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the american dream

How do you take a major life event, an awesome, incredible, monumental life event, and do it justice in a measly blog post?

That’s pretty much why I’ve been procrastinating on writing about the move into our new house. I’m hesitant to write about it because I don’t want to seem overly dramatic about it… but I also don’t want to ignore it and blow it off like it’s no big deal for me.

Because it’s a huge deal for me.

Growing up, we didn’t have much fancy stuff. I lived in a small trailer with my mom, dad, and sister until I was a freshman in college, when my parents purchased their first house. For 15 years, I slept in a bunk bed in a room shared with my sister that was smaller than a lot of my friends’ closets. My friends at school wore Guess & Levis. We wore whatever was on sale at Hills after my mom picked it up from layaway, weeks after we ‘bought’ it. I didn’t get a car until I purchased one myself after I graduated from college. My parents cars (or car, singular, for a while until my mom started working when my sister was in school all day) were always running on their last leg. My parents worked HARD, harder than anyone else I know, but we still very much lived paycheck to paycheck.

At the time, as a kid, I was oblivious to how things really must have been for my parents. I imagine that was by design: they shielded us as much as they could from the money woes and stress because we were kids and shouldn’t have had to worry about them. And it worked, because I really didn’t think much of it. It was just the way it was, it was all I’d ever known. We were Trailer Park Kids. We had some good friends there (and also had some crazy redneck neighbors, but those are stories for another day… and woo-boy, are there some stories!) We ran wild in the woods behind our house in the summer, building ‘cabins’ with our neighbor friends and riding our bikes on the trails. We had incredibly fun and happy childhoods with parents who loved us and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

And now, I’m a grown-up (YIKES.) and I’m living the American Dream. Or at least that’s how it feels.

While the movers were bringing our furniture and boxes and basically everything we own in the world into our new house on Friday, I spent the morning just wandering from room to room, in complete awe that I live here now.

cheesy posing in front of the house!

We love this house. There is nothing we were hoping for in a house that it doesn’t have (Well, except for a Money Tree in the backyard. That would have been pretty freaking sweet.) And the way it all happened and things fell into place with the offer we made and the selling of our house and the entire process went incredibly smoothly… just boggles my mind.

All the hard work we put into our first house- ELBOW GREASE TO THE MAX- paid off. A little bit of it was luck, of course, as most real estate endeavors are. But it’s extremely satisfying to know that the 5 years we spent working on project after project led to us being able to trade-up into what basically amounts to a dream house. We are now living in a neighborhood filled with kids and friendly families, and several of them have already stopped by to say hello, invited us for golf outings, and included us in the neighborhood PowerBall pool.

I can’t believe that the little crooked-toothed girl from the trailer park is living in a huge house with hardwood floors and my OWN CLOSET.

I am blessed. We are blessed.

And I cannot wait to make memories here with my family.


  1. I freakin’ love you, man. So, so much.

    *throws the top secret trailer chick gang sign*
    .-= Burgh Baby’s last blog post: Using that Fancy Translation Degree They Gave Me at Kent State =-.

    Aug 18 10:44 pm

  2. Jen.. I am soooo happy for you. This post seriously made me almost tear up. Your house is GORGEOUS and I am really happy for you :)

    Aug 18 10:45 pm

  3. I’m happy for you – congrats!
    .-= Gina’s last blog post: Back to Reality SUCKS =-.

    Aug 18 10:46 pm

  4. I’m just so so happy for you. Just so happy.
    .-= samantha jo campen’s last blog post: Check in =-.

    Aug 18 10:50 pm

  5. -R-

    What a great post!

    The house really is beautiful.
    .-= -R-‘s last blog post: More Things I Don’t Understand =-.

    Aug 18 11:16 pm

  6. We’re very very happy for you, Dan, & Maggie. All these good things couldn’t happen to a nicer family. :)
    .-= Melissa’s last blog post: slow down but speed up =-.

    Aug 18 11:23 pm

  7. It really is so crazy! Crazy good, that is, but crazy nonetheless. You obv have amazing parents who made sure you got an education (and got lucky you made some good choices in life along the way) to set yourself up for success.

    My parents lived in a trailer too, but only before I was born. But I sort of have that same feeling you have about growing up with little money but lots of love, and as an adult having so much to be thankful for!
    .-= janet’s last blog post: lovely things for which I am thankful =-.

    Aug 19 12:04 am

  8. PS One day I am totally coming over to see the house in person! :)
    .-= janet’s last blog post: lovely things for which I am thankful =-.

    Aug 19 12:04 am

  9. a few things:
    -One time my mom tried to paint our brown trailer white, and it turned pink instead. I’m serious. Not only did I rock the trailer park, I rocked the trailer park in a glossy pink tie-dye looking trailer.
    -Adam and I started flipping houses when I was 18 and he was 21. We’ve worked so hard for what we have now. It feels amazing to walk around in my nice house and know how hard I worked for it. I bet your feet feel extra good when they hit the hardwood floor in the morning, because you know too.
    -I plan to revisit my trailer park days one day when I’m retired and travel the country in a giant RV larger than my pink trailer. It’s going to be aweeeeesome.
    -I am SOOO jealous of your legs. If I’m standing next to you all of the time at BlogHer ’10, I’m wearing pants.
    .-= Amanda’s last blog post: Happy Birthday Adam! =-.

