Category Archives: Introspection

I Hate Self-Care.

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I’m not saying it isn’t important. I am not perpetuating the idea that we just need to give of ourselves perpetually and suck it up, buttercup. But I do hate “self-care.” I hate being told to take care of myself first. That I “can’t pour from an empty cup”. That I can’t help others until I help me first. That I need to make time for me. I hate all of that. You know why?

Because, why should I? WHY should I, after everything I do for my family, have to now schedule in time for ME?! WHY am I responsible for EVERYONE’S well being, including my own?! WHY do I have to take care of everyone else, and NOONE TAKES CARE OF ME?

I hate it, friends. It’s ironically selfish, yes, but it’s my honest reaction. Self-care is just another thing on my to-do list now. Another thing to feel guilty about if I don’t do enough. If I’m irritable at the boys or grumpy at Brian-well, should’ve made myself more of a priority shouldn’t I have? Obviously, I can’t fulfill my role  of wife and mother well since I’m not prioritizing some “me time” to recharge. Tsk tsk, shame shame, if you were a better mom you’d wake up thirty minutes before your kids for your devotional and schedule weekly date nights with your spouse AND make sure you have time for a bubble bath and glass of wine at least biweekly. Don’t you dare make excuses about how busy you are, or how drained, or exhausted, you need to grow up and MAKE the time to recharge, because if not, well, it’s YOUR fault. Because it is “SELF-care.”

Bullshit. I am DONE with this “independence is best” CRAP that our culture spews. Guess what? I’m not a leader, and have no desire to be one. I’ve written blog posts about “followership” before, and durn it I’m content and proud to be someone who supports and assists instead of takes charge. Also, even as introverted as I am, I NEED friends. Maybe not a whole ton of them, lol, that can be a bit overwhelming, but yes, friends. Friends to talk to, to relate with, to give hugs (YES. I have been an awkward anti-hugger for most of my adult life, but I need them, this is truth whether I like it or not) to just make me feel less alone and crazy. I NEED my husband to take the kids without me asking, to clean without me requesting it, to give me a back rub WITHOUT any other demands (you know what I’m talking about, haha). I NEED this to help me recharge. I cannot take care of me alone, I NEED someone else to help. I am very invested in trying to meet the mental and emotional needs of my family, and I LOVE to be the person to listen and provide support and assurance as a friend, and yes, it’s exhausting at times because LIFE is exhausting, and no, I am not going to stop caring for people just because I’m worn out-I can’t. And don’t you dare tell me I shouldn’t care for people. But don’t tell me that I need to do ALL of this on my own. Yeah, I can’t pour from an empty cup, but that doesn’t mean I alone am responsible for filling it.

If there is anything that I have learned this past almost full year fighting depression, it’s that it’s OK to not be able to do stuff alone. It’s ok. It’s ok that I need Brian-he’s my husband, his job is to take care of me (and he does a good job of it). It’s ok that I need friends-God made the church body to be a BODY, which rather dramatically illustrates we need to not just work together, but that we FUNCTION together. A heart may keep beating a little bit when removed from the body (pretty cool, right?) buuuuttt soon enough it stops and the tissue dies (sorry, heart, should’ve done some more “self-care”). And, speaking of the body of Christ, while God is the ultimate source of my fulfillment and the One who “fills my cup”, in His wisdom He chose the CHURCH to be His tool on earth, which means some of that “filling” by Him comes THROUGH others.

I need people, yo. I bet you need people, too. And wherever you are in your personal beliefs (whether you are Christian and follow my above train of thought or not, haha), don’t be ashamed of needing others. I do think it’s important to learn how to say no when you are feeling overwhelmed, and to draw healthy boundaries in relationships, and to cherish the moments you get to recharge, and to not go the other extreme and NEVER treat yourself to something nice…but don’t ever feel guilty for needing help with life.

 

*** I realize that this is not what the initial “self-care” push intended at all, and it was more to encourage people to not feel guilty about prioritizing time to themselves when they feel overwhelmed. This is just how it feels from my perspective when it is in my face on every social media outlet and in articles and books and even in conversation. It’s another layer of guilt, of something I need to “do better” because otherwise I suck at doing life.***

Brothers

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I was rereading my blog and realized I hadn’t posted updates about the boys in awhile, so here we go.

