Keeping it Real

Last week I gave you a tour of our 1,343 square foot brick ranch. The pictures I shared were from when we were trying to sell our home so they were beautiful – showing our home looking it’s best.

Well, this week, I’m giving you another tour of our home but this tour is keeping it real – nothing staged, just real life!

Messy Dining Room

I try my hardest to keep our table clutter free because we eat 3 meals a day there however it’s just seems to be a stuff magnet. Honestly, it’s mostly my stuff – we come home from running errands or church and I dump everything on the end of the table instead of putting it where it should go!
Finger Paint Mess

Ah, preschoolers and art. Before having kids, I dreamed of peaceful, non-messy, creative art time with my kids. Ha, ha! My boys love creating but boy are they messy. This time, I let them have a few different colors of paint and they were happily painting on their paper. Well, then the baby needed me and I left the room for 2 minutes and came back to paint everywhere – all over the table, chairs and the boys. At least they had fun, right? And, thankfully it was washable!
Dirty Dishes

This is an all too common scene around here. I guess because we eat 3 meals a day?! There’s really no getting around that. So, the kitchen is used and is pretty much never fully clean!

Here’s photographic evidence of our mountain of laundry. I was warned before Cecilia was born that a third child seems to make laundry really explode. Well, it’s true! So much laundry. (But, who really cares if there is a little more laundry to fold – our third baby is awfully sweet and so worth it!)
Pile of Laundry

More laundry. Messy Bedroom

Noticing a trend? Laundry. Everyday. On my bed.

Confession – some days, I don’t get around to fully folding it all so I just dump what hasn’t been folded yet back into the basket for the night and the next morning dump it back on the bed to fold sometime that day!Livingroom

Living rooms are for living and we do a lot of living in ours so it’s rarely clean. This day, the boys were creating with big cardboard boxes. Art stuff all over, pieces of cardboard everywhere and a really sweet baby girl in the midst of it all!
Messy Kid Space

My boys love puzzles. I love that they love puzzles. I however, do not love puzzle pieces. So many pieces. I may break out in a sweat when I realize they’ve mixed puzzle pieces all together!Broken Blinds

One thing I find myself saying over and over is ‘we cannot have nice things.’ The reason I say this – my boys are destructive. I’m often quite impressed at the things they decide to destroy. One day, one of them spent rest time in the baby’s room and decided to bend back a piece of the blinds. (It has since snapped off…)
Unmade Beds

Right after deciding to put our house on the market, we decided to rearrange the kids rooms. When Cecilia was born, we had the boys in a full size bed and her crib in their room. We decided to separate Cecilia from the boys and then got the boys twin beds. Their beds had sheets and quilts but nothing on the box springs for months (and now they don’t even have the box springs thanks to their bunk bed!)
Messy Kid BedroomAnd, since deciding to stay in our home instead of sell it, we’ve been making some changes to make this house work better for our family. One of those things was installing some shelving in the boys closet for more efficient organization. So, everything from the closet was piled up in the corner for over 3 weeks. And, while the closet is finished and some things have been put back into the closet, there’s still a nice pile in the corner.

I shared these pictures with you so you remember that people often just share the beautiful (like the staged home tour I shared last week) on blogs, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I didn’t want you to think that was my reality because it’s so far from reality that it felt like a lie!

We all have messes (at least those of us with young children do!)

Stop aiming for an unattainable goal of a perfectly clean home. Embrace the reality that life is just a little messy and then you can begin to view your mess as beautiful.

Brick Ranch Home Tour

In April, we decided we were going to sell our home and spent a few days thoroughly cleaning and taking pictures. I’ve been meaning to post them for a few months so you can have a glimpse into our home!

Our home is a basic little house built in the 70s, a  3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home totaling 1,343 square feet.

Here’s a glimpse inside:






Kids Room

Play Room

After a few days of intense cleaning, decluttering (and maybe a little shoving things into closets), the house looked amazing! In fact, it was exactly how I often dream our home should look – super clean and clutter free. But, getting it show ready and ‘perfect’ really was eye opening to me.

Instead of loving the clean, clutter free look, it felt too sterile! It didn’t feel like our home – there were no signs of real life within the walls! Those (maybe) 2 days that it was ‘perfect’ really have helped me appreciate the beautiful mess of real life.

This little home tour is showing our home at it’s best – it’s never, ever this clean on a daily basis, so please don’t think this is my reality! Next week, I’m going to share a keeping it real home tour so you can see glimpses of our reality.


Children are unique individuals. Just look at siblings, even with the same parents and home environment, they’re completely different. They’re different because they’re individuals.

We started noticing some behavior issues soon after Paxton turned 4 (which was also a few weeks after Cecilia’s birth). We were feeling challenged but thought maybe it was just part of being 4 plus the adjustment to a new sibling. There were numerous tantrums, anger issues and hard days. We were at a loss as to what the right approach was.

In late July, I picked up a book about organizing and started skimming. One thing that caught my eye was a description of the 4 personality types: choleric, melancholy, phlegmatic and sanguine. I had studied these personality types in leadership development classes and workshops in high school/college so I was familiar with them and knew that I was a melancholy.

John David and I both have an interest in understanding our personalities. We’ve both taken Meyers Brigg and DISC assessments and use that information professionally as well as in our marriage.

However, we had never thought about personalities in regards to parenting and the personalities of our children.


We started talking about these temperament types:

Choleric- high energy, task oriented, goal setter, leader

Melancholy- low energy, task oriented, analyzer, organizer

Phlegmatic- low energy, people oriented, calm, easy going

Sanguine- high energy, people oriented, friendly, optimistic


After reading a few articles describing the different temperaments, the personalities of our boys jumped out at us. Paxton is a choleric (like his daddy) and Weston is a sanguine.

