Ten Years

Today is the 10th anniversary of the day we closed on and got the keys to our house!


It is almost impossible for me to believe that it’s been that long…there are days when I walk downstairs, and I still catch a whiff of that “new house” smell. But 10 years it’s been, and a great 10 years at that!

So much has happened since we moved in here. Five of us moved in that day (although Ladybug was already a stowaway), and we had so much less stuff. The house seemed huge after living in cramped apartments. And my very own laundry room! I still stop and marvel over that occasionally.

Of course, things do change over the course of 10 years. There are now two more people living in this house than the day we moved in…and yet, I can’t really remember what it was like before Ladybug, and then Chickadee, joined our family. And we have so much more stuff. More furniture, more clothes, more shoes, more books…so many more books. Homeschooling wasn’t even on our radar back then, and yet today, an entire room of our home is dedicated to it!

There have been so many happy days…and a few sad ones, as well. So many holidays and birthdays celebrated here. So many guests we have welcomed into our home. So much music and laughter that has echoed off the walls. When we moved in, I told Ryan that he could bury me in the backyard someday, and I still feel that way. While I sometimes wish our house was a little bigger, had another bathroom, or was located a little more conveniently to this location or that, there is still no place I’d rather be after all these years!

Of course, I had the perfect skirt to wear for the occasion…one featuring houses! And I wore this very denim shrug the day we closed on the house…it’s probably the oldest piece in my wardrobe that’s still in regular use!

Since it’s our house’s “birthday,” we had to have a family feast. I don’t remember the very first meal I made here, but Turkey and I both remember one of the earliest dinners prepared in our kitchen…slow-cooked beef and mushrooms served over buttered egg noodles. I remember it because, as I was pregnant with Ladybug at the time, I didn’t get to enjoy it due to “morning” sickness, and instead went and laid down on an air mattress in our den, surrounded by boxes that still needed to be unpacked. I don’t know why Turkey remembers it, because he didn’t even like it much back then, but it’s a popular meal now, so we enjoyed having it for dinner today. Since I cooked the beef in Boulevard’s Funky Pumpkin beer, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to also try out Funkier Pumpkin, which was delicious with the meal. I also added the children’s two favorite vegetables, roast carrots and brussels sprouts, to the menu.


Of course, no Markel family  birthday celebration is complete without a cake, so I looked back and found the first dessert recipe I published on my blog (that didn’t include nuts), and made that. The children insisted we get some candles for the occasion, as well.

We’ve had a great decade in this house, and I look forward to many more…happy birthday, house!


The Cost of a Bookshelf

The weekend of January 8th, I had a modest goal…take down the Christmas tree. And I got it done on Friday, the 8th. I was very happy when I went to bed that Friday night, thinking I had met my one and only goal for the whole weekend, and I would have the rest of the weekend free and clear to relax after the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

You know the saying “Man plans, God laughs?”

That Saturday, I decided to put together a bookshelf that we had waiting in a box in the den. It had been waiting for the aforementioned tree to be put away, because I knew there would be some mild furniture rearranging involved. So I got to work. And as I worked, Ryan and I began talking. Talking about that room…the front room in our house, which we call the den, but has functioned primarily as his office since he began working from home over six years ago. We threw around a lot of ideas about how to position things in the room, but we kept coming back to one point…his work equipment was the part of the room that didn’t fit.

Refinishing our basement is just not an option right now. So, we turned to the upstairs. What if we took our guest room/library, and turned that into his office? What if we put a sofa bed in the den, and let that function as our guest room when we had guests? And what if we moved all the bookshelves into our school room? So, off to Ashley Furniture I went (with Turkey), to see if we could even find furniture we could afford that would suit our purposes. Oh, and while I was there, why didn’t I just look for new furniture for our living room, too, since the couch we’d taken to referring to as the “green monster” wasn’t really working for us anymore, and our recliners, while still comfortable, were in kind of sad shape?

It didn’t take long in the store to find the perfect sleeper sofa (and a matching chair!), plus a full-length reclining sofa for the living room, and a matching reclining sofa with a center console. The next day, after church, the whole family went back to the store, and it was decided…that was the furniture for us! And then the furniture rearranging and other work began in earnest.

What was the final count, all the result of one bookshelf?

  • A sleeper sofa
  • Matching chair
  • Reclining sofa
  • Reclining sofa with center console
  • Poster frame (for the Doctor Who print we had purchased a year ago for the den)
  • One area rug (to go with the new furniture in the den)
  • One accent rug (to go by the front door)
  • Light fixture (for Ryan’s new office)
  • Paint and primer (for Ryan’s new office, and the children’s bathroom, while we were at it)
  • Electrical work (also for the office)
  • Drywall work (to fix up the remnants of the electrical work)
  • Large item trash pick-up (which was long overdue, even before the “green monster” went out)
  • New curtains for Ryan’s office (and a curtain rod)
  • Other incidentals
  • Hours of labor moving furniture up and down stairs and within rooms (the still comfortable recliners found a new home in our master bedroom, the queen-size guest bed became Turkey’s, and his old bed went to Chickadee…oh, and the old den sofa went up to Ryan’s new office)

If I had known how much work one bookshelf would have involved, I never would have gotten started. I am very glad that other than the “green monster” and an old rickety desk, we didn’t throw away any furniture we had been currently using…we just found new homes for it. We’re still not quite finished, but I have to admit, everything is looking good, and it’s definitely nice to have the first room guests to our home walk into look a little more open and inviting, and a little less like an office! It will be a long time before I agree to do any more home improvements, though!