So Dylan, Skylar, and Aunt Sue are all playing Princess Castle. The girls have their fav Princesses and are talking about their fav Princes….and marriage!
Aunt Sue offers in, “Well when you are ready I can marry both of you”, holding the King Triton action figure in her hand.
Dylan counters, while clearly misunderstanding the meaning of Sue’s offer, “Oh no! We are ONLY allowed to marry one person in this country!”
Ya gotta love her.
Reality kicked in a bit yesterday after riding the high of a bid on our house. We put a bid on a house this weekend as well (we need to move now) but our offer was so low, in the owners eyes, they didn’t even acknowledge it.
This house listed for $295K. The current owners bought the house 2 years ago for $265K. We offered $260K, planning on going up to $275K if we had to.
That wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t even good enough to make a counter offer.
I want to ask the owners if they know what house prices have done over the past 2 years of foreclosures? It certainly wasn’t double digit growth!
My wife and I have been looking in this neighborhood since last Spring, mainly for the ideal school system it resides in. We have looked at several houses in this very same road stay on the market, with their prices dropping regularly over the last 9 months. Remember that one house with a pool?
This house has been on the market as long as we have been looking. It started at the same $295K price and is now under contract for 255K. Big drop! I guess the realtor of our preferred house is not disclosing this gem, which is right down the same street from the owners. And that house had a pool!
Another, larger house, that is closer and on that same road as the house we bid on, has been on the market for over a year. We actually looked at it last Spring. It has dropped from over $300K to the current contract price of $259K. Amazing. What have the rates been doing since then? They are not going down anymore. So go ahead Donald Trump, watch your house sit for awhile. And sit. You could have been moving while the rates were still low.
So going back to yesterday’s post, reality tells me we actually have not sold our house yet. We just have an offer. There are still a few more thi ngs to cross off before we…have to get out!
OK! I got that outta my system. Sorry for the rant.
We had a birthday party last night at our house! Among all the chaos and stress of hoops and obstacles in the month(s) ahead it was nice to see some happy smiles on the kids.
My parents and the Great Aunt Sue were in town for the fun. And it was good fun for everyone.
My parents aren’t getting any younger either. Dylan was helping them unload their car Saturday when they pulled in. She was slow walking bent over as she carried a bag up the steps of our front porch. Confused on why Dylan wasn’t springing up the steps like she normally does, Mom asks, “Dylan what’s wrong with you? Why are you walking like that?”
Dylan, in her innocent nature responds, “I was walking like and old lady”, mirroring how my own Mom covered the stairs after an 8 hour ride in the car. No matter how wrong that was you couldn’t help but laugh knowing she didn’t mean anything bad by it.
Dylan, enjoy it now. In a few more years you won’t be able to get away with that remark! Except maybe with your Dad
For a quick look at some of the weekend festivities and gift box destruction check out the video below.
Thanks to everyone for making this a great birthday weekend!
If it’s not a Happy Monday come on along for a ride in 3D
WE SOLD OUR HOUSE THIS WEEKEND!!!!
That’s right, we listed our house on Monday online. We had 3 showings in 3 days. And the 2nd visitor opted to buy in! We closed the deal on Friday. Friday! Five days! It was so exciting. We actually counteroffered via texts. Is this the way it is done now?
I asked some others in the real estate business if our asking price was possibly too low? Almost unanimously they all said, “no it was offered just right.” Thanks Anna!
I think you all remember the hurdles and hoops we had to jump through to get to this point. And then it sold just like that.
I think everyone should meet our All-Star Realtor.
If Realtors had a board she would Chief. If they honored their own she would be in their Hall Of Fame. If they had a league she would be an All-American. If Realtors were a pizza she would be Supreme. If they were ice cream she would be Catfish with brown gravy! Lol Sorry Anna. I had to put that in there.
I found Anna through a friend of mine from grad school. He’s in the mortgage business so I asked him when we started this house hunting journey if he could recommend anyone. Anna is who he suggested.
Anna had a reputation, if not legend, of selling a house in 7 days in the development she now resides in. My mortgage broker knew of this. My recent contractor and painter of our abode heard of her name this way and of her 7day selling feat. Know what? I think she just topped her own record. If you need to sell your house fast you can find her here at CarolinaOne Reality.
