Dear Little Condo,

Amy saw you for the first time. Alone. One of the few things we’d ever done apart in over four years of dating. She later told Jordan that she couldn’t breathe when she drove down your street, because she knew we couldn’t afford you. We were twenty-one, getting married that month and still didn’t have jobs lined up for the fall. It was 2009, and the worst part of the worst recession since the Great Depression, after all. But, that angel (our sweet family friend named Jeannie) took Amy through the gates anyways so she could meet you. It was such a gift that she rented you to us for a fraction of what you were worth to help a young married couple stand on their own two feet for the first time.

Now let’s be real, condo, you weren’t exactly Pinterest worthy. Mostly because Pinterest didn’t really exist yet. Evidence: our Pepto-Bismol pink and BROWN wedding. Yikes. There was nothing very light or bright or airy about you. You had dark walls and floors, and were filled with dark brown walls and black metal furniture to match. Looking back, we laugh to ourselves, because whatever the opposite of black metal and brown walls is, that’s us. In fact, just a few years later, we became photographers known for light, bright, airy images. The irony. 

But you came furnished — and for a couple of young pups without much furniture of our own, other than a metal bed frame, an old family dresser and a hand-me-down black tube television with a dented speaker from the 1994 California earthquake — that was the best deal in the world. We were so, so thankful for a place that was better than we could’ve dreamed.

Plus, the black metal and black leather furniture matched that big boxy TV.

Looking back, though, we think that maybe you needed us as much as we needed you. A little spruce wouldn’t hurt on your end. Thanks to a lot of work with Amy’s sweet mom, who happens to be an interior designer (Kimberlie Ann Interiors) we softened and brightened you up quite a bit over eight years, condo. You would’ve been a good contestant on an extreme home makeover show, because in the time we’ve known you, between the fresh paint we eventually gave you and the new furniture we saved five years for.

We barely started to recognize you…

Five years later…

You, like a diamond in the rough, became what you are over the years.

We did, too.

It’s been ninety-two months since we got married and moved in, but ninety-three is the most we’ll get with you. Because in just one more, we’ll move on and out. Forever.

We’ve been saving for this for years. Some said we should’ve moved years ago. We both knew this was coming. But we couldn’t let go until we’d found our forever home. That’s why we held on for so long.

*   *   *

Six months ago, we found it. Our dream house in our dream neighborhood, only a few minutes from where we live now. The only house in a hundred square miles that checked all one hundred of our wish-list boxes. We never thought the stars would align like that. Fortunately, we serve a God who aligns them.

We’re normally the people who share everything online, but we haven’t said a word about it. Not a peep. Not a picture. Not because we didn’t want the world to know, but because we wanted our own little world to know first. Our family. Our friends. Our church and our neighbors. It’s pretty hard to find something they don’t already know!

Also, for us, being silent has been a fun little secret. From the foundation to the framing, to the drive-though burritos we ate in the car in-between late night HomeGoods runs, the longer we didn’t say anything, the less we wanted to; and the less we felt called to.

For the first time in the longest time, we finally had something that was our special thing. Just for us.

We move this month and, we’ve decided it’s time to bring you in to our big, fun secret. One of the biggest changes we’ve ever made! As we feel led by the Lord, we’ll share more about our new home. Because we have really big hopes, and dreams and prayers for it. It’s not lost on us how blessed we are to be in this position, and we feel nothing but gratitude. But, before we move forward, we wanted to look back and reflect on the past seven years in our condo with a thank you letter to the walls that witnessed more moments and memories than we can count, the cocoon that gave us a space place to test our wings… and land.

*   *   *

Oh, Little Condo, you were there.

You were there when we got back from our honeymoon. We’re sure you remember it, because it was the only time Jordan insisted on carrying Amy through the threshold of the front door.

You were there when we found our first scorpion… and the next dozen over the years. You probably remember the scoreboard Jordan kept on the fridge for each time he caught another one: Scorpions 0, Jordan 12.

You were there on our first day as residents, as we dangled our feet over the edge of our bed and giggled while we recorded voicemail after voicemail on our home phone letting people know they’d reached “The Demos Residence.”

Nobody but solicitors and Amy’s mom called that number anyways.

You were there when we finally gave in and bought our FIRST SMART PHONES. In 2013. Seven years after the first iPhone was released. We were a little late to that game.  Thanks for understanding.

