Heather Conway Photography

Heather Conway Photography
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Thursday, 9 August 2012

Our New House

I can’t believe after all this time living at Shane’s parents’ house; we FINALLY have our own place!  Not just any place either!  It’s a BIG HOUSE!  Living in England we’ve only ever lived in small places.

The house I grew up in wasn’t so small, although it felt like it at the time with 3 sisters and a brother!!

When I was 21 in 2001, I qualified on the council for a bedsit.  At the time I thought it was excellent, I’m 21 and now I can have my own space!  But the place was absolutely tiny!  I called it a shoebox!  I would dream almost every night that I’d found a secret room I never knew about lol.  I managed to fit a bed in there, a small computer table and a tiny sofa bed.  You couldn’t move in there lol.  It was always so messy, more like a teenager’s bedroom.  I could never be bothered to keep it nice, because I hated it, there was no pride in my “home”.

The kitchen was so small it couldn’t even fit an oven in there!  I had enough room for a small fridge, no freezer, just a little freezer box part at the top of the fridge.  I made sure I had a coffee maker in there of course!

I would wake up at 3am and drink a whole pot of coffee before work at 5:30am.  I hated my job at the time.  It was actually quite depressing for me.  I had a psycho next door neighbor who practically stalked me and my friends.  We had scaffolding outside the windows and I’d see him walk past my window, he freaked me out big time!

I used to get onto yahoo chat and talk to Shane, ironically, about how I hated my life at the time, living in a place I hated, working a job I hated to pay for the place I hated.  It really did seem pointless at the time.

Anyway, as luck would have it, I got a new job in 2002 that I loved; working at Bridge Travel, made some wonderful new friends, and it really changed my life!  I gave up the shoebox and moved into a nice house in Ware with my friend Andy Morland.  Then when Shane came over to England in July 2004 for a few months, finally after 5 years of yahoo chat, he stayed in the house with Andy and me.

Then when Andy moved out to be with his boyfriend, the landlady let Shane stay with me in the house rent-free, as I could only afford half the rent, so long as he did some yard work for her.

But when it was due for Shane to go back to America, I had to look for a roommate or move out!  I found a guy, but I didn’t like him, neither did Shane, he didn’t want to go back to America leaving me with the wanker.  So I told him he can’t move in, I told the landlady I’d have to move out.

The day after Shane went back to America in October 2004, I had to leave the house and move back in with my parents.  My friend Keely helped me pack my things up to go back to my mum’s.  I was useless; I couldn’t stop crying over Shane haha!  I remember when I got back to my mum’s, as I was walking up the stairs, still crying over missing Shane, my dad said to my 9 year old sister Ally, “be nice to your big sister, she’s not well” HAAHA!!!  I wasn’t ill, I was heartbroken!  I couldn’t live without Shane!

Shane and I went back to talking on the internet and on the phone for hours and hours.  He came back to visit me in February 2005.  There was a new hotel that’d opened up in Harlow; Keely found us rooms for just a tenner a night!  So we made the most of that deal and stayed several nights.  It was then that we got engaged.  He stayed for my 25th birthday in March, but then had to go back to America again as he only had a two week stay this time.  Having him leave again wasn’t so bad this time, as we’d decided that I will fly over to America in June and we’ll get married out there, so I knew I only had a few months to wait, and it in fact gave us something to look forward to.  When he left previously in October, we hadn’t arranged when we would see each other next, so it made it harder on us both not knowing when and having nothing to look forward to, just missing each other really bad!

So I flew out to Indiana in June 2005, and we got married a week later on July 1st.  We went to Chicago to get his spouse visa (almost like a green card), and we were able to go back to England together.

We both stayed at my parents’ house at first, but as newlyweds it didn’t feel right, we couldn’t wait for our own place together.  And so we didn’t, I went out and got a loan so we’d have the deposit for somewhere to live.  We always lived in grubby small rental apartments or flats as we call them in England.  First we lived in a one bedroomed place, but we loved it because it was OURS!  The bedroom was a nice size, and the living room wasn’t too bad either.  The bathroom was small, but I’d had smaller, and the kitchen was tiny!  We had our dryer in the living room.  I fell pregnant with Draven after 3 months of marriage in our new place!

