Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cozy Little Home

As I mentioned, there have been enough questions asked so far in response to "The How" to give me lots of blogging material! I'm excited :-)

I think I'll generally answer them in order. But before getting to questions, I want to reply to a statement made in a comment on the previous day's post. In sharing part of a family story, the commenter writes: "things were getting hectic around our little house so what do we do now?"

I just wanted to start there because it brought to mind my feeling exactly when we found out we were pregnant with Liam, our fourth child.

We had just moved into our house, and for a few months prior people were joking with me "You know the old saying, New house new baby!" Sure enough, 1 1/2 months after settling in I told my hubby baby #4 was on the way.

That year my husband had returned from being deployed. I had given birth to our third child, while the kids and I lived in a 1 bedroom apartment. When he came home we started looking at housing options. In our neck of the woods buying a small home costs as much as renting. So we looked for a while and found our cozy little home.

We bought it hoping we could make it work for 5-7 years. It was a 3 bedroom, with 2 bathrooms, and the living/dining/kitchen are all open to each other so it makes the house feel much larger than it is.

With baby #4 on the way I realized we were outgrowing our home just as soon as we bought it. Since our baby was born a boy, we had 2 boys in one room and 2 girls in another. It worked, there was enough room, it was socially acceptable.

When I became pregnant with Shiloh (baby #5) a commonly asked question was "Where are you going to put her??" The more I was asked, the more I stressed out about it. I started answering "well, the girls room is the bigger one, so it will work while they're young. And for the first year she'll probably be in our room while nursing." Trying to justify why we'd continue to populate our already overcrowded house. I would look at houses for sale nearby, and try to figure out how we could afford another move so soon.

One day when I was driving and praying to the Lord I just had this revelation "We have plenty of room."

I started considering how the average house size has been getting larger, while the average family has been getting smaller. I think this article from July 4, 2006 sums it up. In a 1,400 sq. ft house our family is together. All. the. time. Most people can't handle that. Our culture discourages it.

I ask you, what happens when you get to be all by yourself, with all your own things, whenever you want, without anyone's interfering?

The above referrenced article says this :

Consider: Back in the 1950s and '60s, people thought it was normal for a family to have one bathroom, or for two or three growing boys to share a bedroom.

Did you notice how they implied the following : "people thought it was normal" They're inferring that it was anything but. In actuality, it was normal then. There's no reason why it can't be normal now. No reason except for peer pressure. That's right, we're adults but we still cave to peer pressure. It's called, Keeping up with the Joneses.

We have 2 bathrooms in our house, 2 full ones! Not to mention, our house is larger than the average 1950's home. I imagine that if we lived back then, we'd be considered wealthy. And... back then, if we thought our home wasn't big enough for us I'm sure we'd be dubbed snobs as well.

I started thinking about people who live in poor countries in the world. How 10 family members will live in a 1 room house, about 12 ft x 12 ft.

I started thinking about how if we needed more room maybe we could get rid of our stuff.

I started thinking about what are the real necessities in life : food, shelter, water. We have far more than the bare necessities.

It was then I acknowledged that revelation to me while praying was indeed from the Lord. We have plenty of room. Sometime if you're interested I could share how we're making our house work for us and how we plan to for a long time to come unless the Lord shows us otherwise.

Remember that what you have, both in terms of your housing and your family, was given to you by the Lord. And remember that He not only knows all of our needs, but His word says this: Matthew 25:21 "His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’"

Let us be faithful with what we have.


ryleeandnoahsmom said...

Please do share how you are making your home work for you, and will continue to have it work for you in the years to come. Our houses sound very similar...2 full baths, and 3 bedrooms. I'd love any hints you can pass along. I'm enjoying your thoughts!!
Jen : )

Amy Giove said...

You know, I think your right about that. This whole thing. We live in an apartment and while I'd LOVE to have a yard for the kids, gardens, a garage and basement to stick stuff into for storage or the kids with toys sometimes, I too feel the social pressure of needing a bigger place. We have a 3 bedroom, bath & 1/2 with fireplace, dishwasher, utility room and laundry room. All to ourselves. The kids share a room that we have already put the new baby's crib into, and we have a office / guest bedroom /storage closet that does tend to spill over into the room if we let it. Anyways, point being we have more than enough room. But we are told often that we'll have to move into a house and that we should have both a guest room / office for family when they are here and separate rooms for the sexes. Does it really matter? Noah will be 3 + 1 month and Frencesca not yet 2 when #3 is born. Why is it thought that families should have at most 2 kids per room? Well, as or us we are revolting. Right now to me it is important to have the storage, place to put up Grandparents or others, and be able to get on the computer while they are sleeping. hehehe =)

danica said...

Great post, great thoughts. And fwiw, my siblings and I ALL shared a room until I was about 15 (that included one brother, who contented himself with a baseball pennant on one wall: the boy corner.) When I was 15, there were 7 of us (and a baby in Mom and Dad's room.) When we split up into three rooms, there were three sisters in one room, four in the other, and at long last, a room just for my brothers. We also all shared one full bath until I was 14. Oh: one full bath with just a bathtub, no shower.

And you know, it worked.

We didn't all hole up in our rooms, watching cable, using our own computers, and talking on our own phones. We were all downstairs all together all the time. And I learned how to practice piano while siblings pretended to be cowboys and indians behind me. Amazing focus skills, I'll tell ya. :)

Amy said...

It has been a struggle for me but I am with you. :) We have 3 girls in one room and the baby boy in his own. . . Even now they are keeping each other awake, but they are out of my hair. We do have enough, and I am so very thankful to be right here! But, I am thinking that the living room needs paint. . . hmmmm.

Rissa said...

This is great and so important. I love this mentality. We plan to have the kids all share a room (as long as we're here ;) until we have four. After four, we'll turn the guest room into a kids' room as well. I'd like to have a boys' room and a girls' room always - I would rather they were always sharing a room with at least someone (many someones).
I can't wait for more answers! :)

Kristin said...

What a great attitude to have. Sometimes I struggle with needing more space. We live in an area of the country where real estate prices run higher than the average income so it is taking some saving and planning for us to be able to buy. In the meantime, my oldest two (boy and girl) share a room and our toddler and baby-to-be will share the room with my husband and I.

Mrs. Querido said...

AMEN! My sister and I shared a very dinky room until I moved out and got married! We learned to share and respect each other's need for space. Great life lessons!

Now my husband and I own a ONE bath three bedroom home. And it works for our family of five. The kids get the bigger master bedroom (which has no bathroom attached so what's so masterful about, hubby and I get the smaller bedroom and then we use the spare room as our music/media room (i.e. computer room/ guest room).
Whenever I am tempted to think about getting a bigger place/ nicer place/ newer place, I just remember the 4 1/2 months we spent with family in Mexico. We crammed ten people (adults and kids) into a house the size of my livingroom plus bathroom. ONE bathroom for all of us to share---yeah, shower time was an Olympic event. In other countries, EVERYONE shares a room with often more than just one other person. It makes me grateful all over again.

Thanks for the inspiring post on gratefulness and contentedness with what we have!