Sunday, March 28, 2010

Na, na, na, na.....hey, hey, hey.....Good bye!

We're not even going to address the length of time it took me to type out that title, so onwards........

We officially closed on the house we've lived in for just short of 5 years (2 months short of the tax to that). I wasn't sure how I'd feel about leaving our first house. I wondered if I'd cry. Not that I'm not super thrilled that we sold it and that we've got an amazing house waiting for us just around the corner (and by corner, I mean three months). We'll soon be moving into a house that we will be in for a LONG, LONG time with room for the handful of kiddies we want to have--a very permanent home. So I'm thrilled, BUT we just left the house I was pregnant in, the rooms we painted for ourselves and our daughter, the yard (ok, ok...and house) our dogs spent years pooping in. Hehe, ok--not really re-living the last one and no, the pups don't really poop in the house-- I'd be lying if I acted like it hadn't happened, BUT you get the point. was a long day yesterday (and actually several days before too, but yesterday was the official moving day). My dad and one of his lifetime pals drove down from NY to help us. They're pretty amazing because they drove through the night Thursday night to get here Friday AM with only a couple hours of sleep on the road, and they left to drive back home last night after the LONG day we had. They only pulled off the road for a couple hours to snooze before driving the rest of the way to NY. Not to mention, my crazy pops is driving all the way back down to FL next weekend (where we'll meet him and the rest of the fam for our reunion Easter weekend and spend 2 weeks---SOO stinkin' excited). I really don't know what we would've done without my dad and Doc--so I'm feeling pretty special to have  had their help and time.

On top of them (well, not literally), I had some other AMAZING friends come help us with the move as well. Cleopatra and her awesome hubby came and pitched in, as well as one of my other besties (N---I still need to come up with a more catchy name for her. N, any ideas? I'm sure you'll be referenced a lot.) and her hubby who Darling Dearest and I went to college with. Love the four of them SO much and feel pretty overwhelmed with gratitude to be surrounded by such great friends down here. It's just nice to know that when you don't have family anywhere nearby, you have another family created through great friendships. Just so thankful that they'd be willing to spend their Saturday helping us with the annoying and stressful task of moving. I can't tell you how much money and time they saved we owe them bigtime and will happily return the favor when the time comes for them (you can quote me on that N, since I know you're the only one of the 4 who reads this..hehe).

So we're officially moved into the apartment. We've been attempting to unpack and organize, as well as dealing with the fun of hassling cable companies about services that should have already been set up and modems of brands they don't even sell that they have listed as a lease when we bought it at Staples a million years ago. Do we still have the receipt for a modem we bought 5 years ago and had to give you the ID number to even allow internet to go through it in the event that you'd somehow mess things up and call it a lease? OF COURSE NOT! Do you wonder why you have two modems of the same ID number on file for us as "owned" and one as "leased"??? Does it raise a question as to why you have it listed as "leased" when you're not charging us as a lease? Could it be because it's OWNED?? Do you think there's a problem when you have to submit a claim to the equipment research division and have US remember to get back to YOU in 3-4 WEEKS to see if you've figured out whether it's leased or owned?? Dude, they're like $20-$30...and I can tell you right now....IT'S OWNED. You don't even sell Linksys! What in the world??

As if this fun wasn't fun enough, there are 2 cable connections on opposite walls in the living room of our new apt. Well, we arranged the furniture in the only way the couch would fit. Of course, the wall the TV is on just happens to be a connection that doesn't work so they're sending a service guy out. Kind of annoyed with Comcast at the moment (there, I said it...I threw them under the bus), but on a positive note, I did appreciate all the people (and I do mean ALL the people because we seriously had to call them at least 5 different times today with various issues) I spoke to today. They were very kind. Now the person who put our modem in as a lease AND an owned modem and the person who came up with the policy that a $30 piece of equipment has to go through the research department because of THEIR error--Well, let's just say I'm slightly less enamored with them. :-)

Thanks everyone for your support as we went through the showing and selling process. We'll have building updates for the next 3 months--who's excited? I will say that the basement and foundation were completed last Friday (the 19th) and just since last Monday, the framing of the outside has been done, they're putting shingles on the roof Monday and adding the stairs to the framed upstairs on Tuesday. Can you believe how much was done in a week??  Yes, I know I need to put up pics soon, but "later" is going to have to do for now.

