Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Restaurant Wednesday

I'm starting a new blog for every other Wednesday. It's called Restaurant Wednesday. It will review and talk about different kinds of restaurants in the metro Jacksonville area by category of cuisine.

Today is steakhouses.


My pick for my favorite steakhouse is III Forks. We went last night. It's over on the Southside. This place is hands down the best place for steaks. Having been to the steak holy land in Jacksonville, Ruth Chris, I'm never, ever, ever going back. The food was phenom. Our dinner was the award winning III Forks salad which was salad greens, blue cheese crumbles(which I opted out of ), granny smith apples and pecans with a maple vinaigrette. The dressing was sweet but not in a bad overbearing way with the apples playing off that. Tart and sweet. The salad was huge and very filling. I also wanted to cancel my order and get another round of salad it was just that good but I'm glad I didn't. Next was the ribeye sandwich. I'm bit of a steak foodie and ribeye is my cut. III Forks only offers an 18oz and as much as I wanted it I'm not gonna be able to chow through 18oz so I settle for the sandwich. III Forks is like Ruth Chris in the sides are on the side and extra. The sandwich came with fries. It was cooked perfectly. PERFECTLY!!!!! The fries were spiced perfectly.

The restaurant was decorated nicely with marble floors and a long contemporary fireplace when you enter. The people were friendly. We had two waiters and the Maitre d'/Sommelier came to check on us as well as one of the owners. We never had to ask for a thing. The servers were so good that when the salads came out (we both got the same salad only mine didn't have the cheese) the server knew that my salad was the cheese free one. Every time a waiter walked by they all checked to make sure we didn't run out of drink. We ended up spending about an hour and a half at dinner. The food was IMHO priced correctly for both the portions and quality.

I'm trying to talk Daniel into going back for my birthday.

So I turn to you my reader, have you had your own III Forks experience? Or do you have your own preferred steakhouse.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NOLA

If a person could be in love with a city, that city for me would be New Orleans. I traveled there about a little short of a year after Katrina. It was pretty and tragic all in one. I remember driving from Jacksonville to New Orleans on 10. The drive over was relaxing but I was nervous because of everything I had heard about the city. Will it be safe? Are the hotels up and running? Are the roads still messed up? Are there places to eat? What will greet me in the crescent city?

My first taste of the Louisiana life was at the welcome center. Being the great people they are, we were welcomed with a grin and warm fuzzy feelings. Every question was answered. What I remembered the most was the mix of shock and appreciation on their faces as we stated our destination. We were coming. Strangers were coming back to their city. Tourists were returning.

As we got to the outer belt way of the city the scars of the storm were still there. Stores were closed; weeds grew in the middle of homes and signs hung from strange angles. It looked like a back lot only it wasn't. When we got closer to the downtown things became a little less movie like. Since I wasn't sure about the city we stayed in a suburb. In the morning I awoke and fell in love. Walking around and visiting shops, eating the best food and talking to the nicest people I've ever met. We did the tourist thing and danced on Bourbon St, ate gumbo and drank coffee at Cafe du Monde.

In the years since my trip, New Orleans calls me back and I desperately want to go back. My time there was short but it left a huge impression on me. I can say that I love New Orleans.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A week in retrospect

I'm going to start a weekly review of my week.

This week has been both cold and warm, as far as weather goes. Okay...Ummm....we bought a stroller for Cincy.... or wait was that last week or this week......okay....nothing interesting happened at work......ummmm....Crystal and I bought the movie Four Christmas's.....it's a pretty funny movie and I like it.......okay....yesterday or saturday me, Crystal and my Dad went to Whole Foods, and a few other stores in the rain......it was nice to hang out with Dad outside of his house.....ummmmm....don't put that....Baby stop it....I'll just type it if you're gonna do that....so that is it for this week....I'll write again next week.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Facebook Seppukoo

I just committed Facebook Seppukoo. I've been thinking about it for a while now. I just felt it was time for me to just close the Facebook. I mean really what was the point? Pretty much no one talked to me on it and it was drainging time from my day. I'd waste a lot of time waiting around to find out what people were doing with their day. Do I really need to know who you went to lunch with (it wasn't me)? So going forward if you want to find out what I'm up too check my blog or my twitter. My life just got simpler. I like simple.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I am a stroller mom...for my dog

Yesterday to cheer me up after falling down the stairs Daniel took me to the pet store around the corner from the house. We took my dog-ter Cincy. She's an adorable chihuahua and I've been her mom for about 5 years. People love adorable Chihuahua's. That makes taking Cincy anyplace out in public a pain in my bottom. Since she's tiny people will point, coo, or generally make a fool of themselves. Children will also run up to her and want to play with her like she's a doll. I hate it and so does she. Also since she's tiny most "small" dogs are huge compared to her. As we were walking around a huge Great Dane lunged at her scaring both her and myself. Needless to say I'd like to take her out but can't really. So Daniel got me an early Christmas gift. It's pink and has wheels. It's a dogie stroller.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Snapshot of me.

I stole this this from a pal. Here's a bit about me. Enjoy.

***********FOODOLOGY***************

What is your salad dressing of choice? I'm in love with balsamic vinaigrette.

What is your favorite sit-down restaurant? Olive Garden or Five Guys

What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? peaches

What are your pizza toppings of choice? Cheese, peperoni, peppers, onions.

What do you like to put on your toast? Butter

***********TECHNOLOGY***************
How many televisions are in your house? 2, we have one in the living room and another in a closet that we use for guests for the spare room.

What color cell phone do you have? Rose colored.

***************BIOLOGY******************
Are you right-handed or left-handed? Left

Have you ever had anything removed from your body? No

What is the last heavy item you lifted? Nothing, a car accident makes lifting heavy items a no no.

Have you ever been knocked unconscious? No

************BULLCRAPOLOGY**************
If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? No

If you could change your name, what would you change it to? I wouldn't. I like my name.

Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000? Depend on the hot sauce. Some hot sauces aren't hot to me.

************DUMBOLOGY******************
How many pairs of flip flops do you own? Two, black and brown.

Last time you had a run-in with the cops? Whenever Daniel was in his crash

Last person you talked to? My Mom

Last person you hugged? Daniel

**************FAVORITOLOGY****************
Season? Winter

Holiday? Christmas

Day of the week? Friday

Month? January

***********CURRENTOLOGY*****************
Missing someone? Daniel

Mood? Sleepy for some reason.

What are you listening to? The wind

Watching? Nothing

Worry? Nothing at the moment.

***************RANDOMOLOGY*****************
First place you went this morning? Downstairs

What's the last movie you saw? Year One

Do you smile often? Yes

Sleeping Alone Tonight? No

***************OTHER-OLOGY*****************
1)Do you always answer your phone? Yes, it's not hard too seeing as no one calls it other than Daniel and my Mom.

2) Its four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it? Nikki

3) If you could change your eye color what would it be? A lighter brown.

4) What flavor do you add to your sonic drink? I don't drink anything from Sonic.

5) Do you own a digital camera? Yes

6) Have you ever had a pet fish? I still do. A Betta.

7) Favorite Christmas song(s)? Carol of the Bells

8) What's on your wish list for your birthday? A ceiling fan duster, yes I'm that boring.

9) Can you do push ups? Ha

10) Can you do a chin up? See above

11) Does the future make you more nervous or excited? Neither

12) Do you have any saved texts? Yes

13) Ever been in a car wreck? Many

14) Do you have an accent? Only when I'm tired, then I sound very southern.

15) What is the last song to make you cry? Sunrise, Sunset

16) Plans tonight? Put up lights, change the village, then ignore DJhusband.

17) Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom? Yes

18) Name 3 things you bought yesterday. Solar LED lights, sugar, Southern Living.

19) Have you ever been given roses? Probably, I'm not a fan of roses. I can walk outside and see them whenever I want.

20) Current worry? Nothing.

21) Current hate right now? The children walking behind our house, you don't need to yell.

22) Met someone who changed your life? Yes and I married him.

23) How will you bring in the New Year? A gig

24) What song represents you? In My Life

25) Name three people who might complete this? Nikki?

26) Would you go back in time if you were given the chance? No every moment, thought, decision and fork in the road got me to who I am now. And I'm happy with that.

27) Have you ever dated someone longer than a year? Yes

28) Do you have any tattoos/piercings? Three piercings, one tattoo

29) Will you be in a relationship 4 months from now? Yes

30) Does anyone love you? Yes

31) Would you be a pirate? Argh

32) What songs do you sing in the shower? Whatever pops into my mind.

