Year-in-Review Poem

Once Upon a Time, lived a strange family of four,
they decided to take some risks and force open some doors.
Up until now they fooled everyone into thinking theyre normal,
but theres simply nothing about them that is traditional or formal.

They gave away, donated, and sold all their stuff.
but there was still something off, it just wasnt enough.
So they then sold their big house and didnt miss it at all,
as they prepared to live life in a tiny home they could haul.

They lived here and there, and experienced life in full,
they definitely couldnt complain of things getting dull.
From figuring new ways to wash, cook and clean,
to making sure that the house didnt lean,
From spending more quality time together,
no matter the sunshiny or freezing weather,
To hosting celebrations, and having friends camp out,
Theyve opened their minds to what life is about.

Plans have changed numerous times and therefore,
they refuse to make concrete plans and close any doors.
So dont ask them what their plans are for the New Year,
because theyll have nothing to tell you yet, but dont fear

They are very excited about the adventures that lay ahead,
wherever they go, it will be where they feel led.
The uncertainty brings both excitement and stress,
but without either, life would be boring at best.

December 30, 2015

Graduation Day!

Aaron is officially done!  Next phase of life has begun!


Aaron just received his Master's degree in Environmental Analytical Chemistry from Purdue University on Sunday!  He adores the people in academia, and loves all things science, but he is ready to move on to life's next adventure!

Aaron continues to amaze me with how well he balances life.  He worked very hard at Purdue, but he also always made time for friends and family.  I am so proud of my husband and father of my children.  The red, white and blue cord he's wearing was to represent his veteran status.  It's amazing the he was fighting a war in Iraq only 8 years ago.  He is the most open-minded, hilarious, intelligent, fun-loving, thoughtful man I've ever known.  He is absolutely nerd-tastic and loves to share his knowledge.  I made the mistake to announce to him late last night that I was reading an article on soil erosion... :P

Gov... I mean, President of Purdue University Mitch Daniels opening the ceremony.
Aaron receiving his diploma!
December 22, 2015

Doubts

I keep asking myself if we're doing the right thing.

We're plucking our children out of an exceptional school and community to go forward with our upcoming adventure.  We plan on an extended "camping" vacation, and we'll go wherever the wind takes us.  We hope to be settled somewhere amazing when our daughter starts 1st grade next August.  Until then, we will be home-schooling her and her pre-school aged little brother.  My original thought was, they're only 4 and 6 years old, now is the best time to do this.

But last week when we had a conversation with our 6 year old about leaving her school and friends, she started tearing up.  It was finally becoming real to her, now that she could actually count down the days.  Her huge tears started to fall, which gave me a lump in my throat.

She decided to make "Goodbye Cards" for her entire Kindergarten class.  Here's one of them (WARNING: it's a tear jerker. Well, it was for me.)...

On another note, recently the kids made gingerbread houses, which has been a non-stop temptation for their sticky little fingers...

Every moment these little houses of temptation were in their presence, they'd either be asking to eat them, or be sneaking pieces off of it.  When we decided that we'd like to have our kitchen table back, Aaron put the gingerbread houses outside on the deck.  And you'd never guess what happened!  The kids were no longer temped by them.  They completely forgot about their gingerbread houses.  And now they're really gone, and the kids have not asked about them once.  

This is my hope: in the future the kids will see photos of their old school and friends, the gingerbread houses they made as young kids, as well as all the fun places we visited as a family, and they'll remember.  They'll have warm and fuzzy thoughts about all the good times, and realize they had been on an adventure the whole time.

December 18, 2015

Christmas Time Is Here!

As soon as we got home from our Thanksgiving weekend, I started the Christmas decorating.
I wanted to decorate the Pequod like a gingerbread house, but I didn't have that idea until after I had already bought the white LED lights.  In the future, I'll probably switch to colored lights, because I know they're more fun for the kids. :)

I did get the colored lights to decorate the inside, which I put up under the plexiglass catwalk...
And I found these adorable tiny stockings to fit the tiny house. :)
I had a major parent fail and already filled their stockings before Christmas. :/  And now we hear about them every single day. Oops!  

