“That little house in Aurora was so good to us. We bought it in July 2009 which was a really good time because we could buy a house for next to nothing and get the $8,000 tax credit. Thank you, Obama. No really, thank you. We didn’t plan to have kids there, but then we had two surprise kids. We really wanted to get back to Lakewood to be closer to my family which was a huge motivating factor to sell.

So we were looking and it was such a terrible market for buyers in 2015. Everything was so inflated and people were putting in 11 or 12 offers before they would finally get something. We were terrified of that and we sort of started to realize that it was going to be really hard to get into Lakewood. Then it became apparent that my grandmother needed to move. We knew that it was  impossible for her to list because of her declining health, it would have been too hard. It would have been so much work for my mom, primarily, and it would have been confusing for my grandmother. So to make that transition easier for her to sell the house and move into assisted living, we just thought, ‘well, we could buy her house and then we’d be in Lakewood. It’s the right size for us, it’s almost three times the size of the old house.’ We thought it was a good deal and so did she so here we are.

If we stay here we’ll remodel. The house had never been updated so we want to at least do the floors, but then if we do the floors, then we might as well knock down some walls. We’re not there yet but I feel really comfortable where we are right now. It’s mostly what we want. It’s not quite as nice as we’d like it to be, but it’s really functional for us. The boys are good here. Every once in a while, they’ll say they miss the old house and that’s been hard to hear. They don’t realize that but they didn’t even have space to play at all, it was a tiny house – their room was tiny, the living room was tiny and it doubled as a dining room. Overall they really like it here. It took a while but they call it home now. For a while they called it great grandma’s house, then they called it great grandma’s old house, then after a year, they finally started to call it home.”

Fast forward two years…

“The house was built in 1992 and had never been updated, not even painted, nothing. So we knew right away that we’d want to change out the floors and everything. When we bought it the kitchen was a tiny galley kitchen in the middle of the room with a giant wall separating it from everything else. You couldn’t even have the dishwasher open and walk by. I knew we’d want to do something about that but we suffered through it for 2 years. So we’re really excited now. We took the huge wall down and the full ceiling came down so now it’s vaulted.  We ripped out all the floors in the main living area and put down laminate hardwood floors. We replaced the carpet in the bedrooms and painted everything. It’s really starting to feel like our house now. I felt a little emotional about it at first when the wall came down but it’s just such a sign that this is our home now.

My grandma passed away a little over a year after we bought this. My family, as in my mom and sister, have had varying degrees of emotion with me renovating the house. My sister struggled and she hasn’t been able to come over quite yet.  My mom and  sister both lived here with my grandma for a few years so it was a sign to them too that this is my home now. We all grow up and we change though.

We’ve had to move out twice for a few days during the renovation. The hardest is getting everybody out of here in the morning. We wake up upstairs and get dressed and do all that then we have to go downstairs to eat breakfast. The refrigerator is in the garage so I have to carry  things from the garage downstairs, bring the dog up to take care of him, get the kids to come back up here to brush teeth, it’s tough. I’m ready to have a functional kitchen. I feel like I’ve been pretty patient about it too. I’m not the crazy person who’s constantly asking when it’s going to be done. I know it’s a process and it’ll happen when it happens.”