Ammon and I.
We've been praying a lot about the future. We've got major decisions on our hands and unbelieveably we move in under four months now.
Until last week, we had resigned ourselves to renting as we make this move to Visalia, on sound advice from my mom, but man this year has been a roller coaster of raw emotions.
Driving around Visalia with a realator eight months ago, Ammon and I were encouraged by what we saw. We pointed out houses we both liked, realized that we had very similar tastes (which we pretty much knew already) and thought it would be a great opportunity to buy our first home as we made this move. We returned to Columbus full of excitement and optimism.
Then life hit as it it usually does when we returned home....we realized we were pregnant and expecting a baby in the spring, that we HAVE to purchase a new vehicle because of our growing family, and raising six kids with almost two back in diapers isn't cheap.
After many talks with my mom and our parents, we realized that buying a home would be about a year off and renting would be our best option. That was SO disheartening....after almost renting for 12 years and Ammon and I both being the oldest in our families, but the almost the last married couple to buy a home, I didn't know if my patience could handle it. I've been looking over and over at rentals and it doesn't look like we'll be able to find a rental that will be too much bigger than what we have now and will be double the cost...but that will be addressed later and we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Fast forward to last week. Our realator had set up a client portal for us to view homes in our specific school district/price range to view since last August. There haven't been too many homes for sale in the past eight months and of those homes, there had been nothing of interest to Ammon and I. Nothing....either for lack of space, the look, the layout, and a lot of them are older homes needing a ton of work which we don't have the time for right now. It's been frustrating. (Insert here that I think I need to stop watching HGTV and pretending I'm an interior designer/home renovator!!!!)
Then, we got a house placed on our list that changed everything. Everything.
I've included a couple of pictures. It was big but not pretentious or overly showy. It needed some work but it was almost the exact layout that Ammon and I had always drawn on napkins and papers as we imagined our "dream" house. It had the right number of bedrooms, a pool, a block and a half from our target elementary school, one mile from Ammon's new job, a big kitchen, a laundry room on the same floor as the bedrooms, on a culdesac, a big room full of light for our library of books, etc. It was THE house.
I pictured mini family recitals in this front room....and being able to hear the kids play the piano and their instruments all over the house.
Stainless steal appliances, double oven, the counter space I haven't had, the kids doing their homework at the island while I made dinner, the white cabinets I've been wanting, a huge pantry, etc.
My favorite room. I pictured making little flags on places we've traveled, bookcases with our books, comfy chairs to curl up and read, and a coffee table to play board games on.
We called our realator and started scrambling trying to find ways to make this house possible for our family. We submitted paperwork, made phones calls, talked with her and tried to make this a real possibility for us. It was eight days of a dream world. My pins on pinterest skyrocketed because suddenly I could finally, after almost twelve years, picture and be inspired by "our house". We felt really good about it and I can't explain the feelings that we felt. Here are a couple of my "pins". Let's just say I've always wanted to do interior design and I've had years and years to dream about this.
Love the silver accessories, farm house sink, grey/white/aqua combination and the fabric from Goose Designs.
Love the aqua subtiles!
Mudroom with chalkboard name plates for all the kids stuff instead of on my stairs!
To top it of, in that same twenty four hour period, our current van died at gymnastics and had to be towed to a nearby auto shop and while Ammon was on call that next day (Thursday) our "house" went under contract. I was so incredibly sad, I can't even tell you. No house and no car it felt like. Ammon was sad too and he wasn't even able to be home that day. Normally, in the real estate market, there is always another house but after "looking" for eight months and seeing nothing...this had been the house we had wanted.
After one of the saddest, most depressing days, we talked a lot about why we had felt so good about this house. Why it was something we both felt inspired about both had this desire to provide it for our family?
The next day, thankfully, we had a very fun, much needed date. I had looked forward to it for three weeks. We test drove some mini vans, ate at a Japanese Restaurant we have been eyeing for five years and enjoyed FOUR whole hours sans children thanks to Meghan, a wonderful baby sitter. Ammon and I laughed and held hands and had such a fun evening together. We found us again.
It was such a contrasting feeling to sit at the cardealer and not feel pressured by them or their numbers because of Ammon's future job but mostly because we weren't there to buy a car that night. There was no scrambling, we had more confidence in our decision and unlike the whole house process, there was more peace and more feelings of getting and being prepared with a financial decision.
Early the next morning, Saturday, I woke up tossing and turning at 5:30am. There was too much on my mind to think. It woke Ammon up and we started to talk. Suddenly in those early morning moments, everything seemed more clear. The loss of that house was a staggering feeling and it left us with a lot of raw emotions, but we were able to just lay in bed and talk with each other. We haven't had a free weekend or Saturday just to do that or make important decisions in such a long time. I am learning that is crucial in a marriage.
It became very clear about the lesson we learned from this experience. After eight months of searching in Visalia, we learned that there are homes like the one we've been working toward all these years. They aren't common but they DO exist. I was being to wonder about that. Seeing the vision of "our home" we've been picturing all these years, finally gave us motivation we never had before. I started a binder of our loans, a projected monthly budget plan, etc. We gained a desire to work hard and save for a down payment and to prepare ourselves for that home when we come across it again. We won't have to scramble and like looking for the car, we'll be far more prepared. It gave us a desire to make good choices for our family and not let money and the desire for immediate gratification take precedence. We've done that in the past and we've learned the hard lesson of climbing out of a credit card pit, which thankfully we have. We learned that Heavenly Father is there to guide us and ultimately I know he knows my righteous desires but they aren't going to always come at my pace or time frame.
I also had thoughts that there are some more immediate things like buying a new kitchen table that we fit at, a couple of beds for growing kids and a new car that has the right number of seats, are a little more neccessary right now then a new home.
That home is out there. It is so hard for me to think of renting yet again and putting our dreams on the back burner and moving again in a year or two or three when we finally find the right home, but as we knelt down and said a prayer that morning, our decisions were confirmed. I had a distinct impression that renting was the right option but that God was going to help "prepare the way" for our next home both in a couple of months but mostly in a couple of years.
This year I tell you has been full of roller coaster emotions!!! I thought four years of medical school plus four years of residency before this would have prepared us to face this last year but it is as though Heavenly Father has so much to teach us in the next couple of months and the lessons are coming quicker and harder then ever before. We are in the midst of a refiner's fire right now and I can only hope that we keep making the right decisions for our family, that we can find a rental in the right school district/ward and that we'll eventually find and be prepared for our dream home. I can't wait for that day but someday buying our first home will be one of the most rewarding, satisfactory experiences of our life.