Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Maybe not our house?

So, there's more drama than anticipated on the housing front. Apparently the realtor (who is the son of the owner) dragged his feet in getting his parents to sign the offer that they had accepted long enough to get another offer in. Vance doesn't want me to go on a tirade about him--and I am trying not to judge him too much as well--but it seems that he has been unjust (and at minimum, very unprofessional).

At any rate, we have now offered them what the other prospective buyers have, and hopefully (!) the realtor will let his parents take it from here. It goes without saying that it's been disappointing and maddening to be back in the middle on what we thought (and what should have been) a done deal.

It has, however, reminded me to hold all this with an open hand. This house, if it is to be ours, will be so because God allows it. If not, because he has not. It's been a good reminder, too, that everything that we have is his, and he has the right to do with it as he chooses. We know that he only works good for his own, but it's easy to assume that it's all ours. Health? Mine. Money? Mine. Children? Mine. Career? Mine. But no, we just steward it. And if he sends us another way than we'd planned, it's his anyway.

Right now, I believe that, and I feel very at peace with this particular house. But you can pray for us that we would continue to have that trust in God, despite our roller coaster of emotions.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our New House

Well, we got an important phone call last night--the sellers accepted our counteroffer! Praise God--we were both kind of expecting a long game of hardball after their first counteroffer. But it looks like, pending inspection, this place will be ours November 19th!

This house really feels like a gift from the Lord--which of course it is--in that it has so many of the things we wanted in a house (and were not seeing in any of the other houses we looked at), and yet is priced well below our limit. I love that it's an older house with some character, and yet it has a split bedroom plan. I love that our guest bedroom has a full bath, so that those of you who don't want to wander around our house in your PJs looking for the shower don't have to. I love that there's lots of shade and space in the backyard. And I am uber excited about the citrus trees out back!

Come have a look....these pictures are the stock photos, so they're not all that good, but I'll update you once we've given the house a facelift :)

Worst things first--this is the part of the house that needs to be overhauled: the 70s bathrooms with the olive green toilet and tub. But, it does have a linen closet and good bones.

This is the view from the front door, looking back to the lanai. The house is all hardwood flooring, except for tile in the kitchen and baths. There's a little sitting room area just back and to the left, which I'll turn into the music/reading area.

The reason why you'll want to come and visit us. Picture yourself here, on a chaise lounge, with a good book, telling me to get you some sweet tea (and HURRY UP IF YOU WANT A GOOD TIP!), while you decide whether you'd like to go pick an orange or a grapefruit for breakfast. Are you logging into Travelocity right now? Good :)

Cabinet space is a bit lacking in the kitchen, but the cabinets are hardwood, and the countertops are corian, which is nice. I'm going to put an island in the middle and eject the kitchen table back to the dining room (and opt for barstools at the counter instead). I think that should solve my space issues. But look, there's a ceiling fan in the kitchen! It's the little things, right? :)
It's hard to get a good feel for the house with these, but we'll of course update you after we change everything! For now, we're just grateful that the search is over and that God has been so kind to us.

Friday, September 25, 2009

We're offering....

Well, we just put an offer on this beauty right here....we'll know by tomorrow morning if they're willing to take our offer. I won't put too many details yet, since I'm trying not to get my heart set on this house any more than it already is. But it looks to be a great deal, and I have not seen anything even close to what I liked in all the other houses here. I'll tell you more if they accept!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where'd he get that from?

Not gonna was a hard day, made harder perhaps because there have been a lot of hard days lately. Lots of emotionally fragile people in the Whitaker household of late. I think I am finally getting it in my head that this is the kind of stuff that Paul tells us we need to perservere through--"let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (gal.6:9). Good thing there isn't any actual "eject" button for mothers, so we don't cheat ourselves out of our harvest!

I've also had a line from Stuart Townend's song in my head: "The fields of hope in which I sow // will be harvested in heaven." I need to be reminded that my work is not just to deal with whiny kids all day--confiscating water bottles-turned-bone-of-contention, dealing with truant nappers, and peeling small people off my legs periodically--but to point them in their need (and myself in my need) to Jesus, for their eternal joy.

That's not to say that there weren't little joyful moments in my day. Like Isaac, coming up to me while I was making dinner, and saying, "Mom! I'm going to go, get on my tricycle, get some money, and go have some FUN!"

If only it were that easy :).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

from the mouths of babes...

We're hearing a lot of chatter around this house lately. Some of it has been unwelcome, like Claire's recent (but abating) habit of squealing and screaming when she's in the car. We're working on that one.... But there's been a lot of other fun things coming out of her mouth, too, and we're enjoying all the baby talk! Oddly enough, she often will pronounce primarily the second half of a word, which, combined with the fact that she commonly uses the plural, can make understanding her quite an adventure!

She says:

Min - vitamin
nKet - blanket
I Duck - Isaac
Daddys - Daddy
Waters - milk
Muck -milk
Up - down
Down - up (or vice versa :)
Heyabedabe - helicopter
Suck - truck
Dactor - tractors and trucks

And the list goes on and on... It's pretty fun to hear her these days!

In other family news, we're starting in on the process of buying a house. It's a little intimidating, as I'm sure most of you know. Mostly I don't want to accidentally buy more house than we can afford...I've found myself running numbers a lot in my head, and I'm learning that I need to stop doing that. We've talked, run the numbers together, and now I think I need to let Vance and the mortgage banker do the rest. Numbers aren't really my forte, and they stress me out.

Which means I am going to focus on the more fun part--finding a house that meets our needs. Apparently most Floridians have pretty different priorities than we do when it comes down to building houses. That narrows the search down some, which is kind of nice, considering how much inventory is out there. It seems like most people want huuuge one-story houses in thickly-populated developments on little to no land. People also seem to favor new construction over trees. Thankfully, there are some options out there for those of us who need (especially in this heat!) some shade and space for the kids to run around in.

I don't think we'll be buying the arts and crafts home of my dreams here in Florida, (nor the farmhouse of my dreams), but I'm okay with that. I just have to keep reminding myself that we're buying our first house, not our dream house. But boy did we get spoiled in Minneapolis with so much great architecture! :)

The biggest struggle in all this is to think and plan and search enough to be wise without letting "A House" become an idol, and the focus of my days. It's easy for it to get that way with me, because I'm excited about having a home of my own, a place to settle down. But I can't let all of those items on my wish list rob me of my gratefulness for all that God has provided.