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Thursday, October 27, 2011

So, now that we’ve made this crazy decision to get our house ready to sell (post-Holidays), my at-home life went from crazy to slightly manic. Well, actually, I take that back. I’m exhausted and have been really busy, but I’m actually pretty proud of myself and the amount I’ve gotten done thus far. (And yet, the kids are still getting fed and cared for, so I’d say that’s an accomplishment too). It’s just the amount that remains that looms over me…My goal has been to pack up at least two boxes every day (or if I don’t pack any one day, then I get four done the next). My parentals have been kind enough to offer their condo basement for storage, and my plan is to pack that thing to the max. We’ll wait until after Christmas to move out some furniture (you know, to open up the space, help the house look bigger and to make it easier to steam clean the carpets, etc.), but in the meantime we’ve taken two van loads of boxes and bags and storage tubs to their place. I’m a little appalled at how much I’ve already packed up but just how much there is left to go. And this is after spending the summer doing a mass decluttering! (Which is still going on. Every time I pack I have a pack it box, a recycle/garbage bag and a donation bag). Nine years in a house and adding three additional (little) people to a family definitely adds to the accumulation of STUFF.

Once I get most of the packing done and have just the minimum required items left behind (so, you know, we can still actually live here for several months), then the projects begin! Patching up nail holes and dinks in walls, doors, trim (we are apparently VERY abusive to our home). Then painting the hallway, part of the dining room and kitchen. Possibly painting the master bedroom a more neutral color (but probably not…people can just deal with the deep dark soothing romantic den that is our “Blueberry Patch”-ed walls). Getting the garden prettified (and winterified which needs to happen anyway). And the one that I’m (oddly) most excited about yet simultaneously most dready: regrouting bathtub/shower tiles. I spent Friday night watching how-to videos on YouTube (ahhh, how Friday nights have changed…). And I think I may actually try to tackle this project myself rather than leave it for Mike…he’ll be busy cleaning off the roof, gutters, powerwashing, touching up outside trim paint, etc.

Oh, and we got a new lawn mower (after borrowing neighbors’ all summer since ours died in the spring), and we have a new dishwasher coming today. How thrilling! It’s Christmas come early!

So, while all this is happening, I’m still nervously watching our Mountain House on-line (and occasionally in person). On Monday night, I had a meeting at church and decided to drive up the mountain to see what that’s like in the dark (surprisingly not too bad and there are a couple select street lights on your way up). I’d had a stressful day and was looking forward to a brief moment of dreaming that this house was our home and I was returning to it…when…oh…are you even kidding me?!! The house was all lit up, garage doors open and two cars in the driveway. PEOPLE!! PEOPLE were looking at OUR house!! On a Monday night!! Who goes to see a house on a mountain in the dark on a Monday night?! People who are serious about seeing it, that’s who!! So, I debated about, I don’t know, sneaking around the house and making ghostly-spooky sounds (‘tis the time of year anyway) and then maybe they’d think it was haunted and not be interested. I thought about turning out the car lights, doing a slow motion drive-by and blasting ‘gangstuh’ rap (so they’d think maybe it was a bad part of town)…but I didn’t want our potential new neighbors recognizing my car someday…so instead I went to Dairy Queen and bought Mike and I Blizzards in order to handle the stress.

I hope I don’t gain 50 pounds during this house-selling-buying process!

Friday, October 14, 2011

It’s confession time. I’ve not been completely honest with you and now I’m ready to finally come clean. I’ve felt badly about it but we’ve both now decided that it’s for the best. Phew. Here goes: I’ve been cheating. I swear I didn’t mean to do it at first. I thought it would just be for fun. I just wanted to see what else was out there, and then, without meaning to I totally fell in love. Totally. Completely. Until death do us part. The One. I feel like I’ve betrayed so many people and will hurt so many people by doing this, but I just have to follow my gut. People have tried to intervene; they’ve tried to talk me out of it, but to no avail. And after a bit of time, Mike’s gotten used to the idea and also thinks it’s what we should do. It’s what’s best for our family.

