an ode to our first little house.

Ode to Our First House | Where My Heart Resides
(Disclaimer: this post is long, but our house deserves it.)

I still remember the day we came home from our honeymoon with tanned faces and full, happy hearts. We excitedly put away new dishes and towels, filling up cabinets and drawers with wedding gifts. I made room for Brett in the closet, generously offering 1/8 of the space I had occupied during the nine months I lived here alone while attending UC Davis.

This was our first home.

This is where we learned the weird things that you can only know about a person after living with them, like how Brett always gets water in the toothpaste cap and how I never replace the toilet paper roll. It was here in this house that we learned how to be married, for better and for worse and everything in between. This is where we kissed against the kitchen cabinets and threw socks at each other from across the bed, laughing till we cried on the carpet floor over something I’ve now forgotten.

It was here in this house that we learned how to manage our expectations and priorities, balance our finances and goals, communicate openly and honestly, and love each other well.

It was here in this house that we spent many nights curled up on the couch watching reruns of The Office, munching on popcorn with our legs tightly intertwined. This is where we talked about our hopes and dreams late at night in the darkness of our bedroom, planning for our future and discussing things like Greece and babies and retirement. This is where—early in our marriage—we created Dance Parties In The Bathroom, a tradition that will surely remain with us wherever we may go.

It was here in this house that we stood in the kitchen and cooked meals together: spaghetti with meatballs, stir fry, turkey burgers, rosemary lemon chicken, Parmesan risotto, grilled cheese with tomato soup. We found our groove, our tastes, our standard weekly rotation. This is where I learned how to garden in our tiny backyard, reaping the fruits of my labor for the first time in the summer of 2011 in the form of fresh lettuce, carrots, squash, zucchini, and miniature strawberries. This is where we hosted our first Thanksgiving, eight of us crammed around the table bumping elbows as we passed the butter.

It was here in this house that I started chasing my dreams of becoming a writer and a photographer. I stayed up late writing blog posts and researching camera lenses while Brett helped me redesign my blog a dozen times. We sat in the office side by side, him with his iMac and me with my MacBook Pro, working on this blog and my photography site for weeks on end. It was here in this house that I took a leap of faith and started Ashlee Gadd Creative. This house is where I work, every day, while Everett naps.

It was here in this house that I took my first pregnancy test and learned of Everett’s existence. We stood in the bathroom in happy disbelief, hugging tightly and thanking God for the tiny miracle inside my belly. This is where we prepared for his arrival—arranging furniture and bookshelves, painting globes and cutting maps, folding onesies and assembling strollers. We sat on the couch perusing baby name books, and it was here in our living room on a cold November evening that we chose the name Everett. In December we stood in the middle of our kitchen surrounded by friends and family as we cut through a bright blue cake, confirming what my mother’s intuition already knew: our baby was a boy. Everyone cheered and clapped and we drank peach champagne in celebration. This is where I spent nine long months being pregnant, working from bed in my sweatpants with my laptop and a full bag of Cheetos.

It was here in this house that we attempted to turn Everett from the breech position to the head-down position without success. We propped an ironing board against a chair and I lied on it upside down for 30 minutes at a time with frozen fried rice on the top of my belly and a heating pad at the bottom. This is where we spent the night before my scheduled c-section, down on our knees in prayer, equally full of anticipation and fear.

This was Everett’s first home.

It was here in this house that Everett smiled for the first time, laughed for the first time, crawled for the first time. This is where we learned about the challenges of sleep deprivation and projectile vomiting, and where we first experienced the joy of watching the world through Everett’s eyes.

It was here, standing in the front yard, that we learned that Brett’s dad had passed away. This is where we both broke down crying, where we hugged each other tightly with Everett sandwiched in between us, and I prayed harder than I’ve ever prayed before. This is where we grieved, and continue to grieve, and through the grace and love of God, have slowly started to heal.

It was here in this house that we have grown closer, made mistakes, offered forgiveness, and learned what marriage is all about. We have spilled secrets and fears, yelled and screamed, cried from both sadness and laughter. This house has seen us at our best and seen us at our worst.

But I know that if these walls could talk, they would only tell tales of love. Real, rich, beautiful love.

May our next house be just as good, just as warm, and just as willing to graciously capture the next chapter of our story.

