Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween all! We will be spending our holiday passing out candy to the throngs of kids we hope come and eat up the massive amount of candy we brought (seriously, I'm afraid of how much we might have leftover) and letting Charlie greet everyone that comes to our door.

Although it's been a few years since we've dressed up for Halloween, here are a couple of throwbacks from our law school days.

Cap'n Hook and Tink

Ten points if you can name our costume

What are your Halloween plans?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Charlie: Sixteen Weeks

I feel as though I've been playing catch up ever since I got back from Austin (....over a week ago). With Halloween this week, yet another weekend trip this coming weekend, and trying to get all the things before guests come at Thanksgiving, I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Luckily, I have a sweet puppy to distract me!

This week, Charlie got the last of his puppy shots which means we can take him out without worrying he'll contract rabies or something.
I swear he has started posing for this picture every week

His likes: lotion (he tries to lick it off of us), chewing on everything, jumping (unfortunately, we don't like this)

His dislikes: pumpkins, strollers (our friend's), frost


New this week: the shake command 

Looking forward to: Halloween, obviously.

We took Charlie out this past weekend to a 'nature' trail with a friend and his chocolate lab.  We were hoping the pups could go off leash a little, but the trail was packed with people out enjoying the crisp fall weather and changing leaves.

my loves!

It seemed as if everyone commented on what a cute puppy Charlie is and wanted to stop and pet him.

Dog kisses

My model dog :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Candy Favorites

One of many things I'm looking forward to in our new house is finally having trick-or-treaters to pass out candy to on Halloween. Growing up, the only kids that came to our house were friends or related to us. In my old apartments we would buy the candy and put the note on our door that indicated trick-or-treaters were welcome, but no one ever came by.

Our neighborhood is full of kids and our house is within walking distance to a grade school, so we are counting on lots of cute little kids showing up on Halloween. Before they all descend on our house though we need to prepare by buying lots and lots of candy (I didn't buy any yet because I know I would eat it all before Halloween).

I'm a firm believer in buying Halloween candy that you really like since you'll be enjoying all the leftovers. These are a few my favorites I hope to pass out come Halloween!

I pretty much love everything with caramel, but adding the cookie crunch takes Twix to another level.  There will definitely be some of these in our bowl!

I often choose York Peppermint Patties for the crisp mint flavor, but the fact that they claim to be 'a low fat food' takes the guilt out of eating one or two (or ten).

While I'll never understand why their mascot looks like a booger with a face, I've always loved Nerds. Not only are they a little sour and sweet, but they make a nice maraca sound if you're bored. Their only drawback is how easily they can slip from your hand on the way to your mouth to the floor.

The combination of malted milk balls and chocolate is perfection and these have always been one of my favorite Halloween treats. They're not as common as some of the other candies too, so I always considered them more special and saved them until the end.

Caramel, crunch, and a cameo in one of my favorite The Office episodes ever (name that episode!), what's not to love about 100 Grand?

At first bite, it might seem that you could break of tooth on one of these, but once you get past that stage, Bit-O-Honey is such a delicious candy.  The only problem is that they are nearly impossible for me to find, I had to go five different places before finding them for our wedding candy bar.

As a lover of both Snickers and peanut butter, I was a little skeptical about combining the two. After I tried them though, I was a total convert. These are addictive and delicious and (dare I say it?) better than the original.

After looking at this, I noticed several of my favorites are advertised as being lower in fat, which is funny to me since none of these options are considered 'healthy'.

What's your favorite Halloween candy? Do you pass it out on Halloween or hoard it for yourself?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Charlie's First Costume

Halloween is literally right around the corner and we have neglected to pick out a costume for little Charlie. Clearly, this needs to be remedied, but I can't seem to narrow down the choices because they are all too cute!

This little skunk costume is hilarious, adorable, and very fitting as our law school softball team was called The Skunks.

I'm a little worried about how Charlie might react to having clothes on, so this harness costume might be a better choice. Plus, it just cracks me up.

How could I not include the bee costume?! Simply adorable.

Since Brian wouldn't let me name him Waldo, I think this is the perfect compromise for Charlie's costume.  Plus, those little glasses are the cutest thing ever and I could re-purpose them into a Harry Potter costume in future years.

Yes. Just yes. Bust out the ecto cooler and let's party.

