Friday, November 5, 2010

A Change of Plans..

It's been awhile since I last posted. Being pregnant, preparing to sell your home, and trying to get things "perfect" before the arrival of our daughter is very emotionally and physically tolling.

The house is finished with the exception of handrails on the deck and new kitchen cabinets. But the credit cards are maxed, and we have run out of time and money. A couple weeks ago I approached David with the idea of keeping house and refinancing to take advantage of all the equity we have built by fixing her up. We owe about $115,000 on the house, and believe it is worth between $170,000 and $180,000. I was hoping then, we could get a loan for enough to pay off the $25,000 in credit card debt that we accumulated making repairs.

It hasn't been as easy as I had hoped. Right now banks will give you a loan for about 80% of the value of the property. Which, at $170,000 (banks are being conservative in their appraisals due to current market conditions) is only $136,000. That only provides $21,000 and would not cover the entire debt load. Still, we had banks try to get us a good interest rate for a $136,000 loan (to refinance the mortgage and lump it with our credit card debt at a low interest rate). We were hoping for between 4 and 4.25% (our current mortgage rate is 6.75%). Unfortunately.. a good credit score isn't what it used to be and even though we are both between 720 and 745, our credit is only good enough to warrent a 6% loan.

It's a catch 22. Our debt load is too high to have a "good" credit score, and we can't lower the debt load because we don't have a good enough score.

We haven't given up trying to consolidate our debt at a lower rate. We are now in talks with a mortgage company and are waiting to see what they can offer us. It is very frustrating however. We've put a great deal of effort into being financially responsible. We do not default on loans, we pay our bills on time. The debt on the cards is about 90% home repairs and interest. In the past year, our interest rates on the cards have gone up and the available credit limits have come down. Part of me can't help but feel like a failure. Like I made a mistake choosing to take on a fixer upper.

When I get too down though, I think of January and how we'll be holding our daughter soon. God has already provided us with everything we need to take care of her and I am very thankful for that. We have our health, and her health and even the health of our critters, so I can't complain about our situation.

Still, pray for us and keep your fingers crossed that we can set ourselves up to be more finanically secure before Sophie arrives. I need that weight off my shoulders.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bradley Classes

Yesterday was David and I's second Bradley class so I thought I'd share a little bit about that.

For those of you who don't know, the Bradley method of birth is different than Lamaze in that it's training you to keep your body and muscles as relaxed as possible during contractions, instead of teaching distraction methods of patterned shallow breathing. Unlike Lamaze, which has you pant while in labor, since humans do not pant naturally, the Bradley method focuses on deep belly breathing and relaxation of your muscles, such as when you are in a deep sleep. You can read more about it here.

What I love about the Bradley method is that a lot of the focus is on having your husband be your coach. David is my rock, and there is no where I'd rather have him by my side then when I am in labor. Our classes teach him massage and relaxation techniques that he can use to help me stay calm and relaxed during contractions. He is already a natural at calming me and massage, so this labor thing should be a piece of cake! ;)

Bradley method also puts a lot of focus on healthy pregnancy nutrition, excercises that prepare the muscles important to labor, and on aiming for a natural drug free birth experience.

Our biggests goals in taking Bradley classes are to learn to manage pain and stress during labor and to ultimately use those skills to avoid medications or interventions during the birth of our daughter. I have faith in my ability to trust God, David and my body to lead me to the unmedicated and natural birth that I am envisioning. I believe a natural birth is the best possible scenerio for my health and Sophia's.

At class our teacher said that you can really make birth your own when you realize the contractions are yours, are your body doing what it needs to do and when you work with them instead of against them. This really stuck with me and I hope that I can keep this in mind and in my heart when the time comes for me to embrace the contractions instead of struggle against them.

Thinking ahead to the birth is so exciting and scary at the same time, and I can't wait.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Looking forward to another weekend of working!

So, Sophia is making herself well known this morning. I'm imagining that she is picking up on my excitment to get more projects completed this weekend.

We finished siding the front of the house yesterday. That leaves one side remaining and Verizon should be out today to remove the box so we can get that side done too.

Also on our list of this weekend's projects are replacing the kitchen lights, boxing in the electric in the kitchen, and starting the railing on the back porch.

I can't wait to see that for sale sign in the yard!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Started looking at new houses

Victory seems so close. We have only a few more things to do before the house can be put up for sale. With that in mind, I started skimming the MLS for available properties in our price range (more fixer-uppers of course). Found a handful that were under $150,000 all in the same area. Drove around there after work and really liked the area. It isn't ritzy or glamorous, but it will definitly do.

Hopefully I'll be a position to actually start putting in offers soon.

Here's our current to-do list:

Patch kitchen cieling (these wires became exposed when we took down an old cabinet)

Remove and replace kitchen cabinets (hope to order these in the next few days)

Finish Drylocking basement walls

Finish removing old nasty insulation from basement cieling

Finish siding on front and side of house

Have masonry repaired around house and stairs under x-door removed (getting a professional to do this)

And I really can't think of anything else. Hooray! Almost time to get a new home!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sophie's Closet

Although we have made tons of progress since my last post, not many of the changes were huge; just a lot of odds and ends have been completed.

The crown molding is now up in the bathroom, and the floor trim is complete. This means the bathroom just needs a coat of trim paint and its finished!

But... my favorite project completed this week was Sophie's closet. Since we are hoping to be in a new house when she is born, we aren't working a nursery into this house. So, David refinished a dark dirty closet into one just for Sophia's things.

It is beautiful!

Here it is, already with some of her things in it. I also bought 3 more used gdiaper covers from craigslist this weekend. I'm so excited to try them out in a few months.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Project : Siding the House Day 2

So day two started out well. By 10:36 a.m. the back of the house was completely finished:

By 10:57 a.m, the side door was completely removed and ready to be patched up:

At 1:36, the side door was framed out and ready to be covered.

Here is my dad (my parents have been sweet enough to come lend a hand this weekend)and Dave waiting to put the particle board up over the old door frame.

By 5:30, there as a lot of siding up on the side of the house. But we decided to stop before doing the top part because our legs were ladder-tired and we thought it would be best to move to the front of the house.

Unfortunately... upon removing the siding under the front door... we found this:

We are not sure if it is water rot or termite damage. Unfortunately, it stops us from finishing the front until it is repaired. I have a call into the company that did our termite inspection so hopefully we will have a gameplan on how to repair it soon and we can get the siding finished.

Today we hope to complete at least the half of the front unaffected by the damage, the top of the first side and finish some work to the porch we have yet to do.

I'm bummed we can't finish the front today, but it is important to do things right.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Project : Siding the House

Here's what we got done so far:

Yesterday morning 8:16 a.m. - taking down the old yellow siding from the back

Yesterday morning 10:57 a.m. - old siding is gone, putting up window sealing tape and J-channel siding around the windows

Yesterday 6:33 p.m. - new siding is going up. It doesn't seem like a lot changed from the last picture, but the detailed cutting takes time and practice. We definitly got faster as we went, and only made two mistake cuts, which I think is pretty good.. especially since we were able to use most of our mistake pieces for other places.

Last night 7:50 p.m. - This is the last shot of the day. A few more pieces went up on the left hand side of picture before we called it a day, but we didn't have enough light for more photos. All in all, we didn't get as far as I had hoped, but it looks flawless, so I'm still thrilled.

Today we are hoping to finish the back side and one of the sides of the house. Will be super elated if we can get the front started before we call it a day today. The side we are going to be working on has a door that we are removing, so that will slow us down. More pics tomorrow :)