Today is happy.

Today is happy.

A year ago we walked into a Title Office and they let us sign papers to purchase our home. If you’ve been here for a while then you know that was a pretty epic day. A huge surprise to everyone (because we literally told no one) and an even bigger surprise for us.

Today is happy.

It’s a full circle, happy, family filled, sunshiny day. And we’re here. We landed.

Bloom where you’re planted … my mom sent me flowers after we moved in to the rental during 2011/2012 and her card said “I hope you can bloom where you’re planted” … turns out I couldn’t. I couldn’t bloom there, it was difficult beyond measure for all kinds of reasons. But out of that difficulty, out of that year, I wound up here. Fully intact. Fully aware. Fully alive.

And, cliche coming, the older I get the more I realize what it all really means. To be here, to be active, plugged in. To be joyful.

And it’s amazing. It’s time.

Happy Birthday, life. We really like you.

often

I think I’m often too busy to notice I can do better on less.

The conversation around budgeting/debt freedom/finances has been one I’ve been having lately. (more here and some more here) And it’s not even about money most of the time, it’s about food, time, commitments, things in my home, ideas that clutter up the thankfulness … and on and on and on.

We have a very small fridge in our kitchen.

Oh hai! Adorable miniature new fridge.

And an even smaller stove.

The 1950's called - they want their miniature appliances back. And their cabinets. And counters. They said the exhaust fan could stay though.

I’ve been planning and searching for the new, BIGGER, versions of these appliances for a year now. And yet, it’s odd that we’re still fed healthy, homemade meals – almost every night. That this tiny little stove works like an army when we can whip out dozens of muffins, cookies for lunches, breads of all kinds and meals to fill our freezer. That I’m constantly amazed at the room we have available in our little fridge. It can get pretty full, but it’s never been empty.

I can't stop. #freezing #freezer #food

And, this could be trying to tie too many strings to one conclusion, but I wonder if I’ll notice how full we are when we do have “more room”. This beautiful little house is actually more square footage than the home we sold in 2010.

SOLD

(Photos of saying goodbye to that house here)

It has more walls, more stairs and a few other interesting elements that we didn’t have in that Ranch on Ardmore. A dead end street, the house that built our family. And our kids still talk about that house – there are things about that home that will be magical for us for the rest of our lives. First steps, first words. About a dozen paint colors on our master bedroom walls in 6 years (we could never decide) and the fire pit in the back. The place we came together as a family of friends. As marriages were celebrated and babies hoped for. We cracked open bottles of wine and fed each other over a fire. There were marathons of favorite shows, bridal showers and family get togethers. That house was like a glue, a glue we haven’t found again (yet) in this house.

And it wasn’t because we lost it or gave it away when we sold the house and almost everything else we owned. We’ll find it again. But it won’t be in a renovation. Opening up walls and new carpet won’t automatically make this home our new glue. It makes it more comfortable, that’s for sure, and maybe even a little easier to show people, if we’re being honest. But it’s not what matters.

And I can get all kinds of caught up in the things that just don’t matter. Stainless steel appliances, an island a mile long! Tile and drawer pulls and rugs and clapboard walls. Hardwood flooring, french doors, a bedroom without a washer/dryer hookup in it (and a functional closet that could possibly, just maybe, be bigger than 2X2) … the list just gets longer, the finances never grow faster, the disappointment, like a sour dough imbedded in yeast, can just grow larger.

This hasn’t been easy for me. Buying a home was always the goal of our debt free journey. We weren’t sure where that would be (nationally) and we tried and failed so many times in the 2 years we were renting. The first year we spent in an apartment on 15th St, with a huge porcelain one bowl sink and a view of the tree tops was our second beginning. Not that our first was something to forget or wish away, but it was our first grown up house. We stopped playing house and decided to own it. But we had to start like everyone else, with nothing.

Which happened to actually be everything.

20100811-DSC_6138

Collection of random thoughts

Today there was carpet installed in our upstairs … well, ON the stairs and in the hallway on the kids’ floor. These were the stairs when we bought the house Spring of 2012:

this is my house

progress shots of house May 2012

We tore that shit up and painted the walls. Then I did a fun little DIY on an accent wall:

Progress!

Upstairs pattern wall: Triangles

Today the carpet was installed. And no, no photos yet! Look at me, being photographically lazy. Bloggerwha?!??!??!

Elsewhere in the house – we’ve been busy. Our adorable little kitchen when we bought the house Spring 2012:

progress shots of house May 2012

Notice all that brown? The shingles on the INSIDE of the home? The wood shutters at the window? The scallop-y type trim above the window? The color brown? All the trim on the cabinets? So about that …

So I have a crowbar ... you understand.

He paints, I demo the ugly off the cabinets. Win/Win!

Little by little.

Hahahahaha hahahahaha!!!!!! #dishwasher (new to us) ((yay!!))

