Sunday, October 5, 2014

Moving In

We moved in today. The children were both excited to the point of screeching insanity, which made it extremely easy to get things done.

But we managed.

Currently the place is pretty bare. We have our fairly complete camping kit and quite a lot of stuff borrowed from the property manager. She's lent us dishes, towels, an air mattress, bedding, a small table and two chairs suitable for tiny children. Like ours.

The day is sunny and glorious.

It feels extremely weird to be pulling stuff out of the minivan for the last time. Not literally the last time of course, but in a very significant way the last time. We have stopped. The journey is over. We might move again, who knows. The world is large and life is long. That will be, if it should be, a new journey.

This one has reached its end, and we are well pleased.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cute Baby!

Beatrice demonstrates various cuteness.

And she is getting pretty good at slides!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

We go to sign a lease today for the house we saw first. The one with the two fruit trees and the raspberry bushes. The final house we saw--in the Columbia neighborhood where we think is where we might want to end up even though The Lettered Streets looks mighty awesome so far--was horrendous. Struck us very much as student housing. We hope to move in this weekend and then spend a couple weeks literally camping inside the house while we wait for our stuff to be delivered.

Yesterday afternoon, after a fairly abortive morning (thank you children), we all 4 went into town. Alice and I checked out Half Pint children's consignment (1 of at least 3 in the town, including one within easy walking distance of our new home) and then walked to Haggen's, the awesome, slightly spendy local grocery store chain, to buy some wine for dinner. Molitor and Beatrice went for a walk and ended up downtown, which they loved. Art supply stores, restaurants, bike shops, green spaces, used book stores. This place is like Disney World for us.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lookin' for a home

We have visited two rental houses so far and go to our third (and likely last) tonight. We are pretty excited about it so far. Largely, of course, because it represents No More Driving and Settling Somewhere and Getting Our Shit Back and Getting Our Children Into Preschool So We Can Reclaim A Portion Of Our Adult Lives. But also because these neighborhoods are just so damn cute. The top contender so far (this one: is within easy walking distance of Trader Joe's, an organic market, and downtown, not to mention a park for Beatrice (too young for Alice) and slightly further away but still walk/bikeable a lovely and large string of parks, AND a freakin' donut shop at the end of the block!

This is the other one we've looked at: Looks better on paper. Some of its advantages are: 2-car garage (read: storage) and in better (perhaps just more modern) repair.

But we still much prefer the first one, as it has a central area for dining, which would be the physical and behavioral center of the house, hardwood floors throughout, a small but enclosed backyard that the kitchen looks out on and with 2 fruit trees, a very sweet neighbor cat who let Beatrice poke at it for a while, twice-yearly-bearing raspberry bushes in the side yard, and two quite large bedrooms. The third BR is technically not, as it doesn't have a closet, but we hope to task our 3rd BR, wherever it ends up being, as an office/guest room anyways. The owner was busily repairing/updating/fixing everything as we toured: new paint, floors are new, brand new landscaping, etc. Evidently the last series of tenants left it sort of trashed. Downsides: no storage (which I would take as a personal challenge to continue our downsizing bonanza that we started while packing up in Norfolk), only 1 BA, a picturesque but unusable wood-burning stove in the living room that is going to be a constant danger for our kids unless we figure out a way to tastefully surround it with a soft deterrent.

We still think we'd like to end up in the Columbia neighborhood, and this is in The Lettered Streets neighborhood (it's on B street), and the place we're going to look at tonight is in Columbia, but The Lettered Streets look preeeeetty nice so far. Columbia is the neighborhood recommended for "families with young children" and that's where the elementary school is. It'd sure be nice to be able to walk the kids to elementary school. On the other hand, the parts of Bellingham we're interested in are so compact that literally nothing is more than 2 miles away. An easy bike ride at the worst.

In any case, we hope to have made a decision by tomorrow and have the owners say yes and get our stuff on its way from Whereversville, VA!

Baby's Got A New Pair O' Shoes

The power of Zappo's.

(Note from Mommy: If you can zoom in on the photo,l you'll see they're magenta with tiny lavender polka dots on top of the toes, with a velcro-attached strap across the top, with tassles just like traditional loafers. I am in love! Beatrice is definitely having an adjustment period, especially as I bought them for 18-24 months so they're just a tad big (she's 14 1/2 months now, but has her momma's feet, I'm pretty sure), but I want to get a lot of wear out of these things). A few weeks ago we bought her sock-shoes at Walmart so she'd have something to protect her feet because she had refused to crawl anymore by then. But she really didn't like them and could easily pull them off. The weather is too cold and she walks too much outside to continue barefoot.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bellingham, WA it is.

We were going to take the whole week to mull over Portland v. Bellingham. But it quickly became obviously that both Molitor and I were instinctively leaning towards Bellingham. Portland has a larger population and the associated benefits -- public transit, denser retail areas, more career options -- and is possibly not quite as rainy. But we can wrap our minds around Bellingham very easily. It is a pretty focused community, as opposed to a more spread out larger urban area. From the neighborhood we want to live in, we can very easily bike and pretty easily walk to a food co-op, Trader Joe's, a regular grocery store, a huge aquatic center, a YMCA and downtown. The neighborhood has a park with playground. The homes are generally the size we want. From our airbnb cottage today, we walked to the public access park on Lake Whatcom, and discovered that there's an avid crew community here, and people also sail on the lake.

I sometimes feel it is remote, but I am reassured that it's connected in several ways to both Seattle and Vancouver. We have checked out the airporter shuttle from SeaTac to Bellingham and it seems convenient and reasonably cheap (so all you loved ones who want to come visit, please don't despair! It's not like a trek into deepest Alaska.). I also checked out bus and Amtrak access to Seattle for weekend jaunts, and it is abundant. And I know access to Vancouver is quick and easy (customs permitting).

So now the hunt is on, probably for a rental for the next year or so (make sure I can survive the winter rains before buying!) and then buy a house of our own. I am finally ready to settle. Get a house, a dog...the whole catastrophe!