While reading in-depth descriptions of these personality types, I started to feel like I understood my children better. It really was a light bulb moment.

I started reflecting on the issues we had been having with Paxton. Almost all of the issues were control issues. He was trying to be the boss in every situation, from putting shoes on to leaving the house, he was trying to exert control.

And, Weston’s personality started to make sense too. He’s a little chatter box that loves making people laugh.


We decided the best approach to take with parenting our kids is not going to be a ‘one size fits all approach’. We’re going to have to parent them based on their personalities.


Paxton, as a choleric, needs control. Obviously good parenting is not giving a 4-year-old complete control but we can give him some control.

We’ve started letting him choose his own clothes, shoes and pajamas (even if it sometimes means shorts with cowboy boots!)

We are viewing things in light of big decisions that we make and little decisions that he is allowed to make.

Example – The big decision is we’re having tacos for supper and the little decision is that he gets to choose what goes on his taco.

We’re also trying to limit the use of ‘because I said so’ when he asks us ‘why’. He’s an inquisitive, logical child and an honest answer as to why we are doing something has really helped.


Weston, as a sanguine, is generally optimistic and full of fun but can be dramatic.

If he gets hurt in any way, he usually makes a big scene but as soon as I kiss his boo boo or simply acknowledge his hurt, he goes right back to his play! Knowing he has a flair for the dramatic has helped me understand his interactions with his brother better.

We’ve also noticed that he has a knack for storytelling. He can make up a whopper of a tale and tell it to us with a straight face. Being aware of this will be beneficial as he gets older and begins attempting to deceive us.


Our boys are 4 and 2 and it’s really amazing that their personalities are already so clear at such a young age.  Our daughter is 4.5 months old. At this point, she’s way too young to know what her personality is but we’re definitely looking forward to watching her personality emerge as she grows so we can figure out the best way to parent her too!

While I’m no parenting or personality expert, this information has definitely helped us in our parenting over the past few weeks. There may be no science behind parenting based on personalities but we’re going to continue to study our children and parent them based on their unique personalities.

More in-depth personality information, as related to children:

Personality Types Overview






This photo is a good example of my boys personalities! Choleric Paxton is taking the task of picture taking seriously. Sanguine Weston is having a blast and his personality shines through!

This photo is a good example of my boys personalities. Choleric Paxton is taking the task of picture taking seriously. Sanguine Weston is having a blast and his personality shines through!


When we purchased our home in early 2011, we were a family of 3 and the 1343 square feet was more than enough house for our small family.

There were a few things about the house that we weren’t crazy about. It is a 1.5 bathroom (we preferred 2), the kitchen is small and the laundry is in the carport. We compromised on those factors because the house is a charming 70s brick ranch on an acre in the area where we wanted to be. Plus, the price was well below the budget we had set when we began searching for a home.

We knew we were going to be able to comfortably grow our family in this home.

Living Room

With the announcement of our third pregnancy, we started to get questions and comments like “where will you put the baby?” and “you’re going to need a bigger house.”

Our answers were “we’ll put the baby in the room with his/her brothers” and “we have plenty of room.”

As the months passed, we started thinking that maybe our house wasn’t big enough.

Simple math says it’s small. Our 1343 square foot house divided by 5 people is 268.6 square feet per person. (We realized that per person, our house was smaller than our 576 square foot first apartment! We had 288 square feet per person there.)

A few weeks after Cecilia was born, John David was browsing real estate listings and an 1,800 square foot home on 7 acres with a barn and shop caught his attention. We went and looked at it and fell in love with the farm. Within a few days, we decided we were going to sell our home so we could buy a farm.

Throughout the month of May, we had several inquiries and a few showings and were hopeful that our home would sell quickly so we could buy the larger home and farm.

Towards the end of May, we started really questioning whether this was the right move for our family and began praying for direction. Sure, the 1,800 square foot house (with a bonus room, attached garage and fireplace) on 7 acres was exactly what we wanted. But, was it what was right for our family now?

We started evaluating the work of keeping up a farm. John David’s job is not only a job, it’s his calling. With his job he’s not home every single night of the week at the same time. With 3 small children, I don’t want the responsibility of having to care for a farm on his long nights. Plus, the honest truth is we have a hard time caring for our acre (and nearly half of it is wooded). The care of 7 acres seems quite daunting.

We also looked long and hard at finances. Yes, we can afford the larger home. The asking price was a figure we can afford, at least on paper. Figuring the mortgage payment on the larger home into our budget worked but it left very little money and our budget would be very tight. To us, it’s not really worth having a larger home if we can’t live life because all of our money is going to the house!

But, we need more space, right? Well, 500 more square feet would definitely be nice but isn’t a necessity, at least at this point in our life. We’re comfortable in our current home. Our boys share a large bedroom, Cecilia now has her own room and there’s plenty of space for the things we own, especially since we choose to live minimally.
Dining Room

We’ve decided that living small in this house means we can really live large.

An affordable mortgage means our finances are not super tight.

Since our finances are not super tight, we can spend more on healthy food, eating out and experiences. Plus, we’re able to be more generous since we’re not simply scraping by every month.

Living in 1343 square feet means we have to be intentional about our possessions as a family of 5. We evaluate purchases not only based on whether we can afford the item but also based on if we have space for it and if it is a necessity. We choose to live minimally but our home also forces us to live minimally since we don’t want to be overrun with stuff!

We’re content living small. But, we really think we’re living large.

(And, the lovely pictures in this post were taken for our house listing. My house is never, ever this tidy!!)