Sunday, January 24, 2010

A decision made....

For those this week that read about our housing dilemma, we have made a decision.  We will stay put!!!  This will be tricky no doubt, but we feel we can do it.  For those wondering how we'd even be able to afford this during an adoption, we can't.  However, times have changed.  We will be speaking w/ our bank this coming week.   Since our interest rate is high compared to the current market, we will be able to refi AND hopefully, refi in the costs of the addition & changes to some systems.  This will enable us to do what we need to do without changing the monthly payments.  This is # one priority b/c we have to make sure enough is budgeted each month for new kids coming home as well.  What we are currently doing is coming up with a few different scenarios in which we can work this out.  Ideally, fixing the roof(new roof), converting garage to a room for three girls(Alyona, & her two new sisters), and adding a garage with an unfinished space on top is what we really need.  Reason for the unfinished space on top is for future living space.  Remember, due to some of our children and their disorders, some will not be able to live on their own.  This will act as a "transitioning" apartment of sorts.  Many with FAS stay with their parents until their mid to late twenties.  So, chances are some of ours will as well.  We want to be prepared.  IF we can do the garage addition, we can set that up w/ the converted garage and have it on a separate electrical panel.  (2 sets of bills, I know.)  We will know later this week if all this is even possible without raising our current payments.  If it does, we are back to square one and will most likely just convert garage to the room and pray nothing fails--LOL.  We were wanting to refinance back in October but it never went through and now we know why.  We kept going back & forth on whether we should refi or not.  Glad we didn't do it then or this may not have even been possible.  Again, everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that.  Now, this could all fall to pieces and back to square one like I said.  But, going to give it a shot, ask the bank this coming week & have an answer.  Rates are still low and much lower than our current fixed rate that we have.  Refi- ing would be smart whether we were doing this work to the house or not.  This just would allow us to do work w/out having to raise mortgage.  Again, that is just due to the rate difference we would have.  Would I love to have a new master bath?  Absolutely!  This is NOT a renovation for cosmetic purposes though so it can not happen.  This is solely for the purpose of being able to house more children here and live here w/out systems failing.  The pretty stuff will have to wait--LOL. I can dream though, right?

Well, started this post awhile ago.  After much thought, calculating of costs, etc., we will not be able to do the garage & transition apartment yet.  Bummer.  What we HAVE to do is at a minimum the garage conversion.  So, we have to somehow build two sheds and then turn a garage into a room for the three girls... Alyona, 'Cutie Pie'(7yo), and Little Bit(3yo).  This is all going to be challenging b/c we have to do the work ourselves.  Volunteers?  Anyone?  Anyone?  I know we can do this.  We've done stuff ourselves before.  Still, during an adoption, it is just one more thing we really didn't want to have to tackle.  However, I'm sure w/ all our team members, operation rennovation will be a success.  Will keep you posted when we can start it all.  Talking to the bank this week and see what all we can do.  

Along with the garage conversion, we need to do some repair work.  We have some rotting window facings and the back steps as well are rotting.  Those are the two main things that need fixing.  Somehow, houses are never finished, are they?  It was a hard decision to reach to stay here and do what we need to do.  Really was.  Our kids are very emotionally attached to this home.  They love it here and so do we.  We moved into this home with many dreams.  Some have come true, some have not.  Some great accomplishments have been made in this home.  Some hard times, some good times, some funny times, and too many other times to recall.  It is our home.  Yes, it is a house and needs some fixing.  But, we as a family are up for the challenge.  Together we have come so far and together we can go even further as a family.  We will share the struggles of doing a rennovation as well as the successes.  Keep you all posted as to when we will start.  I will show you a little of what our house looks like inside. 

This used to be part of our deck!  We changed this space into our dining room.  We really like it.  Everyone can fit at the table.  We find ways to cut costs everywhere.  The flooring that looks like tile is actually peel & stick...$1 a square!  This btw, is the best flooring when you have kids.  A section gets destroyed, you just peel it up and put down new.  All the flooring, electrical and painting work in here was done by Warren.  Our handyman for sure.  Another way we saved in this room was by reusing all the row of windows and doors.  Also, those blinds were an end of season clearance for $5 a piece!  Yes, we are bargin hunters here for sure.

