Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Open House

We made a decision about participating in the tour of homes. My husband and I don't think we decorate in the way people expect on such a tour anyway, so being on the tour was pretty much out. Then, our agent called back yesterday to say it was too late anyway. The surprising news was that the lady organizing the tour didn't want us to even have an open house on that day. They are friends, so my agent felt awkward about "stepping on her toes." Unless, she said, I really want to do the open house. Usually, I shrink in these instances and do whatever the person wants me to do. I was proud of myself yesterday for saying, "I'm sorry, but I really do want to do it." I told her that I would understand if she wanted nothing to do with it, and I didn't mind holding the open house myself. She immediately stepped up and said, "no, you're my client and I'm gonna do what you want." So, we planned for her to tell her friend that I was adamant on it, and that it was just business. I'm okay with playing the picky client. Especially because I suspect I am a picky client sometimes.

So, we are gonna have another open house next Sunday. That gives us one week to prepare. I still feel like I have to do some tasteful Christmas decorations, so I'm gonna try to start that today. I can't get much done on week days with the kids around. I really want to have some baked goods and hot apple cider too. I know these people aren't necessarily looking for a house. I just want them to see mine, and maybe they know someone who it's perfect for.

My house is one of those that looks much more modest and small from the front, but is quite large and nice when you get in. So, it's important to get people in so they can see that. Many of the houses in my neighborhood look huge from the front. Sometimes those are actually smaller than mine. I feel like the curb appeal keeps people who want a large house from even considering mine.

This is the back of my house, where you can tell the size of it. I've got pictures on the listing information. They say there is a perfect person for every house, but I'm starting to wonder if it's ever gonna happen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Strategy

I may have a new trick up my real estate sleeve. A friend (who's a builder married to an agent in my neighborhood) called today to suggest this plan to me, and I like it. There is a Christmas Tour of Homes in my neighborhood in a week and a half. I knew she was doing it, but I didn't think to tag along. She suggested I have an open house on the same day. There are only 4 homes on the tour, and they are all in my subdivision. She estimates 200-300 people will be coming through. She has a home in this tour every year, sometimes even when they are for sale. Now, the people won't necessarily be in the market for a house, just browsing at other people's decorating. For the record, I'm not a decorator! But my oldest friend is, and I've already had her come over and help me out for a recent open house. I have other friends here who could help with the Christmas decorating, and my husband actually has a very good eye.

My agent is sceptical about the idea. She is calling now to see if she can just add my house to the tour or at least ask the organizer of the tour if she'd be comfortable with me having an open house at the same time. I guess it'd be better just to join the tour. Honestly, I can't imagine we'd need to get permission, but I know they have a relationship that my agent doesn't want to disrespect.

If it does happen, my next issue will be the holiday decorating itself. See, were we live, people have other people decorate their houses, and it looks like everything came out of an interior decorating magazine. Not one of the magazines I would read, either. We have more of a "lived in, family" style. While we don't keep clutter around, we also don't have 2 lamps on the mantle and over sized candlesticks and all that stuff I feel like people expect on a tour of homes. For Christmas, we use colored lights and passed down ornaments that have absolutely no color scheme. I don't know if we should do business as usual, or if we should switch to white lights and blue and silver matching tree stuff.

Funny story, our first Christmas here, I'm pretty sure we were the ONLY house with colored Christmas lights. Every year since, a house or two would go to colored. Last year, there was a good mix of colored and clear. Hehehe. Maybe we're rubbing off on 'em.

Anyway, what's your advice?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Guess what happened after we dropped the price of our house by $15,000...


I'll remember this next time the agent suggests dropping the price to "bring people in."

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Three Year Old

Somehow, three years have gone by since I brought my sweet Booboo home. His was the hardest pregnancy and the longest delivery. That's bizarre to me, though, because he has been so sweet and easy going his whole life. He has a way of charming everyone he comes into contact with. He simply adores both his brothers. He is independent and strong, yet he loves to sit in my lap and cuddle.
After he was born, we just kept waiting for it to get hard. It never did. He just glides through life seeing the good in things. For instance, after his Thanksgiving party at school today, we were walking to our car. It had been lightly raining earlier, and it was chilly and overcast. Most people would have found it to be cruddy weather. Nate says, out of the blue, "It's a beautiful day, mama. It not raining anymore. It's beautiful." I looked around me again. I had not seen it like that. But as I looked through his eyes, I realized it was beautiful. The air felt crisp, not chilly. The ground was wet, but it was refreshing. The clouds gave the sky a nice hazy look. My little three year old boy teaches me how to put things into perspective. That's the kind of person he is and always has been.
We talk about what he'll be when he grows up, and I truly believe the sky is the limit. I ache to think it'll be here too soon. Time has a way of rushing by, and we are so busy with our days that we miss it. We ignore the beautiful days right in front of us. I want him to keep his innocence and excitement... his enthusiasm. He turns to at least one of us in the family every day and says, "you're my best friend." I can picture it so clearly. I hope I don't forget. I want to remember every little habit and expression. That's what I like about this blog. One day I'll be an old woman, and I'll only have my memories. I hope Nate will have wonderful memories too.
Nate, you're my best friend. I love you, sweetie.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Booboo's last day being two

