This post is sponsored by Baby Dove
I grew up with parents that cared about having a nice home.
The houses we lived in were always fairly modest, but my parents were willing to put in a fair amount of effort to make them as nice as possible.
My mom was always quick to paint the rooms in our house and make curtains and pillows.
When I was six, my parents ripped up the green linoleum in our downstairs and then carefully pulled up the wood flooring in all the bedrooms and re-laid it in the kitchen and bathroom and hallways.
A few years later, when we’d moved to Las Vegas, we all worked together to rip out the builder-grade tile in the entryway and kitchen and my parents put in black and white checkerboard tile in both spots.
Actually, by the time they had all the tile in place with the mortar ready to spread, it was about nine p.m. and the power went out, making it pitch black in the house. Not wanting the mortar to go to waste, they ran around to a few neighbors, borrowed a bunch of camping lanterns, and laid all the tile by the light of those little lanterns.
Throughout my growing up, I helped paint many many rooms, put up and take down wallpaper, seal grout, and move furniture.
So, it’s not a big surprise that when I had my own home, making it beautiful was a big priority for me.
In nearly every house we’ve lived in, even if we were only going to be there for six months, I unpacked every box, hung pictures on the wall, installed curtains, and basically did everything I could to make our house feel like a home.
Our house in Arizona, in particular, was a delight for me to work on. Because we owned it, instead of renting as we had for the past five years, I could paint and hang wallpaper. We could remove weird stone built-ins and hang a porch swing and all sorts of other projects that made me fall in love with that house.
Then we moved to Utah and left behind every one of those spaces for a new family to enjoy.
Although I was happy about this move, the thing I dreaded most was losing my own space.
When Bart’s parents offered to let us live in their house, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up, but I worried what sort of mental toll it would take on me to not have a space of my own.
I deeply value my independence and I really love the daily business of keeping house – I don’t even mind unloading the dishwasher (usually) or doing laundry every week.
It was definitely an adjustment leaving behind our big house where we had complete autonomy (aside from a slightly tyrannical HOA . . . ) and moving into a few bedrooms in a basement.
90% of our belongings went into storage, my closet space shrunk by 75% and our mattress was on the floor because I forgot to get the support beams for our bed when we unloaded the truck and they went 15 feet back in our storage unit.
Halloween came and went without me being able to pull out my holiday books, the decorations I’ve slowly collected over the last ten years, and my spooky dinner table settings.
I feared our Christmas decorations, from handmade stockings to a lifetime worth of sentimental ornaments, wouldn’t see the light of day this year.
It was something of an adjustment to be sure.
But it also helped me to embrace the day-to-day life with my four little girls and appreciate that there’s more to life than an Instagram-worthy house.
A few weeks ago, the weather was mild and the trees were showing off some spectacular orange and yellow colors, and I sat out in the yard while my girls gathered leaves while playing imaginative games and I thought, “I don’t know that life gets much better than this.”
My baby’s pack-and-play tucked in the corner of a basement bedroom isn’t going to go viral on Pinterest, but watching her become very close to my mother-in-law (Tally will generally choose her over me now) felt like a pretty good trade-off.
My girls get to attend school every day with their cousins and that’s worth months of having all my work supplies squeezed onto one tiny desk 18 inches from our bed.
I’ve long loved Dove’s emphasis on real beauty and real life, and I’m thrilled to partner with Baby Dove to show the reality of my current REAL life, even when it’s not picture perfect.
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Tally’s always been my most sensitive-skinned baby, but now that we’re living somewhere with colder weather, I’m noticing all my children getting dry hands and chapped cheeks, so we’re relying on Baby Dove Rich Moisture Lotion to soothe dry skin and leave skin soft and delicately scented.
The Baby Dove products work together to go beyond mildness and help replenish essential moisture. During one bath, a baby’s skin can lose moisture up to five times faster than a grown-ups, which makes them extra vulnerable to dryness.
Plus all Baby Dove products are dermatologist and pediatrician tested, hypoallergenic and created with no dyes, no parabens, and no phthalates.
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Now we have a home of our own again and I can start painting and organizing and unloading a dishwasher of my very own.
And while we wait to update the 50’s kitchen and the 70’s carpet, I’m going to soak up every second of this season we’re in.
This is a sponsored post created in collaboration with Baby Dove