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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Oakwood, five weeks later

So, our family of six has now been living in a two-bedroom apartment for over five weeks.  When I realized that we might be stuck in such a small living space, small enough to fit in the first floor of our Baku house with space to spare, I broke out in the cold sweats just thinking of it.  It was bad enough contemplating living in a three-bedroom apartment for over eight months, but a two-bedroom?  If we were going to be stuck in one, it had better not be any longer than a week.  Maybe a week and a half.

Well, here we are working on a month and a half with no indication when we'll move on up to the deluxe Oakwood apartment.  Whenever I discuss various room plans (okay, so how about the kids in the studio and us in the end bedroom and the baby in the closet?) with Brandon he laughs at me and asks if I'm still holding onto that vain hope.

Yes, I am.  I'm not a quitter, after all.

But for now we're actually working things out pretty well.  I guess we're all more adaptable than we think.  And I might even admit there are some charms to living in a small space (I'm not admitting it too loudly however as I know by the time November rolls around I'll be ready get back to big house land).

When we lived in Baku and had three floors, that was three floors that Joseph could lose his blanket on.  One night we spent forty-five minutes looking for it before we finally found it neatly folded and put up in a toy cupboard.  That night I would have gladly traded three floors for a small, one-floor apartment.  Sure, the blanket still gets lost, but there are no stairs involved in the search for it.

After dinner each night (on the nights when Brandon made it home for dinner), he would head upstairs to put the children to bed and I would enjoy some solitude while washing the dishes.  If the children wanted a kiss before going to sleep they would only sometimes get it, depending on my willingness to climb the stairs to give it to them.  Now Brandon and I can wash the dishes together while supervising the children's bedtime routine from the kitchen.  After all, the sink is literally ten feet away from their bathroom.  And now they get kisses every night.

I really, really enjoyed having a third-floor toy room in Baku.  During quiet time the girls could make an enormous mess and then I could banish them to the toy room for the rest of the afternoon until they had cleaned up the mess.  We were able to bring three bins' worth of toys with us and the children still make an enormous mess each quiet time, but the space they can make it in is so much smaller and it only takes fifteen minutes to clean up.  I can clean up the rest of the apartment in fifteen minutes too.

The major downside to being in this little shoebox is that it's an apartment.  We manage pretty well in the morning; during school the boys play together (or fight or usually both) and the girls have school and the time goes quickly.  Following school we have lunch and nap/quiet time, but by the afternoon we absolutely have to get out.  If it was cold and rainy in Baku everyone was disappointed they couldn't go outside, but there was enough room that we were okay.  That is not an option in a two-bedroom apartment.  You simply can't cram four children into such a small space for a whole day without everyone eating each other alive by the end of it.

So every day we go and do something, usually play at the park or go to the library.  I keep thanking my lucky stars we didn't have to spend all winter stuck here; it's been bad enough just being here for March.  On Saturdays we take everyone out for some sort of outing.  Sundays we have three hours of church.  Of course taking everyone outside every day means that every day I have to go through the rigmarole of getting everyone ready to go outside.  If you have children, you know what I mean.  By the end of putting on socks, shoes, coats, going to the bathroom, brushing hair, and hounding the older ones to the do the same, I'm ready to take another nap.  Then I have to get the boys ready.  I daydream about one day in having a yard where children and just go outside whenever they feel like it.  What a strange idea.  It hasn't happened yet.

But, all in all, we're not doing too badly.  I'm enjoying having a smaller space so much, in fact, that I'm even more firmly convinced that my eventual retirement home will not be big.  I like having less space to put junk in, and I'm not interested in having something large enough that I can't clean it myself.  What I'm not interested in, however, is having a small yard.  I don't even want a big yard.  I want acreage.

But for now, two bedrooms will have to do.  Until November, anyway.

Yes, that really is four beds in that room.


PaulaJean said...

Glad to know you're staying sane, and that Spring is on its way.

sarahflib said...

All I can say is, bless you. For happily stuffing yourselves into that apartment and for making sure you get out every day! I laughed at your description of getting out of the house . . . yes. And I too dream of the acreage! I want to be able to just let the kids roam and play and also to have a massive garden and lots of fruit trees . . . I could go on and on. But yes. And I hope you get that bigger apartment soon!