This is the first time in nine years we are home for the holidays, which has its upsides and downsides.
Downside: Jack spent Thanksgiving Day raking 32 bags of leaves.
32 bags, no joke, plus another 21 the following weekend. When our real estate agent was pitching half an acre, he somehow forgot to mention the part about raking 53 bags of leaves.
Upside: We were in town for the school Turkey Trot, and got to watch our first grader forfeit a win in favor of helping her little sister cross the finish line.
But I digress. The point of this post is to show you some pictures of the house and I had better stay on topic because I have about 20 of them to upload.
This is not only the first time since we were married that we're home for the holidays, it's the first time we're in a home at all. Nine years of dwelling in small apartments has given us a happy, daily appreciation for things like grass, and storage space, and not having to worry about people being annoyed when they can hear our kids cry. Or jump or yell or play. Or when they poop in the pool at their sister's birthday party.
When we moved out of our last apartment in Santa Barbara, we left behind all of our furniture except for one bedroom set and a crib, so we're basically starting from scratch. We still have a long ways to go, but here are a few of the projects we've finished so far -
The first item of business after unpacking, was figuring out where to put our sweet 2004 27-inch beast of a box television set.
The answer came to me on top of a double decker bus. Jack's parents were in town and treating us to a tour of the city, when I got an email that someone in the ward had left this baby out on their curb for free pickup.
It weighs about 400 pounds, and I had to have it. I made Jack and his dad drag it home, then spent every Saturday morning for two months doing this.
Did you know that paint stripper can burn a hole right through your hands? Twice.
But every birth story is painful, and now what would have been garbage has a whole new life.
Once you start stripping furniture and painting it white, it's kind of hard to stop. I found these at the thrift store for $7 total.
Next item of business were the walls. When we moved in they were a deep, what-were-they-thinking terra cotta red.
And now they are warm and happy Niagra Falls Blue, and Moonlit Yellow.
The kitchen also needed a little something, as the custom corner cabinets the owners provided just weren't quite right.
The cabinet was a $30 find (!) at the Arlington Flea Market. The bulletin board, I dug out of a recycle bin, then painted the edges and covered it with fabric. The only thing missing are your Christmas cards. (Do you see the six beautiful, but lonely families on the right? Their party can't start until you arrive.)
We've also had a ton of luck on Craigslist.
This desk was 30 bucks. With chair.
And this was only 70 (!)
...plus the cost of permanent damage done to Jack's back when he lifted it into the van. (That bow, by the way, is a Christmas decoration. I have yet to buy something on Craigslist that comes gift wrapped.)
Also, in case you think I only know how to search Craigslist for white furniture, my favorite find so far is this antique sideboard.
The owner said he had over 50 requests for it, but chose us because I sounded nice, and because I was "so consistent." I guess it pays to be nice. It also pays to flood people's inbox and voicemail until they finally throw up their hands and consent to sell you their stuff.
When we brought it home and set it against the wall it looked a little lonely and sad, like it was wondering how it went from living the DC good life to serving as a hide-and-go-seek cave for our kids. So I gathered up every frame we own
repainted them, ripped up a few art books, then laid everything in the entryway for a week and made people step over them
until I settled on an arrangement.