Friday, March 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 37) - We Bought a House! and Lent

We officially own a house now!  We closed on it Tuesday.

It is exciting....I guess.  But mostly just relieving, now that the process is finally over.  I don't think it's fully set in yet that we are homeowners.  I haven't even been into the house since we've owned in.  And at this point, I'm mostly thinking about all the little things I want to add/change in it before our planned moving date in mid-April, and feeling like it will never get done.

I don't have any pictures to share yet, but I'll be spending some time at the house on Saturday, cleaning and getting things I'll try to take some then.

I'm pretty happy with the place, overall.  It has four bedrooms, but kind of five (there are two rooms on the third floor, but one is unheated so can't legally be considered a bedroom.  If we want to add baseboard heat in the future, though, it could be perfectly useable) - so there's some room to grow.  It's an arts and crafts style house (sometimes known as craftsman), which means it has lots of wooden beams, a (working!) fireplace, built-in bookshelves, stained glass, etc.  It has a spacious front porch with room for a porch swing (which I already told Tom I want as my only birthday gift this summer), a small back deck, and a small - but existant!!! - backyard.  It will be SO nice to finally have an "outdoors" where I can send the kids to play, set up a little baby pool, plant a few flowers, etc.

The major issues are the small kitchen, and the lack of good lighting throughout.  I have some plans to add a bit more in the way of cabinets/counter space in the kitchen, and am hoping Tom keeps up his end of our deal by installing some more light fixtures for me.

When the inspector was going through the house with us, he kept saying that it was in really great shape, and was one of the best-taken-care-of old houses he's ever seen.  He also told us that to build the same house today, with the same quality of materials would cost almost eight times more than we paid for it (I'm sure this is true of a lot of old houses, but it made us feel like we were getting a really good deal)!

The woman who owned the house before us was unable to get all her stuff moved out in time (not really her fault - she had some tough circumstances that made it difficult).  She took everything she needed, and told us that we are free to do as we please with everything that remains.  We did account for it during our closing negotiations, and she ended up giving us some extra money to use towards having someone haul it out, clean the place, etc.  But I think Tom and I will be able to get most of her stuff moved out and donated by ourselves, and thus save most of that money.  And then we will be able to afford to have some professional cleaners come in to steam the carpets, maybe wax the wood floors...or whatever else we want done.  I'm looking forward to moving into a freshly-scrubbed place!

Also, she definitely left behind a number of things that we will end up keeping: weed-whacker, hedge trimmers, new iron and ironing board, fans, etc.....So it's hard to mind too much about the extra hassle it will cause.

We attended a little Mardi Gras party for kids at our church Tuesday morning.  It was just me and three homeschooling moms (which means, though, that there were a LOT of kids.  We had by far the smallest family).  The other women were all a little older than me and have kids who are older as well...but it was good to get to know them all a bit more, and learn from them.

Funnily enough, Sly actually remembered the Mardi Gras masks we had last year (he was only two years old then! - I'm constantly amazed at his memory), and asked me if he could wear one to the party.  I dug them out of the basement for him, and he picked one out.  He seems to have gotten the concept of "mask" indelibly linked with Halloween, though, because he made it clear that he hoped to "scare all the other kids" in his mask.  He spent a lot of the party chasing them around trying to do just that :-)

We ate pancakes and other breakfast fare, listened to a talk (and, randomly, the singing of some Irish songs) by our priest, and the kids made a Jonah and the Whale craft and participated in a felt-board story about Jonah.  Until about a week ago - I am ashamed to admit - I never even knew that story.  But its themes of sin, penance, and rebirth are so perfect for Lent.  I will want to re-visit this story with the kids.

The whale has a party blower as a "tongue" and can spew out the tiny Jonah. see instructions

Ash Wednesday was a really rough day for me.  It always is.  Fasting always makes me very grumpy.  This year, I wasn't even fasting, though, since I'm pregnant.  I just didn't let myself eat any meat or "junk food" all day.  Unfortunately for me, there was a package of cupcakes I had bought for us to eat on Mardi Gras.  But when we got home really late - and really full from a late dinner - on Tuesday night, we all just went right to bed.  So the cupcakes were still sitting there on Ash Wednesday, just taunting me.  I could not stop thinking about them.

I think I was also in a bad mood because my whole family was going out to dinner to celebrate my brother's birthday, and we couldn't join them.  Tom and I never go out to dinner - seriously, never - because we just can't afford to.  So when someone invites us out, it's a major treat for us.  I really wanted to go, but Tom thought we should go to Mass instead (I know - Ash Wednesday is not a day of obligation, but it's still good to go).  I had mentioned that maybe the kids and I could hit up an earlier Mass and then still be able to go out with my family, while he attended the evening Mass alone....but Tom gave me a hard time about it, saying, "it's just going out to eat!  I think it's more important to go to Mass as a family."  Ugh.  So I felt all guilty and irritated about that.

And Sly was just being really tough to deal with all day.  He was being disobedient, and much too rough with Stella.  I was already in a bad mood, so I ended up yelling at him much more than I wanted to.  After Mass that evening, when Tom took him up to the altar rail to pray, Sly apparently told him that he wanted to ask Jesus "for Mommy not to yell at me."  Oh man.  That made me feel really bad.

And then after the kids went to bed, Tom and I got into a big huge fight over nothing.  I was cranky, which made him cranky, which made me even more cranky, know how it goes.

Anyways, I know it was all just Satan's way of trying to keep me from having a productive Lent.  I may have given into the temptation to get irritated and focus way too much on my own comfort that day, but I am newly resolved to begin again and keep chugging along towards Easter!


A friend lent me her copy of Pippa Middleton's book, Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends.  It's a big coffee-table-sized book with ideas for celebrating all sorts of holidays and other traditional feasts and gatherings.  She shares some really nice ideas for decorations, food, games, etc.  I really appreciate that most of the ideas seem pretty easy to replicate - even if you're not Martha Stewart.  It's written with a British audience in mind, but I'm pretty sure this version has been "Americanized" in terms of the recipe quantities, etc.    The price is a little high, though, so you might want to keep an eye out for it at your local library.

Alright, I'm just gonna pull a lame move, and sign out here.  I've already said a lot in this post, and my mind is drawing a blank for #7.  And I just heard Tom come home with a load of boxes, and I know he's expecting my help to start packing.  Until next time!

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary


  1. Congratulations on the new house! I can't wait to see pictures of it. It sounds like a great place. I'm right there with you on being a cranky pregnant mommy. My older kids are so upset with me for giving up juice with my breakfast for Lent. (It's the equivalent of a morning coffee for me and everyone in the house knows not to bother Mommy until she's had her juice.)

  2. so, um, these homeschooling moms at your church -- do they have little boys around my boys ages?! :)

  3. Congratulations on your new house!

  4. Your house sounds so beautiful! What an awesome find - I hope you get your porch swing :)

  5. Congratulations on your house! I'm a huge fan of Craftsman/Arts and Crafts style homes. There are a few message boards and websites devoted to restoration of these homes, which I've taken to bookmarking in the hopes of finding one when we move in a few years. :)

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