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27 Responses to an ode to our first little house.

  1. Faith says:

    Ashlee, this put tears in my eyes! I love the way you write. My husband and I moved to a new place on March 1. Though the new space is definitely an upgrade, it was bittersweet to pack up and leave behind the first little home we created together. Thank goodness for the photos which will help preserve our memories of that little apartment! 🙂 You, Brett, and Everett will bring so much joy and warmth to your new house. Wishing you all the best!
    Faith´s last blog post ..Creativity, v.1

  2. Sarah says:

    Beautiful post, Ashlee! I just teared up while reading it, as I remembered the house I grew up in and still visit in my dreams on occasion. Happy thoughts & prayers to all 3 of you as you find the next home to hold your love and build memories in.
    Sarah´s last blog post ..BFF with Myself

  3. Lesley says:

    It’s amazing how love has grown inside your walls. I’ll be sad to see your house go too! 🙁 So glad you’re writing about it though. It will make the packing and moving easier.
    Lesley´s last blog post ..My case for internet friendships

  4. molly yeh says:

    i thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. it is so beautifully written and honest.

    (also, i was a breech baby! yay everett!)

  5. Rhona says:

    What a lovely post! My husband and I have been in our house almost a year (March 17th!), were married last October and just found out we are expecting our first baby, all in our first purchased home :). I imagine we’ll be adding so many more amazing memories. I hope we cherish them when we move, just like you are doing now 🙂

  6. Jamie says:

    So beautiful, thank you. I like to think my husband and I have made the same sort of home for ourselves and our little boy, too.
    Jamie´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday

  7. Kim says:

    Beautiful blogpost! Loved reading it!

  8. Claire says:

    I teared up, too. Beautiful post. If we ever move I know that it will be this way for us also. First houses are time capsules. I understand now why it’s so hard for families to sell childhood homes or Grandma’s house. The memories are rooted deep.
    Claire´s last blog post ..Purity and the Perfect Marriage

    • Ashlee says:

      “First houses are time capsules”….LOVE this. I am actually making a blurb book with photos and the text from this post to remember our first house, and I think I will put that quote on the front cover! Thanks for inspiring me! 😉

  9. Jackie says:

    I hope you guys never forget these wonderful memories. Beautiful post 🙂
    Jackie´s last blog post ..away we go

  10. Becky says:

    Beautiful! What a great foundation you’ve given to this house that you’ll pass along to another family!
    Becky´s last blog post ..A little break

    • Ashlee says:

      I think about the next family that will own this house too much. I feel like when we start getting offers I will be more interested in the family than the dollar amount! I know that’s not how it works, but I’m so emotional about it.

  11. Shayna says:

    Now you’ve got me crying!!! So well written Ashlee…and the best part is you will ALWAYS have those memories AND so many more to come in your new home. Xo

  12. Kelly says:

    Beautiful post. My husband and I are in our second “house” (first real house), the apartment was small and crappy but I was a TINY bit sad leaving it, just thinking about it being our first “home” 🙂
    Kelly´s last blog post ..It’s Time For March

  13. Ruth says:

    this was so beautiful, ashlee.
    Ruth´s last blog post ..on partnership.

  14. You have a beautiful house, Ashlee! But it’s the people in it who make a house a memorable home. I’m sure your next house will be just as wonderful as your first house. I also pray that the people who buy your house cherish it just as much and fill it with the same care and warmth as you have. Good luck! 🙂
    Laura Marcella´s last blog post ..MQD – Lucky Writers!

  15. San says:

    It’s very special when a place holds so many precious memories.
    San´s last blog post ..#Scintilla13: Don’t always believe your older siblings

  16. Erika says:

    I absolutely love this post. We just moved from our 20 month old’s first home and it was very emotional for me. I literally cried as we were driving away, and I made my mom take a picture of the three of us in front of the front door. There’s something so special about the place that you start a family in. That little apartment will always hold a special place in my heart. 🙂 It saw a lot of memories.

  17. Katie says:

    Oh, Ashlee. This is so beautiful.

  18. Sarabell says:

    Beautiful words! Thanks for giving us a little glimpse into your life!
    Sarabell´s last blog post ..50 Nifty: Montana!

  19. Ashley A. says:

    I cried when I read this and it moved me to write my own little piece about my first home. Thank you for this piece!

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