Big Changes Ahead.


My house is perfect right now. Super clean. Tidy like it hasn’t been since we moved in here. Doors close securely. Shelves are level. Caulk has been caulked. Bulbs have been replaced. Paint has been touched up. Windows have been cleaned. Mulch is mulched and pansies are planted. It’s been a lot of work, and we’ve done it all for someone else. Because – big news! – we’re making a move.

As much as I love our beautiful home and as much as I cherish the time we’ve spent here, it’s more than we need. There are three staircases in here. There are rooms that we use almost exclusively at Christmas time. There’s enough room in the garage for a few extra cars and a family of four. We love it, but we don’t need it.

I’ve said before that the whole situation with MS has inspired a bit of clarity in my priorities, and I think in Matt’s, too. This is part of it. In the coming years, I’d like to spend less time keeping a big house tidy and more time on just about everything else: family, friends, travel, who knows. Something much smaller and more efficient will leave more time for all of that. And I never thought I’d live in a new house, but we think building a house will give us a chance to create a space that’s just right in every way. And one that will continue to fit our needs in the years to come. So that’s the plan.

When we told John about building a house, he observed that it would probably take a REALLY long time, because there are only three of us, after all. Just three of us out there swinging hammers. We explained that other people would help us with the actual building. (I love that his concern was the time it would take, not the fact that the three of us are completely incapable of building anything.)

So, here’s where things stand. We know we want to build a house, we definitely want to stay within a few miles of where we are now, and we agree (thank goodness!) on the kind of house we want to build. But we don’t know how long this house will take to sell. We’re still working on finding someone to design and build the new house, and we’ll still have to figure out where to live where this is all going on. True to form, we’ve gotten lots of books about the process. We wouldn’t be us if we didn’t build a library on every topic of interest (sustainable building practices, using salvage materials, small houses). We’ve also bookmarked lots of websites, and are starting to make phone calls and have some meetings that will help lead us to next steps. So far it’s been both informative and a lot of fun.

We’re embarking on quite a new adventure here and I think it’ll be a great one. Really looking forward to seeing what comes next.

P.S. Will it be terribly sad to leave this house? Of course. I’m sure there’ll be more to say about that.

10 thoughts on “Big Changes Ahead.

  1. Hi There 🙂

    My name is Vera Freebourn and I was diagnosed with MS 33 years ago. I tell you this because I see you are newly diagnosed. All those years ago not a lot was known about this disease. I remember feeling down one day and needed an outlet, someone to speak to who could understand. I called the local MS chapter and got an elderly lady who called me sweetie and said “it will be ok, just something you have to get through” She didn’t know the half of it! I won’t go on and on……I just wanted to tell you I am glad you have the internet and blogging as part of your outlet. I am sure it has been a great help to you. I have not given thought to blogging, guess I get my fair share when I post with friends on facebook. Be well!!!!

  2. My name is Angela. I was diagnosed 12 years ago. When i was diagnosed i had a newborn baby and a 3 year old. I would have enjoyed more information from moms like you. I have really enjoyed your blogging. My husband and I built a house a few years ago with MS on our minds. I made sure my house has wide hallways and a master bath with a shower that is wheelchair assessable. Not the normal thought process for someone who wasn’t even 40 at the time. I applaud your decision. Don’t wait and make decisions when you have to. Make them gradually a long the way. Ms is a daily marathon not a sprint.

    • Angela, that’s the kind of thing that we’re thinking about as well. I hope we won’t need those features any time soon, but we want to plan carefully just in case. Hope you’re well!

  3. The main concern I believe you and your family has right now is to remove whatever stress you can in your life and enjoy the love you have around your home. I was diagnosed around 92. After a spiritual healing and steroid treatments I thought I was all better. I worked very hard at everything I did to make me better and even told people about the spiritual healing that changed my life. Problem is, as time went on I almost completely forgot all about the MS. After my second divorce and a world of other problems everything caught up with me. I thought I might be having a stroke or heart attack and went to the hospital. I told the ER physician all my symptoms, periodic slurring of speech, loss of balance, fatigue, left hand that had been numb for a very long time, memory (kids and different family members kept telling me I was just getting old) after a thorough examination the Dr came in and went over everything with my son and I. She said your heart seems good, all the symptoms you have described appear to be neurological, have you ever heard of MS? My son and I looked at each other in disbelief. How on earth could this be. I went through the motions the next few months only to confirm that it was in fact MS. That was July 2011 when I went to the hospital. I can relate to everything you say about knowing little of what to expect and everyone has a different case. The one thing I know is stress causes all your symptoms, like every other disease, to be magnified and that is why I say to remove whatever stress you can and enjoy your life to the fullest.

  4. Hoping things go as smoothly as possible with selling, designing, and building. The photo you posted certainly shows you have your curb appeal together.

  5. Wow, Katie! That’s super exciting news! Building a house is really fun, perhaps a once in a lifetime thing, so remember to enjoy it, even on your fifth trip to the tile store comparing backsplash samples! We both really liked Sarah Susanka’s books called “the not so big house” and other titles in that vein when we were building our home. Her design ideas are not for everyone, but it maybe worth a look. Looks like Spring has arrived!

    • Yay! It is exciting, Aspen. And we have a not so big house book and have loved it. We’re looking forward to digging in a little deeper.

  6. In your house research, you’ve probably already come across the work of architect Sarah Susanka, the creator of the “Not So Big” house movement. If not, check out her website ( and look into her book series. You’ll find lots of practical advice for going forward.

    All good wishes with this project and with your MS diagnosis. I have no firsthand experience with MS but have read a lot about it for my work. No doubt, learning all you can will serve you well. Know there are people out here pulling for you!

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