Weekends at Cowan's Gap

Monday, July 31, 2017

We've had this little getaway to Cowan's Gap in Pennsylvania planned for months, but man I tell you, it could not have come at a better time. Things have been pretty chaotic for us over the last few weeks between preparing to sell our house, dealing with insurance claims for stupid things like car accidents (we're fine) and trees falling on our house (it's fine too), and the overall stress of the busy seasons of life. By the time we made it to Wednesday night, we were so ready to escape and leave our worries behind for a few days. As we passed over the state line and into the mountains, we both breathed a sigh of relief knowing that at least for the long weekend, everything was on hold. This was also Archie's first camping trip, so we were eager to introduce him to the outdoor life we love. I made a point to document it as best I could and get a little more practice in with my 50mm.

Camping trips in the mountains are the types of vacations we live for. The ones where you take two naps a day, eat your weight in s'mores, hike it off among scenic mountain views, lounge around a crackling campfire after dinner, and then fall asleep to the sound of rain drops tapping the roof of your tent.

I love losing cell service. I love not wearing makeup. I love not having schedules to stress over and most of the time not even knowing what time it is, except for the height of the sun in the sky above me. I love campfire smoke.  I love how its smell clings to my clothes and the way it looks filtering the rays of early morning light. I love waking up to hot coffee in our blue enamel pot, with birds chirping and a light breeze blowing, and hellos and good mornings from temporary neighbors as they pass. I love long lake swims in the afternoon and picnic lunches under shade of the trees along the shore. I love the mist that rolls in over the water at night and the million and one stars it reveals when it lifts.

There's so much I love about camping. So much I love about nature. There's something about the mountain air that makes me feel grounded and more connected to myself than I've ever been and I am so lucky to be married to a man who feels the same. Here's hoping we can bring this feeling back with us into the week ahead and replace some of the the craziness with calm.

"And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul."

We bought a house!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

So, we've been keeping a little secret for a few months now but things are starting to get official and we finally feel like we can spill the beans. We bought a house today!

Well, we sort of bought a house today. In reality, we signed a sales contract. Right now, no house exists since it's a new construction home, but in about six months if everything goes smoothly, we'll actually have a new home!

Back in November, Mike got a nice new job down in southern Maryland. And when I say southern Maryland I mean waaayyy southern Maryland. Like more-than-an-hour-commute southern Maryland. As soon as he accepted the job, we started looking for houses and trying to find a living situation that would make his commute easier since he drives more than sixty miles to work every day.

So last fall we called up our awesome realtor Joe Bird and got to work. (Side note: seriously guys, if you're looking for realtor, call Joe, he's the best, hands down!)

What we didn't realize is that inventory is really low in the market right now and the few houses that are for sale are flying off the market left and right. Often times there are three or four offers on a home just days after it hits the market. This made everything really tough for us because of the timing. Since we are trying to finish renovating our basement so that we can sell our existing home, we needed more time than normal, but if we wait until we sell our house to start looking, chances are we aren't going to have a place to live for a while. Needless to say, this put us in a tight spot.

On top of all that, the area in which we were looking for homes was much more rural and houses in our price range just didn't exist. We could either buy a trailer or a 2 million dollar estate. There was really not much in between.

So last weekend, we made the decision to start looking for new developments closer to where we live currently. While Mike's commute won't change, at least neither will the rest of our lifestyle. We will still have the same support system here with all of our family and friends close by, my commute won't get longer or more difficult like it would if we moved south, and there are tons of homes around here that fit our needs. The good news is that even with this change, Mike has little to no traffic and he has a flexible schedule that allows him to work from home frequently. We also plan to upgrade his vehicle after we buy the house so that he can be much more comfortable than he is now in his stick shift.

After weighing all the options, we started looking. And after only two days, we found our dream home in our dream community. As we talked with the builder's agent about all the options and everything just sort of fell into place, we realized it was a total no brainer!

The beauty of a new construction is that it gives us time to finish the basement and get the house on the market too! It's going to be sad leaving our little house that we've worked so hard to make a home, but we are so eager to start this new chapter in our lives. We truthfully couldn't be more excited!

Let the countdown begin!