Monday, January 28, 2013

Us: Three Years Later

....Three Years Later...

So I recently went onto my blog to see just how long it had been since I'd written anything. "It hasn't been that long, Surely!" I told myself as the page queued up (the word "queued" is one i take special pride in knowing how to type without googling it...) I was greeted with the header "March 30th 2010". I kind of was shocked really to be honest.
It didn't feel like that long ago that I was blogging up everything that had been happening to me and my newlywed husband and our weird freakish first apartment.'s been THREE years. Three. Count em. Three.
 So I asked myself...and well...all the peoples of facebook too...whether one could simply resume blogging after a three year leave of absence. (Insert Boromir "one does not simply resume blogging after three years" meme picture here :-D) A three year UNINTENTIONAL leave of absence I should say. And I got so much encouragement from my friends all saying "Yes YOU CAN!"

So I am.

So there.

So what has happened to us in three years? Oh so much more than I could ever relate in a single post really.
But still I will try.

We moved out of our first apartment after two years of living there. I thought that I wouldn't miss it because truly it had been a source of annoyance and frustration for me (the BEST part of it was living so close to my sister and parents really! I loved that while it lasted...) because of the neighbors being so loud, because we got bedbugs, because the cat got fleas from another cat, because people smoked right outside our window when we were trying to sleep in the summertime.
 But it *was* our first ever home. And I remember thinking when we left it that because of that it would always be special to me, special to us. It's strange now thinking about it like that, our first home. It was the place we came back to after we were married. It was the place we watched the entirety of Stargate SG1 together! It was the place we took walks in the park talking about how strange it was that someday we would come back to this park and remember the times we took walks in the park! (very Meta I know.) The place where we had stupid fights and the best laughs ever.
It was the place I learned that writing down EVERY single maintenance issue and when I called and if they actually had tried to fix it was kindof an important thing to do (especially when the guys shower above you starts leaking into your bathroom...and you are thinking..."someone elses NAKED water is coming into my apartment! Not the most grownup of thoughts I grant you...). :)
 It was strange realizing that we were standing at the end of an important memory in every newlyweds life...that we'd lived that first part already and now it was behind us. That now it *would* be a memory and not something that happened every day.
 Our parents and siblings helped us pack it up on a Saturday afternoon-at the time I remember not being that afraid of the future even though big changes were in store for us. We were moving to another state, my mom wouldn't be coming to get me every other day to spend such wonderful times at the house i grew up in watching British television and drinking tea and having the best conversations, I wouldn't be going to 'tea and scandal" every Wednesday at my sister's house-which was so close i walked down every week!
I wouldn't be seeing my nieces and nephews as often and being there as they grew up...which is very hard.
(Thankfully they are all at an age where they are old enough to remember me even though they
don't see me every single week now!:) I wasn't afraid yet...that hit later when I realized how isolated I was feeling.

The day we moved into the new apartment began began with the cold flush of terror when I realized "there....are...four apartments in one block alone..." which meant that we would have someone on our side and someone below us...which probably meant double the loud neighbor trouble.
Did I mention it also began badly because the apartment still had someone inside the building putting in the new carpet so we had to wait like an hour in the car while they finished??? Cause yeah....that wasn't so fun either. Andrew and my Dad were brilliant in handling it though, both checking in frequently and putting a 'bit' of pressure on the workers to finish the heck up!:)
 I was a bit nervous walking up to the apartment because I hadn't seen it at all, Andrew had been the one to choose the apartment because he was in the area working already for the last four to five months. But when I walked in I liked it immediately. It felt roomier and cozier than our old apartment (we could ACTUALLY open the fridge door ALL the way! The luxury!). I can't really remember the first night in the apartment but I do remember it was such a huge change. I felt completely cut off from everything and everyone, I envied Andrew having work to go to every day for a while because he would have people to talk to. I went through a pretty rough time for a while, and I know it was so tough on Andrew.
The neighbors were definitely loud and I had already had semi-panic attacks the last apartment because of how often our sleep was interrupted by people being very loud and inconsiderate, so I was on tenterhooks afraid it would be the same here and we'd be stuck. But after a few talks with the people downstairs we came to an understanding and life was a lot easier. (Note to apartment peoples: Talk to your neighbors, try and work stuff out...THEN go to the office if they are continually being eveel. But most often you will be able to work something out.)
Winter was ESPECIALLY hard because not only was I isolated from people but it was cold so I was stuck inside every single day.
 Suddenly things got a lot nicer when I realized that spring that there was a park within walking distance of my apartment...I spent SO much time there.
That hat was a bad choice...don't ask me what Andrew is even doing.
Actually now I am getting that droopy heart feeling thinking about it, it was such a special place and truly was a gift from God and it saved my sanity and Andrews because I wasn't so crazy. God's gifts are SO BIG...I mean He gave me an entire park! And I took advantage of that gift every day I could. It became part of my daily running route and I read there often until the days turned cold. It's weird now thinking that really I only spent what can only amount to about half a year in that park, there are some experiences in life when you look back feel like they couldn't have possibly been any shorter than forever. :-D
 I grew so much closer to Andrew in the two years that we lived in that apartment, I started to rely on him more I talked to him more, confided in him more. We went to summer concerts in the park, we took walks around the building talking about our future, how we wanted a house, how our neighbors were kinda weird but how we wanted to help them somehow :). We had pizza nights, sleepovers together in the living room next to the Christmas tree. Cinnamon buns on Saturdays watching Mythbusters. Throwing a ring flyer in the park and swinging on the swing set at dark.
 Two years went by so slowly and so quickly at the same time.

