Monday, July 21, 2014

442

442 sq. feet.

This is what we live in.

For the longest time I was telling people 550-600 when people asked.  I didn't really know so I guessed.  Then a few days ago I decided to whip out the tape measure...just to see.

442.

And you know.  It's really not that bad.  Ok...well...when it's clean.  When it's messy I kinda want to poke my eyes out.  Also we sorta chose it.  I mean, it's not as if we had the choice between a mansion and this place.  All of our options were small.  The things that sold us though were A) a full size 'frige.  B) a full size STOVE with an oven. C) washer and dryer on site...and not coin operated D) a backyard  E) it was a legal residence...there are a ton in SF that are definitely not legal...or safe haha.  Finally it had 2 bedrooms.  We felt this made up for the fact that the rest of it was so tiny.  Little did we know we'd be bringing home our first little one here...so the 2nd bedroom...HUGE plus.   God knew.  :)

So, let me explain our living sitch briefly since it is kinda weird and confusing.  We live in an in-law in San Francisco.  Basically this means that someone converted their downstairs into a small studio like apartment.  There are lots of these through out San Francisco and they tend to be the cheapest options as far as living here goes.  I use "cheap" veeeeeery loosely.  :)  Downsides are that a lot of times it's an illegal addition.  Usually there are few windows, and there is usually a family living above you...and you hear every step and word they say.  We looked at about 8 or 9 places.  The first 6 were terrible.  Then I got a job offer and we needed to find a place ASAP.  We came up, looked at this one and were sold.  The best part of the whole thing was that it was very close to Jason's university.  We honestly didn't know how lucky we were to have everything else.  We also had no idea nobody actually lived upstairs and that we would have full access to the backyard until we were signing the lease.  So I feel like this place has been an absolute GIFT from God.  So there's the background. (Someone DOES technically live upstairs but they are elderly, have a house in Chinatown, and only come to stay during their birthdays and Chinese New Year).

When we looked at it.  We knew it was small.  But we needed a house so whatever right?!?  Then we actually moved up here and I remember Jason and I looking at each other and saying, "I really thought this was bigger."  Ha.  Oh well.

And we had every intention of staying here only until Jason's grad school was over and then moving out of the city...or at least into a bigger place.  But you know what?!?  Rent has increased so much in the last 4 years.  Places that are similar to ours are now a good $400-$500 MORE then what we are paying.  So while we could move some where bigger...and pay a whoooole lot more, at this point I would rather stay where we are at, pay less...and pay off student loans and save money at the same time.  Yay!    

When we moved here I realized we had a bit of a challenge ahead of us as far as arranging and making it work.  The bedrooms were a little small but the main living area was one "big" room.  On one wall it has the kitchen area and then that's it.  Kitchen, living room, dining room...all in one.  And would you like to know how big this room is?  13x14.  And that includes the cabinets.  So really less when it comes to putting furniture in it.  I scoward the internet for ideas on how to arrange furniture and not make it totally weird.  Everything I found though was super fancy, adorable little homes with amazing built in shelving and $1000 furniture.  Hmmm.  If I could afford amazing shelving and furniture...I wouldn't be living in such a tiny house.  Nothing "real".  No real life.  Just super nice, fancy, swanky tiny apartments.  So I guess this is why I'm showing you my home.  How I went about arranging a tiny house/apartment (and it's been a process let me tell you).  Especially our kitchen and living room in one!  Maybe someone will stumble across it and get some ideas.  :)

Also let me tell you that everything in our house furniture wise has been given to us...for free.  We paid $15 for our little Ikea desk in the living room...and around $100 for Jack's Ikea crib.  Those are the only two pieces of furniture we have bought.  I would LOVE a new little white couch.  I would LOVE a lot of new things and yet...overall I'm okay...when I put my mind to it ;)  I really do love our house and there is something really comforting in knowing that our stuff is just...stuff.  I mean...I like some of it a lot even though it was free but there will be no financial loss if something gets ruined or broken.  I guess this is a good thing since we are entering the world of kids.

Welp. On with the pictures.

So this is the latest arrangement for our large room.  We acquired both an armchair (which I LOVE) and a long dresser for our room.  We needed to find space for both the chair and our old dresser.  The couch was originally facing out to the door (where the picture is being taken from) but I really like this new arrangement.  While it's not quite so open it creates a sort of "living room nook" apart from the kitchen.

