these past few days have been a whirlwind.
three evenings back i was perusing zillow for fun. i get utter enjoyment out of looking for houses online. it's one of my guilty pleasures, just as i love peeking inside homes on pinterest. throw on a good movie, sip a backpacker pour of low quality wine, and house hunt for fun. it's my thing when andrew wants to play a game of soccer on his PS3.
i happened to come across a four bedroom bungalow, that on paper, was ideal for our future forever home. when i say forever home, i mean a home that we can have more babies in and grow old in. a home where i can put our linens out to dry on the line and a place where we can tend to our family garden. don't get me wrong, we adore our current home to bits, but let's be realistic...there is no way we will be having another baby here for it would simply be much too small.
back to this house i found. it was a robin's egg blue craftsman style house on the block of our choice. it was within walking distance to the park and library, had all original wood detailing and light fixtures, a wood burning fireplace, and an upstairs laundry room. the whole nine yards. a dream home. that same evening we decided i should go take a look and see it in person. two days later, i found myself in that very home after walking there with our babies. with my fingers running along the newly stained baseboards, i dreamed about stella walking down the gorgeous walnut staircase in her prom dress to meet her date. i thought about how many pies would be made in that kitchen.
seeing it in person gave me chills. andrew needed to see it too. right away if at all possible, for we could not let this home slip away from us despite the fact that we weren't even shopping for houses.
that same evening we hired a babysitter, did another walkthrough of the house, and went out to dinner to talk about how we felt. we both decided to move forward. we were terrified and excited all at once. this home and all of its old world charm was a real gem. sure, it was a bit out of our price range but we could make some adjustments here and there. and we were talking about our forever home, so did price really matter? we went home feeling giddy and very sure of ourselves. we had baskets full of dreams and ideas for this space that we would throw around from time to time. ...movie nights in the backyard with a makeshift movie screen on a white sheet fastened to the side of our detached garage. ...which room would be the nursery, the playroom, the office. ...we would have an office!? all of this was very exciting as we now live in a home that is less than 800 square feet. we felt like brenden and dale from step brothers, "it would give us so much extra room for activities!" haha! but i'm not kidding.
the following day was one that included many phone calls and talk of taxes, loans, and payment plans. very adult things if you know what i mean. we waited all day to find out if we would even be able to make an offer on this place. we did our best to keep a level head. goodness, that is hard to do when something so grand is pulling you in its' wake. after talking on the phone we got some smart advice to take all the emotion out of the decision going forward.
naturally, we did the opposite.
minutes after hearing that seemingly perfect advice from his dad, andrew walked into our nursery to change theodore's diaper. i followed him into the light-filled room, letting our creaky bedroom door shut gently behind me. he turned to me and said it was the first time we had gone to see a prospective house separately. how out of all of the house we had seen before, we had seen for the first time together.
i felt myself taking a step backward, the blood rushing from my face. the hair on the back of my neck stood up and i felt defensive of this house that was not yet ours. i felt like i needed to protect it. he said he did not feel good about not experiencing what might be our forever home for the first time together. deep down i knew exactly what he was saying. what he was feeling. but man did i throw up those walls. i think i even called him crazy and stormed off.
with a freshly changed baby boy bouncing on my hip i went out into our patio to sit in the sun. those warm rays were medicine for my soul. immediately, a wave of emotion came over me and i felt the urge to stand up. i walked inside and assertively exclaimed, we can't do it. i am out. this is not our home. i strongly feel like we were not meant for this home. the veins in my neck were most prominent i am sure.
i cannot pinpoint exactly what it was that made me change my mind. of course, andrew's emotional response to not viewing the home together swayed me emotionally. and i think my intense love for our current space with its flaws and all, also carried its weight in my decision. but after really listening to my heart and giving my feelings a voice i felt as light as air. sometimes when we least expect it the truth surfaces. andrew was feeling the exact same way all along and did not even realize it. not until now had he voiced it to me! we were made for each other he and i, balancing each other out with our feelings and such.
the next hour was a progressive stream of what we wanted in a house. white. bright. old. airy. open. windows. windows. windows. charm. crown molding. tiling. front porch. back porch. and more windows. and fireplaces. this blue house had a majority of those things so why on earth did we decided then and there (even after finding out we were indeed approved!) to stop dead in our tracks and not make this home ours forever?
we just didn't looooove it. we really, really liked it. but love, well that's a whole other thing entirely. because when you love something you can accept its imperfections. heck, you celebrate them! and with this house, we wanted to immediately change everything we didn't care for right off the bat. that did not feel right to us. we want a forever home that we could not live without. a home that speaks an abundance of love to us. a special place that celebrates our story, through and through.
over a long evening walk and two scoops of pretzel ice cream at glace, we came up with a plan. we would continue our search for our forever home, but we will be renovating. a city farmhouse is what we've got in mind. a space that echoes "we live on a farm" but within walking distance to all of our favorite places here in the city. we are secure in feeling that our creativity alone can make that happen. it is going to take time and patience and many late nights planning, but we know that in order to love our future home this is what we need to do. and golly, it feels good to put it in writing.
