Thursday, January 14, 2016

House Hunting in Atlanta

It's on!
We aren't in any rush to move, but Ernesto and I are both on Redfin regularly and interesting houses are popping up. We know we are going to need more space. And although Grant Park is awesome, we will get more for our money in another neighborhood. (Still in Atlanta)
We are pretty much set on a mid century (modern hopefully) ranch. Something with good (and interesting!) bones that needs the kitchen and bathrooms overhauled. Our must-haves: Open concept (kitchen/living/dining rooms open), 3-4 bedrooms WITH basement, a big yard and in the school district of Globe Academy. (Spanish immersion school K-8)
PLUS - We are in a good position to sell. We bought it in 2011 (a week after Mateo was born) and it was a foreclosure. Boy, did we get a deal!! And now it's time to cash in! Our neighborhood is HOT! The home values have skyrocketed. Our realtor came by last week to look at our house and we are going to list it for MORE THAN DOUBLE of what we paid 4 years ago. Hell to the yeah!! I mean why wouldn't we get more space for an almost even mortgage payment??

The area we are looking (6-8 miles NE of downtown) is not in the suburbs by any means, but you get the benefits of suburbs with the proximity to the city that we need. Good schools, big yards, basements!! Oh my! This area is pretty hot now too. Houses are going under contact in less than one week.
We are not ready. Our house is not for sale...but we are pretty sure after what has happened the last few weeks it will be listed soon. We are seeing house after house come on the market. If we find something we like, we need to be ready to pounce.
We can't stop debating: Do we sell before we find another house? Or find another house and then sell?
There are pros and cons to each scenario.
Obviously it would be nice to stay in our house until we find another house. The thought of being in a temporary home with 3 kids does not sound appealing. Nor does finding said home (or worse an apartment) and signing a lease.
If we are going to live in temporary housing, I would like it to be in a temporary city, or better yet country!!
But what if it takes us a year?
Well, on with the story.....
Two days before Christmas (we were in Ohio) and Ernesto shows me this house...
I looked at all the pictures and said. Ok, I want this house. I love the front of the house, but the kicker is the back.
Hello 5 million windows!!!!! Light and bright!!
The kitchen needs a renovation and that little peek-a-boo opening into the living room would have to open up.
This doesn't scare me, it excites me. Also, the bathrooms would one day need re-done, but they are livable.
The big yard is definately a plus.
I went through this house as soon as we were back in Atlanta, but it was just a little too small for us without a basement. So when I left I wasn't pining over it anymore. There were several offers on it and they called for "highest and best." It went under contract shortly after that.
The next week, I opened my Redfin app, knowing full well that I had seen everything available in our desired area. Low and behold, this house came up...."NEW"
OMG!!! I texted our agent right away and said "I WANT THIS HOUSE!!" It is a perfect location off Briarcliff right at Lavista Rd. (Walk to Bucky Bucks, Whole Foods! Hello?!!) and FIVE BEDROOMS guys. FIVE!! Plus a basement, PLUS almost one acre!
After walking through it, I was even more convinced this was our house. Apparently five other people thought the same thing and so we were up against other offers.
SPOILER ALERT: we did not get the house.
Here we are two weeks later...the house is under contract and I can't get over it. UGH! I'm so disappointed. This house was awesome. Let me take you on a tour [of what could have been]. *Cry cry cry*
When you walk in the front door the room feels huge because of the vaulted ceiling.
The kitchen is behind that wall. Just imagine it gone and a huge island instead. UGH! So awesome!
Three bedrooms upstairs....
Hall bath
Welcome to the master...

