Monday, June 20, 2011

Quick Check-In

Life has been crazy the past two weeks. Packing, moving, packing some more, cleaning, etc. Our last day in the old apartment is coming up fast and with Birch needing to work every week day, things are slow-moving. But we'll get it done. We have to and though that thought stressing me out like no other at times, it is also comforting just knowing that all this craziness has an end-point. We've had some amazing help and support from close friends and family, without which I don't think we could have done it, not without several panic attacks from me, anyway. Poor Birch. The man is stressed out, too, but he has this amazing ability to just get it done while comforting me when I'm just too tired to move. I've bad-mouthed his constant need to be doing something before, but it's times like this when I realize what an extraordinary blessing it is to have someone like that in your life. The man will just work for hours on end late into the night, then get up early, go to work, come home and give me a short break from Keats, then start packing, moving, and cleaning all over again. It's pretty astounding to watch.

At this point, we just want to be in our new home, enjoying the fresh air, the new space and places, and setting up all our little knick-knacks. It'll be a slow process though, so we'll just have to take deep breaths and wait until we're getting regular paychecks again in the fall. It's all worth it, though. All this stress and craziness, it's worth it for what we're getting. We feel very lucky to have been given the chance to encounter our dream so early on in our marriage. I'm looking forward to slow days outside, taking out the thistle and grass in the yard and replacing it with fall crops, and splashing about with Keats in the kiddie pool. Oh, Summer, you've finally arrived and I can't wait to spend quality time with you outside at the farm.

Until then, there are many things to be done: painting the walls back to white, switching our phone line, taking ourselves off PG&E's radar for a while, moving the rest of our stuff to the new place, and trying to find a way to thank our wonderful friends and family for all they've helped us to do the past few weeks. That last one will be the hardest.

Once we move, we may be out of contact for a while as we wait for our phone and internet to be set up, but we'll check back in when we can and let you know how we're doing. All our love and enjoy this late-coming but beautiful summer weather. Ah, sunshine, you've been missed!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bellybutton or...

Our little girl at 20 weeks.
Baby #2! That's right! Birch and I have been quite a bit more secretive this time around, not quite sure why, but I am twenty weeks along with baby #2 and we couldn't be more excited! This pregnancy has been, dare I say it, heavenly? It indeed has been with only three days total of morning sickness and just a general more-than-usual tired feeling. Compared to last time, it is glorious. My hips have just started giving me trouble, so I'll need to kick up the exercise and stretching (as in, you know, do it), but other than that I'm feeling grand. In fact, I actually have to keep reminding myself that I'm pregnant and put time aside to reflect and plan for this little bundle. To help me take time for this baby/pregnancy, I've started a journal detailing my thoughts and what we've been up to.

So far, everything looks and sounds normal and healthy. We went in for the big ultrasound yesterday where we saw all the little inner workings and found out the sex: it's a GIRL! We are so excited! Both Birch and I were hoping for a little girl this time. I have to admit, I've actually snagged up a few too-cute-to-resist girl things already. Since finding out I was pregnant, I couldn't get rid of the feeling that our newest little one was a girl. All the names we came up with seemed to be for girls and I just felt like it was a girl, much like how I felt Keats was a boy.

Speaking of Keats, he has taken to hugging my belly. Although we like to believe he just knows that he's got a little sibling in there, it's really that he's become absolutely obsessed with bellybuttons, asking to see ours, his, and on special occasions giving mine, and only mine, raspberries. It's pretty funny and mostly adorable, I just hope he doesn't surprise someone else with a big, wet raspberry. That could be embarrassing. Taking advantage of his bellybutton love, we've started calling mine Baby #2 as well as plain ol' belly button. Maybe he'll eventually figure it out as he gets a little older, who knows. It's worth a shot, right?