Since I am worried about how Charlie may handle wearing clothes, I think this fun triceratops hat would be perfect. I don't think his face would look as cute in it though since he has a long, narrow muzzle.

This was basically Brian's costume for Halloween our first year of law school (I have pictures to prove it) and it was awesome. It seems fitting to dress Charlie up the same way.

Which is your favorite? Do you dress up your pets for Halloween or other holidays?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Charlie: Fifteen Weeks

I was out of town this past weekend, so I didn't get nearly as many Charlie pictures as I normally do.  Actually, these are all photos Brian took on his phone and I didn't have time to edit them, so they're not the best pictures, but they kept me happy while I was away from my boys this weekend!

His likes: His new favorite hiking trail with water, trees to jump over, and lots of other dogs and people to interact with, chasing and eating bugs in the house (anything to get rid of them, right?)
His dislikes:  when I'm away on long weekends (not by the looks of these pictures though)
Contemplating life

Learned this week: how to jump over fallen trees, how to use his new room downstairs, how not to step on his poop (at least I hope he's mastered this, we're four days strong now)

Lazy boys

Looking forward to: having both of us home for a while

Happy (sleepy) Monday!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

House Tour: Main Floor

After sticking with me through all of those house hunting posts, you deserve to see a house tour.  Sadly, my pictures do not do our house justice.  Not only is it painfully obvious that I need a wider lens, but the sun was not cooperating the day we moved in, so the lighting is awful. Plus, neither Brian or I took pictures of anything but the main floor (how did that happen?!), I blame it on being so excited to move that we forgot there was another floor. 

So, I'll start with the main floor today while I decide whether to use listing photos or take some of my own for the other areas.  As a refresher, we ended up with this white brick colonial.

It's not crooked in real life.

When you walk into our house, the living room is directly on your right.  We love the wood burning fireplace, original oak floors, and French doors, but we can't wait to add some personality to this very bland room.  We want to add some paint on the walls and do something about the faux brick in front of the fireplace.

And, while I love the crown molding, I hate its color.  I cannot wait to paint it.

This next room is a den that is an addition on the side of our house.  Until yesterday, it was Charlie's room, but we moved him to the basement where we hope everyone will be happier with the set up.

We have grand plans to one day tear this room down and build a bigger, better addition, but right now we will settle for ripping up the carpet and doing something to cover up the ugly wood paneling.

Continuing through the living room is our dining room, which is a much older addition on the house. It's a great sized room, but I would love to add some wainscoting and paint the walls and trim.  Oh, and actually get a dining set so we can stop eating on our couch, finally.

The part that made me love this house--the built-in cabinet. I'm easy to please.

Next to the built-in is our main floor bathroom.  There are only two bathrooms in this house and I'm so happy that one of them in on the main floor.  This bathroom is small and clean, but in need of some serious updating.  And proper window treatments.

On the back of the house is our galley kitchen.  The kitchen is updated with granite, stainless steel, and newer cabinets, but I don't love it. I have dreams of a crisp, white kitchen one day.  One day.

I do love the butcher block for cutting and prepping food, but the poor pot rack does not get used.

The final room on the main floor is our family room...or something, we don't really have a good use for it yet.  The other owners used it as the tv room, but we're not quite sold on that plan since the room is quite small.

This room also has our second built in cabinet with plenty of storage.

And that is the first floor of our house.  More to come soon!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Charlie: Fourteen Weeks

This past week has been so dreary with the nor'easter slamming the East coast and the government shutdown slamming federal employees all over the place.  We didn't get out as much this week and we got even fewer pictures because the sun hasn't been out for over a week.  I did manage to get  a couple cute ones though, but now you know why they're all indoors and badly lit.

I can haz treat?

His Likes: going anywhere in the car, the park, other dog friends, watching the tv

His Dislikes: when we take 'his' spot on the couch (see above), when we mess with his paws

The "I want up on the couch" look

Learned this week: working on jumping onto things so we don't have to pick him up every ten seconds when he's deciding whether he wants to be on the couch with us or playing with his toys

My boys-right before the lickfest began

Looking forward to: a guy's weekend when I'm out of town this coming week

Say what?!

Love from Charlie!

Friday, October 11, 2013

House Hunting: Our House... a very, very, very fine house*.

The first fuzzy day at our house! 

This proves that Brian actually does get his way sometimes.

