July 1st was Move In Day. We filled up on waffles and coffee for breakfast and then drove to the Charlais neighborhood to get the keys to our new home.
Our woodland cottage is adorable! It sits on a cul-de-sac that backs up to a greenway with a bike trail, community garden, and playground within just a few hundred feet of our back gate. From the upstairs nursery window, I can see little Hobbits working in The Shire’s garden. Okay, so it just feels like a magical fairyland haven where everyone is friendly and everything grows green.
Not having seen our rental in person, we were excited to tour it for the first time. The Portland real estate market is pretty cutthroat, so we jumped on this house the minute it was put on the market.
This is my first time ever to live in a two story home. We have 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and a bonus room over the garage. Because access to the bonus room is through the master, it’s a perfect location for Stephen’s at-home office. He can be secluded up there while the kids and I have the run of the entire rest of the house.
We walked into the house and immediately noted that it was dated and scruffy inside. I’m good with scruffy. It takes off the pressure to keep things pristine with our three little munchkins (aka hooligans) running around.
Jon, Ryan, and Stephen unloaded the truck while I directed traffic, unpacked the kitchen, and tried to keep Brynn out of the way. Eventually Jon took the boys outside to explore the backyard and greenway. Our backyard has a patio, seven large trees, a shed, and raised garden beds. Silas and Cooper loved “helping” Uncle Jon pick blackberries and find amber sap deposits on our backyard cherry tree.
Jon got ambitious enough later in the weekend to plant some veggies for us in the raised garden beds. I had my own little Hobbits in my back yard.
The movers we hired finally showed up and helped take the heaviest items upstairs. We spent the rest of the weekend unloading, unpacking, buying a new-to-us washer and dryer, assembling new pantry shelves, arranging furniture, you get the picture. Our poor aching bodies could hardly crawl out of bed each morning.
Ryan had to leave Saturday morning, and we were sad to see him go. What a grand gesture of friendship to fly all the way up here simply to help us move in! He was a huge help because he wasn’t tired out from four days on the road like the rest of us.
We were a bit dazed with all the neighborliness. On the first weekend we knew everyone’s name, had met nearly every member of the six households on the cul-de-sac, and even shared a 4th of July cookout and private firework display. I’m having to learn how to be a neighbor! The kids don’t know what to do with their newfound freedom of having a backyard interesting enough to play in, friends next door, and a cul-de-sac where they can ride bikes and scooters. It feels like we’ve landed in a Norman Rockwell painting with all things Americana painting the landscape.
This new experience just got lovelier when we joined our Charlais Community Network’s annual 4th of July parade and party. I decorated Silas’s scooter, Cooper’s bike, and the wagon for Brynn. The morning of the 4th, there was free breakfast in the park and a patriotic bike parade through the neighborhood which ended at the free party in the park. Stephen and I felt like impostors who had been whisked away to Mayberry, NC. I half expected to see Barney Fife directing the parade traffic.We enjoyed a clown show, hot dogs and cotton candy. Then ducked back through the gate to our woodland cottage that we can’t believe is now home.