Well, we finally did it. The weekend after Thanksgiving, we packed up the house and moved about 50 miles north, to Berwick, Maine. It's a rental - we decided that it would be better to try out the area and the type of house before committing to a purchase. Our new home is a old farmhouse, built in about 1880. There's a huge barn, and it's sited on 13 acres. We're right off a busy road, which is good for now but something we'll try to avoid when we buy.
But boy, does this house have character! I've never lived in a house this old and while I loved the idea, I wasn't sure how much I'd like it in practice. It's only been a month, but so far I love it! The kids think it's fantastic, too. They love the double stairs, the little nooks and crannies, and they can't wait for the spring so they can explore the property more. For right now, they're having fun sledding down the hill right next to the driveway.
One of the very first things we did was get our Christmas tree. Traditionally, we decorate for Christmas during Thanksgiving weekend, and I didn't want to let our move shorten our holiday season. We compromised by going to a local tree stand and choosing a pre-cut tree - poor Doug was too exhausted and sore from moving everything.
You can see the wide plank floors in that shot. They're throughout the house, but covered up in some of the rooms. They're exposed in the living room, master bedroom, the landing off of the littles' room, and the boys' bedroom. In the living room, you can see through to the basement between some of the boards. The living room floor is pretty beat up, but the floors in the bedrooms are shiny and so smooth to walk on. Here's a close-up from the living room:
While we're at it, let's look at some other Christmas decorating. I'd always wanted a staircase that I could put a garland on, and here we have one! Unfortunately, Niall loves picking the berries off of it. I find them throughout the house.
We put a tiny, very cheap, fake Christmas tree on the landing outside of the bedroom that Fiona and Niall share. It's actually a pretty big space, and we have all the toy kitchen stuff set up there. It works well because all of Fiona's dolls and their dress-ups are in their bedroom. Anyway, we got the little star and the skirt from Target, and picked up their Disney ornament advent 'calendar'. The ornaments are little tins with Disney characters on them, and we filled them with candy to share each night. The door in the picture is the walk-up attic. Love it so much more than our old attic with its creaky ladder.
Here's a quick picture of Niall's bed. They both have a lot more blankets on their beds now, as the room is pretty cool. The thermostat is in our room which is always warm, and I think between that and the (poorly insulated?) skylight and being tucked under the eaves makes for a chilly room. The first night we were tucking them into bed, Fiona was checking out the walls.. she said, "Mom, why is the ceiling dripping?" I guess it does look like the ceiling is dripping down onto the walls.
The house has got all these cool, old touches, like this doorknobs throughout. I wish our landlord (or whoever) had been a little more careful when painting, but oh well.
And next to the kitchen door is this old timer. The property used to be a working farm, complete with a spot-light-lit sign out front. We think this old timer went to those lights. For now, we just set our keys on top of it.
It's pretty funny.. if you Google our address, you find old photos of people having sleigh rides here and stuff. The barn is cool but kind of depressing. The stalls still have names over them, and it makes me wonder about the people (and animals) who lived here before. There's no escaping the history of this house. Here's the view from the window above our kitchen sink:
We're still settling in and getting used to the area, but so far we love it. It's a little hard on us only having one car because during the week, we're either stuck at home or stuck back in Massachusetts if we drive Doug to work. I'm really looking forward to getting to explore the area more, though.