Cade is very happily four. Mommy is very happy that Cade is now four. Two and three were rough ages for us, I really can’t pick which one was worse, but they were definitely not my favorite times. He is such a big helper when it comes to cleaning and cooking. Still totally my perfectionist kid. Not only does he have a pretty hefty dose of that from Brian (I would LOVE to be a perfectionist-it just seems like an awful lot of work. 😉 ) apparently this is pretty common with oldest children. He likes to have rules and instructions for everything, and if he is not asking Brian and I for input he is bossily telling others exactly how things go. His brother is becoming less and less tolerant of this behavior, but we’ll get to that. We now have pretty lengthy discussions at home or driving, and I love how his brain works. This age has been so much fun because he has made so many logical leaps and his imagination has taken off so conversations tend to actually make sense-or, well, you can at least follow why it would make sense to him-but they are still pretty ridiculous. He enjoys creating things from arts and crafts to legos, and he has a kind-hearted streak a mile wide. He’s my blatantly honest kid. He is honestly angry. Honestly sad. Honestly injured. Honestly happy. There is no dissembling, he wears his emotions loudly. I love it. There were days over the past year where I felt that all I did was tell him no and provide discipline and it was miserable, and now he seems comfortable with following directions (for the most part) and I LOVE seeing his face completely light up when he figures something out for the first time, or accomplishes a task. He is my serious kid- both taking things seriously and doing things seriously. He has an infectious laugh when he gets going, but compared to his crazy younger brother he is practically stoic, haha. He just likes things done “just so” even when he is playing, and needs all rules and regulations upfront and then everyone needs to follow them. He has become increasingly empathetic (again, YAY FOUR!). He gets sad when other kids are sad, and he wants to rescue anything that needs rescuing, and he seems to FINALLY be understanding the concept of “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” He told me the other day-when he was negotiating for a pet- that he wants a cat because cats are mostly gentle. He said, “I rough house sometimes with Zane, but mostly I like to be gentle.” And he is, for the most part, sweet natured, it’s just hidden under the seriousness of going about his daily business. Gentle may NOT be the word I associate with him just because he has a short fuse like his mom and when he loses his temper it is almost immediately physical-BUT he has gotten a ton better at controlling and tempering his reactions (another glorious thing about four), and I no longer worry nearly as much when he is around other kids-except his brother, but brothers clearly don’t count. He gets grumpy when he’s hungry (again, just like his mom) and it is seriously a Jekyl and Hyde sort of transformation before and after meals-Zane does this too, but not nearly as dramatically. I can’t believe he is four. He is such a boy, now, no baby traces left. Watching his and Zane’s personalities develop continues to be my favorite thing about parenting. I love my little man, so far four has been a wonderful year for us.

Onto Zane! Oh, Zane. Zane was, comparatively speaking, a lot easier at the beginning of two than Cade was. I felt like Cade really started pushing boundaries a little before two, and honestly didn’t stop (he just tried out a variety of boundary pushing methods) until a little past his fourth birthday. Zane, however, is a people pleasing ham. He loves to make people laugh and KNOWS he is cute. He’s got a much better grasp of humor than his literally minded older brother, and he uses it to his advantage. Where as Cade is single minded, Zane will try to divert and manipulate a conversation-especially when he  is in trouble. He is a hugs and kisses kid, always wanting to snuggle and be right on top of me, and we’ve gone through a few phases of attachment anxiety. He, however, suddenly hit the boundary pushing with a VENGEANCE. Now every little thing is a test of wills, just like it was with Cade, except when I try to talk to or discipline Zane he’ll start giggling, making faces, or shut his eyes and turn away. He will be three this September, goodness I hate this age. I LOVE my little dude, but having been through these years with Cade I recognize the symptoms. For the next year we will spend almost all of our time reinforcing the same. rules. over. and. over. And while Cade is direct, Zane is sneaky. He instigates fights with his brother and then wails loudly when Cade punches him in the head. Discipline has gone from straightforward, “Don’t hit your brother.” with Cade, to “Don’t be annoying/instigating/stirring up trouble…this is how you were all of the above.” with Zane. He is my “let me figure out all the laws of physics from experience” kid, too. Cade wants rules, Zane just flings himself at the world and expects to bounce back.  I do wish he was a little more risk adverse, but watching him tackle things head on and pick himself up of the concrete with a shrug is also inspiring, and I hope he learns caution, but doesn’t lose his enthusiasm.

They are both smart kids, but in their own ways. Again, Cade is my, “I want to practice my writing and reading. Please give me a worksheet.” kid, while Zane (at two!) has figured out how to do a handstand unassisted and has picked up writing most of his letters just from watching Cade. Zane figures out how things work in a heartbeat, and he’s already better at creating things with legos than his big brother. Cade is reading simple sentences that have sight words in them, and picked up on sounding out words like it is nothing, all while mastering the rules of chess so he can play against his dad. Socially, Zane is far more competent than Cade was at this age, but he doesn’t have the patience to sit still and do a worksheet by himself (I mean, c’mon, he’s not quite 3 yet…). Cade, on the other hand, has finished up one preschool book and I have a feeling the “curriculum” I picked out for him this year will be done by Christmas, lol.

As brothers, they are a hoot one minute and oil on fire the next. They both like to be with each other all the time, even when they are mad at each other. If one has a good (bad) idea, the other will try and make it even better (absolutely horrible) and the fact that neither has managed to seriously injure the other yet is proof of divine intervention. Busted lips/noses, black eyes, and large bruises do not count as serious injuries in this house, just an FYI. They love each other, in a fierce, wild, inexplicable brother way. And when I read passages about “brotherly love” in scripture now, I feel like there is an added depth to that description that I just didn’t understand until I watched my boys grow in their relationship with each other. By all standard accounts of how society give and take is supposed to work, the boys’ relationship doesn’t make much sense. They do things to each other that don’t make sense. They laugh at each other doing things that don’t make sense. They get mad at each other for reasons that don’t make sense. They are nothing alike in temperment or interests. And yet, for all that they don’t make sense, there is this underlying brotherly connection that just can’t be denied. They have each others’ back. They won’t hesitate in throwing each other under the bus when mom or dad confront them about their latest transgression, but if anyone else tries to interfere with the other one-well that just doesn’t fly. They love each other despite the fact that they spend half their time getting the other one in trouble or beating each other up.

