What I’m Into: July, 2015

This month I’m joining Leigh Kramer for What I’m Into, the July 2015 edition. 


Lots of blogs, in the hopes that they will inspire me to actually write here. You can see how well that’s going by the incredible dearth of posts.

PicMonkey Collage
Also reading “For the Children’s Sake” By Susan Schaeffer MacCauley, “The Well Trained Mind” and “The Well Educated Mind” by Susan Wise Bauer, and “Eight Cousins” by Louisa May Alcott.
I read “Little Women” so many times that the cover of the paperback fell off, but somehow never realized that Alcott had written other novels and short stories. I’m pretty much the worst bibliophile ever. For instance, I didn’t realize that Anne of Green Gables was part of a series until late high school, when another Anne fan lent me her set, as well as the BBC movie series.
I started reading “Eight Cousins” before bed based on an episode of Tsh Oxenreider’s podcast, “The Simple Show”. In Episode 3 (I think… I listened to all current episodes while folding the laundry the other day), Tsh and her guest talk about why reading fiction before going to bed is actually beneficial. After trying it out for a few days, I can happily say they are right! I fall asleep faster and sleep easier than I did before when I was reading non-fiction, basically, extensions of my “to do” list. Fiction seems to help my brain relax in ways that cramming in one last to do never does. I like “Eight Cousins” just enough to look forward to reading it every night, but not enough to stay up way past my bedtime and deal with sleep deprivation the morning afterwards.


About holding Brooks. I’m finally getting excited to meet him, which is good considering his due date is 4 ish weeks away. Though sometimes the idea of a newborn and a 2 year old is overwhelming, I’m also getting excited for Lucy to meet him and start to grow in her big sister role. And as Ryan puts it, I’m also ready to move on. I’m not the one to really “savor” pregnancy, though there is that terrifying moment when I’m looking at my newborn baby’s face and thinking “Oh my goodness, you were so much safer inside! What have I done?!” but it only lasts for a moment until common sense (and a healthy dislike of being pregnant) prevail. 40 weeks feels like one big pause where we are waiting with bated breath, envisioning all the what if’s that could maybe possibly happen, over which we have no real way to prepare for or prevent. Birth is finally getting to unpause and move on.


Lucy turned 2 this month, so I tried my hand at a buttercream transfer to give her the hockey cake I knew she'd love.

Lucy turned 2 this month, so I tried my hand at a buttercream transfer to give her the hockey cake I knew she’d love. Tutorial found here.

Lots of nesting. Lots and lots of nesting. Meal planning, housework schedule making/following, freezer food preparations and lots of one on one time with Lucy. Currently her favorite game is “baby” where she gets to be the baby and I get to be the mommy. Creative genius runs strong in this household. Anyway, she runs around making “Doo doo Dada” sounds which are usually cute and some weird whine/cry/squeal that makes me want to push her off the couch each and every time. I don’t. But I want to.

Also napping. Third trimester exhaustion has reared it’s ugly head. I’m thankful that the first trimester level exhaustion is not also accompanied by first trimester morning sickness. Silver lining.


Thriftbooks.com! None of the links above are affiliate links (yet!), I just really love buying used books. And buying used books online + free shipping on all orders over $10 makes me into a fangirl. I was able to buy For The Children’s Sake for myself, a John Lennon biography for Ryan, and The Magic Hockey Stick for Lucy for muuuuch cheaper than I would get on Amazon. If you want, I can even email you a 15% off coupon!


That time we got lost in Korea; an Answer Me This Link-up

I keep not blogging because I keep letting perfectionism get in my way. I have several posts in various stages of drafts, I just haven’t sat down to finish them. Part of the problem is that I’m having an identity crisis, which merits its own post and doesn’t belong in this one.

So in an effort to just get the blogging ball rolling and hopefully get into a regular habit (another post topic! In draft form, of course!), I’ve decided to join in with Kendra at Catholic All Year for the remaining installments of Answer Me This.

