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our one year houseaversary

    Our one year houseaversary was yesterday. One year in our new house! Kinda hard to believe how fast that year went.

    Have I ever told you the story of how we found this house?

    Grab a cup of coffee, cozy in and let me tell you …

    We bought our last house when we just had two babies and were ready for suburban, new-build life. Our house before that was a darling, but falling-down 1920’s craftsman in Seattle and we were just over our heads with what it needed. We didn’t expect to live in our big neighborhood house for as long as we did (10 years!) and were always talking about where we would move next. Texas? California? Closer to Seattle? Near the water?

    We left on our road trip with the faint idea in our minds that if we fell in love with a city we visited, we would be open to moving. As we traveled, we became more convinced that while we were excited about the prospect of moving, the Pacific Northwest was where we should stay.

    We were casually hunting online throughout the road trip but it wasn’t until our last long drive of the trip – with an accidental empty tank of gas, as we were stressing and holding our breath hoping we made it to the next gas station – that this house popped up on my real estate app.

    I saw it and knew it was the one … but couldn’t really entertain that thought at the moment because we were literally coasting towards an exit grateful for the kids’ razor scooters in the back in case Ryan needed to use one to make it to the gas station if we were stranded. All turned out okay; we made it to the gas station, we checked into our last campsite and finally had a chance to study this new listing.

    The good thing about us is that we are very analytical. We had literally seen hundreds of potential houses and none were quite right. When we saw this one, we both knew right away it was the house for us.

    Funny little side note: the previous owner was a firefighter in the same department that Ryan worked at. They built the home in the early 90’s and raised their kids and were ready to downsize. It was a strange and confirming connection.

    Anyway, we had one more week of our trip – the big finish and our annual Jones family vacation. There was no way we were going home to look at a house and miss our family vacation, so we put in an offer without actually seeing the house. Our offer was the highest, but the owners wanted to wait until we toured the house in person before they would accept it. It was brutal to wait, but also allowed us to pray and trust that if this was the right next place for our family, God would work out the details.

    We finished our family vacation and came home on a Sunday. On Monday Ryan and I went to see the house. On Tuesday the offer was officially accepted. On Wednesday I enrolled the kids in our new school district. Thursday was Meet The Teacher day. The following week was the first day of school. IT WAS INSANE.

    But you know what? It all worked out.

    Initially we thought we’d just commute the kids to their new schools (about a 45 minute drive from our old house). We did that for the first week and decided it was just not going to work.

    Our friends offered for us to stay in their garage studio apartment nearby and we took them up on it. Our expectation was that we’d just be there for two or three weeks … and then our closing kept getting pushed back and back and it ended up being a six week stay.

    But even that was so perfect. We were able to build deeper friendships, transition to our new town, and since we had just lived in a tiny airstream trailer for 4 months, bunking up in a studio apartment for six more weeks was no big deal. (P.S. Camp bunkbeds for the win.)

    Our closing date finally rolled around and we could not wait to get our hands on our new house.

    Here’s what things looked like on night one:

    Celebrating with friends and my sisters with a healthy dinner of eggnog and pizza.

    And by night two, we couldn’t stop ourselves :)

    This home has been so good to us this year. The layout works great for our family, it’s a playground for our design appetite, the kids have made great friends and we love having so much outdoor space.

    Plus, living so near to the water does something good to my soul. In order to get to our town, you cross a big bridge and I literally sigh each time I cross it. I just love the water.

    My plan for this post was to show all of the progress we’ve made to the house this year, but instead I guess the story of how it came to be ours and what it has meant to us had to come first.

    Moving is scary. Especially when there are kids and community and comfort involved.

    Moving is also hard. Like, physically and mentally hard. I thought we’d be all settled in and didn’t realize how long it takes to figure out where to put things and find your way around a new town. We still have packed boxes and a hodgepodge of furniture just sitting in our unused dining room. There are a million projects we haven’t started and haven’t finished and sometimes that can feel unsettling.

    And yet, moving into this home has been a beautiful season for our family.

    Thanks for following along with all my ramblings :)

    I’ll put together a progress post with all of the before and afters on the house so far. I can’t wait to have that all in one place so I can remember how much we’ve actually completed this year.

    If you have any thoughts or questions or fears about moving, let’s chat in the comments …

    55 thoughts on “our one year houseaversary”

    1. Just found you blog. We are just now beginning the moving process. Moving from our home of 11 years to a home only 4 miles from here, but our younger children have to change elementary schools. It’s also most 20 year old home. We’d been looking to build our dream home but never found the perfect lot. Then this home popped up. 2.2 acres with a pool. It was perfect. Felt like I could turn the home into my dream home. We are about to close and the feast and anxiety of it all is creeping in. Worrying about everything. The thought of remodeling is starting to freak me out, time and cost wise!😬😬😬 looking at your blog justly help me deal with all of the craziness that comes with moving!

