a place to call home.

it's been a whirlwind ten days or so.

i've blogged about home before.  where that is.  what that means to us.  since we bought our house in the highlands neighborhood of denver in early 2010, that has been home.  we lived in our house, loving it and caring for it with everything we had.  we made improvements slowly but surely, never taking on more than one project at a time and really living with the spaces before transforming them at all.  it felt like an honor.  the house was built in 1905, and we felt like we were trusted to care for it by all those who had lived there before.

when a new career opportunity for philip presented itself in boston, i happily agreed to go.  as long as we don't sell the house, i said.  so it was my job to find tenants and deal with them, which i did happily [mostly], knowing i could keep the house.  the whole time we lived in boston it felt temporary.  we had family close and i made fantastic friends, but i knew my home was waiting for me, with other people living in it.

it was the sweetest of homecomings to come back to this house with julian.  to set up the room we always knew would be a nursery someday, to rock him to sleep and lie him in his bed, in his room, that he would grew up in.

and if there were two things i thought that we would never, ever, EVER be doing this year, it would be: having another baby and moving.

but that's where we find ourselves.  moving.  to a new house.

it all started innocently enough.  we had a laundry list of 'someday' projects we thought we'd get done before another little one in diapers came waddling into our lives, but that's not quite how it happened.  so we picked a few important projects to fast track: remodeling the kitchen and building a garage with a mother-in-law apartment to replace the room we'd be losing to the new baby.  i called a contractor to come measure the kitchen and that afternoon was looking into zoning for a garage.  and though i will spare you the details of arguing with the city of denver, i will tell you that we could not build the garage we wanted without an unbelievable hassle [not to mention an unbelievable amount of money before even starting on the garage itself].  and so.  i started thinking.  what if we didn't have so many projects?  what if we lived in a house that was already the way we needed it to be come january 15th?  the little voice in the back of my head grew louder, as all little voices do until they are finally heard and acknowledged.

so we talked it over, husband + wife, and thought that maybe we could set up a meeting with our realtor just to look around.  see what we could find in our price range, if there was anything that was worth leaving our home for.

within ten days of that first meeting with our realtor, we put an offer in on a house.  just to see what would happen, we told ourselves.  we were just opening the negotiation.  we asked for all the closing dollars and all the transfer fees and all the closing time we could get.  and as we were getting ready to put julian down for the night just a few hours after sending over that offer, we got the text.  our offer was accepted.

and with a little curiosity and a whole lot of whim, we were moving.  we are moving.  it is happening.

it's scary.  exciting scary.  we are leaving the neighborhood we have known and loved for years for a new neighborhood, that we hope we will love.  we are leaving the only place that has felt like home to me in the last seven years and going to a new place that very much does not look or feel like home -- yet.  i know in my heart it is going to be the right thing for our growing little family.  big bedrooms for the boys [i'm convinced this second one is another boy] right next to ours.  a big guest room for family to stay in.  a garage [!!!].  a home office.  an open concept living room and kitchen.  a master bathroom.  a finished basement.  these are all things we have never had and are trading up for.  it's going to be good.

when i start to feel antsy about leaving highlands, i remind myself we aren't leaving denver.  we'll still be in the city.  we will still go to all our favorite restaurants.  all our close friends will still be close.  it is going to be ok.  it is the end of something, but also the beginning of something new.

a new chapter.  a new baby.  a new home.   a new beginning.

our home, the day we put an offer on it, february 2010.  she needed all the love we could give her.

i'm trying not to be too nostalgic... but that's not exactly my strong point.  no promises on how many sappy blog posts there will be about leaving this house.

julian andel turns one.

tomorrow, my little bestie will be one.

it's been quite a year.  a year of change, a year of adjustment of sleeplessness and sleepiness, of the highest highs and the lowest lows.  the best year yet but the most challenging by far.

we didn't want to do anything big for our little's birthday.  i know one is a pretty big deal, but he's only one -- he won't remember this and it just didn't seem right to do something silly and over the top with any crazy theme.

so our theme?  BIRTHDAY.

we decorated with the color's of julian's bedroom to keep it simple, even re-using some of the decor from his bedroom.  lots of white, grey, teal and a splash of his favorite color -- bright orange.  i bought a few extra details to make the day special, but mostly picked up decor, like hanging pom poms and steamers from target [on clearance!] and michael's.  what i loved most about the day was that it really it was all about julian. we served all food that he loves and could eat [meaning it was all dairy free]: grilled chicken and vegetables, lots of hummus dip [with his favorite flavor, kalamata olive and artichoke], and a mediterranean cous cous salad he loves to steal off my plate.  for sweets we served all of his favorite fresh berries and made cupcakes with the same recipe as his smash cake.

