I know that I have been rather quiet lately and I promised an update over on our Facebook page for all of my followers to give them the low down gossip on what has been going on the past several months. Well it’s time for the big reveal folks.
After spending 10+ years in our apartment home where we raised our two sons (who were ages 8 and 5 when we moved in), we have moved to a 3 bedroom home in another county. Not only is it a huge change emotionally, but there are new school districts, new businesses to explore, new neighbors to befriend.
Now, this might not seem like earth-shattering news or a life event to you … but to our family it was. It was not a planned change, it was forced upon us and there was nothing we could do but go along with the decision. So here is a bit of the back story on the why for the move.
Teenage Sons and The Law
I would love to tell you that ours is a perfect family. I would love to tell you that none of my children have ever been in trouble with the law. Well I can but that would only be for my daughter who has never had any involvement with the law other than the occasional speeding ticket here and there. I honestly don’t think she’s ever seen the inside of a courtroom.
My sons on the other hand, were known on a first-name basis when we lived in Hanover. There were constant scuffles with the law for the most mundane things to more serious infractions. As parents, however, we started to feel as though our sons were being “targeted” if you will. That we were constantly under surveillance, as though they were just waiting to arrest one of the boys for the slightest misstep. It made for a very stressful day-to-day existence. It wasn’t “just a feeling” as you might think either. There were marked and undercover police officers sitting across the street on a daily basis, directly across from my teenage sons’ bedroom windows. If they weren’t across the street, they were staking out the parking lot of our apartment complex – watching and waiting.
On October 20th, our youngest was out past curfew (unbeknownst to us) with three other friends. They weren’t outside causing mischief – they were sitting in a parked vehicle listening to music, talking, and watching stupid videos on YouTube as kids do. The police decided to stop and see what they were doing, a search ensued and several items that teenagers should not be found with were found. Like I said, we had been feeling “targeted” for some time and even though there were three other individuals in the car, my son caught charges for everything that they found.
The judge decided he was a menace to society and refused to allow him home on house arrest and remanded him to the juvenile detention facility an hour away from home until his court date. Suddenly, my husband and I were faced with the cold reality of what empty nest syndrome is a little earlier than we expected.
Evicted from Your Home
I would really love to know what happened to the “innocent until proven guilty” mantra of our law enforcement and judicial system. The minute you are charged with something, everyone automatically assumes that you are a bad person, that you are guilty of what you have been accused of. The judge assumed our son was guilty of what he was charged with. When our landlord received the notice of the arrest made on the property over the weekend, they assumed guilty as charged as well.
The following day we received a letter from our landlord informing us that, due to the nature of the charges against our son, we had 30 days to vacate our apartment. Our home where we had lived for over 10 years. Our home where our two sons had grown from elementary school to teenagers and spread their wings to fly into adulthood.
It wasn’t that we were not looking to move – we were already searching for homes in the area – but to be given a deadline when we were not ready for it, so close to the holidays, and financially unprepared – threw us for a loop as I’m sure you can imagine. I had savings set aside for a huge dental procedure that I needed to have done on November 24 that had to be canceled. It was a procedure I’ve been waiting literally years to have done because of the financial issue, and I finally had enough to be able to have it done and it was yanked out from under me. A roof over our heads or a smile for me – naturally a roof came first.
So in the midst of working and worrying about our son, driving twice a week an hour away to visit with him, we had to find time to schedule appointments to go look at houses we were interested in and scramble to come up with over $4000 in less than 30 days to cover security deposits, rents, moving, etc.
The Hunt for a New Place to Call Home
I lost count on the number of houses that we went and viewed. There always seemed to be something that just wasn’t quite right though. Either there was no garage, or the yard wasn’t fenced in, or the house had been sitting so long it smelled like straight up mold. There were houses with narrow stairs and three stories – hard enough to navigate as a human being but attempting to get bedroom suites up winding stairs would have been impossible. Not to mention hubby and I are not spring chickens any longer – so a three-story house was out of the question after seeing those stairs.
I’ll be honest – I was PISSED OFF. I was WORRIED. I was SCARED. I kept hearing “you’re going to end up living in a hotel somewhere” replaying over and over in my head every time we would see a house and it wasn’t quite right.
Then on November 8th, with just 20 days left to find a house and move everything we owned, a house came available. The ad in the paper said no dogs – but I had quickly learned that while the ad might say that – some rentals would relax this requirement depending on the type of dog. So I called the number listed and spoke with Jeff, the owner of this particular property. I explained that we needed a home that would allow small dogs and told him about our little Mollyanna.
He said that he would be at the house on Saturday helping his son move out and if we wanted to come by and check it out we were more than welcome to. He was not officially showing the home until December he said, because he wanted to get some items taken care of once his son had moved and get it market ready once again – but he liked us from our phone conversation and would give us a preview of the home in its “as-is” state.