When I was in hospital giving birth to Draven, Shane moved us into a two bedroomed place.  Unfortunately at the time my parents had lost their house (the house I grew up in) so we used the 2nd bedroom to store their stuff.  Maybe it was hormones or just plain selfishness but I remember complaining to my mum that we can’t use the 2nd bedroom.

Soon after, my parents found a house in Hoddesdon and came and got their stuff.  We used the 2nd bedroom for Draven for a little while, but after just 6 months in that place, the landlady wanted us out, she didn’t want to renew because we’d made a complaint about how unsafe it was there, and it was unsafe!!!  One night at around 2am, I was up feeding Draven.  All day we’d smelled some weird potent smell, then that night I went into the kitchen and saw the thermostat on fire!!

We went to a different letting agency after that, to look for a two bedroomed place.  We found a nice two bedroomed place down Lea Road, on the ground floor.  It was a council building, but that apartment was private as our landlord had bought it off the council, somehow.

The living room was huge!  The kitchen was a really nice size too!  I was able to put my washing machine in there and my tumble dryer!  I had a lot of counter tops too!  Just slightly too small for a dining room table though, unfortunately, but because the living room was so big we were able to have a small dining room table in there.  Our bedroom was kind of small, and Draven’s was tiny!  We had his crib in there, but there was no room for anything else.  There was a nice big storage space in the hallway too!

A month after we moved in, on April 1st, 2007 there was a fire in the next block!  I thought I was seeing things at first, it’s not every day you see a building on fire just outside your living room window!  After that I couldn’t sleep very well there, I was terrified the place would catch fire and I wouldn’t get Draven out in time.  Shane worked nights so it was really bothering me.

Soon our landlord told us that he was going to be buying a property off his son, a split house down Walton Road just opposite the nursery.

We didn’t like the place at Lea Road, for several reasons after living there a while, so we were pleased when he told us he’s selling it but we can live in the new place for the same price!  It had a nice big back yard for Draven to play in too!  We were in the top part of the house, and there was an elderly couple in the bottom of the house.

It was a lot smaller than the place at Lea Road however, except for Draven’s room, which was now much bigger!  It wasn’t long before we realized the “sweet old couple” downstairs was nasty complainers!  Also I soon came to realize that although we now have a nice big back yard, Draven can only play out there if I’m out there with him, it wasn’t like we had a back door going straight out to top the yard where he could play out there while I can get on with housework etc.  We were upstairs and the only door we had was the front door.

This time we had no room for a dining room table and chairs.  We had no choice but to eat our food in the living room on the couch.  I didn’t like the idea of this, as it Draven wasn’t eating too well, and I wanted set meal times at a table so he would know this is meal time and this is where we sit and you must eat, but we couldn’t so I just had to deal with it.  By February 2009 I had Brandon.  We lived in this small place until we moved to America in January 2012.

We’ve never been in a position to buy new things.  The only thing we ever bought new was our bed in England, and that was a disaster!  We got a new king size bed from Argos.  I was so excited, it looked so modern and smart!  I didn’t realize how low it was though, my sister and her girlfriend were fixing it up for us in our second flat, the one that almost caught fire, while I was out for a meal with my friends from Bridge Travel, and Shane was at work.  I remember being so tired and hoping they’d get it together by the time I got back.  They hadn’t!  We were missing something so we couldn’t have the metal pole on the headboard, my sister told me to call Argos and they’d replace it or something, I never did, so we just lived without that part.  Then Shane and I kept catching our lower legs on the wood going around the bed to make it look stylish, and Draven once banged his head on it and had to go to casualty as he split his head open slightly.  So we took that off too.  In the end, it looked terrible, and it turned out to be quite uncomfortable too!

When we came out to Indiana for Christmas 2009, Shane and I stayed in a new bed his parents had, that they got from Shane’s aunt.  We loved it!  It was so comfortable!!  So we were thrilled when Shane’s mum said it’s ours for when we move out to America!

When we went back to England after our visit in January 2010, we were so disappointed to go back to our broken, half made up, uncomfortable bed we’d once paid so much for!

Leading up to our move to America, we were looking forward to sleeping in that huge comfortable bed again!  But as it turned out, his parents had loaned it to Shane’s brother Michael, who lived a two hour drive away, near Bloomington, Indiana.

