Thursday, September 30, 2010

Our New Home!!!!!!!

Well, everyone, as of about 9:43 this morning, the house is officially ours. YAY!!

We drove straight from the closing to our house, and of course, I have some pictures!

Here I am, unlocking the door for the first time:

And here is Mark taking a turn:

And here we are, going in for the first time!

We are SOOO excited. Tomorrow I get to unpack and get settled all day long. I am very excited. (-:

Happy Thursday! (-:

~Kathryn and Mark

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The House That Almost Broke Our Hearts: Part 4

We scheduled three inspections for the same day, so I went over to the house, nervously awaiting the results. The termite guy found no evidence of termites (yay), the electrical/plumbing guy only found a couple very minor things, and the structural guy said that the foundation was "amazingly sound". Now THAT is what I like to hear. (-:

There was a little bit of work that had to be done, but nothing that was a deal breaker. As we worked out those details we anxiously waited for the appraisal/bank inspection.

The appraiser definitely took his sweet time getting back to us about the value of the home. He waited ten days and until the last possible minute (less than a week before our closing date) to come back and say that the value was perfect and the house needed zero repairs. Praise the Lord!

As soon as I heard the good news about the appraisal, Mark and I went to Lowe's and bought the stuff to put brick around the flower bed and put in some pansies. Yay! We still need to finish up, but it was quite an experience. I will have to do a separate blog about that and post pictures.

So here we are, on the eve of our move, getting ready to leave our beloved little apartment. Keyword: little. But it is kind of sad because this was my first place that I had on my own after college, and it was where Mark and I spent the first year of our marriage. And little Miguel spent his last days there. So this place will always have a special place in my heart. )-:

But let's just say I won't miss it enough to stay here. (-: WE ARE SO EXCITED!!!! AHHH!!!!!

We close tomorrow morning at 9:00. It can't come fast enough. YAY!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The House That Almost Broke Our Hearts: Part 3

I stared at the computer screen and read the words:

As a matter of fact, we were unable to agree on terms with the other couple, so the house is still available. 

Oh. My. Word.

I thought I had freaked out before, but this was big time. I couldn't believe it. I was talking to Mark and I was like, "Can you BELIEVE this?" and he was like, "No, I really can't". We thought the house was s-o-l-d. After I somewhat regained my composure, I called our realtor.

We set a meeting to see the house and make an offer the next day.

So on Thursday, we looked at the house again, fell even more in love with it, and then did a LOT of paperwork. Ha. Who knew there was so much paperwork involved? We put together what we thought was a very good offer and the sellers said they would try to get back with us about the offer that night.

We went home and waited. And waited. Nothing. Nada. Crickets. I was trying not to worry. We went to sleep, anxious to hear back.

Friday morning I got an email that they wanted to accept our offer as it was! We were absolutely thrilled. We set a closing date of about 30 days out - September 30th.

I went to talk to my apartment complex about moving out, and long story short, because we bought the house when we did and not a week later, we were able to put in our 30 days notice right at the end of our lease and not pay the $2000ish we originally thought we were going to have to pay. What a blessing!

So there we were, a week later after a very direct answer to prayer, with a contract on our perfect house, 30 days to move out, and not having to pay any fees from our apartment. Wow. 

Then I got this message from the seller:

I am SO excited you guys are getting the house...  I've been praying for months it would go to somebody who loved it and would be as blessed by it as we have been... I just knew you were the right family for the house... Be assured you're getting a fantastic house that's had a lot of laughing and praying in it! I know you'll love it there.

How's that for cool?

As excited as I was, I tried not to get too worked up, because, well, the house had already broken my heart once, and we still hadn't had inspections or the appraisal. But deep down, I knew it was ours.

We scheduled the inspections and crossed our fingers...



The House That Almost Broke Our Hearts: Part 2

Sunday morning Mark asked our loan officer friend what he thought about us getting a home loan. He said that we should go ahead and get pre-approved and start looking. I was sooo excited and asked Mark if we could schedule a showing of the for-sale-by-owner house that I had already fallen in love with.

The owners didn't answer when Mark called about viewing their house, so Mark left a message, I sent an email, and after church we went to a couple of open houses. The owner of the beloved house called back and we scheduled a viewing for later that afternoon.

