Friday, September 12, 2014

Raising Awareness for Mesothelioma

                 I was approached by the Von St. James family to help them raise awareness regarding Mesothelioma. I was so honored to be asked and once I read the story of this family and their plight to make other's aware I knew that sharing a post was the least I could do.

          
Some facts about Mesothelioma:


Did you know that nearly all cases of Mesothelioma are due to exposure from Asbestos and that Asbestos is still allowed for use in the US? 
Asbestos used to be a popular material to insulate homes and buildings but is no longer used for this purpose. Even when no longer used for this purpose it can still be found in many buildings including homes, schools and office buildings.
No exposure to Asbestos is safe. Even secondary exposure can be harmful.
Once exposed to Asbestos, it could take anywhere from 10 to 45 years to cause health issues.


Diagnosing this disease has many invasive steps and the prognosis is usually around 10 months...This is a devastating disease and prognosis for patients. 

Here is a helpful link that I have used to educate myself on Mesothelioma.  These are the facts of Mesothelioma and behind the facts are the faces and the families.


Please Educate yourself and use your voice to share with others, this may be a rare cancer but the knowledge doesn't have to be the same way. I am proud to lend my voice to this cause and to Heather. 

Heather has an amazing story and when she was diagnosed she started looking for the best possible treatment. Heather is not just a patient with Pleural Mesothelioma. Heather is a wife and a mother and a Survivor. 







I am lending my voice to this cause and my prayers for her family and all the families that will be helped by all the work of the Von St. James Family

                  September 26th is Mesothelioma                      Awareness Day!


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Second floor and some quiet time for me!

   Considering I drive by the lot each day I was overwhelmingly excited to see that yesterday there were major changes to the house. It actually finally looks like a house, the house we lovingly picked it and chose the flooring and cabinets (Maple Espresso) will soon house the sounds of my family.

  Sometimes when I drive by I witness the end of the day. The workers packing up, the machines stopped and parked and the families coming home. Yesterday when I went it was silent on the street and the weather was just right. I came around the corner and there it was..our second floor.

  I jumped out of the car with my phone and started snapping away. Carefully picking my way up the driveway in my ballet flats because I STILL haven't managed to get boots for these trips. I was in awe of what the front of our house looked like. I couldn't resist so I went inside our front door. The stoop was very high and along with my ballet flats I was of course wearing a skirt. I went in anyway..how could I not?

  It was so quiet in there and I stood right in the middle of the family room and looked around. I could see upstairs and I did creep halfway up but worry over possible safety issues had me feeling I shouldn't venture to much further. It was great to stand inside and get a sense of what it would feel like. We have a LONG way to go, maybe not as LONG as I think but I know the work will really begin and probably take the longest when the inside stuff starts.

  Lately I have had apartment fever. Its feeling a little snug and just little annoyances like having to take the trash all the way to the other side of the parking lot and taking your keys and not being able to take the girls because you have to take the trash..and worrying that if you forget to take the keys you could end up locking your kids in the apartment has begun to wear on me.

  Sharing laundry has lots its charm..So last night in the quiet of the neighborhood and the bones of our soon to be house..I stopped and took a deep breath and hoped for happiness in our new abode.

Here are some pictures and even though I have been assured that the house is the right size it still felt tiny..I am just saying.





Looking at the morning room



Looking upstairs






9 foot ceilings and some space - I can't wait.




Sunday, September 7, 2014

First floor and the foil wrap!


    HOLY MOLY...we have a first floor. I couldn't believe it on Friday when I drove to the lot and there was a first floor. We even have windows and a foil wrap. I could look in and see the downstairs to the basement and thru the front door. I could see the morning room and the family room.

When I first walked thru the garage and peeked into the house my first thought was. UM...this is tiny. How we will fit a refrigerator into this tiny space. Why is this house so small? Did they build it to scale or make a mistake? 

Being that I have never built anything or been in the process of building I left the concern to my husband who came home and said.."Yep, that is tiny" are we sure they are building the exact same size as the model? 

I will assuredly end up asking this question to our project manager when we get our weekly update. I was in the model after I saw this and wasn't reassured as the framing looks tiny. The stairwell downstairs looks so narrow that I am worried that you will have to tuck your elbows in on the way down and that no furniture will fit down the stairs. The front door clearance to the basement seemed so close and snug I worry people may just fall straight down the narrow case. 

Did anyone else feel this way?

