Space, however, has been a bit of a stumbling block for me. We have space issues. Most of you know I've been purging like a fiend around here ever since Lent. I took that as a good excuse to free us from the bondage of clutter. The outcome was good. I unearthed a few missing children, toys, manipulatives, clothes, and sanity. Plus, I was able to outfit the underprivileged of the Twin Cities with a fair amount of donated items.
Even with all of that, we still have space issues. I was just on the phone with a friend this afternoon and just talking with her about some of the realities helped me to realize these are real issues. I have moments when I doubt we have them. I doubt mostly because I hear things like, "My Uncle or Grandpa So & So had 14 kids in 1,000 square feet and they were just fine!" However, I never hear about the mother of those children and at what age she left this world. So my brain has been challenged to think about two things: to remodel our existing home or to relocate.
I'll begin with the latter.
To relocate....A beautiful home came up on on the market very close to where we live. It has more square footage, newer construction, is in a desirable neighborhood in a good school district (in case we decide to send the kids to a high school), and the floor plan is configured so that we could use it for our needs namely home education. However, the home is, of course, more money, and the neighborhood is newer so it's a bit isolated from its neighboring neighborhoods. It seems almost insular. I hardly ever see children or even the parents when I drive through it. My thoughts are that they must work, and the home owners must be older with older children. Would a home educating family really fit in a neighborhood like this? The big questions here were: Can we sell our home at the bottom of the market and get what we paid for it? How long would it take to sell? Would the sellers of the home take a contingency offer?
You can already see why MY brain would already be challenged. Of course, I'm not alone in this. Daddy was also thinking hard about all of these things. But the question did arise about selling our home and temporarily relocating our family so we would have cash in hand to make a purchase! AHHH! I can't even imagine moving all of us into temporary housing with homeschooling only 3 months away. Of course, there's flexibility. But that much flexibility? For me? You've got to be kidding. I thrive on order, and chaos makes me stress to the point of painful headaches.
To Remodel....Also, in the mix is the thought of remodeling our existing home. Why? It's getting tight. As I mentioned above, I've been purging like crazy, but there is still more to do. There are also things we can't get rid of namely the children, their books, our clothes for all the seasons of the Midwest!, or all the other necessities. The reality is we are just more people for our home, and whose to say we won't have another child or even four more children. Questions here went something like this: Who would do the work? What would it cost? Could we get the money from our investment back out if we sell the home or would we be stuck later on having to take a loss on our home? Is it wise to stay in an aging neighborhood? Will it go up in value, or should we get out while we can?
I was stuck having to think about things like the value of mature trees, living close to water (there are ponds all around us so it is rather idyllic), sizing up the neighbors in terms of the value of their children as friends to our children, the value of biking on flat streets versus hilly ones, the value of seeing baby goslings and ducklings in spring! The questions seemed to be endless, but you can tell that I really came to love our neighborhood and appreciate it for what it is. It always helps to write through decision making. It's like making a gratitudes list.
The questioning process isn't over. However, we did move a step further in making a decision. I almost secretly hope the other house will sell before we have all of our research done. They've already dropped the price another 10K so I don't think it will be long now.
Bottom line, we do have roots in this neighborhood, and there are some great qualities about the location and house itself. Here is a short list:
- We live in a "green" neighborhood...the home is located "in the ring" which means less driving to both downtowns and to and from Daddy's work. The trees are also mature so our home is cooler in summer. There is plenty of shade so we are in no way living in a solar development. We live within walking distance of three parks so we bike and walk the outdoors a lot.
- The home is located close to our parish which we love. It's orthodox, and there are a lot of great families with children the ages of our children. An eleven year commitment of investing in our relationships at the parish can not be undervalued.
- The home is located close to our homeschool coop. 25 minutes of driving, and we're there!
- We're less than 5 minutes from Grandma and Grandpa so Grandpa usually walks over to see what we're doing. Later on the kids will probably be able to bike over to their house.
- Our neighborhood is quiet...not a lot of children and mostly retirees which means more "grandparents" who like to watch out for our littler ones.
- The lot has enough room for expansion...not much, but there is some. We even had an offer yesterday from a friend who is an architect to draw up plans for no charge!
OK, so now you all want to move into our neighborhood since I've given you the low-down on how great it is! There is still more to think about, research, and most of all pray about. God has been speaking through all sorts of means. The pocketbook need not always be the only voice! So I would like to ask you all for your continued prayers. They sure have helped. Meanwhile, I've been upping my meditation time, my spiritual reading, and I recently got back to making my Holy Hour.
Oh, and in case, you're wondering about getting into our neighborhood, there are a few neighboring homes for sale so I'll see you on the MLS!
Searching for an image on the web for this post, I ran across this. I couldn't resist! It makes for a good laugh! Enjoy.