    2. Emily, just received my black and white kitchen towels and love them…texture is so soft and they are perfect…so glad I ordered 2 sets since one is going to be gifted to a friend. Am so satisfied, will be ordering other items from your shop. Thanks, Patti

    3. As a family of 6, what were the big things you were looking for in a new home? We are a family of 9 and we homeschool, so a lot of people spend a lot of time in our home. We want to buy, but I am struggling to come up with a realistic view of what our next house should have. Any guidance there?

      1. Here’s what we were hoping for with a new house:
        good location (we were specifically looking in one town)
        great schools
        a small amount of property (1 acre+)
        big kitchen
        space for the kids (we were fine with two sharing a room and were hoping for an extra space for playroom/hangout room)
        a large space for an office
        and we hoped to find a house that needed cosmetic updating

        This house truly met all of our desires.

    4. I am so encouraged by the story of your move. We live in the Olympia area now, but my husband just started a job in Gig Harbor so we’re hoping to move in the next year or so. I love my home, my friends and my church, but it always seems that when the time is right, the Lord works it out beautifully.

      1. It was a darling house with so much potential and it sold within a few days of listing it. This was during the height of the real estate market in 2006 and we were able to walk away with enough profit to pay off our extensive student loans and have enough for a small down payment on our next house. It was hard to say goodbye to the potential we saw in that house, but we were so grateful for the financial burdens it freed for us!

    5. We just moved a year ago and boxes are still packed. And just because we like to keep things interesting, we’re looking at moving again (this time out of state – I’m hoping for going back home to Oregon or Washington. We’re actually flying out to look at the area surrounding Seattle in November!). It’s scary to take a big jump and move, especially without knowing anyone where we’re moving to or even exactly where we’re moving, but sometimes you just know the time is right and you take the leap of faith. Thank you for sharing your move, the good and difficult – it makes it easier to do ourselves knowing someone else has been in the same place 😊

    6. Congrats! And I love the house. We just completed our fourth move and it’s nice to know someone else finds it scary and physically and emotionally hard. I still have many boxes to go! I also picked our house out on-line, had my husband look at it (it’s a new city for us too) and take. I came with the movers without ever being in it!

    7. We too bought a home about the same time as you & your family. You hit the nail on the head with the want to be unpacked and settled but that too is not the case for us. Are you all still “finding” things a year later just like us? Moving was stressful but so good at the same time. Your progress in your home has often inspired me to tackle new projects. Thank you for showing your progress on your home. I simply adore the studio picture with the bunk beds- so intimate and special even though it may have been trying- good memories! Here’s to another year of fun, projects, and making lovely memories!

    8. I’ve always said that moving is a lot like childbirth. No matter how much you prepare beforehand, it is beautiful & traumatic & laborious & wont go exactly as planned. But for us, it’s always been totally worth the new life it brings. As someone who lives just across that same bridge, I gotta agree we live in a gorgeous area. Nowhere else I’d rather live.

    9. Love this story and also love the slow, thoughtful approach you’re taking to making changes to your gorgeous new home.

      We are about to move from NY to northern Virginia. The decision happened somewhat gradually and is one that just feels right. Finding specifically where to settle is proving a bit trickier. Did you know what town and school district you were targeting? I’d love any words of wisdom you have on choosing where to settle. Houses can be improved, but I want to find a community that works for our family and a school in which my son can thrive.

      Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration, in decorating and life!

      1. Schools were a big deal for us. We were initially thinking about sending the kids to a private Christian school and loved the one that is in our new town. As it turned out, the house that we bought was in the same area as friends whose kids go to the local public school and they had such great things to say about it, we decided to give it a try first. We absolutely love the schools the kids are at and that makes a big difference. For us, finding a community with lots of families, easy access to restaurants and entertainment, space for the kids to be outside and proximity to the water were high on our list. Just keep narrowing down your search criteria and trust that the right next steps will come your way!

    10. I realize this isn’t at all what this post is about…but that leather bag on the left (the larger, lighter one) in the bedroom picture is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for. Do you have a link for it? Thanks!

    11. What a beautiful way to look back on how you arrived at this point and thank you for the honesty and vulnerability in admitting that you aren’t fully settled. Having just moved to the east coast 6 weeks ago, so much of this post rang true. And it felt like God saying, “See, you can be grateful for where and how I have led you even while feeling a bit unsettled still.”