Instead, we slept on his dad’s bed that was over 100 years old and had to have two mattresses on it.  It was a double bed too, we’d been so spoiled in the past, sleeping in King and Queen sized beds.  Suddenly this double bed felt tiny!!!  However, it was quite comfortable, considering how old it was etc.  At least we had a bed anyway; poor Brandon had to sleep on the couch.  Draven slept in a blow up bed in Shane’s mum’s room.  Shane’s dad slept on a single bed in a room next to the kitchen, where Shane’s grandma slept on another couch.  They did the best they could, but part of me wondered why they couldn’t just sleep in the same bed again for a little while.  Connie says it’s because John snores, which he does sometimes, but not that much, I hardly ever heard him snore.  Shane however, oh he can snore with the best of them, trust me!  But I still want to sleep in the same bed with him!  Who am I to judge though?  Whatever.

We lived with Shane’s parents, Connie and John, for seven months!  Considering we were there that long, I think we all got along smoothly.  I didn’t like the way they treated Draven, it felt like they loved Brandon to bits, but didn’t like Draven at all, and as a mother, that was heartbreaking to see.  I could see the looks on their faces when they looked at Draven, I didn’t see any love there at all.  I hoped Draven didn’t pick up on that.  However, it was clear to me that he did, because he would then antagonize them and become naughtier for attention.  They didn’t see that it was them causing him to be this way.  He’s never been an angel, but he was never as naughty in England.  And now that we’re in our own place, we have our sweet boy back.

Since moving into the new place, Brandon doesn’t want to sleep in his bed; he wants to sleep on the couch! lol Which is pretty funny since it’s the same couch he slept on for the past 7 months, as Shane’s parents gave us their 3 seated sofa and chair.  I keep telling him “you have your own bed now with Spiderman covers! Sleep on it, it’s lovely and comfy, not like this rough old couch!” but no, he either wants the couch or to snuggle up between me and Shane.

So, anyway, considering the places we’ve lived in the past, I am floored by the amount of space we have right now!  Seriously!

The living room is lovely and big!  I enjoyed painting it up with Shane and his friends.  I picked the color out; I told him I wanted a coffee type of color, something warm and homely.  When I found a color called “Coffee Kisses” I told him “this is perfect! We have to get this, we love coffee and we love kissing!” haha!  Shane agreed.

It went really well with the carpet we’d picked out too.  Connie gave us some nice cream curtains and a cream rug also for the floor, they went really well with the carpet and walls also.

The kitchen is HUGE!!  By far the biggest kitchen I’ve never had in my life!  There’s plenty of room for a washer, a dryer, a nice dining room table and chairs also!  I was thinking of getting a dishwasher, but you know what, I’m not going to because for the first time ever, I enjoy doing the dishes, I enjoy being in my big kitchen, cleaning the brand new plates I treated us to J

My mum went to a lot of trouble to get us $4000.  We found a house before we found this one, for sale for $4000.  We knew it’d be a wreck and we’d have a lot of work to do on it.  But the idea of having no mortgage to worry about (after seeing my parents lose their home in 2006) was really quite appealing to us!  The house was horrible, we didn’t want to admit it to each other, we convinced ourselves we could fix the place up and live there.  So my mum took some money from an account my Nan had set up for her and my uncle Paul to use one day.  She sent it over via Western Union.  We convinced the couple to lower the price to $3200; we used $800 to pay off some of our outstanding medical bills.  Then we found out this house had liens on it and they sold it to someone else behind our backs.  I was partly relieved; partly worried about the money my mum had sent me, and partly worried we’d never find a place to live!  Then the landlord of the trailer next door to Shane’s parents said he’d sell us his trailer for $3000. He plans on getting rid of the trailer and making a double modular house for him and his wife to live there on that land next to Shane’s parents. We figured that’s perfect, all we’d have to do is rent a spot in a trailer park at a later date when he’s ready to build his house there.  But then he found out there were $16,000 liens on that trailer from who owned it previously, so he couldn’t sell it to us.

He called Shane to tell him about his dad’s house on Lafayette.  I was all set to go back to England by this point, we’d had so many knock backs, it didn’t seem like we’d ever find an affordable place of our own.  We looked into rent to own properties, and some regular rentals, but for two bedrooms, we couldn’t afford rent anywhere, we found a two bed place for almost $800 per month, there was no way we could afford that!

