I'm always posting the adorable things Pickles the pig does. By doing that I've made everyone swoon over him. Don't get me wrong, he is wonderful, but he is way more work than I'd ever expected! People are always asking what it is like to live with a pig in the house.
Why did we get a pig?
Aside from pigs being super awesome and adorable, we decided to get Pickles for our son simply to be his friend. As a result of trauma prior to our adoption, he suffers from night terrors and anxiety. Generally, when he gets upset he is inconsolable. Javis seemed very interested in having a mini pig and asked for one for over a year. When we first got our piglet we encouraged Javis to use his pig as a distraction from his emotions. Pickles truly is his buddy when he is upset.
How big is he going to get?
You know this answer as well as I do! We ordered Pickles from Texas Tiny Pigs. He was labeled a 'super micro' and was to only weigh 18-25lbs full grown. Right now at 7 months he weighs 23 pounds. Since getting him I've learned through other piggy parents that they can grow for up to five years and can weigh anywhere from 30 to 200lbs! Luckily we don't care how big he gets but a lot of these guys end up in rescues because buyers were mislead about how big they really get.
He was so tiny.
Where does he sleep?
He sleeps in my kids bed! He snuggles right in and it really does help Javis sleep without having nightmares. He stays in there all night but gets up as soon as someone wakes up.
What do you feed him?
These guys can become obese so we stick to a very healthy and regimented routine. The recommendation is to feed a pelted food that is specifically made for mini pigs. I don't like feeding any sort of processed foods to my human or animal kids so we've formulated our own little program. I mix organic cracked corn, barley, rye, oats and flax and use that as his food. We do add a mineral supplement called Excel which acts as a digestion catalyst and PH stabilizer. Soon after we started this his urine became odorless. We also add a probiotic called DynaPro to his water. (For the piggy parents that don't want to mix their own food but want a non GMO ration that is pesticide, antibiotic and animal byproduct free should also check out Dynamite PGR. Supplements are already added to it too!) These products can be ordered on my site at the end of this post.
- Breakfast- 1/4 cup of feed with a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt.
- Dinner- 1/4 cup of feed and a handful of whatever greens I have around.
Is he dirty?
Pigs are super clean pets...if they are exclusively indoors! We like to let him be a real pig and play outside so he tracks in mud with his little hooves. I have to sweep my floors at least 4 times a day. He gets mud on his nose. He rubs it on everything. No, pigs aren't clean, at all.
SERIOUSLY... I keep the dog food in that cabinet. The bottom of the trash can, the couch, the doors and usually our pants look like this too.
Since this incident we have let Pickles free range when we are gone. Apparently he didn't like being in his cage anymore and wanted to sleep on the couch while we're away.
Is Pickles like a dog?
I always hear people say no, but I'd say sort of. He begs, he drools, he sheds, he wants attention and likes car rides. He even grunts at the door when he wants out. He knows how to do tricks. He is super smart but very stubborn and certainly loves our dog Hank.
Their favorite position...
Is he potty trained?
Thankfully he has never had an accident in the house! This is not typical though as I've heard horror stories of other people having issues with training. He came trained to go in a litter box with wood shavings. He went in there until we started letting him outside. Now he prefers going potty outside. Like I said, he squeals at the door to go out. We have kept the box as a precaution for when we are gone during the day or if he ever needed to ever go at night. He uses it sometimes when it is raining. This is one of the few positive things I can say about the breeder. Other TTP parents say the same as well.
He's like a toddler. He needs his own little area with colorful stimulating toys.
Having a pig living in the house is not anything like I expected. Pickles is pretty much a toddler...for the next twenty years. My cabinets will be dirty and I won't be able to sneak a snack without him notifying the whole household. Finding a house sitter is difficult and new friends are always going to think I'm insane BUT it is all worth it! Honestly, we do not regret having Pickles at all.
We love Pickles Superpig Smith!
I've finally updated my site and even given my blog a new title! I've kept my promises from my last post, too. My hair got cut, I went to a women's meeting at church, we made care packages to hand out to the homeless, went to lunch with some friends and once again began looking for property. We managed to do all this despite everyone passing the flu around and being down to one vehicle.
