Monday, April 26, 2010

Well, Hello Stranger

It’s been almost 3 years since we started “our” blog, and so far it’s Cam: 278 Tim: 0.  Since I check about 12 blogs on a daily basis, I thought it was time for me to jump in and contribute something back to the blogging world.  Hopefully, my blogging will be as successful and regular over the next years as my avoidance has been during years past.

So, I’ve been doing a lot of random little Do-It-Yourself type projects around the house and thought I’d share one of the more amusing things I discovered just today as I was investigating an issue with our dryer.

For the last couple of weeks, Cam has noticed that every time she does laundry the basement windows fog up pretty badly.  Being that in our apartment when laundry was drying, the apartment would feel slightly humid and we’d get the occasional fogged window, we thought that, being shut up tightly, the basement didn’t have enough ventilation and we should open a window, or install a vent fan of some sort: just another minor item on my currently-very-large to-do list.

Tonight, after the second load of laundry, and after I had finished starting another project (what started out as pulling away a peeling paint chip quickly became scraping the paint from essentially the entire bathroom ceiling, but I digress…), we noticed that there was literally standing water gathering between the tiles in the laundry room floor.  Thinking that perhaps we not only had extreme humidity, but also possibly a leak of some sort, I set out to investigate, and it quickly became clear what the problem was.

As it turns out, whoever installed the dryer didn’t seem to understand that installation took just a tiny bit more than plugging the thing in:

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Notice the vent to the outside coming out of the wall, and the corresponding vent out of the dryer…

Fortunately, it should be super easy to fix and I don’t have to install another vent fan in the basement.  It’s pretty nice when the fix is so obvious!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Seasons

I know it’s a cliche, but it’s too true not to talk about life in terms of seasons. Our upcoming move on Saturday is making me think more and more about how we have come from a season of anticipation into a season of arrival. Not arrival in a complete sense, but in the sense that, as new homeowners (we closed today! The keys are ours!), we have approached a measure of finality. We have a permanent home; no more moving every 12 months. Changes we make to our living space will stay. We are going to plant things in the ground and plant our roots in Kirkland.

When we moved into this current apartment, it was a season of anticipation. We moved because Linnea was on her way and we needed more space. We were preparing for our baby and parenthood: setting up the crib; getting blankets and burp cloths; taking childbirth classes; and trying to figure out how to just do it all as Mom and Dad.

It is good to know, as I pack the last of the boxes this week, that this is the last time I’ll be doing it for a long time. When I think about our home it really is our home, and not just a living space. We can make plans for the future, paint our walls, and enjoy our deck for more than just one summer. We can repurpose rooms as, God willing, more kids come along, and have traditions like setting up the Christmas tree by the front windows every year (or wherever we put it! Yes, I have thought of this already, and yes, I already have a plan).

But that said, seasons as parents are always changing. Linnea is always changing from napping in the car seat or stroller or crib to not napping at all; from sleeping through the night to waking up multiple times; teething to a period of rest; and growing and developing in lots of fun new ways. Before she was here I pictured motherhood as a kind of “up and up” experience—meaning once I got the hold of something that part was learned and done, and sure, there would be new challenges, but I would always know what I was doing based on past experience. Wrong. What works today may not work three weeks from now. And while that has been hard, I know that is just how it’s going to be now. And it is fun. She may be waking up more these days (although that’s actually been less, recently), but: She has teeth! She’s showing signs of learning to crawl! She makes all sorts of babbling sounds that are getting more and more complex! It’s all fun even though I keep having to relearn how to get her to nap or do different things. I would love more sleep and more exercise, but it’s amazing to watch this little person grow.

Tim and I are also in a new season of marriage: learning to interact with each other with a third person in the mix. It has been challenging for sure, but also a teamwork experience that has been really gratifying in many ways. I wrote a post long ago when I was stressed about “our way” of doing things and what that would be – specifically about whether to do cloth diapers, which we never have, haha – and though I wouldn’t say we have a cut and dried “way” of parenting, we have our way of doing things: getting her and ourselves ready for church, for instance, or our bedtime routine. All of that has just evolved based on what works at the time and what we’ve happened to try. And I know much of that is likely to change as well, but I feel like Tim and I really are working well together as parents to take care of our little girl.

