Wednesday, October 22, 2014

23 days and counting down..some changes to the house.

                                                     23 Days to go...

 If there are no delays (knock wood) then we should be moving into our Florence in 23 days. I have included some pictures because last night I was able to see our kitchen and counter tops installed as well as the bathroom vanities. It finally feels like it will be a home.  I guess seeing it in this state makes me worry that 23 days isn't enough time but I have nothing but faith in Mike (PM) and Ryan homes. I have been locked out so my awesome SR Michelle taken me twice to see the house. Last night when she took me and I saw the kitchen it was very exciting and nice to have her with me. She was there when I picked out the kitchen cupboards and counter tops so it was a bonus. I really like our Sales rep and will be honestly sad when this process is over.

Scottsdale Espresso cabinets mixed with the upgraded counter tops in the Antique Moscarello and we are all set. I was worried the floor would clash but it looks nice and eventually we will upgrade to wood floors. For now its perfect. We have doors but no door handles and lots of stuff will be happening this week. I pray and pray for nice weather because we will get a drive way poured. If not, we will be with a gravel driveway for the winter..YUCK

My husband isn't able to go as much as I am but when I showed him pictures of the kitchen he was really happy and can't wait to see it in person. 

Jessica and Katie at NVR have us almost all the way thru underwriting and I will add them to my list of people I will miss chatting with when this process should end. They have both been amazing and kind and working with them has been nothing but comfortable. They take time to explain things and have done nothing but look out for our best interest in this process. 

Front porch and the wood is covered by a pillar..So pretty! The front door should be painted black soon. I can't wait for that since I was a bit concerned the front of the house didn't have enough contrast..I have now grown fond of our siding and brick combination.

Standing in the Living room..I love my kitchen..

Kitchen from the corner of the morning room..

Opposite corner of the morning room..

Master bath ..double vanities

When I tried to get our new trash account set up the girl couldn't find our street. I thought hooking utitlies into our name would be easy but I am guessing that each call will be a long one. 

Less than 30 days to go..Any advice or lists to work from?  Send 'em over if you got 'em. I want to make sure I don't forget anything..

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Closing date and lots of changes..UPDATE

            I haven't been able to get anything posted for a week or so and I have actually had a few changes to the house and today I got the news that our closing date is November 14th! We will skate in right before Thanksgiving and I couldn't be more Thankful. I hope that writing this post doesn't jinx the move in date..30 DAYS AND COUNTING! Almost time to finally purchase the appliances..

Last I posted we had our drywall meeting and a delay. Well the next day we ended up with drywall even though there was a delay because randomly someone was available. We were very lucky and I am grateful. Then the brick was laid on the front of the house. It looks totally different than what I thought it would look but it was pretty so I was happy. Then the siding was put up and we honestly thought our siding would be more of a gray and it is straight up Tan or Pebble Clay. We are going to check the sample in the model because it is just not what we pictured. 

I also took my 3 year old the other day and the two of us walked around the house and discussed how this would be her new home and where things would go. She was so much fun and I will be including pictures of her in the house just because she is so darn cute..

Pictures Galore!

Falls Canyon Brick - Love it but looks different from the sample we chose..

Family room to the great room...

Morning room..

Kitchen and pantry

Family room with super cute 3 year old..

Stairs going up..

Upstairs hallway leading to bedrooms...what a cute model!

Our master bedroom upgraded shower...LOOK AT THIS SHOWER MOMMY! 

Brick with the Black shutters up.. I LOVE MY BLACK SHUTTERS..

House with the siding and I would love some honest opinions..we thought the siding would be more gray (thus the black shutter choice) but this is just TAN as can be.. Its not that we don't like it, its that it is opposite of what we "thought" we chose. I could use some advice because I know they won't reside the house...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Before the drywall was hung..

   The idea of writing on the wood frame of your house (thank you bloggers) prior to drywall is one that I knew I would want to do. Some used scripts from the bible or famous quotes to mark their homes. I had plenty of time to think about what I would put down for my daughters and husband. To be honest I couldn't wait for the meeting and once we were upstairs I couldn't wait for it to be over so I could share with my husband. 

Our PM was nice enough to let us close/lock the house after we were done so that we could share this moment together in our house. My husband sometimes finds my ideas cheesy but I was pleasantly surprised that he really liked the idea of marking something for our family. 

When my daughters were born and I held them for the first time, I experienced actual magic. My daughters are incredible little people and I know as a mommy that I have been blessed with amazing love from them both. My husband and I are just head over heels for our daughters. This will not be our first house but it will be our first home with our kids. I had no doubt what I would write on the walls of their bedrooms.