We are entering a new season as a family and sometimes it is hard to move on. We did find some property that is absolutely perfect. We've placed the situation in His hands and are trusting God to make it work if it is supposed to be our home. He has given us wisdom on how to go about this financially, yet doubt is still trying to creep in. Change is difficult for me but I always find myself finding peace in this verse. I just wanted to share this for anyone else who is finding themselves in a place where they need to practice surrender.
I've seen signs, wall decals and cutesy photographs with this saying for years. It never really spoke to me until about a year ago when someone I know told me a heartfelt message about her experiences and how it means something to her. She said our journey reminded her of this and applied it to our family's situation. Ever since, I've been on the quest to find something with the saying to hang up in my home. I started looking and honestly haven't seen anything since! Don't you hate it when that happens?
I'm going to be transparent.
I really, really dislike where we live. We were disappointed by the cost of land, the regulations regarding the tiny house, the job we came here for ended up not being what Matt was convinced it was, and so the list goes on. Despite being in the middle of town, I do absolutely love this little cottage house we bought, even though we feel it isn't our permanent home.
My heart has been aching for my close friends and family we left behind in Alaska. I miss lounging around on couches of people that really get who I am. I've realized the importance of hanging out with other woman with young children. Basically, I've found that I treasure those peeps who don't judge me for having insane hair, going braless, and still wearing pajamas at 3pm.
No offense if you're from around Medford, but chances are you'd agree...The folks here are weird! It might make you laugh hearing ME say that but really, I've had the most educational people watching experiences over the past year. Yes, we have met a handful of new people that are wonderful but in all, I don't feel comfortable here.
I love social media because I can feel close with those I miss, but generally it makes me very frustrated. It's a cesspool for negativity. I've had more reasons than you know to whine and complain, yet I haven't. I know making myself look miserable isn't going to help. So I've been positive and held onto my husband and kids. We adventure together and it helps the heartache of missing home.
Why don't we move back? It's expensive, a lot of work, the weather here is amazing and most importantly I know that we were brought here for a reason. I've been praying and waiting. I keep dreaming about the land we will build a farm on. I've been reading about homesteading. I've been preparing for what I hope is next.
I'm going to share the message from church yesterday that really shook me. Even if you aren't the God thing I urge you to keep reading anyway. The main points were: 1-You are planted where you are for a reason. 2-Love your city. 3-You won't be given an assignment when you're out of alignment.
I hadn't been to service in quite a while but felt strongly to go. It's clear that I needed to hear what was spoken. I have been out of alignment. No, we aren't living in sin backsliders, but we haven't been serving with an open heart.
I haven't been depressed or regretting our move, just not loving it. I've been schooling the kids, gardening, working on our house and keeping up with day to day stuff. I haven't been intentionally forgetting to do things for myself but I've put it on the back burner. In a way, I've isolated our family in our home. I go grocery shopping at 5am partially to be childless but also so I don't have to be around people.
I do want what's best for our family and I am willing to make some changes. I'm going to let our roots set in and let our family get grounded here. I'm going to get involved in some ministry at church or a community group. I'm even going to make an effort to talk to the soccer moms, even if they have trendy, cute matching outfits. I'm going to get a haircut and maybe even a pedicure. I'm going to be a friend to the people God brings into my life. I'm not going to resist change and new things just because I'd hoped for something else.
Matts truck isn't running right so he's been taking my car to work. I asked a new friend for a ride to church. Afterward we hung out got to talking about how we both like crafting. We ended up spending the day out and about in town and gathered some supplies.
When we moved into our tiny house I kept a shoebox full of craft supplies which didn't include paint. When we were out I found a zebra print box on clearance and bought it. At the next craft store I found cheaper storage boxes and there was a more simple patterned yellow one that suits my tastes much better. My friend loved the other one so I gave it to her. She even joked she might tie a bright pink ribbon on it to spice it up! We are opposites in nearly every aspect. She is a single mom to a daughter, seriously fashionable, tall, likes shopping and eating out, doesn't cook and doesn't have a garden.
