Today’s Living With Kids tour features the home of Miranda Rosbach who lives with her family in a suburb of St. Louis. Miranda said that one of the first things she fell in love with about their home is all of the natural light it gets and you can definitely see that as you look through these bright and airy photos. Miranda loves to create space where kids can entertain themselves and learn to be creative and it really shows with all of the books and art and art supplies they have around the home. Welcome, Miranda!
Hi, I’m so happy you’re here and delighted to share a little bit about our family and home with you. My husband and I met on a dating website while we were both working in Washington, D.C. back in 2010. After our wedding in the spring of 2012, we relocated to St. Louis, MO (renting an apartment at first and then buying a home). A few months after we bought our home we welcomed our oldest daughter and have since added her little sister. It’s hard to believe we’ve lived in this home for seven years now. My husband works as a statistician and I work as a mostly SAHM (formerly a librarian) and children’s book reviewer and freelance writer.
We live in an urban suburb about 15 minutes west of downtown St. Louis. The houses are mostly older homes and are on the smaller side. However, we keep seeing more and more developers knock down old homes to build larger more modern homes that range from $600-$800k. We felt so lucky to land in this neighborhood buying a two bedroom, one bathroom house (1200 sq feet) for $160k back in 2014. It had been a rental for years, which meant that it definitely needed some work, but as eager first-time homebuyers we were up for the challenge.
One of the greatest things about our neighborhood is how walkable it is. We live across the street from a library, the post office, and our dentist. Within a one mile radius I can easily walk to Target, Trader Joe’s, Michaels and several other major retailers. The other wonderful thing about our neighborhood is the accessibility to parks. Within a two mile radius we have five different parks, which is such a bonus with small kids. One park has a lush wooded walking trail and a stream that runs through it, which is especially fun to frequent in the warmer months. Not far from our home is a spacious recreation center that has an indoor pool, gym, another library, and an outdoor playground.
As renters in an adjoining neighborhood we knew we wanted to stay in the same general vicinity. At the time we looked for what seemed like forever. Our initial aim was to purchase a three bedroom, two bath home. But everything in the area was just outside of our price range. After looking at dozens of properties, the home we are currently in dropped into our budget. I remember walking into the house with our realtor and immediately saying, “This is our home!” I called my husband and said he needed to see it and I think it was my certainty that led us to make an offer.
When the owner accepted another offer we were crushed. I couldn’t sleep for days and I even dreamed that there had been a mistake on the seller’s end. Sure enough a couple weeks later our realtor called to let us know that the other buyer had backed out and asked if we were still interested. It was a long process, but our house hunt eventually had a happy ending.
The first thing I noticed about our home was all the natural light it received. With windows occupying the majority of the living area I’ve always loved our light-filled space and the twilight glow through our stained glass windows is an especially magical time of day. Similarly, the personalities of two young children add their own energy and light to our living space. I can’t count how many impromptu concerts, puppet shows, and “performances” we’ve had in our living room. Isn’t it the truth that kids can make a stage out of anything? I hope people who come to our home feel a lifting of cares and want to stay awhile.
One of the things we’ve always appreciated about our home is the way the set-up of the rooms and furniture is modular. Nothing is fixed and everything has changed various positions over the years; which has made it possible for us to entertain on numerous occasions. I miss our annual St. Patrick’s Day party in March and our Pie Day festivities the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Someday those types of gatherings will return and I honestly can’t wait.
My kids and I all thrive on routine. When lockdown started we had a habit of getting out of the house early and spending time outside. I work best with a structure to our day (i.e., lunch and nap/quiet time are fixed in our family). When I’m with my kids, which I am after school, winter/spring break, and summer, I try to limit my paid work commitments. When that isn’t possible (like during the summer of 2020), I have my husband take a few mornings off a week to allow me to work.
Keeping my kids entertained isn’t one of my favorite parenting jobs. Rather, I want them to have access to books, art supplies, games, toys, and outdoor play equipment so that they can entertain themselves. It’s a learned skill and one that I’m still trying to facilitate by reminding them that they don’t need me to play.
