July 09, 2010

Village Life - Take 1 or How Jen Got Her Groove Back

We've finished our first month in the Village. The first weeks were spent adjusting to the change and letting go of our old lives. Every night for a week after we closed on our house I had dreams that we would sneak in during the day while the new owners were at work and they would come home early and catch us and make us leave. You don't have to be Freud to analyze that one.

Fast forward 1 month. We're really embracing the lifestyle. We walk everywhere. I've hardly used any gas since we moved here. Life seems simpler. Maddie got a new job in the Village that she can even walk to. I said can, not will. Emma made a new friend whose grandmother lives next door.

I try to stay real with you guys. We've all visited blogs that present their lives in such a way as to make you think they are magazine perfect. While I find them lovely to look at, that's not how I roll.

A lot of you have told me that you've been encouraged by our move, to make your own life changes. I would not discourage you from doing that ever, but I want you to know that it's not all rainbows and butterflies. There are hard things. But...it's all been worth it. I want to update you about how we are adapting to show you our reality. 

The not so good:
-Our yard alternates between crabgrass, weeds and dirt. It's hard to grow anything under all these trees and on top of that the yard has been neglected for 3 years
-The lack of decent appliances
-The upstairs gets uncomfortably warm in the afternoons in the summer heat
-Bugs...I've never seen or killed so many bugs/spiders in my life. Another result of the house being empty for 3 years?
-The house being so close to the road and these thin old walls
-Stained wood trim everywhere
-Lack of storage
-Few cabinets and little counter space
-The lack of outlets
-I miss my old house
-I miss my old neighbors
-Sometimes I feel guilty for making this change when we could have played it safe and stayed where we were
-Spending so much money eating out because it's so hard to resist and so convenient
-Renting is hard when you've been a homeowner since you were 21
The good:
-The kitchen is light and bright and our additions are making it work pretty well for us
-It turns out I like hand washing dishes (shhh)
-The front porch
-The back porch
-Emma having a playroom
-Maddie having so much space and privacy being upstairs by herself
-My reading corner
-The Farmer's Market
-Saturday morning scones at the Coffee shop
-Pulling our wagon to the library several times a week
-Playing lacrosse in the park
-Walking with our friends to the playground
-Exploring all of the nature within walking distance
-Our favorite shops and restaurants are just steps from our door
-All of the trees lining the streets and filling the parks
-So many friendly people
-I'm glad to be away from the prevailing attitude of "Keeping up with the Jones'" in our old town
-The value of the houses in our old neighborhood have dropped again since we sold and we would not have been able to make this change if we had waited any longer to sell our house
-Something is always going on in our little town
-No longer living our lives wondering what if

I ended with the Good List because that's what I want to focus on when all is said and done.

I promise to have some pictures for you of our cottage very soon. I feel like I'm finally starting to get back to normal. By the way, I loved hearing about what you guys are cooking. I was very inspired. Wanna do that again some time?


  1. and the good list is longer than the bad list...i like your style and your honesty...

  2. Could it just be that it's an older house with more nooks and crannies for the spiders and crawly things to get into?

    We moved into a 70s ranch-style last year and since then it's regular to have little spiders and stuff. Being in Florida bugs are not exactly a surprise but the frequency makes me think it's chinks in the house or the ancient duct-work that is contributing.

    And it took us several months reclaim our front and back yards from the dollar weed and dandelions--the backyard looked like a forest when we got there!

    Glad to see your good list is so full :)

  3. This really struck a cord with me, I have been want ing to get into a small town for years....but my husband's job kind of curtails that....but I can always dream and there is retirement someday....right? Sandy

  4. The good list is a GOOD list and sounds wonderful to me. Thanks for keeping it real. I've been where you are and you tell the truth.

  5. Anytime you make such a huge life change it takes a little while to adapt, but you already are and that's a good thing! When we moved from our nice big house in a neighborhood, to this small, no storage, place that had a barbie dream kitchen and yucky old carpets I wonder "what the heck were you thinking?!" But now, 3 years later (an we own so have made major changes) when I walk down the private lane or see an eagle flying overhead, or can paddle out to watch the fireworks, I never even look back to what we left! It was good while we were there, and it was the right place for us at the time, but this is where we belong right now...and who knows what tomorrow will bring!

