I Live Here Now

It’s hasn’t properly rained in a long time. So long, in fact, that I couldn’t tell you when the last time was without looking it up, but I’ll just go ahead and say that maybe it was at some point in mid-June. And with that – this lack of looming dark clouds – the weather has been really good for getting outside and since we had a series of houseguests for just about the entire month of July (seriously, there were only four days without guests to my count), we’ve been doing that – getting outside. We’ve been getting to know this new home of ours and more times than I can count – in the last month alone – I’ve found myself somewhere thinking, with a smile I can’t make go away: I live here now. I finally live here now.

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This isn’t to say that we haven’t spent any time indoors working on the house. We’re still chipping away at it, but our visitors have given us a nice excuse to relax a little bit, for a little while. But our floors are down in the living room and nearly done in Ever’s room, too (which is the temporary guest room at the moment – things don’t fall in place all at once when scraping together the resources to revitalize a misused home, it turns out).

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The room that will be Ever’s room when we’d just moved in.
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This is the room that will be Ever’s room currently serving as a temporary guest room. Look at this gorgeous bed frame c/o City Home PDX. It caught my eye as soon as I saw it in the showroom the first time. The marbled looking wood tones are rich and attention-grabbing. The sleek lines and style help to give it both a contemporary and mid-mod design feel. I was a little disappointed that it was a queen size bed frame because I would have loved it in our master bedroom, but it wasn’t difficult to see what an unmistakably good addition it would make to our guest space. Although it hasn’t been assembled long, the compliments have already rolled in for it, which just reinforced for me what a cool resource City Home PDX is for anyone in the area who is looking for home furnishings. The shop has two locations in Portland and the selection is a mix of vintage and new items that all have their own eclectic flare. I’ll be visiting the store again soon to grab another special thing or two for our home, but truth be told, I’d outfit this entire house with their products if I could. *For 10% off of a City Home PDX purchase, use promo code: SMALLDOSEMAGIC*

The hole in the wall downstairs where an aquarium once mysteriously lived in place of sheetrock has now been restored to regular wall status. The hose works now (and Ever kicks her clothes off to wherever they land and plays with it daily). The sink sprayer has been replaced. Warped deck boards have been pounded back into place and outlets we once thought were fried are now working. We’ve prepped the hallway and entry way for priming and painting and we even got a lawnmower. We’re nearly ready to put flooring into the third bedroom upstairs, the one that is so far designated to become an office/art/craft room. We’re sleeping on a real mattress (and our guests are too – perfectly comfortable mattresses c/o Tuft & Needle) instead of a leaky air mattress.

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These mattresses c/o Tuft & Needle have been a lifesaver. I liked the idea of them because of the transparency that seems to be the company’s foundation and the fact that they don’t use the same kinds of gross glues and chemicals used in more conventional mattresses. Having them shipped to our house was convenient and the setup was a breeze. I was worried I would never be able to get another mattress I like as much as our last one, but I’m really happy to say I was wrong. I like the Tuft & Needle mattresses more.

One of them even has a bed frame already (which is c/o City Home PDX).

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The living room before we started working on it – when all we’d done was remove the yucky carpeting.
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The living room mid floor installation.
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The nearly finished living room.
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This coffee table/bench c/o Chilton Furniture has already become a talking piece in our home. It’s made from birch, which I love because birch reminds me so much of the 80+ acres we lived on and called home in Michigan – it reminds me of the trees that gave me chaga. But it’s not just regular birch – it’s flame birch. Flame birch is already pretty rare and to work with it requires exceptional craftsmanship. Adding to the complexity of this piece, it has a live edge. I love looking at it and seeing so many actual curves of the original tree, inside and out. Chilton Furniture is based in Maine and though the company has traditionally offered shaker style products, the direction is shifting to include timeless contemporary elements. I think this piece perfectly demonstrates how those two aesthetics can come together.

