I feel like I live in a box. A very plain Jane box. Rooms with walls but no life. Blah-ville to the umpteenth degree. Let me explain…
We have occupied this house for seven years this upcoming August. I chose the word, “occupy” carefully because quite frankly, that’s how I feel. Have almost always felt…

We built this house to be able to look after my aging in-laws. They moved in to their main-floor space on August 19, 2005 and we moved into where ever we could fit two weeks later. The flooring, trim and painting was incomplete, we took the builders credit and said we’d do it ourselves. (I had particle board as flooring in our bedroom until 2.5 yrs ago. It took almost 3 years after moving in to get carpet in the kids bedrooms…)
A couple days after moving in, we headed out west for a month-long vacation. Dave managed to pick up Walking Pneumonia trying to get our new house built & all of us (including his parents) moved in, baby #4 arrived and our church was in the midst of the toughest construction part of renovations. Yes, my Pastor hubby isn’t just another pretty face! Needless to say, actually finishing our house before moving in wasn’t to be.
My mother-in-law succumbed to congestive heart failure early in the morning on October 7, 2005. She died in our home, in my husband’s arms. Life stood still for a while.
Slowly over the years in between then and now, we put most of the flooring down, some of the trim and most of the rooms were painted. We put (several) tens of thousands of dollars into making the basement our living space, getting it about 80% finished and to the way I wanted it. Shag carpet in the living room, cork flooring in the kitchen, and slate in the bathroom. I liked it down there. A lot.

Life stood still once again on August 17, 2011. My father-in-law passed away in our home, another parent to die in Dave’s arms.
Due to some crazy that took place with Dad’s second wife, extended family and his estate even before he passed – I feel like we’ve been zombies. In a catatonic state, just barely getting by. (Adding to the stress is the fact that our church sold it’s 1st building and bought a new one, we moved into it March 2011 and are again… renovating!)
In the middle of November, my sister-in-law and her husband moved into our living space in the basement and we moved up into what was once upon a time my in-law’s space. We made their old bedroom our media room and their old living room is now the kids gaming space with a Hodge-podge of furniture. I think the term is “Eclectic!” 
His kitchen is smaller than mine that I had custom built in the basement for us, it’s been tricky to find room for everything. My pictures hang where Dad already had nails (or in his case, massive giant screws with anchors).  The space is still unpainted and missing trim and not to mention… he never did get around to putting up the back deck. All things we will now have to do.

trying to find a place for everything…

This was Dad’s old bedroom / now our media room

it’s hard to keep clean when it doesn’t feel like mine

I’m surrounded by the feeling like this is not my home. I feel like I’m intruding. It’s all a bit overwhelming when you look at all that needs to be done. The “to-do” list seems endless. 
This past weekend, Dave and I sat down and he learned real quick the urgency that this mother of four needs to have a place she can feel at home, a place she can be proud of and not embarrassed to invite friends over to…
The first space we’re going to tackle is… the kitchen / dining room & bathroom. Today I’m off to pick the paint colours and find a neutral back splash. We can’t afford to renovate the entire kitchen at this point, Dad’s
choice in cupboards and counter tops will have to do. Those are easy enough tasks right? Then why do my feet feel like they’re encased in cement…. **Update: I feel like I’m afraid I’ll offend family if I remove “mom and dad” and make this my home.
This house has taken it’s toll on me. Life while being in this house even more so. I’m not ungrateful for all I have, I just want to stop living in limbo and feel like I’m home. Is that too much to ask?!


I'm the Cool Mom of 4, Married to the Preacher Man, but at times I'm a little more Sass than Saint!

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  1. ((HUGS)) My first thought would be to sell and start fresh. It sounds like part of the problem is in your mind it's their home, not yours. Renovations are a great place to start. Make it feel more like home and if that doesn't work put it in the back of your mind that to sell it it has to look nice.
    There are no easy answers. ((HUGS))

  2. Oh Shan, this post brought tears to my eyes. I'm having a hard time in our place too..a rental..it's 2 years this month.
    The walls are white or a colour i hate. My kids are jpgs, needing to get printed/framed and put up. It's all just so blah and i'm miserable too.
    Super Duper big (((hugs))) to you!
    This too shall pass…right?! Please tell me it will!

  3. Hang in there! Just tackle one thing at a time and remember that the houses that you see staged in magazines are not actually functional or livable.

    Looking forward to the update pics!

  4. I love you honey. *hugs*

  5. On a small scale, I can relate. Ours was a former model home, bought very quickly in the midst of the arrival of #3. The neighbourhood is fantastic but the mortgage is atrocious. Job situation could change at a moment's notice, so I don't feel like stretching the budget to do much here. Stay? Go? We've moved four times in the last 10 years. We are beginning to put down roots here, but still…

  6. Shannon I'm virtually hugging you! By your photos I can see what you mean, I can see your mark on the downstairs space and hopefully once you've done the same where you can upstairs it will begin to fit you better.

    Thank God that he's provided for your family and that house holds such love as well as the tough memories. Focus your perspective on the loving memories….praying for you

  7. hey Shannon.. I hope you can get the place the way you want it to look soon. I do want to say though that when me and Esther visited you guys last year we felt very welcome and privileged to stay in your house and share in your lives even in a place that was less than 'perfect'. The love and care and sense of family we felt was perfect. I'm sure others that visit you feel the same. So do what you've got to do to make yourself and family comfy and don't worry too much about others 🙂

  8. I am fighting tears, I haven't been in my house long. We moved in Sept. 30th, but I moved away from all my friends (except Multi-testing Mommy lives near me), and into this house. I've been struggling, since we built the other house from the ground up. This one feels like someone else's home too. Our old home we bought everything for a specific spot, and then we got here and none of those things had anywhere to fit. We recently had mold and have been trying to rebuild. As we customize and are making things are own it is starting to feel less like someone elses.

    I totally felt you through this post, and you are not alone in that feeling. I am glad your hubby gets it, mine does too, and he is doing his best to help.

  9. I totally feel your hearts cry in this… I think the fact that it was your in-laws "home" is a HUGE thing to get over and I don't know your extended in-law family very well but as a sister-in-law I can see that being a daunting thing…. not sure what the answer is..sell is what my first reaction would be but with so much to finish that might not be the easier way out… I think you need to start with paint…we are children of color you and me and blah walls makes us feel blah!! love you…wish we lived in the SAME province!!!

  10. I must say that I have prepared you for this having raised you in one unfinished house to the next, never really knowing what addition to the immediate family were going to arrive on our doorstep and take residence for some time. 5 sometimes 6 girls crammed into one washroom to examine their facial features, etc.
    and so on it goes. . . .
    ya just gotta love me!!!!

  11. Hugs, Shannon!

    Imagine moving into your in-law's home, taking it over, while they move elsewhere. My friend did that, and it's been hard. She's shared a lot with me: the unspoken, but definite disapproval of changes she had made to the house or garden.

    I totally agree that new paint, pulling out those anchor screws, patching walls, etc. is a great place to start.

    And I know that if your in-laws were there, they would want you to be happy. Heaven has that effect on people.

    So just want to encourage you to go for it!! It will be worth it to make this house your home for your family.

  12. I too know what you mean. You are not alone. We built a duplex with my mother and though we were supposed to get just as much of a say in everything, she took over everything. I hate it all.

    It's not a bad place, it's actually kind of nice but it's not me and it doesn't feel like mine.

    I too have trouble keeping it clean because I dislike it so much and don't feel at home here.

    Our solution: we're selling her our half and moving as soon as our car is paid off. With that in my mind I've actually been able to be at more peace with living here, for now.

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