Well, that's the update from this neck of the woods. I hear Bug starting to stir from her nap, so it's time to go be Mommy again. So glad this weekend is over and am really feeling great about it. This next week will consist of going through Bug's clothes to swap sizes, more unpacking, and packing for a trip to FL. YAY! God is good and in control of all things!

Friday, March 26, 2010

What has become of me??

So I've been meaning to write this post for a while now, but it hit me hard core yesterday when I looked into the mirror and seriously wondered where the heck I went. I KNOW there has to be some mamas out there that have had the same horrific realization, particularly any stay at home mamas. Please tell me I'm not the only one out there who completely doesn't recognize herself anymore. Is there a way to place blame on my sweet little Bug? :-)

Let me give you some background....

I'm the kind of person who doesn't didn't go out anywhere without makeup. I never wore a ton of it, but you better believe that I would've had my eye make-up and mascara on, and probably some lipgloss and bronzer too. But always, ALWAYS eye makeup. In the summer, I'd maybe just go down to mascara and liner---IF I was feeling wild and crazy (and bronzed). So we have a serious problem when I'm going out and about like I am lately....

I'm a hot mess. My roots have grown out a good 4 inches (don't worry...gettin the hair did on Tues), I do my hair NEVER---seriously, it's always in a ratty ponytail or blob or just down and ratty---I'm not straightening, brushing it, and sometimes WASHING it. Ewww, who am I?? I'm pretty much living make-up free lately, but for whatever reason (probably lack of showering stress), I've been breaking out a little more. So that makes for a REAL cute make-upless, zitty, ratty haired version of myself. Someone has taken over my body, and she's NOT welcome here. This hot mess of a person even goes out like this...seriously! She actually walks out the front door, goes shopping, gets food, THIS!! She doesn't even bother putting on a nasty hat to cover up her rooty, unbrushed mass that used to resemble hair.

It all came to a head the other day when I was going out somewhere different than the normal places and totally realized that I was actually OK going to this place (wish I could remember where, but my brain/memory is gone now too--but I know it was somewhere different than the grocery store or a drive-thru). I looked at the mess I was and actually made a conscious decision to be completely lazy and care more about time than the fact that I looked like a haggard mess of a mom. I've officially turned into one of those people on What Not to Wear who dare to show their face in public looking like they just woke up and rolled out of bed. Which, if you knew me, is SOOO not me.

I just don't feel like I have a time or energy to care. I mean, technically---yes, I've got time to shower or try to get myself presentable during her nap (goodness knows I'm not waking up before I have a hungry girl who needs nursing)--but I just don't care enough to do it. I'm THAT mom. I guess I should be glad that summer's right around the corner so at least I won't be the only one getting a little lazy with her beauty routine.

Needless to say, if you see the HOT MESS of someone who somewhat resembles the person who used to be me---don't point and stare and say, "WOW, what happened to her?" Your mama should've taught you, If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. If your mama taught you that valuable lesson, you'll probably just say HI and that's only if you've got the guts to not avoid me altogether. :-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Procrastinate Much??

So here we are TWO days from closing. We've got until Sunday at 4pm to be out of the house. The clock is ticking and I should be packing.....



Well, not very fast anyway. See, I packed up a lot of things a couple weeks ago before the hiccup in our closing happened. Now that things are settled and I have a good amount of stuff packed, I'm under the false impression that there's not much to do and I've stopped doing ANYTHING! UGH....I know myself. I need some sense of urgency to get things done. I'm far enough away from actually moving on Saturday that I don't want to pack up something I'll potentially need in the next several days, but I'm too close for comfort to still have as much as I do unpacked. I keep telling myself, "Oh, I'll throw my entire closet into one garbage bag and head to the apartment." It's still such a weird time of year here---one day warm, one day snowing--that I don't want to get rid of my winter clothes and be more organized just yet. SO I plan on taking everything with me and worrying about organizing later (which will mean never).

Today, I've packed a few more boxes and will probably pack more before the end of the day, BUT I seriously need someone to light a fire under my butt. I'm MOVING---IN.A.FEW.DAYS!!!  What's wrong with me?

Because I know myself enough to predict the future, behold what will happen in the next few days.

