we are officially residents of washington state! we almost can’t believe it! we’ve been here for three weeks now and we pretty much pinch ourselves every day that we wake up and look out the window. it’s so different. everything is new. and at the same time, it feels more like home to us than anywhere else we’ve ever lived. back in southern california we always felt in limbo. it’s strange to say, but our old house that we owned never felt like home or where we envisioned growing old in. we didn’t buy it because we fell in love with it, we picked it because it just felt like the next step that we were supposed to take and because it was a good investment… you know, get married, have 2.5 children, buy the house you can barely afford in a safe neighborhood with a white picket fence, plan for retirement and don’t ever color outside the lines. we did that and we didn’t think it was a bad choice. and we still don’t. it was necessary for us to get to where we are now. wisdom only comes after time and struggle. we don’t have regrets. but once we struggled long enough and got up the courage to chase our dreams, everything became much more clear about what we wanted our future life to look like. and it’s pretty amazing to say that we are currently living it! now, i know from experience now that there will be some of you out there that may feel bitterness towards us because you aren’t able to quite jump in head first like we did. please, take heart. it takes a long time. it took us quite a few years, lots of financial and logistical planning and lots and lots of prayers for God to show us the right time for us to begin this journey. and we are still on it! this place may not be the final destination for our family, but for this current season it is just perfect and we aren’t in any rush to change it up anytime soon. what we have learned, though, that God is the author of our story and to enjoy the current moment, never say never, and be open for change if it needs to happen.
i think that has been what we have learned the most over the past year… that we are okay, no matter where we live. whether it be a house, a trailer, a hotel, with family, in a cabin or in a teepee (who knows?!) as long as we have the bare essentials for living and one another, life can still be good. it is all about perspective. i will add that things aren’t all rainbows and lollypops, even in our new dreamy surroundings, life is still stressful. it will always be that way… we live in a broken world. but we are quicker to resolve our issues rather than let them eat away at us that we once were. our travels and hundreds of hours of driving really forced/blessed us with an opportunity to learn how to communicate better with one another. we are more supportive of each other and know how much we have endured to get to this place. we are embracing it all whole heartedly.
so… about our new homestead!!! we are country folk now! we are about a half hour outside of bellingham, out in the middle of nowhere with farmland as far as the eye can see. we have views of the mountains, wild animals that visit now and then, and tons of space for running free. when we were anticipating our move here and decided that we wanted to live in northwest washington, we did lots of looking (and i mean, hundreds of hours of looking) online at houses for sale and farmland for sale. it was so overwhelming, also because we had to make a decision on a place site unseen and didn’t know where anything was! it was going to all be so very new to us, we weren’t even sure if we would like living in this part of the world and we wanted to be certain before we went making a crazy decision and getting ourselves into a financial hardship as we had back in california. so we began to look at farmhouses with land that we could lease long term and that seemed to be the wisest choice for our family. i ended up finding this amazing house (on craigslist!) that was on three acres of land and that offered a long term lease option and everything worked out! i’d actually tried to secure several other properties before this one but things kept falling through and just didn’t feel right. but this one was meant to be. and so we did all the paperwork over email and moved up two weeks later! the owners of the property are the most kind, thoughtful folks that welcomed us with open arms and have encouraged us to truly make the house our own which has been such a big blessing. when we first arrived it was literally like Christmas morning to all of us! we all ran around in and out of every room, squealing and jumping and rolling around. i can’t remember ever feeling that kind of anticipation as we drove the last few miles to get here except in anticipation to meet my babies for the first time. it was thrilling. we have since settled in but the wonder of it all is still fresh.
