Thursday, April 5, 2012

A house for three versus a house for seven

The other day my kids were asking when we moved into this house. I was explaining to Pirate that he wasn't born when we moved here. I decided to show them some pictures of the house from when we first moved here.

Looking at the pictures of when we first moved in was like looking at an entirely different life. I guess it really was another life. We had one child. I worked in an office, outside of the house, meaning we had two incomes. Two incomes to one income on top of one child to five children is a huge difference. There are tons and tons of differences between then and now, but what I really focused on looking at the pictures was the difference in my house itself.

We were so excited to buy this house at the time. We were first time home buyers, and quite honestly had no clue what we were doing. We found a single family home in our price range, put in a contract, and it was ours. We had some furniture from our apartment, but not enough to fill a house.

Our first purchase was a big girl bed for Princess. I was so excited to pick out her bedding and paint her room! We painted it a very bright yellow, and she had a purple comforter with different girly colored hearts and stars on it. I spent so much time putting her room together, matching up curtains and rugs, painting her name letters to match the bedding, arranging her toys into one corner of the room, carefully setting up her bookshelf and organizing the books. Her room was super cute!

Our room was set up pretty much the same as it had been at the apartment. Our bedding complimented the paint color in the room, so we didn't paint it. The third bedroom was a spare room. We left the walls with the solar system border alone thinking that if we ever had another baby, we could make the room into a nursery at that time. We made the room into an office, and my husband put his work clothes in the closet there. (Our closet is incredibly small.)

My mom and I painted the basement. We have a split level, so the basement is just one long room. At the front there is a little extra space on the left, so we called it a playroom and put all of the toys in there. The rest of the basement was neatly arranged with our furniture from the living room of our apartment. We hung a few pictures to pull the colors together, and the room was complete.

We bought new furniture for the living room. We bought a sofa and loveseat set, with a coffee table and two end tables. The tables were black with glass tops, and looked so nice with the red sofa and loveseat. We have hard wood floors, and I spent a lot of time shopping for the perfect rug that would tie together the living room colors for under the coffee table. My mom is quite the decorator, and she picked out paintings and decorations for the walls. The living room opens into the dining room. In the dining room we had our table and china cabinet.

Looking back at these pictures, everything looked so new, so clean, so crisp, so fresh. The paint was perfect, the furniture was arranged perfectly, the house was organized and neat. Princess would make a mess in her room or the playroom, and then clean up her toys. It was that easy.

That was almost six years ago.

Today, the house is the same structure, but that's about it for similarities. We have the same couch and loveseat in the living room. We ditched the rug and coffee table. Who has 5 kids and glass tables? The end tables are still there, but scratched to hell and covered in fingerprints. Currently, more than half of the living room belongs to the one year old and the one month old. There is a pack & play (mainly used to store clothes and for the changing table), a hamper, a plastic drawer thingy for baby clothes, a baby swing, bouncy chair, rock & play, and playmat for the baby. Then there is a play yard set up over bright colored floor mats and filled with toys for containing Donkey.

In the dining room, we had to get rid of the china cabinet so that six people could actually fit around the table. When there was just three of us, it didn't matter that the chairs could barely be pulled out on one side of the table.

In the kitchen, the fridge is covered in magnets and artwork, school newsletters, school lunch menus, notes to myself, and sticky fingerprints. There is a sky high pile of papers, coloring books, coupon booklets, mail, and stuff I can't keep up with on top of the microwave and on the table. I swear, I go through this pile regularly, and the more crap I throw away, the more the pile grows.

The kids' bathroom that we decorated with cute ducks when we moved in still has the cute ducks, but now the decorative towels are stained dirty no matter how much I wash them. The rugs have been replaced twice, and still look crappy from being washed so much, from being peed on so much. The sink is constantly covered in blue and pink toothpaste, because every kid wants their own toothpaste. The counter is typically wet and sticky.

The super cute princess room is still the same color yellow. However, now it is home to three kids. We have a set of bunk beds and a twin bed in this tiny room, in addition to a dresser and nightstand. There are toys crammed into every corner, and the closet is a disaster. It's an "Enter at your own risk" type of room. Some days I wish I didn't have to enter.

In our room, we upgraded from a queen bed to a king sized bed. A bigger bed does not mean more space for my husband and me. It means more space for more kids to get in bed with us, which is a regular occurrence. I rarely make the bed anymore, and my dresser is home to a zillion random things. Currently it is holding a humidifier, a pile of clothes I should put away, my dusty jewelry box, another pile of papers, and a couple of books. My husband's dresser is taller, so all of the stuff the kids could get into goes up there. It has some kids' medicine, a jar of change, the remotes, a dvd player, and other random crap that I toss up there throughout the day. Our closet is completely packed, and the doors fall off regularly.

The "spare" bedroom is now the little boys' nursery. A year after we moved in, we had Pirate, and he had the cutest baby boy room. It still looks the same, except now it is even more crowded, housing two cribs, the changing table and dresser. There is also a large storage box on the floor where I toss clothes that are outgrown. One day I will organize those clothes. One day.

Finally, the basement... Oh, the basement. It's a disaster. Aside from the sofa and the TV, the entire rest of the basement is covered in toys, whereas they used to all be in the little playroom. That area has become the computer room, with the desk, file cabinet, and two bookshelves filled with unorganized kids' books. Right next to me at this moment is a toy box that used to neatly hold Princess's toys. Now the damn box is overflowing and piled up with toys to the window. We have a train table that is covered in more toys and some train tracks. The walls are covered in kids' art. I do like that part. But I should have taken more time and maybe framed the art or something. Some of the tape has come loose, and pictures have corners hanging off the walls. I'll frame those works of art one day. One day.

Every possible inch of space in the laundry room is filled with crap as well. There are storage bins of old clothes, piles of blankets, beach towels, kids' games, arts and crafts stuff, baby stuff that Donkey has outgrown but is too big for 5, folding chairs, my husband's tools, sleds, pool toys, etc. Oh, and my husband's work clothes are hung in there too.

Day to day, I don't think about how much the house has changed. I know that it has been overtaken by kids' stuff. But I didn't realize just how different it is from when we moved in until I looked at those pictures. Three people sure didn't make the mess that seven people make. I can clean and organize all day, and this house will never be the same. But it's ok, because I have four more boys than I had back then, and I wouldn't trade them... most days!

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