September 27, 2016

A new (house) chapter...

A new home for us. Closing in less than a week. This feels so bittersweet. Maybe in the long run this won't feel so impactful, but as we sit under contract for a new house, thoughts of leaving our current house take over- and memories are so tangible it feels like I can reach out and touch them.

This house, 2260, is the place Jamie and I built our life up to this point.  I remember house hunting with Jamie despite the fact that I wasn't going to actually live there. I was just a blearly eyed post manayunk night out grad student who was helping her boyfriend narrow down the options. I sipped hot coffee and put my feet up on the heater of the car every time we emerged from a different house, as we searched during some cold winter months. Jamie and I broke up briefly during my second year of grad school, and in those short weeks Jamie finalized the purchase of the home. We weren't "officially" together, but J still messaged me (via myspace; we are old) the day he realized the pipes had exploded in this place. He and his dad went to work, tearing apart the bathroom before he could even move in.  Our time apart wasn't long, and I soon was alongside Jamie helping with everything from refinishing hardwood floors to tiling bathrooms. We often spent our evenings here on the couch eating dinner off of home depot boxes while watching whatever would keep us awake post renovations. When Jamie broke his leg mid-renovations, he had to sleep on the pull out couch and we spent so many hours watching Dukes of Hazzard and eating take out. I still laugh thinking about the CEO of his company strolling through the door (ah ING Direct, the good old days) in our haphazard environment.

Before I left for residency year in Ohio, it was this house's front door I walked through to hear music playing. I walked down the stairs to see Jamie on one knee, hand made signs behind him, because that's what my family does for big occasions. It was this house we walked into the morning after our wedding, flopping on the couch with the newly adorned JWM monogrammed pillows, before leaving for our honeymoon. We started new chapters here.

We called 2260 the Dog House when J moved in. There were some serious scratches on the floors and the not-so-faint smell of canine lingering. We whirled through renovations from the second that house was a home and we haven't stopped. I cannot even count the number of projects, big and small we tackled together.  From refinishing hardwood floors to tearing out and replacing full bathrooms to having friends help finish bathroom floors to putting in some major decorating time this house was our baby for a long time. Every room was either gutted and painted, finished, organized. We renovated a kitchen and turned it into a dreamy space.  We updated the "man cave" which has since become a play space. We gave the guest room some major sprucing up (including a DIY headboard, turned this into usable space for our cat,  We also had to treat our cats with prozac because they were crazy, and give one up for adoption. Jamie and my dad rebuilt our deck, we made this room into a cool office, and then... into a nursery.

And life changed.  Our sweet Sienna arrived. Maybe more than anything else, my heart feels like it's going to burst when I think of the day we walked through the door with Sienna. My mom and dad had a pink wreath waiting on the door.  Our house had a certain smell those first few weeks with my girl (probably breast milk and baby poop). I will always remember sinking into our couches downstairs and watching TV while nursing, and Jamie walking through that front door every.single.night ready to take her from me for awhile. Our family room was our sanctuary, and our house became even more of our home. It was in this house that I got the call (I was sitting in the kitchen holding Sienna waiting for my mom's name to pop up on my newish iphone) that Stella was born, an instant buddy for Sienna. We learned about being parents, and staying up all night, and loving more than we thought we ever would know how. Sienna turned 6 months, and then ONE, and then two, and three, and four in this place.

Then, we announced the upcoming arrival of baby sister. I almost can't remember the house without Piper in it. Piper Emily waltzed into this world (very quickly) and got blogged about entirely less than Sienna, mostly because I was super busy but also because  instagram came into my life. When we arrived home with P, Sienna was so excited she could barely contain herself. There she was, sitting on the front brick steps in her bright turquoise dress. Almost squealing she was smiling so hard. There's more pictures of P but less words, though I did a six month post, so there's that... Piper taught me that sometimes being a mom means things won't go as I plan and also that your heart grows when you have two kids. Sienna learned she has a built in BFF.

This house was also my place of comfort when things weren't so lovely. I remember after I matched in Ohio and faced the prospect of being away from Jamie, I crawled into bed there and cried eating birthday cake ice cream. There was the day my cell phone rang on the way to work with my dad telling me my grandfather passed away, when I left early - and found myself sitting in the kitchen- sun streaming in despite a cold day, with tea looking at photos of him at my wedding. I remember the day I got word that my good mama friend Sam  passed away, after having Piper, holding a newborn in my carrier and the tears flowing as I sat myself right in the middle of my kitchen floor. The house itself, of course, didn't change these things or make them better, but it was always a good soft place to fall, because we made it that way.

Now, we have a four year old and a two year old. They circle this house like it's a track.  Our girls footsteps in the hallway make me laugh. Piper constantly runs instead of walks and I frequently overhear Sienna saying "Umm Piper! You can't go on that top bunk alone!" Our whole house is the girls' playground at this point.  The backyard is their haven and they exclaim "Let's go to the fishies!" when they want to tumble down the back hill into the woods and run to the stream down their explorer path. Goodness how we will miss the stream and it's hot day reprieve from the humidity, with wildlife and water and mud- everything a kid could ever want.

They will love more space- and I'll love to not step on kid bath toys when I take a shower. I know it's time and am thrilled at the prospect of a better elementary school for our kids, another great yard, and more square footage. Still, the bittersweet factor is kicked up a notch when I think about the blood, sweat, and tears that went into this home.

This house  has been everything to us. It's where Jamie slipped the cushion cut diamond ring on my finger, the doorway we entered after we exchanged I do's, the quiet place we brought newborn Sienna into cautiously, and where Piper made our family whole. This home will always have a piece of my heart. Call me sentimental if you will, but thank you house for helping us make all these times exude joy and sorrow and love, and laughter and tons of baby tears, and for accompanying us through some of the fullest years of our lives. I hope the new family who lives in this space loves it as much as we did.


{P.S. The new house is gorgeous and has tons of space for visitors and kids' toys and a two car garage and non-basement laundry room, BUT it also has bathrooms from the 1990s, the most bizarre kitchen counter you've ever seen, a shiny black ceiling fan in the master bedroom, and the need for a new deck among many other things.... so this blog may really get dusted off in  the next few years as we do projects! Stay tuned!}



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