getting caught in a rain storm blocks away from home.
running wildly, laughter echoing.
long family walks around the neighborhood.
magenta magnolia trees.
emerald & jade everywhere.
lighter bed linens.
sleeping with the windows open a crack.
asparagus with sea salt for supper.
listening to bluegrass on the porch.
longer, deeper breaths outside.
the smell of fresh lemons on the counter.
a carpet of petals everywhere.
nap time in the stroller.
we just returned from chicago and had the loveliest time. the weather was ridiculously delicious at a solid seventy on both days. lucky us! the kids, my helpful mother and myself accompanied andrew on a business trip and did a bit of exploring while he attended day long conferences. we took the double stroller (which was the best decision ever!) and trekked our way around the city. we walked a ton, let me tell you, and ate some very fine fare while we were at it. when we weren't walking through neighborhoods and peeking through storefront windows, we cabbed it and got to see village life at its best. i had no idea how many quaint areas of this city existed.
before getting on the plane, i made up a list of some places i wanted to try with the kids. i am so glad we took the time to go to each because they made our trip extra special. we also met up with some friends in hyde park on our way out of town. such a sweet little family they are, and i am pretty sure our theodore has quite the crush on darling jane!
some of my favorite places we went include:
the shedd aquarium // stella got to see a dolphin show, touch star fish, see sea lions swim, and watch a tiny nemo fish swim about.
lunch at publican quality meats // oh gosh. everything was outstanding but the roast beef was supreme.
coffee at heritage general store // we had rosemary coffee and blue berry cornmeal muffins.
shopping at west elm // i picked up a few new white enamel pieces to add to my slowing growing collection.
brunch at plein air cafe // the pot pies were heaven.
millenium park // the bean, of course.
until next time, chicago!
with the dawn of each new season comes a bit of mindful preparation. for the past week or so i've been nesting for spring and it has brought me much joy. i am loving being able to take care of my babies at home while also tidying up our nest to make it a happy place for us to spend our days. now that flowers are on the trees and it is warm enough to have the windows open, i have been making changes here and there to welcome spring.
as a person with very sensitive senses, scents are very important to me in preparing for a season. a new candle's aroma drifting about our home is one way i embrace this transition. long gone are the scents of pine, sandalwood, spiced amber. instead, i have welcomed hints of meyer lemon, linen, and eucalyptus. one of the first things i do upon waking up, after coffee of course, is light my seasonal candle on our dining room table. the ritual in and of itself calms me and says, "ah, tis' a new, beautiful day!"
another way i prepare for the season is to rearrange our decor. this past weekend i brought out from storage our pearly white milk glass vases and put one in various window sills to house colorful stems and buds and bits of greenery we've found on our park walks. i also simplified our counter tops and kept with a cheery and bright color pallet, reflecting the colors outside our windows. a day of rearranging what you already have is like getting all new things. it makes such a difference and instantly makes our home feel alive. to do this, i like to put on a new record and gather everything to one central spot like our dining room. with bare bookshelves and countertops, i can better envision a new arrangement. i will take things from other rooms and give them new homes around the house. i am an aesthetically driven person and this part of spring cleaning is most fun for me.
andrew and i both like coming home to a place that echoes the current state of nature, both in its simplicity and beauty. so given that spring brings with it more sunshine, i have taken to storage our colorful, cozy, thick knits and replaced them with more light-weight blankets and throws. in addition, i have stocked up on more succulents and potted herbs, replacing them with our many stacks of books and baskets of mittens. our bed linens also got a good washing with lavender soap and i made our bed differently. i tried folding back our duvet to brighten up our room and show a peak of our white bedspread. it's the little things, you know.
and then there's cleaning that is part and parcel of this whole spring deal. i made new batches of homemade cleaning products and got new brushes to scrub our white walls and baseboards. older homes are inevitable dirty and dustier than new, therefore a good scrubbin' is much needed with the awakening of each new season. dug out our leftover paint to cover up crayon marks made by a certain little girl and some wood polish to make our dining table and hardwood floors shine. the smell of lemon is undeniable in our treehouse now and everything is looks sparkly clean. next on my list is to tackle our long wall of windows they are very dirty at the moment and will require an entire day devoted to making them shine. i am eager to clean them as it will make all the difference when it comes to letting in more natural light.
one of the last things i do to prepare for the new season is simplify, a perpetual theme around here. inevitably, things tend to accumulate as holidays and birthdays come and go. living in a small home means constantly editing our belongings and donating what we no long use. at the end of this process of sorting and donating, our abode feels like new. it evokes freshness and serenity. it begs for recipes with green peas and baby carrots and calls for suppers to be eaten on our porch with our globe bistro lights dangling overhead. welcome, spring. we are so happy you have made your grand appearance.
i hope this inspires you to prepare for spring. if you'd like, i would love to hear how you prepare.