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On Outgrowing Things

There's a part of Josh and me that is a little too fascinated with growth. We really just have this deep need to improve things. We want to make the world better, even if we're just working on our small family, our small town, our small business. In the last year, we grew. A lot. In a lot of ways. And now that it's winter and we're settled into our new situation with our business and homeschooling and all of the things. And now we're outgrowing something else, our home.

I actually really loved our small home. We've been in it almost ten years, and when we moved in we called it our ten-year was an excellent first house for us, a great start in our married life, and a cozy place to bring our last three babies home to. I loved that it kept us from bringing in too much, it kept us all close together, and we learned to have our people in our house a lot even if it wasn't perfect (newsflash: it's still not perfect).

When I was nursing our babies, I would sit and just look at things that drove me crazy, so during nap time I'd rip out walls or closets or paint whole rooms. Josh would come home and look at me like I was crazy (newsflash: I was...still am) then help me fix everything. Josh has a thing for motion sensor lights (#dadlife) so they're in multiple rooms. Our bedroom is so small we switched to a full-sized bed and were able to use the antique iron bed that originally belonged to my great grandparents, and now after ten years, we have no plans on upgrading. We hung the chalkboard in our mudroom and have enjoyed kid drawings on it for seven years. We laid new hardwood floors when Coy was a baby and got a robot vacuum because no one has time for that much sweeping. We built a farm table and have stuffed too many friends around it more times than we could ever count. One of my very favorite things to do is see how many kids we can pile on the bench at the table for dessert of apple cake and ice cream. We've had ax-throwing parties in our backyard on the fourth of July. We've waited by the bathroom door a lot (one bathroom + six humans = lots of waiting). We've kept a horse in our yard for a few summers and had chickens for almost nine years. I've called kids inside and yelled for them to shut the door nine million times. We've called them into the kitchen and showed them how to peel potatoes and how to make biscuits. The month before the pandemic, we had four families over for a sushi feast and I can't wait to do it again.

There's so much we've learned here. So many family memories happened here. So many meals cooked, babies nursed, and mugs of coffee gulped. We've been broke here, we've had plenty. We've done projects and learned what our threshold for home DIY projects is. We've planted a garden nine summers and learned that I really love canning and preserving but loathe the actual gardening.

I always enjoyed how cozy our house was until we began homeschooling. Just being in the house all day long with all of the extra stuff of homeschooling (which we keep as minimal as possible!) made the coziness give way to stifling closeness. I knew it was time to move on, we had officially outgrown our first home.

We actually had a realtor friend stop by to give us his opinion about the place and what we should do to get it ready to sell. We're just getting it ready so that when the next right house for us pops up we'll be ready. Last week our contractor came to finish all the projects I started and didn't have the capability to finish, and will hopefully finish in the next week or so. It's been rough packing the kids up at 8 every morning and confining them to the coffee shop, but it's exciting to see progress every evening when we come home. We planned on finding a storage unit so the house didn't look so full. I was telling my mom about this and she said, "Don't feel bad about how full your house is, you're a family of six living in 1,400 square feet. That's tight and anyone looking at your house will see that you've just outgrown it." It's a little like pruning a plant, we need to prune this house in order to grow more. As a family, as a homeschool, as people who invite others in.

I find myself praying for the next owners of our home, and imagining the countless people who've occupied our little house since it was built in 1900. Our house is not anything spectacular, it's just a small stucco house on the outskirts of town with two additions and a great sunset view, but it's ours. It was our soft place to land and where we created a home experience for our kids. We know home isn't just the place we live, but the feeling we create with rhythms of prayer, celebration, connection, and playing, but it's been restorative for me to look back at all of the memories in this house.

We don't have another house in mind yet, we're just getting ready for when our next home pops on the market, but the home experience we've created will move with us. The teaching kids to cook, funding mini entrepreneur endeavors, the morning prayers, 4H projects, the celebrating, the family connection. And I can't even wait.

What do you remember about your childhood home? What do you want to create for your kids?

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