So Shane went to look at his house with his dad.  The house needed some work done to it to make it livable, two of the rooms were not in the least bit livable though, the floor was taken up in one room, and the roof was breaking on the other room, and filled with nasty black mold!

I went to look at it too; I went at night time so I could only see it with a flash light.  Really though, I didn’t care what it looked like, I just wanted us to find a place of our own so it could just be the four of us again.  I felt like I missed my little family even though they’re right here with me, but we couldn’t live like ourselves under someone else’s roof.

Bob told us we could buy the place on contract for $30000 at just $300 per month with a $3000 down payment.  I couldn’t believe our luck!  We jumped on it!

With so much to look forward to now, we went and spent the weekend with Shane’s brother Mike, and his wife Nicole, and her two kids Andie and Bryson.  We had a lovely weekend there, we were all so happy, we enjoyed a drive in movie together, we loved the place they had, everything was fantastic!

Then the day we came home, we hadn’t been home 5 minutes, when Bob showed up and told us he had bad news.  He couldn’t sell the house to us on contract, we’d have to get a mortgage and buy it like that.  Shane has no credit score since living in England for the last 7 years, and I have no credit either as this is the first time I’ve ever lived in America.  Neither of us have any valid credit history.  I couldn’t listen to his explanation; I went off to the bathroom and cried.  Shane’s mum came in and gave me a hug.  I told her I couldn’t believe it, we thought nothing could go wrong this time!  Bob asked us if we had someone willing to cosign for the mortgage for us, but we didn’t as Shane’s parents wouldn’t cosign for us as they’d had bad experiences in the past with both Shane and his brother Mike, leaving their parents paying for things they never wanted.

I could understand their fear of having this house to pay for, yet at the same time I couldn’t understand how they couldn’t see that Shane is a different person now, he’s a married father of two holding down a responsible job, he has no intention of screwing his parents over, and has every intention of paying his own way with this house.  Their lack of faith and trust in their own son astonished me and my mum when I told her.  My mum said she would’ve cosigned for us if she could, but obviously she’s in England and has no credit history in America, so she couldn’t.

I spent the next few days crying constantly.  I’d not cried like this since I had to say goodbye to Shane all those years ago in England, when he flew back to America after his first visit, in 2004.

We’d decided we’re done trying out here, we felt defeated.  We decided it’s time to cut our losses and truly this time, go back to England, at least we know we tried.

We looked into flights, I told my family we are most likely coming back to England, and we told Shane’s parents we’re going back to England.  They hated the idea of us going back to England; they were so worried they’d never see us again.  I don’t know why they thought that, we’ve always made a point to visit them and have them over to England to see us.  Maybe it’s because of the way they treated Draven that they worried we’d never want to see them again or something, I don’t know?

Shane asked them about cosigning for us.  They said no.  I continued to cry every day haha.  Eventually we all sat around the table and they expressed their fears about cosigning, while Shane and I did our best to reassure them that they won’t have to pay anything.  Eventually, they said yes!

I finally stopped crying!

We had something to look forward to again.  Although I’d stopped crying, I didn’t allow myself to look forward to living in the house.  Every time we drove past it, they’d say “there’s your house!” I wouldn’t look anymore.  Deep down I expected another disappointment, I didn’t think we’d ever get to live in the house, and I loved the house, I wasn’t interested in any other house!

Bob had told us we can’t buy the house yet because when his dad died, his sister never had the will taken care of, which states that the house now belongs to Bob and his siblings.  Seven years later and the house is still owned by Bob’s diseased father!  So Bob has no legal right to sell it to us.  So now we have to wait for the lawyers to set up the estate in Bob and his siblings’ names so they can sell it to us.  They told us that could take up to 9 or so weeks.  Having so long to wait before we can buy the house just put another damper on it for us.  We sucked it up and continued to live at Shane’s parents’ house with no plans to move back to England, just yet.  We didn’t look at other houses either as we really wanted this house.

Tension grew at Shane’s parents’ house, it was time we started looking at other houses or cutting our losses and going back to England.