    12. Congratulations!

      At one point we moved 6 times in 5 years. While brutal, I learned to live with less. We had more yard sales. I gave more away. I bought less. While I admire beautiful furnishings and decor, I realize I don’t want or need it. This feeling could be the stage of life in which I found myself but I don’t think I will change much. Then again, that could all change on the next move. Until then, I will admire the beautiful home you are creating.

    13. We’re on the brink of a move after staying in what we thought would be our “five year house” for nearly fifteen years! You guys — there is SO. MUCH. STUFF. Do any of you seasoned movers have tried and true moving tips to share? I’m overwhelmed just thinking about this monumental task!

    14. Congratulations! It always takes longer to unpack than you think. I feel like it took us about three years to get our house to exactly how we wanted. We are thinking about moving again but worried about our three kids, uprooting and resettling them will be a big transition. How are your kids doing with the move? Do they miss their old friends? Cant wait to see all the before and afters!

      1. The kids are doing so well. It was not something they were super excited about – mainly because the only thing they knew was the old house and neighborhood. Our oldest had a really incredible group of friends who had been together since they were in preschool and it was mostly hard on him to leave his friends and start all over in 7th grade. BUT, he has made great new friends (and tries to keep in touch with his old ones!) and will now say that the move was really great. We’ve learned through this that kids are so resilient and they have done even better than we expected with the move.

    15. Growing up in a military family, we moved very frequently. By the time I was 39, I had moved 20 times of which half were as an adult. For me and my family, my parents happy marriage and enthusiasm with which they embraced our lives set the tone. My mother would say, “aren’t we lucky we get to…..(you fill in the blank). It’s not for everyone to be so mobile however, I feel blessed by the variety in my life. Currently, I have lived in the same home and town for 13 years, a record! Fresh paint, furniture rearranging and annual vacations calm occasional restlessness.

      1. What a great perspective! That is a lot of moving, and its great to hear that your parents were able to give you a solid place regardless of your address. That is what we hope our kids will say of us!

    16. Our family is most likely going to move from California to Georgia within the next year (where our extended families live). It’s so exciting and so overwhelming at the same time! So many major decisions to make! We feel God leading it so we are trying to trust that and not get lost in all the details! What was the real estate app you used?

    17. Love following you! We are in a situation where we may be forced to move (bad neighbors)…we dont LOVE our current house but we have put so much energy into it and making it ours. How did you do with the idea that you would be starting all over?

      1. We were mainly excited about starting over … it came at a time in our family where we felt we needed to reset some habits and lifestyle choices (that sounds incredibly vague. What I really mean to say is among other things, one of the patterns we noticed was that because we lived in a close neighborhood and the kids had one million friends, we were never just together as a family. There are benefits, of course, and for the most part it was a positive experience, but we started noticing an expectation that there was always someone around to be entertained by, and that being just together as a family was not good enough – and also a lax that started popping up in our parenting. There were many other factors, but this was just one.)
        So while it was a little scary to think about starting all over – new schools and teachers and librarians and secretaries who didn’t know our kids or family, new doctors, new grocery stores, new friends, new church – it was also very freeing to be able to change our path and start fresh. Plus, we moved from a neighborhood with houses right next door to 1.5 acres of privacy and trees and expansive yard and that has been great for all of us!

        Hopefully this helps answer that question :)

    18. So interesting to read this… last summer we sold our home of 19 years in an effort to downsize and cut expenses. We’ve landed in an “in between” place and while I do like where we are, I’m having such a hard time truly settling down. It IS hard to move — both mentally and emotionally. Glad I’m not alone… :)
      Blessings, Heidi

    19. Emily, we moved to the Spokane area from CO around that exact same time! We first stayed with friends for a few months hoping to find a home, then resigned ourselves to apartment living (with three kids and two golden retrievers). A month after that, we found our home, of course, so moved again in January. A few weeks after we moved in our lower level began taking on water in two of the kids bedrooms from the heavy snows followed by heavy rains. We had, off course, dove right in and we in the middle of painting walls and installing hardwoods when that happened. Now that it’s settled we too have boxes in the garage still, art and decor everywhere but on the walls or in a spot. But we love our smaller community as well, the slower pace, the lack of traffic and the changes God is bringing about in us as result of this major change!

    20. Thanks for sharing this Emily! What amazes me is God’s perfect timing and even how he prepared you for cozy living those 6 weeks during your road trip. I love seeing God’s hand in all the details!

    21. It definitely sounds like it was meant to be! How does life in Gig Harbor compare to life in Seattle? We just moved to the other side of the bridge from you in July (hi, neighbor!). We are here from Alaska and I am already in love with the Pacific Northwest!

      Congratulations on your homeversary. Can’t wait to see the transformations you have in store for that beautiful home.