Here are some pictures, I was rocking my cell phone and my NIKON so there are a few photos.

View from the rocky driveway (driveway is longer than I originally thought)


From the door that will be in the garage...





Looking into the basement (narrow stairs)









Family room -



This could be the kitchen (i think)..we have a reverse floor plan and it really throws me off...See what I mean? How will a fridge fit in there?



Living room 





Back left view



Standing in the back yard looking at the back of the house



This is the back left of the house, do you see how high our exit from the morning room is? And please notice the tiny basement window. This made my husband and I laugh because when the person who was explaining the window and the garden view to us..I don't know if we fully understood. When she offered us a bigger window in the basement we were like " who wants a bigger window to look level at your yard".. Now we see the window and what a garden view really looks like and I don't mind but feel this could have used better explanation. That tiny window is hilarious.

The space between the house and the morning room is where we hope to build a stone patio..all though we will definitely need to put some stairs coming down.



That was Friday and I CAN"T WAIT to see what the house looks like tomorrow. Here is a worry I didn't realize..it rained over the weekend and our lumber is laying out in the rain. Is this okay? Another question for Mike!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bathtubs, lumber and some changes!

   Yesterday my husband got a call from Mike (PM) with an exciting update. Our lumber has been delivered, we have been back filled and the framing shall commence.  I was excited..I have seen other blogs and have watched the houses get framed and roofs get shingled and I couldn't wait to be part of the framing crowd.

  I drive by every single day on my way home from work and we go as a family once on the weekend. We are lucky to live close so this isn't much out of the way and I really enjoy seeing the progress.

We are currently in a temporary apartment that has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, we sold our condo that had 2 bedrooms and 2 and 1/2 bathrooms so we are still a bit cramped and going to the site gives me the feel goods.. I digress.

With Mike saying there was a delivery I knew I would want to snap a few pictures. Here is what I noticed..I could stand in the garage on a mound of dirt no -less but still in the garage. I could see into the basement and when I looked down here is what I saw..

Doors and Windows inside the basement...



Bathtubs on the Curb when I drove up...



Left side view of the basement



My shadow self taking pictures of the lumber...



The garage without walls...



Mike said the roofing and framing is the next step so I will of course be doing my visits on the way home and I keep getting excited thinking the next time I go over the hill I will not just see my neighbors house but the frame of our home!

Enjoying every step..

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

We haven't moved yet and I feel broke -

  

    I am not sure if it was exactly wise to sit down with my husband and write down the list of things we needed for the house. We started off listing so many things I ended up getting a notebook and making 3 different lists. I love lists so secretly this was more fun than I let on at the beginning. 

 We split the list into 3 sections so that we could better see what we were looking at and how to break down the money we would need to spend. 

When building a house you have a couple of months before you start paying your new mortgage amount and that for us has been our biggest worry. Our LO at NVR is aware of this and has been watching the rates so that we can save monthly. This reason would be why I wrote the previous post titled Ode to NVR mortgage.

                                  Priority list #1 - in no particular order

1. Big Girl bed for our 3 year old - Its time to get out of the crib for her and move our 1 year old into the crib. This is essential as our 1 year old is still sharing a room with us and we are very excited for her to have her own space (READ-MY OWN SPACE). I can't wait to walk into our master bedroom and not worry that my footsteps will wake up the baby..Dream a little dream in the Florence for me. 

This is the big girl bed we purchased for my daughter and we can't wait for the transition!

Cottage Retreat Twin Poster Bed in Cream 

2. Washer and Dryer - After extensive research from my friends and friends of friends and good 'OL word on the street has led me away from the fancy looking front loaders that apparently stink and our noisy back to the top loader.  I will admit, I was being wooed by the look of those front loaders but when each of my inquiries and my online research came back with a resounding NO I knew I needed to look past the outer beauty into what would really work. 
Also, I don't want to leave my dryer open to dry because it might smell. I love our laundry room in the Florence but it is not huge and would look tacky leaving the door open. 

Here is what I am currently looking at, nothing flashy but good price and good reviews and high efficiency so all those are good. The set would be $1200 and that is an okay price for me.

Samsung 7.4 cu. ft. Electric Dryer - WhiteSamsung 7.4 cu. ft. Gas Dryer - White


3. Refrigerator- This will be our biggest cost/purchase. We have an old school top freezer and bottom fridge appliance and I love to cook and am often making stuff to take to a get-together so I have decided that I will be venturing into the land of the French Door Refrigerator- We are lucky enough to live close to a Sears Appliance store and they have great prices. We are debating between two brands.

