Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Making “Home”

Remember that we bought this house?

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I’ve been really wanting to give you a tour since we got ourselves settled in!  I put it off, hoping to have it “all done”  before I shared pictures, but let’s be honest… is our home ever really going to be all done?  I’m settling for all clean.

(And by all clean, I actually mean picked up enough that the junk can be easily moved to another room while I take a picture of this one.)

(Which is also why this tour will only include our main floor.  You’ll have to wait in suspense for our upper and lower levels.)

That’s our front yard, by the way.  We just cut a bunch of branches off our mostly-dead pine tree by the front window, with the plans to turn that spot into a little sitting area.  We live on a great corner with lots of passersby and since I love people-watching, I want a place to sit and enjoy the neighborhood.

Here’s the front entryway and stairs:

My mom bought me the two blue framed pictures to the right of the doorway a few years ago on a trip to Branson, Missouri.  I have been waiting since then to find a place for them in my home.  I love them here, and I love that whenever I see them, I think of her and I, poking around in old antique stores in 100 degree Missouri heat.

When you enter, this is  our main living space.  My plan is to add an area rug and some artwork on the walls.  This room also features one of my most favorite parts of the home, our bay window.  These pictures cannot do it justice – since I am not a photographer and have zero ability with any kind of editing software, imagine the most perfect lighting in the world and apply it to these pictures.  It’s gorgeous.

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Here’s our itty bitty dining area.  We bought this table with a bench seat so that it can be pushed in during the day when not in use – it’s perfect for us.  We can actually seat six fairly comfortably.  For gatherings, we aren’t really “sit down dinner party” kind of people, more like paper-plates-on-laps-in-the-yard, so this wasn’t a vital area in terms of space for us.  Still, it’s cozy, sweet, and perfect for our family meals.

Our kitchen isn’t huge, but I love it.  In truth, its size gives me a great excuse to banish my children to their playroom while I cook at night.  When I let him, John sits at the table and chats with me while I make dinner.  Most of the time, I kick him out too and enjoy 30 minutes of solitude.

Here’s the hallway from the living room/kitchen to the two bedrooms and bathroom on the main floor, as well as the door to the basement:

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I love bright and bold colors. So, while I will tell you that the downstairs bathroom was decorated “for the girls,” I will readily admit that if I lived alone, my bathroom would still look like this.  Both of our bathrooms are adorned with photos from my time abroad – this one features mi lindo Ecuador, one of my most favorite places in the world.

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The girls have been thrilled to have their own playroom, I’m sure just as much as I am.  I know this goes against what is popular right now, but once I had children, I really disliked the open floor plan that we had in our townhome.  Our family functions so much better in closed spaces, where messes are contained and I only have to clean a couple of rooms for the therapists instead of the whole house every day. 🙂

We had originally painted the kid’s bedroom in our old home with neutral colors, since the gender of each of the girls was a surprise.  I was able to use the decor from their old room in the new playroom.  All that we are missing yet are a couple of bins by the small table for their art supplies and the word “PLAY” in big, yellow letters up on the wall.

The last space on this tour is My Room, or the spare bedroom, or the office, or Oma’s room, depending on who needs it.  I have labeled it My Room, as the girls have their playroom and John has the basement.  All have been warned that if they want to enter, they must ask, and that it is not a dumping ground for The Stuff That Doesn’t Have a Place… because in this house, if it doesn’t have a place, it goes bye-bye.

I’ve been saving old calendar pages from my favorite Anne Taintor calendars for years to hang on the wall.  You know, things like this:

Once I get the frames, I’ll put them up on the walls…  But even as is, this is my little comfort zone:

The last piece of something that hasn’t found a permanent home is this sign, purchased on Etsy when we first moved in.  I adore it, and I’m still thinking about where it will permanently hang in our home.

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We are so thankful for this little, yet huge house that we can call our home.  When we moved, I wrote about how happy we were, smushed into our old home.  And guess what?  We’re happy here, too.  It suits us, and our needs, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that the only home we looked at, the one that just popped into our lives on a whim one Saturday, is now etched into the story of our life.  Perfect. ❤

 

 

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Treetop Love

Some of my most favorite places in my Rolodex of memories are high up in the trees.  I have always loved the birds-eye view, the ability to just look out on the world and soak it all in.  As a child, I remember sitting at my upstairs bedroom window, which faced the street, and watching the teenagers walk home from our local high school, which was about 50 yards from our home.  I loved to examine their fashion, listen to their words… It intrigued me.