We’re planning to move. See! I’ve been cheating on our wonderful, amazing, comfy-cozy house! And like all cheaters I will say (and this IS true) that I really wasn’t planning on doing it. I didn’t plan to find the absolute house of my dreams. I just hopped on-line one day just to, ya know, see what else is out there.

And there It was.

Honestly, I don’t know that it was completely love at first sight, but there was definitely an initial spark and a lot of curiosity on my end. How on earth is THAT house being sold for THAT price in THAT neighborhood? And then the doubt: There must be something totally wrong with it or it would’ve sold by now. It’s probably a cleaned up Meth Lab or maybe there was a quadruple murder there…

But I still didn’t care.

I showed the pictures to Mike and he humored me, thinking that it was just a passing phase. He ooed and ahhhed and then brought me back to reality, “Even though it’s a good price for that area, we could never afford it…and we love this house. We love everything about where we live. The boys are in a great school right now. Matthew’s finally got a really great teacher that he absolutely adores. We have awesome neighbors. The new library at the bottom of the hill will be open soon. We can walk to shops, restaurants and parks. I don’t have a super long commute to work…why would we move (even if we could afford it?)”

He’s right. Of course, he’s right. I do love (nearly) everything about where we’re at right now. But….but….it sure would be nice to be in the better school district come middle school. We’d be closer to church, Costco, Trader Joe’s, plenty of shopping. Unlike our current gym, the one out there is brand new and has a pool and basketball courts, a super awesome kids’ club. There’s a great community center with a preschool (for Kayliana eventually) and tons of programs for the kids. There’s a really good public pool for swimming lessons. Not to mention the fact that, oh, this house happens to be on a decent property backing to a state park and…did I mention it is my DREAM house? The kids would all have their own rooms. We’d have space for forever and would never outgrow it and…and…

Did I mention it’s on the very tippy top of a mountain?! The neighborhood is at about 1000 feet. We’d probably have our own weather system! Of course this would be a deterant to some, but apparently, unbeknownst to me, I’ve always wanted to live on the top of a mountain.

The first time I drove up to the house – just to see it in person – I knew. I had a feeling in my gut and a lightness in my head (not caused by elevation sickness). It wasn’t just that I could see us in that house. We are MEANT to live in that house. I see our kids growing up there and someday bringing their kids to see us there.

I watched the house on-line for about two weeks. Visiting the listing every day. I drove Mike up to the house after church one Sunday. He still hoped that it was a passing phase. He even offered to remodel our current kitchen or do SOMETHING to stay where we’re at. And again, it’s not that I don’t love where we’re at, it’s just, it’s just, it’s THE house.

I was trying to let the house go…I really was. But then a neighbor of ours who I hadn’t seen in a while and who happens to be a real estate agent, happened to be at the bus stop so I chatted him up briefly about this home. He, of course, offered to show it to us should I need to just “get it out of my system.” And, then, oh THEN, later that day I saw that the price had been dropped again making it a possibility. A real life possibility! So, then Mike agreed to humor me and go see it. And then we saw it. And then I mentally moved our furniture into every room. And then I was totally a goner.

Did I mention that the master bathroom and bedroom are spectacular?! And that the house is also my absolute dream layout? And that buying into that neighborhood at that price and with these current mortgage rates…well, we’d be stupid not to do it.

Yes, Mike will have a slightly longer commute (about 15 minutes each way), but he does have a telecommuting option (and he’ll probably start working from home one or two days a week). Yes, we will be giving up the ability to walk down to stores, a new library, restaurants, our favorite little produce stand and awesome parks. Yes, we’ll be a little farther from freeways and Seattle. We won’t be as centrally located. Yes, when it gets snowy or icey we will likely be trapped, stuck, secluded on the top of our mountain… But believe it or not, all of these things are what excite me about the house.