Update on ME, because being a boy mom has changed me irrevocably. From gender and race issues to parenting challenges, being a boy mom is awesome and so extremely weird. I thought the connection between mom and son was honestly a little exaggerated sometimes, but having two boys now, I can say that they relate to me in ways I don’t even understand. I love my mom, but I don’t relate to her the way my boys relate to me. I am their world in a totally odd way. They both love Brian, and the relationship they have with him is special, too, but they focus and center on me almost exclusively some days. I can’t explain this with words, but I am more aware of Brian’s “otherness” of being a guy because I watch how the boys relate to me and their otherness is completely unfiltered. It doesn’t matter that I was the one who did most of the rough housing, wrestling, physical play when they were younger, or that I’m the one out there helping them on the playground and taking them for bike rides. I am an extremely physically engaged mom (when not 8 months pregnant, haha) but STILL, the boys cater to me. They offer me places to sit in the shade. They want to help me do all the things-include carry groceries and open doors. They compliment my outfits (even if it’s just jeans and a tshirt) and they give me so many hugs and kisses and tell me they love me multiple times a day. They are, in short, fiercely protective little people who don’t see me as helpless or incapable, but rather as insanely valuable. I was (and am) all about gender equality, but I believe genders ARE different. I was never one to demand doors be opened for me. I did martial arts, I shot guns, I shunned dolls as a girl, I was just as good as any boy, dang it. And I was, and am, just as good as any man-but I am different. And never has this been made more clear to me than raising these two feral boys who still act mostly on pure instinct insisting that mommy sit in the shade where it isn’t so hot.

So there you have it. My beautiful, crazy, smart boys are growing up. I love them fiercely and they return the favor. I am so excited about homeschooling them this year, and grateful for the continual challenge that parenting is-I am a better person because of being their mom. …My prayer life, at the very least, has multiplied exponentially, hahaha.

Progress Pics and Planning

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Because I don’t have the actual Facebook App on my phone (it’s a data, space, AND time suck) Instagram is struggling with connecting pictures to my Tiny Dream page. At least, I am assuming that’s why Instagram can’t get it’s act together (c’mon, Instagram, you’re better than this…) So I am now several picture posts behind and figured I’d throw them all together in a blog along with a few pictures I haven’t shared anywhere else.

First-Our cabinets are in! They are cherry cabinets from Lowe’s, and I love the softness of their color.

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I think they will look really nice with the counter tops we picked out. Here’s a pic of the slab before it was cut-we got to see it when we visited. I don’t think the picture does it justice, the streaky part is a very vibrant orange-gold color which I LOVE.  The actual counters should be installed on Thursday!

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Next, they have the frame for our pantry up and next to it is the frame for our washer and dryer! There will be storage both below and above our washer and dryer, we did NOT want them stacked.

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We answered planning questions about the pantry today. Brian and I deliberated a bit about whether we wanted the entire thing to glide out (as depicted below) or if we wanted two narrow doors that would just open and static shelving inside. We decided on the pull out for ease of access since the pantry isn’t shallow and one of my biggest pet peeves with storing food is having to reach over things to grab stuff in the back. I think it’ll also be nice not to have a bunch of doors in this space since our main closet will be opposite our washer and dryer set up.

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Safe is installed, and here’s a pic of it with our cute tiny woodstove on top. 😀 The granite counter tops will actually extend over the safe and the woodstove will sit on that, so it’s not actually secured or setup yet. AND, this is something I didn’t realize right away, notice how the cabinets sit up against a “wall” on the side opposite the safe? That’s actually the frame for our fridge!! They are custom building a frame for our fridge that will connect to our closet. I prefer having NO counter gap there, but a fridge requires air circulation-having a frame built around it gives us the best of both worlds.

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They also finished the walls and floor in the bathroom, and got the shower base and tankless hot water heater installed. It is-unsurprisingly since Brian picked it out-a very, very good tankless hot water heater that apparently was much commented on when it arrived. I am sure I will be appropriately appreciative when I take a nice hot shower in the middle of winter, haha.

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So that’s the downstairs stuff they’ve done. They have also framed in the second loft’s closets after we decided on how we wanted them to look. I am SO excited about these closets, they are just cute to me, lol, and it’ll be nice to have storage space we can close off. Among other things, my single remaining box of Christmas decorations will go in one of these closets, hahaha.

2ndloftclosets

 

There you have it! Steady progress being made daily. I can’t imagine how slow this would be going if we had attempted to do this ourselves! I remind myself of this pretty much hourly, because at almost 36 weeks pregnant I am cranky, hormonal, and uncomfortable. I want my house and my baby and to be DONE with this whole waiting thing. The weekends are excruciating because we don’t get any pictures. I’m TRYING to channel my nesting into cleaning our current house so that we can make the move quickly, but it’s tough when what I really want to do is decorate our Pemberly.

Also, I’m now dreaming about random aspects of the tiny house on a semi regular basis. I guess that beats the weird vampire world takeover dreams I had while pregnant with Zane…

Progress Report!

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A little before the 4th of July RMTH asked for dimensions of the truck topper so they could figure out a way to make something to secure it to the back of our house while we towed. Brian took measurements and pictures but was not feeling comfortable about the accuracy, so he asked if it’d be better if we just  dropped the topper off so they could have it to measure and manipulate. They agreed that would be a lot better, so Thursday night Brian and I tossed the boys in the truck and drove up to Durango, CO. The boys were a hot mess, we all slept in the back of the truck for a few hours in Albuquerque but that was about it sleep wise. Brian and I didn’t care, we were so excited about getting to see our tiny house in person!! And this will be the only time I see it until Brian gets the house on completion, because that drive was pretty miserable, not gonna lie, and I’m only 33 weeks at this point, ha.

I’ll skip the rest of the travel stuff.

We got to Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses a little after 10am, and were made welcome by Jeramy and the crew of builders.