I can’t remember what happened, I think it was just a look that Shane’s dad had given Draven, I went outside where Shane was smoking and I told him, “call Bob or Larry (Bob’s brother) now and see if we can rent the house until we are able to buy it, if we can’t, then I want to book us a flight back to England within the week, I’m not having our kids live here any longer!”

Shane called Larry, and our luck had turned, before Shane had a chance to ask Larry if we might be able to rent the place, Larry asked Shane if we’re willing to rent until we can buy!!!!!


Now, for the first time since we got back from Mike and Nicole’s house, I was able to smile and feel genuinely excited and happy!!  We were over the moon!!!  I sent my mum a message on Facebook explaining to her what the plan is, and that we won’t need the money she had given us since we’re going to be getting a mortgage, we won’t need a down payment.  Thankfully she said we can use the money to pay for the first month’s rent and deposit, and then buy some things we’d need for the house.

We left everything, pretty much, in England!  Shane’s brother Mike had given us a huge flat screen TV and an x-box for Christmas, so we were good there.  We got our bed back from Mike and Nicole; I couldn’t wait to get in our big bed again!!  Mike and Nicole gave us Bryson’s bunk bed for the boys to use.  That was such a huge help to us!  I was looking to sell my camera for $300; Nicole was interested in buying it.  I felt I couldn’t take any money from them after all they’d given us, a bunk bed, an exercise bike, a TV, an x-box… no way, I couldn’t take $300 for my camera!  So I told Nicole I’d trade my camera for the bunk beds instead J

There were other things we still needed, we definitely needed a washer.  Nicole sent me a message saying she is selling her washer for $300.  I must admit part of me thought “ugh I should’ve waited before trading the camera, I could’ve traded the camera for the washer as they were giving us the bunk beds etc. anyway” haha!  I wanted $300 for my camera, she wants $300 for her washer… argh but anyway, that’s now how it happened, so I told her I just can’t afford the washer right now.  This was before my mum had given me permission to use the 3k to spend on our house.

So anyway, my mum encouraged me to treat ourselves to some new things.  I felt guilty using her money for things, yet at the same time I was so excited about being able to buy stuff for the new house!

I kept updating my mum with what I’m buying and asking “is that ok” haha.  She told me to stop asking that and just enjoy having a bit of a spend up!

I got a new computer (which I’m on right now!) with 6G RAM, 1TB storage, PERFECT for photography, PERFECT for running Photoshop!  I was hesitant as we need some essentials, but at the same time, if I’m going to continue selling my photography, I need a computer to work on, so in a way, it is essential to us.

I ordered a cheap computer desk for the new computer, a nice but cheap computer chair.  My computer chair in England was soooooooo comfy!  I had it for over 10 years, it was starting to ware at the bottom, but it still served its purpose and was still super comfy!  I was shocked when my mum told me she threw it out!  It was far more comfy than the computer chair she had! Haha!

We went to Menards and got some paint, some rollers, some curtain rails etc.  I’d also ordered a Microwave, a huge plate set which is lovely!  White and square, it even has matching salt and pepper shakers too!  And matching sugar pot and creamer jar!  I love it!  Shane’s mum had offered us some plates etc., but I really wanted matching new ones, I don’t know why, but it meant a lot to me, maybe because we’d always been handed stuff before and just used what we were given, and this time I had some cash to spend on some new things! J  I got some spatulas, some measuring cups, a pizza slicer, some new pots and pans, new cutlery, a new vacuum, a printer for my photography receipts, some new bedding for our beds.  The Fed Ex guy asked if I’d won the lotto lol.

 We got a refurbished washing machine from a place just down the road from us for $120.  By this time we’d completely run out of money so we couldn’t afford a dryer yet until Shane gets paid.

So the house is starting to look lovely now.  We’ve had to put our bed in the living room as our bedroom is the room where the roof is leaking and has a big hole in it and black mold, but that’s ok, the living room is big enough to take the bed and the couch and chair.  Also it’ll look so big, new and lovely once we are able to move the bed into our bedroom.  It’s so cool that the house is so big and spacious already and there are two more rooms we’re not even using yet!  It’s almost like my dream of years ago where I found secret rooms.  I can’t imagine how big this house will seem once we’re able to use these rooms.  There’s 3 more rooms actually, because the back room by the kitchen which we are able to use right now if we want, has a cricket in there so I’ve been keeping the door closed and just storing our stuff in there until Shane can get rid of the cricket, then I’ll be able to go in there and clean it up!  We could even use that as our bedroom for right now if we wanted to.  It’s quite small though so we couldn’t have much more in there than our bed.

