Ya know, it's funny.. when my husband and I were signing the paperwork to purchase our home in 2014, I told myself I wouldn't get attached to this home built in 1948. I knew this wasn't going to be our permanent location. I didn't even want to buy a house, but my husband didn't want to rent.. so here we were.
We were 1 year into my husband's military career & truly starting our life together. We had been together 5 years at this point and married almost two years. This was going to be the true test of our relationship. We had just spent 1 year apart thanks to the Navy. We had just moved 12 hours away from our family and friends. We didn't know anyone, we had each other.
We spent 5 years in this home. 3 more years than we thought we would. We originally thought my husband was going to get stationed in Italy, but that fell through. We were so thankful that he was able to get attached to a ship here in Norfolk because now we wouldn't have to move. 5 years in this home & we have been talking about selling it. There was a lot of stress surrounding this conversation... but it was time. So we began fixing little things up here and there. One day a man called my husband out of the blue and told him he wanted to buy our home.. before we had even listed it. He was planning to flip the home.. We accepted his offer without blinking an eye. Then a couple days ago he told us he was going to be renting the home out for a bit before they flipped it and sold it. He wanted to show the home to a family who might rent it out. It was in that moment that I suddenly felt attached to this 1948 home that had given me some grief the last few years.
You see I had planned on the home being flipped & basically not recognizable to me.. but the thought of another family living here.. just makes me feel weird inside. These walls.. each room.. it all has a story. So please, before you make this house your home.. before I hand over the rights to this space.. please respect the house that sheltered me as I grew into the woman I am today..
When we bought this house, I was 24 and a bit immature. Now, hold on, I wasn't like a teenager immature but I was ignorant to the types of things that would be coming my way as adulthood just happened. The one cool thing is, we picked this house. It wasn't like an apartment we just took because it was down the road from our parent's house. It wasn't just a property that was a family member's home.. It was ours. Maybe not permanent.. but it was definitely a decision that Thomas and I made. Neither of us are the same people who walked into this house for the first time.
I say all of that to say this...
The Thomas & Jessica who left Michigan to follow the Navy's call, simply aren't the same people anymore. We've grown, matured, and just flat out changed. It is here that I learned how to be a wife.. It is here where Thomas learned how to be a husband. It is here where we learned how to become parents. We've failed. We have had success.. It's funny what can happen in 5 years.
So let's take the tour...
You see that teeny bathroom? I know, small doesn't even begin to cut it.
Now before you turn your nose up to how small it is.. and think about how many times you'll bump your elbow on the door frame... know that this is where I took multiple pregnancy tests. This is where many tears were shed as I would tell my husband once again that we had not successfully gotten pregnant. This was also the place that I took a pregnancy test out of spite and found out we were expecting our first child.
This is the place where I threw up almost every meal when I was pregnant with my second. It was the place where I was on my knees, reminding myself that it would end one day.
That little shower is the place where I realized I was in labor with our second child... because I couldn't get off the floor of that shower. He was born 3 hours later.
You see that kitchen? The super old and ugly linoleum floor? Yeah I think it is the original linoleum. I thought about changing it but then life happened and it got away from me. I always loved the original cabinets because you never see any like that anymore.
That kitchen, is where I created recipes for my family and then later created two cookbooks. Do you know I photographed almost every recipe in this kitchen? I had to bring lights & stand like a crazy person on my toddler's little chairs to get the right angle.. but I did it. I pushed myself and fought against the odds to make those cookbooks happen. I spent a lot of time pacing back and forth hoping for success here.
You see that master bedroom? There are many stories to this room..
There was a king size bed in there where my husband & I (and our children most of the time) slept. This is where our marriage almost fell apart multiple times. It's also the place where we prayed together and asked God to restore our marriage... and he did. We were able to come to terms with our own faults and work together to the goal of being happy in our marriage. We made it, we did it.
