Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Forever home?

Hello there! First of all, my dear friend Chris over at Just a Girl is hosting a bunch of bloggers to share their “must” lists – and mine was power tools (surprised??).

You can see my list here:

image

Go ahead and check it out. I’ll wait. ;)

Drums fingers. Checks watch.

:)

Tonight I’m talking about our home…your homes. How long do you plan on staying in yours? Are you in your forever home? Did you plan on it being your the one you would stay in?

When we decided to build years ago, we made decisions thinking we would be here for a long time…we didn't know how long, but we knew for sure it wasn’t going to be five years or less.

We were one of the first in our neighborhood and hand picked our lot because of these:

It’s not forest or anything, but they are TREES, glorious trees. We have a small backyard, and it slopes like mad, but we still loved this spot because of those trees and the land beyond.

From our understanding, there used to be a horse farm back there (the fence is still up). Now it’s overgrown and there are hundreds of trees sprouting up. It’s lovely and green and full of life.

There’s a bit of wooded area back there, and in the fall especially, I sit at a window upstairs, look out and get lost in it.

Because it’s an odd bit of land – it’s a flood plain and not very large – we were told when we built that custom homes would go in back there, if anything. We were fine with that. We didn’t have much of a choice. ;)

(We’re ready for the hummingbirds. Are they even out yet?)

But over the years, nothing has gone in. And over the years, we’ve fallen more and more in love with that land. We listen to the coyotes howling and playing at night (it’s freaky). Kids ride their four wheelers back there and the noise is awful but I’ve grown to love it. We’ve had deer in our backyard and my squeals of joy send them running. :) The bunnies are a daily event.

We love it. It’s our little dose of nature in the middle of suburbia.

But since last year we’ve been preparing to lose this view, and a whole lot more. It’s a long, boring story, but a developer wanted to come in and build luxury apartments on the land.

The problem was, they were three story apartments, lots of them (more than allowed), lining the edge of the lots, with balconies overlooking our houses and backyards.

Now. I’ve lived in apartments more years then I’ve lived in houses in my adult life. I have nothing against apartments or those that live in them. It’s just the looming quality and the closeness that we were concerned about. Not to mention the tanking of the house values. (They already suck. I mean, really.)

I’m all for development, when it’s done right. (This land isn’t zoned for apartments, only single family houses.) And not a few yards from my back door.

As a neighborhood we met with the developer and with each meeting I wanted to cry a little more. The details just made it worse.

(Anyone know what this plant is? They grow like mad back there.
Watch it be poison sumac or something.)

So we toyed with what we would do…what if they went through? What would we do? What would you do?

My first thought was to MOVE. Immediately. Put the house on the market and get out of dodge.

But dang. We love our house. I mean, adore it. We don’t want more house, we don’t want a different house, and we’re making this one into exactly what we want. Every year, the more time goes on, the more it becomes our forever home.

We would go back and forth, and usually between meetings or new info, we’d plan to stay. But on the way home from hearing the developer talk about the plans, or when a new email would come with bad news, we would talk about moving.

And that talk made me so, so sad.

Finally…we decided we weren’t leaving, no matter what. We’d see what happened and then decide our plan from there. But the plan was staying put, at least for awhile.

We (the people in the neighborhood) worked hard – did tons of research, got petitions signed, 100 of us showed up for the planning meeting and thankfully the planning commission decided the idea of apartments in that spot were just a bad idea. (For a number of reasons.)

The developer completely pulled out last month, and I think that day was one of the happiest of my life. :) I know something will go back there eventually, and I don’t expect to have our lovely view forever, but we have it for now. And in the process we fell in love with our house all over again. The thought of leaving was so depressing. It’s not perfect, but we are smitten with our house. Our small yard. The bunnies. :)

It’s made the past month even more fun – for the past few months we would walk out on our new patio and feel…trepidation? All we could think of was what we would see every time we walked out if we had new neighbors. ;)

Now we are feeling especially blessed every time we go in the backyard. I do not take that line of trees or the land or the deer for granted and I am so grateful for our home. A home we truly love. We are so lucky.

I don’t know if it will be our forever home, as in for the rest of our lives. But it will be our home for a very, very long time. I look forward to my son growing up in this house – and what a gift that is. I had been in at least six homes by the time I was ten, and I love that we are grounded. This is the longest I’ve lived anywhere, by a long shot. I think that’s why I’m so content to stay.

So you’ll be seeing the same rooms and walls for a long time…I hope that’s OK with you, cause it sure is with me. ;)

Are you in your forever home? Do you dream about what yours would look like? Did you grow up in one house or move a lot like me? My husband lived in one house for all but a few years of his childhood. I LOVE that and would be perfectly happy with the same for our kiddo.

111 comments:

  1. Looks like honeysuckle to me - it should smell sweet once it blooms :D Yes, it can take over quickly, especially on fence rows

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  2. I doubt this is our last home, but we do tend to stay put a while. (Our first home we built, we stayed in 9 years - six by choice, the others due to a really long story.) Second home we built we stayed just 3 years but the move was back to Tennessee and was worth it. Last home was 11 years, which was several too long. (No matter how lovely your land, how convenient your location, or how much work you do on a house, sometimes it is not. meant. to. be.) This home? I see us staying for a while - at least until we retire, and maybe keep it even then but I'm also open to moving if the right situation comes along :-)

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  3. Hey girl. I feel ya. We just went though a situation where we thought we were putting our home on the market...and then we didnt...and this is too tiny to be our forever home, but we will be here a lot longer, and I know the feeling of falling in love all over again. I'm like a greyhound out of the gates with the ideas and the inspiration and the excitement for making it work ;} I totally get it. Good foryou!