I. Was. Freaking. Out.

The time came and we drove to the house where we met one of the owners (her name was Shannon - she and her husband own the home and have four kids). I was so nervous because I knew I already loved it before we opened the door. Words really can't explain what happened when I walked in. We went in through the garage with Shannon and as soon as I stepped inside the kitchen I felt it. It was this wave. It was overwhelming. It was like total peace and yet I was freaking out. Because I knew I wanted this house. I mean, literally, I had only seen one room but I could envision myself walking in that kitchen every day. It was like something you see on one of those house hunting shows. This was MY house. Our house.

I tried to push those feelings down because, well, I felt like it was a little ridiculous since it was almost the first house we had looked at. Plus, we had just decided to look and we hadn't even gotten pre-approved yet. Even considering all of those things, I knew I wanted that house. When we were almost done looking, my boss and his daughter (my friend) came over to check it out since they live close by. We all really liked the house - and I loved the house and continued to freak out inside, trying to keep it together on the outside.

Before we left, Shannon broke the news to me. They had an offer on the house, and they were waiting for the end of the weekend to decide if they were going to accept it. The end of the weekend. Hello! It was a Sunday afternoon.The end of the weekend was in like two hours. I was crushed. I knew we couldn't make an offer that day, even though you better believe I wanted to. I knew it wouldn't be wise, plus we hadn't been pre-approved yet. So we all left, and I was heart broken. I emailed the seller and told her that we didn't want to make a rush offer, but that if the offer fell through to please let us know. She wrote back and said they had already submitted a counter offer and would let us know if something fell through. Mark had to listen to me go on and on the whole forty minute drive to my mom's that evening. It was at that point we started praying about this particular house and situation.

Later, disappointed and dejected, I began to scour the internet. Surely, I thought, there were other houses like this. I just hadn't looked enough. But the more I looked, the worse I felt about the whole thing. There really weren't other houses like that.

My behavior over the next three days was nothing to be proud of. I moped. I sulked. I threw myself on the bed and told Mark repeatedly that that house had broken my heart. I started calling it the "house that we do not speak of" and "the house that broke my heart". I searched online and what do you know but that every time I did a search that was the first house that came up. That house haunted me. When I wasn't depressed about it, I was imagining where I was going to put my furniture in that house. And then I would shake myself and return to my heartbroken state. I just couldn't get rid of the feeling that that was our home.

I cannot explain to you how burdened I felt about that house. I could hardly eat and I just felt like I needed to pray about it 24/7. Mark prayed with me each night about it. We prayed very specifically for direction that if that was the perfect home for us that the contract would fall through. And you know, as much as I knew that God had a perfect house in store for us, I wanted that perfect house to be the one I had already fallen in love with.

During those few days, we got pre-approved, and my realtor sent me a list of homes that as she said, didn't have everything that the dream house had, but that they had some of the things. Some of the things. ugh. One by one, Mark and I crossed those homes off our list for whatever reason.

Finally, on Tuesday night, I told Mark I couldn't take it any longer. That house was holding me hostage and I couldn't move on with my life. I needed some closure. I couldn't bear to contact the seller again because I didn't want to hear the news that the house was sold, so I asked Mark if he would ask about the status of the house. So Tuesday night Mark sent an email asking if the house had sold.

I didn't even want to know if she had written back because I didn't want to hear the sad news.

Tuesday night we didn't hear anything.

Wednesday came.

Around noon I got a call from Mark. He said he heard back from Shannon about the house and had sent me the email. I read it and fought back tears.



Monday, September 27, 2010

The House That Almost Broke Our Hearts: Part 1

It all started on a Thursday afternoon at work. I was having one of those "I wish I had a house" days, and my boss suggested that just perhaps Mark and I could get a house sooner than we had originally planned (2 years from now) since interest rates are so low. He brought up the point that us saving 20% to put down might be totally not worth it if the interest rates are a couple points higher in two years. I did the math, and sure enough, if interest rates are up two points when we buy, our 20% would be totally negated. Hmm....

You see, Mark and I had started saving money a few months ago, so when my boss said that, the wheels in my head started turning. I had also been "looking" (really, creeping on for sale houses online and occasionally doing a drive-by) for several months... okay maybe for a few years. Not the point. The point is, I had been looking, Mark and I had a list of things we wanted, we knew what we could afford, and we knew where we wanted to live and where we didn't want to live. And we knew very specifically what we wanted and we were willing to wait to get everything we wanted. We had been praying that the Lord would prepare the perfect home for us.