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Greg was on a house delivery so he couldn’t be there, but as I said above-I’m not getting any LESS pregnant, so it had to be this weekend or I wasn’t going to make it, lol. Forgive the quality of photos, it’s hard to take pictures and herd the boys, plus they had our house underneath a big pole tent thingie so I couldn’t back up very far to get all of the house in one frame.

I was thrilled to see the outside was almost completely done, one of the workers was on a ladder finishing up nailing the strips on the board and bat as we pulled up. When I walked in for the first time my initial thought was, “This is too big!” No, seriously. It felt HUGE! Way bigger than I thought it would feel. Now, granted, appliances aren’t installed yet so that will definitely take up some space, but benches of tools, ladders, and fans were set up throughout and it STILL felt roomy. I had been a little concerned about the ceiling height when designing it, but figured we’d just get used to it-it’s not like we’re super tall people. But standing under the lofts and catwalks I didn’t feel like the ceiling was close at all! Even the loft was a lot roomier than I thought it’d be.

The above is: 1-Standing beneath the catwalk. 2-Kneeling (feet under butt) beneath the catwalk (same height as lofts), head against the lowest ceiling point. 3-Standing in the gooseneck and touching the ceiling peak.

 

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The above is the view from standing IN the bathroom and facing to the gooseneck. The gooseneck will be completely walled off with a small door in the center (the door will extend up into the loft space.) The washer/dryer will be on the left from this view, and the closet will be on the right. The kitchen is then divided on either side and includes a small pantry, a tall but narrow refrigerator, 3 burner induction stove top with a range hood over a 24″ stove, sink, and counters and cabinets. No upper cabinets, only lower.

The boys enjoyed climbing into “their room” for the first time, and were thrilled when we explained their bunkbeds would be against the wall and each of them would have their very own window. The wood around the windows is poplar, and is the wood we chose for the interior. I LOVE IT! I could babble about it endlessly, but instead, here are pictures.

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Isn’t the color streaking effect so cool?! I am so impatient to see the interior walls completed!

The next two pics are the views from the lofts. The first is from me sitting in the back of the master loft and looking down towards the gooseneck. Remember that the gooseneck will be completely walled off as it’s own separate room. The second view is from where that wall will be separating the gooseneck from the second loft down to the master loft.

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Just look at all those windows up there! So much natural light. 😀

One of the things we need to decide on is what we want underneath the catwalk/lofts to look like. We want to leave the steel beams exposed (that’s where we are putting all our race medals-turned-magnets), we really like how it looks. However, we can either leave it like it is now with the ridging, or they can fit smooth poplar boards in between the steel frame. Brian and I’s initial thought was smooth BUT the longer I looked at them, the more I’m thinking I like the texture they add to the space. I don’t wan’t to end up feeling like I am living in a wood crate, so having some texture to the ceiling might break up the uniform feeling of the wood walls and upper ceiling. Still going back and forth, in any case we like the exposed metal beams.

While Brian was answering and asking questions-him and Jeramy both have a thing for precision and details (which is great! Just means a lot of questions and note taking, lol) the rest of the crew was incredibly friendly and patiently allowed the boys to “help” them with their tasks. Especially on a Friday when everyone was probably looking to finish up as quickly as possibly to get done, it was really, really cool of them to answer the boys’ constant questions, lend them tape measures and help them measure things, have them assist with snapping chalk lines, and even letting them “help” start the framework for a wall. At the end of the day Cade did NOT want to leave, haha.

 

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When we took a break for lunch one of the builders offered to let us see the inside of his tiny house, so after a lunchtime fiasco at Sonic (the wait time was beyond ridiculous and then they had run out of toast and couldn’t make grilled cheese which is what BOTH boys had asked for) we went over to see it. Both boys fell asleep on the very short drive, so Brian stayed in the truck and I went in-it was MY turn to ask questions, haha. It was a lovely home, the builder’s wife was there with their youngest daughter, their oldest was playing with friends. It was so good to see how space can be managed with kids thrown into the mix, especially since their house was even smaller than ours, and they even had a full bathtub! It was also good for me to get another mom’s perspective on living tiny, I was really thankful we had the opportunity to visit! She did warn me though that we’d get random strangers occasionally asking to see the inside of our house, haha. Guess that’ll be  good incentive to keep it clean. 😉

We drove back to finally actually drop off the truck topper-both boys still sleeping-and Brian answered all the remaining questions Jeramy had. We also got to see the roof, which they had on site, just not on the house yet. Jeramy said no one wanted to go up and install it yet with how hot it had been, haha, so they had been working on other parts of the house instead. I can’t blame them for that!

So there you have it! Our tiny, tiny house adventure. We drove back that afternoon, getting back to El Paso around midnight. We were initially going to explore Durango a little more and then get a hotel, but the boys were way beyond their limit with such a short amount of sleep and then being outside “building” for a good 2-3 hours. They were both cranky in the family pic we took, having just woke up from their naps, and both ended up sleeping in this morning until almost 9! I’m glad we decided to drive back when we did instead of stretching out the chaos over two days.

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Until next week! Hopefully they’ll keep sending pictures. 😀

Things Fall Apart.

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“If you have to travel that much you should just get an RV.”

“It’ll collapse in a heap of soggy sawdust in 20 years.”