When my first daughter was fussy I would sing to her the mommy favorite.                                                                   "You are my sunshine.."
To this day if she is upset not only will she ask me to sing it to her but she will sing with me. So on the bedroom wall of my very first baby.. our favorite song and a Sweet dreams blessing from her mommy and daddy.

Our second daughter is just as amazing but in her very own little way. My baby, my love and the one that taught me so many things. Our favorite song came about in a different way. In the hospital during her seizures it was hard to soothe her to sleep. I tried a couple of different songs but the one that worked for her was a classic from the Disney movie Dumbo. You can read about her story here and here..

"Baby mine, don't you cry. Baby mine dry your eyes. Rest your head close to my heart, never to part. Baby of mine..."  and so for her...

 Last but not least.. I kept the quote for our bedroom a secret from my husband until the last minute. I think it can be hard to find something that sums up your love and life in marriage. I have hundreds of qoutes that I could have used but there was one that I heard last week and I knew immediatly it was the one. My husband is so supportive and amazing and so for us and our bedroom..

My favorite line from a favorite movie...The Notebook. 

"If your a bird, then I am a bird. I am whatever you are..." 

Thank you to all the building bloggers who gave this idea. It was so nice to have the "house" to ourselves and to do something with such emotion. It is covered now with drywall but we will know it is always there as a part of our home...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pre-drywall, Project manager love and a pushed back date!


    Well we had our pre-drywall and it went really well. We did see some things that need to be worked on but our PM Mike has already taken care of them as of this morning so the changes were quick and easy. I came with my list of questions that were a mix of my own and the pre-drywall list that is floating around the blog world. My PM asked for a copy of my list and I was happy to oblige. I think he was very curious as to where my questions were coming from..

In our previous home (condo) we were able to hear everything. Every toilet flush, foot step or someone rolling over in bed. We could hear the neighbors and their toilets and sinks and banging of cabinets. To say our condo was not well built is an understatement. This is what had me asking Mike about the below listed questions.

1. Will I be able to hear the toilet flush from one floor to the next?
2. The bedroom that backs up to our master bathroom, if we flush the toilet at night will it wake a child?
3. Will I be able to hear people walking on the floors?

During our meeting Mike answered honestly that he really didn't know these answers. Today Mike called me and asked if I wanted to come to a Florence that was ready to close..and test out my questions? I was so touched that he cared and literally put thought into how to answer these questions. I went on my lunch and stood in the bedrooms and here is the answer. Once again, amazing service from Ryan homes.

1. No, you can't hear the toilet flush from one floor to the next.
2. Yes, you can hear the water running (bath) and toilet flush..but its so quiet that it won't disturb was like a low, low sound.
3. Yes, you can hear people walking up stairs but its very soft and only when they stomp. Mike was nice enough to stomp so I could actually tell he was walking.

That is so AWESOME..My PM kicks some serious butt. That was truly very thoughtful and much appreciated. 

It was also nice to see a house that was finished but wasn't the over-decorated model. It was a reality and the house looked beautiful and it made my excitement return in full.

Here is the one issue: Mike did tell us our completion date is back to the end of November and that it would be the last weekend. I let him know that is Thanksgiving weekend and we would really love to be in our house for the holiday. To be fair, this was our our original date but it got moved to the first week of November when they were digging. Now with 3 delays from sub-contractors (drywall, finishers and plumbers) we are back to the end of November. To be honest, I was having a tough week and this didn't help and I just really really want to be in our house for Thanksgiving. Instead of having people over we will be moving on the Holiday weekend. I guess the positive is that we will have good Black Friday sales in case we need anything. The negative is good luck to us finding help to move...Turkey waits for no one.

Drywall was hung the day after our meeting and the stone was supposed to go up on Friday but it still isn't hung. On our list of things that needed to be fixed it was completed not 12 hours later. 

Thank you Mike for thinking of us the next day and for answering all of our questions.

Basement bathroom


Recessed lights in the kitchen


We had 3 spots where this was torn and has already been mended..


Look, Gas lines have been marked

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What will I cook in my new kitchen?

    Well this is picture of what our kitchen will eventually look like. The style not the colors and not the wood floors. We did not upgrade to wood floors and hopefully we will finally decide on a refrigerator. Isn't this beautiful? I can't wait to actually be able to cook in this kitchen and have more than 1 cubic foot of space for preparation. I really enjoy cooking but honestly the apartment that we are in is cramped and the kitchen isn't inspiring me to cook anything more than it takes to prep in the previously mentioned 1 cubic foot of space.