Taken from our bedroom door.  Our table is extendable and believe it or not we have pulled it out and have had a few people over for dinner multiple times.  It has an awesome design and look and Jason's aunt gave it to us.  It was old and weathered and Jason sanded it by hand and refinished it.  The dresser has been the BEST decision I think we've made.  The kitchen has very little space for things and the dresser solves that problem.  It also gives good, high, stable space for things like the microwave and coffee maker.  Those things used to be on a rickety table and I was constantly afraid Jack would pull it down.

Another angle from our bedroom door.  One of the keys to surviving a tiny home with kids is keeping the toys to a minimum (the basket and the little wood box by the TV)  At first I felt bad but really...he doesn't need that many toys.  All those fun, big toys he gets to play with 2 x's a week at church.  Otherwise...he really enjoys the toys he has and it causes us to go out and play outside of the house daily...sometimes TWICE a day.  I would LOVE a new TV...more for cosmetic reasons then anything else.  That TV is huge and boxy.  We just don't watch it except for movies here and there and so priorities you know?!?  And the CPU computer thing is from our old computer.  It doesn't work but Jack really likes to play with toys on it so we are keeping it around for now haha.
Have I shown much of Jack's room?  Not sure that I have.  So...this is Jack's room and desk office area that is NOT used and is VERY cluttered with Jason's school papers but I'm on a mission to not nag sooo...there they stay haha.  I WILL say that if we ever have a second baby this will become a room for two and the desk will be adios and replaced with a big boy bed for Jacko.  :)
Command hooks!  And Command strips!  Jason doesn't like putting a million holes into the walls of rentals so these command hooks are everywhere.  So convenient and nice.  Most of the pics on my collage wall in the living room are on Command strips...they work really well!

The rest of Jack's toys.  A crate of toys, duplos, and his train basket.  Oh and his xylophone and doggie!  :)  I'm telling you.  Less is more.  :)  And I'm sure with the addition of more kids there will be LOTS more toys.  haha

Anyways, a few more things.  We store a flat tub under his crib full of bedding and sheets.  All clothing and other baby necessities MUST fit into that canvas drawer thingy...and they do.  :)  His old swing is stored next to his crib and his doorway jumperoo is under the crib also.  There is also a book shelf stored inside of the closet where we store books and extra toiletries.  We also store Jason's tools in that same closet.

Finally we move onto the least exciting room...our room.  Basically we chose to have a HUGE bed and nothing else in there.  In my opinion...totally worth it.  We were gifted a basically brand new Cal King Tempurpedic Memory Foam mattress and bedspring.  I still needed a little room for my sewing machine...which there is.  :)
This huge long dresser takes up most of the rest of the room.  It holds a lot and so that's all that matters.  In a small house everything needs to have a home...preferably out of site.  Clutter is the fastest way to make you feel crazy and like the walls are closing in on you.

And some other random tips and tricks.
-We use the top of our closet for linens.
-Large items like cake platters I use as part of decoration...so I don't have to find a home out of site for them...since there IS no room for anything like that out of site.  :)
-For more counter space sometimes I place a large cutting board over 2 of the burners.
-We definitely store quite a few things under our bed!  :)
-And really...keep it minimal.  When it's all said and done...if you have a small house...you can't have a lot of things.  Pure physics.  You just can't fit it.  Or you might be able to but there will be no room for living your life!  :)


And that's it!  442 sq ft.  I still laugh every time I think about that.  Also let's note that we DO have a little entry area where our front door is that we store our bikes and stroller.  There is also a small corner of the garage that we get to use.  That has our camping and outdoor gear in it.  So YAY for that!

We really do love our home and feel so blessed to have it.  We will definitely stay with 2 kids.  More then that...hmmm.  We will see.  ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back.

Oh hey there.

I'm a little in awe that it's basically been THREE weeks since I've blogged.  I mean...sheesh, where did the time go?

I think it feels like time is FLYING partly because of this crazy little kid that I'm chasing around everywhere.  He all of a sudden is just making huge leaps and bounds.  He's communicating with us...well, in his baby way.  He plays at the park basically by himself.  He loves to do anything that we do...brush his teeth, brush his hair (hello potty that is SO being bought this week).   :)  I just feel like he is really and truly NOT a baby anymore.  He's a 13 month old toddler.  And it makes me happy and a little sad all at the same time.  :)

I just gleeked all over my computer screen.  fyi.
Also, I'm ignoring the sink full of dishes and sitting here with a half cup of coffee and a handful of mini-chocolate chips.  Hello nap time.