    Aug 19 2:32 am

    • Jen

      LOL why thank you for the compliments on my legs! :)

      And driving around in an RV sounds SO fun, I would love to do that someday. I can’t believe you guys are house-flippers, you are BRAVE. My one criteria for a new house when we were looking was please, NOT a lot of work, PLEASE. I’ll paint and stuff, but I’m done replacing lighting and floor surfaces and all that stuff. ha

      Aug 19 7:25 am

  10. Mel

    I know, Amanda: I’d kill for her legs! PS: Are you going to come to BlogHer!?!? Bought my ticket already, and I’m trying to make a list of people I know that are going to be there, so I can attempt to catch up with them! :D

    Anywho….I am proud of you and Dan! A lot of people hate waiting to find their dream house and won’t go through the process they have to to get there. They end up living beyond their means, etc….That’s what the American Dream had really turned into….

    I was a trailer park gal myself, from the age of 5 until I was about 12. Maybe those who have been there, know the hard it work it takes to go beyond…. :)
    .-= Mel’s last blog post: just breathing =-.

    Aug 19 7:07 am

    • Jen

      I have my ticket! As long as I’m not 9,028 months pregnant, I’ll be there :)

      Aug 19 7:26 am

  11. Kellybeans

    Amazing story… I can tell how much you appreciate your family’s good fortune (and hard work!). Congrats!!!! :)

    Aug 19 7:20 am

  12. Elisabeth

    It’s a gorgeous house. Congratulations!

    Aug 19 7:59 am

  13. Congratulations! I can’t say that I’m not a little jealous but I really am happy for you. :)

    Can’t wait to hear about your new adventures in this new perfect pad!
    .-= the ambitious mrs’s last blog post: Vingettes of Cute =-.

    Aug 19 9:27 am

  14. Congratulations Jen – this sure is amazing :) And its exactly what every parent wants for their kids. :)

    Aug 19 9:58 am

  15. Yay! It’s always nice to hear of people who have worked hard to get to where they are today. You guys totally deserve this and I know your kids will appreciate the hard work!

    Aug 19 10:15 am

  16. Aw! What a great story. The house is beautiful, and I’m SO happy for you!
    .-= Allison’s last blog post: The Best Yet =-.

    Aug 19 10:59 am

  17. San

    I LOVE your new house. It looks like out of a storybook. I can’t wait to see more pictures of the interior.

    Aug 19 11:13 am

  18. What a nice post. Thank you.

    My parents bought a house when I was 10. Prior to that we lived in a one bedroom apartment, a trailer with my grandma, a two bedroom apartment in a house, and a two bedroom apartment in an apartment complex.

    The house hubby, my son and I live in is fairly modest, and we wouldn’t be able to buy anything like the house you just moved into anytime soon, but I feel blessed that my son was born with a house to live in, and has a yard to play in.

    Enjoy the dream! :-)
    .-= 3carnations’s last blog post: That answers THAT question =-.

    Aug 19 12:24 pm

  19. Congratulations, Jen. Your house — and blog post — are simply wonderful. See you around town!
    .-= Susan’s last blog post: Taking a bow =-.

    Aug 19 12:48 pm

  20. *CHEERS*

    Wonderful post.
    .-= Kelly’s last blog post: Another Gut Punch 90 Years in the Making =-.

    Aug 19 12:56 pm

  21. It’s awesome!! You are very blessed. :)

    Aug 19 1:05 pm

  22. I absolutely love your house! And your family! And your life! Congrats on everything! You totally deserve it.
    .-= Stefanie’s last blog post: Switching to Blogger =-.

    Aug 19 3:33 pm

  23. This post made me cry. You know where I live (not far from you at all, hello..I can walk!!!) and I just pray that when my kids are older and on their own, they can say the things you are saying now.

    Your parents did a good job raising you, it is so obvious in your posts and in the person that you are.
    .-= Priscilla’s last blog post: Hoping I Can Do This =-.

    Aug 19 4:03 pm

  24. I am so incredibly happy for you guys. You have worked so hard and you truly deserve everything that you have. What makes it better is that you are so thankful for it and you know that you are all so fortunate. You truly are such a wonderful family made up of such special and fantastic people. I love that you let us read about your life and about you.

    Congratulations, again!! :D
    .-= Caity’s last blog post: A really sweet surprise. =-.

    Aug 19 7:08 pm

  25. Lea

    Congrats on a beautiful house! I hope you and your family have many wonderful years of memories there.
    .-= Lea’s last blog post: Daddy’s Boy =-.

    Aug 19 9:11 pm

  26. What a great post!! You should be SO proud of yourself. You were able to achieve this dream by your own hard work. I am so impressed.
    .-= Irene’s last blog post: Summer!!!! =-.

    Aug 20 8:13 am

  27. Susan

    So you know it’s sad when you’re on vacation at the beach and keep checking someones blog EVERYDAY to see if they have any new posts about their house!! I am so happy for you guys – you deserve every bit of every inch of hardwood floor and closet space! We can’t wait to see it and ooh and ahh! Love you three so much – Sus & Steve

    Aug 20 11:09 am

    • Jen

      ha well I appreciate that you’re taking time from your beach vacation to check my blog! :) Thanks so much, we’re planning on a party toward the end of September, I’ll let you know so you can come!!! Have a great vacation, see you soon!

      Aug 20 1:25 pm

  28. Awesome post, Jennifer!

    It is so refreshing to see people who have truly worked so hard and so appreciate what they have earned!

    You did it, girl! Stay proud of yourself!

    Aug 22 1:33 pm

  29. sparkyd

    This made me tear up. Congratulations.

    Aug 26 8:08 am