One week ago, we were packing all that we own into boxes. We dropped the kids off at my parents' house and were able to pack everything away in the space of one day.
I tried packing WITH the kids...but they weren't much help.
That night my husband and I slept on our mattress on the floor. Our last night in the old place was very much like our first night in that place eight years ago: just us, lots of boxes, empty space, and a mattress on the floor. The next day we filled a 15 foot U-Haul, a mini van, and a sedan with all our possessions (apparently compared to most five person families we do not own very much stuff- a tiny house is good for possession control), and drove away. Our last few moments as residents.
I said one wistful goodbye to the house where I became a wife, mom, and a lawyer (in that order). I have a love-hate relationship with that house. But ultimately it is a house of all my most precious memories from the last eight years: making a home with my new husband, our first fight over a towel being left on the floor, the first big purchase we made as a couple (a new couch), to bringing home all my babies, to opening the letter with the news I had passed the bar exam, game nights with friends, Halloween parties, birthday parties, seven Christmases (wow, that sounds like a lot), Jacob and Ryan taking their first steps. Everything. Everything happened right there.
This house saw me through so much joy and also brought me so much frustration. My memories are anchored to this cute, old, tiny, adorable, frustrating house. I love it so. I hate it so. I will miss the thought of it but I will not miss IT.
All these thoughts swam around in my brain as we were packing and loading boxes into the U-haul. But once we got on the road, it was impossible to dwell on the old house. I was moving towards a brand new adventure. And so, SO excited to make a home at the new place.
So, internet world, meet our new home.
It's not incredibly large, or fancy, or luxurious, or new. But it feels like ALL those things to us. When you are used to living in a 950 square foot home and sharing one bathroom with four males, EVERYTHING is impressive.
The numbers: this house was built in the 80's. It's a split-level home with 1,900 square feet and a two car garage. It's on .3 acres. Three bedrooms. Three toilets. But these numbers don't really do it justice. It has just been entirely remodeled on the inside. And it's in a wonderful location. It's one block away from high-bank waterfront homes. I hear there is a trail for beach access, although we haven't yet ventured that far. And the homes around us are filled with families and everyone is incredibly friendly.
Thursday evening, I pulled up into our driveway and within ten minutes our yard was filled with seven children (including mine) running and laughing and playing together. I sat on the steps with two neighbor moms and we chatted as the kids played. In less than one week at our new place we had what we never had in the eight years we lived at our old place. Sitting on the steps surrounded by new friendly faces and amid several hospitable offers of help, I realized how much we've been blessed. We hadn't just bought a home, we'd acquired a community.
Random photo of Ryan being silly
Jacob has been having a hard time adjusting to his new school. This threw us off guard because he absolutely loved Kindergarten and had no trouble starting school at an unfamiliar place last year. He had been crying at drop off every day and refused to take the bus to school. I finally made him take the bus Thursday morning. We walked down to the bus stop where we joined nearly a dozen other children and their parents. As the bus pulled up, Jacob backed away and started to get upset. He begged and begged me to drive him to school. Then the boy who lives two doors down (and who has since become his new best friend) walked up to Jacob and said, "Hey, you can sit with me." Reluctantly Jacob followed him onto the bus, looked back at me with tears in his eyes.
That broke my heart. But when I picked Jacob up after school he told me how much be loved the bus ride and his new friend. Friday morning, he hopped right onto the bus like an old pro. He's spent afternoons and evenings playing with his new friend ever since they met a couple days ago. The other day, his friend came over and brought us freshly laid eggs from their own chickens!
And the neighbors have already helped us build Train World in our basement
Although everyone's been very friendly and welcoming, the house doesn't quite feel like home yet. It still feels like we're camping. Or living in a vacation rental for the week. I wake up each morning, look around and exclaim to myself, "I actually LIVE here!"
There's just so much to be excited about. For example, the other night I washed my dishes in a real actual DISHWASHER! My dishes have never EVER been washed in a dishwasher before (and I'm having to re-learn how to load one of these suckers). I pulled them out to inspect them and just couldn't get over how sparkly and clean and warm they were. I pressed them to my face and delighted in the sensation of modern day conveniences (and then had to wash them all over again because I had just gotten them dirty again .... but ..... DISHWASHER!).
I don't know if my dishes and I can handle all this pampering!
Also, my super generous father in law bought us a brand new washer and drier. You guys. These thing have LIGHTS and lots of fancy settings. And they are super quiet. Except for when the laundry is done at which point the drier SINGS. It SINGS. The first time I heard music coming from my drier I thought someone left their phone in their pants and all hell was about to break loose. Nope. Just the drier. Playing me a little tune to say that my clothes are dry and warm and waiting for me to press against my face.
Speaking of luxuries, I still walk into our bedroom, point at the master bathroom, and exclaim, "There's a BATHROOM in my BEDROOM!" This concept is so foreign and exciting to me. I have an entire sink just to myself! I can get up in the morning and take a shower without walking down a hallway or being barged in on by one of three males needing to take a dump during my lathering process.
Ok, here's the kicker....I can do my hair standing up in front of a mirror! In the last house, the only outlet in our only bathroom did not work. For eight long years, I did my hair and make up sitting on the floor in our bedroom in front of the mirror on our closet door. Who would have thought that having a working outlet in a bathroom would bring someone (in the first world) so much joy?!
Doing my hair standing UP!
And finally....it may be the middle of September and we may be boasting the hottest summer on record but I just could not go one week in the new house without enjoying one more new luxury- a wood burning fireplace! We didn't have any fireplace or wood stove at the old place and it's something I've always longed for on cold, grey days. So Wednesday night, the kids an I enjoyed marshmallows by a hand-built fire. I can't wait for our next gloomy, grey day. These are the types of days that I've always loved the best and, it just so happens, they are very abundant in the Seattle area.
SO COZY! BRING ON THE RAIN!
And last but not least, I've already discovered all the nearby McDonald's and ice cream parlors even thought I don't even know where the urgent care is (priorities!).
Celebrating long days of unpacking, school pick ups, and work with some Phish Food.