“SO much could go wrong…”

Friends, I’ll be honest, I worry about tiny house living sometimes. I worry about the wear and tear on the house as we haul it cross country. I worry about having RV parks get grumpy and turn us away. I worry about rocks hitting windows on the highway, illegally low bridges and overpasses, flat tires, broken axles, busted pipes, broken appliances, blabbity blabbity blab. I’d be stupid NOT to be concerned. BUT. I also worry about being in another situation like our current one with the fried AC and at the mercy of incompetent housing managers. I worry about the lead paint and the fact that there is no way to shut off our water if a pipe bursts. I worry about finding a new place every PCS, about almost getting involved with shoddy rent agreements like at Ft. Rucker (always read the fine print), I worry about gas leaks (no propane in the tiny house, whew), I worry about bad storms knocking trees on our house or our vehicles, I worry about broken septic tanks and faulty sewer. I worry about leaks and cracks and poor insulation and fires and blabbity blabbity blab.

All things fall apart. Now, I have confidence in the Rocky Mountain Tiny House team-this isn’t their first rodeo-and in my husband’s extremely thorough investigation into every tiny facet of the build, but at some point, something on the tiny house WILL break. It will happen. I can spend a ton of time worrying about this, or shrug and say we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Worse case scenario our tiny house spontaneously combusts while driving it somewhere…Oooookay. Well, A) we have insurance, and B) we’re still military, so on post housing it’ll be. If we all have to live in a tent for awhile-I know people who’ve done just that I can get pointers from, haha. 😉 Will it be a devastating loss? YES! But you know what would be a thousand times MORE devastating? Brian being killed. Should I have NOT falling in love, married, and raised a family with him because of the amount of devastation it would cause me to lose him? I sincerely hope you can answer that question without further prompting. At the end of the day, this is just a house. Our dream house, yes, but it’s just a house- losing it would not be the worst thing to happen, yet the potential adventure and joy in attempting this lifestyle is huge.

We have done the research, questioned the experts, and prayed obsessively. We are so, so stinking excited about our house, Brian has taken to leaving the pictures of it up on the TV so we can see it as we go about our day. It IS a risk, but one we believe is well worth it. And in terms of things breaking (having been stick and brick homeowners before) it isn’t that much worse than a regular home. We’ve traded some issues (wear and tear on the trailer) for others (dealing with any septic or sewer problems), and then many remain the same (appliances breaking). And we don’t have to deal with yard upkeep.

We can’t RV live full time if we end up in Alaska or even at Ft. Drum New York. But our tiny home has killer insulation and a wood stove…And if it goes 20 years before collapsing-we’ll be retired and eh, lesson learned I guess, lol.

So much COULD go wrong, as is true with any decision you make in life. So much also COULD go right. Brian and I want to live tiny even after the kids are grown and flown the nest. We aren’t looking at this as a temporary fix to forced military mobility, we are looking at it as a chance to have our cake and eat it, too. To have our dream home WHILE being forced to be mobile, and then we can park it when he’s retired. Shoot, by then most of the permanent tiny home legal issues will probably be resolved!

I get all worked up about these things, but Brian’s response is simple: “Haters gonna hate.” SO whatever happens, we’ll just shake it off, HA.

We’re Doing It Wrong

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I was all excited when I first joined a few Facebook groups to get some insights on living tiny and on the road, and I have gotten a ton of information…but it has also reminded me of all the things I don’t like about social media. The fulltimers group has been great, it’s really for RV living but I suspect there may be one or two other tiny house lurkers like me enjoying the stories, pics, and voices of experience when it comes to navigating RV parks, small spaces, and creative storage. The tiny house groups have been a little more frustrating. There is dissension in the ranks, mostly on everyone trying to qualify what is or isn’t a tiny house. I don’t feel comfortable posting much or asking questions, because faaaaarrr too many people throw out judgments of, “that’s not what living tiny is all about.” and getting all panties-in-a-wad over people not living tiny like they’re supposed to.

So, despite fitting the square feet criteria (eyeroll that they’re even nit picky about THAT) Brian and I are doing it wrong and here is why.

One: We are actually planning on using the wheels on our tiny house. Hence the money we have poured into our trailer to make triply sure it is capable of hauling our tiny home. We did not buy second hand, strip an abandoned RV, or otherwise find the cheapest set of wheels that might function in order to avoid housing tax. Many apparently do this, and while most make sure the trailer is sound for holding the house, few are worried as much about wear and tear on the road since they are going to park it on land somewhere. There are several who actually travel with their houses, but they apparently mostly host their own blogs and avoid facebook groups-which may be the route I take. Especially when I asked about travelling one actually said, “you should just get an RV.” …the reasons we didn’t go with an RV are a whole ‘nother post (and nothing against RVs since RV living is what started this adventure), but seriously, we are already BUILDING a tiny house, people who make stupid comments like this are the worst. You know the type, like you say, “We just adopted a dog, advice on….” and they’re all like, “You shouldn’t get a dog, they’re horrible, why would you ever do that?” HELLO, NOT HELPFUL, ALREADY MADE THE DECISION!

Two: They incorporate recycled/reclaimed/bargain finds to keep the cost of the house lower and to reduce their “footprint”. The “point of tiny housing” according to many comment-ers is essentially avoiding being saddled with a mortgage and being wasteful. Now I am all for this if this is the route you want to go! I AM happy that we will be spending less on utilities and living less wastefully, but that was not a big contributing factor to why we decided to go tiny, more like icing on the cake. And I love seeing the creativity and DIY projects! But again, we’ll be travelling to who knows how many different climate types, AND this is our forever home. Our dream of a forever home does not include reclaimed barn wood. Some things we had to get high end in order to prepare for any climate we might get stationed in (no neat stained glass windows for us, womp womp) and others we are getting because we WANT to-like cork flooring (which-besides being weird and looking neat- is also a really good insulator) ….sorry our dream house doesn’t look the same, it is still remarkably energy and water efficient-maybe more so in some ways. The tiny house version of “keeping up with the Joneses” is how much you’ve restored/recycled compared to your neighbor, and our build comes in dead last and neither of us cares, lol.

