I sit here in the glow of the Christmas tree lights, curled up on the couch, sound machine white noise drifting from the kids' rooms, and I glance over at the boxes that are beginning to pile up in our den.
So bittersweet. We are beginning to pack and will soon be moving out of this house.
Oh, this house, what these walls have seen.
We bought this house 7 1/2 years ago after selling our little starter home. We moved into this space with BIG dreams of the future. We moved in and planned to start a family here. Heck, I picked this house for the layout of the rooms all on the first floor so there would be no middle of the night stairs for a midnight or 2 am feeding session. This house, this house, it built us. And now, we are preparing to say goodbye.
A wise friend told me that it's ok to be sad about the closing of this chapter. That I should walk through the house and thank the many rooms for the memories and the time together. I plan on doing just that... lingering... running my fingers down the walls.... and just taking it all in. One last time, but I also want to document it here. A thank you to this house that build us, featuring my just some of my favorite memories.
The front yard.
With a fenced in back yard, we didn't spend much time playing in the front. But when the weather was nice, we would spent the witching hour from post nap till Daddy got home in the front. Everyday our neighbor down the street would walk his dog when he got home from work and as soon as the boys would see DeeDee the dog coming they would throw down their toys and run to her. We are going to miss DeeDee!
That front porch, with it's one brick step. Many a picture were taken on that step. I'm going to miss it and all it has documented- from birthdays, to first days of school, to father's day...
The back yard.
I'm going to miss a lot about this place. I am going to miss having the windows open and hearing the boys playing together and their laughter rolling in the open window. I'm going to miss the epic slip and slide "hill" the slant of our yard provided.
You miss a lot of first when you adopt toddlers. But one first we didn't miss with just Bates was his first steps. His first wobbly little steps at 22 months old. He walked from his daddy's arms to mine right in the middle of this floor.
It's held countless meals around the table, but in this family kitchen's are made for dancing and this place has seen some epic dance parties. The dancing will live on, for sure, just in a new place!
The kids' playroom.
The moment that all three of my kids were home, in this room, and playing together. I will never forget that moment.
Late one night after seeing our son, Brodie's face for the first time and knowing without a shadow of a doubt he was to be our second son, and saying yes without even asking Nick, I crawled back into bed, woke Nick up, and showed him (on my very brightly lit cell phone in a dark room) his picture.
Never, ever, ever after having children getting to go to the bathroom in peace. Can I get an Amen, momma friends? But my favorite memory in this bathroom, hands down would be Brodie discovering his love for a long hot, I'm talk run out all the hot water kind of shower. Singing at the top of his lungs. I won't forget the blurry outline of his little toddler self through the frosted glass.
Oh Nell's room.
This is by far the most bittersweet room to leave behind. If I could take this one room with us in my pocket I would. Right now it's Nell's room, but it wasn't always. This once guest room for our live ins. Anna and Chase, turned to Bates' nursery. Decorated with friendly monsters, I would often walk in the room, which was always lit with a bedside lamp no matter what time of day as we waited, and stand next to his crib and long for him. I would rock in the rocking chair and dream of what it would be like to rock him. I will never forget rocking him in that chair by the window in the moonlight and just crying tears of joy onto his sleeping face.
Then that room turned into Stacey, our Chinese exchange student's room. The boys loved spending time in Stacey's room, playing on her computer, and singing to the firetruck song together. What a fun adventure that year was.
And when Stacey left, the paint came out, and the room once again got a make over... this time to wait for it's newest inhabitant- Nell. The room came full circle, from welcoming home our first, to our last. This room has held two of my dearest treasure, two of the things I have longed for and waited for. This room holds the wait of emotions of the wait to bring them home and the joy fulfilled in their homecoming. I have slept on the floor of this room more than anywhere else in my life. I have held tiny hands while they drifted off to sleep. This room is scared and special and probably the place I will miss the most.
Bates and Brodie's room.
This is another room that has seen some change over our 7 years here. From a guest room, to live in brother, Robert's room, to guest room again, to Brodie's sock monkey nursery, and finally to the room the brothers share.
I have loved the boys sharing a room. They have laughed and giggled (and gotten in trouble) as they were supposed to be napping. They have opted to sleep together on the bottom bunk until very recently. That's what I will remember most about this room. The boys sleeping, curled up together on that bottom bunk and knowing that DNA isn't necessary to make up this B team.
The kids bathroom.
Oh the memories of potty training this bathroom has seen. The countless hours spend sitting next to that potty. I can't say I'm gonna miss that too much.
The upstairs bathroom.
For some reason, and I'm not sure why it's this bathroom.... but this is the place I remember taking yet another negative pregnancy test and this feeling coming over me.... not of sadness.... but of the feeling that "I just want to be a mom". At the time it made no sense and I honestly didn't put much thought into it, but after I held Bates, and then Brodie, and finally Nell in my arms, that feeling made sense. I was never sad during our journey to parenthood that I wasn't pregnant, I always just longed to become a mom. I know it was God protecting and preparing my heart for the life that was unfolding for us. I'm so so so thankful for those few trying years and for the path to parenthood we took. And I'm so thankful that God's plans are always way better than the ones we make.
The bonus room.
Big room so two memories.
I remember when we first moved in to this house... with not enough furniture to fill this room, we had this giant space and a tiny love seat and tv almost in the smack dab middle of it. Every night we would make dinner and serve our plates at the stove and carry them upstairs, sit on the couch, and eat dinner while watching about 3 hours of our shows. Ah, the life before kids. Now dinner is always at the table and I can't tell you the last time I watched TV much less three hours. Those sweet sweet pre kids, still newlywed days.
Then this room became our homeschool land. While pretty lax and chill about the homeschool schedule the days we did school together are some of the sweetest memories with the boys. Bates so eager to learn, and Brodie such a natural learner. From counting to chasing and stomping on letters, to curled up together reading books, I will cherish those times of learning at home together.
4441, as we begin to pack up the stuff that we have filled you with and prepare to part our family from your walls, the lyrics from the Michael W Smith song Friends, keep popping in my head....
Packing up the dreams God planted in the fertile soil of you
I can't believe the hopes He's granted
Means a chapter of your life in through
As we pack up boxes, I know we are packing up the dreams God planted in us. Dreams that came to life inside these walls. This chapter is coming to a close, a beautiful beautiful chapter of our families' story.
Thank you for the memories, 4441, you were good to us, friend. You will always be the house that built us.