First Glimpse at Our New Home
John and I pulled into the driveway and immediately fell in love. A large front yard with a paved driveway leading to the garage and a paved walkway to the house lined with beautiful flowers and plants. A beautiful large window in the living room, I couldn’t wait to see the inside. John and Jeff chatted a bit in the driveway (hitting it off instantly as they are both cut from the same cloth it seemed) and we finally got a chance to see the inside.
The minute we walked in the front door I was sold on the home. There in the living room, looking absolutely beautiful and invoking thousands of Pinterest ideas, was a fireplace with a stone hearth.
I couldn’t contain my giddy joy and was grinning from ear to ear like a kid on Christmas morning. I had hundreds of memories growing up surrounding our fireplace in our family room with my own parents, and could just imagine recreating some of those same memories with my own children. That alone would have sold me on the house – but wait – there was more!
As a work-at-home mom, one of the necessities that I require is a space to work. A space that I can call my own and set up my office. My office was in the corner of the bedroom in our apartment – just enough room for a desk sandwiched between the bed and the closet that I had to side-step around to go to bed every evening. When I walked through the living room and dining room into the kitchen, I literally had a hallelujah moment.
The mother of the family who lived here homeschooled her children, and so they added a built-in desk space in the kitchen where Mom could watch over the kids while they did their assignments and she prepared the family meals. It felt as though it was made for me.
Right off the kitchen through that french door you see to the right is the laundry room and additional storage area. The shelves were built and added in by the family to hold their homeschooling materials as well as pantry staples and camping gear for the nights spent in the backyard camping out under the stars. I literally thought someone was playing a huge joke on me – this was just getting better and better room by room.
We opened the back door to go out into the yard and discovered a little doggie door already in place for Mollyanna! Now all we had to do was teach her that she could go in and out through that door!
When I stepped out the back door, my heart soared. Literally. We finally had a huge backyard to enjoy again. One of my biggest regrets after moving from our home in Powhatan into the city was the loss of our yard space. A major plus is that the entire backyard is fenced in – so Molly can go outside and play to her heart’s content without us having to worry about anyone or any other dogs getting to her and not needing to watch her the entire time she’s outside.
The fun doesn’t stop there though. In case you didn’t know – my husband can eat his weight in eggs on a daily basis. If there was nothing left in the world besides chickens and pigs – he would be a happy camper. He could live off bacon and eggs and chicken. So imagine my glee when I saw this:
A brand new chicken coop that has its own fenced in area for the chickens to roam around in. Can you say fresh eggs daily? We will most definitely be getting some chickens this spring! I grew up on a farm where we had chickens but it has been years and years since I have taken care of them – so I need to brush up on my chicken raising skills before I dive into this endeavor – but dive I will so stay tuned!
Some additional hidden gems of our backyard?
A fire pit already created and placed in the backyard for those nights around the campfire toasting marshmallows and hanging out with the ones you love.
A hot tub base with all the electrical and plumbing hookups already established. Only thing missing is the hot tub!
A nice back deck with plenty of room for a grill for hubby and a chaise for me or a table and chairs set – I haven’t decided which I want yet!
I literally want to hit the fast forward button and go straight to spring to see how utterly gorgeous this built-in koi pond garden is going to look which is located right off the deck in the backyard. When we were looking at the home, they still had the koi fish in there and a little waterfall was operating and it was absolutely stunning. I can just imagine sitting out on the back deck with the waterfall in the background and the beautiful scents from the deck garden flowers and the fish lazing about in the pond. Sigh.
Having grown up on a farm, my roots are deeply ingrained. There is nothing more satisfying than growing your own food and providing for your family. Nurturing those tiny seeds into beautiful plants. So I almost fainted with joy when I saw that there was already a garden spot set up in the yard for me. I plan on doing some raised plant beds for my garden (due to back and knee issues) and I am going to have some sweet corn and cantaloupes and watermelons along with cucumbers, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, and whatever else I can get my mitts on lol!
I even have a little garden shed directly off to the left in that image where I can keep all of my gardening tools that I will need. Hubby thinks he’s going to commandeer that space but he has another thing coming. That’s going to be my she shed! The garden shed even has a little roof overhang to store firewood underneath. I “might” let him park his lawn mower there. We shall see!
This is the view of the backyard from the chicken coop, which is located at the back right of our yard area. The children’s toys are gone now, giving it a more spacious look and feel.
Okay, so I had to literally tear myself away from the back yard to look at the rest of the house. I’m telling you though – mark my words – 85% of my spring, summer, and fall is going to be spent in that backyard!
