From this post, I hinted around that something exciting was happening at our house right now and many people guessed correctly. We have undertaken the project to add-on to our house. Yippee! So get ready for some updates and posts about that mark progress along the way.
But before we get to all that, I wanted to share some of my random thoughts about houses and homes.
I live in my DREAM HOME, but not my DREAM HOUSE. You might be wondering what the difference is.
Six years ago when we built our house it was a surprise to us and we received blessing after blessing after blessing from generous friends and family.
I had just recently put in my notice that I wouldn’t be returning to coaching/teaching at a full time job. This meant that we had a baby on the way and were moving from a double income with no kids couple —– to single income with a kid and no “home” to call our own. Yes, crazy, I know. Yes, we did have a place to live, but we were renting and knew that wasn’t a permanent option, so we started looking into buying and building. We were extremely picky on what we would want to buy and NOTHING on the market came even close to a feasible option. Location and price were the biggest factors when we were looking because we knew we could remodel the insides. If we found a location we liked it was WAY OUT of budget. If we found something in budget, we hated the location and specs. So we felt we were in a conundrum of what to do.
But like I said earlier we were blessed beyond measure, through a series of events and generous people in our lives, the doors opened for us to be able to build a house in a great location with lots of room for kids to play. So we did.
The building process was fun and we did a lot of the work ourselves. I can remember laying down our floor at 2 am on one particular weekend. I can remember friends coming over after work to help us paint.
I remember my husband covered in white after he used a paint sprayer to paint all our ceilings. I also remember having a crying breakdown by myself- ALL ALONE- in the middle of August with 102 degree weather when I was left in the house painting by myself with no running water and with a 3 month old and a toddler. (I just want to make a note that that was the only mental breakdown that I had.)
Overall though, it was a great experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I learned more about building and got more hands on DIY experience than I ever thought I’d get.
The building and decision process was EASY. We had a strict budget and were determined to stick to it, so it made making decisions a piece of cake. When we went to pick something out, in order to stay in the budget the choices were very limited so it made the process easy. If we had an unlimited budget, it would have made it very overwhelming with all the choices. When you only have two choices for light fixtures or tile, it doesn’t make it that hard and there is no need to agonize over it.
With each decision along the way, we were encouraged by well meaning others to “get what we really wanted on the front end”, or to “bite the bullet and get my true preference”. Obviously, doing both of those would have made the cost go way up. I think I have great taste (insert wink), just expensive taste. With each decision, Sam and I stuck to our guns and stayed in the budget no matter how hard it was or what sacrifice we had to make, and I’m happy to say that by the end of it, we were at the exact dollar amount the we had planned to be at.
But, I did NOT get everything I wanted. Keyword– wanted.
There are big differences between “Wants” and “Needs”. I did not get my granite countertops, tiled shower, master bathroom, office, garage, foyer, mounted under stone sinks, french doors overlooking the back porch, built in window seats, multiple pitch roof, farm style long covered front porch, etc.. etc.. I can continue forever on with the list of things that I “gave up” in order to build a house on newly single income budget with a family that we were planning to grow. I did not get my “Pinterest” house and I would make the same decisions again.
The key in all this is your perspective. Is your feeling that of gratefulness, joy, and contentment? Or is your feeling entitlement? Before Sam and I started the process we made a point to write down all our thoughts and feelings of gratefulness and all the ways that people were helping us. We did this so that when our “wanters” turned on, we could go back to our roots and remember that our goal in building a house was to create a home for our family, a place where we could hang out and make memories. The root of our goals and heart’s desire had nothing to do with displaying all of our fancy tastes and preferences.
Creating a home doesn’t have anything to do with what kind of crown molding you have, but how you make people feel when they come into your home. It proved to be a good idea to write down all the ways we were blessed and how grateful we were from the beginning because every time I had the urge to “upgrade” to what I wanted I had a written reminder from myself of what my true wants really were. My true desire was to be a mom and wife and bake lots of cookies in the kitchen with my kids and have dance parties in the living room on rainy days.
and that we have done.
My house is not my “DREAM HOUSE”, but it is every bit my DREAM HOME.
It is filled each night with my family and lots of laughter and silly antics. It’s where our memories are being made and a place to retreat to at the end of the day.
It’s where birthdays are celebrated and cake is served.
It’s where my kids are read their bedtime stories and where we prepare family feasts together.
It’s where my kids have fallen asleep at the dinner table as babies and caused us all to laugh hysterically.
It’s where the tooth fairy has visited and forgotten to visit.
It’s where we’ve spilled entire gallons of milk and have a chunk missing in our wood floor because a toddler dropped a heavy weight on the floor.
My dream home is where my boys run their super loud cars up and down the hallway over and over and over.
My dream home is where we have countless tea parties and epic hero battles.
My dream home is where we celebrate the everyday life together.
My dream home is right where I am and where I want to be.
It’s not my dream house, but most definitely my dream home and I’m blessed to be here.
It’s been 5 1/2 years since we moved in and I’ve had plenty of time to think about what I would do different or what I’d want in a house.
But nothing ever changes, wherever my family is— is where my dream home is, no matter what the floor plan is.
Oh and because Lane didn’t make any of the family photos—I wanted to give him some photo credits too since he is part of the family and is part of what makes our Dream Home.
But even though I already live in my dream home—–Stay tuned this week for more thoughts and details about our addition. I’ll need your help making some decisions!
***Note—Someday, I do hope to build again if it all works out with all the features I want, but until then I am perfectly content and happy to raise my family right where we are. Who knows where life will take us!***