Family Matters,  Life Lessons,  spilling my guts,  the sticks

Packin’ and Stackin’


We’ve got the AC and ihome stereo blasting as we pack up this old house. We’ve had all last week and all this week to pack so we have plenty of time which is nice. And we could even take longer if we wanted because it’s not like anybody new is moving into our old place anytime soon but I have the utilities going off on the 20th so I kinda want to wrap it all up by then. It shouldn’t be a problem. Everything is going smoothly. So far.

labeling my stuff goes in here

Even Bug has been helping. She’s quite productive, labeling things in her own way and fetching things out of the trash that I was sure she wouldn’t miss. Do we really need that old wooden birdhouse that you colored with marker pen? Really? Alright.

box head


She’s been drawing instructions for the moving men so they’ll know where to put things in our new place. I’m sure they will get a kick out of it along with the fun-loving instructions my neighbors added to my boxes during a late night packing party we had last week. I’ve sort of started a tradition of writing funny jokes and inappropriate things on boxes when friends are moving to make the process a little more fun.

Inappropriate box labeling

Don’t worry Mom, I’m not packing any whips, chains, crack pipes or George Michael collections!

My friends are helping me pack.

Some boxes are a little more sentimental than others…Moving is always so bittersweet.

packin' and stackin'

my morning spot

I really am going to miss this place. We’ve made so many memories here. It’s been a big year and a half.

Mary and Bug


I’m going to miss our neighbors, but not all of them. Most of them. We’ve made some really good friends.


I don’t even have to write about how I feel about the backyard. You already know.

flippity gibbit

perfect pancakes

This is the kitchen Bug made her first pancakes in. Not counting the funny ones we used to make with squirt bottles at Bethany’s. This is the kitchen I’d say she grew up in if we were going to stay ten more years. But we aren’t. I wonder how much of all this she’ll remember.

what's cookin' good lookin'? Chef Bug

This has been going on a lot lately.

I remember the old house we used to live in when I could do this. If I had a family album handy I’d scan a old photo of me doing the exact same thing.

the cat Aqui

This is where we got Aqui, that cat. I wonder how she’s going to take to apartment life…


And her kitten, Fiesta, who’s just as big Aqui now and will probably pass her up soon.

I can touch the ceiling!

I’ll miss this too. What kind of mom lets their kid stand on the counters? I guess this kind. My sense of cleanliness has sort of gone out the window. Partly because we’re in the middle of moving and everything is a mess anyway and partly because now that we’re moving to somewhere so super white and clean, I kind of want to embrace what I’ll be leaving.

I used to clean this place like mad, trying to scrub the reck neck out of the cracks but not anymore. Now I just wander around soaking it in. This is who I was for so much of my childhood. This is a big part of me. This last year I have angled so many pictures so hard, trying to crop out the tell-tale low ceilings of a mobile home and the mud glue from old wall paper that had been peeled off unsuccessfully and dirty carpet stains…but I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to capture it and remember it. This has been home for me. It isn’t anymore and I don’t feel like I belong here but in spite of being scared and freaked-out about where my life was taking me, it kept me safe. Even with the scary neighbors creeping me out, I haven’t been hurt. I’ve been safe.

It was such an important part of my journey.

I'll miss the mornings here...

I got to say goodbye to my Grandpa here. I got to do it slowly. Everyday my actions traced his and I would see him in the most unexpected places reminding me fondly of someone I cherished. So, I am a bit sad to be leaving it all. Not to mention the rest of my family who are still here and have been rooting for me all along the way… It’s bittersweet.

older me

But it’s time.


  • susie

    Moving forward… it’s so often the oddest combination of exciting, nerve-wracking, and a little sad. It seems like going home for a spell was an important step for you in figuring out what parts of your past and present you want to embrace and bring with you into the next phase of your life. Setting your life on a course you feel good about was a brave thing to do. Congratulations again on all you’ve accomplished. :)

  • bethany

    Beautiful beautiful post. It’s time when it hurts, isn’t it? You’ve planted enough of your heart that that piece will stay behind, and grow where you left it. I hope Bug remembers, so many memories for her there too I bet … big ones. Smooth moving and thx for sharing it!

  • Ruth

    So despite what you didn’t like about this place, your photos make it look so cute. And that backyard — I dream of having a backyard of my own like that someday. I hope to be moving this fall, out of the home I grew up in and the only town I know, and I’m so excited — seeing posts like this make it even more so. So excited to follow along on this journey of yours and Bug’s :)

  • a chris

    Wowee. What a post. Good idea to preserve your thoughts from right now.

    I was looking at those boxes from the point of view of someone living subject to immigration control, whose last proper, boxed move involved international customs. I had to laugh. Such frivolity would be crazy reckless for us!

  • OMSH

    It is time. You made it a home, but it is time to make another one and I am only sad I can’t be there for this move.

    Love you Brenda.
    So glad this move is in play.

  • sizzle

    I don’t think I ever did a handstand like that and now I’m wishing I had because I certainly can’t do it now in my old age. It’s good you are feeling the feelings and honoring them. What a special place that home has been. Such a gift during such a time of transition.

  • bethany actually

    Reading this post, I couldn’t help but think how proud I am of you. You have worked so hard and come so far, kryptonite or no. :-) I’ll miss that house too. It meant love and warmth and hospitality before you even lived there. Only five more days!!!

  • Alma

    I loved these pictures!! I am moving as well and I am presently surrounded by boxes in our tiny apartment. Over the next month we will be making the move from NY to GA.
    What I loved was the girls drawings on the boxes because we do that too.
    We have many footprints on our counters as well.
    Your pics are so candid and sweet. I would miss your backyard too. I have never had one until now.
    Many happy moving wishes your way!

  • Nila

    Great post! I’m excited to read about the new chapter in your lives.

    You know that song Home by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros. I love that it says “Home is wherever I’m with you”. You and Bug could make anything into a home and you have. Happy packing!

  • BeachMama

    I am so happy for you that you are getting this opportunity to move back to the beach, I know how much it meant for you to have this time in the Sticks, but you also know you will grow by leaps and bounds in your new location. Can’t wait to see what the future holds. xoxo

  • Janna

    I am SO proud of you and Bug, so proud of how you have made the very very best of everything God has given you. You have worked so hard and you both deserve this reward! Good things are in store for you, my friend. I am thrilled for you and this new road you are hopping on. I can’t wait to follow along with you from my computer, cheering you on! Congratulations!!

  • Susan:)

    It is hard to move, even when you want to. You had good times here and you will have the memories and lots of great pictures! I personally loved all your decor, when you were first moving in. I adore that brown lattice shelf in the dining room! I wish I had one just like it! I loved how you pulled everything together and made it beautiful and personal. I’m sure you’ll have fun doing the same in your new home. And yes, that wonderful backyard! I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that here in southern CA, it is very difficult to have both a wonderful big yard and all the delights of the city! I’d love to have both! Ah well, you do have that fabulous park across the street, so that will be nice.

  • Carrie

    I so wished I had better documented where we lived previously to show our daughter! Such a great idea. Good luck in this home stretch!

  • gingermog

    Good luck with the move lovely. It seems just like yesterday you were entertaining us all with your cool and stylish finds from antique shops. So much has happened in 18 months. You have achieved so much, you take my breathe away. Squishy hugs xx

  • mart

    Brenda, that’s lovely. Good luck to you both in the new place. I love the way you’re embracing the reality of what you’re leaving behind, and just letting it be what it is, and enjoying it all. Godspeed!