A few weeks ago, when my mom was here, we had our first date since she was born. That was lots of fun. And we hope to go on many more in the future. It sure felt weird walking out to the car by ourselves—no diaper bag or stroller in sight, and no little person smiling and babbling up at us—but after a little while it felt familiar and fun. I’m thankful we got a taste of that old life and I know I’ll need grace to release Linnea into the care of others more regularly so Tim and I can care for our marriage.

I am thankful for the season we are in now. Linnea is in her 7th month, we are moving into a house (with its own season of fixing-up, decorating, and improving), Tim’s job is going well, and we’re looking forward to some fun events this summer. God has blessed us and we are thankful.

Easter

DSC_0315 We didn’t get to celebrate super well – mostly just packed all day after church – but here are some pics of Linnea in a cute little dress we borrowed from our friends the Claytons, who have continued to furnish us with fun baby clothes!

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

House

Looks like my blogging comes in spurts.

But since we close on Friday, I guess I’d better mention that we BOUGHT A HOUSE!

I was reticent to say much before now because it is a foreclosure, so all along the way there was always the chance that it might not work out. But, with just 3 days to go I think it is safe to finally share this big news!

**I wrote this a few days ago, and now it’s looking like closing  might be Monday.**

It hasn’t been that long in the making. We chose a real estate agent and started looking at houses in early February. (Side note: We had spent A LOT of time on Redfin and other sites in the months before that…probably ever since we moved to Kirkland. We decided to act now for a variety of reasons: our lease is up at the end of March; the new homebuyer tax credit is supposed to expire next month; and with an inheritance from my dad’s parents and the money we saved up for a car—kind of glad now we didn’t buy a new Toyota!—the time seemed right. We are outgrowing this apartment, wonderful as it has been, with all Lin-Bug’s stuff, and we plan to stay in the Northwest for the foreseeable future. We love love LOVE Kirkland and wanted to see if we could make it a permanent home. So…)

We put an offer in on February 15, having actually spent only 1 weekend touring homes. Sounds crazy, but the amount of time this has taken to come through, being a bank-owned property, has ensured we are going into things with eyes wide open and many possibilities accounted for.

Prior to seeing anything we did make a wants & needs list (I love my lists!) and top priorities were staying in downtown Kirkland within our budget, and having a place with square footage we could grow into. We wanted to buy something that would have as much walkability as possible in this neighborhood we’ve come to love, and also fit our family’s needs for at least 5 years, and hopefully 10.

There were a lot of other things we wanted, but those were the main criteria. I was hoping for a two-storey house with bedrooms upstairs to minimize living noise after Linnea’s bedtime; a great kitchen for entertaining; yard; porch; view; at least 3 bedrooms.

The house is situated just a couple of blocks from the heart of downtown and is really everything we could have hoped for. It’s a 1923 Craftsman style (but bare-bones basic; no cute details, unfortunately) on a fallaway lot with a completely finished basement, a front porch, a deck, and a side yard. It has three bedrooms upstairs, one downstairs, and three bathrooms. There is space for my grandmother’s piano in the front living room by the window seat, and space for our couch and chairs by the fireplace in the same room. The kitchen is a pass-through to the family room in the back, which leads out to the deck. We have lots of storage, and I can have an office again, plus a guest room (which will eventually turn into a kids’ room as God blesses us with more of those).

I am so excited for this house! It will allow us to raise several kids and entertain the way we want to, both indoors and out. Eventually we hope to host a community group; lots of space for people to hang out and kids to play downstairs! We’ll even get to get the erg out of the living room. :)

I hope my elation doesn’t come across as bragging about our space or amenities (and trust me, amenities there aren’t, except for the actual square footage: we have in mind A LOT of cosmetic work to be done over the next several years, including a pretty major kitchen remodel down the line)—rather, I am just super excited about the opportunity God’s given us in this new home. We never thought we’d find a place like this in Kirkland, and God has been in the process 100%. There have been several snags along the way but He has continued to work everything out for us. The fact that we have been working with a bank all this time has made it that much more difficult than a traditional sale, but once again we have had some great advocates in our Realtor and loan officer, who have really helped make this happen.

We are grateful for our blessings and look forward to sharing many happy memories with our family and friends in our new home!

So come on out and visit! This time we can put you up for real—maybe not in style, but at least somewhere other than the middle of our living room!