We do this now. #homeimporvement #Diy #renovations #kitchen

Again, no more photos. We decided to paint the bottom cabinets a grey/navy. The upper cabinets are stark white for now (it’s what we painted the walls after removing the wall paper) and at this point, we’re just going with the blank canvas until we can decide on a color. It might be bright white forever. I’m ok with that. Currently we’re working on new hinges, the last coat of paint on the upper cabinets, and nailing down our choice for new counter tops (har har) … the Ikea butcher block is winning.

I have all kinds of ideas for closing up the wall in the kitchen to the basement/side door and reopening it from the dining room. (We’ll discuss layout of this house in another post, soon.)

I possibly just had the best idea ever re: kitchen reno and basement access. Possibly.

(Left side is looking at the potential wall to bust open FROM the kitchen: Right side is looking at the potential wall to bust open FROM the dining room)

Turns out there’s hardwood floors underneath the gross laminate floors in the kitchen. You are correct: I am dying to let them breathe.

After countertops we’ll do backsplash. In 4 months. Maybe next year entirely. I maybe, probably, totally can’t stand the disheveled kitchen. Cleaning up plaster dust to make dinner is all kinds of getting old.

As for the basement:

Basement bathroom

The bathroom is done! We have electrical (new fan and refurbished lights) and water. However, done is a relative term. We still need to paint (and patch/sand the walls first). I’ve held off on this entirely because A) I don’t love to paint as much as you might think I do. Evidence would show that I LOVE to paint with how much we do it over here. That is wrong. B) I’m stuck on color C) Paint the ceiling a “color” or go white? That is the question and D) We finally have a shower we can turn around in, the water runs, we get clean … I’d call that a bathroom.

We went crazy and changed around the furniture, got rid of a bunch of clunky-doesn’t-fit-here stuff and now we understand what we need/where we need it. So now we plan, wait, save and take the plunge when we find the diamonds in the rough. A hitch on the van is in our future. Maybe a table saw, too.

Photos galore are on their way of the progress. Hoping the sun shines brighter, the tulips lick the spring air sooner and we all get stupid-happy underneath a blooming tree near the water …

PS: Today I also had a bit of a situation in my journey with diabetes: after a weekend of high blood sugar readings and a possible trip to the hospital for answers, I was able to get in to see my doctor this afternoon. A long, very tough road for me has been controlling my blood sugars as a type 1 without insulin dependence. I fought long and hard to remain independent. My body could no longer do it: today I started my journey with insulin dependence. I thought it would feel like giving up, after being so diligent for so long – and instead, it feels like victory. I lasted this long (almost exactly 5 years) without it. I’d call that one-hellova-win. Best part? It ain’t over.

she’s a little house, but she’s our house

It starts in fits

never giggles.

like slow syrup, I’m winding around this
house and liking all the things
i’ve tried to change about it
since I first held her keys.

I fell in love fast and hard.
Like rope burns on your wrists.
Her pine-wood flooring, the darling
sheds, nooks, secret rooms.

We had never owned a home with stairs
to up.

Always down, or the first one: nowhere.

Each address means something deep,
like ink, to me. Numbers as markers, a way
to say “I was here” or really … there.

and as we slowly comb back the layers
added to you, little house, we see your beautiful
plaster walls and not so many doors.

and I love you.

this is my house

crave

I’m craving a house that fits us, not one we fit in to. A messy kitchen and laughter at my table, friends and cards and wine and fires. I’m craving spontaneous road trips and no-reason-at-all late night conversations over dark chocolate, TED video marathons. I crave God as my coffee in the morning, my wine at night. A fulfilling practice. A quiet in my mind. I crave curtains that I didn’t have to pick out or coordinate, the garden we’ll plant as a family, this yard we’ll transform in a few months. I crave the flowers and the birds and the spring air.

Riding our bikes to the farmers market. Bringing May-day baskets to our neighbors. I crave the new traditions of this house, these little wood floor planks and our water spots. I crave knowing each and every one intimately. I crave learning: in a class, in an independent study, over coffee or tea. I crave community. Conversations held offline. Everything less public, but open. And always free. I crave relationships, not status updates. Not status.

20100603-DSC_3150

I crave knowing a purpose beyond myself. An extension of my heart. A farmhouse table and a bench for seats. Peonies, poppies, ranunculi’s. In bright pinks! Sherbet oranges! Soft whites. Baby blues … I crave, every day, moments of quiet wonder. Splendor. Painting this life beautiful, especially when it’s messy. Dirty. When I can’t find my socks and I haven’t seen our bedroom floor in a week. I crave laying it down and looking forward.

I crave an orchard of cherry trees, pears and apples. Blueberries, and yellow tomatoes. Fresh eggs, baby bunnies and baskets to carry around. I crave a night under the stars, a tee-pee in our backyard.

Lets grow an economy of
trades. Where worth isn’t
a wallet. Where a meal
is a vacation and the
projects are opportunities.

Let’s build a life worth
more than counting numbers.
Let’s love in the weight of
our arms and tally kisses.

Let’s hold hands,
forever.

Holding hands, last day of school