The air was cool and crisp when I stepped outside to start loading the car with our fresh-out-of-the-oven, piping hot dishes. We had started the morning by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade (of course) and while the dog show was getting started, Justin and I headed next door to pop in and say hi to our neighbors (read: steal two of their cranberry mimosas) and to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. As I taught six-year-old Hailey how to write her name in cursive, I realized just how much I love living back at home. I lived in this house for six years before Justin and I got married, and it was the longest I had ever been in one place.

I thought I would hate moving back home. Truthfully, I was terrified it would “ruin” our marriage and all the good things I had come to love in our first 10 months of being married and living in our apartment together. Yet here we are at the close of the year with 2018 upon us and while I can’t wait for the day we have a place to call our own, host our own get togethers, and have a fenced-in yard with pets/kids running around… I am really loving this season of living next door to our flower girl and ring bearer and under the same roof as my dad and sister. There’s never a dull moment and I don’t feel the loneliness I felt every day at our apartment… ever. I have so much to be thankful for this year, but what I am most thankful for is all the extra time we’ve gotten with family since moving back earlier this year. It’s a huge unexpected blessing, one I didn’t anticipate or even think about before! It’s been amazing and really special.

As I write this, my sister has some Disney videos going on Youtube (it’s now a tradition after spending months of watching them in preparation for our Disney trip that we took this month), and just having someone else around makes my work day MUCH more fun and productive. I remember hours alone in my apartment playing music, movies, or heading to the coffee shop just to be around another human being… it was so lonely and I honestly think I was more prone to becoming depressed in that living environment. Now I know why in most countries, living with multiple generations under one roof is a normal (and encouraged even) cultural habit. I think about this a lot. How vast 980 square feet felt when it was just Justin and me. How cozy and warm and welcoming this 2,000 sq. foot home feels with five people under its roof. I’m not sure how it’s going to be when we move into our new place, but at the very least I think I will need a pet or two to keep me company!! ;)

On Thanksgiving this year, it was only our second time celebrating this holiday together out of the almost 8 years we have been a couple. I had been traveling to Indiana for Thanksgiving up until 2016 when we switched gears because #marriage and I got to finally sit down and have dinner with Justin and experience his Thanksgiving traditions! This year my dad and Mia joined as well… and there was an adorable little almost three month old present, too! :) It was a fun evening of Christmas card photos, incredible food, and plenty of wine. I’m already looking forward to next year and just imagining how different it will be with Jax being over a year old! It’s so crazy to think about the future and all that might change.

I’ve learned this year that happiness has a lot to do with perspective. I could be letting some not so nice comments people have made to us about living at home get under my skin and control my emotions about this season of our life. I could be letting my desire for an “Instagram worthy” home get the best of me and steal my joy and contentment about our life here. Instead, I am embracing and reveling in the truth that God has hidden gems in ALL of our seasons of life. “There are rubies in your time of waiting” is something a mentor told me almost four years ago, before Justin and I were even engaged and before I had graduated college or taken on my business full-time. I fully believe it. There are so many beautiful things to be found no matter where we are, we just have to want to find them.

This year I’m thankful for growing families, the joy that new life brings, and hope for the future. I can’t wait to be looking back on this post a year or two from now and remembering how unique and special this season of our life truly is. I am so, so thankful.

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