Our moving company arrived Wednesday and most of our stuff is out. It's a weird feeling to walk from room to room and see empty spaces still filled with so many memories. Leaving this house is not what I pictured it to be. My movie expectations imagined slow nights of carpet picnics, pizza boxes, and late nights reminiscing about all the simple moments shared within its walls. But our nights have been filled with a different reality. More boxes, more struggle to remember where things are, and a growing sense of eagerness to close these doors and open new ones.
Late at night, though, after the kids and husband have went to bed, I've been scrolling through pages and pages of blog posts and pictures, willing myself to take some time to say goodbye to this house the way it deserves. I've pulled pictures from ten of my favorite things about what I liked to call our gingerbread house. Pictures that bring me right back to those moments, with a backdrop that will always remind me of home.
1) Our house during the holidays // Call me crazy, but I love the cozy months of winter. I love the night before a good snow storm, readying the house with blankets and candles, good movies and buttery popcorn, and having no place to be but trapped in the comfort of our cozy nook. I always thought our house looked like a gingerbread house at Christmastime with its brown siding, red shutters, and Christmas tree, perfectly placed in front of our picture window. I will miss this house during the holidays, our special fireplace and sleeping bag nights, laying under the Christmas tree, and opening up new books and pajamas before bed on Christmas Eve night.
2. Carpet picnics in the living room // Our living room was small and oddly shaped, but we made the most of its size and took advantage of all its amenities. I especially loved our fire and carpet picnic nights. A simple movie night became a whole new adventure with a few blankets strewn across the floor, a fire in the fireplace, and sometimes, marshmallows roasting over the wood-burning flame. If there's one thing I hope Cruz remembers from this house, it's all the nights we snuggled under sleeping bags and pretended we were watching movies under the stars.
3. Home improvement // We moved into this house on the coldest day of the year in 2008. We unpacked and immediately began making these walls our own. We didn't have kids then and worked hard to bring our dreams to life with this house as our backdrop. Every wall has been painted, every corner made purposeful with built-ins and window seats, and newly devised walk-in closets, and slowly this house became just as we dreamed it. From the shelves in the laundry room, the wood floors in the baby's room, and especially that kitchen, transformed with our own laughter, sweat, and tears, this house is time-stamped with projects we are so proud of.
4. Our living room window light // I loved the light that came through this double hung window, especially in the late afternoon. When we bought the house, natural light wasn't something I valued or looked for in a house. But I discovered a new hobby in this house when Beau surprised me with my first camera and lens kit the February before Cruz was born. I learned to take pictures in this house, and relied on that window to learn the ins and outs of manual photography. I loved that it was low enough for my babies to stand by, that we spent many late afternoons watching the school bus drop of children or waiting for Daddy to get home from work. And I loved the way it lit up their faces and made their eyes sparkle.
5.) Bringing our babies home // There's something about moving out of the house you brought your babies home to. I remember both experiences vividly. Two first-time parents, feeling a terrifying amount of responsibility as we brought that baby seat in the house and tried to make sense of this new role as parents. Cruz slept in his car seat for two hours by the front window and we checked on him every two minutes, waiting for him to wake up. When he did, we quietly tiptoed around the house and gave him a tour of every room. With Mila it was much different. Instead of sleeping, she fussed the entire drive home, and continued to fuss off and on that whole night. I remember sitting on the floor of the living room with Cruz, Beau, and my Mom, holding this baby and looking at my boy, wondering how I was going to juggle life with two. We all loved her instantly though, even Cruz, with his little finger up to his mouth, 'shh'ing' her every time she fussed. Life got messier and loads more beautiful that day and I feel beyond blessed to have brought two babies into that home of ours.
6. Our kitchen // At the time, I remember loathing our endless weekend's at my father-in-law's shop, sanding board after board after board of that beautiful hickory wood, feeling as if our kitchen would never be done. Now, we look back at that stage and cherish those memories of two newlyweds, singing songs while we pushed a board back and forth through the sander, running circles around that shop, and building that kitchen with a little help from Ray and a lot of figuring things out on our own. I think that's why we both love this kitchen so much, imperfections and all.
7. Dinners on the deck // When we weren't eating in our kitchen, we took full advantage of our attached deck and spent so many nights dining al fresco. Dinners on the deck would then evolve to bottles of wine, games of cribbage, and lots of late nights discussing plans and dreams of our future. Looking back, I have countless pictures of dinners on the deck and it's so fun to see how they started with just the two of us and soon included high chairs, bite-sized food, and sippy cups amidst our wine glasses and grilled goodness.
8. Our garden // I loved this addition to our backyard, the satisfaction of growing our own supper, and our tan, shirtless sidekick, watering tomato plants that stood taller than him, picking cilantro leaves and pressing them up to his nose, and "grocery shopping" before Beau got home from work. I hope our buyers appreciate those three raised garden beds and spend their summers reaping the rewards of that tomato-loving soil.
9. Our bedroom // I think we spent the first month of Mila's life in our bed. It was the middle of January and it was cold, and our bedroom was small enough to trap lots of heat and create the perfect space to curl up and slow down those first few weeks of life with a newborn. I would often bring in the space heater, then retreat with Cruz and a swaddled baby, and read books, take pictures, and snuggle up for long afternoon naps together.
10. Cruz's room // might be my favorite part of this house. It was like a tree house up there, with its red built-in bookshelf, its window seat that overlooked the street, and its slanted ceilings that created the perfect backdrop for lots of adventures and lots of play. That, and lots of cozy nights snuggled under covers at bedtime, reading Pete the Cat or Little Blue Truck, saying prayers, and quietly forgetting whatever stress had crept into that day, at least for the time being. Cruz's room was the perfect room to get lost in and it seemed adventure always awaited us there.
Just a few of my favorite moments, places, and pictures from this home that is so very dear to us. It was such a special place to raise these little people and build the patchwork of our family.