Today--I've got time to finish packing, la-de-da-de-da. I'm just going to play with Bug, check facebook, do some cleaning, and blog when I should be packing.

Tomorrow--We close tomorrow (Thurs), BUT I don't have to move until Saturday. SOOO...I've still got some time, right?? I've gotta go sign the lease and check into our apartment for the next 3 months. Maybe I'll take a couple garbage bags of clothes to throw in the closet while I'm there. Now THAT would be productive, but only somewhat.

Thursday--We close TODAY! But...I've still got time to pack, right?? The buyer's agent is coming today to do a walk-through to make sure we haven't punched holes in the wall. I guess I should kind of make it look like we're actually attempting to move out of here. Hmmm, maybe I'll pack a box or two.

Friday---We closed! My dad and his friend are here from NY to help us pack. Oh my gosh...that means I'm moving--TOMORROW!!!! What in the world? I've got so much to do!! Couldn't someone have told me we were moving sooo soon? How am I supposed to get things ready in time? I was going to start taking trips down to the apartment today, but I've got so much to do. Is that a panic attack I'm having???

Saturday---My friends are here to help me move and Darling Dearest has picked up the Uhaul. Does this mean I'm supposed to be organized and prepared?? I stayed up until 4AM last night to get things done and I'm still not ready. Why do I look like such an unorganized mess?? I had everything else checked off my checklist, EXCEPT this whole packing thing. Darnit....procrastinate much??

Someone please stop the insanity and explain to me that I need to get a move on. Just because I'm mostly packed, doesn't mean I'm totally packed. Will someone explain this to me? Am I in thr 4th  grade trying to convince my mom to let me play outside because my homework is MOSTLY done or my room is MOSTLY clean?? Can the grown-up verson of myself please give me a swift kick to the butt??

Well, Bug just woke up and I'm probably off to more procrastinating....

Please tell me I'm not the only procrastinator out there!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Things are no longer "up in the air" with the housing situation---I hope. Things got a little crazier this past week. We started off last week with our design appointment for our new house. We were there for around 3 hours, and I'm really happy with the decisions we made. Cleopatra joined us for some moral support when we needed more input. Bug was with us for the first part of it, which made for an interesting time. She got droplets of milk on their granite tables that Mommy had to clean up with her sleeve. She begged to be let down to check out the design center. When Cleopatra arrived, we finally let her. Darling Dearest and Cleo took turns chasing her around and seeing that she didn't fall flat on her face after standing up. Lately, she's been all about pushing herself off the ground and standing up. She's gotten pretty sturdy, but refuses to independently take a step from that position. So no walking yet...except behind a walker or with Mommy or Daddy. She's such an independent little thing that if she's in one of these standing positions and she starts to fall, if I try to steady her to keep her upright, she immediately lifts both of her feet from the ground and forces me to put her on the ground on her butt. She is NOT getting any help from anyone. She wants to do it on her own. hehe!

So yeah...we were letting her do it on her own at the design center. Up she'd go...she'd stand there for a while so thrilled with herself (you'd think she hadn't been doing this same trick for a month or so), then she'd plop down on her put after a little while. Well, one of the times she was standing, she attempted to pull both arms back and take off her cardigan which landed her straight on her face. I didn't see it, but Darling Dearest did. Poor Cleopatra was with her at the time and didn't expect her to fall on her face. That was the first time she DIDN'T fall back on her butt. Darn that cardigan she wanted off so badly. Poor Bug's mouth was bleeding, and she was frantic. Mommy and her boobies to the rescue-------We headed into the bathroom, I sat on the toilet in my jeans and whipped out a boob as fast as I could. Nothing a little nursing won't cure. :-)

Thankfully, another one of my besties came soon after the facedown with the floor and took Bug for the rest of the time in the design center so we could concentrate. We stuck to our initial budget and made some good choices for our house, most of which I'm still 100% happy with. The only thing I'm second guessing is the tumbled tile (it's rough and looks like it's been tumbled--very textured and raw) as the backsplash for our kitchen. It looks beautiful, but I'm wondering how it'd be to clean. I need to do more research there. Anyone have experience with this?? I'm just SOOO excited to see it all completed and to get in our new house in June.

Yes, things started off perfectly last week UNTIL..........

