4.19.2014

our forever home


these past few days have been a whirlwind.

three evenings back i was perusing zillow for fun.  i get utter enjoyment out of looking for houses online.  it's one of my guilty pleasures, just as i love peeking inside homes on pinterest.  throw on a good movie, sip a backpacker pour of low quality wine, and house hunt for fun.  it's my thing when andrew wants to play a game of soccer on his PS3.  

i happened to come across a four bedroom bungalow, that on paper, was ideal for our future forever home.  when i say forever home, i mean a home that we can have more babies in and grow old in.  a home where i can put our linens out to dry on the line and a place where we can tend to our family garden.  don't get me wrong, we adore our current home to bits, but let's be realistic...there is no way we will be having another baby here for it would simply be much too small.

back to this house i found.   it was a robin's egg blue craftsman style house on the block of our choice.  it was within walking distance to the park and library, had all original wood detailing and light fixtures, a wood burning fireplace, and an upstairs laundry room.  the whole nine yards.  a dream home.  that same evening we decided i should go take a look and see it in person.  two days later, i found myself in that very home after walking there with our babies.  with my fingers running along the newly stained baseboards, i dreamed about stella walking down the gorgeous walnut staircase in her prom dress to meet her date.  i thought about how many pies would be made in that kitchen.

seeing it in person gave me chills.  andrew needed to see it too.  right away if at all possible, for we could not let this home slip away from us despite the fact that we weren't even shopping for houses.

that same evening we hired a babysitter, did another walkthrough of the house, and went out to dinner to talk about how we felt.  we both decided to move forward.  we were terrified and excited all at once.  this home and all of its old world charm was a real gem.  sure, it was a bit out of our price range but we could make some adjustments here and there.  and we were talking about our forever home, so did price really matter?  we went home feeling giddy and very sure of ourselves.  we had baskets full of dreams and ideas for this space that we would throw around from time to time.  ...movie nights in the backyard with a makeshift movie screen on a white sheet fastened to the side of our detached garage.  ...which room would be the nursery, the playroom, the office.  ...we would have an office!?  all of this was very exciting as we now live in a home that is less than 800 square feet.  we felt like brenden and dale from step brothers, "it would give us so much extra room for activities!"  haha!  but i'm not kidding.

the following day was one that included many phone calls and talk of taxes, loans, and payment plans.  very adult things if you know what i mean.  we waited all day to find out if we would even be able to make an offer on this place.  we did our best to keep a level head.  goodness, that is hard to do when something so grand is pulling you in its' wake.  after talking on the phone we got some smart advice to take all the emotion out of the decision going forward.

naturally, we did the opposite.

minutes after hearing that seemingly perfect advice from his dad, andrew walked into our nursery to change theodore's diaper.  i followed him into the light-filled room, letting our creaky bedroom door shut gently behind me.  he turned to me and said it was the first time we had gone to see a prospective house separately.  how out of all of the house we had seen before,  we had seen for the first time together.

i felt myself taking a step backward, the blood rushing from my face.  the hair on the back of my neck stood up and i felt defensive of this house that was not yet ours.  i felt like i needed to protect it.  he said he did not feel good about not experiencing what might be our forever home for the first time together.  deep down i knew exactly what he was saying.  what he was feeling.  but man did i throw up those walls.  i think i even called him crazy and stormed off.

with a freshly changed baby boy bouncing on my hip i went out into our patio to sit in the sun.  those warm rays were medicine for my soul.  immediately, a wave of emotion came over me and i felt the urge to stand up.  i walked inside and assertively exclaimed, we can't do it.  i am out.  this is not our home.  i strongly feel like we were not meant for this home.  the veins in my neck were most prominent i am sure.

i cannot pinpoint exactly what it was that made me change my mind.  of course, andrew's emotional response to not viewing the home together swayed me emotionally.  and i think my intense love for our current space with its flaws and all, also carried its weight in my decision.  but after really listening to my heart and giving my feelings a voice i felt as light as air.  sometimes when we least expect it the truth surfaces.  andrew was feeling the exact same way all along and did not even realize it.  not until now had he voiced it to me!  we were made for each other he and i, balancing each other out with our feelings and such.