And then we had a talk with our Aunt. We were getting tired of things being so loud at the apartment, tired of being so confined, we wanted our own place, we wanted to be able to sleep in without the landscaping service using a leaf blower right underneath our window, we didn't want to hear the lovely music that all the neighbors seemed to want to play for us all involving loud repetitive thrumming drum beats...thanks for sharing but no thank you.  We wanted to finally be somewhere we could see ourselves being for a LONG time. We didn't REALLY think it was possible, we thought...we'll have to stay in this apartment one more year and save up...maybe two.
 But our Aunt talked with us so kindly for about three hours, discussing options and answering questions, giving sound wise advice...and suddenly it seemed almost possible. We could buy a house together.

We prayed A LOT about it. It would definitely be a major step in our lives. We weren't positive about the money. But we were positive if God wanted us to have a house...we would have a house. Andrew told me so many times "If God WANTS us to have a house it wouldn't matter if we had five dollars in the bank, He'd give us a house. If God didn't want us to have a wouldn't matter if we had five million in the bank we wouldn't be able to get a house." We prayed for a sign we prayed for peace. All of a sudden commitment had reared it's...responsible head again and I got cold feet.
Again. YES I ADMIT IT I AM A COMMITMENT-PHOBE! After all the crying and wishing and praying for four years for a house I had the possibility and here I was practically telling Andrew "maybe it would be better staying in an apartment for the next couple years..." but a wise friend named Rick D. once said "don't be motivated by fear..." and it's been something I've had to tell myself, had to have Andrew tell me, and had to tell back to Andrew so very often in these four married years. Fear, unless you are confronted by a rearing cobra dinosaur dragon creature....or even just a plain old cobra, will never make a good decision on anything. Never make decisions based on fear.
 So instead of being afraid I gave it to God and said, "you know I am scared, I hate thinking we might do this and not have any money for anything and always be afraid of every mortgage payment...but I trust You." that wasn't really so easy to say but I tried to. God took care of the rest.
 Seriously it was AMAZING. We could see His hand and His love in every single step that we took. There were so many signs that said "I am here" that it was impossible not to notice.

So we bought a house.

We saw at least ten houses, I remember thinking the whole time..."Shouldn't I be feeling differently? I mean I really like this house...but I haven't gotten the WOW this is my house feeling." I was starting to feel like the women I've seen trying on the wedding dresses in the bridal store. "I can't really just go with the first one I've seen, surely I should see more." "I like this one a great that enough?" There were a couple I liked, sure, but none that really hit me as 'home.' I remember our Realtor saying that she usually could tell which house a couple would buy because of their reaction and I was wondering if there were any she could enlighten me on as the one we'd pick because I sure didn't know.
 Every house we were seeing was built 1950's, 1960's, 1980's....we came to a house, I am pretty sure it was the last one in the second day of looking...and as soon as I stepped in the door I felt 'home'. I don't know why...the first room felt like home. Then it kept getting better and better!  A porch!?
Do you know how long I've dreamed of a porch...and A BACK YARD!?! We can afford a backyard!? Seriously?
 Basically I couldn't shut my mouth about the house the entire time. "I love this one..." "This is more like it!" I remember getting in the car and turning to my Realtor and saying " I supposed to be this open with you about liking a house?!?" She laughed and said "You be as open and gushy as you want with me, it's the seller you act nonchalant with!" That's when I found out part of the reason why I liked this house so much...
it had been built in the 1920's, and argue with me all you like but I personally think that houses built before the 40's have the most wonderful personalities. They feel more alive somehow. Probably I am just biased because I grew up in an old farmhouse, but that's what feels like home to me.
 I knew it was the one...I hoped it was the one. Andrew being the wonderfully wise and amazing man he is told me "let's wait til we are back from vacation to make a decision, it will give us time to pray and especially if it's still on the market after a week we'll know." the time he didn't seem so amazing, wise and wonderful to me; how could I STAND waiting a week for this dream house!? SOMEONE would surely buy it! It was so beautiful it had so much potential! In fact our Realtor had said "Wow...they didn't have any pictures of this house online, they aren't really showing it's full potential" and I yelled "Well don't tell them that! I don't want anyone else to buy it!" "Wow Sarah, you really like this house don't you?" She said smiling. I liked it a lot, and so did Andrew. We'd shown my parents and they liked it too!
So we went on vacation and we prayed, a lot. Our Realtor said she would let us know if anyone else made an offer in the meantime.
So we prayed some more.

