Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Water Bill Woes (and Sod advice)

We got our first water bill today.  And all I can say is YIKES!!!  We are less than .2 acre.  We have had 3 sprinklers running every day over our Sod.  (We weren't going to worry about the seeded backyard and hay yet.  Thank GOD we did that).

When we first moved in, the sprinklers were set to water every few hours.  After about a week or 2, we mentioned something to our PM in passing that it was still starting to die on us.  He said that you don't want to over water your Sod.  It can grow fungus under it, and as you can guess, kill it.  So we moved our timers to go off once every 12 hours and that's where it's stayed.  (Remember, I'm in the's HAWT!!!  lol  So we need to keep it from frying). 

When the bill came today I about fell out of my chair.

We still live in the same city.  So we still use the company and there is no price change.  Our reg. water bill is around the average of $55-$60.    I knew we'd have a higher bill.  I was thinking in the $100-$125 range.  Nope.  I was way off.  Our bill was for $200 and some change!!  WHAT!!!  Approx. $87 of it was in Sewer charges.

Do we have a leak?

So we called.  Nope.  No leak.  Sewer price is gauged on water use.  She told us that when we use the water, it has to go back to the plant and get "fixed".  This water went into the ground.  We just built a new house and are trying to get the lawn going.  It wasn't going back to the plant to get filtered or what have you. Was there anything they could do?

Unfortunately, that doesn't make any difference.  We were told pretty much "tough luck".  =/  Some other counties in my area do give discounts, but not ours.  So that's something for ya'll to check on where you are building

So watch the water bills guys!  Especially if you're watering the lawn.  I'm glad our lawn isn't bigger!  For anyone building this time of year though. you may not have it as rough.  The weather is getting cooler so your yards won't scorch as easily.

I wanted to pass along the info.  Hope it helps some of ya'll out!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Wow.  We've been here a month now.  It's so hard to believe.  =)

We have our 30 day on Friday.  I can't believe it.  (it's more like a 45 day...but that's okay)

We have kept a list of the things we found.  Most things are little, but still a nuisance.  We'll see what happens.

My sister has her pre-con next week!  Tentative close date of Dec. 8th.  This is good.  Because our family from Germany flies in the 17th.  This gives them a little time to get moved before they arrived.  I'm STOKED!!  Praying that this can done in time and we have good weather and there are NO hold ups!  Fingers crossed guys!  Please!

Other than, that, all is well!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Electric Bill Is In

I went out to the mailbox today and our very first electric bill awaited me.  I was apprehensive.  But I had a figure in my mind and as long as it was around that figure, we'd be okay.

Now keep in mind the following:

We moved from a 1900 sq ft house to a about a 2700 sq ft house. 
We moved in the HEAT of the summer where at least half (if not over half) of the days were the heat index was over 100 degrees
We keep our thermostat set at 73 degrees, upstairs and down, all the time.

I also am still waiting for my Energy Star Certification Certificate to send in for my discount rate.  So this bill did not have that on there.

So....  I opened up the bill, hoping to see the figure I had in my head.  When my eyes found the figure I gasped!!  I couldn't believe it.  Someone had to make a mistake.  I checked the dates.  They for exactly 30 days.

I ran in and checked what I had paid last year.  I glanced at the new bill again.  The difference was....

*drum roll*

$50!  IN OUR FAVOR!!  My bill was $50 was LESS than at my old house!!!  And again, I'm still awaiting my Engery Star discount!!!  WOOT WOOT!!!   My last house was 10 years old.....but we increased size!  LOVING Energy Star Homes!!!

Now if the water bill could only be so good.  LOL  I doubt it.  We have had all our moving laundry, and blankets, and towels, plus running the sprinklers on the sod (3 of them)......  We'll see.

I am one happy customer right now!

