This morning we’ve gotten serious about packing up all the beloved artifacts of the past four years of our life (and lots of other stuff, too). Mary Elizabeth is a big fan of moving and has been enjoying scaling the cardboard mountains and toddling through the maze of boxes. The older girls stayed with their Nana and Pop. Madeline was emotional her last night sleeping in the only bedroom she’s ever known (she’s lived in two other cities, but this is the only place she remembers).
I do not have much emotional attachment to our townhouse even though it’s been a fine place to live. I will, however, miss the community I have here. I stink at saying good-bye and have avoided it with most of my dear friends. But I did get teary eyed when my homeschool co-op gave me a send-off that included the gift of a beautiful painting of Mary (as in the Mother of God, not my daughter) holding a lamb. I had to blink back some more tears when one of my closest friends here gave the girls and me a photo album documenting our years together. I flipped through the snapshots of our daughters playing together. There was a photo of Madeline in a swimsuit that Rae is even on the verge of outgrowing. Madeline is all lanky now. As the ephemera of our day-to-day existence was packed away – play dishes and board books – things that Madeline has already started to outgrow like that pink swimsuit, I’m struck by the speed of life. The sands of time slip through your fingers. It seems like just yesterday that we moved here after my husband completed his intern year in South Carolina. Four years at Emory seemed like a long time. But – poof! Here we are, a new chapter unfolding.
On Monday after we take a break tomorrow and spend the Fourth at the lake with my parents and some good friends we haven’t seen in ages, the chapter officially will begin as we begin to move all those boxes to our new home. I’m eager to unpack and to start to nest. I plan to work swiftly and diligently to turn this house into a home, so that when my older girls arrive, it will feel cozy and familiar and be the place where we all can most be ourselves.
The process of turning a house into our home began weeks ago when we grabbed a hold of our charming (read: old and needs a lot of work), “new” home and spruced it up. The walls were dingy and pinkish-flesh-colored. The 1935 kitchen was desperately in need of an update. And the pink carpet in the master bedroom? It had to go.
We were great visionaries when we fell in love with this home, I suppose. While we certainly looked at more aesthetically-pleasing homes and even put an offer in on one (which I’m ever so grateful now that it fell through), there was something about this house that drew us in and made us feel like it was the right place for our family.
Since our decision, we have already started to discover the joys of an old house – the way the backyard hides in the cool shade of old, towering trees even when the sweltering sun is high in the sky, the nooks and crannies your children like to explore, the crystal door knobs, and the glorious hardwood floors (no more worries about raspberry smoothies splattering on the carpet!).
Of course, although we’ve never felt as if we’d wandered purblind into the wrong home, this charming, old structure has already revealed some of its quirks. Like the rusty toilet that overflowed just days before we were slated to move in. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that those beautiful, big, ancient trees we love so much have intricate and vast root systems that have cracked through a clay pipe causing our plumbing to backup very, very quickly. Oh, but we adore our money pit (otherwise the hefty, unexpected bill would have been even more difficult to take), and we’re very, very thankful we were able to include many of our tweaks and renovations in the price of our “new” home.
As we settle in, I won’t be writing much. I’m someone who can’t stand to have hallways lined in boxes. I like to unpack everything as quickly as possible and to add my personal touches so it feels like home right away. So things will be quiet around here for a bit.
I’m also just basking in the blessing of this home and the how beautiful it’s becoming. My first home to nest in, to grow in, to fall in love with, and to plant my family’s roots!
I’ll leave you with some before and after glimpse into our home’s interior. The quality of some of the photos is subpar because they were captured on my iPhone, but you’ll get the idea. And if anyone has any decorating tips, ideas for frugal furnishing, or advice on living in an old home, please pass them along. This is all very new, exciting, and sometimes overwhelming to me.
Kitchen – Before
Kitchen – In Progress
Playing around with backsplash ideas…
Dining Room – Before
Dining Room – In Progress
Powder Room – Before
The Powder Room – In Progress
The Big Girls’ Bedroom – Before
The Big Girls’ Room – In Progress
The Nursery – In Progress (This house is teeming with beautiful, built-in bookcases – one of the reasons we fell in love with it, I’m sure. No more IKEA bookshelves lining our walls.)
Lots of old, peeling paint to contend with…
Our first yard!!!
I am so excited to be able to go home to this: