Friday, May 31, 2013

A Baby Story!

I’ve been meaning to write this post all week. I’ve been super busy at work and the hours spent at home consisted of watching the weather (it has been so scary around here). They’re forecasting bad weather tonight but hopefully after that the storms will cease (for a few days at least).

Monday, one of my dear friends became a first time mom. It is so weird seeing her in this new role. We were college roommates, sorority sisters and best friends.
 
 
I spent the entire drive to the hospital (around two hours) reminiscing about our friendship and the memories we created. We got ourselves into all kinds of trouble. We used to make up wild stories and call them “adventures of Brittney and Alyssa.” Our stories kept us laughing for days, inside jokes we shared with no one else. Alyssa brought out a spontaneous side of me; something that only she was capable of.  This included road trips to Stillwater, snowball fights on the football field, skipping class to play guitar hero (sorry mom), and other things that I don’t feel comfortable sharing on the internet.




The other day I came across our first conversation, it took place on facebook.

 
I can't help but smile when I read this, I had no idea I was chatting with someone that would become a life-long friend. 
 
 

Alyssa,

I am so glad we are friends! Your little boy is the cutest. I am honored that I got to be there on this special day. We have come a long way in the last 6 years! I love you!

-Brittney

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma Tornadoes

I am at a loss for words. I’m overwhelmed with grief for my fellow Oklahoman’s. It was so hard to go to work this morning. I want nothing more than to be with my family, to be comforted by their embrace.

Yesterday I was in a meeting when the tornado hit Moore. I had no idea what had happened when I began receiving text messages from friends asking if my family was okay. I was aware of a tornado watch that covered most of our state and assumed something bad must have happened.

My stomach turned as my phone began to ring. It was my dad. Because I was in the middle of a meeting, (with an executive officer) I was unable to answer the call. My dad sent me a text message to call him.

I asked the person next to me if she knew what was going on. She held up her phone and revealed a text message that said “the Warren Theater has been hit.” I didn’t need any more information. I knew this was bad. Really bad. The Warren Theater is located in a highly populated area. It is where I celebrated my birthday last year, where I watched the twilight finale; it’s one of my most favorite places.





Waiting ouside the Warren before Twilight Breaking Dawn

I responded to my dad’s text asking about my siblings, they live in Edmond (about 30 miles northeast of Moore). At the time, I didn’t know how big the storm was or the path it was traveling. I waited for his response, it never came.

I excused myself from the meeting, tears filling my eyes. My instincts told me that this was serious. I found a private place and dialed my dad’s number.

He answered casually, “Hey what’s up?” I knew by his tone that I had been mistaken, my family was okay. He just wanted to make sure I was watching the weather.

As he told me about Moore, I began to cry.

I can’t imagine what they are going through. I can’t imagine the fear that consumed them as the tornado hit. Last night was long; I spent most of the night worrying about the weather. Afraid that another storm might come through.

Today my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by yesterday’s tragedy. Below are ways that you can help out.

Salvation Army:
Text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone

Red Cross:
Visit www.redcross.org/okc or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Food Bank of Oklahoma:
Text FOOD to 32333 to make a $10 donation.

United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund:
Visit www.unitedwayokc.org


If you are local, visit any LifeChurch.tv OKC metro location (OKC, Edmond, South OKC, NW OKC, Yukon, Midwest City) between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to drop off the following items to aid in the relief:

-Toiletries
-Diapers, wipes, formula, baby bottles
-Clothing and shoes (new only)
-Bags, backpacks, or plastic tubs to carry items.


Visit www.lifechurch.tv/locations for more information on finding a location near you.

Image source

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Doll House Inspection

I know most of you probably aren’t interested in hearing about every single detail of my home buying experience; however, some of you have never bought a house before. If you’re like I was, you have no idea what to expect or what this process entails. I was completely uneducated about buying a house. Luckily, I have amazing friends and family that offered advice along the way. I even attended a local class for first time home buyers! I hope these posts give you a little insight on what buying a house is like. So…please don’t hesitate to ask questions!

I was extremely nervous about the inspection. My house is 93 years old; I just knew something disastrous would be discovered!

When choosing an inspector, I asked for recommendations amongst my friends and coworkers. (I did the same thing when choosing a realtor and it really paid off! Mary is wonderful, I couldn’t have asked for a better realtor). The inspection was extremely important to me. I wanted to make sure the house was safe and reliable. I am a single woman with ZERO “handy man” skills. I wanted an inspector who would do a thorough inspection.

The inspection took place last Friday. I decided that I wanted to be there for the entire inspection. Also, I asked my Dad to accompany me (It’s always good to have a second pair of ears around to pick up on things that I might not remember). Most of the people I talked to told me that I didn’t need to be there for the inspection. However, I wanted to be there for a couple of reasons…

First, I thought that my presence might motivate the inspector to look a little closer (yes, I know this is a silly thought, a licensed inspector will do his best because he could lose his license otherwise). I just thought that if the inspector knew that I am a single girl, he might really go out of his way to make sure everything is top notch (especially if he’s a kindhearted “grandpa” type). And you know what? I was totally right! The inspector took me around and showed me things I might not have noticed otherwise.

For example: He taught me how to work my gas fire place. He explained the importance in using a surge protector with the old outlets. He made sure I was aware of everything that might be a potential hazard.

