It occurred to me this morning, that since moving in to our new home, I have not taken ANY photos INSIDE the house. Or even the front of the house. The only pictures I have are of the pool. So, that's about all I have to document today's Thankfulness. But, I've written myself a little internal note to make sure I get some pics of the house... soon.
This time last year, I was very unhappy with our living situation. I was thankful I had a roof over my head, but thankful it was still over our head and hadn't caved in. I was thankful when it didn't rain, so that the house wouldn't leak and I wouldn't have to spend nights getting up and changing towels and dumping buckets of water. I was thankful that the pipes hadn't frozen, the heating hadn't gone out (again), and that all the damage from the major roof leak hadn't destroyed ALL of Jelly's toys.
So, this year, to say that I'm thankful for our new home is a HUGE understatement. I'm ecstatic. Overjoyed. I feel like we won the lottery of housing upgrades.
Our old house was a double wide mobile home. When we first moved in, I was thankful to have it. We had been living in a very small apartment before that, so getting a house with three bedrooms, and room for the kids to play was nice. It was even big enough for me to start hosting my family for Thanksgiving.
But, I can't really say that I ever felt "at home" living there. It was our house. But, no matter what I did, I just couldn't shake the feeling that it was just a house, and knew I would never really fell a strong connection to it. Over the years, the house started to wear down. Things started to break. The walls were paper thin, so a few bumps here and there created holes in the walls. Damage started to occur. And, we would fix stuff over and over and over again...only for it to still break. The condition of the house also started turning my family off from coming over. They didn't feel comfortable there. And it's not just the house's fault. Once I started to get tired of all the problems we were having, I started giving up taking good care of the house. The house became nothing more than a place for me to eat meals and sleep. I didn't like being there, and it became a mission of mine to get us something better.
This year, I told myself that no matter what it took, I wanted to be in a new home by the time 2013 came to an end.
In February, I started putting Project: Find A New House in to effect. I contacted a realtor, I got pre-approval for a loan. That in itself was a MAJOR stepping stone. For years, Hubby and I had been working on building and repairing our credit, so to hear that we were finally eligible for a home loan was a huge relief. But, then we had to think about how much we could actually afford. What type of home we wanted. Where we wanted to live.
And, I will say right now that making those decisions are some of the hardest decisions a couple can make together. I said many times during the whole ordeal that finding a new home would either make or break my relationship with Hubby.
When I liked something, he didn't. When he liked something, I didn't. I had a list of requirements, he had a list of requirements...and those requirements put together, according to our realtor, would be almost impossible to find.
He wanted a house in the country, a little land, seclusion. I wanted at least four bedrooms. He wanted to be closer to his work, I wanted to be closer to mine...and we work in opposite directions.
We looked at several houses. Nothing really meshed with either of us.
After some searching and coming up short, my realtor finally asked us to at least look at a few homes that happen to be in the city limits. She explained that with our budget and our requirements, there just wasn't anything on the market for us out in the country. Land is super expensive, and just having a couple of acres really jacked up the prices on some of the houses we looked at. She told us that if we took our search in to city limits, we'd get a lot more bang for our buck. I couldn't care less about being in town or out of town...Hubby was the tough cookie to break on that one. But, it was important to both of us to find a house that was "move in ready". We didn't want to spend a lot of money fixing a house up. So, he reluctantly agreed to look at the houses she had picked out for us.
On a Sunday afternoon, she set up three showings all in the same town. Three different houses. All with four bedrooms. All on the outskirts of town. All with almost an acre of land. The best she could do with our requirement list.
House number one was super cute, but super small. The majority of the square footage went in to the bedrooms. They were all of decent size, but the living room and kitchen were so small, it would be hard to fit our family in either all at the same time.
House number three was also super cute, but very oddly laid out. An extension had been added on at some point, at it was just weird the way the living room and bedrooms were set up. There was an enormous backyard with a pool, except the pool was open to the backyard without any fencing around it. Also, the house was about $10,000 more than the other two houses.
House number two was the ONE. I knew it the minute I stepped in the front door. 2434 sq. feet. New laminate flooring. A huge living and dining area. Beautiful kitchen. Four decent sized bedrooms. A huge backyard AND front yard. A fenced in pool. A pool house. Nothing behind the house but open land. A country feel, inside city limits. Everything we wanted and more. Even Hubby had to admit when we left that he really liked the house. And the price was right in our budget.
Even though Hubby liked the house, it took a little bit of convincing. He was so worried about the strain a mortgage would have on us. He worried about if we were ready for home ownership. We hummed and haad over it for days...until I finally put my foot down and said we had to make a decision. And we did. We put an offer in, counter offered back and forth for a couple of days, and then we finally received word that they had agreed to our terms and the house would be ours.
Moving in to our new home ranks right up there as one of the happiest days of my life. The kids finally had their own rooms. We finally had a home to be proud of. A wonderful gift of new furniture from P-Momma was icing on the cake. For the first time since moving out of my parents' house, I was HOME.
Since moving in, we have had some wonderful times. Having the pool was a big help during the summer. The kids had a blast with it, as did I. I've invited friends over, something I never did in my old house. I love sitting out on the patio with my coffee, or relaxing on the couch in front of the TV. I feel comfortable here.
We've had a few minor issues since moving in. We had problems with the shower in our bathroom, and it's had to be repaired. Twice. Our AC went out, but luckily only required a very inexpensive part to fix it. We had a water pipe break a couple of weeks ago, and again this week...that Hubby has fixed both times. But, I knew that we were bound to run in to a few snares here and there. The house is 30 years old... so I'm just thankful that the problems have been minor.
One thing that I'm extremely thankful for, is the fact that I will once again be able to host Thanksgiving dinner for my family...and them actually wanting to come. Holding a major holiday get-together means a lot to me. I got to host July 4th here, and my family all had a great time. To know that I'll get to do it again for Thanksgiving is a huge deal for me...and I'm so thankful that our new home will be a big part of that.
At the end of the day, we may not have extra money to play around with. We may have a few issues here and there that have to be fixed. But, neither hold a candle to the happiness our new home brings to me.
I have worked hard to achieve home ownership. I searched for the house that I could feel at home in. And I found it.
I look forward to the memories that are yet to be made in our home. First Thanksgiving. First Christmas. Sleepovers. Dinner parties. Pool parties. Barbecues. And at some point, my children will start to move away and hopefully come back and visit with significant others and grandchildren.
My home has barely skimmed the surface at the memories that will be created here.
I am thankful for the memories that have already been created, and excited for those yet to come.
This house will be something I owe a lot of thanks to in the future, I just know it.