Christmas Day in the nineteenth Habitat for Humanity Home built on the Central Kenai Peninsula was the first holiday to be celebrated by the family living in the new dwelling.
Thursday morning, Crystal Stonecipher said she was mentally preparing for the crowd of in-laws, parents and siblings joining the family that afternoon in their Second Avenue home in Kenai.
She shares the new home with husband Nathon Stonecipher and three children, Rebecca Trickel, Charles Trickel and Destin Trickel.
“It will be a little, what’s the word, cozy,” the busy mom said, with a laugh. “It will be cozy.”
One year ago, the day long gathering would not have been possible. Previously, the tradition was to hop in the car and visit different family members through out the day, she said.
There has not been a centralized home where family members could gather and relax for years, Crystal Stonecipher said. Now, the Stoneciphers have a four-bedroom house sitting on a 1-acre plot of land, she said.
Everyone brought a dish on for a big holiday dinner that was followed by opening presents, she said. The family had been in their new home for little more than one week by Christmas Day. They were still unpacking when the holiday began, but had already begun to make it their own.
“We have been filling the house with our own furniture, and putting our own decorations on the walls,” Crystal Stonecipher said. “That was an important part for me.”
The move-in date was later than the family had originally hoped for, Crystal Stonecipher said. Her best advice to the next family approved to receive a Habitat for Humanity house is that they should be patient, she said.
“Things can go wrong,” she said.
On the other hand, unpredictable events can occasionally work out in favor of the project. Since it was such a mild winter, and the snow held out until late in the season, construction was able to continue later in the year than usual. Installing the roof was the important part, and once that was on the interior could be worked on no matter what the weather, she said.
Nathon Stonecipher accomplished the majority of the labor on the home, along with a few close family friends, she said.
Finding enough volunteers to help speed the process was a challenge, she said. Nathon Stonecipher said any family looking to receive a house through Habitat for Humanity should be as organized as possible throughout the entire process.
He said the most significant aspect of the transition was the newfound permanence. Each family member has a place to go at the end of the day — a home that is her or his own.
“Now we have a place to come home to, a place to put all our stuff,” Nathon Stonecipher said. “Everyone has their own space.”
Each of the three children now has their own room, Crystal Stonecipher said. Sleeping alone is something they are getting used to right now, she said.
The kids are also getting used to having a backyard, and often ask to play in it. It is full of trees and they each have their own they love to climb, she said.
Crystal Stonecipher said she has co-workers that live in the neighborhood and her children have classmates that live on the same street. She said the family is incredibly thankful to Habitat for Humanity for helping them get a home.
Reach Kelly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org