           Kenmore 27.0 cubic feet Elite at $1899 (Great price and smudge free)

          Kenmore 27 cu. ft. French Door Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator w/ Air Filter

Samsung  - 28.0 cubic feet - $1988 but will smudge easy.


          Samsung 28 cu.ft. French Door Refrigerator - Stainless Steel

Both are great options for a fridge and similar prices and configuration, I guess it is all up to the brand. I hear that Samsung has a not great customer service and Kenmore may have the win in this department. 

4. Blinds for the windows- This will be hard because we have 16 windows to cover and I have no clue what I would use yet. Michelle and Kandra are my favorite sales reps and they were awesome with telling me a great place to go and when there was a sale at Home depot..

So with all these costs weighing on my mind I wanted to do what I can to buy the small things first..my secondary list was stuff I didn't even realize I would need...

Shower curtains for the 2 bathrooms, trash cans for those bathrooms -

I also forgot that I have a kitchen table but no chairs..it slipped my mind. We haven't been able to eat at a table in so long that I forgot about chairs.

I think it might be time for a trip to Ikea..I LOVE IKEA


Friday, August 29, 2014

ODE to NVR Mortgage

                         
      I think any person who is in the middle of the build process or thinking about starting the process and has done some research about NVR has been privy to the not so nice reviews regarding their services. 

   I read the reviews and was a bit frightened to deal with them. I try to forge my own opinion so I was cautiously optimistic. Well, thank goodness for cautious optimism because it served me well in this situation. I have enjoyed my experience with NVR and have found my LO (loan officer) and anyone else I have worked with to be delightful. 

Katie is my loan officer and she is attentive and never rushes an explanation. If I am still unclear, she finds a way to explain it differently. I have one LO and  one underwriter and frankly I think they are both lovely and very professional. 

I shouldn't be surprised because my experience so far with Ryan Homes has been so fantastic and NVR is part of the Ryan Homes company. 

We are currently about 60 days out (according to my PM) so we are talking about the ever changing rate and if we should lock now or wait? Katie has been amazing with explaining and telling me how things work. 

Today the rate is 4.0% with a discount of .75% (lowers our closing costs) and these rates are really good but we are going to wait. If they drop even lower it would lower our monthly cost and make us much more comfortable.  Katie is on board and will keep me updated..to me there is nothing more important than great customer service and so far NVR is rocking it!

Nothing has really changed with the house but the metal cage has been removed. I am getting more and more excited and when I saw our PM on the street he mentioned our lumber is coming and that we will begin framing. Watching our home take shape has been really nice and gets me excited with each step. 

Here is a picture of the house yesterday - no cage and really no changes - 

Back of the property (standing in my back yard)



Standing closer (looks really small like this)



Standing at the far edge of the lot 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We have a wall or basement?

                   

     Well, I do love to drive by the site and yesterday when I went I saw something that resembled a basement but had a metal cage around it. I am not a construction person at all so I am not sure what this really is but whatever..We have a wall (sort of).

The neighbors down the street received their lumber and I feel overly excited for them, since they have basement walls that don't have the cage around it they must be a step ahead of us. 

I am looking for lumber this week. I feel like I will drive by next week and possibly see a framed house? I would try to pretend like I could go a week without driving by but that is not a possibility. I love driving by and also, I like to make sure things are being done the correct way. Can't help myself about driving by.

I have to say again how much I love our sales rep and another sales rep that isn't ours but she works in the office and we love her as well. NO, I do not work with Ryan Homes or have any weird arrangement with them. I just have had such an amazing experience and when you are building a home this is how it should feel. 

Here is a quick progression of photos of the house. 

Thursday - August 21st.



Friday - August 22nd (weird shaped hole)



Tuesday - August 26th (Basement with a cage around it and weird lump is still in the middle) Wondering what the weird square shaped lump of dirt is?





Well, I will drive by today and see if that lumber has been delivered - things have started to move and I am getting excited. 

Will we be celebrating Thanksgiving 2014 in our new home? Our projected move in date was November 30th but we were moved up 2 weeks on the dig schedule so I am keeping our fingers crossed that we are also moving in two weeks earlier than November 30th. Also, our PM Mike sort of mentioned something about the beginning of November but I will not get my hopes up! 


                                        (Secretly, my hopes are already up)