Moab UT

Moab UT

Monday, July 27, 2009

New home

Did I happen to mention that right before we went on vacation be bought a home?  

It's true, we did.  We bought a little fixer upper, right down the street.  For the longest time Fr. and I have wanted to get a little property outside of town to do some homesteading.  So, last year we started the hunt.  We just couldn't find what we were looking for, or to rephrase it, all the stuff we liked was out of our price range.  So, we figured we'd wait awhile and save some more.

Then, one day I was coming home from the grocery store and I noticed this little house for sale down the street.  We live in a college town so many of the homes close to the university are rented.  This house was being rented too, and remains for the moment, to be rented to a gaggle of musicians.  There is no way of knowing how many live there.  When we did the walk through, there were clothes, mattresses and whiskey bottles all over the place.  Nice.

Anyhow, the price was right and now we own a home.

Oh yeah, and I can assure you that the bathrooms have never been cleaned.  Let me just put it this way.  The bathrooms are so nasty that we can't tell if they are a complete gut or not.  There is a pretty good chance that they are.  But, it will take a couple bottles of bleach before we'll be able to know for sure.

Nonetheless, we will have the keys from our renters on September 1st and the work begins.  I know, I know where are the pictures.  I don't have any, if you can believe that.  I will get them soon though.  And don't worry, we'll most definately have before and after pics.  

I love the house.  It's very charming and has loads of potential.  It was built in 1958 and has those charming nuances that old houses often have.  Nonetheless, we have two bathrooms to gut, a kitchen to love on, ceilings to scrape, hardwood floors to sand and stain and lots of paint to slap on-and this is just the inside.  Other than that, it's beautiful.  ;)

Oh yeah, and one really great thing is the cute little cottage tucked in the back yard.  We will be renting it out for a few years before it becomes a guest cottage for you all to come and visit and stay in.  This will help to offset the constant stream of Home Depot visits I see in the near future.  

So, here are ten things I love about my new home:
1)  Two bathrooms.  
2)  Fenced in back yard.
3)  Huge walk in closets everywhere!  In the master bedroom we have two huge walk in closets with two sides to each closet-crazy!  What in the world am I going to put in all those closets?  I've lived without closet space for so long!
4)  A separate office.  This is going to be amazing.  
5)  No more foot traffic in my bedroom.  In our current home our back door goes out our bedroom.  Constant stream of traffic.
6)  Two huge living rooms.  One of these will be our family room/library/homeschool room.  Yippee!
7)  Windows everywhere!
8)  A fireplace!  Fr. Justin and I have always wanted a fireplace!
9)  The price we paid and the generosity of our parish and dear friends.  Thank you Lord!
10)  The fact that the church will now have more room to grow.  We live in the rectory which is above the church.  When we move the church will use the upstairs for coffee hour room and class rooms.  Very exciting!

So, I'm sure you'll be hearing all the joys and sorrows of home ownership over the next couple of months.  Titles to posts such as:  "What did we get ourselves into?"  Perhaps I'll add one of those "Donate here" buttons on the side bar of my blog.  Just kidding.  It can't be that bad can it?  Don't answer that question.  

To start again

We have a nice rainy morning here in Texas that has cooled things down a bit.  The girls and I got up, had breakfast and started cleaning.  Last week was a low key week, with Katya sick and Papa gone, so we are getting things moving today.

Now, about that vacation.  We traveled from Texas, up through Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and then Washington state.  I must say that the journey through southern Wyoming and Idaho was a real bore.  So, we came back through Montana Idaho and Montana, then down through Wyoming on the way home.  This was a much better route and really beautiful, and it only tacked on about 40 extra minutes!  The US. is a beautiful country!

I have so many people who ask how we road trip with three young girls and I must say they do really well.  One key thing is getting up really early if you are trying to make time.  For us, our vacation really starts when we get to Washington.  So, we beeline it from here to there.  That is three long days in the van.  

We pack our suitcases in a carrier on top of the van and then each of us gets a backpack or duffle to carry in for the two nights on the road.  Plus, we all share a toiletry case.  We also eat out of the van as much as possible.  So, say we are on the road by 4:00a.m. (even earlier if you can swing it).  Then we stop for breakfast in a nice rest area around 8 or 9:00.  After that we have to make stops for bathroom every now and again.  At that time Fr. tops off the gas to save time (when your on the road for 15 hours, every minute counts...).

