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Posts Tagged ‘fall’

A year ago we went under contract on our house and were doing things like paperwork, home inspections, and furiously packing. Now, eleven months into living in our new home, we’ve moved on to completely ripping apart our prized investment, but hopefully for a good cause.
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Happy Labor Day, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your last official hoorah of summer. Bart and I debated what to do over the long weekend…should we go somewhere and do something exciting, or should we work to finish one of our ongoing projects at home? Eventually we decided to tackle a new project, replacing a light fixture downstairs. Four days, five sheets of drywall, a trip to Ikea, multiple gallons of joint compound, and a pile of demolition debris later, we still haven’t quite gotten our new light fixture installed.

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It’s been ten months since we moved into our house, and we are very close to having experienced a full cycle of seasons at our home. I think it’s fascinating to see the yard progress through the year for the first time; each season is a surprise of blooming plants, changing leaves, and curious wildlife. It isn’t fall yet, but summer is winding down and hints of an upcoming new season are upon us.
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Waking up at 5:00 a.m. to go to work on your birthday isn’t necessarily what I would wish for every year; however, I guess my early commuting schedule means that I get to enjoy more hours of my birthday today. Although I distinctly remember achieving a similar effect in college by staying up until after midnight the day before.

For the second year in a row, my birthday has coincided with moving, and while Bart and I have tried hard to not let it fall by the wayside, it has inevitably gone a slightly different direction than usual. Last year, I did have my bi-annual costume birthday party, albeit amid moving boxes, as a final farewell to all our friends in Colorado. This year, I didn’t have anything particularly spectacular planned, however, in typical Taylor fashion, we essentially celebrated my birthday all weekend up through Monday. On Friday, I took an evening off from unpacking to attend the annual banquet for the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center. The event featured guest speaker Pam Tebow, who is a wonderfully sweet and sincere woman. Her son’s fame has given her an unexpected platform to speak in the last few years, so I was thankful for the opportunity to hear her story.

On Saturday, we had to run a few errands in the morning and plowed through a few boxes at home, but we did find time for some fun diversions. In the afternoon, we took an hour or two and drove a little ways out of town to look at leaves. The fall foliage hasn’t arrived in force in the DC area just yet, but I think that next weekend will be the peak here. Despite the lack of fall color, we had a great trip off the beaten path, explored some new areas, and even found a neat regional park we want to come back to later.

Sunday evening, my friend from work and her husband came over to see the new house. We’re excited to live a lot closer to our small yet growing circle of friends now, and this couple lives just a few miles from us. We went out to dinner in Shirlington and came back to the house for birthday cake.

Yes, what birthday is complete without birthday cake? I decided to try a new spice cake recipe in my Wolf oven. The recipe called for baking 50-55 minutes, but I took the cake out after 30 minutes and decided that I might have even overbaked it for a couple of minutes. I’m starting to be a believer in this convection oven thing. Regardless, the cake was still delicious. And yes, we may have already eaten two-thirds of it.

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Yes, it’s over half gone. Gotta get it done before the birthday is over.

And because (some of) you asked for it, here’s another piece of Cake for my birthday.

Yesterday, when Bart and I were driving to church, I noticed some strange rocks sliding out from under my car seat.

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I couldn’t figure out what they came from and decided it must have been something I put in my car during the move, even though I was certain we didn’t own rocks. Bart gathered them all up and took them inside, and I totally forgot about them until I came into the kitchen this morning to find not only the rocks but the amaryllis bulb and vase to which they belong.
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Evidently he bought the vase a couple of days ago, and they accidentally spilled in the car on the way home. He thought his cover was blown, but he played it cool and, in true Jennifer fashion, I was oblivious. I’m semi-obsessed with plants that grow from bulbs, so I am very excited about watching my amaryllis grow over the holidays. What a thoughtful birthday gift from Bart, who fretted that my birthday wouldn’t feel special since life was so hectic the last two weeks. Well, I guess those fears were unfounded, as it’s been as good of a two weeks as a girl could ask for.

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As of this weekend, the Taylors have officially relocated.

While I was at work on Friday, Bart and my parents went over to clean the new house and get it ready for moving in. I ended up leaving work a bit early to finish up some last-minute packing on the other end.

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No matter how much you think you pack in advance, there’s always way more left at the very end than you expect. But after cooking dinner on Friday night, mom and dad washed and packed the last kitchen items while Bart and I sold our old vacuum cleaner to a couple from the area (first successful local Craigslist sale!). Then it was just a matter of packing bedding and toiletries last-minute in the morning.

Saturday morning we got the moving truck. There was a bit of uncertainty right off the bat, as they didn’t have the larger truck we had reserved. We compromised by getting a smaller truck and making two trips (which we probably would have had to do anyway), plus the smaller truck was easier to get around. The lady at the rental place was nice about it and helped us out on the mileage charges. With the online discounts I found with our reservation and the break on mileage, our move cost just over $100. That’s amazing! We’re so thankful for that working out Providentially in a better way than we had planned.

