Thursday, February 1, 2018

Update - January 2018

Hello friends!

When I posted back in August that I planned to get back to regular posting, I had every intention of fulfilling that promise! often happens, life got in the way and our lives drastically changed the last 6 months. I will try to summarize!

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in September. While this was a welcome diagnosis because I finally had an answer that went with all my health issues, the knowledge still caused a great deal of anxiety and depression for several months after. Fibro cannot be cured, only managed, and while my health has been up and down since 2010, I always had hoped I would "get better" and resume my activity level of the mid 2000's.  I have come to terms with the diagnosis now, six months later, and have found ways to manage it without too much medication.

I celebrated my 41st birthday in beautiful Vermont in October.  It's odd that I'm 41...I remember my mom being 41.
I sometime forget I'm not in my 30's anymore but then I am reminded I have daughters in their early and mid 20's and a granddaughter who is 2! Aging hasn't bothered me like I thought it would and I'm thankful to be comfortable with who I am, my body, and the life I have.

Towards the end of October we received a call from Nakoma saying she and Phoebe had decided to move out to Virginia. Being a single mom is difficult, and she really missed the support of having her family close by. For the time being she and Phoebe are living with us while she builds her savings.  We are grateful to have the opportunity to help in raising Phoebe and being a part of their daily lives.  I watch Phoebe while Nakoma works full-time.

We went out to Phoenix again for Thanksgiving this year and I saw all my children in one place for less than 24 hours.  I enjoyed every minute of it, and look forward to spending time with each of them individually throughout the year.
From L-R, Oksana (her husband Derek had to work), Naomi, Nick (Naomi's husband), Remington, Nakoma

With Nakoma and Phoebe moving in with us, it became apparent that our little farm house was too small for a family of 5 for more than a few weeks. We considered moving to a larger rental house, but around the same time, Chad got a promotion at work, so we decided to put down some roots and buy a home. Before we did that we enjoyed one more lovely fall on our little acreage. I will miss our quiet country life!

I honestly didn't know if we'd ever buy a house again. Since we have owned two homes in the past, we knew the perks of renting and not having to worry about upkeep like replacing a stove or air conditioner when the old ones quit. However, because we live in a college town, rent is expensive for larger homes, especially in the area we wanted to live. So we decided to take a peek at what was for sale and enlisted the help of our good friend who is a realtor. Three days later I walked through a multi-level house in a neighborhood close by our little farmhouse and walked out the dining room to this view.

I was sold.  Add to that a separate apartment in the lowest level that would be ideal for Nakoma and Phoebe now, and Airbnb later, and more than one bathroom, it seemed perfect for our family during this time in our lives. We made an offer and it was accepted and we closed in December.  The house was quite dated so we spent the entire holiday season painting.  We also enlisted the help of my brother and sister-in-law to knock out a wall, install new flooring in two rooms and an island in the kitchen. Chad and I (well...mostly Chad) painted 7 rooms and the kitchen cabinets. Below are some before and after pictures of the spaces.

Before and after the wall removal, flooring, and paint in the kitchen and dining room.

I love this space now!

I love the light and views in this room.  We have no neighbors behind us and to the right they are many trees that separate us.

We painted the paneling in the family room. Still debating on whether we should paint the stone fireplace, and we still need to paint the trim, windows, and doors, and replace the carpet.

We also painted the hall, the entryway, the room we'll use as a library, and our bedroom. We have lived here a bit over a month now and are finally feeling settled, although there is still some painting to do and art to hang. As I said, I miss our quiet country life, but am working on being content where I am at this time in my life and trying to focus on what I love about our new home.

One thing that helps me refocus and find contentment is taking inventory of what I have, decluttering what I don't love or use, and budgeting and planning for the future. Hopefully I can get back to regular blogging with the focus being those things.

To my friends who have followed my journey the last 4 years of living my little country life, thank you. I love going back and looking through my posts and sharing my story.  Let's hope I can continue with the little brick house in the woods. :-) really isn't a "little" brick house in the woods. But "great big brick house in the woods" doesn't have the same ring to it! While the house is twice as big as our farmhouse, at 2600 square feet, including the basement apartment, it really isn't quite as massive as it feels to us.

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