Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Clover Hill Open House Part 1: Lower Level

If you invite them, they will come....

We discovered on Saturday night that this is quite a true statement after we had a steady stream of traffic from 4-6pm. We talked about having an open house for the past 3 years, ever since we renovated the house before we moved in in 2006. Whenever we talked to neighbors, one of the first things they would mention is that they'd love to see the inside of the house and that they'd always drove by and wondered what it looked like inside.

I know exactly how they felt because as we drove up the driveway to interview for this job, I remember seeing this house and thinking, "Wow, it would be cool to go inside that old house". I had no clue that it was actually the managers house that came with the job.

During part of the interview, Lucy, the past manager's wife, invited us over for dinner. She offered to show us the house but told us that we would only get a white house tour - or just the lower level. She walked us around it and I remember being amazed but quite a bit intimidated by the idea of maybe someday living in it. I remember the comment she made as we left that day, "Honey, even if you don't get the job at least you got to walk around the house."

A few months later, we were back for another interview. We ended up having 3 or 4 interviews over 6 months so we were getting a little anxious to know if we got the job or not. This time around I had decided to bring Ava, who was now about 6 months. She came in quite handy this time since I needed to feed her and Lucy offered to let me nurse her to sleep in one of the upstairs rooms. I was so excited to get to go upstairs but my curiosity wasn't satisfied since I only got to see one of the upstairs bedrooms.

Lucy had told me there were 12 rooms in the house and once we got the job I started dreaming of ways to fill them up. We were so excited to get into the house and explore every nook and cranny, especially the attic and the cellars. The moment Lucy and Bill pulled out of the driveway and were out of site, I rushed in. I wasn't disappointed.

The house doesn't quite have 12 bedrooms, but it probably does have 12 rooms altogether. My excitement dampened a little over the next few months as we ended up spending over 9 months renovating parts of the house that needed a little attention. I was pregnant with Nathan, and pregnancy and I don't mix, so I was happy to be in another house at the time while the renovations went on. Gary and Ronnie, the two housing men that work here on the farm, did a great job gutting the kitchen and then putting a brand new one back together again. And another Ronnie and his crew spent an amazing month scraping, patching and painting all the old, chipping, peeling lead paint that was through out the whole house. I spent a incredibly busy few months trying to pick paint colors (extremely tough), designing a new kitchen, and picking out light fixtures. We finally moved in in September of 2006 and actually put things up on the wall about 2 weeks ago (November of 2008).

We spent all last week passing out invites to the neighbors in town and staying up way too late trying to put pictures in frames and pick up junk piles. We've decided the house is always going to be a work in progress but we bit the bullet and let everyone in on Saturday night. Here's what they saw when they came in.

The View out the Front Doors

In the summer time I like to open the doors and look out. Standing in the back of the kitchen you can look straight through the whole house and out onto the upcoming lane. It was so cool to see all the cars coming and lining up in the front of the house. We never actually use the front steps so it was great to see so many people enter the house from the front.

Side View of Porch and Barn

This barn was built during the mid 1800s and is historical in it's own right. It was built entirely without nails and is held together with only pegs. It has 4 stalls in the main section, 2 tack rooms, 1 big stall in the back and a huge hay loft. Supposedly it used to house all the mule teams that worked the land here at Clover Hill.

"Welcome to our house - Please sign our guest book"

This was supposed to be Ava's line to say but she kept forgetting it and then when the first kid showed up she disappeared with them.

The Front Entrance

The red room is directly to the right of the staircase and the green room on the left.

The Gone with the Wind Staircase

I tried to take some pictures of the cool features of the house and then frame them for something to put up on all these walls.


Clover Hill Handout

We had these by the guest book in the red room so people could take them with them while they walked around. It tells a brief history of the house and the previous owners.

Clover Hill circa 1900s

Ownership History

John and Susan Slaughter moved to Clover Hill in the years following the Revolutionary War. John had fought in the War at the battles of Trenton and Princeton at the age of 17. Around 1785, they began work on the stone portion of the house. They raised 13 children in what is today the kitchen and upstairs back section of the house. John served as one of the original trustees when the town of Woodville was formed in 1796. Both John and Susan are buried in the family cemetery at Clover Hill, which is located behind the farm office.

One of the children of John and Susan, Philip Slaughter, added the front portion of the house including the columns during the prosperous years of apples and cattle preceding the Civil War. During this time many of the out buildings were probably added including the large horse barn, the carriage house, and the ice house. At one point Philip also used the home as a boy’s school.