We then stop at around 12 or 1:00 for lunch.  If we are coming upon a town and haven't seen a nice rest stop, then we find the local park in the upcoming town (or town square) and stop for about an hour.  We let the girls play, we eat and then we all take a walk, go to the bathroom and hit the road again.  We've started keeping notes in Fr. Justin's travel log about nice towns to stop in or nice rest areas with play grounds.  

When we get to our destination for the evening, we always get a hotel with a pool.  Don't unload the van yet though!  We have made the mistake of getting the room, unpacking and then trying to get the girls back in the van to go out for dinner and it's not fun.  Just try to get three little kids back in the van after 15 hours on the road.  It's hard to do.  Get the room, go eat (and we eat at a restaurant for dinner) and then come back and unpack and hit the pool.  Our kids pass out pretty darn fast.  

When we throw them in the van the next morning they are still pretty groggy and very quickly fall asleep for a few hours.  

We take lots of fruit and snacks:  nuts, fruit bars, etc.  For breakfast we have boiled eggs, bread, bagels, jelly, cream cheese, fruit, yogurt and sausage.  For lunch we have hummus, tomatoes, carrots, chips, cheese and crackers, p-nut butter and jelly and fruit.  Don't use ice bags for the ice chest.  It will melt and ruin your food.  We use the blue ice blocks that you keep in the freezer.  They will last for two days on the road.  Do take some disposable table clothes so you can eat and then toss the cloth and not have to worry about it.  Do take a few beers so that you and hubby can share a little hops and decompress after being in the van with three chatty chicks.  

For entertainment, we let the girls take a portable DVD player, but I will say that it never gets used that much (their choice).  We take colors, coloring books, paper dolls, books (lots of books), polly pockets, whatever the girls are into at the time, we let them bring-within reason.  We play games, talk, study maps and enjoy one another's company.  We talk about geography and history.  

I'm telling you it's easy.  The girls love road tripping.  They love having picnics on the road.  They love seeing the mountains and wildlife.  Kids are so easy to please and very eager to learn about, well, anything.  

Here are a few pics at rest stops and attractions.  The girls found a bunch of friendly prairie dogs in Wyoming (Thea reported that they "Just love grapes").   We had a rodeo in Montana, with one  cowgirl who insisted on riding her horse backward.   And made our final stop at Snoqualmie Falls for a break in Washington before hopping on the ferry for our final destination of Whidbey Island.  

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just one more week.

Well, I had every intention of blogging about our time in the N.W. and posting a few pics to show you, but it has taken us a few more days to get going in one direction again that I had thought it would.  Katherine came down with a 104 fever on Tuesday night.  I should have known something was happening when she insisted on wearing a coat to the grocery store Tuesday.  

By the time we came home she was on the couch with three blankets piled on top of her and a high fever.  I was afraid it was the flu, because it came on so fast with a high fever.  I immediately started dousing her with vitamin C and Sambucus (Elderberry and Echinacea).  The fever slowly started coming down and is now at 100.  So, I think were getting somewhere.  

Anyhow, we've been resting and slowly cleaning a bit.  Papa returns home from the DOS Assembly in Atlanta tomorrow morning.  

Here is a pic of me and the girls on the beach.  See that little tummy of Thea's sticking out? Honestly, every time I put something one her while we were on vacation, it seemed a little too small! I thought I specifically asked her not to grow any more!  My babies!  My Babies!  Where are my babies!

Hopefully, I'll get to write a bit next week.  A good weekend to you all!

Monday, July 20, 2009

We're home

We are home from a wonderful road trip to the Northwest.   We arrived home late Friday night after having been gone for three weeks.  Saturday we "moved out" of our van back into our home.  We vacuumed the van to remove the millions of pieces of trash, bits of food and crayons; and left the the windows cracked with the hope that the dead fish smell that came home with us in some shells would leave soon.

Sunday, we went to Liturgy (oh how I missed church!!), went to a wedding (I love Orthodox weddings!) and then went to a dinner and talk given by Met. Jonah (BEAUTIFUL talk on monasticism and life in Christ-absolutely beautiful!).  

Needless to say, the girls and I are very tired and a little cranky today.  So, we'll use this rainy Texas Monday to start the process of getting things back to normal.  A few games are in order, as are some good books,  perhaps we'll create a little art and Katherine says she will be writing some letters.  As for me, I'll have some coffee, a little toast and of course a nap.  Maybe we'll bake something later...maybe.    

I thank God for our trip.  For the opportunity to get away with our immediate family and our family in the N.W. and for the wonderful discussions I had with my husband.  And I am so thankful for a place to come home to.  I thank God for my church and can't imagine life without it.  While it's wonderful to get away for a time, it's always to nice to be home.  

A blessed week to you all!