Anyways, not too much happened while on my blogging hiatus.  A lot of mom's group, park time, visits to the zoo, road trips here and there, gardening, sewing, coffee and every day life.  Also in that mix I finally cracked open a book that was a gift from my mother in law...like 2 years ago.  It's called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I think it was pretty popular a while back.  I'm not sure that I would have even opened it (at least at the moment) except for the fact that a fellow mom in my mom's group just published a book called Found (by Micha Boyett ) which I highly recommend btw.  Anywho the author from 1000 Gifts wrote the forward for Mica's book and so upon finding it on my shelf I gave it a go.

SO GOSH DARN GOOD.
I just loved it.
Really.

It is such a simple concept...communing with God through thankfulness and yet I feel like I was just missing this in my life.  One of my favorite things that she said is that you can only feel one emotion at a time.  So those annoyed, irritated, discontent emotions that seem to rear their ugly head CAN be overcome through communing with God...through basically counting your blessings, through immediately going to Him and thanking him for this life...for what you have.


One of the things that she does in the book is keep a constant list of things big and small that she is thankful for.  Such a good practice. So, wanna see a bit of my list?  Course you do.  ;)

1. Pajama clad legs
2. Chubby feet slapping the tile
3. A whistling tea kettle
4. Old grandma chairs
5. Cheerio breath
6. Strong man arms around my shoulders
7. The feeling of "home"
8. Hot coffee in my mug (of course ;) )
9. Little hands turning cardboard pages
10. Enough material goods to make our house messy
11. Enough clothes to feel like the laundry never ends
12. God's Word
13. Quiet moments to call my own
14. Whipped cream
15. A husband who hums hymns

That's just the first 15.  I have about 180.  :)  I just add to it as they come.  Sometimes they are obvious things.  Sometimes they are efforts I make to see the positive and good when something is frustrating me.

So I am giving thanks a bit more lately.  Or at least trying to. 

And I'm glad I'm back.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I Bid You Adieu...For Now. ;)

Welp.

This starts my blogging vacay.

Taking a little break for a while.  There's just way too many things happening lately.  Weddings, birthdays, keeping children alive...well, just one...yet sometimes it feels like 12.

Anyways, I figured I'd make it official.

And I'll just leave with a random thing or two.

Like the fact that I have been looking for a new baby carrier that I can carry Jack on my hip.  I found one that seemed super cool buuuut...$115 is not so super cool.  Then I was browsing in Target and the Infantino Mei Tai wrap caught my eye.  The $35 price tag REALLY caught my eye.  So I bought it, tried it, actually really like it, found it on Amazon for $25, returned the Target one, ordered the Amazon one and seriously am stoked that I scored a really awesome baby carrier that works great for $25.  The reviews are really great AND it works for babies as small as 8 pounds so I can use it for any future babes until the little one grows into the Ergo.  P.S.  Supposedly the Ergo works for the hip but it is awful!  Don't even bother trying it haha.  P.P.S.  Extra bonus points because the wrap is pretty cute.  :)
SOURCE

So, see you again in a few weeks...maybe a month. ;)  Summer!

I'm off to stare at my freshly planted flowers.  Jack helped.  By helping perfect my transplanting skills.  He pulled up 3 that I had planted.  So I had to do it again.  Practice makes perfect.  Little stinker.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jack's 1st Birthday Pow Wow

We just got back from a whirl wind few days down south for a family bridal shower and Jack's FIRST birthday party.  Phew.  I'm exhausted.  Seriously, I just fell asleep at 7:15pm...and dozed for an hour before I realized what I was doing.

We are back though and I thought I'd share with you our little man's first birthday party.  We did a "Pow Wow" theme party.  I worked for quite a while on homemade decorations.  There are a lot more pictures but my mom in law had to email them to me and so this is what I have to post for now.  Figured if I don't do the post now...it will never happen.
This years invite via tinyprints.com.  Highly recommend them.  They turned out so cute and the quality was great.  In the end it was way cheaper then if I had made them myself.  And a lot less time consuming.  :)  And now I will just bombard you with pictures. 