33) Ever had someone sing to you? Yes.

34) When did you last cry? Last night, I was watching a clip about a chihuahua that only had back legs and the owners threw it away.

36) Do you like to cuddle? Yes

37) Have you held hands with anyone today? No

38) Who was the last person you took a picture of? Person? Daniel. Non-person Cincy

39) What kind of music did you listen to in elementary school? The Beatles

40) Do you believe in staying close with your ex's/prospects? No

41) Are most of the friends in your life new or old? New. In the last 3 years or so. I have a high turn over rate with friends. Chalk it up to honesty, low bs tolerance and no car.

42) Do you like pulpy orange juice? I don't like any kind of orange juice.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why I'm a Lousy Tipper.


I've been reading online about how waiters hate customers who are lousy tippers. They lament that people stiff them on their hard earned tip. I am one of those people. Here's my side of the lousy tipper story.

I'm only a lousy tipper if YOU are a lousy waiter.

Doing only basic waiter work earns a basic tip. A basic tip is *gasp* 10%. Yup that's right, I'm a 10% tipper. Remember when 10% was the norm. Somehow that has inched up to 20%.

If you add a little extra then I add a little extra....15%. By a little extra I mean, get me soda refills without me having flag you down like I'm landing a plane on The Kennedy. Also check on me to make sure I don't want extra (fill in the blank). That's not asking for much.

Then there are those special people that earn the 20%. Those are the waiters that LIKE their job. Are friendly, make a joke or two. I don't care if it's fake fawning. I'm eating out. Having someone else cook the food and serve it to me is the REASON we eat out. I want a happy upbeat person who is nice and friendly waiting on my table.

So waiters if your not making 20% then maybe there is a reason you're not making 20%. I as a customer is not gonna be guilted into giving you more then you earned.

So I ask dear readers where do you fall in the tip debate. Blanket tipper where everyone gets 20% or do you have your own system?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Anniversary Trip


So we just returned from out trip to Universal Orlando. It was so nice. We left on Monday and took the back way down to Orlando. We bypassed the normal route of 95 to take 17. It was nice because you got to see Florida as apposed to the side of a highway. There was some fun at the start. I had mapquested the route but it ended up taking a different way then I remembered. So just trusting my sense of direction we went with it. We winded through small towns and sometimes we found ourselves alone on the road. What does my wonderful husband of a year do? He breaks out this book and starts reading it to me. No cute.

We get to the hotel and we both fall in love. When we check in we tell them we are celebrating our anniversary and get upgraded to a King Suite. That was the thing I needed to talk Daniel into staying an extra day. We make it up to our room and check everything out. The suite is two rooms with a living room and a bedroom. Since it's dinner time we go down to catch a water taxi to City Walk. Dinner is yummy Whoppers at The Whopper Bar. Then back to the hotel to explore. The hotel has a huge pool and sand beaches.

The next day is spent at Universal Studio's. I fell in love with The Mummy ride. We ended up riding it 4 times. We got the unlimmited food bands. It's $20 for food all day. Trying to milk that for all it's worth we ate 3 meals that day. The following day (after successfully talking Daniel into staying an extra day) we take a lazy day to ride over to Portofino Bay Hotel. We ended up getting their breakfast buffet. I had the BEST omlet. We walked around and checked out the hotel. It's pretty but we decided that we liked our hotel best. That night our good friends The Durbins came to have dinner with us. Good food and even better company. The final day is spent at Island of Adventure. It was everything I remembered from the last time I went.

All in all it was a perfect vaction. We needed this trip to renew ourselves and our marriage. I am more in love with my sexy husband now than a year ago.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Year One

A year ago today was the day I married my best friend.


I remember a year ago like it was yesterday(most because it FELT like it was yesterday) I remember waking up in the hotel room that my bridesmaid Nina got for me so I could be closer to Orange Park. I woke up early and I remember looking out the window. The sun was rising on the first day of the rest of my life.

The rest of the day was a blur. We raced to get my make-up done, get me dressed and ready to go. Then we walked out to the door to the sanctuary. Everyone had been asking me if I was nervous or scared. I wasn't really. I was calm about what I was about to do. I remember Rodney opening the doors and walking into the sanctuary. I wanted to see Daniel's face when he saw me in my dress. Everyone stood up and I was straining my neck to peek around everyone. When I finally made it to the head of the aisle Daniel looked so scared. He was tying his hands in knots. I smiled at him and we went to start the show. What I remember most was that Daniel was so scared he locked his elbows straight down and it felt like he was pulling my joints out of their sockets. I smile at that now.

Here are some secrets that many people don't know.

I took my shoes off the moment we walked out of the sanctuary. In all of my photo's from that point on I'm barefoot.

The Rolls Royce driver didn't show up to take me to the reception so our photographers (and good friends) filled in and we drove to the reception in their car (that I've named Applemobile). My dress was so big it felt like I was sitting on a cloud. On the way their we saw this family who's car was even more packed then we were.

After the reception we went straight to the hotel downtown. I having worn no shoes for the whole reception forgot to grab any before I left so I wore Daniel's tux shoes out to dinner at the Chart House.


That day was the happiest day of my life. We've had our ups and downs as a couple but I'm glad that I became Daniel's wife a year ago today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Are you there readers, it's me Crystal

So Daniel and I were talking about this blog. We were wondering if anyone read it. We don't really get comments so we don't really have a way of knowing if anyone reads it. Daniel posted the question on his facebook and we were shocked to find out people DO read this blog. Good to know.

Lets see what's going on with us. We are gearing up for our trip. We sooooo need this trip. We haven't been out of town since the honeymoon. I'm angry with Mother Nature. First where in the world did this tropical storm come from. I thought hurricane season ends November 1st. So right now we have some freak storm chilling out on the west coast. With her she's bring wind and rain. This last week I've enjoyed having the windows open and not using the AC. With the storm hanging out the weather has warmed up. It's 82 degree's outside right now. Did I say it's NOVEMBER? Gah. I don't care. I still have the windows up. The other thing bugging me is that when we go to Orlando it's gonna be in the low 80's. What?! I don't want to go swiming in November. I want cold. Gah again.

On a positive note there. are more birds in the lake now. I'll go and sit and stare out the window and watch the birds. We have these birds that swim under the water. I've never seen anything like it before. I'm hoping those birds tell their friends about our lake. I'm hoping for geese. I love geese calls.

Well I'm off to knit. I'll write more later.

Monday, November 2, 2009

living la vida loca

This last couple of weeks have been really busy. Since we have a house this year we went all out for Halloween. I made some stuff and then used Daniel's fogger and lights. It was really nice because last year I did a lot for the apartment and didn't get a single child. This year we were busy. It was so cool because we were outside tweaking some stuff when we heard a kid telling other kids that they HAD to stop at our house because it was so awesome. A lot of people were telling us that the house looked great and that everyone was talking about it. Not a lot of people decorated their house. And of those who did it wasn't anything big.

My twitter is broken. Not fun

I am also waiting on my google invite for Google Wave. I was given a invite from two people so I'm now waiting for Google to send me my invite.

I'm cheating on my husband....or that's how it feels. Daniel shaved his mustache and goatee. He's had them since we've been together. It makes me giggle to kiss him now. I feel like any moment mustache Daniel will come in the room and catch me kissing non-mustache Daniel.

I've been branching out with my cooking. When we first got married I didn't know how to cook at all. We were living on Stouffers. Now that I have some basics down I've been cooking on my own. I was really proud of my garlic Andouille sauage with green peppers and onions over rice. So I can say that cooking dinner is the best part of my day.

In my final note of today is the fact that in 13 days Daniel and I will have been married a year. As I've gotten older the years started going so fast. It's made me greatful for the good moments of life. This year has been the best of my life. I love Daniel more now then I did the day I married him. You were right Steve.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wow time flies

I looked down at the date the today and I noticed that it's Oct 15th. A year ago today I was probably freaking out because we were in the last 30 days before the wedding. I can't believe it's been almost a year since we got married. I mean if feels like only yesterday that we got married and went on our honeymoon.

This year we've decided to go to Orlando. We're going to Universal for 4 days. I'm really excited about it. We booked rooms at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. It's like we're going to some south Pacific island. Ahhhhhhhhh.....I feel relaxed just typing this now. The perks are that we can use our room keys to bypass lines for the rides.