The Civil War brought many changes to the area. Troops traveled and camped throughout the Woodville area and used many of Eldon Farms current fields as camp sites. The War also brought trouble to the Slaughter family as their youngest son, Edward Mercer, left home at 17 to fight for the Confederacy. Unfortunately, he never returned home to Clover Hill alive and died at the battle of Newtown, VA in 1861. He is buried alongside his father in the family cemetery behind the farm office.

The years following the Civil War were chaotic in the South. Philip Slaughter died soon after the War ended and his widow, Ann Mercer returned to reside in Culpeper. Over the next 40 years, the ownership of the house is not clearly documented.

In 1905, court records show that the heirs of Hugh M. Smith sold Clover Hill to J. Hill O’Bannon and his wife, Mary Miller. The O’Bannons owned Clover Hill until 1962 when William Lane purchased the house and surrounding land, including acres of apple orchards, from Maurice and Louise O’Bannon. The Lane family currently owns and operates Eldon Farms, including Clover Hill and adjoining properties, which total over 7600 acres.


The Red Room - Dining Room/Formal Living Room

This room is directly off the entrance to the right. It used to have wallpaper and the ceiling was cracked extensively. My sisters (Sarah and Laurel) and Sarah's husband, Joe, and I all got very intimate with this room when we decided to strip the wallpaper rather than have the painters paint over it. We spent about 3 days standing on scaffolding scraping and peeling and sweating. The walls turned out beautiful and this is one of my favorite rooms. We also replaced the antique light fixture with bad wiring with this new chandelier.

I spent the week before the open house frantically sewing these curtains since John had put up ugly room darkening shades last Christmas. Unknowingly, I gave him a projector for Christmas and then watched my fanciest room turn into the media room. I think we've come to a happy compromise now with the new blackout curtains and leather sofas.

This room also has the only pocket door in the house, but it's a huge one. It's the size of 2 normal pocket doors and leads in the family room. It's also usually shut to try to keep little dirty people out of our fancy room.

The Green Room - Guest Bedroom

This room used to be a gold/yellow and I know that's a popular color today but it wasn't with me. This room actually has the most pictures in it, which is funny cause it's the room we use the least. John just got a piano given to him so now it resides in here and we use the room much more.

This is also the room with the nicest bathroom off it and again, the one we use the least. So if anyone would like to come visit we would love to pamper you with the nicest bathroom in the house. Since the house is so old it doesn't have air conditioning, but stays remarkable cool in the summer. We installed ceiling fans in all the rooms we could to help out a little. It's also amazing how open and sunny the whole house is. It was built just right to catch the morning sun and afternoon sun so we hardly need the lights on during the day.

The Brown Room - The Family Room

This section of the house that is the family room and pantry is actually the newest, being added on in the early 1900s. It connects the old stone section of the house to the newer column part. Before it was connected the stone house served as the cooking/servant quarters and the front was the fancy house for the family. It is a long rectangular room with 5 doorways entering into it and 2 windows. It's also very hard to decorate since you hardly have any long walls.

Doesn't a room that says "FAMILY" across the top of it have to be called the family room? I think so. Here are two different pictures of it - Clean and in my dreams- and then - Dirty and the way it normally looks - with the previously mentioned dirty little people living in it.

Highlights of this room include the big, huge pictures of the kids faces, the chocolate brown walls and the cool cradle that John built when Ava was a baby. Lowlights of the room are the toys that are constantly out all over it.

Directly off the family room is the pantry. When we opened up the kitchen we decided to put a half bathroom into the pantry so it is tucked away in the back of this little room. The pantry is huge and holds so much food that we lose things in there all the time.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is the part of the house that is the oldest and received the most work during the renovation. The original stone house was built in 1785 by Col John Slaughter (see above handout for more info on him) and he and his wife Susan raised 13 kids in what today is just our kitchen. The kitchen area used to be 2 different rooms - a mudroom that had a half bathroom and laundry and a kitchen that again, had 4 doorways entering into it and 2 windows. It was very cozy and a little cramped before we opened it up.

With the framing still in place between the rooms.

This is the fireplace before we started our renovations. We knew there was a fireplace somewhere behind the drywall but weren't sure where it was. One day after I had been at Lowe's for three hours trying to come up with a kitchen design that would fit in the tiny room that was the old kitchen, I came back to this. John and the guys had decided to find what was behind the wall and I'm very glad they did. We had a mason come out and fix it up a little, removed the half bathroom that used to vent into it, added an oak mantle and put propane into it.

We ended up overhauling the whole kitchen and taking it down to the original 2 ft stone walls, then building it up again. We moved the sink to an island in the middle and rewired, drywalled and painted the whole thing. We also got entirely new cabinets, all new appliances and lighting and a computer area where the bathroom used to be. It really is the heart of the house now.