the next hour was a progressive stream of what we wanted in a house.  white.  bright.  old.  airy.  open.  windows.  windows.  windows.  charm.  crown molding.  tiling.  front porch.  back porch.  and more windows.  and fireplaces.  this blue house had a majority of those things so why on earth did we decided then and there (even after finding out we were indeed approved!) to stop dead in our tracks and not make this home ours forever?

we just didn't looooove it.  we really, really liked it.  but love,  well that's a whole other thing entirely.  because when you love something you can accept its imperfections.  heck, you celebrate them!  and with this house, we wanted to immediately change everything we didn't care for right off the bat.  that did not feel right to us.  we want a forever home that we could not live without.  a home that speaks an abundance of love to us.  a special place that celebrates our story, through and through.

over a long evening walk and two scoops of pretzel ice cream at glace, we came up with a plan.  we would continue our search for our forever home, but we will be renovating.  a city farmhouse is what we've got in mind.  a space that echoes "we live on a farm" but within walking distance to all of our favorite places here in the city.  we are secure in feeling that our creativity alone can make that happen.  it is going to take time and patience and many late nights planning, but we know that in order to love our future home this is what we need to do.  and golly, it feels good to put it in writing.

6 comments:

  1. this is a really sweet + honest post, amanda. i savored every word! robert + i have been going slowly insane in our apartment -- after years here, with no demarcated spaces (no doors to shut) and the looming, red brick walls all, all, all around -- oh, how we crave white space! and so our favorite (seriously, daily) activity is to list the features of our dream house. in a way i feel its imprint on my heart -- just knowing it's out there someplace. i'd like to think that because this house -- though dreamy in its own way -- didn't work out...it's because it's not fitting into the shape you've set aside for it in your heart. does that sound right? it sounds all right in my head, but doesn't come out so accurately in words, i think. but i think you get it. and when you know, you know, you know? you know. she's out there, your lovely lady of a home. : )

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    1. thank you sweet bridget. i totally know what you mean by when you know you just KNOW. we were making far too many excuses to make this work in our heads and we not listening to our hearts. your comment was so on point. and by the way, you and robbie are just the most darling couple! just think, in a few years we will both be settled somewhere perhaps exchanging pie recipes (one can hope!) xx amanda

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  2. I dont quite understand why you wouldn't want to buy a home that you hadn't first seen together. (Please dont take that as negative - I just want to understand). If the home wasn't the right one for one reason or another, great. But i guess I am not understanding why you would not buy a home because you hadn't seen it together for the first time. I think when you first move into a new place, you don't like the flaws, but as you live there you come to love them. Its a timing thing for me. It takes time to settle into a new place. Again, I love this blog and your Instagram. I don't normally comment, but I guess i just wanted to understand what your husband meant by saying that.

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    1. i can see why this may seem a bit odd, but i suppose what was going on inside him was that the house wasn't a fit from the start. he had uneasy feelings and this was his way of telling me it wasn't clicking emotionally for him. and i think we looked for excuses to want it to work and it just wasn't.

      i also feel that us not seeing it together is a metaphor in that we make all big decisions together and this felt "off" since i took the initiative in going alone before taking the time to see it as a couple together for the first time. i am sure couple view homes separately all the time but i suppose we don't work best that way. by mentioning what he did he gave me pause for thought whereupon we both realized that this home was not for us. us not seeing it together was NOT the deciding factor by any means (that would be crazy) but a stimulus for conversation at the very least. :) we are embarking on is such a big step in our lives and we want to make sure we are both on the same page before jumping in. for us, that means seeing homes together for the first time. that intricate process of deciding is important to us and we it is what we have done thus far! hope that make sense?

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  3. Thank you for sharing your experience - this is something my husband and I talk about often. We live in an altogether too-small house in a city area that will not accommodate a family greater than four, yet we are loathe to leave! We do not want a bigger mortgage and this house is ours, it knows our story, as you so beautifully write. It would be so very hard to leave it, yet I know one day we must. Choosing a home, particularly a forever home, seems so fraught with emotion and expectation. What if it isn't what you hoped for? What do you have to give up? Will it be worth it? We have decided to make do with what we have, imperfections and all, until we the children say they can't do it anymore. Good luck with your renovations and your house hunting xox

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