This is the room where I bonded with my oldest son when he was a newborn. It was the place where I realized I was a good mother. It is the place where my son smiled at me for the first time.. and the place that he projectile vomited all over my face.. for the first & hopefully last time. The first 4-5 weeks of his life was spent in this room a lot. Netflix, pumping milk, baby spit up, diapers, rash cream, water bottles-- it all happened in here.
This is the place where my son spent his first night away from me, the night his little brother was born. He spent the night with my mother & it's where he saw his sweet brother's face for the first time.
Now this room, the one with two doors, right off the kitchen. I always thought the two doors thing was dumb. I wish I could have changed that for you, but hopefully it is perfect for you and your family... This is my son's room. This is the best room in the house as far as temperature goes. It doesn't matter what season it is, it is the best room in the house. Not too hot, not too cold.
I was 6 month's pregnant with my oldest son and cleaning the floor when my father called me to tell me that my Aunt had lost her battle with cancer. That was the place where I wondered how our family would cope, how it would survive, and how we would remain close with a loss as big as this. This is also the place where I realized that my husband and I weren't going to be able to go home to grieve with our family. It was the place that I mustered up my strength and stood to go tell my husband the news. I couldn't go in that room for a long time because the amount of grief I felt was just too much. Now I happily go into that room because it's my oldest son's favorite place. It's where he slept in his "big boy bed" for the first time.
So you see that tiny room.. the only room that is painted a color other than white.. Well that room was supposed to be a nursery but it quickly turned into my office. I'm not sure what it looks like now, but for me it had a desk and shelves. It's the place where my business took off and I realized that I was going to be a successful adult & had a purpose beyond being a mother & wife.
It is also the place where my husband would play video games with his friends all over the US. Something about this lifestyle, is we say goodbye quite often, but my husband was still able to get quality time with his buddies in this room.
Now for the living room & dining room. I always hated that they were pretty much one room.. but it is what it is. This room is the heart of our home. There has been yelling, screaming, tears of joy, tears of hurt, laughter, spiteful words, forgiveness, and reconciliation. It's the place that housed multiple couches until I found one that was just right. I'm sorry the walls are still white, Thomas and I could never come to an agreement on a color... so they are still white. At least we installed a ceiling fan.
This living room is where I shockingly told my husband that we were expecting again. Quite the shock of a life time for us- but a sweet shock at that. It's almost the same place where I walked for 6 weeks while my newborn screamed and screamed after having a tongue tie revision that was a bit aggressive. This is the place where I hit rock bottom as a mother.. my husband was out to sea, I had a toddler running all over the house at 11pm, and a 2 month old screaming so hard that he would vomit.. over and over again. This is the place where I desperately asked for God to show himself in my life and help me. This is the place where I found a strength I didn't know I had, buried deep down inside my soul. This is the place where I believe, after 2.5 years of mothering at the time, that I truly became the mom that I wanted to be.. I began to live up to my own expectations.
This living room is where my best friend sat, crying, while coming to terms with the fact that a relationship she had put 5 years into and a lot of herself into was over. She was sitting in the same spot a year later when she met the man that she is currently falling in love with.
It's the place when my oldest took his first steps.. and the place where my youngest rolled over for the first time. We might not be living here for Bronn's first steps... and that is crazy to me.
This living room is the place where my husband and I find time to give each other a hug each day.. no matter what chaos might be going on in our lives, no matter how loud the kids are.. It's the place where we meet to make sure each other knows that the love is there.. the support is there.
Lastly, the living room is the place where I FaceTimed my mother, while I held my seizing cat as her life was slipping from her body, I sobbed and told my mom this might be it. This was my first pet, my first baby.
Now don't forget, the porch. This porch is where it all began. This home has so many stories. I hope you have as many stories here. I hope this home is a place of growth for you. Growth doesn't always feel good, but it looks amazing when you look back.
Who am I?
My name is Jessica Kellaway! I am the earth loving, natural parenting, Jesus loving weirdo your mama might have warned you about!