“Sad. Ouchies. Crying. Jesus sad. Pushing him. Ochies. Sad. Broken. Sad.”
This is the litany I have listened to for the past month every morning as my almost-two-year-old son sits with me to read the Jesus Storybook Bible.
It started about two months ago. We had a book about a bear and pig who were friends, and the pig was sad and missed the bear when he left. My son was obsessed with the last page, where the pig forlornly sits alone, missing the bear. I, being the emotionally intelligent parent that I am, thought I handled it pretty well, letting him talk about the page as much as he wanted. All emotions are okay. Some things in life are sad. Plus, this is just a phase.
But then when he discovered the “Jesus dying on the cross” story in his picture Bible and every morning began flipping to that one page, I could feel my frustration mounting. Continue reading
Since we’re coming into a new year, and getting close to 9 months of living in a tiny house with a toddler, we’ve been doing a little reflecting on how we feel about the tiny house. Now that it’s daily life and totally normal, it’s easier to notice the small details that either make or break it. So here’s our take:
Cheap cost of living is still a major win. We installed a ceiling fan, and even with running all of our appliances and fan, our electricity bill is super low. Of course, rent is basically zero as well. This has allowed us greater flexibility in our time and work, which we’re thankful for!
Living in a house built by us has been BOTH rewarding and frustrating. It’s been great to enjoy some of the design features we wanted, and it’s great to know we can add a shelf, or paint a wall when we feel like it. It’s also frustrating when the kitchen sink leaks, or we have a GIANT rain storm and have water seeping onto the floor and there’s no one else to blame (or fix it!) but David. I have way less stress than David does, since I did hardly anything construction-wise. But in giant storms or small issues, David carries a lot more emotional (and time) responsibility than I do. Continue reading
How to celebrate Christmas in a tiny house, with a toddler:
- Keep the decor minimal: We put up twinkle lights, and had some Advent candles for him to blow out during Advent. We only hung up the stockings on Christmas eve.
2. Get an outdoor tree or a small tree: Our tree DID have more decorations, but toddler liked to play with them…
3. If you need more intense Christmas spirit — visit family with bigger houses (and more storage space) who have lots of Christmas decorations and a big Christmas tree.
4. (Probably most important) Live in the Southern Hemisphere, and spend all your time outside, playing in the sprinkler, playing soccer, visiting the beach, or digging in the sandpit. And only give outdoor toys (and edible snacks!) for Christmas presents. 🙂
But seriously, one of the wonderful things about a tiny house is you can’t go crazy spending lots of money on seasonal decor you then have to figure out where to store, or lots of toys and gifts. Christmas becomes a lot simpler and a lot more about making food and hanging out with family (and Jesus, you know) than about all the stuff. Sometimes I did feel a little sad we couldn’t have a bigger tree…but at the end of the day it was still Christmas and it was still fun. 🙂
Here are a few more FAQ’s about our tiny house… feel free to leave a question in the comments!
Where does your baby play?
Our one year old mostly plays outside. It’s winter here in South Africa, which means most days it’s between 55-75F and sunny outside. At night it can get down to freezing (maybe only 2 or 3 weeks out of the winter) and some early mornings we have frost. So early mornings are probably the hardest, since we’re cooped up inside before it warms up enough to play outside. Our 14 month old entertains himself inside with his toys and our tupperware/pots and pans cupboard mostly.
Since we knew from the beginning we’d have a toddler when we built the tiny house, we tried to make it as child-friendly as possible. When you have a small space, you can’t just block off part of the house to make it baby-friendly…and spending your whole life saying, “No! Don’t touch that!” is not very fun either. So we tried to design things so we could minimize the amount of “nos” in the house. Here are a few examples:
All our plugs except for two are high up on the wall.
We’ve officially lived in our house for 6 weeks now. We love it. We’ll see if we still love it 6 months from now, but I have a feeling we will. When we were researching tiny-house living, I didn’t see much about families in tiny houses. Mostly single people, or couples. I figured other people might be interested, since inevitably when people hear we live in a tiny house (with a one year old) they say, “But how do you….(insert normal daily activity here)”.
So this is an attempt to answer that. It also feels very strange writing this, since we live in 16m2 house with two lofts and only one child… when very many people in our country live with more people in equally small (or smaller!) spaces, and no one wonders how they do it. Living in a smaller space than our income appears to afford seems strange to people… but living in a small space is the norm for lots of people, and we had the privilege of choosing this, when they don’t. Continue reading
There’s some anxiety in South Africa right now about land reform — in a country with extreme inequality, questions about how we provide restitution for historical wrongs, and what political action needs to be taken in order to encourage more equality can be come charged and fierce. (Especially when you throw a nice dose of corruption into the mix).
In uncertain times, the temptation is to hunker down and hoard. The temptation is to huddle off, build a little fortress for yourself, and make sure that at least you and your own are protected.
Which is why I am very excited about the timing of the opening of our church’s public access community park. Continue reading
Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbra Kingsolver (source: NPR)
As we walked into Lent this year, we decided to try being locavores for 40 days- only eating food grown within an hour of where we live, preferably on small farms. There were a number of threads that came together that led to this idea:
One is that I had just read Barbra Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, where her family living in the South East of the USA on a small farm decided to grow as much of their own food as possible, and only buy the extra from a 70 mile radius. The book is a memoir about all the things they learned during that practice. Continue reading
Snoozing in the wrap in the Dubai airport at 2-ish months.
There are very many pressing social issues that are far more worthy of a blog post, but I don’t have the emotional energy for them, so instead, I’ll tell you some more about our simple living journey. One of the things people often said when we talk about trying to value simplicity more in our lives was, ‘Yes, but wait until you have a kid. Your stuff will just multiply.” Which is true. We definitely have way more junk with a kid than we did without. But, we had life circumstances (some of our own intentional creating, others– it just kind of happened that way) that forced us to have less baby stuff. Continue reading
Lately I’ve seen a lot of Christian friends sharing John MacArthur’s response to what happened in Charlottesville. (The video has been shared 42 thousand+ times on Facebook and viewed 30 thousand+ times on Youtube). The question MacArthur was asked was, “What is a biblical, Christ-focused response to what’s happening in Charlottesville?”
John MacArthur gave a little speech, but he did not answer the question. I was disappointed. MacArthur has helped many Christians over the years have a better understanding of the Bible, of sin, and of grace. There are some people that think in order to care about social justice, you have to throw out the Bible (or just follow the most liberal interpretations of it); however, I think a conservative reading of scripture makes us even stronger advocates for things like racial justice. Which is why I think MacArthur totally missed the point in his answer. Continue reading