Once Upon a House (Part Two)

Thanks for reading yesterday’s post. I know I’m posting so many pictures only someone related to me could really look at them all. But, really, I just need to be done with this house-selling thing. Consider these blog posts my cleansing closure.
In the years M and I have dealt with real estate, there’s one thing I’ve learned: when someone really wants a house, they write you a letter. Often the letters are the pull-at-your-heartstrings type. This past weekend, when the offers for Carriage Hill poured in, we did receive one letter. I can’t remember if it was from the people who bought the house or not, but I do remember what the letter said.
The wife/mother told us how beautiful they thought the house was and how much they looked forward to raising their family there for years to come.
I thought, I’d love to write that mom a letter, too. I’d love to tell her about the monumental years we had at 12114 Carriage Hill Drive. I’d even show her a couple dozen pictures.
Which would probably make her say, “Oh, geez. This girl is a bit of an over-sharer. Maybe we’ll look into new construction.”
So, since I won’t be writing the new owners a letter, complete with pictures of my babies, I’ll share it with you:
To The Family Moving into Carriage Hill:
Congratulations on the heck of  deal you got on this house (NO, REALLY. I’M OVER IT). You’re going to love it. Yes, the street is a little busy, the school district isn’t great, but, boy, has that house seen some love. 
Specifically, the living room has been one big love-in. This is me when I was about twelve years old (must reconsider too-short bangs to make me look young and awkward again) with my oldest daughter, Catie. See the two baskets of toys on your new fireplace hearth? At one time those were all the toys we owned. 
Our fourth child has ROOMS filled with toys. But this was a simpler time, when a kid just needed some blocks and blankets.
Can I backtrack a little bit? This is me three months pregnant with Catie. If you’re planning a pregnancy while living at Carriage Hill, I totally recommend the master bath for bump pictures. (More on that later. You’ve been warned.)
And for family portraits? Here’s our very first, in front of the front door. Actually, this front door isn’t there anymore. Putting in one with glass was one of the easiest improvements we ever did. (Also, more on THAT later.)
Ah, here’s the old front door, barely peeking through behind my enormous stomach. I had just given birth to Catie. I’m sure I was hoping to run through that old front door and collapse onto the living room floor. I’m sure M is thinking the brick needs to be pressure-washed.
I feel like you should know that Carriage Hill is one heck of a party house. I mean, as long as you consider it a party to watch Husker games with your best friends. We did that a lot. I miss that low-ceilinged living room and the coziness of it.
Sorry we never widened the back door area. We always sort of meant to because, let’s face it, builders in the ’60s didn’t really understand accessible cabinet space or roomy laundry areas. Especially when your kids have no toys and have to play with the baskets.
Speaking of no toys, we had a few different dogs while living at Carriage Hill. So, yeah, sorry we never replaced that carpet upstairs. Especially since all three infants we brought home to that house puked a lot.
Inexplicably, I sunbathed a lot more at Carriage Hill than I ever do now. I’m guessing that has much more to do with the amount of free time in my day and not whether or not we have a pool. So, great sunbathing at Carriage Hill! And, you might want to just go ahead and do some landscaping. Clearly this was not a priority for us.

You know what WAS a priority? Having lots of babies. Really. Check out that Master Bath for all your  bump (or giant watermelon) pictures.
Since I’m giving you advice, if you’re ever as pregnant as I am in the above picture, maybe don’t renovate the whole house.

But, DEFINITELY, bring home lots of babies. This house just breathes love.
For example, look at all the happiness in this three-generation/dual family picture. Beautiful. 
I wish I could tell you there’s plywood in the garage for when you board up for a hurricane. But, clearly, we just made due with what we had. 
Sorry about these yellow walls. The color was chiffon. I know, it looks more like it should be called, “zinger” or “’80s disco.” But Catie our three-year-old loved it.
Our second daughter, Elisabeth, grew so fast in the year and a half she lived at Carriage Hill.
We always took baby portraits in front of those sunny French doors. Mostly because we were ALWAYS in the living room.
Where the twins must have wondered why in the HECK we put in wood floors right before they learned to crawl.
And walk. I mean slide.

Here’s where I aged twenty years in a few months. I think I left my youth (or at least my collagen) somewhere on that living room floor.

The park down the street isn’t much to look at, but the kids can’t escape the swings, so you have a few minutes to check your email on your phone. Or nap. Really, the kids are fine.
Before you head back home for hours of sitting on that living room floor. Oh, there’s sweet Sam. Hi, Sam! Don’t grab Ellie’s face, like it looks like you might.
Oh, and if the door jambs are a little banged up, I’m sorry. But we were big fans of the “inescapable contraption so I can fix dinner” philosophy of child caring.
Living room floor? Check? Lots of loud banging? Check! This is how I’ll remember this house. 
And all three kids piled on me all the time. I think this is around the time we bought more toys. And, consequently, a bigger house.
The only reason we still have this Dora car is because it was only driven on our living room floor for the first three years of its life. Great news for the car, not so great for your new wood floors.
Occasionally, we did go outside. By the way, the swingset may be ancient, but not as old as that recycled-twelve-times Little Tikes slide. It’s sitting in our current back yard, ready for the dump. Did we forget to mention it comes with your new Carriage Hill house? Just come and get it!
I always loved those huge drawers in the island. Really. I’m not sure why they sag.
We renovated. We renovated much.
Just so you know, two cribs WILL fit into that upstairs bedroom. As long as the roommates can stand the close proximity. 
And about that awkward plank by the master bedroom window?
Yeah. I don’t know. I thought it would make a nice PlayDoh table spot.
It didn’t. But it was a sunny spot for our imperfect family pictures.
Love this house with your family, new owners.
It’s a good one.
Best of Luck, 
The Hergenraders
P.S. About the spit up in the carpet, truly, you have no idea. Go ahead and invest in some new carpet right away. You’ll want to trust me on this one.
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2 Responses
  1. I just got a little sad reading this. I did love this house, especially the guest bedroom and the creaky bathroom door. So much character. Will miss Carriage Hill.
    And yes, I looked at every picture and remembered it all.

  2. Oh.My.Gosh. Your belly. How in the world? I can’t even. I will remember that every time I look at my expanding belly and not feel bad for myself because just THINKING about that much baby in my belly makes my back ache. You are a super hero. Seriously.

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