My family and I have lived in 5 houses in 6 years. 4 of those houses, including the one we are in now, have been rentals. We have moved well beyond the point of shame in this, the economic downturn hit us all and we were no exception, but we have been brought through all of it into a pure state of thankfulness. It would take waay too long for me to write about all of the ways Tyler and I have been molded, shaped, changed, challenged, blessed, encouraged, and brought closer together because of it. And that’s not just to sound good–it’s just the truth!
We’ve had our fair share of interesting run-ins with landlords, neighbors and hoods, kitchens or lack-there-of, showers…pretty much anything you can think of, we’ve seen it. And I would venture to state we have become quite the professional renters and have procured a nice list of things NOT to compromise on if the Lord ever allows us to buy a home. This list includes items like: don’t live on a busy street. Seems like common sense. Trying to stay away from HWY 99 in Sherwood is common sense. But living in an area with lots of foot traffic and happens to be the town short-cut is something you might be inclined to look past for the right house. NO way. Another: insulation. Another common sense item. Our first house had none. Two other houses had enough to pass code but when it comes to paper-thin walls that’s something you don’t find out until after the signing of the lease and then you’er wondering what happened when you find yourslef crawling on the floor out of your master bedroom and down the stairs at 6 am as you pray your body doesn’t trigger a floor creek so loud it wakes up all three children. True story. Attached garage that actually fits our cars (love not parking inside in one of the rainiest states in the country with 3 small children), a backyard (3 boys–need I say more?), proximity to family & friends (yes!), and a kitchen that is not in my family room (weird, perhaps, but I’m tired of my furniture smelling like my dinners), all made the non-negotiable list…And with that, we will be one of those buyers that visits multiple times and may ask to spend the night before purchasing. Completely reasonable. Not settling because we want a house is something we’ve learned the hard way, but we learned it.
Ok–so we rent and we’ve gotten much better at it. What does that mean? Well, at first we were kinda in shock when we had to sell our house and rent. We didn’t really understand what all of it meant, but we for sure knew that it was only temporary. For goodness sakes, we had two babies–Cody 16 months, B 1 month (we only move at convenient times, like right before or after I have a baby), we HAD to own a home. Right…So we moved in–kinda. Denial will do a lot to you, but it for sure kept me from ever making our first rental feel like a home. It wasn’t ours, and we were afraid to do anything–so we didn’t even hang pictures. We moved again and the boys were a little older and I thought, ok, I’ll hang a picture or two and maybe even buy a cork board…I know, totally homey. Then on to our next place in West Linn, we were about to have Dub and I realized this was my first chance to actually have a nursery–so I took it! Oh, and was it fun! Tyler had to rein me in a couple of times because we both knew it wasn’t our house and Lord only knew how long we’d be there. But we did paint (well, I picked the colors & pattern, and Tyler painted :)) and repurposed furniture, bought some prints from Etsy and made a complete room for Dub. The big boys room was hung with pictures and flags and I totally made up their playroom. It was fun–and it felt good to make our house feel like a home. A real one. And I could tell the boys felt more at ease too.
And after all of that homey-ness, 8 months later we were relocated to Somers, CT.
I’ve learned now there isn’t much point to living in a house and being afraid to make it a home. So even though we just moved 8 months ago, we are fully moving in again–and with gladness. It might seem awfully redundant and painfully laborious or even like a waste, but we have grown much over these 6 years, and we are no longer in denial. We no longer kick against the goads in our nomad life, we embrace it and even in our wildest imaginations we couldn’t have known it would bring us out to our New England adventure.
No our budget is not endless, and many rooms will remain empty and lacking proper wall hangings or furnishings, but we do what we can. So we paint! Simple, easy and a big bang for your buck! The big boys room was finished last weekend, Dub’s room is being completed today and we painted the backs of the bookcases as well. Why not? What else are we going to do in 18 degree weather in the woods? ;)
We are having fun settling in–still. And we will live here for the next 11 months or so, here in this house that we are making our home. Professional renters, a growing family and enjoying the ride :)