Without knowing why, we're keeping this pregnancy a bit more private, not that I won't be sharing things here on the blog, but we'll be keeping our name choices to ourselves and you won't find me complaining about every symptom on Facebook. Sorry about that last time, by the way. Ah, hormones. We haven't announced it generally among friends (this is it, by the way), so don't feel slighted if we didn't tell you. We've pretty much only told the people that we see on a regular basis as their the ones that actually see my belly getting larger. Again, I'm not sure why we're being so private about it this time. Did anyone else go through this with their pregnancy? Am I crazy? Wait, don't answer that last question. I remember feeling very private at the end of my pregnancy with Keats. I guess it just came really early this time around. Having so much of my energy and mental world devoted to Keats must have something to do with it. The pregnancy even feels like it's being kept secret from me sometimes since I'm not experiencing many of the tell-tale pregnancy symptoms (again, thank heavens)! If you felt this way while you were pregnant, what did you do to help get to know your child?

If you have any baby name ideas, send 'em on over!

We love you all very much and can't wait to introduce you to yet another member of our family! Haha, wow. Another little one. How fun!

Friday, June 3, 2011

A New Place Means New Hope in Design

As Birch and I prepare to move to the coast and into a smaller place, I can't help but dream of finally bringing all this years' addictive blog-reading, online window shopping and failed decorating to good use in a brand new, clutter-free space.

I signed up for an e-course, Style Your Space by Smile and Wave's Rachel Denbow, a while ago and it (combined with the prospect of moving) has given me the impetus to just go for it and get rid of everything I've been on the fence about keeping. You know, the conveniently free but inconveniently sized/shaped piece of furniture that you put up with because, well, it was free? Birch and I have accumulated many of these and with the chance to start over again, I can't resist doing just that: starting over.

The course has been really helpful and I definitely plan on taking more e-courses in the future. It's such an easy way to learn about something you're specifically interested in while keeping your life as stress-free as possible as you can keep up with the course at your own pace! Perfect. Oh, and it's a fraction of the price of a university course. Huzzah!

So, now we've figured out what kind of furniture we really need and I've figured out what aesthetic I'd truly love filling my home. The new place will be filled with light, color, and open space. Oh, and books will be sorted by color a la this bookshelf seen on Aesthetic Outburst (via Jenny Mitchell via desire to inspire via design*sponge).

With all the beautiful homes I have cataloged away, I have a good idea of what I want, where to get it, how much I'm willing to spend on what, and what can stand to be bought for less now and then replaced when we're a bit better off/have more tucked away in that savings jar.

Adding punches of color is always fun.
Vintage tomato red ceramic table lamp from High Street Market.
Reclaimed Cedar Skinny Wall Table by True Connection.
This gorgeous bedspread and rug are the perfect combination from Anthropologie.
"The Bird Collection" print by Abbey Hendrickson of Aesthetic Outburst.
A smidgen of science with a framed Charaxes Eupale from Real Butterfly Gifts.
And with a few pieces left "blank" for contrast or future DIY spicing up, the colors pop even more and the beautiful, natural light of the room shines throughout open space, giving the impression of a larger space even when the room is really quite small. So, I'll snatch up some spot cleaner and make up some new rules which I'll probably never follow and hope for the best!
The simple Klobo loveseat from IKEA.
The Rivulets standard-size shams by Anthropologie may be a bit much for Birch, but we'll see.
With vases filled with wildflowers, artwork/photos and knick knacks hung on the walls, books and toys displayed in an accessible yet fun manner, a daily sweeping of hardwood floors, and a new sense of how to keep it all organized and livable, our home will be our home and on those days when we're forced by the weather to stay indoors and race cars across the living room floor, we'll love it. Coming in from the glorious farm outside won't be so painful as we plop down on a cozy rug and watch Angus Lost. Coming home from the awe-inspiring Pacific Ocean will introduce us to the wonder that is shaking off the sand on the deck, stripping down as much as possible, laughing all the while as we run to the bathroom to take a quick shower then snuggle up on the couch to look at all the photos we took that lovely day. We'll chop up carrot greens in the kitchen to feed Harlequin the rabbit, slide on our boots to visit the cows and pigs, grab Olive's leash from her special hook and venture out. Out from the place we've made for ourselves that not only reflects who we are and what we love but invites others inside, invites others to know who we are, invites others to keep hoping for themselves. Birch will come home each day from work and his long commute and smile as he's greeted by a happy family and a beautiful home situated right in the middle of the perfect spot: our dream come true!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tinker Bell Was Here

