How We Got Here
My husband is full of ideas. I mean, jam packed full of ideas. I must hear the phrase, “Kris, I have an idea,” at least 5 times a day. Sometimes the ideas are legitimate. Other times, they are ridiculous. Either way, they are almost always met with a cringe or exasperated sigh from me.
Yvan has been talking about treehouses and the hill country for the entire eight years of our marriage so I can only imagine how long he’s been dreaming about it. He was talking about buying land and building a place to rent before home sharing had even become popular. I’m not gonna lie. I categorized this in the ridiculous idea category. It just did not seem feasible financially. I was teaching and Yvan was teaching part time and trying to make his first National Finals Rodeo. We weren’t broke, but acreage in the hill country was way out of our price range. And treehouses? Really? I just didn’t get it. Plus, when I think of “land” I think pastures and cows. Probably because I grew up in a relatively flat area of Texas and the only reason to have land was for cattle. I’m not a huge fan of cows until they land on my dinner plate. I certainly didn’t want to raise them. (note: we have two cows on our place that eat my plants and poop in Sienna’s sandbox just so you understand my aversion) But he just kept talking about it and I kept deflecting the idea.
In 2015, Yvan had a super successful rodeo season that landed him his first NFR qualification. We had barely even unpacked from that Vegas trip before he started talking about looking for land in the hill country. We were at my parents’ home when he found a 25 acre place in Glen Rose and wanted to go check it out. I’m pretty sure he was on his way for a showing 24 hours later. On the way up, the realtor called and told him that the place had gone under contract but there was a place right down the road that he wanted to show him. It was about double the size that we were looking for and about double the price. What in the world would we do with 50 acres of rock and cedar? Yvan called on his way home and was so excited. A few days later, I was on my way up to take a look as well. Upon our arrival, Yvan literally pulled me at warp speed through the house on to the back patio. The house was not in good shape and he knew the less I saw of it, the better. As soon as I saw the view from that porch, I was hooked. It was just incredible. It reminded me a lot of Yvan’s village in France. How could I not want to raise my little girl in a place like that? We walked the entire property and by the time we got back in the car I was on board with buying the property. We immediately put in an offer and went through the loan process in about a week. It was done.
Knowing that I was beginning to totally freak out, Yvan laid out the plan to build cabins and start our new business. It would take place slowly over about five years. In the meantime, I would continue teaching in Rockwall and the place in Glen Rose would be a getaway spot for us. Yvan designed his first treehouse and began construction. Then disaster struck. I received a phone call from Sienna’s school letting me know that she had collapsed on the floor and screamed inconsolably for fifteen minutes. As soon as she calmed down, she started vomiting. I immediately left work to pick her up and made the decision to take her to an emergency clinic. Other than vomiting and complaining of being tired Sienna seemed ok, but I just felt like something was off. Going of just my word, the doctor did a CT and I received the news that changed our lives forever. There was active bleeding in her brain. For the next three weeks, I would sit by my daughter’s side while she was in a medically induced coma. During that time she would have an angiogram, craniectomy while the spilled blood was removed from her brain and a craniotomy to allow for additional swelling. The portion of her skull that was removed was placed in her belly with the hope that the blood flow there would keep the bone alive. It was replaced 13 days later. 23 days after I picked her up from school, I was finally able to hold my baby girl again. Sienna was stable, so Yvan was in and out of the hospital during her stay. He had to complete the work on what would become the Birdhouse. He also needed to keep his hands busy and continue to make a living for us. She was eventually moved to in-patient therapy. About that same time, my teaching contract came up for renewal. Sienna was struggling through some pretty significant deficits and I honestly thought that she would need full time care. Yvan and I decided that I would let my contract expire so I could be whatever she needed me to be. Turns out, our little miracle needed far less help than we anticipated.
With me not working, plans for building cabins took on a much faster pace. Four months after Sienna was admitted to the hospital, the Birdhouse opened. One year later, La Tour was launched. Our latest cabin, the Nest is set to open this May. That is three cabins. Open year round. In less than two years. This was not our plan. It was not how we would have chosen to end up here but it is now exactly where we want to be. I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. There is no reason in this world that can validate what happened to my daughter. So, we are trying to find a purpose moving forward. We are building a life for Sienna and Preston where there is fresh air, freedom and adventure. It is becoming less about how we got here and more about where we can go from here.