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  4. We are in our forever home.
    No matter how our taste or our ideas change we will be staying here.
    This is the home our kids will grow up in and come back home to when they are grown and visit us.
    I LOVE that you LOVE your home too ;o) Have a great day!!!
    .............................
    Tania @ Scandi Coast Home

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  5. This is a wonderful story! We are definitely in our forever house (hence the name of my blog ... Our Forever House). I love knowing that except for some unforeseen changes, we will watch our kids grow up and us grow old in this wonderful home. Congrats on fighting for and preserving your forever home!

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  6. Such an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing!
    I love your attitude, I'm inspired by your neighborhood joining together to save the day.
    There is something special about staying in a home for a length of time...especially if it has heart strings attached for your kiddo.

    xoxo,
    Julie

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  7. That looks like honeysuckle to me too. It smells very sweet, the bees and wasps love it.

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  8. The plant is honeysuckle and you can actually break off the little tip at the bottom of the flower and carefully pull one of the little string things through and nectar comes out that you can eat. We have it everywhere in mississippi & we have all "eaten" honeysuckle as kids. It smells wonderful. It always reminds me of my childhood. Not sure if this is our forever home but I do picture my son & soon to be daughter (at the end of june) coming home from college to this house so I take that as a good sign that we will be here awhile.

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  9. This is the first home I've owned - we bought it as a starter home - that was the intent anyway - we were going to change some things, live in it a few years(no more than five) and then buy some land and build our dream home. We had such big plans! We made some improvements and made it ours. Then our son came along and turns out he's special needs - I stay home with him now and homeschool him. Turns out our home is just shy of handicap accessible without even knowing it - wide doorways, no long halls - 1 story. We'll need to put in a roll in shower in a couple of years, but that's about it. We didn't buy it for that reason(cause we had no idea we'd even have children, much less a special needs little guy). We just bought it cause it was in a neighborhood we loved, it had good bones and was only 8 years old - we did some updating and it was our "good enough" home. Now, we've been in it for 16 years - it will be PAID FOR in 5 years. Its increased in value and its allowed me to stay home with my son all these years. So, while NONE of this was in "the plan", turns out it really was "the plan" all along - we just didn't know it! And while its still not my "Dream Home", it is the HOME that holds my family's dreams! And now I love it and it may just be our forever home. Funny what happens when you try to make plans... :)
    Amy in Austin, TX

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  10. We are in our forever home, barring any fabulous opportunity that would make us move. It didn't start off being our forever home. It was only going to be our starter home. Because we bought this home for a great price, when the market started going down we toyed with the idea of selling and buying something bigger (especially since we'd gone from two kids to three kids) but the thought just broke our hearts so we decided to make this house fit our needs. We're now the parents of four kids whom we homeschool so we're strapped for space right now but we're still not going anywhere. We'll just add on! I moved a lot as a child so I don't think it's that I am attached to the house as much as the desire to have a forever home for our kids. The only place I ever had like that was my great-grandparents home.

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  11. I love my house but in my heart I know it's not my forever home. (strange right?) I'm just waiting to break even (maybe I'll have to wait 10 yrs) and then I'll be out of here.

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  12. This is our forever home, barring job transfers, etc. We jumped into buying this way too quickly - first time home buyers and didn't know anything. I spent 3 years hating it and complaining how ugly it is. Then I woke up and realized how good we have it with award winning schools, wonderful neighbors in a sought-after neighborhood, convenience. You can always change your house but not your neighbors.

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  13. We built our "forever" home 20+ years ago and lived there about 7 years, then my husband was transferrd to another state. He tried to find a job locally but the market was just terrible. In the last 15 years we have moved 3 times. After that unexpected move 15 years ago I decided to NEVER again believe that I knew where I would be or what the future held for us. I love our current home, but I'm just hoping to stay here for next ten years, then retire somewhere smaller and outside the city.

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  14. Seriously, can you stop reading my mind? I was thinking about this ALL WEEK. We just bought our first house. When I say we just bought, I mean we have lived in it for two months. All my ideas I have turned down because I was worried about resale value. Yes, after only being here a couple months, I'm worried about selling it! Nevermind the fact that we bought this house after it was on the market for a week and there were other interested people. I was watching a HGTV design show online and it hit me: I was saying the exact same thing I used to say in my apartment. "I wish I could do that to my place."

    Uh, hello? I CAN DO IT! So I've decided to stop thinking about this house as our first house but just as our home. The place where we may end up for only 5 years or 25 years. Who knows what's going to happen.

    I'm glad they didn't develop apartments. They're such ugly little places. :P lol. My dream is to win the lottery and invest in "apartments" but they'll actually be little cottages. :)

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  15. What a lovely post! It read like a love letter. Very sweet. I love my home, with our builder who went bankrupt and left us with a "complicated roofline" (result:leaks). I love the deer in our "wildlife corridor" behind our home. Thanks for the smile upon my face for I too love my home and it's forever for today!
    laura@imnotatrophywife.com

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  16. The plant is honeysuckle and I loved eating the nectar as a kid. So fun and I love the smell of it.

    We aren't in our forever home, but we're in our for a long time home and it's fun making it work for us. One day, we'll move, but not for a long, long time. :)

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  17. Our home was going to be forever, but because of health problems, it's now too large for me to care for by myself. We have a lady who comes every two weeks to do the bathrooms and floors.....which helps. i prefer to move to a smaller house. My husband, on the other hand wants to stay here! 'Forever' plans unfortunately, don't always come to fruition!

    In our city, apartments must be built in all areas because of a law which protects those who can't afford to buy houses! (Read: come up with the down payment) We are fortunate because we live in a gated community and although there are things I don't like about 'gated', at least the apartments are on the other side of the three lane highway which separates the two.

    I'm glad they aren't building apts which will obstruct or take away your lovely view! We are fortunate to have trails where we live and on walks you can see all kinds of wild life! God Bless

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  18. Ah that's sweet glorious honeysuckle. Brings back many fond childhood memories of sucking the sweet nectar they hold from millions of the blooms while growing up in GA.

