This weekend marks nine years that we've lived in Michigan. Both Jeff and I were raised in Michigan. Jeff grew up in Portage and I consider Midland my home town. It seems like a very long time ago that we packed all of our belongings and a three week old Matthew and headed north! We desperately wanted to raise our family in Michigan, closer to Jeff's family and in a more reasonably priced area! Not to say that we didn't love our Chicago years. Both Jeff and I moved to downtown Chicago when we graduated from MSU in 1998. When we moved to Chicago, we were just friends. We didn't start dating for two years, but we had many mutual friends and hung out all the time. I have never had more fun than during those single, Chicago days. Cubs games, gorgeous Lake Michigan, with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop, just blocks away from your apt, great bars, laid back people..GREAT times were had in Chicago. But, once we started dating, and eventually married, the reality of what it would mean to live and raise a family in downtown Chicago, had us high tail it out to the suburb of Rolling Meadows where we bought our first home, a sweet little town home. At 202 College Crossing, we went from a couple to a family when we welcomed Matthew at the end of April. Desperate to stay at home with my little guy, I began looking for job for Jeff in Michigan the year before. He was working for a CPA firm back then and barely had time to sleep, let alone job search. I remember him meeting his prospective bosses from Borgess at a bar in Mattawan for his interview, which had to take place on a Sunday, his only day off during the busy season. He came back saying he thought it went well(and that it had to be a good sign that they wanted to meet him at a bar), and a few days later we knew we were headed to Michigan. Soon after I was put on bed rest and so Jeff went house hunting all by his lonesome, armed with an extensive list of my "must haves" and a video camera. I still can't believe we bought a house without me ever actually laying eyes on it! We had Matthew, and thanks to my mom coming to save the day and literally packing everything, were soon on our way to Portage.
So much has happened over the last nine years. We added two more kids, we've gone through many stages, from the baby and toddler years to now having three school aged kids! We've met some awesome people in Portage and feel very blessed to have some wonderful neighbors who've become friends. We love living close to Jeff's mom and feel so thankful for the love she's poured into our kids. Portage is a great community with good people. I can't think of a better place to raise a family. This house, that I never saw, until I owned it, has been good to us. Sure, I'd love to change some things but I can't help but love this house we've become a family in. From a three month old Matthew, to two little girls who share a room and lots of mischievous nighttime giggles, Christmas Eve spent with our good friends and neighbors the Maynards, bonfires with gaggles of neighborhood kids clamoring for smores and adults clamoring for one more beer! Lively discussions and heartfelt talks on neighborhood decks. The annual caroling party that we've held for the past four years. Lots of good things have happened here and I doubt anyone has ever noticed that our carpet is worn and stained:) Living in a great community where you feel you belong and know without a doubt that you could count on in good times and in bad is something I don't take lightly. We have loved these last nine years and the memories we've made and look forward to many more years of fun to come and maybe, just maybe, someday..new carpet!