Monday, January 19, 2015

First A House, Now...A Place WE Call Home.

This post was written, upon request, by a company called Urban Compass.  It will be reviewed by their "social team" and only their favorite stories lines will be shared through other means of social media. My hope, obviously, is that this post gets approved.  While this project is not a paid collaboration, if approved, it will be shared with all of Urban Compass' twitter followers, in hopes of creating a following for their new platform called, Starter Stories! In return, it will hopefully bring bollingwith5 new followers too.  I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post and taking a trip down memory lane. I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about how WE all began. This is OUR "Starter Story"...
This sign sits on our dresser, in our master bedroom!
It all started in 1992.  I moved to Roanoke, VA from Smithtown, NY.  I attended Cave Spring Jr. High and then Cave Spring High School, where I was officially known as a "Knight" (our school's mascot).  Within 8 months of living in Roanoke, I met Darren.  He was so funny! I loved that quality the best about him.  We officially became a couple in June of 1992.  Who knew that almost 23 years later, we would still be together? #highschoolsweethearts
We were all of 16 years old here.
We graduated High School in 1995 and off to College we went.  Darren went to Virginia Tech University and I ventured off to a new city... Raleigh, North Carolina to attend Meredith College (an ALL girl College).  My heart was dedicated to Darren and I didn't need the distraction of other males tugging on my heart strings or causing my grades to drop.  After two years of being apart, we couldn't take the long distance relationship thing anymore, so I transferred to Virginia Tech University as well aka #hokienation 
Pictures of pictures are never good quality, so I'm sorry for these terrible images, but back then digital photography was not yet available.  Yes, this information does "date me".
In 1999, Darren and I graduated Virginia Tech University and in December 2000, Darren "popped the question" on Christmas Day! I was thrilled. We became husband and wife on June 8, 2001.  We got married on Paradise Island, in the Bahamas, at the Atlantis Resort and spent 10 days there on our honeymoon.  #collegesweethearts #newlyweds
When we returned home from our honeymoon, we started our lives at 4710 Celtic Circle.  We were very blessed to be able to begin our marriage in a brand new home. It's where many of our FIRSTS happened: first and only marriage, first careers, first set of furniture, and first child. I loved everything about our first home and I never thought we would move.  We loved our neighbors and the space was just enough. Clearly, God knew our lives were about to change and somehow, someway, for some reason we began house hunting. #marriedlife On a side note: when we sold our first home, we sold it "For Sale By Owner", to the FIRST person we showed it too. The buyer even purchased half of our belongings because she loved the way everything looked. We paid $154,000.00 for our first home and sold it for $229,000.00. Talk about making a nice profit. It goes to show you how incredible the Real Estate market was back then.  We sold our home in the height of the Real Estate boom in 2007.
Our 1st born, Tyson, was born on May 11, 2005.
It was then, that we fell in love with our current home.  Again, a new house, but this time, it was a house that was not fully finished.  It was in the process of being built, so we had the luxury/privilege of making our house exactly the way we wanted to. New excitements, new challenges, and a new experience altogether.  Building a new home could definitely be exhausting and stressful. #buildingahome
Our home is the brick home facing the camera.
Our experience building a home contained EITHER of those negative emotions. Thanks to my husband's successful business, we were financially able to build and enjoy every detail.  In addition, my stepmom, an interior designer, provided her assistance, helping us complete the interior of our house, FOR FREE.  SCORE!!!!!
Within a year of moving into our new house, I conceived TWINS! HOLY COW! It was a total shocker.  I am not going to lie, at first, I cried.  I recall crying to the sonogram tech saying, "That's two cribs, and two car seats, and two high chairs!"  I finally saw the grander scope. The reason God pushed us in the direction of moving. It was now up to Darren and I to turn our house into a home. #fromonetothreefast
Lilah and Jax were born March 25, 2009.
First A House, Now A Place WE Call Home.
First, we just had a house. No memories were yet made. It was practically empty because we sold almost everything to the buyer of our first home. We didn't even have any family to celebrate with us, as we were experiencing some very unnecessary family drama. I recall move in day being slightly solemn. There was no one there to really rejoice with us. 
Our sweet dog Ninja, in the above photo, passed away 3 years ago!
As For Me And My House, We Will Serve The Lord.

