How to Make Living With Your In-Laws Work

If you’ve been following along here, you’ll know that since we sold our house so quickly, Ben and I (and our littles) are living with my in-laws until our new place is ready.

Whenever I tell anyone this, I generally either get looks of horror or looks of sympathy, with the same tentative ”So, how’s it going?“


You live with your in-laws???

I promise you (and not just because my mother-in-law reads my blog) that it’s going fine. Really, it is.

I know what you’re thinking (because people say these things to me): “Really? Really it’s going fine? How is that possible? I couldn’t take it!”

My in-laws are great. They’re easy going and fun, and they have good perspective on life in general. I started dating Ben when I was 16, so I’ve been around a while (nearly 16 years), and they put up with me really well. I am, by far, the most high maintenance person living in the house at the moment (and at the moment, there are eight people).

Maybe I just have the World’s Best In-Laws. In the case that I do, and you are stuck with the Second Best In-Laws, here are some suggestions for how you can make your situation work:

  • Be flexible. You can’t go imposing your schedule on other people when you’re living in their house. You like to eat at 5:30 p.m. on the dot? Well, you may need to bend the rules a little bit.
  • Accept that people do things differently than you do. Maybe they don’t do laundry like you would, or dishes like you would, or clean like you would. Maybe they only brush their teeth in the middle of the day, and you brush yours in the morning. Whatever. It’s okay.
  • Maintain perspective. Do you have a roof over your head and a warm (or cool, whatever your preference) bed to sleep in? Yes? Oh, okay. Then maybe it doesn’t matter so much that you had to wait 10 minutes to use the restroom.
  • Keep communication open. Something really bothering you? Then talk about it, nicely, before it escalates into a very avoidable tense situation. You’re not going to win every battle; pick them wisely.
  • Remember Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Have you ever lived with your in-laws (or your parents)? How did it go? What advice would you give to someone going through the same situation?


It’s Official: We Found a New Place

pretty backyard

It’s official! This backyard view will soon be ours to enjoy!

I’ve been cautiously optimistic about sharing too much too soon, but with closing scheduled for the end of July, Ben and I are feeling quite optimistic about the new house we found!

We sold our house in April, moved in with Ben’s parents in May and learned about this house soon after. It was a for-sale-by-owner situation, and it wasn’t advertised. In fact, we found out it was going to be for sale through a coworker, and we were blessed to make a deal on it before it went on the market!

As soon as we saw the location, we were sold: five acres on a quiet road, conveniently located from my job, the school and our church.

The house was built in the late ’60s and only had one owner. Though it is in dire need of an update and some routine maintenance, it’s been well cared for by the family who owns it.

The woman who owns the house wanted to meet us before the sale was final. Ben and I met her this week, and although she is sad about leaving her family home, she is a sweet lady who wants us to pay special attention to her columbine plants, asparagus plot and a beautiful tree by the driveway. We’re more than happy to oblige, and in fact, we love fresh asparagus!

We are feeling very blessed with this situation, and it has been so obvious throughout this entire process that God has His hand in it. From the way a buyer for our house fell into our laps, to the graciousness of Ben’s parents in welcoming us into their home, to the way in which we found our new place, we’ve experienced God’s favor.

House Hunt: House Tour #2

If you missed the first house tour, click here!

Ben and I had an opportunity to tour a house that wasn’t yet on the market. What interested us in the property was the lot and the area in general. It’s located on a fairly quiet road, and it comes with a gigantic back yard. The kiddos would love it. Check out this view:

The view out the back of the house

The view out the back of the house

(Forewarning: this post doesn’t have many photos because the house wasn’t ready to be shown, and I doubt the owners would appreciate me posting photos of all of their stuff and personal photographs.)

The property fulfills a lot of items on our wish list:

  • A property in the country, in the northern half of the county, with room for some farm animals and four-wheelers and such. The lot is huge, and it’s on a low-traffic road. The location is great; 10-15 minutes from my work, church and the school.
  • At least three bedrooms. The third bedroom is very, very small, but it does have three, with room on a lower level to make another one if we needed to.
  • Main-floor laundry. It doesn’t just have main-floor laundry; it has a small laundry room!
  • Two bathrooms. This one has 2.5 baths, all of which are in need of an update, but they all are functional.
Full bath desperately in need of an update

Full bath desperately in need of an update

  • Attached garage. The garage is a two-car garage, and there’s also an outbuilding where Ben could put his lawn equipment, tools and other manly-type things.
  • Full-size dishwasher.

It does not have:

  • Open floor plan. Sort of. The floor plan isn’t terrible. Though it’s not as wide open as I’d like, there are fairly good sight lines to all parts of the house from the kitchen.
  • Single story.
  • Non-leaky basement. It does have a small basement, but one of the walls needs replaced because there’s a crack in it.

There are a few other negatives to the property, but we feel like the positives outweigh the negatives.

It may or may not be in our price range of less than $150,000. Since it’s not officially on the market, we’re not entirely sure, but we know it’s close.

