Good-bye & Some Final Thoughts…

Jan 17

*deep breath*

This will be a difficult one to write (and likely a long one too – with lots of photos). If you aren’t a fan of sappy, sentimental gushiness, you’re welcome to skip. But for the purpose of my memories, I’d like to capture the emotions of this closing chapter. The sad feelings…and the very happy ones, too.

But the one thing I promise, this one has a happy ending. because I’m sharing lessons learned over the last month that are keeping my spirits up. Beginning with the fact that we were SO lucky to have a home. A home like the one you see above. Lucky to have a rental home now. And lucky to have a new home again in California.

Trust me, blessings don’t go uncounted over here!

But I’m not gonna lie and tell you leaving this home behind is easy.

It’s wasn’t.

It’s not.

After a few bad days (ok, maybe a week….or more if you asked others) of feeling pretty down in the dumps, I realized while I was for sure going to miss the house itself, what I was really mourning were the memories made inside it. Each time I scanned through my iphoto program looking for photos taken in this house over the years…it wasn’t the photos of the house or the projects completed that I was pulling aside to share….

…instead it was the photos of what WE were doing inside the house. Or what WE were doing outside the house.

Like a silly sappy movie, I realized I was mourning was the loss of our amazing 5.5 years of living in this home and neighborhood. The friends we’ve made and the thought of not living close to them anymore. The idea of leaving behind a school and teachers we adore. The slower-paced lifestyle we enjoyed (and sometimes been annoyed with and giggled about). Hearing the accents, southern one-liners, and the “y’all’s”…it never gets old for this SF girl at heart.

So, today, while I’m sharing photos of the house…you’ll see a glimpse into the memories made inside and out.

And that is what matters.

While we won’t live in this house anymore, I will always have my children…photos and memories like these to look back on and enjoy – forever. Living here is an experience we will never forget.

Memories like our first snow fall…

Being native Californians, we never lived in a home where snow would fall in the winter. Instead of driving hours from our home near the beach to enjoy the snow in Lake Tahoe, all we had to do was open our front door…

The boys loved it! Of course, the first thing they wanted to do was build a real snowman…this one always reminds me of Snoopy. ???….

And a baby snowman too…

Even our California cat didn’t know what to make of it…

* Valentina…February 1997 – September 2011. We said good-bye to her as well while living in this home.
There were countless memories made around the property. Like enjoying a push from mom or dad on the swings. Or learning how to swing all by yourself!…

Bug hunts…

Certainly no lack of bugs to be found around here. (Coming up….keep scrolling – with caution…)

Enjoying the space to run and be free…

The hundreds of days we cooled off in the summer with outdoor water play activities…

We tried to keep California alive by setting up a sand table on the patio…

Going for a joy ride in his 3rd birthday gift…

And shielding our eyes from the smoke when we had a cozy fire outside on the patio each winter…

We had a period that seemed to go on for 2 years when anytime the boys saw a puddle or mud, it was a free for all. When I absolutely had to keep them clean, it took all my strength to hold them back. But boy, when the time came, did I love letting them go for it. And did that more often than not…

The dirtier, the better. Hands, nails, faces, hair….having a seat in the mud or having a contest to see who could get the muddiest…

Those muddy memories are top of the list for me.

Loved watching the summer leaves change to fall each November…

I nearly drove off the two-lane roads each Fall while admiring the beauty of the immense colors.

Equally so while admiring the spring when everything came back to life…

The only thing not to admire coming back to life each spring? Spiders. Not for the faint of heart…if you don’t enjoy arachnids, scroll fast!…

*don’t worry – that spider is outside!

There’s a first for everything in life. This happened to be my first free-roaming tarantula sighting…

Hopefully my last – unless it’s behind (very thick) glass at the zoo. I’ve heard plenty of snake stories around here…thankfully haven’t seen one up close and personal. But still have 6 months until the move, right?!

We loved hunting for a Christmas tree each year at the tree farm. Each and every year we thoroughly enjoyed watching the south transform into a Christmas wonderland. The south really knows how to do Christmas – they pull out all the stops. Left us hanging our heads in shame…although everyone seemed to love my casual style anyway…

Every year supplied was more to oooh and aaah about.

Getting back to inside the house, the reason I loved this house so much is because of the memories made inside. Sure, I’ll never forget our super, awesome, over the top playroom…

But it wouldn’t have been a playroom without 3 small people to fill it with laughter, toys, creativity, friends, messes, sleepovers…and occasional fights…

*photo taken on move out day

Will never forget the kitchen…

Which wouldn’t have been the heart of our home without a family eating meals, friends cheering on favorite teams, celebrating holidays with family, hosting birthday parties, baking cookies and more.

