goodbye, highlands house.

moving day before we headed to boston - 2012
it's time to say goodbye.

it's funny, really.  goodbyes aren't fun.  they aren't easy.  they are things we do all too often in life.  but for me, they are something i am especially good at.

i think it's because of my penchant for nostalgia.  i have an acute sense of the present, of taking in the way things are now and looking ahead to the way they will be.  philip and i talk about this a lot.  it takes time for change to hit him.  for me, it hits early.

and so naturally i've started to get sad already.  we close at the end of this week and we don't move until next week, so i guess it isn't too early.  the inevitable has happened.  we are living out of boxes.  our plates are long gone and we've found compostable replacements for the next few days.  trash bags full of hangers are piling up everywhere.  each evening i sneak some of julian's toys out of the house and into the back of our subaru so he can start getting used to seeing his things in the new house.

it isn't the home we first lived in as a couple.  it's not where we started our married life.  it's not where we nervously, excitedly brought julian home to for the first time.  it's not going to be the home where we become a family of four.  but it's been something bigger to us.  our first real home.  not an apartment, not a temporary space we borrowed.  through all our travels, all our wandering, it was our constant.  it's the place we've lived the longest.  we've made and shared more memories in this home than in all of the other places we've lived combined.

this home was the home i longed for while we were in boston.  and as much as we loved living out east and no matter how much fun we had, it wasn't home.  this house was home.  not just colorado, not just denver.  our neighborhood.  our house on irving.  it's the little things i'll miss the most.  the skylight in our bedroom.  the walk to the farmer's market on sunday mornings.  the construction in the alleyway that keeps julian entertained for hours at a time.  the stained glass on our front door, the door that's been a part of the house since it was built in 1905.

we've had some wonderful moments in this house . . .

julian playing in his room for the very first time
our first christmas as three
julian's first birthday in our backyard
his favorite place -- looking for trucks out the front door 

but as i keep reminding myself, this is not just about endings, but about beginnings.  we are moving to a new forever home.  we are growing from a family of three to a family of four.  these things are big.  they are new.  they are scary sometimes.  but they are part of life.

and it's time for us to move on.  to make new memories.  to settle down in our new home as a new family of four.

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 .]