And so:

1. At what temperature do you keep the thermostat set? Summer, winter, day, night?
I feel like we live in a fairly mild climate here in Raleigh, so we try not to have the A/C and heat on much at all. We’re also cheap, which plays a big role in that too. However, come June/July and December/January, we definitely crank it on. Right now it’s probably a little cooler than we would normally keep it (by one very important degree or two!) because I’m a pregnant mess who’s constantly over heating. So right now it’s set to 75F, day and night. We’d love to turn it off overnight but our upstairs has almost no air circulation and gets so stuffy so quickly. And in the winter we turn the heat allll the way to 71F, because I’m a big baby about being too cold. I hate waking up in a cold room. Lucy on the other hand won’t keep blankets on her to save her life, even in winter. I was thankful for bedsharing the last two winters; at least she had our body heat to keep her warm!
2. What is your favorite frozen beverage?
Hmmmm….gosh, it really depends on the day. Lately I’ve been loving all things fruity (if Brooks comes out looking like a watermelon, well, I won’t be surprised!). Fruity+Creamy = heaven. And now I’m craving a strawberry daiquiri. With or without the alcohol.  Or a Watermelon Slushie with nerds from Sonic. Ooooohhhh yeah. That.
3. Where do you keep your keys?
Either clipped to my cell phone case/wallet OR in a little basket in our kitchen. Nothing special.
4. Have you ever really been lost?
That time we were lost in South Korea...

That time we were lost in South Korea…

Oh yeah. Lots and lots of times. Even with a GPS, I still manage to get lost regularly. There was one time, an amazing time, in Korea when my friend Aron and I had gone to visit a Buddhist Temple in the mountains.  We looked on the map and figured that it was probably an hour to a half hour away. Well. After 3 hours of a bus ride, we finally got there. It was beautiful. The air was clear (the city we lived in was kind of polluted), it was beautiful weather, and we learned a lot of Buddhist history. We spent the whole day there, it was great. On our way back down the mountain, we remarked how funny it would be if we got to the parking lot and our bus was gone, since neither of us brought any money that would get us a room in the hotel. WELL, wouldn’t you know it, but our bus was gone! In fact, ALL the buses were gone! Except for two. Aron knew more Korean than I did, so he went up to a group of men and tried to explain our situation. They got really worried and started talking very fast about what they should/could do. Finally, one of the men puts us on a bus, but he still looked concerned. He ran back and forth, and would come onto the bus every so often, making a little v shape with his hands and repeating “highway”. We were just thrilled to be getting a ride home and eagerly assured him that we understood what was happening and that we were very grateful. So finally the bus driver gets in and we start our journey home. At this point is when Aron and I begin to take in our surroundings. We were on a charter bus with a big screen up front, tapestry all along the windows, and a whole lot of old people as our companions. One old man in particular caught our attention, as he was standing in the aisle holding a microphone. It was a Karaoke Bus! Literally, a bus where the entertainment is singing karaoke with a crazy old man. It. Was. Awesome. The people fed us, they were very very nice to us and we even sang a little (If I recall correctly, I sang a Three Doors Down song). Well, a little while into our journey, at night, and we are on the highway. The bus seems to be slowing down, and I, in my naivete think “Oh my! They are picking up another stranded person! These are the nicest people EVER!” Aron however understands what is happening a lot quicker than I do, has a stricken look on his face, and says “Dear. God…..NO!” Then the bus stops, the driver opens the door, and with a cheery smile on his face beckons us to leave and says “taxi! Taxi!” And so there we were, stranded on the highway, at the top of the off ramp into Daegu City, in the dark. We RAN down the ramp on the shoulder, cars speeding by, and made it into Daegu. We had no idea what part of Daegu it was, having spent most of our time in the central part of town where all the shopping and restaurants were. This part was a little creepy, with auto repair shops on every block. Eventually we found where we were and what bus would take us back to the center of the city, so that we could get on the subway to go back to our university out in the country (Daegu University was about 20 minutes outside of Daegu city). To top it all off, our university had a strict curfew and all doors locked at 11 PM/12 AM, I can’t remember exactly. We made it back with only minutes to spare. 
That is possibly my most favorite memory ever of being lost.
5. What is the last movie you saw in the theaters?
Ryan and I went to see Jurassic World on our anniversary. It was ok. Ryan really liked it and I enjoyed hearing him talk about the throwbacks to the original that I hadn’t realized were in it. Chris Pratt was great, duh. I keep hoping to go see Pitch Perfect 2 before it leaves theaters, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
And there you have it! Yay, a blog post! If you have a blog, definitely head over to Catholic All Year and link up, or leave your answers in the comments if you don’t have a blog. I love reading everyone else’s and am thrilled to finally get my act together and join in.

