Over dinner one night, Corey made the suggestion that I should do some blogging about the forever house – specifically about the whole building/decorating process. It sounded like a great idea but when I sat down and started thinking about it, I couldn’t help but wonder WHERE exactly I needed to start. Choosing the house plan? Buying the land? The theme and style? Thankfully, a few girlfriends pointed me in the right direction and I think the best place to start is where it all began – with us. Today we’re celebrating 11 years of marriage and March 5th made 15 years as a couple. I won’t take things all the way back that far – we’d be here for YEARS – but I will give you the highlights so you can understand where the dream for the forever house came from.
When I think about the past 15 years, some things feel like they happened just yesterday while others feel like they happened a million lifetimes ago. I fell in love with Corey as a teenager, and now as 34 year old woman, I can’t believe he’s still putting up with me after all these years. He’s seen me change. I’ve watched him do the same. We’ve seen our fair share of the good and the bad, but one thing has remained constant – the ties that bind. We’re all there is for one another. Nobody else ever “fit” like we do. We were just kids when we said “I do” on April 11, 2009 in Orange Beach, AL. I say that – we were 22 and 23. But I guess what I’m trying to say is we’ve grown up together. Sure, we’ve had to navigate changing/growing as individuals as well as a couple. Change is a good thing, though, or it has been for us – I can honestly say I am a better, stronger woman because of my husband. Corey has always been my biggest supporter and has challenged me in ways I didn’t even know possible.
Sharing my first 3 years of marriage with a man who is a law school student was interesting to say the least! I always knew it was Corey’s dream to become an attorney, but neither of us expected him to get accepted so quickly to his first choice school. When we arrived home from our honeymoon in April 2009, his acceptance letter was in the mail. So we packed up our lives in Hattiesburg 2 months later and moved to Ridgeland to a super tiny apartment where the dream for the forever house began. Can I just be honest with you here for a moment – I HATED that 700 square foot apartment. It was tiny and had 1 room other than the kitchen/living room area. The balcony was just as small and we shared a closet – which if you know me you know that was HARD. While it was a step up from the trailer we had been previously living in that had no central heat – we had to use space heaters in the winter to keep warm (yes, we were that poor) – I couldn’t wait to get out of it.
Money was super tight and space was limited. I’ve never hated the sight of the back of my husband’s head so much because that’s what I essentially saw for a year and a half as he made his way through the first 3 semesters. I was the only one working and I made $10 an hour as an assistant at the law school just so I could be near him. In those moments when I missed him so much even though he was near, I started dreaming of the day when we would have a big wrap around porch on our house in the country. On that porch I’d have white rocking chairs and a swing. I knew we’d have more dogs by then so I would imagine them running in the yard while Shadow sat on the porch with us barking at the others the whole time. While it seemed a thousand years away at the time, I just kept on dreaming.
And that, friends, is where it all started. There in Ridgeland in a tiny apartment. Corey didn’t have many requests – other than the big porch and a wood burning fireplace – so I started slowly piecing together the forever house. I’d been collecting Southern Living Magazines for years and I would keep them if I saw something I thought I might like to see in the house one day. Over the next several years, I would show Corey things I liked. He would either give them thumbs up or the thumbs down and so the refinement process started taking place. The vision came together. And now as we celebrate 11 years of marriage at home today – quarantined from the world thanks to the Coronavirus – I look around at the beautiful space we dreamed about together. And I’m thankful for that 700 square foot apartment. It helped us build the home we will grow old in together. To my husband who kindly said, “Whatever she wants”, when he was asked by anyone who had a hand in constructing the house – thank you and I love you! Here’s to many more years of growing old and growing up together on our land in the house of our dreams! Happy Anniversary, babe!