We got the word Wednesday or Thursday that our buyer's first lender fell through even though he was pre-approved. I guess he's got good, clean credit, but he's young (like out of college a year) and doesn't have enough or as varied of credit as they'd like. So the same lender that previously approved him, now denied him---right before our financing contingency ended. Ugh---that's annoying on SO many levels. How are lenders getting away with that and getting people's hopes up (and by "people" I mean US...surely, the buyer's hopes have nothing to do with this...hehe! j/k)?? Well, the ended up finding another lender, and they spoke to the head of their underwriting team who was 98% sure the problems they had with the first lender wouldnt happen with them. Needless to say, we had to extending our financing and appraisal contingencies until this week. They had until yesterday evening to get approval from the second lender.

Last week when I heard the first thing fell through, I was bummed--to put it mildly. I'd already taken everything off the walls and had packed a good chunk of stuff. I was NOT ready to have to have an unpacking party and restage our house to sell it...AGAIN. I knew God had a plan and trusted His plan for us...but I wasn't sure that His plan lined up with MY plan and involved an amazingly spectacular house being built at a ridiculously low price--creating a situation that we'd normally NEVER be able to afford. Surely, He orchestrated all of that last minute housing miracle. Surely, that house was His plan for us....RIGHT?? I started to think, maybe He wants to take it away from us, have us go through a disappointing time, and teach us about trust. Maybe He's got a lesson we need to learn. But NOOO...please teach us another way. Don't let us lose our beautifully-designed house!

So after that brief freak-out period, I decided to just give it to God this weekend and hope that His plan corresponded with ours, and what I thought was His plan for us. Not to say I didn't think about it or wasn't worried....I was, but I was determined to trust Him either way.

Well, we got the call yesterday that our buyer got approval from the second lender, so assuming things work out fine with the appraisal (which no one is worried about)....we should be all set to close on our house with this buyer. Closing got pushed back a week to March 25th. My dad and his friend are coming down to help us move that weekend while we still have possession (along with however many friends I can wrangle into helping us for a little while), and we'll be signing a 3 month lease to get us til the end of June in an apt. until our house is done. I'm just SOO relieved that things worked out that way, but won't be breathing easy until the closing is complete.

So onto more packing.....

This weekend will be hard-core packing while Darling Dearest is home to help me with Bug. The next weekend, we'll be moving into an apt, and the following one we'll be in FL with family. YAY!! Let's say some prayers that everything goes smoothly. :-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I feel as though I've hit a brick wall. All of th adrenaline from the past couple weeks---the late nights on the internet searching for houses or checking email, the time making sure everything is in order with the selling/buying process, the stress that went along with it---it's all come to a head and I'm POOPED!! We had our inspection Tuesday (which was delayed...twice) so that day pretty much consisted of cleaning like a mad woman. So what?? I had let things go after the house was "off the market"...much like one does once the wedding band hits the finger. It was now taken. It didn't have to get prettied up for anyone---the true colors (and dirt) were able to shine, as it showed its true character. But when inspection day came around, I couldn't give the buyer a reason to break off the engagement---so on went her lipstick and mascara, not to mention a little spritz of perfume (a mixture of water, vanilla, and cinnamon thrown in the oven for a little while to make it smell oh so domestic). Once she was looking presentable, Bug and I left to go drive around aimlessly in the snow. At one point, I had planned errands to do on inspection day, but it was so snowy, slushy, and wet out....that we were just wanderers. We went to lunch by ourselves then drove around. Come to find out....the buyer didn't even show up. Just the inspector!

Anyway, all's well that ends well---we only had a metal brace to put on the garage door because a certainly nameless F.T.M. didn't pull the car in far enough when the garage door went down and it slightly bent the rib of the door. I don't know who would do a thing like that, but it appears that a tennis ball from the ceiling may be in order for the next house. :-) Wednesday, we got the pretty immaculate inspection report and I had someone out around lunch to brace it. DONE and DONE!!

In the meantime, we had Bug's 12-month check-up and we went for a drive to our new neighborhood to take pics of some house exteriors we like for our design meeting on Monday. Turns out, Bug's still as petite as ever (at least the dr wasn't worried due to her activity level)---but other than that, she's meeting all the milestones and seems to be doing well. We only got one of the three vaccines. I've done my research, and I'm holding off on the live virus vaccines for now---especially because she's so petite. She's home with me, so unless a measles, mumps, or rubella outbreak occurs----we're putting that guy (along with the chicken pox) on hold until she's a little older.