Monday, August 22, 2011

For Tasha: Speakers

For my other readers, Tasha had a question concerning her surround sound speakers.  You can view her blog here:

I wanted to post a picture of my speakers to show her what I was talking about.
You can see 2 of the three speakers on the wall.  One
is behind the tree.  lol 

ceiling speaker behind couch but before kitchen

Other ceiling speaker (again, please ignore all the
floral stuff.  I am preparing for my sister's
bridal shower.  I'll have to post regular pictures after the shower.  lol)

Another view of wall speakers
I know that wall speakers aren't for everyone.  But after speaking with several people in the business, and not wanting to pay for the upgraded directional ceiling speakers, this was the option for us.

I love being able to sit at my island, blog, and cook dinner.  *contented sigh*

Potential Milan Owners....

Did you know there was an option to add yet ANOTHER bedroom to your house?  YUP! 

I know that you can turn the loft into a 4th bedroom (we did that).  That is an option.  But that is NOT what I'm talking about.  After talking with some of our neighbors, we found out you can put a master bedroom downstairs!

Someone in the area has an elderly relative living with them.  In order to accommodate them, this is what they had done:

Instead of living room/study, hall closet, and dining room; they made that whole area a down stairs master bedroom complete with closet and private bath!   Now I'm not sure of costs.  But I do know it was done.  =) 

I thought I would pass this little tid bit along, in case any of you were considering the Milan, but needed a bedroom on the main level, I wanted you to know it can be done.  =)

Happy Building!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Neighborhood News

Good Saturday to you all!!

I gotta tell you, I REALLY love my house and my neighborhood.  I love living here!   And the fact that one of my sisters is moving just up the street now makes it even better!!

My baby sister may not live here, but she likes to ride her horse over this way.  She was a big hit last Saturday.  On of my neighbors had a large cookout, another one had some kind of get together as well, and of course I was having a small one for the first pre-season NFL game of the season!  lol

So when she showed up on her horse with her dog, all the kids swarmed!  lol  Her horse is HUGE.  And beautiful.  Great Grandson of Seattle Slue.  =)  He's tall and gorgeous.  lol  But do to an approaching storm, she had to hustle back, breaking the children's hearts.  lol  I had to explain that she'd be back another day for a visit.  I love that I will have one sister up the street and another that can visit when she is with her horse.  =)  We even keep carrots here now for him.  lol

My kids loving playing with the kids on our street too.  They seem to be feeling at home now too.  =)   They love that they have friends now.

In neighborhood news, construction is going on like crazy!  A Naples is going in across from me.  That will make my street almost all Naples and Milans.  lol 

The Naples and Rome seem to be the most popular models to build in here right now as far as I can see. Followed by the Milan. We do have 2 Dorsey Halls and my sister's will make 3.  We also have one Verona, a Raveena, and a Canterbury.   Our neighborhood offers 12 different models total.  Lots of variety to chose from.  I am amazed no one has built a Venice yet!

Also in neighborhood news, there may be an issue with the new developer according to rumors.  Something about the developer wanting to hike the prices up on the lots.  And both WF and Ryan do NOT want that.  So whether or not they continue to be the developer, or everything goes back on the bidding block remains to be seen. 

My little stretch of road where my driveway is was suppose to get paved.  Remember that?  Well, it's still crush and run.  =/  I emailed our PM and he said the company who was suppose to do it has pulled out.  >=/  So now they have another company in talks with them and bidding it out.  He is hoping it will get done soon.  We'll see.

The people we've met so far have been incredibly nice.  I'm looking forward to meeting more.  =)

So that's what's going on over here.  Hope ya'll are doing well.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Since starting the blogging process, I have noticed that driveways vary just as much as our houses do.  Some are asphalt, other cement.  Some need sealed, others do not.  I thought I would shoot some pics of our drive (and other random stuff, sorry) to share what ours is like.

I am going to put a little flower garden under the morning room
windows I think.

Our driveway
we have built in sections and joints

The joints/seams are built in for Cracking.  Any cracking of
our driveway should take place in these seams as the
years go by.  We'll see.

sidewalk made the same way

flower in my front flower bed

Home sweet home

new wreath

So anyway, that's that.  Some random pics and driveway pics.  If people down here pour driveways with seams and joints made to do all the cracking over time, I don't understand why other cement companies don't do the same thing?  Huh.  Different regions, different ways of doing it I guess.  I do know since I'm in the south, we don't seal driveways down here.  No real reason for it when you only get one winter storm a year.  lol

Anyway, that's my updates.  Happy blogging everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Well, whatdya know!

