Grit Blogs > Transitional Traditions


Since I last wrote you, more than a three monthhave passed. And so many things have changed. 

Let me begin at the beginning...which is actually the end of April when I chronicled the post below...

I had been hinting that we were looking for a place of our own and while our first choices were Omro or Winneconne, there was nothing affordable that truly fit our needs. That being said, we found a great old house to rent in downtown Oshkosh. It's the lower half of the home, with the upper being completely chaotic in the midst of renovation, so we don't have upstairs housemates and likely won't for a long time. The yard is roughly 1/3 of an acre, right here in the heart of the city. There are three bedrooms, a large farmhouse kitchen, one bathroom, a huge dining room and living room. Also of note is the sizable front porch and ample space in the lawn for a garden. The ceilings are 14' and the original hardwood floors and woodwork make this home full of character and style. For Andy and I, it was the next best thing to a home of our own on a farmette. As part of the rental deal, the landlord renovated a room in the basement to serve as Andy's work-from-home office, which he is utilizing daily.

Front of House 

Here is a view of the front from across the street. Elly is flying past on Ethan's balance bike. The yard on both sides is ours. There is an alley in the back since our street is a one way and our garage is in the very back. We love the porch and cannot wait for warmer weather so we can have meals out there. 
 Ethan swing  

Also came with a tree swing in which Ethan here demonstrates his floating run. You can see the back alley and the kids toys to help you figure out what direction you are looking.

Inside, the home also came with a free set of bunkbeds which we needed for Elly and Ethan and a 1947 baby grand player piano. Andy is currently learning how to tune it himself. He's amazingly good at it since he can hear the notes perfectly. We've always wanted a piano!

Below, Liam and Ethan read books in one corner of the Elly and Ethan's room. Liam has his own space again, complete with crib (not a pack-n-play like he had for the last nine months) and rocking chair. It's the smallest of the three rooms and just the right size for him. (sorry, no photos yet).
 Elly and Ethan room 

I love the counter in the kitchen. The home came with two tall and stable bar stools that we fit into the corner when not in use. But we can fit the kids up there to help learn cooking and baking, or just watch us work in the kitchen. They love it and consistently fight over the two. Early on, Liam learned he could sit there too like the big kids and now he feels he has just as much right to a stool as anyone else. So...we figured out that if we scrunch the two stools together, we create a bench of sorts and then...

Three kids on stools 1 

Three kids on stools 2 

...Everyone can see! And, everyone can participate, just like they always wanted. Whew! 

  Bunk beds
Above, you see another angle of the kids' room, with their new bunk bed. Below, you see their door. Yes, its a big beautiful pocket door and our bedroom has one too!
 Pocket door 
Length of house at day 
Above, this is a view of the living/dining/kitchen rooms. Complete with kid messes! :-)
Ethan in kitchen 

Here Ethan works on some playdough while I blog and Liam naps. This is a shot of our kitchen with the 14' metal ceiling and farm kitchen cupboards. We had to put our canned goods and Grandma's cooking utensils on center stage. It just felt perfect. What you can't see is that we also had room for a "kitchen couch," thereby inviting guests and family alike to hang out in the kitchen when the cooking is being done. Let's be honest, it's where everyone gathers most the time anyway!

Fast forward to the month of June and there have been even more changes in our life...

1. I got a hair cut (ok, not that big of a deal, but it's still a nice change to mention). Before, then after!
Becky before hair cut
Becky after hair cut 
2. Andy and I celebrated 6 years of marriage on May 6th! (and the reason I cut my hair; a gift to Andrew as he loves short hair on me)

3. Elly turned 5 years old on May 9th. (so soon!?)

Elly and the cookie birthday cake 
4. Elly completed her first dance class with a single recital for all the kids in the Omro grade school gym. She was very excited about it, but after three months, she was definitely done with dancing.

5. I got a full time job.

6. We learned we are pregnant with our fourth child!

The last two combined caused me to be utterly spent at the end of each day and the thought of even checking my email made me want to curl up in a coma and sleep for a week.

My job was a temp job with a local corporation doing layout design and typesetting. Very agreeable work, but long hours. My longest week was 70 hours and the shortest was a typical 40. I say was, because the job ended last week. I had about 5 solid weeks of hard work and good pay to help us bank up a little reserve for the summer.

During that time, Andy took over being the head of the domestic arts and excelled at being father, chef, house-cleaner, home schooler and playdate maker. At any given moment, I'd receive an email at work with a photo of the kids' current events. It was very heartening for a newly working mother to know that all was safe, sound and very well at home. He put in a large garden in our back yard and nice looking fence row of raspberry transplants across the front of the yard. It was three weeks of intermittent labor, but it all looks amazing now!

Backyard garden planted  

I only had one incident at work in which the morning sickness overcame me but I was able to make it to the bathroom in time. JUST in time. Thankfully, I have come out of morning sickness stage and though I am still drained at the end of the day, I can eat most foods set in front of me. We think I'm due about New Years.

Because we weren't planning this fourth addition, we are now in need of a mini-van again. While the Plymouth Breeze has served us well, it won't fit another car seat in the already crowded back seat. :-)

That was our past two months. Really, really nutshelled that one, but I need to move on with current events. And naps are ending in T-minus ten minutes, I just know it!

In a couple weeks, our family has the privilege to travel for the Wisconsin Farmer's Union to North Dakota. This is for their FUE (Farmer's Union Enterprise) Young Couple's program. We applied to be this year's couple and were chosen to represent Wisconsin amongst four other states: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. We will have the opportunity to travel to five locations across the nation in the next year starting with this leadership retreat in Medora, ND. The kids are welcome and we are making a family vacation out of it.

After the three day retreat we plan to visit some friends of ours in Colorado Springs from our CO days. However, with the wildfires causing so many homes destroyed, our friends may be evacuated! Our prayers are with them...

On our way home, we hope to visit our favorite editors at Grit and Mother Earth News!

Rebekah Sell lives on a small plot of land with her husband, Andy, on which they are hoping to build a sustainable homestead. With a small business and four kids, life is always interesting as Becky and Andy live fully the idea that the journey is the reward. Find her on .