But all of that changed for the BEST when Darren and I realized that our house could only be a home if CHRIST was present. Darren and I turned our lives over to the Lord and we stand FIRM in our family motto, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  ~Joshua 24:15  This motto is actually the FIRST thing you see on our blog's home page, other than our family photos.  We no longer needed to hang on to the family that we "lost" because we had an even better family...a family in Christ. This is where not only did our house turn into a home, but our dead lives turned ALIVE. #deadheartsmadenew #thewordisalive #jesusislord
And then there was 5...really 6.
We started out in our current home with Darren, Tyson, and myself, but quickly turned into a family of 5.  Since the birth of our 2nd and 3rd children (Lilah and Jax), we have slowly but surely turned our house into a home.  We have many great living spaces. There is very limited wall space for anything else now. Each child has their room designed to fit their style AND we are in the process of having a fence installed because we just added the final puzzle piece to our home.... A PUPPY!!!! We are now a family of 6. #threekidsandadog #theamericandream
We just got our Sadie girl one week ago!
Now that I have shared a very small excerpt of how we began and who we've become, allow me to share a few of MY favorite spaces in our home.  From the repins, on pinterest, I think it's safe to say that many others also LOVE these spaces too!!  

The MOST popular room in the house, according to Pinterest, is our almost 6 year old son, Jax's Room. Jax has a love for Super Heros, so I designed his room around SPIDERMAN.  What boy doesn't LOVE Spiderman? The twins used to share a room, but we put an end to that after they stopped using cribs. Despite giving them their own room, they still sleep together every night. #spidermanbedroom
When Jax (left) and Cohen (right) get together, they always start their playdate wearing their Spiderman costumes.  
The first photo of Jax's room, below, has been repined over 7,000 times.  It's insane.  
You can read all about Jax bedroom's details here.  Since the above photos were taken, I have added a wall quote, next to Spiderman (see below), and a fish tank (not shown in photos). 
Lilah's bedroom is every little girl's dream room.  Every time one of her friends walk into it, you hear unending oooo's and ahhhhh's.  Or "I wish I had...." Of course you never appreciate what you have because if Lilah had it her way, she'd like to have her brother's Spiderman room.  Hehe. Being she is ALL girl and then some, I made her room as girly as I could, which includes a vanity, a dress up corner, a fairy garden with a rocking chair, and many other girl must haves. #agirlandhergirlybedroom
Lilah's bedding was custom made and purchased from a talented seamstress off of Etsy. You can read all about Lilah's room here.  We have since added a small window shutter bookshelf.
We cannot forget to show off our oldest son's bedroom. Ty is a definite athlete and loves anything to do with sports, but typically focuses the MOST on football and basketball, although, he did make the All Stars baseball team this past Summer.  With that being said, it only makes sense that Ty's room would be all about sports.  Here are a few photos of his "NFL Sports" bedroom.  #nflsportsroom 
This art decco light is really cool.  I put this photo on pinterest and it's been repined over 190 times. To see more on Tyson's room and all of the details, you can click here.  I think it's safe to say that this room design fits Ty's age well. It's perfect for a pre-teen boy.
I LOVE ALL of my children's rooms and their furniture because it could all potentially transition with them up until their pre-teen years, if not later. When you invest this amount of time into a room, as well as the money that goes into it all, it's nice knowing it will last a good 5-10  years.  

What room does the lady of the house enjoy most?  Well, I have a few loves, but the "room" that I am most proud of, aside from my children's bedrooms, is my "gift closet." Once a linen closet, I turned it into a very practical and often used gift closet. All of my gift wrapping and most of my craft supplies are stored in this ROY G. BIV organized closet.  #giftcloset
I have done several posts on this closet.  Here is post 1.
 It's so much more efficient and enjoyable to wrap a gift for your loved ones, more so NOW, than ever.

Two rooms in the house that MOST people probably do NOT consider organizing is the garage and the storage room. In our home, we use BOTH rooms, very often, and I cannot STAND when it gets out of control.  I made BOTH rooms very user friendly and systematic.  Everything has a place of its own.  

Here is our garage! #dontagonizeorganize
There is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for our children NOT to put their belongings away.  Every item has a place to live and a label to remind them where exactly that place is.
 If this has inspired you, feel free to read more about our garage makeover here.  

