Bianca and Portia have become official "explorers" when we go over to the new house--they found treasures inside the shed (the previous owners left a bunch of horse stuff in there), they named several islands along the creek, Bianca even found a dead raccoon in the creek (hopefully this isn't an omen). Bianca and Portia have come up with explorer clothes--khaki and white, sunglasses, and some other stuff they saw in a "Fancy Nancy Explorer Extraordinaire" book. I love seeing them having so much fun out there.
When we arrived on Saturday afternoon, Bianca came running up to me. "Our new house comes with horses!" And sure enough, there in a little corner on the edge of our property that does kind of look like it should go with our yard were two beautiful horses. It was so sweet that she thought that the house could just come with horses. I had to break it to her that they weren't ours. But it's much better this way--we get to look at them, pet them, feed them even (the nice lady who owns them told them the next morning), but we don't have to take care of them or pay for them.
Because we were staying overnight, I hated to leave our animals at home where they couldn't get outside to do their thing, so we brought them along. Tigger was fine. He mostly stayed in his kennel. Jillyboo doesn't like change though, and spent half of the night cowering behind the boiler downstairs, getting dust and grime all over her. After a while, she came up and slept with us where we all had our sleeping bags spread on the floor in my room. I had wanted to start a fire in the fireplace but Eric thought we should have the chimneys professionally "swept" first, just in case a family of raccoons was living in there. We played games and went to bed early. The floor was so hard and I slept fitfully with Jillyboo sleeping on top of my legs all night.
Early the next morning, Jillyboo wanted outside (she goes to the bathroom outside) so I wrapped a blanket around me and ventured outside. It was crisp and beautiful and the sound of rushing water met me as I stepped outside. It felt like I was stepping outside from my tent after camping. I breathed in the fresh air, followed the cat as she explored a little herself, and then went back inside for pop tarts for breakfast.
I'm overwhelmed when I think of what we just did--bought a house and still need to sell ours, discovering everything that needs to be done on this big house that seems like it's falling apart in little ways, and the cleaning--oh, the cleaning that needs to be done in the house. But I realize what I gave my kids is the gift of nature. And a backyard I wouldn't have thought was possible to have in Utah. With the trees, and the birds (we heard owls that night), and the creek, and the exploring still to be done.
And I even found a treasure of my own--the old stained-glass front door (matching the stained-glass window in the front of the house) that was thrown behind the back house inside a clump of trees. It's now weathered and shabby but still very cool. I hauled it into the garage and have plans to do something with it; I'm just not sure yet.
I feel a lot of joy (and projects) in my future.