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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

shiftings... part 2

This post has taken me a little while to get around to writing. Partly because we've been busy... and partly because I share things about my personality that are a wee bit embarrassing when written down... But! I want to write them to remember the journey!

So... once we found out we were not moving until after baby girl joins us (end of October)... I began the process of figuring out what would need to change for it to work. I quickly decided that we would have to trade bedrooms with the kiddos--we'd given them the bigger of the two bedrooms so that all their toys could hang out in there with them. However, the smaller bedroom held little more than our bed, so baby would definitely not fit if we were to stay there.

Switching bedrooms almost felt like we moved! We had to take all the furniture and beds apart (taking a bunkbed apart is a real pain!)... switch around closets... throw everything in piles and boxes in the in between. It was exhausting!

I also quickly realized that the kids' toys would not fit in the smaller room with them... which meant I could either try to pack them away or pile them in their closet... or try something different.

This brings us to my next "shifting". As I not only mentally but emotionally processed our new situation... I found myself realizing that we have lived in smaller and/or shared spaces more often than we have lived in spacious, separate spaces. Each time that I have lived in a smaller space, I have seen it as a temporary placement, and have tried to maintain what I felt like an attractive house should have: categorized, segmented spaces. In other words, I generally liked to have "kid areas" and "adult areas"... "Cluttered areas" and "decorated areas". When the areas would intersect, I would feel I was failing as a housekeeper or that it was just wrong. I preferred there be a "toy room" and a "craft nook"... as opposed to a "everything everywhere" kind of flow.

So, I wondered if the fact that I was repeatedly finding myself in smaller spaces meant that perhaps I needed to stretch my definition of attractive and re-define good housekeeping. Maybe God was wanting me to learn to live "all on top of each other", without the clear lines of separation between kinds of living space. I felt like I was supposed to learn to let all the areas of my life coexist, overlap and blur together. Be okay with the kids laying all over me, or people dropping in and seeing puzzles and paintings spread out in the living room (as opposed to the special craft area and toy room). I also have begun to think that this is healthier for the kids, to be encouraged to do their living in the family living area, as opposed to cordoned off in a different place. (Of course, once we are in a bigger place, I won't hesitate to shoo the kids out from under foot from time to time, but... in general... I feel my mindset shifting). I think also, it is healthier in the long run to learn to be able to generally be more flexible and open to living in close quarters with others, than training myself to feel that "space is better". I guess it's embarrassing to admit I'm having to learn that (especially when I feel like I like people)! And, it's embarrassing to know how much of a mental battle and a real decision it was to be okay with having kid stuff out in what before I defined as "decorated/pretty/adult space".

I also feel that I am learning that to live healthy... I must shift from the "someday we wish to have..." mentality to the "what can we do now" mentality. I had put many of my preferences for how our kiddos be raised on hold--waiting for that someday job and house to appear. This was resulting in a shift for the kids resulting in them spending a lot more time on the couch watching Netflix or playing games on the tablet... rather than doing the things I love for them to do. Waiting for someday ruins a lot of todays... so I am trying to shift from that.

Some examples:
--It's very important to me that our kids be creative. At our other house, we have a craft room and we had plenty of space for them to play and build "creations". And, I loved it. But, since we moved to a smaller space, I kind of put a pause on it, not wanting to deal with the mess everywhere. (Think: 100% carpeted apartment.) We had stuff for them to be creative, but I had it all hidden away in boxes or in closets, waiting for our bigger space. Now, in asking myself, "How can I encourage creativity now?",  I've moved all that creative stuff back out... out into the living room, visible to them--at levels they can easily reach as they are inspired. Yup, it's a lot more mess going on... but it's also a lot more creativity. Happy momma.

--I want our kids to be active and play together. But, as the south Texas heat rolled in and my belly grew in circumference... we were getting less and less active--aside from nearly daily trips to the pool. I was waiting for that bigger space, so we could get a big trampoline in the back yard. And swings. And a treehouse. Again, asking--"."What can I do now to encourage activity?.. helped me move to the idea of getting a smaller, enclosed trampoline to put in the kids' room. We were recently able to do that, and I LOVE it. The first day we got it, they jumped more than 3 hours in their, laughing huge belly laughs the whole time. Since then, they get in to jump several times, always emerging sweaty and de-crazified. Yes, it's a word.

So, now we are truly and really (and finally) moved into our apartment: physically and mentally. Rey added some shelves in some closets, we re-distributed our things in more organized, practical ways throughout the apartment... analyzing daily needs and what was/wasn't working for us. The result has been a space that we can really live in, and that feels much larger than it did. Yay! It is so great to have fun with and enjoy the place you are in, rather than wishing it away.

Aghhh! What?? Toys out in the living room??!! Ok, fine. I actually like it. Now. :) 



So excited about this: Our ready-to-go kid wall! 


Shelves in the laundry closet... ahh!


So, I used to have all these games and coloring books stacked in a closet. But, guess what? We never played them when they were in there. In pursuing creative play, I pulled off all the "grown up" decorations and put the games there. More cluttered looking, yes. But... also: Much more used!


Lovely trampoline in the kids' room:


Can't really see it, since it's blocked by the trampoline, but the kids each have their own wall in their room to decorate as they wish. (Encouraging creativity...) :)


We organized the bigger closet in our room, and put in some shelving--so now it holds our clothes, my Noonday stuff, storage things... and my favorite: Baby girl's things!! :)


Enjoying our space... meant putting up icicle lights! 



Our "new" room, with space for baby.


Looking in the front door, down the hall:


Living room:


Home, sweet home! :) 

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