After yesterday's shenanigans, NVR came through.  My sister is going to be my new neighbor!!!  She is APPROVED!  =)  She's a street over and we'll be able to see each other's house.  I don't know who is more excited...  Them?  Me?  Or our kids!  lol

I'm stoked!!

Now hopefully they can get in and settled before "the Germans invade".  lol  I know that sounds horrible, but honestly, it's said with so much love!!  I can't wait for my sister to tell them that when they come that:
1.  They'll be staying in a brand new house and
2.  They'll be able to walk to my  house!! 
I have every confidence in our PM here to get their house built, built right, and in time.  He rocks!

I'm so freaking excited!!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Well that was fast & Frustration

Our first mortgage payment is due Sept. 1st, and it's already been sold!  Our first payment is no longer to the mortgage company who wrote our loan, but now it is due to Bank of America.  *face palm*  Of all the banks out there, why them?  Around here (where they are head quartered) they are NOTORIOUS for trying to start foreclosure proceedings on brand new mortgages and homes not anywhere near foreclosure.  UGH!  I can't believe they sold it that fast and to THEM!  Oh well.  We'll just make our payments and cross our fingers.  It is what it is.

Speaking of mortgage frustrations.....

My family is trying to get final approval so construction can start on their house.  NVR promised they'd have an answer in 2 weeks.  We are now in week 3 and NVR's response was "It's ONLY been 3 weeks" (I capitalized the only, they didn't).  Why you would say 2 weeks and then turn around and try to cover your butt and say it's only been 3 weeks and "these things take time".  GRRRR

We have family from another country flying in in December to stay through the holidays.  They stay with THEM.  I have no room for them.  Well, my family made it clear they had close end of November.  The reason for this was so they could hurry and get moved in before our other family arrives.  The longer this takes, the less likely that looks.  If they can't close the end of November, they are prepared to walk away from the contract.   A part of my family feels like they are getting the run around.  At this point, I can't say I blame them.  They've been told that the end of November wouldn't be a problem.  They were told final approval in 2 weeks.  And so far, both are looking to be BIG problem.

I'm just as frustrated as they are at this point.  NVR was awesome to us.  But so far, the experience has been far from that for my family.  You shouldn't give deadlines and make promises if you aren't 100% sure of them.  That's bad business.  Period.

And worse yet, no one is even bothering to look into why it's taking so long.  All my family gets are excuses.   And if I were them at this point, I'd be telling them if construction didn't start by Sept. 1, I'd be walking away from the contract.  This is just ridiculous.  But it's not up to me.  And they love the house and the neighborhood.  But don't think the thought hasn't crossed their minds....

I'm sorry.  But I am NOT happy at how this process has gone for my family one bit.  I guess it's a good thing they are more patient than I am.  But I can tell you, their patience is starting to run thin.  But can you blame them?  The home loan processes is taxing on all who go through it.  And to be told one thing and then have it be another is not an easy pill to swallow.  And no one being willing to find out what the hold up is not helping.  Getting excuses is not helping.

NVR may have been good to me, but I am appalled by them at this point in the process with my family.  If you are going to buy a Ryan Home, I suggest getting your OWN financier and NOT going through NVR.

I pray they get their approval by week's end......for all our sakes.

I'm sorry.  I'm just super frustrated.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Birthday Bash

This is a re-post from my personal blog.  But since the house played a part in it, I thought I'd share:

So today was my birthday. =) And it was an amazing day. I got phone calls, texts, and I am still reeling over how many FB "happy birthday" messages I got today! I didn't realize I knew that many people, let alone that many cared. I am floored!