Three: a tiny house must be cheaper than a sticks and bricks house otherwise it is pointless. Well, due to reasons one and two, uh, nope. Now, it is not the cost of a really nice S&B house in a great location, being tiny DOES cut some cost on manufacture -but it’s not cheap because being tiny also raises other expenses. Our fridge is expensive because of it’s dimensions, as is our oven. Not because they are big, but because they are small. Normal sized appliances of the same caliber would cost us less. And what THIS argument does is undermine all the claims that living tiny is worthy in and of itself, that less is more and minimalism is freeing and all that other stuff tossed around. If my house passes a certain level of investment then all those “philosophies” are null and void? Now, Brian and I didn’t start our tiny house adventure to join a political or philosophical movement, we saw the practical applications of how living tiny would work for our family and his career and realized it seems a good fit, but this “has to be under a certain amount or it defeats the point” argument really chafes my grits because if you claim that you are “freeing yourself from materialistic thinking” and then demand a dollar amount be placed on your philosophy, well, you’re an idiot.

So, yeah, we’re doing it wrong. Brian has no desire to “rough” it, and because the structure IS small we are able to purchase really nice things that we definitely wouldn’t be able to afford in a larger house. For example-granite counter tops are a lot cheaper when you’ve only got two tiny counters. Now I wouldn’t mind reclaimed this and old that. I’ve realized I love ugly, broken, and imperfect things, and the adventure of “making things work” is appealing to my stimulation distracted brain (another entirely seperate blog post), but nine years married to a man who would make himself happily at home in the Taj Mahal (after some renovations to make it even better, I’m sure) and I’ve also realized that living with nice things doesn’t bother me as much as it sometimes bores me. But luxury is what he appreciates and enjoys, and I’m still just so thrilled that he agreed to doing this at all! So as long as he’s satisfied with the fancy stuff I can find plenty of other fun things to occupy myself- like insisting our house be painted purple. And the end result is a really cool house that we designed TOGETHER which simply makes it the best.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be part of the tiny house groups. We apparently don’t fit the standard tiny house mold, and snobby people annoy me, especially snobby people who claim they are fighting back against snobbery -“it’s all about community and becoming better people!…as long as you fit these arbitrary criteria…”-the sad irony is too much for me to bear. Some of the members are kind and thoughtful, and I love learning from the other families, but the few judgmental ones are REALLY judgmental and I just don’t need that.

I Feel You

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I feel you, little wiggler.

Squiggle jiggling in my belly. Topsy turvy, throwing punches, pushing boundaries already.

I know that it’s been crazy and you hear me talk, talk, talking to your brothers and your daddy and to dear God for some more patience.

I feel you when you’re sleeping, lying heavy, snuggly still, squirrelled down tight in my middle, floating easy.

I know I’m moving, hustle bustle, doing life that you can’t see yet-but I feel you.

Little one, I already love you, and my thoughts sneak slip you in between the hurry and the hassle in our happy hectic home.

You belong, my tiny thumper, with your flips and flops and pokes, as your brothers pat my belly with sweet questions and silly sounds. They feel you.

Your daddy knows you. He’s already planning, number crunching for your life, nothing but the best for those that are his-and you are. He feels you.

Sneaky ninja, I feel your tiny flutters, subtle nudges, as I lay awake at night. I treasure our conversations, our few quiet moments uninterrupted. I love to feel you, you are precious, you are special, you are mine in a way no one else is.

Baby, baby, I do feel you, we all do.

Ants in my Pants

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Two things:

One: The AC broke again recently and there was a bit of a kerfuffle over getting someone out to check it and then some finger pointing amongst the technicians and since this is the fifth time the AC has broken (6th time for the unit since the fan broke once while it was on heat not AC) in a year’s time we have been a bit frustrated. Usually we are both pretty “roll with the punches” when it comes to housing simply because we know this one-like the housing we were in at Ft. Rucker- is really old. But honestly, with the hassle of dealing with the housing company here at Bliss, it is not worth the few hundred a month we pocket in BAH to live here. It would DEFINITELY not be worth putting up with all this crap if they were taking all of our BAH. The thing is, if it was a civilian apartment when the AC broke (which we’ve had happen) or our own home (which we’ve had happen) the problem would be FIXED and not left to drag on for a year. But this is a particularly crappy housing company for a military base, so…

Two: I hit third trimester today and I’m nesting. It always strikes me a little differently with each pregnancy -although if I get an overwhelming urge to deep clean a bathroom or hands and knees scrub a floor, watch out I’ll be in labor in a day or two max. This pregnancy it’s been the little things that are bugging me. Like, I have a container of lotion that I have moved three times today because I cannot for the life of me figure out where it HAS to be. It needs a spot, a home, a place to call it’s own… this is true of every toy I pick up, every craft, every pencil. I can’t be in Brian’s room for very long because their are too many homeless cords lolling about. The problem is, without the tiny house I am refraining from buying organizational stuff because we can’t know what will or won’t work until we have the house. Talk about some serious frustration! I am desperate to find homes for every doodad I pick up, but all I can offer them is temporary housing until our permanent abode is complete. It comes in waves- I’ll have a surge of energy and impatience and try to pick up every blessed trinket in this house, and then I’ll retire to the couch and sulk because the task seems insurmountable. Hormones, yeesh.

