What’s Your Number?

You know what number I am talking about, that allusive number you have to go through before you find the “one.” Mine is currently set at 26.

No, no, no, no, no we are not talking about guys here (I have the ” one” remember?), I am talking houses. We started back in June looking for houses if you recall (and if you can’t here are the links here and here), and officially called it finito about a month ago. Calling it finito did not result in finding our dream house and buying it (I wish it was that easy!) Instead it means we have stopped looking.

I don’t know about all of your house hunting experiences but ours was starting to read like a Dr. Seuss book: too quirky, too new, too smelly (oh ya we had a couple of those nightmares!), too small, too wobbly, too crooked, too far (from everything), too weird, too much money, too many repairs, too much asbestos; I think you get the idea all that is missing is the box and the fox with socks trying to get us to eat green eggs and ham.

It is hard to believe that we set foot in that many strangers houses in just a couple months. And now that I think about it my house hunting number is definitely larger than my husband hunting number (aka number of boyfriends). Is finding a house that much harder than finding your soul mate?!?!? I am beginning to think so.

The hubster has been an absolute trooper through this whole process, always the optimist he is. Me, on the other hand am not ashamed to admit I cried a few times and felt extremely nauseous from the stress of it all.  On the positive note, the hubster and I got a lot of coffee dates in and most of the time we only had to deal with Little Miss since Padawan abandoned us for his grandparents houses for most of the summer; guess we don’t spoil him enough over here. And we did find our zombie apocalypse vehicle.

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The thing was awesome and British which makes it all the more awesome.  And we did see some absolute gems in the muck that is our speed dating/housing disaster.

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It was an ordeal but it made us think about what really mattered to us. Did we want to buy a house just to buy a house? Or do we want a house were we can grow and settle into our life as a family? We decided on the latter. Neither one of us wanted to jump into a huge commitment like buying a house just because, we want OUR house, OUR home and that is something worth waiting for.  Cause who doesn’t want to give this cutie a beautiful home to grow up in? Our kids deserve more than a house, they deserve a home; a home with a front porch to play on while it rains, a yard to run through sprinklers in, a home with a history that they can create their own history within.

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So we are keeping our “must have” lists (I am not giving up on my dining room and front porch and the hubster is adamant about his basement) and we are holding out for that warm tingly feeling we have heard so much about when you finally find the one. How about all of you? How many prospects did you have to weed through before you found the “one?” What was or is on your “must have” list? What would you be willing to overlook on that list?

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Oh, A Hunting We Will Go

A hunting we will go, high ho the dairy oh a hunting we will go. House hunting that is. As the months start dwindling down to our expected due date of being able to buy a house, the more frequently we check the market. I keep checking and checking and checking some more, and it is inevitable I fall in love with one house or another and then not even 2 days later it’s status becomes that dreaded “sale pending.”

It is usually me that does most of the searching and then sending along the postings that I really like to the hubsters. But there are the rare occasions when we search for houses together, which is sometimes not the best of solutions. Maybe it is time for another look at just how different our home preferences are, remember how fun the last one was?

So here are the breakdown of how we look for hunt down houses. As always ladies first.

First things first, I punch in all my criteria: budget, how many bedrooms and bathrooms, eliminate all the town homes and condos (I want a REAL house please), and enter in the key neighborhoods we are interested in. 

Sorted out by most recently added I scroll down the list looking at ones that I like visually, most of the time I am drawn to houses like these:

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But sadly, most of the houses in our area and within our price range look like these:

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Don’t get me wrong, I can work with a ranch and I have plenty of inspiration in the last two ranches that Young House Love has rocked to fuel one ranch of my very own, but my heart will always belong to those old Craftsmen.

Then as any good mama does, she checks the schools first before scrolling through the rest of the pictures and falling in love with the house only to be soul suckingly crushed when the schools suck. We tried homeschooling and it didn’t fit so a good school is majorly important.

