With life calming down just a tad over the past year, Aaron and I saw fit to spice things up by throwing all cards of major life decisions up in the air at once. Our too-small house, too-crappy public school, and too-expensive private school situations coupled with the prospect of a change in Aaron's job forced us to re-examine our living situation. After ten awesome years in Atlanta, we decided it was time to return to Austin to be closer to family and good, free public schools (as well as Longhorn football and rockin' Mexican food). The whole concept of "moving back to Austin" turned out to be easier said than done, and it took us seven long months to work it out, but we are finally Lone Star State-bound.
Ironically, when we bought this house, we never intended to be in it longer than a few years, much less have kids in it. Three children later, the house is bursting at the seams not only with stuff, but with memories. As first-time home buyers, we closely monitored the construction of the house and labored over optimizing the layout and selecting the right flooring, back splash, paint colors, etc. for our tastes (and potential buyers down the line). With loads of extra space after we moved the contents of our one-bedroom apartment into the three-bedroom house, we filled the extra bedrooms with two cats. As first-time car buyers, we brought home our first major purchase besides the house and kept the one-car garage meticulously neat to accommodate the new vehicle. As first time parents, we nervously carried Cade into the house in his infant carrier to introduce him to his "brothers" (the cats). With each new addition to the family, we celebrated and decorated with more baby gear, eventually forcing the car (and the cats) out to the driveway to accommodate our growing collection of strollers and babies.
As the boys got older, we explored the park and the neighborhood, taking frequent "family walks" to the Smyrna Market Village and library. We settled at the preschool across the road and joined the church affiliated with the preschool. We joined the local MOMS Club and made a group of good, lifelong family friends. We attended countless concerts in the town square, joined the neighborhood playgroup, and shopped at the local farmer's market.
The house, and Smyrna, has been good to us. It's with bittersweet sadness that I say goodbye because it has housed me during what I consider to be the best years of my life. I know there are lots of good years to come and that a house is just a house, and that family and memories will be with us wherever we go - but that doesn't make it any easier to leave the house where our family first started. Because even though technically we're going "back home" to Texas, leaving home in Georgia really sucks.