house love & a giveaway

I love my house. I think that thought almost every day. About three years ago, when I was expecting Noah and our 2 bedroom apartment was seeming increasingly smaller, we started thinking it was time to start looking for more space. Kevin had a good year financially and although the real estate market was still high we felt comfortable beginning our search.

I wanted land. That was near the top of my list. Anything under 1/3 acre seemed cramped. Growing up, the houses I remembered were all on 1 acre or more, with my family's most recent home being in the country surrounded by 30 acres. I love wide open spaces and I was ready for a bit (a large bit) of earth to call my own.

Kevin wanted a 2 car garage and a shed. I didn't really care about this so much, but it seemed practical and it would make him happy. So, okay.

That's all we really knew. We found a great realtor (David) and went on a hunt that lasted over a year. We looked off and on, searching online and calling David when we found one that looked promising. As we began looking at houses, our preferences became clearer and we became pickier. We picked what we liked about this house and that one and concocted our dream starter home in our minds. We made various lists of pros and cons, what we needed and what we could do without.

We both wanted a two-story house with the bedrooms upstairs and an open floor plan on the main level. We also agreed that while we were okay with a smaller house, we should probably plan on one that would fit at least 6 kids, because who knew how long we'd stay in it. And with us, even a 5-year commitment could leave us with 7 kids=)

I began to see how unrealistic my hope of a large lot was in our price range. There were some, but the houses on them were often hardly livable. Our worst experience was probably when I found a house listed on craigslist for a price incredibly low for the number of square feet. We called the number and went over right away, only to find ourselves parking in front of a doublewide trailor that had been added onto in a very makeshift fashion. The floors were very uneven, like they'd piled carpet on top of dirt and there was grass growing in a few of the rooms. I realized rather quickly that land was not at the top of my list after all. And I definitely didn't want land in my house.

I'm so glad we didn't find a great house right away. David encouraged us to be patient and not to feel rushed, and what a blessing he was. We would have paid top dollar right before the market tanked. I was anxious, especially after Noah was born, but we never felt right about any of the houses we looked at.

Then one day I found this house listed online. The price seemed really low, so Kevin called the listing realtor to find out why. It was a divorce situation, both parents wanted to get it off their hands so they could move on with their lives, it had been on the market for quite a while with little response, and there had been flooding in the basement. The price had just been lowered to what was currently owed on the house. We looked at it right away and I fell in love. It needed work, for sure, and it had been left in dissaray, but that didn't scare us. The water issue did a little, but we still had a feeling about this house. It was meant to be ours.

The next day we called David to put together an offer. He called us back with the sad news that an investor had put an offer in the night before and it had been accepted. We were very disappointed. We both really had a feeling that it was the house we were supposed to buy.

A month later, we happened to be in the same neighborhood looking at a few more houses and we noticed that the for sale sign was still up on this one. THE one. Kevin called the realtor right away and was told that the investor was struggling to come up with funding, so if it didn't close within a week, they would be open to other offers. We wrote up an offer, left town for Christmas, and crossed our fingers.

A week later we got the news. Our offer was accepted. I was so thrilled and as much as I love Washington, I could barely wait to get back to Utah and walk through it again.

And here we are, 2 years later. In the end, Kevin got his 2-car garage (but's it's a tight fit) and shed. It's a 2 story with an open main level (open because we knocked out a wall) and 3 big bedrooms upstairs (LOVE the size of the bedrooms, we could probably fit 3 bunkbeds in each one if we had to!). I love my big laundry room with enough space for all my boy's clothes so I don't have to bring them up and down each day. I just fold them out of the dryer and put it away right there. I adore my big, spacious kitchen and dining area. I love all the storage space and the potential down in the basement (I am still working on that playroom...it's coming along). I love that the kids can run laps around the stairs and living room to release some of their energy.

I just love that we have this place, it really was meant to be ours. We've talked about the one day when we'll move out, find that dream home on an acre or more. But if I could live in this house forever, just transplant it onto a beautiful lot, I happily would. Of course we'd need to get one of those stair lift machines for the elderly Kevin and me someday. Because our knees just won't be what they used to be.

Here's us, living in the house that I love.
(I really only have pictures of the main level...and this is probably overkill):

What do you love about your house?

Oh, and because I'm feeling generous, I'll let you in on a giveaway that I am planning to win. My amazing friend Catherine is hosting her first blog giveaway and you can choose between an adorable handmade felt mouse (LOVE him.) and a customized white terry cloth bib (so cute). If you have little kids, (or grandkids) you should enter. See pictures here. Enter here. I love her blog because she's so real and likable and is always giving me good practical ideas. Plus she has a few adorable boys of her own. You only have until 8 on friday, so don't delay.

And...(I feel really awful about this guys, REALLY awful. Ask Kevin, I've been very stressed out about it.) I STILL haven't sent the headbands! I'm so sorry. By Saturday, I give you my word.


  1. Your house reminds me of Jon and Kate. Could be the 4 boys or the layout. I'm not sure which yet :) Either way, I love it and am so jealous of your space.

    My favorite thing about our home, you ask? I love that I am sitting on the floor in our living room and I am surrounded by floor to ceiling windows. If the sun were out, I would be able to see Mt. Hood, St. Helens and Adams from where I sit. I can see the 5 main bridges that connect Portland and I have the most amazing people watching spot. Especially late Saturday nights. Those are awesome.


  2. Um...don't be stressed about the headbands. All in good time! No worries.

  3. Very cute house and story. Your kids are adorable.

    By the way, I was inspired by your giveaway to do one of my own. :)

  4. Wow you could probably park my apartment in your kitchen. I am with Lizzy it does remind me of JK+8.

    My house? Well it's just an apartment but we love it and I am so sad that we have to move in August. I could stay here for a very long time. It's our first place and because of that I think I will love it forever.

  5. Oh, and I'm not going to enter the giveaway, because I want YOU to win, Natalie! Heh heh.

  6. I'm glad you have a house you love, and it sounds like you've done a lot of work to be proud of in that house.

    The best part of my house? I got to design it and put in (just about) everything I wanted. It's got lots of space, a cool slide from our main floor to our walk-out basement, all the bedrooms on one floor (the basement -- shocking, I know!), a nice family room in the center of all those bedrooms where we gather in the mornings for scriptures, a laundry room on that same floor, a large mudroom, a huge kitchen, a pantry, and a view of the woods. Plus its only five to ten minutes from DH's work, or 5 to 10 seconds on the days he works in his office here at home.

  7. It is so nice to be in a house that you love! The thing that I love the very MOST about the house we live in now is the simple fact that we do not share a wall with anyone!!!! Especially crazy neighbors who smoke, play loud music, have big dogs, and like to yell and swear at their big dogs.... eek.

  8. I love all your little notes on the photos and for me, you could never post enough photos! I'd love to see your upstairs too :) I almost can't stand it when I go into someones home and don't get to see all the major rooms- I think it's a fault of my former career. I too am jealous of all your space!! I think you picked very well and did great work on the house.
    I'm trying to pick what I love about my house and it's a little hard. I think I'd have to say I love my yellow walls and our shower most. And the nursery because it gets the BEST happy morning sun.


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