Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Here's the official Hampton Family Portrait for 2008!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dillon & Jason's Gingerbread House

Here's what the twins did while visiting with Mom Mom and Pop Pop today... They're very proud of their gingerbread house!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Home Christmas Photo

Here's one of the pictures I took of the boys at home in front of our fireplace the other night...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Boys' Visit w/Santa 2008

Here are the boys visiting with Santa Clause (at the Moorestown Mall this year). That's Dillon on the left, Jason in the middle and (of course) Adrian on the right. Dillon asked Santa for a spaceship this year and Jason asked for a haunted house (haven't figured out how to grant that one yet - but we're hoping Santa comes through!)...

First Snow

Here are a couple of pictures of the new house with some Christmas lights up during our first light snow fall...


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Phila Thanksgiving Parade

Here's everyone but me in Philly at the Thanksgiving Day parade in front of City Hall.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Adrian at Olive Garden

Here's Adrian getting ready to drink his apple juice at Olive Garden tonight:

Monday, November 17, 2008

2008 School Pictures

Here are the twins' 2008 school pictures (Jason on the left, Dillon on the right):

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Birthday photos

View our Flickr Set of Dillon and Jason's birthday pictures...

The TV is on the wall!

Friday night my father and I moved the 50" plasma screen to its new home above our fireplace. Angie and I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. We spent a grand total of $51 for the wall-mount bracket, a 15 foot HDMI cable and a 12 foot power cable for the TV. Thank you, Monoprice.com!

This is just "Phase 1" of the new Home Theater setup. I wanted to get the TV on the wall in any scenario, so now that that's done I can concentrate on getting the rest of the home theater stuff in the room. You know, the surround sound speakers, Play Station 3, stereo receiver, etc. Maybe by Christmas we'll have that all in place.

Here are some pictures of the family room. The first was taken when we viewed the house before we bought it. The second was taken after we bought the house and painted over the mural above the fireplace, and the third photo was taken today with the TV in place.






Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Leaves

I love the fall, but I hate raking leaves. Our new house has tons of trees on the property so it is a massive undertaking to deal with the leaves. We paid a landscaping crew of three guys to do the lawn-mowing, edging and leaf-blowing when we first bought the house. They charged us $35, and they were done in about 30-45 minutes. I now know what a great deal that was! I just spent the better part of 3-4 days leaf blowing, raking, and mulching to get rid of all the leaves. Angie pitched in, as did my dad and my mom, too (all at different times). The leaves are still coming down, but there aren't many left on the trees so it seems a bit more manageable now.

MonoPrice.com

If you are ever looking for cables for your home theater system, such as HDMI cables, coax cables, speaker cables, etc., then look no further than http://www.monoprice.com. It rocks. I just ordered a tilting wall-mount bracket for our large screen plasma TV for about $24! I also picked up a 15 foot HDMI cable for about $6! Just two weeks ago I spent $30 on a 3-footer at Target!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More new house stuff

1. We had an incident with the people who were painting our rooms. One of the guys in their crew stole all of our cameras (two digital still cameras and one digital camcorder). We notified the police and a report was filed, but we don't expect to get the cameras back at this point. We're mostly disappointed in the loss of photos and video that went with them. :-(

2. In better news, my father and I finished installing the hardwood floors last week. Everything looks really good. Now we just need to put the moldings back in place, add a shoe molding here and there, and maybe add some crown molding. Sheesh! This is never-ending...!

3. We have most of our stuff out of the Maple Shade house now. All major furniture was removed on Sunday (Oct. 26) with the help of some friends and family. [Thanks to all!] But we still have a lot of little items that need to be boxed up and taken out so that Don can move in this weekend. We hope to have the house completely empty for him by tomorrow afternoon.

4. We're bogged down with house stuff every day right now, and it's truly exhausting. We can't wait to have it all behind us so we can just come home and relax!

More to come,


Mark

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New house projects

Well, we bought our new house on Oct. 10th and went right to work on the things we wanted to change. There weren't a lot of things, but we picked some doozies. First, we decided to remove the wallpaper in the dining room and main hallway. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Well, the hallway runs from the first floor up the stairwell and down the second floor hallway as well. It's a good 500 square feet or so. Next, we decided to remove the carpeting from the living room and dining room. The new floor arrived on Thursday (Oct. 16th), but it needed to sit in the house for 2-3 days before installation can begin.
I removed the wallpaper last weekend, but wanted no part in spackling and sanding so we hired two guys to do that part and paint. We're also having them paint the dining room since we didn't really like the color in there. The guys started on Thursday night (about 4:30pm until 9pm) and then worked Friday from about 10:30am until about 1pm, and then they came back and worked from 4:30pm until 9:30pm or so. Saturday was just one of them from about 10am until 2pm. They've got a bit more work to do, so we're hoping it's all wrapped up by Wednesday.
My father and I began installing the hardwood floor today (Sunday). We tried doing it without renting a hardwood floor nail gun, but for $25/day from Home Depot, I thought it was worth a shot. I'm glad we did it because once we had that thing in play, we started making really good progress in the living room. We're about half way across the room now and should have it completed by lunch time or so tomorrow (I hope). Then we can start into the dining room. I'm taking off from work tomorrow to assist with the floor, so who knows, maybe we'll get both rooms done tomorrow?!
After these two projects are done, we want to stain the steps that lead to the second floor. It doesn't seem like that will be a big deal. We also want to change the hardware in the kitchen (the handles and things on the cabinets). Shouldn't be a big deal either, but can get expensive.
And we're shooting for moving in on Saturday the 25th. I need to secure a truck rental for that day. I just hope we can get everything ready by then so we can start living in the new house!