Second, if something is wrong with the house, I wanted to be there to see it for myself! The inspector did find some problems under the house. The joists and stringers (support beams under the house) had dry rot and needed to be reinforced. The inspector took pictures and showed them to me.  He explained exactly what needed to be done in order to fix them. (Luckily, the seller will be responsible for fixing it!)

I was really happy with the home inspection. Aside from the problems under the house, everything else checked out! Now we are just waiting on the appraisal. Assuming everything goes well with the appraisal, we will be closing the first of June! Yippee! 

(Wow, this post turned out longer than I intended! If you’re still reading this, you must be a really good friend!)

Happy Tuesday! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Doll House, Part 2.

The DollHouse, Part 1.

So where was I? Oh! My parents!

I’m not going to lie. After talking to my Mom, I was a little discouraged. I had just found my perfect cottage; I hadn’t stopped to think about all of the problems that might come with buying an older home.

After a little (itsy bitsy) argument, I convinced her to come see it for herself. A few days later, I was giving my Mom and Stepdad a tour of the doll house.

And who would have thought…they loved it as much as I did! They understood why I adored the house. My Mom even said “It is absolutely lovely!” “Perfect!”

But what about their original concerns you ask?

Yes the house is old. But it has been well maintained. It has central heat and air, new storm windows, and the plumbing has been updated.

Although, there is one problem: the house needs a new roof. I know-Yuck. However, once it has a new roof, it will be in good shape!

Next came the negotiating. Oh boy this was awful.

The seller was tough. He wanted his original asking price, PLUS the cost of the roof (which is going to be around 11K). Yeah, I was just sick. We went back and forth several times before coming to an agreement.

He never budged on his price until the very end. When I went to my realtor with my final offer, I told her that this was it. If he didn’t accept it I would walk away.That was so hard to do! I didn’t want to walk from my little doll house, but my pride wouldn’t let me give in to the seller. He needed to give a little bit.

I prayed really hard that God give me peace. I was convinced that it wasn’t going to work out and I just wanted peace in letting it go.

I wrote a little note, one that I still have in my purse. I asked God to take this from me. To guide me. To give me comfort in whatever happens. To lead me and protect me from a bad decision.

Later that day I got the call, the seller had accepted my offer.

Whooo! Hooo!

So in the week following that phone call, I’ve been busy communicating with my lender, choosing a home inspector and dreaming about paint colors.

It’s been an absolute whirlwind! I can’t believe I’m actually buying a house! (and all by myself!)

Assuming everything goes well, I should be closing in June!

Until then, I’ll be stressing over the inspection and appraisal.

So there you go! You are completely caught up on my home buying adventure!

Stick around! I will be sure to give updates as we get closer to closing.

Happy Tuesday!  

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Doll House, Part 1.

Well. I did it folks. I put an offer on a house! And you know what? After several days of negotiating, the seller accepted my offer! Whew! –Insert happy dance here-

I’ve been unsure on whether or not to go public with my big announcement before closing. I was scared that something would fall through. That I might jinx myself.  But the truth is: I can’t hold it in anymore!  

This house has completely consumed me!  I can’t think about anything else. When I sit down to write a post, all I can think about is my little cottage! (Yes, it’s very cottage like! squeal!)

So I decided what the heck! I might as well tell everyone! If it doesn’t work out? Well than I’ll write about that too and it will be a moment in my life that I can look back on.

Okay, let’s rewind. I want to tell you how we first met.

A couple of months ago (actually, it was the week after I got serious about buying a house) I went on a weekend drive. I drove all over town, looking for neighborhoods and/or streets that appealed to me.

I’d convinced myself that I needed to live in a new home; something that had been built in the last 5 years. However, I loved the bungalow/cottage vibe. So I was searching for a new home that looked like an old cottage. –silly me.

Several months ago, I pinned this picture for inspiration. I was drawn to the “doll houses” as I like to call them.
 
Pinned Here
So while on my drive, I decided to swing by a house my friend was thinking about buying. Well…on the next street over, I came across my perfect doll house.

It was a “for sale by owner.” They had a hand out that displayed 8 pictures and included a brief description of amenities. It was love at first sight.
 
Internet, meet the Doll House.
I couldn’t believe what I had just discovered; an adorable home with beautiful landscaping. I immediately imagined myself sitting on the porch swing sipping on some ice tea while reading a book…or chatting with friends over a glass of wine. I was head over heels.

At this point in my quest to buy a house, I hadn’t chosen a realtor. I knew I wanted to work with a realtor because I am a first time home buyer. I know nothing about contracts or negotiating…I wanted an expert to offer some advice.

The first time I sat down with Mary (my realtor) I showed her the hand out I’d gotten from the doll house. She said she would arrange a showing.

In the weeks following, I walked through 15 different homes. NONE of them held a candle to my doll house. Most of them were midcentury homes, not my style. All of them were dated and needed a lot of work.

So when the day came for me to finally walk through my doll house, I wasn’t surprised to find out that the inside of the house was as charming as it was on the out!

There are a few things that need a little TLC but I’m okay with that. It will be a way for me to make it my own!

After the showing, I called my parents. I told them all about the doll house and that I was serious about making an offer.

My Dad was totally supportive. He was as giddy as I was!

My Mom, well my Mom was a little hesitant. See…my house was built in 1920. It’s more than 90 years old. She and my stepdad thought that it was a disaster waiting to happen…but don’t worry. They’ll come around.

Come back tomorrow! I’m going to tell you about winning over my parents and the (extremely) stressful negotiation.