When the pandemic started, life largely stayed the same for our family with the exception of my husband working in our basement rather than at the office five days a week. I took on the role of unschooling my children, aged three and six, and we made home projects a priority. After living with off-white/yellow walls for six years we finally tackled the painting project and freshened up our space dramatically just with a few gallons of paint and plaster. Similarly, we switched out our front door hardware and exterior light fixtures and mailbox. During that time I had my husband build a playset for our kids and I finally put the effort into making a usable patio space on our backyard deck.
Overall, staying home has forced me to make the changes I’ve wanted rather than living with something that I never liked either for functional or aesthetic reasons. Now to tackle a complete kitchen and window overhaul.
One of the benefits of becoming a mother later in life (at least for me) has been the confidence I possess in my parenting. I think my life experience has enhanced my certitude that I am making the right choices for my kids. My keen interest in making reading a part of our family culture has been a boon for our family (of course it helped that I also married a reader).
Apart from reading at various points throughout our day, I think my mom superpower is feeling unruffled about art messes. Covering the table with a dropcloth and letting my kids work alongside me on an art project brings me such joy and I hope it’s something my kids remember when they are grown.
Other things I hope my kids remember are our traditions around holidays and birthdays. I believe parents have such power in creating those memories for children, and I hope mine will think of chili for Halloween, egg hunts in our backyard for Easter, picking out their favorite sugar cereal on the first day of summer break, an unexpected crepe paper hallway when they wake up on their birthday.
I hope they remember the special moments along with pretending to skate on socks around the dining room table. I hope they’ll remember that we say sorry and allow feelings in our family. Things I hope they’ll forget are their mom’s continuous battle to fight the urge for perfection and the exasperation I feel/display when I just don’t have the patience for one more thing.
Living with kids is such an amalgam of emotions. For instance, I miss the tidiness of my single days and before we had children. However, I’m so grateful for the wash of immense joy that sometimes overpowers me when I see my daughters playing together nicely or utilizing our living room to turn a large blue blanket into an ocean for their underwater antics. Being witness to my children’s imagination is a true gift and makes the messes that much more manageable. And someday I may even miss finding Scotch tape and stickers affixed to the most random items in our home.
There are some things we can really only understand through first-hand lived experiences. For me, raising children falls into this category. It’s strange to me how much I longed to become a mom before actually becoming one and how little I knew about the intensity and all-encompassing mental, physical, and emotional toll it would require. Truly, if someone had enumerated all the ways motherhood would alter my brain (both literally and metaphorically) I most likely would not have believed them.
The hardest part (so far) of motherhood for me was the year after my second daughter was born. It was grueling in the extreme and most days I thought I wouldn’t get through the darkness. When she turned one it was almost like a switch went off inside both of us and we could finally rest. The intensity of motherhood is part of the process and I know this season of life is truly short lived.
Thank you, Miranda! This house is so charming and bright, and I love the photos of the outdoor space as well. Gets me excited for warmer weather and backyard BBQs and long summer nights. I love the cozy patio and the beautiful pink front door. What an amazing thing it is to have outdoor space, especially after a year of being stuck at home a lot.
I really appreciated what Miranda said about creating spaces where kids can entertain themselves and then sort of leave them to their own devices. Obviously this isn’t always possible and depending on the age of your kids, it can be more short-lived, but so many times as a parent I feel like I am the activity director on a cruise with my kids coming to me to find out what activity is next. I love the idea of stocking the house with books and puzzles and art supplies and letting the kids be bored sometimes.
What are your tricks for helping your kids be self-entertaining? Or are you the kind of parent who likes more structure around the home? What ways have you found to get your kids away from screens and spend some time creating something?
Kid coat rack
Vintage alarm clock
Outdoor playset tutorial
Book storage bin DIY
Planter with wood stand
Would you like to share your home in our Living With Kids series? It’s lots of fun, I promise! (And we are always looking for more diversity in the families we feature here. Single parents, non-traditional parents, families of color, LGBT parents, multi-generational families. Reach out! We’d love to hear your stories!!) Email us at email@example.com.