Today is the first day in a while that I didn't have anything official on the schedule (other than making some calls about loans), so I know I should be packing now that due diligence is officially over (I thought it was until Monday, but I guess it ends after inspection). The thing is....I'm POOPED! Wouldn't you know, Bug doesn't seem to get the picture because she's been all over the place today.


At warp speed, she's in one room taking everything out from her drawers, then I turn around and she's in another room pulling everything out from somewhere else. She's a mad woman, this girl. She's got energy to last an eternity, and at the moment, I don't. I know I should be packing now while she's finally tucked in for her nap, but I don't feel like doing that either. I've been so on top of things for the past few weeks, that I need some time to decompress.....but really, I don't have time. I have things to do. So I guess what I really need is some motivation. Someone to remind me that I'm closing in TWO weeks and I don't have a single thing packed.

How do you all get yourselves motivated when all you really want to do is sit down and do nothing???

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Housing Miracle

Ok, I know I've been M.I.A yet again. But if you even knew the story I'm about to tell you, you'd forgive me. Let me just say that yet again God provided in the most unexpected, miraculous, and VERY last minute way possible. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee (ok, maybe a full meal---it's gonna be a long one), and get caught up on our housing miracle................

Last weekend was Bug's first birthday (I'll put pics up of the fun once I get them from one of my besties....hint, hint, N!). :-) In the craziness of getting ready for that, I got kicked out of my house THREE times for a showing the day before the big party. Needness to say, that weekend we were in contract negotiations on the sale of our house that had only been on the market for 2 1/2 weeks. CRAZY! So yeah---house is currently "under contract". My realtors already did a lot of stalking on the buyer, so it looks like it's a pretty solid deal. Inspection is tomorrow, due diligence period is over next Monday, and we close on the 19th--with the weekend to move out. That, in itself, is a crazy miracle, especially when there's like 10 other houses for sale in my neighborhood priced the same or lower than ours. So these next couple weeks are going to be CRAZY trying to get out of here.

On to our other housing miracle....

We'd been looking at this this one community (well call it Dreamland). I was IN LOVE with dreamland the second I drove through it. We loved the houses, the hilly landscape, the amenities with kid stuff (tennis, pool, playground, kiddie pool with mushroom), GREAT schools (I know because I taught in one of them). We heard amazing things about this neighborhood from the people who lived there--lots of young families and community events. This was our dreamland. The thing is, the old builder (a regional builder who did good work in a lot of communities in this area) foreclosed, so this brand new builder was finishing some lots. We hadn't thought about building really because I wanted to have the security of being in an already-established neighborhood--didn't want to run the risk of builder short-sale and now there's all these empty streets with 2 houses. Well, in Dreamland---it WAS an established community--just a couple years old--and it had only a few lots to finish. PERFECTION! The only thing was this new builder didn't have his act together quite yet because he thought he'd get more time before people wanted to build with him. He figured he could get some of his pricing together (taking quotes from various places) while building his first inventory houses. Well, that didn't turn out that way--he got more action than he thought. Totally understandable situation, but it made for a lot of frustration when they didn't have their pricing on lighting, carpet upgrade, etc. Makes it very hard to figure out the final price of what things will be. Regardless, they were working on getting that info to us and we were going to have a 5 bedroom house on a basement for less than what one of the formerly built foreclosure houses were on a slab. It would've been a good deal. Unfortunately, it was creeping up beyond the top of our price point and we weren't getting very many upgrades. Still, we loved this house and this neighborhood. The only things (other than the price--but that wasn't going to change much) I would've wanted to change about this house was that I didn't want a corner lot and I didn't want a 2-story living room again. The corner lot was the only basement lot they had that was relatively flat and of good size. It was better than the vast majority of the other basement houses we'd seen. Adding a lot to the 2-story living room (just makes it more usable space for us) was going to be another 12K from this builder---and we were WAY out of our pricepoint. But we were a little love drunk, were still getting a relatively good price, and were going to stay with our first love (especially since I could name EVERY single house for sale in our area--literally).