We got a tiny little Christmas tree for the table, which the kids had fun decorating as much as the "big" Christmas tree that we got for the loft.
And yes, they're fake trees, even though we've been working on our family's Christmas tree farm for the last 8 years.  It's just easier for this phase of our lives.  Maybe I'll get some real swags for the front door and some boughs for the outdoor bar ledge.
 The kids really love the lights under the catwalk.
Loki also contributes to the cozy Christmas spirit. :)

December 7, 2016

Dinner Guests

It's been a long time since we've seen our good friends David & Chrissa (who've been away working in Pakistan), so it was a great night getting to catch up with this crazy, fun couple!  As Aaron prepared a pomegranate to snack on, our 6'-something-David found a comfortable(ish) way to hang out with Aaron in the kitchen as they caught up on life in the last year.



I actually enjoy having company in the tiny house for the most part.  This is the first cold-weather dinner guests we've had, so although we were stuck inside all evening, it was nice and cozy.


The kids watched a video upstairs while we enjoyed our dinner conversation (because let's be real, eating dinner with a 4 & 6 year old isn't exactly a fun experience for friends without children yet).  Also because our indoor eating area is really only set up for four people.  Don't worry, the kids ate their dinner as soon as they wanted to, which not surprisingly coincided with the end of their video. ;)

November 24, 2015

First Snow

This is a 3 in 1 post:
1: The Pequod's first snow!
2: Finally a photo of the Pequod's temporary/collapsible awnings (WAY late)
3: A photo of the new blue siding color (also late)

THE FIRST SNOW!  It's not even Thanksgiving yet and Indiana has delivered some beautiful snow!  The Pequod is holding up well to it's first snow of the season...



We weren't expecting to be here for the Indiana winter when we started the tiny house process, so we weren't exactly prepared for freezing weather.  However, our tiny wood stove has proven sufficient to heat the place, since we have SIP (structurally insulated panel) made walls.  We also use a little Edenpure on days we just need to take the chill off, which works awesome (and let me remind you, we use no more than 15 total amps).

While we're nice and toasty inside, our waterline outside is not.  We haven't bought any heat tape or heated hoses because we don't plan on needing them much in the future.  Instead, we disconnect the waterline during the nights it freezes, and now also the days when it's freezing out.  Before each freeze we fill up all our water containers and pots to use when we need to wash our hands, brush our teeth, and stay hydrated... which is surprisingly not all that annoying.

So although I don't mind living a night or two without running water, I can't wait until tomorrow (when it should be warm enough to turn the water back on) so I can wash some dishes and get the laundry done (which has been backing up.)

THE AWNINGS!  The awnings were made in July, which is how long it has been since I think I've posted another photo of the whole house with the awnings.  Anyway, these were specifically built to help with the massive amounts of rain we were getting this summer, and to stop the doors and any windows from leaking.  They were designed to be able to be taken down by one person, very quickly.  It's a good temporary solution, which will be easy to travel with (and at the same time will be protecting the doors and windows from road debris).  Anyway, again, we weren't planning on these ever supporting a few inches of snow... so we had to take them down and brush off the pretty snow before they collapsed or warped...



THE NEW BLUE SIDING!  We're loving the new blue!  It's much darker and how I originally imagined it.  Although you can't see the burgundy roof in this photo because it's covered in a blanket of snow, it coordinates much better with this navy blue than the original light blue!  What do you think?


Anyway, even though I dread the long Indiana winters, I always enjoy the first several snows of the year, which I'm sure is something I will miss once we leave.

So what do we do on one of these crazy tiny house snow days?

We make pumpkin spiced pancakes for a yummy weekend breakfast, we watch videos on our phones, we reorganize the entire house, we nap, and most importantly, WE PLAY IN THE SNOW!
Happy Snow Day from The Pequod!
 November 22, 2015

Shades of Blue

I've finally gotten around to painting the bright blue board and batt siding to the color it was intended to be all along, navy blue!  I only have the first coat on so far.  I was going to do the second coat this week, but it is stupid hot here all week. :/  I'll get to it, promise!  I'll post more pics when it's all done! :)  For a sneak peek, here's the before and after (old blue on the left, new blue on the right):




We already like it so much better! 

September 2, 2015

Our New Location

Here's our new view to the West (out our front doors):
Our gracious host's home.
Here's our view to the North:
They own 20 acres in a great location!
Here's our view to the East:
The barn where we get our electricity.
Here's our new view to the South:

Our new location is very ideal!  Close to Purdue, the kid's school, the gym, the library, shopping and everything else! :)

September 1, 2015

First Month Interview & Reflections

Although this post is more than a month late, I promise all the info is true and accurate, relayed directly from my notebook. :)

SOME REFLECTIONS:

     Me: "Did you fart!? Uh!!  
     Hubby: "No!  I swear!"