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  19. My parents and extended family built their home from the ground up, only bringing in contractors when necessary (Like for electric and adding texture to the drywall.) and it is their "forever" home. I spent the first 18 years of my life in that home and it has so much meaning to me. My husband is active duty Air Force, and in the past (just under) 3 years of being married we've lived in 4 homes together. It's nice to have my parents home to go back to when we visit, it gives me a sense of "this will always be home" in the middle of our uncertain life. :)

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  20. We bought our first home 2 years ago. Before that, my husband and I had 2 previous residences (each of our kids was brought home to a different place). While I don't know if this is our FOREVER home (forever is a long time!) we made it a priority when house hunting to find a place that would grow with our family and that we could see ourselves being happy in for a very long time. I know a lot of people that have gotten "starter" homes and then when the market crashed and values were depressed and whatnot, they couldn't get out of them for a fair price to accommodate their growing families, and we just didn't want that to be a factor for us. So we did our best (within our budget) to find a home that would work for us for the long haul if either we chose, or if we needed to stay for economic reasons. Our house is lacking storage space (we do have a full sized basement, but closet space is at a premium) but really I have no complaints about it and really love our neighborhood. We live close to a great park on a river and have some wonderful neighbors. Frankly, the only thing that's going to move me from this house is a calling from the Lord (either because I'm dead or because He's got other plans for our family elsewhere). I only lived in 2 different homes growing up and I barely remember the first one because I was still so young when we moved. I really liked that growing up. I would like my kids to have that kind of experience as well if it's in the cards. Only time will tell, but I am so thankful for my home and the family that lives inside it!

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  21. Honeysuckle. Taste it, smell it, make it a memory.

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  22. After my divorce, I scrimped and saved until I was able to buy MY OWN home at 42, and since I bought it before it was built, I was able to make some changes to make it even more "mine". I wish I'd been able to make all the closets bigger but other than that I think it's pretty perfect. I love my neighborhood, too--a mix of old and new tucked into the middle of town. It's fun to imagine a "dream home", but I'm quite content in my real life home.

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  23. It's definitely honeysuckle. Pull off a flower, pinch off the bottom and drink the nectar. It's completely edible and super sweet!!!

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  24. I'm in my forever home. But, my future still isn't set in stone, so it's my forever home, for now. :) I'm single and no plans to be married or have kids anytime soon. My house is the perfect size for me with a little bit of room to grow (but not much). The older I get, the more I have to depend on myself only. I love my home and it's what I could afford. I can't even imagine going through the home buying process over and over like some people do, so I'm staying put! I'm so glad things have worked out for you for the time being. :)

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  25. Love reading your blog, but I rarely comment. We are currently living overseas, enjoying traveling and exploring new cultures, while living in a rental home. I don't like many of the design choices in this home (there are turquoise laminate floors and brown sinks), but it's in a great location and I'm thankful for this opportunity. I do dream about our forever home, but we're not in a hurry to move.

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  26. We went through the same thing with fighting a developer w/ apartment complex dreams, we won because we fight, our subdivision paid the highest property taxes in the town and many of the town council members lived in our subdivision. Thank goodness.

    We no longer live there and my husband misses that house. It was one of the few that had views like yours.Now we rent and I love this place but just found out we may be relocated near Chicago due to my husbands job. I can't wait to find our forever home.

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    Replies
    1. My comment above...weird that it says unknown.

      Heading over to check out your Must List!

      MarLaney

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  27. I am a fan of the woods myself and I was delighted to see your post today. Glad to see the bird feeder, too. Please keep us posted on this. :)

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  28. We will def be leaving our home...I love the home but don't really like the area! My husbands military so we didn't really pick this state but I'd like to move back to Florida when he gets out!

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  29. Your plant in question is honeysuckle... A long way from poison sumac, lucky for you! :)

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  30. Hi Sarah!
    I've followed you for so long and I can't believe this is the first time I'm commenting! We moved into our forever home 2 years ago. I NEVER want to move again. Like you I moved around almost every year and my hubby like yours was blessed to stay in one home practically his whole life. I think he got the better deal.

    Blessings,
    Lori @ thestonybrookhouse.com

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  31. Unfortunately your mystery plant is not just honeysuckle, but bush honeysuckle. It's a very invasive plant that is in danger of killing off natural forests. It's so prolific that it takes over and chokes out any new plant growth, including trees. Here's a link that talks about the problem in Indiana: www.in.gov/dnr/files/Bush_Honeysuckle.pdf

    I don't mean to be negative on your lovely post! Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we are in our forever home, and that's a beautiful place to be!!


    Chris
    clemsley (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  32. I had to move a lot so when we moved to this home we decided it would be a home we would stay in awhile :)
    My story was similar as they put in a grocery store. We (the neighborhood) fought it and even though they did go ahead and allow it ... the grocery store did give in to what we needed to keep our homes quiet, safe, and not overly lit. We ended up really liking the perk of going to the store daily if we chose. We only moved here because of grandchildren :) Love family!!!!
    Hugs,
    Bj

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  33. Great post, Sarah! I would have been sad too to see apartments go in behind your home! Glad to hear that crisis was averted.

    For the first time in my on-my-own-adult-life, I can say YES, we are in our forever home. This is our third house, and we knew the previous two homes weren't "it" for us (although we loved them both and had great memories in them). Heck, we still drive by our old homes on occasion!

    Right now, I can honestly say I'm living in my dream home, and am thankful every day that I live here. I love this house, and joke that you'll have to take me out in a pine box before I'll move voluntarily. ;-)

    Great post, and I'm happy to hear you're not moving anytime soon. :-)

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  34. We love our home too! We moved to this one for better schools. We have only lived in this home for twelve years. It was new when we bought it and its time for replacing the big ticket items.