Despite our differences we had a fantastic night creating art together. She painted a portrait of Marilyn Monroe and I made my sign. I learned a few lessons yesterday and realized it is nice to have another woman to talk to and to get back to doing things I love to do.
I'm so happy to finally have this reminder hanging in my home. Plus, I love crackle paint!
...AND the teacher, nurse, reffaree, chauffeur, housekeeper, gardener, counselor, accountant, handyman, cheerleader, zookeeper, plumber and so on. You get the point. I'm a stay at home mom. I'm so thankful that our boys are blessed with a hard working Daddy and I get to watch them grow each day.
Anyway, I totally understand that life gets busy. I'm familiar with the exhaustion and I know the frustrations all too well. Still, I can't imagine investing my time and energy into anything else in this world.
I firmly believe that aside from having a healthy spiritual life the next most important thing you can provide for your family is physical health. This starts with putting REAL food into their bodies.
I wanted to share my recipe because it is simple, delicious and can complete many meals. I know you will miss the anticipation of the prepackaged tube pop, but I promise that making memories in the kitchen is so much more exciting!
My newest baking revelation is the duck egg! Everything comes out moist and has a wonderful texture, especially for GF. The flour and coconut oil was bought at Costco, I got the raw honey from a local market, and the NTM salt is from Dynamite Marketing. *Dynamite is a wonderful company with amazing products (for all creatures) that I am an independent distributer for. I'll add my link at the end of the recipe if you'd like to check it out.*
1 cup hot water
2 tbsp coconut oil
.25 oz active dry yeast
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix
Dissolve the coconut oil in the water. Stir in the yeast. Let stand 2 minutes. Add honey, salt, egg then flour. Mix well and divide into greased muffin tin. I used coconut oil for this as well.
Set on the stove to rise as oven preheats to 425°.
This recipe Makes 8 rolls.
Bake for 14 minutes.
I'm not sure how long I let the dough rise. Javis wanted help making a bow and arrow from some branches we pruned from the pear tree. So I guess today I was a fletcher too!
Enjoy! We had ours with chicken chili I made in the slow cooker.
Okay, this was just one of my drafts of this post. I had many words written but thought these pictures could speak for themselves...This is proof kids can be real kids while living tiny!
Christmas 2012 Great Grandpa gave the boys some wooden blocks. After playing with them, building tracks and using them for barricades for army men the boys made a replica of the house.
Javis always helped me in the kitchen and still does today. This small space didn't limit our cooking or baking.
The kids only played Wii and handful of times in there but surely enjoyed it when they did. There was one game that they couldn't do because of space requirements.
I made the mistake of letting the kids buy a giant bag of peanuts. I'm not kidding when I say I still find proof of this still when clean out there! I did learn that eating on the floor helped with the mess a little bit.
Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do you ever keep a New Year resolution? I dont believe I ever have, really. Last year I decided I was going to make a blog post every week. We all see how well that worked out for me! I got to thinking that the address of this page refers to a house on a trailer and how strange it would it be to keep posting on it after we moved out of ours. I felt that whatever I had to say just seemed more exciting if I lived in a tiny house.
The truth is that I really enjoy writing. I have so many drafts saved from this past year (I just posted two). My Instagram is still titled Tinyhousefamily and I get the occasional person who deletes me when they see we don't 'actually live in a tiny house' anymore. I felt like I have to explain myself, you know, like a child does when they've been caught doing something naughty.
I've decided that I'm going to be proud of where we are TODAY and I'm going to write anyway! I'm going to write the things on my heart when they are there and if it's once a week, every other month or I don't make a post until next January, so be it!
Whoever you are, take this as an encouragement to embrace where you are in life at this moment...even if it isn't where you've planned to be.
I figured since it had been nearly half a year since I last posted that nobody really reads this! I've recently been getting email from readers who have asked me to tell what happened next. Honestly, I've been too busy homeschooling, gardening, and exploring to sit and write.