The storage room also received a makeover about a year ago.  I cannot imagine my storage room without it this way! I don't know how we functioned for 6 years without this nice storage system, but it really has allowed us the opportunity to stay on top of things, especially when we are switching out the major holidays or seasons of clothing.  Darren allowed me to do this as part of my birthday present last February.  You can read up on some of the details here and a small update here.  
Since posting the small update, on color coordinating our storage room, I have since gone through every single bin, washed it out, re-organized it, and typed out, onto a word document, what's inside so that I do NOT have to search through 25+ bins every time I need something.  This has been a HUGE lifesaver.
I have so many rooms to still discuss, but I don't want to bore my readers.  As you can see, I have done my best to utilize every space in my home and keep it organized.  As the year's progress, I am finding that I have less and less I am able to decorate, so lately, I have been revamping cabinet and closet spaces and adding some new "touches" to our home.  I think switching things up is key to staying put, but still feeling like you are making your home, YOUR home.  

The front door: I painted the interior front door from white to black. I really cherish my time alone and try to make the best use of it.  If I feel successful while the children are gone, then it makes me really appreciate the time I have with them when they return home.  #homefacelifts
 You can read all about this project by reading the post titled "Behind Closed Doors".
 Underneath The Kitchen Sink
 Before: Although NOT bad... NOT up to Kristin's standards.
After: Really NEED more details??? Read here.
Game Shelf
I needed to make our selection of 75 board games much more accessible for the kids, so I took our game closet from LAME to FAME.  You can read all about it here.
Before
After
Air Vents
Who thinks of enhancing their air vents?  MUAH!  LOL!  Here is a post on our air vents and how they went from DRAB to FAB-ulous.  
We are currently in the process of having a fence installed for our new pooch.  Will it be a privacy fence or a typical slotted fence?  5' foot or 6' foot?  Metal or wood?  There is so much to think about, but again, we will choose what WE LIKE and it will be a new addition that helps our house become more of a home.  #newpuppy = #needforafence
In addition, we are super excited about turning our dining room into a space that will get used much more often than JUST Christmas day! It's like saving your guest bedroom for the once a year guest that comes to visit.  Seems rather silly to me. We are NOT really sure what to call the future space yet, but it will be an area where I can blog, edit photos, craft, and do bills, in addition to the kids unloading their daily school work as well as a place to do their homework.  The furniture is FOR SALE if anyone is interested in buying it, please contact me @ bollingwith5@gmail.com #changes #forsale
The Lord does require us to show hospitality, so getting rid of our dining room suite may seem as if we are NOT being obedient.  However, we do host small group at least once a month, the kids have plenty of playdates, we have birthday parties at our homes, and if we choose to have guests over for dinner, we still have a kitchen table and a kitchen island that will seat close to 10-12 people.  It's not practical to reserve a room, in our home, for that "once in a blue moon" dinner you have with friends/family.  
And finally, I think NOW that we have all of our children's rooms complete, it's time for Darren and I's "LOVE SHACK" to be enhanced.  We placed our old bedroom furniture on Craig's List and had a buyer, but it fell through.  For now, this is what our room looks like, but I am reallllllly anxious to switch things up BIG TIME!!!! Darren has approved. 
Below: I had our duvet cover at the dry cleaners when I took this photo.
As you have read, FIRST, it was TRULY the LORD that has turned our house into a home. Then, we designed each room in our house to fit each person's desires and loves.  We made our closet/cabinet spaces practical and useful, not to mention efficient, organized, and  FUN! Changes, additions, "face-lifts" and purges happen ALL THE TIME in our home.  We are people that try NOT to hold on to ANYTHING we do NOT use, unless we are trying to preserve  childhood memories.  

Some people look for a beautiful place, while others make a place beautiful. I believe we did the latter. Although our living spaces are beautiful, I trust, even if our home was to burn to the ground, we would be okay.  It's only God's grace that has allowed us our salvation, our marriage, our children, our puppy, and our house turned home.  We praise Him as He is the God from who ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!!!! I'm thankful that our home is built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ!!!! 
And They Lived Happily Ever After... 
We are always excited about what the future holds, but I try desperately NOT to rush the present day. I try to enjoy it. Somedays are easier than others, but leaning on the Lord, having an amazing husband, healthy/happy/smart children, and loving friends gets me through the good, the bad, and sometimes... the UGLY (fortunately, the ugly is rare).  
There are still so many rooms and closets, in our home, that I did NOT include in this post (such as my very OWN master bedroom, walk-in closet). I realize now that I need to add those spaces to the "Must Blog About" list. For now, I hope you and URBAN Compass have enjoyed this detailed read about a few of the spaces, in our home, that we LOVE and use often.  What makes your house a home?  #iwanttohearyourstarterstory