House Hunt: House Tour #1

The house hunt continues. Ben and I finally found one that we were interested in enough to walk through it. It’s an early 1900s farm house, for sale by owner, a very nice older couple. The last person to live in the house was the husband’s father. We had no idea what the inside of this place looked like before going in yesterday; the exterior of the property interested us enough to make us want a closer look.

It meets several of our criteria:

  • A property in the country, in the northern half of the county, with room for some farm animals and four-wheelers and such. (It’s actually not quite in our desired county, but it’s just over the line. And, it has one close
  • At least three bedrooms. It has five, actually.
  • Under $150,000.
  • Main-floor laundry.
  • Non-leaky basement. It’s old, but it’s decent.

It does not have:

  • Two bathrooms. This one has 1.5 baths, and the .5 bath could easily be converted to a full by taking out an adjacent closet.
  • Attached garage. The garage is a nice-sized, three-car garage, but it is not attached. With little kids, this doesn’t thrill me.
  • Full-size dishwasher. Or any dishwasher. In fact, it comes with no appliances.
  • Open floor plan. As in most old farmhouses, it was kind of choppy, with lots of doors. Everywhere. I think there was more than one way into every room.
  • Single story. It’s an old farmhouse; none of them are single story.

The yard was nice and shady.


Nice, shady backyard

And the view from the back of the property is great, nothing but fields.


The view from the back of the property

The kitchen, though cute and well maintained, would need a complete overhaul. I love some vintage charm, but I also love the conveniences of a modern day kitchen. And darn it, I am getting a dishwasher this time.

vintage mint kitchen

Cute vintage kitchen

Likewise, the bathrooms need completely redone.

built-in storage in bathroom

Built-in storage in main floor bathroom, next to pink sink


Upstairs half-bath

The floors in the upstairs bedrooms were very nice hardwoods, but the carpeting in other areas of the house would need to go.

wood flooring

Nice wood floors in upstairs bedrooms

View into dining room and living room; carpeting needs to go

View into dining room and living room; carpeting needs to go

The slate roof is original, as are the windows. From 1918ish. Shall we talk about inefficient heating?

At one time, this house had two staircases. A door on the second floor opens to a half staircase. Literally. The door opens to a half-torn-out stairwell. It is kind of creepy. The bottom half was removed and a closet built in on the first floor in its place. I guess they just didn’t know what to do with the rest of the space. Now, it’s just waiting to swallow small children.

Creepy old second staircase, half demolished and left to tempt two-year-olds

Creepy old second staircase, half demolished and left to tempt two-year-olds

All in all, this was a very old, kind of quirky, but quite solid farmhouse. It has lots of character, but it just requires far more work than Ben and I are willing (or financially able) to take on.

Settling in as The Waltons

We finally finished moving out of the house and are settling with the in-laws while we look for a new place.

My mother-in-law is a funny lady, and she refers to us all as the Waltons. In fact, this is her Facebook profile pic right now:

The Waltons

The Waltons

My mother-in-law doesn’t blog, so you won’t get to read her funny updates about us all moving in with her, but I will share one with you:

May 3: I have not written about the other Walton that is living with us because, frankly, I just don’t love her like the others. She actually irritates me at times, she smells at times and I’d rather not share more. I’m sorry, I know you shouldn’t play favorites – just read Genesis and see what trouble happened by choosing favorites. I just can’t help it. I totally get it Abraham, Jacob, and others. So this is my true confession. I just don’t love Greta, the dog the same as Eli and Eva. There I said it. She is kinda cute but still not my favorite. Do you think she knows?

(Remember the dog, who puked on the carpeting during our I’d-rather-not-remember-it transition weekend?)

The woman is developing a cult following of her friends and family members who log on each day hoping for more.

Anyways, moving into someone else’s house does have its challenges, but the in-law’s place has a lot of what we’re looking for in a house: main floor laundry facilities, full-size dishwasher, country location, room for farm animals.

I mentioned this to my father-in-law, who since then has been kind enough to offer some suggestions of homes we should check out. Okay, okay, we can take a hint 😉

Let the House Hunt Begin

A view like this wouldn't be bad ...

A view like this wouldn’t be bad …

Since we sort of unexpectedly sold our house on April 2 and moved out by May 9, we didn’t have a lot of time to find a new house before we needed to be out of the old one. So, we moved in with the in-laws and are keeping our eyes peeled for a new place.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • A property in the country, in the northern half of the county, with room for some farm animals and four-wheelers and such. Ben doesn’t want any neighbors. At all.
  • At least three bedrooms.
  • Under $150,000

And here’s what we’d love in addition to those three items:

  • Two bathrooms.
  • Attached garage.
  • Main-floor laundry.
  • Full-size dishwasher.
  • Non-leaky basement.
  • Open floor plan.
  • Single story.

Yes, I know you probably know at least five other people looking for the exact same thing. And yes, I know it’s a lot to ask within our budget. But I also know that God has a plan for us, and when we find the right place, we’ll know it.

We’re keeping an open mind and being patient in this search. We have the luxury of being able to stay with the in-laws for a while, and so far, they haven’t threatened to kick us out. (Yay!)