Monday, October 6, 2008

Our Life In Homes

St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church, Brighton, WI
When the girls and I visited Jes this past spring, I took the oportunity to drive past all the homes Ted and I lived in over the years. I figured it would probably be the last time I would ever see most of them. It all started here, at the church we married in, St Frances Xavier Catholic Church. It is in the middle of a corn field in Brighton, Wisconsin, just 2 miles from were my Dad lived at the time. We used the church but had our own pastor do the ceremony. The reception was at my Dad's. It was a beautiful place to get married.

#1 - 3509 16th Street, Apt. 2D, Kenosha, WI. Woodcreek Apartments
Our first apartment. Ted moved in just a month before the wedding. We lived here 1 year. Ours was the second floor balcony.

#2 - Emaus Street, Zion, Il

There was a guy who worked with Ted and also went to our church. He owned this house, but couldn't afford to make the payments. He offered to rent us the upstairs while he lived in the basement. Good for him because he would be able to keep his house. Good for us because we would have 3 bedrooms, a garage and nice yard, all closer to Ted's work for less then the apartment we were renting at the time. We shared the kitchen and only bathroom. Both parties made a verbal commitment to this arrangement for 1 year. We shook hands on it. Ted and I worked for 2 weeks cleaning and painting the interior of this entire house. We finally moved in just one month before Jessie was born. Just three months after moving in, This man came to us and said that he had met a woman and was getting married and needed us to move out immediately because he needed time to fix up the house for his new wife! OMG! We were stunned and furious! I actually ended up in an argument with him one night after which he raised his hand to me and I had to leave with my 2 month old baby (Ted was at work) for fear of my safety. I never went back. Ted moved everything out and into his parents garage until we could find another place to live. Lessons learned.

#3 - 36670 N Beverly, Gurnee, Illinois

This is Ted's childhood home. He lived here from age 6 until just 1 month before we married. We lived here for a few weeks with baby Jessie after leaving the Emaus house until we found a new apartment.

#4 - Shiloh Blvd, Zion, Illinois

This apartment was a third floor walk up, 2 1/2 flights of stairs to the front door with a new baby! But is was huge, and across the street from a lovely park, and close to Ted's work. Ours was the top right. We loved it. We lived here one year.

#5 - Crawford Road, Wadsworth, Illinois

While living at Shiloh Blvd, I found an ad in the paper for a caretaker job. It involved about 20 hours a week of outdoor work in exchange for free rent of a 2 bedroom ranch home. We wrote a letter, had an interview and got the job. It was the most beautiful estate in the country with an orchard in the front yard and deer everywhere. The owners were a wealthy older couple. They had a lovely home with an indoor pool on 40 acres. We had to mow, rake leaves, plow snow and agree to be home when they weren't. It was AWESOME for the first year. We even got to use the pool.
Unfortunately, Mr. Shinkunas got greedy and started taking advantage of Ted's hard work ethic. He started to require more of Ted then was reasonable for the Job. They decided to part ways. It was great while it lasted. Josh was born while we lived in this house. We lived here one year.

#7 - 1560 16th Street, Apt. 1D, Kenosha, Wisconsin

We left the Crawford Road house and had to stay with my (#6) Dad and his wife for a couple of weeks before we found our next apartment. We went back to Woodcreek. This time right across from the pool. It was a lovely time when the kids were little and lots of fun. We lived here 1 year. Ours was the lower right patio.

#8 - 247th Avenue, Salem, Wisconsin

There came a time when my Dad and his wife were having some financial problems and asked us if we would move in with them, pay rent and help them out a bit. They had a home on 15 acres. This is the home I lived in when I met Ted. We lived here with them for 6 months. It was nice for the kids to have pets and spend some time in the country.

#9 - 21st. Street, Kenosha, Wisconsin

We rented this 2 flat for one year. We lived downstairs and shared a basement and laundry area with the upstairs people. We had a nice front porch and two bedrooms. Josh was at the peak of his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle obsession here and Jessie was into My Little Ponies. When I think of this house, I picture turtles and ponies.