    I know what you mean about the apartments... They wanted to build a 24 hour Walmart less than 1 mile away from our subdivision. We fought like mad to
    prevent it and won. Who needs all that in their quiet
    neighborhood?

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  35. I thought I was in my forever home here on cape cod. Been here 7 years.Winters are great and mild. The weather is great. Your story is my story. I have all kinds of wild life In the backyard and tons of trees. Word was they were going to build windmills 150 ft from my lot line. I just sold the house and now the town shot the wind project down for now,but you and I both know it will eventually go through. Money always wins. No regrets.

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  36. I'm so happy for you. You do have a lovely view, and it will be nice to keep it!

    We do not live in our forever home, though it feels like we've been here forever. We've outgrown it, but the crappy economy means we're stuck here. Oddly enough, we bought right before the market skyrocketed...so we still have equity, but my husband isn't making really any more than he was several years ago (again, crap economy). So we have to stay here b/c we can't afford to move up. It is really discouraging to see many of our friends buying or building their dream homes, but I try to remember how blessed I am to even have a home of our own....

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  37. I never moved until I gradated High School! 18 years in the same house, it was time to get out. Since then I've moved six times(in 11 yrs) courtesy of the USMC. We have a house in MASS, we built a house and sold it in Arkansas, and now have a house in Indianapolis that we will give to my mother-in-law when we move once again thanks to the USMC.
    The idea of a forever home freaks me out. It screams comfort and I don't ever want to be too comfortable that I forget about people who don't have homes across the world, heck even the USA! I don't even think I could live in ONE place too long, either...I'll blame the military on that one.

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  38. I agree with everyone- that, my friend, is the joy of each child at my old elementry school where is grew like weeds on the playgroud! It is honeysuckle!!!

    We are in our "for a long time" house now. We moved here from our starter home, and love it so much! We have decided that, if some point we need more space, we will just add on (we have great add on potential here).

    My husband's dad has a cattle ranch, and one day we plan to retire up there and build our "family home"- the one with the big wrap around porch and plenty of room for all the grandkids to come and stay. But for at least 20-30 years, we are here. And who knows, we might stay here even longer! I love this house! I would love to build though!

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  39. As much as I love our home, we bought it knowing that it wouldn't be our forever home. My hubs is insistent that we live on the lake, and while I love the idea too, it's not as much of a deal breaker for me as it is for him. My father-in-law is a realtor, so every chance we get, we look on the MLS and go see houses, but still haven't found something that fits all of our needs (not to mention our budget - lakefront can be mighty expensive). We've recently toyed with the idea of buying a piece of land, keeping it for a few years, and eventually building on it. We've already scouted out the land, called the power company (who owns the lake) to make sure it's dockable, and looked into financing options. The only thing left is to have a builder come look at it to make sure it would work for what we want, and then we may be putting an offer on it. Kind of exciting and scary all at the same time. We never thought that we'd build a house but after looking at all our options (maybe we're - okay, I'm - too picky), it seems like the best bet because our next home WILL BE our forever home.

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  40. The plant looks like honeysuckle. We have it growing in our backyard.

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  41. Thanks for sharing. I want my forever home :) Joyfully Jealous! Someday....

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  42. Your post reminds me of the story of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower. They didn't end up buying their first home (they lived in military or temporary housing) until several years after WWII and he had retired from the Army. When they were ready to purchase, they remembered a place they had loved early in their marriage and bought it-a farm adjacent to Gettysburg battlefield. They renovated during his presidency and finally got to retire to their "forever home" over 40 years after they got married and lived in it until both of their deaths. I think it was worth waiting for. :)

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  43. I totally understand the pain you've been going through, wondering if and when that beautiful land will be developed. We bought a house two years ago across the street from a golf course. It's a small golf course, but full of nature and wildlife and grass and trees, nonetheless. Once we settled in, neighbors told us that the owner of the course had been trying to sell it to a developer for some time. There have been talks of a senior community, upscale townhomes, and plain old apartment buildings. I guess something will go in eventually, but like you, I hope it never does!

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  44. No. We are not in our forever home. It's beautiful, our property and surrounding Blue Ridge Mountain area, but for us it's not about the aesthetics, although when we sell this house and move we hope to be somewhere just as beautiful... but perhaps a different kind of beauty. There's no telling where our retirement years, coming up VERY soon, will take us. I certainly wouldn't want looming apartments in my backyard either.... ughs to that!

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  45. My family lives in DC - in the heart of the city. We're currently borrowing our good friends basement apartment (saving up till our second baby arrives), then we're going to rent for a little while, maybe a couple of years. Housing is expensive here. Comically so it seems. We know that we couldn't possibly afford our "forever" home anytime soon here. That is a ways off. Hopefully we'll get there one day.

    So in the meantime we did the only sensible thing: bought an old farmhouse in the backwoods of West Virginia (two hour drive), where we go on the weekends, that we treat as our forever house, because this place is going to get passed down through the generations. I absolutely love it. Super affordable, tons of space and fun, just easy living out there - a great way to slow down from our city lives.

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  46. We own our home but it is sadly not our forever home (at least I don't believe so). My hubs is in the Marine Corps so we are going to be moving again soon. Unfortunately we both have fallen head over heels in love with our current house (and location). It was a foreclosed home that we have completely remodeled. Though because we are probably not in our forever home we constantly dream about what we want. The list is piling up! ;-)

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  47. I so understand!!! We fought 3 story development on the property line behind our last house for several years. Because we lived Ina small subdivision, there were only 5 homeowners to take on the biggest developer in town. We hired a lawyer, collectively spent $10,000, and still couldn't even get a berm! To get the zoning they desired ( from farmland to a zoning that allowed even the worst commercial) they succeeded in getting the land declared unsuitable for anything else. Our property values plummeted. We were fortunate that we had already planned to move (after 28 years) and build on family farm land. We lost lots on the sale of our house, but now we live in the middle do acres and acres of woods and control the view in every direction. My best advise would be to begin now planting trees and shrubs to create your own screening. ( I know it's impossible to completely block a 3 story building.). Our battle started 10 years ago...to date, nothing has yet been built behind our old house. Lets hope it's the same for you!
    Terry

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  48. We are in a house that was not to be our "forever" home but between the tanked real estate economy and our love of the schools - I know we will end up staying. The house is "cozy" with a teeny tiny lot but my kids have great friends and with great schools - I can't ask for more - right?