So the next day I called the mortgage company that Dave Ramsey suggested to see what they thought about our chances of getting a house sooner instead of later. And I liked what I heard.

As soon as I hung up the phone with that company, I went down to the apartment complex office, got on my favorite real estate site, and checked out houses.

There I was scouring the internet, when I saw it. A house that made my heart skip a beat. A house that had everything on the check-list:

1. Curb appeal and character in an older neighborhood that is established, has big trees, is not directly off a main road, and is in one of three school systems I would consider: CHECK

2. Updated on the inside with all bedrooms upstairs: CHECK

3. Living room with fireplace and built-ins: CHECK

4. Room that could be used as second living area: CHECK

5. Updated Kitchen: CHECK (which happens to have recessed lighting, tile backsplash, lots of cabinet space, room for double ovens eventually)

6. Pantry: CHECK (I know this picture is kind of lame, but I really wanted a pantry, so I'm including it.)

7. Mudroom: CHECK 

8. Beautiful Master Bath that I LOVE: CHECK

9. Covered Patio: CHECK

10. Big Yard with Big Tree: CHECK (bonus trampoline - woo!)

Other Items:
Four bedrooms: CHECK
Around 2500 sq feet: CHECK (is actually 2512!)
Move-in ready: CHECK
In our price range: CHECK
Reporting Alarm System: CHECK
Nice landscaping: CHECK

Impressive, huh?

Bonus items:
New carpet in whole house
Quartz countertops (not granite, so you don't have to reseal it)
Close to pretty much everything that is cool in our town
Oh, and did I mention I LOVE it?

So, there I was, staring at my computer screen on a Friday afternoon. Loving that house. So I asked our apartment people how much it would cost if I were to have to break my lease just in case we were to move when it wasn't up. It would cost us around $2000. Ouch. 

I showed that house to tons of people, Mark and I did a drive by, and we decided that he would talk to a loan officer friend of ours that goes to our church on Sunday to see if he thinks we would be ready to buy a home soon.

I was anxious to see what he said!



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where There's a Will, There's a Way

I noticed in my last post that when I gave the link to the opera commercial, everyone that commented was like, "You're in the opera?", and then I realized I never shared that info.

Well, yes, I sing in the Tulsa Opera Chorus. It is a lot of fun, and challenging musically. My whole life I have always done things that might seem relatively random. I will get these hair-brained ideas and think "Wow, wouldn't it be cool to do that?" and then I just go for it.

It started in high school. Start your nerd alert sirens, my friends, because my little Christian middle school did not entirely prepare me for the world of a public high school. Once I stopped wearing my denim Winnie the Pooh embroidered long sleeve shirt and black tights with Doc Martin boots, I was headed in the right direction. I then decided later on in that freshman year to try out for the reigning state champion cheerleading squad. Of course everyone thought I was crazy, but I'm a "where there's a will, there's a way" kind of gal, so I bought some Soffe shorts, took a cheer class, and practiced my little heart out on my cheers and jumps. I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment when I saw my name on the roster that year.

There was also the time I decided I wanted to play the fiddle so I took fiddle lessons my junior year of high school. I rarely pick it up now, but I'm glad I learned the basics.

It was my sophomore year of college when I decided I wanted to intern for our US senator in Washington, DC, for a semester. And even though everyone warned me that my chances were not the best if I even had a chance, it was that summer that I applied, interviewed, and packed my bags and headed for the east coast for the fall semester. And had the experience of a lifetime.

It was my junior year in college when I decided I needed some money for school and started competing in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant system. I think my mom really thought I was nuts on this one. I mean, my choice of footwear is a flip-flop and my hair product selection is shampoo and conditioner and water. So I had a friend show me how to walk on stage, worked up a talent selection, borrowed some dresses, and entered some pageants. Three pageants and $1300 in scholarships later, there I was, competing on the stage at Miss Oklahoma, and having a blast doing it.

It was after graduation that I decided that I wanted to be a judge at the Oklahoma regional cheerleading competition, and successfully judged for three years.

And then, two years after college, I decided I wanted to take voice lessons. This stemmed out of my lack of confidence about my singing, and my lack of any type of vocal training in the past. A couple months into my lessons, my voice teacher suggested I audition for the opera chorus. And I thought, what do I have to lose, and how fun would that be?

