Within These Walls

Small House Living

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I curl up in bed at night with my fluffy IKEA clearance bin comforter and a half-read library book, the sounds of my husband tapping away on his work tablet in the living room and my daughters’ sleepy thick breathing comforting me, like a solid rain pummeling our old window panes.

In the gray early mornings, I hear my daughters whispering in their bedroom to one another to “not wake mommy and daddy yet.” This sweetness makes me want to rush to them and also savor the few extra minutes their gentle hearts have granted us. Soon after, we gather on the couch, wrapped in an old afghan, teapot chattering as the boil builds and steam rises. Kirk and I often lean against our old gas range, coffee mugs in hand, planning for the day while the girls dance and twirl in the living room.

When you live in a small house there is no escaping the noises that everyone makes; it becomes a soundtrack of its own, one that measures out the rhythm of our days. We are only ever steps away from each other and there is very little privacy or true alone time to be had. Even when I am working with my bedroom door shut, the sounds of my family still trickle in, reminding me that I am always here, always home.

Perhaps there is an oddness in craving this closeness, to revel in these tiny spaces. And of course, there are moments, sometimes days, when I wish to be alone, somewhere completely silent. But those moments are rare.

Through this experiment of living in a 675 square foot house (which is luxurious compared to many parts of the world, I know) I’ve found that these physical limitations make my gratitude stronger. Rather than resenting the size of our home, I revel in the gift of closeness. Rather than wishing for my privacy, I am learning to connect more deeply to my family. And rather than hoping for nicer things to fill our spaces, I’m choosing gratitude for what we already own.

How will the cadence and rhythm of our home change when our baby joins us? What will our little home sound like with two littles underfoot and a baby in arms? 

Tonight as I type these words and listen to the croupy cough of my oldest daughter, I am grateful that I can reach her quickly, just a handful of steps until I’m at her bedside with a glass of water and a tucking of her blankets. Someday when my children are grown and much farther away than the width of a little house, I’ll look back on how our family bond grew and love spilled over within these walls, and I’ll give thanks.

 

 

Gatherings | Our Summertime Visit with the Risenhoovers

Creating Community, Small House Living

Do you have a gal pal that you talk to more than your family? Melissa Risenhoover is kinda my BFF and the mama that I turn to for advice, support, and lots of belly laughs. She’s got my back, and I have hers, and oh, we also happen to be business partners for Cohesive Home.

So earlier this spring she asked if she and her fam could spend their summer VACA with us in Indiana. My response? OF COURSE.

At the time we didn’t own a house and lived with my parents. But we definitely weren’t going to turn down a visit from our old neighbors from OKC. (Did you catch that? We all used to live on the same block in a post-war neighborhood nestled between the twin temptations of Target and Whole Foods.)

So back to their visit: they arrived on a Thursday, and we spent the weekend visiting the beach, getting ice cream, and hanging at the park.

Friday we play at the playground across the street from our house, walked around our small downtown, and ate lots of ice cream.

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Saturday we made a huge round of eggs for everyone for breakfast.  Melissa and I actually got ready so we could take new headshots for Cohesive Home while at the farmers’ market. Then we packed up our market basket and tablecloth so we could have a picnic in the park.

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Did you know there is such a thing as organic and dye-free cotton candy? Well, there is, and it is AWESOME. I may have bought a 1/2 lb. of dark chocolate sea salt caramels. And totally don’t regret it.

We also stocked up on our favorite locally roasted, fair-trade and organic coffee. It is so delish.

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My husband, Kirk, watched the kiddos so that Brandon could take photos of us on the lawn. I don’t have any to share with you (yet!), but I’m pretty sure people thought Melissa and I were having our engagement photos taken. #BFFS.

And did I mention my husband is a saint for chasing 5 kids around?

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Melissa and I knocked out some Cohesive Home-work in the afternoon, then ran to the local Italian deli to stock up on beach picnic fare. It was so hard to limit ourselves because everything looked amazing.

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We drove over into Michigan and let the kids play in the sand + surf while we toasted to the weekend with wine.wp-1472054568405.jpg

 

We watched the sunset from the beachside playground and let the kids burn off steam before heading back home. The weather was absolutely perfect, high-70s and sunny.

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Sunday we mostly hung out on the front porch drinking coffee and watching the kids draw on the sidewalk with chalk and make fairy houses in the neighbor’s flower bushes. Don’t worry–she didn’t mind.

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wp-1472054553854.jpgWe had such an AMAZING time with the Risenhoovers! We weren’t sure what it would be like to have 9 people staying in a 675 square foot little house, but it actually went so well. I think the key to entertaining in a small house is keeping your expectations low and your home welcoming. More on entertaining in small spaces in a later post.

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But for now, let me just say you don’t need to give up entertaining when you move into a tiny or small home. We all feel so much closer as friends having had this experience together!

We’re looking forward to more gatherings with their family, hopefully exploring a new location together. And now that they left, we’re getting back into the swing of things and settling back into our home just the four of us.

Until next time…….