Unless we are there, it’s just a kitchen…

And unless my little people aren’t there to use the extra cabinets as a hiding spot…

*do you spy someone inside?

Well…then it’s just not nearly as fun to play a game of peek-a-boo if they aren’t in the house.

Even though I’m leaving behind one of my favorite walls in the entire world…

This wall can will be re-created in the next home. What I can’t re-create is the precious baby girl that has been sleeping in there the last 3 years…

Will never forget the comfortable living room and beamed ceilings…

But unless the kids are in here watching Thomas or Calliou, it’s just a living room…

Yes, a lot of memories were made here…but the people I share those memories with are coming with me into the next chapter. And that is what matters.

In addition to the countless memories made, there were lessons learned as well. Along with honing my new mothering skills with 2 wild and crazy little boys, and adding a 3rd child – a girl! – to the mix…I did much growing as a person…in many ways. Not only learning more about who I am, but also our personal style, value’s, what works for us, and taste in home design/decor. It was fun to look back on how we grew into each space…adding little bits here and there over the last 5.5 years until it felt complete.

Here was the dining room after we moved in…

And in it’s final state before we moved out…

Such a difference!

Another example is the sitting area in the kitchen. When we moved in…

*on the couch is our then 1 year old…who is now a boisterous 6 year old.

And the same area before we moved out…

Over the last 5 years my passion for organization soared. A hobby suddenly became a way of life. Might have something to do with the 3 little people living here and the clutter they are capable of creating.

Some of my favorite systems in this house? Top of the list was organizing those toys. Oooh, the toys!!!

The toy closet after moving in…

Before moving out…

The office closet after we moved in…

Before we moved out…

A shot of the empty shelving…which the new homeowners negotiated to keep….

Pantry after we moved in…

Before we moved out…

We grew and accomplished so much here. Most importantly, raising healthy, well-adjusted (I hope!) kids…and created cherished memories. And will do the same in a California home.

Just as the moving truck arrived with our entire home’s contents in August 2007…

…with 2 little boys anxiously awaiting the boxes that held their favorite toys, it will be the same come summer of 2013 when the moving truck pulls up to the new home. Which hopefully will end up being a home to stay in longer than 5 years. Hopefully meaning – forever.

Until then, I will always love this house because of the memories made inside it…

*me sitting in between the kitchen and living room on our last day/night of ownership. home cleaned. home completely empty. 

And we leave it a better place … for the new family that is so excited to live here and create memories of their own…

One last story…my biggest spirit-booster and lesson learned last week came from our children. We moved out of the house on saturday and I wanted to go back one last time to snap a few photos of the empty house. If you can believe it, they didn’t want to go back. I was shocked and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t want to see the playroom or their bedrooms…one last time. They didn’t want to leave the rental house because all of their stuff was here. My 6 year old actually started crying when I pushed the issue. They are the ones who taught me a home is where your family is…and maybe your toys and other things too. 🙂 But the point being, it doesn’t matter where your stuff is…the old house or the new rental…as long as we’re together and our stuff is filling that home….it’s home.

The kids haven’t looked back since.

They taught me one of the biggest lessons this month.

This summer I look forward to sharing my happy introduction story to the new house in Nor Cal! Until then, we’ll spend lots of time talking about ways to organize a rental. Territory I haven’t walked in since those college days. This is going to be another chapter to add to my life’s storybook. 🙂

 

Thanks for reading my good-bye story…and for reading along here on the blog. Which is also something that was born right here in this house and state!

comments +

  1. That is such a gorgeous home! It would be very hard to leave but new adventures are waiting for you in California!

  2. The house is beautiful. I can't wait to follow along on your new journey. Full of new memories and I'm sure a beautiful home. Good luck to you all. Thanks for sharing.

  3. sara says:

    Love this…..Valentina! xoxo

  4. Hilary Cook says:

    Thank you for sharing your memories with us. I enjoyed all the pictures.

  5. sucia01 says:

    A very beautiful tribute to your home. Reading it reminded me of when you left OC. And how hard it was to leave after bringing two Princes home. And I was reminded of Rudy Dog (that was her name right?). That crazy dog who would always eat your make up!

    I'm one of those people who looks at my home as my sanctuary. I know it was hard to leave but your next chapter will be exceptional.