1. We noticed early on that our first location was down wind of a lovely pig farm.  Hmm, interesting... good thing our house is on wheels and we don't have to be stuck here forever!

     Me: "I'm gonna call Anne and see if she wants to come out tomorrow, if it's not raining."

2. We learned that you can only really have company over when it's nice outside.  It allows for lots of extra needed square-footage space.

     Me: "Let's go outside!"

3. We spend about 90% more time outdoors.  Barefoot & Dirty.  This makes me happy!


THE INTERVIEW:
I came up with some questions and interviewed Aaron (my hubby) exactly one month after moving into our new tiny home (I apologize for his very stereotypical man answers).  I have included my responses in red for a 2nd point of view.

GENERAL ?'s
Q: Over all, are you glad you made this change?
A: "Yes." 
~ "No doubt."
Q: Why?
A: "Better way to live" 
~ "There's an immediate burden lifted, I'm no longer feeling overwhelmed."
Q: What has surprised you the most?
A: "How functional it is... there's no real loss of functionality." 
~ "How much space there is!  Personally, I could go smaller."
Q: What is something you miss?
A: "Biking to work"
~ "Nothing yet."
Q: How do you feel about the 30 minute commute?
A: "I hate it.  I can't bike anymore or take the [city] bus"
~ "I actually feel the drive is quite peaceful.  So I kind of enjoy it."

PERSONAL ?'s
Q: How do you feel about house guests?
A: "I love the simplicity, but miss the over-night capabilities."  
~ "It is interesting... an adventure for all of us.  We have to figure out who will get the Tempurpedic, and who gets the air mattress in a tent outside?"
Q: How do you feel about "Family Time" now?
A: "Definitely no lack of it.  We had a lot before too."
~ "It's summer.  My kids (age 3 & 5) are always with me.  Ask me when school starts." 
Q: Have you ever wanted privacy or personal space and couldn't get it?
A: "No, I never really use privacy."
~ "No, not really."
Q: Have you noticed any difference in the kids?
A: "No."
~ "They play together and fight with one another the exact same amount."
Q: How do you feel about the amount of time spent indoors vs. outdoors now?
A:"Before [the outside] was some place we sent the kids, like another room, while we sat on the couch.  I don't miss the amount of couch sitting we did."
~ "I lOVE it!  It makes me so happy to see the kids enjoying the outdoors more!  Breathing in fresh air all day also does wonders for my happiness."

DESIGN & FUNCTION ?'s
Q: What is one word to describe the tiny house?
A: "Sufficient."
~ "Perfect."
Q: Is there anything in the over-all design that you would change?
A: "Sofa needs a footrest."
~ "The window on the deck (beside the front doors), I would change from a casement window to a double hung window, so that it doesn't protrude out onto the deck space."
Q: How do you feel about our new kitchen sans microwave and dishwasher?
A: "I love it."
~ "I thought I would really miss my microwave, but realized I only ever really used it to reheat my coffee... so I got over it pretty quickly."
Q: How do you feel about the size of the kitchen?
A: "Love it."
~ "Perfect."
Q: How do you like cooking on a gas stove now?
A: "I like it better [than electric]."
~ "I dislike gas appliances, but understand the efficiency of them for a tiny house, and if we ever wanted to be off-grid capable.  However, Aaron's the cook, I so just don't think about it." :)
Q: How do you feel about the bathroom, in particular the Nature's Head composting toilet?
A: "Parenting and Soil Science has prepared me to deal with it."
~ "It's better than I thought."  It doesn't even smell bad, and it's actually really comfortable!"
Q: What do you think of the size of the bathroom?
A: "Fine."
~ "The space to do what we need to do is sufficient, however the bathroom sink is so small that when I wash my face, I get a lot of water on the floor."
Q: What are your thoughts on the closet space?
A: "Haven't noticed a difference."
~ "There's plenty of space for everything we want or need!"
Q: What you do think about the washer & dryer combo?
A: "Drying cycle takes too long"
~ "Dry cycle does take a while, but is not a problem when you stay on top of the laundry and do a load every day.  If you put a load in before bed, you have clean clothes to put away in the morning.  So, it's not a big deal to me."
Q: What are your thoughts on the lack of Air Conditioning?
A: "Don't miss it; not a requirement; don't mind sweating."
~ "There have only been a couple days so far where I've even thought about it.  We've all acclimated pretty well.  Plus, this Indiana summer is very temporary."
Q: What do you think of the deck?
A: "Use it less than I thought.  The doors and window are in the way."
~ "I don't know what he's taking about.  We use it all the time.  Every single day.  The house wouldn't feel complete without the deck."


