This is my site where I will be sharing my thoughts, feelings and happenings. In the words of Austin Powers, "It's my happening, baby, and it freaks me out...yeah!" Enjoy!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Minga is growing fast

Minga is almost 13 weeks old and has had quite a growth spurt recently. She is learning the basic commands (sit, come, drop it, down, heel) and she has been letting us know when she has to go potty by going to the door and whining. Yeah!

Here are some pics of her taken the 2nd week of May:

She loves playing with this coconut:

This cute bunny is her favorite toy (it squeeks):

Here are some pics taken the first week of June (she how much older and bigger she looks?!):

More fun sleeping positions:


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Our First House!

As I mentioned in my last post, we went to Florida last week to buy a house. We found over 80 listings online that we were interested in (most only had one picture of the outside so we had no idea what the houses were like inside). We looked at about 5 houses with our realtor before lunch the first day and none of them really stood out to us. The houses that were brand new didn't have nice yards (either no trees or the nearby houses were a bit yucky or way too close) and the houses that had nice yards were older or smaller and a bit rundown inside. Oh, and one house was really digusting--there were over 50 dead cockroaches lying around the kitchen. That house was large but had really low ceilings and smelled and was just plain nasty. We laughed and could not believe the owners would allow it to be shown in that condition (since it wasn't advertised as a fixer-upper).

Right after lunch we found a house that was so cool and unique that the others faded from our mind and we knew it was the one we wanted. It had been on the market for 3 days and there were already offers coming in so as soon as we had looked at the house we rushed back to the realtor's office to write up a contract and make an offer. Our realtor knew the listing realtor and he got him to agree to look at our offer and fax him by noon the next day (which was a Sunday). Our offer was accepted so we went back to the house to take pictures of every nook and cranny (since we won't see it again until we move in a couple of months from now). We also took measurements to plan how to arrange our furniture, etc.

It's a 3-story, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house on stilts (it's on a slight hill) on 3/4 of an acre! We've heard contractors call it an alpine style or barrel style home (I won't bother describing the shape since I've posted pics of it). There are lots of trees (magnolia and some really tall and wide pine trees, to name a couple) and a creek on our property. Every room has its own private balcony and the main floor (kitchen/dining/laundry/living room) has a balcony that wraps around 3/4 of the house. Spectacular! The master bedroom and bathroom are the only rooms on the lower level. There are 2 bedrooms and a bathroom on the top floor. We will use one room as an office and the other as a guest room.

The house was built in 1974 but was completely gutted and rebuilt in 2003 (new walls & siding, roof, windows, doors, carpet & flooring, balconies, cabinets, toilets, sinks, etc!). Just about the only old items are the showers/tubs, oven, refrigerator, some plumbing, the frame & supporting beams, 2 of the sliding glass doors and some of the balconies. The owner even had the house wired for sound so just about every room in the house can hear the living room stereo through speakers in the corner of each room (we just have to provide the speakers)--wow!

We met the owner and the contractors who rebuilt the house and ran into them almost every day because they were finishing up small projects here and there. We got to talk to them a lot (they were really cool) and they showed us pictures of what the house looked like before and during the reconstruction process. Amazing!

Because we found the house the first day we had the rest of the week to vacation. We mostly did stuff for the house (we were so excited about it!) and then went to a couple of beaches one day (and of course, drove all over the city familiarizing ourselves with it). We got to be there for the home inspection which was great. The inspector was really nice and he showed us the report on his computer immediately after he finished it (pictures and all)--he even burned us a copy of it to a CD, emailed us a copy and is giving us a hard copy in a notebook (impressive).

Oh yeah, and another great thing about the house is that it's in a really good neighborhood (voted best neighborhood for something like the past 3 of the last 7 years). Also, our property is set back off the street and down the slope so we feel more secluded. You can't see the house very well when you drive by unless you are really looking for it. Awesome!! The neighbors' houses aren't crammed next door to us like in so many neighborhoods these days. The beginning of our driveway is shared with the 2 houses up the hill from us but it ends in our own private circle drive (it's truly a circle and has trees in the center).

Okay, so here are some pics:

On main balcony looking towards the driveway:

Back of the house:

Trees in our yard:

The creek (mostly dry right now):

Our street:

Looking at front door from in kitchen (old dishwasher is in picture...owner just replaced it today with a new white one):

We will probably replace the stove soon because it's old, small and a bit scuzzy:

Dining room:

Living room:

Living room with built-in shelf for a stereo or fish tank:

Stairs as seen from living room:

How cool are these curved walls? Special plans had to be drawn up to add these windows in 2003 (original 1974 house didn't have windows on the right side of the house except on lower floor in master bedroom) can bet the builders had fun with these!

Guest room:

Guest room closet and nook:

In guest room looking towards the office:

Guest bathroom:

Bathroom and guest room doors at top of stairs:


On office balcony:

Master bathroom (we'd like to knock out the front wall on the lower floor to make our bathroom larger and add a room--a den with closet and side entrance/mudroom):

Master bedroom:

Master bedroom nook and closet: