Hello there, Internet! Let’s see if I remember how to work this blog contraption. We still have large amounts of unpacking to do, but we no longer have overwhelmingly enormous amounts of unpacking to do. Which is good, because I don’t function well when things reach the Overwhelming stage. And it also means that we might be getting back to our regularly scheduled programming pretty soon. Speaking of which, the kitchen stuff is unpacked! So I have to make dinner again, rather than having it catered by our friendly local Sonic. There’s a silver lining to that, but the current lack of lemon-berry slush at my side is making it hard to find.
(Not really. I like cooking and it’s less expensive and my house doesn’t smell like tater tots. All good things.)
I’ll be attending a “new members” meeting of the homeschool co-op we’ve joined for the year, so I thought I’d let Rockford have an easy evening with the kids. We haven’t tried this recipe before, but it sounds warm and comforting.
Tuesday: Grilled sausages with mac ‘n’ cheese
I’m trying to get back to my “themed” menu plans, and Tuesdays are designated Kids Choice. Poppy chose this week, which explains the macaroni and cheese.
Wednesday: Butternut squash ravioli
This was on the menu last week, but I never made it.
I’d planned to make these before the move, because they’re a freeze-ahead meal. I’d even bought the components! But then I never made it. So the beef will be coming out of the freezer this week, and the enchiladas will be … enchiladed?
I wrote this set of moving tips the last time we moved. And once again, I’m not following my own advice. On top of that, we’ve accelerated our moving plans by a week, which means I’m not going to be making most of the meals I’d planned to have in the freezer. I did make the Chicken Pot Pie Empanadas from Real Simple, at least, so I have one ready-to-go meal in the freezer.
Poppy has been less than enthusiastic about our upcoming move. She’s having a hard time letting go of our current house, she says, and I know she’ll miss being able to run next door to play with her friend who lives there. I’ve assured her repeatedly that they’ll still see one another and that we’ll keep all of the memories from this house. She’s kind of a delicate soul, though, and she’s struggling with the change.
So far she only sees two slivers of silver lining: The new house has a garage, so she won’t have to board a sunbaked car quite as often; and she gets to paint her room in her favorite color. She’s been asking for a pink bedroom for a few years now, and I’ve been telling her for years that “Yes, sweetie, when we buy a house you can have a pink bedroom.” And here we are! So a pink bedroom it is. She didn’t have any requirements other than the wall color, which leaves me quite a lot of leeway in choosing artwork for her room. Thematically, I suppose I’m leaning toward Whimsy with a Side of Girl Power.
Poppy already has a few pieces that will work well in her new room. Among them are a custom portrait of she and I from Lemons with a Pea (who, you should be warned, sells mostly ribald cards and art in her etsy shop) and these sweet little rocker girls from The Black Apple.
My sister-in-law has a print of Gustav Klimt’s “Baby (Cradle)” that used to hang in the bathroom. It was years — years! — before I actually noticed that there was a baby under all of those toasty quilts. “Cold Toes Warm Hearts” — another one by The Black Apple — reminds me of the Klimt painting. And I think it’s perfect for Poppy’s room.
These four pieces by Sascalia are a little bit brighter than what I’m generally drawn to, but the girls’ sweet expressions are just so very Poppy. And there are owls, of course. Every good room needs a few owls.
And then there’s this. I love nearly everything by Matte Stephens. It doesn’t really fit my overall color family (assuming I have one) for her room, but Poppy is a big fan of cats. And I am a big fan of anthropomorphizing. “The Cat Family Relaxes” would seem to be ideal for us, but it’s far over my budget.
With the new house comes the opportunity to do some new decorating. I’m letting the kids choose their paint colors (with some guidance) and an overall “theme.” Pete chose a rather deep blue for his room. We compromised on that by doing one wall — or perhaps large horizontal stripes on one wall — in his color of choice. The rest will be some variation on tan. I tried to sway him toward robots, but he’s decided he wants a dinosaur room. I scoured Etsy for some artwork and found a few gems:
Did you know that “RAWR means I love you in dinosaur”? Neither did I, until I saw this awesome print. This one is $18 for an 8×10, and they offer a variety of colors and dinosaurs. The tiny triceratops is my favorite, but the velociraptor would be an excellent choice, too. He looks like he’s having a one-dino dance party.
Who knew dinosaurs were so resourceful? At $30, this one is out of my Children’s Room Decor budget. Chow Hon Lam’sroller skating dinosaur makes me smile, but I’m betting the public transportation patrons are less than excited about his adventure. (Especially the poor guy who’s taken flight.)
And finally, the pièce de résistance: “A Dinosaur Who is Also Justin Bieber.” I wouldn’t put the Mike Kendrick piece in Pete’s room, but it definitely has the best title of anything I’ve seen on Etsy. If you’re in the market for a dino with a fabulous coif and flirtation in his heart, this is your guy.
(I don’t think I’m going to buy new bedding to match the dino decor, but this DinoRoar set from Kohl’s is on sale. It’s tempting.)
Our first place, featuring Marvin the friendly handyman.
The first house Rockford and I lived in was under constant renovation. His grandparents had recently purchased a house that was just a few minutes from the school we were attending, and they offered to let us live there until we graduated and moved to wherever Rockford would be going to graduate school. We lived there for five months, and we got to know the guys working on the house pretty well. It was rent-free, though, and we’re still grateful for that.
Our second home was an apartment that I’d only seen online before our move-in day. Now I think that was probably a little naive, not to at least ask someone from Rockford’s new school to go check it out or something. Happily, it looked pretty much like it did in the pictures. The complex had tennis courts and a little three-hole golf course (where Rockford laughed while I was attacked by geese), and I still think of that apartment as our first home together. It was also the place where I hunkered down and watched every episode of “Newhart” while I waited for somebody, anybody to hire me.
The apartment complex was nice enough, but we soon grew weary of our series of heavy-footed neighbors upstairs.
On our own. With geese and noisy neighbors.
So we sought out something that wasn’t an apartment. We found a duplex on the other side of town. It was a little run-down, but it was within walking distance of some great restaurants and an awesome swimming pool, and it had a rather nice back yard. The duplex was the first place we were able to paint. It was the first place where we had our own pets — Marsha T. Cat and JJ, who now lives in Philadelphia. And it was Poppy’s first home. (Which means it was also where this blog was born, albeit under a different URL.)
Our next move was a debacle that ended with us moving in with Rockford’s parents for a month. It took me awhile to get over that mess, so I’m not going to talk about it further. (The debacle. Not the moving-in-with-the-parents. That was fine.)
Shortly after that, we moved into an apartment in a building that in its former life had been a cotton mill. It had gloriously high ceilings and giant windows that looked out onto a river. It was a beautiful apartment, but it was about half an hour away from anything at all. So we decided to move into town. We found a nice little bungalow-style apartment that was on the city’s bus line and within walking distance of quite a lot of stuff. I was about 7 months pregnant with He Who Would Be Pete, and so we were unusually efficient in unpacking and settling in.
And so naturally that was when Rockford’s current company offered him a job. A job that would be based roughly five hours away. We were incredibly fortunate to have just signed a lease that included a 30-day no-questions-asked move-out clause. The management wasn’t thrilled when we told them that we’d be invoking it, but they honored it and we hastily repacked everything and moved again.
The moves from the duplex to Rockford’s parents’ house to the soaring ceilings to the little bungalow and finally to our first apartment in our current town took place over a period of about 15 months. That is a lot of packing and unpacking in a rather short period of time.
Our first place here was another standard-issue apartment. It was nice enough, except for the mice. My post-partum hormones and I couldn’t handle the mice, so we moved again. This time it was into the house we’re currently renting. If you’ve been keeping track, that’s five dwellings for little Poppy in her first three years. And then we stayed put for the next three years.
There are things I’m not crazy about in this house — the yard, for example — but the memories we have here are priceless. Pete had so many firsts here — birthday, Christmas, learning to walk. Poppy lost her first tooth here, and one of her best pals lives right next door. It’s been a good house for us. But it’s time to move on.
This was Poppy's fortune on Friday night. How did you know, PF Changs?
On Friday, Rockford and I finally reached a goal we’ve been striving toward for a long time: We bought a house.
We bought a house!
We started looking on July 9th, right after we got back from our Fourth of July trip. We all went to see the first possibility with our realtor, and then the kids and I saw three more while Rockford was at work. The first three we looked at were discouraging, at best. They were near the top of our price range, and they were in horrible shape. I really didn’t want to buy a lot of problems, so I was beginning to resign myself to renting for another year while we worked toward a higher price range. And then we went to the fourth house. I walked through the door, and I knew.
As we’ve moved from apartment to duplex to house, etc., I’ve been compiling a list of Things I Want in a House. I knew we’d have to make compromises once the time came to actually buy something, but I went ahead and wrote down everything. It was a lengthy list. I was prepared to whittle it down to “three bedrooms and indoor plumbing.” I didn’t know it when I first walked through the door and told the realtor “This is the one,” but this house? The house that we bought?
Everything. It has every last thing on my list.
I’m still a little stunned. And so, so very happy.