      1. Welcome to the area and hello from the other side!

        Seattle is obviously much bigger and has more city life to offer … but we are country people so Gig Harbor feels like the perfect combination. Still access to amenities, but lots of trees and slower pace and open space.

    22. A great tip that someone gave me (when we moved our kids across town) that might help someone else: go to the house with your kids and their existing friends before the furniture. Bring pizzas and blankets and coolers and let them play hide and seek. It gets them excited and they get to share that excitement with their friends. :)

    23. I have been following you for a long time and we moved within a week of y’all last year, our housaversary will be Wednesday! It has been fun and really nice to follow along with you to see that it really does take longer than a year to settle in to a new house (even for home bloggers)! Like, for example, how I just bought dining room chairs for our house Saturday and there’s still so much I want to do!! So thanks for sharing the before and afters along with the in the middle stuff!

    24. Emily, I grew up in the Harbor and it was a truly magical place. My parents still live there and, like you, I sigh every time I drive cross that bridge :) We just moved from Seattle to Denver last month with our 4 girls (the youngest just 2 weeks old). It’s scary and exciting and crazy and I hope in a year we can look back like you and see all of the blessings and adventures God had planned for us. Here’s to year two being just as full and amazing for you and your family. xoxo

      1. Erica – we almost changed places! We moved from Denver to Spokane! Soak up a little sunshin for me and if you need help with that area, let me know!

        1. We’re in the Denver area too and have talked about moving to the Pacofoc Northwest. But we have no family or jobs there. We’re just itching for a change and to be closer to the coast. Les snow would be nice too, but I think we’d still have some in the PNW.

          1. We do have snow … just up in the mountains. From Seattle, it takes about 40 -60 minutes to get to a ski area. It’s actually pretty great to have the benefit of snow, but not always stuck in it :)

    25. What a great story about finding your home! We moved across the country, from Southern AZ to central KY, a year ago July. We too had been scouring the internet looking at houses, waiting for the right one to pop up, and for our home to sell so we could finally move somewhere green, with seasons, and better schools. We arrived here, a family of five, one dog and one cat, and my generous brother gave us his 1,000 sq ft farm home to live in while we waited for our house to close. We were there for about six weeks, and it was fantastic – our kids were outside all the time, they had horses, dogs, cats, and a donkey to run around with, had their first experience with fireflies and catching fish. We did have to drive them to and from school for three weeks, which fell to me as my husband was working. 80 minutes round trip, twice a day, with the nearly 4-year old, but it was on narrow country roads, with beautiful scenery. The home we bought seemed perfect for us, with mostly just cosmetic things we wanted to update or change, to make it our own. One year in, we’ve found that the previous owners hid major damages, and that the inspector also missed these things. We are now faced with using up nearly all of the equity we put in just to make the house solid and safe, and for the future, in a state in which we can sell it in good conscience. We have looked into the legal aspects of this, and it will cost as much to pursue as fixing the house, and those quotes are coming in at $30,000-$50,000. It’s been a hard year, as you said, both mentally, physically, and emotionally. Everyone had just settled in and was really feeling at home when we found the issues. So now we’re having to wrap our minds around using money that should have gone for “fun” things, just to make the house safe and stable. It’s still home, and we’re still grateful to have come to such a beautiful area, where most people are helpful and kind, to have a roof over our heads, and enough to feed, clothe, and have fun with our three children. I guess in my long story here, I’m telling you that I completely understand your story, and how moving can be exciting and fun, and also scary and hard! I love your house, and all the updates and changes you’ve made and shared with all of us, thank you!

    26. It’s a wonderful story – meant to be! Thank you for sharing pieces of yourself along the way Emily – many of us don’t know you but love to follow the journey!

    27. Love your story- thank you for sharing! My husband and I just moved this summer and our unpacked boxes are stressing me out more than I care to admit. But I know this will most likely be our long-term home and I’ve been reminded quite a bit lately that our home doesn’t need to be perfect to have people over.

      1. I truly had no idea how long it would take us to settle in. I think that’s something I’ll tell anyone who is moving … it takes longer than you think :)

    28. When its RIGHT its right. And having done what you are doing 4 times now…..irs totally a heart and” feelings” thing when you fibd the right one. What about your other house?? Did you sell I?

    29. This post was perfectly timed for me! My husband and I moved 2 weeks ago into the only house that we looked at, I guess you just know when you see THE one ;) This is our first move without the kids, who are all grown now, and I thought it would be easier to get settled. But I am feeling so crazy out of sorts and itching to start some projects! It was nice to be reminded that the process just takes time. I will definitely be reading up on your tips for choosing a white paint as our downstairs could really use some brightening!

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