RICHARDSON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Rex and Susie Browne have a lot to celebrate this Thanksgiving. They once again have a home of their own.

The longtime homeowners in the Richland Park neighborhood of Richardson rebuilt after a tornado blew through in October of last year as she and her husband and their grand-dogs huddled in their bathtub.

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They moved in recently, and Susie Browne said, “We love it. I think it’s been about three and a half weeks and it was wonderful.”

Rex Browne agreed. “We’ve enjoyed being back, no question about it.”

Rex and Susie Browne and their new home (Jack Fink – CBS 11)

This time last year, they had just been allowed to go into what was left of their backyard.

Now one year later, their new backyard is still taking shape.

Rex said, “It’s definitely home, no question.”

Susie said, “It’s home. We missed a year here. We had 40 here. And we lost the 41, now we’re working on 42.”

During a storm that swept through North Texas Tuesday night, the Brownes said they faced another scare: the city’s outdoor warning sirens started blaring.

Rex said, “When the wind started up last night fairly strong, that was pretty reminiscent what happened a year ago, so we’re always going to have that thought.”

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As their home was being built during the past year, the Brownes said they had to stay in a rental house and hotel rooms.

It was difficult they said but that it was made more challenging because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Susie said, “They’re just wasn’t anything to do. I love working in my garden, I didn’t have a garden. We didn’t have a garage to go to, to build things. And we didn’t travel to see family. Normally, we would have gone a month here, a month there.”

Last year, the Brownes told CBS 11 they wanted to have a big Thanksgiving dinner with their family in their new house.

Covid-19 changed their plans.

“We’re not really getting together as a family. We’re trying to keep everybody safe so we’ll do that as soon as we can,” Susie said.

Their plans may have changed she said, but not the meaning of the holiday. “Maybe we are more thankful for every day and the things we get to do, but just the family and living your best is just really important to us.”

They give thanks they’re back in the neighborhood and new house that they love. “It feels good, it feels right. It’s a new start.”

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