Friday, August 14, 2015

The Lion House

We got the house we wanted.  Yes, on Avram's birthday (yesterday) we found out we got the house, and then our day became a flurry of deposits and contracts, keys and paperwork.  But we have it now, which is super exciting to me. Now we can finally move, and unpack, and settle down. All except one small detail - Avram got sick yesterday, and now is lying in bed. moving today. Compared to not having a home to move into at all, a state of life we were in two days ago, I really don't mind this small hiccup. We are planning now to move tomorrow, and in the grand scheme of things one day's difference is not important.

Why are we moving so fast, you might be wondering?  Well, impatience on my part plays some role. Now that we have keys to our new home how could I not want to move as soon as possible? Plus, with rooms as exciting as our dining room, which also doubles as a storage room and, most exciting of all, Athena's bedroom, we are more than ready to stretch out a little.

Would you believe that our family actually eats meals in here? Yeah, I don't quite believe it either.  

What a pretty nursery - I should pin it to Pinterest. (Yes, this is the other half of the room that we eat in).

Living room of our cave basement home. I want to be clear thought, that as much as I am looking forward to windows, that I am grateful we have been able to stay here while looking for a long term home.

 Here are some pictures of the house we will be moving to. This isn't a complete tour - apparently I forgot to take pictures of two of the three bedrooms (and I went in for the sole purpose of taking pictures of the house.....)
This is a home very close to BYU campus, and so there are many students living around here (it is surrounded by apartment buildings). As with many old, large houses in Provo, it has been divided into apartments. The main floor is our apartment, so it just feels like a one story house.

This is half of our front porch. Our house is called the Lion House, from the Lion statue. I love big front porches!

This is half of the living room, and a glimpse into the entryway. Note the moldings, and built in bookshelves and window frames.
I love the large south facing windows.

This is the one bedroom I captured - this will be Elisheva, Guinever and Enoch's room.  Elisheva is ecstatic about the built in vanity and dresser.

We are thinking of either eating in the kitchen (moving this table out and ours in, of course), or putting the table in the living room, since it is large enough to handle that.

This is the old butler's pantry, which will probably become Homeschool storage on the bottom  and bookshelves on top.

There is also a backyard, which helps increase the sanity just a bit for the whole family. I think this our new Lion House will be just the place for our family to settle down for a while, and stretch out our wings while we prepare for the next stage of our lives.  I know that when I am surrounded by natural light and beauty that I feel better about my home, my life, and I have more energy and interest in making a life I love. I used to feel almost bad that I was so affected by my physical environment, but I have realized that as a stay at home mom I spend almost all of my life in my home. And while I don't think everyone cares, for me being in a dark home or one without any personality makes me feel dull as a person.  I have a hard time being motivated to clean it (because a clean, dark and soulless home is still depressing), I have no excitement to do house projects, and I feel disconnected from nature, which in turn makes me feel disconnected with life.  Having a home that I love makes it easier to do the things I need to do as a mother and homemaker, and facilitates a happier home for everyone. 

When we started looking for long term housing in Provo, we soon realized that we could not get everything on our list (close to campus, light-filled, personality/architectural details, backyard, three bedrooms, cheap).  For a while I entertained ideas like trying to make it work in a basement apartment, or just being okay with an apartment. Plenty of people over the whole world have to just make it work in whatever housing they can have. I know it is even a measure of the first world life I have that I can even have these kinds of criteria.  If all we could have afforded was a small basement apartment, then I would have learned to be grateful that we could even have a house at all.  What became difficult to me was that we actually could afford a nicer home, but it was a choice that we had to make in balancing our priorities.  We have been grad students for so long that I have been used to just doing the bare minimum, because that was our only option. Now we could have chosen to continue that (and there is nothing wrong with living in a small, basement apartment, if that's what you don't mind doing), or we could choose to prioritize natural light and location and architectural details that make my heart sing.  I am always talking about how experiences are more important than things, but it has taken (and will continue to be a work in progress, I am sure) me a long time to actually enact this philosophy. It is easy to think of experiences as being exciting vacations, or concerts, or some other red letter occasion. As a stay at home mom, my house comprises the majority of my daily "experience," although it is is experience made up of small moments, like pearls along a string, each moment gathering together to create an overall effect like a majestic pearl necklace.

So much of how we see our life is self created, self imagined from the events or facts that individually make up our life.  I could often take one sample day, and depending on how it was described either have it sound like my creative kids spent the day with screen free imaginative free range play (which they often do), or I could say that my kids made a huge mess all over the house (which they often, at the same time, usually do). It is all how we see it, and having a home I love helps me see the former and not the latter. Experience matters, and I am finally coming to peace with the fact that this makes it okay that I want to feel that I am surrounded by beauty.

 I am grateful that we were able to find an old house with character, natural light and that is so close to campus, the library and a park. And although we finally decided in this case that we cared more about location and light than staying in a lower budget, we actually found this house right in range with what we were hoping to pay. Avram's top want was that it was within walking distance to campus. He remarked that this will be the closest that he has ever lived to campus, including when he was an undergraduate here.  I spent a lot of time despairing that we would ever find a home that covered the major items of importance to us, but not giving in to just signing a contract with the easiest to find apartments out there has truly paid off.  Now I just need to remember this for when we go house hunting in a year or two, and the the despair/hope roller coaster starts again, only with much larger stakes. I know Avram is already dreading living with me then, but hey, if being picky about buying a house pays off with the kind of home that being picky about renting a home did (which took a lot longer because we weren't willing to pursue just anything), then I will not mind at all the extra hours of anguish.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

In the Middle

Everything is in the middle right now. We have an application in on an apartment (actually, the main floor of a house that has been divided into apartments), Avram just sent off his first set of applications of the academic season, and the first one happened to be for our most coveted positions at BYU.  We are living in a two bedroom basement apartment right now, with our boxes piled up high around us. We have never really unpacked, because we have always known that we were going to be immediately looking for somewhere else to live.  I'm trying to be patient. I know that this stage too will end.  If we do get this house then we are planning on moving in just two days (since it will be available tomorrow), and since there really isn't a whole lot to pack up. It could be so soon where we would be out of this purgatory, and although not permanently settled for the rest of our life, at least settled for this year. could be a lot longer, just depending on what houses are available.  I am not good at patience and waiting. I think God knows this, and is trying to help me be more patient. I am not sure I appreciate His efforts, but maybe I will once I can look back and remember that nice, short time when we didn't know anything about anything that was happening in our life.

For now I just feel like every day is another one being dragged over the heaping coals of impermanence.