Today marks 3 years since we closed on our home. I don’t think I knew then what a truly huge decision it was to take on this way of life. I had no idea how much that decision, that signature, would completely change us. Our home is our heart, its our soul, its our passion, its our frustration, its where we lost babies, its where we brought Porter home to. That decision has defined us in a way. This piece of land, its our roots. Its where we spend so much of our time, working, relaxing, parenting, laughing, crying. Home is where the heart is took on a whole new meaning when we embarked on this adventure. I remember thinking “oh we can handle a little grass cutting.” HA! YOU GUYS, we have been working pretty much NON STOP for three years and its still not done! Does that show you how much needed to be handled around here!? I will let the photos tell the story, but we have renovated, fixed, built, and mowed so much. I made a post on this day last year and Porter was just 3 weeks old. I was exhausted and healing, but so happy. There was a sense of peace, like it suddenly all made sense, that we did this for him. I think this day will forever stand out to me as the day we took on the biggest adventure of our lives, and decision to use every ounce of ourselves towards this goal of living in a home that we put back together with our own hands. Last year when I made this post we were just starting our kitchen renovation. This year we have just finished the barn renovation. It’s so much fun for me to look back at all we’ve done. It’s easy to forget where we started when we live in this newness every day. But this lil’ place was a MESS. And we saw hope. I dreamt of a white farm house, and we landed on a little cabin style home in the woods, and its perfect for us.
For those of you who don’t know, I am a wedding and portrait photographer. Before I started this blog, I used my photo blog as a place to share our personal life here and there. I wrote this post on November 16, 2016 (one year exactly after we closed on our home) and these words just hit my heart so hard today as I read them. So much has changed, and so much is still the same. But I wanted to share them again here today…
This day last year was FRANTIC. It was a Monday, Nick had to work, and it was the only day we could close on the new house and move in without having to move twice based on the closing of our old house. Nick went to work, left work to sign the papers, went back to work, and then we moved into this house from 4-10pm with the help of all our friends and family. It was literal madness, but we were just grateful to have our bed setup and somewhere to sleep!
Although that somewhere to sleep wasn't very warm... We lived without heat in the home from November to January. We made the switch from electric heat to gas and had to run a gas line and trench the yard and wait for the gas company to hook us up. Basically, it was a COLD Winter. With that, we also survived having no internet for two months, crazy slow internet for 9 months, and I'm happy to say as of 1 month ago we finally got hooked up to high speed. Lets just say it was an adjustment period for sure :)
Our last home was an adorable new M/I build with a small fenced in patio and we paid an HOA fee and the neighborhood took care of the lawn care... Our current home when we purchased it was 4 acres and 1800 sq ft of literal mess. I think all the time how in the world did we think we could do this!? I can't lie, I've cried. I vividly remember calling my realtor in April saying LETS SELL IT. We can't do it! We cannot keep up on everything with our jobs and lives. It would ebb and flow, some days easier than others. We went from spending our spare time on date nights and adventures to literally every moment that we weren't working at our jobs we were working on this house (and my family too!) Its become our normal now so its not as shocking, but at first I more than missed our former life. This was such a huge lifestyle change and in the beginning the work seemed like it would never get done, saying it was overwhelming was the understatement of the century.
BUT - We are 1 year in! WE DID IT! WE MADE IT!!! I can't believe what we've accomplished. We would have never EVER been able to do this without the help of my family who has been here almost every weekend since last year. The list was SO long when we moved in, and although there's still a list, it seems much more manageable and seeing what we've accomplished in 12 months proves to me that this all will definitely get done in time.
Since November 2015 we've hosted dinners, holiday parties, bon fires, family days, pumpkin carving with friends, birthdays, and just sat the two of us on our front porch rockers and enjoyed the view. We've chased our puppies around the yard, drank beer with friends, walked the trashcan down the long gravel drive every Sunday, decorated for the seasons, and every once in a while stopped to marvel in what is ours. We viewed the house in October for the first time... the trees were unreal. I have been excited for October since the day we moved in, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I literally came outside every single day and watched the breeze blow and the leaves fall. It was so beautiful and such a reminder of why we chose to do this.
