disclosure: this post is sponsored by Homes.com
The other day I was organizing and rearranging and generally getting my life and the house in order after the giant cheese-fest of December 2019. In the back of the bookshelf tucked into a corner behind a stack of books was a photo album.
Before we used our phones as picture storage.
It was full of old pictures of birthday parties and days at the beach and dance recitals and tiny cheerleaders with bows bigger than their heads. As I scrolled through pages and pages of years well-lived, I found a picture that stopped me in my tracks.
Our very first house. It took my breath away.
It seems like yesterday we lived there, and yet.
It seems like a lifetime ago.
Before the blog.
Before Instagram or Facebook or Pinterest or social media.
Back when I kept all of my ideas in folders with pages I’d cut out of magazines.
So many hopes and dreams and design projects on a dime and the promise of amazing things to come.
I’m so happy to be joining Homes.com today in honor of Valentine’s Day and love and celebrating all the amazing moments in this life.
Here is my first home and the story of the house that love built.
When I first met my husband, he wasn’t a big talker.
A man of very few words.
He picked me up at the back door of the house that we live in now and I greeted him with a smile full of red lipstick, an add-a-bead necklace, 4″ high bangs sprayed with Aqua Net hairspray, and an amazing outfit consisting of a prairie skirt and a sweater vest covered in bows.
I think I might have even had on high-heeled shoes and socks with my name written on them with paint pen.
At the risk of stating the obvious……I looked amazing.
Maybe he was shy.
Maybe he was nervous.
Maybe he was intimidated by the socks.
I didn’t care.
He was cute with these dimples and brown wavy hair and big brown eyes that kind of looked like Johnny Depp and he had his own car—all the really important things in life.
And besides…..I remember thinking later…..I’m a talker……
……I could talk enough for both of us.
The date went horribly wrong.
I talked to much and he didn’t talk enough and when it was over and we pulled up to my parent’s house, I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. I hurriedly mumbled something about what a great time that I had and turned to leave. And just as I started to open the door, he reached for my hand.
I stopped and stared at him.
And he stared at me.
It was completely quiet in the car. No one said a word.
And then he finally found his voice. FINALLY. He looked at me and whispered, “What if I kissed you?”
And he didn’t wait for an answer.
Right there….sitting in a car in front of my parent’s house….wearing red lipstick and a prairie skirt and a sweater vest with bows…..
….I got the kiss of a lifetime.
I never looked back.
We were married two years almost to the day from that first kiss.
We drove across the country in a car without air conditioning to move to where he was stationed in California and then eventually we moved back to Texas after he finished pharmacy school and got out of the navy.
And in Texas we bought this.
I looked at that house with stars in my eyes.
My parents raised their eyebrows at the house.
I saw the potential.
I saw the dreams.
I saw the hope.
I saw everything this house could be and more.
(total aside: we bought the house for under $150,000. It seemed so expensive at the time. But now? You wouldn’t believe what it’s worth. It’s incredible how much housing prices have increased in our neighborhood.
To get an idea of how much this house is worth now, here’s house one block over from our first home.)
This is the backyard of the house.
There was the cutest little shed in the back.
This photo was taken from the doorway of that shed.
When I look back on these photos, it all seems so overgrown, but at the time—it seemed like a wonderland to me.
I mean—just look at that gate.
Here’s Denton in the doorway to the shed.
And here’s his little brother, Zack.
This is where we started our family.
We made over every inch of that house. I shopped yard sales and shopped the side of the road on trash day and furnished the house.
I painted a hallway with fake bricks.
We redid the bathroom.
We added columns and a new porch railing to the front of the house and relandscaped and painted rooms and added molding and painted the linoleum in the kitchen and added an office nook and re-textured the walls. I wish I had pictures of all of it, but I didn’t write a blog back then. But trust me—it was incredible.
It was the house that love built.
….finally we were finished.
Until we found out we were having twins.
And it was time to move again.
So we moved down the block to this house.
And then to this house in Kentucky.
Then back to Texas again.
It’s been a lot of life.
A lot of moving.
A lot of projects and a lot of love.
And even now after all these years my husband can look at me from across the room with those twinkling eyes and smiling dimples with that look that is just for me and I still get goosebumps.
And then I count my blessings that on that long-ago first date this sweet, wonderful, incredible, brown-eyed man…..
……finally found his voice. 🙂
PS I read this post to my husband and he informed me that he didn’t really talk because I neglected to bring up something really interesting….like “the unsolved mystery of Bigfoot.”
Why didn’t I think of that? 🙂
PPS Wonder what our first house would be worth now?
And you can also see the results of the survey that you all took about moving for love here.
disclosure: this post was written in collaboration with Homes.com.
All opinions are my own.
Please see my disclosure page for more information.