To add a little stress to the mix, a friend of mine (cleopatra) told me that her neighborhood was promoting free basements. At first, I didn't pay much thought to this because we were in the midst of b-day party/selling house stress, AND I thought that even a slab house in her neighborhood was out of my price range. Well, Thursday night, I decided to look up that neighborhood---just in case things didn't work out in Dreamland and got too expensive. Sure enough, their lowest slab price started at just below our highest price point, but they were extending the free basement promo until that weekend (ended last night). Not to mention, they were throwing in free granite in the kitchen and all stainless steel appliances (including a fridge).Oh my gosh!!! I could get into this neighborhood. So Bug and I rush down there, see the houses, check out the lots, etc. I LOVED the houses and the floorplans, mostly because they didn't have any 2-story family rooms, which allowed for bigger bedrooms, etc. Her community also had some great things in the work. It was going to connect to the greenway (a HUGE  paved biking, walking, whatever trail that runs from our city to the one below it---they're in the process of connecting the areas). Not only that, her neighborhood was going to be a 5 minute drive from the biggest park they're building (in phases)---85 acres of skatepark, tennis, soccer & football fields, bball, a track, a dog park, walking trails, etc. WOW---that would be a great perk too. The lots in this neighborhood were also nice and flat, and wooded (yay for no corner lot), so they'd be private. The only things I didn't like was the fact that this neighborhood still had the vast majority of it yet to be built. It was started by the same foreclosure builder as Dreamland, but was bought out by a wealthy national builder very recently. I knew the community would be finished, but there would be years of construction until then...and I didn't love that. Also, the school that community fed into wasn't as good as the other one (mind you, none of the schools in our area are bad). The other thing was, this community had double the HOAs as Dreamland, but didn't have nearly the same amenities (only a pool and playground--no tennis or kiddie pool). The reasoning for that was because the big park would be built in a year or so and it would be close by. We were torn---I was cheating on my first love, Dreamland.

SO Saturday, I asked other friends of ours to come and see BOTH places to help us weigh the pros and cons. After seeing everything, they didn't know what to do either. Both places would've been great investments regardless and would've been around the same pricepoint. I knew I could probably get more upgrades from the national builder since the other guy's pockets weren't as deep--being new and all. I was just wishing we could take the builder in Cleopatra's neighborhood and some of her perks and put them in the other established neighborhood with the better schools. In the end, we decided that we needed to go for Dreamland and base our decision more on education than upgrades and parks---we could still drive to that future park and visit Cleopatra. So we started negotiating with dreamland. The problem was, they weren't budging as much as we wanted and they weren't offering too much in upgrades. Also, any additional upgrades we wanted, we were having to put nearly 50% down on and they were only paying 2% closing costs IF we used their lender. Ugh---this was not as fun as we thought and I was STRESSED. Prices were getting higher and higher, and we were cutting out a TON of our upgrades. Basically, the only thing the builder would've covered was a structural upgrade (turning study to 5th bedroom and changing powder room to full bath) and hardwood flooring in SOME of the areas downstairs. BUMMER!

Unfortunately, I still felt the "free basement" time crunch of the national builder and knew I had to make a decision by Sunday night. I didn't want us not to come to a reasonable situation in Dreamland and wait too long to pass up the free basement in Cleopatra's neighborhood---then I would've ended my top choices (and really, the ONLY ones I was interested in).

So, in tears, I start trying to search again. This time, we upped our search to a higher pricerange to see if they'd come down to what we would've been paying (still higher than what we wanted) at Dreamland. I wasn't seeing much. I was so stressed than Darling Dearest made a bubble bath for me and forced me away from the computer--he insisted on a mental break.

Come Sunday (yesterday morning), we decided we had to skip church to get things all figured out by that night. We had 6 houses to look at (most of which were out of our pricerange in hopes that if they looked ok and we liked them, they may come down). So Bug, Hubby, and I decided to do a drive by on these houses to figure out if we wanted to have the realtors show us them. Four out of siz had crazy yards--complete drop offs in the back or on crazy hills in the front. One had a decent yard, but was in a community that was a little older and didn't have any kid ammenities. There was only ONE from this list that was actually in one of my former searches--it was in our original budget. I even saved it. I don't know why I didn't look at it before when I looked at all the others, but I didn't. Turns out, this house was in a beautiful neighborhood. Pretty hills, nice lots, GREAT ammenities (kiddie stuff, tennis, pool, AND bball). I was loving it. As we drove around more, we saw some empty lots...and wouldn't you know, national builder (same from Cleopatra's neighborhood) with all the same promotions (basement, SS appliances, granite) was in that neighborhood.

