we finally come home

9:19 AM

Today marks a year since we became home owners and moved into the house we now call home. It has felt like the faster year ever but to say that it just whizzed by wouldn't be accurate. In the year since we moved in we went through some unimaginable heartbreak and loss but also massive periods of growth. The sweet and the sour, as the two seem to always go hand in hand. In just a short period this home has witness us shedding so many tears, giving so much love and growing individually and as a family at what sometimes felt like a breakneck speed. 
But here we are, the dust has literally and figuratively settled (I couldn't believe how much dust was involved with countertop installation!!) and we've more or less found our groove. This home is by no means our "dream home," it doesn't have a lot of "character," there are no well worn wood floors or particularly interesting architecture. It's basically a standard "new" house. But we've made it our own and the things that made me fall in love with it in the first place are things we cherish every day - the 360 degree views of the mountains from every side of the house, all of the gorgeous sunlight we get, the woods that border our backyard and the quiet and simple country life that we can enjoy here. 
We couldn't afford to change much of anything when we moved in, hence the hideous carpeting and linoleum, but the kitchen is one thing we knew we had to get rid of. For a house that boasted so much natural light the kitchen felt like dark and dreary- dark cabinets, dark countertops, dark flooring and black appliances. I just knew the potential for a bright and airy space was there! So we scraped together enough money to change what was absolutely necessary. We painted the cabinets a bright white, installed quartz white countertops, a deep double sink (also in white), got rid of the microwave, bought a very cheap but white dishwasher and put up a tile backsplash. And what a difference it made!! 

Here's the before:

And mid-reno:

Never underestimate the power of some white paint! Here is one of my favorite photos that we took that first month:

And thinking about our life here, in this home, got me thinking about all the other homes we've lived in as a couple, as there have been many! In just nine short years together we have managed to live in Maryland, California, Virginia and now Georgia! Whew!! That's a lot of moving trucks, boxes and miles. I thought it would be fun to go back and take a look at everywhere we've been in the 9 years we've been married. Here we go!

Our condo in Maryland. This was the very first place we ever lived in together. It was tiny and average but I remember feeling like it was a palace! It was our own! We could do whatever we wanted! I was very much into dark colors at this point - note the brown living room wall and the "eggplant" colored kitchen. Oy!! Here's another shot of the kitchen:

I love Belle's little behind peeking out. This is the place we brought her home to, our very first "baby." And for all those reasons it will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Then there was Cali! We went from a condo to a townhouse and the habit of painting walls interesting colors held.

This was when my style "matured," lol, or so I thought. I upholstered that sofa myself and you could never look at it too closely became of all the staples peeking out but for a first try it wasn't so bad!

This was also when I experimented with chalkboard paint. It was seriously so fun! I kind of want to do it again! I hated most things about our life in California but I will always remember our patio fondly, it was such a nice little space and the weather almost always allowed for us to be out there.

After California we made the radical decision to move into my in-law's cabin in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia!! It was a crazy move and the cabin was a perfectly preserved museum to the 1970's but we were young and ready to tackle a challenge! Here are some before's:

The kitchen in process:

And here is the after!

Here's the living room before:

And after!! See what I mean about white paint?

We adored our life at the cabin. As Kevin said the other day it was the most "authentic" lifestyle we've ever been lucky enough to lead. He worked at a school that was also a farm and was passionate about including both the children and faculty in the daily chores of the farm. I took a year long break from all things online and focused on reading, writing, working and explore creative pursuits that I hadn't had the chance to do since childhood. It was a quite, simple and lovely life.

And then at the beginning of 2014 we discovered a little surprise in the form of two pink lines... Our family was growing! As exciting as that was it was also bittersweet because it would mean we would outgrow both the home we were living in and the lifestyle. It just wasn't practical to raise to kids in a place where we routinely lost power, got snowed in for days, lost access to clean water on almost a monthly basis and were at least twenty minutes from a gas station, a half hour from any grocery store and forty-five minutes from a hospital. So we packed up and headed further south! 

The move happened so quickly we rented out the first house that seemed like it would work. It wasn't my favorite but it will always be special because that is where we brought home our baby boy!

Just look at that little angel!! We had some wonderful memories inside those four walls. I will always love the shared nursery we created for our babes.

And their playroom. They had hours of fun in there and Teddy took his first steps there too!

And I became a mama of two. It wasn't always an easy or graceful transition but I've loved becoming our little trio!

I can't believe how tiny they both are in this photo!! 

I stayed up well past my bedtime digging through the hard drive for these photos and I found myself laughing, crying and and feeling so grateful after this trip down memory lane. We've traveled to so many places, met new faces, faced new challenges, grew our family and our marriage and had so much fun. Our life hasn't always been perfect or without mistakes and trials but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Because at the end of the day it's not the four walls you live inside that define you, it's what you do inside those walls that truly matters. 

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