I’m thinking once the front bedroom is in use, we could use that small back room as an office or something, although I think Shane has plans to make it an art room for himself, which is fine with me, it’s about time he started doing something with his talent!

The big back room which has no floor right now is HUGE!  I’m thinking of having that as like a second living room, like a den or something, but the sofa in there is going to be a sofa bed.  What I’d really like in there is two double futons so it can be like a guest room, because with a big family living in England eager to see our new house, we’ll be having some future guests!  A inexpensive TV, maybe hook the British Nintendo Wii we brought with us haha, so we have another room to chill out if needed, another room for some space if needed.  There were so many times in England where Shane would say “I wish we had another room, so I can go in there and ‘do my thing’” and now we do, we have two extra rooms J

If the kids argue about what to watch on TV or something, one can be in the main living room; one can be in the ‘den’.

As you can see, I’m now eagerly looking to the future and how we can improve our new home.  I’m so extremely happy now.  The only unfortunate thing, which will never change and I always knew, is that my family are in England and I’d love them to be here to see where we live, I’d love my Nan to come out here and see, but she can’t get on a plane because of her bad legs, and she’s not the same as she used to be now anyway.  She used to be so level headed and I used to love talking to her about various things.  Now that she has dementia, she’s very different to talk to.  I love her dearly, but I miss who she used to be.

I’d love for my Granddad to see all of this.  Part of me feels like he can.  When I was younger I used to always want to live in New York.  I was obsessed with New York City and America in general as a result.  Of course I had no idea what it was really like in America, I just had the TV to go by, which always made it seem wonderful.  Everyone always knew the one place I ever wanted to go, was New York City!  I remember thinking my life was now complete, when I went to New York in October 2002 with my sister Linda, and her friend Vicky and our friend Hayley King.

It was the Statue of Liberty that always had me obsessed.  I had a dream when I was 8 years old, that I was at my Nan and Granddad’s house in London, and as I look out of the window by the balcony, I could see the Statue of Liberty in the distance, I didn’t even know what it was at the time.  I remember waking up the next morning and asking my mum “what’s the big lady statue thing with spikes coming out of her head? She’s green and holds a book and a torch” after my mum told me, for some strange reason, I was obsessed with that statue lol, really freaky now that I think about it!  I was desperate from that moment on, at 8 years old, to go and see this statue!

I remember in Forres Primary school, we were painting and some newspaper down on the table, and there was a little 1” picture of the Statue of Liberty.  I remember tearing it out of the newspaper and keeping it in my pocket.  I told people “I’m going to go there one day and see it!”

When I was 10, I remember my teacher at the time had gone to Paris and she showed us some photographs, it was then that I discovered there’s another Statue of Liberty in Paris!  So I figured since England is closer to Paris, I might have more chance of seeing that one!  But really it was the one in New York, a gift from France that I really wanted to see the most!  I’d watch cartoons like An American Tail and say “there’s my statue!” Even my kids now, when they see the Statue of Liberty on TV, say “there’s mummy’s statue!” haha!!

So when I finally got to go in 2002, one of the first things we did was go down to Battery Park and see the Statue of Liberty.  At 22, I finally saw her J  and I loved being there, it was everything I expected and more!  I wanted to spend all day on Liberty Island and I wanted to go more than once, but naturally the others wanted to see the rest of New York, so we didn’t.  As we lined up to go onto the Ferry, I had a genuine strange feeling that our Granddad was standing with me and Linda.  I saw a white feather fall down to the ground, which made me think we have an angel nearby us.  I had no doubt that it was our Granddad, come to see me finally go and see my statue J  Of course there were a lot of seagulls there though which probably explains the white feather, but even so, I’m sure he was with us, I’m sure he saw us there, and I’m sure he was smiling from ear to ear.

