Celebrating Daddy’s Birthday and Enjoying Labor Day

We enjoyed a nice weekend as a family this past weekend. Dan had been gone all week in Hawaii (I know, tough life, eh?) on business, so it was nice to have him home and he arrived on his birthday.  I decided I’d try my hand at making a cake at home.  Of course, I’ve made a few cakes in my lifetime, but for some reason, we just always opted to eat out for birthdays so traditionally, we didn’t make cakes at home.

Dan is a simple guy when it comes to food, so he opted for a plain yellow cake with chocolate icing.  The boys and I picked up a box of Duncan Hines’ finest with a selection of yummy chocolate icing, and headed home.  Parker was such a big help making the cake with me, while Daddy played with Mason.  He LOVES scooting his little two step-stool up against the counter and helping me measure, pour, stir, and blend.  He was so excited to see how the cake would turn out.  Dan wanted to do Chinese take-out for his dinner (no objections here!) so while he was gone to pick up the food, the cake had cooled a bit, and we spread on the icing, and I even whipped out one of my old pastry bags to do a boarder on the cake.  I was so proud of our little creation.  After dinner, the boys had fun singing happy birthday to Daddy, helping him blow out the candles, and most importantly, eating the yummy cake!  Mason just couldn’t wait and he was literally in tears while we were cutting the cake, waiting for his slice of heaven.  Poor kid.  He survived, though.  I think this will be a new family tradition for birthdays!

On Saturday, we enjoyed some nice family time during the day.   We checked out a new housing community in Forsyth County that we are interested in, but since we have the kiddos with us, I just ran in and grabbed some brochures and peeked briefly at the model.  We always said we wouldn’t move to Cumming because we like Alpharetta too much, but we find ourselves in Cumming most weekends anyways, either at the greenway or at the theaters etc.  Not to mention, you certainly get more for your money there in the way of land and spacious living.   We then enjoyed some time at the park and walking the greenway before we headed home for the boys naps (okay, and maybe our naps too) and then we left the boys with our sitter for an early evening date night to celebrate Dan’s birthday.  He really wanted to see the new Bourne flick, so we saw that at SMG and grabbed dinner at the same time.  We then headed over to Andretti’s where we shared a sinful dessert, and then enjoyed tearing up the machines like kids playing lots of games and enjoying each other’s company.  We had a great time and it was a completely laid back way to spend a date night without being too stuffy or fancy.  Okay, a cocktail would’ve been nice to have, but other than that, it was fun!

We enjoyed the company of my Mom for Labor Day.  The boys always love seeing her, of course, and we went out to lunch and caught up on life.  After lunch, the boys went down for a nap, and my Mom graciously agreed to watch them for us so we could go back to the new home community that we liked in Cumming so Dan could check out the model, home sites, etc. sans kids.

They have so many beautiful home plans to choose from, and even some of the smaller plans have enough bedrooms for each kid, plus an office, playroom and even guest room!  The layouts are very spacious and we were very impressed with the craftsmanship of the homes, not to mention the location (connecting to the greenway and 1.5mile from exit 13 and forum shops) and the school district.  Oh, and one of the best perks… Forsyth county taxes!

So, why are we deciding to buy now?  Well, to state the obvious, we’re expecting our third now, and frankly, we’re running out of space.  It hasn’t been the best market to sell a home, and us along with many many other Americans, are upside down on our home.  So, we won’t be selling our 2,200sqft townhome because then we would be taking a huge loss, and frankly it would cost us more to just get rid of it than to rent it out, and wait for the market to recover, and then sell it later.  With the home prices and interest rates in the favor of the buyer, however, it is a great time to buy.  So, we’re doing some research into a company called Marketplace Homes.  Which, at first glance, seems to be too good to be true, but they will to rent out your home for six years (at an agreed upon price) as long as you buy a home from one of their new construction builders (they get paid a % from the builder like a realtor would).  Here is a video from a third party reporting on it, that explains it better:

The company will pay you the agreed upon price every month for six years even if there is a fluctuation in getting the townhome rented and keeping the tenants in there.  What a great safety net!  One of our biggest fears would be that we would have to foot the bill of both homes at the same time due to tenants breaking leases and gaps in the rental, but this helps us with that.  As an added perk, they will also take care of any damage the tenant has done to the home.  Bonus!

So, we’re looking into their “builder list” to see if any of them fit into our mold of what we’d like to have in a future home. Since it will likely be the home that we raise our kids in until they’re in college, we want to make sure we’re getting exactly what we want without compromise (except for price… price is always the major limiting factor).  We want to make sure we have a decent size yard, room for growth in our home, a good school district, activities close buy that we frequently enjoy, etc.  I don’t want to have major regrets years down the road because we were anxious to make the “deal” work.  So, we’re going to pray about it, and shop around and continue to figure the whole thing out.  It will be so much different this time around than it was last time when we were a newly married couple without kids.  We’ll have to juggle two toddlers and a new baby while trying to attend meetings to select finishes, sign contracts, and do walk-throughs.  A lot of planning involved!

Overall, a nice enjoyable weekend with the family.  Dan has been in Seattle all of this week, and I’m looking forward to having him home this weekend to spend some time with him.  We will also be painting Sienna’s room on Saturday.  I picked up the “Victorian Iris” paint color today for the accent wall.  Then all we’ll have left is to hang the chandelier wall decal on the wall behind the crib after it is ordered and comes in.  I can’t wait to see it all pulled together!