    Kat :)

  6. Change is always hard...even if it's a good change. And what you'll learn from this experience is so much greater than if you never went for it in the first place. I moved to Florida from TN right after college and three years ago, moved back to TN from FL. It was something I wanted to do and set my sights to do so, but even though I want to be here and am glad I moved, sometimes I miss living in the warm sunshine and being close to the beach that I wonder why in the world did I move in the first place. But in the end, I'll always be glad I did. Thank you so much for keeping it real and I look forward to reading more of your journey in the village.

    Oh, and as someone who lives in an old house, close to the road, I did get used to the street noise and weirdly, I kind of like it now.

  7. Jen, I keep coming back because I can relate to what you are going through on so many levels. While I have always wanted to live in an old house, actually doing so does require sacrafice (especially if you are renting)...while I love my creeky floors, sizable moldings, charm and character - I sometimes miss new plumbing, even heating, closets and bigger bedrooms all things that my new houses had! It comes down to the quality of life you have gained and becomes much less about the actual structure where you live.

  8. Dear Jen,
    I am so happy to hear things are improving each day and that the good list is growing.
    I have lived in two new houses and two old houses. I hear you about the outlets, bugs, counter space, etc. in old houses. Lots of times we have a love/hate relationship with them especially if we are on a budget and just can't walk in and completely redo them.
    Thanks for keeping it real - most of us "live" in the real world. LOL

  9. Thanks so much for sharing and keeping it honest. We are heading in the same path as you...thinking of selling the home to move and rent. I can't wait to see the pictures and keep updated on your life.

  10. Great good list. There are "not so good" with EVERYTHING in life. Smart to stay focused on the good - positive thinking is much more advantageous. We have an old house and wonder "why did we do this?" quite often. That's life.

  11. Jen,

    It sounds like an overall positive move...I'm looking forward to the pictures.

  12. This was such a great post to read. We moved to the country from Melbourne, Australia, about five years ago. Although i love to visit the city it's been such a good move in so many ways. LIke you there are down sides, secondary school is one of them, lack of options etc, but oh how I love to be in the fresh air, with friendly people in a supportive community. My kids go to a small country school where they know everyone and are valued for who they are. We have ducks, chooks and a vegie patch and great neighbours. Yay! I can't wait to hear more about your new life, and see some photo's too xo

  13. It sounds like you are adjusting quite nicely. Sometimes hard changes are the BEST changes.


  14. Well, if you know what's good for you, you're in cooking up some lemon bars!

    I loved your Keepin It Real list, JJ. You are sure to bloom where you are planted. I have SO much faith in you!!! And I'm so proud of you, too.

  15. I had missed the part about WHY you moved....so this is new to me.
    But we too made a BIG move about 11 years ago...from Indiana to Texas..because our ONLY THREE granchildren were here..
    NOW they are grown, and moved away on their own... to other towns.
    And we somtimes wonder about our choice to move.
    BUT on the positive side...we LOVE our house here..( and it's paid for ) Also we live close to our daughter and that is a good thing.
    We STILL miss our old and dear friends in Indiana....but have made some nice ones here too.
    The Antiquing here in Texas is not as consistantly as good as it was up NORTH.
    We do LOVE the WINTERS here MUCH better however.
    So I guess what I am saying, we had to adjust..and you seem to be doing that much faster than we did.

    CONGRATULATIONS...and best of luck in your contiuing to adjust to you new home.


  16. I'd walk everywhere, if I had a little red wagon I could pull.

  17. No doubt about it, change is hard, even when it is change that we choose! Your attitude is the right one to allow you to thrive though, and your good list sounds pretty darn good! Add to that the fact that you sold your home before it went down in price again and I would say you did the right thing. I live on 5 acres in a suburban area and as Hubby and I get older, I dream of a house in town (an old one with a barn!) that wouldn't take somuch yard work and maintenance. Some day I may do what you did, and I know I'll have moments of homesickness and regret at first, but that doesn't stop me from dreaming and I hope it wont stop me from stepping out in faith and trying something new:>)

  18. Such a great "Keeping it Real" list Jen where the Good is longer than the Not so Good :-)And such a cute photo of Emma and her little red wagon filled with groceries :-)

  19. ps- you cannot imagine the bugs, rodents and critters I will encounter moving into a FIELD.......................

