One year of saving (a lot of) money.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I have to let you in on something a little crazy: I haven't spent money on clothes or shoes for myself since March. Or for Liam - besides buying some pajamas and socks.

And it's all because of ThredUP. When I first heard about ThredUP, I made a purchase of about 8 or 10 items to see if I was happy with the quality and the service before I recommended it to anyone. Once I received the clothes, they were in flawless condition, fit well, and were brands that I wouldn't be able to afford outside of purchasing them consignment. Winning all the way around.
Liam's shirt: DKNY, $9.99
When I posted about it for the first time in March along with my referral link, several of you signed up and I got $10 toward clothes each time you did (thank you!) and you also got $10 toward your first purchase. In ThredUP dollars, $10 can go a long way. So what started out as just a site I loved became a huge blessing for our budget. Because even as I needed to purchase some maternity clothing and bigger sizes as Liam grew, I found it all on ThredUP and have been able to use referral credits alone since March. Crazy?!
Liam's shirt: Old Navy, $4.99
My dress: Daniel Rainn Silk Dress, new with tags $57

My jacket: BCBGMAXAZRIA, $40 
My shirt: Banana Republic, $7.99
Liam's shoes: Ralex sneakers, $7.99
My jeans: Gap Maternity jeans, $14.49
This isn't a sponsored post - ThredUP only knows me as a happy, satisfied customer - but I do get a $10 credit if you make a first time purchase through my referral link, and you'll also get $10 toward your purchase. I just can't say enough about it, and I plan on buying from them for a long time. And even if you don't have a blog yourself, once you've made a purchase and have a referral link, you can send it to friends and family via email or post what you purchased on Facebook and then you'll also get $10 for every person who makes a purchase. Try it!

Two.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dear Liam Worth,

Tomorrow you are two. You'll wake up with Mimi and Poppy staying next door, a train table waiting downstairs, and a hundred kisses from Mommy and Daddy. Your day will consist of a few of your very favorite things: Pullen Park, balloons, apple crisp, and your family.

But tonight, the night before your birthday, I want to recall a few of my favorite things about you...

You are compassionate and (sometimes) giving. If you see a squirrel or a bird while we're taking a walk, you almost always offer whatever you have: a stick, a toy car, even your shirt. Sharing with other kids, on the other hand, doesn't come so naturally (does it ever?). Having a sibling will be really good for you.

There is nothing small or quiet about your personality. You are the child who laughs the loudest, cries the hardest, and is still running laps when we're all worn out. For being such a laid back baby, your energy level and extroversion has taken us all for a loop. You love to run away from Mommy through the halls at church, and because she's 7 months pregnant, you know you can get away with it. Thankfully you're known by nearly everyone there and they feel comfortable enough to scoop you up and return you to me.

You love books and ask to go to "tor-time" (story time) at the library almost daily. Some of your other favorites are "dadows" (dinos), trucks, trains, coloring and painting, balloons, baking with Mommy, and running outside with a stick in your hand. You can recognize all of your letters - uppercase and lowercase - and you love to learn. When I pointed to a stop sign the other day and asked what it was, I expected to hear, "stop." Instead, you said, "octagon!"

You love people. Love people. You especially love their reactions when you smile at them in the grocery store and say, "Hiiii. How yooo?" and then respond, "Ged!" when they ask you how you're doing. I can count on one hand the times in the past year you've ever acted shy.

I see tiny seeds being planted in your heart for Jesus and it thrills me more than anything. You like to read about Him, to flip through your Bible, and are always the first to remind us to "pway" at the dinner table, thrusting your hands into ours. When we pray for you before bed, it's the only time you get still and quiet for more than 5 seconds. I know these are small signs, but I pray they grow deeper and stronger as you learn about our great God and His lavish love for you. Daddy and I pray with you every night for your salvation and that it would come soon.

We love you, precious boy. It's hard to believe just how much more we love you than we did the day you were born.

Happy, happy 2nd birthday!

Love,
Mommy

My book wish list: Non-fiction edition.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My ongoing wish list for books is always longer than other wish lists I might have going: clothes, shoes, cosmetics, toys for Liam. So here's my current non-fiction wish list (fiction books coming sometime soon). You can click on any of the titles below to take you straight to Amazon to purchase them. As a disclaimer, I haven't read any of these and therefore can't vouch for their content. I've only read reviews online and heard reviews from friends I trust. I would love to hear what's on your wish list and if you've read any of these! Christmas can't come soon enough (hint, hint). 