 Our little indian.  So cute.  And he kept that headband on the whole day.  The moccasins ended up coming off (that are in my hand) because they were a little big and he started having trouble walking haha.  At this point we had let him stop wearing his quiver of arrows.  :)


 Cake!  I know I've been known to do some crazy cakes but I kept it really simple this year.  Cupcakes for everyone and a little simple cake for Jack.  I'll bust out the cake decorating "skills" when he's a little older and can appreciate it.  :)























The food table.  It's really hard to see the decorations here...sorta makes it look like I hardly did any buuut...you get the idea.  :)


So I originally wanted to make Jack a little teepee for his birthday.  Then I realized that we live in a cracker jack box of a house and there was no way I wanted it up permanently so I decided to just skip it.  Then my husband busted out his mad teepee making skills right before the party...just for decore sake.  Love that man.  :)  Btw, Jack did not want to take a picture in it, or near it.  This is the best one we've got haha...note the shoes and quiver of arrows.  Adorable.  If I do say so myself.  :)


I obviously thought something was VERY funny here.  



Present time!  Yeah buddy.  Jack was totally into it.  Actually he was just into the FIRST present...and  the cards.  :)






And then there is THIS picture which is basically my favorite picture of Jack yet.  Everyone was circled around watching him open presents and he started being a little ham and all, "Hey look at me, I'm kinda cute."  He decided to show us his "clean hands" skills...which sorta makes him look like he's doing a little jig.  



CAKE!!!!


Jack is a very neat eater.  He really doesn't like food on his face.  He can feel the smallest piece that is stuck to his face and he will try to push it into his mouth.  He ate his cake very neatly...for a baby.  It's always fun to see those babies who make a HUGE mess...not our boy.  :)  He DID love it though.  Oh...and it was straight up full sugar delightfulness.  No depriving our boy of the good stuff.  It WAS made from scratch though so you know...it kinda balances out right? ha.



Such a fun party and celebration of our little boy!
Happy birthday little guy.
You are so very loved.

Friday, June 13, 2014

One Year ago Today


HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY JACK!!!

One year ago today...in about 5 hours to be exact...
We were welcoming our sweet little boy into the world.

After 20 hours or so of labor and three hours of pushing our 8 lb. 7 oz Jack Thoren was born on 6/13/2013 at 12:04pm...or was it 12:03pm?  haha.

It's funny to look back and think about what was going through our minds.  The euphoria of having our tiny newborn here in our arms, the emotions that were running a gamut in me.  The unsurity of how God could possibly see us fit to raise this tiny precious human.

Fast forward one year later.

What a year.  Everyone says it...and I will say it too...it went by so FAST.  The sleeplessness and haze of that first 6 weeks, the constant diaper changes, Jason coming home from work on more then one occasion to me in tears holding a screaming newborn who I just couldn't figure out how to make happy (he was hungry by the way...always hungry.  When I ditched the "every 3 hour" feeding rule we were all a LOT happier haha).

And then came the rhythm.  Embracing the new slower pace of life, understanding more and more what our little guy needed, those first smiles, the laughs, rolling over, sitting up, crawling...and yes, even now walking.  All of those "firsts" were so special to witness, to experience with this little guy who calls me Mama.

Sometimes I've had thoughts of insufficiency.  Like how could changing diapers, feeding, rocking to sleep, really be all that important and worth while in a world where there are starving people and wars and violence.  I quit bringing home a paycheck, my role changed completely.  But you know...I wouldn't change anything.  (Well, I wouldn't mind him sleeping a little more between 3-8 months ha).  God has given us a unique opportunity to raise a child.  How many times are we given a span of 18 or so years to delve deeply into someone's mind, heart, and soul?  To invest in a way that will help form them and mold them to who they will become as an adult.  To point them to Jesus and the great hope that lies in Him.  Sometimes mothering feels silly.  The baby talk, the snot, and tushy wiping.  But really it's beautiful, it's valuable, it's irreplaceable.  It's God given and I pray that we will show Jack and hopefully any future babies the joy and hope that is to be found in Christ.

Happy Birthday buddy.  We love you so much.  We can't imagine our life without you in it.  I did not understand the depth of joy and love that we would feel for you...and every day your little hands have a tighter grip on our hearts.  We look SO forward to the years to come with you.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK!!!
ONE YEAR!
We made it!!!  :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Crafting Fun and A Kitchen Addition.