All this to say-I REALLY cannot wait for the tiny house. I may be anticipating the arrival of the house more than the birth of baby 3PO. Not because I’m not excited about baby’s arrival-I am!! More because I don’t mind being pregnant and am enjoying having curves and feeling all the kicks and squirms- so I don’t feel like rushing the process any…at least not yet. The tiny house I want rushed. The tiny house I want finished yesterday. We finalized kitchen cabinets today and are, ironically, discussing air conditioners with Greg now, ha!

Also, I’ve been asked by several friends about the boys and baby in the tiny house. The boys will be in bunk beds in the gooseneck portion, and the bottom bunk will have a pullout trundle under it for when baby gets older. For the first probably year or so, I will be downstairs on a twin mattress with the baby-I do not feel comfortable taking an infant up and down a ladder into a loft, so downstairs I’ll be. We have been looking into mini cribs and we may put the crib upstairs in one of the lofts after a certain age IF our design for being able to completely close off the loft space from floor to ceiling is doable, but I’m not making any decisions until we are at that point. Truth is, babies stay babies for such a short amount of time. Even if we manage to keep this one in a crib until two (something I don’t think either big brother made it to, ha) that’s only two years.

We’ve also been asked about, ahem, “married people time”-which is actually a question asked frequently in the full timers RV group, lol, and most answers seem to revolve around waiting for the spin cycle of the washing machine. 😛 There were other solutions offered, and honestly nothing crazier than strategies I’ve heard from plenty of parents with small children, haha.

Any other questions? Please help distract me until we finally get our home!

 

 

Decisions, Decisions

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We are, to my knowledge, still waiting on the trailer. However, because Greg and his team will be looking to make up for all the delay (they have other houses to work on after ours) he’s going ahead and ordering all the appliances, flooring, etc for the rest of the house. Which means in the past week Brian has received and answered a slew of emails-like over fifty, no joke-verifying what we want and what needs to go where. This has resulted in us changing the refrigerator, losing an inch or so of loft height to accommodate our shower, moving the bathroom wall out 14in to put the hot water heater and electrical box inside (water heater won’t fit under the kitchen counters), changing the shower walls, re-configuring how we are attaching the tv, deciding on a range hood, and a host of other details confirmed, ordered, and decided. Brian is still going over the electrical schematic to see if and where he can place a recessed outlet for the tv and speakers so they are wired directly into the wall, we’ve decided on the light switches we’ll use initially, we still have to figure out how to make the bathroom vanity mirror work with the window (to trim or not to trim?) Basically, we were twiddling our thumbs and getting impatient waiting on the trailer and all of a sudden Brian is rubbing blood shot eyes in front of the computer screen researching range hoods, electrical outlets, etc., and we gave the boys their tablets in Lowe’s to look at cabinet configurations in relative peace. It’s been busy.

When a big event or change or move or anything that I’m anticipating (good or bad anticipation) is set to occur, I am a champ at compartmentalizing and distancing myself from the whole thing until it’s on top of me. With the mindset of, “I’ll make it work/worry about it when it gets here” I can ignore stuff for ages. This makes me a grade A procrastinator, by the way, but it also has it’s perks since I don’t find myself completely wrung out by worry/anxiety/emotion until AFTER said event/change/move has happened. With the tiny house, distancing myself has kept me from feeling overwhelmingly frustrated because I want to be in the house NOW and have wanted to be in said house since we first started talking about it. But standing in our current kitchen, debating what to do with an extra drawer in our tiny house schematic (yes, an EXTRA drawer-and this is with us including a junk drawer!) I had one of those goosebump producing waves of, “OH MY GOODNESS WE ARE GETTING A TINY HOUSE IN A FEW MONTHS.” It was fun, made me giggle like an idiot and even though the feeling has faded somewhat in the hustle of everyday life (I mean, I do also have a pregnancy coming to completion in August, that has also been somewhat on my mind, obviously) it is feeling more “real” every day.

I am praying that this transition doesn’t completely flabbergast the boys too badly. If their track records with travel and vacation are any indication, it won’t be at the beginning that they resist the tiny house, it’ll be a few weeks after we’ve moved in that we’ll start having outbursts and meltdowns and emotional chaos. They really are tough little guys, they did a fantastic job on vacation. Started to get a little rough towards the end with fussing, meltdowns, and attitude, but it was such a whirlwind two weeks I was really expecting a lot worse. The amount of travel they’ve accomplished at their tender ages of 4 and 2.5 is pretty astounding. Cade has been on 19 flights, Zane has been on 16. Together they’ve done at least four 12 hour road trips (Cade’s done a total of 7 (!!) including our initial drive down to ‘Bama, plus 2 more 12 ish hours when he roadtripped with Brian one way up to Va), two 7-9 hour trips (Colorado and back) plus an extra two for Cade when we went to Louisiana before Zane was born, and this past beach trip makes two 5 hour drives for Zane, and four for Cade since we took him to the beach somewhere between 3-4 months old. Add in the countless 1-3 hour trips exploring nearby areas from beaches on the Gulf to national and state parks around Ft. Bliss and the boys are seriously pros at travelling. I think this may be one of those things that make us an obvious military family, haha.