Tomorrow's Booboo's 3rd birthday, and his pirate birthday party.

Today is full of shopping and baking. He is my blessing from God, and I don't know how he is already three. He had cupcakes at pre-school, and was so excited. He says "it's my happy birthday!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting Better

We had a much better day today. My mom and I took the kids to the mall. I always feel better at the mall, even though I'm not a huge shopper usually. I had a gift card to Macy's I'd been wanting to use, though, so I got three great pair of pants. I wanted shoes for the kids, but the guy at Stride Rite said to wait until black Friday for their sale. I stopped by Party City to get eye patches for all the kids coming to Booboo's party on Saturday. It was a MUCH better day than yesterday. The kids seem to be climbing out of the germ pit. Maybe I can even send them both to school tomorrow and get started on the cake!!!

At the office, the builder started the demo this week! I love the smell of construction. Or in this case, I guess it's deconstruction. I thought I smelled the hint of cigarette smoke too. I love that smell... construction and cigarette smoke. It always reminds me of my dad when I was a kid. Thank God he stopped smoking a couple months ago! I never thought I'd see the day that happened. So, things are looking up around here after a very hard week.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

House of Germs

All three of our boys are sick. I don't even know what is wrong with them. We have taken turns passing around everything. Vomiting, colds, coughs, fevers. I'm getting ready to haul them all to the doctor in hopes he can cure everyone before Saturday, Booboo's 3rd birthday party.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

On a good note...

Let's move on, shall we? Surely I have more going on in my life than a depressed housing market. There is some real estate news I am very excited about. We seem to have come to an agreement on the office space for my husband's practice.

We weren't in the market for any space and have been renting forever. Someone in the same building selling his space began pursuing us, but we couldn't afford it. Because he had no other prospects, he continued to call us. Finally we had a meeting and decided to go for it. That was a month and a half ago, and today we finally seem to have made a solid agreement and got all the details in order. We are to close just before the year's end. Now, my husband doesn't count his chickens before they hatch, but I am very excited!! The space will need complete demo and rebuilding, so it will be a nice project to distract me. Also, it will be wonderful to pay a mortgage instead of rent, and this is one of the prime medical office buildings in our town.

We are picking a builder by Monday (hopefully), so construction will begin soon. The wonderful man we are buying from is allowing us to work on it before we close so we can get in at the new year. Our last obstacle is the lease for our current space. It lasts through 2009, so we just have to pray we find someone to sublet. I'll try to get over there to get some before pictures so I can document the journey. Maybe we'll be rewarded for buying in this down market by getting a buyer of our very own.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The results are in.

One loved it and can't afford it. The other doesn't love it. My agent suggested I drop my price FIFTEEN THOUSAND, and I did.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Second Showing!

As soon as we got home from the first showing today, our agent called and asked if she could bring someone else for a showing at 5pm. Thats wonderful for two reasons. The obvious is that we got another showing. The second is that I didn't have to clean the whole house again for the second man! Two birds with one stone~

breakfast room

Our agent and some of my friends who decorate have been telling me to put a table and chair in the room next to the kitchen. We had used it as a dining room, but we were advised to move the dining room table into the formal dining room when we went on the market. So, this became a sitting room. Today, I bought a table and chairs from one of my friends, and we finally got this room set up the way it should be. It looks SO much better. I wish I had done it years ago. I got them for a great price, and I love that they are "pre-owned."
We had a showing at 3 pm, so maybe this will be the change that sells this house! I'll let you know!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The First Mother

Daddy's home!