 

The living room is actually set up as a living room more or less and it should come as no surprise: this makes us feel like we live in our home a little bit more. But yes, mostly, we have allowed ourselves to be a slightly more low-key this past month. And we’re better off for it.

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I threw a birthday party for Ever and we celebrated Ben’s mom’s birthday while she was here, too.

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The 4th of July fell in there somewhere and so did Ever’s birthday day, which was distinctly different from her birthday party day.

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We went to the coast, the mountains, the woods, the field near our house that we cherish, a lake, a giant sand dune, an island that can only be accessed by foot a few months out of the year, waterfalls, gorges, and even a ghost forest.

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We got to stay on Cannon Beach c/o Surfsand Resort. This is one of my favorite places to stay on the coast because the view is amazing, but the amenities are perfect. Nothing is bothersome or superfluous, but so many needs and dreams are met at this place: a soaking tub that opens to a view of the ocean, dog treats, special extras for kiddos, a lovely pool and hot tub, bonfires and other activities right on the sand, coffee that is legitimately good, and more. I’ll return as often as I can.

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We drank really good strong beer and also PBR, Trader Joe’s wine and also local Rose. We ate at tried and true favorite restaurant and food cart standbys, but new ones, too.

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These pizzas at Virtuous Pie are unbelievably good. We took Ever there for her birthday dinner and followed the pizza with the ice cream from Virtuous and then a cupcake from Back to Eden Bakery.

We also scraped meals together with family and friends out of whatever was left in the pantry and had a fine enough time doing it (though I don’t recommend roasting summer squash willy-nilly – you’ve gotta think that one through).

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We went to the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival and I had a mommy/daughter date with Ever at the super charming Electric Castle’s Wunderland Cinema (and Nickel Games). We had donuts, ice cream, cake, chocolate-covered marshmallows, foraged plums, and tart, oh my!

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We got lost in the daydream that is Powell’s, where I found a book so beautiful that I decided to store it away for Ever for Christmas – five months in advance. I’ve been thrifting and feel like I probably won’t be able to resist the urge to restock my once-was Etsy store.  We had ballet classes too and now Ever twirls her way through punk songs.

And I played some music in front of people. Oh yeah. That. That was a big deal to me. It shouldn’t have been, but it was. It was such a big psyche workout for me that I wrote about it here.

I had a near-drowning scare with Ever that I’ll never forget. I wrote about that here. The short of it is: watch your littles like a hawk and make them live in a life jacket until they’re approximately 35 years old if water is nearby.

I made a list of some cliche but useful reminders I’m trying to not forget. Sometimes I honest-to-god make these kinds of lists and, like, I know it’s lame but also I’d like to think I’ve grown up beyond the surly teenager I once was who thought it was cool to hate life/people/happy things/goodness/oxygen. Look: we’re all gonna hate life already too often. Let’s do what we can to not hate it whenever possible, even if that only results in a grand sum of three minutes less of hated life per week. It’s worth it.

I even wrote about the pain of having a tear-filled daycare drop-off here. Parenting sure is raw.

So it’s been a lot. There’s a lot of stuff. Lovely, scary, invigorating, nerve-ruining, delicious, awe-filled stuff. And the more stuff we go through here, the more here becomes home, regardless of how slow-moving our house renovations have been. Don’t get me wrong: all of the outings, the guests, the delayed work, the pushed-aside home fixing, the extra pressure it’s put on our toddler, the sunburn I got one day, the worry over keeping to our new home-ownership-inclusive budget, the car’s broken AC, the health insurance deductible smacking us in the face, the constant and continuous empty/weird feeling that comes from still needing a while to find and connect with our tribe here – that stuff ain’t always pretty; not everything in life is a snapshot you wanna hang onto. But we’re doing it all here – the good and the bad – and “here” can only become “home” once you start to wear it in. It feels good to be doing that.

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Elizabeth Seward is a writer and songwriter, among other things. Read a full bio on the ABOUT page.

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