Saturday, August 7, 2010

::how I grew to love the one I am with::

I am not talking about Josh.  Him I was always sure of, from the moment I saw that smoking hot man from across the frat house (another story for another day).  I am talking about someone else.  Someone that I fell in love with, head over heals, obsessive unhealthy infatuation with.  Then when I sobered up I look around and I realized that I could not stand them.  All the things I loved were so over shadowed by all the things I couldn’t stand.  I am talking about my little brick ranch house.  

I was ready to buy a place with Josh and settle down in the early part of 2002.  I had been getting emails from a realtor but nothing had looked interesting.  I was in no hurry with this whole process.  I was a horsey princess to the 100th degree and I wanted my little horsey farm to play horsey brat on.  I wanted 20 acres in a certain part of Indianapolis and nothing else would do.  I didn’t care if the house was in barely livable condition, as long as the barn was glorious.  The realtor called me to come and look at this place that was drastically under priced.  It was only 16 acres and I almost didn’t go because of that.  I barely looked at the house.  My only thought was, “it’s not as bad as I would have tolerated.”   Then I flew out to the barn.  It was everything I wanted.  I was in love.  I went home and woke up my then boyfriend (he worked midnights) and drug him out there.  He said it was way too far out and how would we ever afford it.  I didn’t listen to one word he said.  I made him put in a full price offer with me that very day, with zero thought about how we would ever be able to afford it, I wasn’t even preapproved.  Oh, to be young and selfish.  It was a Sunday, the house officially went on the market Monday, by Wednesday they had a second full price offer just in case ours fell through.  I didn’t know then that I had fallen in love with a house that was so wrong for me.  

We legally scraped our way through the financing, moved in, got engaged, got married, and got pregnant.  I was 24 years old and about as mature as a 16 year old.  I grew up a lot in that first year and figured out that horses were not that important to me anymore (they just filled an emptiness).  This marriage and these babies were the real thing.  But I still had lots of room to grow.  In my weakness, I decided I wanted the house to be something that it just could not.  I tried so hard to make my little lovey ranch into a two story 100 year old farm house, but it would not give up its identity so easily.  I started spending big money we didn’t have trying to make that house something I could show off.  Thank the lord I had Josh to keep me in line.  If he hadn’t been there to mostly stop me I would have dug us right into bankruptcy.  I didn’t have great taste or know how, just a credit card burning a hole in my pocket.  
Once that routine still didn’t magically transform the house into the historic Victorian I was dreaming of I emotionally gave up on it.  I grew to really dislike the house.  I thought it was ugly from the outside, it had no closets, only three tiny bedrooms, no grand master bath with huge princess tub, and it was in some back woods school district.  By this point I had slowly sold off one horse at a time.  I loved them, but I wanted to focus on the more important things in my life and I wanted a more “family friendly house”.  
By fall 2007 I was half way along with my Max and I felt like the house was going to explode around me.  This is the point when most people sell the starter house and trade up.  I had put our house on the market once, had talked to numerous real estate agents about selling, and  I had taken Josh “new farm” shopping at least 6 times I can remember.  He always managed to gently wiggle out of ever actually selling the house or making an offer on another house.  He was the one that was now head over heals in love with out farm, with all its flaws.  

Cut to the chase – one day it all changed.  In one of my many decorating/renovating magazines I saw a really cute little ranch house (just like mine) that some clever girl and her husband had lovingly and not too expensively remodeled.  They took it one step at a time and really had such great taste and ideas.  I looked up their blog and now I follow their progress with baited breath.  (They just had a baby and I LOVE the nursery!)  The blog is called Young House Love - and after watching it for years I still can't get enough.  That site got my gears clicking.  Surely other people have had ugly little ranch house and fixed them up without ripping them down to the studs.  I had grown into a thrifty little shopper.  I might not have her talent but I wanted to try to fake it.  
I started looking for magazines that catered to my kind of house.  Can you believe that I found one?  Atomic Ranch is the best  magazine I have ever read.  It got me excited about my little house.  My 1950/60’s ranch is a style of house that is important too, a solid little house, a funny and QUIRKY little house.  Quirky became my favorite way of describing it.  I began pulling in the driveway and looking at all the pretty roses and thinking the house was cute.  I fell in love with the house and I began to really see what I loved about this farm.
I love waking up in our little room in our huge bed which takes up the entire room and staring up at our favorite tree.  We argue over who’s tree it is.  It’s mine.  Or so I think.  I love our original hardwood floors that were hiding under shag carpet.  I love the blonde wood trim and doors that were lovely stained by the first owner’s.  I love the original floor plan paperwork that we inherited with the house keys.  I love the green of it all in summer.  I love the peace and quiet.  I love my kids learning to eat apples by picking them off a tree.  I love the huge updated windows the last owners put it.  I love the tree in the back pasture that we got married under.  I love the amazing space.  It really is almost magical.        