  20. I LOVE your lists, good and bad, LOL! Because you are HONEST!!! And you know what? Think of your crabgrass lawn as being out of LAWN JAIL forever!! YAY!
    And ssshhhh I like to handwash too! LOVE YOU!

  21. jen,

    your attitude is wonderful and honest. rooting for you every step of the way and just know that before you know it, the cons list will shrink greatly.

    i have a hunch that fall in the village will be amazing!


  22. JennyLou - did you notice that MOST of the things on your 'bad' list were simple, tangible, fixable things? I'll help you with your yard : < > The spiders are from the lack on inhabitants. They'll dissipate. The photo is FANTASTIC. It's the best photo I've seen in a long time. Ever since our first email about the Village, I've thought of Em taking a wagon to the library, and now, here I see it - wonderful. It made me so happy. Gosh, I think your 'good' list is WONDERFUL. The things you listed were fabulous, 'can't buy that' kinda things, and here you are - walking - enjoying - This post made me very happy - and I too love hand washing dishes. : < >

  23. Thirteen years ago we downsized from a spacious tract house to a small beach cottage built in 1927. Before friends came to see the house, they were aghast that we would move to such a small house. But, the minute they entered our little cottage, sat in our garden and then walked out to watch the sunset, they understood. As you put the "you" in the house and it becomes a home it will be worth the uprooting. And then when you find the right house, I bet you will miss your rental.

    PS- I too like hand washing dishes. Now that it is my husband's chore, we have a state of the art Bosch dishwasher, but I still hand wash sometimes.

  24. Sounds like you are adjusting little by little. We made a big move last November from the south to the north and I am still adjusting. It takes time.

  25. There's a lot to be said for your new kind of life. The thought of being able to be free of cars, reducing the carbon footprint. I love small-town life. I don't live in a small town now, but I loved it when I did. It sounds like you've made the right decision for you and your family. I'm so glad you found this and are embracing the future with optimism. Can't wait to see the cottage!

  26. Ahhhhh life in a small town, we live within walking distance to town too and my kids love to ride their bikes to the library. We live in an old house and so our upstairs is pretty warm during the summer months and especially during the day so we combat this by opening the windows at night and closing them during the day. This lets in the cooler night air and keeps it there for a while. We sometimes keep a fan going up there even with the windows closed. It might help, it's helped us! Everyone is right your good list is GOOD! eventually more of the bad list will be on the good list! Theresa

  27. Change is hard. Sometimes the things we want the most have side effects we weren't prepared for. I love ending with the good list...because that is one incredible good list. We like a lot of the same things and I adore walking everywhere. I also know I would miss things about this home and life if I changed too. I can't wait to see photos of your cottage.

  28. I just spent a great deal of time reading your blog aka neglecting my kiddos! We just moved from a city to semi-suburbs-country. Sold our 1940's cottage to live in a much more updated home so I could really relate to this post.

  29. So good to see that the goods out way the bads in your life. Many blessings in the village and wherever life takes you.

  30. Would love to exchange "what we are cooking now" again soon! I just got back from a family trip (a joyous wedding!), and I'm sooo glad to be home to eat my own food!

    First breakfast back (my usual breakfast!) Homemade lowfat yogurt cheese with fresh blueberries. YUMMY!

    Lunch: Slices of mozzarella cheese with fresh avocado on top.

    Dinner: Hmmm... Filet mignon is fast and easy - with gorgonzola cheese sprinkled on top.

  31. I love the fact that you are keeping it real. Sounds like the positives outweigh the negatives. That's a definite win!

  32. It seems like the good definitely outweighs the bad. Most of it sounds cosmetic and can be changed eventually if you were to buy this house. I would LOVE to be able to walk everywhere...

  33. Spray, spray, spray. Outside, inside, the bugs will eventually learn to keep out! I used to wake up certain there was a spider on the ceiling and made my husband turn on the lights, just to make sure. I eventually started sleeping through the night. I love your honesty...it's great to hear you are trying this for a year. Hang in there.

  34. Changes... I feel ya Jen.

  35. You are so brave to do this move and taking the bad list with it is better than always thinking I wish we would have. Can't wait to see your new temp. home, I'm sure you are making it wonderful for your family.


Thank you for taking the time to say hello today! I always love to hear what you have to say.