Sunday, December 22, 2013

Kitchen Progress and Christmas Cheer

Well folks, we are t-minus one day away from this little one's due date, and with the exception of this head cold I've been battling (and which seems to only be getting worse :(, I am feeling pretty good. I'm not sure if this means baby plans on staying put for a while (I really couldn't blame him or her--life is crazy in our household these days!), but the good news is we've been chipping away at the to-do list for the house.

Our appliances arrived bit by bit, we eventually got a kitchen sink, and Philip worked tirelessly on putting together our kitchen cabinets.  I am so relieved they are finally all in place.

We lived for a couple weeks with a long cardboard box and plywood for countertops.  While not ideal, do you know that it is actually more irritating to try and open cabinets without any pulls or knobs?  It's the little things, I tell you.  Thankfully, Philip is completing the installation of the pulls and knobs as I type this post!

And while mama and daddy have been busy with kitchen projects, these two little people have gotten quite creative at entertaining themselves.  Who needs actual toys when you have cupcake liners, cute napkins and styrofoam with which to concoct your own baking party?

There was much rejoicing a couple of days ago when our countertops arrived!

While the kitchen is certainly not finished, now that the countertops are in, things certainly feel a lot more functional (Please enjoy this photo of my countertops in a state they will likely never be in again--completely clean and clear).

Our counters are black quartz and our cabinets are Ikea.  I'll do a more detailed post on sources once we  finish everything.  We plan to do open shelving in lieu of upper cabinets, but like many things around here, it's just going to take time.  

It was very satisfying to see Wade and Holland making use of our new kitchen counters in their new Christmas jammies earlier this week :)  Their little feet are my favorite part.

And speaking of Christmas, our decorations are very sparse this year (you know, with all the unpacked boxes surrounding us...), but we've still managed to find some special ways to celebrate the season with our kids.  At 3 and nearly 5 years old, it is so sweet to witness their joy over it all.

Philip's parents ventured into our chaos visited and came along on our tree-hunting adventure.  Wade and Holland loved the little trees.

And their enthusiasm for getting our tree decorated was unmatched.

Nor was the preciousness when they played the part of an angel (her halo fell off mid-performance :) and a lamb in our church's Christmas pageant.

While Grammy was in town (and providing much assistance in Operation Unpack the Worthingtons Before Baby Arrives), she and the kids made Christmas tree rice krispy treats.

And speaking of Grammy, I died over the cuteness of the special Christmas quilts she brought for the kids' beds!  She found them at Steinmart for a steal!

We went to a Christmas Winnie the Pooh performance...can someone please tell me why my daughter looks like a pre-teen here?!

And Philip and I took an evening away from unpacking and kitchen-building for our annual viewing of Four Christmases.  Can I just tell you how much I appreciate Vince Vaughn's ability to make me laugh and forget my troubles?

While our little place still feels rather chaotic, I did finally get some pictures hung in the living room and took the time to create a little space that felt welcoming and cozy to me.

As we anticipate and prepare for Christmas, I hope wherever you are, you feel cozy and welcomed as well :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why Hello There.

I am in the thick of what feels like the craziest, most stressful season of life I can recall.  I am so grateful to be able to tell you that we have in fact moved into our new house, but seeing that we still lack a fully functioning kitchen and I'm surrounded by boxes everywhere, to call it a "home," well that still feels like a bit of a stretch.  Granted, we are getting there, but progress is slow.  

Oh, and did I mention I am now full term with this little one?!  

Don't you just love my new fashion accessory--my maternity band that's supposed to help combat false labor contractions!  
Frankly, I think I may go into shock when this child is born.  How can it be that I am this close to having another baby?!  Shouldn't I have another good two to three months left?!  I feel very unprepared (in a number of ways!) to mother a newborn right now...suffice it to say, I welcome your prayers!  

There is so much I'd like to share, but my brain and my body feels capable of very little these days, so I will attempt to show you some pictures of our progress over the past month or so...

We took the wall down that divided the kitchen from the living room. This immediately opened up the space and everything just felt lighter and brighter!

The floors went down (and I am so happy with them!).  I love the shade of brown. 