That is going to be our anniversary present to each other.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

No baby on board.

So we found out that a couple that Daniel was the DJ for are pregnant. I'm really happy for them. I really am.

But I'm sad on a personal level. We've been married for almost a year and we aren't pregnant. I know people who weren't trying that got pregnant. I know people that were trying that got pregnant. Yet here I sit. I can honestly say I've sat crying looking at some friends kids. It's just so hard.

Thoughts bounce around in my head. Why not me? Am I being punished for something? Is there something wrong with me?

I don't know I just needed to say that.

Monday, September 28, 2009

So what do you do now?

That question is one of the most difficult questions that I get now whenever I run into old friends or co-workers.

What do I tell them? The truth? A lie?

Normally I reply "Nothing." with a follow up of "I'm a housewife." Truth be told I LOVE the role of being the housewife. I really do get a high level of happiness with taking care of the house, cleaning, cooking, decorating, ironing and entertaining. I watch Martha Stewart( and read her magazine and follow her on Twitter) and Rachael Ray. I spend time looking at recipes. I read Retro Housewife. I'm flourishing in the role.

The problem comes from the person asking the question. Normally they make a silent "oh" or comment about "Oh I want your life" which implies I sit at home eating bon bons while watching Springer. Sometimes people comment "Slacker" with a laugh.

I always end up feeling bad. When did becoming a housewife mean not doing anything with your life? Why do people think that just because I don't have a job outside of the home that I don't work? When did homemaker become a four letter word?

I've been lucky that Daniel earns enough to allow me to stay home and not work. We live modestly and make smart money decisions. I'm not a big shopper, I still have money on gifts cards that I got for Christmas. All in all this works for us.

I just wish people would stop thinking that somehow I've gone back in time to the 50's and that women who stay home don't do anything. We work very hard everyday just like our sisters who go to the office, we just don't have the paycheck to show for it.


According to Salary.com my yearly paycheck would be: $31,943

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Autumn

This is my second favorite time of the year(winter being top dog). I love it because it starts to get cooler out, the leaves start to change and all the bugs start to die off. I've noticed it's almost Love Bug season. I thought I saw one fly into the house the other day. Joy.

I've been happy because I found my camera battery charger. I've been dying without it. I took some photo's of behind the house at night and of the birds in the lake. (See below.)

I guess that's what I'm more or less going to be blogging about. I don't really do much of anything else. Since I don't have a car I can't go anywhere during the week. I'm alone most of the time. Every now and then my or Daniel's parents come over to visit. I was telling Daniel that I go for about 11 hours a day without talking to another soul. Since I rarely watch tv during the day I also go 11 hours without hearing another persons voice. It gets lonely at times. I have Cincy our dog to keep me company. Sometimes she goes over to my parents house for a visit. That's where she is now.

Most of my week is spent cleaning the house, washing clothes or being online. I'm a facebook addict. I'll admit that I stalk most everyone. It's interesting to see what other people are doing. I'll read most every one's blogs even if I don't comment. I spend a good amount of online time looking at crafts, home decor and recipes. Right now I'm getting idea's for Halloween. I'm hoping I get trick or treaters this year after not getting a single one last year. I'm gonna try to make the walk way to the house spooky. It gives me pleasure to decorate for the holidays.

I guess that's it for now. See ya next week.


Night time view

Bird in the lake.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The week as me

So I'm a day late on my blog update. Nothing really interesting has really happened this week.

For a couple of days I really thought I was pregnant. I was like super tired, sick in the mornings and food tasted bad to me. Daniel and I really thought I was but I'm not. Kinda disappointed.

I've been making great strides in my cooking. My mother did all of our families cooking when I lived at home so until I got married my cooking was just whatever I could microwave. I kinda just make it up as I go along. Jennifer Durbin turned me on to the Kraft website so I just look around there.

I went to the Library and checked out Waiter Rant. That was a really good book. I read it all in one day. It's this guys life story as a waiter. It kinda just draws you in.

We had a community yard sale and we made about $35 from selling stuff that we had set aside from the move. We hope that the community does them more often.

In my final note of the blog, we found the BEST food place around the corner from us. It's called Thai Basil. I've fallen in love with them. The food is good and they give you so much for the price. Daniel and I got lettuce wraps and white rice. We both shared it, ate until we were stuffed AND I have some left over for lunch today. The people are really nice and friendly.

I guess that's it. Exciting isn't it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm gonna do a Twilight blog post....

Yes, I've read Twilight. No I'm not a pre-teen.


I feel in love with the Twilight books right around the time that I got married. I have bought the first book to read for the long drive up to the mountains for the honeymoon. We'd rented a cabin and there wasn't a lot to do their but read(loved it). So between hiking, shuffleboard, train rides and other fun stuff, I read the whole book. I feel in love on my honeymoon to someone besides my new husband. I was so engrossed with the books that I dragged Daniel to a mountain Wal-mart(way better than our Wal-mart's, because it's in the mountains) to get New Moon. I came back and between moving the last of my things into Daniel's apartment, I read that book too. With the help of a friend(btw Nina I still have your copy of Eclipse) I read book 3. This is were it gets funny....I never read Breaking Dawn. I had looked online to get a copy and had read the reviews, read what happened to everyone and I didn't like it. So in my world it never happened. Non of the craziness happened.


So I said all that to say this......Team Jacob. What love of your life would cause you that much pain. Jacob was loyal 1000% and loved Bella no matter what. And with him she'd have a semi-normal life.


Twilight Team Jacob Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Weekly update.....

I'm noticing that around Wednesday that I haven't updated the blog so maybe Wednesday will be my normal update days.

Nothing of interest happened. Just small stuff. They are and in no particular order:

My mom helped me move the boxes from downstairs. It really opened up the downstairs and the room looks so much larger.

We got Daniel's parents bikes and cleaned them and and changed the chains and the seats.

Went on a real date night to PF Changs. Good food.

Set up the ADT at the house.

Got a blu ray player.

Found out that Cincy will sit in a backpack and ride on the bike with me.

I've realized that life is made up of a millions of bored minutes. Everyday isn't fun and exciting. Just have to keep going.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Carless and not fancy free....

So yesterday was the first day that I didn't have the rental car. In the morning it wasn't so bad since my parents took me around. I got some Library books and went to NAS.

It didn't really hit us until last night. Daniel would say "oh well you can drive over there tomorrow". Then it would hit us that no I couldn't.

I'm thinking about getting a scooter for the local shops we have out here. Nothing big or fancy. Just a small pink (or sea foam green) scooter so that I can ride over to Publix or Target if I wanted too.

We got our washer and dryers yesterday. They were to deliver them on Monday but ended up giving us the wrong model. They had switched ours with another families. The other family had spend the extra money and got steam. The other family used the washers and didn't notice that they didn't have stream. How do you NOT notice the option that made your washer and dryer almost 1k more than ours isn't there? Maybe you didn't need it after all. I think the people at HH Greg were shocked to have us call in and say um you gave us a better washer and dryer then what we paid for. We're just honest people I guess. Well anyway we got our set yesterday and did some loads in it. It's amazing. Our stuff came out super clean.

I'm really happy with the house. As I type this I'm sitting on our patio and watching the water in the lake move. I get up in the mornings and feed the fish. They are really excited when they see me because they know they are about to get feed. Most of them are small fish maybe 6 inches. But I've seen larger ones and turtles too. I hear a lot of birds and there are a TON of lizards. Cincy has fallen in love with her walks and I had to go get biodegradable poop bags since she's decided that she doesnt' like getting her paws wet in the grass so she poops in the middle of the sidewalk behind the house.

No other news to report.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

General Update..

So this has been a busy week.

Thursday and Friday Daniel was home sick. Which is not normal for him. Yesterday was spent moving more of our things over from the apartment. How much crap do we have? We were living in a 2 bedroom apartment. Apparently it was full of crap and we didn't know it.

Today is moving the last of the big stuff over. Cleaning the apartment and then getting ready for our first overnight visitor. We want to make sure the guest room looks nice and is comfy.

We got the futon in the house. It almost killed us while trying to get it up the stairs. But it's worth it as it's nice place to sit and watch a move or read. It's a pretty comfy bed too.

This coming Wednesday we lose our rental car. So after that we're gonna be down to one car. As much as that is going to be a pain it's gonna allow us to save on INS and gas and such. There by allowing us to save more money for a better car in about 6 months.