In March we closed on a 1000sq ft cottage in city limits on .25 of an acre. Yeah, I know, WHAT! We didn't have enough outdoor space where we were and didn't want to rush into investing $400,000 in acreage because we were desperate. This house was built in the 1940's. It has charm and even though we've worked on it a ton, it will still require further remodeling. We don't plan on staying here very long and look at this as an investment!
Our beloved tiny house sits next to this house on the lawn. Due to city code we cannot live inside it. We really haven't unpacked it. We are slowly 'moving' by grabbing something out of the TH as we need it. Living minimally is something that we feel is very important to truly enjoying life. The only items we have purchased since moving into a regular sized house is yard and garden stuff. Seriously! The only furniture item we have bought was an old kitchen table that Matt and I fixed up. We are still sleeping on 5 inch foam pads on the floor of our empty bedrooms. Family has donated a few items here and there but I'm still resistant to buying anything. My sweet neighbor said if she didn't know better she'd think we are squatters!
(UPDATE: We have furniture! Five months in we bought ourselves a real mattress. Matt's old boss gave us a dresser and a bed frame. The boys were blessed to win a bedroom makeover contest and each won a bed and desk! A friend gave us a love seat. We still haven't purchased many items ourselves. Our little cottage looks loved and lived in now. We've decided to make it home and enjoy it while we're here. Below is the one item I've purchased simply just because I wanted to. I love antique furniture.)
Like I said before, we weren't unhappy with the size of the tiny house. It was the lack of lots for sale, places to park and the desire to have land to call our own! Dirt is my antidepressant. The more time I spend in my garden the better I feel. I missed having garden feet! We have turned most of the lawn at the new house into a garden. I'm having a blast experimenting with things I've never imagined growing in Alaska!
(UPDATE: It's January and I still have many cans of veggies in the pantry! It was a bountiful harvest!)
As much as we love having space outside we are NOT town people. I recently saw a meme that said "I'm not antisocial I'm selectively social." That sums me up about right! I still dream of the day will live secluded in our tiny home with enough land to be self sustainable. The dream isn't dead, it's just on hold. We might be living in a 'normal' sized house but tiny is still a part of our family and very much our home!
(UPDATE: We've used the tiny house as a guest house several times. We love having visitors and sharing that special space with them. Yes, we've toyed with the idea of letting tiny house curious folks come spend a night or two in it.)
Heres a bunch of pent up complaining I've (mostly) kept to myself.
We have been looking every day for land since moving here in August. Actually, I recruited some friends to search with me before we even left Ak. We had heard the market here had crashed and were hopeful we'd score a deal! After speaking to a lender we learned we would not be able to get any financing on bare land to park our tiny house. So the boys and I literally drove around every day hoping to find a FSBO with owner carry. Our original plan was to rent a place to park, save money and find our dream property to start our own small homestead. It is definitely not working out like we had planned, not at all!
We've had to move already, due to a neighbor complaining to the county about 'homeless people living in an eyesore of a trailer'. That first spot was on a 3 acre farm with fruit trees and gardens but we were literally parked in the middle of a horse pasture. This was before the kitchen was finished so we did not have the ability to hook up. Hauling water was a daily job in the seriously hot weather. I made the most of it, focused on the kids, made fruit jam and tried not to complain.
We were blessed to become friends with a colleague of Matt's who then let us park on his property. Here we are SO incredibly close to the neighbors. Their adult son is living in an RV about 15 feet away. He's complained to his parents who've asked how long we plan to be here. We do have a small fenced yard for the kids, dog and chickens but with all the rain it's pretty much just mud. We have had water leaks, moisture and mildew issues that continue to be a problem even after caulking, gutters, disinfecting and dehumidifiers.
The neighbor to our right.
Our chickens in the yard and the neighbor behind us. There's another house to the right side as well. We had to add the rock walkway after I slipped and fell on the mud.
Another worry of mine is the boys not having outdoor space. This is a must when living tiny! They are great at home. It's when we go to someone's house or grocery shopping they forget how to behave. You know, freestyle furniture leaping and racing down isles at the market. I halfway allow a little crazy because I know they have been not able to burn energy here. I don't allow them to play outside when the neighbor is home in fear they too will complain to the county and we will have to move again.
