Life is a journey, Not a destination...

Oh em gee. Can yall say LONG Week?!

Last week I almost didn't make it. I was physically, emotionally, and mentally drained.

If you didn't know, we bought/are buying a house, and we don't close until mid January, so decided to move out of our current house, and stay with my mom for a month, to save money. We also thought it would be good to be here with her for Christmas. She does it BIG! I have some of the fondest memories of my mommy around Christmas time. Singing songs, wrapping presents, decorating. Man she can decorate her butt off!! I am excited about the boys getting that same experience.

Anyways, we got a pod delivered, and we were going to use Tues, Wed, and Thurs to move everything into it, and clean the house. Brendan took an extra day, and my mom even watched the kids one of the days, but it took FOREVER. It was just so much.. uprooting your family is alot harder when there are five of you. Well, 7 including our pets.

We decided to stay the night on Wednesday night, even though we had very little left in the house. We made pallets, and put the kids to bed, then we made our own pallet in our bedroom, rented a redbox, got some snacks and watched Sparkle (on the laptop). It was so much fun.

It also gave us some time to recap our lives from 2006 to now.

Brendan and I started dating in 2006 when I was 18, and got married in 2008 when I was 19. Seems crazy when I say that. At the time, I didn't think I was that "young" I've always been an old soul, and if you know my husband, you know he is really a 70 year old in a 27 year olds body. I thought I knew everything, I thought I had it all together.

I really knew nothing. I didn't know myself, I didn't know what I wanted from life, I really didn't even know much about life at all. All I knew was that I loved the man who was standing in front of me, and my protruding belly, and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man who had been asking me to be his wife for quite some time.

Our decision to get married when we did was all ours. We were engaged before we conceived Brayden, and wanted to have a long engagement. When we found out we were expecting, life kind of starting moving at lightning speed. We got married spontaneously, at his moms tiny little house in Boutte, LA. When I look back on that day, I don't think I would have had it any other way. If you know me, I'm the QUEEN of spontaneity, so it was so what I wanted.

We did have a more formal wedding, on our 1 year anniversary, small, intimate, perfect.

Anyways, our life has not been conventional by any means. We started on the fast track and it has seemed like it has been moving so fast since 2008. We had Brayden in April of 2008, and Brendan was juggling between being a full-time student, working full time to support our family, and being a full-time husband and dad. It was a lot on him, and we struggled our first year, but we made it. We credit some of our very dear friends, whom we consider family, for helping guide us through our first year of marriage. Friends who never judged, or condemned, but kept us close to God's word. Being away from family also made it easier. Whenever we fought, we had no where to run. We only had each other, so we had to get over it, and work through our problems.

I told Brendan a while ago " Our marriage just keeps getting better and better, is that normal?" And he laughed and said " Well, it started off terrible, so yes.." It's so true, but we had to learn how to be married, AND how to be parents.

Fast forward to fall 2009, I'm 3 months pregnant with Braxton, and our lease is up on our townhome. With no one that would rent a place for 6 months to us, we had no choice but to split up our family, and move Brayden and I to Texas, while Brendan stayed in Louisiana to finish up his degree. (He would finish in November) It was a hard decision, and it was very hard on us, but it was a sacrifice that we had to make. And so began the "transition" phase of our life.

Brendan still wasn't sure what exactly he was going to do. He was really leaning towards going to the Air National Guard, and thought it would be good for him to go to basic training while I was living with my grandparents, but I couldn't bare the thought of him leaving us for that long. So, after he graduated, he finally joined us back in Texas, where we had Braxton in 2010.

Brendan had been applying for jobs that required a bachelors, and finally got a good job paying 32k a year. That was a BIG DEAL for two people that had been broke college students for the last couple of years! We moved out of my grandparents' house that summer, closer to Brendans job, in Lewisville. We barely stayed there for 3 months (My mom was the manager, and another company bought out the apartments) So, my mom got a big house, and said we could come live with them until we saved up and bought our house.