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  49. You do have a lovely yard and view!

    We are in our forever home. It's a small old decrepit farmhouse surrounded by hundreds of acres of land. We know the farmers who own the fields around us, and we know that they aren't going to re-zone the land and sell it for development. Actually - they wouldn't be able to if they wanted. The land is environmentally protected by the local conservation authority.

    We live in the sticks, and we're basically having to rebuild from the inside out. But we wouldn't have it any other way. Small town life is absolutely for us.

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  50. This is quite a raw topic in our home right now. My parents have lived in the same house for over 40 years. They both grew up in the area as did many generations before them. I have been married almost 14 years and we have lived in 8 places- 3 of those places have been house we've owned. I love moving, but now that our kids are older I am ready to put down roots. Unfortunately, the house we are in now is NOT the house to do that in. It's a nice enough house in a lovely neighborhood, but I need acreage. If we could sell this place and move out of town, I would be content. My dream forever home would be a big old farmhouse on a minimum of 20 acres with a lovely old barn for horses. That dream is completely attainable here, but it depends on being able to sell our current home in a poor market. My heart aches to get out of here to a house I can truly love and see myself in forever.

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  51. We are military, so no forever home in the near future, unless something drastic changes. I would love to have a home that I could change and work on, I guess I'll have to wait for that. In the 7 years we have been married we have lived in 4 different homes, all very different.

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  52. We just moved into this house in the fall and it is our forever home. I still wake up months later and can't believe this is our house, I still fall in love with it every morning!

    I rarely stay in a home for more then a few years, so this is big for me to call this our forever home. My youngest daughter is only 5 1/2 and she has already lived in 4 homes- but no more, I am so excited at the thought of her growing up in this house, and all my grandkids coming back to the house that their mom grew up in!! Wohoo to forever homes!!

    ~Elizabeth

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  53. I wish we were in our forever home. My husband is in the Army and we'll be moving for the 5th time in 10 years. It's hard but with every move I get a blank slate to do whatever I want to do. I have to look to the positive side of things or I'd go crazy. We're actually going to TN this weekend to go house hunting. Someday my husband will retire and we'll FINALLY buy our forever home. I'm counting down the years until then!

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  54. Yep, we found ours! We've been in it for about a year and have done quite a bit of work to it. It's got great yard that backs up to a park and baseball fields. We can see our kids growing up there. It's definitely not perfect (it was built in the 70s), but we've made it our own and can see the potential it has to change and grow with us. Love it!

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  55. That plant looks like honeysuckle. Growing up, it grew along the fence of our school playground. A lot of kids would take it and suck on it to get the sweetness. Not me....couldn't bring myself to do it! ha! What if a bee flew up my nose! lol

    Anyways, please please do a post about building a home. (Your experiences with it and also building vs. buying one that's already built) My husband and I live in a town where either the houses we can afford are too small or old and need a lot of work. We have wanted to build, but is it really worth it. Do you save money by building it yourself? (We live in a parsonage now so it's not "our" home.)

    Thanks! SO happy things worked out for you!

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  56. The vine growing along the fence if wild honeysuckle which smells so sweet and wonderful. I believe I am probably in my forever home now. It's old, it's small and there's much work to do, but it has so much charm and character and I love it. It has the perfect yard for my family too though there is much work there also. We had the threat of an apartment complex moving in next to us last summer and like you we went and protested. The city went ahead and allowed the developer permission to build but for whatever reason the developer changed his mind and put the property up for sale and I was so relieved (maybe the threats from the nearby home owners got to him, lol). Just kidding, either way I will say this, our home had better be my forever home because by time I do all the work to get it to where I like it, I AM NOT MOVING!!!

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  57. For me, this is our forever home. I think the husband would call it our 'forever until we retire and maybe want to downsize home'. I might be ok with that too. We didn't build it, but it was brand new when we bought it. Ours backs up to a cornfield and while I know that someday someone might buy that farmer out and build more houses, for now it seems like that won't happen for awhile. So I'm content, in spite of sometimes having to call police on lousy neighbors, but I love this neighborhood and 99% of the people in it as well as the house we picked and the changes we made to make it our own. I'm glad you won the fight against the apartments, that would be awful.

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  58. Definitely not our forever home (or at least we pray it's not!) :) Not that we don't love it! It's a sweet little home and we are so grateful for it, but the little part is getting difficult! We've brought our 3 boys home to this house and it will be hard to leave it, but we're now trying to fix all of the things we wish we'd had the time and money to do before so we can sell it.
    There's nothing like having a house you love! We do but it's time to go! :)

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  59. I don't know if we're in our forever home, but I certainly wouldn't call it our "starter" home either (even though it's the first place we've actually owned). We live in one of the most expensive markets in Canada and there's still talk of the "bubble" bursting sometime hear in the near future so I don't see us buying up anytime soon.
    Still, we have a lovely 3 bedroom townhouse in a wonderful complex near schools and shopping, but still out in the countryside--I'd be grateful if we could live here until our son finishes school. It's not huge (but definitely big enough for our wee family) and there's nothing custom about it, but we've made a few changes here and there and will hopefully continue to do so as our finances will allow.
    I pray that we'll be allowed to stay here as long as we want/need but I know that sometimes God has other plans for us so I'm open to changes if anything alters our path in life. So I guess I see this as our "Forever For Now" home, LOL!