I heard somewhere on the news that Michelle Obama's biggest project, if her husband were to win, was to be The First Mother to her girls. I think that was back when I was still on the fence, and it made such a huge impact on me. As bad as it makes me sound, I couldn't come to terms with how Sarah Palin expected to be in such a demanding job with five kids, one of them the same age as my baby and special needs. I have many days that I can't even vacuum the rug under the dining room table! Even if she is a stronger woman than I, I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that her children would suffer. I'm one of those moms who believes it is my job, and a very important one, to raise my children. It's sometimes hard, and it's not always fun. It certainly isn't glamorous. But I feel it's something I signed on for when I decided to bring these little people into the world. Now, don't get me wrong... I had plenty of other reasons not to like Sarah Palin as time moved on. This was just my first impression. All that to say, I'm so proud to be an American today and excited to see where we will go under this new presidency.

On the topic of putting the job of motherhood first, though, I have a dilemma that I want to put out there. I have many friends who are stay at home moms. We have playdates and talk occasionally on the phone. We even try to have a coffee date once a week when most of our kids are in school. I enjoy these relationships, and they often help me through on the days that are hard or lonely. I am careful to keep them in "my" time, though. My closest friends are those who have priorities similar to mine, and it is something that usually goes unspoken. Other friends who don't know me as well are more likely to try to arrange girl time during evenings or weekends. One friend in particular just invited me to a "girl's night in" where we would hang out in her house and spend the night. It is the third one I know of that she's had.

This is my dilemma. I really like the girl. But, I don't feel like I'm in a period in my life that I could go out with the girls and not come home. I don't even like going out just with the girls except for special occasions. I know I would feel weird about it if my husband decided to go out for the night and not come home. In all my life, I can't imagine my mom doing that. Last time I was invited, I had a legitimate excuse. This time, I just had to respond that I didn't feel right doing that right now. I always feel like the truth is the way to go. I just hope I haven't alienated her or made her mad at me.

I know I am old fashioned. I love to be with my family, and I miss them when I'm not. I am excited to share that priority with the First Lady Elect. There will be time for the rest later.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

getting soft

Today, we took the kids on a family bike ride. We've always wanted nice bikes, and we finally bit the bullet and invested in the bikes, a trailer for the younger ones and a tag-a-long bike for the 5 year old, and 5 helmets. We are all set to be a biking family. After loading up, driving to our location and getting on the bikes, the ride lasted 10 minutes or less. The baby is still too young and doesn't like it too much. We are supposed to wait until he's a year, so that's okay. But what I'm upset about is that I'm in such bad shape. Really bad. I had to push us up the hill!

I spent all summer going to aerobics with my mom, and I was in good shape. I was so proud, I felt really good, and I had energy and endurance. Tiki got too old to sleep in the portable swing, so I quit "temporarily." Really, I have no solid plan for going back. It's at the same time as his morning nap, and the whole day is messed up if we miss that morning nap. It seems like a pathetic excuse, but it's not. In the meantime, I feel myself getting soft and lazy. I think I could work it out if they had a class at 10am, but they don't. I don't have enough drive to work out by myself.

Babies are time eaters. I love having a baby, and I know how fast these months pass. It bothers me much less with each baby than it did with the first. But you really have very little time to do anything but be a mama. I don't want to miss anything, and I try to burn into my brain how it feels to cuddle him. I'll be so sad when I no longer have a baby to hold. I remind myself that life is a series of phases, and I'm in the phase today of taking care of young children. I'll be a soft cuddly mom, and I'll have time to all buff and healthy some other time. Hopefully.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

cash in the attic

Tiki (right) and his buddy on a walk

It has been such a long day! I was outside in the cold at 7am getting ready for the yard sale. My friend who was "co-host" showed up soon after. People start showing up before the sun comes out at these things. I thought it was a success overall. I didn't sell the big things I wanted to sell like furniture and expensive strollers. Maybe I'll do consignment. I did sell a few of the furniture pieces that were priced a little lower. I came out with $291.50, which was pretty good for stuff I wasn't even using. I got the money to pay for my new desk, and that was my goal. Still, my back has been hurting for 3 days. I need to schedule a massage, but I honestly don't know when I could do it. The kids thought it was one big party, and were surprisingly okay with me selling some of their stuff.
After we all had a nap and cleaned up, my friend and her family came back over for dinner. It was one of those good dinners where you just throw together whatever you have. I made my signature banana bread and a great, big salad. She brought fried chicken (yum!), mac and cheese and we made a really good apple dish. Her baby is just 2 months older than Tiki, and my boys love him.
With the extra hour we got for daylight savings, I swear today seems to have been two separate days. How wonderful it feels to have Halloween and the yard sale behind me.