Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Story of our First Home

Hi everyone! I'm on a little bit of a nostalgic note today as I write this post.  My sister, her husband and four children spent this past weekend here with us. Yup, 13 people under one roof! It may sound chaotic to some, but we are already planning another visit...sooooo much fun! Anyway, they are considering moving from their starter home where they have raised their children, renovated to fit their lifestyle and filled with oodles of memories along the way. I was swiftly reminded of the heartache we suffered when we left our starter home. So that is what I am going to share with you, The Story of our First Home. 

We made the decision ten years ago to move from the comfort zone of our home town. We grew up in a small farming town (population 900) in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. My husband and I went to the same schools, shops and events in our little town, but as soon as diplomas were awarded we bolted to pursue bigger dreams.
After university, my husband (fiance at the time) was posted for his Residency in the small city of Sydney, Nova Scotia. We were excited about this next stage in our lives, but never thought that it would take us 6 hours away from our families. It's funny how at 18 you just want out of that little town and then with a few years of real life under your belt, you want back in.
Within those first couple of years, we made the move to Sydney, got married and had our first little boy. Time flew by and soon Residency had come to an end and we were faced with yet another decision...stay or move? Having a child changed who we were when we first moved to Sydney. Our focus was now on our little boy's future and choices were based on our family's needs rather than our own individual needs. I soon became pregnant with our second child and realized the rental bungalow was just not big enough for a soon-to-be family of four. Browsing the local Classifieds one Saturday morning, we found the perfect starter home - a total fixer-upper in a higher-end neighbourhood on a nice corner lot at a great price. We made our decision to stay, and signed on the dotted line.

This picture was taken on our first viewing in February 2004.
Things moved quickly from that day on. My husband signed a contract with a wonderful Clinic, I stayed at home and became a full-time Mom and we started to renovate our new home. We tackled a lot of painting projects and bought a few new pieces of furniture. For the first year, we just wanted to live in the house and get a feel for how we wanted to use each space. But before long we were tearing down walls, renovating bathrooms and landscaping like nobody's business!

My guy starting the demo on our front entrance.
DIY projects became weekend obsessions. My husband took a few of the Home Depot 'how-to' workshops and along with that, our tool cabinet and confidence grew. As our house started to become our home, it was soon time to welcome baby number three.

I know that most women go through the "nesting stage" of their pregnancies to some extent, however, I go a little over-the-edge.  I was a little obsessed about all the unfinished projects in house. And fully aware that they would not get finished any time soon due to the pending arrival of our new baby, plus his two VERY BUSY older brothers. Instead of fighting disagreeing with a hormonal pregnant woman, we decided to hire a contractor to come in and finish up all the odds and ends.

Well, those "odds and ends" turned into a full-blown reno by the time baby arrived. I was actually admitted to hospital while our carpet was being installed in the basement! When baby was about four months, we decided to go for the rest and had a new kitchen installed, hardwoods laid throughout and a new deck built off the kitchen. It was finally what we had envisioned for our family home...and then I became pregnant with baby number four.

Little Oliver was always in the middle of it all!
A lot happened after we finished our renovation. My husband was working all the time, I was home with 3 kids and another on the way, and soon I started to feel the distance between me and my family. I am the second youngest of seven girls, and they all live with their families in the same town that we bolted from years ago. We wanted our kids to grow up surrounded by family and truly knowing the people who meant the most. Our parents were getting older and seeing them 3-4 times a year was just not enough for us anymore. Even though we loved Sydney, we loved our family more. We started looking at houses closer to our hometown, my husband started looking for work and within a couple of months we were listing our wonderful little home.

It was one of the hardest decisions that we ever had to make. But as I said before, we had to make decisions based on our family's needs. We went through all the chaos of listing a house, packing a house and prep for moving across the province, just before we welcomed  baby number four. We closed the house when he turned one month and began our journey to a new life in our old hometown.

Moving Day! June 2008
So there you have it, a little peek into our lives and our first house. As I'm looking through photos I am thinking that this could turn into another chapter as I'm sure you can tell, it doesn't end here. Have any of you gone through the heartache of selling your starter/family home? Or are some of you still living in your first home? It's an interesting topic, as there are so many reasons for moving, some good, some bad. But there is something special about that first place you call your own.

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