Saturday, August 29, 2009

Farewell Virginia

Today The Browns will drive away from Virginia. Our time here has come to an end. Our new adventure in Florida is now beginning. Come along with us on a little stroll down the Virginia memory lane.

The girls had fun swimming on the Suffolk YMCA Gator Swim Team.

We realized the harsh cruelties that sometimes come with country living. The girls learned not to get too attached to their chickens.

We celebrated Lee's 40th with a bash complete with a surprise visit from family and friends.

We laughed ourselves silly during Caitlin's Sweet 16 Silly Olympics

We had special everyday times with good friends.

Abbie and Gracie decided to dig to Guam. No luck but they had fun trying.

Fun times with the Children of the Confederacy.

Holly turned 13 with a 5o's style sock hop and scavenger hunt.

Adventures with family, exploring what Virginia has to offer.

Friends from church made our time here in Virginia very special.
Stay tuned as our new journey in Florida gets its start TODAY!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Moving Day

For the past two days the movers have been here boxing up all of our household goods. Today the big truck pulled up and everything we own is being loaded aboard. The house is looking more and more empty by the minute. As you can see though, the Mac is NOT being put on the big truck. The computers will be making the trip to Florida in our own vehicles.

The girls in the almost empty kitchen.

The tractor trailer truck could not make it up our driveway and then get back out again. So the little truck is acting as a shuttle.

I'm sure the good folks of Holland VA are wondering why there is an enormous truck parked at the end of our driveway.

One of the best perks of a military move is the ability to lay in the floor with lollipops in your mouth and watch The Mummy on your laptop with your dog and your sister.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August 13

Ok I guess I'll come out of hiding.  This house hunting business has been for the birds.  It's been stressful and frustrating.  At this point we are less than 2 weeks away from the big moving truck pulling up into our yard.  On this day in exactly 2 weeks the majority of our belongings will be sitting around us in cardboard boxes.  Two weeks from tomorrow it will be loaded up onto that truck and hauled to Jacksonville, Florida. We will be left with an empty rental house to clean in hopes of earning our deposit back

Now, because we are under this time crunch, we have decided to move into base housing.  The above picture is of the house we will get.  It's not much but it does have its benefits.  It's basically free and all of our utilities except phone and TV are included.  Plus it is located less than a mile from Lee's work.  It is also directly across the street from the St Johns River and the Buckman Bridge (nice view).   

The drawbacks as you can see from the floor plan is that it is only 1500 Square Feet and 3 bedrooms.  This means that Caitlin, Holly and Hobbes have to share a bedroom.  I don't think Hobbes will mind.  The other huge drawback for us is that there is a 2 pet limit. (Believe it or not, Hobbes only counts as one pet in spite of his size)  Our family has given this ALOT of thought and discussion around the supper table for the past few nights.  We are unsure if this is just a temporary thing until we find a house to buy or if we will end up just staying put.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  Either way, we have a place to live in Jax on September 1st. Look out Jax, the Browns are on their way!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August 5

Yesterday was a disappointing day.  The house that we wanted and made an offer on was evidently a popular choice.  Someone else made an offer at the same time and the seller accepted the other offer.  It was pretty devastating.  We spent the evening looking at our other options.  At the end of the day we went to bed feeling as if we were back at square 1 which was a very frustrating place to be.  Making matters more stressful, we knew that we had a deadline of Thursday morning looming.  Lee has to be back at work on Friday morning so we have to go back to Virginia. Before our feet hit the floor this morning we prayed  that God would lead us to our house today.  By 4:30 PM this afternoon we still had NO prospects and had no idea what we were going to do.  THEN the realtor called with one more house to look at.  Off we went with all the girls, mom and Aunt Katie in tow.  

Long story short: We made an offer on the above house at 8:30 PM.  We walked into the house and immediately had that feeling that everyone kept telling me we'd have when we went into the right house.  We fell in love. 
The picture above does not do it justice.
If we get the house you'll have to come visit us to see it for yourself. We LOVE company.

The house is  tri-level.  Solid hardwood floors are throughout except for the tile in the kitchen and carpet in the den downstairs.  It has a really nice screened porch on the back that Fraidy Cat is going to love.  This house is move in ready (much to Caitlin's delight) so there are not going to be any major renovations.  I will say though that the orange paint in the dining room is going to be the first change we make!
We will know by Noon on Thursday whether or not they accept our offer.  Keep your fingers and toes crossed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 4

Well folks we've gone and done it now! We've joined the adult world of home ownership.  Actually all that we've really done so far is make an offer on the house pictured above.  We have appreciated and enjoyed reading all of your opinions here and on Facebook about which house we should choose.  Some of you are VERY opinionated!  In the end and after MUCH prayer we decided to go with the older home that we can pour some love into, not to mention sweat and money.  We've had fun dreaming about the possibilities.  I have grand ideas for the kitchen and a couple of the bathrooms.  We'll see if my ideas and our budget can come to an agreement.  No doubt, if we get the house, you will be able to follow the improvements right here on Lovin' Life At Home.  You may even be called upon for your invaluable opinions once again.  I know you have them so give 'em up!  Caitlin and Holly have seen the house (twice) but Abbie and Gracie have not.  We'll be taking them over (along with as many other family members who are willing to go) this afternoon to get a look.  They'll be fussing over who gets which bedroom in about 4 hours.  So far Holly likes the house and has an overall good attitude towards it.  Caitlin on the other hand has dug her heels in and has offered her dissenting opinion adamantly.  I'm praying that she will fall in love with it once it becomes home and that she'll get so attached that she'll never want to leave.  Stay tuned for an update on whether our offer will be accepted AND on the Abbie/Gracie vote.  

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August 1

This morning I asked all of my Facebook friends for their opinion. Now it's your turn, only you will have the advantage of a few pictures.  My question for you is this: Do we go for the older house that needs a little work but is in an established neighborhood and has potential for profit in the resell if we update the kitchen and bathrooms?  Or should we go for the house is move in ready, newer and well appointed?  The newer houses tend to have smallish yards and very small bedrooms.  The older house has a HUGE fenced in yard with large bedrooms but small closets.  Here are the 3 we've narrowed down to: in no particular order.

The Orchard House (1)
Nice yard, fenced in the back and a nice neighborhood 

Gorgeous kitchen with brand new appliances. The kitchen is open to the den on the right.
The eat in table would go where Lee is standing to take this picture.

The master bathroom is very nice and the kids bathroom (no pics) is really well done too.

The Hideaway House (2)
Very small yard on a corner lot

Pretty average kitchen with nice appliances

This kitchen is also open to the den area

Small fenced in yard out back.  The advantage of this house is that it is nicely painted in colors we like. Also it is very close to family. The work commute for Lee would be a breeze.

The Whippoorwill House (3)
Built in 1977. In a much sought after neighborhood with huge mature trees.  All the other house in this hood are worth more than this one.  It's got good bones.

The horrid kitchen that will not only require our sweat but some money to update.

The other rooms, like this one have been brought up to this century. This is the breakfast area of the kitchen.

Huge fenced in backyard big enough for Hobbes.

There you have it.  I'd LOVE to hear some opinions!