Big Family, Little House

The song “Love grows best in little houses” has come to mind a lot over the past few years (yes, the peak 80s/90s country cheesiness…), and the last year especially. It was one of the themes we continued to cling to in our starter home… but clearly that song was written before a pandemic and working from home with kids making noise through thin walls, and there’s a reason they only had two kids in the song not more!… I’ll admit that the main reason we are moving is so that we can have a little more space. We want room for the kids to grow and hubby to continue to work from home when needed. We want space to have people over after a long quarantine from entertaining. Still, I will miss our little house like crazy, and wanted to share a few reasons why our big family has loved our little house…

*Less house to clean, more time for memories. I like to call this a sort of forced minimalism. We are definitely not purists in the minimalist category- I have no shame about owning four pairs of scissors so we always have one handy in various rooms of our house and I LOVE having memorabilia and knick knacks out on my bookshelves even though I know it is not the style these days. Still, having minimal space to store “stuff” means less time picking up all the stuff. Having less square footage of floors to sweep, mop, or vacuum means less time doing all that. That left us more time for making memories together.

Our beautiful backyard garden had humble beginnings- and it may never have happened if we had more space to work with inside than outside!

*Cramped house inside = more time outside in our amazing yard or on the trails. One of the main reasons we picked the house we did was for the backyard. We knew that if we could cultivate that area with green space and a garden and places to sit under our porch that our living space would essentially double the 7-8 months out of the year when the weather allowed us to spend time outside. That in turn led our whole family to fall even more in love with the outdoors and increased our time hiking and on family walks which has been so wonderful! This will continue to have a lasting impact as one of the primary requirements in our house hunt was staying close to hiking trails!
*A small house means learning to share is not an option: This is true for space and toys and time in the bathroom. Sharing rooms, sharing books, sharing art supplies and cooking supplies…. this does NOT always happen in a perfect or even pretty way. It leads to a lot of frustration for both children and adults several times a day sometimes. However, I think it has been good for us and made us a stronger family. And for the times we aren’t good at sharing, a small house has helped us work on the necessary practices of apologizing and forgiving because…
*You can’t escape your people in a small house. This is a blessing AND a curse lol. This is also the point that reminds me most of the aforementioned song, Little Houses:
Where you eat and sleep so close together.
You can’t help but communicate,
Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we’d miss.
Love grows best, in houses just like this.

Sometimes when you are tired, hitting the pandemic wall, or facing burnout or hunger or disappointment etc. you just do not feel like communicating. You feel like finding a corner to hide in and just being grumpy about
EVERYTHING. But a small house doesn’t usually afford you that opportunity (although I will confess to spending a good deal of time crying in our laundry room during the early days of virtual learning) so you have to get over yourself and talk to each other anyway. Or get outside and run or walk out all those feelings before coming home and talking it out!

*Creativity abounds because necessity is the mother of invention
. I have seen my kids become masters of recycling boxes into castles, bedsheets into about 100 different toys and backdrops, and we have all learned how to roll with the punches and rearrange a small space in a dozen different ways throughout even a single year to fit our family needs. It has been a wild ride.

I will miss our little house like crazy, but I know our love will continue to grow in our new home. I’m glad we had the foundation of our little house and what that has taught us. In fact, I have so much more to say about it in the weeks to come…


3 thoughts on “Big Family, Little House

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