Not huge by anymeans but I don't really are about a big master and en suite. There is a bath in there and it is neutral. One bathroom actually had vintage wallpaper that I would've kept! Metallic silver with orange butterflies. No pic, but trust me, it was awesome.
Downstairs, two more big rooms. (paneling is guest room/office and big windows playroom/rec room-yes I already planned it all out)
Big Laundry room AND a walkout basement...CRY CRY CRY.
Also the back deck overlooking our own private woods.
Ok. Now that I got that off my chest maybe I can let it go. SO. SAD. (more crying)
Want to see some other houses I like that have come on the market?
Some of these are already sold or under contract. A few are outside our desired area, but oh so cool.
{Perfect location, great price -4 beds but no basement and no yard - but pool!}
{perfect location, good price. 3 bedrooms, partial basement, but small living room with no way to open kitchen. Big yard but mostly taken up with POOL!}
{Great location, 100k over our budget. Big house, huge yard and awesome inside}
{perfect location, really cool MCM details inside - original architect/owner was selling. A little too small, but would have been interested to tour it if we weren't in the heat of Christmas lights - sold}
{great location, but wrong county (for Spanish school) Plus too small.}
{great location, although high taxes. Love asymmetrical roofline and white brick, but inside was renovated waaaaay to traditional for my liking. Price is at our max so we couldn't renovate}
{Not crazy about location, but good price and lots of space. Needs updates, but vaulted ceilings!!}
{Big house, huge yard! Great price for renovating. Wrong area, although great neighbors - Hi Sue Ellen!}
{wrong area, ORANGE DOOR!!}
{Too far out. Nicely renovated but too expensive.}
{LOVE this! Great location right on Nancy Creek but in the wrong county. Plus over 7K in taxes. No thanks!}
Oh but look at the fireplace!
Any way, I think the consensus (today) is that we are going to get ready to sell.
Our tentative goal is listing in mid-February. We will leave for San Diego when listing goes live and wait there until it sells. (Can you imagine us trying to keep our house clean for spontaneous showings with 3 kids. Oh Hell no!)
We need to position ourselves and be ready (i.e.: big wad of cash!) to snag one of these MCM house which are going under contract in just a few days.
We will see how long this process takes. Last time we hunted (when I was pregnant with Mateo) it took us 9 months. Yikes!
Stay turned for the Espinoza Hous Hunting Saga!!!

Sunday, January 03, 2016


* Weighs approximately 12 1/2 lbs (from our scale)
* Wearing size 2 diapers
* Wearing 3M clothes and some "3-6M"
* Eyes: darker, but hard to tell the color. Maybe hazel?
* Hair: still brown and definitely thinner than before
* Eye lashes and eye brows are filling in
* Smiles on command
* Mostly sleeping through the night (occasionally wakes up once to eat for a second or two)
* Still sleeps a lot during the day (no schedule yet)
* Loves to snooze in the Ergo carrier (at home and out of the house)
* Starting to "coo" and wants to laugh when tickled but hasn't let go yet
* Reaching up to bat at toys overhead
* Wiggles and kicking around a lot
* Rarely cries and has never cried inconsolably (knock on wood)
* Follows mami's voice around the room and is constantly smiling when papi talks to her
* Can't shake a cold (congestion) she has had for weeks:(

Friday, January 01, 2016

A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (2015)

I hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas!! We sure did! We flew to Ohio the Tuesday before Christmas. The flights were open so we packed and were on our way, knowing it might be tough to get home.
These little guys are seasoned pros. Pulling their suitcases and racing down the concourse and handing their boarding pass to the agents. They picked a few toys (Imaginext Batman figures are THE thing right now) to play with and I brought a new "search and find" book that kept them occupied for a while.
Flying standby during the holidays is tough. Getting four seats together is nearly impossible (and hard on regular days too!). I knew I was sitting with Paloma in row 18. Ernesto headed further back to figure out how he would switch seats to sit with the boys. (We have had this happen to us several times and each time a nice passenger has volunteered to move before we had to ask.)
Paloma loved her first flight!!! She smiled at mami and the lady sitting next to us. She relaxed and then drifted off to sleep after a good sweet drink!
Yes, I think it's safe to say that she is my best Christmas present this year.
She was a hit, that's for sure!
The night before Christmas Eve we stayed over at my sisters house. My niece Kelli was guest teaching a yoga class in the morning and she had a lot of family support!
Great job Kelli! Boy that felt good too! (note to self: must get another yoga package when Erensto is done taking down lights!)
The boys went to bed easily Cristmas Eve and didn't wake up until almost 7am! Mateo sat up in bed and said "I wonder if Santa came". I told him to go check. I so wish I would've recorded his reaction to all the presents he encountered. "mami mami come look. Santa did come. Marceli wake up Santa came and brought lots of presents!"
Santa went a little overboard this year I would say.
Mateo scanned all the presents. There were two bigger boxes that had to be unwrapped first. (According to the boys) And what do you know, Santa brought the number one asked for present this year. A for each of them!
Yes, Santa heard them loud and clear. "WE WANT IMAGINEXT BATMAN EVERYTHING!!
Legos are ever popular in our house too...but they were Batman Legos of course!
This beauty modeled her new Christmas outfit. (Target you are the best!) How could I not buy that?! Yes her first Christmas and her first tutu. Paloma received a lot of cute clothing and a few little toys too. I think Santa must have known that she already has everything a little girl could want.
Grandma did her usual and sewed the boys something. This year Spiderman pjs.
Since there are so many of us, we all buy for the kids, but do a white elephant between adults. This is always fun! All presents sit in the middle of the room and everyone takes a number out of a hat. You can pick a new present to open or steal on that has already been opened. Lots 'o laughs!!!
Ernesto got me his usual gift of nice (but overpriced) underwear from Victoria's Secret and workout clothes (yes I'm going to need those!). I told him I really wanted a Cu Artigiana copper pot that I saw at TjMAXX, so like a good man, he gave me a gift card so I could pick it out myself.
Luckily the one I wanted was still there. OMG! It is so beautiful! I'm almost too scared to cook in it, but I will get over it. This will start a great tradition mi amor.... you will never have to wonder what to get me. A copper pot/pan please. Le Crueset is always a winner tambien.
My parents are up to 8 grandchildren now (Tyler and Noah not pictured)!! Notice the Latin lover in front with the disco shirt. Yep, he is mine!
We did the family shots around the tree, because that is what we do! I like documentation of how we are aging but more importantly how the kids are growing!

Bruno. Not sure how tio Brrrian escaped the photo shoot, but Bruno was front and center. Probably because the poor baby cut his paw and was bed ridden. Poooooor Bruno, Brrun King, Bruni Brun!
Everyone! (There is tio Brrrian standing up!) We always end up around the table playing cards. Pass the Ace is a favorite and the kids are now able to play (with help) so it's really fun!
We also had some laughs with a new game called Pie Face. Have you seen this? Stupidest game ever, but seriously funny. It is really Russian rullet for whipped cream in your face. Spin the wheel to see how many times you turn the little clicker and the purple hand may or may not slap whipped cream in your face. Ha!
There wasn't any snow this year, which was dissapointing. I can't remember a Christmas where we were able to actually hang outside without coats.
There is that cute baby again! Look at that face!!
Oh my gosh, pretty. Kelli too.
Of course we were missing Kyja and the Arnold's down in Florida. Oh maybe one day we will all be together! It was a great time as usual!
Flying home, just as we suspected, was going to be tough a few days after Christmas. Monday morning I was relaxing with my iPad and coffe when Ernesto told me "I rented a car." UGH! We packed up the next couple hours and in doing so I realized packing a car was so much easier than packing all that stuff for the airplane! Actually the road trip was quite easy. We left about 1pm and all kids were sleeping shortly after. Around 6pm we stopped for a quick bite to eat (and Bucky Bucks!).
By then it was dark so the kids drifted off to sleep after a while and slept until we reached tio Brrrians cabin inAsheville at 11pm. There was a storm moving through and it was raining so hard we thought it s best to break up the drive. Plus we were tired!!
Mateo woke up for a little bit, but Marcelo didn't even know we were at tio Brrrian's. He was sleeping when we brought him in and slept right through the transfer back into the 4:30am. Yeah, I know! 430??? Erensto wanted to get home early because he had to take down a shopping center.
Just a couple more weeks of "single parenting" and I am home free...FOR ANOTHER 9 MONTHS! YES!!!
New Year's Eve was a neighborhood get together between three houses and one bonfire. Marcelo followed me in the house to feed Paloma (it was pretty cold out) and wanted to lay down "in mami's bed" so I feed Paloma there and Marcelo was out in 5 minutes. Paloma and mami were out shortly after. (1030ish) Papi and Mateo woke me up to say happy new year at 1230a. Whoops! Yep, this party animal made it! Maybe it was all the attention from the neighbor girls.
Hope you guys are having a great start to 2016. We are relaxing, Neto is golfing and my mom's Pigs in the Blanket are on the stove. Yum!!


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