Lodge Life: Reflections on our First Year

To say this has been a big year for us would be a gross understatement.

As we are at the year mark on having moved into The Lodge I’ve found myself thinking back on this most special time so fondly. Our children are growing up partially in the mountains, they’re having “firsts” out here in our paradise and they’re simply free to run and roam in ways they’re not able to in the city. The air is so fresh and cleansing and rejuvenating and the spirit out in the mountains renews us.

I’m not sure what it is but when we’re at The Lodge our to do lists go to the wayside and our priorities shift. The most important matters on the docket are spending time with family, Alex and me enjoying an evening together and getting outside in nature. Everything else gets pushed aside.

We’ve begun to become part of a new community and now have two places we call home. We’re meeting neighbors and other community members in Leavenworth and forming new relationships.

Now that we’ve seen all four seasons in Leavenworth we have our favorites list and really understand the annual cycle of the tourist town and the beauty surrounding it. We’ve found some fantastic family-friendly hikes, two ice skating rinks, the most gorgeous views and the best coffee in town. We also know when to avoid coming into town for fear of having an hour wait for a table at dinner time. We’re really getting acquainted with the area and it feels like home.

It’s so nice to have somewhere to go to get a break from the city. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely love living in Seattle, it’s just nice to go spend time where life moves a little slower and things are a little simpler. We relish in the space, both inside the house and outside.

The best part, though, is the time we’ve been able to spend with each other, our extended family and our friends. We’re bursting at the seams in our tiny house in Seattle and we love being able to host multiple families here at The Lodge. That’s the biggest reason we did this.

We absolutely love the time that our kids have been able to spend with their grandparents out here. It brings Alex and me so much joy to sit back and watch our kids play with their grandparents and make what we hope is a lifetime of memories. I always want our kids to think back on their childhood and recall spending precious time playing with their family here at The Lodge.

Our two nephews {and their parents and grandparents} are visiting for the first time in a few weeks and Alex and I are just over the moon with excitement for Ben and Hannah to show Nico and Marco around the mountains. We are so hopeful they’ll come back every year {hint, hint!}.

This winter we had the true pleasure of celebrating our first holiday season at The Lodge. Cutting down our Christmas tree from our property was so special. I sit in front of the glass doors every time it starts snowing and just watch it turn into a snow globe outside. Winter is so magical here.

Now, with all of these great pleasures we’re enjoying there surely have been tremendous challenges and sacrifices. It is extremely difficult to manage two households with two very young toddlers – Hannah was only 6 months old when we moved in and literally screamed for half of the car ride until she was over one.

Going back and forth between two houses with two little ones is exhausting to say the least. For at least the first six months or so neither kid would sleep through the night here and it put a big damper on Hannah’s overnight sleep in Seattle, as well. One thing our kids are learning is to be adaptable to continued change and unpredictability.

Managing the ebbs and flows of the two houses is a little tricky. Do we have eggs in Leavenworth, or do I need to bring them? What about mayonnaise? Wait, was there bacon in the freezer, or are we out? I’m eternally grateful for our amazing and well-stocked pantry and the fantastic freezer we have at The Lodge – it makes the management of food so much easier. I loathe the grocery stores available nearby so I bring most of our food from Seattle. I do a big stock-up on food about once a month or two and replenish our staples, so generally I only have to bring dairy and produce.

Our house in Seattle is severely neglected. Particularly in the winter when it’s dark for all hours of the day when Alex is home, it’s been very hard to keep up on outdoor projects. Mowing the lawn last summer was really tough to squeeze in with being gone every weekend and having a baby who went to bed at 7:00. We realized we need at least one weekend a month in Seattle to focus on taking care of house projects. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to help out more with projects now that our kids will be a little older this summer.

The weeks go by¬†so quickly when we’re back and forth every weekend, as we are now. Living in one city for 3 days, then another for 4 is quite an experience. I feel like I’m constantly needing to think ahead and order groceries for the next house we’ll be at, or needing to do laundry so I’m not returning to a heap of it. And then there’s the cleaning. For some reason The Lodge seems to be significantly easier to keep clean, so that’s icing on the cake.

It’s no surprise that the benefits significantly outweigh the challenges of having two homes. Our kids absolutely love the “mountain house” and they are so happy and so comfortable there. At three and a half I have already seen that Ben’s vocabulary and experiences are different than they would be if we didn’t have this life. He knows his way around Leavenworth just as well as he knows his way around our neighborhood in Seattle. He talks about the mountain pass and is able to describe what “avalanche control” is, he’ll educate you on what a pump track is and will happily share with you that one of his most favorite things to do is go ice skating.

My gratitude for this privilege of having a mountain home is so abundant. We are so grateful to have been able to build this home so early in our kids’ lives. It is everything we had hoped for and so, so much more. Cheers to our first year at The Lodge!

P.S. In case you’re curious, the kids and I spent 159 days and we all spent 36 weekends at The Lodge in our first year!