    • lol!!! yes! it was rudy. seems like forever ago when she and valentina were up to their antics in OC. i miss both of them so much! maybe once we are settled in the bay area we'll get a doggie friend for charlie. would be fun!

      thank you so much for coming by, leaving a comment and supporting me over here. love you for that!

      are you still writing your own blog? lemme know!

      xo,
      sam

  6. What a great story, memory!!! I really enjoyed reading it. How exciting the future will be.

  7. I have loved following your blogs and always enjoy seeing your beautiful home. I also have learned so many organizational and decorating tips from you. It is always sad to leave a home, especially one in which such wonderful memories were made. But you have this wonderful archive of pictures that you have made. Greater things are ahead for your family. A great adventure and many wonderful memories to come as your dear family continues to grow in your new home. Best wishes in the coming months both as you make your short term rental into a comfortable home and in your move back to your roots. Such a wonderful time awaits you in the coming months and I am sure all of your readers are anxiously awaiting your future posts. I sure am..

  8. Leisa B says:

    A lovely story, Samantha. It is always so difficult to walk away from a house–I completely empathize with you. Last year my house was destroyed in a flood and had to be demolished. It was somewhere in the vicinity of 130+ years old and I had spent 8 years within its walls. The loss was crushing, but what I will always have are the memories of time spent with family and friends, you are so right in that thought. I wish you all the best in your move and in the joy of making new memories in your new home. All the best, Leisa

    • oh my goodness! yes!!! as i was writing this post i had thought about making a comment regarding families that totally lose their homes in natural disasters, fires, etc. we are so lucky to even have a home. period.

      thank you for sharing a bit of your story here. i hope things are better now!

      thank you again!
      samantha

    • Leisa B says:

      Thank you, Samantha

      Life is reaching a 'new normal' and my family and friends are all safe and sound, thank God! I hope you're all adjusting to your new rental home–it is lovely, and looks wonderfully comfortable 🙂

  9. I can so relate. We moved into a new home last February. I had mixed feeling about moving out of our old house, not because I loved the house so much, but because I loved the home we created there. It was our first home as a married couple, it was the house we brought our son home to, it was the site of many parties and holidays and friends staying over, it was were we said goodbye to our sweet Bailey dog. I love our new house. It truly is our dream house as we spent much of our time in our old house dreaming up this home. But I will always have happy memories of the old place, and I know you will, too.

  10. Beautiful home, story, children, fur babies, etc. Good luck in your new/forever home. I can empathize my husband is an Army Officer and we have moved a lot. Hopefully, soon we will be building our forever home too.

    I look forward to following your blog. Also, I'm stopping by from Liz Marie's linky party. Here is what I shared this week: http://craftybrooklynarmywife.blogspot.ca/2013/01/fun-fur-boa-scarf.html

  11. Jen Donahue says:

    Such a wonderful story and lessons to be learned. Life is not about the stuff – but the WHO and WHAT. so adorable that your little ones realize this. Looking forward to new adventures.

  12. Tiffany says:

    What a wonderful post – thanks for sharing your memories!

  13. Terry Moore says:

    A beautiful home, but the beauty was dimmed when you left. Beautiful and artful photography. But the talent that made this a home left. You are one beautiful and talented lady.

  14. Heather says:

    What a moving tribute to such a lovely home! Very beautiful, the home, the family, and the memories :).

  15. Christina says:

    What a wonderfully, thoughtful, post. Thank you for sharing it with us. You have such great heart and passion…not just for organization, but for your family and your "home" (not the physical structure, but the place where your heart resides). =)

  16. Lisa says:

    I have tears in my eyes!! There is a strong chance that my family is moving across country in a few month. I have lived in this town for my entire life, this house with my little family for 15 years. I can't even think about packing it up and saying goodbye to everyone. But I will make new memories and new friends. right?

  17. we just moved last teusday so i can relate in alot of ways. i was so happy to leave the old house though. there are certain things i will miss but love our new rental home and the idea of not having to deal with home ownership is very appealing. our kids are older and got a little more stressed than i thought they would. we have moved many times so it is old hat to me. i hope this new place holds great times for us and that your new home holds the same. good luck.

  18. Hi from the bay area! I love reading your blog – gives me ideas on how to tame the chaos in my house! Looking forward to reading more and the new adventure in the bay area!

  19. Hi from the bay area! I love reading your blog – gives me ideas on how to tame the chaos in my house! Looking forward to reading more and the new adventure in the bay area!

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