Can you manage a tiny baby in a tiny home?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

One of the first things people asked us about when they found out we were expecting was how on earth we planned on making it work with a baby in our teeny tiny home. We had a lot of little jokes on hand that we used with people like "well we hear they're pretty small at first!" and "we're just going to put her in a drawer!". Truth is, we clearly didn't know exactly how it would turn out! But we had confidence that we could make it work, at least for a little while :). 

Now that it's been almost 10 weeks with our lady, I can confidently say that...we have made it work! And happily. But the unique living situation has certainly presented some challenges as well - some expected, some unexpected. 

For any of you out there considering expanding your family in a tiny house, maybe this pro/cons list will help you wrap your head around what you'll be getting into...

Pros and Cons of having a Newborn in a Tiny Home

Pro - Only the right stuff
This one was big, so it has to go first. I really took time in my research to make sure that we only bought and asked for the right baby supplies. We really only have exactly what we need, and (almost) nothing more! People have been so kind and generous, and because of our space, everyone was really careful to get us only things we really needed (i.e. things on our registry, gift certificates, can't-go-wrong kinda gifts). I've heard a lot of moms report that they were gifted and handed down way more stuff than they even knew what to do with, or that they received too many cutesy gifts and not enough necessities. I love the simplicity of our nicely curated baby stuff.

But still...there's stuff
The other side of this coin is that there still is going to be some stuff...and in a house that was perfectly accommodating just two people for 9 months, there was still a major change when the little one came along! Move over books and purses, come on in diapers and burp cloths... 

Keeping it clean 
More than ever before, we need to make sure to put everything away at the end of each day. On a daily basis, there's a small explosion of diapers, cloths and dishes, and somehow at the end of each day we manage to wrap it up. It's sometimes unfortunate that due to space, we're forced to be extra tidy (at times you just want to let it go!), but it's of course a pro as well - it feels good to be in a well kept space. 

Everything is in reach
Hey lazy people (and exhausted mamas) out there, this one is for you! Not going to lie, I kind of love that the sink, couch, bed and changing table (etc. etc.) are within 10 feet of me at any given time. When you're a new mama with a crying baby in your hands, the last thing you need is a few extra walls between you and that diaper/pacifier/toilet/whatever it may be you're looking for. 

During those first few weeks especially, you really only have your favorite spots, and you don't need to venture far from those. For me it was nursing spot #1, the bed, and nursing spot #2, the couch. A few times a week I made a guest appearance at nursing spot #3, the deck chair. Most of a larger house would go vastly unused, so why have it?

No laundry
This hasn't been as big of a deal as you might think, but it's not the best. Tiny homes don't often have full sized washers and dryers. We started off with a washer/dryer combo but ended up getting rid of it since it wouldn't run well on our solar energy, and we needed the extra space. Luckily we're only a stones throw from some washers and dryers that we have access to, but I will say that especially if you're minimalists (and therefore probably don't want to own a zillion swaddles and onesies etc.), you will need regular access to laundry.

The great outdoors
Ahh the burden of walls! I love love love that Rowen's life is beginning in a place where we spend so much time outdoors. Our deck area is our 2nd living space, and we spend so much time there, partially out of necessity! I wouldn't feel nearly as compelled to be outside if I was in a "norm" house, and I'm afraid my exhaustion and overwhelm would have kept me inside for much longer. 

No bathtub
I don't often miss having a full sized bath tub, but in pregnancy and in the first month or two after, I really did! I read a lot about nice sitz baths to help with healing, and I would have liked those. I also did take a couple of baths with Rowen when we were at a friend's house at the beginning and loved those intimate moments with her - if we had a bathtub I know that would be a regular indulgence of ours.

No nursery
When nesting mode hit me full stride in the 3rd trimester, I was a little bit sad about our lack of space and how I wouldn't have a real nursery room for the babe. But, I think this was all for the best. With a little bit of creativity I was able to make her a cute little "area" that fulfilled my nesting needs, and we spent a heck of a lot less money on the ordeal than we would have in a full size room. 

The way we figured it...children have grown up in much smaller places all over the world! At the end of the day, we feel really lucky to have this beautiful place to call home... I think Rowen likes it too :).

Motherhood so far: 6 things that have surprised me

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Photos taken during Rowen's second week at home.