We did upgrade to the island and we will be having Espresso cabinets with the level 2 counters. It isn't granite but it will look like granite and I am fine with that. Seeing this kitchen has me thinking, what will I cook in my new Ryan Home Florence kitchen?

Our projected finish date is the first week of November and hopefully at our pre-drywall next week we will get a more firm date. This means that technically I could cook Thanksgiving dinner but I won't set my sights that high. Instead I will settle for something for my and my husband and the girls or hopefully something for our family that will help us move (Please and Thank you)

The first night we can break in the kitchen I think I will make one of two dinners. I guess my choice will depend on how much I unpacked and the weather outside.

1. My award winning Sausage Corn Chowder (I won the soup cook off at work, still counts as a award winning)

I can use the crock pot, it will make the kitchen smell good and could feed a lot of people that may or may not be helping us move (Please and there will be Soup involved)

2. My second option is labor intensive and will use all of my new kitchen space and goodies. This recipe is one of my most requested and I haven't made it in awhile so its about time for some

Pollo Fundido Chimichangas. Who doesn't love LOVE Mexican food?

Also, this can feed a crowd as well and so any possible movers who don't love soup..NO Fear. I can also whip up some Mexican food..YUMMY.

Whatever I decide to make (I am sure this will change in the next 30-45 days (Per our PM) I know that I will finally be in our new home and able to have more than 2 people over at a time. I can't wait to have space to cook and not feel squished in the kitchen. 

I can't wait to stand with my 3 year old at the Gourmet island and make cookies for Christmas or finally have a place to put a big Christmas tree. I can't wait to put our new dining room table in the family room and sit at an actual table to eat instead of wooden TV trays.

My Sister's birthday is today and this weekend we will be celebrating her birthday. I will be making my Black Bean Chicken Tacos  these are easy and seriously delicious.

Happy Birthday to my sister, I can't wait to celebrate your birthday this weekend!

For those of you still building and those of you who are about to close on your new houses..What will you make in your new kitchens?

Fall is coming so those of you moving in time for Halloween, How will you decorate?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda..Upgrades?

 Yesterday I went by the house and for the first time I realized I was locked out? WHAT? We had a garage door installed and that was down along with the front door being locked. It was a little disappointing because stopping by the house is one of my favorite things. It keeps me going when our apartment life gets me down. 

1 bathroom, 2 adults, 2 kids and one is determined to unroll the toilet paper every chance she gets...

I found myself wondering what changes I had missed and if there was any progress. I do know that today is Thursday and per our discussion with Mike (PM) we were projected to have our pre-drywall meeting this week. I did see Mike today (I called before coming so he was still there and left it open) and now we are talking mid to the end of next week for pre-drywall. It seems the plumbers have caused a bit of a delay. 

I could tell Mike wasn't pleased with said delay and he did say that they are trying to catch back up from this delay. When I went inside I can see that the plumbers could start working tomorrow because there was PVC pipe everywhere but no plumbing actually installed. I do know that we have what looks like an ill-placed electric meter so we could have electricity...maybe.

I started thinking about the Coulda, woulda and shoulda of the upgrades. Here are 4 that I would really like to go back in time and choose. Tell me your thoughts..

1. Crown molding on the cabinets - I think it might be pretty disappointing once I see this option. My amazing SR told me that they have all the colors and its inexpensively put up so doing it after move-in would be easy.
2. Under cabinet lighting - I know this is also a do it yourself but I would have really liked this feature installed by Ryan homes.
3. Tray ceiling in the master bedroom- I would LOVE LOVE this because it fancies up the bedroom. I have no other legitimate reason for this feature.
4. A railing instead of the capped wall- This feature was an expensive upgrade and honestly at this age my kids would probably find a way to get stuck but lends to a more open look upstairs.

What do you think? Will I regret? Do any of you have these features and want to tell me what they think, I would love to hear?

Also, our pre-drywall is coming up and I can't remember where I saw the pre-drywall check list? I have the final one but not the pre-drywall..if anyone can send the link I would appreciate it.

Until then, we are snug and snugger in our apartment waiting until we can move in to our Florence! 
(damn plumbers)

Here are some pictures: 

Pod lights installed in the kitchen

Wired for Wires

Bathtub in the wrong spot...