On getting older and not conforming

The older I get, the more I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. Actually, that’s not quite right. The older I get, the more comfortable I am not doing what everyone else is doing. I spent so much of my time (all 25 years of it; har) trying to fit in, to find my “niche”. But I’m thinking more and more that I simply have to carve out my niche; it’s not out there waiting for me to come fill it.

Free thoughts on getting older and not conforming

I was talking to Lucy’s godparents last month about what career I w

anted and when I should pursue it. I’ve always felt like I was in a race; as if I had to do everything RIGHTNOWWITHNOBREAKSDON’TBREATHE. And so I graduated college a semester early, got married young and started having babies young. None of that I regret. It’s just that now I’m in some sort of weird limbo. “I” have become “We” and “we” are now 4 – Ryan, myself, Lucy, and Brooks. And that can get overwhelming and a little frustrating sometimes. So anyway, I was talking to Miguel about the benefits of pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics sooner or later and how to go about that and whether it would ultimately be beneficial to my family and myself or whether it is a purely selfish pursuit. It was a good conversation, filled with great advice. But it was the side conversation, really just a few short sentences from Xhonane afterward that really have stuck with me. Lucy is only 2, Brooks is due in August, Ryan and I have been married for all of 4 years. God only knows where we will be next month, let alone next year. So she took me aside and reminded me that my family is young and I have all the time in the world really. “Why don’t you take this time now, while your children are young, and learn about being a mother and wife. You can read about everything you are interested in right now.” So basically she was saying “slow down. learn your priorities. learn how to live those first, then everything else will follow.” And that’s really stuck with me.

So now I’m reading about Charlotte Mason and Maria Montessori. I’m listening to podcasts because I like them, not because I think someone else would approve of them. I’m trying to take time out of my day to intentionally play with Lucy each day. We’re doing storytime once a week. Today we played in the rain. And the more I think about it, the more I think my family doesn’t fit in with a lot of what mainstream and even non-mainstream people think is “normal”. And I don’t want us to. Ryan’s job with Southwest opens so many opportunities to us for travel, just not to popular destinations during peak seasons. Plus we have specific goals for our money right now that will evolve obviously as we reach those goals. On top of that, we don’t know really how many children we will have, though we’ve thought about it a lot. What we want for our family (small home, big city, walkable area and by walkable I mean we can live with one car) it seems like most people don’t want. We just don’t fit in. Before, that would have worried me and I would have tried harder to change us to be more…I don’t know. Acceptable? But now my mantra is lately “You do you. I’ll do me” and BOY is that freeing.

I’ve decided to start a little something called “Free Form Fridays”. The idea is thus: I’m just going to write what I’m thinking, as I’m thinking it. No editing. No worrying about flow or paragraph styling. I always enjoyed this style of essay when we’d read it in school. It was like really delving into the writer’s mind, all the twists and turns and connections that that writer was making but weren’t always or sometimes ever apparent to the reader. 

Phase 1: The Great Clothing Purge, Pt. 2

When last I updated, I had told you all about finding a two empty drawers in my dresser, and how I balanced out Ryan’s and my shared closet by getting creative with Kondo.

After I finished with my clothes, I turned my attention towards Lucy’s. Lucy currently has a three drawer dresser, plus half of a closet (the other half is shared with her uncle who also lives with us. No, I’m not decluttering his stuff.). As she’s outgrown clothes, I’ve been throwing them into a bin in a storage closet in the master bedroom. Or they’ve ended up on the floor, mixed in with the laundry. Over, and over, and over again.

I started with the clothes in her closet and dresser, and then moved on to the clothes she’s outgrown. The dresser and closet were actually really easy. She doesn’t care what she wears, so if I liked it, it fit, and it wasn’t horribly stained or damaged, it stayed. And despite the fact that I have been trying to buy her “capsule” wardrobes for each size change since she turned a year old (that’s when we actually ran out of clothes people had bought us before she was born! Thanks friends!), I still had half a garbage bag full of clothes ready to go to Catholic Charities when all was said and done.