More later,

Mark

Monday, October 13, 2008

Settlement

We closed on our new house in Mt. Laurel on Friday, 10/10/08. Everything went very smoothly. The sellers were not there so their real estate agent signed on their behalf. Apparently (according to their agent), the sellers found selling their house to be an emotional experience so they opted not to take part in the settlement process.

Right after settling, we went to lunch with Angie's Uncle Joe to thank him for everything he did. Then we went to the new house to start taking measurements of the dining room and living room (we're installing hardwood floors in those rooms). I made arrangements to rent a wallpaper steamer from Home Depot on Saturday night, too.

On Saturday, we went to Lumber Liquidators, picked out the floor we wanted and placed our order. My father has offered to install the flooring, but it's not due to arrive until this weekend. After picking out the floor, we went to my friend Matt's son's birthday party for a few hours; and then I picked up the steamer from Home Depot and took down the wallpaper in the dining room. Not fun. I got home around 1:30am, and then Angie and I got up on Sunday morning, packed up some more stuff (a lot of the kids' toys) and headed over to the house for more wallpaper removal. Adam and Cherise (and the girls) stopped by for a short visit to see the new digs. Everybody (except me) left around 1pm, but I stayed behind to continue taking down wallpaper in the 1st and 2nd floor hallways. Believe it or not, I got it all done by about 4pm. It's a mess, but we're going to get estimates on painting because I hate spackling/sanding, etc.

Don and Cyndi (and Ryan) stopped by later after dinner to take a look around, too.

Dillon and Jason had a blast driving their electric truck and trike around the yard, too. It was a long day, but we got a lot done.

More soon...


-Mark-

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Front of the House


Here's a picture of the front of the house (not taken by us).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

New House

It's official - we go to settlement next Friday, October 10th on our new house in Mount Laurel, NJ. We're looking forward to it and can't wait to show it to everyone! We haven't sold our house in Maple Shade yet, but we've had a recent walk-through that we're hoping leads to an offer. If not, our good friend Don is willing to rent it from us until it sells. What a guy!!


Here are a couple of pictures of the back of the house. I forgot to take a front shot! I'll post one as soon as I get one. Just click on the pictures to make them larger if you want to see them a bit better.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Me, Angie, Adrian, Jason and Dillon at the Polynesian Character breakfast with Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch. (Click the photos to view them at a larger size.)

The boys all had a great time at this place. Breakfast was served "family style" and was all-you-can-eat. This was Friday morning, our last day, and the boys were getting very tired.




All the Hamptons at the Chef Mickey's buffet lunch with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald (the "Fab Five").

This was on Tuesday afternoon at the Contemporary Resort. We took a break from the Magic Kingdom by gorging ourselves on the buffet lunch and meeting some Disney characters.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Adrian at Toon Town

Adrian at Toon Town in Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL. This was the 2nd day of our trip.

Jason and Dillon at Toon Town, Disney World

Here are Jason and Dillon having a blast at Toon Town in Disney World, Sept. 23rd. This was Day #2 of our trip. We visited Hollywood Studios on Day #1 because they had extended hours on Monday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dillon on a pony

Dillon rides a pony at the carnival held at Care One, where my grandmother is living.

Jason on a pony

Jason riding a pony - Aug. 2008. We took the twins to the little carnival that was held at Care One, where my grandmother resides.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

House Prep

I spent the weekend doing all sorts of "home clean-up" stuff. I re-stained the floor of the deck in the back yard using the remainder of the cedar stain that I had left over. We had people scheduled to come view our house (it's on the market now), but they weren't scheduled to come back to the house until between 2-4pm the next day, so I figured it would be OK.

I did a ton of weeding and plant watering, mowing, weed wackin', trimming and sweeping, too. I thought the outside looked really good, if I do say so myself. I should take an updated photo now, actually.

After doing all of that outside stuff, we started targeting the basement. Over the years, you end up collecting a lot of clutter, and we had a bunch of stuff piled in the basement that we needed to get out of sight. We bought a bunch more of those storage bins and I went to town throwing tons of stuff into them. I cleaned out the entire closet in the first floor bedroom that used to be my office. I had TONS of CD's and books in the there and easily filled two or three bins. And they were HEAVY when I was done loading them up. I got into the crawl space and pushed the bins with our seasonal decorations back further so I'd have room to add new bins.

After doing all this, I went to work Monday and got a call from Angie around ten minutes after 2 PM. She said the realtor called and said that the people had to CANCEL! She was ticked off because she had spent another 2 hours on Monday cleaning up after the kids and shuffling them over to my parents' house. I was extremely disappointed because we were really hoping that since these were people who had already seen the house, they were really interested and might notice the effort we'd put in. Then, 30 minutes later, Angie called me back and said that the realtor spoke to the people again and they said it was just a scheduling problem. They wanted to come through the house between 7-8PM if we were willing. Of course, we agreed. I left work at 5pm and ate a quick dinner with the kids and got back to straightening up again.

We talked to Angie's uncle tonight and he said he'll call the other agent tomorrow to find out what the reaction/feeling was from the people who went through our house again. He also told us that the house we'd bid on previously had an offer fall through (according to the other realtor). The other realtor said to have us resubmit our bid now that the owners have lowered their price. I'm ready to say "no contingencies", but this makes Angie nervous since we don't have an offer on our house yet. "No contingencies" is definitely a tempting change to the offer, though. And since the owners have already moved out, they may be more motivated to sell at this point. But our last offer is like $40,000 below their newly-lowered asking price. If they were to accept (which I doubt), it would just be a matter of trying to negotiate a settlement date. I'd prefer to go in late October/November to give us time to sell. ;-)

Later,


Mark