I'm proud today. We decided to take this on and we've committed. Some days were hard and I doubted our ability to get through it all, but we did it. We've transitioned into an entirely new lifestyle, Nick got a promotion and has moved into a new role at work, I've been busy as ever with wedding season, we lost a family member, we lost two pregnancies, we've struggled, but never given up. One thing we haven't lost is hope. We've shared so many good times in this home as well and I know there are unlimited amazing times to come. Seeing my 86 year old grandparents sit on our front porch and tell us how proud and happy they are for us is a feeling I will never forget. Even though this has been hard, I am just so grateful that we have the opportunity to even do this. How lucky, at 27 years old we can buy our "dream property" and renovate it. I'd say we have it pretty good.
Thank you to my sweet husband Nick who has always been so willing to let me chase my dreams. In our 10 years together he never doubted my abilities to run a successful business, he would hop out of bed every Sunday and adventure with me and the dogs, he trusts my judgement in so many of our big life decisions, and he jumped wholeheartedly into this dream I've had for years. He's spent countless hours on a tractor and with power tools in his hand for a year. Babe I love and appreciate you more than you'll ever know. As long as we're together we can truly accomplish anything. Thank you.
So, next on the list!? THE KITCHEN! YAHOO! Our cabinets were delivered last week and I am just heart eye emoji's all day every day. I had my wisdom teeth emergency removed last week so our original demo day got pushed, but hoping in the next few weeks we get to work on this thing! We have all the plans laid out, now its just a matter of making it happen!
And here’s some photos to take you down memory lane…
2018 was the year of the barn. 2017 was the year of the kitchen. 2016 was the year of the bathrooms/fence/ outdoor property and just learning how to do this new life!
These first photos here are the “before” of the barn. I realized I really did not take enough before photos! We got to work right away and I’m wishing I had better befores of everything. But as you can see, a dark brown storage barn… turned into a light and bright photography studio. DREAMS.
We bought this property when we were 26 and 27… I just wanted to live on a beautiful property and I was a little naive at what it takes to do that. We could have NEVER done this without the help of my parents. We instantly knew we bit off way more than we could chew. Like for starters, how does this tractor even work!? OMG the list of things they helped us with is endless. We are getting better at calling them (a little) less! We finally have a system for dealing with the leaves that fall every year, finally got a zero-turn so mowing is quicker and easier, we have tons of equipment to maintain the property and we’re getting good at maintaining the equipment that maintains the property, haha. I feel confident in a few years we will have this all down to a science, the renovations will be (mostly) done, and we can focus on raising our family here. I’m excited for the day when Porter can help us pick up sticks after a big rain, rake the leaves, but for now he’s done great riding on our backs through it all.
Future projects we still want to accomplish: adding a master bathroom in our bedroom (we already plumbed for it, now we just have to make it happen!), finish the basement, do new siding and roof on the garage to match the barn, and of course a bunch of small things here and there. I have to admit, these past few years have worn us out, so we may take a break on the projects for a bit (who am I kidding I can’t relax). But we are in no hurry to start something new. We have improvements to make on the brand new barn, like adding a kitchen, patio, etc. We knew this project would take time, but I truly never imagined 6 years, and I think it will be that before we have it the way we want it. If you asked me in April 2016 if I loved living here, I would have started sobbing and begged you to buy my house. But today, I have more confidence in what we’ve accomplished and what we are capable of. Everything I have wanted to happen here has, just in time. The future is the brightest it ever has been, for a million reasons.
This post of mine every year has been something I love to look back on. We really have poured everything inside ourselves into this lifestyle and I have no regrets. Love doing this life with my family. And I am so grateful for the friends and family that constantly supported me and all my crazy ideas. My husband being #1. And my parents being a very close 2nd. It takes a village has never been more true. Running a business, raising a baby, and tackling huge renovations cannot be done without the help of many. In this month of thankfulness, I have more gratitude than ever. Happy 3 years of life in the country to us! <3