Especially since it wasn’t until 2014 that we finally discovered hashtags were clickable. Which has us wondering, was hashtag even a word when we moved in?

You were there on our first day of teaching elementary school. You probably remember Jordan’s epic Mr. Demos khakis and polos. And maybe you even remember the grading rubrics. The parent emails. The days where we felt like we changed the world for the better. And the days where we thought we might’ve ruined it.

You were there when we did our first Dave Ramsey budget.

As we cut coupons each week, and organized them into a binder we were so proud of.

You never had an ice maker. Or reverse osmosis. So we spent seven years carefully filling up ice cube trays and changing the filters on our Brita pitchers.

And when we didn’t have enough grocery money one month and had to decide between getting chips or cheese. You can do WAY more with cheese, obviously. So we got that and used cooked tortillas for chips. 

You were there when we thought we lost $10,000.

And when Jordan dropped out of law school.

You were there as Jordan coached youth soccer so we could save extra money for camera gear. And you were there while Amy worked hard after hours to learn how to make our dream become a reality.

You were also there when Amy burned a quesadilla black as night and filled the entire house with smoke — and subsequently got banished from Jordan’s kitchen. For-e-ver.

And you’ve been there for every meal in between. Even Jordan, who’s quite good in the kitchen, can’t help but set off the smoke alarm almost any time he cooks on the stove top because the space in the kitchen is so small. Luckily, the kitchen is conveniently located right by the FRONT DOOR, so we can swing it open preemptively.

You were there for every load of laundry. And since the washer and dryer were behind your accordion pantry doors in the kitchen, thanks for understanding when we’d make a mess of the main walkway.

It’s in your hallway where the black and white portraits of all six of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day line the walls. Reminding us what a gift our marriage is, and what a responsibility we have to be good stewards of the legacy of love that was passed down to us.

You were there when we brought the kittens home. They slept in the guest bathroom the first few nights.

The same bathroom floor we sobbed on, sick and exhausted, when we’d run ourselves ragged and into the ground working multiple full-time jobs trying to make our dream job happen.

It eventually did.

You were there on the weekends we shot triple-headers. When we stayed up all night charging batteries and backing up pictures. You were there when we hosted free classes for photographers from our guest room and opened enrollment on our first online course.

The cats will miss watching people on the public sidewalk. They especially love the all the kids. But we have a feeling they’ll like all the space at the new place even more.

We will all miss working and eating on the same table. Eat, clear plates, work, clear laptops, eat, clear plates, work, repeat.

You were there when we packed so many out-of-town friends onto couches and air mattresses that between the suitcases and dirty clothes, we actually couldn’t see your floors.

You were there for the game nights. Viewing parties and Netflix marathons. Late-night conversations on the couch. You were there as our friends went from single. To dating. To engaged. To married. To parents.

You were there for all of our snuggly nights in. When nothing was better than a good pair of sweatpants and even better conversation.

You were there when we discovered the magic of cookie butter for the first time.

And when lighting struck twice… and we decided to mix it with ice cream.

You were there as we got ready each morning – in front of the one sink. We got pretty good at sharing that one sink. Getting ready became a dance.

Speaking of dancing, we’re sorry for all the dancing Jordan did when he got out of the shower. Amy wanted him to cover up as much as you did.

You were there for it all.

You were there when we sprang out of bed.

You were there when we cried ourselves to sleep.

You were there when we got down on our knees and prayed.

You were there when we received some of the best news, and the worst.

You were there for some of our biggest fights and greatest triumphs.

You’ve always been there.

And even though you won’t be there anymore, we’ve become who we are in the past seven years.

And that, whether here or there, the memories we’ve made with you will always go with us.

You’ve been our nest. Our safe place. Our soft place to land. We got to grow up. Together. And we couldn’t leave feeling any more grateful.

Goodbye, Condo. We will never forget you.

Here’s to building new memories, but taking our foundation with us.

62 comments
filed in: Personal

    Sarah

    Awww love this!!! Can't wait for this new awesome adventure!! It's going to be amazing!!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw!! Thanks, Sarah! We're so excited!

    Gricelda Torres

    What a way to describe your Condo gratitude... you guys are so blessed and I'm soo happy for you on you new home, yay.....
    And what I truly love is.... that you don't forget where you come from, and that's very special for us your photography course students..
    God bless you both!!!