It’s just a LITTLE bit farther away – enough that we’ll plan ahead. And to me it’s not that we’d be stuck (OK, I recognize this is all rose-colored glasses right now, and cabin fever does eventually settle in), we’d be cozy. We’d hunker down in our little mountain top oasis and play board games and drink cocoa and watch movies and listen to Christmas music 24-7 / 365 and watch deer saunter across the yard. We might even see mountain lions and bears, oh my!

So, I love everything about this house, but….but…obviously we have to sell our current house first (right, details!), and that’s going to take a little time and prep work, not to mention that we’re getting into the hardest time of year for house selling – the holidays. This is a good thing and a bad thing for us. It means that the future Martin Mountain Manor will HOPEFULLY not sell and can wait for us until January (please, please, please, please, please…). It’s a good thing because at that point we may be able to get an even better price for the Mountain house. But it also means that it’s a HUGE gamble and we run the risk of someone else swooping in and getting the house (no, no, no, no, no, no, no…). In our favor: the house has been on the market for quite some time already. So, if it didn’t sell during the spring/summer, it’s very unlikely to sell during the winter when a.) not much sells and b.) who would be crazy enough to go house-hunting and then buy a house on the top of a mountain in the winter anyway?! (Oh right, us). Plus, it would be nice to have a couple more months financially, so we can save up and be prepared for this mondo-mega-monstruous purchase. However, waiting will possibly make selling our house harder too. Ahhh, the craziness!!

In the meantime, we’ll start getting things ready and enjoying every last moment in this house that we’ve loved so very much. Yes, it is just walls and a roof, but it’s been HOME. We’ve started a family here. I’ve rocked three babies to sleep in a certain chair in a certain room. I’ve painted nearly every wall. My garden was just becoming the whimsical sanctuary that I’ve been working towards. I’ll only have a few more months of running three mornings a week in the wee dark hours with Andrea – something I’ll miss beyond words. We’ll have our last Thanksgiving and our last Christmas in the house where our children celebrated their first Thanksgiving and their first Christmas. It will be so bittersweet but so exciting at the same time! Like everything with this decision, there are compromises and give and take. But I have no doubt that should it all work out – which I hope, I FEEL it will – it was all meant to be. I feel as sure about this house as I’ve only felt about two other things in my life: #1, that Mike was The One, and that #2, Mia was the birth mom for us and she just HAD to pick us (and she did!!!). Those two things both worked out pretty darn well if I do say so myself, and I pray that this is my big #3!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

When Mike and I were looking through the photos that Andrea took, we couldn’t help but laugh at about half of them. (I know, MEAN parents). You see, since day 2 (our day 1 with Kayli) we’ve said that she’s a Vending Machine of Body Fluid. Since day 2 we’ve been waiting for a tooth. The amount of drool that comes out of that tiny little body is extraordinary. It’s like humanly impossible. But she makes the impossible…possible. We’ve thankfully outgrown the near-constant spitting up (and subsequent spot-cleaning of the carpet 12 times a day – I once did it eight times in one hour; yes, I counted), but there seems no end to the drool-factor. I’m a little concerned that she’ll be the drooling kindergartener that no one really wants to be friends with. And when we looked at these photos, we couldn’t help but laugh at just how…well, WET it is. I mean isn’t she slightly embarrassed?! It’s almost like having your sweaty pit-stains showing up in photos – embarrassing and AWKWARD!!

Joking aside, the girl DOES need to learn to close her mouth. It’s open ALL. OF. THE. TIME. We’ve decided this is why she’s not said “Mama” really yet – that requires putting your lips together which requires closing your mouth. She says “Dada” like a champ and she also says “All duh!” (for “all done”)….both of which conveniently leave one’s mouth gapingly open. Just her style.

She’s outgrown all of her bibs (sadly they just don’t fit around her sweet ‘lil neck rolls) and after so much use and washing the Velcro doesn’t stick much anyway, so we’ve had to succumb to awkward photos like this. Besides, I was tired of all her cute clothes being covered with bibs. Now her cute clothes are just covered in a pool of drool. At least you can usually see through the wetness to all the cuteness underneath.

Saturday, October 01, 2011