Since the title of this post is Year Nine, obviously we decided to get back on that roller coaster. Year Eight had brought us some mighty big changes - Baby #3 (Anna) and new attitudes and Mom was getting ready to go through a divorce.
Mom wasn't sure how she was going to live off of her single salary and was weighing her options. Should she sell her house? Just keeping a home maintained was going to be a lot for her. She didn't want to move into an apartment. She wouldn't have felt safe by herself. Should she try to look for a condo or townhome? She had gotten a good settlement in the divorce but she knew she had to be careful with that money and wanted to do the right thing from the very beginning. She didn't want to question whether she had made the right decision this time.
We had always talked about her eventually moving in with us - someday far off in the future. But now it looked like that might be the very best thing to do. Naturally, this meant we would need a bigger house. Our little 3 bedroom or her little 3 bedroom would have been a bit too small for 6 people - 3 adults and 3 children (1st world problem as my friend Shana- who lives in a 3rd world country, would say). Brian, Mom and I all agreed that the best thing to do would be to look for something we could all live comfortably in.
So we started searching for homes. We struck out twice, with two houses we really liked, because they already had offers on them or someone offered higher than us the very same day. But that was such a God Thing because when we found this house (actually Mom found it on the internet) I knew that He wanted us here. It was so close to perfect for us. Five bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, full unfinished basement (to build out the way Mom wanted), large yard, beautiful neighborhood and fantastic school district. I couldn't believe that just two people were living in a house that large! A retired Marine and his wife - the place was immaculate! (At least it was until we moved in. lol) So, Mom gave us some of the money to pay off some of our debts so that we could afford the mortgage and another portion was used on construction in the basement.
We moved in Memorial Day weekend 2006.
And that night our 21 year old neighbor had a raucous party until 4 in the morning and, when we woke up, we discovered that one of his drunken guests had run over our mailbox! Welcome to the neighborhood! Remember what we learned Year One? Earplugs are beautiful things. Richard's place was definitely the party place. He had a pool and any number of different roomies. But he was generally a pretty good neighbor but I can't say we were sad to see him put a For Sale sign in the yard the next year. ; )
We found out about a month after moving in that we were pregnant for the fourth time! I guess it was a good thing we had moved in to a larger home when we did!
That summer we took a small vacation to Amelia Island - Brian, Cameron, Parker, Anna, Mom and I in a 2 bedroom condo on the beach! It was wonderful - for the adults. Poor baby Anna (1 year old) had diarrhea and threw up a couple times and Parker said, at one point, "I don't like the suuun ...and the saaand ... and the waaater...and the beeaach!!!" It was just too hot. We left a day early and decided that we would wait to take them to the beach in the fall or spring from then on.
Parker at the precise moment he was putting in his complaint about EVERYTHING!
Poor baby; look at that pitiful face.
We started construction on the basement later that summer with a complete nut for a contractor. (The outlets in the back room still don't work.) So, Mom now has a basement apartment complete with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, a full kitchen, living room, dining room and office area.
That same year, Cameron started Kindergarten! My, my, how time flies. He had such a sweet teacher and the para-pro was just like a grandma to him.
Pregnant and busy and just before Mom moved in we celebrated our ninth anniversary.
What did we learn during our ninth year?:
What did we learn during our ninth year?:
- Trust is seldom regained once lost. - especially when that person who you've lost trust in isn't making any noticeable changes or showing any real repentance.
- When one door closes it might be because God has another He wants you to go through.
- You never really know what it will be like to live somewhere until you move in. - Isn't it a shame that you're not allowed to have a "trial period" when buying a house? That would be the only way to find out if the neighbors have a barking dog or noisy parties and whatnot.
- Don't take little kids to the beach in 90+ degree weather. - Now you may live in Florida or Southern Texas or Louisiana and are used to it but for the rest of us it's just miserable. And we learned to book reservations at condos with a pool.
- The most "charismatic" contractors are not necessarily the best. - Ask for and call as many references as you can and ask for pictures of finished jobs.