As some of you noticed in my last post, I spoke really highly of the house I preferred, although we ultimately put an offer on Brian's pick.  If we're being honest, I had doubts we would actually get this house and we agreed if we didn't, we would put an offer on my choice immediately.  That (obviously) didn't end up happening, and  we are both happily living in Brian's our top choice.  I still occasionally daydream about what the other house could have been, but I know we made the right choice.

Why did we choose to pursue this house over the other?  First off, my pick was under contract back when we first started looking at houses and had just become available again.  The Realtor told us the buyers backed out when they got the inspection back.  The Realtor claimed that there wasn't anything glaringly wrong with the inspection and that the wife was just having second thoughts and took the minor issue on the inspection as their way out of the sale.  While that may have been true, we weren't keen on spending a few hundred dollars and extra time on an inspection for a house that already had some issues (see previous post re: water damage in the basement).  And even though there are many (many) things in our house that aren't my particular style, the house in general looked well maintained and updated.

So, we got ready to make an offer.

We knew there would be lots of interest from investors in this property because the lot size is double the average in this area. There are so many examples in our neighborhood of investors buying up older homes, tearing them down and building monstrosities in their place (beautiful monstrosities, but monstrosities nonetheless).  Of course, an offer from an investor looks more appealing to a seller because it is for all cash without any contingencies.  Since we couldn't compete with that, we had to make ourselves stand out another way.

We wrote a letter.  We explained to the seller our backgrounds, why we wanted to live in the neighborhood, and how excited we were about the house.  We tried to emphasize our love of the house itself in hopes that the sellers didn't want to see their beloved home torn down.

I'd like to say that our letter was what sealed the deal for us, but we actually ended up being the only offer after another withdrew.  The sellers needed to stay in the house and rent back for an extra month which scared off investors and other buyers that wanted to move in immediately.  Coming from an apartment, we were able to go month-to-month on our lease while we patiently waited for the day we could finally move in!

Much like the previous house we put an offer on, we decided to go with an escalating offer.  Luckily, since we were the only offer, we didn't have to use the escalation part at all and ended up getting the house at list price with about a quarter of our closing costs paid for by the seller.

I still have a few topics on the logistics of the sale to discuss, but I'm going to skip it for now and get to the good stuff next week, the full house tour!

*Despite my long list of cons in the last post, I actually do like our house.  There is just an ever growing list of things I'd like to change the longer we live there and I can't help listing them out :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

House Hunting: A Tale of Two Houses

After losing the bidding war on our "dream house", we became kind of obsessed with finding a house and making it ours. We became experts at attending open houses, cross referencing statistics from multiple sites, and checking our phones for new listings.  We treated house hunting like it was our jobs

A few weeks into searching houses without any luck, we found not one but two houses we liked.  Of course, Brian preferred one and I preferred the other.  Neither house was perfect, but there were pros and cons to each.

Brian's pick:

 Brian went to this open house without me on a Saturday because I was working, but was so smitten with it that we went back the next day with our Realtor so I could check it out.

(sorry for the text on the photos, they were on the screen shots and I couldn't get rid of them)

Pros:  great neighborhood, finished basement, updated kitchen, huge lot and nice relatively flat backyard, original hardwoods throughout the house

Cons:  The kitchen was not my taste, the bedrooms were small, the bathrooms were tiny and in need of updating, the rooms in general are small and laid out awkwardly, outside of our preferred neighborhood, no garage

Bland, boring bathroom

While I liked Brian's pick, we still had other open houses to check out that day and I wanted to keep an open mind.

My pick:

This was the last house we looked at that day, so we spent a long time talking to the Realtor selling the house and got some great information about the house and the previous owners.

What the hell is that light fixture thing?!

Pros:  in our preferred neighborhood, huge home with large rooms (especially the kitchen), lots of original charm (I'm a sucker for arched entryways), well below the top of our budget, flat backyard

Cons:  on a busy-ish street, major updating needed for the basement, attic, and kitchen, appeared to have some water damage in the basement, the landscaping needed some work, awkward lot layout (it was on a weird corner), no garage or driveway

The original bathroom was still in great shape, but that lighting fixture, ugh

We knew we needed to act fast if we wanted a shot at owning either of these homes, but first we had to decide which one we wanted to pursue. . .

I deliberately showed just a few pictures of the same key areas in these houses, but can you guess which one we went for?  Which one would you go for?
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