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  60. I'm not in a forever home, but I am in an apartment that I love. My view is much like yours. Woods with just a few home on the other side, just about 5 on the entire street, but even in the winter, it's wooded enough that I can't see them. Everyone remarks on how quiet my place is. I'm lucky though, I know some builders cut down all the trees and line it with concrete or buildings. Hope your view stays as beautiful as it is now.

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  61. Honeysuckle...(as everyone else as said). We used to pull the bloom, pull the bottom off and lick it. see video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa2OcJ-WvMw
    Very sweet...awww it takes me right back to my youthful days.
    We purchased our second home 4 yrs ago. It was really our "first" home, b/c we purchased one in 1992, but only lived in it a year, then rented it out. (MY DH was career Army.) So this house is really our "first". Due to the devaluation of real estate, we'll be here for awhile, but to hear my husband talk, it won't be forever. Moving every 2-3 years was the norm for him growing up, too, b/c his Dad was career Army. I like to grow roots, and although this house is not my "dream" house, I'm not looking forward to moving any time soon. It sits on just about 2 acres, surrounded by trees on almost 3 sides, we have pear trees, a magnolia, dogwood, Japanese maple, ornamental cherry, azalea, hydrangea (blue even), roses, daffodils, and they all came with the house. I just wish I had a porch to sit on and enjoy the outdoors. It's a split-foyer, so we only have a stoop and no deck(s). But it's all ours.

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  62. Well we just bought our forever home, but we are not in it yet. We are in the process of gutting it and fixing it up.

    I say forever, but I do planning on getting a condo with my friends after our husbands die ala Golden Girls. Ha, Ha.

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  63. I don't know if I'm living in my forever home. I'm a single mom and 8 years ago, I was just so thankful that I could buy a place I liked. I've made some changes in the house so I like it even better, but it really is a bit small for myself and my teenage daugters - too much togetherness at times!

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  64. We're not in our forever house, but I know how you feel! We bought our current home because of the gorgeous, rolling green hillside behind our house. It was untouched and ours as far as we were concerned. Now, developers have come in, built a road and one house is already up and built. It looks directly into our backyard. Ugh.

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  65. My little house is probably my forever home, just because it's affordable and the location can't be beat. It's not my dream home... but I can live with it. :)

    Perhaps you could approach the owner of the land behind you and buy a strip that is adjacent to your lot. It won't solve the issue of possible future neighbors, but it would give you more of a buffer if anything ever does get built there. You can plant more trees for privacy.

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  66. Didn't plan for this fourth house in 30 years to be forever, but its looking that way due to economy and our age...we keep thinking about our retirement and don't want a mortgage while retired. I do not get attached to houses...to me they are just buildings. Weird I know.

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  67. I'm not sure if the house we live in now is our forever home, but we purchased it thinking it would be. The thought of leaving it makes me sad, even though we've only been there a little over a year. I knew our house was "our house" the moment I walked through the back door. Sure, there's only one bathroom and it's rather small, but how important are bathrooms anyway? My children have room to grow (which can't be said for the rental we lived in previously for five years). Our family has room to grow. Who knows where we'll be in 5, 10, or 15 years, but for now I can see having my children's families home for Christmas, years of birthday parties and graduation open houses, and that one, teeny tiny bathroom . . .

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  68. I plan for our house to be our forever home. I know anything can happen but I grew up in the same house from the time I was about 3. My parents sold that house a year ago. My hubs was the same way & his parents still live there. Our lot is a lot like yours. We back up to a pasture that has horses & goats. I love watching the goats. We see deer & rabbits & hear the coyotes!

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  69. Interesting post. Maybe I need something like that to happen to me. I have prayed that this home and the one I lived in last will not be the place I die. Neither have been in towns I care to live in forever and this house doesn't have all I want (sunroom, office), and while they could be added, as you said, the values have tanked. However, my oldest daughter had been in 3 different schools by 2nd grade due to job situations, so I would like to be here until she graduates and also for the fact that she has a good soccer coach and it would be hard to find a comparable coach elsewhere if she hopes to play in college. For those in there forever home, which is where I had hoped to be, I hope they realize how fortunate they are.

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  70. I lived in the same house all my life, until I got married and bought a condo. My parents still live there, so I love how my daughter can play in the same backyard that I did and can swing in the same hammock that I loved as a kid.

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  71. Have you looked into buying the land?

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  72. We are not yet in our forever home. In fact, we are far from it.

    I have moved every 6 years of my life...which, if continued, would put my next move in two years. And we are tentatively starting to plan that move and the forever home we hope to find or build at that time. Because I'd like to stay put somewhere for a while!! :)

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  73. We are definitely in our starter home. Of course the market tanked after we bought in 2007, so we will probably be here longer than we might have originally thought. (and we may have to rent it instead of selling it down the road) Our house is a builder basic postage-stamp 1/4 acre lot, no basement, and the two-car garage only fits one car.

    My hope is that our forever home will be just the right amount of cute downtown neighborhoodish, but still spread out land, maybe 1 or 2 acres, lots of character (I love craftsman/bungelows) and land that wasn't scalped before building. I definitely want a basement, but the overall house doesn't need to be huge.

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  74. I'm so glad the apts got cancelled!

    We just moved into our house that we built last year. We too moved around a lot. We think we'll be in this one for at least 10 years to get the kids through high school and college, then who knows. :)

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  75. What a fun story! I actually practice land use law, so I'm (sometimes) that jerk who is up there in front of the commissioners, trying to get apartments! It can be tough, so it's important to pick a good location and place the development in the right spot! Glad everything worked out in your favor : )

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  76. That's wonderful that the developer pulled out. Congrats! It can be tricky when buying a lot that has empty land behind it, because you never know what will be built on that land. (Unless it's protected land.)