So hats off to Anna and many, many thanks! Only problem is we have to be out of our house by the end of April now. But that’s a good problem to have I think.
Happy Monday? We are absolutely giddy her in 3D land. Birthdays start this week.
They began with a special, huge gift box in the mail from one of our, now famous, grandmothers and daughter. This box was so big it would have a hard time fitting in the back seat of my car. Once opened it was literally packed, layer after layer of great. Great (not allowed to use the word ‘awesome’ any more) birthday gifts and Easter gifts for both our girls. Videos will be offered as soon as they are processed buy here is a look at the fun things inside.
Dylan asked if I could blow these ballons up right now?
But unwrapping this gift treasury was just the start.
Our girls got a visit from some long-lost cousins (and their family) of theirs. Long lost cousins you ask? Here is the last picture of our girl(s) with their one cousin. Dylan was 4 months old! It was from their mom’s and my brother’s wedding, almost 5 years ago.
One of the girls was in town visiting a college for next year.
Four Cousins Family Photo. See the resemblance?
Some might notice an age difference? But not these great girls. They played and laughed and danced (the girls are trained dancers) Two nights in a row all 4 girls ran upstairs and played and jumped and laughed until something got broken.
The girls came down stairs then and gave our girls some more b-day gifts. We threatened them enough to sit still for some quick family pics until the next 4 year reunion. Ok we will see them this summer.
They taught my cherubs the fishy-fishy face.
Practicing their Fishy-Faces
Here is their “Fat Duck face’
“Fat, fat ducks never, never smile….
But we do!”
Fat-Duck Faces don’t smile
Here they did something terrible to Skylar….
They told Skylar she had to stand on one foot…
It was tons of fun having them and their parents in town. We all had a great time…once we were all healthy. And are really looking forward to the next fishy-face faceoff.
Thanks for all the great toys Marty, Jordyn, Sara and John! Happy Monday!
The birthday’s actually start today. Happy Monday! If you have a chance come on by and have some fun.
Yes, I know I can complain about my shoulders feeling old from time to time. And my knees. And my poor ol’ feet. My energy! But my St. Patrick’s day post reminded me of what old really was.
When you think of St. Patrick’s Day or Ireland what comes to your mind? What is your perception of the Emerald Isle?
Here in the states the amount of history we have is relatively short compared to Europe, and other parts of the world. Living here, you really can’t appreciate how relatively new we are on the grand world scheme.
When we traveled to Ireland several years ago that is one of the things that struck me. Ireland has its own version of Stonehenge with marked graves that date back to pre-3000 B.C.
Think about that for a second. That is a swing in time of over 5000 years! As much as this world has evolved after the existence of Christ, this tomb was around for that much time and longer before the first Christmas.
This history was just part of the awe when we visited Ireland that has me wanting to return.
The most awe-inspiring day, however, may be a lesser known part of Ireland. Lesser known because you have to take ferry ride to get there, the Aran Islands. There are a trio of islands, Inishmore, Inisheere and Inishmaan.. And geography played a big part in their history.
The Aran Islands are rustic in the sense they brush aside the times. They still speak the ancient Irish, or Gaelic language there. Most of the men make a living off of the sea while many women sew sweaters, The Aran Jumper, for kin and tourist alike.
We first visited Inishmoor. We got off the ferry and wanted to explore. We rented some bikes and toured what we could but the island has a steep westwardly end to it.
We bit off more than we could chew on bikes, with the steep roads. So we doubled back and found a horse drawn carriage with a guide. Good Decision!
This island itself was full of interesting sites. Many of the stone fenced properties were honored with the famous Celtic Cross.
But the site we were seeking was an ancient stone fort at the edge of the island, Dun Aengus. Dun Aengus has been called “the most magnificent barbaric monument in Europe.” **
Steep sea-cliffs were a great means of defense in ancient Ireland, sparing the builders from having to build walls. At Dun Aengus there is a 200 foot drop to the sea to protect half of this circular fort.