Yesterday we brought Cincy over to her new house for the first time. She's having a ball with the stairs. If I throw her toy up the stairs she'll run to it then drop it so that gravity will roll it to the bottom for her. Who says chihuahua's aren't smart? She's also getting a kick out of the walking trail behind our house. We take her for a small walk in the evenings. We can't walk far since she's tiny and gets really tired. That's the main reason for the stroller we're getting her. So she can ride after she gets tired.

Also I'm really glad our kitchen is on the first floor....so much easier.

This coming week we should be getting our washer and dryer. Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm looking at Maytag.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where do I start....

These last few days have been so tough on us. It's been on thing after another....


Friday- Daniel was in a car crash. It was minor and he along with the other driver are fine. He had a 2001 Ford Taurus which isn't worth very much so we are fully expecting them to claim it a total loss since it would be cheaper to do than to fix it. So we are using a loaner for the next 4 days after that we're down to my car. We're gonna see how that works for us while paying off my car with the Taurus money and saving the monthly payments for new car.

Saturday- Daniel's grandmother Nonnie died that afternoon. We were able to see her Friday night and say our goodbyes and that we loved her. She was 88 and one the best people in the world. I have an affinity for people who speak their mind and are up front. Nonnie was one of those people. In the short amount of time I have been apart of the family Nonnie showed me love 100% of the time. Daniel was beyond close with her. They would have dinners together and she was with the family at every holiday. It was so very important to both of us to have her at the wedding. She along with Mamaw were the only one's wearing white flowers that day. We wanted them to stand out in a place of honor. She will be missed.

Also on Saturday we moved. We rented a truck and moved most of the big things from the apartment to the house. We had lots of help from truly wonderful friends.

Sunday- We tried out a new church that we like. It's Oakleaf Baptist Church around the corner from our house. Then spent most of the day at Daniel's parents.

Monday- We took Daniel beat up car that we named Steve( sorry Steve) to AutoCrafters. He pretty much told us don't expect to get the car back. We got a sweet rental and got me a new blouse for today and a futon for our guestroom(via my parents house warming gift). Then back to Daniel's parents.

To add insult to injury both Daniel and I are sick. We have sore throats and it's horrible.

Tuesday- Today will be the hardest. Nonnie's funeral is today at 2pm. I don't know what to do in regards to how to help Daniel. He's been "okay" since she passed but I'm not sure if it's hit him yet.

This has been the worst couple of days....

Bless those who mourn, eternal God,
with the comfort of your love
that they may face each new day with hope
and the certainty that nothing can destroy
the good that has been given. May their memories become joyful,
their days enriched with friendship,
and their lives encircled by your love.
Amen.

- Vienna Cobb Anderson

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Whatever you do, do NOT get ADT Security Services.


Daniel and I have had nothing but problems with them....

Picking them to help my husband has been the worst experience in our life. Here is a time line of the events:

11/02/07 My husband was the victim of a home burglary.

11/15/07 My husband received a security system from ADT in Apt 715

08/2008 My husband moves into a new apt in same apartment complex Apt 1027. We were told at that time that they would honor the original contract and not extend it. Told leave the system in the old apartment and they would install a new system in the new apartment.

Sent a installer (named Sam) out to install system. Installer was unable to get the system to work and said that he would be back the next day to finish. He never came.

Set up another appointment, installer never showed.

9/19/08 Set up appointment, calls at 5:47 PM and says he's on the stuck on the Southside. We cancel appointment. Call national office. The national office said that the local office never turned the billing on and that they never activated the system.

11/2008 We returned from our honeymoon and I moved in. Since we were planning a wedding and trying to move me into the apartment my husband was not able to keep tabs on ADT. His mistake and he's aware of it.

12/10/08 Set up appointment to finish install, putting up connections. ADT sends service man who can't finish install. Says he'll send someone to finish install the next day.

12/17/08 11:19 AM Call to sent appointment to finish install. They set up appointment for coming Friday morning. Was told the contract date doesn't get extended.

12/19/08 Installer comes. Has problems with wall monitor. There are no signals going out since we do not have home phone service and since it's run off a cell signal that the system can't get a signal out. Something is also missing from the panel that holds down the tamper switch. Calls another installer to ask if he has another system on his truck. They decide to ball up some paper to put into the system to hold the tamper switch down. Said that the 2nd installer fixed problem.

02/04/09 Another appointment set. Having problems with system giving error messages and beeping at random times. Was told problem was fixed.

02/20/09 Another appointment set. Same problem as above. Find out that paper that was balled up on 12/08/08 was left in system and that it's no longer holding down tamper switch. Also found out that ADT's system was having problems and that they had to cancel original account in their system and set up a new one.


Since that time we've had the system beep, give error messages and go off at random times at all hours of the day and night. Currently the system is not working but because of everything we've just left it alone.


08/09/09 After months of the system not working we go a call from some one with ADT who called to let us know our system isn't working.

All we want now is to not have the contract extended. We want to just pay monthly for them to monitor nothing. No one locally wants to help or nationally either. So we are stuck paying for an extra year.

Whatever you do DO NOT GET ADT.

http://www.alarmsystemreviews.com/unbiased-adt-alarm-reviews.html

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Blogging Anniversay

It was a year ago today that I started this blog. I think it all started when Gary gave us the title for the blog and I started the blog.

It's been a crazy year. We got married, bought a house, had the holidays, birthdays, taken trips and just lived our lives.

It's amazing to look back at the last year and seeing all the things that we've done. We're pretty good at writing once a week.

I wonder what the next years hold.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

We own a house.......

This weekend has been CRAZY....

It started on Friday. Daniel and I went to our closers office. We signed a million pieces of paper and bought a house. The funny moment of the morning was at the end when the closer looks at our agent and says "you can give them the keys now," at which point our agent says "I don't have them, they should be here. The sellers agent told me he was dropping them off yesterday." There is a round of I don't have them and our agent calls the seller's agent who says he didn't pick up the keys and to just give us the code for the lock box.

We say our thanks and race over to our new house. After pausing for a second we go about getting the house ready to paint and I start to clean. Both sets of parents come for the first visits along with Daniel's sister Rebbecca. We end up running to Publix and eating on the floor. It wasn't a fancy restaurant but it was the best ending to that day.

The next morning we get our paint, pick up some things and have our first non family member visitor with Brad. Then we begin the never ending task of painting. We burned the midnight oil getting as much painted as we could.

Today was finishing touches on the paint and Elijah's birthday party part 2 and then more touch up's on the paint. Adam and his girlfriend Jessica came for a visit and then Daniel's parents came and we all sat outside and watched the lake. I found out the fish love cheerio's.

This weekend has been a LOT of work but totally worth it. This coming weekend we're gonna move what we can and move the big stuff Saturday.

I'd write more but I'm way to tired.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Home buying update 8/04


So we close in like 3 days. I'm not getting excited until Friday. With our luck lately I'm not getting my heart involved until they give us the keys.

We have the water and electricity set up to be turned on on Friday with cable coming the next week.

I have the final walk through on Thursday. I'm going to check on some things that I forgot to look for when we were there last. Take some measurements. Then I'm off to Sam's to get some cleaning supplies.


Then the next morning at 9am we are going to sign the paperwork. After how ever long that takes we're going to Lowes to get the sample paint cans. We've narrowed it down to Homestead Resort Tea Room Yellow or Homestead Resort Tea Room Cream. They are both yellows with one being just a shade warmer. Then we're on to the new house. Both sets of parents are going to drop by on Friday and we're also going to tape everything so we can start painting on Saturday. Then we might go to dinner as a reward.

After that utter ciaos. Sunday we might check out a new church or go to OCF. Then nephew's party and then back to the new house for more painting if need be or the great box migration.

This coming week I'll be moving boxes during the day and Daniel will be helping me in the evenings. With next weekend we're going to rent a truck and move the big stuff.

After that it's just setting up the house and turning it into a home.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spike in readers....

I've noticed in the past month or so that I've had a spike in non local readers. Most of this I think is do to the fact I wrote a blog called Wedding Gift Calculator. If you Google it our blog is the 4th website listed. How, I have NO idea. It's just interesting. Most people I guess view that page and move on.

I have a handful repeat readers. They are mostly friends since my tracker to the right labels them as either Orange Park or Jacksonville. What's left of those who remain are non local friends and family.

Then there are a few non-local, non friends that read the blog.

