Month: February 2014

Bat Therapy 2

Still here in sunny California and still have zero regrets about coming….especially when I see the weather forecast back home.

I’d forgotten what the smells of spring are like. The way your skin smells after being baked in the afternoon sun. The way the irrigation system smells on your morning walk. The way a room smells after being aired out all day. That is one of the few things I currently miss about our old house; the familiar scent as we would ascend the stairs after leaving the windows open all afternoon. I don’t know if that smell is universal, but I hope so for the sake of our new house.

I wonder if you can have a deep relationship with someone if you’ve never eaten three consecutive meals with them. Or slept in their house. Seen them in the glory of the morning and their evening retirement. Stayed with them long enough to become crabby with one another and then reach the triumphant other side.

The girls are forming a deep a true relationship with my parents.

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So I guess there are some things I should thank the bat for.

-smk

Pros and Cons

Thank you all sooo much for the sweet words about our new house! I know living in a century old house on a couple acres isn’t everyone’s dream, so thank you for getting excited about ours 🙂

I thought it would be fun to share some of the details behind the house–what we are looking forward to and what we are looking forward to changing.

The thing is, when we found this house, we were actually pretty far into the building process! Yes, after saying we would never build again, we found ourselves back at the builder’s table and actually pretty excited about it! We had picked out a lot in a cute, little neighborhood and even had plans drawn up. Because it is a small town, things work a little bit differently and we had something completely custom in mind…down to hidden tornado shelters and built in reading nooks. In fact, we were so gung-ho on it that by the time the school house came along–the house we’d be looking for all along, the one we thought was unaffordable and unobtainable–we didn’t give it much more than a second glance. The only reason we went to a showing of it was to get some more ideas and to give our builder some friendly competition ;). Funnily enough, I turned around about half way through the tour to give N a thumbs up (never happened before). He responsed with wiggly eyes and a silent communication passed through us. We got in the car to drive back home and said, “okay, wow. This was not how I was expecting to feel after that.”

Obviously, when it was all said and done, we chose the school house and in doing so gave up the dream of designing our next house. The pros out weighed the cons for us, but I do wonder what others would have done in our shoes!

Pros:
-land (obviously). This was the biggest draw for us
-solid. The school house was built in the 1890’s. It has been owned by the current homeowners since the late eighties who turned it into a house. They studded and insulated the walls, so that combined with the brick makes them three feet thick!!!!! After being in the drafty rental, I can’t wait to experience life in this tightly sealed bungalow
-well maintained. When I met the homeowners I said, “these are the people I would want taking care of my house.” They are very thorough, organized and have done a great job in the renovation of the house, careful to preserve the architecture and charm of the old building.
-location. The location is ideal, very close to N’s job and even closer to what we hope will be our new community
-bones. The layout of the house is great. It isn’t how I designed my “dream home” but I don’t have any issues with the spacing or flow of things
-charm. From the coat closet to the wooden floors, this house has a certain feel that really appealed to me. Plus, I love the farmhouse/vintage/antique decorating genre that’s so popular right now. It is almost easier for me to decorate than the blank slate that was the new construction
-grass…like the real stuff, not sod. And big, mature trees….the specs of our dreams

Cons:
-the house is a three bedroom and we were hoping for 4. As the third bedroom stands, it is more of playroom/loft type area.
-master bedroom. The bedrooms are nice size, each with their own bathroom. However, I was envisioning more of a soaker tub and walk in closets for our next bedroom/bathroom. We have some grand plans to put this addition on the house in the near future, but we can certainly make it work for the time being
-fireplace. We were hoping with the age of this house we would get a beautiful wood burning fireplace. Nay. Gas…which is fine but the structure itself is not what I would describe as “beautiful”. Eh. We can live with it for a while.
-windows. To preserve the exterior of the home, the upper bedrooms only have skylights, no windows. One of the first projects we will do is have dormers installed…both to add some light and for function as well.
-styling. This house has a very “cute” style to it, but one that screams late nineties. I don’t think the homeowners have ever heard of Pinterest, but maybe their grandchildren have ;). We have a rather large to-do list that includes ripping out carpet, taking down wall paper, and lots and lots of painting…but this could also be a pro because my life doesn’t seem to be complete without a little project or two in it :).