But again, the real miracle happened when I put her clothes away. As I said above, she has a three drawer dresser. Before, I had her pjs, socks, leggings, etc. in the top drawer, her pants, skirts, and shirts in the second drawer, and the third drawer housed picture frames and other miscellaneous items (hello, Komono). I did fold Lucy’s clothes using the KonMari method of folding that I linked to in my previous clothing post. It actually isn’t that hard to fold baby clothes that way. And again, I had an empty drawer! All of her clothes that previously took up two drawers now only took up one. I didn’t touch the third drawer, Komono won’t be for a while yet. Because her clothes only took up one drawer, I was able to put away Brooks’ clothes 4 months earlier than I thought I would. They had been shoved in a baby cradle in our living room, preventing the cradle from actually being used by visiting babies. Now they have a place and babies can use the cradle! Hurray!

Lucy’s closet was just as easy. I arranged Kyle’s clothes according to Kondo’s suggestion of heaviest to lightest, darkest to lightest, left to right. Then, just as I did with our closet, I hung Lucy’s clothes in the opposite direction in an effort to “balance” the closet. I really think that is the key if there are two people sharing a closet, but not sharing clothes. You guys. I could stare at that closet for hours. It’s just so beautiful.

True to the method, I did not touch the two shelves in her closet that hold Komono. But boy am I dying to. I just want the whole house to be finished already!

Phase 1: The Great Clothing Purge, Pt. 1

Whoaaa. I’ve had this in my drafts folder forEVER. And I still can’t find a way to get my pictures from my camera to my computer. This is ridiculous. So I’m just going to publish as is, and update as soon as I find that stupid CD, or buy another one, or figure out some other way to get those pictures on my phone. Geez.


On Wednesday, I shared why I want to tidy my home with you. Today, I can’t wait to show you the beginning of the first phase – our clothes! Yes, just the beginning. It’s probably common, but I just didn’t realize how many clothes we had accumulated as just a family of three.

This past winter, I decided I was going to have a “capsule” wardrobe. I went through my clothes and picked out only those items which “went” with all my other clothes. I felt like I had done a pretty good job. So when I pulled out a garbage bag yesterday and piled all my clothes on the bed, I was sure I wouldn’t have anything to give away. But then I noticed that dress. The one that I love the fit and style, but hate the color on me. It makes me look drab. And then I saw the other dress, whose color I also hate wearing. And then that button up shirt, you know, the one that everyone has to have? But that I never wear. And slowly at first, then with more energy, clothes started filling the garbage bag. Between scarves, purses, and clothes from the closet and dresser, I filled up an entire garbage bag. It felt great.

Next, I set myself to the task of putting everything away. It seemed daunting, having to put all of my clothes away at once, but I was determined to finish this the same day. I started with my dresser. As I was folding (KonMari style), I noticed something unusual. I have 7 drawers in my dresser; 3 tiny ones for personal clothes, then 4 average size ones. I originally had them organized thusly: 1 drawer for bottoms, 1 for tops, 1 for out of season, 1 for maternity, 1 tiny drawer each for bras, socks, underwear. The drawers were pretty stuffed originally and while I expected them to be roomier after getting rid of an entire garbage bag full of clothes, I was not expecting to end up with two completely empty drawers! That’s right, after purging and then folding and organizing KonMari style, I was able to combine out of season clothes with “can’t wear that while pregnant” clothes, as well as combine socks and underwear into one drawer, leaving me with 1 empty tiny drawer and 1 empty larger drawer. It’s hard to describe how excited this makes me, every time I think about it. Sometimes I open the empty drawers just to look at them, they give me so much peace.

After dancing a little about the freedom in my dresser, I turned my attention to our closet. Ryan and I share a closet and he is not currently participating in this purge. Maybe he will one day, maybe he won’t, that’s his decision. Since nothing changed in his clothes, and he takes up 90% of the closet, I was sure there wouldn’t be much of a change. Nevertheless, I set to work rehanging all of his clothes, starting with the heaviest/longest/darkest items and working my way to the left. Once his clothes were reorganized, I put my clothes back in. This is where I differed a bit from the strict KonMari Method. Those who have read the book know that Kondo recommends having clothes from heaviest to lightest, starting at the left and going right. Since Ryan and I share a closet though, and it is one of those single bar standard ones, not a walk-in, I had a mini dilemma. The closet just didn’t look right when I started over with my heaviest clothes beside his lightest ones. It felt unbalanced. Plus, we keep my hope chest in the closet right now and I hate seeing clothes pooled on top of it, which is what would have happened if I had hung my maxi dresses to the left of the rest of my clothes. So in order to not lose the flow, I decided to work backwards. I hung *my* heaviest clothes to the right of the closet, and worked towards the left. I felt like that balanced the closet out the best, starting heavy at the left, working over to the lightest clothes and then starting the slope back towards heavy again on the right. Taking a step back, that was totally the right decision for us.

