It was three weeks into my husband’s new job in downtown Vancouver.
He said, “This is crazy… I’m going to sit in traffic morning and night and never see you guys… What if we moved closer?”
To which I said, “If we’re going to move closer, why not move closest?”
A few weeks later my husband and I, and our 10 month old son moved into our ‘temporary’ apartment across the street from his work. An adequately sized 800 square foot, 2 bedroom apartment for the 3 of us. Our mindset was ‘OK, let’s try this for a year and see what happens.’
It’ll be 8 years this October.
Life is funny like that sometimes hey?
But, it turns out, this little home is where we have brought 3 out of 4 of our babies ‘home’ to.
It’s also where all 4 of those babies learned how to walk.
It’s the home that has been rearranged 100 times so that we are always ‘utilizing our minimal space to maximum capacity.’ Also known as, ‘Let’s confuse the husband while he’s away at work all day by moving all of the furniture.’
It’s the home I have lived in the longest with my husband in our 14 years of marriage, and in reality, the only home my children have ever known.
It has seen many years of wondering, “Who raises rambunctious boys inside of such a tiny space? What are we doing?”
And it has seen many years mixed with frustration, peace, discontentment, tears, some more peace, followed by true contentment and some tucked away hope that no, this isn’t our forever home… but it surely is our ‘for now’ home.
We are living proof that the walls, the furniture, and the space doesn’t actually matter. We have worked with what we’ve been given, and we have used every spare corner, probably for two different functions at two different times.
Why have we stayed here this long? Probably because we’re a little bit crazy, and probably because every single year we’d say, “OK… let’s move that thing there, and get rid of that… followed by, “Say bye Dad! And say, see you on your lunch break, when you run across the street to come home quick for your scrambled eggs!”
People who visit are often surprised… We get comments like, “Wow, it actually feels big in here, but where did all of your furniture go?”
“Yeah, I got rid of it, it was feeling cluttered…”
“You’ve mastered the art of small space living!” Be still my heart… You know exactly the right words to say to me.
“You have everything you would have in a regular sized home in here, just smaller folding versions of it!”
That’s nearly 8 years of effort being recognized, and it makes my heart swell up with pride.
So if you’re ready for your tour…
“You have a den? Where is your den?” people will ask us. And we’ll laugh and say, “That entryway you walked into from the front door. It’s also our music room, homeschooling resource center, coat closet, storage locker, computer room, and in the past it has served as ‘the baby’s room’ for 3 out of 4 babies who have slept behind a long black curtain pretending to be a door.”
The boy’s room.
Rooms here are made up of unusual organization systems and sometimes you might find a trampoline hanging on the wall.
But rest assured, there is always a place for the items that are really important to us.
Like blankets lovingly made by Grandma, remote control cars, and all of the LEGO.
Those boards below with the stars on them? They block the window so that little children don’t drop their toys or themselves out of it… decorated safety precautions. The artwork on the wall is painted by the boys, and the toys on the shelves are all ‘their most treasured items,’ because they must be. That’s what we have space for.
My treasured artwork from Thailand.
The shelf holding the books that I’m currently reading, 5 at a time obviously.
The condensed diaper supply station that will be retired hopefully within the year.
Curtains lovingly sewn by my mom to keep out the bright city lights.
Bedding from Great Grandma who has gone on to heaven. And a desk where I often sit and write, that has been in the family for years.
Our meeting places.
Mid photo shoot the boys were all, “I’m starving and I’ve never been fed in 1000 years!!!” So there I am in my most predictable spot in the house… frozen in time washing the apples and slicing up the cheese. #classicmompose
There’s also our long awaited table for 6, that you can read about again here.
The funny part is, once I see it captured in the photos, I realize how special every part of our home is. And that kind of perspective is a gift in itself.
Home. Our home. These people, in this sacred little space.
It was captured beautifully in these quiet little photos. And it’s so special to this mama who treasures memories like pure gold.
All of the photos in this post are by the amazingly talented, Darren Lebeuf, of House Stories Canada. You can also find him on Instagram.
Although, we like to refer to him as, ‘the nice man who came to take photos and was super patient with all of the little boys roaming around him the entire time… even when one of them started flying a tiny drone close to his head…’
For the record, we think he’s pretty fantastic.
As I flipped through the pages of the album he sent to me, my boys were scattered around me, and they were like, “Mom’s crying… happy things make her cry you know.”
They had heard me say that phrase so many times to them, that they now said it to me… So this time, I didn’t need to.
Lastly, House Stories Canada gave me a 20% off code, BERGMAN20 … if you’d like to capture your house story too.
A perfect example of good management, thankfulness and love.
That’s a very kindly stated synopsis. Thank you!!
happy things make mom cry, you know…must be a mom thing! i am blown away by your space management! one day when you have a house, you will look back on these cozy years fodly and forget the crazy…maybe??