We've tried RV parks. The ones that don't mind the pets and kids are not okay for children to be around. Homeless camps nearby and people intoxicated stumbling, arguing and displaying other offensive behaviors that don't make for a good environment for kids. The nicer parks with more regulations don't allow children long term.
The past month has been super hard on me. I cried for the first time about missing Alaska. I'm not sure if it was being away from family and frends for the holidays or that I'm losing patience being stuck in someone else's driveway, but I'm officially stressed out. Also, having to keep Michael in the the house during this recovery has made me feel smothered in my tiny house for the first time. We are used to leaving the house daily and did not leave for 5 long days. Our pipes have also been freezing and going without water is something I'm not okay with on top of everything else.. I know this is a bunch of whining. But...THIS STINKS!
Family recently talked us down from making an offer on a cabin on 17 acres. I liked it but its not what we truly want. We had to use our downpayment on medical bills, thankfully or I think I would have regretted it. So, we came to the conclusion we will rent a cottage.
Some rentals don't allow children so obviously we cant live in those. Most don't allow pets and that's also something we aren't willing to sacrifice. Then we noticed there would be at least a 12 month lease. We don't want to be stuck in a contract in case something perfect does pop up.
The conclusion, for today anyway, is to buy a small (around 700sq ft) house instead of renting. Mortgage would be less than rent and we could move out whenever we decide. We still have our house in Alaska which we do plan to sell. We're praying there's enough equity there that we will have a substantial downpayment or will give us enough in the bank to finance land. So we save, save, save...AND wait for our dream land, A LITTLE longer. We would keep the tiny house for when we are able to purchase land to park it on.
We spent the weekend looking at a bunch of small houses. We have narrowed down the search to three choices. I think we are all sad that the tiny house might not work out right now but are thankful for the time we've had. Knowing when to move on (before breaking down)and being able to be okay when things don't go my way are things that I've recently been able to do! Maybe this was all an exercise from God to help with my stubbornness and inability to be patient.
Again, if you're reading this PLEASE send us your thoughts or prayers on this issue! You all know how hard we worked to build and live in our tiny house!
Hunty was a great friend today!
Today is a day we've been waiting on for a while. Micheal got a tonsillectomy and had his umbilical hernia repaired. These issues don't seem like a big deal but have started causing some problems for little dude.
Michael is really such a happy kid. Over the past couple of years he had become increasingly cranky and had the hardest time waking up, even after sleeping all night. When we moved into the tiny house we started noticing why. He snored...like, LOUD and a lot! He wasn't getting restful sleep and it began to show in his behavior. We are praying that this will help with his speech a little. Also, no more continuous strep throat!
His hernia was really only a problem when he was running hard or if he got hit in the tummy. Whenever his belly button was painful we've just been laying down and pushing it back in. However, as Michael gets more involved with sports he would definitely see complications.
Bye bye button!
Daddy got to come say hi after dropping Javis off at a friends house, before started rounds and doing surgery himself. Michael never acted nervous, even being told it would hurt. The sweet nurse gave him a ton of stickers but he wanted to save them for Javis. I almost cried when Matt rubbed my back as they wheeled Michael away, so I made him stop. I was a little disappointed that Matt didn't have the day off, but he's literally across the hall working and knowing that he is near if I need him feels good.
We spent last night making the tiny house into a cozy recovery area for Michael. He isn't going to be able to climb up the ladder to his loft so I made a bed on the couch. I moved the bench from the table next to the couch so he won't roll off. The only concern lil man had was that he won't be able to tell me what's wrong if his throat hurts. I made him a chart so he can point and not have to talk if he doesn't want to. I'm sure I'll be regretting also giving him a bell!
After about an hour the ENT Dr. Came out and said all went well with the tonsils and adenoids. He found the cause of the crazy bloody noses and fixed that as well. Michael will be happy to not have to deal with that anymore! About 10 minutes later a nurse came in and said the hernia repair was finished too. Thankfully this all went by quickly.
