The Journey to our Home, part 1

I feel like the title of this post is kinda cheesy, but I couldn't come up with anything more creative. I've never claimed to be a writer, so I'll just have to deal with it!  If you follow my Instagram, you know that my husband and I are in the process of renovating a home. Today, and in the next few weeks, I'll be sharing what that process has been like for us, starting from the very beginning.  We have changed SO much in this house.  We are getting close to being able to move in, and it just seems like its taking FORRRR EVVV VERRR (High-five for anyone who can name the movie!). Going back and writing out the process is helping me to appreciate every little step, and most of all, see God's provision through it all. 

Bear with me.  This will be a longer post than usual.  Some of these details may be boring, but I really wanted to document this so I can look back on it one day, and remember it more clearly. Also, these pictures are totally unrelated, but still ones that I love, so enjoy!

I guess this story starts with the story of us. Of Rich and I.  With some great guidance, Rich bought his first home back in August of 2008. We were just dating at the time (he proposed in November of that same year), but he was obviously thinking of settling down.  It is a great little house: two bedroom, two bath, open living room and kitchen, on a quiet street, and best of all, he could afford it.  It was a little dated, but none-the-less, it was a great home. One that we could see ourselves living in for a long time, start a family in, even. But we also knew it could be a great rental house, should we decide to move on to something new.  The Lord certainly had his hand in it, because there was a LONG list of offers on this house; a full 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper of offers.  And his was certainly not the highest, nor a cash offer. But, his offer won, also with the help of our amazing realtor, and the house was his.
We married in July of 2009, and lived in the house a few years.  Along the way we made some changes.  We added another room, and replaced all the windows, laid tile in all the common areas, replaced the carpet in the bedrooms, rebuilt the patio covers, and put new stone on the fireplace.
 I love that little house.  We have so many memories from our first years of marriage there. It was the first place I was able to make my OWN.  I became a wife in that home. We held dinner parties, had late night convos with friends and family, and made some big decisions together in that home. We found out we were pregnant in that home.
I didn’t move much growing up.  We lived in San Diego until I was about 5, and then my parents moved into the house they still live in.  In a way, I’m thankful for that.  Though they weren’t outspoken about it, my parents were content with what they had in a home and they made it work.  They rarely did any huge changes.  To this day, my parent’s house has the original kitchen and bathrooms, and its over 20 years old. I remember seeing all these beautiful model homes or other friend’s new homes with updated kitchens, and thinking, oh wow, that’s cool! But, that was it.  I never had a desire for better.  Rich comes from a family of builders. Most of his aunts and uncles, grandparents, even family friends, have either built their homes from the ground up, or bought a home and completely gutted the inside and replaced everything. So, I blame him for all of this. J While I saw our house as our home and began to be emotionally invested in it, he always thought we would end up moving into something else.  Something better.  He cautioned me to not become emotionally invested in that house.

Over time, I started to agree with what he was telling me.  Our house didn’t have a lot of land, just a TINY side yard, which meant adding on was impossible. It was in a community with an HOA (seriously so annoying!).  Our cul-de-sac of 14 homes shared only two guest parking spots, and there was no parking on the curbs.  I always wanted to host things at our house, but that made it virtually impossible.. well that and the parking brigade who would monitor the streets and issue parking violations.  It wasn’t in a very good school district. It was far away from the freeway.  Once, I counted 23 stop lights from our house to the freeway, in just 4 miles!!!!! (Please know that we are grateful for this house! All of these things are certainly live-able.  It took me a while to even consider leaving.)

Rich had thrown the idea around about looking for a new house ever since we were married.  He joked that we could always move in with his parents.. but I knew he was only half joking.  And over time, God worked on me, because it all started to make sense to me.  We could rent our house out, move in with his parents for a little while, and save up for a down payment.  It just never seemed like the timing was right. In 2011, we took a Dave Ramsey financial class through our church.  It was amazing.  We both are pretty good with our money.  Neither of us had any debt going into our marriage.  In fact, at 25, I had never had a credit card. Crazy. The class really got us on the same page and helped us to focus on telling our money where to go, instead of never knowing where our money went.  I highly recommend that class to anyone! Anyway, after the class was over, we started talking about renting our house again. Interest rates were dropping, house prices were low, and rental prices were pretty good. 
In November of 2011, Rich and his parents talked more seriously about our idea.  Really, his parents had encouraged the idea from the beginning, but also didn’t think it was the right time. But now, everything seemed to be falling into place.  God, is this what you want us to do? I thought. It was a great opportunity, but, there were a lot of things I kept mulling around in my head….
How long would it take to reach our goal? Would we find renters?  We would be living with my in-law’s for at least a year…. Which can cause all sorts of complications.. think about it…. How many married couples move in with their parents, and their relationships are still great afterward?! What would my parents think about it?  Where does all our stuff go? All my pretty, new things we received from our wedding, to help make our house a home… packed away?

We mulled the idea over for months, and discussed it with my parents, who were supportive, before we finally made the decision with Rich's parents that we would move in with them.  We decided that we would make the move in April, and hope to have the house rented out by June.  We thought it would take us about a year to save up what we needed and to find a house. 

And then, in January, we found out we were pregnant. 

So, we reconsidered our plans once more.  We would be taking up two rooms instead of one at our parent's house. Would they be okay with that? What about when the baby came?  How would it all work out?  We sat down with Rich's parents, once again, and shared with them the amazing news of a baby coming.  They were ecstatic and completely surprised.  We talked about our plans, and ultimately, we did still want to move in with them, if they were still on board.  Now, more than ever, we could see how beneficial it would be for us to find a better home to raise a family.  They told us that having a little one would never have changed their mind, and they were excited to be apart of it all.  

So, we began packing and prepping our home for our move and for renters. 

To be continued!