We're adding on to our little house.
I've loved the coziness of our home, having the kids always in earshot, piling on top of each other in the the living room for movie nights, squeezing the seven of us around our little table for meals and conversations; but I've also learned a few things living in such close quarters that has left us all longing for more space.
We've shared one bathroom for four years and when we first moved in it wasn't such a big deal. All the kids were eleven and under with the youngest two in diapers. The bathroom was a place they all wanted to avoid. Now we have a teenage daughter and another one hot on her tail and often we have to stand in line behind two or three other people waiting...and waiting for our turn. And let's not even discuss the getting ready for bed routine. Ugh.
Onto the sleeping arrangements. Having four girls and one boy and only three bedrooms presents a bit of a logistics problem. The two big girls who are into clothes and hair and reading and painting really aren't to interested in sharing their room with two little girls and their Barbie's and baby dolls and legos (curse those legos!!) They've shared their room in the past but with all their diverse interests and stuff, their bedroom began to overflow chaotically into the rest of the house. The three older kids share one extremely overloaded clothes rod upstairs and all of the little girls clothes are in my closet and armoire and a bunch of Jeff's clothes are on a portable clothes rod upstairs. Everyone's socks are in a basket in my room and coats, shoes, boots and mud are everywhere...you just can't tame that beast on a farm this time of year!
For now Isaiah and Evelyn are sharing a room along with all of the little kid toys while Sophie is in a toddler bed next to me. This arrangement isn't going to work forever. Soon Isaiah's going to need to have a place to get away from all the girls and their dolls, princes dresses, and mountains of play food that they're constantly trying to shove down the poor boys throat; and as much as Jeff and I love snuggling with our four year old "baby" (in our bedroom right next to the busiest bathroom on the planet!) we could use a little more privacy too.
Another issue that has popped its head up more and more lately is entertaining or more importantly, hospitality. Even with all the other issues I've mentioned that support adding on, this is the one that really pushed us to make that decision. When we first moved to a smaller house I was actually glad to have to limit my accessibility to others. I was buried under a pile of small children and babies and was more or less in survival mode. I loved it and I really didn't have the time or energy for anything else but things are shifting now. I haven't been pregnant or nursing a baby for over two years and while I occasionally miss those things, more often than not, I'm secretly giggling on the inside like a kid playing hooky and getting away with it.
Anyway, back to hospitality. The most we've crammed (and I do mean crammed) into our house is 14 or 15 people on a handful of occasions. It's not comfortable. Our kitchen, dining and living room is a little under 20' by 22' so when the house is that full there's barely enough room to turn around, and if you're lucky enough to get a comfortable seat, you'd better not get up from that seat or you'll risk losing it! It will be so nice to have a little more breathing room and a few more people over. I miss having big family get togethers with all my relatives and it won't be too much longer before my own kids start bringing home spousal contestants and before you know it they're all married off and filling my house with grand-babies!! I need room for that. (It might sound a bit premature, but I can't wait to have a house full of grand-babies! Ha!)
So, we're doubling the size of our house which will make it about average sized. We'll be adding a master bedroom and bathroom, a living room (our current living area will become the dining room) as well as a mud/laundry room and a real stairwell, but we'll still keep the ladder too because it's fun! We'll also have a bonus room upstairs that can work as a guest room or play room for the kids.
We've only just begun so we have a long way to go but we're all working on it together, even me! I've always been pregnant during every other major project so this is the most physically involved I've ever been. It's hard work (but easier than being pregnant) and I'm sure it will make for some fun memories for our entire family. As you can see, Madison and Grace are already becoming expert masons!