Update: Three Weeks in to Life in Our New City
This has been the hardest week for us since we left LA three-and-a-half weeks ago. The road trip was fine. Moving in with the help of an organizing team, while staying at The Four Seasons Austin? Outstanding.
But painting? Oh my. We were so naive about what it takes to paint an entire house inside and out and hadn't even really given thought to where all the "stuff" would go. Which is fine when you're not also considering how to make everyone's school lunches and can't find the dog food. As I write, there is not currently a single space in our downstairs that isn't cluttered with a maze of our own stuff.
BUT. I came across a little Pinterest inspiration this morning that seemed to be just sitting there waiting for me. It said to shift your mind from I have to's to I get to's.
So. I was thinking "I have to have the house painted, so we just have to push through".
And I'm reframing that to "I get to paint the house, so we will have to just push through".
I get to paint this house. It's going to be so beautiful. We prioritized this as the top thing in our house budget. It's (going to be) my dream house, and I have the opportunity to see my vision come to fruition.
Speaking of our new house, it was built in 1990 and has seen its share of design confusion and shoddy work. It's a well-built home, but over time, the former owner turned this traditional southern colonial into a hodgepodge with red wallpaper and Japanese inspired everything. Additionally, the master bathtub was removed at some point, and a makeshift wine room was thrown into a giant pantry. I mean, that would have been great for us, except we saw there was black mold on the surface and we knew we had to have some of it replaced. Turns out, the black mold was actually seeping into every wall of the room so we started construction on it immediately and are opening it up into a big mudroom for the kids.
So if I seem like I've been out of commision, it's because, well, I have been a bit. We're almost there though. And seeing our kids have the freedom to explore the grounds and see a family of deer for the first time? It's all worth it.
Here are 10 thoughts from me this week, what's going on with us, etc., etc.
10 thoughts for this week
1) I always think twice before writing about the cost of things, but the most common question we get about the move is "Are you getting so much more than in LA?" We actually purchased our new house for about the same price as our last LA house. The comparison would be like this:
- 4K square feet in Studio City (LA) versus 5,200 square feet in Austin (three miles from downtown)
- 6K square foot lot in the San Fernando Valley of LA versus about an acre three miles outside of Austin.
- Property tax is about the same, but the public school system in the area we're in is extremely highly rated. Oh yeah, and there's no state income tax.
2) Our new neighbors have a little boy in Sterling's kindergarten class! I mean. Having a closeby community is a HUGE part of why we moved, and it's really a beautiful thing. And they've already had us over for dinner and swimming. You guys. I could cry. We feel very welcomed.
3) Someone asked me a few days ago if I miss my LA friends and I think because we've been so underslept and busy, it hasn't quite sunk in. Jen has said a few times she keeps thinking we're coming back from a long vacation and just a few weeks in, it does sort of feel like that. But three of my girlfriends are coming to visit in October and my aunt and cousin are coming in November, and we're going back "home" in December. So. Truth is. It still feels a bit like we're on a (really tiring) vacation. I do miss my friends and the level of comfort there is irreplaceable. Visitors would be welcomed and given wine and coffee and love!
4). Shepherd started preschool! Another new Austin friend sent me the most beautiful email and labeled all-of-your-children-entering-school as "Mommy Nirvana". After eight years of being a stay-at-home mom, I was ready for him to go to school a bit. And he was ready, ready, ready to go. And I'm about to start learning to:
- Relax. I'm terrible at this but I want it so badly. I'm having two big swing beds installed on the second story porch and I'm going to start reading real books, on those beds, with my iced tea and I might even take a little nap. Regularly. Ha!
- Write during the day. I upkeep my Instagram and blog in the evenings because Shep is the kinda kid that needs 100 percent of your attention or he will [insert literally anything here]. When the kids are home, we always have things after school and I like to give them my (mostly) full attention.
- Eat healthy foods. Start cooking and hosting again. Go to Yoga. Meditate. And just take really, really good care of myself. I love all of these things and haven't had the time. I am so looking forward to getting back to myself a bit.
5) I've been a little more anxious these past few weeks. It doesn't come up often in conversation, but I feel like people are always surprised to hear that I have anxiety. Like, sometimes my anxiety has anxiety. And sometimes I'm totally free of it. I'm working on it because I know I can get to a place of letting it all go.
I have so much more to say on that but am out of time before school pickup and it really deserves it's own article. <3
6) Um, Austin has beautiful breweries that look a little like California wine country! Paso, specifically. We loved Vista and how kid friendly it was, with playgrounds, swings, and games.
7) The mosquitos are relentless here! We've given up on the organic bug spray and are onto the OFF! because even Shep has little itchy bite marks on his leggies.
8) Our master bedroom is downstairs and the kid's room and guest rooms are upstairs. I didn't think I'd like that, but man, I think I do! Eventually, when we have fully recovered from the paint and the mold and whatever else we uncover here, we plan to renovate the master suite, but for now, I am so okay with our quiet little corner of the house, overlooking the pool and yard.
9) I think Matt and I are going to use our "lunch break" from house stuff and Little Stay stuff to go paddle boarding just the two of us next week. Eep! I love all of that. I like to work hard and am working on learning to relax and let go a bit, too. We have the opportunity to do this with our lifestyle in Austin now, so I think I need to give myself some grace where I would have felt guilt, and just go hit the lake for an hour!
10) I was going to wait to show you the before and after of the outside of the house until I had our cute lil' swing beds up and after I had a chance to make a trip to the garden store, but I'm so excited about it, I couldn't wait!
Before we painted the exterior, a new friend here in Austin let me know that traditional southern homes have "haint blue" ceilings. Tradition says it was to ward of ghosts, so who am I to eff with tradition? I just LOVE how the blue pops with the white! We even did the sunroom ceiling in "haint" blue. Thanks, Diana!
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