Its been two months since I last wrote! Bozeman is quickly becoming home and life is getting a little busier.
It’s hard to believe that Matt has lived here for almost an entire year now and Liam and I have been here for just over six months! Time certainly does fly.
So to catch you up on the last two months in a somewhat quick way. Fair warning. This could end up long. It is two months worth after all! Here are the top things that stand out:
August and September have been the month of visitors. Matt’s parents came for about fifteen days, followed by my parents and their friends for just over a week, followed by two of my high school friends. Sharing a two bedroom/one bath condo was not nearly as crowded as I expected. There was no need to sign up for shower times or arguments over what to watch for TV. I have actually taken a liking to small home living. Easy to clean and only so many places to look if you lose something (hhmmm, my phone?!)
It was a lot of fun to be the local and to show everyone around some of the highlights of the area. Yellowstone was a must for each group. I’ve now been to Yellowstone a few times but I love showing everyone the popular sights. Plus Liam never gets bored of seeing the buffalo! As we live here longer I can’t wait to go and hike some of the trails and get to know some of the less trafficed areas of the park.
We also went to the Hot Springs. When my parents were here we enjoyed the outdoor pools while the outdoor temperature was in the 70s. When Courtney and Bethany were here we enjoyed the outdoor pool while the outdoor temperature was 40! Liam and I stayed out for about fifteen minutes before my momma-brain told me to take him in so he wouldn’t get sick. But he loved the “smoke” coming off the water!
And then there have been several North Carolina friends who have been vacationing out here that have been sweet enough to give us a heads up so we can meet up for dinner or something. I may not have known about Bozeman, Montana but a lot of other people in North Carolina seem to know about it!
Unfortunately, August and September are the wildfire months here in Montana and no one truly got a good glimpse of the gorgeous mountain views that can be seen throughout the entire city. But that just means they will all have to come again!
I thought North Carolina had crazy weather but Montana has won the prize. I guess I already realized this in the spring but fall seems to be one and the same. One day it was in the 80s and overnight we were in the 40s! It has even snowed…three times…so far. The first snowfall was September 16.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, friends and family were (and still are) complaining of constantly sweating. Here, it seemed that someone just pulled a switch and decided to go straight from summer to winter. I don’t think I have ever gone from tank top to scarf so quickly!
As I watched the snowfall I began to mourn the passing of fall for I fear we truly have skipped straight to winter. But the weather has gone back into the 60s (atleast for the next few days) so I will enjoy it while it is here!
Mentally, though, I am prepared for cold, cold and more cold. Which reminds me that I need to buy some new long underwear (which I wore pretty much every day in the winter and cold spring days) and some more tall socks. Because if I wasn’t wearing long underwear I had on socks that came up to my knees!
BACK TO WORK
At the end of August, I started watching a little boy four days a week. Liam and I drop Matt off and then head over to J’s house. We’ve now fallen into a nice routine and the teacher in me is enjoying throwing in some preschool to our day. The boys are learning Bible Stories along with their numbers, ABCs, a variety of poems/songs/books. I sit in awe some days of just how much and how fast Liam learns. And I soak in every moment knowing it is going to fly by in a flash.
Matt has discovered some quite off the map places for us to go. He’ll research some great fishing spots and we’ll head off. I would call the roads we take back-roads but that usually implies there is a main road somewhere nearby. There are no main roads for miles! But our Kia has done a great job of taking the dirt roads like a champ. It even made it up and down the road that a gentleman told Matt “you might want to walk the hill to be sure you can make it”. I was a nervous wreck and tempted to get Liam out of the car and let Matt chance the hill himself. But we made it with no problem at all!
It’s been fun, though, seeing the “real Montana”. It is truly BEAUTIFUL!
Our sweet next door neighbors told us a few weeks ago that their condo that they’ve lived in for three years was being sold and they were going to have to move. Even though I knew Matt and I weren’t going to be in the condo too much longer (with plans to look for a house when our lease was up in February) I was sad to know they’d be leaving. Who would let Tippet out in a pinch if we couldn’t get home in time? Who was I going to borrow milk from when I was out at nine o’clock at night? Would Hannah live too far away now to babysit? Each evening Liam and Tippet run out to meet Justin when he gets home from work.
