The Move has Begun!

OMG, people! It’s official! We can finally move into our house!!

I’m going to hyperventilate and faint.

The previous owners have just moved out and as of this week we can start bringing boxes into the house. And boy! do we have boxes!

We didn’t bother to unpack most – at least I hope it’s most because otherwise we need a more stringent purge and some counseling sessions about our consumerism – of our possessions because we knew that the stop at this rental house was blessedly temporary. That is saving us tons of time.

All 4 of us stopped by on Sunday and dropped off a few things. Rugs mostly and a small cafe table with 2 chairs. Oh, and H took a literal armload of his stuff animal menagerie and dropped them into the closet in his new room.  Then he changed his mind about our building him bookshelves and a window seat and instead requested a desk, bookcase, and comfy chair. He also changed his mind about which wall he wants the Moroccan tile stencil to be painted on. 3 times! And the more I look at his walls the more I think I kind of want to just put a fresh coat of paint on them and the trim.

E has also been dictating his hopes for his room, too. So far there is teal, a red star, and really dark grey walls. I’m trying to counsel him out of the dark grey walls and into a lighter shade of grey, but he is unmoved. I also tried to explain that his room will look like a dark cave if we painted it that grey color. “I like caves,” was the reply.

I’m moving the wine over next.

We still have miles of books that need to find their way over as well. Some of them might go with me when we do our final walk-through with our real estate agent, Rob Spicer. He’s been so fantastic. Very warm and approachable. I’ve felt like I can call him anytime with any questions I might have and he’ll either know the answer or know where he can find the answer.

My plan for completing the moving in is to take a load over every day in the mini van and to pack 3 boxes everyday – if possible. It is the end of the school year and “things happen” so I’m not sure if I can actually meet my goal, but it doesn’t hurt to try. I may swap “pack 3 boxes” for “purge a bag” on some days. And I do need to give myself at least 2 days to paint. Or probably 4 days to paint. Which will turn into 8 days.

Then we will have a big push and get a moving truck right after the kids are finished with school. Following all that up will be a group of professional movers to help with the big heavy stuff like the sleeper sofa and the filing cabinet.

And there is something that happens when you move. You start seeing your furniture and your style differently. I’m looking at our couches, chairs, rugs, and even throw pillows in a new and highly critical light. Is this neutral brown color what I really want to see all day everyday? Is there another color that will go with our crazy couch? Should I recover the couch? Is now the time to fix the dining room table? What is the real aesthetic I’m going for?

I’ve even subscribed to a decorating magazine to help give me some ideas and direction. And with all that I have a huge and growing list of “should Is” and “I shoulds”. It’s a bit terrifying. And potentially expensive. But this feels like the time to do at least some of the list. It feels like a Fresh Start Moment. It feels buoyant and hopeful and like I’m about to complete a very long journey. Like this squeezing of my chest is just about to stop.

Let’s see what we can make of it.

Time to move some boxes.



Oh My Actual God! We Bought A House!

As you may recall, we had put an offer on a house and had it accepted. It was like my boyfriend and I deciding to go steady.

Well, today we got engaged!

I know, I know. We actually bought the house so shouldn’t it be the wedding? I’m waiting to declare nuptuals until after we move in. Which won’t be until June.

So. Engagement.

We had a walk-through of the house and I love it even more than I did when we had the inspection.  The room are generous, the ceilings are tall, the light streams in from every window no matter the time of day. I’ve been watching Grand Designs on Netflix and so I’m trying extra hard not to slip into hyperboles of sweeping vistas and the surprising cozy warmth inside an example of modern architecture.

I finally get to fantasize about decorating. About what kinds of flea market finds could look amazing right there. What kinds of floor layouts will allow the kids to gallop through the room without barking their shins.  Walking through the rooms I envisioned entertaining our book club. Having the girls over for sushi and wine. Grilling with friends on the massive gas grill that we are inheriting.

I eyeballed the space available for the chandelier.  “Eyeballed” because I forgot to bring a measuring tape. Of course. Mark, being taller, had a more level view and declared it 2 & 1/2 feet long. More on the chandelier will be coming in a future post.

I also got to explain some plans to Mark for a window seat in what will be H’s room, layout a wine cabinet, request several new bookcases, and figure out bed-to-room assignments.  (We will have a guest room.)  Ooo! And a really awesome idea that has been fermenting about a work space that can be disguised as art when company comes over.

And did I mention we have a cedar closet?? We do!!!!!

It was hard for us to leave the house and get to the signing. Well, it was hard for me. Mark had an agenda that included food before we showed up at our noon title appointment and so he sailed out of the house, pulling me along behind him. In just a bit of a similar fashion as when we walked down the aisle after saying “I do.”

We got our sandwiches at the cutest little market that is biking-distance away and headed to the title company where the most efficient and dapper man I’ve met since moving back from Switzerland greeted us and started walking us through signing about 50 different documents.

And one of the soon-to-be-previous owners was there, too! She was delightful. She and her husband are moving back to Holland for work. They were sad to be moving, but it’s to move back home so there is a bit of joy there, too. And I know exactly where she is coming from. We had a great conversation about moving overseas and kids and pets and Dutch architecture. It was lovely.

