Here is Ian playing at the park by our apartment
I would like to think I live big. I also live small.
Let me explain. Within my grasp of walking or driving I have access to a nice pool, several parks, shops, a great library and even a world class zoo. The great thing is that I don’t have to pay to maintain any of it. (The small membership fee for the zoo is nothing compared to what we get)
Our living is much bigger, smaller:
First off the library. Sure we used our local branch on the edge of town, but we also housed several hundred books in the house. Our whole family are readers (now even my 4 year old, I am so proud). They usually didn’t cost much, especially the kids books because we got them at garage sale or gifts. What they did cost was space and clean up time. The kids had books all over their rooms and playroom all the time! My son would also come into my room and clean off my book shelf. We got rid of over 90% of them. As a family we have access to 160 books at a time from the library, and it is only a mile away. Sure, we still have piles at the house, but they are smaller piles and they are different books every week.
That stack of books next to Lily.. that is just her getting started 🙂
Here is Ian showing me what books he wants to look for.
Second the pool. I really wanted to make sure my kids learned to swim a few year ago, and they need practice a well as swim lessons so we got a 15′ above ground pool for the back yard. We spent hours trying to get that thing to work. Our first problem was that the yard had a gradual slope so we went at it with shovels. We ended up with a hole in the yard and it was still not flat. Second, I hated messing with chemicals. Third, we couldn’t keep the leaves out of it. Fourth, it was cold…. you get the idea. Now we have an awesome warm, clean, indoor pool and hot tub at our apartment without even a gym membership cost. Even if we needed to pay a gym membership it would be less money and stress than all that maintenance.
Just in the last week he has been practicing without his life jacket. He can’t really touch that well, even in the shallow end. He is a nut though. He has been practicing with the jacket so well that when we took it off he could swim about 10 feet on his own.
Lily is a fish, she spends more time under the water than above it.
Third the parks. We had a gym set in the back yard for the kids… we got it for free and we gave it away for free… it wasn’t that great. Now we have a few parks within walking distance and some really good ones just a short drive away. The great part for the kids is that they even come with playmates most days.
Lily at the park
Forth, we are much closer now to the zoo and stores which saves time and gas.
I thought this looked cute. Looks like he is trying to get the tiger to bite his ear, but he is probably just trying to hide behind it as soon as daddy pulled out the camera.
Both kids love bounce houses. This one was set up at the zoo when we went.
Fifth the yard care. With the apartment I have no yard maintainance …except throwing out the dead plants off my porch (my thumb isn’t as green as I want it to be).
When I look at this list it and remember all the work we did it makes me tired…. it represents so much time and work I put into bringing the world to us when it wasn’t all that far away.
Many people have asked me how we can manage to live in such a small place, and this is really the reason. In our bigger ‘real’ house we still had the same access, but we didn’t go out and take advantage of it as much. Now when we do go play, or sit down and read, or swim it is way easier and much better.