I wonder about you. I really do. I start to notice if the same state or country pop's up. I usually ask myself the following, "Do I know anyone currently living in Timbuktu?" that question is usually followed by this one "Daniel do you know anyone living in Timbuktu?"

It makes me wonder who these faces belong to, that sometime live the apposite ends of the world from me, that find little ole me so interesting that they came back for more. For those of you who blog, do you ever wonder why a non-friend read's your blog? Do you ever wonder why they keep reading your blog?

It's a interesting time we live in. People I don't even know....know me.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Home Buying Update 7/30

Man that time blew buy. We are about 8 days out from owning our first home. We got all of the needed paperwork together. There was some drama that I wish didn't have to take place with our Lender. But we're moving forward. It's to late in the game to do anything about them now. We're just going to keep moving forward. After we close they'll sell our mortgage and we will be done with them. I'm looking forward to that day.

So at this moment our mortgage is getting finalized and either yesterday or this morning it was sent to the USDA for final approval. We have closing set up for next Friday at 9am. The woman we're working with at the lending company doesn't feel anything bad will occur in the next 8 days. Daniel and I are stressed that something will come up and are praying that the next few days fly by.

I'm trying not to get excited about the house yet. It's hard since we're so close. I'm having to tell myself we're not done yet. I won't fully believe everything until we're at the closing table and we sign everything and they hand us the keys. Then Daniel and I have plans to race over to the new house and just stand in our new home. We're going to start painting right away and move things in that we'll need. We want to get moved in asap.

We've been asked a couple of times about house warming gifts. To even be asked shows how much we're loved and blessed with thoughtful family and friends. We don't really know what we'll need until we get moved in. If you're looking for things here's some ideas....Home Depot gift cards so Daniel can get his man buying started. Our wedding registry is still active at Target. I don't recommend getting anything until Friday of next week.

We are hopefully going to send out cards reflecting the new address. So after we close start looking for those in the mail.

Big girls are getting love too.....

So I am three level's of happy because big girls are starting to make it into the main stream. There are two shows that I'm just crazy over. First being More to Love with started last night on Fox. It's a dating show for women who aren't rail thin. They are more woman like. They have hips and curves. They are not plastic, they don't have implants, they are more like every day normal women. I understand how those girls feel as they talk about how they struggle with their weight about how they are always the fat friend, the guys best friend. That used to be me. I used to be like that. I understand their feelings. Needless to say I have my favorite and I will be watching the show.

Second show is Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime. It's about a thin model who dies and comes back in a plus sized Lawyer. It's cute and funny and available on the Lifetime website if you want to check it out. I'm currently waiting for it to buffer so I can watch episode 3.

Now anyone who know's me know's I HATE tv. It's a mindless box that sucks your mind...so I guess now I'll be losing some IQ points because these shows rock.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I hate laundry and other random rambings.

I hate doing laundry. Have you ever noticed how many steps are involved in doing it? First you have to find and collect your clothes. Second you have to load the washer and start it. Next you have to wait that to wash. Then you have to load the dryer. Once the clothes are finally dry you have to fold them and put them away.

That is a lot of steps man.

It isn't like you can skip it.

In other news....I want to take a trip to Italy. I'm currently reading Playing for Pizza by John Grisham. It's about an ex NFL quarterback who goes to Parma Italy to play for their team the Panthers. It's about him adjusting his lifestyle by learning about Italian food, driving small Fiat's and learning the language. Reading this makes me want to take my wife on a trip to Italy. It doesn't hurt that she was born there.

That all folks.....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Do you have a One Upper Friend?

Do you have that friend that no matter what you do they have to "one up" you? You know that friend who after hearing that you're buying a house has to reply "oh well, we're....." The one-upper is typically a person who feels that they always need to enforce their awesomeness (which is self perceived) on others for no apparent reason. They crave approval, expecting people to envy them, and nothing will slow their nauseating self-congratulations like ambivalence.

Do you have that "friend?"

A well in Africa

Oakleaf Christian Fellowship is going to be raising money to build a well in Africa. I don't know all the details but I know that at the church in a sanctuary they have one of those tall glass water jugs and they are trying to fill it.

So if you want to give any spare change you can drop it off at the church.

I'm actively seeking ways I can personally get involved in raising change for the well. Our good friend Gary just returned from Kenya and told us about how important clean water is for people. How life changing it is for the people in a village.

I just want to help anyway I can....to raise money anyway I can....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Home decor the big three....

So since Daniel and I are getting a new house we are looking around for things.

We are on the look out for :

1) Dresser. Daniel needs to get a new dresser. He has a tall one (which like I've said before is taller than me. I can't even reach into the top drawer. It also is two pieces so I'm afraid that one day our kids will hit it and it will fall on them.) and now I want a long one. I found a buffet at the Salvation Army over by my parents for $100. It's not a dresser but I think it would work really well for our needs. Erin reminded us about the goodness of craiglist...I'll look some more but I think people are over thinking how wonderful their stuff is because some stuff is over priced.

2) Dinning room table. We want a drop leaf table since we don't have a formal dinning room in the new house and we hardly use our dinner table now other than when we have company over. I found one at IKEA. I like this one since it also has storage with it....Daniel's not a fan. He likes this one. Any thoughts?

3) Paint color. We are still trying to decide what color we want for our downstairs. We are going to paint both the kitchen and the greatroom. I'm really into a nice yellow. If your curious as to the color I want it's Valspar's Homestead Resort Tea Room Yellow. Daniel's parents are giving us paint for the downstairs as a house warming present. We were thinking of Oatlands Spring Kiss for our bedroom. They are Historic Colors of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Those are our big three for the house right now...

Friday, July 24, 2009

House buying update 7/24

Not really anything to update.....the survey is done so they are getting everything together and will be sending it to our lender so that they(the lender) can send it on to the USDA for final approval.

All together this should take 2 weeks. Which means in 2 weeks we shall be home owners.

We're going to wait until Tues to lock in our interest rates, so every one can pray on that, that would be great.

I just want to say that Daniel and I are so very blessed with amazing parents. My parents are blessing us with new pots and pans, knifes and a futon for the guest bedroom. Daniel's parents are blessing us with paint and painting tools. We're so happy because those are things that we really needed but were going to have to wait to get until after we got our first time home buyer tax credit.

I'm actively looking for a new long dresser for Daniel, he has a tall one but it's two pieces and very tall(taller than me). So I want to get a long one so we can also use it for our stereo and some wedding photo's.

The biggest thing to me right now is our guest bathroom downstairs. It's a little half bath and I'm trying to decide how I want to decorate it. I'm in LOVE with Fleur de lis....and I'm thinking about doing that bathroom in it. Or just doing the bathroom in New Orleans period. I love new Orleans...so I donno.....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This weekend....

So this was a nice weekend for us.

On Saturday we took Daniel's parents and his sister Beth along with her two kids to see the house. They hadn't been there so it was nice to show them the house. They love the lake and the walking trail behind it. We spent the rest of the day with them. We ended up taking a nap over there as is our custom. Their house is the "sleepy house".

Then today we cleaned out my closet and our bedroom and our bathroom. Nothing sexier than a man vacuuming under the bed. Then we met good friends the Durbin's for dinner and a walk about around Walmart where Gary and Daniel spend a hour in electronics looking at the movies. Jennifer and I walked over to the baby department and then over to pj's.

You know you're an old married couple when double date turns into dinner and a Walmart.....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Home Buying Update 7/15

Yesterday we had our home inspection. Overall it went well. Nothing bad or any huge problems. Only normal maintenance that needs to be done on a house that's been empty for a while. Change filters, clean etc. We got the formal report today so we have a list of things that we can fix on our own.

I got to spend about an hour in the house with my parents. It was nice since it wasn't hot like the last time we were there since the electricity was on. I sat down on the floor and got a better feel for the house. I was trying to decide on paint colors. We want to get the down stairs painted and our bedroom done before we move our things in.

Well today we got our estimated closing date. It's August 7th. Woohoo....everyone has been asking us when we move. It's been tough trying to explain the whole process. If you watch HGTV they make it seem like oh you sign a contract you move in the next week that that isn't the case. It's normally 30 days. So right now we are 23 days away from being done. I can't wait.

We got our appraisal back so now it's just survey & pest report then on to USDA.


Here's a photo of the townhouse.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home buying update 7/13

Today is an easy day in terms of worry. I'm cleaning our apartment, throwing away junk that we don't need. It will hopefully make the move easier.