And your can walk right up to that 200 foot edge! No ropes. No fences. Nothing to stop you from a slip and falling to the churning Atlantic below. NOTHING! Just take a deep breath and hold your camera out. This is how this culture lived their lives; with a cold, windy death for a backyard.
There is a series of half circle walls that have been built at various times over the last millennium before Christ to erect this fort. The earliest occupation with in the stone walls dates back to 800BC.
Tradition has it that Aengus, for whom the fort was named, was the leader of the Fir Bolg tribe, which was probably related to the Belgium, whom Caesar overcame.** This tribe was pushed westwardly, across Europe, to Ireland, finally seeking refuge on the steepest, most westward most part of the Aran Islands where they could be pushed no more.
They entrenched them self on top of the highest part of Inishmore, where the steep cliffs protected from the sea as well as a fairly steep open ground in which to defend from the hill top. They found the high ground!
Although clearly defensible, the particular location of Dún Aonghus suggests that it also had religious and ceremonial purposes in additon to military. * It may have been used for seasonal rites by the druids, perhaps involving the bonfires that could be seen from the mainland of Ireland**
There are several other ancient forts in Ireland but none so dramatic as this and the sheer drop off.
I want to tell you something wild and crazy that I did on the edge of that cliff. The truth is, it was just too windy to push your luck for some extreme shot with a camera. And besides, I had the keys to our room and my wallet with me!
Here are a few daredevils that did it for me. Check out the cliffs and the raging Atlantic a death’s-drop below if you are to scared…
Many ancient churches peppered the island’s country side. Just walking up to one made you curious to its existance, its purpose, and possibly its demise.
Like the Cil Ghobnant, which sits in the middle of a hillside. Were they hiding? Persecuted? Other purposes?
Another such structure was the oratoryTeampull Bheanáin, meaning “Benen House”. It is situated on Inishmore too. It is a unique example of Celtic church construction. It marks the location of the original monastic settlement founded by Benen, the disciple of St. Patrick, the national Saint of Ireland. It dates from the 11th century, and has stood unaltered a thousand years.**
Maybe this is where all the snakes came from? Or did he lead them out to the surrounding sea?
It is not a conventional church in the sense of its ability to hold a congregation. It is reasonably assumed to be the tomb-shrine of the saint. This ensured its survival when the adjacent round tower and medieval monastery were recycled to fortify the now-ruined Cromwellian coastal fortress nearby.**
There are many castles in Ireland. Castles of many different styles, scale, restoration, and purpose. The Aran Islands have their own on the Island of Inisheer. So we ventured back to Inisheer to checkout this castle and surrounding on these magnificient island.
There were two major families in the southern half Ireland around the mid 1500’s, the O’Briens and O’Flaherties (I’m not making this up!) ~ the Irish version of the Hatfields and the McCoys…
The O’Brians, descendents of the legendary King Brian Boru, erected this castle on the isle of Inisheer, the island closest to their own territorial base, to in hope of controlling the trade of wine in and out of the port of Galway. Eventually the O’Flaherties wrestled the islands away from the O’Brians and claimed them for their County Galway.**
We traversed these fields and stone walls to stand inside O’Brian’s castle. Frodo Baggins himself would have felt at home inside this castles as I had to bend over to make it through the door. There was only one room per story inside the castle itself. My living room may be larger than this area. But it takes you back to how people lived in this era. A hearty and hard working people. These were the type of people that traveled to our country to make new lives for them self here.
The Aran Islands are just a spec of the history that encompasses the island of Ireland. Every area, every County, every town has its own unique piece of history, every bit as dramatic as these Aran Islands. If this glimpse into the Aran Islands interests you at all, or if you have part of an Irish heritage, I really recommend you find a coffee table book at your nearest book store and immerse yourself in Ireland. If you find something that strikes your fancy jot it down and take a week and go explore. Its’ history is really freakin’ old!
…and Happy St. Patrick’s Day week!
** some information and pictures used were found at Wikipedia.com
PS…to all my friends on Ireland, I tried my best to research the facts for this post. If you have a more accurate or interesting version of my story above I would not be insulted if you want to correct me.