So I looooOOOOOoove to craft.
Arts and crafts at camp were my THANG.

I'm totally one of those annoying mom's that will go all out when it comes to anything sewing/crafting...not because I have anything to prove...not because I love my kid...but because I do it for MYSELF!  Ha!  :)  It's an excuse to do a creative project and so I'm all in.

Anywho, Jack is entering this glorious age where he will play quite a bit on his own.  It allows me some time to get my crafting on.

So, here are a few things that I've been working on as of late...

Jack's party is coming up and I have made quite a few decorations.  Can I just say that I have yet to spend ANY money on decore except about $3 worth of felt and $2 on straws.  That's it.  I'll be buying some paper plates and napkins and some balloons but that's it.  I've made everything else.  One of my favorite decore pieces are these dream catchers.  Apparently all that summer camp paid off...I pulled out my dream catcher skills and made these fun little numbers.  The best part of this party is that Jack has a rough outdoor/indian theme in his room so all these decorations are going to be used in his room when I'm done!  (I don't edit my pics...fyi :) ha!)

 I got a pack of plain white onesies from a baby consignment store for $3.  I had some extra iron on stuff from Jack's birthday flag and shirt so I thought I'd try out my hand on some designs for onesies.  This fox one is my fave!  So cute.  And check out those adorable Freshly Picked moccs from his great grandma :)


And this isn't really crafty but my neighbor leaned her head out her backdoor and asked if we wanted her old dresser.  Yes and yes!  I've been wanting one of those long shorter dressers for a while.  We need more space for clothes right now and eventually I would like to use it as a place for our TV when we move into a bigger house.  Anyways, that meant that I needed to find a new home for our current dresser.  It's super old and made of actual wood with the dovetail joints and all...we don't want to get rid of it.  Anyways, we needed a solution for our lack of storage space in the kitchen.  The microwave was also on a rickety little table that kinda freaked me out with Jack.  Sooooo....
There you go!  I would love to get some new fun handles eventually buuuut...we have a dresser in our kitchen area.  And I LOVE it.  So much can be stored in there it's amazing...canned goods, dry goods, utensils.  Anyways.  I'm a fan...even if it is a little unconventional.  And once again...an unedited...unstaged photo.  Welcome to my life.  ;)

Welp.  Happy Tuesday friends!  :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Blogging Dilemma

So, let's talk about 'dis here blog.

I'm kinda thinking I might take a one month haitus after Jack's bday party post.
Whatchya think?

First, I really am kinda coming up short on things to say.  I mean...Jack is super interesting and all buuuut...yeah.

Second, I feel like it's really difficult to blog during the day when I am with him.  I could do it during naps, which is probably the best time, but Jack is no 2 hour napper.  He pretty consistently takes 1 hour naps...possibly 1 1/2 if I'm super lucky.  So, an hour goes by really fast.  It almost takes an hour to blog soooo...then I get nothing done.  I refuse to do the dishes after dinner.  Too tired.  So I do them during morning nap.  We have no dishwasher.  So morning nap is always spoken for.  That leaves the afternoon nap.  That's when all the other chores need to happen.

So, I either blog or surf the net and get nothing done in the afternoon...or I do it when Jason comes home and get bugged when I'm trying to blog and he's trying to talk to me about his day.  Yeah.  Stellar wife.  I know.

I think at the end of the day I'm pretty pooped.  Jack is at a really fun...but tiring age.  I am always "on".  He's almost running.  Literally.  My first reaction once the little dude goes to bed is to CHECK.OUT.  No talking, just blaaaah.  I've been using this blog as a means to do that and in turn...kinda blocking out this man that I'm living the rest of my life with...for a blog that is fun...but certainly not important in the scheme of things.

Time investment.
It boils down to what am I investing my time in?
And am I proud of it?

Drowning my smart phone has made me realize how often I picked up my phone...choosing IT over my son who just wanted to play.  It made me realize that I don't have to post a picture to Instagram every day.  I still exist and my life is still important even though it's not posted on social media.  And this blog.  I love sharing our life on here.  But I want it to build me up.  Not tear me down.  And right now I'm having trouble juggling it all.  So in a couple of weeks I'm going to temporarily push it aside.  Honestly we are going to be out of town a lot this summer so it'll be perfect timing.

For now though...I'll be here posting periodically.
 
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