This announcement spurred us to start looking again at homes. Maybe we could buy a house (which we planned to do anyway) and they could just move in to our old place? But the house hunting here in Bozeman just made me uneasy. Let’s just say that the housing prices here are astronomical compared to Marion, North Carolina. The cost of houses was completely laughable to us when we thought of what the same houses would cost back home. And if you want a place semi-intown you might as well expect an itty-bitty yard and to be up close to your neighbors on all three sides. There would be no woods in your backyard or freshly manicured yards that seem to stretch out for miles. Well, you can get the latter if you wish to spend in the MILLIONS and be outside of town.
I think the close proximity to neighbors was one big thing that has taken some getting used to. While all the houses I have lived in were in suburban neighborhoods with neighbors that we could see out our bathroom windows, I always had woods in our back yard. In Florida, Dad built us a tree house in the woods behind out house. In St. Louis, we had a rope swing tied to a giant tree and would go hiking to the train track and river below our house, and in North Carolina for years we rode our four-wheeler through the paths behind our house. While all these houses had privacy in the backyard neighbors were still to our side. But there are no woods here (there are scarcely trees unless they have been purposely planted) so I’ve had to get used to the idea of having neighbors behind us as well.
When we first started looking online I got excited because I saw a 4,000 square foot house for sale for a decent price. It seemed too good to be true. Well, it was. It turns out that the house wasn’t 4,000 square feet. The LOT was!!! That’s right. They measure the lots here in square feet and not acres!! I knew right then and there we would not be recreating our house in North Carolina.
But through much conversation, debate, searching and looking we decided exactly what we were looking for and what we’d be willing to pay. I felt like I was on House Hunters. ‘I love the kitchen and living room but the bedrooms are just too small.’ ‘Who builds a kitchen with no pantry?’ ‘I can literally watch our neighbors take a bath from standing right here!’ ‘This house is just too dark.’ ‘I wish I could just move this house to that part of town.’ ‘This yard is so small! I can touch the fence just from standing on the porch.’
We have lived on the internet searching over and over. Zillow. Truila. Our realtor’s website. Craigslist (that’s right…you never know where you’ll find a good deal!). It became quite obsessive. How many times did I need to click on a house that I had already seen in person and decided I didn’t like? Did I think it would suddenly have a bigger yard or an extra bedroom?
WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!
And then….we made an offer! A house is a big purchase so most people have a “story”. Whether it was love at first sight or they had to deal with crazy sellers, there is usually a story. Our story is technically still being written but here’s how it began.
My parents were in town at the time we were scheduled to see a house with our realtor. So they came along for the ride and watched Liam. That house wasn’t “the one” and I mentioned to the realtor about a neighborhood we had driven through the day before. He suggested going over there then and seeing a few (many were new construction so we didn’t need any appointments). We ended up seeing several that day and falling in love with one in particular. Without boring you with the details, the “perfect” house was not technically off the table and every house we looked at after never compared to it. A week or so passed and I sent our realtor an email with several addresses we wanted to see including the ‘perfect’ house again. We were seeing several houses in the neighborhood we liked and Matt mentioned going and seeing one of the houses we’d seen when my parents were in town. I had already said no to that house in my mind for several reasons but when we got there all the negatives I remembered were not near as bad. That night we lay in bed thinking about that house again. While there were still some cons there were quite a few positives. Matt continued to scroll through the online listings and turned and looked at me and says “You won’t believe this. The price of the house was just dropped again.”
So here we are in the middle of the house buying process. It’s a bit nerve wrecking knowing we are about to take on a mortgage again but it feels so nice to know that we will truly be setting up a home and we will finally get our stuff from North Carolina. It’s going to be like Christmas Day when the moving truck pulls up! But I have a feeling there is going to be quite a bit of stuff that we will look at each other and say “We did without it for a year. Do we really need it?”
So life is going well here in Montana. The holidays are coming up and I know there will be some mixed emotions for me. But we’ve got a dinosaur costume picked out for Halloween and a Thanksgiving menu planned with friends so we’re starting out the season well!