Of course I’ll be (over)sharing some pics as the progress unfolds,

-sweet mama k

We bought a (school) house

Well I guess this is your official introduction

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!!We are finally homeowners again!! Which mostly means we have a to-do list a mile long, another big move ahead of us….but most importantly… a place to call our own.

This house came to us in a surprise little package, neatly gift wrapped and brimming with possibility. She was the one we were looking for all along but had given up on her, sure she didn’t exist.

Our dreams of her began long ago. If you’ve been with me very long, you may know that I’m an avid reader of Wendell Berry. N and I discovered him through some of my coworkers back in 2008. His writings, along with their influence, put a dream in our hearts.

A big part of the dream was to live on land. To grow our own food. To move our parents in next door (still working on that one ;)).To raise our girls in a place where they can climb trees, collect eggs, star gaze.

I began looking for her about two years ago. Sure that when she was ready, she’d present herself to us.

To be honest, the house hunt was a torturous (for our realtor) but terribly fun (for us) endeavor that finally, finallylanded us here.

I’ll spare you all of the conflicting details, but you can be sure I said, “I’ll never….” many times and eventually all of those nevers were pursued.

One of those nevers was that we would never move permanently to this area. We thought n would put in his year of experience and then we would move back to our familiar home turf. Much to our surprise we fell in love with the people out here, the small town, and most importantly N’s job. He has had an exciting year full of many ups and downs but his desire to stay has been consistent. Plus he has an amazing opportunity to pursue his doctorate and it seems foolish to turn that down by changing locations now.

“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” -Mark Twain

Our realtor gave us this quote after we finally, finally said, this is the one! And those words have been ringing in our ears since…spurring us on to this new adventure and the realization of a long held dream. It wasn’t so much the house we were searching for all along, more so the lifestyle. Living on a few acres is no guarantee for a simplified (and perhaps idealized) life (and is certainly not everyone’s calling) but it is a starting point for us. The start to pursue this crazy dream we have.

How perfectly cliche, but terribly fitting, that two former teachers would buy an old school house?

We couldn’t have packaged her better if we tried,

-sweet mama k

Nine months

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(*all of the pictures from this post will have to come from my phone…I decided I couldn’t live longer than three weeks without my “nice” camera and n brought it to me, but I have no way to edit and upload the pics onto here until I am back home 🙁 )

I turned around and suddenly she is nine months old!! So begins the last stage of infancy…

Nine has meant:

-new teeth (upper two peeking through). They haven’t affected her sleep or demeanor too noticeably, but that may change

-pulling up, crawling up stairs, standing with just one arm to support, cruising. It is amazing to me how fast we are flying through these milestones. She is a determined little thing as she goes back to the outlets (or the plants, or the stairs), over and over and over and just smiles at me both on her way and when I scold her. She’s going to be our handful 🙂

-hair has gone wavy/curly this month and I just love it! Definitely brought on more with the humidity out here and also coming in pretty shade of ash blonde!

-on a mostly set schedule now and while still flexible, she doesn’t nap as well on the go anymore. Taking a short morning and long afternoon nap, nursing 4-5 times a day and eating solids about three times a day as well

-loooooves puffs! She can feed them to herself now which also allows me to eat sometimes too :)They also proved a wonderful distraction on the plane. As of late, she also got the hang of the squeeze pouches as well!

-still doesn’t like to be “tossed” up in the air or the swing. But she does love this CA sunshine!

(And who wouldn’t)

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Bea, you have truly lived up to your name and been a bright spot in the midst of this dark time. Your never ending joy is inspiring and engaging. We loved you dearly,

-sweet mama k

Convalesce

It’s one of those drought times in my writing.
It’s not that I feel uninspired, it’s more that I feel uninteresting. It’s at these times I’m not sure whether to write through it or take a break in order to refresh. Today I chose the former.

Brace yourself for stream-of-consciousness.