What a difference it made to get that carpet up and give everything a seamless look with new flooring.  The flooring we chose is actually a "hardwood" laminate from Lumber Liquidators.  Being a Virginia girl who loves older homes with real hardwood floors, going with laminate was a bit hard for me to swallow at first.  However, it's just what people do out here, and with us planning to sell the house once our time here is through, it didn't make sense financially to pay for real hardwoods when the demand for them just isn't there. 

Philip sprayed the wood beam ceiling in the dining room with our new paint sprayer!  So much better!

Meanwhile, I debated paint colors and nearly lost my mind in the process.  

Not to worry, I protected the wee one in my belly from any potential fumes.  (Breaking Bad, anyone?)

The kitchen prep was finished just in time and then the real madness hit when all of our things got delivered.

In the midst of the chaos, I have tried hard to balance my desire to unpack and get the least bit settled with spending time with my children.  Please don't assume I have done a great job at this.  I am trying though, as I realize things are really going to change when there is a third tiny person in our midst...

This sweet one will be my baby for only a little while longer!  

Moments of sibling joy that I cherish.

Also, there's this.

Just some good old fashioned Mother-of-the-Year material right there.  

I'd like to post some more updates to our kitchen soon, as it's coming together thanks to the hard work of my husband! (here's hoping this baby stays put for a while longer so I can find the time to do so!)  

In the spirit of ending on a pretty note, I'm really pleased I was able to pull together Wade and Holland's room, using things we already owned of course.  Those mirrors are the first things I've hung on the walls, and boy does it feel good to have one room nearly done (at least for now!)  My favorite things are their quilts--each was made by a great- and great-great grandmother of Wade and Holland--how special is that?!  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On Being, "Almost Home"

When I chose the name for this little blog of mine, "Almost Home," there were a number of reasons I felt this phrase resonated with me.  The most obvious of course, being that my adult life has consisted of a series of moves, most of which I knew to expect.  There's a unique challenge inherent in knowing that you are going to move in x number of years from each home where you live.  Of course, that kind of foreknowledge can also help you make smart decisions (you hope) when it comes to where and how you live, but it still creates a unique dynamic.

The backyard of my parent's home back in the good 'ol Commonwealth.

As we prepare to move into this new home of ours out here in California (the farthest we've ever been from family!), I've found myself reflecting on how all of these different "homes" have felt for me.  I can honestly say that up until this point, each place where we have lived has truly become home.  I credit this to a gracious God who has dealt gently with me as we have moved from place to place over our 8 1/2 years of marriage.

Visiting with dear friends in one of our very favorite places (Charlottesville Va's Downtown Mall) just before we moved this past summer.

Our first year of marriage in Philadelphia was a really hard year for a lot of reasons.  Philly was tough for me, but we had a wonderful church, full of people I still think about with fondness.  I am convinced God provided for us through those friends and that church.  And because of that, it was home.

Halloween fun with friends in our loft apartment in Old City, Philadelphia.  

We lived in the guest cottage of my parent's house in my hometown of Lynchburg, VA for two years after that.  We had just made the decision for Philip to pursue dental school, and while the six years that that would entail seemed a bit daunting, we were energized (maybe slightly naive?) for the journey ahead.  We quickly made that little home our own, and it was a sweet time of being near my parents and my brother, Graham.  {Sitting in a coffee shop listening to instrumental music as I type this, I'm feeling a bit choked up at the thought of it all!}  It was a unique time too, as I was the one working {outside the home} every day.  I am so grateful for that season.  I really loved my job as a pharmaceutical sales representative.

A bit of Christmas cheer in the guest cottage we were so blessed to call home for two years :)
Next, we lived in Richmond VA, and even though we knew we'd be moving after four years, it really didn't feel like a temporary place.  We bought our first house there, Wade and Holland were both born there, and Richmond still feels the most like our adult home.  I feel great nostalgia for that time in our lives, and I miss it.  I sometimes wonder if we end up there again, would it be the same?

Hard at work on our first home in Richmond, VA!

Four years later, we celebrated Philip's graduation from dental school with dear friends.

We started out in Richmond newly pregnant for the first time.  Fast forward four years later and we were a family of four!