And she gave us a key.

To our house.

And before I knew it I had signed documents. One of which said that I have such aliases as Mark’s name and his mother’s name. Government at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.

Being pros at all this title stuff, they got our chatty and bewildered selves out of their building by shaking our hands, giving us a bottle of champagne they order by the crate, and pushing us to the elevator before we could wake up out of our fog of happiness.

And we were done! It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. It was warm. We had champagne.

So we went home and drank it.

The whole bottle.

And we finished it just in time to stagger to the kids’ school and pick them up like the responsible, home-owning parents we are.

I am (becoming) a pest!

I’m obsessing. Just totally obsessing about our new house. Poor Mark. I am becoming such a pest about it!

The first thing we need is a new chandelier for the dining room. So I’m scouring Lamps Plus for some ideas and presenting said ideas to Mark.

Every night.

But then in a weird twist of fate and completely coldly calculated marketing, Lamps Plus leads me to Pottery Barn and I find more chandeliers there!

And then I remember all about Pinterest!

Pinterest has so many good ideas and the pictures can be guides for achieving an actual style or look. A skill that has seemed to elude me in my 40+ years on the planet.

Dear, God. I’m back on Pinterest.  Like 5 times a day.

I currently have 5 browsing pages open of ideas for various items and projects that will make our household worth living in. Including a page giving step-by-step instructions on painting a kitchen cart I bought from Ikea and details of how to use chalk paint on a faux wood Ikea corner buffet that we bought 8 years ago and are now tired of looking at. Well, I’m tired of looking at it. Mark doesn’t seem to express any dissatisfaction about it. But he will.

And then in the check out line at the grocery store was an issue of Cottage Style flirting with me. It now resides beside me at the computer with different pages dog-eared down. Sometimes it is left strategically open next to the coffee pot so Mark might just *happen* to see it as he is refilling his cup in the morning.

It’s a good thing I don’t have cable and access to Fixer Upper and Rehab Addict. I’d never be able to leave the house!

I will admit, and probably terrify Mark by admitting, that I am actually holding back a bit because we haven’t signed the title yet.

I’m not only searching for projects. My eyes are also examining what else I can purge from our house and, therefore, not move on moving day.

For example, this weekend while Mark was out running the boys to their various activities I stayed home and sorted out the boys’ bookshelves. I now have a bag of Magic Tree House books going to a friend, small box of books to donate to the library, a medium pile to keep for nostalgia (I mean, we can’t possibly give away Goodnight, Gorilla!!), and a large pile that will go to the preschool I work at for parents to pick through.

Mark is going to go through his suits and shirts and will discard the ones that are looking worn. I’m going to pretend to weed through my cooking pots and pans. I might actually weed through some fabrics. Maybe. Plus there are some toys that need to find a new home – and not my new home.

But all this still leaves me giddy with excitement! There is nothing like a to-do list of things you actually WANT to do!

Don’t worry. Updates will be constant.

House Hunters: Maryland Edition

One year ago this week we were skiing in Kandersteg as a part of a typical day in our Swiss lives. Now we are almost 8 months into our lives back on the east coast of the United States.

And it seems we are likely to remain here.

Because we’re buying a house.

We originally moved here in 2001 for Mark’s career, so it’s not like this unexpected, but it does make me wonder: When does one become “from” somewhere? Are we marked as “from” a place because we are born there? Or is it after we’ve lived in a place for X number of years?

Our kids were born here. Their whole lives are in Maryland. They are “from” Maryland. Is that enough to anchor us and make us “from,” too?

These existential questions aside, we are buying a house here and it is such a lovely house.

isynknxtuikz6k1000000000You walk right from a small foyer into a large and open living room. The windows face west and get tons of light.

Then you can either go into the kitchen (complete with an induction burner range) …

or into the generously spaced dining room. (The chandelier does not convey.)

img_1010And we even have our own office space!

We have an embarrassing number of bedrooms – 5 in total. There are 4 on the main level and 1 on the lower level. The one the boys are fighting over has that neat built in “cozy spot” with the closets and shelves.

We have what I’m calling a lower level. “Finished basement” doesn’t seem to really convey the feeling of the space. The full-sized windows make it bright and airy. The faux wood floor and fireplace make it feel like a real living room. And the doors walk right out into a huge back yard with a large slate patio.

The laundry room is the only part of the house that feels kind of basement like. Even then it is dry and clean and has the potential to be another kitchen if we wanted.

Check out the back yard!


The boys have tons of room to run around like dogs! I’m already sketching out improvements in my mind. Like a pergola. And a veggie garden.

Hilariously, we can see the golden spires of the Mormon Tabernacle looming up from beyond the treeline in our back yard. Mark is hoping we can hear the choir from the yard.

We’ve already had the inspection and the results were great! There are just a few things we will have to do, but nothing horrendous, and nothing that would make us back away from the sale.

I will need to shop for a new chandelier and I will be exercising some non-existent design muscles in figuring out where our stuff needs to go and keep the house looking beautiful. I like antiques and I like finding potential diamonds-in-the-rough, which sometimes get rougher after I’ve worked on them. Stay tuned for all that hilarity.

We will settle at the end of March and move in after the boys have finished the school year.

But yay! A house!