So we started doing things to prepare to buy a house, and then we got pregnant with Breland. Brendan also had gotten hired finally, with Arlington PD. So, again, we were on a fast track... We had finally narrowed it down to a few houses, and then the government loan that we were getting had no funding. Our realtor assured us that we could get another one, and we would be in our new house by the time the baby was born, but I was big pregnant, very impatient, and nesting. I just wanted to be SOMEWHERE! So, we found a cute little house to rent, and the landlord even said we had the option to buy it if we wanted. It seemed like a good deal.

So, we moved in, when I was 7 months pregnant. After we had Breland, we envisioned how we would tear down walls, redo the kitchen, make our bathroom bigger, then it just didn't seem like a good idea anymore. We quickly started running out of room, and soon were on the hunt for the perfect house for us. We had been looking in Midlothian/Ovilla area, because we really wanted a couple of acres. All of the houses were old, tiny, or would take too much work/money to make livable for us. So, we gave up the house search. Right around this time, is when I started the start up for the restaurant, so we said we'd put the house hunting on hold until we got this all figured out. I was a little discouraged, because I really wanted to be "settled" and I just prayed to God that he would let me be content where I am, and be grateful for what I had, and that I would wait on his word for our house.

We were tempted to just buy a starter home, and eventually rent it out when we found a bigger house, but I didn't want to just settle because I was impatient. I knew God would provide us with the perfect place.

One day, I was driving to my dads house, and drove past this BEAUTIFUL house that was FSBO in his neighborhood. Something pulled at my heart strings and told me to call. Once I talked to the owner, I was sold. I knew this was the place for us. 2795 sq ft. 4 bed, 2 bath, 2 living, huge kitchen, double ovens, gas stove, island in kitchen(matters alot to a chef), 2 screened in patios, and, oh yeah, a POOL! WHAT?.. Not to mention its like a 30 second(if that) drive to my dads house. Anyways, After we went and looked at it, hubby was sold as well. It was enough room for us, and maybe one more Banks bundle, and, my little brother and Brayden would be going to kindergarten at the same school together.

Also, all the big costs that we would have put into a house, were not a worry anymore, it has gorgeous ceramic tile throughout, brand new appliances, and the previous owners are actually leaving their brand new fridge, and energy efficient washer/dryer. Oh, and an awesome grill they never used. It also has a pretty big lot, since it's a corner house, and hubby already has plans to push our fence up to have more room for his garden. It's. just. PERFECT. I know it was God. I feel it in my heart. Right when I gave up, and prayed that he would give us the perfect house, he delivered it to us. Not where WE wanted to be, but where HE wanted us to be.

So, we've got our little perfect house, in the city, where we did not want to live. We had actually looked at ZERO houses in the city.Although, I am so excited about Brendan being able to come home for lunch/dinner, and knowing that he will always be close to our house, in case of emergency. He could even come home and take a little nap if he's tired. I know if he ever gets put back on midnights, plenty of Arlington police officers will be cruising by our house every night to make sure the kids and I are safe. That gives me peace of mind!

And we know our next move will be to our house that we build from ground up, in the country somewhere. Our goal is to start building in 5 years, and rent our house out, but that's a ways away.

We've had such a journey from 2006 until now. We went from not knowing what we wanted to do, to knowing exactly what we are doing, even for the next 5 years. (If God sees fit) We can barely contain our excitement about what the future holds for our sweet family. Brendan is finally in his career!! It seems like it took so long! I am so happy my sweet patient husband is doing what he absolutely loves! And, soon, I will have the same joy, of owning my own restaurant! The Banks' are over the moon over here, and we thank God for every step of this journey he has taken us on. Through every stumbling block, set back, all the frustration, and times that we just wanted to give up. We know he had our best interest at heart, and we wouldn't change a thing about our past. We have learned lessons, made mistakes, but most of all, we have stayed close to God. He has never failed us, even when we didn't deserve his love.

Thank you God for your everlasting love and mercy!!!

So, long post, but I've been holding that in for a while! I am going to go decorating crazy, so beware of before and after pictures of our beautiful new home!



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