We had some friends from church help us with the loading and unloading, and between the six of us, we were able to make two trips and move 98% of our stuff all on Saturday. I don’t think any of us anticipated getting that far, but it’s amazing how much faster you can move with six people instead of just two. We even got settled enough that we sat down to share our first meal in the new house together: delivered pizza on real plates around our actual dining table. We’re totally indebted to my parents and to Jerry and Tracy for their help.

Now life is totally disorganized and chaotic, but we’re slowly piecing things back together in the new place. It’s a bit trickier because the kitchen, bedrooms, and bedroom closets are a lot smaller than we’ve previously had, so it takes more thought and creativity to figure out where to put everything. The best course of action seems to be stashing things wherever we can find a place for them and slowly finding the optimal organization as we live in the house for a little while. In the meantime, as long as we can cook and I can get dressed for work, I think we’re doing pretty well.

So, this is what our basement rec room looks like as of Day One:

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So many boxes….but eventually Bart’s office will be set up here. He still has a couple of days off, so he should have a functional work area by then.

We also have enough stuff unpacked in the kitchen that we were able to pick up a few groceries yesterday and cook dinner there last night. While we’ve tried to cook as much as possible instead of eating out every single meal, grabbing something convenient when your entire kitchen is packed is inevitable, and I haven’t been eating as well as I normally do.

In addition to unpacking, we’ve already jumped into routine housekeeping activities. Namely, I’ve already swept a metric ton of leaves off the front porch and our ridiculously huge back deck. We practically live in a forest, so moving in the middle of fall is not giving us any misleading expectations about how things are going to be around here. And this photo was after I’d already swept off the other half of the deck.

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You can barely see him, but Murphy was on the deck helping me. He was almost totally inconsolable during the move; he knew something big was up, and when we closed him in the basement of the old house to keep him from under our feet while we loaded the truck, he whined the ENTIRE time. Finally, when it was time for him to make the big move, he was so ridiculously excited. Poor little guy; he had no idea what was going on, and I’m sure part of him feared we were going to up and leave him. But of course we would never do that! He was so tired from being so wound up that he passed out in the car when I finally took him over there.

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I think he really loves the new place. It didn’t take him long at all to seem adjusted. I wish I could take everything in stride like dogs do; moving was just no big deal to him, as long as he is with us. He particularly enjoys his new backyard; it’s large and full of little nooks and crannies to explore. We’ve also discovered that we have big dogs living on both sides of us….just awesome. :p Oh well; those dogs bark, our dog barks, everybody’s dog barks. I will just not feel bad about it. Heck, maybe Murphy can learn to be friends with them…maybe.

So, all the Taylors are learning to adjust to their new surroundings. It’ll take a while to really get settled in, but it doesn’t take too long to get comfortable enough for normal life to pick back up. I can’t wait for the unpacking to end and the housewarming to begin.

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September ushers in my favorite two months of the year. The crispness and change of Fall is topped off by the awesomeness of my birthday in October. The last few years, I haven’t loved fall as much due to dreading the cold of winter, but it seems silly to me to continue to ruin a lovely time of year by thinking about the future instead of enjoying the present. If anything, I should enjoy fall even more this year, as winter isn’t (theoretically) as harsh in the Middle Atlantic as it is in Colorado. (In truth, the cutting wind and cloudiness of a humid, eastern winter is more depressing than the crisp sunny days punctuated by feet of snow out west…but let’s try to remain optimistic here ;))

As with August, I couldn’t really come up with a good monthly challenge for September, so I guess I’ll just take it as it comes and ponder a worthy goal for October. I had proposed striving for purchasing a house as a goal for last month, but, as you know, that didn’t exactly work out. Maybe this month will be a winner?

Bart and I unofficially closed out summer and ushered in September with a pretty laid back three-day weekend. We did some chores, looked at a couple of houses, did a little shopping, went to church, and relaxed. We did the obligatory grilling for Labor Day, but I put a little twist on it by making pesto stuffed chicken breast. I just made up the pesto recipe as I went along: I used basil, spinach, asiago cheese, olive oil, and garlic as my base, and I added a little diced tomato to top it off.

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I cut some slits in two larger breasts and stuffed them with the mixture and closed with toothpicks. That worked alright, but I imagine there’s a better way to do it. I did get a little leakage, which is probably inevitable.

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Bart did a great job of cooking them up on the Big Green Egg, and I tossed together some potato salad for a side. I’m not a typical potato salad kind of person, so my version is really just boiled, diced potatoes with vinaigrette dressing. I even incorporated one finely diced celery stalk for a little crunch (I’m not a celery person, so that’s totally going out on a limb for me). So our Labor Day cook-out-with-a-twist turned out yummy and was a nice way to close out the long weekend.

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