Good school: check, now feel free to look through photos and either

a) recoil in horror

b) fall in love, only to see it is at the limit of our budget

c) fall in love, only to hear hubster reply “I don’t know about it, I want a bigger yard.”

d) pull out hair in frustration that I looked at picture before school data and fell in love too quickly

e) save as favorite and pray reverently that it either drops dramatically in price at the right moment or stays on the market long enough to see it in person

That is my process. And it usually ends with going to Pinterest and getting more inspiration on how to update a fixer-upper on a budget and an “Oh my chicken nuggets we are looking at buying a house, I feel like passing out” phase.

The hubster’s process varies greatly from mine.

Let’s start with the broadest search area possible with no limiting search data. Just imagine that good ol’ needle in a haystack analogy. From there phrases like this are heard “Oh look at this one it’s great, wow that’s too much,” “Where the heck is that located,” “This one looks good, no wait it only has one bathroom.”

He of course looks through ALL the pictures first and asks me if I want to save it to my list of favorites. Then comes the parade of pictures of houses (“how could you not have seen these in your search?”) that I am shown were phrases like these jump off the pages (are there pages on the internet??)

“Fixer-upper” “Needs new carpets due to animal urine smell” “Unfinished basement” “In need of elbow grease”

and images like these attack my overwhelmed brain

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My response: “What about the schools?” “What about the neighborhood demographics?”

Hubster: “How do you look up that information?” “Maybe you should be the one that does this and I will just follow your lead.”

Ya, maybe it is better to leave the house hunting to me since I know what I will be happy with and what I will detest. Anyone else find those weird little jut-outs and cut aways in the walls annoying? Why can’t walls just be straight and flush anymore? If you are trying to add character do built-ins like those dear-to-my-heart Craftsman not just make awkward spaces which limits furniture arrangement or those little spaces that are nothing more than dust collectors. Please tell me I am not the only one that feels this way. I’m not am I? Oh, well maybe it is just me and my poor little overly stimulated brain from all the horrible wallpaper and tile choices that the world of homeownership has to offer.

Let Them Eat Cake

Sorry for the delay in posting, I have had a serious case of writer’s block. The last time we “spoke” we had just finished showing off all the details for Little Miss’ first birthday and had promised to share all the birthday fun. Well, the photos were edited and have been sitting and waiting to be put into post form, but no words were coming. I know someone of you would not mind just getting pictures but that is not how we roll around here, we like to get all wordy with our posts. So let’s get this post party started with the one and only adorable Little Miss and her grandma rockin’ the ultra cute party dress and headband her Aunt Kat-Kat got for her cause every girl needs a party dress.   Birthday Girl 001 Little Miss did surprisingly well with her birthday festivities: no fussing of any kind. But she did however fall asleep 30 minutes into it. Thankfully our guests were all rock stars and understood how unpredictable babies can be. Is she still technically considered a baby now that she is one or is she a toddler now? Never really understood when that transition is supposed to happen so I am going to call her my baby until she moves out. After her disappearance nap, Little Miss got right down to business opening all the wonderful presents her guests were so kind to bring her. Birthday Girl  002 Poor little thing was not that into ripping the paper off, I blame that partially on the grogginess from her very fresh nap. The goodies in the wrapping paper were another story; she loved them. Her baby dolls all got kisses and hugs, her clothes got the appropriate ohs and ahs, and the cards were passed to brother to read as she looked on and chimed in her two cents.  The lucky girl made out with a whole gambit of new dresses and enough baby dolls to make her look like she is in the running for the next edition of 19 Kids and Counting, the baby doll version of course.  What you ask did Little Miss get from mommy and daddy? Birthday Girl 003 A pink rocking scooter of course! She LOVES it almost as much as I love it. I had wanted to build one for her ever since I was pregnant with her (and found out she was a girl) but when I found this one online I could not pass up it since it actually cost less to buy it than for me to make it (SCORE)! After a good cruise around the family room with her much practiced parade wave to all her guests, she made her way to the grande finale of any birthday party: the cake! Let Them Eat Cake 005 We had been practicing singing the birthday song and blowing out the candle for a month before the big day. And every time we practiced she would clap and blow out her candle at the right moment. Call it stage fright but she had to call in reinforcements for the candle blowing, thankfully her big brother helped her out and even told her the wish was still hers to make. Awww, he is too kind for words to her. Sorry girls he is not allowed to date, ever. Let Them Eat Cake 004 I had anticipated another cake massacre al la Padawan and stripped Little Miss down to the bare essentials: her FuzziBunz and her headband. Again, she is full of surprises and was the most dainty little eater of cake I have ever seen. She would just poke at the cake and then take a little bite off her finger before poking at it again for her next teeny tiny bite. That’s right the cake is pink zebra print on the inside if you didn’t notice and the most nerve wrecking cake ever to cut into cause I honestly did not know if it would turn out or not. Thank goodness it did and did not turn out like a messy blob of color cause no one wants to eat ugly looking cake.Let Them Eat Cake 005A part of me was so glad to be done with all the planning and to have the party wrapping up, but then the other part of me was sad that my little baby is growing up way too fast. She even proved how big of a big girl she was that day by taking her first steps (4 to be exact) all by herself! It is hard to believe that we had just meet this cute little bundle of awesomeness a year ago. Her personality has grown so much in this first year into such a kind, sweet, funny, and gentle little girl. Happy First Birthday, Little Miss, we love you!Let Them Eat Cake 007 Let Them Eat Cake 008 So we survived the first birthday (and the first year!) with our Little Miss. It really is a bittersweet feeling when the first birthday comes and goes, don’t all you mamas out there agree? Or am I the only one who gets teary eyed when thinking about it?

