The Value of Home

This post is sponsored by Progressive Home Insurance

This Spring marks the 6th anniversary of Adam, Stanlee and I living at the Cottage. When I look back at what our lives were like shortly before we moved in compared to what they are now, it’s astounding how much we’ve grown together (in just 362 square-feet!). Other than the years I spent in my childhood home, I’ve never lived in one house nearly this long. 

My parents’ house— where I spent the majority of my childhood— sits on the fringes of a gorgeous wildlife sanctuary in North-Central Florida. My mom and dad directed so much of their energy towards cultivating safe and unique experiences for my sister and me on the land. While they never wasted much time on the “stuff” inside our home, the house itself innately held tremendous importance, as it was the encapsulation of our lives with one another. I remember marveling at how my parents, who worked tirelessly every day of their professional careers, would happily choose to spend their precious weekends tending to the house and land (as opposed to resting on the couch or going out with their friends). My dad spent Saturdays mowing the yard on the tractor he shared with our neighbors, while my mom hauled plants and soil around the garden with the dogs trotting along faithfully behind at her heels. Year after year, my friends and I watched them passing back and forth as we played in the pool.

Left: My childhood backyard. Right: Our lil’ garden at the Cottage.

Left: My childhood backyard. Right: Our lil’ garden at the Cottage.

Decades have since passed. It wasn’t until we moved into the Cottage that my I felt my priorities beginning to shift into an oddly familiar direction… 

In the 6 years we’ve been here, my husband and I have transitioned hugely in our careers, adopted a second dog, and welcomed our first child into the world. And we now find ourselves happily choosing to spend our precious weekends tending to the Cottage and its garden. 

So. It’s happening. I’m officially turning into my parents. “Parentamorphosis.” (Is that a word? It is now.) 

Images on left: My mother. Images on right: Me with West, Stubs and Soph

Images on left: My mother. Images on right: Me with West, Stubs and Soph

It’s a somewhat awkward time in life, when you jump with both feet into domestic life after existing like a post-graduate nomad, and then suddenly divert your time and energy towards making your living space into a true home.

Adam and I once spent our Friday and Saturday nights biking around Venice, stopping into bars and wasting time by the beach. Now, we find ourselves keeping busy around the garden, and sitting in our little dining room / living room / office / playroom reading to baby West and picking out tiles for our upcoming kitchen makeover. 

Obviously we’ve always cared about the state of our house, but since West arrived, it’s like a switch was flipped. I feel the value of making our home a clean, comfortable and safe haven for our family. Adam and I have traded regular bar-hopping for crafting the occasional lavendar cocktail at home, clipping garnishing herbs from our tiny garden, and playing with West and the pups throughout our indoor/outdoor set-up. 

While the landscape is different, life sure looks a lot like it did when I was a kid. We travel, we work hard, we have diverse adventures, and we still go out of our way to enjoy and be active within our community. But the breathtaking magic almost always happens right here at home. As such, I’m finding myself more invested than ever in making our tiny cottage a unifying and joyful place for our little family. 

Whether you’re experiencing a similar “Parentamorphosis” or simply seeking information on how to buy a new house or how to turn that new house into a home, Life Lanes (by Progressive) provides helpful input and resources for this (nervy / exciting / magical) moment in life.

I acknowledge that I am partnering with Progressive in sponsorship for this post. All expressed opinions, photos and experiences on this post are my own, and are written in my own words.