there are about a million photographs below to hopefully give you an idea of what life is like for us now! i did my best to narrate in between all the photos below as to what it is you are looking at…
this is us… content and happy in our yard. this barn is on the land that we share with the neighbors. it’s so beautiful! i used to drive around for hours and hours trying to find beauty like this to use as a backdrop for photos and now it’s just outside! the apple orchard. yes, apple orchard!! :) this is our little fenced-in pasture all ready for some farm animals. we are doing lots of reading up on the kind of animals we’d like to have, most likely some miniature dairy goats and maybe some sheep, in addition to our chickens. we have large maple, willow and walnut trees. we have been doing lots of tending to the land, raking leaves and collecting hundreds of walnuts! this is the pond surrounded by huge blackberry bushes! it’s just about 50 yards outside our front door. i already have “build a dock” on donny’s to-do list. i’m already dreaming of a little rowboat out there come summer. this is the chicken coop! and it is the first thing i fell in love with about the house. once i had seen the picture of it, i knew it was the place for us! i mean, the gingerbread scalloped edging, the moss on the roof and that perfectly aged baby blue paint, swoon! this is the “hen house” with the nesting boxes and a little hole in the back that leads to the actual coop which is super huge! our baby chicks are two weeks old now and it will be the perfect home for all 28 of them in a few months once they are big enough to handle the cold weather. we enter into the mudroom. i never thought i’d ever have a need for a mudroom, hah! we didn’t even barely have cold weather clothes! we arrived in our flip flops! i’ve done a good share of thrifting since we got here and now everyone is well equipped with thick rain and snow attire. on a side note, the thrifting in washington is amaaaazing!!! so this is the first room you enter into when you walk in. that’s the front door straight ahead. i am showing you what it looked like when we first arrived… we have done a little work to make it our own since then as you will see later on in the photos… from the front entry room you turn the corner and then you are in the kitchen. it is really big! it’s quite a treat to be able to have ample storage and room to move around and cook after spending months attempting to cook in my mini 20 square foot kitchen in the trailer! here you can really see how the space is laid out… the rooms right beside one another. so from the kitchen, there is a little dining area beside there with french doors that lead out back and the bedrooms down the hall (where the blue carpet is) and then a little den/living room that is two steps down (where the green shag carpet is). and this is our outdoor tub just outside the master bedroom!!! yeeeehaw!! we have an indoor shower/tub in the bathroom too but this one is pretty much the coolest thing ever. it is currently not working but i’ve got big plans for it eventually. so we pretty much just started painting everything white. just needed some freshening up. so that was the “before” of the kitchen and below is the “after”! we painted the walls and cabinets white and used the rustoleum countertop paint to reglaze the blue countertops into a soft gray. i will be doing a full house tour eventually but this is the in progress set of images. ;) and this is my view out the kitchen window every afternoon while i do dishes!!! now this is the greenhouse built on to the side of the house. this was another super amazing thing i fell in love with immediately. with the cold winters it is such a treat to be able to keep things growing. we are doing our best to really be self sufficient out here. especially because we are so far from town, it will be so nice to have fresh things growing to be able to use for meals straight from the greenhouse. we began working on this space right away. i bought all of the materials for in here at the habitat for humanity restore and was able to do it for less than $100 (the doors for the walls, the drawers for planter boxes, the chairs, hundred of pots and planters, paint etc). i am still working on it but it’s coming along. we have already planted lots of berries, herbs and vegetables. i first fell in love with washington when i saw all the mossy rooftops and trees! it’s such a novelty coming from southern california where everything is so dry! so i decided the greenhouse needed a mossy floor, just for the added dreamy factor. gracie and i dug up moss from our yard and laid it down like sod. i’ve also scattered clover groundcover seed so i’m hoping it will continue to flourish. this is the view out of our living room. we all just sit and stare outside all day long. the weather has been quite a treat for us! everyone said we would hate the rain, but we just love it! and it’s been sunny on and off most days with a chill in the air, it just feels special. it’s been extra cold lately so we’ve gotten frost in the mornings which looks like a tiny layer of glittery snow as the sun peeks out above the mountains. this is the apple orchard. we share it with the neighbors. it is unbelievably amazing!!!! we also have cherry trees. i am already dreaming of the cherry blossoms come spring time! wild blackberry bushes in abundance! so here are some random photos from the last week or so as we have started to get adjusted. all of the furniture i have gotten from thrift stores and estate sales since we arrived. with an exception of the things we had already in the trailer that we have brought into the house, and our new mattress and mabel’s crib which i ordered from overstock, i have furnished our entire house with furniture for about $700. it was a challenge for me to do it on the cheap and i couldn’t be happier with how it’s all coming together. i’m not done yet but it’s getting there. so this is our new and improved school and playroom! i really wanted to get it all set up so that the kids felt at home right away and also so we could start living life instead of being in limbo. it’s been so great to have a place for them to each have their own nooks to work and play. these are our new chickies! they are currently living in our garage with heat lamps until they are big enough to move to the coop. here is clementine in the living room with a kitty in her baby carrier. we adopted two kittens from the animal shelter, benjamin and bear. they are the cutest little guys! and they also keep the kids really entertained on the rainy days. another fun rainy day activity. fort building. we found quite a few quilts on our journey and they have been put to good use. one thing that is so very foreign to us, coming for southern california, is how to heat a house when it is 20 degrees! we have electric heat as well as two wood burning stoves. we bought lots of wood for the winter. and i can’t complain about the cold when i have such a studly guy to gather wood and keep me warm. ;) this turkey lives somewhere down the road, we think, and he has visited us every day for the last week. he/she is just the sweetest bird! he is sure making himself quite at home here and the kids think it is so funny! he even purrs when they pet him. this is one of the parks in bellingham. it’s amazing. we truly cannot believe we get to live among such beauty. the end for now. more to come in time. thank you for taking the time to read to the very end, i know it was a long post! (hopefully you made it this far!) and… happy thanksgiving, friends!!! we could not be more thankful for such an amazing community that has supported us all along the way. thank you for cheering us on, we love you!