Thursday, April 30, 2015

House search saga continues, Easter, and Virginia spring time is the best....

And the house saga continues.  We put an offer on another house that we don't really like. It's our new M.O., also known as our only option.  The house has a decent lot and is in a neighborhood we really like. But the house itself is teeny-tiny and adding on will be costly and difficult.   Our addition plans for the house make it barely livable, not at all what we were looking for.  Unfortunately, the inspection revealed some major work that had to be done to get financing.  The seller couldn't do the work and we couldn't reach an agreement on the price in light of that work, so the contract was terminated.  Back to square one.  Yet another folder full of house plans, drawings for an addition, etc. 
Another house in that same neighborhood came on the market a couple of days later. We got an appointment to view it and rushed over. There were several other groups viewing the house at the same time, slightly awkward.  You squeeze past each other in the hallways, you point out (loudly) all the issues you see, frown, shake your head a lot, mutter lots of "well, that's a complete re-do..."  Then, in hushed frantic whispers with your agent you discuss what you would have to do to get this house.  Full price contract plus 10%?  
Throw in a child?  
Offer to let the owner live in the basement rent free?  
In the end we didn't even join in the bidding war.  The price of the house was on our upper limit and the house needed lots of work, complete new kitchen, tear out all the sleeping stalls in the basement (advertised as bedrooms, they were not bedrooms) new roof, HVAC, extensive work to remove the decades of smoke, the list goes on.  We learned there were already full price contracts on the table, we would have to start above full price, so we bowed out of that house. 
Buying a house in Charlottesville is kind of like a confusing Ebay.  You think it has a 'Buy it Now' price  (asking price) so you agree to buy it now only to find out that is only the starting bid and you are told to increase your max bid lest someone outbid you. 

In the midst of looking for houses we did find time to celebrate Easter in our own way. 
the Easter bunny always stops by our house, nothing better than hunting chocolate while still in pajamas!
We took a picnic lunch to Delfosse Winery.  They had an egg hunt for the kids and an appearance by the Easter bunny. It was a beautiful day, perfect for sitting outside, drinking wine, listening to music, worriedly watching the kids running around the pond....that part wasn't so relaxing.  We brought our own food but quickly abandoned that for crepes. We sampled chicken, seafood and dessert crepes, all were divine.  Since moving to Charlottesville we have all struggled with feeling a little lost.  Not only did we move we completely changed our way of life and at times we have felt that we are lost, drifting along.  Sitting at the winery, sipping wine, watching the kids run around...we felt like we were ourselves again. 

Wythe picked out this pink bow-tie to wear with this Easter shirt

Ainsley, first time with the scary bunny

We were shocked that he would get that close to the Easter bunny!  They are growing up!
Ainsley had a ball at the winery, there were little girls to run around with, laugh with and giggle with.  If you look closely at the picture below you will see three little girls sitting on a bench on the far side of the pond.  Aine and her friends went there because they had "things to talk about". 

After Easter, also known as 'after too much chocolate', I told my kids if they didn't straighten up they were going to lose their treat privilege and I would start throwing away their stash of candy.  The next morning I found these notes taped to the top of the trashcan. 

Definitely feeling more like spring, the days are so pleasant that the kids want to do school outside, read books outside, have lunch outside.....generally just be outside. 

We celebrated Peter's birthday about a week late but the kids still suck at reading a calendar so they didn't know the difference.  Peter's not big on celebrations but the kids were highly insulted that he would consider turning a year older without balloons and party hats. 

This cake decoration has been used in my family for years.....I think this may be the last time it adorns a cake/pie!

Ainsley lost her first tooth.  She was unconcerned about it being loose, and one day just said "hey mom, my tooth just came out, do you want it?"  A complete different experience than her sibling.  His experience was full of anxiety, worrying about swallowing it in his sleep, worried that all of his teeth would fall out and he wouldn't be able to eat again and would starve to death and we'd be sad....etc,...etc.  Sometimes I'm amazed that they came from the same gene pool. 

Spring in Virginia is so pretty!  I was homesick for our other house, wondering what was blooming, what plants were coming up but this house does have some beautiful plants. 
from dining room window

from bedroom window

Wythe decided he wanted to start sleeping in his closet.  I assumed he meant on the floor and said I didn't mind.  That night when I went to tuck him in I realized he was sleeping on top of his clothes baskets, no way that can be comfortable! I also had to rescue him when he would wake up in the middle of the night, disoriented and couldn't figure out how to open his closet door.  Fortunately, this only lasted a few nights and he decided his bed was a better choice.

And the house saga continues.....

Another house came on the market, we called right away and we were the first people to view the house.  While we were looking at the house the agent told us a verbal offer had been received.  By the time we finished looking at it an offer had been received, accepted and signed.  
How do you compete with people who are buying houses sight unseen?
The next day another house came on the market.  I met the agent there first thing in the morning.  The house was dated but completely livable.  Tiny kitchen but nice neighborhood and nice backyard.  We immediately put a full price contract on the house.  We were the first people to view it and the first contract in. But the next day we found out that someone had outbid us and we would have to increase our bid by 6k to stay in the running.  And the bidding war started yet again, we ended up dropping out later that weekend. 
There is a house we have had our eye on for while but it was too small, too much work and way too expensive.  They just did a major price reduction so Peter went and looked at it.  I haven't seen it yet but he thinks it has potential so he put an offer on it.  Maybe we will get this one, or maybe we will just continue our weekly tradition of putting offers on houses. 

Around Christmas time we were taking the kids to the park and at the last minute changed parks and went to McIntire Park.  By chance, or fate, there was another family there who had also recently moved to the area and this was their first time to the park as well.   It was the start of a great friendship.  She has been a friend to me, someone to sit and have a cup of coffee or tea with, to discuss the joys and struggles raising children, of life. Our children play well together, and we never run out of things to talk about.  It is hard to believe we have only known them for less than 6 months but I consider it to be one of the best things about moving to Charlottesville.  I'm very thankful for the part she has played in my life so far and the friendship our children have. 

'til next time...

Springtime pictures...

I wanted to take some pictures of my kids on one of these beautiful spring days.  At first they were being so silly that I couldn't get any pictures.  I started to get frustrated and then just started snapping photos.  I ended up getting a bunch of pictures that shows their silly, happy selves. 

I'm thankful I didn't insist on doing this my way, sometimes that is so easy for me to 'stick to the plan' and I don't realize until later that I have missed out on something that would have been so much better.  Had I insisted that we stick to my plan of getting dressed up and posing by the azaleas I probably would have squelched that smile in their eye.  I'm hoping these pictures will remind me in the future to not let my plans ruin the moment!

'til next time....