    Allison

    Congratulations! You are going to have such fun creating new memories in your new home <3 I can't think of two people more deserving of their dream home then the both of you, who have helped so many people achieve their own dreams <3

    Samantha Paquette

    So in love with this! Well deserved and so perfectly presented! Congrats to two amazing souls and incredible photographers! <3

    Emily

    Wow. I really teared up a little. What a beautiful LOVE letter to your condo. It's inspiring me to love my condo as my husband and I save up for our dream house. I can't wait to read all about your new house adventures!!

    Jeannie

    God Bless you both, and Congratulations on your New Home ..... Babies to come soon!!!

    Margaret Johnson

    Love reading this. Congratulations soon to be Homeowners!

    Kathy Crispino

    So happy for the two of you...you have worked so hard....here's to the next chapter...

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw!! Thank you, Kathy!! That means so much to us! <3

    Kathy Crispino

    So happy for the two of you...you have worked so hard....here's to the next chapter...

    Erica Hayes

    I absolutely love this and am so excited for you guys!! God is SO good and the way He provides always amazes me. I couldn't help but tear up while reading your blog post and again, we're super appreciative of the encouragement that you guys continue to bring us even through a personal post/share like this. Have so much fun finishing up the designing and building of your dream home!! We love you guys and pray that God continues to bless you and that He'll use your new home for such great things!
    -Erica & Jon

    Amy & Jordan

    Thanks so much, Erica!! You have no idea how much that means to us! It's super emotional, but we're so excited about what's to come in the new house! You're the sweetest! <3

    Erica Hayes

    I absolutely love this and am so excited for you guys!! God is SO good and the way He provides always amazes me. I couldn't help but tear up while reading your blog post and again, we're super appreciative of the encouragement that you guys continue to bring us even through a personal post/share like this. Have so much fun finishing up the designing and building of your dream home!! We love you guys and pray that God continues to bless you and that He'll use your new home for such great things!
    -Erica & Jon

    Ahhhh congrats guys!!! SO exciting!!! Excited and best wishes for this new season of life!! I know how you feel about thinking you can't afford! Just got back from a mortgage appointment with the boy and can get double what we thought we could so ecstatic.

    Amy & Jordan

    We're SO excited!! Smiling from ear to ear! Thank you so much for the loving words, Nicole! <3

    Dena Johnson

    oh my....you two are adorable--taking the time to send love to your condo is awesome. We have a small house and most say that we need to move but we hold out because we want to wait....just wait....Through thick and thin it will always remember, as you move forward making new memories in your new home together! Congrats to you both. ~Even your 'simple' portraits are perfect...what most would consider a moment or a snapshot, you have a way of making artwork.

    Amy & Jordan

    Absolutely! Even the small places hold great memories! You are the sweetest, Dena!! Thank you! <3

    Shelby

    Literally sniffling and wiping my eyes right now. My heart is full for you guys. Thank you for being such a humble and kind inspiration!

    Amy & Jordan

    It's been so emotional, Shelby! We're glad to know we're not alone! Awe, thank you so much! You're too sweet! :)

    Alison

    Guys!! We are SO excited for you and cannot wait to see all the new memories you'll make in your new home!!

    Amy & Jordan

    SO many memories to come!! Thanks so much, Alison! <3

    Jennifer Pierce

    This is so exciting! I bet your new home is going to be absolutely amazing and full of exciting new adventures and memories! :) Congratulations!

    Amy & Jordan

    We're so, SO excited!! We can't wait! Thanks so much, Jennifer! <3

    Hiliary Stewart

    AMY AND JORDAN! You beautiful people! This is such an exciting announcement and beautiful blog post! Ah! Life is such so beautiful! Thanks for being a light of positivity in my life!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw!! Hiliary you just made our day!! Thank you! <3

    Jill Reinke

    So happy for you! You have worked very hard and you have been rewarded for it! Congrats and much love to both of you!❣

    Amy & Jordan

    We appreciate that so much, Jill!! Thank you! <3

    Carrie

    Congratulations! An exciting adventure awaits... God bless!

    Amy & Jordan

    Carrie, you're the sweetest! Thanks so much! <3

    Melissa

    I love this! We had a similar place and I think of our little apartment with such fond memories.