Later that day while Lucy slept, I turned my attention towards *her* dresser and closet. But that is a post for a later day.


Last week, I completely overhauled my and Lucy’s clothes. The post is written and waiting, the pictures are taken, but. But, they’re stuck on the camera. Which my computer won’t recognize. And we can’t find the CD that the Canon website is telling us we need in order to download and install the drivers from their website. We’re not even sure if we kept that CD or not. And other things just keep coming up that prevents us from completely tearing the house apart looking for it. I’d love to use my husband’s computer, but I swear he has it booby trapped.

This weekend I overhauled our bookshelves, though I’m still trying to figure out how best to organize them. Right now they are by size, then color within size. Which admittedly looks nice. BUT. But they are all completely random, which I kind of love but then I think “What if I want to loan a book to a friend, and have to search through all of the books to find that one?” So I’m looking at other possibilities too. Pictures to come. Ha. Ha.

Since I’ve finished the books, I get to move on to papers and then to Komono (miscellaneous). For anyone wondering, I’m using this checklist to help me keep track of everything and not overlook any minor category. Lets keep our fingers crossed that while I’m gathering all the papers, that CD appears amidst them and I can finally free the pictures from our camera! In the mean time, I’ll take pictures with my cell phone *and* the camera from now on.

Why do you want to tidy?

I tidy so that we can go on every adventure available.

I’m having a really hard time not diving right in to the “get rid of stuff” stage. I’ve been drawn to minimalism for a long time and ever since finding out I am pregnant with Brooks, my desire to own less has been kicked into hyper drive. Now, the KonMari method isn’t necessarily minimalism. It’s living with only that which sparks joy in your life. She doesn’t give any magic number of clothes you should own, or books that should be on your bookshelf. It’s simple: If it brings you joy, keep it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it.

But the very first thing to do, Kondo says, is not to start deciding what to keep. It’s figuring out why you want to tidy in the first place. What is your goal? What do you want to gain out of this endeavor? It’s not enough to say “I want a clean house”. *Why* do you want a clean house? What type of lifestyle do you want to lead, and how is tidying going to help you get there?

I sat down today to talk to Ryan about exactly what we wanted for our lives. What type of lifestyle did we see ourselves living in this season of having babies and raising children? After 7 years together, conversations like this still drive me to simultaneous laughter and tears. I’m a planner, a goal setter, a dreamer. He’s a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person. I have no idea how he functions without some sort of clear goal in mind and trying to understand actually gives me a headache. Until today! We were at the park with our daughter, and two little girls, maybe 7 years old, took off running. They were clearly going on an adventure. A mom yelled after them “Come back! You can’t go that far without telling me where you’re going!” And so the girls had to come back, because if they didn’t know where they were going exactly, how could they tell their mom? AND THAT is when I turned to Ryan and said “I totally get you now! You’re going on an adventure!” After thinking for a moment, he said “Yeah, that’s about right!”

What does that have to do with tidying? That’s our goal: To go on an adventure. I want our home to be our launching pad, a place where we can rest fully and head off into the wild unknown from. I want our home to be a place of adventure for our children. Not because it is full of cupboards so full they are dangerous to open, but because it is a place where they are free to make messes and mistakes, to learn and grow. I want a happy home where friends and family always feel welcome and comfortable. What does that look like? It looks like counters and surfaces that are clear and ready for baking attempts or play-doh creations. It looks like bedrooms that are relaxing to be in, with music playing to match the mood of the day. It looks like bookshelves with books just begging to be read and loaned out. It’s a home where my husband can say “Pack up and be ready to leave in 30 minutes, we’re going on an adventure!” and we can.

I looked through my Pinterest boards, to see if anything I pinned was actually inspiring to me. I thought I’d share a few here. Just click the picture to be taken to the original URL.

What are your goals for tidying? What’s your inspiration?

“Interior Dining Rooms” found on the Dust Jacket blog.

Who wouldn’t love making music on a yellow piano?

I want to spend all day in this kitchen. Color! Light! Freedom!