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Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Daughter's Event

My daughter received her First Communion on April 28th.  There was a lot going on in our lives during that time, with the two purchases and remodeling of one house.  We made it through and had plans for a beautiful reception.  Some plans worked out, others didn't because it rained all day.  We set up outside because I was in denial and was convinced the day would be beautiful...it didn't happen and we had to scramble and move everything under our covered terrace and inside. 
I don't know how many guests we had in total, but it was over fifty people for sure. 
I'm usually a control-freak when it comes to my events and I get stressed if things are not "perfect".  This was really not "perfect" in my sense of the word because since we had to scramble, everything was just kind of placed wherever without much thought.  Once I knew it couldn't be "perfect" I just let go, relaxed and truly enjoyed!

Even though we had the setbacks with the weather, it turned out to be one of my favorite parties.  I felt blessed and genuinely at peace and happy...it's funny how you never know what little things will make life so special.
My daughter had an amazing day and we will have the beautiful memories forever!

The cake was exquisite.  I loved the delicate flowers! To
 make it a little religious, I just asked them to place a
rosary on the top level.
 I love the cake stand!  I searched high and low for it and finally found it online.
I ordered the cake stand for the Communion but also
mostly to have as a family heirloom for all upcoming special
events in our lives.

Fun dessert table

This tablecloth was my mom's and she used it for most of our special occasions.
I love it and it reminds me of her (although I don't need help to remember her...she passed away
seven years ago and I think about and miss her every day).  I wanted to have her things out
so somehow she would be a part of the day.

We had a chef cooking an authentic Cuban dish (arroz con pollo).  That was my husband's choice for several reasons,
because he is very reasonably priced, serves just-cooked meals at the parties and everyone is always
very pleased with the meals.  He was off to the side cooking under a canopy and I forgot to take a picture of him.
The table above had the leftover arroz con pollo which he left for anyone who wanted seconds, etc.

This table was a big hit! Before the big day, I asked my daughter what she would like us to
serve at her party.  She said she wanted burritos.  After contacting several Mexican
restaurants, we opted for Moe's (fast food SW grill).  They delivered all the ingredients to make
tacos and burritos.  All the guests under 20 loved the idea and went back many, many times for more.

My infamous sangria...I had to make it three times during the party.
  I love the dispenser.  I bought it for my more formal parties and also
hopefully to keep as a family heirloom.

We set up the six tables with six chairs each under the covered terrace. 
I had my silver chargers and wrapped silverware on each table. 
I chose to arrange the tulips haphazardly, because I just love them in their natural state.
Each table had silver-plated picture frames from Dollar Tree with different photos of my daughter.
Everyone loved the idea.

We didn't have enough tables and chairs to seat everyone at the same time, but it was okay because some
people ate inside and others didn't eat at the same time.  The children ate while playing and running around...
it worked out fine.

All in all, a magnificent day that I will remember and cherish always!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all the great moms out there!!!

May all your dreams come true!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I haven't posted much in the past few months for many GOOD reasons.  But mostly because I was sooooo sad in October ( I know its silly to be sad about a material thing and I know horrible things happen to people all the time and this really wasn't horrible, but I couldn't help being sad) and then after that just too overwhelmed and extremely busy.
Here's the story:
In September for my birthday gift we were given an approval to purchase a short sale house (the house this blog is about) we had been waiting for almost one year.  At that time we had some issues because the house was vandalized, we were given extremely high estimates to make the house habitable and the owner wouldn't cooperate, so we decided to walk away from the deal.  I was devastated!!! I couldn't accept it.  Two days later I went back to tell them I wanted to go forward, but the house was under contract with another buyer.  I was so upset I refused to write in this blog that I had lost the house.  One of my followers asked why I wasn't posting, and my response was, I can't because I am so sad, I don't even want to write about losing the house.
Since we had been searching for our dream home for many years and hadn't found anything and also made offers on less than ideal homes in late October and November, we decided to give up on looking for a home in Miami and stay in our current casa.
However, we did want to invest in real estate.  We started looking for a property that we could buy and then rent out for vacation rentals in the Florida Keys.  We are familiar with the process because we own one in Miami Beach.  We looked very far south close to Key West and didn't see anything we loved. 