Several friends have recommended this one: Gospel reminders for busy moms that are short, packed with Scripture, and devoid of fluff. Yes, yes, and yes.

2. Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family by Catherine Newman
The author wrote this book during a difficult pregnancy with her second child while caring for her toddler. Sounds familiar and looks warm and funny.

3. Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety: Becoming a Woman of Faith and Confidence by Elyse Fitzpatrick
I like everything I've ever read that Elyse Fitzpatrick has authored, and I have a feeling this would be no different. This past year - our transition to Raleigh - has probably been my most difficult year yet as far as worrying and feeling anxious, and the hormones of pregnancy (with a miscarriage thrown in) and two moves since being here haven't helped. I was fortunate to not deal with much postpartum emotional trauma after Liam's birth, but I think this would be a great read to prepare for the sleepless nights and inevitable hormone shifts when baby arrives.

4. Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters by Rachel Stafford
This just seems like it would hit home in so many ways and for so many women. Putting down the phone? I can do that. Burning the to-do list? Maybe a little harder. Letting go of perfection? Hardest yet. I think I need this.

5. Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkins
My friend Kelli, whom I really admire, recommended this and it looks so good. As one with a Bible degree, it's easy to study the Bible with my head and it became much harder to apply it to my heart after graduating. It honestly took a few years before I felt like I could see the Bible as something more than a textbook again. This looks refreshing.

6. Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson
When a friend who has 4-year-old twins and an almost 2-year-old (can you imagine?) recommended this and said it was life changing for her, I had to add it to my list.

*If you use these links to purchase the books from Amazon, they'll give me a tiny commission for recommending them. They don't cost any more to you, and my nightstand says "thank you!"

A thousand reasons to love October.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A clear October Saturday just couldn't have been more perfect.  I know Anne Shirley has been quoted hundreds of times, but I can't help but say it again:

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." 
- L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

A mini home tour: our main floor.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Within 30 seconds of walking into this house, Shawn announced, "We need to make an offer." The white kitchen with new appliances, the brand new hardwood floors, the space, the price. It sold us. We did make an offer later that day and moved in three weeks later. While we'd love to purchase a fixer upper someday in the future, now's not that season. So to have a house with very few updating needs was a huge blessing.

The house is split-level, and the following photos are of the main level. If you go upstairs, there are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. If you go downstairs, there's a partially finished space that functions as my craft room and a play area for Liam, as well as a large unfinished space with laundry and lots of storage.

The one major update we've done was to have the walls on the entire main floor painted. The kitchen used to be a baby blue (see photo below), and is now Benjamin Moore Gray Owl. The living room and hallways are the same color, just lightened by 50% (though, honestly, you can hardly tell a difference between the two colors). I love this color. It doesn't reflect blue or purple or even beige. In most lights, it's just a pure, light gray. Exactly what we were going for.

Before:
After: 

The kitchen is my favorite we've ever had. It's bright and airy with three large windows that look out onto the street, so I never feel closed off in a corner while I'm scrubbing dishes. (And it's so fun seeing kiddos walk to school every morning.) The only downside to not having any shades up yet is that, at night, it feels like a fishbowl where everyone can see right in. Eventually, we'd also love to buy a breakfast table for the nook in the corner that's begging for one.

While there's still lots I'd love to do - mainly photos and art on the walls to make it feel a little more personal - I love living in such a simple, serene space. It's easy to keep clean because we just don't have that much stuff to find places for. (Liam's toys either stay downstairs, in his room, or hidden in the crate in the living room. We use a Bumbo-type seat strapped into one of the dining room chairs for his highchair.) And because buying two houses in one year is expensive, our decorating budget was $0, so I'm thankful the things we already had fit the space nicely and naturally.

 PS - I'm happy to share sources for all of our furniture and accessories, but when I thought about it, 90% has been thrifted, purchased from Craigslist, or given to us by friends. But if you have any questions about where we might have found something, please leave it in the comments and I'm happy to point you in the right direction!
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