    Amy & Jordan

    So many precious moments and memories!! Thanks, Melissa! :)

    Karissa

    I am SO happy for you guys!!!! Congrats!!!!
    by the way, I am going to try my cookie butter from the workshop with ice cream tonight!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw! Thank you, Karissa!! Omg, DO IT!! Best thing ever! :)

    Hope Easter

    Awww...this is precious! Congratulations on your new home adventures. :)

    Amy & Jordan

    Thank you, Hope!! We appreciate that so much! <3

    Jen May

    That last line. Cue all the tears. Thanks for sharing your life and talent. May God bless you abundantly in your new space.

    Amy & Jordan

    Omg, tears over here as well, Jen!! You're so sweet! That means so much to us! <3

    Taylor

    You guys are just like me...you needed the closure and a way to say thank you to the place and the people who have helped you grow so much and become who you are today so you blogged about it. Congrats on the new place! Love LOVE how you guys give God all the glory, especially in today's society where it isn't cool, popular, and can even be seen as offensive to some. Props to ya'll. Enjoy your new home!!

    Amy & Jordan

    It's so hard saying goodbye, but we're so excited for what's to come!! God is so, so good! Thank you, Taylor! <3

    Anesha

    Congratulations! This much be such a rewarding feeling! I'm so happy for you guys!!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw!! Thanks for being so sweet, Anesha! We appreciate that so much! <3

    Natasha

    Why am I crying reading your letter to your condo?! Lol This was so sweet. I don't know you guys personally but you two seem like the kindest people on the planet and you deserve everything you've worked so hard for, and then some. Congrats on finding your forever home!

    Amy & Jordan

    Awe!! We're crying with you, Natasha! You're just the sweetest! Thank you so much for those kind words! You just made our day! <3

    Jill

    So so so excited for you guys <3<3

    Amy & Jordan

    Thank you so much, Jill! <3

    Jill

    So so so excited for you guys <3<3 Also- all I can think about this is "if you live like no one else, later you can LIVE like no one else.". Sending much love!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw!! Thanks, Jill! You said it!! Words to live by! :)

    Jen

    Loved this!!! Thrilled for both of you! God is so good!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw!! Thanks for being so sweet, Jen! <3

    Melissa Prior

    My favorite lines from this post: "Fortunately, we serve a God who aligns them [stars]" and "Here’s to building new memories, but taking our foundation with us." You guys are awesome! Thanks for the inspiration (and reminder :) ).

    Amy & Jordan

    Thanks so much, Melissa!! Reminders we always need to hear! :)

    Michelle

    The only house in a hundred square miles that checked all one hundred of our wish-list boxes. We never thought the stars would align like that. Fortunately, we serve a God who aligns them.

    Love that you shared this and your on the knees prayers and dave Ramsey budget and coupon cutting coaching soccer to save up. So many people are entitled and or want success now. The foundation you have built together and take with you indeed is the best part of your upgrade! May blessings continue to shower down on you all and keep you as focused as you can be!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw!! Thanks, Michelle! That means so much to us! We appreciate those loving words!! <3

    Emily

    Wow! I cannot wait to see your home when it is finished!

    In Him,
    Emily

    Amy & Jordan

    We are SO excited!! Enjoying the process! :)

    Emily

    Wow! I cannot wait to see your home when it is finished!

    In Him,
    Emily

    Emily E. Riekers

    Wow! I cannot wait to see your home when it is finished!

    In Him,
    Emily

    Emily E. Riekers

    Wow! I love this tribute to your first home; I cannot wait to see your new dwelling place when it is finished!

    In Him,
    Emily

    Zandile

    God is alive!!! So alive!!! You have NO idea how happy I am for you amazing people. I got teary-eyed as tough I personally know you. Thank you so much for this, you have ignited so much fire in me. I love you Amy & Jordan. Love from South Africa

    Amy & Jordan

    Oh my goodness! Thank you so much, Zandile! That just put a huge smile on our faces! You're so sweet!! We're cheering for you! :)

    Zandile Vilakazi

    God is alive!!! So alive!!! You have NO idea how happy I am for you amazing people. I got teary-eyed as tough I personally know you. Thank you so much for this, you have ignited so much fire in me. I love you Amy & Jordan. Love from South Africa