Just when I started feeling relieved everything went well the general surgeon came to get me because Michael was upset. Luckily, a coworker went and found Matt so he was back there before me. M was screaming and trying to jump and mountain climb off the bed. The nurses and Matt held him down while we tried to calm him. I kissed him and rubbed his hair until he came to. It was awful to see but they usually don't let parents back there so I am glad we got VIP care. He got some IV meds to help him relax.
We were in recovery for a few hours. Once M woke up he was happy to have so many yummy snacks. Ice chips, apple sauce, Jello, juice and 2 popsicles later he was ready to head home! Daddy showed up in time to help us to the car.
There was a delay at the pharmacy on the way home so M started having some pain. Once he got home and drugged up he was happier. We've been home for a couple hours. I've been writing this all day as it helped me feel okay. Today went well, but was way more emotional than I'd imagined.
Michael was super tough today and did amazing. He's napping and recovering while playing Angry Birds. I'll be giving him more treats and lots of love while we wait for Daddy to get off work and bring Javis home tonight.
Keep the thoughts an prayers coming for a quick recovery!
I've been working on a post about living in our tiny house with kids. I felt I needed to first explain HOW we became parents as this might give a better understanding of WHY we chose to do what we do.
I have witnessed that special moment when a mother gives birth to her baby and sees that precious face for the first time. There is an instant bond and a love that is just beautiful. I hope one day I'll experience that too, but what I've got in my children is something so special I'm not sure if it can be beat.
2009- Javis, 2 and Michael, 3. Around the time they came to our house.
We got a call to go meet two little boys in a shelter. They were there alone, without parents, because one was incarcerated while the other was somewhere on the streets. The kids had been in and out of the shelter for months going on failed trial visits and placements with families all over the state. They had behavioral problems that were just too much to deal with. Also, their diagnosis of irreversible brain damage gave them a poor prognosis for ever living a normal life.
We brought them stuffed puppies. They held onto them the whole visit. Michael played and laughed. Javis was shy but kept his eye on us. He had just learned to walk. Neither could speak real words. When we left they gave us hugs. The social worker told us stories you cannot imagine. These tiny little people were truly survivors.
We got to bring them home on a Friday for a trial visit. The worker asked that we tough it out until Monday because there wouldn't be anyone in the office over the weekend if we needed to send them back. The weekend went well.
We discovered Javis was emotionally an infant. He would cry like a newborn and I would give him kisses and rock him to sleep. Matt kept telling me not to get attached, but I couldn't ignore his need for soothing. Michael was so strong, but so full of anger for just being three years old. Occasionally his tough shell would crack and we would see how sensitive he really was.
The next few months were tough as we all adjusted. Slowly, the tantrums and uncontrollable sobbing began to occur less frequently. (I'm talking us AND the kids!) The boys began to settle in and became less violent. We began to fall in love. Luckily, we were able to adopt them within nine months. The things that should have prevented us from adopting them played no weight our keeping them. God's plans were larger than the obstacles of our skin color, our age and even our financial status.
March 31, 2010- Adoption day.
Anyone that has been around these boys knows what I am talking about when I say you can't help but like them. They are so charming that I don't even know how begin to explain it. Don't get me wrong, it isn't always wonderful but the moments that leave me smiling make up for all the struggles.
Javis and Michael have grown so much!
Some say adoptive moms get to skip the hard part, NOPE! I went through my share of laboring, thanks! It is hard to be calm when there is a strange child using their teeth and your arm as an avenue to release anger. It takes a lot to suck it up and give kisses to a kid that you just caught eating out of the garbage can. It's so tough make your exhausted self hug a child that has been screaming for an hour for what seems to be no reason. Becoming their mommy took a lot of work.
The progress they have made has already surpassed what all the professionals said they would. They can run, talk, read and show love like no other person I've met before. Both Michael and Javis are full of a passion for life like I've never seen in another child. Individually they are both so special in ways that enrich our lives and help us grow. We learn from them.
This is why I say that the bond we have with our kids is something special. Love didn't just miraculously happen when someone handed over two adorable swaddled newborns. All four of us have put so much into making this work.
Recent family picture at a holiday parade of lights.