So, I worked up my best little Italian aria for a soprano, practiced, and signed up for an audition time. And thankfully, I wasn't all THAT nervous, because, well, I knew I wasn't that awesome, and because I didn't know the people who I was auditioning in front of. Again, what I did have to lose?

And here I am, a few months later, amidst a flurry of musical and staging rehearsals for La Traviata which opens in early October. And I am so excited. It is a lot of hard work, but it's a lot of fun as well. And let me just say that the costumes are GORGEOUS.

The moral of this story is this: just because something might not be like what you have done in the past, or just because people think you can't do it, don't let that stop you from doing something you want to do. Instead of saying, "Wow, I wish I could do that", say "Why can't I do that?" and "What do I need to do to make that happen?".

Where there's a will, there's a way. 


PS - Still waiting on that appraisal to come back. Prayers appreciated for a speedy return.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just Because

I am writing this post because I haven't written one in a while. That's pretty much the only reason.

I really don't have much interesting subject matter. My life has been so busy that it's actually boring. How is that possible, you might ask?

Well, let me break it down for you. Of course I have my regular full time job. Then, on Tuesday, Thursday, and now Saturdays and Sundays, I have opera rehearsals. Of course Wednesday evening I work late at church. And in between, I am working on house stuff. Paperwork, phone calls, blah.

Pretty much that leaves me with Monday evenings and Fridays. And what have I been doing on those days?

Well, I've started packing. Yes, thrilling. I am going through old junk, throwing it away, and keeping what I have deemed important for now.

And there you have it, folks. That is my life in a nutshell. Why do I even have a blog?

As far as the house goes, today is the appraisal at 1:45. Prayers are appreciated that the appraiser will be fair, accurate, and NOT picky. We are still hoping to close on September 30th. AHH!!!!

If you want to see a commercial for the opera I am in, check out this cool video:

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Be Careful When You Push the Shutter

First of all, there are definitely some big developments in the house hunting story. I can't divulge too much information now, because if this doesn't work out, I don't want your hearts to be ripped out of your chests and stomped onto the ground and discarded the way mine will be. So, I will wait until things are signed, sealed, and delivered. But, to keep you interested, this just might be the house we have a contract on:

I know, right?

More on that later, but we definitely appreciate your prayers.

Back to the story at hand. My brilliance.

You see, due to all this house stuff, we are in need of some extra fundage. We have the downpayment, and we've paid more than I would have liked for multiple inspections, and unfortunately, I see more money needed in the future. We have some extra, but I would feel much better if we have more. So we've gone into the not-spending-any-money-and-how-can-we-come-up-with-fast-cash mode. (And I've gone into ridiculously stressed out mode.)

We had been considering selling Mark's French horn for probably at least a year, and recently Mark decided that he would like to sell it. It is a very nice horn that should be able to bring in a decent amount of cash, so we got to work. I put it on craigslist, and we've been trying to network and find someone interested.

Well, the first day I put it on Craigslist, we got a bite. A lady wanted some pictures of the horn. So, after a very long day, I got home around 10:00pm or so and started to get the horn ready for pictures, and started getting myself ready for bed. Somewhere in the midst of all that I only got myself half ready for bed, but the photo shoot continued.

I laid out a backdrop, took out my five-year-old digital camera, and went to work. I experimented with flash/no flash, and I was getting pretty proud of my photography skills. I ended the evening with several good pictures on my camera and even a video, put up the French horn, and went to bed, very hopeful that it would sell.

The next morning I got out my trusty camera and began loading the pictures on my computer. As soon as I got the photos on the computer I realized that I had epicly failed at my photo-shoot that I been so proud of. As I stared as the computer screen-sized image of Mark's French horn, I could very clearly make out my reflection in the metal instrument. Big deal, right?

Well, remember that I mentioned that I only partly got ready for bed? Well, the part I got ready was the lower half of my body. There I was, in my pajama pants and a bra, happily posed in picture-taking mode for any interested seller to see.

Now, if that show won't sell a French horn, I don't know what will.

So, needless to say, I very quickly deleted the evidence, laughed at myself before the rest of the world could see me in my bra, and took more pictures that night.

And to top it all off, the lady who was interested in the horn didn't buy it after all.


Happy Labor Day!

Blog Design by Sweet Simplicity