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  77. I'm happy for your family & community. We have had our delightful cows moved, a wonderful barrier hedge torn down and the pasture dug up for a K-8th school. It's entrance is directly across from the entrance of our community! What is so bothersome about this is a couple hundred yards down from us is another community which backs up to this lot and everyone has fences up. No one has to look at a building and have other options for exiting their community.

    Enjoy your beautiful habitat whiel you have it! Theda

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  78. The picture of the flowering bush is known as wild azalea. They have flowers which look like honeysuckle, but do not have the scent of honeysuckle, and are not a vine the way honeysuckle is. They often grow along creek banks and marshy areas. The bushes are not full but rather gangly. They are almost impossible to grow in your garden or propagate. I think they are beautiful and worth protecting from developers!

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  79. Those are definately honey suckles. I love them. When I was a kid we had them overgrown like crazy all along the back of our fence... the entire yard would smell wonderful and you can even get little drops of honey from them! yum!
    There is nothing quite like a little bit of space, tress and peace and quite. I would be upset about apartment buildings too!
    Our home is our first home. It was always supposed to be our first home... but now we talk as if it could be our forever home. I could see is where we are forever and the thought makes me smile!

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  80. I would LOVE for this house to be our forever home. It's just the right size for us (although we could use one more bedroom) and I love all of its quirks. I love our neighbors, I love our tiny town, I love it all. However, my husband is less in love with it. Although he does like it a lot, he really wants something newer and that needs less work. Maybe eventually I can talk him out of wanting to move :) We wouldn't move soon but I KNOW we can make this house 100% perfect for us.

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  81. Congratulations on winning that battle!! You may have not won the war, but at least your little slice of heaven is safe for now. :-)

    The plant looks like honeysuckle. If it smells amazing, that's probably what it is. I used to have it in my backyard when I lived in Ohio. Loved it! Miss it!

    We are in a nice home in California now, that we are so blessed to have, but I don't think it's our "forever" home. I want to end up either in the south, or somewhere further east, and hope to have a "forever house" with a lot more architectural character. I guess time will tell. For now, we do really like our home.

    Your's is beautiful, and will soon have a basement to ENVY!! Oh geez, I really miss my basement!!
    xo-Lisa

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  82. My house was too small when I had three kids and feels big now that only one is home. When we walked in to the open house 20 years ago, I fell hard and fast and it hasn't changed at all. Every house has its issues and there have been plenty with this one, but it is everything I ever wanted.

    On another note, our neighborhood went through some changes because of a walking trail that was put in across the street. When it was done, the city installed a black chain link fence that was awful. Those of us that have to look at it went to the city council and parks board meeting. It took awhile but they changed it to a log rail fence.

    If you love your neighborhood, love living there.......speak up when things are done on your behalf but without your input. YOU do have a say in the place you live.

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  83. Any chance you and your neighbors can pool resources and buy it? Maybe draw up a contract that nothing can be built there and it cannot be sold or maybe turn it into a park etc? Worth looking into.

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  84. Every house we are in we think it is forever; but something changes and usually for the better, in some way. Just enjoy it every day and appreciate it but if the time comes for a change, embrace the change; it will be for the better. We will be building our final forever home in a few months and leaving our current forever home that we love on over 100 acres.

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  85. Yay, good for you and your neighbors for at least this victory!

    The house we live in now was Devin's before I met him, so by default I moved in. We debate regularly on how long we think we'll stay in this home. We're getting married in September and soon after plan to start a family so for now, we're going to stay in our house until we outgrow it. That being said, I do think about when we want to make upgrades and improvements on how much I'll miss this place whenever/if ever we decide to leave someday. Especially as we put more sweat, work and love into each and every room.

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  86. I am so happy for you guys! We are in a starter home right now and it's very nice but we dream of a view and space like you are describing. So glad you get to keep it : )
    ryanres1

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  87. k, fwiw, I suggest planting a row of trees in your yard in front of your beloved trees. Tree insurance for the future. Is there room?

    Also, you say we will need to look at the same rooms & walls for a long time...haha, I haven't been around this blog as long as some, but long enough to know how false that is! Ok, it's the same floor plan, but the rooms & the walls change fairly often around here! :)
    Chrissy

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  88. Nothing is forever. Just count today's blessings.

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  89. We are in our forever home, but it's actually a barn, so we combined the words barn+house=bouse:-) We've got a long way to go to make it exactly what we want and our vision for it even 6 years from now is completely different. thank you pin.terest and well, your site. But I love this place, even when the farmers spread their cow manure on the fields!!

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  90. I live in the same house now that I grew up in for most of my childhood. It was a circle that came around for me, after living in many different apartments. I never get tired of seeing pics of your house and rooms. Keep them coming! Your blog is one of my favorites that I read.

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  91. We're not in our forever home, but I know we're not at a point where we can move yet. I really need to work to make our house a place I'm happy with now.

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  92. I'm in my forever house, but I don't love it. My house is small, but I love the neighborhood. By a fluke (my husband bought our home before we met) my son actually attends the same elementary school I went to and so did his principal. It has created a very homey feel for us knowing that some of his teachers had their kids go to the same school, too. I love the idea that he will go to school from K-12 with many of the same kids from the neighborhood. What lifelong friendships he will have! I know you feel the same way. ;) What makes this even more special is that we live in a suburb of a large metro area and we have such a small town feel.

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  93. I've lived in the same house all my life (22 years). I grew up in this house and I love it. I'm moving soon because I'm all grown up and I am so so sad about it. This is MY house. Everything is so familiar and..mine.

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  94. So happy for you. I would want to stay forever with all the love you have put into this home. Are we in our forever home? Maybe. I thought the last one was until retirement, lol. I love many things about this house plus the .8 acre wooded lot.
    It feels like home, so it's home for now!

