time, I'm in shape (despite what it may look like) and exercising and eating well and am not really worried about the weight gain. Just noticing it and speculating "girl".

There's also some other hormonal things I've noticed which I am suddenly a little embarrassed to share now that I've learned that the entire youth group from my home town is reading this blog! *waves at all the Halifax County youth* Those of you who've had a boy and a girl may know to what I refer...


Saturday, April 3, 2010

He is Risen!!

He is risen indeed!



Really good music never gets outdated :)

Sew LO Patterns GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Sew LO Patterns GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!
Oh my goodness! These bags are sooo cute! If I win this giveaway, you know where I'll be for the next few weeks! :)