Monday, August 22, 2011

Real Estate Reality

       I've heard a saying that real estate is like porn for women (apologies for the vulgerity), and maybe, just maybe, you enjoy shopping around homes as much as I do, so I'll share. We've mentioned that we've been keeping our eyes on the real estate market here in our area for some time. We've been doing our research, working on paying down debt, and trying to think logically about the process. Some days we feel that we're about 90% ready to be homeowners but other days we still only feel about 40% prepared. We've been pre-aproved and we've punched some numbers to see what we can afford, but our reality is that things are still quite unsettled for us, as Jon is still in the thick of working on his fire career. But, if we do settle here, we want to know we're getting what we want and that we're getting the most for our money. So, even though we may not be on the brink of pulling the trigger we hope to be prepared when we finally get there.
       We're primarily looking in the Glenshire neighborhood of Truckee. It's a neighborhood nestled in a large quiet valley and has lots of pros: it's a very family friendly area,  has a neighboorhood pool and clubhouse, receives less snow then surrounding areas and we have lots of friends already settled out there! The downsides are that it is a bit out there (it's several minutes from downtown), and it takes about 35 minutes to get to Tahoe City and ummm... the lake that we love so much.
It's quiet beauty gets me every time we drive out there.
We viewed this house about a month ago. 
It was listed at a very competitive price and was in
 seemingly great shape for its asking.
It's what I call "Mountain Style," 
which accounts for a lot of homes in our area.
Unfortunately, I haven't really decided if "Mountain Style"
is our style. 
From the outside all seemed nice. 
But inside, the house told another story. 
Three words: Dog. Pee. Everywhere. 
The owners were letting the house be ruined by their yapper of a dog.
Viewing the home was definitely a disappointment, 
and sad to know that people take so little pride
in caring for their homes. 
We did love the large 1/4 acre lot, 
but it was all dirt and shrubs and would require
LOTS of dinero to get it into shape. 
Then two weeks ago,
 a house came on my radar and I kind
of fell in love with it from the photos alone. 
We got in to see it a few days later. 
We liked. A lot. 
The exterior photos that I grabbed don't really do it justice. 
It needed to be cleaned up a bit, but it oozed charm.
Maybe I was a little pre-mature in imagining it 
all decorated for Halloween?
Here's another view of the front yard, 
as seen from the master bedroom balcony.
Jon said that we could drink mimosas on that balcony. 
The house had a foyer!
An actual foyer. 
Homes in our area in our budget, 
don't have foyers. 
Sure, the tile wasn't us,
 and I already saw some upgrades to do, 
but I liked. 
The kitchen had cabinets that went 
all the way to the ceiling, 
which I love. 
I already had some ideas for a facelift for the space. 
But the bones were there.
On top of four bedrooms, the house had a small den. 
The den was pretty teeny tiny,
but had lots of potential for becoming a comfy 
room for games and family hang out time.
The master bedroom was charming, 
with angled ceilings and walk out french doors
(which I failed to take photos of).
But the thing we loved the most...
was the backyard. 
Sure, it needed a deck,
but we could also imagine a built in stone firepit, 
encircled with adirondak chairs. 
That house was definitely over our budget, 
which is probably one of the reasons we liked it so much. 
We're staying put for the time being,
and keeping our eyes out for new listings. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Case of Crazy Hair

       We've been looking at Nolan's sweet face for over a year so to me his hair is the norm. But, man do we get a lot of stares and snickers when we go out (I think I counted about 30 comments on one shopping trip in Reno. 30!). Sometimes I actually get sick of the comments. Is that bad?And then, add to it all of the times that he's confused for a girl, even though he's wearing a blue shirt. And fireman socks.  Sure signs that he's a boy people. I'll admit, I have a running list of Afro inspired Halloween costume ideas for him (Kramer, anyone?). Here are the things we're ALWAYS hearing when we go out.

1) Where does he get that hair?
                 This is the number one question that we get.  They look at my straight blond hair and then to Jon's short do and they can't figure it out. This is when we clue then in as to why oh why we keep Jon's hair short. That was Jon many a year ago and a glimpse of my son in a few years.
2) Do you style it like that?
                Absolutely not. I rarely comb his hair. Bad mom perhaps? It actually gets bigger if you comb it.

3) Can't you use some gel on it?
                We've tried mousse. I was advised that mousse was the way to go. The mousse looked cute for about 5 minutes and then it was gone. No trace that it was ever there. I'm wanting to try some curling gel soon.

4) Do you ever cut it?
                 Before his first birthday I had trimmed it about 3 times. I saved a few of those locks. We wanted to let it go natural, but after a while the long fuzz wasn't allowing for his cool curls to be shown off.
       So at some point, we decided that after he turned a year, it was time to tame that curly beast. We let it go natural for long enough. We waited for Jon's mom and sister to visit, so that they could see the fro in it's full glory before we took some scissors to it. And then...we cut it. Here I am in action with the scissors (sorry for the not so great photos. I just picked them up and started at it.)
And here's what we were left with. 
Quit gross actually.
I'm not sure if I'll be able to bring myself to saving his fluff.
The next day, this is what my sweet boy was looking like. 
Plenty of curls, but not so much crazy fluff. 
We're still getting lots of comments but 
the girl confusion has calmed down a bit. 
I think it's already grown out a little. 
I better keep the scissors handy...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just a Little Bit Behind

       We're just a little bit behind when it comes to keeping you updated on Milam happenings. When a cold sweeps through the Milam house, followed by a broken rib, we tend to find ourselves a bit off balance. But we're healing and getting ourselves back on track now.
       A couple of weeks ago Jon's mom and sister came out to stay with us and oh what fun we did have.
We ate out lots.
(Note: Yes, Nolan's hair is NUTS in this picture,
but stay tuned. I'll share about his first hair
cut later this week)
One morning, while Becky was off getting her yoga on
 we took a walk to grab coffee.

Of course, we beached it up while they were here.
Meeks Bay was our favorite spot this year.
Having the sun paranoa that I do, 
we keep Nolan very much protected when we're on the sand.
He's got his own mini-tent to hang out in.
I love this picture. 
He was trying to get at me through the netting.
Somehow I failed to manage very many good pictures at the beach. 
Imagine us lounging, 
people watching, 
digging sand and rocks out of Nolan's mouth, 
and a very blue lake. 
One night we tried a new Mexican restaurant in town.
(Somehow I managed to not get a picture of all of us
together the whole weekend. 
What the heck was I thinking!!!)
Grandma Babs gave Nolan a bath.

I'm kicking myself for not taking more photos from the trip. 
Where was my head?
More on Nolan's haircut on Wednesday!