Daniel and I are talking over hiring a moving company. The pro's are that it's easier. We wont be the one's moving furniture down stairs from the apartment or upstairs to the townhouse. I can handle the move during the week, cutting down on the time spent between the two places. We're gonna have to pay for utilities between the two until we're moved. I could also do the move during the week freeing up more time for Daniel. The con's are cost. I've been looking around and the cheapest I've found is $75/hour. We're thinking total it would be max 3 hours. I don't know if I want to spend money on that when we need things for the house.

My parents came over today to shoot the breeze. I laid all the paint samples out on the ground and showed my Mom the one's we are most interested in. We're thinking about doing the living room and the kitchen in one color, I'm thinking it will make the room look larger and will match the stuff we already own. Daniel is ready for color after living with white walls as a renter. The other rooms we want to do are the master bed room in a nice light green. The master bath we want to do is a pale blue, almost a Tiffany blue. The rest of the rooms we want to paint but we have to see how much money we have on hand. The other things we want to buy are curtains. I've never bought curtains so that's gonna be a mother daughter trip.

Our appraisal was done over the weekend so we should know about that soon. Then we do the survey and finally send the whole thing the the USDA. Hopefully they will sign off on things and have it back to us.

I'm hoping we get closed and signed into the house sometime the first full week of August. Either way things are gonna happen fast.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cleaning....

Now that we have the house and the loan Daniel and I are are going through the house room by room and throwing away things that we don't need. Just trying to lighten the load for the move. We have in our contract to be closed by 30 days. The seller wants everything done ASAP so it could be sooner. That seems crazy. We could be in our first place in less then a month. I'm excited and happy. It's also gonna be sad. I'm gonna miss this apartment. It is the first place I've ever lived in outside of my parents house. I'm gonna miss the first house I lived in as a married woman.




Thursday, July 9, 2009

Home buying update 7/09 part 2

We just heard back from Lender 1 that the loan was approved. Now we just have the appraisal and then USDA needs to sign off on the loan and then we set up a closing date.

After this week and all the stuff we've had to do to get into the house I'm just speechless. As Daniel told me I sat there asking him if he was joking. I sat here and thought this is a funny joke and I'm not happy.

Daniel said no he wasn't joking.

We are almost one step closer to getting our home.

Daniel asked me knowing what I know now would I do this again, I told him I'll let him know when we have the keys.

Home buying update 7/09

So we are still in a holding pattern with Lender 1. I called over there and she was trying to tell me that they are fighting for us. That it's not them it's the USDA. That everything thing looks good on their end and they need to just make sure that USDA wont refused it.

That got me thinking......Lender 1 wants to blame the USDA. So what did I do....I called the USDA. I called the local Rural Development office and spoke with someone. He said that THEIR guidelines say 2 years after bankruptcy if your score is below 620. Since Daniel's credit is higher he said that the date of the bankruptcy is "irrelevant." And he asked me who I was working with, I told him and he said "Can I be honest with you, I'd get another lender."

HA.

Why do people do this? This has been the worst week of my life and for what? A lender who is dragging this out for no reason. A part of me want to get another lender and say ha. You lost out on a great couple, a couple who would sell everything they own to make sure they could pay their bills.

You could have helped us but you didn't.

Me...unplugged.....

It's 1:20am, my head is throbbing and I'm trying to keep myself from being sick. Daniel is across the apartment sleeping. Not wanting to wake him with my tossing and turning I came in here. My mind refuses to sleep. Every time I close my eyes I see the video Daniel took of "our house". I see myself, along with my parents looking out the back window to the lake as Daniel pans around the kitchen. In the days after wining the house I'd watched that video thinking of where to put our coffee pot.

That seems so long ago. I was so happy then. I had images of Christmas parties, of walk babies and waving at neighbors in my mind. Now those images wont leave me alone.

Last update had us being happy of the prospect at another lender giving us a chance with another loan. That changed about 6 hours ago. See Daniel signed up for a credit monitoring program so we could be sure no fraud could happen to him while we were trying for the mortgage. We he got an email saying his credit rating had changed. We logged on and there was some bill that we had disputed a month ago showing up again. We called them and found out it was for a bill for movies that Daniel never order, that were never shipped to him and he never received. We were helpless but to pay it. It will be listed as paid by Friday but it may take 30 days to report. With that one little thing it lowered his credit that we are now worried will make him unable to apply for the new loan.

We can't win for losing. These last few days have been so hard on us. I want to keep my spirits up but I just can't anymore. I haven't been able to sleep really well. I know Daniel hasn't either.

I just don't know what else we can do. We just need a chance. We just need one break.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Home buying update 7/08 part 2

Here's the update as of right now. Daniel called over to Florida Unemployment to see if they had any records from him filing for unemployment. After being on hold for 30 mins he got through. Unfortunately they didn't. The guy helping him was shocked to find out why he needed that, he'd never heard of that from any bank before.

So we contacted our processor who said she'd get with our underwriter to see if they could move on without it.

Meanwhile we contacted our buyer agent and told her what was going on. She in turn contacted her lenders on our behalf and we found one that is promising. Lender 2 feels pretty confident that she can get us into a mortgage.

We waited until the end of today to see what lender 1 said. As of right now they don't know. So in the morning Daniel is going to call Lender 2 and get the ball rolling on the mortgage ap with them.

Daniel feels good about everything. He thinks it's going to go through and everything will be fine. Since I've gotten my hopes up before so many times only to have them dashed, I don't care what anyone says to us until I get the email saying the mortgage was approved and we have a closing date.

Home buying update 7/08

So I'm going to lay it all out on the line. Daniel will be mad but I have to write about it. I'm numb and I have no tears left anymore.

We have a problem with our mortgage. Here's the whole story:

In April 2002 Daniel was laid off from Sprint PCS after working for them for 6 years. His whole call center was closed. In total they laid off 522 people and it was so large that Sprint was required by Federal law to notify The city of Jacksonville.

Since he had been there for 6 years he was vested with the company. When he was let go he received severance and a small pension check.

After he was let go he was unable to find work and ended up filing for bankruptcy. Since then he's had steady employment.

Fast forward to now, we are trying for our first mortgage. The underwriter is asking for proof that he was laid off. We have nothing since it's been 7 years. We contacted Sprint who has all of their work verification through a third party. That company has him listed as retired. Listing him as retired means he left voluntarily. It lists where he worked. We contacted Sprint and they only show that he cashed his pension check (wouldn't you if you were out of work).

We went back and found news articles from that time that show that Sprint closed the center and laid everyone off. In the article it says the time and the address for the center which matches the address that Sprint says my husband "retired" from.

We heard back from Sprint PCS today and they said they don't have any records from that time and there is nothing they can do.

We sent that to our underwriter. Daniel hopes that since they see that we tired every avenue to prove it then maybe just maybe they will take that. Our mortgage depends on that decision. We should know for sure in an hour.

I don't think they will take it and we will be without a mortgage.

When I found out I curled up in a ball and cried on the floor of our apartment.

Monday, July 6, 2009

House buying update 7/06

The bank excepted our offer. We have a contract. We beat the other buyer by 1k. The bank isn't even going to go back and ask them if they want to counter or anything. Just signed our offer and sent it back to us.

I'm soooooo excited. I've been on pins and needles all day.

Now things are going to fly. We going to have the inspection done in the next couple of days. Then the banks appraisal on the house. All together we are hoping for a 30 day close. That works out great since we have to be out of our apartment by the end of next month.

Today has been a very long and stressful day. I think I aged a full three years. I'm just happy that we're one step closer to owning our place.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

House buying update 7/05

I'm a bundle of nerves. We got an email from our agent and this being 4th of July weekend worked in our favor since we will only have one other person competing against us. It seems like that person revisited their offer amount and put in a new higher/different offer.

We should get word sometime tomorrow.

Tonight and tomorrow will be the worst. I feel like we're competing for a prize and we don't know if we won.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a hard time handling the unknown. I don't like being in situations that I can't control somewhat. I dislike Christmas because I hate surprises. I rarely do things unless I know I'm gonna get what I want. So this weekend was really bad. It put a lot of stress on us as a couple.

Daniel has taken on a zen like quality and has decided he's not going to let it get to him. Good for him. That's not me.

I also deal in worst case scenario's so my mind is already thinking we didn't get the house. I don't want to be disappointed anymore.