So yesterday was crazy! We got a friend to watch Bug, Hubby and I did some investigating. The floorplan that we liked in this neighborhood (totally different floorplans here than in Cleo's place) was the SAME floorplan as in Dreamland, with a free basement...and was 40K less!!!! Not only that, but it was in the process of being grated and was already scheduled for a BASEMENT, on a nice, flat lot on a cul-de-sac with WOODS in the back. No corner lot here! And what's that you say?? We can add a loft for just over 2K, not 12K?? AND you can turn the study into a 5th bedroom and powder room into a full bath??? Oh, and out of SEVEN different elevation choices (what the outside of the house looks like), they had already planned for it to be elevation G---the same one Darling Dearest and I wanted?? Let me just say that if we had found this house later, they would've already ordered materials and we wouldn't have been able to customize some things (particularly the structural changes we wanted to make) IF we wanted this lot. This was honestly a gift from God---at the last possible second. We had the best of both houses. Private, wooded lot, the builder, the great promotions, and no 2-story living room like Cleopatra's (although it'll be slightly more square footage than the house we would've had in her neighborhood with the loft). BUT, we got the established and slightly hilly neighborhood, the kiddie amenities PLUS tennis and bball, the cheap HOA (less than 1/2 of cleo's), the floorplan but WITH the loft of Dreamland. Not to mention, this community will also be connected to the greenway like Cleopatra's. Just when I thought things couldn't get better, this particular house was supposed to be an inventory house, so they already planned some upgrades specific for this one that we wouldn't have to pay for. In the end, they threw in all structural upgrades (loft, 5th bedroom, added full bath, free basement), and cosmetic upgrades (SS appliances, granite, canned lights, wrought iron bannister, and more)--some of which we hadn't even planned for. Oh, did I forget to say they gave us 10.5K in whatever other upgrades we wanted and that if we wanted more than that, we'd usually have to put a 50% deposit, but our realtor got it down to 20% (which would actually end up going toward our down payment). They agreed to 3% closing cost and took 2.5K less in earnest money as well. We had their realtor and our realtor come to our house last night just so we could get the promotions that ended yesterday. Their realtor had been working for that builder for 4 years and knew that they wouldn't give it to us if we did it in the morning.

Honestly, I'm on cloud 9 right now. God had a plan for us and people around us to help us out. He had it all worked out for the last possible second. Isn't that how he always works??? We ended up getting a better house (the house I would've built if I could've afforded the loft in dreamland), with WAY more upgrades, for what would've ended up to be over 40K less. Oh, and they've broken land on a brand new elementary school across the street that will be done by the time Bug's there. It's truly a miracle. We went out Sunday morning with no hopes of finding anything...much less finding the perfect scenario at MUCH less than we had planned to pay. And we got in JUST before the ordering/construction so if we go to our design appointment this week (which we will), we'll get to pick out everything--including the brick. We're scheduled to close in June, but an actual date will be determined once the house is in drywall. Oh, and did I mention that a 4 month lease (which is what we'll end up getting to take us into mid-July) was actually cheaper than a 5 or 6 month lease (which we would've needed if we were building with this same builder in Cleopatra's neighborhood since we would've been picking a new lot and nothing was in the works)?? Yes, it could go later, but we do have an option of doing month to month if that happens.

Our week at a glance looks like this:
Today--walk the lot with the builder--we can walk if we want to---but probably won't
Tomorrow--inspection on OUR house, so Bug and I have to be out of here for 2-3 hours
Sometime between now and Friday--go to the design center to pick out stuff for our house, and get loan application done (we have 5 days to complete from yesterday's contract date). Maybe, we'll be able to do the design center tomorrow while our house is being inspected.

Oh, did I forget that we have to pack up and move in the next few weeks too??

This has been chaotic, but it's been such a blessing to see God's hand throughout. "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." James 5:16b Thank you, God for all You've done for us--for always providing MUCH more than we could ask or imagine and for putting the right people and situations in line and the right time. "He makes all things beautiful in HIS time."