Are there any other questions you would like to ask us?

~ August 26, 2015

Here She is... Beautiful Inside & Out!

THE PEQUOD

Even though we're not quite all settled and nested, I figured you all didn't care too much, that you just want to see the inside (I know because enough of you have told me so).  So, I shall swallow my pride, set aside my standards of completeness, and invite you all (friends, family and strangers) into my home.  Isn't she beautiful!?  She is 26' long, 8.5' wide and 13.5' tall (within limits to drive legally without a special permit or license).  She weighs 11,500lbs without our clothes, toys, toiletries and dishes.  An easy-peasy pull for our Ford F-350! ;)
The blue siding is supposed to be a navy blue... which it will be by the end of summer, hopefully!
Now, let me take you inside!  As soon as you enter you see our console table/breakfast nook/dining table/storage area:
We have the table set up as a console table during the day.  The storage cubes function as extra seats & storage.

Now it's breakfast time...
This is the way the kids eat their breakfast in the mornings.
Now it's dinner time...
It was important for me to have the ability to continue our tradition as eating as a family most nights.
That's where we eat, now let's go to where the food is made...



The curvy hickory and walnut butcher-block countertops continue the wave/nautical theme.


 
I wanted curtains instead of cabinets to help with the weight, and this way we have a bunch more usable space!
The sink cover helps extend the kitchen space, as well as provides a nice cutting board (and, ahem... can easily hide dirty dishes when guests arrive unexpectedly)
Open storage shelves, because I thought cabinets would make it feel too cramped.

Plenty of food storage in the custom designed food pantry!
Now let me back up a little bit before I turn around and take you ALL THE WAY OVER to the other side of the house!
Custom made arched top French doors (handles are high so that deck can fold up during transport)
Our living room/dining room windows (which will have bamboo shades by the end of summer)
Now, the other side...
Salvaged portholes going up the stairs.
And plenty of storage space under the stairs with secret compartments! :D
Here's our seating... comfy cushions will be made soon!

Right next to the seating is our tiny & adorable wood stove, which will be our primary heating.
The "Master Closet" (4'7" wide), will have a curtain.
The kids closet / laundry room, will also have a curtain once I find the perfect one.

On to the head:
I'm really loving our garden window in the bathroom and how much light it brings in!

Nature's Head composting toilet, and my awesome octopus vase I made in high school (no it's not a "Snake Pot" Aaron)!  The octopus pot holds our peat moss, which we use for the composting toilet.  It's okay folks... this is literally my husband's field of study... he's a graduate student at Purdue for Environmental Soil Chemistry.  He's got this under control. 
The shelf above the toilet holds our single ply T.P., towels, and our essential bathroom reading materials. ;)
We had our friend, Anne (a pipe bending pro... no really) make this shower curtain rod for our tiny shower. 
The Washer & Dryer combo magic.
Having the "laundry room" inside the closets was a MUST HAVE!  And it's just as amazing as I expected.
There will be a curtain here in between the main living area and the closets, to be used as a dressing room when needed.
When you look up, you see the see-through cat-walk made out of very thick plexi-glass (up until this photo I still had the protective paper cover over it, to make sure it looked nice and shiny for pictures) ;)

Now let's go up to the lofts!!!  Going up the stairs...



The "Master Loft"
That beautiful stained glass was a gift from our builder (Greg of Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses).  It is our tiny house, The Pequod, and a phoenix merged into one.  Such a sweet, special piece of glass!
View from Master Loft looking towards the Kid's loft.

During the night, this is the kid's "sleeping loft"
During the day, their beds fold up into little couches, which gives them lots of room to play with their toys!


View from kid's loft across the catwalk into Master loft (with their beds laid out again).
Everyone has their own eyebrow window.

Looking down from Master Loft.
Getting ready to head on back downstairs.  I am in love with this roofline! 

Here are some more photos of the outside:

Notice my cute little munchkin photo-bombers. :)
The Pequod's backside.


I hope you have enjoyed your visit!  Look forward to a video tour walk-through!  

July 10, 2015
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