If you missed the previous posts that led to this extravaganza you can start at the planningthe menu creation, the stationary, and the details to get even more Polka-Dot Circs goodness.

Got Ya Covered

We are finally coming to the end of our table and chair project (Ya, no more paint fume smelling hubster!) After priming and painting and more priming and painting we are looking at fabric samples to get those babies covered. But before we do a big reveal of them in their finished glory I thought I would share how we solved our problem of being renters in a townhouse with no real workable space to do much of any home improvement project in.

Enter the Dexter room. We picked up a package of plastic sheets at our favorite home improvement store and constructed a tent room in our garage al a mode our favorite good serial killer. So instead of getting paint all over the garage floors and walls, we had it all over the plastic sheets. Plastic sheets turned out to be pretty handy and prove to be a quick clean up as well. Hopefully the garbage men don’t question our garbage bags stuffed with sheets of plastic. We don’t have a boat nor live near a major gulf stream so we can’t dispose of them in a Dexter-esque fashion (that and it would be polluting which is not cool at all in our book!)

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Just look at that hubster go to work. Back off ladies he is mine!

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So there was the solution to our lack of painting space, what do you think? Any other renters out there that have come up with creative ways to do bigger projects? What have been your solutions? Any good success tips or projects gone awry stories you wanna share?

Home Is Where

The hubster and I recently attended our first wedding as a married couple this past weekend and on the car ride home we looked back on all the good things that have happened in the short (almost) 3 years since he put a ring on it: his new job, our big move, Little Miss being born, finding out we I am not a dog person, getting a new car (and paying it off) and working on buying our first house EVER this summer. It is an exciting prospect that we will be home owners and I can FINALLY paint walls, get rid of ugly tile, and not be afraid to hang a massive mirror and leave holes in the wall. I had always set the goal of owning a home before I turn 30 and it looks like it will be a reality albeit a close shave (I turn 30 at the end of the year) but it still counts!

