Hudson Valley Parent

HVP August 2015

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32 Hudson Valley Parent ■ August 2015 and the remainder of our belongings into our new small home. We now have one blessed closet and a second child. The entire pro- cess has been enormous, emotional, and exhilarating. There are defi nite joys: less to clean, less to buy, less to pay for, smaller mortgages and utility bills. But with a 2-year-old and a newborn, parenting in a small space comes with some challenges, too. Just about everything gets shared, all the time. Living space? Shared. Play space? Shared. Sleeping space? Shared. Headaches? Sometimes, they're shared, too! Probably the hardest part of living in a small space is handling a 2-year- old's temper tantrum. She needs a break, and I need a break, but we can't get away from each other! We now understand the power of going outside. The fresh air, the change of scenery, the temperature change, all provide a good oppor- tunity to take a breath. During an outburst, it calms us down. But we live in the mountains, so this is not always a viable solution. When it's 10 below or raining (both of which happen frequently!), we make a point to look out the window and fi nd something outside to focus on: a bird, the weather, the wind, a leaf. Positive trade-o s It turns out we're not the only ones from the Hudson Valley jumping on the small house bandwagon. Vanessa Grimsland and her husband Paul, now empty nesters after raising three children, traded their 4-bedroom house in Woodstock for a 2-bedroom house in Kingston. Regarding their choice to sell their newly remodeled home with cus- tom kitchen and beautiful gardens, she says, "I grew up in a 2-bedroom house with 8 kids, so I knew that you don't need space or a lot of stuff to be happy. We had talked about downsizing for almost 7 years, but it really started at the Woodstock swimming hole." There, they struck up a conversa- tion with Artie the Hippy, who raised his kids in a tiny house. Because he never incurred any debt, he was able to take time for his kids. "He was inspiring. We realized we were willing to give up space to have more money and more time with our kids." Kingston-based creative artist and web designer Emily Flynn and her family recently made the leap to a smaller home, too. "We have a high value for recre- ational activities — hiking, biking, picnics, gym classes, and spending time with our extended family. To do more of these activities we would prefer to work less and live more affordably. We wanted to live in a place where we could walk and ride our bikes more instead of driving so much. So we chose a location that is convenient over square footage. It will force us to downsize." Flynn is moving from a 1,100-square-foot home with a full basement and 1.5 bathrooms on a full acre of land to an 816-square-foot house on a 50x100-foot city lot with no basement and one bathroom. We're rarely alone Like Emily, I'm going through this process with a young family. Although some might scoff at raising a family in a small house, I've found that what at fi rst seemed like restric- tions have become opportunities. With an open fl oor plan, there's really no place to be alone. On the other hand, we are always part of each other's lives. When my daughter squeals over a re-discovered book she hasn't read in months, I'm right there to share in her joy. When I'm working on a project, she gets involved. When she's about to draw on the wall with a marker, I know. I'm not worried about her getting into trouble in an- other room, so she can explore with freedom. Yes, we sleep in the same space: we have a sleeping loft, where one side is hers and the other is ours. Until we bought this house, I never considered that there might be any way of living other than each kid hav- ing their own bedroom, with a door, and toys and books, and a closet full of clothes, and space. When my daughter was an infant, I remember feeling so very relieved when we fi - nally moved her to her own bedroom in our last house. Freedom! And it was great, at the time. Now, I treasure the fact that I can hear her breathing when I wake up in the night. In the morning, I see her sleepy eyes and her amazing little smile fi rst thing. I'm literally right Privacy does not always require a separate, physical space. Mackey's 2-year-old daughter, Rhea, has a reading corner, the only designated space in the home's open fl oor plan. LIVING SMALL (Continued from Page 31)

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