We ordered 6 dozen doughnuts and 6 dozen cookies for the open house and judging by what we had leftover, we think we had about 50-60 people that went through the house. We had about 45 sign our guest book and almost all of them were neighbors that we'd heard of but not really met.

It was really cool to meet a lot of people that knew the house or the people that used to live in it. One of our first guests through the door was a member of the family that owned it before John's company bought it. She had lived here for over 15 years in the 50s and 60s and had some great memories of sliding down the banister and moving from one section of the house to the other in the winter because not all of it had heat then. We also had quite a few people that had always seen the house but never been through it and a handful of people that I think were just curious to meet us. We got a lot of comments about how brave we were to invite the whole town but I think it turned out great.

The Mudroom

The last stop on the bottom floor was, ironically, the room we actually use to enter the house most of the time. Here is the mudroom, complete with the hangers for the kids jackets and the mirror I found at the thrift store 3 weeks ago.

If you look closely, you'll see that I'm being trailed by Ava and Nathan this whole time and that they were doing their best to help the guests that had showed up. We had grand intentions of filming the whole house while it was clean but we only made it through one room before we had to go play tour guide. If I ever get the house clean again maybe I'll take some pictures of the upstairs and walk you through it too. Maybe.

But better yet, just come visit. We love visitors and then you'll get your own one on one tour.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My numero uno hombre - Juan-

So I've been tagged way too many times to tell but never done one. But since I'd like this stuff to be know to my kids someday and since John never really reads this and since it's already 10:37 and I should be in bed, here I go.

What's your husband's name? John Nathan Genho

How long have you been married? 6 years and something

How long did you date? I swore I'd never do the whole BYU thing and get married quick but we only dated for 4 months before we were engaged and then married 4 months after that (but we pretty much talked marriage from the get go)

How old is he? 29 (but when I get as old as him someday - he always tells me this cause he's a year older and there's no way while he's alive that I'll get as old as him)

Who eats more sweets?ME. He goes on all kinds of kicks - his latest is he's not gonna eat cold cereal at night anymore so he's making some very interesting concoctions of herbal tea. barf. he can hold his own on road trips though when he goes through like 66 oz of Diet Dr Pepper and bags of chips.

Who said "I Love You" first? Him and it took me awhile to say it back cause I didn't want to just be a copy cat. He's still the first to say it too. Maybe I should go wake him up and tell him now.

Who is taller? With or without boots on? John's 6 ft and I'm only 5' 10 but we're all out of wack cause he's got a long torso and I've got long legs.

Who is smarter? John's a genius and I'm glad cause I can't be bothered to think about things more complex than how to change a diaper.

Who does the laundry? Me and sometimes Ava helps for 2 minutes but then gives up. Sometimes John hangs up his own work shirts if I'm obessely pregnant but usually I get to do most of the laundry. He does the dishes a ton though and lately he's been sweeping the floor and then telling me I need to do it more often. Heck, if he's gonna do it then why would I?

Who pays the bills? What bills? Seriously, this dude provides.... his job pays every utility and bill except our cell phone, which doesn't even get coverage at our house so we don't use it but randomly.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Him - looking at the bed.

Does he snore? Nope and I'm dang glad or we'd have issues.

What does he do in his spare time? Play his gee-tar for the kids, hunt for pee-cauns with the kids, cook with the kids, make furniture for the kids... do you see a theme here? He's an awesome dad and I get jealouse sometimes that the kids love him so much. Oh, and he's a really good 1st counselor in the Young Mens so he plans tons of cool activities (I don't think camping usually involves projector TVs and sleeping in a barn) and then spends lots of time with the boys. I'm jealous but I'm working on it.

Who mows the lawn? Larry - like I said, John's job hooks us up. We have a lawn guy that runs over our kids toys and wakes us up early on Monday mornings. But we love him and hopefully he keeps "cut gas" as Nathan puts it, for many more years (he's like 75 years old)

What is his favorite candy bar? Butterfingers. I think, at least that's what I always buy him for his birthday and Christmas stocking

Who cooks dinner? I attempt most nights but hate, hate, hate making dinner. John is great and love, love, loves to cook so any chance he gets he does. Most weekends aren't complete unless he's made a few different delectable things to eat. Last week I slept in and woke to him and the kids making, not 1, not 2 but 3 different types of pie just cause he wanted to. Then we ate them all. Yum.

Who drives? Hee, hee, ho, ho - Um, we're working on this one. Usually John. Sometimes we have words cause I want to and then he thinks I'm getting on some woman power kick and then I let him know I just don't want to deal with the kids and then he realizes he doesn't want to deal with the kids ether and then....he's really good about taking turns though.

Who is the first to say they are wrong? John, all the time. I wonder why he puts up with me?