Did I mention we bought the house? :)

Our house was waiting for us when we got back from vacation, and after a couple months of the usual crazy house buying, signing your life away, coordinating with multiple people shenanigans we were home owners.
 Moving in WAS SO brother Joe, Dad, and Mom and Andrew's friend Josh went ABOVE and BEYOND the call of possible to a factor of about ten thousand. We had a lot of stuff and our old apartment was far away from the parking lot. By the end of the night everyone was so hungry and tired
we were almost giddy. At one point my brother and I were carrying a box that I am pretty sure had ninety bricks and thirteen dead bodies in it to the parking lot and I fell (because I was walking backwards with it and he was walking forwards) and the whole box landed on my leg which also happened to be on a concrete block as well.
 Instead of being hurt my mouth stretched open in a silent scream of hysterical laughter which my brother interpreted as a silent scream of pain because my leg was trapped under a dang heavy box on TOP of a concrete block, a box which he hadn't been able to lift himself it was so heavy. A box which he lifted with the speed of a locomotive and the strength of Hercules off my leg, his voice coming out in that "lets stay calm" way as he said "Are you okay?" when he realized I was laughing I think he was rather relieved and now I tell that story often especially to his beautiful fiance because she gets all swoony. I mean it is a pretty swoony story...except for the fact that it's my brother. :-D
 We broke for dinner at the ripe old age of 9PM. And I am telling mom is the best cook in the whole entire world. Those sloppy joes and chocolate oatmeal bars were so good I could have cried while eating. I am pretty sure I also might have been eating like a little orphan child in the movies when they get caught stealing by a benevolent adult and then offered a roll or some other such thing that one must shove into ones mouth along with their entire fist, "Got any more o'this guv?" :) You get the idea.
 At this point our friend who was a youth pastor had come over, we'd asked him to come pray over the house. That was amazing...everyone prayed  all together, so heartfelt! It was just a beautiful time. It came to my turn and I am so emotional in my praying and almost in tears because everyone has been so kind and so loving and God has given me the very thing I have longed for for years....all of a sudden I hear "HAPPY HOLIDAAAAAYS! HAPPY HOLIDAAAAYYS!" ringing out, and I stop in shock and confusion. What the heck? Then open my eyes and Joe is turning red because his phone has gone off and will not shut off. Basically we tried to get back to praying seriously but I can see Joe is still turning red and our pastor friend is shaking trying not to laugh out loud, his hand over his face. I was laughing all through the rest of my prayer, thanking God for laughing and asking He would please bless this house with so much more laughing.

It's only been about two months since we've moved. I've since unpacked everything and put up the pictures. Andrew and I are really starting to feel like it's home now.

Andrew and I danced on the porch to "Remember When" together, and I thought to myself...I can't believe this is happening. I remember writing to Andrew when we were engaged that I was imagining one day dancing on our own porch...and it happened. It actually happened!
 I don't know how long we will be here in this house, but I can't help feeling like this house will see many of our future days. God willing.

It's so strange standing at the beginning of something, feeling the moment inside, holding onto it so tight, it feels like it's going to last forever but knowing deep down that one day I'll be sitting here remembering how four years ago we moved into our first house together. Because I am sitting here remembering...four years ago I married the man who makes my heart dance when I look at him, who still makes my stomach flip when he reaches out to hold my hand. Four years ago I married the man I love more and more every single day, he's the guy that makes my heart get all squooshy, the guy I can't wait to fling my arms around and kiss when he gets home from work! I cannot believe how much has happened in just 4 years, I can't believe how long and short it feels! I never wanted to get married, Andrew can tell you that, but I am SO happy that God doesn't listen to what we 'want' that He knows so much better what we need and what we will want. I've grown so much more as a person, I've done SO many things I never thought I could do since I married Andrew, and it's amazing how much better those things feel when you have someone by your side. Especially someone like Andrew.

Sorry that was really gushy and mushy.

But I digress.

A lot has happened in just these 3 years...that I haven't been writing blogs about :).
Sometimes it feels like time leaves without you and then you wake up one day and find yourself at the end of it.

But sometimes it feels like time took you on an amazing journey that's really only just beginning.