My hubby got the kids out of the house this morning so I could sleep in. Ahhhhh..... When I did finally arise, I had flowers, balloons, cards, and Dukin Donuts coffee and donuts! =)

My kids did not fus, fight are argue all day! That was amazing! My youngest isn't feeling well, she's a bit off. Not like her. But still, a great day! My hubby even swept and mopped the kitchen floor for me and changed every diaper today. I literally didn't have to do a thing a today. Wow. =D

I got to relax today. Only did a little laundry (b/c if I didn't, I'd feel bad for not doing a thing) and even got a shower by myself!! I have only had one of those since moving in. lol My youngest likes to walk into the shower with me. She loves it, and there's more than enough room. lol So getting one alone again was nice too. =)

We went over to my mom's tonight for dinner. Both my sisters and their families were there. She made my favorite meal. =) My sister made me my favorite cake. The kids all played wonderfully. *contented sigh*

Oh, and the best part....I got play with adults tonight!! My mom watched Bean (our nickname for our youngest) for us, and my husband, me, both my sisters and their husbands (husband-to-be in one case) all sat around and play Scattagories. We all laughed so hard!! I can't remember the last time I sat around with adults and played a game, let alone one with family.

Good food, good wine, good times. =) Loved it!

We got home tonight as a huge storm was starting up. We were under a warning with large hail and winds 60-70 mph. We put the kids to bed, shut off all the lights, opened the blinds in the morning room, and watched the storm over the field and trees behind our house. It was PERFECT. I love a good thunder storm. More and more lately. It was great.

I know it doesn't seem like much in the way of birthdays to some. But to me, it was all I ever wanted. It was a perfect day. Surrounded by people that I love. An easy, do nothing, relaxing, wonderful day. This, to me, is what life is about. Good times with good people. Today was perfect.

A big thanks to everyone who helped make it so special; from phone calls, to texts, to facebooking, to ... all of it!!! Thank you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Couldn't believe my eyes!!

So there is another Milan going up in the neighborhood.  I couldn't believe my eyes!

They started framing yesterday.  Today it is done!  Windows and all!!  Now why is this such a big deal?  We had one heck of storm come through today.  Crazy wind and sideways rain!  (which stings when it hits you!!!)  It last a while.  Everyone around commented on how bad it was, and we've had some doozies. 

Well, guess who was out working in the rain to complete the house?  Ryan's builders/"worker bees" (as some bloggers have dubbed them).  I cannot believe they were out in that mess!!  HORRIBLE!!!

I had just gotten home from dropping my van off and getting a rental.  My air compressor went out.  Not good when you're in the south for the summer.  YUCK!!  My van is programmed to my garage door.  So when I got home with the rental, guess who had to make a mad dash to the front door to unlock it, go through the house soaking wet, open the garage, then pull the rental into the garage so my kids (& nieces) could get out someplace dry and not crazy?  That's right...ME!  That's how I know how the rain stung.  It was horrible.  I just don't know how those workers did it.

I know it wasn't my house they were working on.  But I was amazed to see them working on it in that mess none the less.  God bless those poor men!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We have barstools and greenery! =)

My husband's birthday was the first and mine is this weekend. So my mom & sisters went in together to get us a joint birthday/house warming gift.... BARSTOOLS!! We love them!!

Dh and I also went out to A.C. Moore yesterday and got some greenery for the house! What a difference it makes! (I have been shopping around and they had a good selection on clearance!)

Here are some updated pics for you.



Please excuse the mantel.  I'm preparing for
my sister's bridal shower

a total of 5!  =)

more bridal shower decor  lol

close up of vertical blinds in morning room
Can you tell they have an ivy design?

morning room

apparently kids have scooted the table some  =/
Excuse the top of the hutch, again, bridal shower decor
staging area.  Notice our table matches our kitchen.

light my daughter picked out vs. a fan

master bedroom

we can put the treadmill down and use it now!

the dreaded book case we couldn't find a place for
told ya'll it was big.  I know the rocker is a bit old and
ugly now too.  But I have rocked all three of my babies
in this chair.  It's not going anywhere anytime soon.  lol

study/playroom doors down on the end

I love these stools!  We all do!

