Thursday, February 19, 2015

Our First Home

Yesterday marked 6 months since we closed the doors for the last time in our Texas home, turned in the keys, and embarked on the long drive to Utah.
I've been thinking about what each of our homes has meant to us and what they represent in my mind.
I thought it would be fun to take you on a little tour through each of the places we've lived and share some of the things that make each one special in my mind.

I've mentioned before that we were only engaged for 7 weeks, and those 7 weeks were a complete whirlwind!
Getting married at the end of December along with record-breaking numbers of other couples made finding housing rather tricky. Our search for a suitable 1-bedroom apartment at a reasonable price wasn't yielding many options.
I finally saw an ad that had just been posted on Craigslist and it seemed to be a good fit.
That evening we went to check it out and, almost before we knew what was happening, we had signed the contract and secured the place our family would take root.

It was an early 20th century home that had been converted into a 4-plex, and we lived in the lower right unit.

Little did we know when we signed the contract that we were also within 2 blocks of almost every bar in Provo, just around the corner from the State Liquor Store, just around another corner from a motel known for housing criminals, and just down the street from the Food Bank. It made for some interesting encounters, to say the least. The day I opened the front door and discovered a bunch of people sitting on our front porch was a little unsettling to me. I first learned what alcohol smelled like while living here. The SWAT team arrested a man for murder just houses away from us. The unusual experiences we had here could provide material for many posts of themselves, but I'll just say it was an eye-opening period of time for me.

The front door opened into a living room with a built in bookcase. My grandparents loaned us two pieces of a sectional which gave us a fun feel with our curvy couch. We decorated with numerous empty picture frames we had received for our wedding--and they stayed empty for many months. Sam and I spent many hours studying in this room! It was here that we held our first family scripture study, here that many discussions of our future were held, here that I lay overcome with morning sickness during my first pregnancy.

My parents had a rule that my sisters and I had to learn to play all of the hymns in our Church hymnbook before we could get a driver's license, and in return they gave us each a digital piano when we went to college. That piano made its home here, and it has certainly served us well as I have taught dozens of piano students over the years!
Just through the doorway of the living room, heading toward the back of the house, there was an old-style closet about 10 feet deep which was our primary source of storage in this little apartment.

Through another arched doorway was the kitchen, complete with an avocado-green vintage stove, stained linoleum, a kitchen sink with no disposal, and a microwave alcove too small for our microwave. The landlord supplied the apartment with a table, and our $10 folding chairs from Target surrounded it. Just to the left of the sink, another door led out to a few stairs which went down to our parking area. (Note the gifted empty picture frame again.)
We enjoyed a few nice dinners in this little kitchen, but mostly it was home for our hurried college-student meals of grilled cheese sandwiches, cold cereal, pasta, and potatoes. Here we enjoyed our first Easter dinner together, here we laughed hysterically when I put candles into Sam's still-hot birthday cake I made and they melted into the cake, here we had our first experience with exploding potatoes, and here we prepared many late-night snacks of chips and salsa to munch on as we studied.

Continuing on after the kitchen was a small hall with a built in cabinet system on one wall, a door to the bathroom on another wall, and a door to our bedroom on the other side.
Our bathroom was a tiny room with a pedestal-style sink. Getting ready with no counter space took some getting used to! There's not much to say about the bathroom other than it was here I learned I was expecting our first baby!

Our bedroom was furnished with furniture given to us by my grandparents, and our bed displayed a quilt my grandmother made for us. We spent many stifling nights here throughout the summer with our small window-unit air conditioning on full-blast. It was a tiny room with brown carpet that was more like burlap with holes in it, but it was another part of our cozy home that is filled with wonderful memories.

I think back on memories of hauling 2 weeks worth of laundry and necessary laundry supplies over icy sidewalks through the snow 3 blocks down the street to a laundromat for the first couple of months we didn't have a car after the engine went out on Sam's car on our wedding day! We were quite the sight to behold. I think of buying a week's worth of groceries and loading the bags onto our arms to carry them the few blocks home (a few times rides were offered me, especially when I was pregnant!). I think of the many bus rides to and from campus and learning how to handle all of the physical and emotional changes that come with pregnancy...
And when I think of all of our experiences here, the phrase I think of is "love is blind," because although our circumstances weren't always the best, our little home was filled with such immense love and joy as we spent those first 8 months of our marriage here that other things really didn't matter much. We were blissfully happy in our meager circumstances, and this little home will always be a treasure in my mind.


  1. Oh the memories of first houses. I love all of your empty picture frames. I have a jewelry cabinet that has a picture frame on the front. Joe got it for me for Christmas last year (well... I told him I wanted it and bought it for myself in a Black Friday sale online, but still....) and I used it to hang jewelry but the "fake family" pictures are still in it. Now I'm ready to hang it up and hang all my necklace/earring combos (they're all nicely organized on my dresser to choose from every morning at the moment) in them and Joe won't hang it until I fill it with real pictures he says haha. So I need to get working on that...

  2. So much fun to read. We, too, love reminiscing about all of the many places we have lived. There are extra special memories with the first "home" though. Our first apt memories will forever be held close to my heart. Thanks for sharing memories about yours. Loved reading about you and Sam just starting out.


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