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. Burgh Baby

    August 18, 2009 10:44 pm

    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 =-.

  2. Candace

    August 18, 2009 10:45 pm

    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 :)

  3. Gina

    August 18, 2009 10:46 pm

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

  4. samantha jo campen

    August 18, 2009 10:50 pm

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

  5. -R-

    August 18, 2009 11:16 pm

    What a great post!

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

  6. Melissa

    August 18, 2009 11:23 pm

    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 =-.

  7. janet

    August 19, 2009 12:04 am

    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 =-.

  8. janet

    August 19, 2009 12:04 am

    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 =-.

  9. Amanda

    August 19, 2009 2:32 am

    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! =-.

    • Jen

      August 19, 2009 7:25 am

      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

  10. Mel

    August 19, 2009 7:07 am

    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 =-.

  11. Kellybeans

    August 19, 2009 7:20 am

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

  12. Elisabeth

    August 19, 2009 7:59 am

    It’s a gorgeous house. Congratulations!

  13. the ambitious mrs

    August 19, 2009 9:27 am

    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 =-.

  14. Stephanie

    August 19, 2009 9:58 am

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

  15. Becca

    August 19, 2009 10:15 am

    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!

  16. Allison

    August 19, 2009 10:59 am

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

  17. San

    August 19, 2009 11:13 am

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

  18. 3carnations

    August 19, 2009 12:24 pm

    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 =-.

  19. Susan

    August 19, 2009 12:48 pm

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

  20. Kelly

    August 19, 2009 12:56 pm


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

  21. Laura

    August 19, 2009 1:05 pm

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

  22. Stefanie

    August 19, 2009 3:33 pm

    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 =-.

  23. Priscilla

    August 19, 2009 4:03 pm

    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 =-.

  24. Caity

    August 19, 2009 7:08 pm

    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. =-.

  25. Lea

    August 19, 2009 9:11 pm

    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 =-.

  26. Irene

    August 20, 2009 8:13 am

    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!!!! =-.

  27. Susan

    August 20, 2009 11:09 am

    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

    • Jen

      August 20, 2009 1:25 pm

      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!

  28. Danielle

    August 22, 2009 1:33 pm

    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!

  29. sparkyd

    August 26, 2009 8:08 am

    This made me tear up. Congratulations.

  30. Alline

    January 15, 2016 12:55 pm

    I really love this post. Your new house is beautiful! I Sometimes, I feel that home ownership is a bit out of reach being single. When I lived in CA, it was out of reach even though I made good money it still was not enough. This post is inspiring, and I’m happy for you and your family. I needed to read this today. It reminds me to not give up.

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