I know we still need curtains. But that's going to have to wait a little bit. We have my sister's shower and wedding. Then my eldest's 10th bday, and then the holidays. It'll probably next year before we have curtains. But I'm okay with that. At least we have blinds! lol

So that's my big update.  Not much I know.

Building has picked up.  We're excited.  We only have 2-3 lots left on our street for now.  =)

So that's it guys.  Happy building!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rumor has it......

So, we know that there only 34 lots left, at this point, that are not under contract yet.  Crazy!  I can't believe they have sold so many lots in less than 6 months time.  =)

We also know that the HOA is starting up in January.  They are keeping with the current HOA rules.  No fences above 4 ft high folks!

And rumor has it, that a new developer is now under contract!  =)  HOPING this means a pool by next summer.  Ryan was hoping to have more lots opened up to them.  We'll see!

I have an email in to the Rep to confirm.

I make the statement about the pool because back when we started our process (in Feb.) we were told the funds were already there and put aside for the pool to be complete (not necessarily the club house though), but that Ryan was not finishing the pool, and the current developer didn't want to do it.  They were looking for a new developer to come and in and finish it.  So....  we'll see.

Other than that...  I had another neighbor move in over the weekend.  Very nice people.  And it looks like another one may have started the move, but not sure. 

For those following, living in here, stay tuned to this post and I'll let you know when/if I get confirmation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Question for you who have already closed....need help

Ok guys, I need ya'lls help.

How does your dishwasher work?  Honestly.

Ours doesn't seem to want to dry anything.  YES, it's set on Heat Dry.  But everything is still covered in water and wet when we go to unload it....HOURS later sometimes.  It just seems to us that a brand new dishwasher should not be acting this way.  Our old 10 year old one did this.  There does seem to be some heat from it during the dry cycle, but....  I don't know. We are extremely unhappy with the how it drys.  Love how quiet it is, but what good is a dishwasher that doesn't dry worth a darn?

So, what's going on with your dishwashers?  Do you like them?  Do they dry worth darn?


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Info for you

So I had heard that Energy Star certified homes are so good at being air tight, it was suggested you get a few plants for the indoors to help improve indoor air quality.  Hmmm....

So I have set out to scour the internet and see if this is true.

I first started at Ryan's Website.  Interesting....

Check that out.  Scroll over the numbers to see how Ryan makes their homes energy star efficient.  I was a little surprised by a few of them.  The paint and carpet especially.  It didn't really answer my question, but it is neat information there.

Here is another cool link:
Use this link to find incentives in your area for having an energy star certified home.  For example, in my area, once I get my Energy Star Certified certificate in the mail (approx. 45 days after closing), I can send a copy to my power company and get a discount on my bills on top of the already lower prices of having an energy star home.  WOOHOO!!

However, I am unable to either substantiate or dismiss the plant vs. air quality  debate.  I have found several sites that suggest a plant or 2 (or more) in any home to help improve air quality no matter the type of home you have.  I could research this thing for hours and hours more, and possibly come up with it.  But I have been at this a while already and am tired.  lol  So I'll leave it up to ya'll to decide if you want plants or not.  However, a few in the Morning Rooms may be nice.....

Went with my sister to see our Rep today.  Our neighbor officially re-opened this past February after several years of nothing.  (Developer went bankrupt and the 8 or so houses/families in here were just abandoned for a few years until this past February when Wells Fargo took over development).  Now there are officially only 34 lots left available.  0.0  SNAP!!  I know some of you out there are building in neighborhoods that may only have 34 lots or less.  But they have officially sold exactly half of all their available lots from mid February to the end of July.  I asked if this was normal and she said NO!  They don't normally sell this fast.  WOW! 

So if anyone out in cyber land is considering buying in here, you might want make up your mind soon.  Just a thought.

So that's my info for the day.  I was going to take more pictures, but my hubby took the camera this morning.  So, soon.... 

Until next time!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Home Sweet Home Part 1

SOME of you bloggers have been asking for pictures.  So I snapped a few tonight.   I was forced to unpack the dreaded box (ok...I didn't unpack so much as I did just open it) to find our pool bags.  lol  So I grabbed the camera bag while I was in there.  I hope to unpack it tomorrow.  Before viewing the photos....