#10 -4227 Harding Road, Kenosha, Wisconsin

We had a choice.....bigger house in a not so nice neighborhood...or....tiny house in a great neighborhood. We choose the tiny house in the Forest Park area of Kenosha for our first home purchase. We had a finished basement, a great yard and a garage. We had a wonderful life here. Katelynn was born while we lived here. We had awesome neighbors and good friends. Unfortunately, after four years, the 692 square feet of space was just too small for our family of five. One day, Ted came home from work to find a realtor at our kitchen table. I said, "Honey, this is our realtor, Jan. We're moving!"

#11 - 8075 50th Ave., Kenosha, WI

We sold the Harding Road house in 1 day for more then our asking price and a nice profit. We were able to buy this beautiful rustic, brick and cedar, 1525 square foot, home in an even nicer area of town. It was the last house on a dead end, had a pool, a great, park-like yard, a garage, finished basement, 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. We loved this house very much. ( I know you can't see much of it in the picture, but trust me, it was beautiful. ) This is where we fell in love with wood burning stoves and front porches. We lived here 4 years. The only reason we ever considered moving from here was because the upstairs bedrooms were quite small and Jes and Kate had to share. As Jes got older, it was hard for her to share with a sister 6 years younger. There was no way to add on, really, so we started looking for another place.
We used the same realtor, Jan Hensgen - our real estate angel! She helped us look all over tarnation for some land in the country. We wanted a farmette and some cows and a horse or two. We looked, offered, lost, looked, offered, least 10 times. This went on for months. Finally, Jan said, "Do you guys think maybe Someone is trying to tell you something?" WOW! Our realtor was telling us that maybe this was not God's timing for us to have a farm. How cool is that?
So we gave Jan a new assignment.....find us a town. One evening, Ted came home with a printout that Jan had emailed to him at work. The picture was fuzzy and dark, but I was pretty sure I loved the house! I got in my car and drove to the address in the dark. Yup, loved it! I called Jan and told her I wanted in that house TOMORROW. She set it up. ( She was AWESOME!) As we lay in bed that night, I said to Ted.....

"Wouldn't it be just amazing if we walked into that house and there in the living room was floor to ceiling brick with a wood burning stove? Wouldn't that be just AMAZING?"

Our current home, the one I loved but that was too small, had floor to ceiling brick with a wood burning stove. I just really, really wanted that again, but what were the chances?

So, with my hopes just ridiculously high, we met Jan at 3326 100th Street in Pleasant Prairie. I took one step into the foyer and started to cry imediatly. Yes, it's true....there it was right before my eyes.....floor to ceiling brick with a wood burning stove. I didn't notice anything else about the house....we put an offer in that day. The house was on a beautiful 1/2 acre of park like trees. We had a creek as our back property line with a huge weeping willow. There were 3 baths, 5 bedrooms, a great room, a family room and a sun room. We lived in this wonderful home for 6 years. This is were we lived when ClaireAnna was born. We had bible studies, parties and lots of fun here. We were a happy family of six here. This is the first and last place that all six of us lived together at the same time.

#12 -3326 100th St., Pleasant Prairie, WI

Mama's wood burning stove.

Daddy's woodland front yard.
During the time that we lived at 100th Street, we also had the opportunity to buy a beautiful farm in Arkansas. We figured when the kids were grown, we would retire and be farmers. Hah! God sure has plans of his own, doesn't He?

#13 - 225 Standridge Drive, Dover, AR

In 2003, God moved our family to Arkansas for good and we finally got the cows and horses we had dreamed of for 20 years! God has blessed us with a small, but lovely home and 160 gorgeous acres to enjoy. So...this is home for now. How long it will last, we don't know. What will be next...we don't know that either. We do know that God has blessed us and grown us at every home he has provided for us and at that, much more then we deserve. And we trust Him completely to continue His care for us in the future. For right now, we are happy as farmers in Arkansas

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