It's been over 7 weeks since my little Rowen was born. Where has time gone? It's been such an exciting, emotional and exhausting couple of months. I'm still not back to regularly scheduled programming yet, but I wanted to check in with a few thoughts and memories while they're still fresh. This whole parenting thing has been a ride! Some of it has been fairly close to what I imagined, but there have certainly be some interesting surprises for me as well. I thought I'd share a few of the things that I wasn't expecting about this fourth trimester we're in. 

6 things that have surprised me about being a mother

1. We're all animals
Nothing has made me feel as simply mammalian as childbirth and motherhood have. There have been times where I'm literally crouched over her on "all fours" sniffing her out for some reason or another. I've licked milk off her face. I've spent hours primping and picking her over like a chimp. I have animal ears now that can hear even the tiniest of baby whimpers. And that's not even to mention the animalistic urges that take over during childbirth. I am mother hear me roar!

2. Labor isn't that bad
Okay, call me crazy...but I swear it wasn't that bad! If you ask Jim he'll tell you differently, having seen my pain from the outside view (he specifically said that watching me at my worst point of labor was like watching a sick dog being kicked while they're down...yikes!). And I know that in the moment it was the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. But just hours after childbirth I was thinking, "I'd totally do that again someday". Everything about it just felt so important, womanly, meant to be, special. The magic and excitement of it all made the pain seem unimportant, and therefore, not that bad.

3. Love grows and grows
I was always curious about how it would feel - that moment when I finally held and looked at my first child. And yes, it was a wonderful gush of emotion that I've never felt before. But what I've been surprised at is how much more I love her every day! As I get to know her, and our bond deepens and her personality comes out, I find myself more and more in love - and it feels so good.

4. Where the time goes nobody knows
Okay this one was a legit shocker to me. I knew I'd be busy and probably overwhelmed, I knew I'd be exhausted, nursing a lot and changing a lot of diapers. But where the hell does the day go by? For the first 6 weeks or so time was so fuzzy, and a whole day could easily go by without me having a moment to even put on deodorant, let alone text someone back or do the one task I'd set for myself that day. I had heard rumblings of this but of course I didn't really understand it until I was in it. I'll always remember a day around week 3 when Jim asked if I had watered the plants, and I was like...haha NO. I'll tell YOU when I'm ready to do tasks again! And he asked kindly and curiously, "well what did you do all day?" and I couldn't even answer. (I can tell you now it was a blur of nursing, nursing and more nursing). To think I took books out of the library thinking I'd have time (while she naps, surely!) to read - hah!

5. People are incredibly generous
Oh my, this is a big one. Our friends, family and local community have taken such amazing care of us! I knew we had nice people around us but we were awed by the outpouring of love and support that was shown. So many wonderful gifts for Rowen, offers for help at every turn, and the meal train oh my goodness - best thing ever. We had kind friends dropping by with homemade treats and even helping with our laundry. So many wonderful mama friends made themselves available with supportive words and answers to my millions of questions. Who knows where we could have been without our loving community - thanks, friends!!

6. Motherhood doesn't feel that weird
The best surprise of all has been that it feels so right to have Rowen here with us. I really thought I might miss my life before too much, or feel anxious about this new role I've been thrown into - but instead it feels completely natural. Like she was meant to be here all along. 

Welcome to the World, Little One!

Monday, June 27, 2016

On June 11th at 5:55am, Jim and I welcomed our adorable and healthy little girl into the world! We'd like to introduce you to Rowen Ocean Ladio, born 6/11/16 at 5:55am at 7lbs 6 oz. and 19.75 inches.

Rowen was born at just 36 1/2 weeks, so she took us by a bit of surprise! We've been in such a beautiful whirlwind of craziness these last two weeks, soaking in as much time together as a new family as possible, learning and loving and snuggling and staring...and NOT sleeping ;). 

She has papa's fingers and toes, mommy's mouth, and the most kissable little neck you've ever seen. She loves eating (constantly), naps on chests and bobbling around in her baby carriage; she hates diaper changes and baths.

I'm in awe of this transition we've gone through, and of the love I already have for this little being! I'm in awe of Jimmy who has been taking care of my every need, has changed almost every diaper, and is already showing to be the best papa ever for baby Rowen. We're also in awe of our community who has so generously wrapped their arms around us, delivering dinners, helping with laundry, and generally showering us with love and support. 

Can't wait to share more in the coming days! Find me on instagram (@minimallie) in the meantime for updates - it's a bit more breastfeeding-friendly than the 'log ;).