In the back yard, there was a crab apple tree with the perfect little notch for sitting with a book to read.  My brother and his friends preferred the big maple tree for climbing high, high toward the sky, but not I.  My love of looking out at the world has some limits – like a thick, strong window or the need to feel like even if I fell out, I wouldn’t die.

In high school, there was the hotel at Monte Verde in Costa Rica.  When most of my friends took the zip lining tour, I preferred to walk the bridges high up in the treetops, looking out on the lush forest below.

The fifth floor of the library at Augustana, my little dorm room high up in Andreen, looking out into the treetops, so many memories of the calm that comes from looking out into a beautiful green landscape.

I tell you this now because we are home and it is lovely and there are trees – so many trees.  I mean, these are the views from our bedroom windows.  


In the morning, before the chaos of the day begins, this is my first view of the world:


The flood of memories and peace it brings to me, to feel that I am waking up in a secluded retreat every morning… it’s one of my most favorite parts about Home.

Stay tuned for more Home, coming up in the next few weeks. ❤️

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Home.

Everything we do is an adventure.

The adventure of our new forever home is short and wild and sort of overwhelming, but in a good way. It’s all good.

About a week ago, we decided to start looking for a home casually. This is the last time I am moving (I swear) and we want to do this right.  We feel a strong need to find the right place.  I have been scouring Zillow for months, waiting and waiting for the right home to come up.

It’s been rough.  Our list is short, but crucial.  Must have two full baths and a main-floor potty.  Must have a basement for severe weather.  Must have a yard that can be fenced. No well water.

Do you know how hard it is to find houses with two full baths in our area??

On a whim Saturday, we visited an open house.  We wanted to get a feel for what 1,400 square feet might feel like.  It sounded small, smaller than our last town home, but the layout in our last home was as open as open can be.  I didn’t want to go down that road again either.

After 5 minutes in the house, we both knew it was “the one.”  That night, we joked about putting in an offer.  We both sort of agreed that it was crazy because we hadn’t seen anything else and who does that??

Well, we do.

By Monday night, especially when we heard another offer was coming in, I was pretty much desperate to make this home ours.  Quite hesitantly (because “people just don’t do this, Mag!”), John called in a offer.  He was not happy with me, but I’m a girl who knows what I like.

We got into a double-bidding situation.  After a meeting with our realtor, we had to put in our highest and best offer for the home.  As I grew more and more anxious, I decided to write a letter to the sellers to ask them (or beg them, really) to choose us.

(This has been edited for location privacy)

Dear Sellers,

We are writing to ask you to give us the privilege of purchasing your home. Our family is very early in our search. In fact, yours is the first and only home that we have visited. However, last Saturday, when we came to your Open House, we knew right away that your home is the perfect fit for our family. It is exactly what we need and want for our forever home.

We have been prayerfully waiting for the right home to be available in this neighborhood. As a child, I attended ______  and when our youngest daughter was born with special needs two years ago, we knew that we would be moving back from _______ so that she could attend _____ as well.  The school is well-equipped for her needs. We sold our previous house and have been living with my parents while we wait for the right place and the right timing.

Our four-year-old is very excited about the backyard and that we may be able to plant some vegetables in the summer. We envision cook-outs and family gatherings on the brick patio. The location is perfect – we frequently visit _______ and their proximity to the home cannot be topped.  We are in love with the kitchen space. I am not always excited about doing dishes, but when I think about doing them by that window in the kitchen while the kids play outside, it’s much more bearable. 🙂 My mother-in-law visits regularly to help us care for the girls and I know that she will appreciate her own bedroom space on the main level, rather than sleeping on an air mattress in the girls’ room. My husband has been mapping out plans for the basement “man cave” and I would love to use the other first-floor bedroom as a sensory play room for our youngest daughter.

We are ready to settle into our forever home. We can tell by the care that has been put into your home that you have kept it well and that it has been loved by your family.  We love it too, and would be proud to make it our own.

Many thanks for your consideration,

John, Maggie, Ellie, and Tessa

Long story short, after a nerve-wracking two-and-a-half hour wait, we received word that we had won the bidding war.  Even though our bid was slightly under that of the other party, our letter convinced the owners that we were the right family.  We are over the moon with excitement.  It has been a whirlwind week, but finally, finally, we are going home.

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