Today, I’m writing a more personal blog. As we prepare for yet another move, I can’t help but reminisce about our other moves in the past. It’s crazy the path your life takes you on. And if you end up actually reading this, you’ll see how quickly, yet slowly, life’s changes can happen. 8 years can seem like a long time, but it goes so fast.
So, if you are anything like me, and you dream about the perfect forever house as you watch HGTV and browse Pinterest… it probably isn’t going to happen tomorrow. But 8 years? A lot can happen… including 6 moves, 6 job changes, a couple pets, a wedding, a baby (almost two)… and before you know it, your dreams are coming true!
How it all began…
I met my husband, Alex, almost eight years ago. I was only 20 years old, living in a dorm, attending my second year of college, and working part-time. We both worked part-time at Scheels (a Midwest sporting goods store that if you haven’t been to, you probably should). We met, we went on dates, we fell in love… you know how it goes.
After about 6 months, when Alex had his own apartment and I was sharing one with some friends, I decided to move in with him. This first apartment of his is what I like to call “jankety as hell”. It was a $500/month basement apartment with a tiny kitchen, a super sketchy laundry room down the hall, and no security, so homeless people would knock on our door.
So, let’s just say we were eager to move when the lease was up. After a year of being together, we started shopping for the first apartment we could call ours. Alex now had a full-time big boy job and I was working two part-time jobs, so our options weren’t as limited. We made move #2 to The Biltmore apartments.
Now don’t get me wrong, these apartments were very nice. Big brick buildings with all white interiors. The kitchen, dining area, and living room all opened up to one another. Walk-in closets, a good sized bathroom, and in-apartment laundry. Lots of amenities like a huge gym and multiple pools. It’s everything you could ever want.
But, the complex is huge. You are really just a number there, and there are so many people around. Alex and I both came from small towns, we aren’t the biggest fan of being surrounded by others. Not to mention, after a year of living there, they wanted to raise our already pricey rent by over $100. Ummm.. thank you, next.
Move #2 was to the apartment of my dreams! I’m telling you, if we still had to rent, I would totally go back to those apartments. Standing Bear Lake apartments were so perfect for us. They are on the outskirts of town, right next to a lake with walking trails, but still close to everything we needed. It’s a smaller complex, so the leasing office knew us personally, and it seemed like mostly retired people around us.
The interior was so nice but still homey feeling. Open concept, a laundry room that wasn’t right next to the bedroom, a separate sink/vanity in the bedroom with a door to the bathroom (I had more bathroom storage than I do now). I loved that apartment so much, but unfortunately, we didn’t even get to stay for a full year.
Move #3 was when Alex’s work offered him a promotion… in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This move was a little bigger than the others. We made a couple trips to visit beforehand, met with a realtor, and tried to find a place to live with very little knowledge of the area. It was so overwhelming, because if you know Minneapolis, you know there are a LOT of options. So. Many. Suburbs!
We settled in Shakopee, Minnesota. One of the more outer rim suburbs. We got more for our money out there. Our realtor found us a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom townhome in our price range, and we couldn’t say no. Alex had his own office, guests could stay in the guest bedroom, and no more apartment living.
It was a great place to call home for the almost two years that we lived in Minnesota. Home was calling to us and we were ready to start a family closer to our loved-ones. So, we prepared for move #4.
When we were ready to move back to the Omaha area, we decided it was probably time to buy instead of rent. If you know us, you know how important deer hunting is to us. And if you know anything about hunting laws, you know that hunting in Iowa is not easy if you live out of state. Alex and his dad have many properties in Iowa that they are able to hunt on, and like I said, it’s important to us. So, we wanted to find a house on the east side of the Missouri.
So, with our jobs being in Omaha, we started our house search in Council Bluffs, IA. We got ahold of a family friend realtor, Gary Fischer of Heartland Properties, and I made an account on Zillow. It was time to get serious – no more year-long leases… this would be more permanent.
We wanted at least 3 bedrooms, so if we were to have a baby, we would still have a guest bedroom. We wanted a fairly good-sized yard so our dog could finally have the space she was meant to have. We wanted to stay on the east side of town. And we preferred move-in ready.
Did you know buying is a lot more complicated than renting? I wasn’t fully aware of the process when it all got started. We fell in love with an amazing house in an awesome subdivision… 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bedrooms, 3 car garage. It could be our forever home! The kicker… the price was right, but the taxes were outrageous, so the monthly was too high for us. We gave it a shot anyway… we tried to bring them down to our comfort level but they flat out refused – not even a counter offer.
So, back to the home search. But remember… we were still living in Minnesota, so my searching consisted of saving homes on Zillow and sending them to our realtor. Then, we had to wait until we made the trip to go see several homes all in one day. When it was getting down to crunch time, we looked at like 10 homes in a day, and our brains were mush. None of the houses were quite right and we were trying to decide if we just wanted to settle on one that wasn’t awful, or keep waiting and make yet another trip back for more showings.
That’s when I took one more look at my Zillow app. A 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home in our price range had just been listed. The pictures looked promising and the neighborhood looked great. We made the call to our realtor and we were able to get in to see it just an hour later.
I doubt the owners were expecting to get a full listing price offer after just hours of being on the market. But, we fell in love immediately and we needed to get back to Shakopee in the morning… so why not? A month later, we moved into our first HOME.
And it has been a great first home for 3 years now! We’ve made several changes over the years to make it more “us”. This is our daughter’s first home and I will always look back at it fondly.
However… HGTV and Pinterest still had me dreaming. We’ve complained about the space, the proximity to the neighbors, and the amount of storage space. With only 3 small bedrooms and a 2nd child on the way, we’d be eliminating the guest bedroom. Alex is now working from home and needs more of an office than just the corner of the basement. And we are ready to live in a smaller town.
The search for our “forever home” has been going for the past year now. My Zillow app has been set to notify me when a new house in our price range comes on the market. We’ve looked at several homes and attended a few open houses. We’ve even been in contact with our loan officer, Nicki Montelongo (who is freakin’ awesome, by the way), to make sure all of our finances are in order.
But, we were never in a hurry. We wanted to make sure our next house was perfect. No more moving. However, when we found out we had baby #2 on the way, we did start to get a bit more serious. That’s when we decided to check out a gorgeous home in Treynor, IA.
It’s funny to think back to when we first moved back to Council Bluffs… we often drove through Treynor to get to Alex’s parents’ house. For some reason, I always pictured us living there. It’s a wonderful little town, just 10 minutes from the city, and it has a great school. So, when we saw this perfect house in this perfect town… it was a no-brainer.
This moving process has been a lot more complicated than years past. Selling your current home so you can buy your dream home is ridiculously stressful. Even after a few complications, the deals are all moving along. We only have two more weeks until closing day!
So, I’m here to tell you that life has a funny way of getting you where you’re going. Things don’t happen overnight, yet changes can happen so quickly. I didn’t plan to meet the man of dreams at 20. I didn’t plan to move in with him after just 6 months or say yes to marrying him after a year and half. My career goal was not “stay-at-home mom” as I was earning my bachelors degree. I didn’t plan to move to Shakopee, Minnesota. Definitely, didn’t plan to settle in the state of Iowa (Go Big Red for life). But I must say, if I had a glimpse of what my life would become in 8 years at the age of 19, I would want it all to go exactly as it did.
So, just settle in for this crazy roller coaster called life, and don’t be afraid to make the moves that make you happy!
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