Monday, June 29, 2009

Gone, Baby. Gone.

Our lovely home is no longer ours. Or so that's what they say. We signed a few papers, mailed them in, and just like that, it was over.

When the Title company e-mailed me to tell me the buyers had officially closed on our house, it was bittersweet. I was relieved it was over, but mostly saddened at the thought of strangers living in my home. There were no tears though. In matters relating to our home, I have been very brave.

When the for sale sign went up, my mom asked how I was doing. I told her I had already moved through my stages of grief.

First, shock and denial at what was happening around the country. As in, "my house is worth HOW MUCH LESS than what I paid??!!" I was positive it would turn around. It HAD to turn around.....didn't it?

Then guilt. Mike didn't even want to buy a house. He liked our house, but he just wanted a little apartment across the street from the school. That wasn't the plan. That wasn't MY plan. We had worked. Hard. Really Hard. And we had saved. Saved a lot......And the market was starting to boom. I KNEW it would be a great investment. I just knew it. And......I was wrong. Boy was I wrong. And all the money we worked so hard for was gone. It was all my fault. Because Mike didn't even want to buy a house.

Then I was Angry. Angry at what was happening to us. We had no control over it. It certainly wasn't what I would call an "equitable situation." And Mike and I had completely different views on what should be done. I was angry about that too.

Then Despair. I felt hopeless and sad at what this would mean for our family and our future. Our options were bleak, at best.

But then, a bit of an upturn. I started reading, learning, investigating, and searching for answers. And finally, after several weeks of frank discussions with my husband, real estate experts, and friends and family, we had a plan.

And then there was Acceptance.

Everything went as smoothly as I believe is possible in the selling of a home in the 2nd worst real estate market in the country. Within two weeks we had multiple offers. And so we packed up our home to move across the country. And when I walked through my beloved abode for the last time, I was sentimental, sure. I will admit my eyes flooded with the salty warmth that is so familiar to them. But I refused to let those tears fall. I had accepted it. And it was time to move on.

It took another month to reconcile the details with the bank. I should say, we filled out a form and sent in some paper work, and it took them a month to process it. Then just like that it was over. I felt heavy hearted, but there were no tears. We were one of the lucky ones. And I was relieved.

You see, no tears = brave in my book. (Because those dang tears flow so easily for me.) So I HAVE been brave. least until today.

I stumbled across this unassuming picture in my computer.

And just as quickly as our house was gone, my emotional flood gates were opened.

I remembered the day we moved in. Our excitement permeated every crack and crevice.

And I remembered re-painting the kitchen 3 times until I had the perfect shade of green.

And the sweat and blood that stained the paver stones we used when we built the back patio ourselves.

We built our patio, we built our marriage, and we built a family.

We grew up there. And we grew together.

When we brought our baby home we placed him in his nursery with the yellow walls. Those same walls, months earlier, were littered with hundreds of paint samples. I searched for weeks for the perfect hue.

There were tears of joy, and tears of sorrow, sleepless nights, and the best moments of my life thus far.
That picture was symbolic of all those things and more. It was a symbol to me of all the joy and laughter we shared within our walls. Those priceless every day moments I was lucky enough to capture and freeze in time.

The tears I cry now are not from grief. There's no need for me to travel those stages. (again) I cry because I feel so honored and blessed to have experienced the things I did there. I will miss my home terribly. But I look ahead another four years and am excited to see what surprises will await us here in Michigan. In our new home.

If the future is as good as the past, I have a lot to be excited about.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Backdated Post #3: May 26, 2009 - The Grand Canyon

Graduation was just around the corner, and we knew the time we had to spend with our friends, (who had become our family) was drawing to a close. We had lived in Arizona for 4 years, and there were still so many places we hadn't been. So we decided to take full advantage of our days off, and we headed to the Grand Canyon with the Tranchells.
The weather was beautiful, the views were amazing and.....

Miles was VERY upset we didn't allow him to climb over the fences. We had been warned that taking two 1-year olds to visit a gigantic whole in the earth might not be a great idea. But the kids actually did great. We went for a small hike around the rim of the canyon, and that seemed to be their favorite part.

At the end of the day we went back to our hotel, enjoyed a nice(?) mexican/steakhouse dinner, swam in the pool and relaxed in the hot tub. And eventually, when the kids had fallen asleep, we pushed the tables together, played games and ate treats late into the night.

Thanks Tranchells for a great trip. I think I am going through Carcasonne withdrawls, so I hope we can get together soon!!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Family Pictures

Backdated post #2: May 20, 2009

Every once in awhile the whole Atkinson Family gets together. It was tricky sometimes all being in the same place at the same time, because we lived in Arizona. And when we found out we were moving to Michigan, we knew the few opportunities we had every year to ALL be together would dwindle down to almost never.

And it just so happened there was one Wednesday evening in May when we could all clear our schedules and meet in Ogden to take some family pictures.

We're a pretty good lookin' bunch if I do say so myself.
We met in Ogden at the corner of 42nd Street and Harrison Blvd, where there just happens to be a big Flying J building with AMAZING landscaping. Karma must have been smiling down on us, because I was able to book a great photographer, with less than 24 hours notice, and her only opening for the month was the night we needed her.

Here's just a smattering of the pictures she took. I'm told there are more great ones on the CD that will be arriving at my doorstep shortly.

I am hoping,eventually, these new pictures will translate into new frames on the walls of my home, and a fun new blog design.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My little sailor

Pardon me as I back up a bit, if you consider a month only a bit. But in all the changes and all the chaos going on for our family, we actually had some pretty good times.

I was recently reminded of them when I finally downloaded pictures from all three of my very full memory cards. Over 800 pictures later, and many, many (too many to count) hours spent organizing and backing them up (in triplicate mind you!), and I can't help but share a few of our happy moments with you.

I hope you will enjoy viewing all my back-dated posts as much as I did living them.

May 14, 2009:

Just call us CRAZY...but we decided to brave the cold water, cloudy skies, and bazillions of mosquitos to take the boat for a spin at Willard Bay in Utah. Miles was brave and put his feet in the freezing water. I was forced to pull them out when they started turning blue.

Mike was even braver and jumped in to go wake-boarding. He had a good 15 minute run before his shivering and quivering brought him back to the boat.And we discovered Miles' inner pirate. He's a Captain of the Sea. We're still working on the "Ahoy Matey", but he's a pro at steering the ship.

Did you know it's much easier to Captain a ship if you aren't wearing any pants? Either did I. But Miles insisted.
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