Monday, October 16, 2017

Our Home in Billings

When we first moved to Billings, we landed in a quirky little place on LaBrea Street. The area was great; the home, not so much. But we were so grateful for it as we had the hardest time finding an affordable place to rent for such a large family that was in the school boundaries we were hoping for.

One month before moving to Billings Dan, Hallee, Nate and I went on a short rendezvous on the 4th of July weekend to check things out. Honestly, the Billings thing was just a mere idea, not something we were the least bit serious about yet, but something told us to go check it out anyway, so we did. We ended up staying in a dicey hotel called The Rodeway Inn because Dan got a free night's stay there, and when we first started checking Billings out, we were anything but impressed. It didn't help that we felt we might get jumped in the parking lot of the hotel by a lady who would not stop staring us down. The whole town gave us the creeps at first, and we sure didn't feel like moving here.

Thankfully, we kept driving and while we drove, we kept open minds. Before long, we found nicer neighborhoods and what looked like friendlier people. Ha! We checked out all three high schools in the area, but when we drove past Senior High, the kids immediately said, "This is our school!" Now, I'm not going to lie. It may have had something to do with the gorgeous turf football field that spread out before us, glittering in the sun. But more than that, it just felt right. We were only in Billings for about 24 hours, but I think we all left feeling like we would be returning, whether it's what we really hoped for or not. Little did any of us know we would be moving here just one month later.

When we got home from our short stint to Montana we did even more research about Senior High online. We knew it had the best volleyball and football records by far of the three high schools, and those things were very important to both Hallee and Nate since they both hoped to play in college. Also, as we talked with people at the church we attended while there, we heard it was just a place with a lot of diversity. Diversity, you say? Sign us up! We were ready for diversity.

Hence, our struggle to find a rental property. Since we were determined to stay in Senior High boundaries, we were not too picky about the home we landed. We knew it would be temporary, and we could live anywhere for a year (basement living had taught us that). I wish I had taken pictures of our home on LaBrea street. It definitely had some positive aspects to it, but we chuckled all time about some of its more interesting features, like the one and only shower, which happened to be the size of a telephone booth. It was in the unfinished basement in a bathroom that had no walls. If you happen to be a person you prefers privacy, this bathroom/shower is not ideal! The basement was too creepy for anyone to sleep in except Nate. Everyone else slept upstairs. The kitchen was tiny and had carpet for flooring. There was no garage, just a carport. I knew it would be in our best interest to find a home to buy before winter. Thankfully, we did just that!

My dream was to find an old home that had been remodeled. I absolutely love the character of old homes! We had a fairly small budget. We were determined to have a much smaller mortgage than we did in Utah; unfortunately, the market in Billings was not in our favor. Still, we forged ahead, set on finding something we could either remodel ourselves (scary) or that had been remodeled enough we could make it work. After looking at at least 30 homes or more, we ended up finding something on the high end of our budget in a neighborhood close to Dan's work and to an elementary school and the high school, and we jumped on it! We have now lived here nearly a year, and we love it. Dan can walk to work, Boston and Berkley walk to school and home, and well . . . ok, Halle and Nate do NOT walk to school, but they could! Ha! They have to travel a long distance to go to seminary before school so it doesn't really work out for them to walk, but it's great that the high school is so close, too.

Here are pictures of our home. These are pictures from when the house was being sold, not current pictures of us living here. It just looks so amazing in these pics that I wanted to share them! These guys literally moved out and staged the home. It looks a little more lived-in now that we are here. Ha! I will post current pictures soon, as I do love it with our stuff in it too. After all, it's home. And it's ours.

front of the house--isn't it so cute?!

front porch--love!!

dining room--the light fixtures in this house are amazing!

kitchen--so love!

another view of kitchen, dining room, into living room

main bedroom on main floor (now Hallee's room)

bathroom on main floor 

2nd bedroom on main floor--so funny because it's Nate's room now and definitely NOT a baby's room

laundry room--small but so cute!

bedroom upstairs--quaint, don't you think?

downstairs bathroom (a little nicer than the one in our rental home-ha!)

back patio--I absolutely love the hanging lights!

back of home

So, I just realized I forgot to show one of the living room. I will definitely show that one another time. I am in the middle of adding a small feature to the living room that I'm excited about, so I will update it soon. Anyway, I love our home. It's nothing fancy; it's not big (much smaller than our Utah home), but it's our safe haven. It's our refuge from the storms of life. It's our place to be together and to welcome friends and share experiences. It's where we argue, make messes, sometimes take the stresses of life out on each other. But it's also where we problem solve, where we pray, where we laugh, where we love. And so it's sacred to us. And if there's one thing I'm learning as I travel around this huge stage of Montana, it's that there truly is . . .

No place like home!