Please please try and remember a few things:

1.  Our stuff is OLD!!

2.  We're still unpacking and settling in some

3.  Yes, I know we need curtains. 

4.  Please excuse the blue card table in the kitchen corner.  It's our staging area for now.  It will go.  And eventually we'll find something nice for the corner.  A plant.  Corner shelves or cabinet.  We have time.

5.  These were taken tonight, not long ago.  So no sunlight.  Sorry.

6.  We're still decorating.  It's going to take time.

I guess that's enough with the disclaimers.  I can't believe I'm going to do this.....  Here we go:

Going to add curtains, a tree in the corner on left, and something pretty over fireplace
The boxes next to the tv have our gaming systems in it.

front hall
Please ignore the picture on the floor in the dining room  lol

Our ugly bar stools!!  We are currently shopping for
prettier ones.  =)

Coming in from Morning Room

I LOVE my Kitchen
Soon we'll be able sit at the island and enjoy a
movie at the same time.  lol 
No more food in the den!

Hubby's cake and birthday cards are on the island. 
It's his bday today and he won't be home until midnight.

The first one says:  FAITH is being sure of what you for
and certain of you do not see
Hebrews 11:1
the second one says:  BELIEVE...
All things are possible if you believe
Mark 9:23
Kinds sums up our journey
Also, we will have bar stools under the island on the left soon.  =)

Pink Dora chair is still trying to find a permanent home  lol
That blue table in the back would be that staging table
I was warning you about.  It's not permanent.  Something pretty
some day  will go there.  Until then, the table will go and it will
remain empty.

We seriously need a picture up there.  lol

above our picture table in the hall.  It reads:
I know the plans I have for you...
They are plans for GOOD and not evil,
to give you a FUTURE and a HOPE.

Our Hunter Fan in the Den.  We love it!  And we have it in white
in our bedroom.

So that's it guys.  At least for tonight.  I'll try and get morning room pics, dining room pics and bedroom pics soon.  I hope this will do.  Please don't laugh at my stuff.  =(  I know we need new stuff .  Eventually we'll fill this home with all the decor we hope to get it.  But for now, it's filled with love.  And that is what is most important to us.   ♥  =)

The fence thing, and other updates

We have learned that HOA is going to start up in January.   And as much as I would LOVE to think that it would mean money to be put aside for the pool.  I'm thinking it's going to go to care for the berms, sidewalks, and such.  We'll see.

Since the HOA is starting up, we have to abide by the current HOA rules.  (now if a developer takes over, they can change them)  So the person in our development that has the 6 ft privacy fence is going to be told they have to either take off 2 feet of fence, or take down the fence.  YIKES!  So for now, we must stick with the current rule of no fences higher than 4 ft tall.

There are currently no real limitations on what kind of fence it has to be though.  Just not a chain link one.  So you can split rail, wood, wrought iron, ect.  There is also no current covenant in place about sheds.  So if you want one, I suggest you get it to match your house.

I know where my camera is now (The last box I haven't unpacked.  It's a huge vacuum box.  lol)  I will be taking some pictures this week.  Just please remember my furniture is far from new and we still have a lot of decorating to do. 

We had a dinner party here last night in honor of my Dh's birthday today.  It was nice to host for a change.  =)

We have a list going of things to bring up at our 30 day inspection.  Nothing too major really.  However we do need our hall floor fixed (wood laminate).  It's bubbled up in one section.  And our shower isn't sealed properly.  Water flows outside the glass wall into the tub area.  Those are our 2 major things. 

We are currently re-wiring the bathrooms.  Who wants to flip on the fan when you first enter it?  You want it to be light.  My BIL come over to show us how.  He said it was just pure laziness on the work of the electricians who did the house.  I am inclined to agree.  But it's not hard fix.  =)

Otherwise, we are settling and very happy.  =)  Half of the lots in our neighborhood are now sold!  Less than 6 months ago, we were the 2nd to contract.  It's booming!!

I'm off to go return our rental keys!  We're finally done!  =)