it was the best. day. EVER.  there weren't nearly as many tears [from me] as i thought there would be, though there were more from julian than i thought there would be [lots of unfamiliar faces picking him up made him a little grump at times].

the best part was when julian was eating his cake.  i went inside to grab a washcloth and before i went back outside i paused and stared out my back windows.  there was everyone i loved most gathered around my little one, as he happily munched on his cake, people laughing and snapping photos and clapping him on.

this moment seemed so far off a year ago.  when i was in the throws of postpartum dark places and feeling so isolated out in boston.  here we are -- absolutely thriving in our home that i always wanted to live in, making it better and better for our little boy every day, and raising a baby with a support system better than i could have dreamed.  we are now living the life i always dreamed of, the very life we bought this house for.

and my heart grew a hundred sizes.

a billion more photos after the jump because my baby only turns once and i don't care about the photo overload.

seriously.  the best day ever.

[just the cake -- used my own frosting recipe .]

an arrival. and a departure.

it wasn't all that long ago that we moved to boston.  it was eighteen months, to be exact.  it was a big life change for us.  i had been ready for a life change for a while - we had been trying to get pregnant since january 2011 and had accomplished nothing but having one miscarriage.  despite going to school and my work with the obama campaign, i was ready for something else.  the next phase in our life.  so when philip's job offer came along with a stipulation that we move out to the east coast, i was ready to jump.  did we know it was the right thing for us?  no.  but that was what made it so exciting. if we didn't like it, we could move again - but we knew we were ready for something new.  we are adventurous people and we were looking for our next big thing.

the first year year was amazing.  we were just minutes away from my dad and my brother, and only a few short hours away from the rest of our friends and family in new york.  i loved pouring myself into writing and blogging and was even able to meet some awesome friends out here.  when we found out we were having a baby, we knew we couldn't stay in our apartment.  we talked about buying a house - but eventually decided our time frame was too short.  so we moved, to the suburbs, to our apartment in chestnut hill.  baby's room was decorated and we set up shop for the next 15 months - we had plenty of time to figure out our next move.

and this is where i had the baby, and along with the baby, a flood of postpartum emotions.  i was miserable.  not with the baby - but with our apartment and where were living.  i just knew around week three or so that i did not feel at home here and this wasn't where i wanted to raise our baby.  after a massive meltdown on julian's one month birthday, i admitted i wasn't sure i wanted to stay in massachusetts.  i think i wanted to go home.  and, for me, my heart was telling me that home was colorado.

so off we went, for mother's day, to colorado.  philip spent a lot of time working on the highlands house, getting it ready for summer for our tenants.  and on our last day there, i had another meltdown, spending the day sobbing about not wanting to go back to massachusetts.  after spending so much time on the house, philip admitted that he also had a strong desire to live there again, rambling off ideas of all the things we could finally change, all the things we had wanted to do before and had never done.

there's this dream that maaany people have, especially those who grew up in suburban areas.  it's the i-can't-wait-to-move-away-and-never-come-back dream.  i had that dream.  i loved my family, i loved my friends, but i never felt i felt in with where i lived.  colorado wasn't quite for me - driving on dirt roads on a regular basis, living nowhere near what i considered to be a big city, totally land-locked - these were all things that didn't work for me.  i was an east coast girl, through and through.  and so when i got the opportunity, i moved.  and moved and moved and moved.  and so all of a sudden eighteen months after our big move to boston, here we were, raising our baby in an apartment we didn't own, plotting on how we could get back to denver.  it's a long[er] story on how that happened, so let's just say that it did in fact happen quite suddenly - we had a window to get out of where we live now because of a problem with our apartment - much sooner than we had anticipated.  and so we are jumping.  next month, actually.

but this is so much more than a move.  for me, it's about who i am and who i always thought i would be.  i thought i would be married after i was thirty.  i didn't think i'd be a mom until much later in life - if ever.  i thought i'd live on the east coast.  i thought i'd be a writer.  admitting that i don't really fit out here on the east coast has been essentially admitting to myself that i am not who i thought i would be.  i'm not saying that's a bad thing.  it's just a big thing.

i'm almost thirty and i'm finally arriving at the person i am.  a wife.  a mom.  a writer.  a homeowner - and a proud resident of the city of denver.  no more bouncing around, no more back and forth.  this is our last move.

our first week in the house - april 2010
and our last week in the house - december 2012
denver, we're coming home.

[and yes, that means there will be a christmas cocktail party this year.]