So I walked around to the right of the house from the backyard and saw that there is a double gate opening wide enough for hubby to pull a vehicle into the backyard if needed.
Nice feature to have and all, but I’m going to have to watch him closely to make sure he’s not planning on turning the backyard into a second garage! And speaking of garages – we have one at this house that gives him plenty of room to pull a car in and a nice workbench in place where he can build me all sorts of things – or I can just build them myself because I am pretty handy with carpentry tools after helping my parents build our home back in Pennsylvania.
Off to the left of the image is a door that leads back into the house and straight into the man cave as I’ve dubbed it. It’s a great little space that was at one time a patio area off the house that has been enclosed. At the front of the man cave room you have these gorgeous slat windows, and at the other end of the man cave are sliding glass doors that lead out onto the back deck.
It isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to hold his god awful projection screen television that I absolutely hate. I plan on decking out his man cave area with lots of comfy chairs, his television and a bar area so that when he wants to invite the guys over to watch a pay-per-view event – I can kick them out of the house and into the man cave!
To the left of the man cave from this image is the door that leads back into the dining room and living room area:
Directly off the kitchen and adjoining the hallway is my son Tre’s room. He claimed this room as his own the minute we walked into the house because (a) it is the largest bedroom in the house (b) it’s easy access to the kitchen for those late night snack runs and (c) there is plenty of space for his studio equipment and bedroom furniture and gaming center.
It also has poseable lighting in the ceiling (it’s a really unique light fixture I’ve not seen before but really like) so he can move his 6 different mini-lights to where he needs the most light at any given moment. There is a nice linen closet in his bedroom as well that I am forbidden to use because it has been turned into a shoe closet to showcase the Jordans and other name-brand shoes that he owns.
The next room down the hallway from Tre’s room is the one and only bathroom in the home. Now coming from an apartment that had a bath and a half, this is going to take some getting used to.
Then when you walk out of the bathroom, the master bedroom is to the left and Jonathan’s bedroom is at the end of the hallway.
I call Jonathan’s room the blue room because of the beautiful paint in there. It will also double as a spare bedroom (and closet for me) since Jonathan moved and only comes home now and again to visit.
To say that we fell in love with the house was an understatement. Jeff liked us, and after speaking with us and seeing our reaction and hearing our plans for the property and the home, he told us that if we wanted to move in, to give him a deposit on the house and he would take the listing down and show that the home was unavailable. I didn’t even hesitate to write him a check for the security deposit.
He was willing to work with us and gave us keys to the home two days later once his son had removed everything. We were able to go in and paint and clean and redo the hardwood floors to make them shine and then we started to move everything in. By November 28, our deadline to vacate the apartment, we were completely moved in.
We spent our first night at the new house on November 27. We were “supposed” to be spending our first night there on November 26; however, I came down with a horrid cold and sinus infection and went home from work early that Monday. When hubby and Tre came back to the apartment to get the bedroom furniture, I was face down on the bed, dead to the world and wouldn’t wake up. So we spent another night there and then moved everything else in the following two days.
Saying Goodbye to the Old and Hello to the New
Moving is stressful even in the best of circumstances. Readers who have been long time fans know that I have written several articles on moving over the years. However, being forced into a move without warning or preparation brings an entirely new level of stress and anxiety that – quite frankly – I would not wish on my worst enemy.
We spent 10 years in our apartment. There are memories there that, while I can take the memory with me, the four walls that contained those life moments will no longer be there. It is a bittersweet thought. Once the apartment was empty, and we could see the bare walls and closets – hundreds of memories came flooding back. How a particular drawing on the wall came to be; a kool-aid stain on a rug from a wrestling match between brothers. What saddened me the most was leaving behind the boys’ measurements that were lovingly added to our bedroom wall whenever they would go through a growth spurt.
It is the little things like this that made me sad to leave our apartment. But as I handed my husband the key and knew that it would be the last time that I stepped foot in that space that had been our home, I knew without a doubt that the new memories we would be making in our new home, would be just as wonderful and just as meaningful.
So we will be celebrating Christmas in our new home this year. While I would optimistically love to have a tree and decorations covering every inch of the home, I think it will be a laid back type of Christmas this year … which is fine too, because the week after Christmas when all of the decorations go on sale for 50% and 75% off, guess who is going to be buying them up to store for next year?
I am extremely excited for 2019 now due to this move. The DIY projects that I already am formulating, the gardening to share, the interior designing and remodeling projects. It’s going to be a busy 2019 here at Life in a House, and I hope that you’ll be along for the ride with us!
Thank you so much for hanging in there while we were silent and less active … but know that we are back and have so much more in store for you in the coming months!
Wishing you and yours a happy, safe, and truly blessed holiday season from my new built-in desk area…