The Story of House Number One

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Moving Day, June 8th

So here we are, six weeks after our move into our new home and I'm just getting back into a normal routine. We've been busy with unpacking (of course), weeding the extensive flower beds (still working on that one), and painting the school room so it's ready in time for school this fall. But despite all of this busy going on, I hope to be back blogging weekly now. I've missed this small space.

We originally walked through what would be our new home in the early spring, right before putting our own home on the market. We fell in love with the property, location, and that the house was big enough to accommodate all of our needs and would be something we could "grow into" as the kids got older. The kids started calling it "House Number One" to differentiate it in their minds from the other houses we'd looked at.

We put a contingent offer on the House Number One right as our own house hit the market. The offer was declined, due to the fact that the owners thought we'd have a hard time selling our house, since it only had a two bedrooms.

We were disappointed, but decided to just concentrate on selling our home, as we'd have more bargaining power once our own house had a contract on it. As I shared previously, it actually only took 20 days to get an offer that we accepted on our house. Our realtors told us that we should wait to submit a new offer on House Number One once our house had passed all of its' inspections. It was hard to wait! I was worried House Number One would slip away!

I knew I'd be really disappointed if someone else got the house. It just seemed so perfect. Too perfect, almost! Every other house we'd looked at had some "issue" or just didn't feel right. I'd already mentally moved in and decorated House Number One! I had a hard time visualizing us anywhere else. It had room for a homeschool room, a guest room for visitors or if a family member might have to move in with us someday. It was perfect for entertaining, and the yard and driveway were perfect for my kids who love to ride bikes like extreme sport athletes! It was in a quiet neighborhood a little more out in the country than our previous home.

But I had to hold my desire with an open hand, trusting that God would provide what we needed at the right time. It was just a house after all, and I didn't want to make the house more important than it needed to be. I'd lived many years in a little bungalow and been perfectly content. I didn't want my contentment to hinge on getting this specific house. That said, house buying is definitely an emotional roller coaster!

At last we drafted our second offer on House Number One and submitted it. We waited.

An answer came back and we were told the owners would come down a certain amount, but not any lower. And our offer had been lower than they were willing to go. So we resubmitted another offer coming up a bit more in what we were willing to pay.

And that's when we got the call one night, right as I was putting the kids to bed. Our offer had been accepted!

We were so excited, I ran back to tell the kids the good news! We were all stoked!

The whole process of selling our little home we'd put so much sweat equity into and buying a new home was really quite a faith journey. We weren't sure if the house we'd end up with would be something we really loved or merely practical in size to meet our needs.

But God went above and beyond just meeting our needs. Instead, He provided us with a place that we love and hope to make memories in for many years to come!

Good-bye, Little House

Today we settled on our house. We say good-bye to the place we almost completely rebuilt. The house where all my babies came home. We pass it on to a new family who will soon make it their own, bringing their newborn home to it in just a few months.

Pardon my sentimental mood today.

We bought our little home in 2005 and were so happy to have a little piece of land to make our own. I'm not sure what attracted us to it other than we could do the work ourselves and it was on a quiet street. We weren't into townhouses and developments and couldn't afford much anyway. It's size has been a joy and an aggravation. I've loved the fact that I don't horde because there is no room to do so. I throw things away or simplify. I love that it's easy and quick to clean. I love to sit on the back deck and listen to the birds sing. To pick hydrangeas by the armful and decorate the house. I've loved that it's been just what I needed and nothing more.

I've not loved the fact that I haven't been able to entertain large groups, especially in the winter. That there's no room to put up over-night guests except on the couch.

Over the winter we felt the time had come. It was time to sell.

Our house was on the market for 20 days. Then we received the offer that we accepted.

On Easter Sunday.

After our house went on the market, Josh felt like we should pray that we'd have a contract by the end of March. We had our eye on another house that had been on the market for a while and didn't want it to slip away. To even contend for it, we needed a contract in our hands. (More on that in another post.)

We prayed. Easter approached and with it, the end of March. We prayed, but I resigned myself for a flop of a weekend. I was sure we'd have little to no showings. Who'd be looking at houses Easter weekend?

But we ended up having three showings that weekend.

While sitting in church we got the email: an offer was being made that very day.

Easter Sunday, March 31st. The last day of March.

God didn't have to grant our request. It really wouldn't have mattered if we'd gotten the offer on April 1st, you know? But God is really awesome like that sometimes. He just puts a gift in your lap you don't even have to have and says: "I love to surprise you with good gifts."

This house has been one of God's good gifts to us. It's insignificant and small by American Dream standards, but much more than so many in the world have. I can honestly say I've never forgotten that.

Good-bye little house.

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Our house has been through many stages of transformation. I thought it would be fun to look back at all the sweat and labor we've put into it to finally make this house complete.

When we purchased the house, it looked like this:

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Before and in-between pictures of the kitchen:

Kitchen expansion and renovation:

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Dining Room:

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Office space off of kitchen:

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Living room was first painted a chocolate, but it felt too dark, so then we went with a cream, which we've loved:

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Bedroom, and no, there can never be too many books:

Deck, shed rehab, and exterior:

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 These pictures aren't even completely up-to-date. The most updates images of our work are those our realtors commissioned.

But this just gives you a little taste of our little house's journey from abandoned and ugly to lived in and loved.

Christmas Tour 2012

It's been several years since I've participated in a Christmas House Tour, however, this year I'm joining up with The Inspired Room and Cottage Magpie to share my little house's Christmas decor. My house doesn't have much space, so it can take some creativity to make room for seasonal decorations. I love using natural elements in my home so greens are used inside as well as out.

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There are always leftover green at the farm where we cut our tree, so I gather an armload to bring home to make a wreath put on the front porch.

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Advent calendars are a favorite with the kids. These were actually mine when I was little.

However, some of the doors are falling off, so I think next year we'll have to get a few newer ones!

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Our basket of Christmas cards are tucked into a corner of the dining room. At dinner each night we select a card and pray for the family it represents.

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I love our wooden nativity set. It's our centerpiece on the table and usually looks as it does above! :)

But that's okay, I wanted to have a set the kids could play with. However, I thought I'd let you see it set up too.

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Christmas books are stacked everywhere! A tray holds an angel picture, hand-painted in watercolor by a dear friend.

Also, homemade coasters another friend crafted for me sit on a side table.

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The Nutcracker was given to me by a co-worker and is a hit with the kids.

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I make up for not having a fireplace and a mantel by decorating the top of this book shelf to go with the seasons.

At Christmas it holds our Jesse Tree. I cut branches from the backyard and put them in a pitcher so as we go through the advent readings each night, we can hang an ornament on it. The readings and printable ornaments can be found at A Holy Experience.

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Thanks for visiting!

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