Who kissed who first? John kissed me but I really didn't think he was going to until suddenly we were really close and I was thought, "this guy is gonna kiss me!" and we didn't stop for quite a while

Who asked who out first? Does a trip to Walmart count? Cause he called me and wanted to know what I was doing that night and I told him going shopping for food so he tagged along. And then we both bought all the wrong things cause we were so flustered with each other.

Who wears the pants? I like to think it's me, but the truth is he has the last word. (thanks Kristen)

Does he say he loves you every day? And kisses me goodbye each morning and each night (and each time) he comes home. I'm very lucky to have him and I wouldn't sell him for anything.

Do I get to tag people now? Like I mentioned, I've never actually done one of these. But if so- here goes : Sarah, Chels, Shari and Leanne (get a blog!)

Open House

This is what's been consuming my life for the past few weeks and will be for another week. I've been trying to talk John into having a house warming - open house since so many people have asked to see what we did to the inside of this house. The missionaries of our church have been asking us to have a "cottage meeting" where members of our church open their homes to get to know their neighbors and share our faith. The open house and cottage meeting have combined to be this but we told the missionaries they can be present but not proselyte. So anyone who's in the vicinity and wants to see our house when it's actually clean stop on by next Saturday from 4-6.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 6, 2008

5 Month Milestones

Lias celebrated (if you can call it that) his 5 month mark with a runny nose and cold and a bunch of new milestones.

1. Sitting - generally he can sit, if Nathan's not around to push him over and he doesn't get too excited and rock himself over. All my babies have been able to sit up relatively early since they're definitely bottom heavy and Lias is by far the heaviest.

2. Chompers - last week he chewed out his two bottom teeth so now we have to beware when we let him chew on our fingers. He's actually kinda slow in this department since both Ava and Nathan got their first teeth around 4 months. I've never used bibs before with the other kids, but I've broken down and let him wear the tacky Winnie-the-Pooh bib around the house.

3. Rolling - kinda. He's rolled from his belly to his back at least 2 or 3 times but won't perform on command yet. But this is better than Nathan, who didn't roll until 7 months.

4. Eating - not really but he's tasted (tiny bites) applesauce, peaches and bananas. He's not too excited about any of them so we'll probably wait awhile till we give him the big stuff. It's not like he's starving or anything.

5. 12-18 month clothes. We broke out the bigger clothes today since I can't fit him into most of his 9-12 month stuff anymore. He's not really that long, just huge around the belly so no pants or overalls will snap and stay snapped around his thighs and waist. I'm hoping we can stay in this size for at least 3 months now cause I'm sick of going through clothes. I feel like I just packed these ones away 6 months ago.

He's also gotten quite good at giving hugs (grabbing your face at least) and open mouthed kisses, much to Ava's delight. And she's the one he likes to kiss the most. He's still the most easy going, pensive and good natured kid we've had yet.

Obama Fan - Yes, I Do

Yesterday morning, after the kids woke me up at 6:00am and I got them breakfast and they still didn't let me go back to sleep, I decided to figure out who won the election. So with 2 squirming kids on my lap I listened to 18 minutes of Barrack Obama's acceptance speech for president. And ever since then, Nathan has been saying,

"Yes, I Do"

whenever you ask him anything.

"Nathan, would you like to go to the dump with Dada?"

"Yes, I Do want to go to the dump."

"Nathan, do you want a kiwi for breakfast"

"Yes, I Do want a kiwi."

He used to say "Yep" or "ok" or "uh-huh" but not anymore. Now he's stuck on a "YES" phase and the only thing I can think of that started it is the whole "YES, We Can" chants he listened to on the computer yesterday morning. So thanks, Mister Obama, for Nathan's change in his attitude. If he can change this:

Maybe he CAN change the world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lions and Elephants and Giraffes.. and a Hungry Hippo too

This year we had a sort of theme -

African Animals

inspired by the $2 giraffe heads I found at the thrift store and the fact that the kids are into Africa cause Becky is there. I stayed up way too late making

Ava's elephant head

Lias' hippo head

and then the morning of Ava's preschool Halloween party I realized that

Nathan's Lion Costume

(which was supposed to be 3-4T) didn't fit him so I frantically cut the pants apart and the face off and sewed in the new hair. He still didn't like it but appreciated all the candy it got him. And what did I get for all my hard work? A nasty sore throat that has turned into a cough and cold. But I also got some

dang cute kids
and a

Visit from Auntie Sarah and Uncle Joe
who guarded the candy, hauled around the hippo, and shared in the loot
of course
and a

Hungry, Hungry Hippo
and a

What you lookin' at??
look from Lias
and a

Sweet kiss from a giraffe.

Pretty good Halloween, all in all. I'm off to scrounge the candy.