Concrete in the garage - Basement also has a floor but its dark and creepy right now so I didn't take a picture


View from the left side:


Today on the living room floor:


Pipes in the garage:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Moments that still impact - Our journey into Epilepsy

     Writing about the initial experience we had with our daughter and her seizures left me reliving some of the experiences that I was finally able to look back on. Because of the way the seizures started I never had time to ask the questions I really wanted to ask. I was blindly following all of the instructions and overwhelming information because initially we were reacting to the emergency that happened.  Once  we started the road to the medicines that stop seizures and I was able to take a breath and start researching I knew that I needed a second opinion.

We are lucky enough to live very close to the Cleveland Clinic and they are on the top 10 list for epilepsy. I called and made an appointment and we went trekking to the massive and state of the art hospital known in our area as "The Clinic".  

The physicians and staff at the Clinic are really amazing. They are informative and our pediatric neurologist as well as our pediatric geneticist were familiar with our other pediatric neurologist at the Children's hospital so I knew we had plenty of great minds on 
the case.

Here is a fact: 7 Hours after my child received her vaccines for her 4 month appointment she began to have seizures. The doctors at each hospital stated over and over that the vaccines were not the issue. My husband and I couldn't and still do not believe that this was NOT an issue. We asked repeatedly if they would at least consider this could be an issue as our seemingly normal 4 month old now has a serious medical condition and that having vaccines 7 hours before could not be purely coincidental. 
The amount of denial that happens over this subject almost drove us mad. 

To this day only one of our doctors will concede that after every test turned up normal that possibly our baby could have had issues with the vaccines.

Fact - We believe in vaccines and the good they do for children and society. We aren't going to take up a poster and start marching outside of any clinics, but for us, for my family we now look at them differently. I reported this to VAERS(Vaccines reporting agency) I never heard back and of course knew that I wouldn't. 

Down this long road we had our child being tested for genetic issues and four of the above mentioned doctors kept telling me that it was more likely that our child could be on the scale for Dravets Syndrome. I waited 5 months and 3 weeks for the results all the time looking for possible signs and symptoms for Dravets(convinced that the doctors were right) and I have never been more worried for every single second, minute, hour or day in my existence. NEVER. I could barely tell my friends how I felt, I couldn't share my fear and I sent up every prayer I could for my daughter.

When her results came in they discovered my daughter did have a mutation on a gene- the gene is categorized as early onset of childhood epilepsy. They have only studied this particular gene for 5 years so the data isn't much but it continues to be studied

This gene is not on the Dravet's scale and the prognosis for this particular gene may have our daughter possibly growing out of the seizures after 2 years old. We hope this is accurate and true for her. 

Fact - We have a 1 year and 3 months of medicine left before they will consider backing her off the medication. We are okay with this as anything that keeps her safe and developing makes us comfortable. We will pray for this day and hope that the prognosis rings true.

Upon further genetic testing they have discovered that the gene for the baby was passed down by me. They aren't sure why I do not now, nor have I ever had a seizure. They do not know why Hayden was triggered by the vaccines. They want to study more and make sure to test my 3 year old daughter so that going forward if she tests positive we can be aware and make sure that her future vaccines don't also trigger her.

I do not know what the future looks like but I have learned many things about epilepsy, uncomfortable couches in hospitals, tests, doctors and the maddening definition of the word Diagnosis. If ever there was a word with barely a definition it would be Diagnosis. 

We have begun to get our now 15 month old daughter vaccinated again and the neurologist has upped her seizure medication to give her extra coverage in case a vaccine gives her a seizure (this was the closest we ever got to them admitting anything about the vaccine). So far we are okay, for safety reasons our pediatrician will push the MMR vaccines until she is older than 18 months because of the likeliness to cause seizures.

Our first neurologist told me that our daughter caused an auditorium full of pediatric neurologist and epilepsy specialist to scratch their heads. She doesn't present in the text book way and so still they study. 

Fact - We will keep watching and waiting and holding our breath every time our daughter is given a vaccine. We will be paranoid for the day she finally gets her own room (see post on building) because her seizures only happen in her sleep we have the security of having her close.  We will continue to hope for a seizure free existence.

During the time I waited for the outcome of our genetic testing I read every thing I could find on Epilepsy and Dravets Syndrome and for each family that put their story out there I want to thank them. I saw such emotion and concern with both positive and devastating outcomes. I pray and think of all of the families and the children. Thank you for putting your hearts out there to share with others. I was scared out of my mind at the beginning and gained knowledge with each click of a link and story from a loved one. 

I do not know our path as we are still early on in our diagnosis and with many questions remaining. If you have questions about our situation, ask me. I am here to share and to offer any support I can. 

This is my daughter now at 15 months, currently seizure free for 9 months and counting.
                     It is for her and the love for my child that I will continue to learn and advocate and fight and have faith.