He always said I’m going to marry a ‘yank’ one day, and live in ‘Yankee land’, and he was right, haha, I did and I am!  I didn’t plan to fall in love specifically to an American.  In fact for several years I thought I was in love with an English guy and at the time, I would’ve been quite happy to settle down with him.  Thank God that didn’t work out though!  I realized after many years of being stupid for him, that he was a dick!

I fell head over heels for Shane.  His accent was a huge turn on at first, but very quickly, I didn’t even notice it anymore.  The fact he is American, was nothing but a nuisance to us.  It meant we had to spend lots of money on visas etc., and the only way we could be together was to get married.  So that’s what we did.  At first it wasn’t even meant to be like a real marriage, we just wanted to be together and getting married made it easier for us to do that.  We knew we’d one day want to get married anyway so we figured let’s just get married now and make it easier on ourselves.

After many ups and downs, lots of heated arguments etc., we are now closer than we’ve ever been, happier than we’ve ever been.

During our harder moments in the past, I went to see a psychic and she told me “if you want your marriage to work, you have to move to America, it’s the only way things will work”.  Maybe she was right, we’ve really never been happier J  the kids seem to love it here, although they do miss my family.  Just today Brandon said “I want call Nanny” as he handed me my iPod.

I feel terrible that my parents can’t see the kids anymore other than on Skype.  They are wonderful grandparents, it kills me that the boys can’t see them and they can’t see the boys.  That was the biggest sacrifice to us.  This hurt even more when Shane’s parents couldn’t get on with Draven.  I’m sure that really annoyed my mum too, knowing that she loves both Draven and Brandon to bits and here they have grandparents that only seem to like one of our kids.

My parents don’t deserve to have their grandkids live so far away.  They are both fantastic parents and fantastic grandparents.  Even Shane misses them!  He loves my parents as much as I do.  You know you have good parents when you enjoy going out with them for a drink in a bar, and not just me, my sisters Pauline, Linda and Ally do too, and my brother David, we all enjoy spending time with our parents, and I miss them loads.

However, being a mum now myself, I know that my mum is just happy knowing that we’re happy here. And for the first time since we moved here, we are happy.  We love this house, we love having our own space to call home.  For the first time ever, I take pride in where I live.  All our previous places were so small and crappy; they didn’t feel like home, they felt like somewhere to sleep until we have our own home.  I never took pride in them, I never made them feel “homely” they were awful and I was very ashamed to invite people in.  This house though, this is the home we’ve been waiting for since before we got married.  This IS our home.  We’re decorating it how we want to, we’ve never done that in the past, and we always felt like we were bettering someone else’s property, which it was, in the past.

I’m keen to keep the place clean and tidy.  I’ve never felt that before, I really haven’t.  Even when our previous places were tidy, they were still messy.  But this house, I have enough room to put things in place.  I enjoy picking up from the floor and vacuuming, I enjoy cleaning our new dishes in our new kitchen.  It’s weird, I’ve never felt this way before, but I love it, and so does Shane!

The boys love the new house, they love having bunk beds, their own little space to play in with their toys.  They LOVE the fact they can run around in circles through the kitchen, the living room, the hallway past the bathroom and their bedroom and back into the kitchen again… yes they love running and screaming through there! Haha!

Draven should be able to stay at his previous school, Terre Town.  I spoke with the principle yesterday and explained that I really didn’t want to disrupt him anymore than he has been already, leaving Forres School in England, to go to Terre Town for the last 7 months while we stayed with my in laws, then moving house and having to go to a new school again, I just wanted some stability in his life, especially now we have our own place to live now.  So she agreed with me and said she was happy for him to stay at Terre Town, but I’d have to get in touch with the transport team to see if they’ll pick him up from the bus stop nearest to us, as we are out of the Terre Town School district but are able to walk a short distance to the bus stop in the Terre Town district which is just across the street from us.  I’m yet to get in touch with them though so I’ve asked my mother in law if she’d mind picking him up because she works at the school, just until we have the bus arranged.  She was ok with that, thankfully.

There’s a pre-school just across the street too which I checked out for Brandon, but it’s $90 per week, so I need to see if we’d qualify for any help for that, we certainly don’t have $90 per week spare right now, unfortunately.  In fact, who does?

I think we’re going to really enjoy living here.  I can’t wait to have some British house guests soon too, that will be lots of fun J

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