I love my little nest of a house.  It forces us to be together.  We have one TV and one main room we live out of.  Were can we go but with each other?  I grew up in a 7,000+ sq ft house, and we all had plenty of room to hide from each other and never even speak if we didn’t want to.  
I still have dreams for this house.  I still want to bring out its potential.  We need to put the formerly pink bathroom back together.  We need to update the kitchen and open it up to the playroom.  We need to do lots, but I would no longer trade my little house for anyone elses.  It is mine and I love it.  

New Nostalgia


  1. incredibly sweet post, brooke. i love that it wasn't just a journey through your desires to update your house, although i LOVE a good remodel and seeing how fun and updated your house looks, but how special that you and your home have grown together. that is wonderful :) thanks for this wonderful post...

  2. Small houses make for close families. That's what someone told me once.

    I have a 1973 ranch. I have gone through a similar emotional process. I feel ya.

  3. What a sweet post about being content and counting your blessings! We have a small house, too, and sometimes it's easy to get caught up in what we don't have. I'm learning to take what we have and make it into what we little project at a time. Paint is pretty cheap and makes dramatic changes!:)

  4. Such a lovely post and important too. It is important to grow content with what you have and not always chase the perfect picture that you might have.
    For me it is a constant struggle. Generally I am content in my little condo, but then I have my dreams and I want something else. Nothing bigger, but just different.
    It is good to be reminded about all the little things you can do to personalize your space and make it into something you love.
    Thank you for the wonderful and inspiring entry.

  5. Beautiful post and so mature and wise. I am in the opposite end of the spectrum, living in a wildly beautiful place that we love and having to sell and move to someplace convenient, smaller, closer to our kids and not wild, not beautiful. With The Welding Man's health issues, the sooner we do this the better, but it's going to break our hearts to leave. Enjoy your quirky house, sweetheart!!

  6. Beautifully written! I enjoyed every moment..
    It is all about perspective, isn't it? I love yours!
    Thanks for sharing at "AP Tuesdays!"

  7. You won most read post at AP Tuesday, so you were featured! Wonderful post, thanks for linking up..

  8. Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your journey, you have a gorgeous spot there!

  9. Brook..... I love your exuberance and your straight from the shoulder honesty! Girl you have got to start writing for a living and publishing your photos as illustrations. You seem to really work wonders with that oldest girl in your pictures... she must love to pose. The picture of her at the top of this post looks professional. I always sing your praises along these same lines to your father when I talk to him. Don't know if he ever mentions it or not... probably not knowing Derek.Love, Sara Hanlon (Eric's mom)

  10. Awwww, I so get it! You done great things there. I had a similar house experience (it was a foreclosure type tho)- a fancy custom w/fancy barn n indoor ring - but the house was an awful split level. NOT my dream cottage. I did add shutters n window boxes but IT wanted be more lodge like (cathedral ceilings, beams n stone). Went through the same process as you. kinda. It wasn't my happily ever after house but it taught me a lot about loving the one you're with! Thanks for the magazine mention. Young House Love is awesome too.
    Congrats on the growth of you and your family and your farm!

  11. Brooke, Watching you and Josh as a friend and rooomate from that frat house to now with your gorgeous kids and the farm, I am happy for you. Life hasnt always given us all we expect it should have when we planned it way back in collge, but I think our journeys together and apart from our dreams have landed us where they needed to. I am so happy for you. Your farm is a pieceful corner where that is sometimes hard to find in this world. I have always admired your creativity and courage to try new things and have those project turn out fantastic. Enjoy it and your beautiful family. Your Friend- Lisa T



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