On the way back to Miami I made an appointment to see a house in Key Largo.  It was almost dark when we arrived.  The realtor warned me ahead of time that it was really in bad shape. 
Immediately upon arrival we fell in love.  The house was in a beautiful neighborhood, on a decent lot with the bay in the backyard.  You can even see the bay from the front yard as you drive in.  At that point we were hooked...it didn't really matter what the house looked like...

Thank goodness, because the house was in pretty bad shape.  Everything was original from the 1960's and pretty ugly.  The realtor encouraged us to make an offer if we liked it.  I explained that we did like it, but it was way too expensive with all the things we needed to do to it. Again, she told me to make an offer. 
I offered $500,000.00 under what they were asking.  After much convincing by the realtor, the owner counteroffered just $125,000.00 above what I had offered.  We were thrilled!!!! Immediately we signed the contract and got to work on securing the financing.  When we did the inspections we found that the roof also needed repair although the realtor had said it was new.  I won't bore you with the details, but I will tell you the price was reduced another $25,000.  We didn't tell a soul about the purchase.  Nobody knew because we had told so many people about the other house and it fell through we decided to keep this one quiet until it happened. 
We were scheduled to close on January 30, 2012. 

On January 26, 2012 I received a call from the realtor of our "dream casa".  When I saw his name on the caller i.d. I flipped.  He told me he thought the other contract was falling through and was willing to give me an opportunity to buy the house although he had multiple offers for the property (true).  He said I had to agree to all their terms or else no deal.  The terms were not unreasonable, however, they made us agree to purchase for $10,000.00 more than before.  We closed on the Keys on January 30th.  We were very happy!!! On February 1, he called that the contract was officially cancelled and we could send him a contract with all the items we had agreed on.  I did and we entered into the contract.  We waited about two months and received the approval and were told we'd have to close before April 23rd.  Again, the process was arduous and very annoying at times, but I am happy to say we closed this evening and the house is ours!!!!! Yay!!  (Which goes to show many things, but mainly I think if something is meant to be it works out without you having to push it or manipulate it.  Of course you have to help it along, but in a reasonable manner.  I also think this was a good lesson for our children to see.  We were persistent and we achieved one of our dreams.)  Again, we kept this purchase quiet also.  Imagine everyone's surprise when we told them the news today.  I'll just say, many people think we are crazy!!!!  I assure you we are not...both purchases were made of sound mind, with much thought and with great price tags which didn't hurt!

One of our friends asked, "when did you win the lottery?"  Lol!  We didn't win the lottery, but we did have an amazing mortgage broker and banker who figured out the best way to structure each deal within our means.  I'd be happy to recommend them, we were very happy with both.
I've started working more in order to pay for the remodeling of the house in the Keys.  We will be renting our current casa and the Keys house so as far as monthly expenses for the new "dream home" it will probably be right about what we pay now in our current home.  Taxes and insurance might be a tiny bit higher, but not much.

What I've been doing all this time:

  • working more to make money to pay for all the new expenses
  • remodeling of the Keys house
  • organizing and looking for the paperwork needed for our loans
  • looking for fixtures, flooring, bath tiles, accessories, etc. etc. etc.
  • Being a wife and mom
  • Planning and hosting parties for my childrens' religious events (one in February, one at the end of April)
  • Worrying
  • Worrying more
  • Stressing about whether buying the "dream house" was financially smart
  • Stressing about finances
  • and tons more I can't think of right now
I have to say, although intensely stressful and overwhelming this has been a very rewarding and happy time in my life.  I am immensely thankful for the opportunity to realize these dreams and feel very blessed that I had the opportunity to do so.

Look for posts and pictures about the progress of both houses, shortly...