So hopefully we'll get the house.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

House Update 7/04

So we heard yesterday afternoon that since there are two offers on the plan C house that the listing agents were told to go back to their buyers and have them get their(buyers) best and highest offer and that they would submit them on Sunday night and we would have an answer by Monday. They estimate closing by August 6th.

We went back and reviewed our original offer and raised it. It's higher than the asking price but since we were already going to pay that amount on the plan B house it's not that bad.

So that's great. I'm just worried that the other person could be an investor and have limitless money and we get priced out of the house. Or that today or tomorrow someone else with more money could come along and put in a third offer.

So if we end up getting the plan C house we have to get our binder back from the plan B house. We don't think that's going to be a problem. They could make it one but we don't feel that they will. It's just something else to worry about.

We heard back from our Mortgage Originator and we got the mortgage approved but with some strings. The first was we needed to provide our apartment information so they could confirm somethings. We got that to them asap. The other one makes me scared. They need to verify some information from 5 years ago. We don't think we have anyway to prove it since it's from an old job of Daniel's. I know the reason's why but I'm worried what will happen if we give it to them.

Last night I was telling Daniel that it feels like we are at the base of the Appalachians trying to move out West. So we have to climb over the Appalachians AND the Rockies.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Home Buying Update 7/03

So we ended up looking a three houses today. My parents came with me and it was nice that I could see my Mom getting excited that her little girl was getting a house.

The first house which I'm going to call plan C is a foreclosure so that should close faster. It's really nice. Smaller than the plan B house by 15 sq ft. It doesn't have a formal dining room but a bigger kitchen, it backs to a lake and has a HUGE master suite. I love the shower in this place. Out of the 3 houses that I've fallen in love with this is the best. It has a little computer nook so it opens up a whole room for more uses. Now if we get this room I may be able to talk Daniel into making the spare room into a guest room. We'll see.

What's great is that it's about 10k cheaper than the orignal house. BUT there is a problem, even though it came on the market 2 days ago it already has an offer on it. We all think it's an investor since we were the first people to view the house. So who would buy the house without looking at it?

We also looked at 2 other houses but nothing worked like this one. So we are putting in an offer and crossing our fingers that we will have the winning offer. God I'm praying so.

So since the plan B house will take over 60 days for an approval( and we gave them a drop dead time frame of 60) we will get our binder back.

Buying a house in this market in this area is so hard. All the cheaper houses have multiple offers on them by families, and the more pricier houses have multiple offers on them from investors.

You have to be on your toes every day, you blink and houses have multiple offers on them.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home buying update 7/01

So we found out this morning that most of the houses in the area that we like are with Suntrust.


There are two others that we are going to view on Friday.



One had a sell fall through but the agent kept the sell going with Suntrust so she's about 30 days in with the bank. This place and the house we have an offer with are identical.



Then there is another house that is the same subdivision. It's the same size but it doesn't have a formal dinning room, but it has a bigger kitchen. No information on this place yet, but it's listed in the MLS as a bank approved short sale with "QUICK CLOSING ANTICIPATED-"



These two houses are officially coined plan C.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

House Buying update 6/30

So we found out today that Suntrust, the bank that has the first mortgage, hasn't even looked at our offer that we gave them a week ago. We also found out today that the orignal time frame of 60 days for an approval would be extended. They didn't even bother to give us a time frame this time, just that it would be longer than 60 days.

That just steams me. I really feel bad for the seller. Our offer is the only one that they've had in the 3 months that the house has been on the market. We are pretty sure that the offer would be excepted but we can't wait the extra time that it may take to get Suntrust to approve the sell. We have to be out of our apartment at the end of August and the First Time Home Owner credit expires at the end of November.

Oh and Suntrust took a nice 3 BILLION dollar bail out. So Daniel and I are paying their bills and they can't even look at our offer.

So far we've limited ourselves to Oakleaf Plantation because we love the area, it's also a nice half way point between my parents out in Fleming Island and Daniel's on the Westside. It has to be townhouse since my parents have trouble walking up stairs which limits them from visiting me now. It has to be in a USDA are for our loan type. We've been approved for more but mentally we don't want to get any higher than 105k

I'm just so tired with this whole buying a house thing. We've got 2 other properties that we like and we are going to try and view them this Friday.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Good Pillow Night

This is one of those....wow they are kind of said stories.....

Daniel and I have about 4 pillows on our bed. Only one of those pillows is good. It's a memory foam pillow that is just great. The rest are normal stuffing pillows. They are old and therefor flat as a pancake. They offer no support and have to be balled up to make them decent.

So each night we rotate who has the good pillow. That person sleeps well the other person gets to toss and turn. That person does not sleep well.

Tonight is Daniel's Good Pillow Night.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The longs about short sales.

Since Daniel and I currently have an offer on a townhouse that is a short sale I've been reading everything that I can about the subject. It's really kind of sad. A short sale is when the home owner is selling the house for less than the mortgage with the hopes that their lender will forgive the difference. In the last two weeks I've read almost every single website that has the word short sales on it. The people who are doing this are trying to avoid being foreclosed on. It's better credit wise for a short sale to happen then for a foreclosure . From the seller's end it's a great way IF they can get their bank to approve on it.

This is where the problems come in. Banks are reportedly dragging their feet on approving offers that buyers are putting in on the houses. The sellers agree to the price, forward that to their bank and then the bank does nothing. Most of the time they sit on the offer for anywhere from 2 weeks to months. There are horror stories about people waiting on a house for over a year. Waiting on the bank to say yes or no. I don't understand that. Why would you want to not just sell so you can get some money? Your not going to get a lot but it's better than doing nothing and foreclosing.

This is the nervous part for a buyer. We found a house in an area we love. We like the neighborhood, good schools, close to shopping with amenities. The same style townhouse would normally sell for 30k more than this one. We've pretty much love this house. Our agent and their agent feel pretty strongly that the bank with approve out offer but they can't guarantee anything.

So now we wait. It's so hard to just wait...I want to buy things. I want to decorate. I want to get the things to change it from a house to a home.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

He's just not that into you....




I remember when this book came out. I was in love with Sex in the City. It's wonderful writing, it's realistic idea about how frank and honest women are in their friendships and about how women viewed relationships. I was having a string of bad relationships. Horrible relationships. Along came this book that had a buzz around it. It was simple, it was easy to understand and it was frank and honest just like the show. When I read it, it was like all the light bulbs in the house had all turned on at once. It made sense. All the dates that went no where, all the calls that never came and all the games that I've ever had to play. They weren't games they were just men's lazy and childish ways of dumping me. I thought back to all the guys who had ever said one thing while their actions said another.

I became ruthless. You didn't call? Thank you for playing, have a nice day. Have to cancel our date, okay well I'll be seeing you. I grew as a person. I hung out with friends and filled my days with things.

Along came my husband. We became friends, dated, had two speed bumps and finally Daniel told me he was into me.

I guess I said all that to say this:

1) Ladies if your single, read this book. I fully intend to hand this book to any daughters I have when they start to date.

2) God I love my husband. Sitting next to him reminded me even when we have problems I still love him more than word can express.

Ladies if he's a man worth his salt, he will let you know he's into you. Unless not HE'S just not into YOU. Nothing wrong with you or him, just you weren't meant to be.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The sellers excepted our offer......

I'm so excited. We just heard from our agent that the sellers have excepted our offer. I'm so happy and excited. It's one step closer to closing the deal. Since the house is a short sale now comes the hard part. We have to wait to hear from the bank who has the mortgage with the seller that they except the offer too. This could range from 2 weeks to forever. I know place like thenest.com that have had people waiting to get into their dream place since February.

I'm not going to worry about that now. I'm just happy that we are now one step closer to our house.

Monday, June 15, 2009

1st step

So our first steps into the rheum of home ownership were hard. I got caught up in the idea of buying a house. I gave my heart away quickly. Then the rug was taken out from under me. I cried and then moved on.

A lot has changed since then. We kept moving forward. We went on Thursday and signed the paperwork to start the loan. That was fun. We should hear back about that soon. So with that under our belt we went and viewed more houses. We saw a couple that we liked and then there was one that we LOVED. It was a little bigger than our original place that we liked. It was about 10k more than the first one. But it had less to do in terms of paint, flooring and it was newer. It has a nice master suite with a bath tub and shower. It's more money but it's a little better than the first one. The community is a little better and it's within walking distance of the schools.(Which will be good if we stay long enough for babies to go to school). It's still in Oakleaf Plantation. We took some video and I'll post it later.

