This house has been and continues to be a great home for our growing family. We’ve poured countless hours of hard work into it. It’s so much more than the “good bones” our realtor promised us when we put in the offer 4 years ago.
It’s not the fanciest, or the biggest. The yard is small. But, it’s enough.
And really, I think if we could add one more bedroom to it and extend the yard by about 10 feet, and, okay, add another bathroom, then maybe it would be enough for a lot longer. Even if I could magically make all that happen though, it would still be in north Texas, far from family and help.
It’s not that I have any problems with north Texas and the Dallas area. I’ve met some incredibly kind people here. It’s certainly not a terrible place to live. It’s just never felt like home to me.
That said, I don’t know that any place my whole life has ever felt like home. I’m a product of a military upbringing. I’ve never lived in a house/apt. for longer than 4 years. Ever. So I guess since our 4 year anniversary here is coming up this month, maybe that’s why my heart is growing restless.
Knowing we’ll likely outgrow this house when we have a 3rd baby (not in the plans immediately), we’ve been looking at other options. And if Dallas isn’t where we want to be, there’s no point in looking for bigger houses up here. So, where should we go?
Oh, we played options out over and over, but we keep coming back to Austin. It’s where we got married. It’s where SO many of my friends live. It’s very close to most of my family.
We’d just buy a house (or hopefully BUILD so we can move into something we love because we are SO OVER renovating) in a suburb, and that would be that. We thought.
The thing is, something about living at a place with a little more room… a little further out… a place where we can plant big gardens and set up rain collection systems, install solar panels without worrying about fighting an HOA- it just speaks to my heart and Scott’s eco-conscious desires.
I want a place where my kids can explore and play in their backyard. Where I can tell them GO OUTSIDE and that would keep them entertained for more than 20 minutes. I think this might have something to do with seeing how much fun they have in my mom’s backyard. Who needs to drive to a park when you can hang swings and build forts in your own trees?
We can’t afford that size of a lot remotely close to Austin though. We certainly can’t afford that AND a house that won’t require years of renovation anywhere near Austin.
As we were driving back from my mom’s this weekend, we saw a sign for a new neighborhood where the houses are built on 1-2 acres in New Braunfels (Hill Country, situated between Austin and San Antonio), so we took a detour. We just wanted to see before we headed up to the neighborhood in a suburb of Austin that we were thinking would be the front-runner.
We pulled up to a realtors office at the front entrance of one of the neighborhoods so I could run in and collect some brochures. Just as I was about to step onto their front porch, a SNAKE popped it’s head up to greet me as I nearly STEPPED ON IT. I ran back to the Jeep squealing like a terrified little girl, “NEVER MIND! I CHANGED MY MIND! I CAN’T DO THIS!”
I mean, really? Am I cut out for country living? For having a space big enough for a large garden, which would mean I’d have to actually, like, garden? Am I going to be okay with my kids playing in a backyard where SNAKES live?!
And yes, I spent my teen years in a small town in the “country” but I was never okay with this kind of stuff when I lived there, either. I wanted to get the hell out of there and to civilization where people only see snakes at zoos and there’s a healthy dose of concrete and Starbucks surrounding me.
After a few deep breaths and some laughs from my husband, we drove through another neighborhood.
You know that feeling when you catch your breath and your heart flutters and you can’t stop smiling? That love at first sight feeling? Yeah, that.
There were trees, and hills, and views, oh the views! And space. And houses that we could afford to build, to make our own. They’re near a river and a park, and in a GREAT school district.
They’re not anywhere at all where I ever once in my life considered I’d move. It’s a far cry from the apartment Scott and I lived in in Northern Virginia that was mere steps away from fancy restaurants, shopping, bars and Starbucks. It’s nothing like Manhattan, which I dreamed for so long of taking up space in.
It’s also nothing like the neighborhood we live in now or the one we thought we’d love near Austin. We drove through that near-Austin, master planned neighborhood, and it just didn’t feel… right. Not after seeing the houses in the country.
Now, by “country” I mean off a road that is only 8 miles out from the nearest grocery store. This place we love is not in the middle of nowhere by any means. New Braunfels isn’t a sleepy town, and it’s close enough to San Antonio and Austin to make day trips either way up or down I35. But, it’s not like Target is practically in our backyard like it is here. There’s not a Starbucks drive through 2 miles down the road. We’d have to put a lot more thought into our grocery shopping trips to keep our driving down.
And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe we need some distance and space to slow us down.
I don’t know, the more and more we talk about the pros and the cons, the more and more I love the idea. We are incredibly fortunate that both Scott and I can pretty much work from home, wherever that may be, as long as there is internet.
So that’s what I’m consumed with these days- the idea of moving to a place where I’ll probably see more snakes and scorpions in a week than episodes of the Real Housewives during a Bravo marathon.
I’m not sure what’s coming over me… maybe it’s just age, possibly clouded by my never-ceasing optimism. We have a lot more research to do, and won’t be making any decisions or purchases anytime soon. I’d love to hear from any of you who live in similar set-ups, or even in that part of Texas. What do you love, what do you hate? What would you change?