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  95. The thought of being in the same house for the next 5 years, much less forever, makes me a little nauseous! I love to move and see new places and meet new people and mostly, decorate new spaces! My best friend is a "forever home" person. She doesn't get me and I don't get her! lol If I thought this had to be my forever home, I would be devastated. That's for old people!

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  96. My husband and I just closed on our 1st home a few months ago and honestly when we bought it, it was with the intent on forever. We could grow home here. We bought a house on 2 acres so we'd have room to grow if we so choose. We are less than 5 minutes away from his parents and my Dad. We have a few friends looking to buy 5-10 year homes and tha tmakes no sense to us, but hey, to each their own. My husband moved a few times as a kid. I lived in the same home from when I was 2 years old til we just moved out (I was 27).

    SO happy you won't be viewing apartments from your backyard.

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  97. we just fought a 24hr wal-mart superstore in our area! and won!! good grief it was a 5 year process.
    we are no where near the "city" but the main road heading into town from our property is where they were gonna plop one down! its a 2 lane road, no sidewalks, with a elementary, middle, and high school all within walking distance (school zone, with crosswalk guards!).. what were they thinking? Im all for the walmarts, just not down the country road, near the schools or my "backyard".. it only leads for more big box development, road widening, heavy traffice, bottle necking, gridelock, blah blah blah!

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  98. Definitely NOT my forever home - left that one for a new job, and the one we have now was so much better before we moved in than it turned out to be. There's nothing about this house I like, so I've gotten over being sentimental about it. But we have a house, so I'm not complaining. Love your blog!

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  99. great, great post. great, great comments! i wish i knew whether this would be our forever home. week to week our thoughts about that change. it could become our forever home, but that would only be because it managed to dodge many, many bullets! i don't know if we will ever feel settled, though. my husband--- he's a mover. sigh... 3 years in this house is a record for us, though! yay, us!

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  100. I would love to move to a larger house. I really love this house, but as our kids grow we are realizing that it is just too small. Unfortunately the houseing market here is terrible right now. So selling our home for what we would need to sell it for is not something that will be happening anytime soon. Maybe someday.

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  101. Great words... Especially in the search for contentment and the trend for wanting to always be looking for the "next move up." Can you do any more planting of trees/ shrubs on your property line so that when the time comes it might be mature and block off whatever is back there and still give you a great view? Glad things worked out with the developer!

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  102. Our house is too small to be our forever home, but it is definitely our really, really long time home. Mostly because of the values dropping so much. But, we love it for now. It's a little cape cod with tan brick, redish door and shutters, the best, greenest, prettiest grass in the neighborhood and of course adorable landscaping to match. My husband has a knack for landscaping. We also have a wooded area behind our house. It's actually part of a water retention basin so it will never be built on. I love the privacy and wildlife! We also have kids on four-wheelers but are totally still learning to love that part. haha. The plant is definitely honeysuckle. One of my faves! Which is good because it's pretty much taking over Kentucky where I live. The smell is amazing and totally reminds me of my childhood as well. My cousins and I spent lots of summer days eating the honey off of those! Thanks for sharing so much of you with us. It's like having a special friend!

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  103. What a great meaningful post. Our homes are so much to us then bricks and morter. So glad to hear yall were able to stop the development.

    We moved last summer to our forever home. We've moved so many times it's hard to think this is really is! It's wonderful to put my own touches on it. It's beautiful to think this is where my grandkids will visit no more moving!!

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  104. Since we have been in our home since
    November of 1970 I guess we are in
    our forever home.

    Unless we win lotto we will stay where
    are. Nothing fancy but it is our home
    and we have had a very Happy Time
    in our little house.

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  105. Invasive bush honeysuckle.
    Eradicate it.
    Replace it with beneficial indigenous plants.
    You'll be happier.

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  106. We just moved into our forever home in February. I live with a brain injury, so we designed a house that I can live in for the rest of my life, and should I hit my head again (as I am prone to do), I can recoup at home instead of a hospital because the whole first floor is accessible. My husband is European, so our design is more transitional than nursing home, which was pretty important to us, too. Most of the universal design issues are not obvious. Since we built, we also took care to make our house as energy-efficient and earth friendly as we could afford. It's been pretty nice to have $25 heating bills this winter! I just posted a tour if you're interested: http://dejongdreamhouse.blogspot.com/2012/04/house-tour.html

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  107. Man, I was seriously getting sad and mad for you until you said the developer pulled out. In the home I grew up in, in MA, our neighborhood had common property that everyone was part owner of. Not like HOA run common land, but we had some land back into the woods around the neighborhood like what you have that was commonly owned by the homeowners. I have no idea how that all worked, but just thought I would throw that out there in case that is a possiblilty for your neighborhood to go in together and buy the surrounding land. Then it would never get developed.

    We are currently renting the house we are in...we own a townhouse which for a loooong time has been too small for our growing family. When we were expecting baby #4 last year, we just had to move. But because the market is so awful here in AZ, we didn't want to short sell so we are renting it out. I have been dreaming of a real home that I will never move from for a LONG time. Years. I can finally see the light at the end of the waiting tunnel and hopefully by this time next year we will be in our forever home. I want a house I can raise my kids, host wedding receptions in (hello, I have 4 daughters!), host holidays with grandkids in, and then eventually die in. Is that too much to ask?

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  108. It is honeysuckle!!! It does grow wild but here in Arkansas the kids love and adults too LOVE to suck the honey out of the little blooms. They smell awesome too :)

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  109. We call our home a "forever home," too!

    It's just an old apartment-turned-condo, but the bones are good so we're upgrading the moldings one room at a time.

    We want it to eventually look like a like an historic, Greek Revival Manhattan townhouse.

    That's the plan anyway.

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