Friday, August 01, 2008


As I sit here listening to my kids laughter and shouts from the backyard, I am reminded of why we chose this house in the first place.

We had decided that it was time to make the move to this northern city. We were being completely priced out of the housing market in our old city and my husband was often far north, working so we could afford to keep living there. I decided that enough was enough, we were moving. I wanted to have a house of our own! I wanted my husband to sleep beside me in it. I wanted my kids to live closer to their grandparents, to know them like I never did mine.

I scoured the real estate listings on the internet, narrowing down our choices so we could make the drive and look at houses that met our criteria. The way it turned out, the most important criteria was one I hadn't thought to write down. One I couldn't have gleaned from the internet.

When we drove up to this house, I loved it at first site. The front yard was huge! There was some simple, pretty landscaping and the house itself was yellow. I don't particularly like yellow, but I have since read that yellow houses sell best for some reason. I pointed out a number of yards with bicycles in them to my hubby, "Must be lots of kids around!"

As we went inside to look around, the boys heard kids out back and ran around to introduce themselves. We liked the house, it met many of our requirements - 4 bedrooms, ensuite bath, family room; it was clean and well-maintained. I immediately started to imagine the changes we would make and how everything would look when we moved in. I wasn't completely sold, I would have preferred something a bit bigger, something more updated.

I looked out the kitchen window at my children. They were in the middle of a huge huddle of kids, all chatting excitedly. Little boys everywhere! And then I knew. I knew God had brought us to this house, and those little boys were the reason.

As we drove around, looking at all the houses on our list I kept thinking about that little yellow house. For the past 3 or 4 years we had lived in a duplex on the edge of a decent neighbourhood. The only kids on our street had lived about a half block away and had recently moved across the neighbourhood. It had been a lonely place for our kids to live. They couldn't just run out and play, our street was fairly busy and it was close to a transit train station and a number of apartment buildings. Often there were homeless people, coming from the downtown train, roaming the alley looking for bottles. It just wasn't that kid friendly.

I so wanted them to have playmates to run with. I couldn't get the yellow house out of my mind. Two little boys lived right next door and they were the same ages as my boys! Another boy and his tomboyish sister lived a few houses up, there were more bikes and skateboards across the street. I could just envision them all riding around the cul-de-sac together, playing tag across the adjoining yards. Memories of the summers of my childhood danced in my head, kick the can at dusk with dozens of playmates. Freeze tag after school on short spring evenings. Snow forts with neighbours, whose father would help us dig. That is what I wanted for my kids! Even more important now that we were homeschoolers and didn't have the automatic social opportunities afforded by school.

So here we are, 4 summers later. There are 9 or 10 kids laughing and yelling in the backyard. The neighbours have become good friends, we built our new fence last year with a gate between our yards, one that is rarely shut. Now the oldest boys are attending youth group together, riding the cusp between teenager and child. They are both a bit young for their ages, enjoy playing lego or tag with the younger kids, as well as the added freedoms that come with 13. I have added a few kids to the mix and all the older kids are so welcoming and loving to my littles. They patiently include them in their games and let them feel like part of the gang-for a while.

I couldn't ask for more. As their laughter fills the sweltering air and filters into my home through the open windows, I say a prayer of thanks. Thankful that God brought us here and filled our life with children. Thankful for the carefree days of childhood summers filled with memories in the making. Thankful for wonderful kids who welcome one and all into their play, even pesky little brothers and sisters, especially because this allows me some child-free moments in my days.

The reason we came to this home has become the reason we stay. I often dream of a bigger home, all shiny and new, or perfectly restored and very old. I dream of a huge backyard with room for a dog. I dream of having a guest room or two for all the company we get each month. I dream and yearn for the physical space that would allow me some mental space. But. God brought us here for a reason, and those reasons are compelling reasons to stay. I am sure the time will come for us to move on, but at this moment, the thought of it saddens me.


  1. What a nice post! I so want to give Little Elvis a home like that someday. We are stuck in a city we can't afford, far away from family. We thought we were going to be able to move this summer, but it just didn't work out. I'm glad you guys found a good fit with your house!

  2. Such a lovely post and I totally understand! I have had friends tell me they can't understand why I left behind a huge brand new house with perfect everything for a house where everything is falling apart. My hubby jokingly calls our home the 'moneypit' but I it truly felt like home the moment we saw it from the end of the driveway. Sometimes you just know that house is so much more than a house - it truly is home :)

    Your post was something so lovely to read today - thank you!

  3. We're finally getting to the point where our house has neighbor kids running around outside and inside. Honestly, it tests my patience a bit, but I know it's something I need to do.

  4. Easily the best things about our house, too.

  5. Mmmm, this is very refreshing! It does seem that you've found your place :)

    I've been having the whole wanting to buy bigger but still in the older neighborhood line of thought lately, but you have me re-evaluating. I don't think the time for us to move has come.

  6. That's a fabulous post. I miss a lot of things I want to change in our house but we fell in love with and chose this one because there are big bedrooms for our children, a big yard, we can walk to the library and the store, we're 4 houses from the park and the splashpad, and the neighbours know and love our children. I'll get a new kitchen someday, but I'll never get to live their childhoods again. You nailed this one MMM.

  7. It sounds like the exact perfect house for your and your family. I fell in love with our "old" house for the yard and it has been the house and yard that all the kids want to be at.

    Have a good weekend - Kellan

  8. sounds like the perfect neighborhood to grow up in!

  9. Hi Kristen! I had to stop by and I am so glad I did, you are a very gifted writer. I love how you just knew it was supposed to be your house and it sounds like it has been so perfect.

    I also notice that you are a month away from welcoming a new one into the world, how very exciting!

  10. Oh Kris. what a great post!
    You're gift to me. Thanks for the reminder to be thankful in everything:)

  11. Sounds like just the right place! We would like to have a place in the country, but the kids love having neighborhood kids to play with

  12. Beautiful post! I actually teared up reading that.

  13. It sounds like an absolutely wonderful house and how beautifully you wrote about it proves it's the right one for you.

  14. I know exactly how you feel--it's how I've always felt about my house.

  15. What a beautiful "ode" to your home. I really believe in the statement "bloom where you are planted" and it seems that's exactly what you are doing.

    No matter where you go or when, you are building wonderful memories there. now. Thanks be to God!