Leaving Richmond to follow where the Air Force was leading felt like a big step.  (Our six year plan through dental school had now become a total of 11, once Philip took a scholarship through the military...)  When we found out we were Illinois bound, it was a little intimidating to think of moving half way across the country to a place completely unknown to us.  But, we knew it was only a year, so how hard could that be?  Now, more than a year later, would you believe me if I told you I actually feel homesick for that little town in southwest Illinois?  Who would have guessed it would leave such an imprint on our hearts?  Let me assure you the year had its share of hard times, but I wouldn't trade it.  We quickly plugged into a wonderful church and built relationships with some really amazing people, and it was home.

Boxes, boxes, and more boxes as we settled into life in Illinois.  The look on my face should give you a sense of how I feel about the task in front of me.

This little dude, on the other hand, was quite pleased with what unpacking boxes meant for him!

My kitchen window in Illinois

So blessed to have sweet friends to miss when we left!
Now, we find ourselves out here on the west coast, and for the first time, I'm feeling weary from what has started to feel like a pretty nomadic existence.  This leads me to wonder why?  The house we bought is in a lovely little town, and we've already met countless new people who have been welcoming and kind.  We are so grateful for that.  Maybe my weariness has something to do with the fact that I'm about to have a third baby in less than two months (and I just miss familiar friends and family and the help they could provide!)?  Perhaps being so far away and living in a place that feels really different from all that is familiar is at the root of it?  Maybe its simply a product of knowing that we are kind of in the home stretch of this whole moving around business (at least as far as we can tell!), so my energy is waning?

Bedtime reading in our temporary house at Travis Air Force Base in CA.
I'm sure all of these factors are playing a part, but there's something else that's been different about this move:  we have been in a temporary house on the Air Force base for more than seven weeks, and while we have everything we truly need, it's really tough for a furnished place that lacks most of your own things to feel like home.  There's a part of me that wants to dismiss that thought--heck, I even have someone who will come by and make my bed and bring new towels every day if I like (#firstworldproblems).  Sometimes it seems just a bit foolish, superficial even, to grant so much weight to my material possessions.  Isn't it really all about the people with whom you're doing life?  Aren't my chairs and my picture frames and my dishes just a bunch of stuff?

Our bedroom in Illinois
Most of y'all know how much I like to decorate, how much a new paint color can make my heart sing.  I'm tempted from time to time to think I should focus my efforts more on things "that really matter," but I have to tell you, I'm feeling more and more convinced of the contrary.  Sure, my children and my husband are the foundation of what makes a place home, but the things we've acquired, or been given, or made-over with that new coat of paint, I think those things matter too.  If these seven weeks in a temporary home have taught me anything it's that my stuff reminds me of the story my family has woven as we've trekked around the country together.   Somehow it seems to help me plug along and engage with the next chapter of life.

Bookshelves filled with bits of our life

Our moving truck is set to deliver all of our stuff that's been sitting in storage for the past three months next Tuesday.  I'm expecting Monday night to feel a bit like Christmas Eve for me :)  I'm so excited to uncover all of the things that will hopefully help me feel like my story can continue out here in California and it too can begin to be home.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Are You Ready for Halloween?


Wade's preschool class has apparently been discussing the number of days left until Halloween, so I've had my four year old's persistent reminders to keep me on my toes :)  However, seeing as how we have been in this temporary place for the past two months (!), we haven't done much at all in the way of festive decorating.  It's really a bummer too, because I love to see how excited my kids get by even the simplest decorations.  

Here are a few Halloween ideas to maybe spark a last-minute plan or simply to get you in the spirit of the day :)

I recently made this pumpkin soup, and it was really easy and tasty!  I used coconut milk to keep it dairy free, but I'm sure it'd be great with some good 'ol whipping cream!  



I'm a sucker for most things involving candy corn.

again with the candy corn, this time involving popcorn!

I spotted these at a local coffee shop and thought the witch's fingers were too perfect!

Our new Halloween treat bags came in just in time!  I'm obsessed with them.  They are personalized on the other side, and they were a steal!  I know these two are very excited to fill them with candy!