Being in Cali has done wonders for my psyche. I don’t do well in the winters anyway and this one has been particularly long and arduous. In all seriousness, I may stay here until March. By then, winter will be on it’s last leg (let’s all pray..). Two, n will be coming out this way for a conference early March and we may be able to fly back with him on the company dolla. (I’ll never willingly pronounce it the right way again, Honey boo boo). And three, I think we have found ourselves a house! (One that does not come packaged with feral critters…we already asked…). If all goes well on the home front (literally), we could be moving in mid March.

I’m sure by then I will have a lot more interesting things to write about.

Until then,
(selfies)

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(sweetness)

Bat Therapy

We’ve been riding bikes nearly every afternoon here.

In the mornings, the girls wake up a little earlier than back home (6:30am) as they adjust to the time change, but I haven’t minded having an extra hour in our day.

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We’ve been doing things like sidewalk chalk, swinging, and discovering grass (Bea)

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Yesterday, I smelled dirt

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Which I inhaled as if I’d never smelled spring before.

“Is is not winter here?” MG, age 3

Just what the doctor ordered,

-sweet mama k

Unexpected

Sometimes the best plans are the ones we least saw coming….

On Monday, we woke up to another “cold day” (technically a snow day).  N went into work in the morning and then did some grocery shopping for me while I stayed indoors with the girls.  The windchill was a reported -40 degrees and even people who “like” winter were ready to move south.

I had a strange feeling when I woke up that something was going to go wrong with the house again today.  After the flooded crawl space/leaky toilet/ no heat/ leaky roof incident of Christmas, the “mouse”/ spider incidents of the fall, the second leaky roof incident, the vent and heater cleaning that literally saved our lives from a corroded pipe leaking carbon monoxide, the trapped sewage that forced us out of the house in the middle of the night, the polar vortex that reeked havoc on our drafty walls, and finally the demise of the hot water heater that of course happened on a weekend when I was home alone with the girls, in the middle of a snow storm….. I guess you could say I was expecting it.

Call me paranoid…

The day, however, went along fine and I brushed off those negative feelings.  N took over nap duty to give me some further time to finish up some projects and that was just about when things took a sharp turn south.

He came back to the room to retrieve something and gave me a look that said “don’t ask questions”.  I continued on but started to hear something eerie in the kitchen.  The “mouse” we had heard in our walls months prior seemed to be so loud I was certain it was in the house.  I called out to N who said, “don’t come in here, I’ve caught something”……

Well that was a conversation I don’t EVER care to hear again.

It turns out there was a bat…a BAT…in our house, hanging from the ceiling, nonchalantly, directly outside of the girls room!!!!!!

To say I freaked out is an understatement.  We are talking tears, chills that I couldn’t get rid of, an escape plan made in under an hour…

Phone calls were made, plane tickets booked, bags were hastily packed, dinner was cold sandwiches eaten on the run.  We left that very night for Nashville and arrived around 2:30am.

The amazing thing is all the details of this hasty concoction came together beautifully as if to sing, “this was planned long before 5pm.”  N had another “cold day” on Tuesday that was called Monday afternoon So he was able to drive us down to Nashville and back.  My mom was in Chattanooga and planning to fly back to California early Wednesday morning.  She drove up to Nashville Tuesday evening (amongst the snowmeggedon of the south) and helped me get the girls ready for bed.  Bea slept terribly that night and I got about an hour of sleep, but all I could think was, “tomorrow I’ll be in California “.

At 4:30am, we woke up the girls and flew to the paradise. 48 hours after discovering the bat in our house, I walked off the plane, 3,000 miles away from the feral creatures, the frigid temps, and the rental house.  At that point, it was just about the distance I needed.  It is 65 degrees here and sunny, and for now, we have no plans to return.  We are here indefinitely or until the bat situ is taken care of/our home state no longer feels like the North Pole.  The only thing missing is Daddy, who has to stay back in the wretchedness..,as work, duty, and the exterminator calls.  We will certainly miss him….image

but I think he will miss us more…

sweet mama k