So we went home and talked about the house talked it over. Went to church and prayed on it. We felt like it was a good idea. We both felt calm over it. So we decided to make an offer. So we signed the paperwork for our offer last night.

Since the house is a short sale we have to get it approved by the seller and the seller's bank. I'm not worried about the seller just a little worried for the seller's bank. Our offer is a fair amount. We are pretty much just asking them to pay our closing. So the bank it's really losing very much. This is where the waiting comes in. Most banks since they might have so many short sales are taking FOREVER to reply to offers. Our agent says the shortest she's done is 2 weeks(We'd LOVE that to happen)but on average is 45-60 days.

So now we wait. We wait for a reply from the seller and the bank. We wait to find out if we're officially approved for the loan.

So I hope everything works out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sooooo...

So last night was kinda rough. After losing out on the house that we were interested in I was asking Daniel why do the wicked prosper? Him being the good head of the household that he is found a Bible study on the subject and tried to use that as a balm over my wounds. It didn't work.

It left me wondering more about why God lets his followers struggle while people who shun him have rewards. Daniel tried to make me understand that His followers will have rewards in heaven but that doesn't seem fair. Since God is so powerful shouldn't he reward good behavior and punish bad? Isn't that at the heart of all fathers for their children. Why then does the opposite happen here on Earth. Shouldn't those who follow be rewarded?

I'm struggling right now. I have two things that I cry out to God for. First being a child. I've been wanting a baby since Daniel and I got married. I don't understand why this hasn't happened for us. There are people in the world who don't want children and then abort them and then their are people in the world who have like 21 kids and aren't married to the children's mother. Therefor blessing them with children through sin.

Second being a home. I don't have fancy taste. Something simple to call my own. A place to paint as I want. To have a bigger kitchen and a pantry. To not be cramped, to have a place for visitors to stay if they want to come. I don't want a million dollar home I want a 85,000 home. Yet nothing is working out as it should. We are struggling to find gift money. We had problems with a computer while trying to pre qualify ourselves, all the places we looked at are gone. It seems like nothing is moving ahead.

I don't know why? Daniel read Job to me last night. Trying to explain that we may never know why. That God know why and we have to trust him. I don't know...maybe that is a sign of Daniel's level of faith compared to mine. I'm just tired of getting beat down. I'm just tired of not being rewarded. Maybe I'm being punished for questioning God's will.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Moving forward....part 4

So our dream place somehow magically got 3 offers on it since Thursday. I'm so disappointed. I am about to cry. I got my hopes up and really thought that maybe just maybe we would get this. If we prayed hard enough we would get this. If we worked hard enough we would get this. Now those dreams are gone. Someone else will be living in my dream.

I'm just so sad. I've been looking at all the townhouses in that neighborhood and they are all either too expensive or have multiple offers on them. I guess this is my mistake, I got ahead of myself. I started dreaming about a place I didn't own. I picked out paint samples for a place I didn't own. I showed my friends a place I didn't own.

I'm so tired of this process already. The process seems to set people up to fail. Daniel and I could be approved for a house up to 150k but because we don't want to get in over our heads we are staying close to what we can afford to pay. Doing that prices us out all the decent places or gives us a house to small for our needs. So that forces people to buy more than they can afford.

Daniel wants to keep going but I think it's a waste of our time, our lenders time and our agents time. We wont find anyplace decent for our range so why even try. I guess this is my last moving forward....unless Daniel wants to write.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Moving forward.....3

So we went and looked at the townhouses this weekend. We picked the one that we really liked. So this week we're (hopefully) going to do the loan paper work, get our gift money and then make an offer on the place.

So we just have a couple of things that we need to go our way. We have a couple of people that might be gifting us the money needed to get the house. I'm asking people to pay for those people. Just pray to have them see inside themselves to see if they want to give us that money and to release them from any guilt they might have if they can't.

Just pray for our lender Ellen that she's got every thing she need and pray for our under rider that God gives them the wisdom that they need to make the decision that God gives them.

Pray for the bank that owns the house that they will except our offer.




Here's a little video about our(hopefully) place.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Moving forward part 2

It's been about 2 days since I wrote that last blog about Daniel and I trying to buy a house. This has been the most stressful 2 days in my life.

I used to work prior to this with a CU in town with doing 2nd mortgages . I am fairly familiar with the process.

We currently have two lenders we are working with.

Lender A is trying for either an FHA loan or a USDA loan. They are different in that the FHA does 97% financing and the USDA does 100% financing. Both are eligible for 8k tax incentive.

Lender B is trying to do a FHA loan with Florida Assist. Florida Assist is a 2nd mortgage bond that is zero percent interest, non-amortizing second mortgage loans for 10k. Using Florida Assist makes us ineligible for the 8k tax incentive.


Both lenders are trying to talk over our heads and telling us to take different class(both costing money).Lender A's class is for the SHIP program with is the State of Florida down payment assistants that is given out at the local level. They are currently out of money for this year. Lender B's class is for the Florida Assist program.


Here are what I'm confused about:

Closing cost. I know that we can negotiate to have the seller pay for the closing cost. We may not have any room for negotiation the 4 townhouses we are looking at are short sales. But in this market we might be able to talk them into it. So we might not need money for closing at all.


I know that this process is long and not easy but it just seems like it's a lot harder than it should be.

So *sigh* just got to keep swimming....





Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Moving forward.....

So Daniel are trying to be adults and buy our first home. We found a perfect townhouse in a perfect location. We went about everything correctly. Got a copy of our credit. Went and found a lender who was willing to work with us. We actually have two lenders working to get us into the house. Daniel makes enough with his salary alone and we have little debt. The place is a great value and even the lender says it's a good deal.

Now we are on to getting a realtor. Everything is positive.

Then there is the negative. The costing cost. As of Nov 2008, Former President Bush signed into law to make it illegal for the seller to help with the closing cost. Also gone are down payment assistance that used to be able to help with closing and down payments. So Daniel and I are are perfect borrowers. No debt, good income and good credit. Perfect townhouse. Perfect location. But we might not be able to get our house......all because of $2700.70 that is needed at closing.

It's so hard to be so close.

Since we just got married we both spent our savings on our wedding because we paid for it all (the wedding) in cash.

So I'm asking my few readers out there to pray for us and if your not religious send good thoughts and vibes towards us.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What was the last nicest thing you did for someone...

So here I was just sitting here at my desk hitting random to see the thoughts of random bloggers out in cyberland when I landed on this one.....

It got me thinking. Do I live up to my convictions as a Christian? Do I live my life as a Christian? How many of us have that thought?

So it got me thinking what have Daniel and I have done that was nice this month?

1) Bought Crystal's mom a coconut cake from RAM.
2) Crystal volunteered 2 hours for the city of Jacksonville with the Jazz Festival.
3) Watched a child for a friend so they could go on a date night.
4) Watched a nephew so parents could go out of town sans kid.
5) Let a friend borrow a light for a impromptu swing night

As I was sitting here trying to think of things that we've done for others, Daniel and I had a hard time. Are we doing enough? Are we being nice enough?

This is my question to you, my reader, What is the nicest thing you've done for someone this month?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Riverside Arts Market from Michael Walter on Vimeo.



I really just adore this video and I just adore RAM.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happyness

Right now I'm really feeling happy with my life. As I look back over the last 6 months my life has changed and has gotten so much better. I've gained another family and another set of parents that love me as much as my own. My relationship with my parents has grown stronger. I've cut ties with people that weren't people that I thought they were while making the ties with others better. I've grown in my personal faith with God.

I know that I'm not perfect but as of right now this is the best it's gonna be.....until babies.....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bloggings...

So I was talking to James the lighting man Tucker about how both of us never blog anymore. We both had the same reason for our lack of blogging.....lack of feed back.....that and I never can think of saying anything of interest. I have about 4 unfinished blogs that I've started and then I'll think....hummm maybe I should be cleaning the kitchen and not wasting my time on writing something that no one will see.

Nothing of interest other than I redecorated the whole apartment. Moved some furniture around, got some budget friendly decor and threw a lot away that was junk. I'm really proud of myself. Daniel has been a huge help and it's just a wonderful reminder that I married the best man in the world and I'm more in love with him now than when we got married.

In other news....I'm doing some volunteering at MoCA downtown. I'm getting stir crazy being in the apartment by myself. So this will be a great opportunity to get out and do some good.
I might also be getting to watch my niece Cami, I'm excited about that but I'd never tell Bethany.

That's pretty much my day today....