Another New House

When I made the House category on the blog, I was under the impression that Atchison would be our last house. I couldn’t believe our fortune in getting such a wonderful place, and I planned to never move again. Well, plans change, as they say, so here’s another post about another new house.

We have really struggled with whether to buy in this area over the last couple of years. We may have been able to afford something if we’d bought the second we arrived in town a little over two years ago. But, we couldn’t believe the prices and thought it had to be a bubble about to burst. We were wrong, and quickly we were priced out of Palo Alto. It’s not that we just had to stay in Palo Alto, but the kids liked their school, had made friends, and we were hesitant to move them again, so we decided to just keep renting. Finally, though, we’d had enough of our tiny rental house and of not being in the housing market and we revisited the idea.

A neighbor friend had told me that a friend of hers was about to sell her house and asked if we wanted to see it before it went on the market. We decided to just go look. We didn’t end up liking the house (or its proximity to the very loud train), but it got the ball rolling for us to look at other homes. Pretty quickly we saw an Eichler we liked and promptly got in a bidding war for it (of course). We got it, and started what would be a very difficult and stressful escrow. But it all worked out finally and we moved on April 30th. Here are pictures of the house and a couple from moving day.


Our realtor took these when we visited to show the boys who hadn’t seen it before we bid on it.


They were pretty happy.


Ezra was very concerned about his Sydney Opera House being transported in one piece. So he did it himself.


The rest went in the big truck.


We’re still trying to unpack all the boxes, so I’m not going to post any pictures of the inside. But here’s the album with the photos from the listing. Hopefully we’ll be in shipshape soon!

Library Removal

In anticipation of our move, Bruce and I discussed at length whether we should leave our Little Free Library for the new owners or take it with us. In the end, I just couldn’t leave it behind. So, on January 5th we took it down and put up this sign.


Not surprisingly, we had lots of neighbors greet us with shocked looks after they saw the sign. No one — including us — expected we’d ever move.

Luckily for our neighborhood of voracious readers, there is another LFL right down the block. Here’s one last picture of our treasure in its original home.


We hope to install it soon in our new place.

Parkway Refresh

We had some additional landscaping done in November with the help of our friend and landscape architect extraordinaire, Allen Compton. We filled in some gaps in the plantings and moved a few plants around. We also added decomposed granite to the parkways to give it a more polished look.

They had to take away a lot of soil in order to put the DG down, so there was a dumpster full of dirt in our driveway for a few days. Boy heaven.



Ezra also liked to hang out in the holes they were digging.


Finn took a liking to the workers (of course) and helped out by hauling some of the DG for them.


Here’s a shot of the work in progress.


Big Web v. 2

We got a late start on Halloween decorations this year, but luckily managed to get the big web installed between the palm trees again. Bruce and Ezra built it in the backyard first.


Then Bruce and I attached it and hoisted it up via the pulley system. Only one of us climbed the ladder.



It’s really best at night.


Little Free Library Scarecrow

Our neighborhood had a scarecrow “contest” this Fall and encouraged everyone to put up some kind of scarecrow decoration. Of course, we thought it would be fun to incorporate our library, so after some discussion of logistics we set about making one to sit on top.



We thought he should be reading a book, so then we had to decide which one. It wasn’t that hard of a choice. Luckily we could get the original artwork on the intergoogles.


And my very talented husband could recreate it.


After the cutout …


And some finishing touches …


He was ready to go up!




July Clubhouse Update

The clubhouse is getting its finishing touches these days. Bruce has been working on the windows and spent a couple of days last month putting a coat of stain on the walls and door. He had a little help from Finn.



Looking good!


June Clubhouse Update

Clubhouse progress has been slow lately, but we did have something significant in June — we got a door (and a lovely threshold)! And it’s a doozy. Here are some shots of installation.








4th of July Library

Last month we felt like dressing up our Little Free Library, so we decided to do a new decoration for the 4th of July (in mid-June). After finding a picture we liked of a wavy American flag, Bruce set about doing his magic.

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Of course, as usual we had some side projects going on at the same time.

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Bruce decided this time to paint the whole flag and then cut out the middle for the library. Measure twice, cut once.

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After a few touch-ups it was ready to go. Finn helped with the mounting.

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Here’s the finished product.

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Library Update

Our Little Free Library got a boulder seat a few weeks ago when we decided to take out a boulder from the backyard and it needed a new home. All three Moision boys worked very hard to get it to just the right place.