This is just a shot of our living room.  We have done no rennovations in here.  Just the flooring all over the house.  It used to be a sea of very old deep green carpet.  Ugly was an understatement.  Plus, 2 of mine have asthma and most of us have allergies. So, we changed to hardwood flooring about 2 years ago.  One thing some of you might or might not know is that we live in NC.  Not far at all from Hickory, NC.  It is the furniture capital of the US.  Many will go on buses from other states just to shop when they have their annual furniture market.  Though I was invited once(used to work at a florist/ interior design shop), I have never gone to one of these shows.  However, we live not far(few hours) and know some of their "leftovers" go to local outlets here.  Being in the business, you know where to find some of the deals--LOL. Now, for some before and after rennovations of our kitchen.  Check it out.

This was when the rennovation had already started.  This was only the size of our kitchen.  The front part is what used to be a bar.  There was one small passage way to get into this hole of a kitchen.  You used to have to open the refridgerator by standing sideways.  When the kids started prepping their lunches on the floor, we knew we had to act.  Pots were being stored in the bedrooms even for lack of room.  But, we managed till we could afford the renovation.  And remember, doing a bunch of the work yourself or w/ help, saves tons of money.  Just have to have tons of patience.

This is another partial shot.  Hey, you can see the green carpet here!  This half of the kitchen used to be the dining room.  We combined the old kitchen and old dining room to make one big kitchen.  And here is a final picture:

This is a view of our finished kitchen.  There is a bar to the right in the picture.  We have 4 bar stools there though 5 can fit.  Dog food bin is under there now instead of another chair.  The kids eat there sometimes or do homework there.  I can be cooking while I help them w/ homework which is nice.  Or, keep an eye on Alex.  He's sneaky & tries to say he does homework but nicely shuffles it back in the folder.  Not when he's in here & I can watch.  We have cabinets everywhere as you can see.  Also, towards the back where the stove is, there is a prep sink back there.  We also have 2 refridgerators which is wonderful.  Ebay folks.  Ebay.  Bought a brand new $2400 fridge for $510!  no kidding.  All b/c it had a small scratch on the side that is pushed up against a cabinet anyhow.  The fridge on the front left of this picture is blocking out the entire other side of the kitchen.  But, you get the idea.  We had done a lot of this work ourselves as we went along.  However, we had such wonderful volunteers from a church called Ebenezer United Methodist Church out of Raleigh, NC.  There were AWESOME!!!  they made us dinner when we didn't have a kitchen.  They had volunteers come help us finish up the kitchen.  A plumber came from the church and others to help w/ flooring and painting.  Made all the difference.  Amazing the people God puts in front of you during your times of great need.  This is the same church the kids play Upwards at and that the teens want to start youth group at.  We were supposed to go tonight but honestly, I totally forgot.  I will remember next weekend for sure.  We owe the church a huge thank you and hope to pay it forward one day in the future.

So, you can see we've done some things to the house already.  I'll have to show you some shots of the boys' rooms upstairs and the teen girl rooms downstairs one day.  That way, you can see some things that we've done.   I can say I'm honestly excited about getting started on having a room for the girls.  Alyona already wants to pick out paint.  She wants it a bubblegum color she said.  Should be interesting for sure.  Chaos Manor has a charm about it that we love.  One of the big reasons we decided to stay here.  So, join us over the next few weeks as we add something else of our list of things going on.  And if you have a hammer, a paintbrush or any other tool you want to put to use, come on over.  The door will be open.  Will share a post about RAD probably tomorrow.  Enjoy your week.  Homework starts for me soon. 


  1. Stephanie,
    Hello, my name is Donna, and a gal on the limb difference yahoo group sent me the link to your blog. We are considering the adoption of a little guy missing the fibula and tibia in his left leg. We have 4 bio kids and a 3 year old from China (CL/CP). I'd love your insight on raising a child with a limb difference...this little guy will need an amputation, also.
    Amazingly, I GREW UP in Garner. Went to Garner Sr, graduated in 84. I now live in Floria, moved here 5 years ago for hubby's job. My family all still lives in the Raleigh area.

  2. I love your house! Wide open spaces!
    Gotta' check out ebay for my next fridge...