New Year, New Digs!

We expect the 2017 to be full of changes for our family! And I wanted to keep y’all in the loop. We’re building a new house!!

The Dream

It all started a couple of months ago now. Dave and I were sitting around dreaming our usual dream of owning a place at the beach. All four of us love Ocean City, MD. This one community we love, in particular, is where we’ve been staying for years, eyeing properties, and even meeting with a realtor to see and tour our options. We go to the beach about three times a year and love it on and off-season. The community we stay in is flat, well maintained and has so many options of things to do for our kids. We love the elevators, one-floor condos and “open concept” living. It’s honestly “easier” to go to the beach than to be at home. Not really, but no steps, a pool and hill-less space for bike riding sure does make you appreciate it. But we just couldn’t bite the bullet. Owning two properties is a big deal. And the ones we’d been eyeing were not cheap. Not at all.

Mule Rides
Now, back to the good ol’ rolling hills of Carroll County that we love. We have always loved taking a mule ride up to this beautiful spot on Dave’s parents’ property. Yes that’s right. A mule ride. You’ve been with me long enough now. You should know we have a mule. We do live in farmland, after all. Here’s a picture…

HAHA!!! Just kiddin’! Sort of. Dave’s family calls their ATV a “mule.” It always confuses new friends. Heck it confused me at the beginning!

Anyway, the mule ride has been a common activity since Ben was about 18 months. It’s fast. It gives fresh air. And it’s fun! We ride around the neighboring farms and then up to this hill overlooking Dave’s parents’ farm to have picnics, fly kites, and enjoy the view.

So peaceful

I don’t know exactly how it all went down, but one warm, fall afternoon we had taken the kids on a ride. It may have even been on the day in the picture right above. We were watching TV that evening while the kids were asleep and discussing “our” place at the beach again. When? How? Should we? It seemed like it would be another 9-12 months before we’d be able to do it. And that’s about 3 years later then when we first discussed the possibility.

Then our conversation flowed into the hill we’d been on earlier. The view. The peace. How Kelsey had been developing, calming down, and enjoying things like picnics and mule rides.

Kelsey smiles the entire time on a mule ride

I think it was me who said that I would almost rather scrap the beach dream and build a house that fit our family better, and then we’d have a place we could enjoy 365 days of the year. Not just 2-3 weeks a year.
Dave jumped on this! He’s dreamed of living up on that hill for years. Seriously. He wants to watch the sunsets. He wants to see the mountains. He wants more land. I always laughed in his face and said ‘No Way!” I didn’t really laugh. I’m not a dream-crusher. But I definitely had NO desire to pack up our 12 years of stuff and move ACROSS THE DRIVEWAY! Ludicrous.

Our new house will be at 1 o’clock in this precious picture from 2008.

Not to mention that our current, home is gorgeous, if I do say so myself. It has a magnificent view and we have worked very hard on it to make it our sweet home.

The view off our deck during Ben’s first snow


Dave not only had dreamed about living up there, but he had also discussed buying some of the land from his dad. And now that I was starting to get on board, he thought we could do it, financially. We kept talking about how great it would be to build a one floor, no steps, open concept, Dream Home for our family. This was just around the time that Ben had hurt his foot for the umpteenth time and we were having to carry his third grade, 60 pound-self upstairs before he got a walking boot.

Another birthday in a boot


Not days earlier, Kelsey had also fallen into our sunken living room while walking with her walker in our kitchen. So the difficulty (and dangerousness) that our house caused on a daily basis was fresh in our minds.  Ben also broke his foot on that step almost a year ago from that time while walking and looking at the iPad instead of in front of his face. I’ve fallen down our stairs a couple times (with both kids in my arms) and so has my mom. Kelsey’s fallen down both sets of stairs. Stairs are not great when you have a disability. Or when you’re a klutz.

So after lots and lots of discussion. We did it! Or we’re doing it…Long story short, Dave’s dad, a great man with a long history of building houses (including the current one we’re living in, all our neighbors’ and many houses in the family) will be our general contractor. Dave’s brother who now owns the family business will frame the house for us. We hope to break ground this month. Pray for warm temps…you know…with the current snow in the forecast.

We are so excited. And nervous. And overwhelmed with the to-do list. A 3,500 square foot house (right, Babe?) with 12 years of tenants, two kids and a dog…we have a lot of stuff.

The New House
In the new house, I am so very excited about the farm sink, the copper (!) metal roof, the mud room and the exposed beams we’re planning. Dave’s excited about the view, the space, the sun-room, and the outdoor kitchen he can now have since we will have a patio instead of a deck. He would love to plant some vines and grow some grapes too. 😜 Oh annnnd if there’s money for it there has even been discussion about a pool! I mean Dream Big or Go Home, right?!

But more than all that, we are both so excited to be lucky enough to be able to build a house that our children will feel free in. Kelsey will be able to get out of the car and use her walker to get inside the house. Then she can walk to her room, the kitchen or living room without needing to crawl or be carried. Ben can go from his room to the playroom to the kitchen without fear of falling down the steps. And God-willing we won’t need this, but we are also planning a design that will allow one (or both) of our children to live with us forever, as adults, if it’s necessary.

The house will be fully, handicap accessible from ramps to doorways to bathtubs. If anyone knows an expert in this field, please let me know. I suspect we will become the experts.  The plans and structure will all be just right for them but I’m thinking about counter heights, push button (entry) doors and the like… I’ll be sure to share pictures and progress along the way!

Watch out! This special needs family blog just may turn into a decorating and design blog. You can be sure we will be channeling Chip and Joanna Gains!! We will also get plenty of expert advice from my fabulous decorating cousins Liz the Naptime Decorator and Rani of Coastal Haven Designs. Check them out!

Also, it’s important for me to mention that Ben would like the new house to have a robot that cooks all our meals, does all our dishes and laundry, and completes his homework. I told him the search was over…that was me. Hmph!

It’s all very exciting! It’s taking too long in our minds to get the permits, get the plans and to dig the hole in the ground, but it’s coming. We have a new driveway, a water well (a big deal in these parts), and an honest and reliable contractor. All three of which are huge accomplishments in the world of building new homes. The rest will come in time…which leaves more time for PACKING! AHHH! Wish us luck!

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a digital rendering of our house-to-be…

GAH!  So exciting!

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