Also, I started an Instagram account of daily photos of what’s in the library. It wasn’t my idea but when my friend Allen suggested it, I couldn’t resist. Check in here if you like.

Clubhouse Update

The clubhouse is moving right along these days although it’s been a while since my last post about it. The second two walls were framed a few weeks ago, and Bruce and Rob had another push last Saturday. Here’s what it looked like at the beginning of the day.

Before -- morning of 5/4

The goal for this work session was to get the plywood on the walls. They got right to it.

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With the slope of the roof, there was lots of measuring, sawing and small adjustments.

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And every time I went out to check on things, I was more and more happy that Rob was here so I wasn’t the one supporting the plywood while Bruce measured.

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Meanwhile, the kids had another fun day of bike riding, playing with toys and another round of plaster carving from woodworking class.

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I like the little perch that Ezra worked out for himself.

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By the end of the day we had walls!

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Clubhouse Progress

The second big push on the clubhouse came on April 5th when Bruce had a regular day off. Rob came to help. Ruby came to play with Ezra and Finn. Cari and Chapin came a little later in the afternoon. It was kind of a barn raising type party.

First, there were lots of decisions to be made. The great minds got to work.

Pre-work consult

And the kids got to riding. There was some construction going on down the block. The little bobcat filling the dump truck kept Finn, Ezra and Ruby entertained for quite a while.

Kids found something to watch

After a trip to the lumber yard for supplies, Bruce and Rob got to work on the deck/wrap around porch.

Working on the deck

Working on the deck

The kids deemed it necessary that we take a trip to In-n-Out for lunch. It was hard to argue, so off we went.

Trip to In-n-Out for provisions

The men-folk got right back to work after lunch.


Looking good

And pretty soon, the wrap around porch looked like this!


But there was no resting on their laurels. They got right to work on the walls.

Rob and Bruce

Finally they ran out of daylight and had to stop for pizza. Lots of progress was made!

End of weekend


Two of my favorite plants have had a blooming bonanza the last couple of weeks. First, there is this poppy (Matilija Poppy, I believe, but also known as the “fried-egg poppy”) which has gone crazy.


And second, my most favorite — Calandrinia spectabile — is showing off its gorgeous magenta blooms.

My favorite

We have several of these in the yard and they add such a lovely pop of color. Happy Spring!

Clubhouse Construction, Part 1

Bruce and I have been talking about building the boys a playhouse, no wait, mustn’t call it that … a clubhouse for a while now. Originally it was going to go under one of our big oaks, but it wouldn’t go in until we’d taken down the wall and built the new fence. But thanks to the City permitting issues and general busy-ness, we haven’t built the new fence or taken down the wall so clubhouse construction has been on hold. A few months ago, we started talking about changing the location of the clubhouse, in part based on the fact that the boys constantly play in this one corner of the yard that seems, well, perfect for a clubhouse.

Bruce started checking out books on clubhouse design from the library and drew up a tentative plan so I could see it.


Last weekend, actual construction started. Here’s the footprint.

The footprint

The boys were pretty helpful that day — hauling gravel over to the site …

Moving the gravel

… and pounding in stakes.

Ezra pounds in a stake

Pretty soon, the first post was up.

First post up!

They kept working the next day.

Leveling the post

Making concrete

Smoothing the concrete

Moving the wheelbarrow

Cleaning out the concrete

Of course, they took a few breaks for play time. Here they are, goggles on, breaking concrete pieces and building their own little Stonehenge.


Building Stonehenge

As an aside, I also have to share the outfits they changed into later when they realized it was St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick's Day outfits

At some point Rob came over to collect some of his tools he’d left after woodworking class. Bruce put him to work as a consultant on the job.

Rob consults

It was not all work and no play; there was plenty of goofing off going on.

Goofing off on saw horses

Goofball Finn

But at the end of the first weekend, we had the skeleton done.

End of first weekend

This weekend we were busy with a family party and a tree planting session at Aveson, so not as much work got done. But Bruce did manage to get a few hours in and here’s where we are now.

End of second weekend

New Trees

We finally got around to replacing a couple of our more useless trees — a dead lemon and an ornamental plum (I mean, seriously, what good is that?). We replaced them with a not-dead lemon and a fruiting plum.



We also added an avocado.


It’s been about a week since they went in and they look to be adjusting fine. We’re looking forward to the fruits of our labor!