We were babies. Still in high school, working our after school gig at the same local grocery store. At the time, we were nothing more than acquaintances punching the same time clock. It wasn't until a couple years later, when Jeremy came home on leave from an overseas deployment, that we connected. He was stationed in San Diego with the Marine Corps, while I was a student in Rhode Island. We were literally a world apart, so we would talk on the phone any time we got the chance. He was a sweet talker, that one. He'd sing me Frank Sinatra songs and tell me my smile was more beautiful than the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. He escorted me to the Marine Corps Ball, and even cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner for the two of us. Needless to say, it wasn't long before I scoffed that man up and made him my husband.
It was time for me to leave my parent's home in Massachusetts and move across the country to sunny California, to start our lives as newlyweds. I lived one glorious year without winter before Jeremy was discharged after his four year service with the Marine Corps, and we headed back home to the East Coast. It was an uncertain time. I was newly pregnant with our first child and we had no jobs to come home to. My parents graciously opened their home to us and built an in-law apartment in their basement. We were on the 5 year plan. A plan for Jeremy to go to college and get a degree. A plan to pay off our debt. A plan to get on our own two feet. Our plan took 6.5 years. With his diploma hot off the press, he was hired by Schwan's to work from their headquarters in Marshall, Minnesota.
Marshall, Minnesota. Have you ever heard of such a place? No? That's because it's in the middle of nowhere. We packed up our two kids and my growing baby bump, and bought our first home in this little rural town. It was a sweet little thing. A four bedroom brick ranch on a quiet street, lined with retired Grandmas. There was no Target to be found within a 100 miles, but I found quick use of the Dairy Queen down the street. We got plugged into a church right away and made the kind of friends that last a lifetime. Our last baby was born in Marshall, and our big kids learned to hunt and fish and do all the things you do in the country. Life was good. But our time in Minnesota was over in a blink when Jeremy's job was transferred back to the Northeast.
Of course, we settled down in Massachusetts again where our kids could have easy access to sleepovers with grandparents and cousins. We bought our second home out in the sticks. Sort of an ode to our time in the country that we were quickly beginning to miss. We chopped down trees on our property to heat the house. We got chickens to give us eggs. We made cosmetic updates to the house and I started my sign business in the basement. But as the year went on, Jeremy's travel schedule was becoming more than any of us wanted to handle. It was time to move on to a new company, which meant it was time to move on to a new state.
Illinois made a blip on the radar of the places we've called home. With our track record of moving around the country, we thought it might be a good idea to rent a house this time. We met the people. We did the things. In fact, we made some more of those 'last a lifetime' kind of friends. We went through the motions of building a life there. But at the end of the day, Illinois just wasn't the right fit for our family. After a year, our lease was coming to an end and we had to make a decision. Our beloved Minnesota was just a stone's throw away. And after all, it was part of Jeremy's territory.
We ripped that Band-Aid so fast, before we knew it, we were back in Minnesota, in what we thought was our dream home. This time, a little closer to Target. We had a beautiful lake view, but an HOA that said we couldn't have chickens. Our house was only two years old, but it had no character. We had a neighborhood full of kids to play with, but no privacy. It became very clear to us what our priorities were. And although we updated that house just the way we liked it, it didn't quite feel like home.
Lucky for us, the gal that sold us our house turned into a great friend of ours. She knew our story and she knew our hearts. We wanted to get back to the country. She told us about this dreamboat piece of property that seemed too good to be true. Her husband walked us through the house and wrote up our offer. We prepped our house for sale, and had a full price offer before it hit the market. We spent the next two months dreaming and planning of what our life would be like on the farm. We would drive by just to catch another glimpse of that barn and the sweet little farmhouse that stands in front. Finally, the day came when the Angels rejoiced, and we were the proud new owners of Havenwood Homestead.