You can only imagine the debates between the hubster and I for what we want to look for in our “dream” home. And sometimes it really seems like we are buying two different houses (lord knows we can’t afford that!) What are the things we are looking for in a house you ask? Let’s break it down for you (even if you didn’t ask)

My House Wish List

  1. A Craftsmen style house, ever since I was a little girl I have loved this style of house so it would be a dream to actually own one
  2. A porch, cause we all need a place to sit in adirondock chairs and sip iced tea
  3. An easy to maintain yard, my grandma and mom may have green thumbs but I sure don’t (it’s a miracle the plant Padawan gave me for Mother’s Day is still alive!)
  4. A real dining room, a breakfast nook just won’t cut it for this girl and her dreams of fancy grown-up diner parties
  5. I would prefer no stairs but if worse comes to worse I will take them but only if they are/have the potential to be grand and wood (carpet uck!)
  6. Yummy dark wood floors, exposed wood beams, pretty built ins, and a cozy fireplace would leave me weak in the knees and happy to be a home buddy

Home is Where 001All those pictures make me so happy! I would LURVE to walk into that house everyday until I am old and grey (or blue, I haven’t decided if I am going to be one of the those little old ladies that still dyes their hair or not yet). I am willing to put in some hard work and a little, ok maybe a lot of elbow grease to make my dream home more dreamy; anyone else dreaming of marble herringbone floors and fireplaces (and I had that idea a LONG time before Young House Love stole it!)

So there are my critira for a dream home, do you want to hear the hubster’s? Just nod your head and say “Of course  we do” cause we would not want to hurt his feelings and it helps him feel loved when we listen to his ideas (even if we think they are silly and we veto them down). Love ya babe!

The Hubster’s House Wish List

  1. A house with LOTS of property so that we could become self sustainable (I think the hubster needs to be reminded who will be home all day and the fact that was stated in my list’s number 3)
  2.  An unfinished basement (I will take a finished basement cause we all know scary things happen in unfinished basement and they scare me senseless)
  3. Skylights, the more the merrier (Hmmm, I am beginning to think the hubster wants a house full of things his wife is scared of…he knows I will not watch any movies with the “a” word in them so why would I want to have holes in my roof for easier access to me?!?! Crazy hubster)
  4. A zombie proof compound/property (Proof we are watching too much “Walking Dead” cause zombie proof doesn’t exactly scream “welcome”)
  5. A hidden room like Batman’s (Ok, I will give him that one cause that would be pretty awesome to have).
  6. Has a grey water system (I can live with that as long as its for the yard usage and I am not taking a shower in the water leftover from washing last night’s dishes)

Home is Where 002Bet Rick would LOVE to find a zombie proof house like the one on the bottom right, it is pretty cool I will admit. A lot less scary looking then ones covered in barbed wire and on stilts (am I the only one that just had the epiphany that zombies can’t climb things, who knew).  One great thing about the hubster is that more often than not (especially when it comes to make our house a home) he lets me win.  So none of you future guests will have to worry about having to go out and pick your own dinner or de feather it (ya, he is now talking of having our own livestock and chickens. I am not a farm girl I keep telling him) or cross a draw bridge under threat of a flame thrower. I may win most of the time but we agree on some key points:

  1. MUST have more than 1 bathroom, no way a family of 4 will survive with only one (we tried with just 3 of us and that was a challenge)
  2. 3 bedrooms is a given, but we would love to have a 4th to use as an office/guest room
  3. An attached garage. We live in an area known for its rainfall with 2 small kids, no one (me especially) wants to haul groceries back and forth in a downpour
  4. Has good bones, no major overhauls for us please
  5. Has an open floor plan (or an easily converted floor plan, cause I would not mind knocking down a small wall or two. Young House Love makes it look like so much fun!)
  6. Be in a good neighborhood (location, location, location)

So there it is a his and hers look at our next big project: homeownership. Are any of you looking to make this transition in your lives? What are the things you look for in your dream home? Are you with me in something timeless, historical, and full of character? Or are with the hubster in looking for a way to live off the grid and free from zombie threat worries?