Anyway, that’s all I have as an update for now. We’ll probably head out after nap to look for more items that we need to verify before they get ordered. Can’t believe it is almost June! Initial projection was that the house would be done by the end of July, with the trailer delay I’m pretty sure that’s not gonna happen, but still-so close!!

Tiny Thoughts

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Do I have pictures? Nope. I know, I know, I KNOW people want to see the tiny house, I want to see the house, too! But I can’t show you something that doesn’t exist yet. We’ve experienced several delays-almost entirely due to the trailer build. The house build was set to start the third weekend in April but we had to wait on the trailer, then it was the first weekend in May, then the second, then the third….now hopefully by Memorial Day the trailer will be done and the house build will start. Greg, from Rocky Mountain Tiny Homes, has been fantastic, none of the delays are within his control, but I think all of us are chafing at the bit to get this started. The SIPS have arrived and the windows are ordered, we’ve finalized exterior paint colors and interior walls and floors, and now we wait.

In the meantime, I’ve  joined two facebook groups devoted to tiny house living and full time RV living respectively and it’s been good to take my theoretical ideas of what tiny house living will be like and stacking them up against other people’s real experiences. Here is my number one takeaway from all the discussions, critiques, debates, rants, etc.

It’s going to be difficult at times, but no harder than any other type of living, and the benefits are worth it for us.

Here’s the thing, we are a military family. Our life is weird and hard already, with frequent separations, frequent moves, minimal say on where we go, when we go, or what our living space will be like when we get there. PLUS all the fun of knowing your spouse could be injured or killed on the job (and this does not apply to “just deployments”). Unless you’ve experienced it, it isn’t something you can completely relate to or prepare yourself for-it’s really challenging. BUT there are definite perks, including the joy of reunions and the closeness of the community and the frequent strengthening of my faith, my marriage, and my love of people. I prefer to focus on the perks of being a military family and also not play the one up game, because you know what else is hard? Two career spouses who find themselves passing like ships in the night in their dream forever home in their dream city. Their apathy and resentment and loneliness building unless they make some hard choices about their careers, their lives, their relationship-which is confusing because the world tells them “You have it all!”and yet they struggle with desperate depression. Or those living below the poverty line struggling to make ends meet, trying to provide everything they can for their children, not knowing whether they’ll have a job tomorrow. Or those in the police, firefighting, or EMS world who not only work bizarre hours, but also face dangerous situations on a regular basis PLUS the emotional and mental toll of the horrible crap they witness daily. So you know what is hard? Life. Relationships. Singleness. Parenthood. Infertility. Too much. Too little. The military life. The civilian life. The 9-5 life. Shift work. The entrepreneurial life. LIFE is hard. And seeking “easy” is futile and thus stupid.

You need to seek out your hard and lean in instead of constantly looking for an escape. Which aspect of “tough” do you thrive in? Or, simply, what part of tough are you in NOW whether you like it or not. You need to find the challenges that strengthen you-or occasionally break you-to make you take stock of your life and your habits, and you need to continue to fight through the tough you’re in the middle of and seek out the positives and the joy. Ask for help, get support, try new strategies, keep on plowing through instead of bemoaning that things aren’t “easy”. Growth isn’t easy, but stagnation is definitely not pleasant. I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy luxury, but rather you can’t really enjoy luxury unless you can appreciate what ISN’T luxury. Remember summers as a kid? Longing all school year for summer, for the luxury of no tests, no assignments, no classes, no pressure….and then about two weeks into June everyone goes nuts with boredom. I am a firm believer that we need to constantly be balancing the challenge and the luxury in our lives-swinging too far in either direction is damaging, and pursuing just one or the other is equally damaging.

Yes, living tiny seems extreme to some in our “Bigger is Better” culture. It flies in the face of the standard tradition of “keeping up with the Jones’s” (although there are a few of those out there who judge tiny living on the “tininess” of a space-like you can get extra brownie points for smaller square footage *HUGE EYEROLL* human nature, you are ridiculous). But, it’s our type of crazy. Our type of challenge. The  benefits-for us-outweigh the projected struggles. I don’t believe this type of living is for everyone, BUT I do believe that more people would greatly enjoy the benefits that come with overcoming the challenges of living with less and are too quick to write off minimalism or tiny living as “crazy” or “impossible”. We straddle a funky line when it comes to our tiny house, since Brian prefers all the perks of a normal sized house and is not at all interested in “roughing it” with things like a two in one washer/dryer, or a tiny fridge, or no oven, or any other cuts that often happen to free up room. So our “tiny house” is well over 400 feet of livable space. Sure the ceilings are a bit lower, but the shower will be normal sized. 😉 Living tiny does not have to mean joining a political movement either, or becoming a conspiracy theorist, or a hippie, or even a hermit. The people choosing to live small are truly a varied bunch and it’s really cool to see the different lifestyles and points of view that make up the tiny house and full time RV communities. Honestly, not much different than an ordinary slice of suburbia-except on a smaller scale (HA!).

Even if going tiny is not for you, I will add my voice to the chorus of the current minimalism movement. I am definitely pro-less stuff. We had SO MUCH STUFF that we never really used, that just became holding containers or flat surfaces to stuff MORE unnecessary stuff onto. I had dozens of half completed projects, mountains of “things I was going to fix or re-purpose”, duplicates of every blessed cooking gadget imaginable, heaps of towels, boxes of organizational containers (oh the irony), and furniture that just took up space and scraped up shins. Having just what I need plus a few extras is a really, really pleasant way to live, and it greatly deepens my appreciation of those “extras”.

That’s all for now! I promise I will post pictures as soon as I have any. 😛