The truth about our humble beginnings

I married my husband 22 days before my 19th birthday, and we moved into a crappy apartment right across from campus. The location was great, and we got a good deal because of my husband’s golf scholarship, but that’s where the positives about that place end. When I say crappy I mean roach problem, hideously gross carpet, and malfunctioning appliances.


Did we care? Not one bit. We were newlyweds starting a new life together. We couldn’t afford a kitchen table, so we unpacked a moving box and turned it over, then set up some fold-out lawn chairs we got as a wedding present for our dining room set.

We didn’t have extra money to spare on home decor, so the birthday bouquet of flowers my husband bought for me were strategically placed in an empty canister of protein powder.


After a year we transferred back to Provo to finish school. While there we moved around to at least three different apartments, and finally settled into a condo of our own.

That’s where we adopted our first child, Snoop.

He was a Valentines gift and the best present ever! That is where we learned how to take care of a creature aside from ourselves, and boy did we baby him.

puppy snoop

Not long after buying our own place (at the worst possible time), we decided to move out of state to someplace warmer. We settled on Austin where I found a job. After a stint in a couple apartments/ rooms for rent, we found a townhome that would be perfect for us and our pup Snoop. This was also where we had our daughter, and where to this day, I have some of the best memories.

There were only two bedrooms, but it was practically downtown, and the neighborhood had a beautiful little trail and field across the way that I went and took pictures with Lil’ J nearly every day. Pictures pictures pictures. I took A LOT when we lived there.


Leaving that apartment was one of the most difficult moves we’ve had to make. We became parents in that home. My daughter learned how to crawl and walk inside those walls. I dove into blogging while we lived there, learned photography, and my husband finished school and found his career. These were huge accomplishments for our little family.

We welcomed our son after our next move, into a duplex further out from the city. But shortly after he was born we decided we were finally ready to plant roots in Texas.  We built a house and moved one last time to where we are today, making it our own day by day.


Every day I drive downtown to work I think about all of the places we’ve lived since moving to Austin, the memories we’ve made around town as a couple, as a family, and with our friends. Then I think of how far we’ve come since we first got married.

My kids won’t grow up knowing the struggle from the beginning of our marriage, but it won’t be something we hide. It took a lot of planning, hard work, and faith to get where we are today, but I embrace every bit of the journey to get here.


Each time we’ve moved to our next place, we’ve not just boxed up pictures, toys, books and clothes. We boxed up memories, stories and special moments. It’s stuff, but it’s also our life. It’s everything we own—valuables full of meaning—and it requires us to Handle With Care.

We’ve all been there at some point. And with each move we can only hope to treasure those memories and make new ones even brighter than the last.


More than seven moves! Each time we pack our things and hope nothing breaks. But we also leave behind a special part of our lives. I have a real vase now, and the moving box we once used as a kitchen table is long gone. But the cherished memory of it will stay with me forever.

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Do you have any special memories of any of your homes or moves? Share in the comments and on social media using the hashtag #handlewithcare.

interracial family bluebonnets

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.


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  1. Wow! Jennifer reading your story reminded me of my start with my sweetie years ago. Very similar to you we also had box as a table and very little decoration pieces. Back then all we cared about was it was our place and we were together. Even though today we are no longer together those memories are priceless and our daughter knows her start. Great share mama xo!

  2. When I was a kid, my best friend was very wealthy and lived in a mansion. My mom one noticed when dropping me off that they had a series of very small paintings of houses on one wall. My friend’s mom explained that they had commissioned them based off of photographs of every home she and her husband had lived in together…starting with a run-down little apartment in downtown Detroit.

    I’m not planning on having a mansion, but that idea has always stuck with me. We’ll be moving from our triplex we rent in a few months, and I’m making sure I have a photo of the outside to put up wherever we end up. 🙂

    1. Wow MK, that is awesome, and totally something I wold love to do some day… Though yea, it won’t be hanging in a mansion, haha. I should actually probably use pictures of all of our different dining tables.

  3. Oh so many, but the hardest was when my youngest of three sons was only 6 months o5 am and would not returned and I new I had to improve there lives, so will working full time I also went to school full time so I would go out the door at 5 am and not return tell sometimes 11 pm and the children would be still up, and I would get them all cleaned up and in bed and I would take a few minutes or longer for me hit the bed and start over, I missed some beautiful times with my children, but I bettered myself for them. GOD bless

  4. Your family is so adorable! I love this story!

    I can’t believe you were only 18 when you got married! I always joke that I was a fetus when I got married because I was “only” 24! When you know, you know, though, right? 🙂 We used the When Harry Met Sally quote on our wedding programs, “…when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

    We are actually in the process of buying a new house right now, and moving out of our current (rental) house will be difficult for me. We moved there at the very beginning of my pregnancy and so my entire pregnancy, and Harlow’s whole life so far has been in that house. I want to cry just thinking about it, but the new house will be so nice for our family, too!

    1. Aww I LOVE that quote. It’s so true, when you know you know, and we were happy to start our lives together. Sounds like you two had a lovely wedding!! Congrats on your new home. I totally understand the bittersweetness of moving to something new and awesome yet leaving behind a HUGE part of your lives. It’s so hard, but you’ll make new awesome memories!

  5. Oh, and you probably could have bought an entire kitchen table and chairs set for what you paid for that giant tub of protein powder… that stuff is SO expensive! Lol!

    1. Bahaha! I don’t remember all of the details but we definitely weren’t buying the cans of protein (like he does today, haha!) I think either his parents got it for him at Costco, or something… But we definitely had a protein powder break for some time. That vase was its burial.

  6. Aw, I’m all teary now. My husband and I are getting ready to move out of my parents’ and into our first very own place. I’ve been building what I call The Great Wall of Campbell out of the boxes I’ve been packing in our room (AKA my parents’ dining room). I know memories like this will stay with me forever. I’m proud of our humble beginning, and I loved reading about yours! 🙂

    1. Wow Elizabeth congratulations that’s a huge move!! I know your excitement very well. We had stints with family too and while we were so grateful, there’s nothing like your own place. Congrats and thanks so much for reading! 🙂

  7. I think we all struggled from the start! At least those of us who got married while still in college! I also had 2 babies while in college, so the struggle is REAL! We have yet to buy our own home and really settle down. Also… did you have a brief stint with blue color contacts? lol

    1. It’s nice to hear about solidarity in people who started like we did! Wow two kids too! You rock! I feel like so many of my friends these days wait til everything is in place before marriage and kids so it’s near to hear stories like ours.

      And YES!! Haha. The contacts… Though they were grey, not blue. Lol. Goodness me.

  8. I love reading your stories. My husband and I have came along way too from where we started from. It’s a blessing to be with someone through thick and thin.

  9. Pays for additional living expenses if your home is too damaged to live in during repairs. Most standard home insurance coverage pays 10 to 20 percent of the amount of your dwelling coverage.

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