Have you ever felt like someone just hopped over and sprinkled your life with fairy dust? That's how we're feeling over here at the current Fox nest. Yep. Current. We're moving! During that whole rat fiasco across the way, our neighbor mentioned to us that they'd heard of a cottage for rent in one of our favorite coastal towns and to top it all off, it's on a farm! We immediately set to work. We had to get this place. We could feel it within us: this place is supposed to be our home. But how could we go about making this happen? Birch would have a longer commute to work, we didn't have any money saved up for a deposit (not that much, anyway), and our lease wasn't up for another month. After a stressful, back-and-forth week with our landlord, we gave our notice. Whirlwind of decision-making over, we had made our choice: farm, please! Thanks to the never-ending generosity of our family and friends, we made it official, drew up a new budget plan for the summer, and told those wonderful people renting out a cottage on their land that we would love to be their newest tenants. Thankfully, all was agreed upon. Our official move-in date is June 15th, but we can start moving our stuff in anytime. Have you ever heard of a landlord being so generous? My goodness. I'm going to like this place... Correction: I'm going to adore this place.

This place is incredible. Our one-bedroom cottage sits within a very large yard within a small, family-owned farm two miles from the Pacific Ocean. Right now, we will be straight-up renting the cottage, not working the farm in exchange for room and board. We would like to get involved with the farming somehow, but we'll wait until the Australian owners are more comfortable with us and get to know us better. There is a large willow tree orchard for making willow branch furniture, fences, and art installations, a stable with about fifteen boarded horses (who are usually in the surrounding pastures), a herd of sheep, two breeding sows, a jersey cow and her two calves, chickens with fresh eggs everyday, a parrot with an Australian accent, parakeets, a rabbit, a few peacocks wandering about, and several sheep dogs. It's a magical place.

I can't wait to take Keats for walks around the farm, showing him all the animals and hearing him make all the noises. I can't wait to be away from concrete sidewalks, garbage trucks, leaf blowers, and cars speeding down our street. I can't wait to hear cows mooing, tractors, horses, and the strange call of the peacocks. I can't wait to use our very own washer and dryer inside of our cottage, no quarters required. I can't wait to have birthday parties on the farm and at the beach. I can't wait to see Olive galloping about our yard, care-free and finally coming out of her nervous shell (she is not a fan of the constant suburban commotion). I can't wait to go to the beach several times a week, make sand castles, set up an umbrella, and watch Keats' amazement at all the new things to discover there. I can't wait to see Birch as he comes home refreshed from a beautiful drive through the woods after a long day at work and to see his joy at coming home to his dream: a farm! I can't wait to plant a row of fruit trees and a row of berries. I can't wait to start living more like my idol, darling Sara from Farmama. I can't wait to play in the kiddie pool and run around the yard after Keats laughing. I can't wait to have hardwood floors. I can't wait for Birch's allergies to subside with the fresh, ocean air and without the constant bombardment of leaf blowers blowing pollen and cut grass straight into our apartment. I can't wait to have a clean slate: a clean, open cottage ready to be decorated and made into a home. Our home.

I'll miss being so close to my parents and having my mother-in-law come over so often to babysit. I'll miss impromptu play dates with Leslie and Tyler who are only a few blocks away. I'll miss going out for ramen and having that occasional pizza delivered. I'll miss the ease of getting the mail.

But mostly, I just can't wait!

(Pictures next post, I promise!)